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Teaching Textbooks

5 Reasons to Make the Switch to Teaching Textbooks Online

{disclaimer ~ this is a sponsored post in partnership with Teaching Textbooks}

It’s been nine years since our family made the switch to Teaching Textbooks and just over a year since we started using Teaching Textbooks 3.0, the online version of their program. While the academic content is the same, the 3.0 version offers additional perks to the traditional book and CD-rom method we have grown to love. 

Using Teaching Textbooks was a game changer for our family. We went from went from literal tears and frustration with math to happy kids who thought math was fun. I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure if the online version was going to be a good fit for our family (and I may have balked a little bit at that new-fangled option), because I’m typically a pencil and good-old-fashioned-book kind of girl. 

But after a year using the online subscription-based 3.0 version I can honestly say we are even more in love with this incredible program. We have used Teaching Textbooks from Math 3 all the way through Pre-Calculus – read on to see why the 3.0 version has us hooked!

Access ANYWHERE

We’ve had quite a bit of sports-related travel in the last year with our boys and guess what? Math can be accessed anywhere we go, since most everywhere has wifi now (insert an evil *little* laugh here). No need to bring separate books or disks for anyone. One laptop and we are ready to work on math.

In addition, at home our kids typically work from different computers which means (with the physical disks) each year I had to reload the program onto a different computer. There was also the year one of our kids went through two hard drives on her laptop. With the 3.0 version, all the math levels are stored online and can be accessed from any computer in the house, and no disks need to be loaded or programs transferred from year to year. 

No Disks or Books

In the past, our boys were famous for misplacing their math disks. Or wrecking their textbooks. Teaching Textbooks 3.0 has been a fabulous solution for us because there is nothing to lose – everything is digital. This may seem trivial, but guess what we can never find when we need to flip back to a past lesson to review a concept – our textbook!

The 3.0 online version has an ebook that can be viewed in a different browser window or even printed off if you choose. One thing I love about this: I can pull up a browser on my computer, flip back to a specific lesson, and we can review and work on a problem on one of the kid’s computers. More than one person can be logged into the account at a time – hello, wonderful!

Grade Storage

We won’t talk about how many computer issues we’ve had over the years and how many hard drives I have in a drawer (for real).  With the 3.0 version, Teaching Textbooks stores your grades for you, even after your subscription is over. You don’t have to worry about where that grade book disappeared to – they’ve got you covered. 

As a parent of four, I absolutely love that my parent home page allows me to see all of the kids at a glance, including past levels. There’s not logging in/out of different levels because it’s all conveniently in one location. 

Also, did I mention that Teaching Textbooks does the grading for you? The program grades each question as your child completes it, giving instant feedback, and also provides a digital gradebook which can be printed off at the end of each section or as a whole. 

No Disk Drive Needed

When our oldest started taking classes at the community college, we needed to get her an inexpensive lightweight laptop and opted for a Chromebook without thinking that all the way through. With no disk drive or storage capacity, she was working from two different computers until Teaching Textbooks 3.0 Online was released. 

All of the Teaching Textbooks 3.0 programs work on MAC, Windows, and Chromebooks. Tablets and phones can be used as well with the Puffin browser (3rd party browser, support limited). For our family, the Chromebook aspect has been HUGE this past year. The full Teaching Textbooks 3.0 was one of the few programs we didn’t have any issues with! 

Completed Lesson Notifications

A more recent feature that has been added is the lovely “Completed” notification next to lessons that have been finished 100%. I have to say, this is one of my FAVORITE new features that has been added to the program. Prior to this update, the parent had to do a little more digging in the grade book to see if a lesson was 100% completed, but now – there isn’t any hiding if a kiddo “forgets” to do a problem. I’m going to assume it’s not just one of my boys that likes to try this…and maybe this would be helpful in your home too

There are so many other features to love about Teaching Textbooks 3.0 and you can read our full thoughts on it here, but if it’s something that has piqued your interest – keep reading to see how you can try it for free!

Try Teaching Textbooks 3.0 for FREE

If you’d like to test out the 3.0 version, you can start a Free Trial of the complete program, up through Lesson 15. The trial includes lectures, solution, eBook, and grading on each of the products. If you decide to purchase the full version, everything transfers over for you! 

And bonus – you can try ANY and EVERY level. They are that generous! Learn more HERE. 

Not sure where to start? Download and print a placement test online. 

 

12th Grade Homeschool Curriculum UPDATES (2018-2019)

Back in August I shared our 12th grade curriculum that Laurianna, our current senior, would be using over the fall months. The bulk of her classes, with the exception of one, were all done as dual enrollment of sorts. 

(Of course it’s called something a little different in our area, but essentially the same thing). 

This spring she taking some new classes and has completed her fall course load. We spent some time pouring over multiple requirements for nursing programs and finally settled on the below so she would have all of her prerequisites set for the RN to BSN program at James Madison University. 

Over the last year she has been weighing various college options, taking classes at the community college, and we have been talking with advisors at several different universities to determine the best path for her goals. Essentially, her time at the community college has been very productive.

Mid-December though, Laurianna applied for an alternate option: a gap year with Mercy Ships, serving in Africa. If she is accepted, she will be able to put her application on hold and spend the year volunteering aboard the hospital ship (we are anxiously waiting to hear from them!). 

12th Grade Curriculum and Class Additions

All that to say, here are the texts (and classes) Laurianna will be taking this spring, adding three additional credits: 

A quick note: if you are looking at ANY college textbooks, be sure to check out Amazon textbook rental (referral link). One of the books (rental) through the community college was going to be $180 and we were able to get all of her books for under $120 (phew!!) which is obviously a huge savings. We’ve found that Amazon has been by far the cheapest for textbook rentals, but they don’t always have all the books either since the professors sometimes like to choose obscure books. 

12th Grade Courses Completed

Her completed fall classes from the community college are below: 

  • ScienceMicrobiology and lab
  • English CompositionArguing About Literature 
  • Philosophy/EthicsEthical Choices
  • SociologyMarriages, Families, and Relationships

A Few Notes on Transcripts

For those of you who have been following us for some time, you might have noticed that Laurianna is essentially taking a few “duplicate” classes. She took American History and American Literature in her 10th grade year

As I am working on her transcript, we are keeping those classes on her transcript, but making note of which ones are at the college level. There have been a few classes/credits that I have omitted from her transcript because they have been duplicates, but these are ones I feel strongly about keeping on her record. 

Does High School Have You Scared?

If homeschooling high school is worrying you, don’t miss the free middle and high school planning printables and map out your middle and high school years!

Homeschooling in High School Middle and High School Planning How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Here are a few posts that you might find helpful as you discover what is best for your family. Be sure to check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

 

Curriculum in Year’s Past

In case you are interested in seeing the curriculum that brought us to this point, here’s a peek at what we’ve used with Laurianna the past few years:

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

Click one of the images below to see curriculum picks for our other children.

Typesy: Homeschool Typing Program Review

Our family received access to the Typesy homeschool program in exchange for our honest review, and I was compensated for my time writing the review. All opinions are our honest thoughts and we have been using the program during our school time. Please see our disclosure policy.

Maybe some of you are too young to remember this, but there was a point in time when a daily typing class involved big, ol’ clunky typewriters that didn’t have a delete key. And the noise of a room filled with the typewriters might drive you out of your mind. 

Thanks to those classes though, I was able to learn keyboarding and memorize the various keys on the keyboard. However, I will say that laptops these days are SO MUCH EASIER (and quieter). 

This past December we added an extra subject to our daily school time with our 6th and 8th grade boys: typing using the Typsey for homeschool. Both of the boys aren’t very fond of actual handwriting, so keyboarding will definitely be essential in the upcoming years.

Yes, our kids are using a keyboard of sorts when they text, but it’s not the same thing when it comes to using a laptop. They could hunt and peck, but it is much easier to have a firm understanding and establish muscle memory for each of the keys on the keyboard.

Bottom line – I am so thankful to have this product available to use with our kids. It is quick and easy to get started, very thorough in teaching accurate skills, and well-organized – a huge help for homeschool moms. And bonus? Your purchase of Typsey is good for FIVE YEARS!!

What Mom’s Need to Know About Typsey…

  • Use it anywhere – all information is stored in the cloud. No program to download or take space on your computers. Use it anywhere, anytime!

“Typesy stores everything in the cloud and all your computers automatically stay in sync. You get unlimited installs on all your Windows, Mac, iPad and Chomebook devices. Start training on one device, and continue right where you left off on the next. Students can log in on any device, anywhere, and anytime. And they instantly access the same account, results, and course progress.”

 

  • Can be used by multiple children – Each program allows various uses (there are different levels available). The program is tailored for each child as they progress through the program, adapting to their individual needs, providing tips and additional practice as needed.

 

  • Video training – units include step-by-step video teaching, effective exercises, and fun games. This is one area that is very helpful as well, as proper hand positioning is demonstrated, and the keyboard strokes are explained, an added bonus for visual learners.

 

  • Detailed reports can be run for each child, and include options for progress in multiple areas. One of the things I love is you can set word per minute (wpm) goals for each child and also accuracy goals. 

 

  • Includes 117 lessons and 17 games to help children learn, practice, and master various typing skills. Lessons are broken into different units that focus on specific areas of the keyboard: home row, top row, bottom row, shift keys, punctuations, numbers, and symbols.  
  • Ad-free typing – the entire site is 100% ad free. No distractions and clicks over to other sites, but lots of fun

 

  • Fun games and incentives – children are offered rewards for working toward and achieving their goals. They can also build their own avatar look-alike, earn points – and learn at the same time. 

Our Thoughts on Typesy

The boys have been using Typesy four times a week for about 15-20 minutes each day. The goals have been great for Kaleb, giving him incentives to work toward and maintain (he is a goal-driven kid). The games are also a fun addition to the lessons and continue the learning (sneaky). 

We added the program in just after our Thanksgiving break and will continue to use it the remainder of this year (and beyond). It is also a great “break” between subjects for the boys – even though Typsey is a definite part of our homeschool lessons (wink). The games and short lessons make it a great addition to our year. 

As a mom, I love that I can schedule lessons, quickly see progress, choose different fonts, and even see the keyboard on the screen as a child works on lesson. It is truly an amazing program.  

Try Typesy in Your Homeschool

It only takes a few minutes to get started on touch typing keyboarding with Typesy. They have several different plans from small family, large family, or even co-op! Typesy to get started with the best homeschool keyboarding program today! Don’t forget, your purchase of Typsey is good for FIVE YEARS!! That’s an amazing deal for a program that doesn’t need to be stored on your computer.

Win Typesy for Your Family! 

Typesy has generously offered one (1) Typesy Homeschool Keyboarding Curriculum to THREE (3) of our readers. Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below to enter to win! The giveaway is open until midnight on Thursday, January 10, 2019. 

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LIFEPAC – History and Geography Review

Alpha Omega is a blog sponsor and we received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. All opinions expressed are my personal, honest opinions. You can read my full disclosure policy for more details.

This year we had a little switch up in one of our curriculum choices. The vendor halls at conventions are always a place I love to browse and get a hands-on look at various companies and their products. I’ll admit that Alpha Omega isn’t typically a booth I visit – we’re in our thirteenth year of homeschooling and many of the pieces we use are already on our shelves. 

With our oldest three moving on to high school classes and using their own texts, our group history time has ended, and Kaleb, our sixth grader, needed something that would fit his learning style a little better. 

Enter Alpha Omega’s LIFEPAC History and Geography units.

For the few days at a homeschool convention this past spring, I reviewed the program, talked (a lot) to one of the representatives at the booth, and went home to talk with Kaleb about it. A short while later I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing LIFEPAC and decided we would love to give it a try.

A Little about LIFEPAC History and Geography

 

LIFEPAC History & Geography develops students’ understanding of and appreciation for God’s activity as seen in the record of man and his relationships. The LIFEPAC History & Geography worktext-based curriculum targets this goal by focusing on six major themes: Geography (World and American), History (World, American, and Religious), Government, Citizenship, Economics, and Social Sciences.

Our Thoughts on LIFEPAC History & Geography

As soon as our LIFEPAC arrived, Kaleb and I sat down to go through the set so he could get a good grasp on how the upcoming year looked. One thing we both love is the way each set is broken up into ten individual units to go through over the course of the year. For our boy who struggles with being overwhelmed by a lot of text, the breakdown into smaller chunks was right away a huge plus

Kaleb’s reading struggles were one of the primary reasons that I personally wanted to make the switch to LIFEPACs. I knew he would enjoy the format (he is a fill-in-the-blank kind of boy), but being able to break the reading up into smaller daily bites with a visible end is definitely something that encourages him to keep going. 

Each unit and sections within the unit begin with clear objectives and vocabulary words for kids to focus on throughout their reading. These have been handy for us to refer back to through the reading and review times. Download a sample of the History & Geography LIFEPACs here

The text is broken up into segments that are followed up with various forms of review activities (fill in the blank questions, true/false answers, multiple choice, etc…) so children can see what they are learning. Each LIFEPAC unit is broken up into smaller sections. Each section then has a short self-test to review all that has been studied.

Once the individual LIFEPAC is completed, there is an overall test for that unit (see the video for further explanation). The test is included in the center of each unit and can be removed prior to children starting. 

All LIFEPACs are full of color and while I know I’ve mentioned it before, we love the “grab and go” aspect of this curriculum. Because the text is broken up into smaller books, it’s easy to pull the one we are working with and not worry about grabbing a huge textbook. 

The smaller units allow for a feeling of accomplishment as one is completed, giving both Kaleb and myself an added bump of encouragement. We are currently ten weeks through our school year and already working through unit 5 – ahead of schedule! 

Although he hasn’t been working through the reading on his own yet (we typically trade off reading paragraphs), the format would be great for kids that can work more independently: they could read the text and answer questions on their own. Personally I enjoy reading the text along with Kaleb and making sure he is understanding everything (and let’s face it, sometimes there are words I can’t even pronounce!). :) 

Over the years, we have only used a few pieces of curriculum that are not reusable (or reproducible), so while the workbook layout is a bit of a switch for us, right now the convenience of the program is definitely a plus and one we are planning to continue using. 

What Mom’s Need to Know…

  • Teacher’s Guide – The teacher’s guide provides an overview on how the LIFEPACs are laid out, along with additional teaching tips and extensions for each unit, answers to all of the unit questions, and alternate unit tests. Give yourself 10-15 minutes to read through the first section and get a handle on the set.
  • No experience needed – All of the answers are provided in the teacher’s guide in addition to helpful discussion questions, tips, and lesson plan layouts. It’s truly an “open and go” curriculum. 
  • Scope and Sequence – Alpha Omega provides LIFEPACs in a variety of subject areas, and each LIFEPAC shares the scope and sequence for that specific subject.
  • Christian Worldview – Text is written from a Christian worldview.

Start Learning With LIFEPAC

Visit Alpha Omega (aop.com) to learn more about LIFEPAC and other curriculum options offered. Recommended ages for the LIFEPACS begin in kindergarten and extend through high school – choose the level that best fits your child’s learning.

Don’t forget to download the sample of the History & Geography LIFEPACs here for full information on what is covered at each level.

12th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Picks (2018-2019)

There definitely aren’t as many textbooks in the pile this fall, but Laurianna is still hard at work on her classes. 

At home Laurianna is finishing up one class (Pre-Calculus) and taking four fall classes at our community college. We haven’t determined how many classes she will be taking in the spring yet and have plans to meet with an advisor at the college she would like to eventually attend to decide what courses would be best for her (and not need to be retaken). 

The current plan, pending Laurianna’s applications to colleges, is for her to work on the RN to BSN program offered through our local community college and then transfer over to the school she would like to complete her degree with. She will be applying to that school as well this fall (if they would like to offer scholarships, we are more than happy to accept), but so far the community college and then transfer is looking like our best option.

By the end of the fall semester, Laurianna will have 29 credits toward her high school diploma and have completed eight of the courses toward her RN program requirements at the community college.

Fall Semester 2018

  • Math: Teaching Textbooks Pre-Calculus 3.0 (finishing)
  • ScienceMicrobiology and lab (community college)
  • English CompositionArguing About Literature 
  • Philosophy/Ethics: Ethical Choices
  • Sociology: Marriages, Families, and Relationships
  • SAT – taking October 2019
  • Kaplan for nursing – taking prior to November

Spring Semester 2019

12th Grade Curriculum Choices

Last year Laurianna started and stopped Teaching Textbooks because we couldn’t install the disks on her Chromebook and the other laptop she uses was literally falling apart. We were able to switch to the 3.0 online version of Pre-Calculus and she is now working on that since it works on her Chromebook wonderfully!  I’m really excited about this switch since I can log into the account at the same time and view the lesson, and we can access from any computer, not just one specific (which we had to do with CD-rom version).  

We were fortunate this semester because one of her books (Microbiology) was included in the cost of her class enrollment, and the other books we were able to rent through either Amazon textbook rental (referral link) or through the community college. We’ve found that Amazon has been by far the cheapest for rentals, but they don’t always have all the books either since the professors sometimes like to choose obscure books. 

Does High School Have You Scared?

If homeschooling high school is worrying you, don’t miss the free middle and high school planning printables and map out your middle and high school years!

Homeschooling in High School Middle and High School Planning How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Here are a few posts that you might find helpful as you discover what is best for your family. Be sure to check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

 

Curriculum in Year’s Past

In case you are interested in seeing the curriculum that brought us to this point, here’s a peek at what we’ve used with Laurianna the past few years:

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

Click one of the images below to see curriculum picks for our other children.

10th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Picks (2018-2019)

So far, McKenna has earned a total of 13.5 credits toward high school diploma. At the end of her 10th grade year she will have completed 6.5 more credits, making a total of 20.5 credits toward her diploma. Several of her classes will require a bit more from her (hello, we’re looking at you chemistry).

McKenna did a fairly good job establishing her own routine last year, but this year we are going to tweak it a little bit and set it up together. McKenna has a tendency to over-plan and over-do and be very thorough in her work. Sometimes a little too much (gotta love the girl). This year I’m hoping to help her establish a little more balance so she isn’t quite as hard on herself, since she tends to stress herself (and those around her) out. 

Rule #1 for the year though is to make sure her cell phone (and mine) are put aside during our school time. Distraction can be a huge impediment to our day, so the phone will disappear fairly early in the day and provide incentive for her to get through her work. :) 

We will be working with one other family in a small co-op to complete our chemistry review and labs as well as our literature class.

10th Grade Curriculum Choices

Credits to earn: 6.5

Algebra 2

We’ve used Teaching Textbooks in past years and this year we will be continuing, but instead of using the typical textbook/CD-rom we are switching to the Algebra 2 3.0 online version. I’m really excited about this switch since I can log into the account at the same time and view the lesson, and we can access from any computer, not just one specific (which we had to do with CD-rom version).  

Government/Economics

Each of these classes will take place over a semester (each a 1/2 credit). We’re planning to start with government and will then move into economics. We’ve used Notgrass other years (for different subjects), but haven’t used the Government or Economics specifically. McKenna really enjoyed the format of the books last year, so we’re looking forward to the continuity and familiarity of the layout. 

Spanish

We’re switching to a new Spanish curriculum this year. I did a lot of research over the last year trying to figure out what to use with McKenna (Spanish with Laurianna wasn’t one of our favorite subjects at all and we really disliked the format of what we started with – and that the program had no support since it was bought out by another company). 

A few friends recommended Breaking the Barrier, and while it is not online, we’re hoping the workbook format will be a little more user friendly for us overall and easier to follow. 

Chemistry

This is another new-to-us curriculum. After Carisa’s son used it last year, we sat down and reviewed it with her and decided to make the switch to this program. Truthfully, I’m a little nervous about this class since Laurianna went through chemistry in a co-op setting. BUT, if anything, we have a great teacher’s manual and will have fun working on experiments/labs together. :) 

Literature

The last few years we have used two of the literature programs by Janice Campbell and love the format of them. This year we are using her British Literature program. It isn’t one we’ve used before, but has a few books I can’t wait to dig into with McKenna. 

Drama

McKenna is really excited to be taking another theatre class at our local community college. Each week she is participating in workshops, vocal training, and at the end of the semester the group will be performing the musical, Urinetown (I know it sounds crazy, but it looks hilarious). Because this is an intense class with a lot of in-class and out of class hours (and she will be one of the leads!!), she will earn 1/2 credit for the class. If she decides to participate in the spring semester class as well, we will bump it up to a full credit. 

Poetry

This year we will also be working through the Grammar of Poetry from Compass Classroom. There is a local workshop that will tie-in with what we are learning in the program, and McKenna will earn .5 a high school credit for this class. 

Curriculum in Year’s Past

In case you are interested in seeing the curriculum that brought us to this point, here’s a peek at what we’ve used with McKenna the past few years:

Planning the Middle and High School Years

Overview planning pages for middle and high school

One thing that has been a huge help to me in mapping out the upcoming years with our kids  is this middle school and high school planner. Essentially I am able to get an extended view and map out the future years to see what we need to work on and when it might fit in best -and make sure we aren’t missing anything overall. 

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

Homeschool Teaching Styles and Philosphies.png Identifying Children's Learning Styles copy How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

Click one of the images below to see curriculum picks for our other children.


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