Odyssey Adventure Club iPad Mini Giveaway!

Ahhhhh! I’m so incredibly excited!!!! I’ve given away some great stuff before, but I’ve never had the chance to offer one of my readers an iPad mini! We have thoroughly enjoyed the Odyssey Adventure club. My girls were so excited to get to listen to Odyssey in the evenings in our tent when we went camping and my girls keep begging to borrow my iPad to go listen to adventures all over the house. They absolutely love having it all at their finger tips!
Enough chit-chat…are you read to enter!?!?!?!?!
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 The end of summer is in sight, and OAC is giving away an iPad Mini back-to-school bundle!It might seem like summer just began for your kids, so if they need some added motivation to get their homework done, remind them they can jump on the Odyssey Adventure Club after their papers are written and their math problems are solved.

As members, your kids can also listen to Album 58 before the album is released to the public! Sign up today for just $5!

Here’s what part one is about (which you can listen to for free HERE):

It’s a time of surprises as Wooton becomes the celebrity guest at Comic-Connellsville and Whit finds himself in conflict over the upcoming “Let’s Get Together Festival” in Odyssey. Plus, hear an interview with writer-director Paul McCusker about the entire 14-part series.

Album 58 was inspired by Focus on the Family’s The Family Project, a 12-session small group experience that explores the theological, philosophical, and cultural underpinnings of the traditional family, and combines that information with inspiring stories and practical tools to help 21st-century families thrive. Plus, here’s a sneak peek of a new episode called “The Lone Lawman”!

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 Jason, Whit, Red and the gang rustle up herds of fun while performing a new Kids’ Radio show set in the Old West. “The Lone Lawman” features a confused boy getting mixed up with a shifty band of bank robbers. Can a hero on horseback set things right? See just how wild the West can get in this action-packed send-up of old-time radio dramas.

NOW . . . on to the iPad Mini back-to-school bundle. One grand prize winner will receive:

  • An iPad Mini

Hurry, the giveaway ends on August 27th. All winners will be announced August 28th on the widget on this page.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit this page again on the 28th to see if you won! (You’ll see the winner’s name in the widget.)

Homeschool Helper App: Review and Giveaway!

Record keeping for homeschooling isn’t always easy. Although I live in a state with minimal requirements regarding record keeping, I keep lesson plans, grades, field trips, and attendance in a notebook so I can easily see where we are. My main reason is to help me stay on track and know where my girls are at in their learning. In the past I was spending a good hour or so at the end of the week grading and recording grades. Bleh…not my favorite part of homeschooling, but definitely something I felt was necessary. 

When I purchased my iPad one of the first apps I wanted to download was the Homeschool Helper App. I had heard of it about a year ago and really liked what I saw. This very functional app is available for iPad, Android tablets, Nook Color, and in the Amazon store for Kindle. The $4.99 cost is well-worth it once you realize all this app can do! In addition this is a one-time purchase with no need to pay for updates. 

The first thing I noticed about this app after installing it is just how pretty it is. Many of the life-management apps I have looked at are very functional, but also very sterile. I love the look of the opening screen for this app because it feels so personal. I quite often have my steaming cup of tea by my side as I work on record upkeep and I’m very much a pencil and paper kind of girl for the most part. Using this app makes me feel happy and not like I’m turning into a technology zombie. I appreciate the effort that the creators put into making this eye-pleasing in addition to being extremely functional. 

As for the features, wow there are just so many! As I began to use this app I would find myself enjoying features I never thought would have been included. One I particularly like is the inclusion of field trips. We try to take 1-2 field trips a month as a family. I kept a mental list of what we did, but now we have a formal list. I do not have to report at the end of the year to our state or create a portfolio, but it is really nice to be able to look back and see some of the fun we’ve had. 

I can add as many students as I want which is a nice feature for families with lots of kids. My three girls were very easy to setup. My oldest two are receiving letter grads and my youngest daughter receives effort based grades. I like being able to have it both ways and that I have the ability to set how the grades are calculated. I can also enter up to 14 subjects. I thought that was more than I could ever need, but I ended up using all of them for my oldest daughter because I included things like art and computer.

The lesson planning feature allows you to input lessons for each day and every subject. You can also track what lessons have been taught and which ones are still waiting to be covered. This would be very nice for families who create their own curriculum and lesson plans. Since we follow a pre-planned curriculum this has not proved as useful for me. I do make a weekly checklist but it is still fast for me to do this as a pencil and paper project than it is to type into my iPad.

I really like the grade calculator because I prefer a points based system and the grade calculator allows me to do that and then quickly input the number onto the subject page. I would prefer a points only system as and option since that is what I’m most comfortable with using, but this is working out fine. 

I printed report cards for my girls last week and they were so beautiful! I easily sent them to my e-mail and now have a lovely printed record of my girls grade including their school name, attendance record, and exact grades.They are attractively designed and look as formal as traditional report cards. 
A lot of thought and time has been put into the creation of this to make it as user-friendly as possibly for homeschooling families. It was intentionally created as self-contained with no need for the internet so that it can be used 100% of the time. This is nice for us since we do not have 3G capability on our device. The only feature I could think of that I would like is to be able to set quarters and semesters at the beginning of the setup. Right now I can print grades from any date range and create my own quarters/semester. 
Take a moment to also learn a little about the family who created the Homeschool Helper App! They are homeschoolers and I think this is very evident from how easy and functional this little app is.
Now for the giveaway!!!! One of my readers will be blessed with a code to receive this for free for the iPad app!

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Disclaimer: I was provided with this app for my iPad for free for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review. No other compensation was received. 

IXL.com: Review

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What do my girls work hard for each day? Computer learning time! They know they must wait for my permission, but usually at some point during the day, unless they have lost the privilege, the girls get to play learning games on the computer. I am not a fan of a full computer-based curriculum for our studies, but I do like for them to have opportunities to learn on the computer. My girls have learned far more computer skills than I would have imagined at their age! I was eight when we got our first computer, an IBM, and I was one of the first in my grade-school class to turn in a typed assignment. Now children take computers for granted as part of learning, so I am always on the lookout for high quality programs.  
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IXL.com is a website dedicated to enhancing math and language arts learning for students. Their math site is for pre-K through 12th grade and language arts is for 2nd-4th grade. We were blessed to review the math portion of the site. A subscription to IXL is $9.95 for math only, $9.95 for language arts only, or $15.95 a month for both. If you purchase a yearly subscription it is $79.00 for either math or language arts, and $129.00 a year for both subjects. Each additional child is only $2 per month, or $20 per year. 
Screen time has been a hot commodity since our family acquired an iPad. Rose really loves the IXL app and I love that she is able to further master certain skills like multiplication. I love having so many options of activities for her to choose from and that I am fully aware of what they are working on. Rose’s goal was to get everything under her name checked off!
Grace also thoroughly enjoyed the app! She loved being able to sign in on her own. Each of the girls had their own unique symbol and they signed in with a password they would remember. The parent must be logged in first, but then the kids are able to access it on their own. 
A feature which is really nice, especially for preschoolers, is that each question can be read aloud. It took her a little while to figure out what some of the questions were asking, but she soon mastered many of the preschool skills. She has completed the most of any of the three girls. She has really enjoyed growing in her math skills. I appreciate that even though it is fun, it is still more traditional math practice rather than games. It checks their knowledge directly rather than using flashy pictures and cartoons which in my opinion can sometimes distract from the skill. While it is very colorful, unneeded background scenery and distracting music is blissfully absent. I never once had to ask any of the girls to turn the volume down because it was distracting to the others. 

I do hope that a language arts app is in the works. I have found that learning and play is much easier for the girls, especially Grace, on the iPad. She doesn’t waste time and get frustrated with the mouse. I’m so glad IXL has this app available so she can have a better experience.Click below to see what my Crewmates had to say!Photobucket