Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science (review)

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Please enjoy this guest post from Scorpion today (on his 16th birthday)

This is a review of the course Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science Membership. It will go over my experience with the course as a student, as well as what the video lessons were like, and my recommendations. Let’s get into it.

Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science is a self paced class for people 4th through 12th grade. It is a fairly friendly, simple course good for people who are interested in science. A study guide is provided which you can either print or view online. You can also download the PDF and view on your computer’s PDF reader. Each class consists of 20-30 minutes of video instruction. It’s pretty easy to do one to two lessons a day.

The class has a Christian emphasis, which is seen in all of the online teachings and throughout the worksheets. It’s also very, very scientifically focused. 

The class I chose was Exercise and Sports Science. It was easy to follow along and the teacher was very engaging. As far as the worksheets go, they corresponded very well with the videos and were fairly quick to complete. The course is divided up into two sections, with chapters 1 and 2 being in one file and 3-7 in another. The worksheet file has pages in both black and white as well as color, so you can choose to print just the pages that work for you.

Exercise and Sports Science covers the following topics:

  • Note-Taking, Studying, and Test Prep
  • Bones, Muscles, and Training
  • VO2, Cellular Respiration, Training, and the Anaerobic Threshold
  • Cardiovascular Function
  • Energy Expenditure
  • Training in Altitude and Heat
  • Ergogenic Aids

The lessons are all aimed around explaining how the body’s systems work in relation to exercise and sports. There are 24 lessons divided up over the 7 chapters, and I am about halfway through the course. I will be moving on to the Marine Science course when I finish this one. I like having several different science courses to choose from. It’s nice to have options, and to study more than one type of science per school year. It keeps things interesting for me.

I was able to do the class completely on my own, without my mom’s help. It’s completely self-contained and easy for older students to do independently. The class is enjoyable and challenging without feeling boring or overwhelming. So far, I’ve finished  I learned a lot from them, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to use and review this course. 

In conclusion, this course is best for a quick, easy-ish science program for teenage-high schoolers. I would have no problem recommending this for anyone who is interested in science of any kind. Greg was an engaging, helpful, and fun teacher. Overall great course!

Please make sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew website to read more reviews.

Blessings,

Scorpion

Bring the Bible to Life with The Adventum (review)

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew

I’ve mentioned before how much my children enjoy listening to audio books and dramas at bedtime. For this reason, I was interested in having a copy of The Adventum, Volume 1 to give them a bit of biblical exposure during this evening quiet time each night.

The Adventum is available as physical CDs or digital files (I received digital files since we don’t have a CD player – not even in the cars). It was easy to download the .zip and add it to the “files” app on my phone. From there, I unzipped it pretty easily and then could just press play each night for Dragonfly (the main recipient). I also listened to one or two of the stories in order to give a more thorough review today.

There are 20 episodes in The Adventum, Volume 1, each one ranging from 3 to 30 minutes long, with the average (based on file size) being about 12 minutes. This set covers the major stories in the book of Genesis, starting from Creation. It covers everything you would expect – the fall, Cain and Abel, Abraham sacrificing Isaac, and more. Despite it taking a bit of “creative license” with the biblical accounts, it doesn’t strike me as problematic at all. It is very true to the stories as they are written; there are just some dramatic things added for interest. Again, nothing that changes the text – only things that make the text come alive a bit more (such as Eve’s reaction upon giving birth to Cain, the first child ever born).

If you’re looking for an audio book of the Bible, The Adventum isn’t it. However, if you want something with more dynamic presentation, then I definitely recommend it. Rather than taking the exact text from Scripture, The Adventum tells the story from the Bible in an exciting way. There’s music, different voice actors, and sound effects. It reminds me of what I imagine the old-timey radio shows were like. There is so much going on that it’s easy to stay engaged and see the images in your head of what’s happening as you listen.

As I mentioned, I gave this to Dragonfly (6 years old) to listen to at bedtime. Because many of the files we so short, he would often listen to more than one each night. If they were closer to the full 30 minutes, he’d just do the one, but if they were in the 3-15 minute-range, he’d do two or three. He seemed to really like the stories, and I liked that he was learning a bit of biblical literacy through an activity he enjoys anyway.

There are 36 other reviewers for The Adventum this week, so I invite you to head over to the Homeschool Review Crew site to learn more about this product and read those reviews.

Blessings,

Super Teacher Worksheets (review)

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew

My kids, especially the younger set, really love to draw and color. They don’t even care if what they’re coloring is “regular” or “educational.” That’s why Super Teacher Worksheets is such a good fit for our family! With tens of thousands of worksheets, all in an easy-to-print PDF format, you’re sure to find something for your kids, too.

Super Teacher Worksheets is a fantastic site for finding worksheets for quite literally every subject imaginable for elementary students. If you have a preschooler that you want to introduce to letters, they have worksheets for that. If you have a second grader who needs help with reading practice and comprehension, they have worksheets for that. And if you have a fifth grade student who almost understands their math lesson but needs a bit of extra practice, they have worksheets for that too!

It’s quite easy to find what you’re looking for by simply browsing the subjects listed along the left sidebar of the website. Click on what you’re looking for, and you’ll be taken to the page with the worksheets for that subject. From there, you can browse for the exact worksheet that will fit your needs. The PDFs are downloadable and printable right from your computer or tablet.

As I mentioned, my kids love to color. This is something that Dragonfly (6) and Bumblebee (almost 4) especially enjoy. They could literally sit at the table and color for hours and hours. So for the past few weeks, I swapped out their coloring books for Super Teacher Worksheets printouts.

Dragonfly is right on the cusp of taking off in his reading, so for him I focused on the worksheets in the category of “early literacy” and “reading and writing.” We did a few of the first grade reading comprehension pages, and he did several of the word family booklets on his own.

Bumblebee is very precocious and knows a lot of the basic kindergarten things already (shapes, colors, he can count to 20 and identify several of the letters and numbers), so I found some worksheets for him to help develop his fine motor skills a bit, like tracing the shapes (the circles to make a snowman, for example).

Even Grasshopper got some worksheets. When we were working on a different bit of summer school, it became very apparent to me that he did not remember how to subtract properly, so he got some less fun worksheets to get him back up to speed on that. He wasn’t thrilled, but he quickly remembered how to subtract, so it was a win in my book!

Worksheets are a wonderful tool, and one that I have no problem implementing into our days – even during summer break. If your kids also like paper activities, I highly suggest giving Super Teacher Worksheets a try. And don’t forget to head over to the Homeschool Review Crew site to read more reviews. I didn’t utilize the worksheet generator feature, but I’m sure some of my crewmates did, so I really recommend you read another review or two to learn about that.

Blessings,

Farmer Boy (Progeny Press review)

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew

Progeny Press has been a staple in our homeschool for many years. Way back in 2014, I did our very first one, Little House in the Big Woods, with Ballet Boy and Scorpion (when they were so small!). This summer, Grasshopper has been working on the Farmer Boy Study Guide (for grades 4-6).

Progeny Press study guides are good for so many reasons. They not only offer lots of comprehension questions for the books they’re for, but there’s also loads of opportunity for students to practice their deep thinking skills. The Gillelands, who own the company, also strive to show students how they can find scriptural application to a variety of different literature selections. This is what really sets Progeny Press apart. That biblical application, even to secular books, makes them very different from almost every other literature company out there.

I chose to have Grasshopper do the Farmer Boy study guide this summer for a few reasons. First, it was the only one being offered in his age range (ha!) this year. But I would have chosen it anyway because he loves the Little House books. He’s been listening to them on Overdrive (our digital library app) for years. The other main reason I selected this one is because we already owned a beautiful, full-color version of the book that he’s not yet read on his own. Being able to dive right in without needing to wait for Amazon delivery (or purchase an ebook) was right up my alley this year.

Progeny Press always recommends that students read the entire book and then work through the study guide. There’s the caveat, though, that if another method works better for your student/family, then do that instead. I find that my children do better if we work the book and study guide in tandem rather than whole/whole. For this reason, I only printed out the pages we needed, when we needed them. I assigned Grasshopper the first four chapters to read (because it’s summer and he’d rather play outside than read – which is one of his favorite activities – he just did about 3 chapters a week), which are all under the umbrella of the first section of the study guide. When he had finished that reading, we worked on the study guide together. He did a lot of it on his own, but some of the vocabulary words were a bit tricky for him, so I did help with that.

Because my son doesn’t have his own computer (and frankly, I prefer it that way), we did the paper and pencil method. Progeny Press study guides are sold as editable PDF documents, which means with an older student or one who is computer-savvy could do the whole thing on the computer, negating the need for a printer.

The other thing that really sets Progeny Press apart from other literature study guides is their focus on projects and activities. And the Laura Ingalls Wilder books are perfect for families who are either already really into homesteading or interested in giving it a try on a small scale. You can see from this page in the study guide that the activities involve a lot of things that are traditionally done during a sort of “pioneer days” field trip that public school kids might take (I remember doing one such trip in 4th grade). We already have an automatic ice cream maker, so this was an easy one to do, and something we do semi-regularly throughout the year anyway. We live in a apartment right now, so we couldn’t try to grow watermelon (but we sure do like to eat it!). We haven’t tried the candle making yet, but I’ve seen loads of tutorials on YouTube lately, so it will absolutely be something for us to try this fall.

Progeny Press also provides an answer key in a separate file. It’s recommended that you save that on a different computer if your student is using their own (for obvious reason). I didn’t have to do that because, as I mentioned, Grasshopper rarely uses a computer and when he does, it’s very specific assignments on my laptop. This answer key makes it really easy to check your student’s work, or help guide them to the right answer on a comprehension or vocabulary question if you as the parent are unsure.

All in all, I love Progeny Press study guides. As long as they continue to offer them to members of the Homeschool Review Crew, I will continue to request to review them. Make sure to click through to read reviews of other study guides from my fellow crewmates (the other options this year were The Story of Ping for K-2, The Last Battle for grades 5-8, and The Fellowship of the Ring for grades 9-12).

Blessings,

Math for Kindergarten through Calculus (CTCMath review)

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew

I am so grateful to be able to tell you all about the 12 month family membership from CTCMath again this year!

For the past three years, Grasshopper has been using this program as his primary math curriculum, and it’s an absolute blessing to our family. CTCMath is a program designed and taught by Australian homeschool dad Pat Murray. It is a complete math curriculum for every single one of your students, regardless of how old they are. The program covers the simplest kindergarten math all the way up Calculus for your high school senior. Designed with homeschoolers in mind, CTCMath lessons are very concise – at the elementary school level, each one lasts only about 5 minutes (plus however long it takes your student to complete the online, digital worksheet). The family plan allows you an unlimited number of students, which is fantastic since a lot of homeschoolers have big families (Mr. Murray has 10 children of his own).

Let’s dive into the program itself.

When you first go to the website, you choose the log in you need – student, teacher, or parent. I don’t actually spend any time in the parent portal these days (I know my kids are doing their math because I see them on the computer and I get the weekly email telling me how many times they logged in and how many lessons each child completed). I looked at the parent account in more detail in a previous review, though.

From the 4th grade lessons. Grasshopper was able to successfully challenge “Number I” by passing the diagnostic test; that’s why it doesn’t show as completed.

The student account is super straightforward. Each student needs their own account, but it just requires a username (my kids use their first name as a user name so it’s easy for them to remember), not a separate email for each one. Once they sign in, they need to choose their grade level (elementary, middle, or high school), and the course they’re taking. For K through 6th, this is just labeled with the grade number. Once you get to 7th grade and up, math classes are based more on topic and less on general knowledge, and CTCMath is no different. Middle school cover Pre-Algebra, Elementary Measurement, and Elementary Geometry. High school covers Algebra I and II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus. Each class is broken down further into topics, and if you are using CTCMath as a supplement to another curriculum, you can choose just the topics your student needs to practice more of. As a full curriculum, we tend to start at the beginning and work our way through every lesson in every topic.

A screenshot from one of the video lessons

As I mentioned before, Grasshopper is the main child in our family who has been using CTCMath regularly, and he’s been at it for three years now. He’s completed 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade, and will be diving into 5th grade next month. He absolutely loves this math program. Every single year when the review option comes up, I ask him if he wants to apply to review it again and continue to use it and the answer is always an emphatic “Yes!” He likes that the lessons are short – he can easily do two or three a day without feeling overwhelmed. I like that the videos are so well explained that students can understand the concepts in just a few minutes. Additionally, there are the questions that they answer afterward to make absolutely sure they know what they need to know for the lesson.

An early question from the first Algebra I lesson

When I asked Scorpion (15, going into 10th grade) which math program he wanted to use for Algebra I this year (we have several at our disposal thanks to the Review Crew), he requested CTCMath. He’s not much of a math kid (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – his strength is more in the reading and literature realms than the math and science one), so the short lessons appeal to him. Just like in the elementary levels, I like the idea that he will have to answer questions every day in order to “pass” the lesson and move on. The other thing that will benefit him greatly is that with CTCMath, the lessons and tests are all-inclusive. One problem he had with his homeschool curriculum last school year was that he was supposed to do the lessons to learn the material and then take the tests to earn the credit. Well, he forgot to take the tests. All year long. So he’s been spending his summer break taking all those tests so he can get his freshman credits before he starts his sophomore year. With CTCMath, that won’t be an issue, at least with math (which is taking him the longest to make up).

Little Dragonfly is 6, which means he will be working through the 1st grade curriculum on CTCMath this year. It’s been a couple of years since I used it with him, and the Kindergarten lessons back then were too much. He’s worked through lots of math on another program these past two years, though, and I’m confident he’ll breeze through 1st grade with no issues at all.

One thing that’s changed since the last time I reviewed CTCMath is the Mastery feature. As your student is answering the questions, there’s a mastery bar that fills up with each correct response. When they’ve gotten enough questions correct to prove mastery over the topic at hand, the screen fills with digital confetti and they’re told that they’ve successfully mastered the lesson, but that they should still complete the remaining questions in order to receive their grade. What this mastery bar is doing is actually tracking how well your student is doing and adjusting the questions as they answer to make the easier or more difficult, depending on their skill. How cool is that?!

A quick look at the student’s overall progress is easy to find and read

My oldest son, Ballet Boy, recently graduated out of our homeschool, but he also used CTCMath a few times over the years. He wanted me to give you his direct quote on the program: “CTCMath is the bomb. I hate math and I still think it’s the bomb.”

So, yeah… we love CTCMath around here! I highly recommend it, especially if you have a large family. That “one price for unlimited students” is something you just can’t beat. (If you don’t have a large family, you can also pay for just a single student. There are plans available to pay monthly or yearly.)

If you’re still on the fence, however, make sure to head over to the Homeschool Review Crew site and get more information and links to more reviews as well. And one last thing to keep in mind: CTCMath gives homeschoolers a 50% discount every day of the year!

Blessings,

STEAM Learning with STEAM4KIDZ

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

STEAM, and its cousin STEM, are hot words in education right now. In case you’re unfamiliar, it’s a heavily science-based approach to learning. The acronyms stand for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEAM also includes Art. Despite its trendiness, we haven’t explored STEAM or STEM much in our family. Because we expect our children to join the family business rather than leave the nest, it’s not a priority. But I was still curious about STEAM4KIDZ when the opportunity was given to review it, and I was happy to have received the Ocean Ventures Kit to try out with some of my younger kids.

I requested the Ocean Ventures Kit (we were also given options of the Starry Night Kit, the Mini Theater Kit, and the Galactic Adventures Kit) because we live so close to the Pacific Ocean – only about 40 miles away. I wanted the kids to have a chance to learn about the place we spend so much time during the summer months, and this kit definitely delivered!

STEAM4KIDZ offers complete kits for families to easily teach STEAM concepts in a fun and engaging way while children make real projects with hands-on learning. Each kit comes with literally everything you need to create between 5 and 7 projects. This includes things that many families probably have on hand already, like scissors and tape. But STEAM4KIDZ doesn’t want you to have to worry about tracking down your supplies, so it’s all included right in the box. In addition to the projects in the box, there is access to the video lessons. These lessons walk your student through exactly how to create the project as well as teaching them about the thing they’re making. For example, when Grasshopper (10 years old) made the clay coral, he also learned so much about coral while he was sculpting.

In addition to the clay coral, the Ocean Ventures Kit includes everything needed to make a model of the ocean floor, a shark-tooth necklace, an “ooey gooey jellyfish,” and a seashell windchime. The items needed for each project are separated into plastic bags and labeled for easy access. The more generic things, like scissors and colored pencils, are not included in any of the project bags but are instead tucked away inside a pencil pouch. (And as a side note, these are some of the sharpest scissors I’ve ever used. They’re fantastic, though you want to be careful with younger learners so they don’t cut themselves.)

The video lessons are really fantastic. As I mentioned, in addition to walking your child through everything they should do to create a beautiful end project, they also give loads of information about the thing being made. One thing I wish was that the link for the videos (they’re hosted on Vimeo) was in more than one place within the kit. It seemed that I could never find the exact right paper with that link on it! Eventually I wised up and bookmarked the website on my laptop.

I didn’t tell my kids that this was coming in the mail, and when we got home from errands one day and they saw the colorful box on the stoop, they were absolutely giddy. We immediately moved the box to the coffee table in our living room and did an unboxing (that’s over on Instagram if you missed it). They were so excited that they wanted to do one of the projects right then! If that’s not proof of how exciting these kits are for kids, I don’t know what is. I absolutely recommend the STEAM4KIDZ kits. They would make a really good base for a summer camp, too. Kind of like VBS crafts, but better!

As I mentioned above, Crew members were given the option of the Starry Night Kit, the Galactic Adventures Kit, the Ocean Ventures Kit, or the Mini Theater Kit. Head over to the Homeschool Review Crew website to learn more about the individual kits and read reviews of each one, too.

 

Blessings,

 

Learning about Maps (Home School in the Woods review)

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

My kids love maps. The older set (now teenagers) really liked to study and make maps when they were younger. My younger crop have also developed that love, so when I given the list of options to review from Home School in the Woods this year, I was excited to see their Maps Combo-Pak (US & World Maps) available.

The digital download kit includes two main folders: US Maps and World Maps. From there, you enter the PDFs folder, and there are the maps along with many other super useful tools for adding these maps to any curriculum as a supplementary product. This includes a cover and spine printout for making a maps notebook with your child. In addition to individual maps of each state (3 for each state), there is a whole section of historical maps you can pull from and print out. This includes things like Colonial America, the US during the Civil War, Growth maps of the US at several points in history (1800-1959), a full country map, and more. The other thing that’s really cool here is the Notebooking pages folder. If you run a notebooking-style homeschool, this is an invaluable resource. The Notebooking pages are designed for elementary students, and include some drawings and a small map for each state along with spots for your student to write in information such as state flower, when they became a state, and more. There is also a teacher’s key for each of these pages.

The World Maps folder is very similar to the US Maps, but as you might expect – they have maps of various continents, oceans, and countries instead of the states. It would be such a huge undertaking to include every country in the world in a kit like this, so for obvious reasons they had to narrow down the offerings. It’s primarily the continents; parts of Asia get their own maps (Japan-Korea and Russia) and Europe get their own maps. Australia and New Zealand share a map. There are also loads of maps of Biblical times, such as Paul’s Missionary Journeys and the Twelve Tribes in Canaan.

Most of the maps, both in the World Maps and US Maps folders, have a “typical” map with the major cities, mountain ranges, and rivers labeled; a map showing those spots but leaving them unlabeled; and a map with even more information missing (in the World Maps, primarily the name of the country; in the US Maps, this means a map of just the outline of the state).

Because it’s summer, my kids haven’t done too much with these maps yet, but we have printed out a few of them – primarily our own state. Once we hit September, I expect we will utilize these maps a lot more, especially the Notebooking pages. Those are going to make a fantastic geography study for my elementary school students next year.

For more information on Home School in the Woods, including seeing more reviews (including of different products like the Printable Essential Timeline Library), click through to the Homeschool Review Crew.

Blessings,

 

Bible Blueprints (review)

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

The Teach Sunday School logo

Last year, I reviewed Bible Breakdowns from Teach Sunday School. Those were a product that gave you a short summary of each book of the Bible. Today, I have a very similar product to show you called Bible Blueprints (also by Teach Sunday School).

The cover image of the Old Testament and New Testament Bible blueprints

the bible blueprint for 1 JohnThere is one set for the Old Testament and another for the New Testament. The big difference between Bible Breakdowns and Bible Blueprints is that every single one of the Bible Blueprints fits onto a single page. If you print your PDFs in color, you’ll see an easy-reference color code that helps you to differentiate each part of the breakdown. At the top of each page is the name of the book, the order it appears in its respective testament, how many chapters it has, and its literature type. That part of the blueprint takes up just a small amount at the top. Just below this, there is also a short summary of the book. The main guts of the information is below that, broken down into color-coded segments. There are between one and seven of these segments per book, and they help you to understand what will be in the book, in the order it will be there. You know, like a blueprint!

I think these blueprints would be a good addition to anyone’s Bible study time. They would be an especially valuable resource for someone teaching a Bible class. You could give one to each person and use them as a reference sheet for the course. They won’t take the place of a different curriculum (if Bible curriculum is something you use), but for someone who wants to study the Bible on its own, they are a valuable resource to help guide you through the process of understanding what is in each book. They will show you what is there before you read it, allowing you to focus more on the Bible itself. Knowing the gist of what you’re reading in the Bible can be very helpful, so you’re less likely to be confused by the text.

Make sure to head over to the Homeschool Review Crew and see how other Crew members used these in their homeschools (since I wrote just an informational review today).

Blessings,

LeapFrog Tablet for Little Kids (review)

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

LeapFrog is a well known company for parents of toddlers, even if you don’t homeschool. As I mentioned in a review last year, we used to check out the DVDs from the library when my teens were little kids. Over the past year, we used the iPad app for the “new crop” of little kids. This year, we’ve been blessed with the LeapStart® Learning Success Bundle™, which is like a chunky tablet for younger kids.

If you’re familiar with LeapFrog at all, this product is probably what you think of when you hear their name. I call it a “tablet for little kids” because that’s precisely what it reminds me of. Younger kids get the thrill of opening it up and playing with a digital device, but there’s no screen. This makes it a tablet you can feel good about letting your toddlers play with! There’s a stylus attached, and it’s nice and chunky for little fingers and hands to grip easily. The stylus is the portal for all the cool things this tablet does. It really does feel like magic.

The tablet itself has some activities right on it. Your child can learn things like shapes, numbers, musical instruments, and more just by touching the stylus tip to the various places on the device. There are two levels of activity, and it’s super easy to decide which to use. You simply touch the stylus to the “one star” or “two star” icon before playing, and the computer knows which activities to run based on which level is chosen.

Inside the box with the LeapStart® Learning Success Bundle™ are also two LeapFrog books. These books are completely interactive and by simply laying them on top of the tablet, they become part of the computer and work just like the tablet itself. There are two levels for the activities in each book, and the stylus is how you control them. The first book is a sampler of sorts. On each of its pages is a sample from other LeapFrog LeapStart books. The other book is a full book from the Netflix show “Go Go Cory Carson.” We weren’t actually familiar with that show, but the kids have started watching it after becoming familiar with the book.

The LeapStart® Learning Success Bundle™ is run on AA batteries, and they do run out fairly quickly. My kids really love playing with the LeapStart, so a set of batteries lasts about a week. I really need to invest in some rechargeables! You can also buy other LeapStart books to use with the tablet – they’ll all work. I’m looking forward to increasing our library of LeapStart books for the boys.

They have had loads of fun playing – and learning! – with this system over the past few weeks, and I’m so grateful to have been chosen for this review.

Make sure to head over to the Homeschool Review Crew and read more about the LeapStart® Learning Success Bundle™!

Blessings,

Immersion Language Learning with Whistlefritz

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

I love the French language. I’m rusty in my usage of it, but I love it nonetheless – so much so that I chose it for my children for their second language, even though by local standards, Spanish would make more sense. When I learned about Whistlefritz, I was super excited to try it out for my children.

For today’s review, I received a digital version of the Educator’s French Collection. This includes 4 videos, 3 audio “CDs,” and 2 PDFs (French lesson plans for kids and French matching cards).

I started by downloading all of the files to my computer. I was really hoping to be able to somehow “cast” those videos to the TV, but I haven’t figured that out yet so we just watched them on the laptop. It’s worked out okay using Windows Media Player. I moved the audio files to my phone for car listening. Ever since receiving the set, we’ve listened to this music in the car regularly. We’ve had it for just over a month and it’s not uncommon to hear Grasshopper (age 9) sing, “Quand je serai grand . . .” (when I grow up . . .) or my husband belt out, “Les petits poissons, dans l’eau . . .” (the little fish in the water . . .). Even my 3-year-old loves these songs. Whenever I start to sing “La tête, les épaules, genoux, et pieds” (Head, shoulders, knees, and toes) to him, he immediately gets a huge grin on his face. It’s been really rewarding seeing and hearing my family actually begin speaking (er, singing) French since we received this product.

When it comes to the videos, Whistlefritz is an immersion program (which I love!), which means there is no English whatsoever during the program (not even subtitles). The program is designed with a lot of repetition, which of course, is the best way to learn a language.  That’s how we all learned English, after all.

The host, Marie, has a really fun personality. She seems to truly be enjoying her time onscreen. She’s not the only one you see, though. There are les enfants (children) in the videos as well. The show also features “Fritzi,” an animated mouse, and “Rito,” an animated fox. The main talking points are all handled by Marie, though.

The first video, On va jouer, focuses on teaching parts of the body, clothes, numbers, and animals. The combination of speaking and singing, real people and animation, makes this a real joy to watch. Dedans et Dehors, the second DVD, focuses on rooms in the house and foods. The standout song in this film is the one about all the different fruits. Les Saisons (the seasons) covers the calendar, and the final video, L’Anniversaire de Fritzi (Fritzi’s birthday) talks about party words.

Whistlefritz suggests their products for ages 2-7, and I heartily agree with that recommendation. Due to its immersive nature, Whistlefritz might not be a good choice for older children. While they might learn the words, they’re likely to fight you a bit more because they can’t understand what’s going on. The younger kids are more malleable that way.

Because Whistlefritz is designed for younger learners, it’s not a curriculum per se. Really all you have to do is start the video and let the kids watch it. It’s colorful and vibrant enough that kids will be captivated by it, even during the first several viewings before they can understand any of it. It can, however, be a bit overwhelming before you start to understand some of the vocabulary (for us “older folks”). I found that for me personally, I could only handle about half of an episode the first few viewings. Not understanding much (or any) of the film can make one weary. Keep at it, though, and pretty soon you and your children will be well on their way to learning a new language.

I would heartily recommend this product to anyone looking for an immersion approach to foreign language teaching, especially for younger children with no previous training. And if you don’t want French, Whistlefritz also has a large selection of Spanish programs as well. The videos are also available to rent or buy from Amazon video, so that might be a viable option for some families (it would be ideal for ours, if we hadn’t received this review copy).

Head over to the Homeschool Review Crew site to learn more. Some of my colleagues are reviewing the French collection, like me, and some are reviewing the Spanish collection.

Blessings,