Sunday, June 28, 2020

Get FREE Printable Prayer Before the Crucifix Copywork in Cursive and Printing

Last week, when I shared a FREE PRINTABLE Anima Christi copywork set, I explained that my youngest has a desire to join the Server's Guild at an FSSP parish some distance from our home and that, as a part of doing so, he must commit to praying certain prayers daily, before Mass, and after Mass.

One of those prayers is the Prayer Before the Crucifix, which I have just discovered has more than one version.

In the missals at our local parish, we learned these words for the prayer:

Behold, O kind and gentle Jesus, I kneel before you and pray that you would impress upon my heart the virtues of faith, hope and charity, with true repentance of my sins and a firm purpose of amendment.  At the same time, with sorrow I meditate on your five precious wounds, having in mind the words which David spoke in prophecy: “They have pierced my hands and my feet.  I can count all bones.”  Amen

However, the FSSP parish uses a longer version of the prayer. Thus, I decided to make my son a copywork set to help him learn this version, and, like I often do, I am sharing the free printable Prayer Before the Crucifix set here in case it might bless you and yours.

Also, as is typical of most of the 
free copywork sets I share here, the Prayer Before the Crucifix set includes a cursive model...

...a print model...

...and a blank line sheet.

That way, your children can choose to practice their printing, cursive, or both.

Also, as I often do, I have used a double thick line at the bottom of each line on the blank sheet to help children remember to ground their letters and have also used spaces between each word on the model to help children remember to leave spaces between words as they copy.

I hope this simple Prayer Before the Crucifix set is helpful for your children as they work on practicing prayers and handwriting.

You can find more free, printable prayer copywork here!

Gain an Indulgence

"A plenary indulgence is granted on each Friday of Lent and Passiontide to the faithful who, after Communion, piously recite the above prayer before an image of Christ crucified; on other days of the year the indulgence is partial." — Enchiridion of Indulgences, No. 22

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Get FREE Printable Anima Christi Prayer Copywork in Cursive and Printing

Our youngest became an altar server at our local parish on his name day about two years ago and has since expressed an interest in joining the Server's Guild at an FSSP parish some distance from our home.

Having visited the that parish for Mass recently, our son's enthusiasm only grew, so we are looking into the training he will need to undergo and understand that, as a part of it, he must commit to praying certain prayers daily, before Mass, and after Mass.

One of those prayers is one he is not that familiar with: Anima Christi Soul of Christ).

So, I have made him copywork of the prayer and am sharing a FREE PRINTABLE Anima Christi set here for others who may benefit from it.

Just like other free copywork sets I have shared, the Anima Christa printable includes a cursive model, a print model...

...and a blank line sheet.

That way, your children can choose to practice their printing, cursive, or both.

Also, as I typically do, I have used a double thick line at the bottom of each line on the blank sheet to help children remember to ground their letters and have also used spaces between words on the model to help children remember to leave spaces between words as they copy.

I hope this simple Anima Christi set blesses your and yours as you work on practicing prayers and handwriting.

You can find more free, printable prayer copywork here!

Learn More about the Anima Christa

The beautiful Anima Christi was composed in the first half of the 14th century and, as a favorite of St. Ignatius Loyola, enjoyed renewed prominence through his 16th century “Spiritual Exercises”.
Sometimes attributed to Pope John XXII, the prayer was enriched with indulgences in 1330. Then, it seems that in 1854 Pope Pius IX revoked all previous indulgences and granted instead:
  • an indulgence of three hundred days every time the prayer is recited, with at least contrite heart and devotion;
  • an indulgence of seven years, once a day, to priests who shall say it after saying Mass, and to the faithful, after receiving holy communion.

1968 Enchiridion of Indulgences assigns the a partial indulgence.
O Immaculate Mother, pray for us

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Learn about History with the U.S. Life Saving Service {A Review}

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor compensated in any other way.

Flexible and fun history that can be used for home, co-op, classroom, or museum program use?  That is what Rebecca Locklear delivers with her Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service 1878-1915: 17 Student Workshops with 120 Activities (which we've recently had an opportunity to review) and, I hear, The Mayflower at Cape Cod – Stories, activities, and research that connect 1620 with life today that other Homeschool Review Crew families have been enjoying. 

Engage in Learning about Courageous Life Savers from the Late 1800's and Early 1900's

My family receive a digital version of the 120-page Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service 1878-1915 book which is chock full of information and ideas to guide students in grades 4-12 in an investigation of the time period of 1878-1915 through the lens of the U.S. Life-Saving Service - a forerunner of the U.S. Coast Guard which installed eight-member rescue teams on remote coastlines of the USA.

With portions to read, critical thinking and problem solving activities, group work (which can be great if you participate in a co-op, scouting, etc.), and research areas, the curriculum is a well-rounded one. It also aims to capture and keep student attention and make learning memorable, accessible, and relevant through activities such as:

  • art
  • cooking
  • drama
  • games
  • music
  • science
  • stories

and more.

Material in the book is written at level that students in grades 4 and 5 can enjoy and grasp, while older students, parents, and teachers can learn and enjoy, too. That makes it great for family studies.

It is also broken into four workshops - or units - with additional art and research ideas, which makes it adaptable for a short study (cherry picking a single workshop) or a longer one (moving through all four workshops and extending with research).

Any way that 
Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service 1878-1915 is used, it surely aims to make students enthusiastic about learning about the courageous and good-humored men who rowed out through violent storms to rescue folks aboard shipwrecks and makes for an interesting addition to history studies!

Our Experience

Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service 1878-1915 is written in such a way that entire families can enjoy it together, because my 14-year-old has a heavy, self-selected workload right now, I chose to dive into the Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service workshops with just my 13 and almost-10 year olds.

We started by reading material fro the introduction and watching a linked Youtube video and, then, carried on with other reading, watching, and activities, completing the "Life at the Station House" workshop and dipping into some others.

My almost-10-year-old had this to say about our experience so far:

I never actually knew about the Life Saving Service before. I think it is interesting. Did you know they shot lines out of canons to attach to masts to save people? Did you know that they each had a cooking day? And did you know they had to sit in a tower   number hours and ring a bell every 30 minutes to tell people they were awake? I learned all this and more.

My favorite part so far was making the bread with molasses using the muffin recipe from the book. We learned molasses was made back then by people stomping on sugar cane.

We also made a chowder (with our own made up recipe because the life saving men often created their own recipes with what they had available and chowder was a common dish.)

I recommend this to people who like history.

And my 13-year-old said:

The U.S. Life Saving Service study taught me about the live saving stations. I did not know much about them before. 
One of the worst things I think that they had to do besides saving people in storms was stand up for four hours on watch in frigid weather looking for ships in distress. 

I thought it was interesting that they all took turns cooking for each other. In some ways that sounds interesting, but in others not so much. I like the stories and play they told about it. It made it seem more like actual real life than just reading it, and it was funny. We also learned that these days you cannot kill a lobster in some countries by boiling it.
It is illegal in some place, because they say lobsters can feel pain. Of course, the live saving station men did not follow that rule. They boiled lobsters, hunted for food, fished sometimes when on drill, and more. 

A motto of the life saving servicemen was that the book says you have to go out to save people. It does not say you have to come back in. The men had to be brave, courageous people willing to face danger, death, and terrible weather to save others. In between, they also faced extraordinary boredom at times just doing drills, cooking, watching, waiting...
I liked this study and want to finish using it. I think it would be good for late elementary school through middle school

So, as you can see, so far so engaged here with my kids and this resource. That makes me happy!

Happier still is that the resource connects to local history for us!

We realized that we are blessed to live within driving distance of some of the remaining life saving stations.

So, the other day, we drove to one, hoping to be able to tour inside. 

Of course, though, due to current events, the place is closed this season. Still, we were still able to view the exterior and imagine the life the men led inside.

We also were able to enjoy some of the same beaches that the men may have done their work on. Granted, we did this in beautiful sunshine, not stormy gales, all the while recognizing how the men would have had to navigate the cold, wavy seas during inclement weather to rescue people and, at times, products.

We hope to return to the station we visited once it opens and also hope to foray in a different direction to another one. Having done Rebecca's study, such field trips will be especially meaningful.

We recommend the study as an interesting one that can easily adapt for home, classroom, and group use, engaging students through a wide variety of activities and are grateful for having had this opportunity to learn more about local and national history through the lens of the Life Saving Service.

The life, work, and legacy of the men in the Life Saving Service surely is interesting and worthwhile to learn about!

Learn More

Over 60 Homeschool Review Crew families reviewed either Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service 1878-1915: 17 Student Workshops with 120 Activities or The Mayflower at Cape Cod – Stories, activities, and research that connect 1620 with life today over the past few weeks. Click through to find social media and blog reviews.

Find writer Rebecca Locklear on Facebook. You can also sign up for Rebecca's email newsletter through her website where you will find more ideas and information from this talented writer and multiple-subject teacher of materials for preschoolers through 12th graders who is also a professional pianist, choral director, and outdoor enthusiast with a motto oDum vivimus, vivamus, which in Latin means “Let us LIVE while we live", which shines through in her work.

We enjoy Rebecca's work!

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Joy and Comfort through Corpus Christi

In this time when chaos, confusion, division, and fear seem all too prevalent at times, it was beautiful to gather in unity to participate in...

...a beautiful Mass with a moving homily for all who came out especially for it and for those who passed by and felt called to join in...

... a Eucharistic Procession where a young adult passerby paused and called out with a smile, "God bless you"...
Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, shoes, tree, sky and outdoor

... Christ processing openly through the streets to show his Presence and love for us...

Image may contain: 3 people, tree and outdoor

... and us loving and adoring Him...

..hymns sung together... prayers prayed with trust and hope.

My God, we believe, we adore, we hope and we love Thee! We beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee. Amen.
~Fatima Prayer 

We thank you, Lord, for this beautiful day and for the gift of your presence.

You, the same Jesus who walked 2000 years ago are still present today in the Blessed Sacrament.

You bring comfort, strength, hope, comfort... JOY!

We are so grateful.

May we all go to you in the Blessed Sacrament often!
O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament have left us a memorial of your Passion, grant us, we pray, so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of your redemption. Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. 
~ The Collect

Friday, June 12, 2020

Enjoy Problem Solving with Logic and Math {A Review}

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor compensated in any other way.

The world surely needs more people who can work through difficult problems and use logic, so I always appreciate resources that can help my children develop such skills.

Mastering Logic & Math Problem Solving by The Critical Thinking Co.™ is just such a resource!

What Is The Critical Thinking Co.™ and Mastering Logic & Math Problem Solving?

The Critical Thinking Co.™ is a family-owned business that was established in 1958 and now offers 600 titles in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies which aim to help students achieve success in life through developing critical thinking skills without drill and memorization.
One of the many helpful resources they offer is 
Mastering Logic & Math Problem Solving by The Critical Thinking Co.™, which is a 180-page softcover workbook that is designed to help students in grades 6-9 sharpen critical thinking skill through solving problems using logic and math.

The book is also available as an e-book.

The bulk of the workbook contains problems across a variety of topics:
  • Multicultural Logic Problems
  • Fun With Classical Brain Teasers
  • Number Theory Problems
  • Problem Solving with Sets
  • Ration, Proportion, and Percent Problems
  • Algebra Word Problems
  • Geometry Word Problems
  • More Algebra Word Problems
  • Probability Word Problems
  • Topology Word Problems

The book also offers:

  • an introduction that explains what problem solving is and how to help student with it
  • ideas for using the book with individual students, in groups, and in a classroom

  • general problem-solving strategies
  • answers/solutions

  • a printable rubric and portfolio pages
  • bonus activities

It is a wonderful collection of puzzles and problems that offers flexibility to use with individuals, small groups, or an entire classroom in a sequential order or by type of problem.

How Did We Use Mastering Logic & Math Problem Solving?

My soon-to-be-10-year-old, just-13-year-old, and I used Mastering Logic & Math Problem Solving by The Critical Thinking Co.™  together as a group or during 1:1 times. Sometimes, my husband joined us, too.

We started with Multicultural Logic Problems and Classic Brain Teasers, some of which we were already familiar with, but most of which were challenging for my children (and, sometimes, husband and me!)

Generally, I challenged my youngest child, middle child, or both together with a problem and let them work at it until they got it or reached a frustration level that was escalating too much. Then I offered a hint or called a break.

When my children solved problems quickly, we sometimes did more than one in a row. Other times, a single problem took more than one session together to solve.

As we worked, at times, there was discussion, laughter, and positive creative thinking. Other times, to be honest, there was frustration and quarreling.

Such frustration and quarreling, of course, was challenging, but it was good, in a way, for it made me recognize how much more I need to work on virtues in our household and how much more I need to emphasize that "we can do hard things" and that "hard" does not equal "bad".

For, most certainly, as I used this resource, I recognized just how frustrated and ornery one of my children can get when presented with a problem that is not easily/quickly solved. I also recognized just how creative and outside-the-box that child's thinking could be - almost too much so in the case of this resource, since, in trying to come up with solutions to the problems, that child often tried to add elements to the clear storylines presented in the book that diverged a bit too far from the intent of the problems.

When that child did so, I ended up restating/reclarifying what I felt were clearly presented parameters and reigning the realm of possible solutions back into ones that exercised logic or math rather than far-fetched storytelling.

This did not always get met with the best of attitudes, but it was all a part of the learning, and I appreciated how this resource did not just do what it sets out to - offer a wide variety of problems to be solved using logic and math - but also highlighted some areas of character growth that we need to work on here.

What Did My Children and I Think?

One of my children said:

To solve the problems... we sketched out on paper, used implements, and actually did things, like the cup one.

In the future, I would like to use the book, with just myself or maybe one other person (my mom), not with other people in my family, because one of my siblings that I do it with gets frustrated and mean, and I prefer quiet when I work things out.

I would recommend this book to people who need help with logic. W
hen I did it with just my mom, I liked it.

My other child said:

The first time I used the book, it was a torturous time, because I could not figure the problem out. The next day, I had figured the problem out and challenged my dad to it. Then, we tried a few more problems. Sometimes, I hated it. Sometimes, I liked it. 

Personally, I liked the resource and would recommend it, because:

1. It offers a wide variety of problems to encourage critical thinking. The classical brain teasers, problem solving, algebra word problems, geometry word problems, age problems, probability word problems, topology fun word problems, and more in this resource encourage you to analyze, think aloud, pause, rethink, etc. until solutions are found.

2. It highlights skill areas to grow in. People can do hard things. They can disagree but still be kind. They can be confused and push through. They can use different methods to come up with similar solutions or similar methods to come up with different solutions. They can strategize, visualize, verbalize, and work together or alone... and they can realize that doing all this need nor bring the nasties out. This resource not only highlighted for me and mine problem solving skills we could work on, but also where we could grow in character and virtue.
3. It offers meaningful math. Although we have not gotten to the latter portions of the book, even in the first few chapters, practical applications of math and logical patterns were used. I have also looked at the later chapters and see how more traditional math applications play in. 

4. Flexibility is inherent in the resource. A generous copyright allow purchasers to reproduce the resource for a family or classroom use. Also, the workbook can be used individually, in groups, or in a classroom in order or cherry-picked to supplement other learning. 
5. Parents can use it with no prior experience. The Introduction Teacher Notes, Answer Key, and Appendix material all ensure that any parent can use this resource easily with their children. 
6. It focuses on skills our world needs. Few problems in life have cut and dry solutions and so an ability to analyze, think of all possibilities, and, then, use logic to come up with answers is important. This resource offers kids opportunities do do this.  
7. It is not busy. Pages within the resource are not overly busy and have plenty of white space, which is helpful for kids with ADHD, dyslexia, and sensory issues. (We face all of these things here.)

Obviously, then, even though one of my children did not always favor this resource, I found it had merit and would recommend it to others with middle school age children. (Just be prepared for some behavior bumps if your child is easily frustrated or going through some tweenrage times.)

Learn More

We have used and appreciated other resources from The Critical Thinking Co.™ and you can browse our other reviews from this vendor here.

You can also click through here to find links to 65 video, social media, and blog reviews from other Homeschool Review Crew families who have recently tried out:

And, of course, you can connect on social media:

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

EdShed Provides Web Based Games for Spelling and Math {A Review}

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor compensated in any other way.

Sometimes it is good to have an online program that multiple children in one family can access to practice their spelling and math skills using a web-based games format.

EdShed offers just this with their subscription based  Math Shed and Spelling Shed which is designed for your 1st-5th graders. 

If you order a subscription, you and yours can have one year of access to web games for up to 5 students with individual log-ins for each user and a Teacher Hub which allows parents to set up students (or groups of students called leagues), create assignments with spelling lists or custom spelling lists, and monitor student progress. 

Like many online programs Math Shed and Spelling Shed allows students to create personalized avatars that are shared between programs. Unique to Math Shed and Spelling Shed is the programs - or web games - within it, which students have unlimited access to and can easily switch between when playing.

As an extra bit of fun, the program allows children to earn online currency when they answer questions correctly during games. Thins, in turn, can be used to upgrade their avatars with fun accessories such as glasses, masks, and jewelry.

Math Shed is pretty much open-and-go. It doesn’t require you as a parent/teacher to select curricula or assign content. Rather, students log in and click on the topic the wish to practice with a choice of Easy, Medium, and Hard levels.

Topic areas include:

  • Number Bonds
  • Times Tables

  • Addition and Subtraction
  • Powers of 10
The space-themed menu for these games is organized by these math concepts rather than grade level and each section has an array of questions to enhance math fluency.

Detailed data reports reveal progress made as well as areas that need improvement or have been mastered.

Spelling Shed takes a bit of setting up by you as the parent/teacher, but it is not hard to get going.

It comes pre-loaded with Dolch, Fry, and other well-known spelling lists which are grade-level specific and aligned with national education standards. It also offers customization for you to set up assignments, create spelling lists, track your child’s progress, and see data about spelling mistakes.  All this is done from the Teachers Hub.

Then, with student logins, students can access:

  • Play – where they practice spelling a list of 10 words in a timed format

  • Beekeeper  – which allows them to guess words by choosing letters (almost Hangman style)

  • Buzz Words – where they create words with random letter tiles 
  • Hive games – where students can play with others inside the program

Games can be played at different levels:

  • Easy, which means a word is shown, an audio clip is played, and only the included letters are shown.
  • Medium, where an audio clip is played and only the included letters are shown.
  • Hard, where an audio clip is played and the included letters plus some random letters are shown.
  • Extreme, where audio clip is played and a full qwerty keyboard is shown.

This part of the program also includes weekly downloadable spelling curriculum for grades 1-5 that can be accessed from the Teacher Hub an includes activities and printable practice homework sheets with answers for those that like offline learning, too.

I had my 10 year old try out Math Shed and Spelling Shed to see how it worked, and we both that Math Shed could work well for practice for any child in addition to a spine curriculum while Spelling Shed could work as a supplement or a main curriculum for spelling and vocabulary for children and parents who like it so long as parents stepped in to expand on a few things regarding capitulation, punctuation, etc.

My son said, specifically:

It's okay. It's not the best style for me. I don't like being under pressure for quick answers with math and, since you have to get used to the keyboard, it is hard to answer quickly even when I know the answer.

With the spelling, the games were okay, but it had incorrect capitalization for the word tuesday and said 'Mrs' (with no period) was the answer when I heard the voice say 'misses'.  Also, sometimes, I could not hear the voice well and missed the words.

Overall, it did not seem like the games taught. They just test what you know and let you practice. Some kids might like it.

Obviously, my son was not taken by Math Shed and Spelling Shed, but I have no doubt other children could find it a helpful fit. In fact, over 80 Homeschool Review Crew families tried out subscriptions and some of them absolutely loved the program and had great success with it. (Click through to find social media, video, and blog reviews.)

Further, I think the program could be a possible "extra" for classroom / co-op teachers to use to encourage skill building and practice.

It provides helpful, detailed data for individual students from the Hub dashboard and allows you to customize things for your children.

So, if you are looking for a web-based math games supplement to solidify fundamental math skills or a supplemental or complete spelling/vocabulary program that works on learning through repetition with web games, Math Shed and Spelling Shed might be worth considering  You can try a  free trial without having to enter credit card information to see if it is a good fit for you.  You can also try an app if you prefer that format.

Find Math Shed and Spelling Shed on social media at:

  Website |  Facebook |  Twitter |  Instagram |  YouTube


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