Monday, June 24, 2013

Blogging Through The Alphabet - O

O is for "The Old Deluder Act" of 1647

Massachusetts Almanack - 1647

One thing I love about homeschooling is the ability to continue learning new things myself. I love history, and teaching it affords me the opportunity to have a reason to keep studying.

While learning about early American history, I discovered a law that was enacted in Massachusetts in 1647, called the "Old Deluder Act."  The purpose of this law was to acknowledge that "the old deluder, Satan" was seeking to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, so it provided for a means to educate the children of the colony for the direct purpose of being able to read and know the Scriptures! By knowing the Scriptures, they would be able to know God, and combat the devices of the devil. They would be able to overcome temptation, and have a virtuous lifestyle.

In early Massachusetts, once a town had over 50 people living there, this law stated that a school must be started and supported by the town's families, in order to teach the children to read and write. The main textbook used was the Bible. Once a town grew to a population of 100 or more, then the school would be expanded to include grammar and other instruction as well.

Here is the text of the "Old Deluder Satan Act of 1647" enacted in the colony of Massachusetts. (taken from Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England (1853), II: 203 which can be found at )

It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, as in former times by keeping them in an unknown tongue, so in these latter times by persuading from the use of tongues, that so that at least the true sense and meaning of the original might be clouded and corrupted with false glosses of saint-seeming deceivers; and to the end that learning may not be buried in the grave of our forefathers, in church and commonwealth, the Lord assisting our endeavors.
It is therefore ordered that every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to fifty households shall forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read, whose wages shall be paid either by the parents or masters of such children, or by the inhabitants in general, by way of supply, as the major part of those that order the prudentials of the town shall appoint; provided those that send their children be not oppressed by paying much more than they can have them taught for in other towns.  And it is further ordered, that when any town shall increase to the number of one hundred families or householders, they shall set up a grammar school, the master thereof being able to instruct youth so far as they may be fitted for the university, provided that if any town neglect the performance hereof above one year that every such town shall pay 5 pounds to the next school till they shall perform this order.

Old lawbooks - photo courtesy of - public domain

Copyright 2012-2013 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

This post is linked with "Blogging Through The Alphabet" at "Ben and Me".

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Blogging Through the Alphabet - N

N is for Noise
Sound Waves photo from
What is noise? Sounds. Sounds of any kind - some good and some very distracting and harsh. We live in a world filled with noise! I am constantly amazed at the low hum of noise in our household. It is never perfectly quiet, even after the children are in bed. There is always some kind of noise going on, even if it is just the sound of the dishwasher or washing machine!
A hornet breaking the sound barrier - photo courtesy of
There are many new noises that have become a part of our life these past ten years. Noises of various beeps and electronics sounds. While I am constantly amazed at the technology available to us, and I do enjoy using it as well, I am sometimes disheartened at the lack of quiet in our lives and homes.
photo courtesy of - public domain
Is all this noise a problem? Have you ever had a moment where you just wished you could turn it all off? Just escape from all the noise for a short time?
1Corinthians 14:10  "There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification."
Why is it a problem?  One big reason why noise is a problem is that it inhibits our ability to have a daily quiet time with God. The Bible emphasizes repeatedly that walking with God and building a personal relationship with Him is a daily event. Adam and Eve met with God in the Garden of Eden on a daily basis, at a set time. Who has never experienced a time of sitting down to read your Bible and pray, and had your cell phone go off? Or some timer start beeping from something in the house?
In order to accomplish our goals of developing a relationship with God, and hearing God's still, small voice, we must purpose in our heart to "turn off" the noise in our life. The sacrifice is worth it. Getting up early in the morning, before others are awake, is one of the most successful methods of having a quiet time with God. Another idea is turning off the cell phone before starting your devotions. It is not likely that anyone will have a reason that they must get ahold of you immediately, and cannot wait until you are done!
Moms, take the time to train your children that your devotion time is special and important. Don't allow them to interrupt you. When my children were smaller, I had to tell them, "Mom is busy reading her Bible and praying for a few minutes and it is very important. You will have to wait until I am done before you can speak with me." Children quickly learn that Mom cannot be interrupted, and I found that my children started following my example, and would curl up with their Bibles and read while I was reading mine. Lead by example.
Finding God and hearing His voice is the most important task of our lives. We will not find Him in all the noise. He has a still, small voice, and won't force Himself on us. He will wait for us to seek Him.
I Kings 19:11-13 "And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?"
One of my favorite verses in the Bible (and probably one of the hardest ones for me to obey) is:
Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth."
Sometimes, we have to force ourselves to be still, and to block out all the noise, so we can know God. For someone like me who is always on the go, this can be a challenge, but I am always very blessed when I make it a priority, and I know you will be too!

This post is linked with Blogging Through The Alphabet at "Ben and Me" and also with "Titus 2sdays" at "TimeWarp Wife."
Blogging Through the Alphabet

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review: Baker Publishing Group

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My girls LOVE to read! I am always on the hunt for new, wholesome books that will interest them. They read through them so quickly that keeping up is quite a challenge! Every car ride, every doctor appointment, and most downtime will find the girls curled up with a book. We have pretty much exhausted the resources of our local library. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review the first two books in a new series from Baker Publishing Group through The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Life With Lily and A New Home For Lily are the first two books in the Adventures of Lily Lapp Series.  These books are a series written especially for younger girls, ages 8-12, chronicling the daily life and adventures of an Old Order Amish girl named Lily.  They are written by Mary Ann Kinsinger
and Suzanne Woods Fisher, both of whom have strong ties to the Amish community. In fact, even though these books are fiction, they are closely based on real life stories from Mary Ann Kinsinger's childhood, growing up Old Order Amish in Pennsylvania.

How long are the books?: "Life With Lily" is 288 pages long, and "A New Home For Lily" is 272 pages long. These books are 'chapter books'. Each chapter is short and contains a complete story, so it is suitable to either read straight through, like Melissa did, or to read one chapter at a time with a younger child.

What do they cost?: Both books sell for $12.99 each, and also have an e-book edition available.

Melissa, who is 11 years old, helped me with this review by reading through both books and sharing her thoughts and opinions.  Since this book was 'new to us' I also read through the first one, to get a feel for the story line, make sure I approved of the stories for Melissa, and be able to discuss it with her.

Here is Melissa's review of "Life With Lily":
Five year old Lily is growing up in an Amish home with two younger brothers, and no sisters. She is the oldest. When she goes to school, she loves learning and loves her teacher, until a terrible accident changes everything.

Lily is a free-spirited girl who enjoys her farm and loves to help her mother in the kitchen. She is learning how to take on responsibility and how to stay out of trouble, even though her friend Mandy Mast always seems to draw her into it.

My favorite part of this story is when her father brings home "Chubby", a miniature pony, and Lily learns how to drive him around the backyard in the snow. I can't think of anything I didn't like about this book.

Here is Melissa's review of "A Home For Lily":
After Lily and her family move, Lily finds herself not content with
their new house - she thinks the colors are ugly. She thinks that their new home and community is not as nice as their home in New York was. She is having a hard time adjusting to her new home.

Lily had an idea to make stickers and sell them. As she grows up, she is learning many new things. Life improves when her cousin Hannah moves next door and when Lily was able to get a real bedroom in the attic instead of sleeping in the hallway.

My favorite story in this book was when Lily was feeding grass to the billy goat and he picked her up with his horns. Lily was not hurt, but her mother had to come help her get away from the goat. It was really funny.

Mom's opinion:  I also read through these books and enjoyed them very much! Of course, it is written from a little girl's perspective, but I thought the authors did a tremendous job making it feel like Lily was the one telling the story, inserting her childhood innocence and joy into each chapter.

I appreciate that the books maintain a level of freshness and innocence in the stories, and there is not any questionable moral or ethical dilemmas that would make me uncomfortable allowing my daughters to read them. Amish culture is portrayed positively, and although it is quite different from the church and culture that my girls are growing up in, the stories were not bound by cultural barriers. They portrayed real life events and feelings that any young girl could relate to, and as we discussed the stories, I found that Melissa did identify with some of the thoughts and feelings that were shared, especially when the naughty Mandy Mast was trying to draw Lily into trouble.

Melissa gained a very healthy perspective of what it is like to live in an Amish culture. The stories also reinforced many of the character traits and virtues that I am trying to teach the girls. I appreciate a book that can teach values and character in a fun and relaxed way, and these books certainly did that.

Extras:  The books have a corresponding website called The Adventures of Lily Lapp where Melissa liked to visit, play some games and look up extra information about the Lapp family. This site has coloring pages (as shown above) as well as a quiz for each book. Melissa took both quizzes and got all the questions right! There is even a copy of an authentic Amish recipe that "Mama Lapp" made in the story, which Melissa found very exciting.

Recommendation:  Both Melissa and I liked these books very much. They were entertaining, refreshing, and unique. Melissa read through both of them in a matter of days - she just could not put them down! I often heard her laughing as she was reading, and she often shared funny excerpts from the books with the rest of the family. I would highly recommend them, especially to young girls, although I think that many boys would enjoy reading them as well.

Future considerations: There are two more books in the series that will be coming out soon. Melissa has already been asking for them! I'm sure we will have to purchase them to have a complete set. A Big Year for Lily is set to come out in July, 2013, and A Surprise for Lily is due out in September, 2013.

Find out what other Crew members thought by clicking the banner below!
Copyright 2012-2013 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Godly Heritage

Recently our family was able to enjoy a movie together called "The League of Grateful Sons". We enjoy history and everyone in the family thought this movie was phenomenal! Although it had a lot of 'war footage' it was not violent or inappropriate even for the younger members of the family. We were moved to tears on more than one occasion because of the godly heritage that was being passed down from generation to generation, from grandfathers, to fathers, and on to their sons.

This movie would make a wonderful Father's Day gift. My husband enjoyed it so much that I bought him a copy after our borrowed one was returned.

Here is a short introduction to the movie:

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful dads!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review: Birdcage Press

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We really enjoy watching the birds that live in our backyard. During the winter months, we don't have too many, but in the summer, our backyard is a haven to many different birds. We have set up several houses and feeders, and there is constant activity at them that entertains us. When The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew gave us the opportunity to review Wild Cards: Backyard Birds from Birdcage Press, we were pretty excited. In fact, as you can see from the pictures below, when the package came, Melissa sat down immediately, tore it open, and studied the cards for nearly an hour!

What it is: This is a set of 36 full color, sturdy cards and a 32 page fact book. There are 18 different birds identified on the cards, 3 each in 6 different categories:
  1. Tricksters
  2. Songbirds
  3. Woodpeckers
  4. Hummers
  5. Little Chirpers
  6. Waterbirds 
Each card contains an interesting fact about its bird. (Even the matching pair has 2 separate unique facts). At the bottom of each card, the other 2 birds in that category are named, so that the children learn to quickly identify and organize the birds together by type.

About the factbook:  The factbook teaches clues about identifying the birds, where they live, how and what they eat, their migration patterns, and field markings. There is a detailed page about each bird contained in the set of cards.

How we used the cards: My children actually loved just sitting and looking through the cards, reading the facts off of them, and grouping them together by category, comparing the facts and the pictures. As you can see from the pictures, the cards are lovely and bright. Any child would be quickly drawn to looking at them and studying them. The cards are sold as educational games, though, so we did take them out and play the games as well!

There are three suggested games, and we tried all three:
  1. "Old Trickster" is played just like "Old Maid" but with the bird cards instead. There is one card (a magpie - part of the "trickster" category of birds) that is left out of the pile, and then players draw cards from each other, laying their matches down, until one player is left holding the remaining magpie card.
  2. "Bird Memory" is played just like "Concentration". After laying all the cards face down on the table, players try to make matches until all the cards are gone.
  3. "Go Fish for Birds" is a game where the players ask each other for the birds that go together in categories. When the player has collected all 3 birds in one category, they can lay that down as a set. *This was the favorite game of most of the members of our family, because they liked collecting the entire set of birds!

The cards are meant for: The website suggests ages 6 and up. I have to confess that I enjoyed these cards greatly, probably just as much as my children did. I think a bird lover of any age would enjoy these cards.

Why I think these cards are a success: It is such a quick and easy way to learn to identify the birds we see and to know more about them. The birds included in the set are common ones frequently seen around North America, so the children are actually able to observe the birds they are learning about! Since we already spend a good deal of our summer watching the birds in our backyard, it is nice to "put names to their faces" and know a little something about their habits. The girls took great pleasure in informing me that a 'white-breasted nuthatch' was feeding at our feeder!

Other uses: We have come up with several other ways we could use the cards to further our knowledge, including "name that bird" where one person reads a fact on the card, and the other names the bird it described. It has also made the girls more aware of what feeds we should put out to attract a variety of birds. Because of the descriptions of flight patterns in the factbook, the girls have started to be able to identify some of the birds that they cannot even see up close, just by watching them fly!

These are some pictures we took right outside our window!

How to purchase: The card games can be purchased at the Birdcage Press website. This particular card game is $10.95. Birdcage Press also has many other card games available. Besides birds, there are a number of other Wildlife & Nature card sets, as well as card sets in Art,  Air & Space, and History.

Final endorsement: I really like bright and cheery games that my children enjoy using and playing repeatedly, but I LOVE when those games are educational and they are absorbing all kinds of knowledge without even realizing it! I think this game is an incredible value for its price, and it is sturdy enough to last a long time and receive a lot of love and attention from our family. Apparently I am not the only one who thinks so, because this card game recently won the "Parent's Choice Silver Award."

Oops! It's not just birds feeding at the backyard bird feeder!

Crew members reviewed several different games from Birdcage Press, so stop by their reviews to check out what else is available!

Copyright 2012-2013 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.
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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Blogging Through The Alphabet - M

M is for Multiplication

Our homeschool has four different children with four different learning styles! The youngest is now entering third grade and has begun the daunting task of learning multiplication facts.  I have found that if the multiplication facts are not memorized to mastery, that the children really struggle later on with more intensive arithmetic.

Since getting the multiplication facts memorized is so important, I wanted to share about an amazing resource we use to help cement those elusive "times tables" into our brains here.

At children can play a number of free games that review multiplication fact families in a really entertaining way. These games are fun, quick, and easy. There are not a lot of distractions, just intriguing ways to review facts. The games are always changing and updating to keep them fresh and interesting. A game can usually be played in a few minutes. Best of all, my kids go play them on their own whenever they get 'free computer time.' If I assign them to go play some games....even better! They love it!

The good news is....these games are FREE!

The website also contains a variety of resources for the parent and teacher, including free printable flash cards and free printable tables. If your children like to learn their facts with stories, there is a free resource that has short videos to teach facts in a fun way with a silly story.

The website also contains resources that can be purchased, and has pretty much anything and everything that you could think of to teach multiplication.

I am not affiliated with this website at all, and receive no compensation for promoting it. I am just sharing a resource that has been very helpful in our family as a help to other homeschoolers! I hope your kids will find it as enjoyable and helpful as mine have!

Copyright 2012-2013 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

This post is linked with "Blogging Through The Alphabet" at "Ben and Me" and with FreeBEE Friday at "Kathy's Cluttered Mind".
Blogging Through the AlphabetHomeschool FreeBEE Fridays

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Review: Christianity Cove

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As a Sunday School teacher, I am always looking for fresh ideas to keep my lessons interesting. As a mother, I am on the lookout for interesting and creative ways to pass on my faith to my children, and to initiate spiritual discussions.  When given the opportunity to review two different sets of lessons from Christianity Cove, I signed up right away!

We were given the opportunity to review Daily Dilemmas: 26 True-To-Life Devotions for Kids and Bible Science Experiments through The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Daily Dilemmas

Daily Dilemmas is a 60 page downloadable e-book that covers moral topics that children ages 6-12 might face on a daily basis. There are 26 real life scenarios given, and they are very relatable for children!  These can be used as teaching moments when parents notice a struggle in a certain area (thanks to the handy topic index that is included) or they can be used as daily devotions, preparing for a situation before it arises in the child's life!

A quote from the author, Mary-Kate Warner:
Devotions are the single most effective way
to prepare children to respond honorably in
life's defining moments.
Each devotion is set up this way:
  1. The story is presented for the parent or teacher to read to the children. The stories are interesting, and will present a problem (moral dilemma or 'sticky situation') that the children in the story are facing.
  2. Scriptures to read that help the student decide what the children in the story should do.
  3. Possible solutions for the teacher/parent to read, to help guide the students in their thought process. Students first listen to the Scriptures, then think about the possible solutions in light of those verses. They can then be guided into choosing the best solution to the dilemma presented.
  4. Reflections for the teacher include some key ideas that the teacher can emphasize while guiding the discussion.
I made a word cloud to represent some of the more common themes of these devotions:

How we used these lessons: I read them to the girls, shared the Scripture, gave them the four options, and then listened to their responses. Though there were none that addressed any current crises personally, I truly believe it is prudent to prepare children for trouble spots that they will face eventually in their lives. Sometimes we would take one or two of them and use them for dinner table discussions!
What I really like: I love that these devotions only take a few minutes. I am a big believer that devotions should be enjoyed by children. It is not a time to correct all the wrongs, but a time of sincere family fellowship around God's Word. In just a short time, you can really teach a lesson that will "stick".  I also like that there is no preparation time involved. You can pick up this devotional book at any time, read a devotion (or more) and have a complete lesson without a lot of prep work, because everything you need is laid out right there.
A unique idea: Since this book has 26 lessons, it would be easy to go through it once a month with younger children.
My wish list: If there was one thing I could change about these lessons, I would have them use King James verses in the lessons so we wouldn't have to look them up separately and I could just read them to the girls from the lesson page.
Want to read a sample lesson? If you click this link,  it will take you to a sample lesson that covers the topics of stealing and peer pressure.
Interested in purchasing? If you visit the Christianity Cove website,  you can purchase the e-book for $29. You will receive the download right away after purchase, and you can then print it out at home if you wish, or use it on your browser. (Personally, I like printing out the lessons and keeping them in a 3 ring binder). The company offers a 60 day money back guarantee.
Bible Science Experiments


It is not just boys that like cool science experiments, although I think that using science experiments as object lessons is a GREAT way to arrest a young boy's attention and get them to slow down long enough to observe, think about what they are seeing, and listen to their parent or teacher show them how it applies to God's Word!
This downloadable e-book is 55 pages long and contains 25 simple experiments, each with a short supply list, an applicable Scripture verse, and instructions to complete the experiment. There are also discussion questions (and simple explanations) about the science aspect, as well as the spiritual application (understanding God).  The experiments are broken down into five categories, containing five experiments each: 
  1. Light
  2. Color
  3. Motion
  4. Magnetism
  5. Gravity
 To watch a sample video lesson about gravity, click here.

How we used these lessons: I not only was able to try out some of these lessons with the girls, but I also took one into my Senior High Sunday School class. The lessons were well received by all. 

What I really like: Again, I loved the simplicity of the lessons. Nearly all the materials are common, everyday household items which are more than likely already in your house like they were mine. No putting off the experiments while waiting for shopping day to roll around! Also, the scientific explanations are simple enough that children can easily understand, but deep enough to still be interesting and 'neat' to a teen. (Although the lessons are recommended for the 6-12 age group, I thought they could very easily adapt to a younger or older class).

If I could change: Again, it would be that the lessons used King James for the verses included.

To purchase: At the time of this review, the Bible Science Experiments e-book can be purchased from Christianity Cove for $25. (regular price is $39.95). Soon after paying, you will receive the e-book to download to your computer, where you can print the lessons or use them on your browser.

Some fun pictures of Kelly and I discussing the lesson "Using Bubbles to See Colors". We got to blow some bubbles, then examine them closely. We saw how they differ. The discussion that followed explained that people are unique individuals, just like the bubbles are. Even though we each are different, God loves all of us the same, and salvation is freely available to each one of us, no matter what we have done. We had a lot of fun spending time together blowing bubbles, and I believe the time spent opened up the door for the discussion afterwards, giving me the opportunity to "pass down" some of my faith to Kelly in a fun way that she could understand clearly.

Christianity Cove has a long list of Sunday School lessons that can easily be adapted to a class or homeschool setting, and can also be adjusted for age and understanding levels. I highly recommend visiting some of the reviews of other Crew members to see what is available and how you can use it!

Copyright 2012-2013 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.
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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Blogging Through The Alphabet - L

L is for LEGO Building

Most families, including ours, have their fair share of Lego sets. They are fun, addictive, and a great project for kids! My girls like them and I am always on the lookout for sales and coupons to offset the price. Often we have gotten the girls a new Lego set for special occasions, and several sets have gotten us through some difficult hospital stays.

So what do you do when you have bins full of Lego's but have either lost or worn out the instructions? My girls are the type who like to follow the instructions step by step to build an intricate project that looks just like the picture!

I came across an independent website (that is not affiliated with the Lego company) that has listed ALL the Lego projects that have ever been made. You can find the project you would like to make, click on those instructions, and have the step by step pictures for building that Lego creation right at your fingertips! If you leave it on a browser for the kids to use, you don't even have to print it out! They can just click through the pages.

While I do try to save the instruction booklets, it's great to know that a resource like this is available if we need it, or if we want to take a big bin of Lego's and try out something new!

Copyright 2012-2013 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

This post is linked with Blogging Through The Alphabet at "Ben and Me" and also with FreeBEE Fridays at "Kathy's Cluttered Mind."

Homeschool FreeBEE FridaysBlogging Through the Alphabet

Monday, June 3, 2013

Review: Motherboard Books

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We have added more computer skills to our homeschool this past year than we ever have before! The children have really enjoyed learning how to do cool things on the computer, and I appreciate the opportunities for them to be more 'computer literate', as it is an absolute necessity in the world we live. I laugh when they find it hard to believe that I grew up without a computer...or a cell phone....or....  We were given the opportunity to review a program called Let's Make A Webpage!  from Motherboard Books through The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew.

This instructional program was written by Phyllis Wheeler, the Computer Lady who is a veteran homeschool mom. Since she couldn't find an appropriate computer science curriculum for her own children, she decided to create one! She now has several Computer Science Programs available for homeschool families.

Let's Make A Webpage! is a downloadable e-book designed for ages 8-12. It is 60 pages long, and is written in very easy to read and understand language. It utilizes a program called Visual Site Designer from Coffee Cup for web building purposes. Visual Site Designer is compatible with Windows 7, 8, Vista, and XP, but not Mac. The program itself sells for $49 but you can download a free trial version of the program that will give you plenty of time to work through this curriculum and complete a short term project, learning some of the basic ins and outs of building a webpage.

Topics that are covered:
Lesson 1: An Interview
Lesson 2: Download and Set Up the Program
Lesson 3: Add Text
Lesson 4: Make a Table
Lesson 5: Add Photo
Lesson 6: From the Internet, Add Animations
Lesson 7: Browser Check, Backgrounds, Photos
Lesson 8: Sound
Lesson 9: Links
Lesson 10: Post Your Work
Appendix: How to Upload to the Internet

There is also a helpful troubleshooting guide.

How we used this book: The first thing I did after downloading the book was print it out and put it in a 3 ring binder. That just makes it easier to flip through the pages. I initially intended to review this product with Laura, who is over the recommended age (she's 15), but was interested in the subject matter and agreed to try it out. She found the material in the book a bit juvenile (as we expected it would be) and quickly lost interest. So I passed it on to Melissa (age 11). While Melissa has some basic working knowledge of the computer, (she can complete a research paper in MS Word and do some basic internet surfing), she has no experience with web page building or with most of the topics in this program. Perfect! This would really let us try it out with her!

Motherboard Books claims that a 10-12 year old could use this program with little to no parental involvement. I think that's about right. I have purposely tried to let Melissa take off with the program and see what she could create.  While initially not too interested in learning how to make a webpage, she has enjoyed allowing her creative side to flourish and has come up with several great ideas to add to her webpage.

Emphasis on creativity: The book instructs the student to choose a person to interview; then create a webpage about that interview. Instead, Melissa decided to take the instruction and apply it to creating an "All About Me" page. She tried out various backgrounds, added pictures, and listed some of her favorites. She found a few frustrating moments along the way when things didn't quite work the way they were supposed to, but mostly it was just a lack of experience on her part, not knowing how to fix some simple things beyond what the instructions of the book gave. Overall, I think she experienced some satisfaction seeing her webpage creation, and she has come up with several other ideas for various pages she would like to create, utilizing the knowledge gained from this program.

Even mom tried it out: I went through the entire book and created an "All About Me" webpage, complete with sound and animations, in a little over an hour. Granted, I have some limited experience with these things, but I still like the fact that a young person could easily get through this program and actually have tangible results pretty quickly! Even though I have some experience with blogging and computers, there was still a lot of little things I learned while going through this e-book, which fulfills my wish for thorough instruction when using a curriculum. It also gave me a degree of confidence that I might be able to step outside premade blogging templates and someday build a website of my own, because it really is fairly simple!

What I really appreciate: I have enjoyed the attention to details in this program. It seems to really attempt to have the student understand what they are doing, and learn skills that are transferable to other computer software and programming. I also like that Phyllis Wheeler seems to really care for the student as an individual. She promotes things like staying safe on the internet, and using reputable websites, and instructs the students on recognizing harmful files so that they do not download something that will ruin their computer. I also like the language that the book is written in. By that, I mean that it is enjoyable and easy to understand.

Things that are difficult: The coffee cup software is continually updating. Because of that, there will be some instructions in this book that will vary from what you see in your trial version of the program. We only found two minor glitches, but it probably means that this won't be a book that I can keep around and have Kelly go through in a few years. Also, the coffee cup software is only a short trial version. Just about the time that you get really used to using it, and start really taking off with your webpage building, your trial runs out, and you have to make a decision about either purchasing the program, or finding a different program to take your newfound knowledge to, and start over again. We also had some difficulties using the Visual Site Designer program, which had nothing to do with this e-book or curriculum, but added some frustration to the entire review process.

How to purchase: Let's Make A Webpage! can be purchased from the Motherboard Books Website for $19.95. You will receive the book in a format that you can download to your computer.

Final thoughts: I think this is a program worthy of consideration if you have a middle school student who is very interested in computers, and is motivated to learn how to build their own website. I love the thorough training as well as the emphasis on creativity. The student who used it here is not particularly interested in computers, but she was well able to understand the material and did enjoy the program. I will be looking into the Website ABC's program for my high schooler who is interested in learning web building but thought this program was too young for her.

A freebie: Along with the e-book, Motherboard Books sent along a free Internet Scavenger Hunt for the kids to complete, which is a fun way to learn how to find unusual facts on the internet. Who doesn't love a freebie??

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