Welcome Friends!

Welcome to Harbor Lights! We are so excited you have stopped by. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Standard Deviants Accelerate – Review

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
The Company 

Standard Deviants Accelerate is an online learning tool.  It was born out of the idea of taking the Standard Deviants videos and turning them into a complete learning package.  It was designed as a supplement tool for middle and senior high school students.  Their videos approach learning with a dash of humor to increase student interest in the learning process.  The use of humor and snappy video helps the student to retain the information as well.  Each subject approaches learning with the idea to continue to build and reinforce the material being taught in that subject area.  As technology has grown so has what SD has been able to offer first with VHS and now online streaming and class structure.

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review

The Product

Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses offers the next step.  First the classes were offered to school and now they are being offered to the homeschool community.  There are a variety of courses offered.  Each course has its own recommended age range starting with some basic mathematics for the those as young as third grade through AP classes for those finishing up high school.

SDA at Our House


#standarddeviants #onlinelearning

Our family is currently testing out 3 of the offered courses.  Joshua is doing Chemistry and Hannah is working Nutrition and Earth Science.  Each of the courses are set up in similar fashion.  When the student logs in they will see the “table of content” and they will work through each lesson.

#sda #standarddevieants #onlinelearning

Each lesson is set up with a set of tabs that they work through until they complete the lesson with a quiz.  There are suggested written and group work as well.  We didn’t do any of the group work because I only had one child taking each course.  I did have them do some of the written work either as a written assignment or as a discussion point.  The first tab for each lesson has the video portion for that lesson.  The transcript can be scrolled through on the side or it can be printed out to aid in note taking.  Notes can also be taken directly on the screen, saved, and printed out.  The vocabulary tab not only provides the definition of the words for review but also has a speak button so that you can hear how the words are pronounced.  The diagram tab gives students a hands ou assignment similar to a worksheet that might be done in a typical classroom.  The Quiz tab gives the students a chance to show what they have learned for this lesson.  When they submit their answers they get immediate feedback so they know that they missed and they can also click to go back to the corresponding place in the video to review the information.  The Written Answer tab has the students think about the topic and how it relates to the big question being asked.  Again, they can type their answer into the space provided.  Then they can save and print out their response.

#sda #standarddeviants #teacher #onlinelearning

For the teacher you can sign in and from there you have different options.  You can view the lessons for any classes you have assigned and even take the quizzes but your score will not be recorded.  Under the grading tab you can check the progress of your student including which lessons they have completing and their score for each quiz.  There is also an over all grade for the whole class.  And rubric for grading the critical thinking questions is also provided to help you grade your child’s response to the questions.  You can also use the start grading section to add your score for the written assignments.  There are also several videos on the website to help you in using the program.

Learning Fun with Standard Deviants Accelerate

#standarddeviants #standarddeviantsaccelerate #hsreview #math #scienceSo far I have really enjoyed being able to use SDA.  Since I am at work during part of the day it is nice to know that my children can get online and accomplish their school independently.  I can easily go in see what they have accomplished each day.  We encountered one problem with Joshua during the review with his quiz stores not storing and recording.  I contacted customer service by email and they got back with me right away.  Turns out he wasn’t hit the submit button at the end of the quiz because he didn’t release that was where he so supposed to click since it said “Through it at the Wall and See if It Sticks.”  I was impressed by how quickly someone responded and that they weren’t bothered by our own silly mistake.

One thing to remember is that while you can retake the quiz the first submission is the one that will be recorded.  As a homeschooling I would like the option to be able to reset the score after I had my child retake the lessons because I like to have them work through mastery and not just keep moving on regardless of the score but it isn’t that big of a problem.  The other thing I would like to see that in addition to the lesson and score for the each assignment completed online I would like to be able to see have the date available as well so that I could use that information in their portfolio’s.  I also loved that their answers and notes could be recorded and saved in within the program which makes for easy retrieval and no lost papers.

I found the program easy to use as a parent and other than Joshua’s one glitch found that it was easy for my kids to get online and complete each lesson.  Both of them remarked how easy it was to use and both of them liked that fact that each lesson was contained on a page with the different tabs to  move through.  Joshua really liked how the humor made the topics interesting and fun to learn from.

We had some interesting discussion at the dinner table as both of them shared what they were learning.

Standard Deviants Accelerate Facts

The Standard Deviants Accelerate is for grades 3 through 12.  The recommended grade level is provided on the class listing page.

The price for the SDA Homeschool Course will be $99 per student – per core curriculum course and they student will have up to a full year to complete the course work.  You can also choose to pay $24.95 a month.  Currently the AP course are only offered for a month fee of $14.95.

Check Out More Reviews

Check out the graphic below to see the experience other families had with Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Course.

Click to read Crew Reviews
#disclaimer #reviewcrew

Share Button

Y is for Yellow Ball – ABC Blogging

ABC Blogging – Getting to The End

Can you believe we are up to the letter Y.  It has been a lot of fun working through the alphabet and finding books to go with each letter. Watch for a fun wrap up at the end of this series.

Join in with the ABC Blogging Fun

Take a few minutes to comment here or on other social media.  Use the link below to add your own contribution.

Y is for Yellow Ball

YYellowBall copyYellow Ball by Molly Bang is a simple little story with soft little pictures.  It is a cute little story of a yellow ball that gets lost, spends time at sea, and finds a home at the end.  With small children you can talk about balls and circles or maybe explore the color yellow.  If you are planning a trip to the beach you can talk about the different ways people can play at the beach.  You can talk about the emotions of losing and then finding something.  And of course you can talk about the weather as you look at the pictures of the storm at sea.

If you can’t find a copy of the book at your local library I found a You Tube video where the book is being read. You can learn more about the book from Molly Bang’s website on the Yellow Ball page.  Of course Pinterest has a great page full of different ideas.  If you decided to use this book as part of a study of the letter Y you might want to use some of the ideas found on Delightful Learning’s website.  Check out Lessons with my Little Ones to get more ideas for using this book with your homeschooling.

Check out the Graphic Below to Find More ABC Blogging

It has been interesting to see so many different ideas that have come just from blogging using the alphabet as a starting point.


Ben and Me
Share Button

Apologia – iWitness Books – Review

Apologia Review

The Company

Apologia Educational Ministries has been known for their excellent science courses. Over the years more and more products have been added to their product line to help families have a variety of products to enhance their schools.  Their materials all represent a biblical worldview.  Now in addition to their great science products they have added other books to encourage and inform all members of the family.

The Product – iWitness

Our family reviewed the three new books in the iWitness book series.  We reviewed Old Testament iWitness, New Testament iWitness, and iWitness Biblical Archaeology all written and designed by Doug Powell.  Currently there are two other books in the series.

All three books feature the look of a research notebook.  The font looks like handwriting.  Each page layout looks like a collection of notes, sketches, artwork, and photos.  Each book features several topics most typically covered in 1-2 pages with a few covering up to 4 pages.  The design of each cover also reflects the theme of the book.  Each book also includes bibliography and information on the images used in the book.

Apologia Review

The Old Testament iWitness book covers topics such as manuscripts, copying, and the canon to name just a few.  Readers will learn how the Old Testament of our Bible is the same and how it differs from the Jewish Bible.  We also learn the journey the Old Testament took from the original Hebrew Bible to the English language Bible we have today.  The different sections of the Old Testament including the Prophets and minor prophets, even the Apocrypha is discussed.

Apologia Review

New Testament iWitness covers the canonization of the New Testament and information on the different councils that meet to discuss what should be included in the New Testament.  You also have the chance to learn about some interesting and important early theologians.  Like the Old Testament we learn about the evolution of the New Testament from manuscripts and copies to the New Testament we have today.

Apologia Review

iWitness Biblical Archaeology gives a great look at different biblical topics and well as the regions where the actions of the Bible took place.  The books opens with a discussion of the Flood including legends from other cultures.  Of course Egypt and its sights are covered because of the role it played in more than one biblical event.  Finds from Jerusalem are covered as well as Old and New Testament history.  Of course we learn more about the Dead Sea Scrolls and other old Bible copies.  The book also covers Jesus’ world and other New Testament locations.  The book concludes with a discussion on the possibility of a burial shroud for Jesus.

Using iWitness Books 

#hsreview #iWitness #bible #apologia #oldtestement #newtestement #biblicalarchaeology At our house I assigned the books at 4 pages per day for each child.  Both Joshua and Hannah read through the books.  At the time of this review Hannah has read New Testament and Biblical Archaeology.  Joshua read through Biblical Archaeology and the Old Testament book.  The plan is for them to each read the third book that they haven’t read yet.  Both of them read the books on their own.  I also glanced through all three books myself.

iWitness Opinion

I found the books wonderful to look through.  They are very appealing to look at and really draw your entrance starting with the cover and carrying through the whole book.  The small little “notes” made reading through the book easy.  The graphics including enhance both the interest and understanding of the material included.  While these books would be great to use during a family devotional time I loved how I was able to just hand them to my children to read on their own.

Both of my children enjoyed the books they read.  Both comment on the fact that they liked the layout of the books and found the little bites of information easy to read and yet full of information.

iWitness Facts

The iWitness books can be used with a variety of ages depending on the level of the students using the books.  The reading level itself would be for students ages 11 and up.  The books are purchased separately.  Each one is $14.  The books are paperbacks with thick and sturdy covers and high gloss quality paper.

More iWitness Reviews

Just click the graphic below to see how other families used the iWitness books in their home.


Click to read Crew Reviews

#disclaimer #reviewcrew

Share Button

X is for Xander’s Panda Party – ABC Blogging

ABC Blogging Was Tough This Week

I really had to dig around to a find a book for X this week but I found one and it was a lot of fun to learn about.

Join the Fun with ABC Blogging

You can join in the fun by commenting here or at other social media outlets or by adding your contribution by checking out the link at the end of this post.

X is for Xander

#x #abcblogging #books #panda #party X is for Xander’s Panda Party by Lisa Sue Pak.  It tells the story of a little Panda who wants to have a party.  He is the only panda at the zoo so he decides to invite all the bears to join in his party.  But Koala lets Panda know that she’s not a bear.  So Panda decides to widen the circle he starts with all mammals and ends up inviting all creatures.  This book is geared for younger children but you could use it with older children and expand it with the Bible story of the banquet where people can’t come and the king must widen his circle.  You can use it as a starting point for your own family’s party planning as well.  And you could always using it as the starting point in a study of animal classification.

One article I read suggesting watching the book trailer on You Tube and making up your own book trailer for this or other books.  (If you do this and post it I would love for you to leave a link for me to check it out.)  Check out the author’s website to learn about Linda Sue Pak and her other works.  The San Diego Zoo has a panda cam where you can check out what the panda’s at the zoo are doing.  Teaching Books.net also has other links for you to check out.

ABC Blogging The Link Up


Ben and Me
Share Button