Monday, July 20, 2009

Web Design for Kids (and Curious Grown Ups!)



‘Web Design for Kids (and Curious Grown Ups!)’ arrived shortly after I had spent 2 days floundering away tweaking the code on my blog template. During those 2 days I said to myself several times that I really needed to learn html so I could actually understand what I was doing.

Enter Web Design for Kids (and Curious Grown Ups!). This program leads you through the steps of creating a simple webpage using html. It starts by teaching you the 10 basic lines of code then shows you how to further enhance your webpage with color, fonts, pictures and other features. No, it doesn’t tell you how to apply the techniques to your blog, and I would use a different method to create an actual website. But it does open the door of understanding so that the world of html is easier to navigate.

The instruction is clear and easy to follow. He even shows you what happens when you make a mistake and what to look for to fix it. It was really fun to see the features appear on our screen as we completed the steps described on the DVD.

This DVD is very basic but serves its purpose of introducing html to children or anyone who may be intimidated. I would think it could be used by anyone who can navigate a keyboard. If you want to learn more advanced techniques, Volume 2 is scheduled to be released this fall.

Click Drag Solutions has a summer special running for $19.99 plus $3.99 S/H. Check their website for further details. It does come with a money back guarantee. The website also states that a portion of all funds generated by the DVD ‘Web Design for Kids (...and Curious GrownUps!)' will be distributed to the following five charities: The Smile Train, Ronald McDonald House, Children’s Miracle Network, Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, and the American Foundation for the Blind.

I enjoyed watching the DVD, but the highlight was watching my 12-year-old daughter go through the DVD and create her very own webpage. She is now excited to learn further html programming. This DVD is a good starting point for young beginners. Read here to see what others recommend.

Disclosure:This product was provided to our family for free as members of the 2009-2010 Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew. No further compensation was received. Reviews and opinions expressed in this blog are my own.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Grapevine Studies

Grapevine Studies

OT Beginner Student eBook (50 lessons) $19.95
Teacher eBook $15.95

My plan for th
e year is finally settled. I will officially be teaching 3 students this fall, and I know what direction I want to go with each of them. What a great feeling! But here comes the icing on the cake. Grapevine Studies, one of the vendors I am reviewing, has an Old Testament Overview which fits exactly with my kindergarten Bible and history plans. Super neat! My 5-year old-daughter is excited too. As she was looking over my shoulder at the teacher e-book I had just downloaded, she exclaimed, "I want them all! I want them all!" I was glad to see her enthusiasm as I, too, liked what I saw.

Grapevine Studies is a Bible study program that utilizes
timelines and stick figures to learn about people and events. Their studies teach foundational Bible facts while leaving application to the teacher. The material can be used in Sunday schools, homeschools, and even for personal study. It is currently used in a wide variety of denominations on five continents.

Several topics are available from which to choose. For the Old and New Testament Overviews there are 6 skill levels ranging from beginner to adult. Each level covers the same basic information but adds more Scripture reading, memorization, and study skills to each level. Basic Bible geography is included in Levels 3 and 5. Levels 4 and 5 include the use of study books. Multi-level studies are available on Biblical Feasts, the Birth of Christ, Esther, and Old Testament Basics (utilizing the catechism). The GrapeVine FAQs explains the differences between the levels and what reference materials you will need. Their website also has samples of each study.

From Beginner to Level 4, there is a teacher guide and a student workbook for each study. Level 5 studies are self-contained in the student book. If you are teaching multiple levels, the Level 3/4 Teacher Guide can be used with Levels 1-4. One great feature of the teacher guides is that it has pictures drawn for you. You are free to use completely different drawings, but for me this feature is a great help as I am very unartistic.


  • Each book is available in print or ebook form.
  • The teacher ebook is in color.
  • The printed teacher book can be purchased in color or black and white.
  • Both the student printed and ebooks are black and white.
  • The printed student books are single use whereas the ebooks may be copied for your immediate family's use.
  • Group and classroom pricing is also available.

I decided to use this product with my 5-year-old daughter as I felt it would be the best fit. Grapevine is written in such a way that you can combine children of many different ages. However, I felt that trying to teach more than one student at this point would be too much and I would not do the program justice. Once I decided on using the Old Testament Overview with my kindergartner, I needed to decide what level to start her with. She is already reading quite well and has great small motor skills. So I decided that level one would be the best place to begin. Levels one and two are included in the same student book and start out with an overview of the time period utilizing a timeline. Then you go back and study each person and event on the timeline. For each lesson you study the current material, answer the review questions, create a character or event card, and study the lesson's Bible verse. (Level 2 includes additional memorization.) After the initial lesson, you begin your day with a timeline and verse review before moving on to the new material. There are 8 cumulative reviews throughout the study including a final timeline and Bible verse review.

Now that you have a brief picture of Levels 1/2, let me tell you what happened with my daughter. As I started having her draw her pictures onto the timeline in the initial Level 1 lesson, I could tell that she did not understand at all what we were doing. I debated on skipping the initial timeline and just slowing down the remainder of the material. Perhaps she would catch on in time. But I knew I did not want to tweak material, as my plate is already full with preparing for our upcoming school year. So I dropped back to the Beginner level which is proving to be a much better fit. The Beginner level does not have the timeline or the character/event cards. It focuses on teaching the events and people and does so at about 1/2 the pace of the higher levels. Memory verses and review questions are still included. It would be quite easy to adapt the older material for a younger student but my brain needed straight forward and I am very glad I decided to step back a level. I would suggest determining the correct level by your student's attention span and his or her prior knowledge of the Bible.

I really like how The Grapevine Studies are set up with the initial overview, the spiraling review, the geography (levels 3 & 5) and the research (levels 4 & 5). I can see these studies being a benefit even to a non-drawer, who is perfectly free to use text instead of pictures to reinforce the topics.

I encourage you to read what my Crew Mates have to say about Grapevine.


GrapeVine Studies is offering a 30% discount on all their books until August 15th. Just enter the code "jcrew" when you order. I hope you enjoy these studies as much as we are.

Disclosure:This product was provided to our family for free as members of the 2009-2010 Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew. No further compensation was received. Reviews and opinions expressed in this blog are my own.

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