Deadliest Sea by Kalee Thompson: A Book Review

Deadliest Sea Book ReviewFor a few years, I was an avid Deadliest Catch fan.  I couldn’t believe how dangerous the job could be.  Getting a foot caught in the line when throwing out the nets could mean going overboard and drowning.  Then there are the frigid waters, the huge swells, the crab pots shifting on the boat.  No thanks!  But I enjoyed the suspense and drama.

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When the kids and I went to the library, I saw Deadliest Sea by Kalee Thompson sitting on the recently returned shelf.  What a good find!

This non-fiction book documents one of the Coast Guard’s most dramatic and dangerous rescues.  In the spring of 2008, the fishing vessel Alaska Ranger starts filling with water.  They are far out to sea, many hours away from rescue.  All 47 crew members get on deck and don their “Gumbi” suits, which are supposed to keep the frigid water off their bodies and out of their noses and mouths.

Obviously, waiting for rescue on the boat is much better than waiting in the water, so the crew waits.  Then, suddenly, the boat’s electricity goes out and the boat jerks into reverse.  At that moment, the boat begins to turn on its side.  The captain orders the men to abandon ship, but that’s not so easy to do on a boat that is listing.  It’s the middle of the night, winds are howling at over 35 miles per hour, and there is a snow squall surrounding them.

This intense story then documents the heroic efforts of both the rescuers and some of the Alaska Ranger’s crew members.  The tension in the story is high, and on more than one night, I stayed up later than I should have just to read what happened next.

The book also highlights how many fishing companies regularly skimp on safety precautions, often at the cost of their workers’ lives.

If you like shows like the Deadliest Catch, you’ll enjoy this book.  The only difficulty I had with it was that there were so many people on the boat and so many rescuers that I had trouble keeping all of the names and people straight.  I wish there had been a picture for each person mentioned so I could develop their image further in my mind.

4.5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.

My School Year: TOS Crew Review Review

After our busy semester last semester, I’m trying to make things easier on myself and the kids by not only reducing our “busy-ness” but also planning more.  To help me on that end, I tried out My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping). has tried to make things easy on busy parents by offering a variety of ways to track your homeschool work.  This will likely be especially helpful to parents who live in highly regulated homeschool states and parents who want to keep precise track of their high school students’ grades, attendance, and work completed.

What Does My School Year Include?

My School Year offers three main branches you can utilize:

  • Organizing Tools (help you track attendance, grades, and lesson plans)
  • Tracking, Review, Reporting (helps you track items like volunteer hours, reading logs, standardized tests, AND you can create transcripts and report cards, among other items)
  • Support & Security (offers both phone and e-mail support and offers security via SSL)

If you’re interested in trying My School Year, you can sign up for free for a one month trial.

Who Is My School Year Best For?

My School Year is best for the groups I mentioned in the intro.  However, those who prefer electronic tools and have a smartphone may enjoy using My School Year.  I imagine this tool also works well for people who like to lay out their homeschool year weeks or months in advance.  (I know some people who map out their whole homeschool year before it even starts.  I’m in awe of them!)  Conversely, it would also be a great tool for those who aren’t organized and are seeking to become more organized and create a plan to follow.

What I Liked about My School Year

Let’s be honest.  Homeschooling, working part-time from home, doing Crew reviews, and cooking and cleaning in addition to driving kids to extracurricular activities can make for a busy life.  I often forget to mark down my kids’ achievements.  I love that My School Year sends out reminders so you remember to do these items.Reminders

When you enter events, you have a record of all the things your child did during the year.  These can include contests, field trips, conferences, speaking events, performing arts or others.  In addition, you can add details about the item so you’ll remember.  This is especially important if the event happened at the beginning of the year and you’re trying to remember specifics at the end of the year.Reminders

Another nice feature is that if your lessons follow in a predictable pattern, then you can easily and quickly repeat the plans so that you don’t need to enter each and every one separately, which is a great time saver!

Finally, the feature that I think many parents who homeschool high schoolers will enjoy is the transcript generator which produces professional looking transcripts.


Improvements I’d Like to See

While My School Year had plenty of reminders and how-to e-mails, I would have found it invaluable to have a video that explained to me how to set up my planner and how to get the most use from it.

My Final Thoughts

My School Year can be a very good resource.  However, I realized once again during this review period that as much as I like the idea of an electronic planner, I’m very old school and prefer paper and pencil planners.  If you’re not old-fashioned like I am, this might be the perfect planner for you!

Keep up with My School Year via social media:

Twitter  @MySchoolYearWeb

I was one of 80 people to review My School Year.  To read more reviews, click on the link below:

Homeschool Record Keeping { Review}

Crew Disclaimer

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