Showing posts with label home schooling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label home schooling. Show all posts

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Looking back at homeschooling from the rear view mirror......and missing writing like crazy.

Lately, I have been thinking about almost obsessively. We've had some adorable little ones in our home lately, and it just pulls me back. I have no regrets at only having four boys, but I see my friends gushing over their grandkids and it's fresh in my heart. But that's not what I planned on writing about. 

Since my blog is called accidentally homeschooling, I think I need to speak to the ones who may be in the process of homeschooling. I have a million things to say but I'll try to condense it down... maybe a good old fashioned list.

1. My boys thank me...often...for homeschooling. As they figure out the world, who they are and where they are going, the conversation comes back to this. Thanks Mom. Oh that warms my heart. The moments when I was convinced I had chosen a crazy path and who did I think I was....are just lies. They truly are life long learners, always sharing with me something new they have learned.

2. Now that I work full time, I realize, I could have managed my time so much better. The kids grow so fast...cherish the times.

3. I've finally passed on most of my home school books. I kept thinking I'd save them just in case what?...someone asked me to teach their kids or I have grand kids. I won't be homeschooling my grandkids. I'll be eating sweets, indulging, shopping and taking them on trips. They won't be sitting on Nana's lap studying prepositions, history or quadratic equations. 

4. My oldest is getting married in October....Grandkids may be in my future.

5.  Paperboy owns his own home, is a landlord and is studying for his electrical exam. 

6. Random is a licensed real estate agent who is pursuing his dream. 

7. Only Little Guy is left at home. He's morphed into an amazing kid. My blog readers remember our struggles and the Feingold Diet. His high school education is outsourced, he plays sports, is in drama and competes in Martial arts.

8. Blogging was a great therapy to me, I am finally encouraged to come back to it. I have so many ideas swirling in my head.......keep subscribing. Let me know if you still read my blog, I'll be writing anyways, but having a reader or two will warm my heart,

Thanks for stopping by,    

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Confessional Post and a Guest

There are a few subjects I avoid when blogging. They include cooking, crafting and music. It's not that I can't cook, I just don't cook pretty foods or those blog worthy. Crafting hurts my brain, but I do admire the outcome. Last weekend my dear sister-in-law who attends a mega church told me I don't fit the mold of the homeschoolers she knows. I don't bake my own bread, if I did I would eat it in one sitting and have to create a weight loss blog., I don't have many kids, only 4, and they don't play multiple instruments. My idea of music education is using Zeezok study guides. When it comes to music, well, let's just say, I'm not qualified. So I'll leave that to the experts.

GUEST POST by Rebecca Fuller of

A Little Creativity Matters

I have spent mountains of time teaching music to children of all ages.  I LOVE it.  But, let me tell you something I’ve noticed... I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

Although I have spent 25 years working with other people’s children, I have also home-taught my own children to high levels of proficiency in music.  They were even actually professionally performing from age 6.  All this aside... I want to share my secret-sauce with you.

Kids don’t like to be bored to death.  And, I don’t like to be bored either.  So, when it’s time to come up with a 20 minute practice session all centered around the b minor Suite, my creative juices start flowing like a river.

I use story-telling, imagery, and tangible fun to accomplish amazing feats of education in short bursts of time.  Kids eat it up - because it doesn’t last too long.  And, I, as the home-educator leave the session rejuvenated and full of peppy-zest.
Successful home-learning takes positivity and enthusiasm.  These are things I choose very carefully for my own children, as I’m sure you do as well.
I’ve taken my love for teaching online and am currently helping hone musical skills in all ages around the globe.

Care to join me?  I’d love to give you some secret flute-sauce.  :)

Rebecca Fuller

You can find Rebecca teaching online with passion and organized to the hilt at: where she helps all ages hone their musical skill by using the beautiful instrument flute in a step-by-step, affordable, online approach.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Our School Year, Changes and a Job Opportunity!

We are well underway with our home school new year. Here's what is on the agenda for this year:

Paperboy, who should really be named Sparky, embarked on his formal training. He attends his first Electrical Code and Theory class. This is a night class which is a requirement for him to obtain his journeyman's electrical license. He will need a gazillion code hours for this. O.K. maybe I am exaggerating. He needs 2000. This will take a while since he will be in class only 2 nights a week.
In addition to this course, he will be taking the basics:
Algebra 2, with Math-U-See
The One Year Adventure Novel, which so far is a hit.
All American History Volume 2
SAT Prep Genius
Balancing the Sword, my all time favorite Bible curriculum for High School
Apologia Biology, yes we have all of the supplies!
For arts, Sparky is loving a Shakespeare class which may require public presentation. This is somewhat new territory as his last roles have been non-speaking parts. He also has enjoyed a role in our church play in October. His most favorite continues to be art classes taught by another homeschool mom in her new studio. I've had the opportunity to take part and have enjoyed these immensely.

Random is continuing online using Monarch for the five subjects: English, Math, Science, History and Bible. This has greatly increased the harmony of our homeschool. I am less involved and he likes it that way. I love the record keeping aspect of this and the ability to track his progress. He used it last year and asked to do it for another year. In addition to Monarch, he will be writing his own novel with the One Year Adventure Novel, studying Proverbs, VocabAhead, and Rosetta Stone Spanish. He will continue art lessons, ice skating and his eternal quest to become a You tube sensation..

Little Guy is taking every opportunity to show off his italic cursive. I have been finding notes all over the house! He has really turned the corner with his reading and is devouring books!

I am thankful for this smooth start of this new school year. It's nice to be in a season of independence in our homeschooling. I have completed my final Old School House review and then I will be hanging up my homeschool review hat. I'll return to blogging for the sake of writing. My cup over flows with great products, it's time for someone else to enjoy the blessing of reviews. If this is something you may be interested in click here. But do hurry, the deadline to apply is October 31.

I will be posting a review of The Sparkle Box this week. Look forward to a give-away of a sweet Christmas storybook.

Stay safe this week.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Do you need help? Math 911 a TOS review

I must confess, I have posted many reviews this past year of online math programs. In fact I think as a new school year resolution, I will stop reviewing math products. So here is my final math program review for the school year. Random, who likes a lot of flash, said it seemed like an older program. He wanted the bells and whistles, but was disappointed. This to me is the strength of the program. It's math, not entertainment.

Math 911 is unique as an online program because it doesn't have any frills, prizes, game centers or rewards. It is what the name implies. It's simply math rescue, yet on a computer created by Professor Martin Weissman.

Who is Dr. Weissman?

Martin Weissman has been a math teacher for 49 years. He is an Orthodox Jew who observes the Sabbath and adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah. He sent his children to Parochial Jewish schools called Yeshivas. Interestingly, his two children also became Mathematics teachers.

Some great features about Math911 is the undistracting manner in which it is presented. Topics are arranged by chapter, section and levels. Within each level are various types of problems that identify the concepts that your students must know in order to be successful in Algebra including Graphs and Word Problems.

All problems are algorithmically generated. 

10 minute learning curve. 

Step by Step solutions. 

Only Free-form answers. 

Dynamic Grade reports on all screens. 

Needs no internet connection. 

Can be networked. 

Free Home Use For Teachers 

Free Upgrades 

Free Install on New PCs 

The best feature, in my opinion is the price. The complete Math911 program is available at for a discounted price of $49.95. That price includes Introductory Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, Statistics, Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus, including free tech support. This can be used for additional students in the family. This discounted membership also includes Algebra in a flash as seen below.

If you are skeptical, you can try a free download of the Introductory Algebra course from the website. I recommend this program for students who are ready to tackle pre-algebra and above.

Click here or below to see what other crew members thought of this thrifty math program.


As a member of the Old Schoolhouse Crew, I am given the opportunity to review many home school products. I am not paid or compensated for my reviews, I did receive this product for free in exchange for this honest review. 

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, a review

Growing up in a non-Christian home, my teenage years were not spent pondering the existence of God or comparing other beliefs. I often think of the difference of my growing up to the my own family and think about how many resources we have to equip our children to be "ready to give an answer when men ask you about the hope that is within you". Since my kids are homeschooled, they do not have to witness to their classmates or defend their faith. Yet now they find themselves in many more situations, less sheltered where they need to be able to stand and share with others. I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek, available at Apologia, will not only explore their own ideas, it will give them a solid background of other worldviews and strengthen their faith.

Who wrote is and what is it about?
I recieved a copy of the book, I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek and the companion workbook. One of the authors of the book, Frank Turek has a burden to see high school students remain in the faith after high school, his organization CrossExamined offers a television program and speaking engagements. Norman Geisler, the president of Southern Evangelical Seminary has spoken in all 50 states and 27 countries defending the faith. Together they have written what I consider a 'laymans' approach to Christian Apologetics. This easy to read, yet thorough approach is perfect for the senior high level students and adults. The workbook accompanies each chapter and engages the student. The lessons move the student from passive reading to analyzing their thoughts on each lesson. The workbook is divided into four sections which the student works through after reading each chapter.
  • Hook- This section will remind you what the chapter was about and often includes a few questions to warm up your brain. (Yes, my brain usually needs warming up.)
  • Book- This section takes you deeper into the specific issues covered in each chapter, unpacking the topics and testing your knowledge and comprehension with questions from the textbook. (This not just parroting answers, but well thought out questions.)
  • Look- In this section you don't just take the author's word for it. Check out the information presented in the book for yourself. It includes research assignments and other suggested activities and web sites.(there are great links to dig deeper.)
  • Took-This section summarizes the material and helps you apply the concepts you have studied to your life and witness for Jesus Christ. (Similar to an alter call or a call to action. If discussed with a group would add a nice sense of accountability).

My thoughts:

As Paperboy's junior year Bible curriculum, upon completion, it will be counted as a year's credit of Bible. While this curriculum is a great resource for my boys, I'd love to have them use it with a small group. The authors have taken what some may feel as a dry subject, breaking it down incrementally.
These resources are available at Apologia, the book for $16.00 and the workbook for $32.00. The book could stand alone, but I highly recommend using it as a set. My problem now is: I need two more workbooks for myself and Random. I Don't Have Enough Faith should not be consider only high school curriculum, anyone could and should benefit from this. Especially adults who are not confident as they witness to others.

Don't have faith in only my opinion, click the banner below to see what other crew members thought about this resource here.

As a member of the Old Schoolhouse Crew, I am given the opportunity to review many home school products. I am not paid or compensated for my reviews, I did receive this product for free in exchange for this honest review.  

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Friday, August 10, 2012

King Alfred's English: A review, a revelation and a promotion

When my son was enrolled in the Defensive Language Institute in Monterey, California, the Gman and I picked up these great t-shirts. On the front is the school logo and this witty saying is on the back.  And yes, I just fetched this from the hamper, grin.

I understood what it meant, but never really appreciated the logo until now. Lori White has given me a fresh appreciation for the history of our language.

As a member of the Old Schoolhouse Crew, I am given the opportunity to review many home school products. I am not paid or compensated for my reviews, I did receive this product for free in exchange for this honest review.

King Alfred's English: A History of the Language We Speak and Why We Should Be Glad We Do

Today's book review is King Alfred's English by Laurie White of I received an eBook which I downloaded on my Kindle app for my iPad. The book is available in hard copy here for $14.89. Since prices change, you may want to check at, Rainbow Resource, and Grace and Truth Books.

Laurie White spent 5 years working on this book, here she describes why she began this project:
I'm a homeschooling mom (kids are grown) and English major, who initially just intended to write a long article on the history of English. I knew I needed some kind of empty-nest-filler when the last of our 3 children graduated from our homeschool, and I had always wanted to put together something more substantial on the history of English than just the notes from my college class I'd used with my own kids. I thought it was a shame that this material was usually reserved for English majors when younger students might be fascinated with it too. I knew mine were!
My thoughts:

This books is a delightful, rich read. It offers a brief history of the world and how our language has evolved. She cover the many invasions and the results of each on the English language. While filled with history, her conversational tone and ability to weave in such a variety of facts makes this a terrific supplement to middle and high school English lessons. Paperboy, who loves history will be in for a treat this year. He loves to dazzle others with his various history trivia. This will offer him endless anecdotes. (WE INTERRUPT THIS POST FOR A CONFESSION>>>I am the one who read this book. Contrary to my children's opinion of me, I am a nice mother, who gives her children a summer break from home schooling.) I appreciate how Laurie clearly explained the history of the church and how we ended up with our Bible. Her style of writing is easy to read and is written in short sections. This will make it easy to break down into a weekly schedule using the free student pages.

My Revelations or Ten Things I learned:
  1. The original meaning of the word berserk.
  2. The Grimm brothers didn't just write some cool children's stories, they were philologists.
  3. Philologists are linguists who study written texts.
  4. Why the SAT's are more difficult to study in English.
  5. Who Dolly Pentreath is?
  6. Grammars rules and how I shouldn't be so hard on myself for breaking so many on my blog and in my daily life.
  7. What courriel is and that I have been doing it daily for years.
  8. The English toilets were named after the man Crapper, not the contents of the bowl
  9. A great site for word studies
  10. I have been butchering John Wycliff's name for years, it is pronounced WI-Cliff.

Knowing I sound sexist, but not really caring I need to say this.

This is a terrific book for boys. My boys. O.k. I am sure girls will love it too, but I need to say "Thanks Laurie, you have an understanding for boys and how to teach them, while captivating them."

It's obvious that Laurie has a vision to educate children on the history of English and the Bible. She generously offers teacher and student pages on her website to enhance the book. She reccomends movies, websites and resources that complement her book. She even offers chapter tests if we choose to use this a a curriculum for our students, which I highly suggest doing.

SSSSSSSSSS, I have a secret...
If This King Alfred's English sounds like a book you would enjoy, let me know. Send me an email and I will share a secret promotion with my most faithful readers. If you contact me within the next two weeks, I will email you a code which allows you to purchase your own copy at a discount rate.

If you are not yet convinced, see what other crew members thought about Laurie's book by clicking the banner below. It will take you to other reviews on this wonderful history book.

In case you skimmed over my disclaimer...
As a member of the Old Schoolhouse Crew, I am given the opportunity to review many home school products. I am not paid or compensated for my reviews, I did receive this product for free in exchange for this honest review. 
Thanks for stopping by,


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Zane Education, A review.

As member of the Schoolhouse review crew, I had the opportunity to try a membership to Zane Education. In exchange for the membership, I was obligated to share my opinions on my blog. I am not paid to say nice things, so read on for my thoughts of Zane Education.

What is Zane Education and what do I get if I join? 

Depending on the level of membership you get access to educational videos on demand, learning guides, lesson plans and study tools. In exchange for this review, I was provided with Gold membership for 12 months.

Zane education is a website designed to supplement curriculum and enhance lessons in any subject. The topics, lessons and grade levels are arranged by subject on the site. It was very easy to navigate and find a video on any particular subject.

Here are some things I liked about the site:
  1. I loved the variety of offerings. You can view short videos on so many subjects. Actually over 260 different topics. 
  2. The speakers in the videos speak slowly and the movies are not flashy, they use colorful photographs.
  3. The subtitles at the bottom highlight new vocabulary and important terms in the lesson. The subtitles are an excellent way to reinforce learning.
  4. The customer support was prompt. I forgot my password and it was quickly emailed to me.
  5. The arrangement of the topics made it easy to find any video.
A few things I didn't like:
  1. The math videos were inaccessible from the site. They belong to Kahn Academy and the link is broken.
  2. Some of the videos were not things I would share with my kids. For example the topic of teen pregnancy used a film covering a couple and their experience. Not only did the movie show this sad unmarried couple, it offered no hope or message of abstinence. It was tormenting watching it.
  3. Some films were boring. I love using videos to supplement lessons if possible, especially in science, but some reminded me of the old filmstrips I watched many moons ago as a child. 

I am thankful for the opportunity to try Zane Education, as I am planning for the next school year, I can see this will be part of our lessons in history and science. In years past, I had subscribed to a similar site, but the cost became prohibitive. Zane Education has many options that won't break your homeschooling budget:
  1. Free membership – access to the demo videos, ALL the math videos, and all the quizzes.
  2. Topic Taster – $5. a month- Same as free plus all the videos on one topic.
  3. Bronze – $8.99 a month or $98.89 a year – Same as free plus all videos by grade.
  4. Silver – $12.99 a month or $142.89 – Same as free plus all videos by subject.
  5. Gold – $17.99 a month or $197.89 – Same as free plus ALL the videos by topic, grade and subject. Plus the Christian Learning Guide and the Zane Home Learning Guide for free.
  6. The Zane Home Learning Guide and the Christian Learning Guide can be purchased for $49.95 or offered free with a one year subscription. 
  7. Zane Education is offering a 35% discount on the purchase of any annual 12-month Gold, Silver or BronzeMembership subscription through until the end of August 2012. Use Discount Promotion Code: ZE265HSM
Before you subscribe, I recommend you visit their site and try the free video of the day. Then click on the banner below to see what my crew mates have to say about Zane Education.


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Friday, June 22, 2012

Mind The Gaps With IXL: A Review

As member of the Schoolhouse review crew, I have had the opportunity to try IXL, an online math program. In exchange for a free membership, I was obligated to share my opinions on my blog. I am not paid to say nice things, so read on for my thoughts of IXL.
If you read my blog regularly, you will notice I have reviewed multiple online math programs. I must confess, I am really old-fashioned when it comes to math. I'm convinced it needs to be done with a pencil and an eraser on paper. As the student advances, there will be plenty of mental math, but always a pencil. You may have noticed my lack of gushing over online math programs. Until today. 

I have found a program that has everything I need to supplement or mind the gaps in my children's math education, at least up to the level of algebra. 

How so?
  • IXL is very user friendly, the sign up and sign in process took about a minute or two. 
  • The web site was easy to navigate. I can find my way quickly to the skills I would like my son to practice. 
  • I actually enjoyed playing it myself. Little Guy and I worked through some third grade math and he's pretty fast. We were racing each other, he would try to answer them orally before I began typing the answers.
  • The record keeping is clear. Skills, scores, timers and awards show tangible progress. The reports show areas for improvement, an invaluable tool for those preparing for standardized tests.

  • After little guy worked on his math, I received emails with links to print the certificate as he mastered skills. They also receive virtual prizes. Little Guy wasn't fooled by this, he decided he would rather have a real prize. Sorry son, hard work is it's own reward.
  • It is easy to customize, I can enter a personal picture of them as their user icon. Which I did after I downloaded this certificate.
  • The student can work at any level. Little Guy is in 2nd grade, so he felt some things were 'easy peesey lemon squeezy'. I solved that by moving him up a level. You can even hide the grade levels and the timers if they become a distraction.

  • The cost per student per year is reasonable. The first student is $79 per year and each additional student is $20 or $2 per month. The fact that each student can work on any grade skill makes this a bargain for families with math loving kids.

Click here to see what other crew members thought about this math program. Visit IXL and poke around their web site, this may be the right program to keep your kids dabbling in math over the summer. 


I'm so thankful we had a chance to try this program.
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Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Spelling Bees and Home Schoolers

I read with interest the story about the youngest contestant ever in the Scripps Howard Spelling Bee. Lori Anne Madison was actually rejected by a school for gifted and talented children. They recommended homeschooling because she was too bright to be challenged at the school.

The reporters were unable to capture her attention for an interview. It makes sense, she is only six years old. The best they could get was a chance to follow her around while she waded in a stream. She was catching worms. She is only six years old. She was crafty enough to avoid answering most of their questions regarding the upcoming Bee. She is only six years old. She boasted in her ability to argue with her parents. She is only 6 years old. She is torn between playing and planning her future career. She is only six years old. She complained that the media wasn't obeying her. She is only six years old.

At first I felt this article could increase positive impressions of home schooled children. By the end of the story, I felt sad for her parents. They accepted her non-stop arguing and her mom actually thought it was funny. Will it be funny when she is 14?

I know a friend whose child wasn't really gifted. This child just was pretty good at almost everything the child attempted. Not as gifted as the six-year old speller, but bright. Because of their abilities, the child was given a pass in some areas. This child felt comfortable correcting adults and began looking down on those with less superior intelligence. They were not called out enough for their rude behaviors. They were praised too often. The child believed in their own greatness and thought too highly of oneself. Most tragic, the child thought less highly of the One who deserves all honor and praise.

If I had a few minutes with her parents, I would urge them to not let her gifts excuse her from moral training. It's not too late, she is only six years old. Homeschooling is a tremendous opportunity to cater to our child's educational needs. More importantly, we can train our children in the way they should go.

If you are like me and a little obsessed with the Spelling Bee, here's two interesting movies you may like:

Spellbound I enjoying learning about the children and how their families helped them train.
Akelah and the Bee this is a fictional account, but worth seeing.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Post Testing Post...Just who or what are we testing?

Every year for the past 6 years, my boys have taken the Stanford Achievement Tests. Normally, it takes 6-8 weeks to receive the results back. This long turn around time creates a host of problems. My motives for testing my children are many, but the most important motive is planning the future. Waiting until the end of June to choose the next year's curriculum doesn't give me enough time. I miss the convention season to buy in a hands on setting, I miss the used curriculum sale and I have less time to read and plan for the next year.

Another problem it creates is the timing of when I submit the tests to our local school system. They were not pleased getting them the last week in June or the first week of July. They have their vacations to condsider.

This year things changed. BJU implemented a policy of posting their test results online. We had the results in two weeks. Of course I'm thrilled, but the OCD nature in me was disappointed that I don't have the exact form we have received every year. I won't have the experience of holding the previous test results and this year's results up to the window to see the changes in the bar graphs. I will actually have to interpret the data.

Here's how I analyze the results: I compare the scores from each year and see if there was a subject that has has a radical movement in either direction. I decide after that based on what materials we were using where I should place the blame or the credit. If they improved significantly, I pat myself on the back and say well done. If they experience a drop, I blame the publisher, the child or the alignment of the stars. Just kidding, Terri G. has never believed in such nonsense. I do decide if a change needs to be made.

This year, I was holding my breath on Random. I, against all that I hold true in my homeschooling philosophies, did what I thought I would never do: I enrolled him in Monarch, which is computer based online. I was convinced that nothing would stick. I didn't believe him when he said the load was more than he expected. I excused it with my favorite line. What did you expect in high school? Most high schoolers have 3 hours of homework each night. I wasn't confident he would learn anything. I knew he needed something different.

I was wrong. He rocked in geography, his science scores were great and his math improved. I decided he will be doing more reading this summer. Ninth grade Monarch did not include enough good literature for my taste. Sadly, Random just isn't the kid who picks up classics for the fun of it. They must be assigned.

Paperboy, on the other hand, is caught red-handed reading much more. His scores reflect it. My goal of raising a reader has been met.

I remember my reactions to their test scores in the past.
How could you do so poorly in .................? I invested so many hours teaching this to you. I had recieved poor marks on my teaching. I took things personal. I decided there was a reason it was called Easy.........It was easy to forget. 
I wondered how a 5th grader could score post high school on something one year and on grade level the next. I decided he must not have lined up his bubble sheets correctly. 
I knew I could work really hard and help him bring up his spelling. It always went up, but just one grade level each year, just like him. When he shows up to wire a house, will they ask him how to spell superfluous? I think not, but he will know what it means thanks to his love for reading.
I reminded myself that successful test takers were not necessarily good students or citizens for that matter. I got over the homeschool mother test anxiety. 
This morning, I was not surprised, but a little disappointed. Then I moved on with our day. When the Gman came home and we went over the tests, I saw them with new eyes. He was pleased. All is well. The principal has spoken.

Next year will have some changes: The One Year Adventure Novel will replace English on the computer. The boys will work together again on a few things. Paperboy will pick up a class online and his electrical work experience will increase. Random will have less time in front of the screen and more time with a pencil in his hand. It's been a great year. And now much to their dismay, they can start right away on the areas that weren't in the 90th percentile. Oh what a blessing it is to get the results so quickly.

How about you, do you suffer from homeschool mom test anxiety? Do you even test your children? I posted my dilemma this year in March about testing. I was on the fence,but I am glad we did.

My advice about the test anxiety spoken in a Boston accent.


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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Amazing Science! Volume 1 DVD's, A Review

Homeschool Confession Time:

I am not always organized in the area of science. In fact, one of my children spent a month waiting for me to buy the ingredients for his science experiment. Because we do not belong to a co-op, science experiments have always fallen on me, so they don't always happen in a timely manner. Today's product is fantastic to ease the mother guilt of skipping the experiments. In the early years, a membership to the Boston Museum of Science, blocked out those guilty pangs. Now, I have the ability to expose my kids to 23 great experiments with a rocket scientist from NASA. 

As a member of the TOS Homeschool crew, this year I am reviewing many homeschooling products that I have received for free. I am not paid to say nice things about the products, but I am obligated to use the products with my boys and share my honest opinions with you. I had the pleasure of Sharing Amazing Science with Little Guy and his friends.

Amazing Science! Volume 1

What is it?
Amazing Science is a video of 23 fascinating experiments performed by scientist Jason Gibson. These experiments use common household items and the students are taken step by step through each one.

What did we like about it?

  1. Jason Gibson presents the experiment in a simple clear manner. There is nothing distracting, each experiment is in the same place with the same format.
  2. He performs the experiment and then slowly reviews it while giving the scientific explanation for the reactions in basic terms. The material was above the 4 to 7 year olds, but they hung onto his every word.
  3. I love his accent and gentle voice, I could listen all day to his lessons.
  4. Little Guy could not get enough of this. He was thrilled when he realized there were two DVD's.
  5. When we watched it with his friends, he kept saying "Watch this, it's so cool." I loved hearing his excitement for the science.
  6. We can do the experiments if I choose or just watch the movie. I don't feel bad for forgetting the items at the store.
  7. The price. For under $20, I can teach chemistry, physics, electricity and magnetism. For $17.99, you can download all of the experiments to your computer. If you are someone who likes having the DVD, it is currently on sale for $19.99 plus shipping.

As always, don't take my word for it, see what other crew members thought of this mom friendly product here.

Thanks for stopping by,

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

God's Great Covenant or I Changed My Mind! A review.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool crew, this year I am reviewing many homeschooling products that I have received for free. I am not paid to say nice things about the products, but I am obligated to use the products with my boys and share my honest opinions with you.

Today's review is another product from Classical Academic Press. I have previously reviewed two other great homeschool resources from this company, The Art Of Argument and Latin Alive

I have always believed the Bible should be studied in the younger years as a family time with the Bible, prayer, and discussion. In our personal Bible time, my children listened, colored, discussed, memorized and studied the lives of missionaries. I am generally opposed to teaching Bible doctrine and history with a workbook until the older years. I entered into this review with a negative view of turning learning God's word into an academic subject.

With my personal convictions aside, I would like to share my unbiased opinions about God's Great Covenant with you.

Classical Academic Press is committed to teaching children the Bible. Below is their approach to teaching the Word of God to children.

Teaching the Bible to young children can be a large task, and is often divided up into many small stories. However, if you would like to teach your students the truly big picture of the Bible, and show them how God has been at work in his people since before creation, you will find God’s Great Covenant to be a unique, surprising, and excellent Bible curriculum. The Bible, taught chronologically, by means of simple and direct stories, chants, and meditation on God’s character define God’s Great Covenant. Even many adults find themselves learning new facts, making surprising connections, and being blessed by reminder of God’s faithfulness, and how he always keeps his promises. Taught from a covenantal and reformed theological perspective, and rooted in Scripture, you will find this series to be a blessing to your classroom or family.

God's Great Covenant, New Testament 1 is a Bible course for children in grades 2 through grade 6 covering the life of Christ. This biblically sound study is broken down into four themes and contains 36 lessons designed to last a whole school year. The New Testament is taught classically, using a variety of methods to solidify the student's understanding of the life of Christ. The student workbook is very appealing with larger print, various short exercises and great illustrations. The author introduces 'Simon', a Jewish boy from Jareth during the time of Christ. This story helps bring the students into the lives of those people who were anxiously waiting for the Messiah. This is what hooked Little Guy, he loves to hear about other children, fictional or real.

The student first reads the introductions and learns the memory work. The next day they read the story or better yet, they listen to the MP3 audio. Next, they complete the exercises in their own workbook. The activities vary greatly. There is map work, who said it?, key facts, think about it, important truths, story facts, crosswords, where did it happen? and other questions. I love the simplicity, yet the thoroughness of the study.  The teacher's guide is so full of commentary and details, I am amazed at how much background, I don't know. You can see the index and a sample of the student book here and the teacher's guide here.

For the early grades, I would suggest doing most of the workbook orally, but from third grade on, this is an excellent program. I wish I had known about this program when Paperboy and Random were younger. It's structure reminds me of an excellent history program we used. But this is not just Bible events, there are personal challenges and application of God's Word throughout the lessons.

For someone who was opposed to Bible seatwork, I have definitely had a change of heart. God's Great Covenant is an appealing program that would work well in a home school or Sunday school setting. Once again Classical Academic Press lives up to their motto; Classical Subjects Creatively Taught. We're looking forward to other Bible courses such as God's Great Covenant, the Old Testament.

You can purchase God's Great Covenant Student Guide for $26.95, the Teacher's Guide for $29.95, and the MP3 download for $9.95 at Classical Academic Press. I recommend the bundle package for $56.95.
Of course, don't take my word for it, see more reviews at the crew blog.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. The opinions in this post are my own.   

Thanks for stopping by,  

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Write With World: A New Writing Program


As a member of the TOS Homeschool crew, this year I am reviewing many homeschooling products that I have received for free. I am not paid to say nice things about the products, but I am obligated to use the products with my boys and share my honest opinions with you. When I was offered a chance to review a writing program that was published by World News, I jumped at the chance. 


Before Dave Ramsey showed up in our household, I was a regular subscriber to many magazines. World was my all time favorite news magazine. It was the one that our whole family enjoyed. In fact, Little Guy is the only fortunate one to still get God's World, the kids version of it. Since I loved the content of their magazines, I had great expectations for their writing program. I was not disappointed, and neither was Paperboy. To him, it was a welcomed respite from another program that he had grown weary of.

Write With World has a vision for their writing curriculum. I am in complete agreement with this.
"Write With World aims to produce young writers who love writing, can write effectively, and intelligently share ideas, beliefs, and their worldview. We hope to support a generation of young believers who aspire to use their writing skills in the service of God's kingdom and explain effectively the reason for their beliefs."
Write With World is designed for middle school students. Paperboy, being in tenth grade, found this easy, interesting and is completing it at a much faster pace. Before you gasp in horror that he is using a program for younger students, don't worry, he is writing and enjoying the process. In addition to using this program, he is writing a story on his own, for the simple joy of writing. He has turned the corner from a reluctant writer, to a student who writes daily without being prodded. Mom is happy!

Write with World artfully draws the students in, assigns writing in small bites called capsules and prompts fantastic discussions about the writing process. I feel this curriculum would work wonderfully with boys who don't necessarily have a long attention span or a love for writing. This program will teach your children important critical thinking skills. Home school parents can feel confident teaching the mechanics of writing because of the thoroughness of the curriculum. As they challenge students to craft their writing, they cover fundamentals without drill.


Just what do you get with this writing program?
For $95 you receive a student workbook, and a teachers guide. You will need a notebook for the student's writing. You also will have access to a support forum, student samples. This is designed to be a one-year program, a second year is already available. You can order this great curriculum here.

If this program sounds like something that would work for your family, see the sample lesson. Or better yet, see what other crew members had to say about their experiences with the program. They have tried this with a variety of students ranging from 4th grade to high school level. 

Thanks for stopping by,

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. The opinions in this post are my own.       
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Friday, April 6, 2012

Amazing Animals by Design: A review

As a member of the TOS Homeschool crew, this year I am reviewing many homeschooling products that I have received for free. I am not paid to say nice things about the products, but I am obligated to use the products with my boys and share my honest opinions with you. Little Guy was the fortunate participant this time.

Amazing Animals by Design by Debra Haagen

Debra Haagen is a fellow homeschool blogger on the TOS review crew. I received a download version of this book to review that sells for $7.95. On April 1st it became available in hard copy for $8.95 from Tate Publishing.

I read Amazing Animals by Design to Little Guy as a bed time story. Because it was a downloadable book, I loaded onto my iPad. It had the special honor of being my first book read on my iPad. The only downfall on the iPad is I could only show one page at a time. On my laptop, I could share the pictures, while reading the words. 

This book explains the concept of intelligent design to young children in a story format. I really wish I had this book when Random and Paperboy was younger. They were forever encountering early reader books that stressed evolution in the first few pages of their books. It distracted them from the content and credibility of the book.

Animals by design shares amazing facts about animals while telling the story of two friends visiting the zoo. With it's simple illustrations, this book is meant for pre-school through third grade. Little Guy was captivated by it. He enjoyed every little detail that proved the custom making of each animal it featured. We laughed at the tricky ostrich. I felt it was perfect for his age group. It would make a great birthday gift.

Debra Haagen has stepped into the area where there have been gaps in this genre of children's books. She can be followed on facebook, or her blog. As a Christian book hoarder, I'm looking forward to her next book.

See what other crew members had to say about Amazing Animals by Design here.
Thanks for stopping by,


Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. The opinions in this post are my own.

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