Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lesson plans made easy

I have found a great way to lesson plan during the holiday season and really any season.

Yes it is that simple. has a Dailies section that has a little of everything. Currently I use Spelling and Grammar daily, the  Daily Math twice a week, Daily Writing at least once a week, and This Day in History a few times a week. I also pull our History and Science from

I use The Old Schoolhouse Planner which is a benefit of Currently I am using the 2 Child Weekly Schedule for the boys, but am considering going to the 3 child version and including Mommy's Blogging, devotionals, reviews, etc.. so it is all on one page. 
I love that I can print what I need and fill their folders easily. The Planner pages can be printed  or saved as a separate file  to save paper.

I can use as a guide for History lessons from a Classical History Approach.

Since we have fallen a bit behind I have found I am needing a little more in lesson planning and will be adding a subject by subject guided planner and a workbox planner. I am going to make a blank template so I can remember all the pieces I want us to at least have available each week using a combination of Charlotte Mason approach as well as workboxes and foundational including Montessori. I am a very eclectic educator, I can't imagine if I was actually in a classroom what it would be like. 

Thinking ahead to 2013 and thinking back a little


With a grateful heart I am happy to say that the Schoolhouse Review Crew posts will return in January. I have been blessed to return to the crew for the 2013 cruise. 

I can't even express the blessing my family has received by being on the crew.  We have received some amazing products to review and work with this year, things I could have never purchased. I have loved using some of the amazing tools I have received. Things like, Zane Education, Thomas Jefferson Education, Pearson Homeschool, Box of Ideas, IXL math, Samson's Classroom, Reading Kingdom ,and so many more.
If you feel led please check out some of the awesome vendors and support these amazing vendors.
Schoolhouse Review posts will return with the New Year. 
Over the next few weeks I will continue with my weekly scripture Sunday posts a long with a few other things in the works. 
In the mean time, I would love to hear how your homeschool has been blessed this year. Please feel free to share.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Scripture Sunday November 18th

1 Corinthians 2:12,13

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

This one stood out for me in reading last week's lesson
So did this one:

1 Corinthians 6:20
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Hope you have a blessed week of gratitude.

Mommy is Working tonight, Whats for dinner? #KFHealthyKids #cbias

This weekend Mommy made a decision to put some extra time in on her writing and blogging which meant the boys had to cook dinner. Thankfully, there was a healthy option for them. Kidfresh Healthy Kids frozen meals from Safeway 
The boys each picked out a meal and cooked it themselves under a watchful eye from Daddy.

Nathan selected Wagon Wheels Mac+ Cheese which seemed almost too easy as he loves anything pasta and cheese. 

Cameron went for the Rainbow Rice + Chicken. He loves veggies and chicken so it made sense. He was excited that it would be like fried rice without the eggs. 
Safeway JustforU
 When we picked up the frozen meals, we were happy to see a reasonable price and a fairly easy selection, not too many choices. Although we had trouble finding them initially, we were happy to see them labeled in the freezer section of our local Safeway store and with a special club price. I also had a $1.00 off coupon so the price of $1.99 each was a value, especially for a treat. 
Cameron was happy with his meal and loved that it only took a couple of minutes in the microwave. He says 4 stars for the Rainbow Rice + Chicken. Nathan on the other hand said the Mac + Cheese was a little too simple and needed some more flavor. He had Daddy taste it and they added a touch of sea salt and pepper. I know sometimes healthy can be bland, but I think he was just having a day where he needed a little extra salt. 
If you would like to see our whole journey with Kidfresh , check out this photo journey
I love that I can find healthy options that I don't always have to cook for the kids, and I love that I can read and share thoughts on healthy kids with others on Facebook.

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Kidfresh #CBias #SocialFabric #KFHealthyKids, all opinions and thoughts on the product are my own personal thoughts. 


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Batman Power Attacks attack a 10 year old's Birthday

Earlier this month our oldest turned 10 and we wanted to throw him a party. Thankfully we received a wonderful opportunity to host a Mattel Batman Power Attacks party. The party box arrived just a couple of days before the party so I let him open and check out the goodies. 
Of course the Batmobile was a hit even before it was out of the package. We sorted the goodies and were overwhelmed by the contents. 10 Batman Power Attacks action figures (including a Robin and 1 villian), 10 goody boxes filled with Batman themed toys, 10 mylar ballons, the Batmobile, and 3 larger action figures.

We decided we had to have a helium tank to go with the balloons,  but other than that and a cake, it really was a party ready box.  Now to wait for the party.
Since the party was a couple of days away, Mommy and the birthday boy celebrated on his birthday with an ice cream treat at The Blockhouse Cafe a local restaurant.

Sunday finally arrived and the boys (including Daddy were very excited). We set out of pick up a couple of last minute things including a birthday cake and helium tank and heading to the Pizza Caboose for the party. It was a drive but the pizzeria had been our favorite hang out in years past and hosted 3 previous birthdays (1,2,and 3) for Cameron.
 Daddy set to blowing up the balloons for the party.  1 balloon and 1 goody box for each of the kids and once they arrived they would each pick out a Batman action figure.

 A personalized Batman cake thanks to the bakery at Safeway and a creative Auntie who made a fondant Batman symbol.

 Any one know how hard it is to get 4 little boys all smile together? Well they weren't excited about getting their picture taken, they wanted to get back to the games.

We did a relay with the Bat-mobile from one end of the room to the other, for bragging rights.
 Two of the world's cutest nephews loved their Batman toys and the games we played.  (Their maybe more action figures in their future, if auntie and uncle have their way.)

 We loved sharing the party with our nephews and Cameron's friends. What a way to celebrate a birthday by playing Batman and rescuing Gotham City and it's residents over pizza.
 One very happy birthday boy, enjoying cake on Batman themed plates, wearing his Batman t-shirt celebrating and sharing a wonderful Batman party thanks to Momselect

disclaimer: We received the above mentioned box of goodies to share with our friends and celebrate in exchange for sharing our experiences. 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Growing up wild, homeschooling with the Wild boys

Are 4 boys growing up in Papua Indonesia really that different than home-schooled boys everywhere else? That was the question I asked my boys before we started watching growing up wild .
We received 2 volumes (1 and 4) to show the boys. Our DVD player quit working shortly after the DVDs arrived but thankfully the computer with a great sound system has a working DVD drive, so we set to watching Volume 1 right off. I think the boys watched the first episode half a dozen times before they moved on to the other 2 episodes. They enjoyed the first DVD and activities so much that we ended up taking Volume 4 to Auntie's house one evening so the boys could continue the adventures instead of watching cable (Auntie has cable so it is something special).
I'm not sure what exactly caught my boys' attention the most, but I do know that all of the sudden they started thinking outside the box a little bit as far as creating more hands on outside activities  I'd like to think their eagerness to help outside was fueled by this series, even if it is simple things like yard work.
I also think these stories helped them see that makes trips into town everyday is silly , sometimes we can wait  and combine trips and even wait a little longer to get something (even when longer is just 3 days.)
A simple little thing I love is how Mom gives the lesson  and activity ideas so that this Mom doesn't have to , the boys are eager to go along with doing the activities since the come from someone else.
The Wild family are missionaries, something I haven't studied with my boys a lot yet. We have talked about various countries and heard some stories, it just hasn't been a huge focus for us until now. Thankfully, the timing couldn't have been better. Heading into the Holiday season where I tend to hear too much "I want" from my two guys, I pray this has shed a little light on the idea that "I want" doesn't have to be material possessions.
 Aside from the amazing stories and activities, the Wilds also have a blog , which added just that much more depth to our study. My boys were able to see that everyone of God's children no matter where they are, are all a reflection of God's Love.
The details, each DVD comes with a CD copy of the activities and retails for $18.99 plus shipping, there are 5 DVDs in the series, you can also purchase the whole series for $80.99 for a 15% savings.  If you are looking for a fun way to introduce cultures, missionary work, and a connection to all God's children , I can't say enough about this series other than the fact that I am working into our budget to purchase volumes 2,3, and 5 for my boys'.
This is the perfect time of year to introduce the Wild family to your family. The even have a Facebook page
where fans as well as the family share.
The boys and I love this series, but you really don't have to take my word for it, check out the SchoolHouse Review Crew's thoughts.

disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received the above mentioned product in exchange for my review and honest opinion. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Timeless books for boys from Grace & Truth Books 

With two little boys growing up in a very modern world, I am always on the look out for stories that are timeless and filled with good moral value stories. I was grateful to receive two such books from Grace&Truth Books first book we received Gerrit and His Dog was age appropriate for Cameron to read alone.Cameron has been reading about a page a day as his quiet time reading and has enjoyed the story. We talk about various lessons in the story and character traits as he reads. He often will rush outside to tell Daddy about the story. He wants a dog so bad that I think reading a story about a boy and his dog has lit a fire in him. 
The second story is a surprise for Cameron as he hasn't quite finished the story yet. I hope and pray he will be inspired by the story at the end of the book as much as he has with the first story.
The book retails for $5.50 and can be purchased from Grace&Truth Books ' website. 

A Faithful Boy's InfluenceThe second book we received  A Faithful Boy's Influence was a surprisingly perfect devotional story with Nathan.  I wasn't sure if it was going to be appropriate for a 7 year old, but as we read it together I could see his attitude changing, while we are still working on some issues of character and attitude there is hope.  The second half of the Book is actually perfect for our little family. Ear's for Little Gleaners is a collection of Sunday School lessons so at times it reads like little sermons but it was again a perfect fit for Nathan. It stirred him to pay more attention when we have our devotion time (snuggle time as he calls it).  The book  A Faithful Boy's Influence retails for $6.25 and is worth it and then some. 

 Grace&Truth Books has so many wonderful books I could spend hours searching and if I had the budget for it I could fill our shelves with so many wonderful treasures from the Christian book store. 
They also have a wonderful Facebook page filled with encouragement.  I encourage you to check out their Facebook as well as their Store

The Schoolhouse Review Crew members received a variety of wonderful books from  Grace&Truth Books and share their thoughts on their blogs


disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received the above mentioned books in exchange for my honest thoughts on the books.

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway

Are you ready for the Holidays? I'm not!

This year I am lucky enough to kick off the holiday with a Melissa & Doug Giveaway!
Do you have a little one in your life that could use a fun cuddly lion?
Beeposh Elvis Lion Stuffed AnimalThe Beeposh Elvis Lion  from the Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty Gift List would make a perfect gift for even the young a heart. The multicolored hair and colorful soft body added to the fun loving face is sure to make any child happy this holiday season. He retails for $24.99 on the Melissa & Doug website, but one of our lucky readers is going to win one.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

When you are done entering this giveaway hop on over and check out the giveaways from other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.While this isn't a Crew sponsored event many members of the crew are participating in this holiday giveaway from Melissa and Doug.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty Holiday Gift List

Melissa & Doug
Are you ready for the Holiday Shopping Season? Have you check out the Terrific Twenty for Melissa & Doug?  20 different toys for small children through age 8+, where creative and fun combine with education and play.
No matter if you have little ones or just have a special little one on your list the Terrific Twenty Holiday Gifts for 2012 has something for that little one in your life.
To make the Terrific Twenty list even better Melissa & Doug are hosting an amazing giveaway, a gift a day from the list on their Facebook page. 
You really don't want to miss this opportunity!
By the way, check back here often as we will be hosting a Melissa & Doug giveaway shortly here at Unionvale Homeschool

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Journeys of Faithfulness from Apologia Educational Ministries #hsreviews

Journeys of Faithfulness cover Have you struggled with you faith as a Christian woman? I know I have and this book really gave me strength and has become a nightly read for me.
What is the book I'm talking about? journeys of faithfulness  by Sarah Clarkson from Apologia Educational Ministries .
This wonderful paperback book retails for $13.00 online and is a huge value, in my opinion it is a priceless asset to any Christian woman but especially young women.
The book is a combination of Bible stories and devotionals focusing on Biblical women's stories of faith. Beautiful characters like Mary and Martha, Ruth, Esther, and Mary the Mother of Jesus help open our hearts and minds to the beauty that is the life of the Christian woman.
As a mother of boys, I often feel lost in the world and feel like  I am struggling with my faith most days. This book really has given me hope even in these trying times.
The devotions at the end of each chapter help make it personal and really build on the pure joy that is our faith in the Lord.

Apologia Educational Ministries  has many other wonderful titles for families as we make our own journey through of faith. No matter where you are in your journey, I encourage you as a Christian Woman to pick up this book and share it with your daughters, nieces, even your babysitter. If I could I would give all my high school co-op girls a copy of this book, it is that real.

You really don't have to take my word for it, members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew share their thoughts on it as well.


disclaimer: I received a copy of this book as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest opinion.

2 week trial of Reading Eggs

Are you looking for a fully developed program to help your child with their reading skills?
Reading Eggs is one of those programs. Developed by teachers, educational writers, animators and web developers Reading Eggs will engage and help your child improve their reading skills with a focus on the core reading skills and strategies for children ages 3 to 12.
More than 500,000 subscribers in the United States and Canada since its launch in 2011 have been presented with more than 15 millions lessons.
My readers will received a Free 2 week trial of reading eggs, with no credit card required  
You have nothing to lose and your child has everything to gain in improved reading skills. 
We have used the program in the past and are very excited to get started again, I hope you will join us!

Scripture Sunday November 4th

A couple of days late , but I still wanted to share a passage that really hit me from the weekly lesson.

Jude 1:21
    Keep yourselves in the love of the Lord looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Especially today being Election day here in the United States, this verse really struck me and gives me a sense of peace in today.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Activity Bags , fun and educational options for Science and Math #hsreviews

We were so excited to learn we were going to be reviewing a sampling of the Activity Bags series of e-books. If you aren't familiar with the Activity Bags series it is an amazing collection of e-books filled with predesigned activities for Science, Math, Reading, Preschool, and Travel. The pages of the e-books are printed and arranged into Gallon sized zipper style plastic bags for storage and plastic page protectors and binders for travel.
If you aren't sure what you want to teach or how you are going to prepare your hands on science activiites or Math acitivites that your children can grab and go, this is probably one of the very best solutions around.
With some prep work that the kids can help with, Activitiy Bags will become a treasure in your homeschool.
We reviewed Science 1 , and Science 3 as well as Math.

Science 1 contains 25 activities covering Biology, General Science, and even Nature studies.
The boys were excited to be able to "do" science and once they realized that all the work building the bags meant hands on science activities where Mom didn't have to do a ton of work ahead of time, they were even more excited. 
We started off with a trip to Walmart to pick up some colored printer paper and card-stock along with some gallon ziplock style bags. Most of the remaining items we found around the house.  I also stocked up on a few snack size and sandwich size bags to store some of the miscellaneious supplies in.
To make my life a little easier, I started out by printing the cover of each of the 4 e-books we would be using and the table of contents for each one as well.
Our next step was to select the activities we would be building for this round. (I wanted to build a good sampling for the boys with the goal of eventually have all 75 science bags built)
We started out with Catch a Web, Bird Seed, Balloon Skewer, and Feasting Yeast. A nice collection of easy to understand and fun to do experiments. These also led to exploring other nature and Biology elements around our house during the harvest season. (We talked about bugs a lot, we watched the birds eat having a better understand of the 'bird seed' and we explored yeast and cultures that are all around us since Mommy is experimenting with Lacto Fermentation in foods)
Next we worked on Science 2  and explored Chemistry, the Human Body and some more General Science studies. I again printed the Cover and Table of Contents and went through the list with the boys and selected a few activities to build. We decided to go with Calling Long Distance, Color Confusion, Cork it, and Taste Test. I have already selected 5 more to create for them for the holiday break when we do more fun stuff and not so much traditional school.
The boys love that they can do the experiments over and over again and actually play science with activities like Calling Long Distance where they built a "phone" to learn about sound waves but also pretend to call people even each other.

Our final , Science 3 explores Chemistry alone and is Nathan's favorite from the 3. (I think he is going to become a Chemist or something in that line of work.).
Same drill, printed the Cover and Table of Contents,  this time I looked over upcoming lessons a bit more and found a couple of overlaps so made sure to include those activities, the first was easy Green Copper as Cameron was going to be doing that same experiment with his co-op class when they studied the Statue of Liberty and the copper turning green. Lots of Lava, Seltzer Rocket, and Soda Blaster where next on the list as Nathan kept asking if we could blow things up so I found things that would "blow up". I ended this first set with Wheres the Water as I was working on another blog article and happen to have a few diapers (not something we keep around much anymore). So far, we have made messes, learned lots, and found out how much the boys love science. Mommy thinks we will end up with a complete set of 75 science activities before the end of the year.
I did decide I am going to sort the activities and store them in either drawers or milk crates. One photo on the website shows a laundry basket and I think that would work but would take up a lot of space. I am temporarily storing the science bags in 12 x 12 scrapbook file boxes in our cubbies  since I have less than 20 so far.

Stepping away from Science a bit, we also received the Math. activities Bags e-book.  The Math Games in a Bag has 33 activities covering a nice range of math skills. I printed the activities list and the Cover and began selecting the activities. This one posed a different challenge, with 2 boys at slightly different math levels I had to decide which activities to focus on and which skills needed the most work. To make it more economical I decided to pick a couple that I had pieces either already made or things I can use instead of printing. The first bag to get built , Math Blocks. This one I didn't have to print the colored pieces as I just pulled out our real math blocks and incorporated some into the bags. I also went through and picked out ones that could be bagged together with like pieces (the dice activities made sense so I could put all the masters in page protectors and just 1 set of dice). Double Digits, How Many Dots, Multiplication Toss, and Stacks of Money ended up in one bag with just a single pair of dice. The boys' favorites for the Math Games have to be Dot to Dots and Family Menu. I think I actually need to reprint Dot to Dots and have it laminated for wear as they love this one the most.  Who knew a little challenge between brothers could be so much fun. Actually Mommy gets in on this one as often as she can. I did find have 2 different colored dry erase makers or crayons comes in handy with this one.
One activity got a slight modification just because that is the way I roll, I loved the idea of Turn of the Card, but didn't want the boring card-stock numbers, so I included a deck of cards with just the A-9s.That gave them 4 sets (actually I used 2 sets of cards so we could all play).

I have the Travel and Reading e-books as well but will be showing those as part of our upcoming road trip travel binders, Homeschooling on the Road with Daddy.

Each of the Activity Bags e-books can be purchased for $15.00 or in bundles for the Science and Preschool  for $27.00. If you aren't sure about if your children will like them, you can take a survey and receive a sample file with a nice variety of samples for free.
You can also rest in knowing that this product was created by a couple of Homeschool Moms who created this to fill that need of what to do with the little ones while you school your older ones.
I have fallen in love with the Activity Bags e-books and can't wait to see the upcoming Craft Bags, but you really don't have to take my word for it, the Schoolhouse Review Crew shares their thoughts on the program as well.

disclaimer: I received the above mentioned ebooks as I member of the Schoolhouse Review crew in exchange for our honest review of the product. No monetary compensation was received.