Thursday, August 30, 2012

Heroines of the Past a Bible Study

I've been receiving Amy's email newsletter for a while now and have been blessed by her wonderful History bits so when Golden  Prairie Press came up as a review vendor I was very excited. I have boys but still want to give them a women's perspective and share stories of strong biblical women with them. Thankfully that is exactly what I know Amy shares. Her Bible Study Heroines of the Past is available in e-book or print. The e-book is on sale on Amy's website for $21.60 and makes a wonderful Bible study for children (boys or girls in this mom's opinion) This sale price is good through September 1, 2012

Amy Puetz is a homeschool graduate and a wonderful example to young ladies. I have listened to Amy online  and read her Facebook page. She is an inspiring young lady sharing her passion for history through her story telling.

One of the things I really enjoy about Amy's work is the art that she includes  with here books. It adds a wonderful element to each book.

With such a wonderful variety of e-books for both boys and girls, there is really something for everyone in the family.

Heroines of the Past is a wonderful study of Strong Christian Women from the past. Not only is the book available online (ebook and print) but also as a 3 week Bible Study email through Amy's website. The book not only is a wonderful collection of stories about courageous women, but is also a wonderful Bible study focusing on the Virtues in Proverbs 31. I love the stories and then the Virtue study that follows each story. Within each of the virtue studies are questions about the story and questions that lead you back into the Word, also memory verses to work on.
I would love to put together a group of young ladies in our co-op to work through this study. (adding that to my list of wishlist classes to teach).

I really can't say enough wonderful things about this study or any of Amy's books we've used over the last few years. I am grateful that God has lead this young lady on her path of sharing so that so many more of use can gain from her young wisdom.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Crew's thoughts on this book as well as other's by Amy.

disclaimer: we received the ebook copy of the above book as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for our honest opinion of the book.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The British Hymn Makers? Check out Mr. Pipes from Christian Liberty Press #hsreviews #music #homeschool

Have you ever wondered about where the Hymns we sing came from?  If you have then you are ready to begin this journey.  Take a trip with 2 teens on vacation in England as they befriend Mr. Pipes and learn about the Hymns we sing and the power in the praise and worship music we sing today.
While the suggested grade level for Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers is 7th grade and up, I really enjoyed sharing this story with my boys (2nd and 4th grade) as a read aloud. This is the first book in a series from Christian Liberty Press by Douglas Bond a Pacific Northwest author and English teacher.

Christian Liberty Press
Sometimes my boys don't always understand the hymns from church and using this book as an introduction to the idea of Hymn Makers (they really liked that term) has helped them see the bigger picture when it comes to the hymns of praise and worship and the messages in the hymns.  I know that many hymns it is easy to see as they are based on scripture verses making it really easy to introduce the boys to those hymns first. But, getting to know the writers from a different perspective has been not only a learning experience but has also brought us closer to the WORD and helped encourage them to give a little more credit to the hymns we sing. It is about more than words and notes on a page. The message is so much bigger than that.

The boys have so much enjoyed the story time together (partially I think because of the setting and timing it with the recent Olympic games) that I am adding the rest of the series to our school wish list, especially as we move through Ancient History this year and toward the Middle Ages and the Reformation. I love being able to find connections with various subjects and this is looking to be one of those wonderful connections (history, Bible, Music, etc...)

See what the rest of the crew thought of this book

disclaimer: I received an e-book copy of this book free as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Do you have enough Faith to be an Atheist?

Better yet, do you have enough Faith to teach Truth to an Atheist?

schoolhouse review crewThat is where my husband and I were when we started reading the book   I Don't Have enough Faith to be an Atheist and the accompanying workbook from Apologia  educational ministries  

apologiaThe book is written by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek and is intended for high school students but can really be read and used by college students and adults alike.  Like so many other products from Apologia (a well know company in the Christian Homeschool community) this book is a strong guide for young people and older adults. This particular book guides the reader through all the arguments for a creator God and how to see doors open to share God's creative power and Love with those around you.

The authors do an amazing job guiding readers along the journey and teaching the skills needed to not only question their own faith (creating a stronger faith) but also challenge the reader to better integrate their beliefs in conversation. 

We have been reading and studying the first 5 chapters in depths over the past several weeks We also have the workbook (we have been discussing the questions together rather than writing in the workbook) that corresponds with the book
Since we began our study together, we have also spend more time studying the scripture together as questions in the book bring us back to the source document, the Bible. I also have seen a huge change in my husband's willingness to share his faith and open a dialogue with his friends and even his customers about his faith. If nothing else comes from our study in the book then that, what a huge testament. One book can really make a difference and this book did, it lead him back to the source in his ultimate search for Truth.

The book retails for only $16.00 and the workbook for $33.00. The book is an amazing value and will live on our bookshelf or nightstand for a long time to come. The workbook coordinates with the chapters of the book and is a good value if you are using this in a school setting and need the extra discussion questions to go along with the book and to delve deeper into the message. For my husband and I using the book together the book is enough, but we plan on using it with the boys later on so having the workbook will be a value at that point from the perspective of a classroom setting, but also from the teacher's perspective in having guidance to dig deeper.

Check out what the rest of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of this book and workbook
disclaimer: I received a copy of the above mentioned book and workbook as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest opinion of the product.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Spelling Lists, Definitions, and Games oh My #hsreviews

Vocabulary/ Spelling City has all this and more

Are you looking for a flexible resource for spelling and vocabulary needs? I think I have found the answer to my search with 
Reviewing 2 different vocabulary programs at the same time was unique but since they are targeted at different groups and use differing formats I was able to get bits and pieces for both and will continue to use them both. 
That said, as a Mom of 2 elementary aged boys I was really needing something that would work with their various activities, units, books, etc.. So when I came across SpellingCity I was overjoyed at the flexibilty of the program. 
We don't do structured spelling but we do a lot of reading and writing activities. My goal for this year is to make lists of words we have spelling wrong and work on those words for "spelling", but also have a list of "new" words we find when reading a book or working on a new unit, with the ultimate goal being a personalized vocabulary book. 
Vocabulary Spelling City allows us to do just that while making the words into games and activities and giving me the option to create flashcards and writing practice sheets.
For only $29.99 a year for a homeschoolers Premium Subscription, a family with up to 5 children can customize word lists or search the existing lists to find the perfect list for their child. 
There is even a collection of Literature word lists sorted by grade level. 
  Each student can have a personalized log on so their lists and acitivities are personalized. As the teacher you can also create your own lists and save them. 
I am already creating word lists we will be using for some of our upcoming books and units and will be saving them. 
I love the sentence practice activities and flash cards options. I can print in manuscript or cursive depending on which of the boys I am working with or I can save the list and activities to his account so they are waiting for him.
Many of the games (actually I think almost all of the games) can be turned into a printable which is incredible handy since our computer is not near the school work area currently and I don't have the boys set up for internet access on the laptop yet.  There is so much flexibility with this program and for less than $30.00 for a full year access this is a HUGE value.
Don't take my word for it, check out what the rest of the Crew thought about this program 

disclaimer: as a member of the Schoolhouse Review crew I received this product free to review and share my opinion 
Have you tried Spelling City? Share your thoughts in a comment.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How is your vocabulary? Could it use some help? Vocab Videos may be the answer. #hsreviews

Vocabulary is one of those subjects that while important seems to get little attention until you realize it is a HUGE part of the SATs or similar situation. Around here we have a joke with the boys, "Did you eat the dictionary for lunch again?". While we are usually kidding around with them, we try to incorporate words into lessons that they won't hear watching cartoons or on the playground. Sometimes it becomes a game to try and use the word in a sentence correctly, other times it just happens.

My husband is always amazed at the words the kids come up with for their focus, most of the time they are good words, but occasionally we have to have a talk about if a word is ok to use (especially if the meaning has changed over time.)
My husband and I decided to give Vocab Video a try for several reasons.
First, improve his vocabulary and second, introduce some new words to the boys in a different setting.
Let me start off by saying Vocab Video is a secular program and needs to be viewed as such. Parents need to watch each video to preview it before showing it to their children no matter what age the child.

Now that I have that out of the way, we found the comic relief reminiscent of 80's and 90's Saturday Night Live Episodes so for the adults in the house it was easy to watch and learn. I did sort through the videos and have our boys watch a couple of the episodes and they enjoyed the ones I let them watch. It also opened up some rather interesting conversations about situation appropriateness.

The workbook even has a comic appearance, which was perfect for my husband. He is taking steps to improve his education, which leads me to see our homeschool classroom as 2 elementary and 1 adult learner. We try and find activities that we can do together and this one is actually one of those activities.

Each student has their own account, but since we were working on this mostly as a family and I needed to have more controll over which videos they watch, I logged us on as a single person (usually my account).
I found the flash card feature to be visually encouraging.
 The cards could be flipped on the screen and are clear images
Vocab Videos offers a variety of packages perfect for single to large families and even company programs. We received Small Educators Subscription  which retails for less than $80.00 for a 12 month subscription. With that subscription comes the teacher's dashboard where educators have access to a variety of downloadable resources, a view of the students progress, and completed student worksheets.
Overall the program is a good value, however since it was used for the adults, I think I would search for something a little different for the boys. If you have older children or adults in the family that are looking for a vocabulary program this could be a good option.
Check out what the rest of the crew thought of the program by clicking the button below.


disclaimer: We received a subscription to the above program as members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for our honest review of the program .

Back to School means new shoes for the kids

This post brought to you by Famous Footwear. All opinions are 100% mine.

Are you ready for Back to School? 

Around here one thing about the Back to School season is new shoes for the boys, but with 2 growing boys that can add up fast.  Good news there is help on the horizon. Famous Footware has a Back to School Deal for you and me. BOGO + 15% off Famous Footwear Coupon, what an amazing deal.


Famous Footware has locations all over plus an online store to help you find just the right pair of shoes for your  family at affordable prices. Better yet, they have introduced an amazing rewards program. Earn 1 point for every dollar you spend at the store or online and redeem the points for certicates worth up to $100 a year. Even better, you get exclusive perks and coupons just for signing up. If you are a Rewards Member that 15% becomes a 20% coupon saving you even more.

With 4 of us in the family this could lead to some amazing deals, what about your family? Could you use the extra savings this Back to School season? Download and print your coupon before August 18th to save the extra 15% off. 

Between the coupon, BOGO, and rewards program this is the perfect opportunity to check out Famous Footware either locally or online and find current trendy style along side traditional work, play, and active shoes. 

I'm always looking for ways to save on things we need for school and Famous Footware can help save a little extra on shoes for the whole family this season and through out the year to come.



Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Salem Harvest, a blessing of yummy

This was the first harvest we were able to participate in this season.

Cameron and I picked up onions, a lot of onions. We filled 4 boxes for the Marion Polk Food Share and then picked up about 125 lbs for ourselves and family.

Cameron decided it was pretty hard work and I will admit he was right, but only that our backs felt the work.

I made 3 quarts and 2 pints of french onion soup to process. We also diced and frozen some for soup, chopped some for salsa, and dried a lot from Onion powder.
I gave away a lot, and will keep sharing as long as I find people to share with.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

This Week in History? A Thomas Jefferson Education can help answer that question. #hsreviews

homeschool review
Until recently we studied history in what I thought was an unusual way. I would go by major anniversary dates and plan unit studies around that. It was a lot of work searching for events and  such and matching up dates. Not anymore. Since I found A Thomas Jefferson   Education the boys and I can visit a huge variety of historical events with This Week in History.  I love that I get an email with a fun list of events and people to learn about.  Each week's email include links that we can use to explore people and places about the events. Over the last few weeks it has become a conversation starter, something like , "hey Mom, what happened this week?" , "let's look at see.." to the boys it isn't about traditional history it has become something unique to study.
For $9.95 a month you get a variety of interesting topics emailed as well as on their site complete with links to related activities and articles. I see the value in the program and if I had the budget for it, I would add it to our Homeschool curricula. 
Thomas Jefferson Education works on the premise that parents use the 7 keys of Teaching:
  1. Classics, Not Textbooks
  2. Mentors, Not Professors
  3. Inspire, Not Require
  4. Structure Time, Not Content
  5. Simplicity, Not Complexity
  6. Quality, Not Conformity
  7. You, Not Them
You can check out a sample of This week in History and see how it can benefit your homeschool.

disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew we received a subscription to the above mentioned program for free in exchange for our review.

Check out what the rest of the crew thought of this program.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Can math be easy? With Math Made Easy it can! #hsreviews


We have reviewed a few Math programs over the past year. While we have our favorites but are always looking for things to help with issues we might run into.
Our current issue is our multiplication facts, so we welcomed Math Made Easy Homeschool Multiplication 
This simple easy to use program retails for $24.95. The program works on mastering facts for children without counting on their fingers. While I am trying to teach the boys to use their tools I also want them to work on mastering the facts they would need in order to do the problems. There is a fine line between mastering the problems through memorization and understanding the why of the math facts.
I really like the way the program is broken down in 6 weeks and while we only worked through the first 4 weeks (this is summer school so we aren't going full time right now). I was able to show the boys that we only had 36 facts to memorize over the 6 week program.
 This is an doable goal that they both feel they can work toward;  not only through the flashcards but through the games and activity pages. The boys enjoyed that the activity pages weren't traditional math pages especially since we are in summer school. They are asking if we can continue the program which is a good sign. I will continue the program through the 6 weeks and will most likely review/ repeat the program more seriously with Nathan to make sure he has a strong grasp on the mastery.

The package comes in a comb bound book and includes the flash cards, activity pages, games, pre and post tests, and lesson plans. Even being a just a 6 week program, the package is complete and doesn't take any extra planning.

Check out what the rest of the crew thought of this program .

Schoolhouse Review Crew

disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a copy of the above mentioned program for free in exchange for my honest review of the program.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why do we speak English? #hsreviews #homeschool #education

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

PhotobucketI majored in English and Business Management in college, but was never able to work a language history class into my schedule. Now that I review books and curricula for my blog I get to take the "classes" I missed through wonderful books and from wonderful authors like Laurie J. White.

This isn't a book for my boys yet, but when they are a little older I will be presenting this material to them.
Mrs. White is a homeschool Mom and like so many homeschool Moms she says homeschooling is a learning experience for her as well. Researching topics the kids are going to study leads to more knowledge for the teacher as well as the kids; that is what lead to her writing this book.


I was humbled and blessed while reading this book on my e-reader. Her writing style is so friendly and welcoming. I feel like she is writing a conversation with students and parents rather than a textbook.

King Alfred’s English: A History of the Language We Speak and Why We Should Be Glad We Do explores the growth of the English language explaining how the language grew and simplified over time. 
Not only are you getting an English lesson but also a History lesson. If you need to count credits you could count this book and the wonderful supplemental materials from the publisher as a semester or English or split the credit between the History and English subjects. 

While I am still reading the book (I'm studying the whole book in between homeschooling and harvesting), I am engrossed in the book. I love learning and although I am only on chapter 11 I have gained so much understanding for this crazy little language of ours. I am loving how the books shows where various consonant blends originated from and mysteries related the spellings over the years.
 Mrs. White's website  The has Teacher and Student material to go along with the book There is also a Facebook page with links to related articles as well as conversations about the book . I am looking forward to continuing my study with this book over the next month or so (as I find bits of time to study).  If you are interested in the why's of the English language or are looking for something a bit different for your high school student's English credit this is a must read. You can buy the print copy for under $20.00 depending on which site you purchase it from, or under $10 in e-book format making this an excellent value.

Check out what the rest of the crew thought of this amazing book by clicking on the button below

Schoolhouse Review Crew
disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse review crew I received a copy of this e-book for free in exchange for my review of the book.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Are your kids struggling writers? Create Better Writers can help! #hsreviews

Review Crew

Are you kids struggling with the basics of writing  a paragraph?
 What about a 5 paragraph essay? 
Do you need an action plan?
Homeschool writing
 We recently reviewed Create Better Writers, a complete program for grades 3 and up.  We received 3 separate e-books for the program. While my boys were no where ready to tackle a 5 paragraph essay, we were able to work with the How to Teach the Paragraph. This is the newest book in their collection of writing books and retails for $7.95 which is very reasonable and a good value.  Since the paragraph is a key building block to the rest of writing this is a great starting point. I like that the program focuses on teaching the students how to organize their thoughts. I remember even in college that was a critical issue for me, organizing my thoughts.

As a writer who studied writing and rhetoric in college I feel I have a pretty firm grasp on writing a paragraph and a 5 paragraph essay, but teaching it that is a little different especially when my oldest has such a different learning style. I was very thankful for The Homeschool Writing Action Plan  to combine with the e-books. I especially liked the road map concept. This little treasure added a huge value to the whole program and is worth $15.95. To add even more value they offer bundles as well to save you money and package the program for you.

How to Teach the Five-Paragraph Essay coverWe also received How to Teach the 5 Paragraph Essay which we will be using in the coming year as we practice the basic paragraph more and more. I have read through the program and feel it will also be a value. I am also thinking of having both boys and Daddy work through the program together to improve their writing overall.

Check out what the rest of the crew thought of the program by clicking the button below.
Schoolhouse Review Crew

disclaimer: we received the above mentioned e-books as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for our honest review.