A New Direction

I’m so excited to be taking over the reins of this blog. My name is Dawn Peluso and I was one of the folks that helped Diane with the Schoolin’ Swag Facebook page.  I’m a homeschooling mom of 3.  Our children are 11, 9, and 3.  We live in Eastern, NC and enjoy hiking, the beach, and spending time with family. We are active in our church and strive be a family that follows Jesus.

We use a variety of materials and methods in our home school and like to say our style is “Charlotte Mason Eclectic”.  In particular, we enjoy using lots of good books, nature study, hands-on history, cooking, and traveling to create a family culture of learning and growing.

Look for more posts over the next couple weeks with information about book reviews, fun home school ideas, and more.

My plan for the blog beginning in September is to have a weekly post about the history that we are studying that week (my husband and I are creating a hands on American history program for our kids and I will share that plan and the resources that we are using,  in case anyone else wants to join us on that journey), Product reviews, a monthly book review of a book for Moms, lots of guest posts from other homeschooling moms about what they are doing in their home schools and a variety of other content.  I’m very open to hearing from our readers about what you would like to see and making sure we are meeting those needs.

Life Lessons From A Buggy Ride

As my children get older, they spend more time completing research papers and watching the news. We’ve encouraged this to help them began to consider, understand, and interact with the broader world around them.  We have been trying to help show them that they need to consider their source as they research anything. As an example, my son was fond of using  Wikipedia or random websites that were not considered quality sources.

Setting the Scene

On our recent trip to Pennsylvania, my children got a real-world lesson in considering their sources.

We spent a few days in Pennsylvania helping out with a benefit auction and visiting with friends. We had a wonderful trip and finished our time with a day of  ‘tourist’ time in the Lancaster area. It was a lovely trip that included a night sleeping in a train car, a ride on a train, and riding on an Amish-style horse-drawn wagon.

As we went on our ride with a very ‘English’ driver (the term the Amish use for those who are not Amish or Mennonite), the children started to look at me with questioning eyes. I gave them the signal to stay quiet and let them know that we would chat later.

Why would I have them wait to ask their questions? I knew that they were questioning the information that the driver was sharing.

Our Background

The driver did not know that in 2018/2019, we were blessed with the opportunity to personally meet and get to know a variety of wonderful people from various Amish and Mennonite communities. They came to our church as volunteer groups to help with disaster relief following Hurricane Florence.

Each group came from a different community, and each group was diverse but it gave us a new perspective on the way of life in these communities. They would spend a week staying at our church and going out in the community to help rebuild houses.

Our family assisted in the hospitality efforts at the church, and therefore often got to share meals and conversations with the groups. Our trip to Pennsylvania was, in part, to visit with some of those same people we met that year.

We in no way claim to be experts in the Amish and Mennonite way of life, but my children had learned a lot from first had conversations and friendships.

Our Buggy Ride Story

As we were on the ride, the driver tried to be helpful and give them tidbits of information about the Amish community. However, many of the things he was saying did not align with what my children knew to be true.

Some of these inconsistencies may be the result of different congregations having different rules and practices. (Think about assuming that every church in America used the same songs or style.) However, he was claiming that everyone followed those same practices. Other things were misconceptions or misunderstandings.

Lessons Learned

I did not want to be confrontational or disrespectful to the driver. We felt that he was sharing the best information he knew. We also know that we are not experts and did not want to make that claim. However, we had a good family discussion about what the children heard and learned once we finished the ride.

It became a great object lesson in considering their sources. The man who did buggy tours for a living might not seem like a poor source, but using a first-hand source was a much better option. They realized their friends who talked with them about their real lives knew more than someone watching from the outside.

We talked about how we should remember that with many things in life:

reading the Bible instead of trusting someone else’s words,

listening to what people say instead of listening to rumors or clips in the news,

primary source documents versus other people’s interpretation of history.

I hope that they will remember that they need to carefully weigh the source of information and check what they hear against what they know to be true throughout their lives.

Your Thoughts

Have you had any experiences where you could teach your children to consider their sources as they formed beliefs and opinions?

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

If you have not tried SchoolhouseTeachers.com, you don’t want to miss this sale!

Tuttle Twins has come out with a magazine and we got a chance to check out the first one! It was packed with great information and fun games!

I am so excited about this FREE summit and the chance to hear so many wonderful speakers and get encouragement and advice! I highly encourage you to check it out. Homeschool Fitting It All In Summitt coming next month!

For a limited time, Amazon has increased their FREE trial of Audible Plus and Amazon Music Unlimited to 3 Months! Do you use either of these programs? This is a great way to listen to audiobooks and some great music. We love that we can control the playlists and not worry about ads with the music program.

All About Learning does not often run specials, so this is a big deal! They are offering FREE Shipping for purchases over $100. So if you need the next level or are ready to give All About Reading or All About Spelling a try now is the time!

Reading Eggs and Math Seeds Review


Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Reading Eggs

Over the last month, my seven-year-old has been using Reading Eggs and Math Seeds. Created by Reading Eggs, we have been enjoying reviewing both of these online programs. He would focus more on Reading Eggs because reading is an area we are working to improve.

Reading Egg Components

  • Reading Eggs Jr. (Ages 2-4)
  • Reading Eggs (Ages 3-7)
  • Fast Phonics (Ages 5-10)
  • Reading Eggspress (Ages 7-13)
  • Math Seeds (Ages 3-9)

Reading Eggs and Math Seeds

The basic setup for both Reading Eggs and Math Seeds is the same. The students take a placement test which puts them at the appropriate skill level. Next, the program begins working them systematically through the lessons for reading or math. Each lesson is a series of activities that work on strengthening the skill that is focused on in that lesson. There are maps to show the progress from lesson to lesson.

Students can earn ‘eggs’ for completing tasks in the reading program and acorns in Math Seeds. In addition to the lessons, there are games and activities that the students can do when they have earned eggs or acorns. They can also use the eggs earned to purchase virtual things like extras for their avatars and virtual world.

Our Experience with Reading Eggs and Math Seeds

My son loved both the activities and the games. It always surprises me how motivated he is to earn the extra eggs. He would frequently ask to do the programs even when I did not require them. I appreciated that he was getting extra practice during his free time.

You can see how they are progressing from the parent portal, see what skills they have mastered, have them retake the placement test, and more. It makes it very easy to see and understand their progress.

When my son took the placement test, I was unsure if he didn’t understand the questions or didn’t do his best. I do not feel like it was a good reflection of what he knew, but the lessons he did were a great review, and he was able to move through them quickly until he got to a level that was more reflective of what he knew.

He did a much better job with the math placement test, and I found it was a great supplement to what he was learning in his math curriculum.

Reading Eggs Jr.

My three-year-old had the opportunity to try out Reading Eggs Jr., and he loved it! With-in that section contained books that he could look at as it read to him. There were also a wide variety of short (1-2 minute) videos that taught various skills and information. Finally, there were activities and games that he could play to help him work on learning letters, numbers, colors, and even handwriting.

I appreciated the wide variety found in the videos. There were hundreds of short videos, and my son enjoyed watching them. There was a series with a video for each letter to help him begin to learn his letters. A series with different science and craft projects that he could watch and we could recreate at home. There were videos about emergency vehicles, trucks, and big machines. Several series were on different animals. There was just such a large amount of educational content, but all done in concise videos that are great for younger children.

Reading Eggspress

Reading Eggspress was too challenging for my children at this time, but it contains excellent resources for working on reading comprehension. It is helpful for a child that can read but wants to increase fluency or comprehension. There is a placement test and lessons for that program as well. In addition, there is a library of digital books and quizzes that students can use.

Fast Phonics

Fast Phonics is a program that helps students work specifically on letter sounds and phonics. It includes videos and activities as well as memory aids to help students learn phonics quickly and systematically. In this section, students can collect virtual gems.

Overall Thoughts

We feel like Reading Eggs and Math Seeds are great for reinforcing the skills we are learning in our homeschool. It also does some teaching and often introduces new skills. The programs make students want to work hard and keep progressing through the lessons. I highly recommend it as a supplement for any elementary-age student that needs a little more practice in reading or math. It is also a great way to challenge a student who is doing well to move forward at their own pace.

Many other Review Crew families reviewed Reading Eggs and Math Seeds, so make sure to click on the graphic below to see what they thought!

Learn to Read with Reading Eggs

Our 8th Grade Curriculum Choices (2021)

*Some links are affiliate links, see disclosure below*

Somehow, life got hectic at the end of summer, and I did not have the opportunity to share with you what we were planning to use for my daughter’s eighth-grade curriculum this year.  We have been back in our school routine for about a week and working out all the details. So far, she is enjoying this line-up.

Literature

For literature, we decided to use some of the units from the Schoolhouse Teachers Literature course. This course is set up based on different novels and picture books. Each book is a stand-alone unit that comes with questions, writing prompts, and story webs.

Before we started, I let her go through and choose a variety of books that sounded interesting, and I picked a few that I knew I wanted her to read. She loves to read but hates spending too much time dissecting what she reads. This course will allow her to read the whole book and then answer questions. It keeps it from being tedious for her but still allows me to check her comprehension.

Writing

Jump In Writing is a program that we used several years ago and enjoyed. I have brought it back out for my daughter to help her improve her writing and get ready for high school. I love that it is gentle but thorough. The lessons are short enough not to frustrate her. They will methodically help her improve her writing. You can work through it at your own pace, and it covers a wide variety of different types of writing. I also really appreciate that rubrics are included in the teacher’s guide to help me score her writing fairly.

Math

We were able to review the CTC Math Algebra 1 course this summer. While Algebra is not her favorite subject (or mine), she liked the way CTC Math was set up and is continuing with that course. I appreciate that she can do the work independently after watching the videos, and it computer-graded.

Science

General Science

We always appreciate the Christian worldview of Apologia science and decided to use Apologia General Science for her this year. This will be her first year doing science more independently (we do science as a family in the younger grades).  The Apologia general science course has a textbook, student workbook, and tests. It will give her a good overview and a strong foundation for high school sciences next year.

Each week includes reading, experiments, lab reports, and workbook activities. It is laid out specifically to help the student learn to become more independent.

History

She is on her second round of Story of the World. This year she and her younger brother are doing volume 2. We love Story of the World for the way it makes history exciting and accessible. Last week they loved making a Roman soldiers meal and cookie dough pillars after learning about the Fall of Rome. We are also excited to be including some fun art activities in history this year.

Art

We love doing chalk pastel lessons with Nana over at You Are An Artist, but this year my daughter wanted to change it up a little bit. She decided she wanted to try painting with acrylics, so we will still be using our You Are an Artist Clubhouse membership for her curriculum, but she will be focusing on the acrylic courses.  She started this week with the introductory lesson and enjoyed painting the simple field of flowers. 

In addition, she will continue to do some chalk pastels, particularly as they relate to her history. The Medieval History and Knights and Castles courses have some great lessons that tie into Story of the World Volume II.

Bible

Bible is another program that started as a summer review but is carrying on into the school year.  She is using Wise Up Proverbs Study. Wise Up is an in-depth study of Proverbs designed for middle grades students. Each week I will work with her on the teaching portion, and then she will complete the workbook sections independently throughout the week.

Physical Education

My daughter enjoys running both to compete in local 5k races and for exercise.  For her physical education course, she will spend a good bit of time running independently and with her father. She will also be doing some Fit2B workouts to help her work on strength training and coordination. I love that she can use both the children’s routines and the regular routines, and I know they will be safe for her and teach her quality movement and skills and a healthy view of exercise.

Music

We did not even have to think about music! We are continuing with Practice Monkeys for music performance and SQUILT for our music appreciation. She loves both programs and I love how easy they make it for me! She has been taking online violin and piano from Practice Monkeys and started taking Cello this month. She enjoys her lessons four days a week.

In addition, we are excited to be back doing our SQUILT lessons twice a month after taking a couple of months off this summer due to our hectic schedule. We love the live lessons as well as the monthly music calendar (which I think is the easiest way to get started with music appreciation.)

Wrap Up!

Overall, our first week went well, and we are excited about the year ahead. My daughter can mainly manage her courses independently, but we are still studying history together . I also teach her  Bible once a week. I will, of course, be available to help her as needed, and we will reevaluate as necessary.  We are also enjoying our family morning time, which I will share in more detail next week. What are your favorite curriculum choices for 8th grade?

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Goodbye Summer: Hello Fall

While it feels like June was just a few days ago, somehow we have passed Labor Day and started our school year. We had a wonderful but busy summer. Because of some spring traveling, we went later into the summer with our school year while also balancing summer activities.

Summer Fun

We did summer camp with out church, activities with 4-H and our American Heritage Girls and Trail Life troops. We spent several weeks at the river with family, tubing, fishing, swimming, and visiting. We grew our biggest garden to date, and even had enough extra to can tomatoes and pickles. There were a few lazy days spent enjoying our little above ground pool and lots of popsicles. We finished out our summer with a quick trip to Pennsylvania to visit friends and help out with a benefit auction. (I will be sharing more about that trip soon.)

Fall Fun Ideas

The calendar and the thermometer may say that fall is not here yet, but in my house we are calling it fall. Once Labor Day is over and our school year has begun I consider it fall. We are decorating for fall this weekend.

In some ways I was sad to see the flexibility of summer leave, but in many ways I am grateful for fall. We enjoyed the break but we all needed a return to our regular routines.

I am not much for pumpkin spice, but I love all things pumpkin and apple. And as soon as the weather starts to cool we will enjoy chili and soups. Soon the pumpkin patches will open and hopefully we can even enjoy a corn maze.

We are excited about field trips, the state fair (which we missed last year), turkey shows, and lots of camping. I am setting out our favorite fall books for the children to explore. It is a new season with new reasons to celebrate!

If you are excited about fall and looking for some fun ways to incorporate it into your homeschool, check out some of the great resources below. I would love to hear from you what you enjoyed this summer or what you are looking forward to this fall.

Fall Resources:

Fall Leaf Collections

Pumpkin Fun and Fall Fun Book Display

Fall Family Fun!

Is the Fair Educational?

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

“Who What Why”: A New Church History Series for Children

*This post contains affiliate links, see disclosure below*

I love reading books, finding wonderful books for my children, and sharing new books with my readers. In today’s world, books share many messages, and it can sometimes be hard to know which books to buy for your children. If you are like me, you want books that are fun and interesting. More importantly, you want books that share your Christian worldview.

I am excited to share a new series that is both informative and enjoyable. Not only does it share my Christian worldview, it even teaches children about protestant church history.

You may remember the name, Danika Cooley, from my recent review of “Help Your Kids Learn and Love the Bible.” Well, Danika has come out with a new series titled the “Who, What, Why Series”. It has blessed me to read and review the first three books in that series and I am excited to share them with both my children and my readers.

Who What Why Series

This series comprises brief chapter books geared towards students that are eight to eleven years old. The books are informative but engaging and sometimes humorous. I think that younger students could enjoy them and learn from them through a family read-aloud.

In addition, older students would find them to be very simple but still educational. I will read them aloud, focusing on my children from ages seven to fifteen, but the three-year-old will also listen while he plays.

Each book contains illustrations that help the reader understand the book (and are often quite humorous), a timeline of events, and a works cited section so that you know where she derived the historical information.

Who Was Martin Luther?

Many children know a bit of basic information about Martin Luther. They may know him as the man that nailed something to the church doors, or the one that fought with the Catholic Church. However, this book goes into so much more of his rich and interesting history.

It starts with Martin’s childhood, discusses how he became a priest, why he stood up against the Catholic Church, the political turmoil of the time, his wife, and so much more.

I think my favorite quote from this book was, “God’s truth never stays hidden for long. It’s a truth worth staking our lives upon, worth fighting for, and worth studying daily.”

I love that along side teaching the history of Martin Luther, this book is sharing important truths about God and his word. Through reading, children can understand the importance of the work of Martin Luther and the many men who worked alongside him and after him so that we could know and understand the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ today.

What Was the Gutenberg Bible?

In today’s world, it is hard to understand not having readily available access to a Bible, but that has not always been the case. Today, I have over a dozen print Bibles in my home in several translations.

 I regularly use an app on my phone that allows me to access the Bible in a tremendous number of translations, highlight verses, share scripture with others that use that app, and more. People hand out free Bibles at our state fair. We find them in most hotel rooms, and they are easily accessible by anyone in America that wants one. Today the Bible is translated into over 700 languages (more if you just include the New Testament).

Before the Gutenberg Bible, this was not the case. Most people did not have access to a Bible of their own or even a Bible in their language. This book shares about the Gutenberg Bible in a way that helps students understand the importance of this advancement.

In addition to learning about Gutenberg and his printing press, “What Was the Gutenberg Bible?” delves into who originally wrote the books of the Bible, the works of Wycliffe to translate the Bible, and so much more about the history of the Bible and how God has used it to share his word with people around the world.

Why Did the Reformation Happen?

Many Christians only have a basic idea or understanding of the Reformation. They might tell you it is when the protestant churches split from the Roman Catholic Church. They may know that involved Martin Luther, but often they cannot tell you about the other men involved or the many reasons for the split.

“Why Did the Reformation Happen?” explains the problems in the church at the time of the Reformation and Martin Luther’s role in the reformation. Additionally, it explains the changes that were made, the Five Solas, many church reformers, and information about various church movements that have stemmed from the reformation.  

The book presents all of this detail and information in a way that makes it easy for children to understand. While it is absolutely protestant in viewpoint, I think overall she does a good job of not favoring one particular protestant denomination over another.

 I need to point out that there is a statement about baptism that is worded in a way that does not align with my beliefs. However, I plan to read the book to my children and just stop and talk to them about our beliefs on baptism when we get to that phrase.  

Conclusions

The Who, What, Why series is a significant addition to any protestant family’s library. It can be used for teaching church history, geography, family read-aloud, and literature studies. If, like many adults, you feel you need to learn more about the Reformation and church history, you can learn right alongside your children. If you want to take the study a little further, you can get these FREE lapbooks that go along with the books. Lapbooks are a great way to extend learning.

These books are available to purchase at Thinking Kids Press (individually or save money and buy them as a bundle) or on Amazon.

Which title most interests you? What other titles would you like to see added to the series?

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

WORLD Watch News Review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

As an adult, it can feel overwhelming to wade through the news and figure out what is true. There is so much agenda and politicization in the news. If I sit and watch (or read) too much of the news, I end up sad and frustrated. When I think about those things, it is easy for me to want to shield my children from the news. However, I know that I need to teach them to be aware but discerning. That is why we were excited to share with you this review of WORLD Watch.

I want to be able to help my children learn to understand the world around them, stay informed on current events, and yet not get bogged down in the negativity and politicization of the mainstream news. I also want to help protect them from some of the inappropriate or adult material that is shown in mainstream news.

We have been using WORLD Watch since February and it has been really helpful in keeping our teens informed of current events, starting good family discussions, and bringing a Christian perspective to news coverage.

Using WORLD Watch

Each weekday, my children get to watch a news video that covers various current events from around the world. The video is only about 10 minutes long but it gives them good exposure to a variety of news. Most of the episodes would be appropriate for any age student, but occasionally there will be a warning about more mature content. Those episodes are still very tastefully done, but it allows you to decide what your children are ready to see and hear.

For our family, all of the episodes we have watched have been appropriate for my teens, but there are a few that I would not show to my seven-year-old because they discuss topics that he is not yet ready to handle.

Over the summer my children voluntarily made time in their day to watch during their free time. They enjoyed knowing what was happening in the world and thought that the episodes were both interesting and informative. They would often discuss what they saw with us or ask questions about different topics. It was a great conversation starter.

As we have started back to school for the fall, I have decided to include World Watch in our morning time routine. This will allow us all to watch it together and discuss it then. It will also allow me to include my seven-year-old more often since he does not access the computer independently.

Program Overview

During each ten-minute episode, there are several different stories, some very serious and some more fun and interesting. We have seen news on Hurricane Ida, the end of the war in Afghanistan, the Paralympics, the migration of the monarch butterflies, and more. There was even an episode on Hobbit houses, that might have been the family favorite.

Our Opinions

Overall, both of my teens highly recommend this news program and want to keep using it. They recommended it for middle and high school specifically but I think with guidance and discussion it could also be used with elementary students.  

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to include current events and news in your homeschool and you value a Christian worldview, this is a great program. I love that my teens could do it independently but it was also easy for us to use as a family.

Be sure to click on the graphic below to check out what other reviewers had to say about WORLD Watch and how they used it in their families.

World News That Builds Biblical Discernment

Story of the World Volume 1 Book List

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

Volume 1

For Use Throughout the Book

Ancient History Cookbook

Usborne Internet-linked First Encyclopedia of History

Story of the World Activity Book

Stories in History: The Ancient World

Introduction

Magic School Bus Shows and Tells (also available as a video download)

Climbing Your Family Tree

The Archeology Book (Wonders of Creation)

Chapter 1

Usborne Internet-linked First Encyclopedia of History (can be used throughout the book)

Ancient Agriculture

Chapter 2

Life in Ancient Egypt Coloring Book (can be used with multiple chapters)

Gift of the Nile An Ancient Egyptian Legend

Mrs. Frizzle’s Adventures Ancient Egypt (can be used with multiple chapters)

History Pockets Ancient Civilizations

Chapter 3

Hieroglyph It!

Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs

Chapter 4

Magic Tree House: Mummies in the Morning

Magic Tree House Research Guide: Mummies and Pyramids

Pyramids A first Discovery Book

Where are the Great Pyramids

I am the Mummy HEB-NEFERT

Mummies Made in Egypt

Secrets of the Mummies

Kingfisher Pyramids

Into the Mummy’s Tomb

Chapter 5

Ancient Egyptians and their Neighbors (includes readings and activities and can be used in multiple chapters)

Ancient Agriculture

Stories in History: The Ancient World

Chapter 6

The Coat of Many Colors

Dance Sing Remember: A Celebration of Jewish Holidays

The Story of Joseph (great for young children)

Chapter 7

Ancient Egyptians and their Neighbors

Ten Kings and the Worlds they Ruled

Chapter 8

Ancient Egyptians and their Neighbors

Gilgamesh the Hero

The Last Quest of Gilgamesh

Chapter 9

Ancient India (Ancient World)

Hands on History Ancient India

Chapter 10

The Story About Ping

Ancient Agriculture

Eyewitness Books: Ancient China

The Legend of the Kite

Chapter 11

Anansi the Spider

Anansi Goes Fishing

Why Mosquitos Buzz in People’s Ears

Chapter 12

Temple Cat

Mrs. Frizzle’s Adventures Ancient Egypt (can be used with multiple chapters)

Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt

Chapter 13

Cat of Bubastes

Secrets of the Mummiesh

History Pockets Ancient Civilizations

His Majesty Queen Hatsheput

Tut Tut

Chapter 14

Eyewitness Bible Lands

Baby Moses and the Princess ( I can Read Book)

The Brave Women Who Saved Moses (this one is in Hebrew and English)

Miriam and Her Brother Moses

Chapter 15

Ancient Isrealites and their Neighbors

Roman Myths and Legends

Phoenecian Civilization

Chapter 16

Ancient Egyptians and their Neighbors

Story of Jonah

Illustrated Jewish Bible for Children

Chapter 17

Eyewitness Wonders of the World


Seven Wonders of the World (20 Projects)


Wonders of the World Coloring Book

1001 Arabian Nights

Chapter 18

Atlantis The Lost City

The Mystery of Atlantis

A-Maze-ing Minotaur

The Hero and the Minotaur

Theseus and the Minotaur

Chapter 19

Life in Ancient Greece Coloring Book

Life in Ancient Greece

Greek Myths

You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Slave in Ancient Greece

Chapter 20

Black Ships Before Troy

Magic Tree House Hour of the Olympics

Fact Checker Ancient Greece

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth

Run With Me, Nike!

Life in Ancient Greece Coloring Book

Life in Ancient Greece

Chapter 21

King Midas

Brave Queen Esther

Persia’s Brightest Star

Esther

Persian Cinderella

Chapter 22

Sparta: Warriors of the Ancient World

Theras and His Town

Greek Myths

Life in Ancient Greece Coloring Book

Life in Ancient Greece

Chapter 23

Athena(Free with Kindle Unlimited)

Poseidon (Free with Kindle Unlimited)


An Ancient Greek Temple

I Wonder Why Greeks Built Temples

Chapter 24


Discovering Ancient Greece for Kids
(Free with Kindle Unlimited)


Ancient Greece Birthplace of Democracy


Explore the Parthenon

Where is the Parthenon

Chapter 25

Alexander the Great


Who Was Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great Hero Journals

The Greek News

Chapter 26

Life in Ancient Mexico


Where is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu

Who Were the First North Americans?


Thirteen Moons on a Turtles Back

Chapter 27

Life in Ancient Rome


Encyclopedia of the Roman World

Romulus and Remus

Romulus and Remus (Ready to Read)


Ancient Romans at A Glance

You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Roman Gladiator

Where is the Colosseum?


Gladiators (A Pop Up of the Colosseum)

Gladiators (Usborne Young Readers)


G is For Gladiator (Ancient Roman Alphabet Book)

Chapter 29


The Young Carthaginian (Free on Kindle)

Roman Army

Going To War In Roman Times

How to Be a Roman Soldier

Roman Soldier’s Handbook

Chapter 30

The Ganges

Prince Siddhartha

Life and Times of Buddha

The Elephant’s Friend

The Drum: A Folk Tale from India


Usborne Stories From India


Anklet For A Princess (Indian Cinderella Story)

Chapter 31

Ancient India Maurya Empire

Hands On History Ancient India

Ancient Indians Crafts From the Past

Indian Myths

Chapter 32

If You Were Me and Lived in Ancient China (See the reviews page for a full review of this series)

Long is a Dragon (Chinese Writing)

You Wouldn’t Want to Work on the Great Wall of China

Fact Finder: China


Magic Tree House Day of the Dragon King

Where is the Great Wall


Yeh-Shen (Chinese Cinderella Story)

Chapter 33

Confucius Chinese Philosopher

Confucius the Golden Rule


Ming’s Adventure With Confucius (Written in both English and Chinese)

The Wise Teacher of China (Free with Kindle Unlimited)

Eyewitness Ancient China

Chapter 34

Who Was Juluis Caesar?

Life and Times of Julius Caesar


Young Reader’s Shakepeare Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar (Usborne)

The Wadjet Eye (Novel for older children)

Chapter 35

Roman Numerals I to MM

Back in Time Ancient History for Kids

Cleopatra (National Geographic)

Cleopatra Biography For Kids (free on Kindle Unlimited)

The Rome Antics

The Eagle of the Ninth (Novel for Middle Grades/High School)

Illustrated Lives of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra

Chapter 36

Augustus

Story of Clocks and Calendars

You Wouldn’t Want to Live Without Clocks and Calendars

Chapter 37

Miracles of Jesus


Book of Bible Stories

Chapter 38

Passover Sticker Book

Around the World in One Shabbat

Shabbat A Family Service


The Story of Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah Curious George (for preschoolers)

Maccabee! The Story of Hanukkah


Harvest of Light

The Children’s Jewish Holiday Kitchen

Chapter 39

Beric the Briton (free on Kindle)

Ancient Rome and Pompeii

Vacation Under the Volcano


The Storykeeper’s Collection 9also available on DVD)

Chapter 40

Tales From Celtic Lands (also on Audible)

Explore Celts


The Celts (See Through History)


Celts (Usborne Beginners)

Everyday Life of the Celts


Hands On History The Celts



Raiders of the North

Favorite Celtic Fairy Tales

Chapter 41

The Barbarians


Barbarians

Why Are You Calling Me a Barbarian


Who Were the Barbarians?

Chapter 42

Winnie the Pooh (In Latin)

Atlas of Ancient History

Ancient Rome (See Through History)

Tools of the Ancient Romans

Primary Physics Romans Machines

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

ACT Mom Test Prep (Review)


Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

The ACT Mom

Somehow we went from our first year of homeschooling him in first grade to having a high school sophomore in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, I have to think about college, scholarships, transcripts, and college testing. I am not sure how time went so quickly, but I am grateful there are people and products out there designed to help me through this process. This month we have been reviewing the  ACT Mom Online Class, a product from ACT Mom designed to help him prepare to take the ACT.

ACT MOM Overview

This online course is broken down into the four categories of the ACT:

-Science

-Math

-English

-Reading

Inside of each category are multiple lessons breaking it down into different topics. My son decided to do science first. There was an introduction to the course at the beginning (it is available in each category but only needs to be watched once.)

ACT Science Prep

Then there were seven sections. The sections were fairly short and he mostly completed a section each time he did a session. The first one was about how the science test worked and test taking strategies.  There was a section about outside information questions, which are the science based questions that are testing your prior science knowledge.

Some examples of the test taking tips were reading the questions first to help you find the right information in the reading and stay hydrated, drink water and have protein bar in between the 2nd and 3rd sections

There were quizzes that checked for understanding of this material. Those were completed and graded online.

The rest of the science sections were broken down by the five sections that will be on the test. Each section had a science based reading selection and a set of questions.  There was a 10 Minute video with each one that went over what section was about and then a timer for you to complete the section.

The course came with a three ring binder that had laminated sample answer sheets, graph paper, and other materials. When you came to these sections of the science lessons, you fill out the answers on the laminated answer sheets with a dry erase marker. This gives students a chance to get familiar with the layout of the answer sheets.

Students would answer questions for that section while the timer ran. They had 6-8 questions per section, and then there was a 2nd 4-5 minute video that explained the answers and where the answers were found.

Paper Materials for ACT Test Prep

Test Prep Overview

The other categories were set up similarly, with each one being broken up into different sections. For the math there were explanations of various math concepts with the digital quizzes and then at the end there is a practice ACT section. For that one she did videos that explain the correct answers and broke it into 10 questions per video so that you only had to go back and look at ones that you had trouble understanding.

Final Thoughts

Overall, while my son wouldn’t tell you that he enjoyed ACT Mom Online Class, he did feel like it helped him have a better understanding of what to expect when he takes the ACT. He felt like it was going to help him be more prepared and consequently score better.  We plan for him to finish the program over the course of this semester prior to taking the ACT next year.

We do recommend this program for any high school student who is preparing for the ACT.  I think it would be somewhat helpful for the SAT as well but it really targets the ACT set up and style.

Many of the Review Crew families took a look at ACT Mom Online Class and started with different sections. So be sure to click on the graphic below to see what they thought.

Test Prep with The ACT Mom

A Day in the Life… of my Homeschool High School Student + Giveaway

  • Some links are affiliate links, see disclosure below*

We are starting our 10th year of homeschooling this fall. In some ways it seems like just yesterday that I was sitting down with my first grader and trying this ‘homeschool thing’ for a year or two. Many things have changed over the years; we have added two more children to the family, changes our style and curriculum, and the children have gotten older (obviously) and more independent.

When people talk about their concerns about homeschooling, high school is a topic that comes up frequently. Even those families that have a strong desire to homeschool all the way through, often worry about how to homeschool high school.

Having only successfully completed one year of homeschooling high school (with 15 more to go altogether), I do not claim to have all of the answers. However, I thought I would share what homeschooling high school looks like in our home.

Something Stay the Same

Somethings look the same in our homeschool for high school as they did in earlier years. We still try to start our day as a family with Bible, hymn study, and read aloud. I do not include most of this on my sons records, but I think the time together is still valuable.

As in years past, we use a variety of curriculum and materials for our courses. For everyone’s sanity we switched over to online math for pre-algebra and beyond. (We have used several different programs but the two my son liked best are Thinkwell Math and Unlock Math).

We are using a variety of courses from SchoolhouseTeachers.com for him this year, just as we have the past several years. I love that I can use their literature courses to give him a good foundation in literature while allowing us to continue to use discussions as a big part of the literature process.

We are also still enjoying the opportunity to set our own schedule and have flexibility in when we ‘do school’.

Some Things Look Different

I mentioned above that we have flexibility in our schedule, but I do find that we need a bit more time in our school day to get the high school level work completed. For us that is about 20-25 hours each week. My younger students can get most of their work done in about 3 hours a day.

Instead of doing all of our courses throughout the year we are doing a hybrid block schedule. Some courses we do all year long. These include courses like music performance where he is counting hours towards completing and also literature to allow him a bit more time for reading the novels. Other courses, such as history, science, and math he is completing in a semester. This allows him to spend more time on each course each day.

Another big change is that every course is graded. Prior to high school most of our work was done and worked on until it was completed well and I felt like the material had been mastered.Some of the grades are assigned by the curriculum (his online math), some I grade with a rubric, and others such as his online course from Journey Homeschool Academy include grades done by them as well as components that are graded by myself.

I track all of his final grades in Fast Transcripts so that they are ready for sending in to colleges or scholarship applications.

For us high school basically has a bit more structure than earlier years. I track the number of weeks he works on his courses, keep track of grades, and require him to be a bit more independent.

Counting the Extras

One big key that we have found to balancing it all, is turning his hobbies and extra-curricular activities into a part of school. This frees up some time and keeps us from being too busy (though we still feel plenty busy these days).

For my son this means that he is taking Music Performance as one of his electives and that involves his Practice Monkeys lessons, worship band practice, and some additional course work that I am assigning him.

He is also taking Animal Science this year which will include his 4-H presentation, raising animals for the livestock show, and additional course work.

Additionally, I will be using the paper he writes for North Carolina Junior Historians as one of the papers he needs for English. This way he is still getting the writing done, but he gets to count it towards school and an extra-curricular.

By incorporating those hobbies into his electives, it helps to lessen the amount of time he has to spend on schoolwork while still ensuring that he gets a good overall education and is well prepared for college or the work force.

Overall, for us high school involves spending four to five hours a day on school work and then devoting additional time to projects and hobbies that all work together to create a well rounded education. We needed a bit more structure than we had in younger years, but still have much more flexibility than a traditional school environment.

This week the Review Crew has a Mentoring Mom Call Giveaway going on August 28th through September 3rd! Be sure to click on the graphic below to see all of the other Crew Member Posts and to enter the giveaway!

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

If you have not tried SchoolhouseTeachers.com, you don’t want to miss this sale!

Last Minute Back to Homeschool Solutions and a Giveaway

Every year, sometime in August, I get at least one family who decided last minute to homeschool and wants to know how to make the switch. Maybe school starts in a couple weeks (or days) and you just know it isn’t right for you or maybe you started back to school and really want to bring your children home.

You CAN do this!

Take Your Time

First, take some time to breathe. Do what you need to do to register as a homeschooler in your state, bring your child home, and take a few days to enjoy time as a family and get prepared to start. You do not have to keep the same schedule as the school system and it is OK to take a few weeks to prepare.

Spend some time making goals for your homeschool, researching homeschool styles and philosophies to see how you want to set up your curriculum. Talk to your students and get their input. It might make you feel like you are getting behind, but the time you spend preparing will save you time and frustration moving forward.

Curriculum

I am often asked, “What is the best homeschool curriculum?” There is no single right answer to that question. The best is the one that works for your family.  I have spent hundreds of hours reviewing curriculum and I can tell you that there are many wonderful programs available and what works for one child may not work for another.

When you are getting started, I recommend buying used curriculum. When you buy used, you can resell and get most of your money back if you find it does not work for you. This often helps give families flexibility as they determine what will or will not work for them. I also highly recommend doing a little research into homeschooling philosophies to help you narrow down your options. There are some great free tools to help with that in our How Do I Get Started Homeschooling? post.

Find a Flexible Program

Another great option is to try a program like Schoolhouse Teachers. We love Schoolhouse Teachers because with only one membership we have access to a wide variety of courses (over 400 from preschool to high school). If we try one course and it is not a good fit for us, we can simply switch to a different course with-in the membership.

The membership is also good for the budget because it covers all of the students in your household. There are text based courses, video based courses, grade specific courses and family style courses all included. We are using our membership for several courses for each of my students this year.

Final Thoughts and Encouragement

There are links to some great homeschooling resources at the bottom of this post, but mostly I want to leave you with the knowledge that you can homeschool. If you are being called to homeschool, God will provide you with what you need to make it work. You taught them how to eat, speak, and walk and you can teach them academics.

Reach out if I can be of any help getting you started and make sure to click on the graphic below to read the posts from all of the other Crew Members and enter the giveaway for a free Schoolhouse Teachers Membership.

Resources:

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

If you have not tried SchoolhouseTeachers.com, you don’t want to miss this sale: Buy One Year Get A Second Year Free!