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.

City Creek Press, INC.: Online Times Alive (Review) and a coupon code!

Some children love to memorize math facts while others struggle with the memorization. My son does well with math but never completely memorized his multiplication tables and it was slowing him down with his Algebra. Online Times Alive by City Creek Press, Inc. sounded like it might be a unique way to reinforce those facts that he needed to practice.

times alive pinterest

In this program each multiplication fact is attached to a story to help the student remember the facts. When a student first logs into the program, they are given a pretest which gauges how many of the facts they know and how long it takes them to complete the test.  Then they can work through the short lesson for each fact. There are periodic progress checks to see how well they are retaining the lessons that they have completed.  When the student has completed all of the lessons they can take a test which will show you if they were able to get a higher percentage correct and if they increased their speed.

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My son went through the program and really enjoyed it. ” I think it helped me get more comfortable with my math facts.” He started in a good place with 94% on the pre-test and finished with 98%. While this may not seem like huge growth since he started so high, the bigger success was that he feels more comfortable with the multiplication facts and feels like they are easier to recall now that he has stories associated with them. His favorite was 7 x 7 is 49 because the 7s are soldiers which sit in their 4 (fort) and make sure America stays clean. The sign looks like a 9… 49.

Each fact lesson took him only a few minutes to work through and he enjoyed the process (and didn’t even complain about having to do additional math). He would often do several lessons in one sitting and went through the entire program in about a month. If you have a student who is new to multiplication or starting at a lower proficiency, they would probably take longer to complete the program. Also note that this program is about memorizing the facts and not really about teaching the multiplication concept. This was perfect for us because my son knew and understood how to multiply he just struggled with the quick recall of facts.

One thing that I think is important to note about this program, is that the data from their progress is stored on the computer and not online even though it is an online subscription based program. This may not be a big deal for most families, but it does mean that all work must be done on the same computer to be saved.  It is also available as an app on iOS 9.0 and above. We do not have any applicable devices so I have not tried the app, but some of the other Crew members checked it out and you can find out more about how that worked in their reviews.

If you have a child that struggles with learning their multiplication facts or is finding themselves slowed down in higher math because of their multiplication speed, Online Times Alive may be the program for you! It is a fun and engaging way to remember the multiplication facts with just a few minutes of work each day. If you want to give the program a try, City Creek Press, Inc  has been generous enough to offer my readers a coupon code to waive the sign up fee($6.95 value) It is— lovetolearn. Also, be sure to click on the graphic below and read all of the other Crew Reviews to see how other families used this product.

Online Times Alive {City Creek Press, Inc. Reviews} 

Crew Disclaimer

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.

The Kingdom Code Journal #3

If you are following along with our journey, you know that we have been quiet for a few weeks. We had a wonderful vacation visiting family and then a hurricane that got me a little off track with my sharing. However, while I am behind in sharing, my son has been working through this program and growing his business. I will share more about his progress later, but he has over doubled his business in the last few weeks using tools and skills that he learned in The Kingdom Code.

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Lesson three was about how entrepreneurs build businesses. This section uses the cowboys of the 1800s as a lesson in supply and demand.  Then helps them understand how to apply that to their new businesses. It also shared about a failed business venture and how the entrepreneur had the courage to start over and was successful in his next venture. I think this is a great way to help children understand that they may not succeed at everything they attempt but they should keep trying.  We had recently listened to a biography of Milton Hershey and were able to connect that story to this lesson as well.

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

Key to the Lesson: “I am an entrepreneur who has the courage to take risks and seek advice.”

The second part of this lesson talked about the importance of mentors and how to find a good mentor. My son chose to use his dad as his mentor. He has built his own business which provides for our family and had also done some part time work in landscaping. This made him a good choice for a mentor for my son’s landscaping business. As he grows his business, we may also consider having him work with someone that we know who runs his own landscaping business full time.

Stay tuned next week for lesson four of The Kingdom Code and don’t forget that you can get 10% of this program using Coupon Code:  10TKC08! If you have any questions about our journey let me know in the comments and I will be sure to try and address them in our next installment.

Disclaime 2 x 7 - 3

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.

 

Homeschooling After A Hurricane: Lessons Learned Homeschooling Through a Disaster (Part 2)

food
Tacos were a weekly occurrence and almost always a favorite!

In the first few days after the storm the decision to pause our homeschool was an easy one, no one that we knew (public, private, or homeschooled) was ‘doing’ school. The public schools were shelters, people were still without power, and many businesses were closed. The entire town was focused on disaster relief. The first week went by and then the second week and then people started asking when we were going to start back to school. I didn’t have an answer because I felt like we needed to start back but I knew in my heart that what we were doing was far more important than any ‘school lesson’ I could teach them.

In those early days I was thinking in terms of days and weeks, but it soon became apparent that I needed to think in terms of months.  I certainly didn’t want to neglect our academic subjects for an entire year but I also didn’t want to prioritize them over the very real very immediate needs of our community.  In the end, we took several weeks completely off, and then as we could we added reading, math and spelling back into our schedules. Even later, we picked back up history and a few other subjects to finish out our year. We condensed, prioritized, and added a few weeks to the end of our year but in the end we completed the work even with the break and the changes.

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

While we were not doing all of our ‘normal’ academic subjects during that time, my children learned more last year than quite possibly any other year. They learned about serving others, they learned about different cultures (Amish, Mennonite, etc), they learned about supply distribution, how to talk to people who are in crisis, how to prepare food for large groups of people, how to rethink menus based on grocery availability and allergies, construction skills, and so much more. I could have spent hundreds of hours lecturing them about these various topics without them learning half of what they did actively participating in the process.

I share our decision making process not because it is the only right way but because looking back I learned a very valuable lesson, it is ok to take a break and press pause on the academics. I have no regrets about the days that we stopped ‘doing school’ and spent helping in our community.  It can be easy to become slaves to the curriculum or the calendar, but I am so glad that I took the road less traveled and focused on the opportunities that were in front of us. When we signed up to help I wasn’t thinking about what my children would get from the experience but in hindsight I can see that we gained as much as we gave.

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Even the baby wanted to help!

As a Christian, I know that we are called to be servants. We want our children to grow up to be servants for Christ, yet we often forget to give them the opportunity to see and model that behavior.  Often people assume that children are too young to help but if we do not teach them to serve along side us then how will they learn. Sometimes you have to be more creative in ways that children can help and sometimes it is about having confidence in them.  The summer before the hurricane hit my then twelve-year-old son and I read Do Hard Things together. We both enjoyed the book and agreed that people do not give teenagers enough opportunities.  However, neither of us was really sure how we could give him opportunities to ‘Do Hard Things’. God answered that question is a powerful way after Florence. My son was able to help coordinate supply distribution as well as take over setting out and putting away cots for volunteers. These were some big jobs, but he worked hard and did a great job. We did it to help others and meet a need, but in the process he gained leadership and organizational skills. Even my then four-year-old was able to serve. He would help put up cots, tote supplies, and help fill coolers. The baby couldn’t really serve since he was only about six-months-old but his presence and his laugh was often a source of comfort and joy for tired and emotionally exhausted volunteers.

While not everyone is prepared or called to cook hundreds of meals, everyone can do something. I think one of the biggest lessons to learn is that there are ways for everyone to serve even if you have small children, allergies, etc. For safety reasons, I could not take a six-month-old into flooded houses to ‘muck and gut’ them like many of our church members and the volunteers that came to the church. However, I could and did feed people. There were others that couldn’t be at the church for whatever reason that baked desserts to give to volunteers, washed clothes for volunteers and flood victims, drove lunches from the church to the job sites (sometimes with sleeping babies in the car). We are all at different points in life, with different circumstances and abilities, but that shouldn’t’ stop us from serving. With a little creativity there is a job our there for everyone.

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When I think about our overall goals for our children, having them be Christ serving, kind and compassionate adults who love the Lord and serve others in at the top of that list. Our time serving and helping certainly helped model those goals and introduced them to dozens of other wonderful adult volunteers who were modeling that behavior. They met a couple who spend six months of their year living in a camper, going to disaster areas, bringing in teams of volunteers, and helping people rebuild their homes. There was the Amish gentleman who came and stayed at our church for two months to help lead teams and rebuild homes. Another retired couple came down three different times for a total of four weeks, bringing friends and working hard. The college students who took their fall break to come and help people they didn’t know rebuild their homes. Those are just a few of the numerous role models that my children were able to meet and work alongside.  The academics are important but they can be (and were) learned later.

While I pray that a disaster never strikes your area, if it does I hope this post will help you to be able to use the flexibility of homeschooling to help your community. While our goal in helping is not to be self-serving, know that the lessons learned will serve your children well in their future. I would love to hear how you and your family have served in the community either after a disaster or just meeting the everyday needs of those around you.

Homeschooling After A Hurricane: A Semester of Service (Part 1)

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

Free 5 Day Learning without Worksheets Challenge: FREE 5-Day Learning Challenge We have done several of her different challenges in the past and they are lots of fun and easy to implement.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

You ARE an Artist at ChalkPastel.com

 

Homeschooling After A Hurricane: A Semester of Service (Part 1)

I started writing this post in February but life was still busy and I never finished it. I feel like this week is the perfect time to finish it and reflect on the one-year anniversary of the hurricane. I want to be very clear that I share this not to brag on what we did because we only did what needed to be done and so many people did so much more than we did. I share it to help you see what our experience was and hopefully to help those who may go through a similar situation whether it be a hurricane or other natural disaster. Everyone can help after a disaster but as a homeschooling family we have some unique opportunities to really help our children learn to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those in crisis.  I am sharing today about our personal experience and tomorrow I will follow up with part two which will share the lessons we learned and how you can apply them to your homeschool.

A week and a half into our 2018-19 ‘school year’ Hurricane Florence came along and did major damage to our area. We had gotten into a great routine and the year was going surprisingly smooth considering that we had a baby and a four-year-old along for the ride. I was a bit frustrated that my routine was going to get messed up but I resigned myself to losing about 3 days (maybe a bit more for the subjects that required a computer) and planned to hop back on track that next week.  As a native of eastern North Carolina, I had weathered many hurricanes and did not really expect that this one would be that much different than all the rest.

Unfortunately, this one was different than most storms I had been through.  We weathered this storm well as a family, but thousands of people in our community lost their homes to the flood waters. Areas that had never flooded before and were not in any flood planes had feet of water in them. For the first few days we stayed pretty close to home and actually did a little bit of schoolwork to pass the time. The children helped our neighbor clean up limbs and even went with my husband to help a family just down the road who needed to clear out his home because of flooding. There was a curfew in place in the city limits where our church and most of the businesses we use are located, so we couldn’t really travel in town. Also, we did not have power and needed to be home to tend to the generator.  We got power back on the Monday following the storm and the curfews were lifted on that same day.

On Tuesday, we went into town, to our church, to figure out how we could help and to get a better idea of the scope of the damage. Most of the hurricanes that I have been through the damage is spread out throughout the area. While there certainly were a few homes that had wind and tree damage, the vast majority of the damage from this storm was flooding. That meant that while there were large areas and many homes affected, they were also large areas that remained untouched by the storm. If you were far enough inland to not flood there was a good chance that other than a power outage or some tree limbs down you escaped unscathed.

Our power and internet had been restored just five days after the storm and we could have returned to school as usual, but we saw that there were many needs in the community and wanted to meet those needs. In the first days and weeks after the storm the public schools were also out of school and the decision to not stick to our scheduled curriculum was easy. We knew that we had an obligation to help those in need and that the children were getting a different kind of education.

For the first two or three weeks we simply devoted ourselves to helping. Our church was bringing in groups from out of town to help ‘muck and gut’ flooded houses as well as having many of our own members help each day. With a small baby I couldn’t safely go into those homes, but I could go to the church and help feed the volunteers. Our family was able to help coordinate and provide meals to 50-100 volunteers each day as well as helping set up lodging in the church for those from out of town.

 

Early on the church was collecting donations that were planned to go to a local outreach in our community to be distributed. However, that outreach as well as another large outreach were overwhelmed and limited due to their own flood damage and the number of people needing help. So, the children set up tables and began distributing supplies. Each day we would show up and new supplies would arrive from various places around the state and even other states. They gave away thousands of supply items to hundreds of people that came looking for help. While the adults helped to supervise, my children as well as their friends really ran that operation and did a great job.

During those initial weeks our school day consisted of public speaking, service, organization, and cooking skills. They meet hundreds of people from around the country and had experiences that they will never forget. After the first three or four weeks, we realized that there would be months worth of work to help our town rebuild and we needed to find a more sustainable long-term plan that allowed us to continue to help while also keeping our other obligations (school, work, housework, etc) going.

From the end of October through April (and a few weeks from May to July), we found a bit more balance but our focus still seemed to fall on hurricane relief. We had groups coming into the church most Sunday nights and staying through Friday. These groups were a little more structured and planned (since the immediate crisis was over) and we were able to find a better balance.  We would purchase groceries and set up cots on Sunday, cook several meals through the week, and then make sure the groups had what they needed while they were here. Other families and small groups from the church would help with meals, desserts, and other needs. The groups would also often bring a few people with them to help cook some of their own meals.

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Through all of this we had the privilege of working with several wonderful organizations, particularly International Disaster Emergency Services (IDES) and Sharing Hope Ministries. These groups provided both resources and leadership for the teams out in the field and helped provide the volunteers that were working. We meet people from various states and backgrounds. There were families, adult groups, senior groups, college student ministries, a teen group, and multiple groups from the Mennonite and Amish community. What an experience we had meeting so many new people that all had a heart to come and serve the people in our town. We made some wonderful friends, several of whom we hope to visit over the next couple of years.

At the end of July, the eight-bay shower trailer that our volunteers used to shower each night was returned to IDES and the classroom that we turned into a ‘food room’ for storing non-perishables and serving meals was returned to its status of adult classroom. On the outside things seem to be back to normal, bur for our family and many others this storm and experience have left us forever changed.  We learned so much and grew as a family in ways I never expected. I invite you to join us tomorrow for part two of this series where I will share the lessons we learned and how you can use natural disasters and other events to help your children learn to serve.

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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

Free 5 Day Learning without Worksheets Challenge: FREE 5-Day Learning Challenge We have done several of her different challenges in the past and they are lots of fun and easy to implement.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

You ARE an Artist at ChalkPastel.com

Our Morning Basket 2019 (and a Free Printable)

I had high hopes for a nice morning basket time last year but in reality, it didn’t happen very often. Our together time was spent serving at church (look for my post later this week about our year of service in the aftermath of Florence) or working on more ‘pressing’ educational assignments and much of their learning was done independently. We did what needed to be done and I have no regrets on that end but I really missed the time together and wanted to get back to it. I spent a lot of time contemplating how I wanted to work out our morning basket time with ages ranging from thirteen years to eighteen months.

We are only about a week into school, and I fully accept that we may have to modify or adapt, but what has been working so far is to do our morning basket time in the living room right after breakfast. The toddler is still awake and happy, and everyone else is ready to go. The toddler plays on the floor while we learn together. I decided to focus on a few short items each day and not to stress about covering a certain amount. In general, I just do the next thing for a couple of subjects including hymn study, composer study, read aloud, and Bible.

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

For hymn study, the first few days of a month we read about the story of the hymn, who wrote the hymn, and any scripture references that align with the hymn. Then each morning we listen to one or two editions of the hymn and sing along as we learn the words.  We can also include copy work and art lessons into our study but typically I assign those to be done outside of morning basket time.

In an effort to make it very easy for me to include composer study into our routine, I signed up for the Women Composers study over at Enrichment Studies. Each morning I get an e-mail with information about a female composer and links to listen to their works. This takes 5-10 minutes and is a great way to expose them to a variety of composers.  This course is one semester long and next semester I will choose something else in its place, possibly an artist study.

I know reading aloud is one of the most important things I can do in my home school. I also know how easy it is to get busy and not include this time, especially with older students. However, by having it on the list first thing in the morning I am more likely to get it done and by reading aloud the same book to everyone we have a shared family experience that brings us closer. I started this school year with Who Was Beatrix Potter? which aligned well to the book I was reading with my five-year-old and some books that I had read personally. I plan to choose a variety of fiction and non-fiction books as we go through the year.

My two oldest children have their own Bible study/devotional times, but we also like to include Bible time together. This can range from reading a section in the Bible, going through a Bible study, or currently memorizing our Bible verse for the year. Each year I choose a Bible verse as a sort of theme or anchor in our year.  This year I chose Deuteronomy 6:6-7. I created some fun printables with the verse to help my children memorize them and I have even included them as a free download (at the end of this post) for you if you would like to use them for memorization or a reminder.

I do not necessarily do every one of those things every day, but we spend 20-30 minutes together on those things before my older children work independently for a bit and I take the two youngest on a walk.  We enjoy our time together and it helps us fit in some of those ‘extras’ that are easy to forget.

I would love to hear what you enjoy for your morning basket time? How does it work in your home?

Deuteronomy 6 Printables

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

Free 5 Day Learning without Worksheets Challenge: FREE 5-Day Learning Challenge We have done several of her different challenges in the past and they are lots of fun and easy to implement.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

You ARE an Artist at ChalkPastel.com

The First North Carolinians: Resources for Early North Carolina History

When I say the first North Carolinians who comes to mind? Are you thinking of the Lost Colony? We will get to the Lost Colony soon, but this month we are talking about those people who were already here when the colonist arrived, the American Indian or Native American tribes of North Carolina. Throughout the year we will be working our way through North Carolina History and geography. Each month I will share some resources specific to the topics and time periods we are studying that month. I also have a more comprehensive list of North Carolina history resources that I am continually updating as I find new resources.

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

As we delve into North Carolina history this month we will begin by studying the American Indians of North Carolina. I am excited about this study because I know very little of my own ancestry, but the little bit I do know traces my roots back to the Tuscarora Indians of North Carolina. We started our study by watching North Carolina American Indians Live! as a family.  This was a very educational film that shared about both the historic lives of American Indians and their modern day lives. It helps to dispel some myths about modern day American Indians. Next we plan to check out the Pepsi Regional History Center.

Over the next several weeks we plan to try out some of the recipes and read the book If You Lived with the Cherokee together. My son will be researching a tribe or aspect of the life of the American Indians in pre-colonial North Carolina and presenting it to us as a family. If time allows, he will also complete a stop motion video to accompany his project.  My daughter will be completing the American Heritage Girl badge on Native Americans, focusing on those in North Carolina.

While I do not think we will make it to Town Creek or Cherokee this month, I hope that we are able to travel to at least one of those locations before our study of North Carolina history is complete. They offer wonderful resources to better help us understand those native tribes. If you have a tribe near you, many of them offer festive and educational events that are open to the public. You can learn more about their ancestors and their current traditions.

I encourage you to check out some of the wonderful resources I have found below (many of which are free) and tell me in the comments what resources you use to learn about American Indians.  Don’t forget to check back next month for resources on The Lost Colony through the early colonial era.

North Carolina American Indian Resources

Books:

If You Lived with the Cherokee

The First Strawberries: (A Cherokee Tale)

Soft Rain (Trail of Tears)

Only the Names Remain (Trail of Tears)

Native Carolinians

Videos:

North Carolina American Indians Live!

American Indians in North Carolina (distance learning class)

Websites:

North Carolina American Indian Educational Resources

NCpedia (An online encyclopedia of all things North Carolina)

The Tuscarora

American Indian Timeline

Field Trips:

Pepsi Regional History Center

Town Creek Indian Mound

North Carolina Museum of History

Cherokee

Museum of the Cherokee Indian

Roanoke Island Festival Park

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

Recipes:

Cherokee Favorites

United Cherokee Nation Recipes

American Indian Food

Corn Soup

 

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

As we enter into the fall season and return to our routines it often feels much like a new year and a chance to start over. What are you doing to get/stay healthy? I am trying to drink more water and take daily walks.
If you are looking for some starting over with a healthier lifestyle you might want to check out the Healthy Living Bundle that is on sale for just a few days. At only $37 for 93 ebooks, ecourses, and printable packs it is an excellent deal. This includes help with allergies, nutrition, gardening, exercise and more.

Free 5 Day Learning without Worksheets Challenge: FREE 5-Day Learning Challenge We have done several of her different challenges in the past and they are lots of fun and easy to implement.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

You ARE an Artist at ChalkPastel.com

Reading Eggs Kindergarten Math Skills (Review)

If you are like me, when you hear the name Reading Eggs you think of reading but this great program has come out with some wonderful math resources as well. I recently had the opportunity to review one of  their new workbooks: 200 Essential Math Skills for Kindergarten. My five-year-old started ‘kindergarten’ a few days ago and I thought it was a great book for him to try.

Reading Eggs Pinterest

Each lesson in the book was four pages long and had about 8-10 questions/activities for him to work through. This included items like matching, tracing, drawing, coloring and writing numbers. The book begins by covering numbers, colors, and shapes. Later it covers time, patterns, adding, three dimensional shapes and more.   After every five lessons there is a quiz to review what was learned, an achievement certificate and some fun activities such as color by number that they can complete. If you are pairing the workbook with the online program, there is a spot to mark at the end of each lesson showing what you did online. The programs pair well together, however, this book can also be used as a stand-alone program.

He was excited to receive it in the mail and wanted to get started right away. He enjoyed most of the activities and could normally complete a lesson in one session. A few of them were taking him longer and we broke them into two sessions. The book is broken up into 50 lessons with an additional 10 quizzes which means that for a traditional 36-week school year you have to complete less than two lessons each week to finish the program. This gives you lots of flexibility to let them work at their own pace. He was learning and mastering the lessons well, except that he struggled a little bit with the number and color words. I felt like this was a good concept to be introduced to, but since he was a little young to expect mastery, we just let him work through those parts as he could and move on. He mastered writing the numbers and making the shapes without any problems.

 

I loved that it was colorful and engaging. I also found that having it in a book like that as opposed to on the computer or something with a lot of parts and pieces made it very easy to do math wherever we were. We started the book towards the end of the summer before we started our regular school year. Since it was only taking him a few minutes a day to complete a lesson he was happy to work on it three to four days a week. We had a couple weeks of visiting family and spending time on the river planned during that time. He was able to bring it with him and work on it while he rested in the afternoons. Once we came home and started our school year, he has been completing a half a lesson to a full lesson each day at his desk.

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In addition to 200 Essential Math Skills for Kindergarten the Crew reviewed a variety of other grade levels as well as their reading workbooks, so even if you don’t have a kindergarten student be sure to click the graphic below and check out the other Crew Reviews. In addition, Reading Eggs is generously giving all of my readers a four week free trial of their online program.

240 Essential Reading Skills & 200 Essential Math Skills  {Reading Eggs Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

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.

 

Zeezok Music Appreciation (Review)

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One of the things I love about homeschooling is the ability to allow my children to explore a variety of interests and passions. My daughter has developed and interest in music through her violin lessons and our family trips to the symphony. I was excited to be able to review Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades and help her learn more about some of the composers whose music she was hearing and playing. Zeezok Publishing did a great job creating a program that helped her delve further into the lives and music of various composers while also teaching some basic information about reading and understanding music.

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We received the student book and nine biographies covering seven composers (two of the composers were split into two books). When we started this program over the summer, I had my daughter, a rising sixth grader, working through the program with a little help from me. The program started with Frederic Chopin, Early Years and she learned about how he grew up in Poland and his childhood. We all enjoyed her fixing a Polish Christmas feast for dinner one night after learning about this custom. She used a recipe for poppy seed cake that was included in the activity book and found other recipes online for sauerkraut, kielbasa, perogies, and more.

The program would have her read several chapters and then do a variety of activities in the student book. This included answering questions about the chapters, listening to music selections via QR codes, and activities to learn about musical concepts such as the various types of notes (whole note, quarter note, etc).  The curriculum also has the student create a journal to help record what they are learning and their thoughts about the composers. If you are in a state or situation where you need to track national standards the curriculum covers all of the national standards for music appreciation in fifth through eighth grades.

She was enjoying working through the program even though we were technically on summer break from school. As we are starting back to our regular schedule, I have switched it up a bit and I am going to use the biographies as a read aloud to all three of my school aged children. My daughter will still be completing the student book and activities but I thought all of the children would enjoying learning about the composers. We are currently learning about Schumann and look forward to also learning about Wagner, Foster, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and MacDowell.

The curriculum is designed for fifth through eighth graders but they do also have a coloring book that you can purchase to go along with the composers. This could be a great way to include younger siblings and I am considering purchasing one for my kindergartner. They also have a lap book that can be purchased for your hands-on learners.

I love it when I find a program that is fun and can teach my children (and me) about our interests.  Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades certainly fit that description. The interesting biographies really helped us to connect with the composers, while the activities kept things fun and engaging.  I encourage you to check out the program and also to click on the graphic below to check out the other Crew reviews and see how other families integrated it into their day.

Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades {Zeezok Publishing Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

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.

 

Hymn Study: Jesus Loves Me

Jesus Loves Me Pinterest

“Jesus Loves me, this I know…” These simple words bring back so many memories for me. I remember singing that song at church as a child, hearing other people sing it to me, and then when my children were babies it was one of the songs I sang as I rocked them to sleep. The words are so simple, but the meaning of those words is powerful.

1 Jesus loves me, this I know,
for the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to him belong;
they are weak, but he is strong.

The words of this song were written by Anna Bartlett Warner in 1859. She wrote the words as a poem that was included in her novel, Say and Seal.  In 1861 William Bradbury added a refrain and wrote the tune to the song as we know it today.  “Jesus Loves Me” is occasionally listed in hymnals under the name China because of its popularity with churches in China. There is even a story of someone using the term, ” This I know people” to secretly describe Christians.

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

There are some really simple ways to study this song. It is an easy one to memorize the lyrics to and there are some great options for learning to play it on the piano, violin, recorder or other instrument for beginners. There is also a version that shows the song in American Sign Language that would be fun to learn.  We also plan to spend some time looking at various verses in the Bible that tells us that Jesus loves us.  I have also included some free copy work for this song as well as a variety of versions that you can listen to and enjoy.

I also am excited to share with you that we are collaborating with Nana from You Are An Artist Chalk Pastels who is doing a great painting to go along with this hymn tomorrow. This is a fun way to engage your little artists in hymn study or your musicians in art. To check out the art lesson from You Are An Artist Chalk Pastels you need to be a You Are An Artist Clubhouse Member! This brand new lesson is included in the You Are An Artist Clubhouse membership.

Hymn Study Resources:

Jesus Loves Me (Joey & Rory)

Jesus Loves Me (with Lyrics)

Jesus Loves Me (lullaby)

Jesus Loves Me (ASL)

Download Your Freebies Below!

Hymn Study Fact Sheet

Jesus Loves Me (Copywork)

 

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

As we enter into the fall season and return to our routines it often feels much like a new year and a chance to start over. What are you doing to get/stay healthy? I am trying to drink more water and take daily walks.
If you are looking for some starting over with a healthier lifestyle you might want to check out the Healthy Living Bundle that is on sale for just a few days. At only $37 for 93 ebooks, ecourses, and printable packs it is an excellent deal. This includes help with allergies, nutrition, gardening, exercise and more.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.

Free 5 Day Learning without Worksheets Challenge: FREE 5-Day Learning Challenge We have done several of her different challenges in the past and they are lots of fun and easy to implement.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

You ARE an Artist at ChalkPastel.com

 

Britfield & the Lost Crown (review)

The saying goes that you should not judge a book by its cover but I have to admit  Britfield & the Lost Crown‘s cover drew me in right away. We received the 383 page soft cover version of Britfield & the Lost Crown for this review and I was immediately impressed by the colorful engaging art that made you want to find out more about the hot air balloon adventure that was portrayed on the cover.

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Britfield & the Lost Crown is the first book in a planned series by C. R. Stewart. The book features the story of Tom and Sarah and their many adventures. The story, set-in modern-day England,  features an orphanage located in a medieval castle.  The children in the orphanage are treated very poorly, forced to work hard, and given unreasonable discipline. Tom and Sarah are two of the children in the orphanage and the other children helped them to escape in hopes that they can find help for all of them.

Before they left the orphanage, one of the children found Tom’s secret file and note with the word “Britfield”. As Tom and Sarah are on their quest to escape (hence the hot air balloon on the front cover) and get help they also begin discovering more about what Britfield might be and Tom’s possible history.  I won’t share the ending but I will say that while some of our questions were answered it was a cliffhanger and my son is a bit sad that he has to wait for the next volume to be published. He was ready to have me order it so he could find out what happens next.

In addition to this fun fictional story, there is a great downloadable study guide that was created to accompany the book. This eight-week guide would be great with a single student or a group of students (like a co-op or classroom setting). This guide includes comprehension questions, vocabulary activities, and even history and geography questions to help students learn more about England.

My thirteen-year-old son read this book upon its arrival. I asked him to rate the book on a scale of 1-10 and in typical thirteen-year-old boy fashion he couldn’t just give me a simple number. He said it was a 9.999. He recommended it for children ages 9 and older. There are a few scary or intense parts when the children are mistreated in the orphanage but no other questionable content. I asked him his favorite part and he described the ending, but I don’t want to give it away so I will let you read it for yourself!

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If you are looking a new series to excite your middle grades reader or if you love mystery and adventure, this is a series you should check out. In addition to the soft cover version that we received they do have it available on kindle and audiobook. You don’t have to take our word for it, make sure to click on the graphic below and check out all of the other Crew Reviews and then get your copy of Britfield & the Lost Crown.

Britfield & the Lost Crown  {Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

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.