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.

The Easter Storybook Review

Last summer when I asked my five-year-old son about his goals for this year he told me he wanted to learn to cook, climb trees, and more about Jesus. While I thought we should add in a few other subjects, I was certainly happy to help him learn more about Jesus. When I found out about the The Easter Storybook: 40 Bible Stories Showing Who Jesus Is published by David C Cook,  I knew it would be a great way to continue working on that goal.

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When The Easter Storybook arrived in the mail my son was excited to open it and had me read the first story that very night. Each story was approximately one page and includes a full page illustration on the opposite page. The book is hard bound and colorful, which works well to engage children and to help it hold up against the not so careful use of children. The Easter Storybook was written by Laura Richie and Illustrated by Ian Dale.

These short but powerful stories, tell about Jesus and his life and works. They are short enough to keep the attention span of a young child. We used the predominately at bedtime, although he would also sometimes bring it to me to read when we had time for an extra read aloud during the day. At the top of each story is the Bible reference for the story as well as one key verse that relates to the story. At the end of the story there are one or two discussion questions. For example, day 15 was Jesus and the Rich Man. The Bible reference was Matthew 19; Mark 10, and Luke 18. The related scripture verse was Romans 3:23-24, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift.”  At the end of the story the discussion question is, “What is impossible with humans but possible with God?”

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The stories start when Jesus is a young boy in the temple (Luke 2) and finish with Jesus’s Ascension (Matthew 28). Benjamin’s favorite story was Day 3, Jesus is Tempted. This was the story of Jesus being tempted by Satan in Matthew 4 and Luke 4.  It described how Satan tempted Jesus with food, power, and his faithfulness to God.

All in all, we found that this storybook was a great way to help us focus on Jesus and his life and ministry as we prepare for Easter. You can read one a day for the 40 days leading up to Easter or since they share a great deal of the life of Jesus they could be read anytime during the year. I would recommend this book for preschool through elementary students as a read aloud with parents. It could be read independently by elementary students but the discussion questions with the parent really add to the learning.

Be sure to check out the The Easter Storybook  if you are looking for a great way to focus your family on Jesus during this Easter season and you can find out more about all of the wonderful products at the David C Cook,website. You can even check out my review of David C Cook Action Bible Anytime Devotions (Review) to see another one of their great products.  Don’t forget to click on the graphic below to check out the reviews from other Review Crew members.

The Easter Storybook {David C Cook Reviews}

Parenting Beyond the Rules: Spring 2020 Online Book Study

I am excited to be getting back into book studies! Life had gotten really crazy and I just couldn’t fit it all in. However, I am really excited to be going through Connie Albers’ book Parenting Beyond the Rules. This book is designed to help parents who are “trying to raise a responsible, godly teenager.”

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

My oldest is 13 and while he is overall a great son, I notice the parent/teen friction at times. I am looking forward to learning some practical ways to keep us closely connected during these years while also helping direct and guide him.  I had purchased this book back in January, but sat it to the side as life was busy. I then had the opportunity, in February, to hear Connie Albers speak at an online conference. It was a great reminder and confirmation that I needed to pull this book back out and start reading.

Each week we will read and discuss one chapter in the book, so it won’t be a huge time commitment and we will have time to work through some of the strategies and support one another.  We will start this week by getting our books and introducing ourselves and then plan to have read chapter one by next Wednesday, April 8th.

If you are interested in joining us,  you can purchase the book here and then join the private facebook group to take part in the discussion.  I look forward to having you join us on this study. Please let me know if you have any questions.

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

Play Beside Me Challenge — Hands on As We Grow is offering this FREE 5 day challenge to help out with activities that can keep younger kids engaged in play for 15 to 20 minutes while you get something else done. Great for those with toddlers and preschoolers.

Fit2B Sale If your gym is closed or you can’t get out to do your favorite workouts, you can try my favorite online program. They are having a great 41% off sale on March 26th and 27th!

Misfits Market Box, finally if you are having a hard time getting fresh produce in your area or you would just like the convenience of food being delivered to your door you can use code: COOKWME-IW0OPU to get 25% off your first Misfits Market produce delivery.

Homeschool Complete is offering a special 10% off discount to my readers! Just use code: SWAG

Evan-Moor is offering their Daily Fundamentals book FREE right now to help out during this time.

Some of my favorite homeschooling people are joining together to do a FREE gala all about one of our favorite book series! I highly encourage you to sign up for the Green Ember Gala that is happening on April 2nd at Noon! You will get an art lesson, a nature lesson, and a chance to hear from the author himself!

Get a FREE Literature Kit from LitWits using Code 11READ4FUN. We are currently enjoying the Heidi kit but have also previously loved the My Side of the Mountain kit.

IEW is offering some great free resources right now.

FREE Baby Yoda Art Lesson from Nana!

 

Read All the Books: Free and Discounted Online Literature Resources

 

I’ve always loved books and reading! I have tried to pass that love along to my children. We try to always have them reading their own books (if they are old enough), be listening to an audio book, and have a read aloud going. Reading in our homeschool ranks second only to Bible in importance. With that in mind, I was thrilled to find all of these wonderful free and discounted resources available right now and wanted to make sure I took time to share them with you.

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

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First, a friend shared with me that Andrew Peterson was doing a nightly read aloud of the first book in his WingFeather series. You can find those videos here on his Facebook page (but hurry they are only available for a short time). We started doing those at 8pm (ET) live but have found it works best for us to do them earlier so we are watching the one from the day before each evening.  We had not heard of him before but my kids have already purchased more books in the series to keep reading.

Green Ember is one of our family’s favorite series and the final one is releasing this week! In honor of that release some of my favorite homeschooling people are joining together to do a FREE gala all about one of our favorite book series! I highly encourage you to sign up for the Green Ember Gala that is happening on April 2nd at Noon! You will get an art lesson, a nature lesson, and a chance to hear from the author himself! If you have not tried the Green Ember series yet, you need to check it out.

One of our places for family literature studies is offering a FREE study right now! All you need to add is the book (and many of the titles are classics that might already be on your shelf). Get your FREE Literature Kit from LitWits using Code 11READ4FUN. We are currently enjoying the Heidi kit but have also previously loved the My Side of the Mountain kit.

literature resources pinterest

Another free resource that we are excited to try is this free set and audio readings from the Growly Series! They are adding chapters each day to include the entire first book in the series. We are just getting started with it but I think my six-year-old is going to enjoy it.

Evan-Moor is offering their Daily Fundamentals book FREE right now to help out during this time. This book is great for working on skills and concepts for reading as well as other subjects.

Finally, Audible has released a new website just for this situation. It is called audible stories and you can listen to dozens of books for FREE. There are some great classic books that we want to enjoy. Do note that unlike a regular audible book you cannot download these so you will need internet connection and to use the same browser in order for it to hold your spot.

There are so many other resources available but those are the ones that we have been utilizing. I would love to know what other resources you have found helpful for literature right now.

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

Play Beside Me Challenge — Hands on As We Grow is offering this FREE 5 day challenge to help out with activities that can keep younger kids engaged in play for 15 to 20 minutes while you get something else done. Great for those with toddlers and preschoolers.

Fit2B Sale If your gym is closed or you can’t get out to do your favorite workouts, you can try my favorite online program. They are having a great 41% off sale on March 26th and 27th!

Misfits Market Box, finally if you are having a hard time getting fresh produce in your area or you would just like the convenience of food being delivered to your door you can use code: COOKWME-IW0OPU to get 25% off your first Misfits Market produce delivery.

Homeschool Complete is offering a special 10% off discount to my readers! Just use code: SWAG

Evan-Moor is offering their Daily Fundamentals book FREE right now to help out during this time.

Some of my favorite homeschooling people are joining together to do a FREE gala all about one of our favorite book series! I highly encourage you to sign up for the Green Ember Gala that is happening on April 2nd at Noon! You will get an art lesson, a nature lesson, and a chance to hear from the author himself!

Get a FREE Literature Kit from LitWits using Code 11READ4FUN. We are currently enjoying the Heidi kit but have also previously loved the My Side of the Mountain kit.

IEW is offering some great free resources right now.

FREE Baby Yoda Art Lesson from Nana!

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Adding Music To Your Homeschool (When You Aren’t A Musical Mom)

Anyone who knows me well, knows that music is not my gifting. I love to listen to music, but I do not have a talent for making music. I took piano lessons as a young girl, audited voice lessons in college, and had to learn the recorder for my Elementary Music course in college. However, I was never proficient at any of those and my ear just doesn’t hear tone the way some people can.

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

My children, however, decided that they really enjoy music and wanted to work at becoming proficient musicians. This put me in a situation where I needed help them learn content that I myself was not proficient with, but there are some wonderful resources available to help me encourage them in their musical passions.

adding music pinterest

It all started with a three-month review of  Practice Monkey violin lessons. My daughter enjoyed the lessons so much that she has continued for about 18 months and just passed her assessment to move to level six. In addition, both my five-year-old and thirteen-year-old sons are taking lessons. My daughter also began piano in January.  These online lessons have been a real blessing to our family because they offer the musical structure my children need, but the time flexibility that we needed for our busy schedules. Their teacher, Mrs. Sarah Van Kleeck is wonderful!

We had been taking the children to local symphonies for years to give them exposure to a variety of music. However, once the children started playing, they really developed a deeper interest in music. Since they had such an interest and passion, I have been working to include music into our home and school in a variety of ways.

For my two younger children, I wanted some additional music instruction. We found another online program, Musik at Home. These are membership based on line kindermusic videos. There are a variety of courses geared towards babies up to about age seven. These lessons help teach rhythm, tone, repetition and more all through fun songs and movements. Some days, I just let them watch and participate as they desire and other days, I work through the videos with them, waving our scarves and tapping our rhythm sticks.

Next, I wanted to focus on exposure to good music and music appreciation to support what the children were learning in their Practice Monkeys lessons. One program that I have loved for music appreciation is SQUILT music. We have used two different programs from them depending on what else we have going on in our school at the time. The first thing that we used was their monthly music calendar. This super simple and inexpensive resource is a calendar with a link to a different piece of thematic music each day of the month. We loved using it at Christmas to hear a variety of pieces from Handel’s Messiah as well as other Christmas music. It only takes about five minutes a day but it exposes them to so much good music. During months when we have had a little more time, we enjoy the SQUILT membership. This gives us access to several live classes that focus on different music each month, as well as recordings, worksheets, and other resources. In January, they did musicals and my children LOVED the lesson on Mary Poppins. If you want easy ways to incorporate more music appreciation into your school, I highly encourage you to check out SQUILT!

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Last year, we had an opportunity to review the Zeezok Music Appreciation  course for middle schoolers. We enjoyed it while we were working through it but found we were having a hard time making time for the whole course in our busy schedules. However, since it is very literature heavy with biographies on the composers, I am going to use it as the base for my daughters seventh grade literature course. This will combine her love of reading and her love of music for an interesting and personalized course.

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My son is going to be a 9th grader next year. This is an exciting (if a little scary) time for us. Since he is enjoying his violin lessons, we are going to turn that into a high school elective for him. He was very excited to know he could get credit for work he was already doing for fun.  In addition to the lessons and practice, he and my other children are playing for residents at a local nursing home each month. This blesses the residents with music and gives me children a chance to practice playing for an audience. I will also be including some music appreciation into his high school course to round it all out.

No matter whether you are a talented musician or, like me, can only play the radio, there are many wonderful resources to encourage your children’s passion for music. I hope you find these resources beneficial and I would to hear about your favorite 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

Play Beside Me Challenge — Hands on As We Grow is offering this FREE 5 day challenge to help out with activities that can keep younger kids engaged in play for 15 to 20 minutes while you get something else done. Great for those with toddlers and preschoolers.

Fit2B Sale If your gym is closed or you can’t get out to do your favorite workouts, you can try my favorite online program. They are having a great 41% off sale on March 26th and 27th!

Misfits Market Box, finally if you are having a hard time getting fresh produce in your area or you would just like the convenience of food being delivered to your door you can use code: COOKWME-IW0OPU to get 25% off your first Misfits Market produce delivery.

Homeschool Complete is offering a special 10% off discount to my readers! Just use code: SWAG

Evan-Moor is offering their Daily Fundamentals book FREE right now to help out during this time.

Some of my favorite homeschooling people are joining together to do a FREE gala all about one of our favorite book series! I highly encourage you to sign up for the Green Ember Gala that is happening on April 2nd at Noon! You will get an art lesson, a nature lesson, and a chance to hear from the author himself!

Get a FREE Literature Kit from LitWits using Code 11READ4FUN. We are currently enjoying the Heidi kit but have also previously loved the My Side of the Mountain kit.

IEW is offering some great free resources right now.

FREE Baby Yoda Art Lesson from Nana!

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Make-A-State Activity-Pak Home School in the Woods(Review)

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

For history this year, out family decided to focus on state history. We had covered world history in a four-year cycle and completed a year of American history and we wanted to go more into detail about North Carolina. When I had the opportunity to review the Make-A-State Activity-Pak  from Home School in the Woods, I knew it would be the perfect way to round out all we had been learning and give them a fun way to present what they knew.

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The Make-A-State Activity-Pak is a large lapbooking set that includes geography, history, timelines, and landmark components for each state. We chose to just focus on North Carolina because that tied in best with our studies but you could even use it to work through each state if you were covering the entire United States. The project is recommended for grades 3-8 but I think you could use it with younger children if you were giving them more assistance or working on it as a family project.

I printed out all of the different components for each of my two older children (12 and 13) and gave them the instructions.  The components are each included as an individual PDF so you are able to chose to print as many of them as you wish to use and leave out any that do not apply to your study. They then had the task of doing the research, filling out the lapbook components, and putting them together in a cohesive way. The instructions included details about how to put them together but I allowed mine to follow the instructions or chose another format that worked for them. My son slightly modified the lapbook layout but stayed fairly close to the original design, but my daughter put most of her components on a poster.

When they finished, they each presented their work to the rest of the family and explained what they had learned. Some of the material was review, but my son said he learned a lot about the way the state government is structured and how many electoral votes North Carolina is allotted. He was also excited about drawing the state seal. My daughter said she really enjoyed the part of learning about the state symbols and finding out that milk is our state drink. She also said that she enjoyed coloring the pieces and making everything look pretty.

There is also a bonus game included in this set to help students learn to recognize and name the shapes, as well as learn other important information like the date the state was admitted to the union.

In addition to the Make-A-State Activity-Pak, Home School in the Woods has a wide variety of products covering both world and US History. She even has a lapbook to cover the US Elections which is very timely this year. I am considering using that in the fall as we gear up for the Presidential election.  You can also check out my reviews of Get Your Kicks on Route 66, Time Travelers , and Project Passport: Ancient Egypt (Review). Her blog also has some wonderful articles to help you as you teach and learn history, like this one on Charlotte Mason and Hands-On History.

Be sure to check out the Home School in the Woods website for more information about all of the wonderful products and don’t forget to click on the graphic below to check out the reviews from other Review Crew members which cover a variety of different products from Home School in the Woods.

Home School in the Woods Collections - Lap-pak, Timeline Figures, History Studies & Activity-Pak {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

Help for the Mom at Home Through the Chaos

Through all of the current chaos there have been hundreds and maybe thousands of wonderful resources shared to help with educating children at home but I have seen less for helping out mothers who suddenly find themselves navigating a challenging time at home. Whether you have been home for years and just lost all of your ‘extras’ or you suddenly find yourself going from working and school to be home together all day, I hope these resources provide you with encouragement and support in this challenging time.

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

at home amidst the chaos

First, I want to assure you that you can do this. God has placed you here in this time with these children and He will provide you with all that you need to support them through it. Before you worry about academics, focus on the heart of your home. Take care of the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of those you are responsible for and then the academics can fall into place.  For some children, the need for routine, structure, and the continuity of academics is really important. Others may need a little time to adapt to this new reality. There is no one size fits all answer.

Right now, you may feel overwhelmed, last week may well have seemed chaotic and challenging. This is not because you were doing something wrong, it is the result of lots of changes and everyone having to learn to adapt. However, you can find a new peace and routine in the midst of this chaos. Your home can become an oasis and safe space for you family.

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I would encourage you to take some time to pray, read God’s word, and sing praises both alone and with your children. This can keep you grounded and strong because it will help you remember that God is still in control and he will provide.

Then as you have time in your day, take some time to utilize some podcasts, books, or other resources that can give you helpful tips and encouragement for navigating these times as well as just for creating a home that is a safe haven for your children.  One of my favorite podcasts related to the current chaos is this one Podcast by Sally Clarkson. She has many other wonderful podcasts that you can download, but that particular one is directed at the current situation.  I also highly recommend Read Aloud Revival for encouragement on the academic side of things. She is great for helping you encourage reading in your home in a fun and natural way.

There are a couple of great summits/Expos going on right now that have wonderful speakers that can encourage you and help you find solutions to the challenges you are currently facing.  The Purpose Driven Mom Summit is going on this week with lots of sessions from setting goals, connecting with your children, meal planning and so much more. You can get a free pass this week or if you want to have access for long you can grab the VIP Pass.  The Homegrown Generation Online Family Expo 2020 is a great collection of speakers that will encourage you as you teach your children at home. It does cost $20 but you get lifetime access to some wonderful speakers and encouragement from folks like Kirk Cameron, Heidi St. John, Connie Albers, Todd Wilson, and more. You can also check out a few of the sessions for free to get an idea of the content and style.

Finally, take some time to really enjoy this time at home with your family. It may feel overwhelming trying to work out all of the logistics and I am not minimizing those challenges. However, the silver lining in all of this is that we get precious time to spend with our families. Time to make memories by reading books, playing games, baking together and just catching up with each other while the busyness of our lives slows down for a few weeks. I pray that you can make your home a haven for your family and that at the end of all of this, they view this time in a positive light. If I can help you in anyway, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. If you have resources you found helpful, please share them in the comments.

A Few Other Resources that Might Help:

  • Play Beside Me Challenge — Hands on As We Grow is offering this FREE 5 day challenge to help out with activities that can keep younger kids engaged in play for 15 to 20 minutes while you get something else done. Great for those with toddlers and preschoolers.
  • Fit2B Sale If your gym is closed or you can’t get out to do your favorite workouts, you can try my favorite online program. They are having a great 41% off sale on March 26th and 27th!
  • Misfits Market Box, finally if you are having a hard time getting fresh produce in your area or you would just like the convenience of food being delivered to your door you can use code: COOKWME-IW0OPU to get 25% off your first Misfits Market produce delivery.

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

Evan-Moor is offering their Daily Fundamentals book FREE right now to help out during this time.

Homeschool Complete is offering a special 10% off discount to my readers! Just use code: SWAG

Some of my favorite homeschooling people are joining together to do a FREE gala all about one of our favorite book series! I highly encourage you to sign up for the Green Ember Gala that is happening on April 2nd at Noon! You will get an art lesson, a nature lesson, and a chance to hear from the author himself!

Get a FREE Literature Kit from LitWits using Code 11READ4FUN. We are currently enjoying the Heidi kit but have also previously loved the My Side of the Mountain kit.

IEW is offering some great free resources right now.

Little Women is only .99 on kindle right now! (Amazon prices subject to change always check before purchasing.)

FREE Baby Yoda Art Lesson from Nana!

All About Learning has released the best deal of the day: A FREE Snowman Pack with reading and spelling activities for a variety of ages.

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.

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

The Kingdom Code Journal #8

In the last lesson of  The Kingdom Code that we shared, my son learned about making sales calls and using his calendar to track his business obligations. Lesson 8 is titled, ” Are Your Books in Order?” and was a much needed lesson for my son.

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

Key to the Lesson: ” With my calendar and ledger, I will stay organized so I can have a successful Treasure Builder”

My son has a wonderful work ethic, but is not always great about being organized. This has caused challenges for him personally and academically, so this lesson was a great way to help him make sure it didn’t cause problems with his business. Hopefully, what he learned is helping him in other areas as well. I know that he is getting better about using his calendar for other obligations as well as his business.

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My son learned that he should keep all of his business materials together in a bag, so that they are easy to find when he needs them. We found him a bag that he could dedicate to his sales folder, receipt book, pencils, business cards, business wallet, and thank you notes. Since he does lawn care and is often outside, he chose this heavy duty bag to protect his books and stand up to the elements.

Next, he learned about bookkeeping in his business. The Kingdom Code program comes with a KCK ledger and this lesson teaches students how to use the ledger to track income, expenses, and money in hand for the business.  This was a little tricky for my son at first as he learned how to use the form, but once he had practiced a couple of times he got the hang of it and was on his way to keeping good records.

Stay tuned  for lesson nine 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.

 

YWAM: Benjamin Franklin ( Review)

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

We have been blessed this month with an opportunity to review Benjamin Franklin: Live Wire which is a part of the Heroes of History series by YWAM Publishing. Through previous reviews and lots of family reading, we were already very familiar with this series. I did not have to ask my son if he wanted to participate in this review, just which title he wanted to try. There are so many great titles that it was a tough decision, but he finally decided on Benjamin Franklin.

YWAM Pinterest

The Heroes of History series are all biographies of heroes that had a historical impact and told from a Christian perspective. Some of these go back to the founding of our country, men such as William Bradford and Captain John Smith. Others are more modern day heroes like Ben Carson and Billy Graham.

Benjamin Franklin: Live Wire told the story of the life of Benjamin Franklin. The book shared stories from his childhood through his adult life including his inventions and political contributions. My son said his favorite part was when they were talking about Benjamin Franklin’s younger years, after he moved to Philadelphia, when he was working with the post office and helping with the fire service.

In addition to the book, we received a PDF study guide which included 83 pages of ideas and activities. You could use this to make the book into a complete unit study or you can pick and choose activities to make it fit your needs. There are discussion questions for each chapter, writing prompts, creative writing activities, hands on projects, and arts and crafts. The guide also included a timeline activity, basic information sheet, and several maps. We chose to select a variety of activities to expand on his learning through the book but did not attempt to complete all of it since he was also continuing his other studies.

I started by having my son complete the basic information sheet, timeline and a couple of the maps to help him show me what he had learned while reading the book. I also had him answer a small selection of the discussion questions. Then, he was to choose two activities from the wide variety in the study guide.

First, he chose to make a movie about Benjamin Franklin. He decided to use Stop-Motion animation for the movie. It was short and a bit silly (he is a thirteen-year-old boy), but it showed some of what he learned and he had a great time being creative.

Next, he decided to write a one act play about Benjamin Franklin and the Stamp Act. Again, I saw both a good understanding of the content and the silliness of a thirteen-year-old boy. It was a great way to allow him to express himself, share his knowledge, and yet not feel bogged down by a formal paper or book report.

 The books work great as a family read aloud, independent reading, or complete unit studies when combined with the study guides.  For our family, I prefer to use most of the books as read alouds or personal reading, but add in the study guide for a unit study once or twice a year. 

If this book interest you, you might also want to check out my reviews of one of a couple of the other books in the series: Alan Shepard  and Orville Wright. You can also click the graphic below to check out the variety of reviews by other Crew members. There are so many great choices to choose from. Which one would you like to try?

32 Heroes of History {YWAM Publishing Reviews}

Scheduling Ideas Part 2: But What Do I Do with My Younger Children?

Keeping my younger children (especially toddlers) occupied while I taught my older children has probably been one of the biggest challenges for our homeschool. It is even harder than Algebra (thanks to video lessons and a helpful husband).  However, with some work and creativity you can make it all work.  Also, keep in mind that these years are short and they grow up fast. These challenges are not forever.

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

Last week I shared some ideas for scheduling your school days with little children. This week I want to focus on ideas that you can use to keep your young children safely occupied for short times while you work with your older children. I have broken the ideas up in to toddler and preschool ages, but use whatever works best for your situation and child.

scheduling ideas pinterest part 2

Toddlers

First, utilize nap time. I know that sometimes means waiting until after lunch if they have dropped the morning nap. However, it can be worth it to get a little bit of uninterrupted time to focus on subjects that need direct attention. For us the two that are hardest with a toddler, are math and spelling.  My children need more of my time and more quiet focus for those subjects so those are the ones I would do during nap.

Second, if the weather is good, think about working outside. We all enjoy the fresh air and sunshine and the outside toys and sandbox occupy the toddler for longer than anything on the inside. We can bring our books to the picnic table or on a blanket in the backyard and work while the toddler plays.

Never underestimate the power of a snack. I can put my toddler at the table with a slow snack like cheerios or cut up cheese and fruit. This will occupy him for ten or fifteen minutes while I work with the older children.

It can also be a good idea to have a few special toys that you only bring out during school time. This keeps them a little more interesting and helps keep them engaged longer. For one of my children we actually had five small plastic tubs with different toys and games. The tubs were labeled Monday through Friday and only came out on that day during school time. It wasn’t anything fancy of expensive, puzzles from yard sales, blocks, lacing boards, etc.

Finally, audio books can be a great way to help keep them entertained. Typically, they don’t have the attention span for a chapter book, but there are many picture books on audio. They can enjoy listening to the short stories while they play. As they get older, they can follow along in a real book.

My friend Tricia over at HodgePodge has a great article on Morning Room Time to keep toddlers and preschoolers entertained. We have not yet used this idea but I am working on getting it set up to use with my toddler soon.

Preschoolers

Many of the ideas that work with toddler will also work with preschoolers. In addition, they are much more able to sit and focus for longer times and engage in the day to day activities of your home and school.

First, I find that if you can spend time with them first, they are less disruptive to your day. They crave that attention and are not yet able to really understand the need to be patient. So, if I spend 30 minutes with my preschooler before to get to work with the older children, his need is meet and he is better able to play independently.

Some preschoolers love the idea of ‘doing school’ like their older siblings. For those children, I highly recommend having a school bag with worksheets and manipulatives that they can use. One that my son really enjoyed was pattern blocks. He could take out the papers and the blocks and work through them independently but felt like he was ‘doing school’. You can also pick up inexpensive workbooks or print off papers where they can trace letters or numbers.

Art projects are another big hit with preschoolers. We do a combination of structures art from You Are An Artist and just giving them a bucket of art supplies and letting them be creative. It is amazing what they can come up with when you give them paper, crayons, glue, and scissors. We also like to add in fun surprises like googly eyes and stickers to keep it fresh.

We also enjoy using the activities from the Activity Room both for me to engage with them and for them to work on independently. They are fun and educational ideas that are perfect for them developmentally.

Finally, don’t under estimate how much they can learn and participate in family activities. If you are reading history with your older children, they can listen while they play with blocks or color. If you are doing a science experiment, they can watch and help by handing you materials. Their minds are learning and growing so much just by hearing what is going on in your home.

Overall, do not be discouraged by your younger children. Expect to work in small increments and have plenty of ideas to keep them busy. Also, keep in mind that they are growing and changing. What works this year might not work next year, and even though something didn’t work this year it might work next year.

What are your favorite tips and tricks for keeping younger children occupied and engaged during your homeschooling time?

 

Ideas and Suggestions From Other Bloggers

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

HUGE Tuttle Twins Sale for the Lock Down, get the entire set and LOTs of extras for only $60.

Evan-Moor is offering their Daily Fundamentals book FREE right now to help out during this time.

Homeschool Complete is offering a special 10% off discount to my readers! Just use code: SWAG

Little Women is only .99 on kindle right now! (Amazon prices subject to change always check before purchasing.)

FREE Baby Yoda Art Lesson from Nana!

All About Learning has released the best deal of the day: A FREE Snowman Pack with reading and spelling activities for a variety of ages.

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)

The Kingdom Code Journal #7

After the review and presentation work in lesson six of  Kingdom Code we are ready to move onto making a sale in lesson 7. Even as an adult, making sales calls can be a bit unnerving so, I think this lesson was really important in helping them to be proactive about growing their business.

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

Key to the Lesson: ” With practice I am boldly prepared to make sales calls.”

This lesson started with reminding the student that they can be bold, because God gives us strength. Next, they gave a lesson on sales calls, which taught the student about gaining confidence by practicing and continuing to try until they reach their goal.

For my son, one of the most important parts of this lesson was learning how to use his calendar. This was something he had struggled with in the past, but this lesson and the encouragement from the program helped him to become more committed to using a calendar to track his business as well as personal obligations.

This lesson taught a really great acronym about professionalism: LAPS

Look Good!

Act Awesome!

Pay Attention!

Speak with Confidence!

The lesson then went through and explained those points in more details and talked about using good manners, paying attention to their customers, etc. They also gave information and help about the three types of sales calls: telephone, face-to-face, and written.

One of the bonus activities that my son really enjoyed was a project where you make fliers about your business with tear off information tabs. As the weather warms up and lawn care business gets going again, he plans to hang some of these at a couple of local businesses.

Stay tuned  for lesson eight 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.