2019 Goals First Quarter Update

 

It is hard to believe that it is the middle of April already! The arrival of April means that we are a quarter of the way through the year. I thought that would be a good time to look back over my goals for the year and see how I was progressing and what I needed to change to help me achieve those goals.

First, I am thrilled to say that I am rolling right along with my reading goal. I doubled my reading goal from 12 books in 2018 to 24 books in 2019. So far, I have read Book Girl, Becoming MomStrong, Uninvited, Just Open the Door, Girls Club, Building Family Ties with Faith Love and Laughter, Get Your Home Office Organized, and since the beginning of April I read Capital Gaines. (I want to note that I read the hard copy but I did notice that it is free on Kindle right now.) I enjoyed that book even though it is not in my normal reading genre. It was a nice evening read and very motivational. I am also continuing to read The Organized Homeschool Life, which is designed to done one week at a time. I plan to finish Caught Up in a Story and The Journey that Saved Curious George this month.

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bookupdate
A few of the books I just finished and those I’m still working on.

I have done reviews of several of the books in the list above and I won’t repeat those here but I wanted to take a minute to talk about Building Family Ties with Faith, Love, and Laughter. That was a book I found at a yard sale one day and decided to give it a try. I had not researched it or seen it talked about before. I am so glad that I picked it up. It was an easy read that was full of great ideas for building strong family ties. This is an area that my husband and I prioritize and it was great to have some encouragement and easy to implement strategies. The author talk’s about many components of building family ties from family mission statements, adding laughter to your lives, family dinner tables, and even serving others.

We set a family goal of de-cluttering 1,000 items from our home. That sounds like a crazy number but we are at 800 and hoping to make it to 1,000 by the end of the month. We haven’t even gone through our attic storage area yet, so I think we will set a goal specifically for that area and work on it after we are finished with the 1,000. It is amazing how motivating it is for the children to color in the blocks for each thing that they de-clutter. They are also finding it easier to keep their rooms clean with few things taking up space.  I got the idea here but chose not to track it in as much detail as she did. We didn’t keep track of what we got rid or or where it went. We simply printed out charts that had blocks numbered up to 1,000 and colored in the block each time we got rid of an item. We did not count actual trash that we threw away each day or food that we consumed, but broken toys, toys no longer played with, old magazines, dishes we didn’t need, clothes that were too small or no longer worn, and other similar items have all added up quickly. It is amazing how quickly things seem to collect in our homes and I’m grateful to be de-cluttering and lessening the visual clutter as well as the time and effort it takes to keep things tidy. ( I also want to note that there is a big FREE de-cluttering challenge coming up! I will be sharing more details on April 23rd so stay tuned.)

sand hike
One of Our Latest Hikes: Jockey’s Ridge State Park

Another family goal was for each of us to walk/hike 100 miles this year. I joined the NC State Parks 100 mile challenge and had planned to track our hikes and walks. I can say that we have not hiked as often as we hoped due to many local trails being closed due to hurricane damage, but we have been walking more often and have recently been able to get out and hike a few different trails. Now I just need to remember to track those miles. I have been very slack about tracking the miles, but I am hoping that with my renewed focus, the warm spring weather, and our trails reopening I can get to work on this goal and still make 100 miles by the end of 2019.

I have been continuing to work on my goals and focus of being still with God and being present with my family. I honestly, love the progress I’ve made at being able to walk away from the to-do list and spend time just playing with my children at some point each day.  My two youngest and I have been getting outside four or five mornings a week to take a walk or just play int he grass. I have also enjoyed playing catch with my oldest son.

I started out the year spending some time each day copying out scripture verses and felt that it was a great way for me to spend time ‘being still’ and focused on God. With some changes to the baby’s schedule that sort of fell to the way side but I am working on changing up some things so that I can still get that time. I have also gone back to reading my Bible and doing a devotional on my phone. This allows me to do it quietly in my bed before the children wake up. My children seem to have little alarms in their heads that wake them up the moment I climb out of bed to try to have quiet time, so being able to have that time without getting out of bed is ideal.

All in all, I still have some work to do but I am pleased with the progress that we have made toward our 2019 goals. I am looking forward to reading even more good books, getting out on the hiking trails, and spending more time focused on the things that are important in my life. Have you taken the time to evaluate how your year is progressing? What things are going well? What do you need to work on?

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.

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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

Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale! If you want to give it a try, your first month is only $1 or you can get an entire year for $111. My daughter is getting ready to use a photography class from our subscription to help her learn more about her new (to her) camera.

April showers

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)

Only A Few Days Left to Sign Up For the Free Independent Play Challenge:

It sometimes seems that the kids need you ALL. THE. TIME!

It’s okay to just want 20 minutes of quiet… so you can get things done.

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I is for If You Give A Mouse A Cookie…

I struggled a bit with books for the letter I. There were not any that jumped out at me at first and then I was looking at my son’s book shelf and thought of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie and the others in the series by Laura Numeroff. This series is perfect for read aloud time! I am even thinking about using them for a special ‘tea party’ featuring some of the foods from the books.

I is for Pinterest

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If you have not seen these books, the premise of the book is that if you give a mouse a cookie he will want a glass of milk, and he will need a straw, and on and on it goes. It is a cute little book that is lots of fun to read with young children. The patterned language allows them to quickly pick it up and begin to help you ‘read’ it even when they are not yet actually reading.  Other books in the series feature pig, moose, and other animals and their adventures. The illustrations by Felicia Bond are absolutely adorable.

There is even a free movie series made about the books on Amazon Prime. I have not seen all of these but we enjoyed the Christmas Cookie episode. There have also been cute poems and memes made using the same language pattern, such as this If You Give A Mom a Muffin example.

These are simple fun reads that are great for preschool and elementary age students. Have you tried this series? Which one is your favorite?

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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

Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale! If you want to give it a try, your first month is only $1 or you can get an entire year for $111. My daughter is getting ready to use a photography class from our subscription to help her learn more about her new (to her) camera.

April showers

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)

Only A Few Days Left to Sign Up For the Free Independent Play Challenge:

It sometimes seems that the kids need you ALL. THE. TIME!

It’s okay to just want 20 minutes of quiet… so you can get things done.

Join the FREE Independent Play 5-Day Challenge!

 

CrossWired Science (A Review)

CrossWired Science is unlike any science program that I’ve used before. We had the unique opportunity to review this program while it was still in development. I had the privilege of reviewing the Sound, and Fluid Dynamics projects. Typically, the programs I review are completed and on the market. Reviewing a program that was still ‘under construction’ was a very different experience. There were times when it could be frustrating because a quiz might not be ready or the schedules were not published. However, the really neat part about reviewing a product that was not fully complete is that the Review Crew was able to give feedback as we worked through the projects. The folks at CrossWired Science were very receptive to feedback and made a lot of great additions to the program during just the few weeks that we worked through it.

Crosswired3

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One of my favorite additions that they made during the review period was a suggested schedule. I think that the schedule really helped me to get a better idea of how to plan this curriculum into our school days. I felt very overwhelmed when we first started using the program because there was so much information. Once I had the schedule it made it a lot easier for me to understand how to best utilize all they had to offer.

We focused on the Fluid Dynamics project which covered a variety of topics including rocket aerodynamics, fin types, avian lungs, bird feathers, flight, insect drinking and the space station.  The Sounds project includes topics like how ears work, sonars, ultrasounds, and bird songs.

The program has a variety of components. My children really enjoyed the core video lessons and the included quiz that was completed and graded online. This was beneficial to me as a parent because it allowed me to check and be sure they understood what they were learning.

crosswireddevotional

Next, they have the Digging Deeper and Gold Dig components. As they state on the website, “The Digging Deepers and the Gold Digs are heavily illustrated with fun, beauty and quite stunning “concept pictures”.” These were a great way to go deeper and learn more about a particular part of a concept. My children went through the Gold Dig components about bones and learned a lot of interesting information.

 

In addition, there are research links to help them dig further into a variety of topics, field trip ideas. At this point the field trip ideas are mostly general science field trips but they are developing this section with more specifics. Throughout the curriculum, they point science back to God, but they also have specific devotionals included at the end of each project. They also offer suggestions for books, audio CDs and other materials to extend your studies as well as other science activities.  They give a wide selection of experiments that you can choose from to go with the related topic.

The program offers a wide variety of information and opportunities from which to choose from, much like a buffet line. For some folks this is great, because you can pick and choose what you want to learn and leave out what doesn’t interest you or work for you. However, for others, it maybe a little overwhelming and a little too disconnected.

crosswired8

If you want a program that gives you a script and walks you through every step, this probably is not the right fit. However, if you want a program that gives you lots of resources and tools and then allows you the flexibility to use it how your child works best, this could be a very good fit for your family. I even see this as a great resource for unschoolers, because it would be very easy for a child to just go to the site and spend time learning and digging into the topics of interest. Right now they only have the two projects that I reviewed, however, they are adding more daily and will eventually have twenty-four of those projects. They even have plans to take the first two even deeper.  Their long-term goal is to provide a curriculum that will cover all of science from pre-kindergarten through chemistry.

Overall, this is an up and coming curriculum that will have a lot to offer for many homeschool families.  It is a program that allows for flexibility in both content and scheduling. and keeps a God honoring view of science. They are still working hard and adjusting the program to make it a better curriculum

. While I struggled a bit with the variety that was offered, my children really enjoyed having lots of choices. They are hoping to complete the other project over the summer in their own time. I suggest going to the website and taking a look to see if it might be a good fit for your family. They even have a sample unit available. As an added bonus, CrossWired Science is generously offering my readers a $5 discount. Just go to CrossWired Science and use the code: dp18.  Be sure to click below and check out the reviews from other Crew members.

Sound, and Fluid Dynamics {CrossWired Science 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.

Exploring Hobbies on a Time and Money Budget

When it comes to hobbies you might call my children, ‘jacks of all trades’. They love learning new things and tend to prefer to dabble in multiple hobbies rather than focus on one thing in particular. In many ways I think this is a blessing and a very positive experience for them. It helps to make them well rounded, prepares them for many situations, and allows them to try out a bunch of different things to see what they enjoy. However, if we are not careful, it could get quite expensive and time consuming to keep so many different plates spinning.

hobbies pinterest

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In order to balance our desire for them to have many experiences with the need to manage our time and money wisely, we have found a few programs that balance those concepts.

One key to managing our time wisely is that we do several hobbies together as a family. This keeps us from having to go in several different directions at once and allows that hobby time to also be quality family time.  For example, our family is interested in history and more specifically Colonial and Revolutionary War era American history. We love to take day trips to various historic sites and learn about history but even more, we enjoy being a part of living history events. We volunteer with our local historic site, Tryon Palace, and participate in various events. The children love to dress up in colonial attire and teach others about history. We love that they are learning and we get to spend time together as a family.

Another way we have found to help use our time wisely is to find programs that can be done at home. This minimizes travel time and allows various children to be working on different projects at one time. This helps us to be able to have them each work on hobbies that they enjoy without making me feel like I am spending my days running them from one practice to another.

For their interest in art, we use the You Are An Artist Chalk Pastel classes. These are recorded art lessons that use either chalk pastels or acrylics (new) to help with a variety of beautiful artwork. I love that we can fit in their desire for more art with a teacher that can help them, without ever needing to leave our home. The lessons typically take us about 20 minutes. These also meet our criteria for using money wisely because the supplies are very inexpensive and by utilizing the Clubhouse you have access to a wide variety of lessons for everyone in the family for one low monthly price. If I were paying for in person lessons, I would only get one short lesson per month for one student for the price I am paying to get as many lessons as they want to take for all three of my students (the 4th is only a year old so no art lessons yet).

Music has never been my gift but both of my children expressed interest. Years ago my son tried guitar lessons but the drive back and forth got to be difficult with the other small children. I also had to entertain them in the car while we waited for him and that was no fun. Eventually we stopped lessons. However, this past year I found a solution to their interest in music. My son is working through a subscription to Guitar360 Method. Since it is a lifetime subscription, he can take his time and work at his own pace. He works on it when he has time and interest. My daughter and just recently my 5-year-old son, are taking violin lessons through Practice Monkeys. There program is also online but is different in the fact that they can go online Monday through Thursday at their appointed times and take part in a fifteen minute lesson along with other students of their same level. This allows  the teacher to offer feedback and them to ask questions. If we cannot make it to the live online class, we have access to the replay so that they can still practice. This has been a really great fit for my daughter. I’m still not sure how my son will do at his young age, but as it is a family subscription, I felt I did not have anything to lose by letting him try.

My children enjoy being outdoors, working in the garden and with our animals. We have chickens, ducks, and bees that we keep year round but they wanted some experience with other animals. We were already involved in 4-H which is a great program that offers a variety of opportunities from science, art, public speaking, and more. Through 4-H we have connected with various chicken and livestock shows for them to begin growing their knowledge in those areas. 4-H has programs in place to help children of set the costs of raising and showing the animals to make it more accessible to all children. They even have programs to help students who want to raise animals but do not have the space to do so. We have found 4-H to be a great way for our children to explore a variety of different topics with minimal cost. The other benefit is that all of my children from 5-18 can do this together.

Finally, my secret weapon, our annual subscription to SchoolhouseTeachers.com. Schoolhouse Teachers offers over 400 different courses. Many of these are more standard core classes, such as English and math, but they also offer a huge number of electives that can help your child explore various hobbies. I love these because when my child shows an interest in something, I can give them resources without any added expense or commitment. If they enjoy it they can keep working further, if the interest fizzles out, they can move on without the worry of wasted money.

For example, my daughter recently spent $25 to buy herself a digital camera at a yard sale. She is really enjoying taking point and click pictures with it but wants to learn more about the different settings and how to take better pictures. This month was super busy for us but next month she is going to begin working through one of the photography courses that they offer.  I could also have them take the homesteading course (or selected lessons from the course) to help them with their animal and gardening projects.  This summer I am hoping that they can work through a few lessons in the heritage crafts course to add to their knowledge and skills when we do living history events.  There are so many different options for various electives, music classes, and art classes. They are all included in a single family membership (either monthly or annually), you can start and stop them at any time, pick and choose from the lessons as needed. I love the flexibility to offer my children a virtual ‘buffet’ of learning opportunities to allow them to explore their interests without breaking the bank or becoming a full time chauffeur.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to offer my children a wide variety or experiences to allow them to explore their interests and gain new skills without busting our budget or wasting all of our family time. I hope that this gives you some ideas. I would love for you to share with me in the comments about what you use to help your children pursue their hobbies.

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

Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale! If you want to give it a try, your first month is only $1 or you can get an entire year for $111. My daughter is getting ready to use a photography class from our subscription to help her learn more about her new (to her) camera.

April showers

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)

Only A Few Days Left to Sign Up For the Free Independent Play Challenge:

It sometimes seems that the kids need you ALL. THE. TIME!

It’s okay to just want 20 minutes of quiet… so you can get things done.

Join the FREE Independent Play 5-Day Challenge!

Stopmotion Explosion: Stop Motion Animation Kit (Review)

Sometimes my children complain about school work, but other times they beg to be able to work on it! I am so glad I took the opportunity to review the Stop Motion Animation Kit by Stopmotion Explosion because my son has loved it. He begs to have more time to work on videos and has multiple videos planned out that he wants to create. I expect that it will be a big project for him this summer when we have a bit more free time.

stopmotion pinterest

Since this was not a subject that I require in our home school, I asked my son if he was interested before agreeing to the review. It seemed like a really good fit, because it was a way for him to combine his love of all things Lego with a new found interest in videography.

I expected to have to help him get everything set up and figure out how to use the program and the camera, but he took it out and had it set up in just a short time.  The Stop Motion Animation Kit includes a 1080p HD video camera with internal microphone, the Stopmotion Explosion book, and the animation software.

Once my son had everything set up he quickly worked on a short video just to get the hang of taking pictures and putting it all together. Then I gave him a specific assignment for this next project. I wanted him to combine his history lesson for the week with a stop motion video. We were working on Assyrian siege towers and so he decided to do a video of the modernization of an Assyrian siege tower and the tower knocking down a wall.

He was able to get all of the video shots (over 2,000) done without any problems but was having some difficulty uploading them into the software for editing and adding sound. I e-mailed customer service and was pleasantly surprised and the rapid response. They were exceptionally helpful. Once we realized that he had a corrupt photo file, we were able to delete that one file and get it all working.

Next, he added title screens and sound effects. The Stopmotion Explosion book has an excellent chapter that explains how to edit and add sound effects. My son learned the hard way that its best to read it before trying to make changes. He did not read it at first and made a mistake that lost all of his changes. Once he read, he understood what he had done and was able to do it correctly next time.

The Stopmotion Explosion book was an excellent resource. It was laid out with each step being a different chapter. It was easy to read and understand and did not have to be read all the way through to be helpful. My son was able to read the chapters that he needed as he worked through the project. For example, one chapter is dedicated to lighting, and other to sound. The chapters on video editing and Sound were particularly helpful as he finished up his project. The book also gives links to video tutorials with more information on certain subjects.

This was a well laid out and easy to follow way to learn the art of stop motion animation. The book and video tutorials were thorough enough to take someone that had never done stop motion and teach them how to make movies with many great features.

All in all, I highly recommend this kit and I’m so glad we gave it a try. If you are looking for a way to add some fun to your homeschool this might be your answer. You could have a child make videos about the books they are reading, the history they are learning or even their science.  It can of course also just be a fun hobby, they can make videos about anything. For a middle grades student it is laid out in such a way that as long as they read the book, they should be able to work with the program fairly independently. With the exception of a computer and whatever they want to use in the video (we did Legos and Popsicle sticks) everything they need is included in the kit. This would make a great birthday gift or a way to keep the learning going through the summer. Check out the Stop Motion Animation Kit and don’t forget to click below to see the videos and reviews done by the other Crew members.

Stop Motion Animation Kit {Stopmotion Explosion 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.

H is for Heroes Next Door: Hornet 24

Heroes Next Door: Hornet 24 holds a special place in my heart. My husband wrote it and the two lead characters are heavily based on my two oldest children. It is a historical fiction novel based on the Vietnam War. It was inspired by my son’s interest in the war and his relation with several different veterans. When my husband started looking for books for him to read, they often had content that we found inappropriate for children (drugs, language, relationships, etc). He wanted to create a book that would be interesting to students, give an accurate historical picture, and yet still be appropriate for a younger audience.

h is for pinterest

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During the story the reader experiences basic training, flight school, and twelve months of life, service, and sacrifice in Vietnam. These stories are told by a veteran helicopter pilot who lives next door as Matt and Ellie develop a friendship with their neighbor, Mr. Ed

Through the story, there are references to current events and culture of the 1960s, life in the Army, flight physics, and modern life lessons for young folks. Chris really tried to create an immersive environment to share a typical story and give background information about a controversial war. He also worked to take a moderate position, helping to explain either polarized side of the debate.

This book is a great addition to a US History course, a fun read aloud for any age level, and is a good independent read for upper elementary and middle grades students. While I am sure they are just a little biased since they are on the front cover, it really is my children’s favorite letter H book. My son has read his copy over twenty times.  I highly encourage you to check Heroes Next Door: Hornet 24 out and let me know what you think!

As a bonus we are running a give away in honor of the one year publishing anniversary! You can find that giveaway HERE.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

 

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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

Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale! If you want to give it a try, your first month is only $1 or you can get an entire year for $111. My daughter is getting ready to use a photography class from our subscription to help her learn more about her new (to her) camera.

April showers

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)

It sometimes seems that the kids need you ALL. THE. TIME!

It’s okay to just want 20 minutes of quiet… so you can get things done.

Join the FREE Independent Play 5-Day Challenge!

Transcripts Made Easy (Review)

Some days I’m really excited about preparing my son for high school and college; other days I’m in denial about how rapidly that season is approaching. We started our homeschool journey when my oldest son began first grade and he is  now finishing  seventh grade.  My first thought when the review for Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork by Janice Campbell became available was that the review would not apply to me since I did not have a high school student. Then I quickly realized that with my son taking Algebra in eighth grade next year I would need to decide how I was going to do his transcript. I had never heard of Everyday Education but a quick look around their website showed me that they had a lot to offer and I was excited to read the book.

Transcripts made Easy

We reviewed a digital copy of the book but my need to highlight gets the best of me and so I printed out the pages so that I could hold them in my hands and highlight things that I found interesting or important. I like to read in bed at night before I go to sleep but I was a little worried that this material might be too dense for bedtime reading. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Though there is a lot of information, the author’s style of writing made for easy reading.

 

Based on the title, Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork, I was expecting information on how to make a transcript, forms, and recording keeping. While all of that is included, I was pleasantly surprised at how much more was packed into this book. The book goes through the planning process for high school and helps you decide what classes your student needs to study, skills and habits that they need to cultivate, various ways that you can schedule high school courses, college alternatives, special needs considerations, and how to document life experiences. I read the book through in just a couple of days, highlighting as I went along, but I plan to go back and reference this book again and again as we plan for and work our way through high school.

I really appreciated the fact that the book was trying to present a one-size fits all answer to our students. For example, when she talked about scheduling high school courses she gave six different schedule examples. Some of those, like college-style schedule and year round schooling, were familiar to me but there were others like sequential scheduling and the one-subject plan that were new concepts for me. After reading over our options, my husband and I are discussing the pros and cons of various methods to help us decide on a plan for my son.

The book also talks about how to document life experiences and skills. For example, Campbell shares how you could document work done on a family farm or time spent learning to create a web page.

“Do not let educational experiences slip by because you can’t think where to fit them on the transcript-just add them to a Subject Worksheet and consult the Course Classification System for ideas on where they will fit. …Your student is learning daily from all that happens, and there is no reason why informal learning experiences cannot be structured to become credit-earning courses and preparation for life.”

I highlighted that quote in my book because we highly regard those life experiences I really appreciated that they could be used for part of his high school courses. She goes further into detail in the book as to how to document those experiences.

The books goes over grading, how to grade, what to grade, and even how to write a transcript for those that are using the unschooling method for high school. She did not give one right formula but lots of examples and options that you can use to make it work for your family and still have an honest transcript.

Then at the end after having worked through planning high school, keeping records, grading, preparing for college or non-college options, there are multiple examples of transcripts and other record keeping forms. She gives blank copies of the forms in the back as well as detailed instructions for creating those forms in a word processing program.  She even gives examples and help with diplomas.

The final portion of the book is a glossary of important terms, a book list for parents, and a list of websites and resources that can are helpful for planning and learning. I had read several of the books, but I’m looking forward to checking out a couple of the ones with which I was not familiar.

All in all, I think Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork is a great resource for middle school and high school parents. This book can help you prepare for high school or if your student is already in high school it can help you get your records and forms together for college or whatever experiences your student is preparing for after high school. Check it out over at Everyday Education and don’t forget to check out what other Crew members thought about this book.

 

Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork {Everyday Education 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.

Orville Wright: The Flyer, Heroes of History (A Review)

When I saw that we were going to have the opportunity to request to be on a review for YWAM Publishing I knew my son was going to be excited. He already has several books from their Heroes of History series, and was excited to be able to request a new title. After looking over the list his first choice was Orville Wright. As a child I was fascinated with the Wright Brothers and my son seems to share that interest. Living only a few hours away from where they made that first historic flight makes them even more interesting.

ywampinterest

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

Once we got news that we were selected for the review, we started watching the mail and waiting for the book to arrive. He was quite excited to open it and start reading when it arrived a few days later. Considering that we intended to use the Study Guide to accompany the book I had planned to take 2-3 weeks to go through the book, he loved it so much he completed the entire book in just a few days. He then used the book as he went back through and did the study guide activities.

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 George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Others are more modern day heroes like Ben Carson and Billy Graham. Orville Wright sits in the middle of those, living from 1871 to 1948.

Orville Wright: The Flyer, tells of the life of Orville Wright from the time he was about six years old. It includes stories of him and his siblings playing with rubber band flyers when they were young, how they loved kites, and how they learned to fly. They began the first chapter looking ahead to a flying accident in which Orville broke his leg and then went back to his childhood. This was very memorable to my son who actually said, “I like how the authors use one of the most tragic moments to introduce the book.”

 

The study guide is a PDF including 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. It also includes 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.

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Fact Sheet, Map, and Timeline

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. He then chose a writing project and a hands-on component from the study guide and we finished it off with a field trip to the Wright Brothers Museum in Kitty Hawk.

For his writing project he chose, “As Wilbur did in 1896, write a letter to the Smithsonian Institution, requesting information about an area that interests you. You can contact the museum at Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies, P.O.Box 37012, MRC508, Washington, DC, 20013–7012 or via e-mail at learning@si.edu.” This was a lot of fun for him and he is waiting and hoping to get a response from them on his request for information.

 

For his hands on project, he chose to find a small household machine that he could take apart and study. He found an old drill. He took it apart, labeled each of the parts, and shared with us how the parts worked together to make the drill run.

 

 

We finished our unit study off with a wonderful field trip to the Wright Brothers monument and national park. We had a lot of fun learning even more about the brother, running down the runway and flight path of those very first flights, and even eating lunch in the lifesaving station from which the famous telegraph of their success was sent in 1903.

C.S. Lewis once said, “Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.” I think that Orville Wright: The Flyer like the other books from YWAM Publishing offer children great examples of real life heroes. The books work great as a family read aloud, independent reading, or complete unit studies when combined with the study guides.  If this book interest you, you might also want to check out my review of one of the other books in the series about Alan Shepard . You can also click below to check out the variety of reviews by other Crew members. There are so many great choices to choose from.

Study Guides - Christian Heroes Then & Now & Heroes of History {YWAM 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.

 

50+ Reasons to Be Thankful for Homeschool!

I am so thankful for the opportunity and the blessing of homeschooling my children. However, like any family we also have our tough days. We have the days I feel like I can’t do it all. We have the days where the children are fighting with each other. We have days where decimals seem like they are going to get the best of us. On those days I find that it is so very beneficial to remember all the reasons that I am thankful we homeschool.

Thankful Pinterest

Our family has many reasons, including wanting to put God first in our lives, teaching true American history, family time, and the time freedom. I asked homeschool moms on my Facebook page and in our Schoolin’ Swag Facebook group to share with me the reasons they were thankful to homeschool. Some of them I have shared word for word and others I combined because multiple moms shared similar reasons. It is my prayer that when you are having a tough day or if you are considering making the switch to homeschooling, that these reasons would be an encouragement to you.

Take a few minutes with a hot cup of coffee or a cold drink of lemonade (or my personal favorite chocolate milk), read over this list and reflect on all the reasons to be thankful we can homeschool our children. If you have other reasons, I would love to have you share them with me in the comments.

  1. Witness every ‘first’
  2. Flexibility
  3. To raise them according to God’s word.
  4. I love spending time with my kids.
  5. Fun field trips
  6. Learning more about life on a daily basis.
  7. I’m thankful my husband & I get to be a bigger influence in our children’s lives than strangers who don’t share our family’s values. ❤️
  8. No more bullying at school.
  9. One big blessing(among so many) is seeing how close my children are to each other.
  10. I’m thankful for the time to get to really know them.
  11. I’m thankful for being able to cater to each individual way my child learns.
  12. I’m thankful I was able to instill a love of reading in two kiddos.
  13. I’m getting to build a strong relationship with my son.
  14. He learns at his pace, not the systems pace!
  15. I was glad I had spent EVERY MINUTE of him in his childhood ~ IT GOES SO FAST! (From a mom whose oldest is in college)
  16. I love the fact that we can school outside when the weather is appropriate.
  17. We can also school year round and take vacation days when we want to, not when scheduled for us.
  18. As homeschoolers my children have learned to get along with people of all ages.
  19. I don’t have a bunch of unteaching to do like I would have to if they attended school
  20. I can teach them the whole American history story.
  21. I can teach them what the Bible has to say in regards to science, philosophy, humanity, religions, etc.
  22. Kids can spend more time studying in detail the subjects they are interested in.
  23. It means when my 13-year-old son told me he would finish his project in a fortnight his comment had everything to do with the great books he’s reading and nothing to do with a video game.
  24. The life learning that happens.
  25. The uniqueness of my children’s personalities was allowed to blossom.
  26. They get more sleep and more unstructured time.
  27. ” As a mom of 6 with Multiple Sclerosis I couldn’t imagine schooling my kids in any other way. It provides the freedom we need, while we figure out structure with flexibility.”
  28. It is awesome to learn new things together.
  29. Have time for “extra” things like starting a garden together.
  30. We can read books together on topics that aren’t typically school subjects.
  31. They can learn to handle firearms and shoot safely without punishment for having a firearm.
  32. Siblings in different grades can learn together rather than rarely seeing each other throughout the day.
  33. We can take vacations as a family without working around school schedules.
  34. We have greater flexibility in scheduling medical and dental appointments.
  35. An older student can tutor a younger friend in a subject during a regular school day.
  36. We have a school holiday on birthdays.
  37. Early risers can start school while others are sleeping.
  38. We can eat breakfast together at a decent hour.
  39. We wanted our children to know us.
  40. We can go on nature walks together and notice details of the world around us.
  41. We can have long conversations about things that are side bars of a lesson and wind up having a completely unexpected lesson.
  42. All the coffee and like minded mommas out there.
  43. I’ve been learning all these years! I’m smarter now than I was 21 years ago when we started hs’ing
  44. I love that we can learn so many subjects from a Christian worldview and really discuss what we are learning.
  45. I love that when my child doesn’t understand a concept in math, we can stop and really focus on hands-on learning for as long as we need to until he gets it.
  46. I know they are safe (where they are, what they’re doing, who they’re with, no peer pressure).
  47. A hike in the mountains, baking cookies, building a fort, growing a garden, etc can be packed with lessons you can’t learn in a book.
  48. Mornings are less stressful.
  49. I don’t want my kids to fall through the cracks of the education system.
  50. We can let them have a say in their education.
  51. I’m grateful for how it’s forced my family into deeper relationship, better communication, and more learning for all of us! -Beth of Fit2B

Be encouraged today that this hard work you are doing is totally worth the hard work and the difficult days! You are not alone and it does get easier.

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

Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale! If you want to give it a try, your first month is only $1 or you can get an entire year for $111. My daughter is getting ready to use a photography class from our subscription to help her learn more about her new (to her) camera.

April showers

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)

It sometimes seems that the kids need you ALL. THE. TIME!

It’s okay to just want 20 minutes of quiet… so you can get things done.

Join the FREE Independent Play 5-Day Challenge!

G is for Green Ember

Who doesn’t like talking rabbits? Add in a few swords and some classic good vs evil action and you have a recipe for a great family read aloud. This great series by SD Smith is one of our family favorites. The first book took a few chapters to really get into, but after that, we were all ‘hooked’. We actually enjoy listening to these as audio books on our travels, but my son also has the paperback versions of most of them so he can also read them independently.

Green Ember Pinterest

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

The main characters are rabbit siblings Heather and Pickett. At the beginning of the Green Ember they lead very ordinary rabbit lives, but then a series of tragic events lead them on an exciting adventure of fighting for both their safety and good vs evil. The book is exciting and not gratuitously graphic but it might be a little intense for some young readers. There are battle scenes and the audio version has some very good sound effects.

“I really liked that the rabbits were able to fight off the villains. It was full of adventure and excitement. You never knew what was going to happen next.” Matthew, age 12

We thoroughly enjoyed this book and the others in this series. I always appreciate being able to give my children fun examples of bravery, valor, honestly, and other important values. C.S. Lewis once said, “Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.” I think these books are a great example of offering our children stories of brave knights and heroic courage.

My daughter also really wanted me to mention Gooney Bird Greene as a G book that she really enjoyed. Gooney Bird Greene is about a young girl named Gooney Bird and her adventures at school. It is a great choice for students that are just getting into chapter books.

Have you read the Green Ember before? I noticed that it is currently free with kindle unlimited.  What is your favorite ‘G’ book? I would love for you to share in the comments and let us know.

Inlinkz Link Party

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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

You Are An Artist is having a spring sale right now on their courses included a great Easter course.

Easter Video Art Course for All Ages

Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale! If you want to give it a try, your first month is only $1 or you can get an entire year for $111. My daughter is getting ready to use a photography class from our subscription to help her learn more about her new (to her) camera.

April showers

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)