Thursday, May 23, 2019

Typing Tournmanet Online (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

I MUST tell you what our latest review has been. We have currently been enjoying Typing Tournament Online from EdAlive. We also have had access to Maths Invaders Online which is also a wonderful product from EdAlive. Stay tuned to learn more.

I know I have told of my early typing prowess before. I learned to type on an electric typewriter.  My typing teacher was all business. I was a sophomore in High School and we still used White Out to cover our mistakes.

Our typing tests were fast and furious. We weren’t allowed to even glance at our hands.
Do you feel sorry for me yet? My son (who is 17 and been able to navigate a keyboard most of his life) has no idea.

Regardless of the advances in technology, it is still really important that Josiah knows how to type efficiently. In fact, I was looking for a fun typing program for him to use this summer and I was THRILLED to have this one arrive in my inbox.

What is it?

We received a year’s subscription to Typing Tournament online. If your student enjoys playing games online, he or she will love Typing Tournament. It is more (so much more) than just a game, however. It also teaches the student to master the keyboard.

It is appropriate for ages 6 and up and uses a number of “helps” to assist those kiddos who need a bit more attention.

Typing Tournament will work on about anything (PC, MAC, Tablets) that has an internet connection. My son is familiar with the keyboard and was able to jump right in. The instruction is progressive and allows for extra practice and drills for proficiency.

I appreciated the excellent instruction…even good posture was emphasized.

You want to know another wonderful thing I LOVED about Typing Tournament?  I was just able to add it to Josiah’s assignment list every day. That was it! I didn’t have to cajole or insist. He was more than happy to sit down and work through the program. He didn’t even raise a peep about the Medieval themed games…I wondered if he would consider them “babyish.”

Not at all. I have to say that this was one of the easiest and most pleasant reviews we have done in a while.  AND it will be a product we will continue on into our summer.

We also received access to Maths Invaders Online. While we only poked around a bit at the site, this will also be one we will continue on into the summer.

In fact, I am kind of kicking myself that I haven’t been adding it to Josiah’s schedule daily.  This program is intended for ages 5-15. Josiah might be out of the recommended age group, but he certainly needs extra practice with his math skills.

And this program, again, is all about fun and mastery. Your student can start where they are and step-by-step Maths Invaders will get them where they need to be.

This one is also going on our summer rotation. Josiah is going to be a busy guy!

You also NEED to take a look at EdAlive. They really have some great products. Don’t miss connecting with them on social media. Don’t forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews.

Typing Tournament & Maths Invaders Online {EdAlive Reviews}
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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mother's Day...It was a good one

My friends!

It's Mother's Day. Or at least the end of Mother's Day. I had a big, full weekend and was blessed today with my guys taking me out to eat and a very long nap.

It's the little things, my friends.

I did a whole bunch of crafting and creating for our Mother's Day events at church. I have to say that sometimes I do it well. Then again, there are those projects that go so well....but, I'm not about to tell on myself.

But here's the thing. I didn't get one single picture of our All Daughters Salad Luncheon yesterday. 

I can't win them all.

This morning I spoke in our Mother's Day service. I always feel sorry for all of those folks who come to church with their mommas and have to listen to me.

I am not a preacher...I can tell a story...but that's about it.

Thankfully, our folks are sweeties and listened and laughed at the appropriate times.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself. There were many Mother's Days that were tough. I wasn't a mother but wanted desperately to be one. Now I'm the momma of this guy.  I am blessed.

My heart hurts for all those out there who are struggling and hurting. But I also understand that I can rejoice in my own miracle.

Now that Mother's Day is over I can concentrate on a few other things. Namely my housework.

Guuurrll! I won't even tell you how bad it is. I also in the middle of a big history curriculum writing project that needs my attention.

Shew! I needed that nap.

Happy Mother's Day, my friends.

Thursday, May 2, 2019 (CLEP & DSST) A Homeschool Review Crew Post

Recently, I had a chance to review a 3-month subscription for the CLEP and DSST prep materials from

You might be familiar with, but did you know that they have extensive prep materials for CLEP tests and DSST programs? If you aren’t familiar for any of the acronyms I just named…let me fill you in. Both tests allow for college credit without taking a particular course. CLEP stands for College Level Examination Program.  The DSST stands for DANTES Subjects Standardized Tests (DANTES is Defensive Activity for Non-Traditional Support). This test is generally associated with the military, but has now been opened up for everyone to use. allows the user to take a placement test or immediately begin working through the review material. A course is made up of basically videos and a quiz. There are supplemental materials such as flashcards, transcripts or worksheets.

A course can take up to 15 to 20 hours of lesson time. Which, by my estimation, is quite a bit of time shaved from a traditional college course.

How We Used It

To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure where to begin. Or where I thought we needed to begin. My son is a Junior in High School and, while I know there are some problem areas he needs to work on, I also wanted him to be able to use the product during this review period mostly in a frustration-free zone. If that’s possible.

Basically, I wanted to see what was what. However, when I started looking over it I was fairly suspicious we were really going to like it. 

Josiah started with the CLEP test materials and I chose to let him focus on History. I am going to show you his latest placement test and screenshots from CLEP History of the United States 1.

You can see the layout of the overview screen is easily accessible and gives you all the info. 

The placement test gives the student approximately 30 questions and adjusts to the student's knowledge.
 These are Josiah's results. The page gives you an option to either answer some more questions or to start watching the lessons and begin the course.

The videos are fairly short. They have a practice test, a worksheet, flashcards, and a quiz. There is even a spot to take notes. The videos are engaging and keep the student's attention.

Here is a little shot of the practice test.

 Now on to my experience with the DSST materials. 

After poking around the DSST material I thought it would be interesting to take a placement test myself. The DSST does have some different courses to explore. And I was particularly interested in one.

DSST Foundations of Education: Study Guide & Test Prep Final Exam. 

Full disclosure. I did take this course. In college. Waay back in the day. And while it does seem counterproductive to work through material you already have college credit for, I wanted to see how it compared with what I remember learning in college. I also need to admit that my degree was in Education. 

Nearly 25 years is plenty of time to change the way things are taught.

I noticed right away that the test was a smart one. It took into account the answers I was getting right and focused on material I wasn’t so familiar with or had forgotten. Some of the questions were fairly specific.

 While I am a bit ashamed I didn't score perfectly on the placement test, I can see how the course takes advantage of what you do know and helps you bolster up what material is lacking. 

And though I have no intention of taking this college class again, I'm intrigued by some of the other classes offered...I have a desire to go back to school and makes it easy to see that goal in front of me. 

What We Thought

My suspicions were confirmed. This is an excellent program. In fact, I think it is more than excellent. I do need to tell you a few more things. It is a self-paced program. You can whiz straight through or take a break. You can move around or return to something that needs addressing. 

It can also be accessed by multiple devices. We only used it on the computer, but some of you will enjoy the easy access.

This one is a keeper! 

You can connect with via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews. I guarantee that there are many more out there who loved it! 

CLEP & DSST Exam Prep { Reviews}

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Monday, April 29, 2019

Sick Days & Low Days (What to do) Plus a Video!

I just posted a video where I chat about homeschooling during sick days, low energy days or those seasons of chronic illness.

I've had more of those recently than I should have. 

Needless to say, I haven't felt very productive. 

In the video, I give 3 basic points. 

1. Foster independence in your kids. Teach them to learn. 

2. Plan ahead for those rough days. 

3. Let go of the guilt. Give yourself grace. 

Of course, I don't have all the answers in the world...there are many who are doing it much better than me. But I want to at least share my experience. 

Such as it is... promised...I am going to share a few resources with you. 

Encouraging Independence

Resources for Your Lists (this is a paid subscription, but worth it)

Encouragement For YOU

I'm sure I could dig up dozens of links for you.., But you get my drift. 

In the meantime, you can watch the video here if you have just checked in on the blog. 

Thursday, April 25, 2019


Everybody enjoying spring so far? 

We had a glorious Easter day. The weather was magnificent. Now it is raining. And raining. 

I didn't get one single picture the whole Easter weekend. We had a community Good Friday service and then, of course, Easter Sunday. 

Both services were just inspiring and special....but by Monday we all felt like we had been dragged through the back 40 a time or two.  Have I ever mentioned that holidays are HARD for Pastors and their families? 

But...we've made it through this week fairly unscathed and I've had a few victories. 

My kitchen is fairly clean. If you would have seen it on Monday...

Everybody has had a clean towel this week. 

Josiah caught up on some school work. I told him he needed to get himself in gear if he wanted to graduate in a timely manner. I didn't have to threaten certain death or the removal of all electronic devices from our home. 

We haven't eaten out a single meal this week. No last minute runs for a couple of cheeseburgers from McDonald's, etc. This is HUGE. The past few months have been tough on everybody. 

I was able to host our weekly Ladies Bible Study yesterday. It had been a bit. I fixed a healthy breakfast. It was a nice time together. 

It's nice to feel more like myself. Though I still have a little ways to go until I am feeling the way I want to feel. But...I'm heading in the right direction. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

CrossWired Science (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

We recently had a chance to review a fun new online subscription science. CrossWired Science provides online science learning in a fun and engaging way with Sound, and Fluid Dynamics.

CrossWired Science is a self-paced science program with a Christian worldview. It is divided into two levels: First Timers and Second Timers. The bulk of the teaching is done by engaging videos that is followed by online tests. There are also a variety of resources and activities that allow students to "Dig Deeper." In addition, there are Bible studies, reading recommendations, fun field trip ideas, and experiments.

CrossWired Science is in the process of growing and creating, so we got to see the progression of the program…which is really exciting.  The core lessons are intended for ages 4-18, but CrossWired strongly encourages families to learn science together.

So let’s talk about the Sound unit and the Fluid Dynamics section separately.

Fluid Dynamics has 8 core videos presently:

FD and Bernouli
Wrights and Foils
Carb Venturis
Planes & Whiskers & alulas
Hummers & Dolphins
Boxfish & Penguins
Nose aerodynamics
Dogs, Slobs & Cats.

The Sound unit has 8 core videos, as well. They include:

Audible Vibes
Sonar and Infrasounds
Bats and Moon Explosions
Elephants and Lanternfish
Dolphins Fat Football
an Ear-ie Journey
Bird Songs Wow
Cochleas and Whale Belting.

Before I move on, I need to tell you that the CrossWired Science site is BEAUTIFUL. They have really done a great job and you can tell how excited the creators are about science. Their love for all things “sciencey” and for God is contagious.

I had a good time poking around. Let me show you.

Each lesson starts with a core video. We are going to look at the First Timers round…cause that’s what we are. Get ready for a lot of screenshots!

I’m excited to share!

This what we see when we click on the Fluid Dynamics unit. You can see by the little green checkmark (or lack of them) on the right-hand side of the screen that only one lesson has been completed. The screen scrolls down to reveal quite a few little boxes, but we are going to turn our attention to a second little box. It is Lesson 2, Wrights and Foils. If you have guessed that this particular lesson is going to talk about the Wright brothers, you might be right. 

When you click on that little box you will see a directions tab on the right-hand side. This little tab just gives you a little bit of information and directions on using the lessons. At this time, I believe that these directions are pretty general for each lesson.

The Core video is just over 5 minutes long. It's engaging and pretty cute.

Immediately following the video is a quiz. The quiz grades itself instantly and also shows the taker what questions he or she missed if any. I believe the Second Timer route has content that is more difficult.

 Lesson 2 doesn't have a worksheet at this time, so I downloaded Worksheet #3 from Lesson 3 to show you what the worksheets generally look like.

All the extras with this Unit are super duper! This is the Experiment section. Not all of the experiments are completed yet (as far as I know), but you can see the potential.

 The tabs open up to a PDF. The page outlines all of the directions, etc. you will need to complete the experiment.

The Research box takes you here. If you scroll down you will see all manner of good stuff and research topics idea.

This little section of "Extras" is fantabulous and there are even more than featured here. Under each tab is listed a plethora of resource lists and more. 

I also had to share the recommended reading box. There are even reading schedules to download.

 And extra videos to watch from outside sources!

 And here is a little shot of the Teen devotional from this Unit.

 I didn't even share all that is offered. And while the site is not perfect or complete yet, you can see the potential for something wonderful. That being said, CrossWired Science is pretty great as is...I'm excited to see the progress. 

Right now, I am unsure if CrossWired Science could be used as a complete science curriculum. I think it is completely up to how a family uses it. It is completely flexible. There is a suggested schedule on the website (under the General Info tab) that recommends how many days to complete each activity. 

There is also a sample unit available for you to check out on the site. Be sure to check it out. 

I also need to mention the excellent Sound unit. We have looked through several lessons and it all looks like a lot of fun and so very interesting. Bats and Moon Explosions is especially fun. 

CrossWired is also working on more Core units. I look forward to seeing what they come up with. As I said, their excitement is contagious! 

Don't forget to check out more reviews by clicking on the banner below. 

Sound, and Fluid Dynamics {CrossWired Science Reviews}
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Friday, April 12, 2019

Transcripts Made Easy (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

So the opening lines of the preface of the book, Transcripts Made Easy, go like this.

“Dear Friends, So it’s time to think about High School!

Noooo!  Didn’t I just graduate High School, myself?

Okay…so that might have been a bunch few years ago. AND my son is ending his High School career next year sometime. Can I fill you in a little horrifying truth?

I am not prepared.

That being said, when I had the chance to review Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High School Paperwork from Everyday Education I was all in.

Transcripts Made Easy was written by the very wise, Janice Campbell. She is all the Homeschool Things I want to be. And believe me…that is a thing. She not only has successfully graduated four homeschool boys but she has written several excellent resources for homeschoolers and runs the Everyday Education website.

What I Received

I received an e-book copy of the fourth edition of Transcripts Made Easy. The book also comes in a print edition. 

The book itself is divided into six parts. Here is a little bit of what is included in each.

Meet the Transcript: Part 1

You probably know what a transcript is…or at least in theory. It is basically an educational resume. But how does one go about creating a transcript from scratch when you are a homeschooler? And how respective are potential colleges or employers to homeschool transcripts?  In this part, we are encouraged to start where we are and what we need to do right now.

Plan With the End in Mind: Part 2
This section talks all about making most out of those high school years and beyond. I really could have used this before we began. There is a little bit of everything for every flavor of homeschool. Study habits and scheduling options. Standard tests and how to get the most of that first year in college.

I REALLY appreciated the section on alternatives to college degrees. We aren’t quite sure what is in Josiah’s immediate future after High School. There are a great list of resources for us to peruse. 

This section also talks about how to prepare your student for college in a practical way behind grades. 

Keep Simple Records: Part 3

Thank you! I needed to see this for myself. I tend to go overboard or not at all. If you need someone to hold your hand, this section will help you organize yourself.

I have to tell you that this was my favorite section of the book. It shows us how to name those classes. In particular, how to name those classes you aren’t quite sure what to call. I know I have a few of those.

Another terrific part of this section is how to homeschool struggling learners to the end. What do you need to do about test accommodations? Should you disclose on a transcript? What kind of plan will you need going on into college if that is what your child desires to do?

Grades, Credit, and the GPA: Part 4

Do you struggle with how to assign a grade? Or how to grade? How do we calculate a GPA? This section helps us work through it all.

There is advice even for unschoolers! And it is not to stop “unschooling.” It gives you excellent tips on how to plug all of those wonderful experiences into credits.

Create the Transcript: Part 5

Here is the magic, my friends. This walks you through the nuts and bolts of the creation of the transcript, itself. She gives you examples and a couple of blank reproducible forms. There is even a step-by-step walk through on creating a diploma…even down to the kind of font you should use.

References, Resources, and Reproducibles: Part 6

These are all of those reproducibles you ever need in your life. I immediately printed them out and start working on the subject worksheets. I even used the Reading Log to record what we have read this year.

The Subject Worksheet below is for math. There is one just like it for every subject.

My Thoughts

Occasionally, one of those homeschool FB groups I belong to will absolutely blow up. And it is usually some momma in a panic about their High School student getting into college with a homemade transcript.

I usually have to click off the conversation because they ALL make me nervous.  It’s not that I’m afraid that the Transcript Police will show up at my house tomorrow (though some of those poor mommas seem happy to be part of that squad). It’s just that some folks seem so emphatic that the rest of us are doing it all wrong.

If you are of the number that needs some hand-holding (of which I am) and some reassurances (of which I am) and some excellent advice that calms your fear of the Transcript Police…this book is one you need.  It just has some plain good advice…practical advice that you can use immediately. I am so glad I got to add this book to my resources.

You need Transcripts Made Easy in your life! 

You can connect with Everyday Education via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews.


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