Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Everyday Family Chore System (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

I have something terrible to admit.

 I am not a neat freak.

I know! Shocking! When I was a little girl my room was usually cluttered with books and shoes. To be honest with you, not much has changed. Anyhoo...My momma, realizing I hadn’t been adequately sprinkled with enough of the tidy gene, made sure she gave me the tools to keep the messy at bay (mostly). Managing my own home and teaching my son to be a productive “tidy man” has had its challenges for me. This summer I had the chance to review The Everyday Family Chore System from Everyday Homemaking.

The Everyday FAMILY Chore System

I received a spiral bound hardcopy of The Everyday Family Chore System. Everyday Homemaking was created by Viki Bently. She is the homeschool momma of 8 (!) and has been a foster mother to dozens and dozens of children.

She probably knows a few things about keeping things tidy.

There are three parts to the Everyday Family Chore System.

 Part One ~ Laying a Foundation
 Part Two ~ Implementing the Plan
 Part Three ~ The Actual Chore System

Part One helps you understand the importance of laying a foundation. The best way to laying that foundation is to be examples for our children to follow. This has more to do how we serve others and serve God than even learning how to do “chores.” We are also encouraged that we need to TEACH our children to clean properly. Nobody knows how to fold a towel properly from birth…and least not that I’ve seen. I need to model my expectations for my son.

We are also encouraged to have realistic expectations.

Part Two is the practical part. There is a fabulous life skills checklist that made me rethink my plans for Josiah’s life skills education.  I need to up my game. She gives you a list of age appropriate chores and several ways to implement the system for your family. This isn’t a one-size fits all program. It’s perfectly adaptable for all sizes and needs of family. I love the idea of setting a morning routine with clear expectations.

Part Three contains all the chore cards. This include a good section of chore cards, as well as blank cards. I love the “How-To-Do-It Cards.”

So here is my deal. I want to live in a home that is visually appealing. I want to be able to go to bed at night between clean sheets. I want to have clean laundry in the drawers. I want my fridge to be clean and tidy and void of any unplanned science projects. I want to be able invite people in the front door without making excuses involving spontaneous indoor natural disasters or alien invasion. I want my son to be able not only contribute his time and energy towards those goals, but I want him to leave my home knowing how to feed himself without the aid of fast food, take care of basic home repairs and know how to scrub a toilet or a floor.

We have done fairly well in some departments. He can do laundry, load the dishwasher and flip a pancake. He knows how to sweep the floor and run a vacuum cleaner. What I haven’t been so good with is structuring my expectations for him AND broadening his household duties. The “How to Do It” Cards have been helpful, even for me.

For example, the regular chore cards contain things like:

Sort laundry
Clean inside glass
Clear the table
Clean out the toaster
And set the table.

The “How-to-Do-It” Cards go even further. The “How to” Clear the Table card says:

Take serving dishes, pans, silverware, butter, dishes, dirty napkins, etc. from table and serving places into kitchen.
Put away any food/leftovers.
With damp cloth, wipe off table and chairs.
Clean up around table (sweep floor if needed)
Push in chairs
Neatly arrange any table top items.

Are you kidding? I NEED this! Instead of expecting Josiah to read my mind, here Vicky has given me mini-lessons on how to do about any household chore.

I found the “How To” Cards so helpful that I am planning on “teaching” Josiah a new skill every week. Almost like Home EC. 

There were several examples on how to implement the chore system. I have been making a list for Josiah daily and I think I am going to keep that particular method. I have, however, been placing the “How-To” cards on the fridge for reference. We also talk about my expectations and I’ve modeled some of those tasks that he isn’t as familiar with.

I have a feeling our cooking experiences are going to need some time. Though he can cook up some fish sticks and tater tots like a champ.

I wasn’t sure how much this book would help me…the mother of one son. I didn’t know what to expect. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. There have been nuggets of wisdom and practical advice I’ve been able to implement.

I think it’s a handy and encouraging resource for any family!

Right now you can save 10% off The Everyday Family Chore System and/or Everyday Cooking (print or e-book) through Labor Day! Use the code TOS10books after you’ve added your book (or books!) to your card. This offer expires September 5, 2017. 

You can connect with Everyday Homemaking via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews. Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed Everyday Cooking. 

Everyday Cooking and Chores Systems for your Family {Everyday Homemaking Reviews}
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Friday, August 18, 2017

Dear Homeschool Momma (5 Days of Back to Homeschool)

This post contains affiliate links...using affiliate links from There Will Be a $5 Charge for Whining helps support this blog, our homeschool and my book addiction. Thank You! 

Are you here for the Blog Hop! Welcome...This week, in honor of our 10th year homeschooling,  I'm sharing my Top Ten homeschool resources, school supplies and more! You can click here to get schedule for the week. 

Dear Homeschool Momma,

I’m probably the last person you need to take advice from. There is a half-eaten jar of peanut butter on my coffee table. It is possible that was supper. My son is terribly behind in math (depending on the day) and my laundry fairy quit on me at least 10 years ago. Let’s just say I haven’t seen the bottom of the laundry hamper in a very long time.

I have had those seasons when I have felt burnt to a frazzle. I have felt inadequate and unprepared. And at a loss of what to do next.

The only thing on my side, really, is that 10 years after we made that decision to bring our son home from public school we are still standing. Or lounging…depending on the day or subject matter.

I don’t have all of the answers, but I do have some lessons learned along the way. I think I have been as much a student as my son. So for better or for worse, I want to share some of that wisdom. It’s probably nothing you haven’t read about in my blog before. I tend to be a broken record.

First of all, get some sleep. Do whatever it takes. Go to bed earlier. Get up later. Nap with the kids.  Life will look more sparkly. 

Be sure you are eating good, colorful foods. And, no, I don’t mean Cheetos. Your body needs all of those good nutrients. You are not only providing a nurturing home for your munchkins, you are educating them as well. Sugar and coffee will only get you so far.

Be kind to everyone. You won’t have any regrets.

Take every opportunity to enjoy the small things. Those dandelions will only occupy that juice glass on your table for so many years. Don’t be afraid to make messes and play with your kids. Embrace the world of discovery and newness through the eyes of your kids.

Give yourself a break. I mean really. Nobody said you had to do it all today. Fix that cup of hot tea and go put your feet up. If you are worried about the crunched up Cheerios all over your dining room floor, hand somebody a broom. They are never too young to learn.

Don’t be neglect your own education. Take joy in learning right along with your kids.  When you need advice, talk to mommas who have been where you are. The Bible says there is wisdom in the multitude of counselors. Listen to podcasts.  Attend lectures. Read good books and articles.

Cultivate the love of beautiful things in your home. Notice I didn’t say “expensive” things…just beautiful things. Beautiful art, lovely music, good food, laughter and love.

Before your feet hit the floor in the morning, commit your day to the Father. Give Him place in your plans. Make Him the priority in everything you do.

That’s the  very best advice I can give….

Thank you for popping over this week. My friends on the Homeschool Review Crew have all written notes of encouragement. I know you'll be blessed. 

Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017

Thursday, August 17, 2017

My Top Ten "Outside the Home" Homeschool Activities (5 Days of Back to Homeschool)

This post contains affiliate links...using affiliate links from There Will Be a $5 Charge for Whining helps support this blog, our homeschool and my book addiction. Thank You! 

Are you here for the Blog Hop! Welcome...This week, in honor of our 10th year homeschooling,  I'm sharing my Top Ten homeschool resources, school supplies and more! You can click here to get schedule for the week. 

It’s me again! It’s Day 4 of our 5 Days of Back to Homeschool Blog Hop. This week I am celebrating my 10th year of homeschooling by sharing with you My Top Ten lists about a variety of topics.

Today we are talking about Homeschooling outside the home. Admittedly, we have never been the Co-op brand of homeschoolers. It’s not that I am opposed to Co-ops. They just have never been a fit…mainly Momma needs more flexibility.

Today instead of sharing with you general “ideas” about what you can do to broaden the walls of your homeschool, I am going to share with you what we have ACTUALLY done.

I realize that not all of it will be practical for all of you, but hopefully you will find a nugget of inspiration.  I’m going to share some pictures (I’m reaching waay back here) of some of our favorite adventures. 

1.       Josiah attended an interaction program just for Homeschoolers at our local YMCA for years. The class would meet 1 day a week for 2 hours.  They got to climb a rock wall, go swimming and participate in team sports. This is where the boy first learned about the tortures of dodgeball. Dodgeball was the stuff of my elementary nightmares.

2.       We also had Josiah in swim lessons from the time he was 8. Eventually he joined the swim team and that was our life until he was 14 and we moved out of state. Admittedly it took more of our time. He had practices 3 days a week.  I loved that it taught him that he could be faithful and consistent. AND being that we had to be at the Y so much, I had no excuses not to exercise myself. Mostly. 

3.       If all that wasn’t enough Physical Education for one busy guy, we joined a PE class for homeschoolers at a local University. The teachers were college students themselves (generally Phys Ed majors) who were supervised by their professor. During the fall semester the students learned about team sports; basketball, football, lacrosse, volleyball and more. During the spring semester the students focused on Individual sports; golf, bowling, archery and even fishing. Plus, they learned about personal fitness. The class was held twice a week and lasted just under an hour. My favorite part of the class were the interactions I got to have with other mommas.  We had the best time! This was also one of those activities we did year after year. 

4.       For many years, we volunteered at a nursing home. Not only did we come in several times a year with our church to play music and conduct a service, but Josiah and I spent many other happy days there. Josiah painted fingernails, helped call bingo, served ice cream, participated in the Tai Chi class and generally was spoiled by all the residents. Our visits were far more than just a volunteering situation ...Josiah developed relationships...you talk about socialization! 

5.       The library, for us, is just an extension of our homeschool. We not only make a weekly visit, but there have even been times that we’ve loaded up a particular subject and had “school” at the library. Most library have small study rooms that can be reserved. We have attended extension programs, concerts and book clubs. It has also been a great place to help Josiah practice his own researching skills.

6.       Of course, there has to be times for field trips. We have visited television stations, art museums, history and science museums and so much more. The beauty of homeschooling is you can visit places during off-seasons and low seasons. No public school type people there to cramp your style. I've often said that homeschoolers can turn even a trip to the grocery store into a field trip. 

7.       One of Josiah’s favorite outings has always been our nature walks. While it’s fun just getting out of the house, we are able to talk about geography (tracking trails, etc.), and science (botany, animal science). We can take beautiful pictures and sketch some interesting things along the way.  Plus, we all need that fresh air and Vitamin D. The thing with Nature Walks is that the more consistent you are the better. I find that scheduling one a week at the same time works well for us. 

8. There is nothing like outsourcing some of that educational stuff. One of my favorite people to outsource some of that educational stuff has been my mom. She is a professional artist and a terrific teacher. She can coax creativity out of a gnat. I could just take him over and beautiful things would come out of my son's hands.  I always love finding people to help me who know more than I do! Which, frankly, is not that hard. 😂

9. Community events have always been a great way to take our homeschool on the road. We've gone to concerts in the parks, lectures, and cultural festivals. We've been to the ballet, enjoyed an Irish band, watched Shakespeare in the park and even attended a seminar featuring Temple Grandin. 

10. One of the favorite things ever is the several years we had "Reading Buddies." Basically, a homeschool friend and I decided that it would be fun to bring our boys together to form a reading club. Eventually our club grew to include my friend's younger children.  Sometimes you've got to make your own magic.  We used to joke that she was the "cafeteria lady" and I was the "reading teacher." 

The moral of the story is that plenty of schooling can be found outside your four walls! 

That's all I have for today. I hope that you've enjoyed coming to my little corner of the blog-universe. Tomorrow I am going to try and bless you with some encouragement. You are not alone!

For now, you can check out and see what my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew do. 

Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017
Blog Post Link: http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/outside-the-home-back-to-homeschool-annual-blog-hop-2017/

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

My Top Ten Homeschool Planning Tips (5 Days of Back to Homeschool)

This post contains affiliate links...using affiliate links from There Will Be a $5 Charge for Whining helps support this blog, our homeschool and my book addiction. Thank You! 

Are you here for the Blog Hop! Welcome...This week, in honor of our 10th year homeschooling,  I'm sharing my Top Ten homeschool resources, school supplies and more! You can click here to get schedule for the week. 

It’s Day 3 of the 5 Days of Back to Homeschool Blog Hop! This time around I’m celebrating my 10th year of homeschooling by giving you my TOP TEN lists for a variety of topics.
Today we are talking about PLANNING and SCHEDULING. How do I keep the many wheels in my house a-turning.

Now here are a few things you need to know about me.
·         I am a planner
·         I can be spontaneous
·         Planners make me crazy (and not in a good way)
·         These bulleted points need some sparkle

Yup. I am a walking contradiction. I have been known to completely change course directions after a good cup of coffee in the morning.

“So we’re studying butterflies right now, but momma found this really cool unit on bullfrogs. Let’s do that for a while.” 

But let me tell ya! I sure had a good time planning that butterfly unit!  I had that butterfly unit planned down to the tiniest detail.  But, oh…those bullfrogs were calling!

So you can see that I have had to insert some discipline into my life concerning our homeschool habits. That being said I also appreciate the spontaneity of a homeschool classroom. We are able to follow rabbit trails if the rabbit looks interesting enough.

Are you ready to see how I’ve sorted all this mess out? How I make it through the day? Use what you can and then send the link to this post to your fruity homeschooling friend. I’m sure she’ll appreciate it.

1.       I have discovered the Bullet Journal. I get overwhelmed with most “planners” in general. They really never meet my needs.  Bullet Journaling gives me control over every aspect of planning. I don’t have to fit everything in a neat little box. I can choose to plan daily, weekly, monthly….I am in complete control on what goes down on that page. If you haven’t been introduced to Bullet Journaling yet…get acquainted.  Edie Wadsworth from Life in Grace (LOVE HER!) has an excellent video on bullet journaling. I have one for both my homeschool and my life.

2.       From the time Josiah has been able to read a little bit I have created for him a daily assignment list. It is simply a spiral notebook. Each day I open up a new page. I write the date on the top and list all of his school work PLUS household chores. I not only put independent work on the list, but subjects we are going to work on together. He is the kind of kid who thrives on knowing what comes next. He is more efficient and less likely to whine and complain. Now he has always been a really busy kid (ADHD!), but the assignment list helps him focus on what is expected of him.

3.       I HAVE to follow the rhythms of our church life (we are pastors), but I have also had to become very protective of our school time. This is hard for non-homeschooling folks to understand. I CAN’T drop everything and meet you for lunch. I CAN’T drop everything and have a chatty conversation on the phone. You CAN’T make plans with my son at any time. Just because he doesn’t get on the bus every morning to go a building doesn’t mean he isn’t being educated. I have to guard that school time. Now I’ve made some exceptions. He vacuums the church and then has breakfast with a sweet man from church every Monday morning. I consider that a precious and life building time for him. We simply do our work after lunch. Now that Josiah is older and in High School this means he has to make up the time or work on another day.

4.       I homeschool with a ROUTINE rather than a SCHEDULE.  I can’t watch the clock. The Schedule tells me that we can spend only 10 minutes making a geopolitical map of Greece. I might need 15! But a Routine allows us to adjust to interests, interruptions and downright catastrophes. How does this work? I simply make my list of “to-dos” … we know what subject is next or what needs to be done, but we don’t follow a set in stone time schedule.

5.       Menu Plans help me feed my family. I generally plan on a Sunday night and grocery shop on a Monday morning. I don’t have to be elaborate. Some weeks I plan the same types of meals from the week before. Sometimes all I write down is…”Help Yourself.” Which means the two men in my house have to scrounge around for their own vittles. But! At least I have a plan.

6.       15 minutes. If I am struggling to get something done…be it housework or a project…I set my timer for 15 minutes. I can get a lot done in 15 minutes.  I also use the timer for Josiah. Works like magic!

7.       I HAVE to prioritize my priorities. What is important to me? Am I spending too much time on Facebook or YouTube? Is my husband feeling neglected? Am I making my daily time with God a priority in my life or is He somewhere after all the other stuff I seem to add to my life.

8.       Is there a part of your day or a subject that you are approaching with fear and trembling? Have you heard this one? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Sometimes you just have to pull up your big girl britches and DO THE THING! If there is a subject, task or project you are dreading….just grit your teeth and jump right in. It probably won’t be perfect. In fact, it probably will be messy and HARD. Just keep plugging away. Try different things. Insert humor or fun into whatever it is you are dreading. It probably won’t bite. Though I have my suspicions about math.

9.       Just because I waffle between the blessed spontaneity of my fruity personality and my love for all things planning doesn’t mean I don’t try and have a little structure. We mostly homeschool year round, but our summers are much, much lighter. I have a definite start date and then a definite end date….though I break up my homeschool plans into semesters. That way I can go back and put in days I know we are going to be out of town, fun days and holidays.  

10.   I try and make time for FUN. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day routines and forget that we are living a life here. Not everything has to be fun.  But there should be plenty of nature walking days, cookie making days, movie watching and popcorn watching days, science experiment days and music making days. I try and make a seasonal bucket list. Last year we didn’t carve a pumpkin and do a pumpkin study.  We had just moved and I figured Josiah was getting too old to care. I was wrong! He made mention of it several times.  I have had to learn firsthand that we have to take time to enjoy those random, little moments in life.

So now you know all of my secrets. Tomorrow I will share with you some of my favorite ideas for Homeschooling OUTSIDE the home. 

All this week I am joining up with my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew for the 5 Days of Back to School Blog Hop. Check them out! They are so much more organized than I am.

Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

My Top Ten Favorite Homeschool Supplies (5 Days of Back to Homeschool)

This post contains affiliate links...using affiliate links from There Will Be a $5 Charge for Whining helps support this blog, our homeschool and my book addiction. Thank You! 

Are you here for the Blog Hop! Welcome...This week, in honor of our 10th year homeschooling,  I'm sharing my Top Ten homeschool resources, school supplies and more! You can click here to get schedule for the week. 

So I am absolutely in LOVE with this post.  I have had 10 years to decide what kinds of supplies really rock my world. Of course, I used a few different kinds of things when Josiah was younger. Glue sticks and safety scissors aren’t really a necessity any more. But let me tell you…nothing excites me more than the school supply aisle.

Being Homeschoolers has broadened my idea of what “school supplies” actually are. You get my drift.

Most regular people don’t consider a slow cooker a major school supply purchase. We consider it as important  as a couple of pencils and some paper.

1.       Gel Pens - There is not much about Sparkly Pens I don’t like. In fact, Josiah loves them about as much as I do. Go figure. Every semester I have him go through our container of sparkly pens and check to see if any of them have dried up. And then every semester I bless him with a brand new set. Now for my own personal uses, I LOVE the Gelly Roll pens from Sakura. You can purchase them from Amazon, but I have also been known to use my 40% coupon at Hobby Lobby…they sell them, as well. They have lots of different colors and flavors. You just have to pick your poison. 

2.       Slow Cooker -  I haven’t jumped on the InstaPot band wagon yet…namely because I can’t afford one. But I can’t live without my slow cooker. I probably use it 2 or 3 times a week.  THIS one is my slow cooker. It isn’t the fanciest by any means, but it has clips on the ends to hold the top down and I can tote it to church for potlucks and carry-ins.

3.       Library Card – Oh, yes. It been said that all a homeschooler really needs to succeed in life is a library card. And honestly…I can agree. The Library is about the most awesomest place in the world. If you haven’t made it part of your homeschool life I suggest you find a way to make it so.  If you are in a season in your life that doesn’t allow you to spend long afternoons in quiet bliss among the great shelves….there are ways to still use what’s inside those golden walls. I have frequently requested my choices online and simply ran in (in Missouri we had a library drive-thru) to pick them up. Not only that, but there isn’t a library book in Indiana that is safe from me. They have a great interlibrary loan system.

4.       Tea – Or something like it. Do you have any rituals during the day? One of mine is brewing a cup of my favorite tea and sitting down with our read aloud or devotion. There is something comforting and just a little posh about using one of my china cups to make the school day special. Josiah is not such a fan of my hot tea….though when he was little I would make him hot chocolate in one of my special cups. But we still enjoy our ritual together. I have found many tea cups from thrift stores or flea markets. My favorite teas are Lady Grey, Sweet & Spicy and Lemon Ginger.

5.       Composition and Spiral Notebooks – These are the bread and butter of our homeschool. We use them for EVERYTHING. Josiah has one for assignments. I use them for my bullet journals. We use them for daily journals and writing assignments. They are cheap and found about anywhere. I personally prefer cute ones…I can always decorate them with washi tape. Josiah doesn’t care.

6.       Colored Pencils – Oh yes. And all colored pencils are not created equally. My favorite brand is Prism. They color like buttah. I use them for our notebooks, art projects and more. I think they make a neater end product that markers…in fact, unless you are decorating a poster don’t use a marker on a notebooking page in my house. Messy. Messy. Messy.

7.       Printer  – My friends. One cannot underestimate the need for the printer in a homeschoolers home. But ink is pricey. I have used print services. I have tried not to use printables, but I just can’t keep away from them. They make me happy and they make my life easier. This year I am trying something new. My homeschooling plans can’t be held hostage to the ink level on my printer. I have joined the Hewlett Packard Instant Ink. They have several different plans. I am trying the 9.99 plan right now…it allows me to print 300 pages a month. The plans price range go down from there. Right now if you sign up using THIS link you will get one month free.  The deal lasts until September 30, 2017.  I get a few free months for every friend who signs up so hop to it! Beke needs some free ink! 

8.       Plastic Sheet Protectors – I just like the look of a shiny page. They protect my pages from ripping and tearing (which in turn saves me money) and they make even the most scribbly notebooking page look glorious (nearly). You can purchase them easily from the Wal-marts. This set from Amazon seems like a reasonable deal if you are more into couch shopping…for reals.

9.       Laminator – I have had mine for years and I have used it for everything! I used to make little puzzles and games, basically manipulatives for Josiah. Now I will laminate artwork for art studies. You can make your own little dry erase boards or erasable worksheets.  I got mine at Wal-mart years ago. The link I gave you below is comparable to the one I have, but you can certainly buy get them for a good deal at Wally World.  

10.   Amazon Kindle – This choice certainly isn’t an impulse buy. AND it’s also used for more than school work. The model Josiah has (which was a Christmas present) is not the most expensive one…however it works just fine what we need it for. I download educational apps for him to play or use. I also use it occasionally for reading assignments. It has an easy way to check the definition of a word and he can make the print as big as he needs it. I’ve also given Josiah YouTube links to follow. I like doing this if he is doing dependent work. He can sit at the table and look up information easily.

BONUS! So I really couldn’t keep contain myself. There are a few things I use over and over in our school. It’s our Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts!  Either have a GOLDMINE of educational programing, documentaries and movies. 

That's all I got. At least until tomorrow. I am going to share with you my best planning and scheduling tricks and tips. Stay tuned. 

For now...all this week I am joining up with my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew for the 5 Days of Back to School Blog Hop. 

Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017

Monday, August 14, 2017

My Top Ten Homeschool Resources (5 Days of Back to Homeschool)

This post contains affiliate links...using affiliate links from There Will Be a $5 Charge for Whining helps support this blog, our homeschool and my book addiction. Thank You! 

Are you here for the Blog Hop! Welcome...This week, in honor of our 10th year homeschooling,  I'm sharing my Top Ten homeschool resources, school supplies and more! You can click here to get schedule for the week. 

True confession time.

When I first started brainstorming around the topic of “curriculum” for this post, I just knew that I needed to share my favorite Top Ten homeschool curriculum products or resources of all time.

After all, I am a curriculum reviewer and have had A WHOLE BUNCH of curriculum find its way to my dining room table. I surely have a lot to say.

The problem started when I just couldn’t narrow things down to the Top Ten.  It was making me crazy. So I thought I would put all of us out of my misery and narrow things down.

Instead of me unloading all that crazy on you, I am going to share only things I am using for our upcoming 2017-2018 school year.

Now keep in mind that I don’t use a box curriculum. And while Josiah is a sophomore this year, we are rather fluid with our grade level suggestions. I don’t believe in a one-size fits most education.

Here is what I look for in curriculum when planning for a new school year.
1.      Does it meet Josiah where he’s at?
2.      Does it challenge Josiah to improve?
3.      Can I adapt it to meet his learning needs? (he is dyslexic and has dyscalculia)
4.      Do I have something on hand I can utilize?
5.      Will we be able to eat and pay the phone bill if I choose this curriculum?
6.      Does it meet my own educational philosophy standards? Or Does it focus on what I think is important?

So here are my FAVORITE treasurers I found this year. Remember…you don’t have to have a child in High School to utilize many of my choices.

1.      History has always been a favorite part of our homeschooling day. I have reviewed a lot of neat homeschooling resources, but I am in LOVE with Diana Waring’s History Revealed series. This year, we are going to study Ancient Civilizations and the Bible. You can use this series with a group of multi-aged children AND Diana has suggestions and assignments for all styles of learners.

2.      Apologia Science is so well done. This year I am actually using the Anatomy and Physiology book from the Young Explorers series. I know! To be honest with you I could have used this book before running with the big dogs in college. My A&P I class was a nightmare….I received my only “C” in college in that class. Josiah is fascinated with how the human body works. I am capitalizing on the fact that I have had the book sitting on my shelf for a few years now (my sister passed it on to us) AND that Josiah is excited to go through it. I also downloaded the audio version of the book from Audible. And I am so excited to use this Netter’s Anatomy coloring book. I’m telling you. I would have aced this class in college if I had had access to this coloring book and few sparkly pens.

3.      One of the secrets of our Homeschooling success is really no secret. I have made a conscious effort to fill our days with good quality literature. A big tool in my efforts has been the trusty Audio Book. We LOVE Audio Books. In fact, there were many years we didn’t leave the library without choosing one or two to enjoy. Frankly, if a product has an audio component with it I’m more likely to use it. I like to use the IEW Reading list every year to help me make my choices.  On the list this year? …David Cooperfield, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Watership Down…though I’m still on the fence about Watership Down. It made me cry. You do need to create an account with IEW. It's free to do so, but you have access to some great talks from Andrew Pudewa, plus the reading list...It will be located under the FILES tab in your account. 

4.      So you know this the stage of our schooling career that we indulge in electives. Schoolhouseteachers.com to the rescue! We are using it to help us with Spanish I, Personal Fitness and some math review.  There isn’t actually a course called Personal Fitness, but I am using portions of the Family Fitness and Family Nutrition courses to help me through the night.

5.      I have to share this site with you. If you are homeschooling in High School or have students that are quickly approaching High School, you need to take a look at this list for tons of course ideas.  For those of us who like to tweak and twerk our curriculum around to meet the needs of our kids…I guarantee that the ideas here will help you. We are actually going to do a course this year called Film as Literature.  So much fun!

6.      I am going to admit something here that is downright shameful in some homeschool circles. I really don’t like reading Shakespeare. Sure. The guy is responsible for adding around 1700 words to the  English language and he did come up with some compelling stories and poetically they are quite beautiful to hear spoken…BUT. My brain doesn’t want to work that hard. Give me a novel any day. We have read portions of several of Shakespeare’s works, but I can’t really call myself a true homeschool nerd unless Josiah knows what’s what in the world of Shakespeare. So I found me a novel! Yes I did! It still uses that flowery language, but it reads like a novel. It’s called Shakespeare Stories.

7.      I’m a BIG fan of FREE. And I like FREE even better when it’s done well. Have you checked out the stuff at The Good and the Beautiful? The Language Arts levels are free from Levels 1-5.  But even the other products she has isn't all that pricey. You really need to check her stuff out. It is very well done.  

8.      For YEARS, I drooled over the fantastic timeline resources at Homeschool in the Woods. And because of a very generous review, I actually get to use them this year. Now if you are of the timeline tribe you understand that all you really need is some paper and historical information about folks and major events in history, but I’m here to tell you that these resources are PRECIOUS! And yes…I’m yelling. PRECIOUS!

9.      So you probably know about this next resource and use it quite extensively. Don’t underestimate the learning power of Youtube. MY PEOPLE!  Sure, Youtube is filled with strange and disturbing videos of people doing dumb stuff, but there is a plethora and I mean, PLETHORA, of cool stuff to watch that can help you along your homeschool journey. There are not only specific homeschooling channels, but Youtube is a great resource for all things educational. I generally spend some time making playlists…I have a playlist for composers we are listening too, cook science experiments, random lectures and even art lessons. This way I don’t get lost in the quagmire that is Youtube. There are also tons and tons of great audio books to found, as well.

And speaking of…

10.  Heirloom Audio Productions have a special place in our home. We all love them. They are audio dramas based on the books written by G.A. Henty. Some of our favorite actors have voiced the characters and they all have inspired my adventure loving boy. Josiah’s favorite was In Virginia With Lee. The Muffin’s favorite (aka my hubby) has been Beric the Briton. I can’t choose a favorite. They all feel like my children.  I do know for sure that we are listening to The Cat of Bubastes again during our study of Ancient Egypt AND I am going to be reviewing a brand new production for Heirloom Audio! Stay tuned. 

So that's all I have to today. Stay tuned though...all this week I am joining up with my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew for the 5 Days of Back to School Blog Hop. Come back tomorrow and I'll share 10 homeschool supplies I can't live without. 

Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017
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