Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

I recently had a chance to review the brand new Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition by Dr. Laura Chase from Apologia Educational Ministries. For my review, I received the Health and Nutrition Basic Set.

I'm going to spend just a minute completely geeking out on you. Apologia was the very first vendor review I did for The Crew way back when. I begged and pleaded and probably offered my services for life when I asked for that review.

Which is probably why I am still here.

Apologia has published some of my very favorite homeschool curricula. And now...Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition. I haven't even got to my favorite part yet.


Yes, it is! Cue all the fun emojis!☝✌😉😀💗👍

The Basic Set comes with a hardcover textbook and a spiralbound student notebook.

The textbook is gorgeous. Josiah spent a whole afternoon just looking through it. This kind of stuff is right up his ally. Though he tells me he wants to make a living playing video games, he is really interested in the medical field. I think this course has been a fantastic nudge in that direction.

All the Apologia textbooks that I've had the privilege to own have also come with book extras online (via a password). This one was no exception. We were treated with online articles and videos to visit with each module. There are also answers to the study guide and test.

The book also provides instructional support for those of us who have students who need extra help. For example, I usually try and find Josiah an audio component of his textbooks. Unfortunately, this product is so new I don't think the audio CD is out yet!

There is also a list of items needed for the course. These include internet access, few items needed for exercise, and the Book Extras.

The course is divided into Modules. I have to say...Every module I looked through I thought..."Yes! I'm so happy Dr. Chase is covering this!"

This is a little paragraph about body order.

I'll just leave that one there.

Beyond being a textbook, this is really one of those books that I want to keep long after Josiah finishes. It like "everyman"s guide about health and how to live your life. At least in terms most of us can understand.

Trust me. I was an education major in Anatomy and Physiology I in college. That class about killed me.

The student notebook is also excellent. It is much more than busy work.  There is ample space for notetaking and plenty of interactive activities.

For example,  Module 1 is "Who Am I and Why Does Health Matter."

Almost right away Josiah had to take a temperament test.  Now I think I know what he's like, but I wasn't sure he would be all that self-aware. Turns out my 16-year-old didn't have any trouble taking the test.

He is much more self-aware than I give him credit for. He is also more observant of other people too. He was ready to test me too!

This page is from Module 4 which is about Interpersonal Harmony. This Module talks about making friends, building relationships, interacting with others, and gender roles. So much good stuff! And so many capital letters down below!

What impressed me was the variety of activities contained within the pages of the notebook. I think variety is the spice of life AND education.  I think your student is going to be engaged...regardless of his or her inclination.

The notebook also has Grading Rubrics and Suggested Daily Schedules. The tests are all located in the back in the Student Notebooks.

My Thoughts (the rest of them)

Obviously, it has been a long time since I've had Health in High School or College. But I do remember a few things about my time. It certainly wasn't like this health course.

Yes. Health And Nutrition talks about ALL of it.

The usual things like good nutrition and exercise. Dental care and bad cholesterol. Josiah learned more about certain medical professionals and help for ear wax troubles. The cardovasicular system and allergies.

This course also talks about reproduction, masturbation, immunization choices and sexual health. But it does it in a way that is God-honoring. The course also talks about Spiritual joy, taking Sabbath rest and finding peace in difficult times. It's nice not having to worry about what I'm handing over to him to read or learn.

Here is what Josiah had to say.

"This is a really good class. I like knowing what is good for me and not trying to just figure it out."

That is high praise, indeed.

I can't say enough good things about this course. I don't think my son has been this excited about a class in a long time. It makes my heart happy.

Before you go take a look-see at the product yourself, go download this FREE e-book  It's called  Whole-Health: God's Design for Your Body, Mind, and Soul Activity e-book. 

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

Facebook:    Tag:   @apologiaworld   
Twitter:      Tag:   @apologiaworld   
Pinterest:            Tag:   @apologia   
Instagram:            Tag:   @apologiaworld   

Health and Nutrition Basic Set {Apologia Educational Ministries Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, August 24, 2018

Friday Favorites

It's Friday.

If you have been following the 5 Day of Homeschool Encouragement Series at all you might have noticed something.

I didn't do Thursday.

Thursday went by like a runaway stagecoach being pursued by a band of outlaws bent on gettin' the gold and the purty gurl.

"The best laid plans of mice and men...."

I will maybe go back and catch up some time. As for time moment, it is what it is.

Today I want to talk about My Favorite Stuff. Most of this stuff pertains to homeschooling, but also can be used generally. This is an eclectic list. There are no affiliate links or links at all. Sorry about that...I just want to tell you what I know.

1. I love Audio Books. They are a mainstay of our educational experience. But I use them far beyond that. I use them while I am cleaning the house or having a sick day or riding in the car. Currently, we use Audible, but I have always used the library or Youtube for FREE. And FREE is always a good thing.

2. HP Instant Ink. It's been worth the money. Every bit of it. In case you don't know it's an ink service for your printer. I pay a monthly fee. Printer ink and homeschoolers have a precarious relationship. I got tired of trying to figure out ways to budget in ink cartridges or make copies at the library. Saves me time and a big headache.

3. Everything But the Bagel Seasoning.What the What? I realize this isn't anything related to homeschooling, but I thought I would throw this lovely little seasoning in there. It's from Trader Joe's and up until a few months ago, I had never sampled its wonderfulness. I still live about an hour and 1//2 away from one, but I try and stock up when I visit. It makes even the plainest salad sing for joy.

4. Charlotte's Web. This is the one that I have read to every child that I have ever had a chance to read aloud to. My kindergarten classrooms. My little reading co-op clubs. My own son. It's the best read aloud ever.

5. Prism Colored Pencils. We are big fans of art supplies here and there is nothing like these colored pencils. I'm sure they make some fancier ones, but these are a bit more affordable and they do a good job. Plus, my artist mother was the first one to give me a set of them to use. I haven't looked back since.

6. Gel Pens. They make me so happy. Every semester, Josiah gets a brand new set. Not all are created equal, but that's okay. They make notetaking, doodling, problem-solving, and life, in general, that much better.

7. Lapbooks. Genius. I'm a fan. For some of you, they will be a lot of work. Don't even mess with them. They will make your brain hurt. But there will be those of you who will get it. You understand that kind of creative process and hands-on activity. You understand that not only does it provides a record and review of your child's education, but a much-needed outlet for you.

8. Rituals. I promise I am not suggesting anything untoward or demonic. We just aren't those kinds of people. I'm talking about building routine into your life. These are small things that either bring ease or simple comfort. They might even be basic life-giving habits. I start my mornings with coffee but end it with herbal tea. I read at night, but I also have been trying to stay off the computer. I take a soak in Epsom salts a few times a week.

9. I love my Timer. Do you have a piddler? Are you yourself a piddler? Use a timer. It will change your life.

10.Youtube. This is fairly obvious for many reasons. Classical music playlists. Old documentaries. New documentaries. Historical speeches. Educational programs. Public programs. Old television programs. It's easy to get caught up some nonsense, but there are a lot of great free resources. I love doing Unit-based Studies and have gotten a lot of my information on Youtube. Plus FREE can't be that bad.

You know I have lots more favorite stuff. But I've got my timer on. You know how that goes.

Have a fantastic weekend, my friends!!!

I'm joining my friends from The Crew for The 5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement Blog Hop.

Don't miss their very encouraging Posts!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Wednesday's Rules (5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement)

It's Wednesday!

I'm sitting in the corner of my couch listening to the comfortable sounds of my air conditioning. It's the calm before and after the storm.

A group of church ladies just left my house. I just fed them a healthy breakfast casserole made with hash browns, cheese, yellow and red peppers and eggs from my daddy's chickens. There was plenty of coffee to go around. And as always, I made sure that there was real butter under the butter dish and honey on the table.

We have a Wednesday tradition. It started as a Bible Study at McDonald's, but it has morphed into a breakfast and Bible Study at the Parsonage (aka my house). It's a little more work for me, but I've decided that the ladies feel a little more pampered and it gives those who are strapped for cash an opportunity to feel included.

And The Muffin mopped my floor this morning. I do have my ulterior motives in all this.

In just a bit, I have to do some busy work for an event we are having at the church Friday evening. Not to mention some last minute planning for our BIG start of school day coming up shortly.

Recently, I've had to put myself in time out and give myself a big talking to. I'm instituting "office hours" for all the things I have to get done during the day. There have been too many late nights. And too many "come to Jesus" talks from The Muffin and my momma about taking better care of myself.

I really do know better. A girl can't live with a suite of chronic illnesses this long without knowing better. But it's hard to get off the hamster wheel of "busy" and "bad habits" once you've been riding for a while. Trust me, I know.

But I bet my bippie (whatever that bippie might be) that there are those of you out there, be ye homeschool mommas or my favorite librarians, that are tired of the ride.

It's time you know about "The Rules."

"The Rules" are also known as "The Be Good to Beke Rules." Those of you who have read my blog for any number of years might have heard me refer to them. Only they really don't just have to do with just me...they apply to my whole family. These are habits and practices that deal with the health and wellness of "us."

It's what works for us. You can take or leave them. But they help this homeschool family stay focused and this momma stay alive.

1. The only beverages I will purchase consistently are water, milk, and buttermilk (The Muffin is a lifer). I will also buy almond milk for me to use in my oatmeal. I will also purchase Crystal Light to keep up in the cabinet and I will make tea for the fridge. I do buy tea bags and coffee. If there is pop/soda/coke in this house...these people will drink it. These people will have cavities. These people won't drink water. The end.

2. I don't buy junk food in any form except for popcorn and a bag of tortilla chips weekly. I'm mean like that. People think I'm so mean that they bring my son Ding Dongs. This is the thing. I gained 600 pounds last year just buying Girl Scout cookies in front of the Walmarts last year. Sometimes I made a healthy treat for my family. But my son knows. He sniffs out stevia.

3. I let Josiah pick out whatever fruit and how much fruit he wants. However, I decided if he wants sugary cereal he can purchase it himself. I'm mean like that. I got tired of the spaziness. And the trips to the dentist. It's amazing what the boy considers worth his money. Same with candy. Try it. You'll like it.

4. I will buy fast food for him on Mondays when he is done with his co-op class. Then The Muffin takes him out for their "Dad's Day Out" for a Big Mac. I bent the rules yesterday when we were out for Chik-Filet. Cause it's Chik-Filet. As for myself, there are only certain things I will eat at certain fast food restaurants. This helps me stay accountable.

5. Because of our busy schedule and Josiah's age (he's 16), I purchase things he can make for himself for breakfast and lunch. But I have done so for a few years now. When he was younger, I made up pancakes ahead and put them in the freezer. In fact, I used to add baby food to his pancakes to add more nutrients to them. Now he will make himself an egg. He also likes frozen burritos or peanut butter sandwiches. He also likes salads or sometimes will make a quesadilla. The quesadilla I taught him how to make in the microwave years ago. I also try to have salad stuff made up in the fridge.

6. We have never enforced a bedtime (homeschool privilege). However, we get up when we get up. If you stayed up until 1:00am playing a game on your Kindle that is not my problem. Blurry eyes and a foggy head is your problem. As is your dirty laundry. Boys in my house learn to do laundry early.

7. During our busy seasons, I keep supper as simple as I can. I will use my slow cooker a few times a week. Right now, The Muffin is grilling once a week, but I am having him grill 2 kinds of meat. We are using it for a few meals. One of my easy favorite meals is a can of refried beans, one-half link of chorizo sausage, one-half onion. Fry up the onion with chorizo, then add the beans. Chop up lettuce, tomato, and sour cream. Serve with tortilla chips.  Chorizo sausage isn't the lightest product in the universe, but it will make you want to smack somebody. In a good way, I promise.

8. We talk about what kinds of things we are doing to keep ourselves active. The Muffin and Josiah ride bicycles for long distances. I do cardio rehab several times a week. Josiah used to be on a swim team. Your family could take walks together. The point is to be intentional with movement. Even throwing dance parties in the living room could be a good time. Provided there aren't any broken bones! Gotta move!

9. We also talk about ways to keep ourselves Spiritually focused. We all have personal devotions. Built into our School days are devotions and Bible reading. We are faithful in our church attendance. This isn't too hard. The Muffin is the pastor. We make sure we find people to connect with and talk a lot about encouraging one another. It's easy for all of that kind of stuff to fall into a routine. But it needs to be so much more. You know what I mean.

10. Be good stewards of your time. Don't be afraid or ashamed to say "no." This is a tough one. Especially because when you homeschool some folks will take this to mean that your time will be more flexible. You got to stand your ground. You will also have to make yourself accountable for how you are using your time. There is nothing wrong with letting that phone go to voicemail or not checking your social media pages. Or putting up boundaries. Like me with my "office hours."

So there you have it. I'm pretty sure I have numbers 11-20 floating around somewhere in my head. But this girl as stuff to do. I got to stick to my own rules!!

I am joining up with friends from The Crew for the 5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement Blog Hop. Take time to read their stuff.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Do the Hustle: Homeschool Style (5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement)

Good Tuesday!

At least, I hope it is 😋

Technically, we haven't started our back-to-school routine so my son is savoring some extra snooze-fest moments. I would be too, but I've got more on my plate today than is decent.

I was hoping that I could spend these last days of leisure, "in leisure."

Not a chance.

For one thing, Princess the Cat is out of her early morning "yummies." And, my friends, this cannot stand. She is a Siamese and has been hollering since about 6 am.

The struggle is real.

What we do for our people.

Today I want to talk to you about taking chances. You've heard it said about the princess who had to kiss a lot of frogs to find her prince. I don't recommend that particular strategy for any princess. I personally only really kissed one prince and that has worked out just fine.

But in homeschooling, you might have to try a few things to get it right. There are some things methods and ways of doing things that may not work for you and yours.

Basically you gotta hustle. I've said this before. There are no hard and fast rules in homeschooling. Some of you are feeling like you can't give your kiddos the best education because you can't afford the "best" homeschool. There is no such thing.

Homeschooling is a scrappy business. It's filled with tears, glue sticks, composition notebooks, sketchbooks, moldy sandwiches, dirty minivans, and dog-eared copies of Across Five Aprils.

A few years into my homeschool journey, I put Josiah in a homeschool interaction program at our local YMCA. It was great for Josiah, but it was my first contact with a large group of homeschool moms. Most of the homeschool mommas were perfectly lovely.

And then there were those who weren't. But this post is not about that.

We would visit about what we were doing with our kids and one group of moms were "talking" with me about another mom. In hushed tones, they told me that she didn't even use curriculum.

I didn't even open my mouth. By that time, I was piecing Josiah's schoolwork together from resources from the library, lapbooks and materials I was reviewing for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

And doing it all, happily. My homeschool curriculum budget was nearly non-existent. When your husband is a pastor taking a sabbatical because you are in heart failure and his sabbatical job doesn't pay very well you do what you can.

We also had a used homeschool bookstore in our town. Around August they would have a 40% off sale. So basically, between what I had reviewed for The Crew, free resources from online and library books and my treasures found at the bookstore...that was my homeschool curriculum.

What I had to do as a necessity, turned out to be the best for us. Josiah learns better by doing. We read, went on nature walks and played in the parks. We experimented with different pancake recipes, made movies about history, our own board games, and paper mache globes and other creatures that cannot be named.

And being a reviewer for The Crew has allowed me to have access to some of the best stuff out there. Sure. There has been a commitment in time and energy. I have been a reviewer (I believe) since 2012. Since 2013, I have reviewed almost 50 products a year.

However, I will say this. I have been blessed to be part of The Crew. You can still do what you need to do without the resources I've had in that direction. Just dig a little deeper. I am amazed what is available nowadays!

Sometimes, momma, you have to hustle. You've got to do the research. You have to spend some time looking around. The shiny curriculum isn't going necessarily to be right or available.

A few years ago, I decided I wanted Josiah to read through a list of books. I compiled that list and slowly but surely I have been purchasing them from my Amazon wishlist. Just a few at a time. Sometimes I find them at the Thrift Store.

Josiah is not as impressed with me as I am with myself.

I am probably a genius.

My husband thinks I am on a mission to take over the world with my bookshelves.

He's probably right.

I guess my point (before I need to rush off to go purchase Princess the Cat some yummies) is that nothing is impossible (Philippians 4:13)

You can do it!

I'm joining my friends on The Crew this week for 5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement. Don't miss reading all their lovely posts!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Get Your 5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement Here!

It's that time of year once again.

For one of the first times in recent memory, we took a long summer break. Now we are gearing up for Josiah's Junior year of High School.

Say it ain't so!

This is going to be my 11th year of homeschooling. I have homeschooled the little squirt since his first-grade year. I can tell you that it gets better. I certainly have a more chill approach than I initially did. Of course, I also spent a billion years in college and have a billion more education credits. Those things kind of warp your mind a bit.

This week, Several girls on The Crew and I are getting together and using our blogs to write posts to encourage all the homeschoolers out there. Because we all come in so many shapes, sizes and flavors there are bound to be a lot of different experiences.

You know you can count on me to lay down just a bit of truth now and again. I'm good for it.

If I could sit down with you over a cup of tea and a piece of blackberry cobbler, I would tell you a lot of things. Mostly I would tell you not to worry so much. Some of the advice I would give you would probably be just hot air...I'm good at that. But at least there would be cobbler.

For now, where ever you might live in the world I hope you have settled down with an open heart and a good dose of grace for yourself.

This page will be my landing point for all the articles on the blog in this series. You can also check out all the other Crew Members and their blogs.

Monday - You Do You! (Motivation Monday)
Tuesday -
Wednesday -
Thursday -
Friday -

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
Angie @ Run Ran Family Adventures & Learning
Annette @ A Net in Time
Ashley @ Gift of Chaos
Betty @ Let’s Get Real
Brenda @ Counting Pinecones
Carol @ Home Sweet Life
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
Christine @ Christine Howard
Christy @ The Simple Homemaker
Dawn @ Schoolin' Swag
Debra @ Footprints in the Butter
Diana @ Homeschool Review
Felicia @ Homeschool 4 Life
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine
Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
Jennifer @ Dear Homeschooler
Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Karen @ Tots and Me...Growing Up Together
Kellyann @ Walking Home ...
Kimberley @ Vintage Blue Suitcase
Kristen @ A Mom's Quest to Teach
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Laura @ Four Little Penguins
Linda @ Apron Strings & other things
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Margaret @ Creative Madness Mama 
Marla @ Jump Into Genius
Meredith @ Powerline Productions: Being World Changers/Raising World Changers 
Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Missica @ Through The Open Window
Monique @ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling
Nicole @ Bless Their Hearts Mom
Patti @ Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy
Rebekah @ There Will Be a $5 Charge For Whining
Rodna @ Training Children up for Christ
Stacy @ A Homemakers Heart
Tess @ Circling Through This Life
Wendy @ Life at Rossmont
Yvie @ Gypsy Road

You Do You! (5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement)

Yay! It’s Monday!!! In all seriousness, the only reason I can have all the feels for this particular post is that I am NOT writing it on a Monday.

 I have a really deep question. What motivates you in your life?

 This is Motivational Monday, after all. For me, it would depend on what we were talking about.

Most of the time, I’m (to quote Sir Lionel Richie) easy like Sunday morning.

In other words. I’m easily impressed AND entertained.

Just in the past 3 days, I’ve gone to Ikea, Trader Joe’s, an antique store, eaten frozen custard and French fries with cheese sauce.

That kind of awesomeness is going to last me at least 3 weeks. Maybe a month. So how about homeschooling? What has kept me homeschooling going on 11 years?

When I first started homeschooling I thought our homeschool days had to be exceptional. When I attended homeschool conventions I was blown away by the sheer amount of material fluttering my way. What was the right way? What the best way? What was the least likely way to mess up my son forever?

I still struggle with that from time to time. And up until a few years ago, I would find myself reading a homeschooling article online and think “Oooo. Maybe that lady has all the answers and I need to do it like her.” Only to discover that her people aren’t my people. And I’m certainly not her.

It took me time to settle into my own homeschool skin. I decided that ordinary days were perfectly fine. That getting our work done was an absolute sign of achievement. That running around the 20 times was a perfectly acceptable form of physical education and my son was really more interested in learning the quickest way to beat his newest NFL football game than learn Latin.

The motivation for what you do in your life, especially when you homeschool, has to be more than a pat on the back. You aren’t always going to be able to trot out that kiddo who is exceptionally gifted.

Your social media life isn’t always going to be picture perfect and you are going to get tired of explaining to relatives why you decided to homeschool in the first place. When it gets tough and you can’t see measurable progress and you feel like a failure…that’s when you have to decide what your motivations are.

There are going to be days when you hope that nobody comes knocking on the door because your laundry and dishes have taken up the call to “go forth and multiply.” There will be weeks when everybody, including the cat, is under the weather.

There will be seasons of loneliness where it seems like you are all alone in your call to homeschool.

 Dig deep. Plant yourself firmly. Don’t get caught up in the glory days or Pinterest worthy moments  You have to be confident in who you are and what you bring to the life you are giving to your kids. Don't make decisions based on shame.

 Do you. Do what you do best. Take care of yourself. Cherish your kiddos. Take pride in the exceptional and personalized education only you can give them.

I'm joining with my people at The Crew. You need to read their stuff. I know you will be blessed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Read my Stuff (pretty please)

I need to you something.

I haven't dropped a 30 lb. weight on my foot in almost 3 weeks.

I think that's a record or something. I'm pretty sure.

And I have a clean bathroom. So I'm winning all the way around.

It's late here at the little parsonage so I won't keep you. I thought I would share a few articles I've written that have been out and about lately.

They are from the Old Schoolhouse Magazine's Blog "Homeschooling With Heart." I am a monthly contributor and I haven't been faithful in sharing my contributions here on the blog.

This one which is titled "The Art of Giving Up" is from last month (July).

August's contribution is called "Don't Be Lemons."

I am fairly certain none of you are lemons. You just aren't those kinds of folks.

I don't have September article submitted OR, for that matter, written yet 😉 It's due in a couple of days. I'm expecting the inspiration to hit me any minute now.

But, I'm hoping it will hit me close to after lunch tomorrow.

I have stuff to do.

Night, friends.

God Schooling (A Homeschool Crew Review Post)

Sometimes as a homeschooling momma the best thing you can do for yourself is sit down with a good cup of tea and listen to some good advice. I personally have a good collection of books written by wise homeschooling momma's who have walked in my fuzzy slippers. I am happy to say I have another one to had to my bulging bookcase(s). I have been reviewing God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco.

Let me tell you some of our experience. My major in college was Early Childhood Education. I spent 10 years in both Kindergarten and Preschool classrooms teaching Littles. I LOVE teaching. When we decided to homeschool Josiah I was convinced that my college education and classroom experience would put me in good stead.

Except that Josiah is dyslexic. And homeschooling is nothing like a classroom…nor should it be. And, frankly, I wasn’t prepared for some of the hostility I received from perfect strangers when they asked why Josiah wasn’t in “school.” Or when well-meaning family members who questioned my capabilities as a homeschool teacher or our decision to pull Josiah out of public school after kindergarten. 

I have to say…that part hurt my feelings.

I initially felt so frustrated in our homeschooling experience. It didn’t feel like I thought it would.

I spent so many years trying different curriculum and methods. And it worried me to no end. It was only when I decided to follow my heart and listen to what I felt like God was telling me to do was when I found some peace.

If you can relate then I think you will really enjoy this book.

The author, Julie Polanco, is a homeschooling momma of four and graduated her oldest four years ago. The book has 9 chapters with each chapter containing a study guide at the end of the book with questions for you to think about.

The book talks about homeschooling in a way that is not bound by a certain method or curriculum. Instead, it is child-led and God-led. The book is divided into two parts. The first explains how children learn and dispell certain myths. It also deals with to motivate. The second part breaks down specific age groups and gives some practical advice.

Because Josiah is a teenager, I found myself spending a lot of time with that chapter. It is titled “Giving Teens the Wings to Fly.” This chapter talks a lot about preparing for life after High School. I have to say it opened my eyes. How do I prepare a transcript? What can I count? What about college?

There is some really good advice here.

I have to say that when I first started my homeschooling journey I would have been really skeptical about a book like this. The words “unschooling” would have made me crinkle up my nose.  But experience has proven shown me better. And I guarantee that there are some of you out there who need Julie’s book right now.

In fact, I have a few places I have dog-eared to read over again. And again.

Towards the end of the book, there is a chapter called “Getting Started.” Here is a quote. 

Our role is to make life sparkly. It is not enough to just let your child do what interests him. You should know him so intimately that you can entice him, inspire him, draw him in with what you present because it speaks to his heart.

I love this because I think one of the best things about homeschooling is the relationships you build with your family and your kids. And because of this, our homeschooling becomes that much more “sparkly.” 

If you are tired of struggling with feeling adequate or worrying that you are doing something "wrong" this book might be for you. If you want more joy in your homeschool, this book might be for you. If you feel like you need a homeschool roadmap and would like a dose of Godly confidence, this book might be for you. 

It's a keeper!

Before you rush over to check it out you need to know that through August 22, 2018 you can purchase the e-book for 1/2 the price! Now that's a deal! 

You can connect with Julie Polanco via the following social media outlets. 

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn {Julie Polanco Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Paddington Bear (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

It’s been a few years since Josiah was young enough use the product I’m about to talk to you today. But because I know that I have readers who are homeschool Littles I was excited to review the Paddington Bear  Literature Study from the Picture Book Explores from Branch Out World.

Branch Out World is a company based in the United Kingdom. The creator is a homeschool momma and has done a beautiful job creating products with homeschoolers in mind.

The Paddington Bear literature study is intended for kiddos between the ages of 5-9.  You do need to know that the study is for the picture book and not for the novels.

I received a PDF download and I will say that this is a very manageable download. There are 69 pages in all, with about 45 pages of printables. They are divided into instructions for the study with extra ideas and resources. The study is divided up to be done over the course of 5 days and then the remainder of download is consumable resources.

Day 1: Exploring the Setting
Day 2: Exploring the Words
Day 3: Exploring the Pictures
Day 4: Exploring Science
Day 5: Exploring Maths, Crafts, and More

The beauty of Unit Studies is that they encompass a whole lot of subjects AND they can be used for different age groups at the same time.

Exploring the Setting is all about Geography and history Students learn about where Paddington came from, which is Peru. They also learn about where he traveled to, England. There is a timeline activity for older children and mapping activities, as well.  

Exploring the Words encourages students to learn more about the author and his inspiration for the Paddington books. They also learn vocabulary words. This section also encourages narration to retell the story.

Exploring the Pictures helps us learn more about the artist of the book, Robert W. Alley. The students also learn about Victorian architecture. They also do a picture study on a certain picture of the book.

There is even an art assignment!

Exploring the Science helps children learn more about bears! There are also a couple of fun science experiments.

Exploring Maths, Crafts, and More is full of some fun stuff! Students will learn two ways to draw parallel lines and how to design a mini tablas de Sarhua.  There is even a recipe for marmalade and a strawberry tart.

My Thoughts

There are a couple of things I always look in a unit study. For one, I love, love unit studies that are based on books. I also love unit studies that are cross-curricular. This means that they find a way to cover all the subjects. Good unit studies also introduce Littles to more complicated concepts. Most importantly, they always have fun hands-on components…AND they can be added to if you happen to find yourself so inclined.

I found Paddington Bear to be all of these things. 

There are so many wonderful and creative ideas and activies within the study. This one is a keeper! 

You can connect with Branch Out World via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews! 

Facebook:    @BranchOutWorld
Pinterest:   @belzibow
Instagram:   @belzibow
Twitter:  @belzibow

Paddington Bear {Branch Out World Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Time Travelers: World War II (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

You might know that I've been childless for almost 2 weeks now. Josiah is living it up at my folks' farm in the beautiful Ozarks.

Actually, they are working him like a dog and it is good for the boy. 16-year-old boys aren't meant to spend their summers in front of a video game console! While he has been wrangling ducks and weeding out acres of his Papa's garden, I've been taking one for the team. And I'm not mad about it.

One of my very favorite homeschooling companies is Home School in the Woods. If you have followed any of my reviews or homeschooling posts, you know I'm a fan. And when I found out that the Crew was going to get to Review some more stuff I was THRILLED! Except that I owned most of the stuff that was being reviewed. With the exception one of the Time Travelers U.S History Studies and a couple of the Project Passports (more on that later). So while Josiah has been the duck whisperer, I've been reviewing Time Travelers: World War II 

If you aren't familiar with Home School in the Woods, let me fill you in. I used them even before I became a reviewer for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. In fact, My first history purchase as a homeschooler was Time Travelers: New World Explorers. And that, my friends, has been a long time ago.

Amy Pak, who started Home School in the Woods, is a graphic designer and illustrator. She began the company out of a desire to teach her own children history in a manner differently than she had been taught. She didn't like history in school! Her whole family is now involved.

The idea that Amy didn't like history and now runs a company that teaches history in such an innovative way is just genius. I personally have always loved history. I have always connected to the stories and the people behind history. But I always had good history teachers.  The beauty of Home School in the Woods is that you can LOVE history or have all the icky feelings in the world about the subject and yet, have the BEST history class ever in your homeschool.

Home School in the Woods is just that good. And don't even get me started about their timelines. I OWN THEM ALL!!!!

This is probably going to be a longer review than I intended so I need to get crackin'.

The Time Traveler series is intended for grades 3-8. I used it for a bit younger, but that is because momma wanted to play. You have to decide if you want to play, too.  These projects aren't just cutting and pasting. Some of them can be fairly intensive. For example, Time Travelers: World War II actually has a pattern to make a hat.

Now, that's cool. You have to admit, that's cool.

For this review, I received the download version of World War II. If you purchase the same or the CD you will need a way to print and plenty of ink. I am now the proud member of one of those monthly ink services and it has been the best decision I've made in a while.

When I first got my file, I opened it up and clicked on the Start icon. You will see a couple of folders labeled "pdfs" and "menus." Just run from those. Trust me. The best place to start is just where it says "Start." That button will take you here.

 As you scroll down you will begin to see a menu. Explore all of it!
 This is what happened after I clicked the Teacher Helps medallion. The Lesson Planner gives a suggested schedule.

So basically, the product tells the story of World War II. It does so through stories and hands-on projects. There are maps, and timelines and games. There are writing projects, vocabulary words to learn and people to be introduced to. The student will do a little every day and keep a record of what he or she is learning throughout. They will be introduced to what life was like during that era of history. By the time they are done, they will have a beautiful collection of projects that will almost keepsakes. Or at least, a pretty good telling of what it was all about.

In Lesson 1 we learn about Dictators.

I think, especially in today's world, that we know exactly what constitutes a dictator...and what does not. Don't you?

In Lesson 11 we make this adorable little basket. The stuff in is made in future lessons. It is actually supposed to have a little square of fabric draped out of the basket, but I worked hard on that coloring! That is some cute coloring!

In Lesson 12 we learn that folks back home send the boys fighting overseas care packages and V-Mail.

This is a view of the back of the card. There is always text to along with the lesson, but this is an extra help that accompanies the hands-on project.

This next Lesson had to be a favorite. Lesson 14 talked about Rations Kits.

I'm going to show what's for Breakfast!

Chopped Ham and Eggs! And Cigarettes! Of course, there is a disclaimer in the text and in the project itself that tells us that at the time, smoking wasn't known to be the killer it is today AND that the United States Armed Forces today isn't a fan of smoking. I liked that the Paks (not the Ration Paks, but the Paks who wrote this particular history) didn't whitewash history. We need to keep it real. Chewing gum and cigarettes. Those boys were stressed.

Lesson 21 had us returning to the Home Front.

I love this! This talked about how Americans were canning their own produce and even community canning centers were popping up all over the place to help send resources overseas. Canning is actually a life skill my mom taught me growing up. I haven't used it in a few years except to can some apple butter, but I think we all need to get back to some of that.

I have one more little picture I want to show you, even though I have a dozen more I could show you.

This is a very official looking sugar ration coupon. It's so official looking that at the very bottom is a disclaimer. that says that it is not a legal document. I can imagine some eager 3rd grader taking it to the Piggly Wiggly on grocery shopping day to "help momma out."

I know that my shoddy camera work doesn't do this awesome product justice. You simply MUST go check them out. The Time Traveler Series will not disappoint. I have loved every single one of them. And I haven't even mentioned the poignant stories that are highlighted in World War II. The Paks don't shy away from the evils of the Holocaust. They are necessary stories. Necessary histories to be told.

Can you tell I love Home School in the Woods? I know you will too!

I do need to tell you about their brand NEW product, Project Passport: Ancient Rome. It was scheduled to come out Fall of 2018, but they are ahead of schedule and it is now available! I have both Project Passport: Ancient Egypt and Project Passport: Ancient Greece and they are fantastic! I am sure this one won't disappoint! Any of these would be perfect to add to an Ancient History study.

You can connect with Home School in the Woods via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews!


Hands-on-History, Project Passport, À La Carte Timelines and Time Travelers {Home School in the Woods Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Late Night Ramblings: Tea, Ducks, Chickens and a Weight on my Foot!

It's late, my friends.

I have a case of "I drank some tea too late and now I can't fall asleep."

Ever have a case of that?

Frankly, it stinks.

So I thought that instead of lying around and waiting for the caffeine to wear off I would fill you in on what's been going on.

Cousin Camp officially has been over for a few weeks now. I'm not quite ready to do a full recap, yet. Remember my "ducks in a row" problem?  They are still MIA. Missing in action. I'm expecting them back any day now. Plus, I've had a few other hiccups along the way.

I'm missing this guy, too. We left him at the farm to spend some extra time with his Ama and Papa and Cousins Chris and Kalynn.
I can't tell you how much I miss him. Princess the Cat misses him. She spent the first couple of days The Studly Muffin and I came home hollering for him. He's called me almost every day. He tells me he has been worrying about me. Some of that probably has to do with the fact that I have already made a trip to the emergency room since we came home from vacation.

You didn't think it would take me too long to go crazy, did you?

It happened just over a week ago. I was finishing up an epic project. And when I say EPIC....I mean EPIC. The Muffin had been watching a ball game late. He is an Albert Puljos fan and watches the Angles games online. So both of us were up around 2am.  Really late.

Unbeknownst to me, he had set his 30-pound weight on our bed underneath his overnight bag. I couldn't see it when I tried to pull the quilt from the end of the bed. The weight came flying off the bed and on to my right foot.


Needless to say, The Muffin took me to the emergency room.

There isn't an obvious break, but it is pretty bruised up. It still hurts to walk on it. I saw my doctor again on Friday and she told me that I should probably have another x-ray to make sure there isn't a hairline fracture. 

It took me 3 hours today just to do up a sink full of dishes and we have a dishwasher!

I need my momma.

Anyhoo. Thankfully, The Muffin isn't adverse to Takeout and my cat loves me.

Josiah is planning on hanging out at the farm for a little while longer. He has a list of stuff he wants to do when he comes home. He "gets" to work pretty hard at the farm. He did tell me that his favorite animal is Clyde the duck. Now, Clyde the duck is a bugger. He is as mean as sin and as dumb as a rock. He practically chases anything that moves. He does it all for love. His woman is a girl duck named Bonnie.

True story.

I will have to have my mom take pictures of them. All I have are pictures of Kalynn's ducks. These are NOT Bonnie and Clyde!

They are lady Muscovy Ducks and have little to do with Bonnie and Clyde. I'm sure they have names, but I can't keep all of these critters straight. If I'm not mistaken I believe these ducks are being pursued by a lonely Buff Orpington rooster named Goldy (or something like it). 

Goldy is not prejudiced. He just wants a woman. 

Goldy makes it his business all day long going from cage to cage trying to talk some hen into sharing his life with him. He can't get in the cages and they can't out. Goldy isn't that bright either.

That's probably more than you ever wanted to know, huh?

Though I do have an interesting story about goats....

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