Tuesday, February 26, 2019

5 Beautiful Things (And a video!)

My people!

I just put up a video. Yaass, I did.

And I'm a hot mess. It's a good thing I can't go through life looking at myself in High Def. That's fo shu.

Anyhoo. You are going to see more videos from me. In fact, quite a few of my reviews this year are going to be "videotized."  That is mostly good. It's been a little bit of a learning curve for me. For one, my previously mastered video maker (windows movie maker) was phased out.

I'm also making my videos on my phone. So there might be a bit of a sound and quality issue from time to time.

For this video, I gave you 5 Beautiful Things that are bringing me joy right now. They range from the personal, practical to a couple of homeschool doo-dads.

Just a little note. I am not an affiliate from any location I am going to send in you in the links below. They are just things I grabbed from my own personal collection of awesomeness.

Check me out! And then check out the stuff.

#1 - Vanicream Lite Lotion 

#2 - Pioneer /Woman Stainless Steel Tumbler

#3 - Owl Baby Heating Pad (Not quite the same one, but close)

#4 - Gel Crayons 

#5 - Versed in Country Things

        Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening

Hope you enjoy!

Friday, February 22, 2019

IXL Learning and Spanish! (A Homeschool Crew Review Post)

I’ve reviewed for IXL Learning a couple of times. And I’ve always been impressed with what I’ve seen. They’ve also expanded the site to include more content over the past couple of years. I was so excited to see a whole Spanish section this time around. In fact, this is what we concentrated on when we were given an opportunity to review a full annual membership subscription to IXL Learning once again. 

For my review, I was given an annual membership to IXL. The four main subject areas include math, language arts, social studies and science. And, of course, there is Spanish! The math and language arts sections include content for K-12 grades. The social studies and science areas focus on 2-8 grades.

There are a few ways you can access the content. You can do so by grade level or you can find them by topic. We used the latter method quite a bit. I like Josiah to be able to review the most he can. He is dyslexic and those struggles extends into math. Having this kind of review helps him tremendously.

Keep in mind that IXL isn’t necessarily a curriculum. Instead, it a supplement. That being said…it is a very smart supplement. The program adjusts itself to the student’s progress. There are tests (diagnostic) that measure where the student should start with any program. 

And IXL Learning is great to keep track of the student's progress and keep the parent in the "know." 

I thought I would show a little bit of what Josiah has been doing in the Spanish section for the past couple of weeks. Josiah is working through a Spanish curriculum currently, but I have found that the constant review and multi-media approach is so beneficial for him.  

This is the page Josiah sees when he opens the program. IXL Spanish has a total of seven units and 120 skills. Josiah has started Unit 1 with the basic vocabulary.

 There are a variety of types of questions. The one below is matching, but Josiah also has found fill in the blanks, etc. You can see a timer, number of questions answered, and a score box.

On this day, I can see that during the past 30 days Josiah has answered 212 questions and spent 1 hr 26 minutes reviewing his Spanish. I'm fairly certain I assigned more...😉

But I will say that I don't ever have any trouble getting Josiah to review his Spanish using IXL. He tells me he has enjoyed himself.  

I took just a few seconds of video the other day before he noticed. He is pretty intense. 

We really love this new addition to IXL Learning. It is exactly what we were looking for.

One last thing (almost)...keep in mind that IXL Learning is an online program. You will need a good connection. We also used the sound option so Josiah could hear the pronunciation of the words. IXL does have a mobile app. However, I don't believe that the mobile app supports the Spanish program currently. It has to be accessed by a web browser.

You can read my past reviews of IXL here and here

You can connect with IXL Learning via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner to read more reviews! See how other Crew members used their subscriptions. 

Immersive, Adaptive Learning Online {IXL Learning Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Read some of my recent stuff (beyond the blog)

Just stopping in to share some of the articles I've written beyond my blog in the past several weeks. 

You can probably see a theme 😀

I turned in one a few days ago that didn't stray too much away from the hum-drums. I'm really feeling it this winter. That particular one will come out in March. 


Read and tell me what you think. I value input and a little human contact other than the usual blog bots. 

When You Need Motivation (The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Blog: Homeschooling with Heart)

10 Fun Ways to Survive Cabin Fever (Homeschool Review Crew)

Friday, February 15, 2019

For the Temple (A Homeschool Review Crew Post)

It’s my first Homeschool Review Crew of the year! And it’s coming from one of our very, very favorite vendors. It is always a pleasure to review an audio drama from Heirloom Audio. The newest production from Heirloom Audio is For The Temple.  It didn’t disappoint.

I can’t say give enough love to Heirloom Audio. They are a company that produces audio dramas based on the books written by G.A. Henty. Every one of them has been as exciting and well-produced as the other. If you haven’t heard of G.A. Henty, I recommend any of his stories for the homeschool family. He wrote with such conviction. Heirloom Audio brings out the best of his books.

For this review, we received a 2 CD set. The whole listening experience takes about 2 ½ hours….or at least how long the CD’s run. We get plenty of great listening in the car on the way to and from all of our activities. The quality of the production is first rate. The music! The actors! The message! 

So I need to tell you just a bit about the story itself.  We open with the narrator, voiced by the fabulous Brian Blessed, visiting with a young man in Vienna. After conversing about the beautiful architecture, the narrator begins the story of the destructing of the temple of Jerusalem.

And so begins the adventure. The time is AD 67 and we are introduced to a young man named John. His life plan is to take over his father’s vineyard one day and marry a family friend. But after a storm on the Sea of Galilee, he meets a man named Josephus. Josephus is a resistance fighter and encourages John to join the Jewish army.  You might know that Josephus was an actual Jewish historian AND resistance fighter. I love how these stories insert real-life figures.

While defending the city of Jotapata from the Romans, John meets his sidekick Jonas. By the way, Jotapata has a really cool pronunciation. Though I don’t remember naming any children Jotapata…no matter how it rolls off the tongue.

Anyhoo. Jotapata is soon lost to the Romans and John and his friend, Jonas escape the city. John forms a band of men and begins to hassle the Romans. As the story continues, John becomes determined to fight to save the temple of Jerusalem from Roman destruction.  It is all for not, but John meets followers of The Way during his adventures and comes to believe in Yeshua as the promised Messiah.

This story is filled with so many great themes. Integrity, loyalty, and courage…all important things I want to impart into my son. And as far as entertainment value…there is loads of that.  The battle scenes might be a bit scary for the younger crowd, but we appreciate all the battling. 

In addition to our CDs, we received a pdf download of the excellent Study Guide. It is 51 pages long and is filled with all kinds of goodies.

The Study Guide is divided into three different sections. The comprehension questions are located in the Listening Well section. You can find discussion and follow-up questions in Thinking Further and there is vocabulary in Defining Words. Of course, each section is found for every chapter.

In addition, you will find three Bible studies that accompany the story.  This study below talks about Proper Worship. It looks very timely. 

There is also quite a bit of historical information available (which I plan on incorporating into our lessons). 

Some is peppered throughout the guide.

Still, more is included in its own section.
You can see that the quality of the whole guide is just excellent. We have used Heirloom Audio guides for years and they are always thought provoking and extremely well-done. You can tell that great attention is paid to every detail. These Heirloom Audio folks are such talented folks. 

I can't say enough about Heirloom Audio. They have added such a richness to our homeschool experience. You can read more about our adventures with Heirloom Audio below. These are all my reviews for this great company!

You need For the Temple in your homeschool library! 

You can connect with Heirloom Audio via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner below so you can read what other reviewers thought.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeirloomAudio
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeirloomStories  
Instagram: @HeirloomAudioOfficial

For The Temple {Heirloom Audio Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, February 7, 2019

My Favorite Homeschool Podcasts and More

It's true. Sometimes I need a little bit of encouragement. Or ideas.

Lately, I've been into watching these young chickees on youtube cleaning their houses to cool, hipster music.

While I am going to be posting a few more videos to my blog in the near future, you will most likely never see a cleaning video from me.

Nobody wants to see that.

But isn't it ironic that I get some sort of sense of accomplishment out of watching someone clean her house?

I personally love listening to people talk about their experiences and their lives. Especially when there is a nugget I can connect to.

Let's be honest. As a homeschool parent, I need all the positive encouragement and love I can get. Sometimes the real world doesn't understand us. It is so important to have people in your life that are on your side and those who can mentor you through your journey. We always can't have them living next door to us, but the interwebs have made it possible for a whole host of lovely people to visit us every day.

I know that you are anxious to read down the list and see what little gems I have found for you.


Homeschool Sanity
I have been receiving Dr. Melanie Wilson's emails for years. She is not only a homeschool mom, but she is a Christian psychologist. Dr. Melanie knows some stuff. I really enjoyed this podcast about How To Be Consistent in Homeschooling.

Homeschool Solutions
Pam Barnhill is the creator of the Morning Basket (which was a brilliant addition to our homeschool). She has lots of content. This podcast called How You Are the Enemy of Your Best Morning (just over 8 minutes in length) kicked me in the hiney recently.

The Homeschool Sisters 
Cait and Kara are both homeschoolers and (obviously) sisters. Both gals are interesting in themselves and they chat about a variety of topics. I found this podcast on Gameschooling to be right up our alley. They speak my language.

Read Aloud Revival

You probably have heard of the Read Aloud Revival with Sarah Mackenzie. For one, she has awesome booklists. But her podcasts talk about books and she talks to the authors of those books. This podcast about what your kids can do while you are reading aloud and is AWESOME. I have used the read aloud as a primary tool in our homeschool from the beginning and love this list. One day I'll have to do a blog post about what I have used with Josiah over the years.

Did you know that IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) has a podcast? YAASS!! If you have followed any of my homeschool blogs you might know that I ADORE Andrew Pudewa. I have heard him speak many times and have used IEW products all through our homeschool career. This is a great podcast about Beating Burnout.  It gave me some insight into pushing through a tough time.

Sally Clarkson
A few years ago I was one of many bloggers who promoted one of Sally's books. It was called The Lifegiving Home. Sally wrote it with her daughter Sarah. The Clarkson's homeschooled all of their children and give me hope. All of their kids are such interesting people. The family so warm and connected with their mission to show Jesus Christ. I love Sally's podcast. This encouraging podcast, called Waiting For Life to Bloom came right when I needed it too.

Flourish at Home
This is another author whose book I have reviewed. Mary Jo Tate is the author of Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms. She also has a podcast.

Did you know that there is a whole podcast station dedicated to homeschoolers? It is called the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Show. You really need to go take a look.

Youtubers and Videos

I haven't listed as many of these. There are many families who homeschool on youtube. These are just my favs and ones who offer a variety of content. We can't talk about homeschooling all the time.

The Daily Connoisseur 
Full disclosure. I have all of Jennifer L.Scott's books. I have had them for a long time. Initially, she wasn't a homeschooler. Even when I discovered she had a youtube channel. But she liked all the things. Classical music. Hot Tea. Mystery Books. She is just plain classy. Now Jennifer has joined us homeschoolers and while she doesn't have videos about homeschooling necessarily....she is still classy and has all kinds of great content. Right now she has a "Chic February Assignment." Which I'm all about.

Our Tribe of Many
This family is precious. And HUGE. But they are also pastors and aren't ashamed to share their love for Jesus. She is super organized and just terrific.

This Gathered Nest
Another big ole family. Their kiddos are adorbs. They also are big proponents of adoption and we all know I feel about that whole thing.

Jamerrill Stewart 
She is precious. And she has a bunch of kids. She also does a lot of big family cooking videos. Not that I need the big family cooking videos. But she is also pretty real. I like her.

Life In Grace
She isn't on youtube, but Dr. Edie Wadsworth is a treasure. I follow her on Facebook and she has wonderful live videos. She also has a book out that is m

Hopefully...I've given you a few looks and listens that you hadn't encountered before. Let me know if you have some others you love.

Click on the banner below to check out some more great homeschool content! 

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