Monday, August 3, 2015

Curriculum Sale and Linky Up

August is finally here and it is time to start school!


Yes, we technically school year round, but we do have an official start date for a new grade for our children.  Normally that date falls in August for us.  We are just usually ready to get going. This year, not so much.  Dad is coming home for a few weeks and so we are choosing to stay in summer mode a little longer this year.

We will resume our 6 weeks on, 1 week off Sabbath Week Schedule in September.  Until then, I am using this extra time to do a little more planning and clear the shelves of some gently used school curriculum.

If you have things you would like to clear off your shelf as well, feel free to write your own blog post and come back here and link up.  The more we have listed,the more traffic we get, and the more we can bless others with things they are still looking for.  Can't wait to see what you have - one person's trash is another's treasure...

And I KNOW some of you have a lot of extra treasures hanging around! ;)

Here's mine!

ABeka 2nd Grade Readers- $25.00
  These each retail for about $12.95 apiece.  

Progeny Press Literature Guides- $10.00 (lower elementary level)
   These retail for $11.95 a piece

Explode the Code- Book 6- $4.00
  These sell for $8.98

The Lit Club- $15.00 (high school)- 
  A great way to present literature in an exciting way.  Good for co-ops and book clubs!

The Great Courses- World History (Student workbook, 3 DVDs) $40.00

The Great Courses- Early American History (student workbook, 3 DVDs) $40.00

*** All prices include shipping from a smoke free house and all books are in good condition.  Payment by paypal preferred.  Please contact me with any questions you have.

Be sure to check back often this week as I add more items and our linky grows!  I hope you will find something that will bless your homeschool!

Join us August 17th as we talk about homeschool planning and organization and then on August 31st as we share our curriculum picks for the new school year!  On September 7th some friends and I will share what our school day looks like.  Hope you will join us!


An InLinkz Link-up

Friday, July 31, 2015

34 Weeks of Clean! Week 31- Address Books & Office Deep Clean

After spending three weeks in the office area, it is almost time to move on.  Today is for those of you that are actually blessed with a physical room for an office and then for those that have friends they need to keep up with.   If you are not one of those people, you can use this time to finish up your paperwork and filing systems!  ;) We have not had many share theirs, so now is your chance!

You know the drill, though this time you do not have to take everything out, so here we go-

First the deep cleaning of the office-
  • Clear off all flat surfaces and dust and wax furniture.  Remember this is not your weekly cleaning- really hit the tough spots.
  • Add back 1/2 of what you cleared off.  Yes, that IS a challenge! ;)
Is it needed, does it bring you joy, would you buy it again?
  • Clean off windows and blinds and ceiling fans,  and wash any curtains.
  • Wipe off baseboards and door frames- don't forget the light switches!
  • Vacuum- moving furniture where needed!
Now on to the address book-

This may seem like a small project to some of you but for us, not so much!
We have moved over 14 times in the last 23 years.  Unfortunately, so have many of our friends.

I learned very quickly to not write in pen in our address book.  Well, after I had to throw several away because they were a mess.  Now, I write in pencil.

Well, when I get around to actually writing in it.  My go to plan of action is just to stuff the address book with return address labels and emails with new addresses on them.  And no, not even under the right tab.

Hence this look-

Yep, I know it is not pretty!

I need help- I hope you do too!

So this week your second assignment is to pull out those address books, clean them up, get rid of all the scraps of paper (oh, please tell me it is not just me!) and then put it neatly away!

This one is a pretty simple no-brainer, friends, so I do not have a step by step guide for you this week. You can do it, I am sure!  I can't wait to see the pictures!

Kemi from Homemaking Organized has some half- sized planner address book pages to help you get started!

We will be back next week in a brand new area, so if you have not finished going through all of your paperwork and files, keep at it!

After that we will have two projects left- where has time gone?


Thursday, July 30, 2015

With Lee in Virginia- Schoolhouse Crew Review

It is always a pleasure to team up with Heirloom Productions and review their products!  This amazing company has taken on the monumental task of taking G.A. Henty's books and making them come alive.  We have enjoy Under Drake's Flag and In Freedom's Cause previously, and now have been blessed with their newest release, With Lee in Virginia.

With Lee in Virginia is an exciting tale of a band of friends and their adventures in the Civil War. Complete with plantation owners, slaves, and cannons blasting, this audio drama is sure to keep your whole family on the edge of their seats.  After a gentleman by the name of George takes responsibility for two young men riding a train without tickets, he sits them down and tells them a story of two men he thinks are much like them. The tale begins with Vincent (a young southern man who has lost his father years past) defending his neighbor's slave.  This leads to a tension that ensues for the rest of the story.  His own faithful servant, Dan, follows him through a series of twists and turns that even lands him in the enemy's prison. As usual, Heirloom Productions has hired some of the best actors out there.  Names like Sean Astin (who plays General Jeb Stuart) and Kirk Cameron (who plays General Stonewall Jackson) are sure to draw in listeners of all ages..

This two disk set provide over 2 1/2 hours of adventure.  Be ready- this is no quiet bedtime tale.  The audio includes sounds of guns and cannons, slaves being beaten and troops fighting.  Because of the intense subject matter, I do recommend you preview the drama before allowing younger children to listen to it, though I can tell you that our 8 year old loves it.  The intense scenes are often sandwiched in between humor that allows for comic relief. 

Also included with the purchase of With Lee in Virginia is a study guide that is over 50 pages.  Like the releases before, this study guide allows you to take one step further and use this audio drama as a springboard for learning and digging deeper into history.  After quick bios on author G.A. Henty, General Robert E. Lee, and General Thomas Jackson, there is a great map showing the major cities and battlefields that are talked about in the audio drama.  After that there is a page dedicated to each track on the 2 disks.  The track is broken in three parts- Listening Well, Thinking Further and Defining Words.

Listening Well asks a handful of questions that help you check for listening comprehension.  These are the who and where and why type questions.
Thinking Further digs a little deeper and gets you and your child to think outside the box a little. There is not a right or wrong answer to these- they are intended to get the creative juices flowing.
Defining Words are to help build and expand your vocabulary and will often have to be looked up.
At the end of the study guide there is an additional reading list  provided as well as two Bible Studies to help you further study some of the Biblical themes that are addressed in With Lee in Virginia.

Our favorite quote from With Lee in Virginia-

The How's and What's!
As soon as our family received With Lee in Virginia my 13 year old took off with the CD!  He is a huge history buff and loves anything war related.  Luckily, I was able to get it back from him for a trip we had and we listened in the car as a family.  (Warning to the driver- loud sounds may cause you to jump! Ask me how I know this?!)  

We are now currently working through the Study Guide for fun to see who can remember the most.  I love that the open ended questions in the Thinking Further sections encourage lots of lively conversations.  If you were doing a unit study of the Civil War, this would be a great addition to your curriculum!
We love listening to all the Heirloom Production releases, but this one may be our favorite so far. I love that my family can listen to something together and all ages can be equally entertained.  I also love that we can listen to true stories that encourage honor and truth and determination and have a focus on God!

Heirloom's mission is "To engage our listeners' imaginations by taking them back in time and immersing them in history."   They do just that and so much more!  
You can find these great products here-
With Lee In Virginia (Facebook):
Heirloom Audio Productions (Facebook):
Heirloom Audio Productions (Twitter):

With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review
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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How About Some Fun?

Welcome back to another month of the Homeschooling Highschool Blog hop!  I pray that last month's post was a blessing to you and you were able to HOP around to many other amazing blogs and find even more to help you get started.  One of the glories of homeschooling is that you are NEVER alone in your adventure and there are many talented and dedicated mommas out there that want to help you.  Take my advice- use what you can! It takes a village, especially when homeschooling the high school level.

So today's subject is all about electives!  Yep, it's a big one!  And quite frankly, one that one person cannot possibly cover completely so I am going to share a little of what we do and a few things I wish we did.  Again, take time to explore other's posts for even more ideas!  The sky is the limit here, and you want to suit electives to not only what a perspective college would like to see, but also to your child's interests and strengths.

Foreign Languages- Let's face it, this is one that is big simply because most colleges require some sort of foreign language knowledge for entry.  In addition, most states require two years of one language to graduate.  Rosetta Stone of course is the biggest name out there and offers quite a lot of choices if your child is looking for a not so common language to pursue.  My second daughter completed three years of Rosetta Stone, but let's just say it is not for the weak of heart.  Because we teach Spanish in our home, our favorite High School level course is Homeschool Spanish Academy.  By skyping with instructors that are native speakers, you can really immerse yourself in the language as well as culture.  We have nothing but good things to say about this program and its teachers, and we highly recommend it!

Arts- Don't just think art here.  Remember things like choir, band, art, and music appreciation, and any media graphics and design programs.  What about dance or fiber arts or drama or speech?  Often times, co-ops and outside locations in your community are good places to start when looking for these opportunities. My daughters were both able to count piano lessons and voice in their arts elective credits.  Keep a log of all of their practice time as well as lessons and performances and you might be surprised at how many hours they are building. Online classes are also good choices and allow your child to experience college at a less threatening level at first.

Passions- Does your child have one?  Participate in something regularly?  We often forget that those passion can be easily turned into homeschool credit.  Again, keep careful records of your hours involved as well as a good description of the activity.  Then, assign it a name and out it on that transcript!  Woodworking = Shop.  Baking = home economics. Being a nanny = Family and Life skills.

Jobs- Not all of our child's jobs can count as transcript credits, I admit, but do not forget to put them somewhere in your child's transcript.  They do show commitment and interests your child has.

Are there more electives out there?  YOU BET!  I highly suggest you sit down with your highschooler and brain storm together.  Ask a lot of questions, work together and find at least one elective per semester that makes their hearts sing.  Maybe, just maybe, they will whine less about Chemistry! ;)  Here's hoping!

Read More on Homeschooling in the High School Years

Read More on Electives in the High School Years

  • Laura from Day by Day in Our World shares about Selecting the Best Electives in High School

  • Debra over at Footprints in the Butter asks Is your high schooler taking the "right" electives?

  •  Blessings,

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015

    Unlock Math

    Math is not one of my favorite things.  It is also not my favorite subject to teach.  But as a homeschooling mom, it is my duty to teach it.  Unless I can find someone else to. Guess what?  I found someone for this year!  Yay me!  Introducing UnLock Pre- Algebra  grades 7/8th) from UnLock Math.  This complete online homeschool math curriculum taught by Alesia Blackwood is my new favorite!  As former math teacher and fellow homeschooler., Alesia has taken her wealth of knowledge in math and teaching and made my life a lot easier!
    We were blessed by UnLock Math to have a year of access to this amazing product and will continue to use it for my 8th grader for the school year.  A quick log in to their site automatically brings up a personalized dashboard that shows each lesson, how much progress you have made, and a place to view and print a personalized progress report and grade-book.  There is also a downloadable pacing guide you can print out and use for scheduling purposes if you like.  Each lesson takes approximately 30 minutes and the course is set up to be completed in 9 months, give or take depending on your student.
    There are 16 Units in the Pre-Algebra course.  By hitting the launch button next to the unit names on the dashboard page, you are taken to the lesson page.  There you can choose the lesson you are on and begin by doing a short warm-up session that includes 5 problems.  From there you watch the video that teaches that day's lesson.  These quick "bite sized" chunks of teaching videos are all taught by Alesia and about 4-10 minutes apiece.

     Following the lesson video you have practice problems to do followed by a tab (review) and then a challenge yourself problem that stretches your child's thinking and problem solving skills.  This challenge problem does not count against you but basically serves as bonus points.  You can do a lesson twice and keep the higher score.  Another unique feature is the fact that you are able to look at fully explained answers for each problem your child does. There is also online help at any time if you just get stuck and need some help! Just a quick email and Alesia will respond back promptly.  Ask me how I know!

    At the very end of each lesson is a page of reference notes your child can print out to use for any further review they need or to just keep a notebook of what they have learned so far.  Sprinkled throughout the program are quizzes, a mid-semester test and a final.  Automatic grading for each of those and the daily lessons are recorded in the gradebook that can be seen by your child or accessed by you from a teachers page, in which you can keep track of multiple students at one time.   After each lesson is completed it will show it on the dashboard, but you can repeat any lesson at any time.

    Units include-

    Whole Numbers
    Variables and Expressions
    Rational Numbers
    The Coordinate Plane
    Mid Term Review and Test
    2 D geometry
    # D Geometry
    Analyzing Data
    Probability and Stats
    Final Review and Test

    How did we use UnLock Math?
    We have a math program we have used for a while now, but I decided to put it aside and give this a try with my upcoming 8th grader.  He is an auditory learner so I felt like this would be a good fit for him.  We had already previewed a lesson by Alesia and he said he liked her easy going teaching style. Salem did one lesson a day on average.

    What Did We Think?
    We love it!  Well, I love it and Salem likes it.  Trust me, that is saying a lot for a 8th grade boy.  There is just nothing bad to say about this program.  The site is easy to navigate and Alesia makes the lessons student-friendly and even humorous at times.  The lessons are quite complete and yet are short enough to hold a student's attention and not bore them to death.  We like that you can actually see Alesia, not just hear her and that she writes on a white board each step of the way.

    The automatic grading is a huge MUST for me.  At this level of math, it is just so much easier for a computer to take on that work.

    Let me say a quick thing about the customer service.  As I mentioned before, I emailed UnLock Math about a concept that we could just not get in our heads.  It was a matter of wording, but it kept tripping us up.  Immediately Matthew emailed us back with a complete explanation.  When we still did not get it (I told you I am not a math person) Alesia joined the email chain and got us straightened out.  The company also had a few glitches in the system that they had to work through during our review times and throughout that time Matthew was in contact with us to make sure we were up to date with what was happening and what we needed to do to our end to clear things us.  It is customer service like that that I believe is worth its weight in gold when it come to a homeschooling curriculum!

    Because of our success with this program, Salem is dropping his old math by choice and continuing on with UnLock Math Pre-Algebra.  It is a change in our curriculum for this year that we are BOTH very excited about!

    Also available Algebra (grades 8/9), and coming soon Algebra 2 (10/11th)

    UnLock Math Review

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