Tag Archives: homeschool

How To Homeschool ~ a Crew review

How to Homeschool is for everyone

No, I am not brand-new to homeschooling but after watching the introduction to How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook) I was very interested in reviewing the program. You see, we all struggle with confidence and the daily parts of home education and this program from Apologia Educational Ministries has really helped me with that.

How To Homeschool

Apologia sent me the How to Homeschool course and it is, like all of their materials, beautiful. The course consists of two DVDs and coursebook. The DVDs come in a plastic case that fully protects them for the journey to your doorstep. The course book is a softback, center stapled book of 72 information-packed pages. These two parts of the course work so easily together.

The course covers topics in the areas of

  • “Designing Your Road Map” (setting goals, support, curriculum)
  • “Finding Your Way” (how-tos, organizing stuff, organizing days)
  • “Navigating The Detours” (family, opposition)
  • “Arriving At Your Destination” (graduation, college, and more)
  • “Beginning Your Journey” (continuing education, opportunities)

There are 15 chapters, each with a corresponding video and text in the course book.

notes pageThe course is designed to encourage a first time homeschooling family to step forward in faith and courage. Rachael Carman and Leslie Nunnery invite you into the living room to sit and chat about what comes next. These conversations are comfortable and easy and they show us that there are many ways to approach the homeschool journey but that all of the journeys share one thing: love of family. That is where they all begin and in these conversations, Mrs. Carman and Mrs. Nunnery encourage you to take the baby steps necessary to equip yourself with confidence and knowledge to educate your loved ones.

I have been so encouraged in my homeschool journey by watching these videos and working through the book. While these are aimed at brand-new homeschooling families, I want to share that there is a lot of information in here to be gleaned by any homeschool family. We are about to begin our 5th year of homeschooling and I have been so uplifted in my dedication and desire to continue on with the girls. I have been reminded that not everything works the way we desire or imagine and that is okay. I have been given so many tidbits and nuggets of wisdom just by listening to the conversation of these two ladies.

So, how did I use this course? Simple, really.watching How To Homeschool

I read the chapter in the text. That was generally about 3 pages. I underlined tidbits that I wanted to remember or that caught my attention as I read. Those pages are followed by a space to complete the assignment for that chapter and then by a page for your notes. After reading, I would put on the DVD and watch and listen to the conversation of the ladies about the topic. While listening, I would take notes: things I needed to do different; statements that encouraged me; ideas to think on; reminders of things I have known. I found this to be a relaxing way to spend a few minutes at the end of my days and I would go to bed encouraged.

Each chapter takes only about 20 minutes to read the text and watch the DVD. The assignment time varies depending on how much of the assignment you might have already done and how much thought and prayer needs to go into it. These included writing down why you chose to educate your children at home, looking at options following high school completion, taking inventory of time commitments, visiting with veteran homeschoolers, or evaluating your strengths and weaknesses. All these are bit and pieces of assignments that will help you become who God is leading you to be in your homeschool journey.

As one who has homeschooled for a short while already, some of these assignments were already done and just needed revisited and touched up. For a brand new homeschooler, some of these will take a lot of thought. That is okay – there is not rush to complete this course in a set amount of time. Work through it. Process it. Absorb the wisdom that is shared. Take your time and get everything out of it you need so that as you walk this journey, you know that you are prepared.

My notes page

An additional resource is found on the Apologia website. When you purchase the course, you are given access to extras that are found only online. You will receive a web address and password code in the book that will give you access to these extras. From resource links to printable pages to lists and Pinterest boards, there are so many additional helps that I have yet to make it through them all. This is a definite bonus!

quote from How to Homeschool

If you would like to see a sample of the first conversation in this DVD series, visit the Apologia website for How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook)There is a video on their webpage or you can watch it here.

I cannot recommend this course highly enough. I found this to be such a pleasant way to renew my courage for home education, to find more joy, to brave the daily challenges. I found encouragement and really am moving forward with “stunning confidence, contagious joy, and amazing focus.” Well, at least I hope I am. I feel more confident, courageous, joyful and focused. And that? Well, that’s the whole reason to challenge myself in this way, isn’t it?

At Home.

Read about what other families thought about How to Homeschool as well as Internship for High School Credit by clicking the banner below.

Homeschool with Confidence & Internship for High School {Apologia Educational Ministries Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Homeschool Rescue from Only Passionate Curiosity ~ a Crew review

Homeschool Rescue review

While I feel comfortable with how our home education is going from day to day, it never hurts to take a critical look at why and how you are making choices and to get an outside perspective on things. That is what is provided when you sign up for Homeschool Rescue, an eCourse created by Heather from Only Passionate Curiosity for moms and dads educating their children.

Homeschool Rescue is a moderated class, meaning it is only going to be sold for a couple of weeks at a time so that there can be plenty of interaction between the Homeschool Rescue team and the class participants. To participate in the class, you sign up through the website. Right now, the class is available (and will be through June 1). You will get immediate access to the site, including the video lessons, printable workbooks, transcripts, audio downloads, and bonus resources. After May 31, though, the class will close for a while so that the Homeschool Rescue team can provide the support needed for the moms and dads who will be working through the eCourse and doing the hard work of evaluating every aspect of their home education.

Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue

The eCourse includes five (5) modules. Each module has several lessons related to the module topic. Each lesson is comprised of a video lesson and also has at least one worksheet to print and work through, making the lessons practical and applicable to your homeschool. The lessons often have a list of resources, as well, that can provide further enrichment about the module topic. The lessons are available as an audio download and a transcript download as well if those fit your schedule better. (I did a lot of the transcripts because I could download them at home on my Kindle and then read while I was waiting at dance classes.)

We began at the beginning. We looked at what was going well but also at what was not. Using worksheets and brain power, I looked at struggles we face (a reality in every homeschool) and made plans for what we can do when we are having a hard day. (Having a plan in place makes everything easier, right? That is what Heather is helping us do – put plans in place for many areas of the education we are in charge of.) We looked at the various learning styles and found out what styles our children learn in. I found that I have a kinesthetic learner, an auditory learner, and a visual learner. That definitely explained a few things for me!

Homeschool Rescue banner

Creating a mission statement and dreaming dreams (or building castles in the sky – whatever phrase you prefer) gave us end goals and a path forward for planning. With the path carved out, we took a slight veer off and dealt with the good vs the great, saying “no” and figuring out where time goes. Reclaiming wasted time and planning out chores helps in the accountability arena. There is even help for organization and decluttering needs!

Module 3 is a nuts-and-bolts session. Taking a hard look at the curriculum and activities we do is something that I really need. I have taken a look at this module and listened to it, but I am planning to go back to it in just a couple of weeks when I can spent some serious time with it. I need to tackle the pacing guide that she describes and see if that will help my middle schoolers this next year. (I’m going to have two!!!) But also, I want to look at curriculum more closely.

This is one of those things that makes this such a helpful eCourse – I can come back to it when I have a bit more time and ability to really dig into something. Heather encourages participants to really take this at their own pace and if something is causing them to not deal with the topic at hand (whether it be health issues or something else), she suggests stopping until you can really work at it will a whole heart and mind. She believes this so thoroughly that she has made this a lifetime access course. Once you purchase, you have lifetime access, so that if you find your homeschool in chaos in the future, you can come back and go through it again. Do those worksheets and reevaluate goals and futures. This is definitely a strength of the course.

Modules 4 & 5 are still in progress for me but they are good ones. Module four has to do with how to set our students up to succeed. Module five is about working with teens. (Since my oldest just turned 13, I guess this one is for me now! EEK!) Both great topics that I know will be helpful.

Module 2 screenshot

One more thing – Heather provides a Facebook support group that is closed to all except members of this eCourse. It is a helpful place to find the support you might need from someone else who is working through these hard topics and facing down the issues, just as you are. This is just one more invaluable resource that she provides!

We have always heard that putting goals and plans down on paper makes them easier to reach. This same principle applies in our education. Heather does a wonderful job of sharing in the struggle, encouraging you along the way, and helping us to see a path forward.

Heather has a heart for encouragement. Listening to her, you hear her concern clearly in her words and voice. It is a joy to listen and be challenged by her in each and every lesson. This may be a Homeschool Rescue but Heather, from Only Passionate Curiosity, makes it a positive experience. Whether you have been homeschooling for what seems like forever or if you are just a few years in (like we are) and need a reboot, this eCourse may be just what you need!

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There were 100 of us participating in this eCourse of Homeschool Rescue. Head over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to see what others thought of the course by clicking on the banner below.

Homeschool Rescue {Only Passionate Curiosity Reviews}

Find Only Passionate Curiosity and their Homeschool Rescue class on social media:
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/OnlyPassionateCuriosity/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/opchomeschool
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/OPChomeschool/
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/onlypassionatecuriosity/
Goggle+:  https://plus.google.com/b/110290451358830656260/+OnlypassionatecuriosityHomeschool

Crew Disclaimer

Where Do You Find Beauty?

Finding Beauty in the Homeschool

Or more accurately

How Does Our Homeschool Beautify the World

beautify-the-world

This week’s Virtual Curriculum Fair theme has really been on my mind. You can read a spin-off of it in my hymn post this week (Let The Beauty of Jesus Be Seen In Me).

I have wondered what makes homeschooling such a wonderful option. If you know me, you’ll know I am going to say “freedom, ability to stretch bounds, searching for what fits MY child or our situation.” Beauty is found in these statements because beauty is a somewhat elusive “thing.”

Beauty – several words or ideas that come with this:

  • grace
  • sense of beauty
  • pleasure that exalts the mind or spirit
  • particularly graceful, excellent or ornamental quality

So how do we use this idea to beautify the world?

1 – Volunteer Work

We help out when we can. One of the girls volunteers at our church office once a week. We help setup and clean up for weekly meals at the church. When there is a trash pickup day, we do our best to attend and work hard at it. We clean up and put away in the teacher’s workroom. We do what we can, when we can, without being asked.

2 – Helping Others

This varies in what it looks like but there are many opportunities to help others. The girls enjoy going to Ladies’ Bible Class because they get to help tend the younger children during that time. Making a meal for someone in need is a joy that helps others. Doing things others just don’t want to do helps bring peace and a sense of beauty.

making-biscuits

3 – Participating in Art

We enjoy attending an art class offered at Art Center Waco. The girls enjoy creating a beautiful piece of art work based on the artist studied. It is not unusual for those art pieces to be shared with sweet friends. What a way to bring a beautiful smile to someone’s face. This happens even with pieces that are created from art studies we do here at home.

4 – Creating Music

Miss L is studying violin and sharing that ability is an inexpressible form of beauty. It brings beautiful smiles to faces and makes others happy. Music has a way of doing that. Which is why Miss L also wrote a song for the Lads to Leaders video presentation. I hope we can share that with you soon.

5 – Finding an Ability

Finding an ability that you have and using it is probably the best way to express beauty and to share it with the world. Miss E has found that she has an ability with sign language. Not only does she enjoy it but she is very able. She is exploring some areas in which she can use this ability, including a possible mission experience. Letting the beauty of Jesus be seen through an ability which He granted.

These are just a few ways in which we are striving to add beauty to the world because it isn’t all about what we learn but about who we share with the world. And the abilities God gave us? Those beautify the world. So we use those, we feed those, we encourage that in our homeschool. Some will call these electives. That’s fine. We call them beauty. And God gave us that beauty, asking us to share that with the world so that they may know Him.

At Home.

week-5-seeking-beauty

Now I invite you to visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about seeking beauty in their homeschools:

Links will all be live by Monday 1-30-17 at 12 noon EST.

Living & Loving Art by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Putting the Fun in School by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays

Art Fun In Our Homeschool by Amanda @Hopkins Homeschool

Fine Arts Is The Fun Part by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

Washing Dust Off Our Souls by Lisa @ Golden Grasses

Bringing Beauty Into Your Homeschool Through Poetry by Dana @ Roscommon Acres

Seeking out the beauty… by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

Joy in Home Education by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Teaching Drawing (When You Can’t Draw) by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home

Homeschool Art for the Artistically Challenged by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

Jesus, Peace, Freedom & Our Homeshool by Meghan W @ Quiet In The Chaos

Fine Arts Options in High School by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Reluctant Artist? What do you do? by Annette @ A Net in Time

Making Fine Arts a Priority by Lisa @ McClanahan 7

Creative Pursuits by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

Arts and Crafts in Our Homeschool by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed

Where Do You Find Beauty? by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

Looping our Beauty Topics Saved our Homeschool by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully

Have you written a post about this week’s theme, Seeking Beauty? If so please link it up by clicking on the link below.

An InLinkz Link-up

Easy Motivation? – Middle School Monday

Do you remember those commercials with the “easy button?”

Easy Motivation

“That was easy!”

Guess what was brought to the girls the other day? You guessed it – an easy button.

But not just any ol’ easy button. No sirree – a multilingual easy button!

And the girls love it! (Me? It startles me all the time.)

Easy motivation 2

We keep it in the center of the work table during school time. Each time they complete a task, they have the option of pushing the easy button. This is a huge hit and they all work hard to get to push the button.

So, if you need a strange sort of motivation, perhaps you need to drop by Staples (I think that is where it was found) and get your homeschool a multilingual easy button. I am sure that any day now I will be hearing “That was easy!” in German, Chinese, Portuguese, or another language pop out of the mouth of one of the girls.

That was easy!

At Home.

A Favorite

A favorite thing necessary to our homeschool? Just one?
Well, okay – I’ll pick:

Audiobooks

Yep, good ol’ audiobooks. The reason I specify audiobooks instead of just good literature and include audiobooks in it? Because the audio part can make a huge difference for some kids. Once audiobooks were discovered by my readers (and they LOVE to read), a bigger array of titles opened up to them because the thickness of the book or the tininess of the print was no longer intimidating. From Anne of Green Gables to folktales by native storytellers to major productions like The Dragon and The Raven by Heirloom Audio Productions, audios have made a huge impact on our homeschooling.

If you are looking for classics, you can get many of them for free online from sources like Librivox or your local public library site (using things like Overdrive).

If you are looking for children’s titles, check out your local public library or a interlibrary loan system. Miss J checks out Playaways with titles like Corduroy, Amelia Bedelia, and The Hungry Caterpillar. Miss E checks out Ella Enchanted and Anne of Green Gables and more.

If you are looking for more, you can pay and buy them online or in bookstores. (But don’t forget to look in used bookstores, too!)

We have used audio books to make our roadtrips much more productive. Whether it be a classic that we want to listen to or something new we have never experienced, we have found that roadtrips are the perfect time to try out audiobooks.

History is one area where audiobooks bring a whole lot of information to life for the listener. Especially if you use our very favorite resource: Heirloom Audio Productions.

We have reviewed several of their productions (and we just found out we get to review their newest one, as well: The Cat of Bubastes so look for that in October), including:
Beric The Briton,
Under Drakes Flag,
In Freedom’s Cause,
With Lee In Virginia, and
The Dragon and the Raven.

These will teach the listener history whether they want to hear it or not! They are amazing and fantastic and tons of fun. Just ask Miss E. She keeps them in her room and listens to them quite often. I would imagine she has listened to each of them several times.

So our favorite, can’t live without item: audios, be it audiobooks or audioproductions. Go find one to listen to and see if your family doesn’t fall in love with them, too.

At Home.

This is a part of the Review Crew Round-up, publishing the evening of August 26, 2016 (when this link will be live).

Favorite Homeschool Product 

Hey Mama! Planner ~ a TOS review

planner cover 

I am a paper planner kind of girl. I need my Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 to keep track of my school life and plans. I was so happy when I received one to review from The Old Schoolhouse (TOS – yep, the parent company of the Review Crew).

Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 ReviewI don’t really know where to start with what I really like about my Hey Mama! Planner. The Hey Mama! Planner has almost 200 pages to work with. Printed in beautiful sepia and black tones throughout, it is bound with a metal spiral binding. The covers are glossy, printed cardstock.

I think what I like best is the constant encouragement found within the pages of the planner. Right off the bat, there is a Hey Mama! letter of encouragement. These Hey Mama! letters are found at the start of each monthly planning section to remind you of the important job you have but more that God created you just as you are to be THE perfect mama for your little ones (and big ones). Every single month.

Table of Contents

 

So what all is in the planner? Well, everything I need and so much more. There are so many calendars and forms that I don’t need anything else for planning. Well, maybe some blank paper but that’s a different story. Calendars, weekly planning pages, goal pages for months, semesters and years, attendance charts, contact pages, curriculum lists, and a whole bundle of other lists for topics of interest or dates needed. Chock full!

The weekly planning pages are probably the main portion of the planner for me. I use those day in and day out. I am saying use because this is the planner I currently have. There are 36 weeks worth of pages. Since we tend to do more school than this that I want to keep track of, it is permissible to copy additional pages to keep with the planner. I would love to see this planner include 52 weeks since so many homeschoolers educate all year round, even if it isn’t full-blown school mode.weekly plan page

These pages are my mainstay and help us track what we are doing and/or what needs to be done. The pages are set up in table format, with 6 across the top and 8 down the side. One of each of those is for labeling, in my opinion, leaving 5 across the top and 7 down the side. This means I label and date the top ones Monday through Friday, Down the side, I label the subjects that we are working on. When I am writing in what is happing or planned, I use three colored pens: blue for E, pink for L, and purple for J. There is actually a fourth (red) that I use to show things that are the same for all three girls. This allows me to fully utilize the space on the pages.

Our monthly notes page

I also use the monthly planning pages a lot. A LOT! On the notes for the month, I keep track of our read-alouds, any videos we watch, all of our field trips, any reviews and due dates we have going on, and all of the volunteer work that happens. To show you this in actual use, I am showing you the May 2016 pages for our family. **For the 2015-2016 school year, there was a digital version of the Hey Mama! Planner available with a membership through SchoolhouseTeachers.com. I printed off my copy of the Hey Mama! Planner and had it bound locally. These pages look the same in the 2016-2017 printed Hey Mama! Planner. Well, with the right dates. 🙂

 

our monthly planning pagetracking my reading

One other thing that I do that is really personal for me: I keep track of the books I am reading just for me. I do that above the Hey Mama! letter each month. This tracks the fact that I am doing something just for me but also encourages me to keep it up.

I am currently working on setting up goals for next school year. The goal planning pages are going to be a big help for that. There is a monthly page, a semester page, and a yearly page, plus a curriculum planning page. There are 4 or 5 copies of each of these in the Hey Mama! Planner. Some families have need of more copies of this than are included; it is okay to copy the page if you need more.

With Miss E in middle school now, we are looking towards what she will need by the time she graduates. These planning pages are going to be a huge help for that, with a couple of pages at the end dedicated to helping create an academic transcript. Again, if you have more than one high schooler or are planning for more than one, you may need to make a copy of the transcript page. (You could also print it off of SchoolhouseTeacher.com if you have a membership.)

Hey Mama letter and monthly notes page

I don’t know many people who can get along without planning so why not use a planner that is full of encouragement and helps. The Old Schoolhouse has created a wonderful planner with the Hey Mama! Planner, full of encouragement with the Hey Mama! letters and Bible verses throughout. This is a fantastic resource that I highly recommend and have used for two years now. I use mine all the time and I can’t imagine using anything else.

I have a coupon for you to order your own Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017! Visit TheOldSchoolhouse.com and order the printed planner using the code CREWCODE for $10 off. What a fantastic deal! If you live in the U.S., that would give this a cost of $19. The coupon is good until July 15, 2016, but if you are like me and put it off, you forget. So – Order yours today.

**There is also a digital download version available. The coupon is NOT good on the download version.**

Coupon Code Hey Mama Planner 2016 2017
At Home.

 

Find The Old Schoolhouse on social media.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @TOSMag, and Google+

Read more Crew reviews from over 100 others who have used the Hey Mama! Planner.

Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 Review Crew Disclaimer

Last Chance for the freebies

You only have through tomorrow, April 30, to grab the freebies that The Old Schoolhouse has allowed me and other bloggers to offer you. The coupon codes will not work after that. So, for your convenience, here is a list of all the bloggers that I know of offering freebies to Review Crew readers. Follow these links to find what you can use, share this post, and don’t miss out!
TOS freebies
What I am offering (you can find the original post here):

Spiritual Growth Bundle – http://www.theoldschoolhouse.com/product/spiritual-growth-bundle/
This bundle includes three e-books: Home Improvement, Homeschooling: A Prayerful Journey, and Don’t Rush God.

Keeping the Garden – http://www.theoldschoolhouse.com/product/keeping-the-garden/
An e-book for the gardener, the gardener wanna-be, or the dreamer.

A set of five WeE-books about alpacas, bugs, hummingbirds, and butterflies.
You will need to have or create an account in order to check-out.
At check-out, use the code

LHCREW16

to get these three items for free. This code is good through April 30, 2016.

And here is a listing of the other Review Crew bloggers offering various products to you. Grab their codes from their blogs to receive the discount on what each individual blogger is offering.

Homeschool Review
Castle Academy

Homemaking Organized

Counting Pinecones

Ladybug Daydreams

A Moment in Our World

Carter Chaos

Hopkins Homeschool
Our Worldwide Classroom
Random Acts of Boyhood
There Will be a $5 Charge for Whining
A Glimpse of Normal
Mom’s Plans
Debbie’s Homeschool Corner
Through the Open Window
As We Bloom 
Running With Spears
Little Bits of Life
Homestead Acres
Our Worldwide Classroom
Homeschool Coffeebreak
A Net in Time
Insane in the Mombrain
Barbie Swihart
The Write Balance
Tidbits of Experience

Oiralinde

Hope you find lots you can use or grab now to save for the future!

At Home.

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