This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 12th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Literature based approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.



Thursday, August 6, 2020

Make-A-State Activity-Pak from Home School in the Woods ~ a TOS review


Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations.


Hey there friends! The summer has flown by for us and we are just about to pack up and bring my University girl back to school. But first I wanted to share with you one of my favorite homeschool curriculum companies. I am excited to tell you {again} how much I love the products from Amy Pak and her team at Home School in the Woods!!! This time we have received the Make-A-State Activity-Pak to review.
If you are a long term reader then you already know how we first discovered HSITW. But if it’s your first time here, let me tell you the quick version. Way back in the summer of 2011 I had the opportunity to attend my very first homeschool convention. I was super excited to attend but a Tropical Storm nearly put the damper on it. We battled the summer stormy weather and made the nearly 2 hour drive to the Convention Center. I tell you it was glorious and still is each year I get to attend! While there I stumbled upon a company called Home School in the Woods as I browsed the Vendor Hall. I hit the jackpot that day with this company and we have been making history fun ever since with their hands-on learning style.
History has always been a favorite subject of mine to teach and re-learn with my girls. I grew up learning history from a boring textbook so I am so happy that now I can teach my children history with awesome hands-on learning. Now that my son is old enough to begin his history journey I want to make it exciting and fun for him. Amy Pak, the talented graphic designer and experienced homeschooler, is the mastermind to everything that Homeschool in the Woods creates. This company has helped transform the way we tackle hands-on history learning ever since. 
 We have lived in our state of Virginia for eleven years now. It’s the longest spot that we have been in and I am happy to say we will be here for a few more before settling into retirement. To help my 5th grader, McKenzie, learn her states and capitals I was so excited to be sent the Make-A-State Activity-Pak. 
We received the digital download of this activity pak and It is compatible with PC and Mac’s. This activity pak is geared towards children in 3rd-8th grade and includes 20 projects to learn all about the particular state you are studying. Projects include: 

~ writing ~ coloring ~ research ~ mapping ~ and more
In addition to all the activities included you also get access to the “Name That State! File Folder Game. Students and adults alike are able to test their knowledge of each states shape and position on the map. The game includes everything you need to play.
Overall, I am once again super pleased with this curriculum product! You really can’t go wrong when you are using a product from Home School in the Woods! While we only got to work on the Virginia packet these last few weeks, our plan is to study 5-6 states each month so that by next year McKenzie has them down pack. But don’t just take my word for it, be sure to click the banner below and check out what 59 of my CrewMates thought of this activity pak and the other items being reviewed including, U.S. Elections Lap-Pak , Benjamin Franklin K-2 Lap-Pak, Timeline Collection: A Collection of Historical Timeline Figures , Time Travelers U.S. History Studies .

Hey, and because it is an Election year I highly recommend you check out the U.S. Elections Lap-Pak. It is really good and breaks down the whole process of what it takes to become the President of the United States in 21 projects.
Format ~ digital download 
Price ~ $18.95 
Ages ~ 3rd-8th graders

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 © 2008 - 2020 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author. http://astablebeginning.com

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Homeschool Astronomy from Journey Homeschool Academy ~ a TOS review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations. 


Morning friends! It’s crunch time here at A Stable Beginning. Life is full steam ahead as we prepare to return Madison to University, take Mikayla on two recruiting visits, and start our 12th year of homeschooling. All within the same nine day period. To say it’s been busy…well that is a huge understatement. Not to mention how Miss ‘Rona has thrown us a curve ball as I try to navigate it all without our Principal.


One thing that I have been doing is keeping the kiddos actively learning during the summer months. I am trying to minimize the dreadful summer slide so I  was super excited  to have McKenzie and Micah do some summer learning with Experience Astronomy: Elementary from Journey Homeschool Academy.  



Journey Homeschool Academy was created by Luke and Trish Gilkerson in an effort to help students explore the science world of astronomy and biology.Their courses offer video based Christian, homeschool science studies for children in elementary through high school. We received the Experience Astronomy: Elementary that includes 30 lessons all about astronomy. Each lesson is short, approximately 15 minutes. Just enough to grab and engage the attention of your 6-12 year old student. 



The 30 lessons include the following topics: 
1. Why God Loves Astronomy 
2. Who Moved the Sun? 
3. Blazing Summers, Freezing Winters 
4. Spring Forward, Fall Back 
5. Hello, Moon! 
6. There are Giants in the Sky 
7. From North Star to Southern Cross 
8. Stories in the Sky 
9. More Stories in the Sky 
10. Watch out For Wandering Stars! 
11. Around the World 
12. Blackout! 
13. Bye Bye Moon 
14. Falling Rocks and Shooting Stars 
15. Galileo's Head Was On The Block 
16. Earth- Baby Bear's Porridge 
17. Man on the Moon 
18. Mr. Golden Sun 
19. Mercury - The Swift Messenger 
20. Venus - Earth's Fiery Sister 
21. Mars - The Red Planet 
22. Space Rock and Roll 
23. Jupiter - By Jove! It's a Giant! 
24. Saturn - Put a Ring on It 
25. Uranus - A Topsy Turvy World 
26. Neptune - The Blue Giant 
27. Ice, Ice, Baby (Too Cold) 
28. Planets Galore! 
29. The Immeasurable Heavens 
30. The Heavens are the Lord's Heavens 


 Each lesson is chock full of extras including: 

 Reading List ~ recommended books to read aloud or for independent reading. 

 Hands-on activities ~ reinforce the lessons with hands-on learning (our favorite way to learn) 

 Memory work ~ printable flashcards with important facts to remember. These correlate to the memory video. 

Copywork ~ available in both manuscript and cursive to help with handwriting practice. 

Quizzes ~ one for each lesson to test your knowledge. 

The complete year long course retails for just $129.00 and can be used for multiple students within your own family. If you don’t want to do any printing a printed Student Adventure Guide is available to purchase HERE. It’s in full color and ready for you to start your learning journey. There are also student lesson cards available to purchase. 

Overall, McKenzie (10) and Micah (6) have enjoyed our summer learning with Journey Homeschool Academy! This if Micah’s first exposure to astronomy and I love that it is so hands-on for him. He learns best using his hands and he has enjoyed learning about the planets. Typically we study two science disciplines starting in 7th grade, but I am so impressed with this astronomy curriculum that I plan to also use it this year in addition to our main curriculum. We will take it slower, but will be able to finish it by next summer. 

Be sure to check out what my CrewMates think of the Astronomy, Upper Biology, and elementary Biology programs that were reviewed by clicking the banner below.

Experience Biology: Elementary Level, Upper Level and Experience Astronomy: Elementary {Journey Homeschool Academy Reviews}
 

Company ~ Journey Homeschool Academy 
 Product ~ Experience Astronomy: Elementary 
 Format ~ online science instruction 
 Price ~ $129.00 
 Ages ~ 6-12 year olds
 

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 © 2008 - 2020 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.    
  http://astablebeginning.com



Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Wordless Wednesday




© 2008 - 2020 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.   

  http://astablebeginning.com

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

CTC Math ~ a TOS review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations.  

Welcome back friends! With such uncertainty in the last few weeks with public school options I am excited to tell you about an online math option you may not be aware of as you now thrust into the world of homeschooling. If you feel like you can’t teach your child math or if you have a child who struggles with math there is no reason to pay for a personal tutor or expensive online math courses. Today I am excited to tell you about the online homeschool math program created just for families from CTCMath. We were blessed to receive a 12-month Family membership for this review.
CTC Math is the most complete online math tutor covering kindergarten math through Pre-Calculus. World – renowned Australian math teacher, Pat Murray, presents math concepts in a visual step-by-step process and the viewer has the ability to stop and rewind or repeat a concept until mastery. With over 1300 video tutorials CTC Math is there to help your child conquer their math studies and help them excel.

Three of my children, Mikayla (17), McKenzie (10), and Micah (6), excel in math naturally. My youngest two children, McKenzie (10) and Micah (6) both excel at math. It is their strongest subject and they frequently play math facts games at the whiteboard. Math has never really been my thing. I mean, I can do it with lots of practice and review, but it’s not my favorite by far, especially the upper levels. My other children vary in their math abilities, but none would say that it is their favorite like McKenzie and Micah do.
To get started with the program, there is a short diagnostic test for placement if you are unsure of your child’s level. However, you don’t need to start with the placement if your child is in Kindergarten or you know their current math level. For this review period I specifically focused with Mikayla as we are prepping for her upcoming ACT/SAT’s. We have focused on the Algebra 1 and 2 sections for review.
Each section includes a short video which is typically about 10 minutes in length. Once the lecture is complete the student then tests his or her knowledge by answering 10 questions. For the upper level courses, the student print out a worksheet to work the problems, then enter the answer online for scoring. At the end of the question portion, the student is awarded a certificate of completion.

What I like about this program is that you can move to any grade level and/or any section you would like to pinpoint where you need extra instruction. Each section is divided into subsections so you can focus on the topic at hand instead of the whole math curriculum. As the parent, you are able to set the minimum passing standard, I choose 92%. Since the curriculum is online, I like that it is completely portable. Meaning, my girl can take her laptop to the gym and during break she can get some math lessons done. Or, when we start traveling for gymnastics competitions again we don’t have to miss a beat with getting math studied.
Usually the complete CTC Math Family Membership is $297 a year and allows up to 10 students to have unlimited access to all of the levels the program provides. Right now it costs just $148.50 which is an excellent value for those with larger families! We will definitely be continuing to use this program for the rest of our subscription. If you are looking for a quality comprehensive online math curriculum, look no further than CTC Math!

But don’t just take my word for it, be sure to check out what my CrewMates think of this program by clicking the banner below. There are 59 other opinions about the program so be sure to check them out.

 
From Kindy to Calculus CTCMath 12-month Family membership {CTCMath Reviews}
Company ~ CTC Math 
Product ~ 12-month Family membership
Format ~ online math instruction 
Price ~ $297.00 on sale at the time of this writing for $148.50 
Ages ~ Kindergarten through Calculus
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 © 2008 - 2020 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.     http://astablebeginning.com

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Wordless Wednesday

© 2008 - 2020 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.    
 http://astablebeginning.com

Elementary STEM Explorer Pack from Pitsco Education ~ a TOS review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations. 

My kiddos thrive and love hands-on learning opportunities. And I love incorporating homeschool STEM in our weekly learning time as well so I was super excited when we were offered the chance to review the Elementary STEM Explorer Pack from Pitsco Education! Let me tell you more about it.
Pitsco Education is a company that was built by educators for educators. Way back in 1971 in the garage of Harvey Dean. Focusing on their mission of “leading education that positively affects learners”, Pitsco Education STEM kits help students learn to get creative in solving problems while working with their hands together.
We received the Elementary STEM Explorer Pack which includes five hands-on kits to make each project. All the materials necessary to complete each activity is included as well in a printed color instruction booklet. The instructions are step-by-step so an older elementary child could work on their own and ask questions or for help when needed while your younger K-2nd grade students might need your help. As I said, the kit comes with five projects that include making a musical instrument, a tilting maze, parachutes, large structures, and a bird feeder. Plus, each of the kits includes extra challenges and activities to complete.
Everything, you need to complete each of the projects is included…yes, you read that right, everything! Down to the string and glue sticks which you probably already have on hand but it’s nice to not have to hunt for supplies when your child is ready to jump in and create.
Inside your shipping box you will find all of your supplies packaged neatly in 5 plastic bags. I really like that the kits are shipped together and that you don’t have to hunt through a box to see what supplies you need.

The Elementary STEM Explorer Pack is geared towards kids in kindergarten through fifth-grade. The whole kit retails for $79.95 but is on sale for $49.95 at the time of this blog post. And if by chance you loose your instructions you can download a new copy off the website. My three youngest have been working with a few of the kits we received in our box.
While Montana is outside of the grade range for this box she did enjoy helping Micah with the Maze and Parachute kits. McKenzie completed her Maze and Parachutes when she returned home from her gymnastics training. Micah and McKenzie have since teamed up to create a bigger maze and have been experimenting with which toys can parachute from the upstairs foyer to the bottom the fastest.

I purposely held off letting them do the bird feeder, musical instruments, and large structures kits because I wanted to save them for when I have to travel in August to take my older girls back to University and their Great Aunt is here with them. It has taken their mind off my travels and given them something fun to look forward to doing each day with her while I am gone.

Hands down, If you are looking for a homeschool STEM project, you'll want to check out Elementary STEM Kit from Pitsco Education. We have used many different STEM kits before and this on takes the cake by far! They also have kits for older kids that would make such great birthday or Christmas gifts. And guess what!? Pitsco Education wants to give everyone a chance to take part in STEM education so they are giving away an Elementary set. Be sure to click HERE to register before August 31st for your chance to win.
But don’t just take my word for it, 42 of my CrewMates reviewed several different sets so be sure to check out what they thought by clicking the banner below.  
STEM At Your Fingertips - Elementary, Middle & High School STEM Kits {Pitsco Education Reviews}
Company ~ Pitsco Education Product ~ Elementary STEM Explorer Pack (46198) Format ~ consumable kits Price ~ $79.95 on sale at the time of this writing for $49.95 Ages ~ K-5th graders
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 © 2008 - 2020 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.     http://astablebeginning.com