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 10th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Charlotte Mason approach.

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



Thursday, April 18, 2019

CrossWired Science ~ a TOS review

Recently we were able to review a new online science subscription from CrossWired Science. Let me introduce you to Sound, and Fluid Dynamics that is a fun and engaging way to learn science.
CrossWired Science shares the beauty and glory of God’s creation through a Christian worldview.

The founders came up with the name from their unique method of learning from the way they intergrate multiple science fields and just how they relate to one another. This curriculum is geared toward multi-level learning. It can be used as a supplemental or complete curriculum depending on your family’s need to see “the love, beauty, power, and intelligence of our God”.



With self-paced lessons, this online program provides science learning by using Global Topics, specifically in the Life, Earth and Physical sciences. So, just what is a Global Topic? This was a new term for me as we started but now I understand how the science is integrated within the three main sciences. We were given access to the first two Global topics Sound and Fluid Dynamics as part of our review.

Getting started with your subscription is really easy! You will have the option to choose the First Timer or Second Timer curriculum path. Essentially, if you are using the program for the first time, you’re a First Timer. Otherwise follow the Second Timer path. Each path has identical material with videos etc. The complexity of the questions asked after the videos is what sets each path apart. A one year subscription is valued at $27.95 for one student with an extra $10. Charge for additional students.

We were given access to each of the current Global Topics and they cover roughly 29 lessons. Each topic is cross-wired or intergrated across the subject area to support deeper exploration of topics, essentially rabbit trails.
Global Topic-Fluid Dynamics Subject Areas include:

Aerodynamics, Hydrodynamics, Bernoulli’s Principle, Vortices, Turbulent and Laminar Flow, Daniel Bernoulli, Orville And Wilber Wright, Ailerons and Their History, Kingfisher Hydrodynamics, Penguin Hydrodynamics, Dolphin Hydrodynamics, Fin Types and Swim Patterns, Bird Flight, Bird feathers, Insect Flight, Avian Lungs, Box Fish Swimming, Animal And Insect Drinking, Shark Denticles, Nose Turbinates of People and Animals, Cavitation, Cavitation and Ship Propellers, Cavitation Erosion, Mt. Saint Helens, Cavitation and Sedimentation, Air Foils, Hydrofoils, Venturi’s, Rocket Aerodynamics, Carburetors, the Space Station, Piezoelectricity and more.

Global Topic-Sound Subject Areas include:

What Sound Is, Sound transfer through Solids, Liquids and Gases, Ultrasound, Infrasound, Decibels, Microphones, Vocal Cords, Voice Making, Larynx, Babies Crying, How Ears Work, Cochleas, Sonograms, Speakers, Animal/Insect Hearing, Lion Roars, Alligator Infrasound, History of Sonar, Dolphin Sonar, Bat Sonar, Orienting by Sound (non-sonar), Sound Making of other Animals/Insects, Syrinx, Bird Songs and Calls, Whale Songs, Elephant Infrasound, Ultrasound Devices, Ceramic Piezoelectric Crystals, Piezoelectric Speakers, Sonar, Laser Sound Transmission, Musical Instruments and more.
Sound, and Fluid Dynamics {CrossWired Science Reviews}
This is a great site and curriculum that rivals any of the online science programs available. I especially enjoyed the depth and breadth of what is offered and what will be offered in the future. We used the program as a supplement with my daughters who are 9 and 12 years old. CrossWired Science provides online science learning in a fun and engaging way with Sound, and Fluid Dynamics. But don’t just take my word for it! See what my CrewMates thought of this curriculum by clicking the banner below.

Sound, and Fluid Dynamics {CrossWired Science Reviews}

 Format ~ online subscription 
 Price ~ $27.95 for one student 
 Ages ~ PreK - 12th


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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Wordless Wednesday




©2008 - 2019 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.   

Friday, April 12, 2019

Transcripts Made Easy from Everyday Education ~ a TOS review

Happy Friday friends!


It’s been another fabulous week here at A Stable Beginning and I am excited to share my review of a homeschooling resource just for you Mama’s and (Papa’s too). If you have an 8th grader this year or are knee deep into highschool already you may be a little uneasy with the thought of having to produce a High School Transcript. High school record keeping, especially transcripts can be so overwhelming for us homeschooling parents so I'd like to introduce you to Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork from Everyday Education.


I’m on my 3rd high schooler now and probably my most challenging transcript wise because she is a competitive student athlete. Things are definitely different from nearly 6 years ago when I was finalizing Marie’s transcript. And even more so, when I was working on Madison’s for her service academy applications and ROTC. This gem of a resource is helping me make sure I am hitting I am hitting all the requirements for Mikayla’s transcript as well as learning a new thing or two for my youngest three.


I received the eBook edition of Transcripts Made Easy by email for this review. I really like eBooks, because they are easy to transport on the go with my iPad. Or, if I want to write notes and dog ear points I can easily print out a paper copy. The best of both worlds for me. I mainly used this eBook on my iPad and printed out a few pages here and there for when I did need to make notes, especially in GPA section. I always second guess myself, but now I have printed steps how to figure this out correctly with Honors and AP classes.


The fourth edition of this book has 138 pages of helpful information on homeschool transcripts and is available as a print edition for $24.95, ebook edition for $19.95, or as a print and ebook bundle for $34.95. Janice Campbell, the author, offers email support with the purchase of this book. How great is that!? If you find yourself having extra questions, just shoot her an email and she’ll get back to you in a jiffy.


The book is divided into six separate parts that break the transcript down into bite sized chunks. They include sections on:

Part 1 ~ Meet the Transcript 
 Part 2 ~ Plan With the End in Mind 
 Part 3 ~ Keep Simple Records 
 Part 4 ~ Grades, Credit, and the GPA 
 Part 5 ~ Create the Transcript 
 Part 6 ~ References, Resources, and Reproducibles
Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork {Everyday Education Reviews}
I think this is a homeschool resource that any homeschool Mama should have a copy of! It’s choke full of helpful information that you will need to prepare a successful transcript to present to Universities. And it’s priced just right. I only wish I had this when I was preparing Madison’s transcript! But don’t just take my word for it! I am only one of 50 reviewers who used this product. Click the banner below to read their thoughts!

Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork {Everyday Education Reviews}

 Format ~ eBook 
 Price ~ print edition for $24.95, ebook edition for $19.95, or as a print and ebook bundle for $34.95 
 Ages ~ Homeschooling Mama’s & Papa’s


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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Heroes of History: William Penn ~ a TOS review


I know you probably already know that our family loves to read, but I am going to tell you again because reading is fundamental. After science, History is my favorite subject. We use a literature based curriculum so we get to read a lot. I love adding  Christian biographies to our daily studies so I was excited to review Heroes of History- William Penn, one of the books in the Heroes of History: William Penn from YWAM Publishing. We also received a Study Guide to use with our book. Learning through living books makes learning more memorable for all of us so I was especially excited to be able to study about William Penn in depth.



YWAM, who? I know that’s probably what you're thinking. YWAM Publishing is the publishing division to the Youth With A Mission organization and is headquartered in Seattle, WA. Their mission is to provide quality Christian materials to help fund children and adults around the world through vital missions programs. We received a physical copy of the book and a PDF copy of the study guide for the purpose of this review. I should note the book is available in either paperback, Kindle or Nook version, eBook, or audio book in MP3 or CD formats for just $7.50. 



We are just finishing up the our history study on colonial history and one of the topics McKenzie and I studied was on a true Heroes of History, William Penn. We received a paperback copy of the book and a PDF copy of the study guide for the purpose of this review.



The study guide that correlates with the book is a gem and retails for just $5.49! It is choke full of activities and projects including:

Student Explorations ~ essay writing, creative writing, hands-on projects, audio/visual projects, arts/crafts

Social Studies ~ reproducible maps, geography, terms/vocabulary, journey tracking, critical thinking

Bible Study ~ scripture memorization, devotional application, spiritual concepts

Community Links ~ meaningful field trips, guest speaker ideas, service projects

Related Themes to Explore ~ missions, current events, life skills, math, government, science

Bibliography or Related Resources ~ books, movies, documentaries, magazine articles, websites

Culminating Event ~ project displays, cultural food, music, and activities, oral presentations


Designed for both individual or group learning this study guide is suitable for many grade/age levels and a wide variety of learning styles because of the many different types of projects and activities offered. It includes many projects and writing assignments to keep you busy and engaged with what you are learning. There is so much in this guide for all ages including:

~ Creative writing prompts 
~ Dramas 
~ Reading comprehension questions 
~ Essay writing assignments
~ Geography 
~ Timeline project 
~ Movie critiquing 
~ Hands on projects, audio visual projects, arts & crafts projects
~ Games 
~ Many additional resource ideas


McKenzie and I were able to fit in reading while we were on the go, so either at the ball field or while driving. Just to be clear, she would read aloud to me as I drove, not me reading while driving. When she got stumped on a word, I would have her spell it or try to sound it out. We would then go over the discussion questions out loud for what we had just read. Overall, we have love this product and company! Finding quality literature is sometimes hard, but you can always count on YWAM Publishing to provide quality historical biographies you will want to read in your homeschool.

Study Guides - Christian Heroes Then & Now & Heroes of History {YWAM Publishing Reviews}

Be sure to check out what 69 of my CrewMates thought of this book/study guide combinations and the other titles that were reviewed by clicking the banner below.

 Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis 
Christian Heroes- Gladys Aylward 
Christian Heroes- Jacob DeShazer 
Christian Heroes- Corrie ten Boom 
Christian Heroes- Amy Carmichael 
Heroes of History- Christopher Columbus 
Heroes of History- William Bradford 
Heroes of History- Captain John Smith 
Heroes of History- William Penn 
Heroes of History- Benjamin Franklin 
Heroes of History- George Washington 
Heroes of History- John Adams 
Heroes of History- Meriwether Lewis 
Heroes of History- Daniel Boone 
Heroes of History- Davy Crockett 
Heroes of History- Abraham Lincoln 
Heroes of History- Harriet Tubman 
Heroes of History- Clara Barton
 Heroes of History- Thomas Edison 
Heroes of History- Theodore Roosevelt 
Heroes of History- Milton Hershey 
Heroes of History- George Washington Carver 
Heroes of History- Laura Ingalls Wilder 
Heroes of History- Orville Wright 
Heroes of History- Douglas MacArthur
 Heroes of History- Alan Shepherd 
Heroes of History- Ronald Reagan 
Heroes of History-Billy Graham 
Heroes of History- Louis Zamperini 
Heroes of History- Ben Carson

Study Guides - Christian Heroes Then & Now & Heroes of History {YWAM Publishing Reviews}

Company ~ YWAM Publishing 
 Product ~ Heroes of History; Heroes of History- William Penn 
 Format ~ paperback book and PDF study guide 
 Ages ~ elementary


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Friday, April 5, 2019

Fix It! Grammar from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) ~ a TOS review

Happy Friday friends! It’s the end of another week of learning and today I get to share with you one my favorite vendors, the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW).  

We have used and reviewed several of their award winning products over the course of the last 10 homeschooling years. Last time I reviewed for IEW, we reviewed their Fix It! Grammar program and we received Frog Prince, or Just Desserts, Book 3. I am so excited today to share our review of The Nose Tree, Book 1.


If you have been on the homeschool scene for any length of time I am sure you have heard of Mr. Pudewa and his company, Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). His mission is to teach children "…to write well, think clearly, and express themselves eloquently and persuasively." You might be surprised to hear that IEW is just a company for teaching writing, but it’s not! They also have a complete grammar program as well. Let me tell you a little more about it!



Pamela White, a certified Accomplished Instructor for IEW is the author of the Fix It! Grammar series. She holds an M.A. in English and A.B.D. from Vanderbilt University and currently teaches online for IEW. Fix It! Grammar was developed by Pamela after she was frustrated with traditional methods of teaching children grammar.


This grammar and writing curriculum is apart of the newly revised Language Arts series that teaches the principles of grammar through real stories. These real stories use sentences that contain common errors that your student may make in their own writing. The principle of parsing a sentence and finding the errors helps students in the long run learn correct grammar and punctuation.

There are six books within the Fix It! Grammar series written for third grade and up, including:



As you can see from the comparison chart there are many parts of grammar that is covered. If you need help placing your child into the right book, a placement test is available. However, IEW recommends that all learners start with book 1, regardless of age.




Because I was specifically looking for another grammar program for McKenzie when this review came available and the fact that she has had limited, beginning grammar instruction I knew she would start at the beginning of the program with Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree {book 1}. The student book retails for $15.00, while the teacher’s manual costs $19.00.


The Fix It! Grammar program is designed to just take 15-20 minutes a day, four times a week. As they progress through the book, the child will actually be writing a complete story. The student guide and the Fix It! Grammar: Nose Tree {Book 1} Teacher Manual cover 33 weeks of daily passages to correct, daily vocabulary instruction that covers 132 vocabulary words in total, reproducible student pages, clear and precise teacher’s notes and a grammar glossary. This is an easy to use program that includes daily vocabulary, indenting, capitals, marking and identifying subjects, verbs, and prepositional phrases, sentence openers, clauses, and punctuation errors; divided into 4 parts, learn it, fix it, discuss, copy it.


Learn it ~ explore a new grammar concept. 
Fix it ~ find and fix errors within a short passage, four times a week. 
Discuss it ~ apply the correct grammar to the passage. 
Copy it ~ rewrite the corrected passage within a notebook.


Completing the work each week follows the same format with Monday being the day that I teach the weekly concept and demonstrate the correct markings. The rest of the week we study, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday with Fix It! Grammar. Since the program follows the same weekly format, McKenzie who is just finishing up 3rd grade, she is able to work somewhat independently through the daily passages with me in the room to field questions.


While my older girls have been using a solid grammar program, the opportunity to use the Nose Tree book with McKenzie has been a blessing. We are in a different season in our family where it is just me versus the children. This program helps me know that McKenzie is getting the grammar instruction she needs. McKenzie likes that she is writing a story while doing her lessons and I like that the Grammar cards that have helpful reminders of the rules of grammar are included. McKenzie likes the story aspect of the work and I especially like the included Grammar cards for extra review.


This grammar and writing program works great for us and we will be finishing this book and moving on to the next book once finished. I also plan to have my soon to be 7th grader, Montana, start in Book 3, Fix It! Grammar: Frog Prince, or Just Desserts in August and use it as a supplement to our Grammar program.


Fix It! Grammar {Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) Reviews}
I recommend that you check out the Fix It! Grammar series if you are looking for a strong, solid grammar and Language Arts program, either as a stand alone program or as a supplement. McKenzie enjoys completing her grammar lessons and that make this Mama happy! 



Fix It! Grammar gets the job done! But don’t just take my word for it. Be sure to check out what 59 of my CrewMates thought of the Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree {book 1} or any of the other 5 books being reviewed by clicking the banner below.

Fix It! Grammar {Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) Reviews}

Format ~ paperback, spiral bound notebooks 
Price ~ teacher’s manual, $19.00; student book, $15.00 
Ages ~ 3rd grade and up 


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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Wordless Wednesday






©2008 - 2019 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.