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 15th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Literature based approach.

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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Back to Homeschool ~ Curriculum plans & GIVEAWAY


Welcome back! On day 1 I shared with you our Homeschool method. Today it’s all about curriculum, my favorite! My plans are set and final (let’s hope so) changes have been made. Come August 20th we are ready to begin. So without further ado here is  my updated 2012 – 2013 Plan of Study. *** For some reason it is posting jumbled together, click the link above for a neater view.

Marie ~ 10th grade

Bible History, 1 cr ~ Sonlight Bible Apologetics 200

English & Composition 2, 1.5 cr

~Classics of Literature 200

~ Excellence in Literature, Honors

History of God’s Kingdom, 1 cr ~ Sonlight Core 200

Math, 1 cr ~ Teaching Textbooks Geometry

Science (Honors), 1.5 cr

~ Honors Apologia Chemistry with Red Wagon Tutorials

Foreign Language, 2 cr

~ Alpha Omega Life Pac Spanish 2

~Latin: Henle 2

Logic, 1 cr

~ Traditional Logic 1

Health, .5 cr (1st semester)

~Alpha Omega, Life Pac High School Health

Drivers Ed, .5 cr (1st semester)

Home Ec, .5 cr (2nd semester)

~ Christian Light Press Home Economics I

PE, .5 cr

~ Competitive cheerleading, 2X’s a week

PSAT/SAT/ACT prep 1 hour/day

Total credits: 11 credits

Madison ~ 6th grade


~ Sonlight Bible G

~ morning recitations


~ Sonlight Core G: World History, part 1

~ notebooking, map work, outlining

Language Arts

~ Rod and Staff Grammar 6

~ Rod and Staff Spelling 7

~Writing with Skill

~ Word a Day vocabulary 6

~ reading lists


~ Saxon 7/6 w/ DIVE

~ Family Math (for Middle Schoolers) Fridays


~Planning my own program studying Earth Science, Chemistry, and Physics for 12 weeks. We will be using a combination of Elemental Science and Christian Kids Explore. Yes, I know this looks like a lot of science this year, but this child has requested lots of science focus because she wants to be either a chemical or mineral engineer.


~ Red Herring for Science, A1

Latin / Foreign Language

~ First Form Latin

~ Spanish 4 Children, Primer A

~ Homeschool Spanish Academy (Spring 2013)


~ Sonlight Health, Medicine, and Human Anatomy


~ World’s Greatest Artist ( picture study/art projects), 1 hr week


~World’s Greatest Composers Vol. 1


Level 6 gymnastics team 22+ hours/week

Mikayla ~ 4th grade


~ Sonlight Bible D

~ morning recitations


~ Sonlight Core D ~ Intro to American History, part 1 (notebooking what we read)

~ Road Trip USA (over 2 years)

Language Arts

~ Rod and Staff Grammar 4

~ Rod and Staff Spelling 4

~WWE 3 or ???? (still trying to figure this one out)

~ Word a Day vocabulary 4

~ A Reason for Handwriting, book D

~ reading lists


~ Saxon 5/4 w/ DIVE (pick up where we stopped)

~ CapJaxMathFacts

~ Family Math Fridays


~ Otter’s Elementary Science: The Human Body


~ First Form Latin


~ Rod and Staff Happy Health Habits


~ World’s Greatest Artist ( picture study/art projects), 1 hr week


~World’s Greatest Composers Vol. 1


Level 7 gymnastics team 22+ hours/week plus 2 hrs of TOPs training

Montana ~ Kindergarten / 1st


Sonlight Bible B

Memoria Press K/1 recitations


Sonlight Core B

notebooking what we read


Study animals, the human body, and plants the WTM way


Reading good books working way up to 30 minutes independently.


Saxon 1 * finish up book

Mathematical Reasoning, Level A

Family Math Fridays

CapJaxMathFacts, addition

Language Arts

Explode the Code, 1,2,3

A Reason for Writing, Book A

Short copy sentences


Level 4 gymnastics team, 12 hours/ week plus 2 hrs of TOPs

McKenzie ~ Pre-K3

Teach Me Joy ~ Animal Play

Letter of the Week

Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready

Mathematical Reasoning ~ Beginning 1

Books, books, and more books

PE ~ Tumble Bunny gymnastics 1 hr/wk

Whew! If you read that all you deserve a prize! And your in luck I have a giveaway for you today. Up for grabs is a set of my favorite pensPilot® FriXion® POINT Erasable Gel-Ink Pens, Extra Fine Point, 6/Pack, that I use for just about everything! The best part is that they are erasable, love it! The giveaway ends on Friday morning so enter while you can and please leave a way for me to contact you! Winner will have 3 days to contact me or another winner will be selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Zane Education ~ a TOS review


logowithoutmottoRemember when you would walk into your classroom and at the sight of the T.V. cart would silently or verbally rejoice because that meant it was movie day? I remember those days of watching movies in the classroom. Just because we are homeschoolers does not mean I can not give my girls those short little movies/documentaries. Enter into the picture Zane Education.

We have been using Zane Education for the past few months.  Zane Education is the world's largest and most comprehensive library of fully subtitled educational videos currently available online, with subtitles. Zane offers over 1500 curriculum-based online educational videos for 11 different subjects and 260+ curriculum topics. Videos are available for grades K-12 as well as adults.  Perfect for the visual learner these videos can be utilized in schools or for home educators. The videos are also a great resource for those with special needs, ESL, and/or gifted.

With over 94% of teachers now regularly using video in the classroom as an effective teaching aid, there has been a dramatic increase in number of websites attempting to provide the use of educational video online. Yet virtually without exception, all those video providers have overlooked the inclusion of the single most important feature that arguably provides the most important educational benefit for students – the Subtitles, or otherwise known as Closed Captioning.                   

                                                                                    ~ from website



Video subjects available include:
*Library Skills
*Religious Studies
*Social Studies

While the videos are presented mainly from a  secular perspective, a Christian Learning Guide is also available. The Christian Learning Guide tells you what may be offensive for Christians in every single video. Also available are several other  helpful Publications, including a video catalogue. These guides come standard with the Gold Membership level , but are available for purchase independently. Another feature I enjoy are the PDF lesson plans for the videos.  They include comprehension questions, discussion and debate questions, vocabulary, activities, and research and essay assignments. These are fabulous!Photobucket

With 5 Membership options there is something for everyone at Zane Education! Basic FREE Membership, Gold Membership, Silver Membership, Bronze Membership and Topic Taster Membership. Monthly subscriptions range from $5.00  to $17.99 per month. A Gold Membership costs just $198 for the whole year.

But wait! Zane is generously offering Schoolhouse review crew blog readers 35% off any annual gold, silver, or bronze membership purchased by August 31, 2012! Use code ZE325HSM at checkout to receive discount and that brings your Gold Membership to less than $130 for the year!

With so many videos to choose from Zane Education has been a huge blessing to our family.  I recommend you try them out and see if they would be a good fit for your family. I am making plans to include these worthwhile videos into our weekly  lesson plans. There is truly something for everyone. Be sure to check out what my Crewmates thought by clicking the banner below.


Product ~ Zane Education

Price ~ click here for membership pricing

Ages ~ K – adult

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~DISCLAIMER: I received a year Gold Level subscription to Zane Education, in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Back to Homeschool ~ Classical Methods

Welcome to the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop!


From Classical to eclectic, unit studies to traditional there is something for everyone. With so many methods of homeschooling out there, today I will be sharing what works for our family.

When I first knew we would be homeschooling the girls 4 years ago I got my hands on a copy of The Well Trained Mind (WTM) at the recommendation of a friend. I read it cover to cover in one day and knew that I wanted to use the Classical method. It spoke to me on so many levels and the information presented just clicked. Over the last 4 years I have read and re-read the WTM several times and my current copy is dog-eared and has tabs/bookmarks throughout as I currently have children in each stage of the Trivuim.

Classical education depends on a three-part process of training the mind. The early years of school are spent in absorbing facts, systematically laying the foundations for advanced study. In the middle grades, students learn to think through arguments. In the high school years, they learn to express themselves. This classical pattern is called the trivium.

The first years of schooling are called the “grammar stage” — not because you spend four years doing English, but because these are the years in which the building blocks for all other learning are laid, just as grammar is the foundation for language. In the elementary school years — what we commonly think of as grades one through four — the mind is ready to absorb information. Children at this age actually find memorization fun.

By fifth grade, a child’s mind begins to think more analytically. Middle-school students are less interested in finding out facts than in asking “Why?” The second phase of the classical education, the “Logic Stage,” is a time when the child begins to pay attention to cause and effect, to the relationships between different fields of knowledge relate, to the way facts fit together into a logical framework.

The final phase of a classical education, the “Rhetoric Stage,” builds on the first two. At this point, the high school student learns to write and speak with force and originality. The student of rhetoric applies the rules of logic learned in middle school to the foundational information learned in the early grades and expresses his conclusions in clear, forceful, elegant language. Students also begin to specialize in whatever branch of knowledge attracts them; these are the years for art camps, college courses, foreign travel, apprenticeships, and other forms of specialized training.

A classical education is more than simply a pattern of learning, though. Classical education is language-focused; learning is accomplished through words, written and spoken, rather than through images (pictures, videos, and television).

A classical education, then, has two important aspects. It is language-focused. And it follows a specific three-part pattern: the mind must be first supplied with facts and images, then given the logical tools for organization of facts, and finally equipped to express conclusions.

 ~excerpts from What is Classical Education, by Susan Wise Bauer

"You study Latin?" Why yes, yes we do! We also dabble in a bit of note booking and have Charlotte Mason tendencies, but overall we are mainly Classical homeschoolers. Learning is a day by day journey and I am blessed to be able to take part in it with my daughters.

So, I am curious to know what method do you follow?

If you want to explore more about Classical education here are some helpful links to get you started.

The Well Trained Mind

Classical Homeschooling

Be sure to visit my fellow Back to Homeschool Crewmates on this Blog Hop and come back tomorrow to read about our updated curriculum choices for the 2012-2013 school year! I will also be telling you the details of our first giveaway tomorrow so be sure to come back!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

No-Nonsense Algebra ~ a TOS review

In early June we were given the opportunity to review Math Essentials No-Nonsense Algebra. Mastering Algebra should not be stressful, No-Nonsense Algebra takes the stress out of it!


 No-Nonsense Algebra is written to the student with short, concise, self-contained lessons that are easy to understand and eliminates distractions. Review is also built into each lesson to ensure mastery of topics and full examples are given with step-by-step solutions. Chapter tests and a final exam allow you to measure student progress.

No-Nonsense Algebra was written by Richard W. Fisher, who says that Algebra does not have to be a long, drawn out boring subject. Each of the lessons presented is very short and sweet and gets right to the point. A feature that I really enjoy is that there is a video that corresponds to every lesson. It’s like having your own personal tutor for the $27.95 you pay for the book!  The code to access the video’s  online is self contained in the book.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Necessary Tools for Algebra
Chapter 2 Solving Equations
Chapter 3 Graphing and Analyzing Linear Equations
Chapter 4 Solving and Graphing Inequalities
Chapter 5 Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities
Chapter 6 Polynomials
Chapter 7 Rational Expressions (Algebraic Fractions)
Chapter 8 Radical Expressions and Geometry
Chapter 9 Quadratic Equations
Chapter 10 Algebra Word Problems

I was able to use this book with Marie. She has had a great year with Algebra 1 but I wanted to touch a bit more on Quadratic Equations. So that is where we started in the book. She had great success and I would definitely recommend Alegbra program.


We also had the opportunity to review Mastering Essential Math Skills: Geometry. Marie does not begin her formal study of Geometry until August but looking at this book I know it will be a valuable resource to use. It contains 29 review exercises (no video instruction is included), along with a Final Test. Vocabulary, points, lines, planes, perimeter, area, volume, and the Pythagorean theorem are just some of the topics that are covered. Geometry was not my strong point in my math studies so I am glad we will have a handy resource to turn to if we get stuck. Mastering Essential Math Skills: Geometry retails for just $11.95 a great  price for what you get!

Math Essentials offers math resources for grades 4 through high school. Check out all of the course offerings on the website.

Use Rick Fisher's Mastering Essential Math Skills for 20 minutes a day as directed. If you don't see what you feel are dramatically improved math test scores, send us a note saying so. You'll receive a prompt, complete refund - no questions asked!

                                                                              ~from the website

Read about what my fellow Crewmates thought about No-Nonsense Algebra and Mastering Essential Math Skills: Geometry along with the other products reviewed by clicking the banner below.


Company ~ Math Essentials

Product/ Price ~ No-Nonsense Algebra, $27.95 with online video

                             ~ Mastering Essential Math Skills: Geometry,$11.95

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of No-Nonsense Algebra and Mastering Essential Math Skills: Geometry, in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordful Wednesday ~ Happy 15th

Happy 15th Anniversary 2012

God smiled upon the two of you

the day that you were wed

and your wedding vows were said…


And God has touched

your home and hearts

throughout your married days

in so many special ways…


Now, in all the years to come,

may God bless both of you

in everything you do.

Happy Anniversary!


The Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make his face shine upon you

and be gracious to you.

~Numbers 6:24-25 (NIV)

*this poem and scripture was in a card that one of the Lt.’s friends gave to us today.

Monday, July 23, 2012

MapTrek ~ a TOS review

PhotobucketWe are going to be studying 3 different time periods next school year in our History studies. Call me crazy, but I have a secret weapon on my side for map work and geography. Want to know what it is?

Photobucket MapTrek

As part of the Homeschool Review Crew we were given the MapTrek 6 E-book set to review. The six individual Map Trek products available cover the Ancient World, Medieval World, New World, Modern World, and US edition. SCORE, I have my bases covered!!!


So, just what is MapTrek? The Johnson family started their business, Knowledge Quest, Inc. in 2001 out of their own need as a homeschool family to create products that they could not find elsewhere. MapTrek is one of their products they sell that our family was given the privilege of reviewing in E-book format. The complete collection contains 4 World History E-books plus 2 US map E-books:

  • Volume 1 Ancient World ~ 89 pages with 34 answer maps, 32 blank maps, 4 grid maps, and 2 blank grids. Find the complete list of maps here.
  • Volume 2 Medieval World ~ 82 pages with 32 answer maps, 28 blank maps, 4 grid maps, and 2 blank grids. Find the complete list of maps here.
  • Volume 3 New World ~112 pages with 43 answer maps and 43 blank maps. Find the complete list of maps here.
  • Volume 4 Modern World ~ 127 pages with 49 answer maps and 49 blank maps. Find the complete list of maps here.
  • US Edition 1 ~ 134 pages with 53 answer maps, 53 blank maps, and US landforms map.
  • US Edition 2 ~104 pages with 51 answer maps and 51 blank maps – also includes a map of entire US.

*A complete list of maps for US Editions 1 and 2 are available as a  free Map Trek US sampler download right here.


Each of the six MapTrek products consists of an atlas plus historical outline maps which allow you to teach geography alongside history. Not only do you receive full-color teacher answer maps, black outline maps, maps in chronological sequence, accurate maps that show what the world was like then and now, and various other maps depending upon individual product selection but lesson plans, glossary of terms, and instructions on how to use the maps you receive!

Let’s talk about the lessons plans for a minute. These gems are broken down into three levels similar to the Classical Trivium:

Level 1- Grades 1-4

Level 2- Grades 5-8

Level 3- Grades 9-12

With each level the details and information becomes increasingly more challenging, and this allows you to use the maps for several years. Guiding your children a little deeper and teaching new skills and information as your child grows older. Knowledge Quest also has Curriculum Integration Guides that will make your life just a bit easier. They have done all the hard work for you and provide the Integration Guides to use with some of the popular history curriculums available. The list includes Story of the World, Sonlight, Veritas Press, and more. Just print off the guide and you will have your correct maps to add to your history/geography study. Love that!

You are probably thinking that something this great and in-depth like this set is costs and arm and a leg, right? NO! This set is economically priced at $47.00 for the E-book, $49.95 for the CD-ROM set, or $55.00 for the hardcover and CD-ROM (S+H is not included). But don’t take my word alone for this head on over to Knowledge Quest and request the Map Trek Sampler for free, and be sure to click the banner below and see what my fellow Crewmates thought about this product and the other product being reviewed TimeMaps! We will be using our MapTrek set for many years to come and a very pleased with this product!




Company ~ Knowledge Quest Inc.

Product ~ MapTrek

Price ~ $47.00 for the E-book, $49.95 for the CD-ROM set, or $55.00 for the hardcover and CD-ROM (S+H is not included)

Ages ~ 1st –12th grades

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~DISCLAIMER: I received an E-book  copy of MapTrek, in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Do not miss the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop & giveaway!


Beginning July 30th I will be participating in the Schoolhouse Review Crew’s 5 days of Back to HOMESCHOOL Blog hop. More than 70 bloggers will be blogging for five days about the following Back To Homeschool themes:

Homeschool Methods ~ What is your style? Unit Studies, Charlotte Mason, Unschooling, Classical? Which method is right for your homeschool?

Homeschool Curriculum ~ The most popular question among homeschool mom’s has to be, “What curriculum do you use?”

Homeschool Planning ~  How do you plan your day . . . week. . . year? Do you follow year-around schedules,  or on a traditional “public” school schedules.

Homeschool Classrooms  ~  One of my favorites, where do you “do” school? Come take a sneak peek at the Crew’s classrooms and other spaces.

Homeschool Co-ops ~ And to wrap up the week, the big question. Do you  co-op or not to co-op?

Don’t miss the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop July 30 – August 3rd. I will be giving away two prizes for my readers during the week so be sure to check back!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Keyboarding for the Christian School ~ a TOS review


Looking for a typing program for your children to learn how to type? I have a great program to tell you about today called Keyboarding for the Christian School.

Leanne Beitel has produced an award-winning E-book called, Keyboarding for the Christian School Elementary Version, to help your elementary students learn to type. With the help of a ladybug named Miss Mabel, your child will learn the basics of the QWERTY keyboard. God’s Word is incorporated into the lessons so your child can continue hiding them in their hearts.

With 32 brief lessons this program is geared towards the K-5th grade crowd. However, I used this with my rising 6th grader with no problem. With 12 helpful touch typing techniques like sitting up straight, keeping your feet flat on the floor, and keeping elbows naturally at your side, your child will be done hunting and pecking at the keyboard in no time at all.

Also included is a color coded key chart at the beginning of each lesson. This came in handy when Madison forgot the placement of a key. Want a sneak peak for yourself? You can   signup for their newsletter see a sample lesson here. I appreciated the straight forwardness of this program. I was looking for a typing program that was not game based or cartoonish and this is the perfect fit for our needs. Keyboarding for the Christian School is a solid, touch typing instruction that you can use over and over again with excellent results. We recommend this program and will continue using it for Madison into the fall schedule.

If this sounds like it would be a great fit for your family you can download the E-book version for just $12.95. A large-print version is also available for the same price. If you are more of a hard copy kind of family, that costs $45 and included shipping and handling.  For a short time use this special coupon code for 20% off of your purchase - SUMMER2012. Expiration: 8-29-2012.

Be sure to click the banner below and see what my Crewmates thought!


Company / Product ~Keyboarding for the Christian School Elementary Version

Price ~ E-book versions $12.95, hard copy $45.

Ages ~ Elementary students, K-6

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~DISCLAIMER:I received a copy of Keyboarding for the Christian School Elementary Version, in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Our bookshelves are overflowing, can you help?

Our bookshelves are overflowing with books so I need to find a good home for the ones listed below. I am linking up with The Happy Housewife’s used curriculum sale to list these. Stop by and see if you can find something and tell your friends to stop by too. All prices include media mail shipping and can be paid for by PayPal or personal check (will hold until check clears). If you find something you would like, email me or leave a comment.
Sonlight Core G (6) IG / LA 6 IG (2009)
$25.ppd each or $40.ppd for the set.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
$8. ppd
Tapestry of Grace, Yr. 1, Unit 1 Rhetoric books
Ancient Egypt ~ $10. ppd    SOLD
Ancient Egyptian Literature ~ $10. ppd The Feasts of Adonai ~ $15. ppd SOLDAdam and His Kin ~ $5. ppd SOLD
From Distant Days:Myths, Tales, and Poetry of Ancient Mesopotamia ~ $15. ppd The Pharoahs of Ancient Egypt ~ $3. ppd SOLD
The Story of Architecture ~ $22. ppd Words of Delight: A Literary Introduction to the Bible ~ $15. ppd    

Usborne Complete book of the Human Body
$10. ppd SOLD
Kingfisher First Encyclopedia of Animals
$10. ppd SOLD
Draw Today – complete kit, includes video
$20. ppd  SOLD
Veritas Press Chronicles through Malachi Teacher’s Manual
$6. ppd
***The following items are free, just pay $2.00 (each) for shipping***

3 4
inside cover, has writing. Otherwise it is clean. SOLD4a

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Who is my Neighbor? ~ a TOS review

PhotobucketI am sure you know we are huge fans of Apologia ministries. We had the opportunity to review the third book in the What We Believe series, Who is My Neighbor? ~ And Why Does He Need Me? over the last few weeks. If you are new here, let me tell you a little bit about this series.


Our children are bombarded on a daily basis with competing messages. Every song, movie, book, TV show, blog, and game is full of ideas—ideas about truth, morality, beauty, identity, faith, and more. Not all of these ideas are true. Some are wrong, some are deceptive, and some are outright destructive. It is more important than ever that young children be equipped to discern among competing ideas and stand in the truth. This is why Apologia has teamed with Summit Ministries to bring you the "What We Believe" Series. The "What We Believe" Series is an outstanding way to teach your child the essential beliefs of the Christian faith, but it’s so much more! With this student-directed, Bible-based curriculum, your children will learn how to use Scripture as a lens through which to view the world around them—to see everything the way God sees it—and know the truth.

                                                                             ~from website

Need I say more? The single most important subject in our HOMEschool is teaching our children worldview; how we see the world and what we believe. If i have done nothing else in this journey of raising my daughters, I hope to have instilled a Christian Worldview in them so they will know the truth. Apologia ministries helps me do this by producing quality products.

"The third book in the award-winning What We Believe series helps children understand what it means to be salt and light to the world (Matthew 5:13-14). This study will encourage kids to develop a Christlike servant attitude based on these biblical truths: God created me to be a blessing to the world; God chooses to work through me; I can make a difference at home, in my community, and at church; the church is God's family; the church is one body with many gifts; and I am an important member of Jesus' body."

                                                                                      ~from website

Photobucket Photobucket

This new book in the series was written for children aged 6-14. Like previous titles in this series, each lesson begins with The Big Idea, followed with a few short stories, Think About It questions, vocabulary words, Scripture verses to copy and memorize, character traits, discussion questions, prayers, and the final portion of each lessons is a story of an Encounter with Jesus. As you continue to progress through the book you will continue to build the House of Truth - a visual model of a Christian Worldview.

Lessons in Who is My Neighbor encourage your children to build a servant attitude based on biblical truths:
*God created me to be a blessing to the world
*God chooses to work through me
*I can make a difference at home, in my community, and at church
*the church is God’s family
*the church is one body with many gifts
*I am an important member of Jesus’ body

Who Is My Neighbor? is affordable priced at $39.00 for the book, $24.00 for the notebooking journal, and $8.00 for the coloring book. Each book in What We Believe series is meant to stand alone. You do not have to use the previous two books in the series first in order to use Who Is My Neighbor? With the notebooking journal this book can be used with multiple ages. The notebooking journal is a huge hit here and is filled with questions, word searches, and other activities to help your kids dive deeper into the topics within the book. For younger children, Apologia has a coloring book where each drawing depicts a story or teaching related to the lesson. My littles especially enjoy the coloring book.

We recommend this book hands down and the entire series for that matter! Apologia produces great products so be sure to check out their website. Be sure to check out what my fellow Crewmates thought of this product by clicking the banner below. You can also read my reviews of the previous to books, Who is God? ~ And How Can I Really Know Him? and Who am I? ~ And What Am I Doing Here?, by clicking on the titles.


Company ~ Apologia

Product ~ Who is my Neighbor? ~ And Why Does He Need Me?

Price ~ 39.00 for the book, $24.00 for the notebooking journal, and $8.00 for the coloring book

Ages ~ 6 – 14 year olds

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Disclaimer: I received a copy of Apologia’s Who is My Neighbor? And Why Does He Need Me? book, notebooking journal, and coloring book, in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Wordless Wednesday

 Montana & McKenzie

Friday, July 13, 2012



Congratulations Mrs. Taffy, you are the winner of the book MOMumental

Please email me your mailing address.

Thanks for reading and entering!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Professor B Math ~ a TOS Review


Math is not really my girls strong point in school. I love to try new  approaches to help things stick so that is why I am so glad that I was chosen to review Professor B Math If you are not familiar with Professor B Math, let me tell you a little about this program.

Professor B Math is an interactive Math website designed to help you, the teacher,  build  strong mathematical foundations for your students. Professor B Math was created by Professor Everard Barrett using his methodology that is conceptual, contextual, and is "as flowing as a story". He states that math should not be presented as fragmented facts to memorize but in a natural story-like sequence.

For this review I was provided with the online E-Learning for levels 1-3 and I used these levels with my daughters Mikayla (9), Montana (5), and McKenzie (2). Here is a breakdown for the levels available and what they teach.

LEVEL I ~ Pre-k though 2nd graders and remediation of older learners. 

Introduction to Addition/Subtraction Facts – Counting to One Hundred – Lower Addition and Subtraction – Higher Addition and Subtraction – Place Value Fractional Parts & Order – Time – Money

LEVEL II ~ 3rd grade through 5th grade and remediation of older learners.

Multiplication/Division Facts and Problem Solving – Introduction to Fractions – Fractional Equivalence – Addition and Subtraction Fractions

LEVEL III ~ 6th through 8th grades and remediation of older learners.

Multiplication/Division of Fractions – Decimals – Percents

It is important to note that Professor B Math, while it is an online program there is no audio involved. You alone will narrate the lessons to your student. At first I seriously thought my computer speakers were broken as I listened for the sound coming from Mr. B. So, are you thinking what I initially thought? Why is there no audio? Let me tell you what Professor B says about it:

The decision to not have the Bee speak was intentional. We did not want parents leaving the student at the computer by themselves. If the child answers incorrectly, you would not know unless you are there. This is not a game. This is a teaching program.

                                                                         ~ from website FAQ’s

So, there you have it. This program is a teaching program that is very hands on in that since. You, the teacher, are helping to guide and interact with your child through each lesson, step by step.

prof b 

The entire program is set up with mastery and not grade level as the bottom line. Do you have a struggling learner in the math department. Not a problem! Professor B Math offers a placement test so you can best see where to start your child. Each of the levels be used for remediation for older children by just progressing at a more rapid pace when mastery is reached. Want to know what the best part is? Professor B Math states that each level can be completed in just 10 months! Your child can have total mastery of one level in just one academic year, amazing!

So with all these bells and whistles I am sure you think this program costs a fortune. Nope, it is actually quite affordable even in my book.

The purchase price for the E-learning which includes a printable notebook is as follows:
-One level (any of the three):  $20.00/ month
-Two levels at the same time:  $15.00 for the second
-Three levels at the same time:  $10.00 for the third
-OR  purchase a yearly membership for each
level  and receive a free Professor B coffee mug and t-shirt.

*** prices are being updated for yearly pricing, check back next week ***

Our thoughts:

I will admit at first I was skeptical about Professor B but eager to try it out at the same time. Like I said earlier Math is not all my girls strong point so I wanted to try out something new for my little's and give my older girls a firmer grasp. After using this program for a little bit over 5 weeks I am loving it and recommend it! My little ones, Montana and McKenzie ask for their math time and are “getting it”. While McKenzie is a wee bit young for the program overall we have made it through the first few lessons in Level I. One day out of the blue while she was waiting for her turn to get her nails painted, she lined up the nail polish and counted them out loud all the way to 5. I give credit to Professor B Math for that, thanks!!!  Montana is grasping her lessons well too. I love seeing when those sparks are made over those simple everyday math concepts. From setting the table and counting out dishes or silverware or from when I find her counting and teaching her babies to skip count. Mikayla is hanging in this program too, slow and steady. She is my child who has struggled the most this past year in the math department. Nothing major just a little hiccup. She has made great strides in the last 5 weeks with Professor B Math, and I know this will be a great addition to our math program throughout this upcoming school year to help us get back on track for Mikayla.

All I can say is that This Program Rocks!


Check out what my Crewmates think by clicking on the box below. Also, be sure to check out the free 30 day trial to see if this program would be a good fit for you and your child.


Company/Product ~ Professor B Math

Pricing ~ see break down above

Ages ~ Pre-K – 8th grade

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~DISCLAIMER: I received a year subscription to Professor B Math, in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Monday, July 9, 2012

And the winner is…


Congratulations Emily, you are the winner of the book My Big Bottom Blessing!

Please email me your mailing address.

Thanks for reading and entering!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

MOMumental ~ a review & giveaway

bookLG_momumental There are lots of great parenting books out there filled with great advice to raising happy, healthy children. Jennifer Grant’s new book MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family gives you the reader permission to be the everyday mom who loves her children in a  crazy, messy, and somewhat loud home. I have got all three of those so let me tell you a little more about the book MOMumental, in which “family life is an adventure in becoming real...”

Jennifer Grant’s gilrhood dream of being the perfect mom withered quickly once she got a real taste of the messy, creative, sometimes hilarious, and often taxing process of raising a family. With MOMumental, she presents a warm, compassionate book filled with uncommon and amusing insights about being an intentional parent—and about realizing that family matter, no matter what yours is like.

                                                                                  ~from the cover

This is a great book that will leave you encouraged and ready to take on the joys of parenting whether you have an infant or teen. It is written with a wonderful conversational tone and it leaves you with the feeling that you just had a great conversation with a group of friends. In addition to the sometimes hilarious stories included in the book Jennifer Grant offers  appendixes with great tips for mothers, including a list of 5 things every Mom should have ( love this list!), signs of mommy burnout, and also ways to regain balance through a prayer for Mothers. Want to win a copy of this book? Just leave me a comment and I will pick a winner on July 13th.

No doubt about it: children are a gift from the Lord.

                                                                  ~Psalm 127:3 CEB

ISBN 978-1-61795-074-2
List Price: $14.99
256 pages

Available in book, E-book, and audio book formats online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbook, and iTunes. Also in stores nation wide.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~DISCLAIMER: I received 2 copies of MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family from Worthy Publishing, in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Big Bottom Blessing ~ a review & giveaway

bookLG_bottom_blessing A few months ago I received a new book from Worthy Publishing by Teasi Cannon called, My Big Bottom Blessing. It is a excellent book that tells the story of Teasi and how she came to love herself and the girl in the mirror reflection.

Teasi Cannon’s lifelong battle with body image nearly destroyed her. yet today she feels blessed-not because the size of her lower half has changed but because hr perspective has. In her often hilarious, no-nonsense style, Teasi’s gut-honest journey and transparent insights will propel every one of us who struggles with…you name it: bad hair or chubby cheeks, skinny arms or wide hips…to realize our value and beauty. Even if nothing ever changes on the outside.                           ~ from the cover

This book is written as an inspiration to help you see yourself through the journey of self doubt. Review questions at the end of each chapter help guide you on your journey. With pep talks and scripture referred to throughout the book you are able to learn to let go and dig a little deeper into the route of the problem. I really think this is a great book for anyone woman to read, faults or no faults. This book would even make a great book club book.

“Loving the girl in the mirror isn’t about changing how you LOOK but allowing God to change how you SEE”.

Wow! i just love this quote. So much so that I taped it to my bathroom vanity as a gentle reminder. As someone who has struggled with body image since my early teens this book was a refreshing eye opener.

Want to get a sneak peak of this book? HERE is a copy of one of the chapters. Plus, I have great news! One of you lucky readers will receive your very own copy of this book! Just leave me a comment, easy peasy! The giveaway will end on                  Sunday, July 8th @ 8 PM Eastern and the winner announced Monday morning.

ISBN 978-1-61795-076-6
List Price: $14.99
224 pages with study guide

Available in book, e-book, and audio book formats online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbook, and iTunes. Also in stores nation wide.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~DISCLAIMER: I received 2 copies of My Big Bottom Blessing by Teasi Cannon from Worthy Publishing, in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Homeschool Spanish Academy ~ a TOS review

PhotobucketI almost missed the chance to review this awesome Spanish program that I am going to share with you today. Madison and I LOVE it! Let me tell you a little more about Homeschool Spanish Academy

Homeschool Spanish Academy  was founded in 2010 by Ron Fortin. As an online Spanish Academy  it offers  interactive lessons between native Central America instructors and students. HSA has programs for elementary, middle, and high school students as well as adults. We had the opportunity to review the middle school program when another reviewer had to drop out because of computer compatibility issues. With this review we received 7 weeks of classes (because we did not get into the program mid-June, I scheduled 2 or 3 classes a week for this review purpose).

To set up your first class first you need to make sure your computer is good to go. For that Ron will guide you through the process of checking the requirements for compatibility with the program.  Here is what you need:

  • Internet ~ requires a Ping  less than 100ms, Download Speeds greater than 1.0MBps, and Upload Speeds greater than 0.5 MBps.
  • Webcam ~ optional, but highly recommended.
  • Headset ~ of good quality, necessary to communicate with teacher. (especially if you have a two year old sister who thinks everybody is her Grandma Face Timing on the computer :-))
  • A Skype Account

    Our computer did not pass the inspection the first time through with Ron but he was so helpful in helping guide me as far as what to say to our Internet Service Provider. Turns out my internet was way below the download speeds that I had been paying for monthly and upon talking to Verizon we were given a credit on our bill. Plus, they sent a technician out to the house the very next morning and found the problem and fixed it.


    Once your computer is good to go you schedule your class(es) in Schedulicity (free scheduling program HSA uses) and pick your instructor and you are all set for your class. We chose Professora Nora for our teacher and she was wonderful!!! Madison was a bit nervous but she excelled at Spanish. I speak Spanish (well the basics and enough to survive if needed) as I took Spanish 3 years in high school and 2 years in College. The very first day Madison could hold a conversation with me! Amazing! Now, my oldest daughter has been using another popular foreign language program but in my opinion HSA has them beat hands down! Professora Nora would email us Madison’s homework assignment the morning of her class, and Madison would look over it and complete it before the next class.

    Pricing is pretty reasonable for the one on one instruction you get. Check out the tables below for pricing information.


    Here are some FAQ’s about HSA's program (from the website):

    How does this compare to a traditional public school curriculum?
    Our curriculum follows the same general national standard guidelines outlined by the American Council On The Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL). This means that we progressively cover all Spanish grammar and emphasize reading, writing, speaking and comprehension. We do however, omit a few things that public school might include, such as cultural perspective of other Spanish speaking cultures. We tend to focus on Guatemalan culture as we are experts in that, but we often give information and anecdotes to our surrounding neighbors in Central America.

    Will colleges and universities accept your program for college admissions?
    Yes! Among the colleges and universities we have spoken to, parents simply need to submit the grades of the student and a record of their completed work. HSA provides this documentation to parents if requested. Additionally, we will provide parents with an overview sheet of our curricula and teaching methodologies. Lastly, we invite all admissions offices to contact us if there are any questions about grades, work, or student abilities.

    Will colleges and universities accept your program for college credit?
    Among the colleges and universities we spoke to, they will NOT accept our program for college credit. The only credits they accept are from the AP Exam and Dual Credit courses.

    What we thought:

    Love, love, LOVE it! Everything about the program. If you are looking for a conversational Spanish program in which you will actually be able to learn to speak the language then this program is for you. I will sing praises of HSA to anyone who asks!

    Madison is starting her formal study of Spanish in August at the start of our new school year. I am definitely going to continue with this program so she gets that one on one interaction and enroll my high schooler so she gets the proper speaking instruction too. Be sure to check out what my Crewmates had to say about Homeschool Spanish Academy by clicking on the banner below.


    Company ~ Homeschool Spanish Academy

    Pricing ~ see above for pricing

    Ages ~Elementary - Adult

    Follow on Twitter @EspanolOnline

    Like on Facebook

    Read the Blog Here

    Phone: 1-713-280-HOLA(4652)



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~DISCLAIMER: I received a half semester subscription to Homeschool Spanish Academy, in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.