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.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lord Heritage: HomeSchool Office ~ a TOS review

HomeSchool Office Review
So, as of lately my organizational skills have consisted of flying by the seat of my pants and doing the next thing. Normally, I am a list making, calendar creating fool but not right now. It's just where I am at in this here moment of life. I am not a huge fan of this style so when I was offered HomeSchool Office from Lord Heritage I jumped aboard.
HomeSchool Office is an internet based, full featured homeschool administration program based off both God and business oriented principles to help you, the homeschooling parent get organized. As a Christian company this program is created around scripture with a firm foundation to help you plan and track courses, create budgets for books and supplies, and to help build the all important high school transcript. HomeSchool Office is divided into 5 sections to help you track multiple students, subjects, and grades.almost anything you find helpful to your homeschooling administration needs can be tracked through the POWER acronym.
Plan ~ schedule course goals, build a master schedule, setup lessons and even plan your budget.
Order ~ schedule lessons, integrate home & school activities, create lists & reminders
Work ~ provide student access, print schedules, follow lessons, manages to-do lists
Evaluate ~ track grades, attendance & hours spent
Report ~ create transcripts & crest reports for personal use and to meet state requirements
I received an annual family membership which is valued at $79.00, but let's be honest here, I am a pen and paper girl at heart so this program was a leap for me. I found the initial set up process for five students to be completely overwhelming, but that may just be my learning curve. Once I was able to sit down and dedicate the time to learn to use the program, which just happened to be in the early hours of the morning, I felt more confident with each session.
I love the structure of all of the planning options available, but because I am in that fly by the seat of my pants stage as we finish out gymnastic travel season, I found it hard to get a full grasp of it. However, I was even able to create a budget for the upcoming school year and print it out.
Overall, I would say you should check this program out if you are looking for a structured, all inclusive scheduling program for your homeschool. Lord Heritage offers a 30 day free trial to see if this fits your planning style. One of the features that I liked in the program is that if you have multiple children on subsequent years you can just copy curriculum / lesson plans to the new student(s) without having to re-enter the information. A huge time saver in my book and a definite plus!
Be sure to check out what my CrewMates think of HomeSchool Office by clicking the banner below.
HomeSchool Office Review
Company ~ Lord Heritage
Price ~ $79.00 annual subscription
Format ~ online with printing options
HomeSchool Office Review
Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Happy 18th Birthday



Happy Birthday to the young lady who made me a Mama! I can’t believe you are 18 and ready to spread your wings out in the world. I hope your day was filled with love and joy.

Love you to the moon and back Miss Marie!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Great Parents Academy: GPALOVEMATH ~ a TOS review

Let’s talk about math today. You see this little girl 20150317_143159right here, she LOVES math! It comes really easy for her even at the young age of 5. I am always looking for new programs to try with her to satisfy her desire to “do her math” so when the opportunity to review GPALOVEMATH from GPA LEARN came up, I jumped at the chance.


GPALOVEMATH is a fantastically awesome web-based math program for children in Kindergarten through 5th grade.  With the help of seven animated characters who serve as “Learning Coaches” for each grade your child will get 150 lessons with over 10,000 practice problems per grade {that’s a lot of math!}. By just doing math lessons 4 to 5 days a week, your child can complete a grade level in just 10 months!


Setting up an account for McKenzie was really quite simple and painless. The administrator account allowed me to test drive the lessons and track her progress. GPALOVEMATH can be accessed on Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac computers, Apple iPad, or on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4. Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari 6 & 7. Google Chrome is the preferred browser but we had success with Explorer.


Since McKenzie is not a proficient reader yet I would sit with her and read the problems to her during the quiz section. I initially started McKenzie in the Kindergarten level, but it proved to not keep her attention during the lessons. So, just recently I bumped her up to the 1st grade math. Each lesson has three parts:

 instruction ~ work with your grade level learning coach with one-on-one instruction

 practice ~ practice some problems that you just learned

quiz ~ test out your skills and secure your rewards

A built in reward system keeps the learning and progression fun. What child doesn’t want an extra 30 minutes to stay up past their bedtime?! Or as the administrator you can set up your own rewards that celebrates your child’s effort for getting the lesson done! It’s a win-win for parents and children!


We mainly used this program two to three days a week as a supplement to our everyday math and I never had a problem with McKenzie not wanting to practice. Overall, once I found the right level for McKenzie she was able to find her groove and excel with this program. McKenzie likes this program and so do I. I plan to continue using this for the rest of our subscription year.

Be sure to check out what my CrewMates though of this program by clicking the banner below and reading their thoughts.

GPA Learn Review

Company ~ GPA LEARN


Platform ~ Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac computers, Apple iPad, or on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4. Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari 6 & 7.

Ages ~ Kindergarten through 5th

Critical Thinking Company Review






Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Critical Thinking Co.: Editor In Chief, Level 2 ~ a TOS review

20150317_133310Recently, Mikayla, my 6th grader, and I have had the chance to review Editor in Chief Level 2 from The Critical Thinking Co.

Critical Thinking Company Review

The Critical Thinking Co. is a family-owned business that has been “empowering the mind” for more than 50 years. They sell critical thinking products/supplements that cover reading, writing, mathematics, science, and history. Instead of rote drilling and memorization, students are encouraged to “carefully analyze what they are learning.” The Critical Thinking Co. is on a mission to develop the critical thinking skills in all children. They currently have 5 books in the series for Editor in a Chief along with a host of other software options.

Critical Thinking Company Review

The Editor in Chief, Level 2 book contains 12 easy-to-follow lessons on the mechanics of grammar and also includes 69 activity pages. The lessons include instruction on the following topics:

  • content
  • capitalization
  • punctuation
  • spellings
  • adjectives, adverbs, and articles
  • conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections
  • pronouns
  • verbs
  • clauses and phases agreement
  • confused word pairs
  • negative words
  • run-on sentences
  • sentence fragments

Using this book is quite easy and each lesson only takes 10-20 minutes to complete. Once the lesson is introduced, Mikayla was able to set off and hunt for the specific errors. The passage tells you beforehand what type of error you are looking for and how many of each you need to find on the top right hand corner of each lesson. I especially liked this feature so that you know right off hand what you are looking for. As a bonus, Detailed answers are also included for each lesson.


We were able to complete one to two lessons of Editor in Chief each week depending on our travel schedule. Mikayla choose to edit her 20150318_115753passage sections with a colored pencil to make it easier to see the corrections against the black and white page. As an optional exercise, you can rewrite the corrected passage on a separate sheet of paper. I choose to have Mikayla complete this task as a way of finishing the final edit. Plus, she got to work on penmanship at the same time! I wish there were more books in this series to span wider grade levels, however, that does not detract from this product at all!

I get nervous during meet season because we travel so much that sometimes it feels like Mikayla does not get much "done" in school. I know we do accomplish a lot each day and using this book over the last six weeks has helped me feel secure in knowing that Mikayla is getting the grammar instruction she needs to succeed as a student athlete.

I love this book and all it has to offer our family! We will definitely continue to use this product in our homeschool each week as well as adding a few more selections to our line up next school year. Head on over to The Critical Thinking Co.’s website and see all of their Award Winning Core Curriculums, Pre-School Academics, and National Award winning products that have been helping students for over 50 years.

Also, don’t forget to check out what my Crewmates thought of this book and the other products that were up for review, Alphabet Song Game, Math Analogies Beginning, Math Analogies Level 1, Math Analogies Level 2, Editor in Chief Level 1, Pattern Explorer, and World History Detective Book 1 by clicking the banner below.

Critical Thinking Company Review

Company ~ The Critical Thinking Co.

Product ~ Editor in Chief Level 2

Price ~ $19.99

Ages ~ 6th – 8th grader

Critical Thinking Company Review






Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, March 12, 2015

FreedomProject Education: Mother, Should I Trust the Government ?~ a TOS Review

So do you remember when I posted that my two oldest girls and I were going to be taking an online class about the government? Well, the class was offered through FreedomProject Education has come to an end and I want to tell you a little bit about the class we took, Mother, Should I Trust the Government?

Freedom Project Education Review
FreedomProject Education is an accredited classical academy firmly based upon Judeo-Christian values and free from Common Core teachings. Classes are provided online in a live, interactive format for students in grades K through 12. With individual classes for students, as well as family courses on a variety of topics, be sure to check out the courses being offered for 2015.

Freedom Project Education Review
 Mother, Should I Trust the Government is taught once a year by Dr. Jake Jacobs, PhD over the course of 8 weeks and is intended for children 13 years and up. The class met on Monday evenings from 7-9 PM EST. Each Monday I would receive a helpful reminder about the class and easy to follow instructions to access the course. The latest version of Adobe Flash Player is necessary for participation. There is also a handy mobile app so you can connect to the class on your favorite mobile device.

 In addition to access to the online course, I received a softcover book of the same name as the course name written by Dr. Jacobs, a mini book version of the US Constitution, plus two bonus CDs from FreedomProject Education: "Who Owns Your Children?" and "Common Core".
Freedom Project Education Review
During the class, Dr. Jacobs would lecture about the books 8 chapters. There was plenty of opportunity for questions if they came up. While the class was a lecture style with mostly the teacher talking, it was not dry and boring thanks to Dr. Jacobs funny sense of humor and his love for the Packers. Homework was kept at a minimal and we were only tasked to read chapters from the book to be prepared to discuss in class the following week.

  “Unlike anarchists, America’s Founders realistically concluded that since men were not angels, government comprised of men must be: LIMITED, checked, balanced, separated; a federal republic and watched like a hawk forever.” ~ Dr. Jacobs 

 Marie and Madison also sat in on the lectures with me. Marie has just finished her government class before this class began, while Madison is taking American History. Overall, I thought the class was fantastic and I learned a lot that I had forgotten or just did not know to begin with. My girls loved to listen in and we often gathered around the laptop and listened for the 2 hours without complaint. I especially enjoyed the fact that I could listen on my phone through the Adobe connect app because I had to leave at 815PM to go and get Mikayla from the gym. Because we were right in the heat of the lecture I loved that I would not miss any of it while driving to and from. I can't wait to take another class!

 Be sure to check out any and all of the classes offered by FPE and click on the banner below to read the reviews of my CrewMates.
Freedom Project Education Review
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Koru Naturals: Emu Oil and Pure Lanolin Lip Balm ~ a TOS review


I have a gem of a product to share with you today. While I mostly spend time doing reviews of educational products and books I was blessed to be able to review two natural products over the last few weeks, Emu Oil and Pure Lanolin Lip Balms from Koru Naturals.

Koru Naturals ReviewKoru is the Maori word from the New Zealand aboriginal culture that means "new, unfurled fern frond". This frond symbolizes the new growth, life, strength and peace within the aboriginal community. Since 2002, Koru Naturals has been producing products to promote health to the body and to the skin.

Koru Naturals Review
The Pure Lanolin Lip Balm comes in a handy four pack for just $8.90. In our family that is not enough for each girl to have their own tube, so I picked myself, Montana and McKenzie to get tubes because our lips have been so chapped lately. I reserved the last tube for later use.


This lip balm comes in the exact same tube as you would expect from a lip balm and contains no added fragrances or additives. Upon opening the tube you may be thrown off by the color but rest assured it is just fine and all natural. It is thicker than most products sold over the counter and a little goes a long way! It feels heavenly on your lips especially since we have been having such a cold and blustery winter.

Koru Naturals Review

In addition to the lip balm we also received a      2 oz bottle of Premium Grade Emu Oil ($9.85). Emu Oil is hypoallergenic (doesn’t cause reactions) and contains vitamins, minerals and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.  Emu oil can be used on your hair or skin as it quickly penetrates for a moisturizing treatment, however, it doesn’t clog pores. It should be noted that the oil should only be used on unbroken skin. This oil is also available in 4 oz and 8 oz bottles.





I used the Emu Oil on myself on my face for my dry skin with fabulous results. I loved the way that it did not clog my pores and that it was a light oil without causing any excess oil build up. I also used the oil on Mikayla's hands and wrists which get so dry from the chalk at the gymnastics gym. I was so pleased with her results. Not only did the Emu Oil take away the dryness it helped to coat/protect her skin from the chalk during practice.

I also wanted to use the oil on Madison's hands because they get so dry and cracked but I didn't want to chance it with her cracked skin. I am hopeful that once warmer weather comes to be able to use the oil with her and get a jump start on protecting her hands before the cold weather sets in again.

Overall, I love these two products that we received! They each have helped my family tremendously and I know we will continue to use them even after our supply runs out. I am especially looking forward to trying out some of the other products that Koru Naturals sells.

Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of these two products and the other products being offered for review including, Koolpurrie Restoring Balm, New Zealand Pure and Simple Lanolin Cream, and Manuka Oil and Honey Shampoo and Conditioner by clicking the banner below.

Koru Naturals Review

Company ~ Koru Naturals

Product ~ Emu Oil and Pure Lanolin Lip Balms

Price ~  oil $9.85, lip balm $8.90

Ages ~ all

Koru Naturals Review



Crew Disclaimer