Friday, July 31, 2015

Our Week in Review/Weekly Wrap-Up~ July 31st

Wow....another month gone! Where did July go? As I sit here and write I can't believe today is the last day of July. august will be here tomorrow and school is right around the corner.

This week has been non stop. Sunday we headed to the pool and relaxed in some cool, refreshing water. What better way to beat the heat than splashing around in the pool.

Monday we stayed home and worked on some math. Yup, we have started some school work already. A way to ease into the demands of the new upcoming year. The kids have actually done it without complaining. It's funny how when you start homeschooling year round they don't complain about starting back when other kids are not. They know they will get off other days, like the first nice week after a rough winter. We get to enjoy the beautiful days at the park while those other kids are sitting at desks day dreaming about playing outside. An everyone likes to have a day off on their birthday!

I sent in our NOI and proof of progress to the county. Both items are due this month. Test results are due on August 1st while our notice of intent is due August 15th. I prefer to send them in at the same time. Less work for me and them.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday Therese had choir camp again. She has really enjoyed it. The director, Mr. C, is wonderful for the kids. He sings at the Basilica in Washington D.C.

I love that he always picks traditional Catholic hymns to sing. No new hymns here! She tried out for a solo and was given the task of of an understudy. So if one of the girls gets sick, she will sing the Psalms at the Mass. Not to bad for a young lady who has not been part of a choir for very long. She is thinking about joining the churches children's choir next year.

Wednesday was camp day for Micheal. This week he learned about eagles and hawks. Two of his favorite birds. The center is currently rehabilitating a few hawks and one eagle so they were able to see the birds up close.

Next week, they will learn about skunks and raccoon. 

We also visited the vets again this week. We have two kitties down with the cat flu. Hopefully the third kitty doesn't get it.

Now for a relaxing weekend! Hope you have a great weekend.

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Linking up with My Week in Review,  Homeschool Mother's Journal, Weekly Wrap-Up, Show Off Friday,  Learn and Link, Friendship FridayFamily Fun Friday, Christian Fellowship Fridays

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

TOS Review for With Lee In Virginia

With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review
Today, I get to share with you a fantastic audio book on CD called With Lee in Virginia from Heirloom Audio Productions. With Lee in Virginia was adapted from the book, With Lee in Virginia, by G.E. Henty. With Lee in Virginia is the third production from the company. This is our second story from Heirloom Audio Productions. A few months ago, we reviewed In Freedom's Cause about William Wallace.

I was very excited to receive this opportunity to review and share this story with my kids (and you). This year in history, we will be learning about the Civil War. I thought this would be a great way to get the kids interested in their upcoming lessons. Kind of like a little teaser to wet their appetites!

For this review, we received the 2 disk Cd set in a durable case. We were given access to the down loadable study guide for the story. This summer has been busy with summer camps, so we listened to the Cd's while traveling back and forth from camp. We were able to listen to the entire story in 2 days.....about 2 hours in the car. It was a great way to help pass the time while traveling in the car.

With Lee in Virginia is a story about the Civil War. In the story you will meet Vincent Wingfield. You will follow the life and journey of this 15 year old young man. Vincent is eager for adventure and determined to fight for his home so he joins the Army of Northern Virginia. While fighting, he meets and serves under some very famous Civil War generals.....Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson,  Jeb Stuart, and Robert E. Lee. I'm sure you have heard a few of those names before.
During the battles, Vincent sees what war is really like. He sees the devastation and death. The devastation of the war touches him personally. Vincent learns the importance of virtue and valor, determination and courage and how to be true to one's character.

The story is written well and allows listeners to see what the Civil War was really like. It brings up all the reasons for the war. It gives listeners an insight into why the South fought so hard during the war. It wasn't just to keep slaves. Many southerns were against slavery. Many never even owned slaves. We hear the sadness and witness the turmoil men faced as they fought against their friends, family, and fellow Americans. It truly was a war of brothers against brothers. While traveling about and fighting, Vincent reads his father's Bible and sees the strong faith of his leaders, like General Robert E. Lee.
Vincent grows into a fine young man. By watching the men around him, he see the importance of living up to one's own duty. We all have a role in this world and we need to live up to the plan God has for us.

The story is wonderfully told with some very famous actors lending their talents to the tale. Kirk Cameron, Sean Austin, Brian Blessed, and Jim Weiss are just a few of the voices you will recognize. The sound affects make the story realistic and places you there during the battles.

Our Thoughts.....

We enjoyed the story very much. It was easy to follow and held the kids attention. They eagerly waited to see what would happen next. As soon as we got in the car, they were pushing the play button. Both my kids liked listening to this story. They both found it was easier to follow than In Freedom's Cause. If you are learning about the Civil War, we would recommend adding this to your lesson plans. An added bonus it the study guide that goes along with the story. It provides discussion questions, thought provoking ideas, and vocabulary to help the kids learn some new words. I printed it out to follow along and I know we will definitely use it again when we get to the Civil War later on in our school year. I'm sure we will listen to the Cd again too!

Want to learn more about Heirloom Audio Productions or more about With Lee in Virgina?
Check out the other reviews of the story from the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Our Curriculum for 2015-2016

It's hard to believe another school year is about to begin. I have had a lot of fun planning and getting ready for this year. I always enjoy planning for the new year. I often feel I plan too much!

This year, the kids will be doing work in 4th-7th grade. It all depends on the subject.
For "regular" school, they would be in 5th and 6th grade. I can't believe they are that old already. It feels like we just started learning our ABC's and 123's. Where has the time gone?

To make things easier this year, I am giving Lego Man and Princess P real names.....not their real names though.

Princess P will now be called Therese after her favorite saint.  Lego Man will now be called Micheal after Saint Micheal of course.

So what are the kids up to this year? Let me fill you in.

Faith and Life 6
Gospel of Mark
Gospel of Luke
Baltimore Catechism
Classically Catholic Memory

Language Arts~
Micheal~ Lepanto Press Voyages in English 6
                Diagramming Sentences
                Editor in Chief Book 1
Therese~ Lepanto Press Voyages in English 5

Micheal~ Spectrum Spelling 6
Therese~ All About Spelling Level 4

Memoria Press Latiana Christiana 1
Classically Catholic Memory

Micheal~ Saxon 65 & Saxon 76
Therese~ Horizons Math 4

Monday & Wednesday
Classically Catholic Memory Delta Year
Pioneers and Patriots

Tuesday & Thursday
Classically Catholic Memory Delta Year

Classically Catholic Memory

Tree Study~
Memoria Press Book of Trees
Nature Journal
Various Resources

Bird Study~
Memoria Press What's that Bird?
Nature Journal
All About Birds Website

U.S. State Study~
Library Books and Various Resources

Harp and the Laurel Wreath

Style and Artist Study for 9 Weeks Each
George Seurat
John James Audubon
Georgia O'Keeffe
Grandma Moses

We will be studying music from the Civil War time period and the pioneering days.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

TOS Review for Shape Whiz from SimplyFun

Simply Fun Review
Want to have some fun while learning math? I'm sure you kids do! Too often kids find math boring and tedious.  So as good parents, we are always looking for something to make it a little more exciting. Shape Whiz from SimplyFun is a great game to get kids interested in geometry. Wouldn't it be nice to have kids eager to learn some new math? I know I would love to see smiles, instead of hearing groans, when we sit down to do our math work.

SimplyFun games is a wonderful company that creates games for children and adults. With over 100 award winning products, there is something for everyone! SimplyFun games encourage kids to learn and use the knowledge they have gained. Their games encourage language development, math skills, critical thinking, spatial learning, and so much more. They offer games for all ages....preschoolers to adults. They have games dealing with math, Shakespeare, strategy, and patterns. They have tons of cute games for preschoolers and younger kids. After browsing the site, I really wanted some younger kiddos to play games with. Who wouldn't want to play a matching garden game or a game with bubble bees. So cute!

For this review, we received the Shape Whiz game in the mail. The games sells for $24.00. The game is well made and the box is very sturdy. It definitely will not fall apart like so many game boxes today. The cards are thick and sturdy. They will not wear out or tear easily. This game was made to last through the years.

Simply Fun Review
So what is the Shape Whiz game all about?

Shape Whiz is a game that encourages kids to master the basic principles of geometry. The game is for ages 10 and up. It takes about 15-20 minutes to play. You can play with 2-5 players. The game comes with 80 Shape cards, 40 Whiz cards, and a rules booklet. The knowledge of 2D Geometry figures and shape measurements are used in this game. 
How do you play it?

Players will use their knowledge of geometry to be the first player to find the shape that fits the geometry clue. In order to get the win, all the players must agree the shape fits the clue. If players are unsure or if they decide that it does not match, players can easily flip the card over to check the facts. The back of the Shape card lets you know what clues it will fit.
Does you shape have 90 degree angles?
Does your shape have two sides with the same length?
The clues on the back make it easy for kids to check their answers.
The first player to empty their "personal" shape card pile wins! Players need to be quick because other players can take cards from each other. Whoever spots the card first, snatches it, and plays it gets the credit. 
What did the kids think about the game?

Well in my house, I have one child that does well in math and enjoys games were he has to figure things out. My other child doesn't like math! When I mentioned that we were going to play a new game and that it involved geometry, she was not to thrilled.  I dealt the first round and it was a little confusing for them. Neither of my kids have had too much exposure to geometry. They have been introduced to a few of the basics .....shapes, angles, etc. Some of the terms they had never heard of. I did have to explain it to them so that did take out the speed aspect of the game., but they were still learning.
It did take us a little while to get the hang of the game. Trying to find the right shape could be a little tricky. The game comes with 2 levels. We started out on the easier level and have stayed there since my kids need to build up their knowledge of geometry.
Shape Whiz is a game of speed. Whoever gets it first wins. A game of speed is a great way to encourage a little competition. Of course, any mom knows that siblings love to compete against each other. I do think that the more you play, the easier it will be to see the shape you need. I love how the game encourages kids to use their fast thinking skills. It's a effective way for kids to learn the basics and get them memorized. I do think that your kids need some geometry background for the game to make sense. My youngest, who is 10, had the hardest time. She is a grade behind in math right now, so the game was rather difficult for her. She really didn't like it. My son picked up the game rather quickly, but math is his thing. A few of the clues stumped me, but geometry was not my favorite back in high school. We will definitely use this game more when my kids really start to get into geometry. It's fun and quick to play. It can easily be added to your daily schedule.
Overall I think, Shape Whiz is a great game to get kids to learn about geometry without them really knowing it. When kids learn things in a fun and creative way, they will remember what they have learned. It's like it becomes part of them. This game is a win-win for everyone!

Want to learn more about SimplyFun and all the fun games they have?
Head on over and read more reviews from other members from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

TOS Review for Home School in the Woods

Home School in the Woods Review

Recently, we were given the opportunity to learn about Egypt using Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Egypt from Home School in the Woods for The Schoolhouse Review Crew. For the past few weeks, we have been traveling back in time and learning about Ancient Egypt.

                     Home School in the Woods Review

For this review, we received the down loadable version. Have trouble downloading files with your internet? You can also buy the Project Passport Cd's on their website. We have slow internet, so I downloaded mine at our local library.

So what is Project Passports: Ancient Egypt?

Project Passports are a history unit study. During your unit study, students will make 25 stops. On each stop, students will learn about Ancient Egypt through readings, hands-on projects, and fun activities. The stops will cover about 8-12 weeks. Over the weeks, students will visit interesting places, meet new people, and learn about historical events. Project Passports are a wonderful hands-on learning tool. I love when my kids get engaged and work on projects that increase their knowledge of a particular subject. I find that they remember more about what we are learning when they can get actively involved in the learning. While traveling through Egypt, students will learn about a variety of topics!

With all those topics, you can't go wrong with using Project Passport!

So How to Use Project Passport?

The first thing I did was look through all the files to get familiar with what we would be doing over the next few weeks. I dug out an old 2 inch binder and made my own book for the print outs. I printed out the introduction, the travel plans ( a guide about what we will do each week/spot), and the teacher's answer keys. I went one stop further and printed out the itinerary pages for each stop. I like being able to open up a book and see what we will be doing each week. It helps me plan better.

After reading through the first few stops, we started our travels. We really liked how out he first stop, the kids get to create a passport to log their journey.  If you continue on with other Project Passport studies they can keep adding to it! The kids even make a suitcase to keep hold their travel journal pages.

The unit study had us doing books for a lapbook and filling in pages in for our scrapbook. The kids worked on a variety of pages. They filed in a timeline. They learned about topics like the social pyramid on the Egyptian society, Egyptian clothing, jobs people would have held, and Egyptian food. They filled in travel logs and had fun writing notes on the newspapers. Of course, they learned about mummies too!

Through out our travels, the kids filled in their Egyptian map. I like how they added a few things at a time. It wasn't overwhelming for them. Another nice feature is that they include labels your child can cut out and glue to label the map. So if you child still writes too large for maps, all they have to do is cut and paste. I kept the labels paper clipped to the back of the map for safe keeping. I had my kids write on the maps. I liked how the map had lines were the kids were supposed to label. This helped with my kids learning to write smaller!

What did we think of Project Passport?

It's a great unit study! Very detailed. I will say it takes a lot of time to print out and prepare the pages. When I first opened the files, it was a little overwhelming. There is a lot of information! Once I read through it all it was easy to get started. The only problem I encountered was printing out the pages that needed to be printed. They took a long time to load for some reason. I found this a little frustrating. I felt like I wasted a lot of time waiting. We have satellite for internet so this may have been the problem. Other than that issue, I really enjoyed the lessons and projects.  Reading and planning ahead are essential! 

As far as supplies go, we have a huge bin of craft/art supplies, so must of them we did have. A few we had to go out and purchase. I would have like a separate supply page list. This would be easier to see what was needed. Maybe a supply check list for parents to check off what they have and what they need.

Project Passport is filled with tons of options! You can choose to do it all or pick the what will work best for your kids. They offer ideas for games, food, hands- on projects, extra book resources, and even DVDs to watch to complement the lessons. 

We enjoyed our travels so much that I am ordering the actual Cd's for the upcoming school year. We will be studying the Civil War and the Western Expansion. I love how everything is all laid out for me. Less work for me! I know my kids will enjoy learning more about U.S. history with this program!

Want to learn more about Home School in the Woods? 
Head on over to their social media pages and see what they have to offer!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

TOS Review for Homeschool Planet

 Are you struggling to get organized? Are your homeschool plans and life getting mixed up and out of control? Well, I have just the planner for you!

Homeschool Planet Review

Homeschool Planet from Homeschool Buyers Co-op is an amazing homeschooling planner. You can plan anything and everything! If you're like me, you have tried tons of other online planners. They were either too confusing, too time consuming, or just plan not worth the effort you had to put into them. I would just give up and resort back to a good, old paper planner. I have been looking for an easy to set up planner and I have found it!

Let me introduce you to Homeschool Planet!

Homeschool Planet is an online planner that allows you to plan and organize your life. Each family member is added to the planner. Details about each family member is, grade level, email address, phone numbers, and you can even add a photo for each member. Once all the basic information is added, you can get started with the planning and scheduling.

Homeschool Planet is easy to set up. It does take some time to get everything entered, but it is so worth it! All you have to do is log in and you can immediately start to add all your information. Students, classes, books, lessons, etc. You can track students attendance, grades, and assignments. This is a great way to keep track of information for end of year reporting or transcripts.

There are 3 ways to view you planner.


The Calendar View shows you everyone's or a particular person's schedule for the month, week, or day. You can see what classes you child has planned. Co-op classes that need to be attended. 
All the activities have different colors. This makes it extremely easy to know what is planned by just a quick look.


The Planner View is your log of everything. It's your list of appointments, chores, activities, sport games, practices, vacations, field trips, etc. Whatever you have added to it.
This is great because it makes the planner very specific to your family and your needs.
You can choose to show the list for everyone or just one of you. You have the option to view it daily, weekly, and monthly. It's easy to read and follow. 
You'll have no excuse for forgetting an appointment now.
An added bonus of the planner is you'll get an email reminder of any upcoming events.
No matter where I am, I can see what we have planned just be looking at my phone!
 A mobile version is available for smartphones and tablets too.


The Resource View show you a list of textbooks, workbooks, books, websites, CD's, DVD's that you will be using for you lessons for the school year.
This has been a great help to me. I always made a list of materials for the upcoming school year in a notebook and then every year I would lose the notebook. Not very helpful in the long run.

When you log into the website, you see your dashboard. At the top of the dashboard are tabs.

Reports, Helpers, Print, Settings, Help

Under Reports, you'll find Assignment lists, Class notes, Grade reports, Class hours, and Transcripts. These reports can be printed out for record keeping.

The next tab is Helpers. Here you will find two choices. Rescheduling and Grading Helper. Rescheduling is great for moving a missed or overdue assignment. Grading Helper is just that a helper for grading. Since we are not doing our usual load during the summer I haven't had to use either of these two choices yet. I'm sure this will come in very handy this year.

Print is the next tab. This gives you the option of printing out the current page. You can choose black & white or colored. When the page prints out, it is a nice clean print. None of the side bar content or images are on the page. This is a great way to give your kids their own print out of what lessons they need to complete for the day. Perfect for teaching kids accountability. 

The next tab is Settings. I think this is probably the most important tab. You will be in this section a lot when setting up you school and lessons.

Here you will set up all the information about your school. 
Under the General tab, you can set up the school's name, date preference, time, email notification, etc. 
After filling in the general information, you can get started with setting up your School Year. Selecting the days off and when school will start and end are two important steps. 
Next, you'll add the Subjects being covered for the school year. You can add other activities too. Co-op classes, sport practices, choir, religious classes, and church. 
After that, you can decide on your Grading system.  Are you going to grade? Are you giving tests or quizzes? You can set it up to however you would like it. 
You can even track your Class Hours. Here you have the option of tracking the hours your students spend in class. You can track by hours or by assignments.  
Under the Share tab, you have the option of syncing  Homeschool Planet to your spouses, kids, or your own google calendar. I don't use my google calendar much but this would be a great way to keep the entire family on schedule. You can also send the Homeschool Planet to your google calendar. 
The last tab is Theme. Here you can even change the color and theme of your planner. There are 18 themes to choose from. 

The set up process takes the longest. It isn't hard. It's rather easy but it does require some time.

The Help tab is there for when you need help. If you can't figure something out or find something, just click on the help tab. I'll be honest I haven't had to use it. The planner is that easy to use.

Once you have your classes set up, you can start adding your lessons. 

This step is simple and fairly easy to do. I messed up with a day off and had to fix the schedule. I was worried at first. I thought I would have to rework the whole schedule for the year by hand. But I didn't! Once I fixed the days off, the planner asked me if I wanted to adjust any skipped days. Of course, I said yes and it fixed it all by itself. I was ready to cheer from my seat in the living room. Past planners I have used had me reworking the entire schedule by myself. It gets very tiring and tedious to clip and paste 180 days of schoolwork!

So What Did I Think of the Homeschool Planet?

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED IT! I loved it like happy dance love. I know, I know.... I'm a little strange but I loving planning! I am a planner. I love to plan our school year and lessons. I don't use one style of curriculum or company, so having a planner that makes my planning easier is a gift from Heaven. At least it feel like that. I have tried various online planners but never found one I liked completely. I always went back to my paper planner. I even purchased it again this year because I didn't want to get my hopes to high with this planner. Now I'm wondering what to do with my paper planner!
For me, the setting up classes and imputing lesson plans took the most time. It's time consuming but aren't all planners? Set was easy to do. Everything was pretty self explanatory. Homeschool Planet doesn't frustrate you at all! I am half-way done with my planning for this year. I can wait for school to start so I can see how the lessons and grading options really work. 
I am so happy, no thrilled, that I have been given the opportunity to review and share this amazing planner with you!
If you are looking for an online planner, I can't recommend enough Homeschool Planet. Right now, you can get a 3 month free trail! You don't need a credit card for you free trail. A one year subscription is just $65! If after your free trail you decide to keep using the planner all your information will be there. Stored, saved, and ready for you to continue on.

Want to learn more about the homeschool planner?
Check out their social media pages.

Or you can check out what the other members of the crew are saying about Homeschool Planet!

Homeschool Planet Review

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Traveling Thursdays~A Civil War Adventure

We recently took a quick trip to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Harpers Ferry is where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet. 

It is an old town filled with lots of great history. The National Park has hiking trails, water sports like rafting. areas for picnicking, and a variety of living museums. You can tour a dry goods store, a boarding house, a blacksmith shop, old churches, John Brown's fort, taverns, exhibits about Lewis and Clarke, Slavery, Civil War, and John Brown.


John Brown's Fort

Jefferson Rock

“The passage of the Patowmac through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature. You stand on a very high point of land. On your right comes up the Shenandoah, having ranged along the foot of the mountain a hundred miles to seek a vent.
On your left approaches the Patowmac in quest of a passage also. In the moment of their junction they rush together against the mountain, rend it asunder and pass off to the sea. The first glanceof this scene hurries our senses into the opinion that this earth has been created in time, that the mountains were formed first, that the rivers began to flow afterwards, that in this place particularly they have been so dammed up by the Blue Ridge of mountains as to have formed an ocean which filled the whole valley; that, continuing to rise, they have at last broken over at this spot and have torn the mountain down from its summit to its base.
The piles of rock on each hand, but particularly on the Shenandoah, the evident marks of their disruptions and avulsions from their beds by the most powerful agents in nature, corroborate the impression."                                        ~ Thomas Jefferson

Saint Peter's Church was built in 1830's. It no longer holds daily Mass, but it is open to the public daily. They do still offer Mass at 11:00 on Sundays. It's a beautiful church and a wonderful place for Catholics to visit. For more history about the church visit this website.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Gluten Free Lemon Pound Cake

For Fourth of July, I made a gluten free lemon pound cake. It was yummy!  

1 package of gluten free yellow cake ( I used Hodgson Mills)
1 package (3.4 oz) of Jell-O lemon instant pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2/3 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together cake mix, pudding package, eggs, butter, and water.
Mix until lumps are gone.
Pour batter into a prepared bundt pan or any pan of your choice. I just used butter to grease my pan.
Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Test with a toothpick to check if cake is done.

We served it with powered sugar, strawberries, and blueberries.

Simple and easy to make, but tastes great!
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