Thursday, June 29, 2017

Traveling Thursdays~ Chapel of the Sacred Heart, Grand Teton

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.

Traveling Thursdays

While traveling around the Grand Teton National Park, we stumbled upon a charming rustic log chapel. Chapel of the Sacred Heart Mission is nestled into the Grand Tetons.

Grand Teton

The chapel sits along the southern shore of Jackson Lake. The Chapel dates back to the 1930's. 
It is one of two chapels in the park.

When we visited, the chapel contained a door for the Year of Mercy. This was the second door we were able to walk through during that special year.

Till Next Time,

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you. 

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review~ Grade 7 Lightening Lit Set from Hewitt Homeschooling

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.

Mountain of Grace Homeschooling

Over the past few weeks, Michael has been working through the Gr. 7 Lightening Lit Set from Hewitt Homeschooling. I was beyond excited when we were chosen for this very in depth writing program. Michael, unfortunately, was not as thrilled. His lack of eagerness to write is one of the main reasons I wanted to review this writing curriculum. 

Hewitt Homeschooling
Hewitt Homechooling is company that serves students in Kindergarten through High school. They offer 3 main items for students and their families: services (online curriculum, grading, etc.), testing, and curriculum programs. For this review, we received the Grade 7 Lightening Lit Set. Our set included the 2nd Edition Student Guide, Student Workbook, Teacher's Guide, and Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children.
 Lightning Literature and Composition Pack
Grade 7
The full Grade 7 Lightening Lit Set includes the Student Guide, Student workbook, Teacher's Guide, Stories and Poems for Intelligent Children, and the 4 books needed for the program The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, All Creatures Great and Small, and Helen Keller The Story of My Life. The full set retails for $108.80.
Since we didn't receive the additional 4 literature books, I purchased the one book we didn't already have and searched the shelves for the books we did have. 
Along with the writing curriculum program, we were lucky enough to receive the paper evaluation service that Hewitt Homeschooling provides. This service generally costs about $250 a year. Throughout the year, the teachers at Hewitt Homeschooling will review and offer feedback on 24 of your student's papers. We didn't receive a full years service, but we have been given the opportunity to send in 4 papers. I prayed we would be chosen for this special service and we were. I really wanted Michael to get some feedback from someone else about his papers. Sometimes it helps to have an outside voice share some advice (or back up what mom has been saying along).
So What is Grade 7 Lightening Lit & Comp?

writing curriculum

Well, it's a writing curriculum with so much more! The Lightening Lit & Comp program strives to prepare students for high school. It helps students work on their reading and composition skills while using great literature. The goal of this writing program is to expose students to great literature, increase their understanding of the literature, enhance their own writing skills, learn about different authors, time periods, and cultures, and so much more. They want the students to do all this, but have fun while doing it. Who doesn't learn better when they are actually enjoying what they are working on?

The students will work through the student guide book and the student workbook. The books are broken up into eight chapters. The various chapters focus on a literary lesson and a certain book. The chapters are further broken up into lessons. Each chapter has between 8-12 lessons. 


The student guide contains an introduction, which talks about the author, the chosen literature, and the literary lesson for that chapter is introduced. Following the introduction, a vocabulary list is presented for the student. The chapter then continues with comprehension questions for the student to answer. These questions are great way to make sure you student is understanding what they are reading. Following the questions, students will then learn about the literary lesson. Here a literary topic (plot, poetry, rhyme, creativity) is discussed in detail. The students learn all about how to work this into their own writing. This section often has pictures and diagrams to help explain the topic. The last part of the chapter includes a mini-lesson ( a small topic is discussed) and the writing exercises the students can work on. 


More than one writing lesson is presented, so students can choose one to work on or they can work on all of them.  The writing lesson should only be completed once all the activity pages in the workbook for that chapter have been completed.

Hewitt Homeschooling

Writing and Comprehension

The student workbook follows the guide book. In the workbook, students will work on exercises that help reinforce the literary lesson being taught. Multiple choice, question & answer, fill in graphs, writing exercises, and other forms of writing are presented. It's not all boring though. The workbook also has fun pages too! Crossword puzzles, word searches, and drawing activities are included too.

writing curriculum

The teacher guide is just that a guide. It has a wonderful section explaining how to use the program, why you should this program, and they've even included a schedule. This makes it easy for parents. No breaking down the lessons. It's all done for you. I do wish they had included a schedule in the student book. If the students had a copy in their own guide book, they could easily know what they were supposed to be working on. I made a copy for Michael to have, so he could have it to refer to. My goal this year is too encourage more independent learning for him.

personalized lessons

It has all the answers to the comprehension questions and activity pages in the student workbook. It offers suggestions for parents on how to help their students understand the literary lesson and mini-lesson presented in the chapter.
What Did We Think of Grade 7 Lightening Lit Set and the Paper Evaluation Service?
After being chosen for this review, I have to admit I got a little nervous. I was afraid Michael would stress out. Was it going to be too hard? I wanted this to be a pleasant experience. I didn't want to have to do battle everyday for him to write a little.  I wanted him to enjoy this writing program and learn some new writing techniques and rules. I wanted his writing skills to improve so he could grow in his writing abilities and build his confidence. He doubts himself when he writes a paper. Over the past year, the kids worked on papers and Michael struggled getting them done. When he did complete them, they were filled with lots of sound information. He just lacked in his writing skills. He hates to proofread! I was thrilled when Michael (his teacher at Hewitt Homeschooling) clearly pointed out that he needs to proofread! It felt like a win for this mama. 
Michael, from Hewitt Homeschooling, has been wonderful. He has been very friendly and extremely helpful. He sent an introduction email to us. His email put me at ease and I was happy to know that he was there to help us. If we had any questions, all we had to to was ask. 
So far, we have turned in one paper. We are getting close to sending in our second paper. The whole process has been rather simple. My Michael just types the paper up in Word and then I email it for him since he doesn't have an email address yet. Once we sent the paper off, it was about a week and half before we received it back with corrections and comments. This was shorter than the 2 week turn around we were told. After looking over his corrected paper, Michael admitted that he could have caught a good bit of the mistakes if he would have reread his paper. Proof reading is important! I loved the feedback he received, Michael, our evaluator, offered positive feedback too. He pointed out parts that were strong and well written, while pointing out areas in the paper that could be clarified and made into stronger points. I felt he made a positive impact on Michael's writing experience. Over, the next few weeks, we will send in the remaining 3 papers. I am hoping I will see a difference in Michael's writing abilities and his confidence. 
Here are Michael's Thoughts about the Program...
He thought the program was very good. In fact, he stated this was the best writing program he's done so far. The program offers great stories! It's not boring. He likes the variety of writing exercises.
He'd give it five stars!

This is a HUGE success for us!
I think I'll be looking into the Grade 8 Lightening Lit Set for him for next year!
Be sure to stop by to see the other fantastic programs Hewitt Homeschooling has to offer!

Hewitt Homeschooling {Reviews}
Till Next Time,
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, June 26, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review~ Earth Science: God's World, Our Home from Novare Science & Math

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.

Earth Science

As the kids have gotten older, curriculum choices have gotten more confusing. Trying to find resources we like and agree with has been a little tricky. We were thrilled when we were chosen to review Earth Science: God's World, Our Home from Novare Science & Math. For this review, we received a physical copy of the Earth Science: God's World, Our Home textbook and a link to download the resource CD that Novare Science & Math sells to go along with the book.

Novare Science & Math
Novare Science & Math is a relatively new company in the homeschooling world. They set out to revolutionize the science and math world by "promoting a a teaching philosophy bases on the core principles of mastery, interrogation, and  Kingdom perspective." I love how they wanted to break away from the schooling standards of "cram-pass-forget." I remember too often studying for a test and then completely forgetting the information I had learned. I wanted my children to learn and master the topics being covered.
Over the past year, I've been searching for a strong science curriculum for the kids. There seems to be a huge selection for elementary and high school students, but the resources for middle school are limited. I am thankful that Novare Science & Math decided to create Earth Science: God's World, Our Home. The textbook is geared for middle school students, but could easily be used for 9th grade. I was especially thrilled to see Catholic Heritage Curricula and Memoria Press both recommend this new textbook!
Novare Earth Science: God’s World Our Home
So What is Earth Science: God's World, Our Home?
First off the basics...the textbook is beautiful. It's a hardback book filled with bright, colorful graphics and pictures. The book retails for $75.00.  The book is a little smaller than an average textbook. This took me a little bit of time to get used to. The kids didn't even notice, since it was the same size as their English textbooks. 
The book contains 15 chapters...
Chapter 1: Earth in Space
Chapter 2: Visualizing the Earth
Chapter 3: Thinking About the Earth
Chapter 4: Matter and Minerals
Chapter 5: Rocks and the Rock Cycle
Chapter 6: Plate Tectonics and Mountain Building
Chapter 7: Volcanoes and Earthquakes
Chapter 8: Weathering, Erosion, Soils
Chapter 9: Surface Water and Groundwater
Chapter 10: Landforms
Chapter 11: Unraveling Earth History
Chapter 12: Oceanography
Chapter 13: The Atmosphere
Chapter 14: Weather
Chapter 15: Climate and Air Pollution
Novare Science & Math
Each chapter is broken up into 4 -6 lessons. Some of the lessons are broken up into even smaller lessons. Each chapter has an Objective list for students, a vocabulary section, sections called Learning Check and an Exercises section at the end of the chapter. The learning check section contains activities and questions for the students to use to strengthen and test their knowledge. The end of the chapter exercise sections are similar to review questions and activities. They are a great way to tie up the chapter. In addition to the chapters, the book contains a preface section for teachers and students, an appendix, a glossary, biblical citations, references, and an index. 
Earth Science
To go along with the textbook, the company offers a CD. The resource CD sells for $50. It includes quizzes, tests, answer key, instructions for 8 experiments, weekly review guides, lesson schedule, and additional resources.
There is no teacher's manual to this textbook.
So What Did We Think of Earth Science: God's World, Our Home?

Novare Science & Math

It was a big hit for us. While searching for a science textbook for the kids, I wanted a book that taught all the theories of how the earth was created. I didn't want a book that only taught creationism. With a young man interested in going into the science field, I wanted him to be aware of the different theories out there. I felt is was important for him to know about them, understand them, and be able to make up his own mind in what he believed. As Catholics, we have 3 Dogmas we must believe.
1. God created everything out of nothing ("ex nihlo")
2. God created an orderly universe (the universe is not a product of chance)
3. God sustained everything in being (everything depends on God for existence) 
So having the different theories presented in this book was an important aspect for us. Families that believe in only creationism may have a problem with this book. If you don't want your child exposed to the other theories this book may not be the right fit for you. However, for us I do feel it is important for students to be exposed to the different theories. Being well read and have all the information is important for forming our young students minds. 
Novare Science & Math
The additional resource CD was a nice added bonus. It provides students and parents with additional resources. Of course, the students may not want the quizzes, tests, and exams, The schedule was laid out in a simple manner. The lesson outline was very basic. I actually liked that. I love to add other activities to our lessons, The simple lesson guidelines allowed me to do just that. I wasn't added more projects and then overwhelming my kids.The lessons are not written out like some other homeschool curriculum. It didn't tell you what pages to read on what day or what activities to do. It did suggest a lesson guide and when to take the quizzes, but the actually lesson plans were pretty laid back. If you're not a planner, this might not be enough for you. I happen to love a simple, easy guide. It's easier for me to change and adjust to meet our needs. Plus I love planning! I can never just grab a books and follow it religiously. I always have to tweak it....take something out, add something new, rearrange the schedule,etc. 
Another added bonus from Novare Science are the free resources from the Tips and Tools link on their site! 
Science Curriculum
These are FREE resources for parents and students. They offers additional resources like website links and YouTube videos for the different chapters in the textbook! This makes planning a easier and quicker.
So far we have enjoyed the book. We have found the lessons challenging but not too difficult. It's written so students can learn and understand what they are reading. We got into the first few chapters before taking a break for the summer. We will definitely pick this book up again. I strongly believe my kids will have a fantastic understanding of the world around them. I may even learn a few things. My 9th grade Earth Science teacher may finally be proud of me. I'll be looking into their General Chemistry and Introductory Physics for the kids. Science wasn't my strongest subject in high school, but with these books we will excel!
The crew reviewed a few other books from Novare Science!
Introductory Physics
General Chemistry
Science for Every Teacher 
Biblical Based Science {Novare Science & Math Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer
Till Next Time,

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Living Like a Saint~ Saint Gertrude the Great

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.

"O Sacred Heart of Jesus, fountain of eternal life, Your Heart is a glowing furnace of love. You are my refuge and my sanctuary."

~Saint Gertrude the Great

O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

Till Next Time,

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review~ Homeschool Planet from Homeschool Buyers Co-op

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.

Homeschool planning tools

It's that time of year again when moms (and dads) start planning for the upcoming school year. Every year I use a combination of computer planning and paper  planners. I keep trying to find a planner that I love and enjoy using. I was thrilled to be able to review Homeschool Planet from Homeschool Buyers Co-op. As the kids get older, I really need a program that allows me to plan their lessons and keep track of their courses and grades!

Homechool Planet

For this review, we received a one year subscription to Homeschool Planet. A one year subscription is $65 a year, or you can choose a monthly subscription for $6.95 a month. Of course you get your first month free as a free trial.

So What is Homeschool Planet?

Homeschool Planet

Homeschool Planet is an online lesson planning and record keeping program. It offers a variety of tools to organize your home and school!

The program offers the following features...

~Calendar View~
You can view everyone's schedule or just one student's schedule

~Planner View~
A list of EVERYTHING that needs to be completed for the day, week, and month.

~Resource View~
A list of all your text books, workbooks, CDs, DVDs, and websites being used for your lessons. No more missing notebooks with my lists.

~Emails and Text Messages ~
Emails and messages sent out to all family members. A daily digest will be sent out to family members. Lessons, assignments, chores, classes, sports, etc.

~Separate Logins~
For easy access, family members all have their own login information. Students can log in and take control of their own lessons. Great for creating accountability. 

~Lesson Plans~
Assignments, websites, books, notes, due dates, etc.

~Tacking Tools~
Track student's attendance and grades. Parents can create a transcript

~Household Planning Tools~
For help around the house, you can create schedules, shopping list (you can email it to yourself) and meal planning. Keep track of birthdays, anniversaries, doctor's appointments etc.

~Customized Home Pages~
You can create you own personalized home page with colors, backgrounds, and widgets for bible verses, weather, daily quotes, to-do list, shopping lists, research topics, and a reading list.

Homeschool Planet

So here is what I have discovered I like about the Planner (and what I don't like about it).
As I stated before over the years I have tried a ton of different planners. Some planners I have loved, while others I have not. Homeschool Planet is easy to use and provides you with everything you could possibly need to get your homechool and home life organized! 

Easy~Easy Set Up
Set up was super easy. I didn't have to search through the help page. It wasn't hard to find the pages I needed and everything was right there. No searching for pages! I didn't have to navigate through various pop up windows either. It was easy to see where to enter all the information needed. I set up my home page to how I wanted it. After that, I entered all the information needed for my school. I created my school calendar including my start date, end date, and days off. The program automatically updated my total number of days for school. The next page I filled out was the kid's school subjects, the grading system I was going to use, and all your students information like grade and email address if you want them to receive a daily digest of lessons and chores.

Homeschool Planet

Creating and Setting Up Lessons and Grading System
This process was fairly simple. I will admit it is time consuming (I'm still not completed for next year), but when isn't lesson planning. I'm lucky that both my kids use the same materials for a few subjects. I only have to enter them in once and have both kids join in on the class. Math, on the other hand, had to be entered in for both students separately. If you had 4 kids with 6 different subjects each, this would be a very tedious process. For me, I manually entered in my lessons. I'm still trying to figure out how to use some of the more advanced features. I like to keep things simple. I'm sure as I get more familiar with all the features, I will use more of the program. 
The grading system was super easy to set. I found the grading scale simple to follow and adjust to our standards. The grading system makes it extremely easy to keep track of your students grades! I'll be working on Michael's transcript this year, so I am excited that the program has this already set up.

Homeschool Planning

Printable Lesson Plans
This is a fantastic feature of Homeschool Planet. We tried using a paper planner book for the kids last year. They either couldn't find them or forgot to write stuff down. They were useless! The printable lesson page is a great way for me to give them their assignments and have them work independently.

Adjustable Scheduling
One feature I love with this planner is the ability to move assignments with a click of a button. With other planners, I had to delete and rewrite the lessons. With Homeschool Planet I can choose to move the assignment forward. I can even move all the remaining assignments forward. This is great if we miss an assignment here and there and lets face who doesn't fall behind when homeschooling.

Lesson Plans

Homeschool Planet

Homeschool Planet now offers over 200 lessons plans created for many popular homeschool curriculum companies. Members of Homeschool Planet can now add already designed lesson plans from companies like IEW, Saxon Math, Mammoth Math, The Magic School Bus, and Teaching Textbooks. These lessons are all laid out for parents and students. These pre-made lesson plans save you time and keeps your students on the right path. The lesson plans do not contain the curriculum for which they were created.The curriculum will need to be purchased separately.
To go along with this review, I received a free lesson plan. I chose Words That Matter: Middle which is geared for students in grades 6th-8th. This particular lesson plan is 12 weeks long and comes with everything needed. The lesson plan introduces students to 2-4 words daily, a link to hear the word, a link to a PDF that students to fill out, quizzes, and tests. Each day the lesson is outlined and ready to go. I don't have to plan a thing! Easy, convenient, and a wonderful addition to Homeschool Planet.

Homeschool Buyers Co-op

Want to see if Homeschool Planet is right for you?
Head on over and give it a try for FREE!
They are currently running a special for the month of June, if you sign up right now for a free one month trial will receive a free lesson plan, valued at $5-$15, from their new Lesson Plan Marketplace.

Be sure to check out the other reviews from the crew members. I know they'll have a lot more to say about this fantastic planning tool!
Homeschool Planet {Homeschool Buyers Co-op Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer
Till Next Time,

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Traveling Thursdays~ Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you. 

In between our adventure exploring Yellowstone National Park, we took a break and explored some the surrounding area! A definite must stop (at least in Michael's World) is the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center located in West Yellowstone, Montana. 

Yellowstone Vacation

West Yellowstone, MT

The center is a non-profit wildlife park and education center. Visitors to the center will be able to view grizzlies and wolves. You can even learn more about these two amazing creatures.

Yellowstone Vacation
Add caption

Unfortunately all the animals in the wildlife center can no longer survive in the wild, so they now serve as ambassadors for their species.

The park is home to eight Grizzly bears. They have been placed at the center for a variety of reasons....nuisance bears coming into close contact with humans and getting to used to human food, orphaned cubs whose mother had been killed, or orphans of  mothers who became nuisance bears.

Grizzly and Wolf Center

These grizzlies were the only ones we saw the entire time we were in Yellowstone. Michael would have loved to see one out in the wild, but was thrilled that this center offered him a chance to see one up close and learn more about them!

Grizzly & Wolf Center

The Park has three different wold packs. The lighter colored wolves belong to the Granite Wolf Pack. Adara and Summit are part of this pack.

wolf pack

The second wold pack is the High Country Wolf Pack. It consists of Leopold and McKinley.
Leopold and McKinley are brothers.

grizzly & wolf center

The third pack is the River Valley Pack. Akela and Kootenai are part of this pack. Akela was named after the leader of the wolf pack in the story The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling.

We were thrilled to see these beautiful creatures. It's sad that they can no longer roam in the wild, but thankfully they have been saved and now help people realize what a treasure they truly are.

Grizzly & Wolf Center

They also have a few birds of prey on display too. Eagles, hawks, etc. Many of them have been injured and can no longer fly. When we were there they were expanding this section. It looks like it will be a wonderful addition to the center.

After visiting with the animals, visitors can head indoors for some educational learning. The educational center is an interactive exhibit. It has six thematic sections and houses 25 taxidermic mounts. Visitors can explore the myths and folklore of bears and learn all about the bears history.

If you want to see the animals for yourself, you can plan a trip or just head over to their website! They have bear and wolf cams for people to see these stunning animals.

Till Next Time,

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