Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Our 2019 Homeschool Supply Collection

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.

Hey there. It's officially that time of year again...Back to School! O.K., I'll admit most kids are back to school already, even most of the homeschooling families we know are. We are not! I decided to wait until after Labor day to start. It worked for us as kids, so I figured why not!

Even though the kids are no longer little and asking for Lego or Frozen notebooks, it doesn't mean we don't have buying new school supplies every year. This year, we even had to but a few items that were required for our Monday co-op. I love planning the new year and love shopping for new supplies every year.

So here are a few of our favorite homeschool supplies for the year~

Ticonderoga #2 Pencils
Neon Ticonderoga #2 Pencils
Pink Pearl Erasers
BIC Mechanical Pencils

Paper Mate Profile Red Pens
Paper Mate Profile Assorted Color Pens
Paper Mate Profile Black Pens
Black Sharpie Pens
Colored Sharpie Pens
Thick Black Permanent Marker
Expo Dry Erase Markers
Dry Erase Eraser

Dry Erase Board Cleaner
Elmer's Glue Sticks
Crayola Colored Pencils

Crayola Markers
Post It Notes
Post It Notes Mini
Post Note Tabs
Mermaid Spiral Notebooks

Five Star 3 Subject Spiral Notebooks
Fiskars Protractor and Compass Set
Fiskars Scissors~ 3 pack
Casio Scientific Calculator
Five Star Graph Paper
Five Star Loose Leaf Paper
Sketch Pad
Scotch Thermal Laminator
Scotch Thermal Laminating Sheets
X-ACTO Pencil Sharpener

Vera Bradley Iconic XL Campus Backpack in Moonlight Garden

Vera Bradley Iconic Lunch Bag in Moonlight Garden

Do you have any favorite supplies? I'd love to hear about them!
Hope you all have a fantastic year.

Till Next Time,

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Review~ Britfield & the Lost Crown

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.

Book Review~ English History

Do your children love stories filled with adventure? The kids and I sure do.
Over the last few weeks, we have been reading about the adventures of Tom and Sarah in the story, Britfield & the Lost Crown.

For this review, we received a Kindle eBook we downloaded. The kids and I were able to read the book on our phones and tablets with the Kindle Cloud Reader from Amazon. I keep meaning to purchase a Kindle, but just haven't gotten around to it. The book can be purchased in a variety of formats...Softcover, Hardback, Audiobook, and eBook. 

Britfield & the Lost Crown is an adventurous tale about a young boy, Tom and a young girl, Sarah who escape from a horrible life at Weatherly. Weatherly is an orphanage located in Yorkshire. The children living there have a life filled with lots of work, uncomfortable living conditions, harsh punishments, and days filled with hunger. Every child in the orphanage dreams of escaping this horrible place. After learning that his parents may still be alive, Tom plans a daring escape to discover if the rumor is true. He helps save Sarah because he couldn't bear the thought of leaving her behind. With the help of the other orphans, both Tom and Sarah are able to escape Weatherly to start a whole new life. 

Of course, things don't go so smoothly. After almost being caught during their daring escape, the two children begin a journey filled with chases from the police (a very determined detective) and mysterious men, daring hot air balloon rides, hiding out, and secrets that just keep popping up. Thankfully, the two children discover a few caring people along the way that help them with their journey. 

Will Tom ever discover the secrets of his past?
Are his parents really alive? 
Will Tom and Sarah ever have a life filled with peace and happiness? 

You'll have to order the book today to discover the answer!

For teachers and homeschoolers, there is also a Britfield Study Guide to go along with the book. It's 83 pages long and is broken up into 8 weeks. It covers vocabulary, comprehension questions, questions to dig deeper, and topics to research. It's a wonderful resources to help learn about England and English history. Adding the study guide and a few of the research topics, parents could easily make a wonderful class for a semester!
We chose not to use the study guide since the kids were reading the book during summer break.

"Tom, patience and a little faith will get you a long way in this world."

What Did We Think of Britfield & the Lost Crown?

I loved the book. You can't help cheer the orphans on as they help Tom and Sarah escape. I enjoyed the descriptions of England while I read the book. Many years ago (my college days), I studied abroad in England. For four months, I lived in London and traveled all around England. It was beautiful country and I greatly enjoyed my time there.

I loved reading about the places I had visited....Warwick Castle, Bond Street, the city of Canterbury, Oxford and St. Paul's Cathedral . The images brought back so many vivid memories of myself walking around London, Oxford University, etc. 

The charming descriptions brought the cities back to life for me. It was like walking down memory lane. I was filled with so many fond memories of my time there with friends.

The book describes in great detail the different areas of England. They allow students to imagine themselves there. I loved how the author brought in English history. There's nothing wrong with learning some new facts while enjoying a book. Learning can happen anywhere and at anytime.

The kids liked how the plot was filled with so many twists and turns.  Therese and I couldn't put the book down. We just wanted to know what would happen next. Britfield & the Lost Crown is one of those books you want to sit down and read until it's finished! We all are looking forward to the second book!
Michael though the books was good and rather entertaining. It was a quick read, but he felt it was filled with lots of action to keep everyone's attention. He felt boys would really enjoy the book with all the antics Tom and the orphans do.
We all though the book was extremely well done and children of all ages will love it. It would make a great read aloud for younger children.

Children and parents everywhere are raving about this adventurous tale. 
Children have given Britfield & the Lost Crown 9 out 10 stars.
The book has already received several awards.

Book Excellent Award
Chanticleer (5 out of 5)
2019 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Book Awards
Kids Buzz (5 out of 5)
Story Monsters (Excellence in Literature)
Readers Favorites (5 out of 5)
Award-Winning Finalist in the Children's Fiction
2019 International Book Awards

Discover more about Tom and Sarah's adventure through England!

Read more reviews from the other crew members about this outstanding book from C.R. Stewart.
Just click the link below!

Till Next Time,

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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Sunday Inspiration~ August 25, 2019

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.

Till Next Time,

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Review~ My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping

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.

It's that time of year again. 
Time to plan and keep track of all that important information needed to homeschool successfully. Recently, I was given the opportunity to review the Annual Membership Plan from My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping. This is our second time reviewing this online planner. They've made a few changes since we reviewed them last, so I'm eager to see what the new program is like.
Are looking for an online planner?
Well, stick around and see if this one is right for you!

For this review, I was given a annual membership for My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping. An annual membership costs $50 for the entire year or you can pay month to month. The monthly rate is $5 a month. If an annual membership is purchased, families can save 17%. Be sure to check the companies website for current and up-to-date pricing. If you're not sure if the planner is right for your family, don't worry the company does offer a 1 month free trial. This helps families see if this planner works for everyone.

In addition to the good, old-fashioned paper and pen planners I've been using, I've also used another online homeschool planner. Even though I like my fancy paper planner and my current online planner, I was more than willing to give My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping a try. Maybe I'd fall for the new features.

My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping is an online planner geared specifically for homeschooling families.  Homeschool families can use this planner to organize their lessons and daily lives. This online planner can help homeschooling families become more organized, more efficient, and more focused. Families can keep track of classes, lessons, co-op classes, extracurricular activities, field trips, book lists, clubs, awards, etc. It keeps everything in one location at your finger tips.

Lesson Plan Generators
Lesson Re-scheduler
Lesson Sharing
Attendance Tracking
Automated Grading

Reading Logs/Lists
Extra-curricular Activities
Standardized Tests

Lesson Plans
Course Descriptions
Report Cards

Families can customize their planner to fit their needs. Parents can adjust the grading scale and grading weight for different assignments. Parents and students can receive email notifications of assignments, upcoming events, and appointments. Classes can be set up as a core class or an elective. For older students, parents can set up dual enrollment and honors classes. My School Year has so many options and features for families to use. It actually can be a little intimidating when you first visit their site. 

What Did I Think of My School Year?

The initial set up for the school was super easy. I created an account, logged into that account, and followed the steps of the Registration Wizard. I set up our start date and end date. I marked out holidays, days off, and vacations.  

I assigned the dates for the 4 quarters. I set up both students with their classes. 
All this was fairly easy to do.

When I went to enter the student's lessons is when things got a little tricky. The problem I encountered was the actual lesson planning. 

I found 3 main options for adding lessons. I could add each lesson one at a time or use the create-a-plan. The create-a-plan option allows lessons to be added in Quick Split and Rapid Repeat. 

Quick Split~ will divide up the material into evenly distributed lessons. This is perfect for books.

Rapid Repeat~ will create a pre-selected number of lessons. This is great for chores, practices, or repetitive lessons.

Neither option in the create-a-plan worked form us. For basic and simple lessons that repeat again these options seemed to work, but for detailed lessons that varied every day it just wasn't working. I had to go back to add a lesson option. 

I couldn't figure out how to add individual lessons without having to go through too many steps. I don't have lessons that repeat day in and day out. Since I encourage my kids to try to work independently, I want them to be able to read their morning email and know exactly what to do. For me to put in detailed lesson plans for each day, I was having to click way too many buttons to just add one day. Once the lessons for that one day was added, I had to go through the whole process again for the entire year. I was having to add 100+ lessons one at a time with multiple steps. It wasn't confusing, it just was a giant hassle and took too much time. I couldn't figure out how to add bulk lesson plans on one page. It's a little too tedious to have to add each lesson plan, search for the date, click add, and then start the entire whole process again for the next lesson. Being able to do it all on one page and then click add would be a lot easier. Maybe I missed the instructions for this somewhere or didn't understand something I read. I searched and read all the helps for creating lessons, but they just didn't solve the problem I was having. This is the one area I disliked about My School Year.

Overall, My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping is great. I love all the different reports I can create. Transcripts, report cards, course descriptions etc. They are great for keeping all those high school records you need for college. I love how I can track books, test scores, outside classes, field trips, clubs, volunteer work, etc. I have to say they have thought of everything. 

With so many things to add to the planner, the instructional videos are a must. There is no way, you can sit down and know all that this planner has or understand how to add everything. There is a HUGE learning curve with this program. Be patience and take a few days to watch the videos. They will help! I'm still figuring things out! I remember from the last time I reviewed the planner that set up was rather confusing. It no longer is. The confusion comes when trying to add lessons. I still think they could improve this area a little. Maybe make the process less confusing and easier to to accomplish.

I'm still working through the planner and figuring out all that it has, but overall I am pleased with the new program. I'm hoping I'll have it all figured out by the time school starts in a few weeks!

Need more information about My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping online planner? 
Click below and see what the rest of the crew had to say about this new and improved planner.

Till Next Time,

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Happy Homemaker Monday~ August 19, 2019

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.

Good Morning! 
I hope y'all had a wonderful weekend. We had a fun weekend. Therese and I went shopping on Saturday and had a great day out together. It's always nice to have a girl's day out. We both got some new outfits for fall. My main goal heading out was to find a pair of jeans that fit well. I always have a problem with jeans fitting right. I was thrilled to find 3 pairs that I loved. 
On Sunday, we had a relaxing morning. We head to Mass in the evening and then the kiddos head to youth group. My hubby and I had a date night while the kids were hanging with friends. We enjoyed our Mexican dinner and catching up. While we were out, it stormed for a bit, but we were then greeted with a rainbow at the end.

Enough about the weekend, let's get on with Happy Homemaker Monday. Be sure to stop in and say hi to Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home. 

~ The Weather~

It's hot and humid here at the moment. With the heat index, it going to feel like it's in the triple digits. We'll see temps like this for most of the week, but will be getting a reprieve by Friday! I'll be looking forward to the cooler weather. I'm ready for fall. I want to open the widows and air out the house a bit.

Monday~ Partly Cloudy, 92*
Tuesday~ Scattered Thunderstorms, 91*
Wednesday~ Scattered Thunderstorms, 89*
Thursday~ Scattered Thunderstorms, 89*
Friday~ Partly Cloudy, 80*
Saturday~ Partly Cloudy, 76*
Sunday~ Partly Cloudy, 78*

~What's for Breakfast~ 

Coffee and a buttered gluten free English muffin. I sneaked a few chocolate cover raisins too.

~On My Nightstand~

My glasses and a bottle of lotion.

~What I'm Doing Right Now~

Typing up this post and cuddling with a big, black lab. She is glued to my leg and is sound asleep snoring away. 

~What I'm Reading~

I finished up a few books and started a new one. I'm currently reading two books at the moment. 

Same Beach, Next Year by Dorothea Benton Frank


The Summer of Sunshine and Margot by Susan Mallery

~What's on TV~

BH 90210
I decided to watch the second episode of the Beverly Hills 90510 reboot. It was slightly better than the first episode. I may give it a try for a while. 

Therese and I have been watching the reruns on TV. I love watching this show. It reminds me of my days living in New York. I love my country life now, but I sure do miss certain things from big, city life.

~On the Menu This Week~

Smoked Sausage with peppers and onions

Honey Mustard Chicken, Potatoes, Green Beans

Lemon Chicken Patties with Rice

Turkey Breast, Mashed Potatoes, Peas

Potato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Not sure yet

Roasted Chicken, Scalloped Potato, Salad

~On the To Do List~

Nail appointment... my nails desperately need it. 
Doctor's appointment
Classroom set up for my religious class

~Around the House~

Donation drop off (outgrown clothes)
Finish organizing the schoolroom

~What I'm Sewing or Creating~

Nothing this week. Therese gets her wisdom teeth removed, so I'll be busy with her.

~From the Camera~

Not a great picture of Mr. Fluffy Pants, but he sure does look content. He was staring at our other male cat. They had been playing and I think they were debating on pouncing on each other again. When those two get going, it sounds like a heard of elephants running through the house. 

~Quote for the Week~

Till Next Time,

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Review~ CTCMath

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.

Over the years, we've tried quite a few math programs. Some were traditional, while others were online. One thing I've learned over the years is that it's always best to find what works the best with your individual student. A few weeks ago, we were given the opportunity to review the Family Membership from CTCMath. The family membership we received was a 12 month subscription for up to 5 family members.  

CTCMath is an online math program created by Pat Murray. As a homeschooling father of 10 children, he knew there was a need to create a math program that was different from anything else out there. He wanted to create a math program that was geared to different learning styles and more importantly not boring for the students. This desire led him to create a program that had short, interactive lessons that appealed to a wide variety of learning styles. CTCMath is geared for students in grades Kindergarten through 12th. The program is currently used by more than 200,00 students! 

How Does CTCMath Work

CTCMath is an online math program. After paying for a subscription, moms (or dads) will set up accounts for each of their students. Students will then be able to log into their individual accounts to complete the daily lessons. Each student will have his'her own username and password. They can log in on their computers, phones, or tablets. The student dashboard allows students to see their assignments, assigned tasks, tests, and speed drills that will help with math memorization! Students can play catch up, stay on target with their math, or move ahead. The program moves at the students own pace allowing them to master the skills they are learning.

The lessons are presented in short video lectures for the students to watch. They can also read the lecture in note form. They can download them in a pdf form and print them out for future reference.

After watching the video lecture, students will then work through the assigned problems. The problems are interactive and online.  A worksheet can be printed out for further practice and reference. For Algebra 1, the questions have been multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank. Michael preferred the fill-in-the-blank. He usually gets 10 to 12 questions to answer. Michael did need a separate notebook to work through the program. He would complete the work in the notebook and then type in the answer on the computer. He also needed a scientific calculator. 

While the students work through the program, they'll be able to track their progress and see exactly how they are doing. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your student. If they're doing well, it can lead to encouragement. If they are doing poorly, it can lead to frustration and discouragement. 

CTCMath offers a full online math curriculum. Students can work through a wide variety of courses.

Grade 1
Grade 2
Grade 3
Grade 4
Grade 5
Grade 6
Basic Math and Pre-Algebra
Elementary Measurement
Elementary Geometry
Algebra 1
Algebra 2

After the students complete the sections they are working on, they receive different awards.

A perfect score of 100%

Average grade of 95% or higher

Average grade of 85-94%

The grade is based on the average of each lesson. Students are able to repeat a lesson if they do poorly on a lesson. The program doesn't just give the student a 100% then. It takes the average of the grades and calculates the students grade. The only way to achieve a 100% is to score it on the first attempt of the lesson. Students must achieve an 85% or higher on a lesson to move on.

These awards can be printed out for school records or if the student wants to display it. This is a great incentive for younger students. I found my highschooler was not all that interested in me printing it out. I wasn't overly shocked by his choice.

A new feature that CTCMath now offers is the Wizard Question Bank. This allows parents to create custom-made worksheets for students to complete that go along with the lessons. Parents are able to select the topics to cover, the number of questions to answer, and the time frame they have to complete it. This is great for added comprehension of the lesson.

Parents have their own separate log in to track their students. This area is called the Parent's Dashboard. Here parents can what lessons their students have completed, how they scored on the lesson, and see detailed reports on how they did on each question. Parents can also schedule lesson for students to complete for the week. I didn't use this section, since I already use a different online planner. I added my children's lessons into that planner. 

How Did We  Use CTCMath

For this review, Michael worked through the Algebra 1 lessons. I was looking for a curriculum that could help him learn Algebra 1 and get him through the course. We'd used a few other curriculum during the past year, but he just wasn't focused. I was hoping to catch him up and move him on to Geometry. Math comes extremely easy to him and he gets bored rather quickly. He likes learning math in a real world point of view. Throughout the past few weeks, he has progressed through the program. He's done an average of 1 to 2 lessons a day. He logged in on his tablet and worked through the program on that. We did have a problem with the video lectures loading. On most days, he would give up and read the lesson notes and examples. He did comment that he wished there were more detailed notes for those students who didn't have great internet. 

~Michael's Thought~
Easy to log in 
Lessons were short 
Not too many problems to work through
Still doesn't like online math programs...he did say this one was better than any other he had worked on

~My Thoughts~
I'm still up on the air with this one. I haven't seen any real improvement in Michael's grades or interest in math. I know he can score higher, but I don't see him taking this program all that seriously. I'm not sure if he's truly comprehending new concepts being taught. To me, the lessons seem too short and simple, especially for high school math. If he wasn't math orientated, I'd be afraid he'd be falling behind. This program may be perfect for a more visual learner, but Michael is definitely more hands on. I'm thinking he may need to go back to his old-fashion textbook and just complete Algebra 1 that way. I wish CTCMath had been a better fit for our family, but I just don't think it's working for Michael. I loved what I saw when I logged in and looked through the younger grades. The lessons seemed fun and thorough!

I didn't have Therese try CTCMath this time. She did use a few years ago when we reviewed and did well. We didn't stay with the program however. We found a different program that worked well for her and used that. Since, we have a program that works well for her, I wasn't going to have her change!

Discover more about CTCMath! 
Visit their website or social media accounts.

Want to learn more about the various grades CTCMath has to offer?
Click below and read a few amazing reviews from other crew members.

Math 12-month Family Membership {CTCMath Reviews 2019}

Till Next Time,

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