Just Being Us

Just Being Us
Family, where we can be real, and feel unconditional love!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric

     Our 18 year old son has been interested in writing for a couple of years now. When he heard that we would be reviewing Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers from Silverdale Press LLC, he was intrigued.  He asked if he could be the one to review it.  I was excited that he wanted to be the one to use the curriculum and would be giving you all an honest review.  

     This program takes approximately 36 weeks to complete.  It's perfect to use for a school year Language Arts curriculum.  It is geared towards 14-18 year old students.  The digital program includes a 235 page lesson book, a 202 page student workbook, an 111 page reader, and an answer key for parents/teachers.  

     Here is a look at the table of contents in the lesson book: 

      Here is my son's review of this curriculum:

     When I started the lessons in the Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric book, I was expecting it to be like other classes I have taken in the past, but this time it was different.  This program has a lot to offer.  They explain everything very well. I had no problem following each lesson.  There are 3 books that correspond with each other.  Each day I would read the lesson and do what it asked.  You may have a speech to read and then a page or so in the workbook along with writing assignments at the end of the lessons.  

     I particularly loved the speeches they had us read because I love history.  The speeches were by important individuals from history and it was cool seeing what they had spoken about.  

     The writing assignments asked us to use no less than 500 words.  This was easy to do with the topics we were given to write about.  The lessons explained was was needed in order to do the writing correctly.  

     Each lesson added something new to learn and new material to read over.  There was no repetition and that was what I liked most.  The questions in the workbook were easy to do as long as you did the lesson and comprehended what was being taught.  I have to say that I don't have anything negative to say about this curriculum. I am enjoying it still today.  
      Would you like to learn more about this company and their products?  Come on over to see their social media pages here: 

     You can also head on over and read the Homeschool Review Crew reviews of this program and the White House Holidays Unit Studies over here 👇

Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers & White House Holidays Unit Studies {Silverdale Press LLC Reviews}

Enjoy your day!!!

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of MaxScholar

     Our youngest daughter use to struggle with reading. She just couldn't grasp phonics rules or sight words for the longest time.  I would have loved having the Reading Intervention Programs from MaxScholar for her back then.  When we were given the opportunity to review this program, I was excited to see how it could improve on her skills.  Our review team was given a year subscription and we will continue to use this program throughout our next school year.  

     So, you are probably wondering what sets this reading program apart from all the others.  Let me tell you that it is different! They use a multi sensory method that is sure to help your child learn to read or improve their reading skills.  This program is geared to help children with dyslexia, ADHD, auditory processing disorders, or children who are just struggling with learning to read.  Even though our daughter can read quite well now, I feel this program is improving her skills in the area of comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary.  

     Setting up our account was easy.  I have a parent dashboard where I can assess how well Hope is doing.  I love being able to see her progress.  Her dashboard is easy for her to use all by herself.  At first she took a placement test for each level.  She tested out of the MAXPHONICS level, so most of her time was spent doing MAXREADING and MAXWORDS.   

     Maxreading has stories that your children will read through.  Once they choose a story to read they open it up and see that certain words are already highlighted for them. They can click on the highlighted words they do not know to get the definition or how the word is being used in this context.  Once they are ready to move on they click next.  They then read through the story on their own. 
     After reading through the story, they are asked to highlight the topic, main ideas and the important details of the story.  This helps them to better comprehend what is being conveyed in the story.  When they complete this, they are then asked to write an outline and are given a writing exercise to go along with the lesson.  There are then questions and games to help reinforce what has been taught.  

     There are also four sublevels that can encourage your children to learn more and more. They are MAXMUSIC, MAXVOCAB, MAXPLACES, AND MAXBIOS.  Each of these are fun and education.  They have games to play as you learn about different musicians, places, and important people.  Hope's favorite sections was Maxvocab.  She loved playing hangman as she learned new words.  

      I've never seen a reading program that is so in depth.  They go the extra mile to make sure our children are really grasping all they need to know in order to be fluent readers.  

     Hope just started working with the Maxwords level of the program and we are already seeing her learning all about syllables.  I have never seen this approach and I will be reviewing this part of the program more at a later date.  


     Would you like to learn more about this amazing program?  I encourage you to check out their site or their social media pages listed below:

     We also have more reviews for MaxScholar over here

Reading Intervention Programs {MaxScholar Reviews}
Have a great day!!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Let's Have Fun Learning!!!!

     During our summer breaks, we still like to set aside some time for educational activities like reading, math games, and journaling.  I think it is important not to let our brains go to mush during the summer months.  Now don't get me wrong, I love to veg out and just relax during this time, but if we do this every day during our time off this summer, beginning school in August will be hard on all of us.   

       Learning doesn't have to be at a desk or table. You can teach your children so much by taking nature hikes, going to parks, camping, or just taking an evening ride on your bicycles.  Take time to enjoy the warm weather and all the beauty that God has surrounded us with during this season.  

       Here are some fun ideas I think may help you make learning fun this summer:

  • You can buy/borrow a book on bugs, flowers, or rocks and head out the door to find some new ones that you can study. 
  •  Plant a garden as a family. You can teach photosynthesis, the parts of a plant and how to grow your own food during this process.  
  • Join a summer reading program
  • Start a family journal of your summer adventures and take turns writing in it.
  • Buy some fun educational games to do as a family on those hot summer afternoons when no one wants to be outside.
  • Make frequent trips to the library. 
  • Visit some museums that have both indoor and outdoor exhibits. You can soak up some sun while learning.
  • Begin learning a new instrument.  You have some extra time to focus on lessons and practice, so why not take advantage of it. 
  • Go on a scavenger hunt. 
  • Work on cooking some new recipes. Be creative and allow the kids to help prepare and cook the meal. Cooking is a great tool for teaching math, reading, and critical thinking skills.  

     Remember to have fun as you learn together and not to take one moment for granted.  In the blink of an eye, your children will be grown. Enjoy them!!!! 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Homeschool Review Crew : Our Review of Traditional Logic I

     Recently we were given the opportunity to receive and review Traditional Logic I Complete Set from Memoria Press.  I knew this class was going to be an in depth study into how to think logically and this was one area I felt we were needing to add to our homeschool agenda.  I was so excited to get my package and open it.  Any resources from Memoria Press are always a huge hit in our home.  This one did not disappoint.
    Right away I unpacked the wonderful books that came in the set.  This set included an instructional DVD, workbook, student text, quizzes and tests, and a teacher manual with all the answers and text.  As I opened up the student text to take a peak at what was going to be taught, I became a little apprehensive that our daughter who is now is 7th grade, would have issues understanding it all, but as usual, she did fine.  It took a little more time for her to do each lesson than I thought it would take, but that it because she wanted to be sure she took in all she could from each lesson.  This set is geared for grades 7-12, so if you have a child who struggles a little with reading comprehension you may want to wait until they are a little older to begin this class.  

     The DVD is great!  It is all you need to help your child understand what is being taught in the text.  As a very busy parent, this DVD is such a blessing.  I can let her watch it and she is ready to read through the text and do her workbook.  I love that Memoria Press puts so much thought into their sets.  You can see they have quality materials and really want to help your child learn. 

     Let me give you an idea of what is being studied in the Student Text: 

  • Introduction: What is Logic?
  • Chapters 1-3 will focus on Simple Apprehension
  • Chapters 4-9 will focus on Judgment (Proposition)
  • Chapters 10-13 have you studying Deductive Inference (Syllogism)
  • Chapter 14 is a review chapter
  • In the back you will find a glossary and important people to remember

     Hope loves to sit outside to do her schoolwork, so on days the weather is good here, we do just that. I think it helps her learn.  She is more focused when she is in an environment that she loves.  The workbook and textbook are easy to take with you anywhere you want to study and the DVD plays well on our laptop computer so she enjoyed doing her logic lessons on our back patio table most days.  

     This class will prepare our children to think through things better.  I love the definition of logic by Raymond McCall that states "Logic in general is the science of right thinking".  It brings order to our thoughts and reasoning.  I believe it will help our children to better debate their beliefs with others who do not hold the same beliefs.  I wish I would have had this study for my older children who are now graduated.  I think it would have helped them be better prepared for certain situations they have encountered so far in their lives.  

     I highly encourage you to check out this set on the Memoria Press website and you can learn more about this along with other resources on their social media pages listed below: 

     We also have more reviews for you for this set along with some others over here

New American Cursive & Traditional Logic {Memoria Press Reviews}
Have a great day!!!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of The Critical Thinking Co.™

     I believe that teaching critical thinking skills should be one of the top priorities on our list as we educate our children. I was thrilled to see that The Critical Thinking Co.™ has some wonderful resources to help with this.  Recently we were given an opportunity to review Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary   from this company and I was very impressed with it. 

    It didn't take our son long to pick up the book and begin doing the lessons.  He loves to solve puzzles and this book had some wonderful little mysteries to solve.  After each lesson he would ask his big brother to read it and see if he could solve it also.  It was like a game for him.  He was learning critical thinking skills and didn't even know it. 

   Critical Thinking Detective Vocabulary can be purchased as an e-book or you can get a paperback version.  My kids like to hold their textbooks in their hands, so we were glad we got to review the paperback version. This particular resource is recommended for grades 5-12.  Our son is in 8th grade and it was a perfect fit for his mind.  I felt it was challenging for him, but not too hard.  He didn't fly through the lessons, but he didn't struggle either.  It did work his mind and improve his skills in this area.  

     This book has 12 cases for your young person to solve.  We did 3 lessons a week, so it only took him 4 weeks to finish the book.  Each lesson consists of  an activity that features 18-25 vocabulary words.  Each of the vocabulary words are important to aid your child in solving the mystery. The reader must analyze each work carefully and determine which suspect is guilty.  It really makes them think through the problems to get the correct answer.  What a wonderful way to exercise their brains! 

     At the back of the book, you will find the answer keys to each case.  It makes going over the lesson simple and grading a breeze.  I always rip out our answer keys before giving the books to my kiddos.  I keep them in a folder so I can keep track of them. 

     Would you like to learn more about The Critical Thinking Co.™, I encourage you to check out their website or their social media pages listed below: 

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCriticalThinkingCo

  • Google+: https://plus.google.com/+TheCriticalThinkingCo
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/criticalthinks
  • Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/criticalthinks/

  •        We also have more reviews of this product along with others including: Understanding Pre-Algebra Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 Dare to Compare Level 1 , and Vocabulary Riddles Book 1 over on the Homeschool Review Crew website.  Just follow the link below 

    Critical Thinking, Understanding Math & Vocabulary {The Critical Thinking Co.™ Reviews}
         Before you go..... CHECK THIS OUT!!!!


    A $75 Value! Delivered weekly to your inbox. Choose PreK – Grade 8. Sign Up Now!


    Free Shipping + 15% Off Any Size Order! Use Coupon Code: TOSCREW18. Expires 12/31/2018.

    I hope you take advantage of these specials!

    Have a blessed day!!!!

    Tuesday, May 29, 2018

    Are You Ready To Enjoy Your Summer?

         When I think of Summer, I think of warm days and cool evenings.  I long to sit on my porch swing and read.  I love watching my children run and play.  Summer should be a time of rest and relaxation so we are ready to take on our next school year in the Fall.  We need time to recuperate from all our hard work.  It's okay to rest!  We don't need a Summer schedule that is so full that we can't take the time to enjoy the little things in life.  

          Here is my list of the top 10 Summer activities we should all have on our to-do lists:

    •  Grab a sheet and lay under a shade tree and read your favorite book.
    •   Take your children to the park, turn off your phones, and enjoy playing with them with no distractions. 
    •   Lay on the ground in the middle of your yard and watch the clouds roll by.  Talk about what you see in the clouds. Your kiddos will love using their imaginations.
    •   Make memories by roasting marshmallows over an open fire and talking with your children about their dreams and goals in life.
    •   Grab a telescope (borrow one if you have to) and spend an entire evening looking at the stars. God's creation is so beautiful!
    •   Take a long drive one evening.  Turn off all distractions and enjoy one another's company.
    •   Pack a picnic basket one Saturday, and go exploring. There are many fun parks that your family can enjoy together. You don't need to know where you are going, just go!
    •   Have a water balloon fight 😀
    •   Grab some nerf guns and blast away.  Your kids need to see your fun side.
    •   Get some jars and chase some fireflies.  It's okay to act like a kid sometimes 😉

         Allow your children to see you enjoying life!!! Take time and smell the roses!  Give yourself permission to laugh and have fun. Your agenda should include a good belly laugh each day.  Time is short.  Take time to appreciate the little things!  

    Thursday, May 24, 2018

    The Do's & Don'ts of Homeschooling

        I have been homeschooling since 1997.  Our oldest son was just three years old when we started preschool classes with him.  We were young parents and thought the earlier we started the better.  We wanted what was best for our children and we did what we felt was going to help them. 

      After 21 years, I feel I can safely say I know some do's and don'ts of homeschooling.  We have tried and failed in many areas and I would like to share my knowledge with you. 

      I always like to begin with the positives!  Here we go.....

    1.  Always begin your day with a word of prayer together.  I feel if we give our days to the Lord, things go better.  We are more at peace.

    2. Plan your day.  Have an agenda to follow. We don't want to have a rigid schedule, but we do need a tentative list of things we would like to accomplish by the end of the day.

    3. Try to get the more difficult courses finished earlier in the day when everyone is fresh and alert. 

    4.   Be patient.  Don't push your children too hard with subjects they are having difficulties in.  Gently guide them and look for new ways to teach the areas they are struggling in.  Be sure they know that you will do anything to help them to learn and that with hard work, they can accomplish any task. 
         {I want to stop here and add if you feel your child has a 
          learning disability, please seek help for them.  Sometimes
          we do not have the knowledge to help our children if they
          are struggling in areas out of our expertise} 

    5.   Have fun while learning together.  Make it an experience they will not soon forget.  There are many games and wonderful teaching techniques that make studying more enjoyable for them and you.  


    1.   Don't fill your calendars with too many activities.  We have been so busy before that we failed to get any school finished during some days.  I use to feel they children had to have their calendars full, but that only made for frustrated kiddos and one exhausted mama.  BALANCE IS THE KEY when scheduling activities, play dates, and other outside functions. 

    2.   Don't worry about what other homeschooling families are doing. Your family is unique.  You know what is best for your household.

    3.   Don't allow pressure from family and friends to affect you. Some people do not understand what homeschooling is about.  They may question your abilities to teach your children or say your children need more socializing, but you are in charge of your family.  God has called you to this task and He will equip you with what is needed to accomplish this goal. 

    4.   Don't be upset if you do not finish all your curriculum by the end of your school year.  It's not about racing through a book to get it done, it's about learning in such a way that the knowledge is soaked up and remembered.  

    5.   Don't fight the fact that all children are different. They will learn at different paces and in many different ways.  It's your job to find out what works best for your child and stick to it. 


         I think the most important book we can study each day is the Word of God.  We should put God first in all we do and then we can finish the race that the Lord has given us to run.  We will accomplish His goals for our lives and isn't that what we want most for ourselves and our children?  When we lean on and trust in Him, we have nothing to fear.  He will direct our paths as long as we surrender our lives to him. 

    May God bless you as you seek Him 
    in all you do and say!

    Trust in Him as you teach your 
    children each day!