Just Being Us

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

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW: Our Review of Britfield & the Lost Crown


     We love to read.  We enjoy books of all kinds, but especially those filled with adventure and mystery.  I was excited to be chosen to receive and review Britfield & the Lost Crown.  I had read a little bit about it on their website and was intrigued.  


     Our family was given the physical copy of the book, but they also have a digital version if you prefer that method of reading.  The book is about 386 pages long, and has a soft cover.  It is a durable material and I feel it will hold up for many years.  It's hard to find books that are made this well these days.  

     Britfield & the Lost Crown is the first in a series, written by C.R. Stewart, a writer with 20 years of experience ranging from fiction to screenplays.  Each page will keep you wanting more.  I love the way the scenery is described with such beauty and detail.  It's like your right there with the characters as they go on this amazing journey. It is geared towards young people, but I enjoyed reading it too. 

     It is so hard to review a book without giving too many details that will ruin the story for ones who haven't read it before, but I will give you a few little peaks into this wonderful escapade. I know you will want to buy it for yourself and your family to enjoy.

     The story begins with a boy named Tom and his friend Sarah who live in an orphanage.  This orphanage is not one that any child should be living in, and when these two see a way to escape, they take it.  They leave looking for Tom's parents, who he thinks may still be alive. From the minute they leave, you will be invited to imagine the amazing sites that they journey through in this expedition to find the truth about Tom's family and heritage.  Will Tom find his parents?  Will he learn the truth about his family?  Will he and Sarah make it to their destination before getting caught by those men from Scotland Yard who are chasing them?  Will they have to go back to that horrible orphanage?  If you want to answer these questions, you will have to get the book.  😊

     This book goes to great lengths to describe the places that Tom and Sarah visit. I love that about a book, but some may not like all the descriptions.  My daughter said it was a bit much for her, but she likes more action and less details in her stories.  She did enjoy the plot line and the suspense throughout the book.  She absolutely loves to be surprised when she reads. She did ask me when the next one will be coming out... so I think that means she wants to read it too. 

     What I love most about this book is the website and study guide that you can use with it.  There are beautiful pictures that your child can look at as they read through the book.  We liked looking at places such as the Christ Church, Oxford or The Midlands.   





     The Study Guide was thought provoking and started many great conversations about the book. Also a great way to see how much your child has comprehended about the book.  
      
     If your family enjoys books like these, I would encourage you to check out their website and social media pages listed below: 



     Want to read more reviews of this book?
Just click the link below for more reviews from real homeschooling families


Britfield & the Lost Crown  {Reviews}

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping


     I am a planner!  I love to plan everything out, so when I was chosen to receive and review an  Annual Membership Plan to My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping, I was both excited and a little nervous.  I have never been able to keep records on my computer.  I like having a paper planner.  

     This online planner is put together well and I can see that they have a lot of thought in it. It is the 1st Place Recipient of the Practical Homeschooling's i-Learn Award for best homeschool planner.  It is designed for large or small homeschooling families wanting to keep records for classes, lessons, attendance, events, grades, and extra curricular activities. As a mom who has been homeschooling for over 21 years, I can see where this would be a valuable tool for families.  It's just not a good fit for a mom who is set in her ways.  I still prefer doing my record keeping the old fashion way. I guess you really can't teach an old dog new tricks 😉

     I did use the program for a while,  so I could share some of the wonderful aspects of it with you.  After you set up an account, you list your school and student names and the dates you will being doing school for this particular session.  It was a little difficult to set up, but I was impressed with the videos that helped explain how to use the program and how to set up each section.  


     I think the sections I find most helpful are the attendance records and calendar.  









     The Calendar looks very useful for families on a schedule.  I feel it would help you stay on time for events, lessons and activities and with emails that remind you daily of your scheduled activities and anything that you need to complete, you won't forget what is going on that day or what you may need to finish up from previous days. When we had 6 kids at home, I think this would have been great!  Since we are down to only 2 students, we really don't have the need for a digital calendar like this one, but it looks wonderful!!!



     I like that fact that you can change the settings to your preference and you choose what to track such as events, reading logs, awards, grades, and so on.  They even have a section to record standardized testing results.  In our state, we have to either get our children tested with the CAT or assessed by a teacher, so this section would be great to record those testing results.  

     So, my review is that this is an amazing program for homeschooling families who love the digital world and who are comfortable using it on a daily basis.  I feel this would be a great fit for families that have a very busy schedule and need to keep up with many activities.  I also think that if you are one who hasn't already been homeschooling and planning on paper for years, you need to give this online planner a chance.  You may save hours and hours of time if you do.  I would never want to discourage someone from using a resource just because it wasn't for me. 

     Would you like to learn more about this program?  I would suggest heading over to their site and visiting their social media pages listed below:  



     
     We also have more reviews of this product over on the Homeschool Review Crew site.
  Just click the link below 
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Annual Membership Homeschool Record Keeping  {My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping Reviews}

Monday, August 19, 2019

Homeschool Review Crew: CTCMath


     Good morning! Today I want to share our experience with CTCMath. We were given the one-year subscription of the Family Membership to review this time, and as always, it is such a blessing for our family.  This is our second year using CTCMath as our full time curriculum, and we absolutely love it!!! 

     As a homeschooling mom, I have always had anxiety when it came to teaching high school math subjects like Geometry, Calculus, Algebra 2, and Trigonometry.  With CTCMath, I don't have to worry.  They are an Australian based company that teaches math lessons through videos. Their courses range from Kindergarten to 12th grade. They provide quality lessons for our children to learn what they need to know in a way that they will remember.
Here is what they offer:
  • Video Tutorials
  • Interactive Questions
  • Worksheets and Solutions
  • Reports of the Students Progress


     We have 2 students using the program.  Hope is using Basic Math and Pre-Algebra. Josh is doing Algebra 2 and Geometry.  Each child is doing very well.  They enjoy the videos and love the fact they can work at their own pace. I love that CTCMath keeps records of their classes and grades and sends me progress reports.  If you are not sure what class your child belongs in, they have diagnostic testing to help you put them right where they belong. 

Here are examples of the Progress Reports and Grading Level Certificates that my kids are getting:




     This program can be done independently or you can sit with your child as they watch the videos and complete the lessons. I like that our children can watch the videos over and over again until they understand the concept being taught.  After each video, they are given questions to answer.  You can print the questions and tests, but we prefer to save paper and ink, so we do what we can from looking at our computer screens only using paper to work through steps of an equation, then entering our answers into the computer where they will be graded immediately. If you miss any, you can go over them and try again.  On the teachers side of the program, you also have the answers to pull up at any time if needed.  
Video explaining the math concept

The questions after the video

The worksheets you can print and use for the lesson being taught.


     I have personally sat down with each of my children to see how the program works and I have to say that I have learned quite a bit from the videos.  The lessons are thorough and they make sure each concept is taught and understood before going on to a new one. 
   

     CTCMath has been a lifesaver for our family and we are looking forward to learning more as we continue with the lessons.  

     It has been so nice not having to argue with my kids when it's time to do math.  No one is complaining about their lessons. Some days it was like pulling teeth to get them to do their math work, and now they are actually enjoying each session.   I have been thrilled to see their progress and their grades have been remarkable.  Compared to other math programs we have tried, this one seems to be the best fit for our family.  I am so excited to have another free year to use it, and  I know for a fact we will continue are subscription beyond the free year.   I am no longer anxious when it comes to math class and that is a good feeling. 

     Would you like to learn more about this program? I encourage you to look over their website CTCMath or check out their social media pages: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ctcmath/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ctcmath/

     

      We also have more reviews for you, just click on the link below
 ⇊⇊⇊⇊⇊⇊⇊⇊⇊ 
Math 12-month Family Membership {CTCMath Reviews 2019}

Friday, August 16, 2019

HOMESCHOOLING HIGH SCHOOL: Words of Encouragement


     Today is the last day of the NOT BACK TO SCHOOL BLOG HOP.  If your a homeschooling family or someone thinking you may want to begin homeschooling, this would be a great time for you to read the posts from other homeschooling families and the best part is they are all in one place.  

2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop
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     On this final day, I would like to write a post to help encourage the moms and dads out there who think it may be too difficult to homeschool your high school student. With God, nothing is impossible!  

     I use to think I was not smart enough or not capable of teaching my older kids the subjects they needed to graduate. I would sit down at the end of the day and cry because I was worried that I wasn't enough for them.  One day as I was crying on my bedroom floor, I began to pray.  My heart was heavy.  I was full of anxiety.  I knew only God could help me through this.  I needed His strength and His peace to come and take over my nervous mind.  

     After spending hours in prayer and reading my Bible I felt a peace wash over me.  I knew that alone I wasn't equipped to be all my kids needed, but with GOD and His power and wisdom, I was enough.  I knew He would lead me to the right curriculum and the right classes if I would lean on and trust in Him.  He gave my husband and I the task of taking care of and teaching these children, He would be there every step of the way as we taught them.  All we had to do is obey Him and let Him be the leader of our home. 

     I won't say that doubt never tried to take over my thoughts again, but I knew when those thoughts tried to creep in, I needed to stop and pray and ask God for help.  I was no longer afraid.

     Do you ever feel like homeschooling the upper grades may be too hard or overwhelming for you? Are you afraid that you won't be able to teach courses like Math and Science?   These are all normal feelings, but in the time, which we live, you don't have to worry any more.  There are so many great online courses and classes to help you teach your children in places where you may lack the knowledge needed. Before these wonderful online classes, it was a bit harder to teach high school students courses such a Calculus, Physics and Trigonometry.  Now these classes are at our fingertips... LITERALLY!  :) There are so many to choose from, you just need to find what fits your family best.  

     Do you feel a little better about homeschooling your child through high school now?  I hope that you do.  Just remember with Christ, you are able to do what He has called you to do! He will always be with you through every moment of joy and sadness.  He will never leave you!!  

      Would you like to read more posts about homeschooling from real homeschooling families? I would encourage you to head on over and read some amazing posts from these blogs below along with the other BLOG HOP posts from this week.  


Kristen Heider @ A Mom's Quest to Teach -Theme: A Quest for a Great Homeschool Year

Patti Pierce - Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy - My Favorite Homeschooling Things

Wendy @ Life on Chickadee Lane - 5 Days of Nature Study

Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning - Homeschooling my final 4 

Christine @ Life's Special Necessities - Yes! You Can Homeschool Your Special Needs Child

Sally M - Tell the Next Generation - Tips for Homeschooling Struggling Learners 

Kim @ Good Sweet Love - Last Year of Elementary


Thursday, August 15, 2019

HOMESCHOOLING HIGH SCHOOL: Our 5 Must Haves

     It is day 4 of the NOT BACK TO SCHOOL BLOG HOP!  I encourage you to head on over and read some incredible homeschooling posts this week 😊


2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop
     Today I would like to talk about 5 items that my son says he can't live without as he is homeschooling through the high school years. I think that choosing the best curriculum for each child is important, but so are the resources that help them do their best in school like the list below. 


     Josh is 14 and is in the tenth grade this school year.  When I asked him the five things he felt made his life easier as he journeys through the final years of school he gave me this list.......


First on his list was his work space. He said he loves his large desk with the shelves for his books and school supplies.  He said all work spaces should be well lit and have enough space for you to lay things out if you are doing research. 

He also uses this space for gaming to help relieve stress when he is feeling overwhelmed.  He only games in his free time and we feel it helps him with his ADHD and some games are even educational. 


Next on his list is his computer.  Since he takes coding classes and is working on getting a degree one day in 3D Graphic Design, we have had to purchase a computer that is a little more expensive than an office computer.  Graphic Designing requires more power and a great graphics card.  He also has a second monitor so he can have multiple sites open at one time and is able see them all. He also uses this computer for math, writing, and science classes. He says he enjoys online classes so much and feels they help him focus more.


Speaking of focusing, that is what this little diffuser is used for. The third item on his list is his oils and diffuser.  The oils do help him tremendously as he is doing his school work.  Each oil he uses helps him to keep on task and to stay alert. They are such a blessing to our family.


Number four is his weights.  He uses these every other day.  They help him to stay strong and build endurance.  He has a high metabolism so he doesn't gain weight easily so he doesn't exercise for weight issues, instead he exercises to stay healthy.   These help him gain muscle and strength.  That helps him be a better drummer!


And that brings us to the last item on his list....
HIS DRUMS
 He has recently been taking lessons and oh my goodness he is talented.  We never thought he could stay focused long enough to learn an instrument, but I am so glad we gave the drums a try. It took him a few weeks to talk us into it, but what a great way for him to express himself.  He is enjoying them so much. I have seen many changes occur in him since he started lessons.  He is more confident and is learning how to remain focused more everyday. 


     I am so proud of this guy.  He is working so hard to accomplish his goals and I want to be his biggest fan.  His heart is so soft and sweet.  I am looking forward to seeing what the Lord does through him in the years to come.  He has already been such a blessing to us and so many others. 

     What are your must haves for homeschooling a high school student?  I would love to hear from you!!!!


I would like to invite you to read more posts on homeschooling from dear families who share their hearts and homes with us.  Come on over and check out these posts below: 

Cassandra @ My Blessed Mess - Eclectic Homeschooling

Kimberley @ Vintage Blue Suitcase - Roadschooling with a Teenager

Yvonne @ The Life We Build - 5 Days of Relaxed Homeschooling

Destiny @ Some Call It Destiny - Encouragement for the Homeschooling Mom

Karen @ Tots and Me...Growing Up TogetherA Peek into Our Homeschool

Cassie D @ Deputie Tribe - Homeschooling 6 Taking Care of YOU


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Homeschooling High School: Letting Them Find What Works For Them


     Over the next few days, I will be taking part in the NOT BACK TO SCHOOL BLOG HOP.  I will be sharing some wonderful tips on homeschooling high school students.  I hope you are encouraged not only by my post but by all the wonderful posts from the bloggers joining in the blog hop!

2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop
     When my older three were in high school, I made a few mistakes.  As a mom, who loves to plan and organize, I took it upon myself to plan out their high school years instead of allowing them to pursue their own plans and goals.  I regret that so much.  


     We now have just one in high school and one in junior high.  I have sure changed over the years and as a veteran homeschool mom, I would love to share some of my mistakes with you so you might learn from them. 

      Micro managing may seem like a good idea so your high school student is sure to get the best education you can give them, but in some ways it can actually do more harm than good.  I am not saying you shouldn't give them loving advice and point them towards goals.  I am saying you  need to let them explore classes and activities that may help them accomplish the goals they have for themselves.  This means sometimes you need to step back and allow them to choose what they would like to pursue.  They may even change their goals a few times over the span of the four years they are in high school, but that is okay.  As long as they are meeting the requirements they need to graduate, what is the harm in giving them chances to take other classes so they can find what they are gifted to do. 

     Right now our son is taking coding classes and he is thriving.  In order to give him time to pursue this avenue, we have given him time from other classes so he can keep up without getting overwhelmed.  We do this by cutting some classes one  or two days a week, and letting him work on coding.  I have found that his work in those other classes has improved and I think that is because he is so thankful for the time he has been given to code.  It motivates him to work extra hard to keep up his grades.  

     It wasn't easy for me at first to take a hands off approach to Josh's high school years, but I am seeing great things happen because of it.  I am encouraging him to be all God wants him to be.  I am cheering him on to use the gifts that he has been given.  He is happy!  I am thrilled to see him thriving as he works towards the goals he has set for himself.  

     I wish I had been able to be this laid back with my other kids, but I am happy to say they are all doing well in spite of my need to have everything planned out.  I have learned so much over the past 25 years of parenting and I hope to learn more and more as we head to the finish line of homeschooling our children.  It's hard to believe in just about 5 years, they will all be graduated.  

     I hope to encourage you over the next few days as you journey through the high school years.  


     Come on over to read more posts from my wonderful friends as they talk about their homeschools and homeschooling lives.  

Dawn @ Schoolin' Swag - Adding Fun to Your Homeschool Day
Erin @ For Him and My Family - Large Family Homeschooling
Lori @ At Home Where Life Happens - Learning Life Skills
Monique @ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling - Homeschooling the High School Years
Monique D. @ Early Learning Mom - Homeschooling With Autism
Yvie @ Homeschool On the Range - 5 Days of Upper Grades Homeschooling
Abby @ Making Room 4 One More - Time Management for Homeschool Moms
Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool - 5 Days of Homeschool Questions
Amy @ the WRITE Balance - Year-Round Schooling
Annette @ A Net in Time - Homeschooling.

    

Thursday, August 8, 2019

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW: Our Review of Memoria Press


     Our youngest son, who is 14, has been reading since he was 3 years old.  I was so proud when I saw him pick up a book and read it for the first time.  Over the years he has read many books, but I could never get him to read any of the classics.  When I mentioned to him that we would be reviewing the Tenth Grade Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press, he was a bit apprehensive.  I told him these particular books are amazing and he would love them once he gave them a chance. 

    It was a difficult choice since we had 4 different studies to choose from in the Tenth Grade Literature Set, but we chose to begin with the The Scarlet Letter Set first, and I am so glad we did!

     We have been using Memoria Press for a few years now and I have to say they are such an incredible company that helps parents who wish to use the Classical Educational approach.  This approach teaches through the study of liberal arts and Great Books.  It isn't for everyone, but we love it.  It has enhanced our homeschool in many ways. 



     This young man has not only been reading these wonderful classics, he has been enjoying them.  In the Tenth Grade Literature Guide Set, we were given 4 Student Books, and 4 Teacher Guides.  The four books we are studying with these guides are The Scarlet Letter, To Kill A Mockingbird, Romeo and Juliet, and Julius Caesar. We had to purchase the actual books to go along with each study.  You can find each book at a local used book store, or if you don't plan writing in them, you can borrow them from the library or a friend. 


     Each Student Book begins with an introduction on how you can benefit most from using the study guides. Then they teach you how to mark your books to get the most out of reading through each one. There is a section that talks about the background of the book or play, then  they go on to guide you through each Act or Chapters of the books.  They do this by walking you through 4 steps for each section. These stages include:
  • Pre-Grammar/Preparation
  • Grammar/Presentation
  • Logic/Dialectic
  • Rhetoric/Expression
     Each stage will help your child to understand the work he is reading through on a whole new level.  Josh said he never thought he could comprehend these books like he is now.  This set has been a blessing to me as I watch him learn and grow as he reads through these great books.  

     The Teacher Guide has the answers to all the questions in the Student Book as well as tests in the back to make sure your student is comprehending each section they are given to read.  It is a great little tool to help you teach your child.  Memoria Press always has great resources for the parents so they don't feel like they are unable to teach the subject at hand.  

     So, we were given this set that is suppose to be used over a semester or two.  Remember I said we decided to begin with The Scarlet Letter? Well,  we are almost all the way through and it has been such wonderful experience for both of us.  I have gotten to see him finally understand what makes these books great and he has gotten to hear how Mom read these books in high school and just loved them so much.  



     Here is a look at some of his work. The comprehension questions allowed him to think through each section of reading and made it easier for him to understand. Thinking through each section logically also gave you a new perspective. We would read through the rhetoric questions together and it made for some wonderful conversations.  I didn't give him any of the tests, but we did discuss them together as he completed each section. 





     I feel these studies will be very beneficial for Josh.  He has already learned so much.  I am excited to go on to our next book, Romeo and Juliet, in the coming weeks.  I am a huge fan of Shakespeare.

     I would encourage you to go over to the Memoria Press and explore the many wonderful studies they have.  You can also look them up on their social media pages listed below:



     The Homeschool Review Crew, along with this set,  also reviewed other resources from Memoria Press.  If you want to see what real homeschooling families are saying, just click on the link below for more reviews ↓↓↓↓↓
First to Tenth Grade Literature Guides {Memoria Press Reviews}
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!!