Just Being Us

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

Thursday, June 18, 2020

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW: OUR REVIEW OF Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service 1878-1915: 17 Student Workshops with 120 Activities

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

     I have never really heard much about the U.S. Life-Saving Service, so I was thrilled to be able to review Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service 1878-1915: 17 Student Workshops with 120 Activities from Rebecca Locklear.  My children love hands-on activities. They always help keep them focused on the subject we are learning.  

     We received this e-book a little over a month ago and we have been enjoying it.  It has 120 pages, but you don't have to print out the whole book to use it.  I like that!  There are 17 workshops and 120 activities. The book includes:

    1.  Workshops:
  • Unit 1 - Life at the Station House
  • Unit 2 - Working Together
  • Unit 3 - The Culture of Character
  • Unit 4 - Relevance Today
    2.  Art Projects         

    3. Research Areas Relating to the U. S. Life-Saving Service

    4. Appendix 1

    5. Appendix 2
    6. Glossary

    7. Sources and Acknowledgements 

     The book was written by Rebecca Locklear.  She is not only a writer but a teacher as well.  She homeschooled her children and helped other parents homeschool theirs for over 20 years.  Her take on education is to teach children with hands-on activities and interaction. Her books are engaging for the students and keep them focused on the subject at hand.  This can be especially great for subjects that some students find boring or tedious.  Your student will be learning critical thinking and problem-solving skills while having fun.

     The book we are reviewing has been a great experience. We have been going through it as a family.  The facts are presented in a way that keeps your attention and helps you remember them.  My younger 2 kids have never really liked history because they find it repetitive and boring (their own words). That is why I am always looking for fun new ways to teach this subject.  Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service 1878-1915: 17 Student Workshops with 120 Activities is a great resource for teaching history in a fun new way.  

     This book includes cooking, drama, poetry, drawing, and reading, that all teach about this time period. You will learn all about life for these amazing men who were willing to give their lives to save others.  Your children will be doing so many wonderful activities, they won't realize they are learning! Let's take a look at some of the activities we did.....

Here Hope is going to find details in the pictures that will give clues to the time period and she wrote one question for each photo. Her brother then tried to answer the question she asked.  It was a lot of fun for them

During our discussion about how even kitchen supplies were used for many different things, we came up with how a cast iron skillet could be used for a simple drum or as a way to send signals to others.

Hope is working on dot painting an animal symbol to represent the character of the surfmen. She has chosen a whale to represent solitude.

The finished product :)

We did a few sing-alongs that were quite entertaining.

     We have had a lot of fun so far and will continue to work through this book over the summer months.  I would encourage you to check out Rebecca Locklear on her website and to subscribe to her emails.  You won't' be disappointed! 

     The Homeschool Review Crew has more reviews of this book and The Mayflower at Cape Cod - Stories, activities, and research that connect 1620 with life today over on the website. Just click the link below:


Thursday, June 11, 2020

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW: OUR REVIEW OF Who Is This Kid? Colleges Want to Know!

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

     I can't believe my youngest son will be graduating in just 2 years.  Time has sure flown by so quickly.  I was happy to be able to receive and review Who Is This Kid? Colleges Want to Know! from The Critical Thinking Co.™.  I knew this book would help get him focused on the colleges he is interested in attending.  

     The Critical Thinking Co.™ is a company that is committed to helping students thrive by developing a child's critical thinking skills. They have unique ways to help your student empower their minds. As you work through their products they welcome questions and will support you in any way they can. 

      The author of Who Is This Kid? Colleges Want to Know! is Joyce Slayton Mitchell.  She has served 17 years as the Director of College Advising at the Nightingale-Bamford School in New York City.  She has also counseled college students for 13 years. During the past 11 years, she has been a Consultant in US College Admissions in China, South Korea, and the United States. She has written many books like this one and 8 First Choices.  This lady knows what she is writing about.  In this book, she will help your student learn how to make out applications to colleges that will be outstanding. They will help your child to stand out.  

      Who Is This Kid? Colleges Want to Know!  is broken down into 5 parts. 
  1. Student Self-Assessment
  2. Searching the Colleges - Building Your College List
  3. Communications
  4. College Admissions Calendar
  5. Glossary
Each section has something new to teach and offer.  During the student assessments, your child will have to take a deep look at himself and how others see him.  Searching for Colleges will help your student to be able to research different colleges and what they have to offer.  Communications will deal with the application process and writing essays.  In Part 4, you will find the best times to apply to colleges. The glossary at the back will help you understand the terms used throughout the book.  

     My son has been able to complete the Student Assessments and is going through Part 2 now.  I have been asking him questions as he is working through the book and he said he is really beginning to feel college is real and just around the corner.  He said during the assessments, he had to take a look at himself in a new way. He said so far it has been a good experience.  He said he is looking forward to finishing the book and learning more.  He is a very private person but is allowing me to share a page or two with you from this book.  

     This book is a very personal experience for each student.  That is what I like most about it.  My son will be able to learn how to make out applications and write essays that will be geared for him and him alone.   As you go through the assessment process you will be able to see what makes you unique then that will help you when filling out your college applications.  I would recommend this book for all high school students who are thinking about college.  

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

We also have more reviews of this product along with many others over on the Homeschool Review Crew website. Just click the link below:
Creative Problem Solving, Dare to Compare Math, Mastering Logic & Math and Who Is This Kid? Colleges Want to Know! {The Critical Thinking Co.™ Reviews}

Have a great day!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020


Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

     I love being able to receive and review wonderful resources that I believe will be helpful to homeschool families. I was thrilled to be able to check out Math Shed and Spelling Shed from EdShed.  Math and Spelling are both core subjects that I feel our students need to learn.  My children haven't always enjoyed these two subjects, but once we found the right fit for them, they thrived.  I feel these products will be a good fit for many homeschooling families as well as schools.  

     EdShed is a company that is run by teachers for teachers.  They are excited about teaching subjects that some students have difficulties with like Math and Spelling.  The company has integrity and wants to make a huge impact in the lives of those who use their products.  They are affordable and easy to use in the classroom and at home. 


     This is your teacher hub.  From here you can add students and keep track of their progress.  As a homeschooling mom who teaches many different classes each day, I find that resources that can help me track my child's progress and assign classes are valuable. It helps me with my record keeping and keeps my children on schedule.  No more second-guessing where they left off or if they are doing well in one particular area. 

       Math Shed and Spelling Shed are geared towards Kindergarten through the 5th grade.  I feel some older students who struggle a little more with these subjects could benefit from these as well.  I was very happy to see the bright colors and fun fonts they used to keep your child's attention even in the dashboard of the games.  Kids love vibrant colors. It is much more inviting if they have something like this to look at.  It is a simple yet unique set up.  The kids will no problem being able to navigate the games and switch from Math to Spelling whenever they want.  

      Your student will be able to choose his/her own avatar to play the games with.  As they level up they will be rewarded with honeypots that will allow them to upgrade their avatar.  So much fun!!!! 


     Math Shed offers some great games that teach:
  • Number Bonds
  • Times Tables
  • Addition and Subtraction
  • Powers of Ten 
  • Negative Numbers

          Spelling Shed is a program that not only has amazing games, but you will be able to download a suitable spelling curriculum for your child's grade level from your Teacher Hub.  This curriculum includes worksheets and activities that your child will use throughout the week. 

           The games are so much fun for this section.  They include different stages and different levels for each stage.  I played around with the Stage 4 & 5 levels and found they were great for grades 4 or 5.  The games are entertaining while teaching your child to spell.  I know my kids would have loved these games when they were younger.  

In this game you will hear a word and will have to spell it correctly to get your points.

In this game above, you will hear a word and will have to spell it correctly to get your points. Your child will love seeing those points add up! 

     So, are you ready to add more fun to your school day?  Do you want to add games for your child so they may be able to learn Math and Spelling easier?  If you answered YES, then I encourage you to check out these resources from EdShed.  You can also learn more about them on their social media pages listed below:


Spelling Shed & Math Shed {Education Shed Reviews}

Thursday, June 4, 2020


Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

     For years, our daughter has loved art.  She is so creative. Her imagination is amazing and we love to see what she will create.  However, she is really hard on herself when it comes to some of her art skills.  She was thrilled to find out we were going to be receiving and reviewing ARTistic Pursuits, Middle School 6-8 Book Two, Color and Composition from Artistic Pursuits Inc.  When it arrived she was the first one to the mailbox so she could open it up herself.  

     Artistic Pursuits is a comprehensive art program that makes sure the students are involved in every aspect of learning while developing observational skills. They are encouraged to be creative as they learn skills from each and every unit.  This particular book is geared toward middle school students. I feel that it is a perfect fit for this curriculum.

     The book has 92 pages with 16 units with 68 lessons. Your student will learn things like new techniques on how to combine colors and make different textures. They will learn how to pair colors that complement each other and many more wonderful skills.  You will need to buy some art supplies to go along with this program, but they are easy to find and didn't break the budget. Here is a list of what you will need to buy:
  • Nupastel assorted colors, set of 24 or more
  • Sakura Cray Pas Junior Artist Oil Pastel, set of 50
  • Pastel paper pad
  • Drawing paper pad in assorted colors
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Vinyl eraser
  • Sharpener
  • Natural Chamois 4x4
  • Aerosol hairspray
  • Masking tape
  • Cotton balls
  • Drawing board

     My daughter is enjoying each lesson and said she feels more confident in using pastels. She has been working through quite a few of the lessons over our summer break and says she wants to continue to work through more over the next couple of months.  She has also been enjoying learning more about artists and the culture they lived in and how it affected their art. 

Here are some of her artworks that she has completed while working through the book.

     After seeing the beautiful creations my daughter has been working on, I think I will try to do a few myself over the summer.  I have never used pastels before, but I feel with this book, I would be able to pick up some great ways to express myself.  I have looked through some of the lessons and they are so easily explained and exampled.  I feel that is important when teaching new skills.  I didn't feel overwhelmed at all.  I am usually very intimidated by art books.  

     Would you like to learn more about this company and their wonderful products?  I would encourage you to check out their website and their social media pages listed below:

      We also have more reviews of this resource and others from Artistic Pursuits Inc. over on the Homeschool Review Crew website.  Just click the link below:

Art Through The Ages & Art for Children {Artistic Pursuits Inc. Reviews}

Monday, June 1, 2020

Balancing It All {Freebie Included}


    Are you BALANCED???  I wasn't for years.  I was a rigid mom and homeschool teacher.  It took years for me to realize I needed to be balanced.  I found that in order for things to run smoothly, I must be flexible with our schedules.  I needed to leave time for God to use us as a family and I needed to be adaptable when He called us to do something other than our normal routines.  

      Our kids need more than just academics in their everyday learning.  They need to have time to play, time to explore the world around them, and time to learn how to be good and productive citizens.  We can accomplish this by allowing them plenty of free time to have fun,  time to be able to investigate their homes, yards, and parks,  and time to socialize with others.  They need to be able to get along with other children and they need to be able to speak well with adults.  

       When I first began homeschooling, it was all about the books.  We had to get through every single book I had bought for that year.  It made for some frustrated kids and one frustrated mama.  We didn't enjoy school.  It was a chore.  After years of experimenting with different methods of homeschooling, I believe we have finally found one that suits us.  We use the school at home method with just a little bit of  the eclectic method.  We do use books for 80% of our schooling, but we also enjoy reading books from the library for reading time, doing fun crafts, and doing many hands on activities for history and science.  

     I think balance comes when we figure out what is best for our families. It may not look like our other homeschooling friends.  It may look a bit strange to outsiders.  It may even make our families question us, but we have to do what is best for our children not others' children or family members. We know our kids better than anyone else.  We see how they respond to our teaching.  We watch their eyes light up when they learn something new.  We know if something isn't working for them like a certain workbook or textbook.  WE KNOW BECAUSE THEY ARE OUR CHILDREN!  God gave them to us to teach and train.  He also equips us to be their parent.  With His guidance, we can accomplish what He wants us to do.  

     I also want to address when we should allow our children to do seatwork on their own.  I think they show signs of wanting to be independent around the age of 10.  They don't want mom or dad looking over their shoulders every minute.  As long as you are checking over their work on a daily basis and teaching any new concepts, I don't see why they can't work independently.  If you see they are not yet able to work without being watched, explain to them they need to earn independence by working without being distracted.  They need to be done in an allotted time, and not run around playing when they should be doing their schoolwork.  

In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely.  And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. 
~ Titus 2:6-7

     In order to keep a good record of our assignments, we use assignment sheets on a weekly basis. On Monday mornings,  we write out what we hope to finish by the end of the week.  We use these as a guideline for our daily routine.  Our kiddos love fun ones to use so I decided to make some with different themes.  I have made a PDF of these for you to download and print the ones your kids like. To download these assignment sheets,  just click on the link below the image.  

Monday, May 25, 2020

Jesus Gives Rest To the Weary

     Good morning!  I am going to be addressing all the moms out there who are feeling weary.  Do you feel like all your hard work is going unnoticed and unappreciated?  We plan and schedule, we serve our families day in and day out, we are on the go constantly, but does anyone notice the sacrifices we make to be the best moms we can??? 

      I will tell you that the Lord notices.  He sees our hearts.  He sees us working each day to train our children to be godly men and women.  He knows how much we love our families and He blesses us in ways we can't even begin to imagine.  God loves us! 

     When we start feeling weary, we need to learn to lean on Him for strength.  Going to friends to talk is good, but first, we must learn to go to God.  He understands us more than anyone.  He knows what we go through each day and He wants to help us.  Instead of complaining to our friends, we can talk with God and ask Him to see us through.  Ask Him for guidance.  Cry out to Jesus and He will stand beside us.  

     I use to run to my friends every time I had a problem at home.  Rather it was disobedient children or a neglectful husband, I would go to friends first for their advice.  The problem with that was, I was going to women who had the same issues, so we would just have a pity party together.  Nothing was being solved, we were just feeling sorry for ourselves.  When we go to God, He lifts us up and out of our pity.  When we allow Him to, He shows us how to solve our issues and He is there with us while we are obeying Him.  Prayer is truly the answer for a weary heart.  

    It was hard for me to stop turning to my friends and start turning to God, but I see now that it made all the difference in the world.  I am not saying we shouldn't confide in friends at all, but it is how we confide in them that makes it more productive.  Instead of gossiping about our children and husbands, we should just simply ask our friends to pray for us.  God knows our needs.  We do not need to speak them aloud.  

     I know this concept will be hard to accept at first, but from one mom to another, I want to tell you that it works!    God can accomplish so much in our lives as we learn to obey Him and lean on Him. Keep doing what you know is right.  Ask the Lord for His strength and guidance.  You will see that you will feel stronger each day!!!  

     I would like to pray for you today.  If you have any prayer requests please feel free to comment here or message me on our facebook page.  

Monday, May 18, 2020

Managing Anxiety While Living Life

     Today, I am going to be sharing my experience with anxiety. It is not easy to open up about such a private issue, but I feel like it may help other mamas dealing with similar issues. I want to encourage others who may be suffering in silence. You are not alone. 

     About three years ago, my world was turned upside down.  So many changes were occurring that my head was spinning.  My body didn't take the stress very well.  I started having severe panic attacks.  I didn't want to leave my bedroom for days at a time.  I couldn't control my thoughts. No matter what I tried, I would come back to feelings of sadness and fear.  

      It wasn't long until I felt like a failure.  I couldn't be the mom, wife, or homeschooling teacher I once was.  All I wanted to do is sit in my bed crying.  I wanted to change things, but I had no idea what to do.  The harder I tried, the more anxiety I felt.  I was in a pit and no one could help me out of it.  I had to figure out what was going on. I began researching what could be causing this.

     I soon found out that my body was completely depleted from all the stress I had endured over my life.  Even as a child, I didn't have a stress-free life.  My mom was sick from the many heart surgeries she had, my dad got Alzheimer's when I was just a teen.  I had brothers and sisters who were suffering from drug and alcohol addictions. I had to grow up at an early age.  When I was old enough to marry, that is exactly what I did. Then came our children.  Three within 3 years.  Being a young woman, my body dealt with things better than when I got older.  

      By the time I was 40 years old, I had six children here with me, and one in heaven. I was trying to do too much. I always put my needs on the back burner and it was taking its toll. I didn't realize what was going on until I began having the severe anxiety issues. 

     Normal life changes and challenges were not so normal to my body.  Our oldest daughter had moved out, our oldest son was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes, and a few other little things were happening as well.  This was too much for me to handle, yet I sure tried. My body was refusing to cooperate anymore.  I began having one panic attack after another. I couldn't control my body anymore. Things got worse when I had people giving me advice about a situation they had no business giving advice on.  I was even told I was having these issues because I wasn't serving God the way I should.... this only pushed me deeper into that pit.  

     During my research, I found out that I could get help for these attacks. First I had to allow God to show me that  I wasn't sick because I was not obeying Him.  I was sick because I was failing to take care of the body He had given me. I must begin healing my body by taking care of myself. All those years, I had spent meeting the needs of others, was causing more harm than I realized. For years I didn't sleep or eat right. I didn't take vitamins on a regular basis.  I was suffering because of bad choices. I had to get my body back on track.

      I started by letting go of a lot of things. I had to let God guide me in doing what He was calling me to do instead of everything I thought I was supposed to be doing.  Even good things can cause stress if we are attempting to do too much. I also started using essential oils, vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements to help me build my body back up and be able to handle stress without having anxiety attacks.  It took a few months, but the everyday panic attacks did begin to subside to only a couple a week. When I began learning more techniques to cope with stress like breathing exercises and focusing on positive thinking, they got even better.

      I have also learned to delegate.  I can't do everything on my own. I can ask for help!!!  I am not required to run myself ragged in order to look busy all the time.  I can take time to rest. I can say no.  It's OKAY!!!!!

Bible Journaling is a great way to help you relax. Spending Time with the Lord is always a great way to help relieve stress and anxiety. 

      I'm not going to lie and say I have it all together now.  I have days I slip back into my old way of dealing with things and my stinking negative thinking, but it's better than before.  I catch myself now and stop things before they get out of control.  I stop and pray a lot during my day. I ask the Lord for His strength instead of trying to handle things on my own.  I am very good about taking my supplements and using my oils on a daily basis.  I am taking better care of me now.  It has changed my life for the better in many ways.  This version of me is more relaxed and calm.  I don't freak out at every little thing like I did before.  I am happier!!!! 

      As I finish this post, I want you to know that if you are suffering like I was, please don't suffer in silence. Please talk with someone. Let them know what is going on.  You don't have to go through this alone.  There is help for you!!!  It may look different than what I did to get better and that's okay!!!  The important thing is for you to feel better.  I will be praying for everyone reading this post and I am here if you need to talk.  



Thursday, May 14, 2020


Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

     I have loved Math since I was a little girl.  I have a few children who love it as much as I do, but my youngest daughter is not one of them.  She prefers art, music, and reading.  A while back my sons were given the chance to review No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials and they loved it so I was thrilled to get the chance to receive and review Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2 Middle Grades/High School from this amazing company.  I knew it would be a good fit for my 7th-grade daughter.  I wasn't wrong!

     The creator of these workbooks is Rick Fisher.  He was a Math instructor for over 30 years.  He has devoted his life to teaching Math skills and has done so by writing award-winning material.  He has won the Intel Innovations in Teaching Award and the Glenn W. Hoffmann Exemplary Awards ProgramThese workbooks have helped many students.  This tested teaching strategy has changed the lives of many children struggling with math skills. 

     This paperback workbook is 158 pages long and will teach and review math skills that will help your student succeed.  These essential math skills include:
  • Whole Numbers
  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Percent
  • Geometry
  • Integers
  • Charts and Graphs
  • Word Problems
     The answers to all the questions are located in the back of the book and are easily torn out for the parents to keep handy for when they are checking their child's work. You will also find a few additions in the back that will be helpful to teaching and learning the skills found in this book they are:
  • Important Symbols
  • Multiplication Table
  • Commonly Used Prime Numbers
  • Squares and Square Roots
  • Fraction/Decimal Equivalents

     We chose to use this book as supplemental material so we used it several times a week.  We have been going back and forth between whole numbers, Geometry, and Word Problems.  So far she is enjoying it.  It only takes about 20 minutes to complete each lesson and that is perfect for her.  She doesn't feel overwhelmed and doesn't lose focus.  

     Another great feature of these workbooks is the extra help you can get online through their videos.  They last up to 15 minutes and will help your child grasp what is being taught in the lessons.  Hope said they were helpful to her.  She said the guy teaching really knows his stuff.  I love the way kids talk... they are so honest and real.  

     Would you like to learn more about these amazing workbooks and videos?  I would encourage you to check them out here:

We also have more reviews for Math Essentials over on the Homeschool Review crew website.  Just click the link below.
No-Nonsense Algebra, Math Refresher for Adults &  Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2 Middle Grades/High School {Math Essentials Reviews}