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Just Being Us
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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Hewitt Homeschooling

     During my high school years, I loved reading Shakespeare.  I picked William Shakespeare as my Senior paper topic and I had so much fun researching him and all his wonderful plays and sonnets.  I always hoped that one day my children would enjoy reading his works.  I was thrilled to receive and review Shakespeare: Comedies & Sonnets by Hewitt Homeschooling.  I knew this was an opportunity to share my love of Shakespeare with my son Ryan who is a Junior in high school.  

     The set includes a Student's Guide and a Teacher's Guide. To work your way through this curriculum, you will have to purchase or borrow 4 unabridged copies of Shakespeare's plays that include:
  • Twelfth Night
  • As You Like It
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • The Merchant of Venice
You can see I have a personal collection
 of Shakespeare's works that was given
to me by a special person
  who also had a love of Shakespeare

     The Teacher's Guide will help you teach your student.  It contains:
  • Introduction
  • Grading Tips
  • Schedules
  • Answers to Comprehension Questions
  • Writing Exercises
  • Discussion Questions and Projects
      Personally, I loved the section on discussion questions and projects.  It allowed my son and me to talk about the plays he was reading.  It opened up conversations about the time period and settings of the plays.  He loves history, so we used some of the suggestions in the Teacher's guide on how to incorporate history class into this study of literature and that made this more interesting for Ryan. 

     The Student's Guide consisted of an Introduction, a background of who Shakespeare was, and 4 units of 2 lessons each.  The first lesson would go over the play that was being read, then the second lesson of the unit would discuss the sonnets that are included in the guide.  The lessons on the plays were broken down into 4 sections that consist of:
  • Plot Summary
  • Literary Lesson Themes: Love, Appearance Versus Reality, Festival, and Fun
  • Literary Lesson Characters
  • Literary Lesson Language
The sonnets were then discussed by:
  • Literary Lesson: Content, Language, and Contrasting Sonnets 
  • Perspectives

     In the back of the Student's Guide you are given:
  • Appendix A: Discussion Questions and Project Suggestions
  • Appendix B: Additional Reading
  • Appendix C: Movie and Video Recommendations
  • Appendix D: Semester and Full-Year Schedule
  • Bibliography
    I was very impressed with this curriculum. I feel it helped my son navigate his way through these plays with ease.  He has never enjoyed reading literature, but this gave him new tools to help him understand the writings.  The plot summaries were very informative and aided in understanding what was going on in the plays. I have not seen any other curriculum guide in the way this one did.  He didn't have any trouble keeping up with the storyline. 

      I asked if he enjoyed reading these plays and he said, " Well mom I don't love Shakespeare like you, but now I understand it more."  That is what matters.  He was introduced to these plays and sonnets in a way that he could comprehend them and was given the opportunity to make up his own mind about them.  He will be able to read other plays with the knowledge of how to study them. His reading comprehension was taken to a whole new level with the use of this curriculum. That is what makes all the difference!!!

      Would you like to know more about Hewitt Homeschooling Resources?  I encourage you to visit their website Hewitt Homeschooling and their social media pages: 

      We also have some more reviews for you to check out for this set and others like Shakespeare Tragedies & Sonnets and American Christian Authors, over on the Homeschool Review Crew website.  I encourage you to look them over and see what other homeschooling families are saying about Hewitt Homeschooling.

     Have a wonderful day!!!!


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Novare Science & Math

     I have always enjoyed science.  I hoped my children would like it as much as I have, but that was not the case for some of my kiddos.  When we were picked to review General Chemistry from Novare Science & Math, I was a bit apprehensive and excited at the same time.  I first saw this curriculum in my Memoria Press catalog that I received just a couple of months ago and was thrilled to get to review it for myself.   

     Novare Science & Math has so many resources to offer homeschooling families such as Earth Science: God's World, Our Home, Introductory Physics, Physical Science, and the book we are reviewing titled General Chemistry. These are just a few of the courses they offer. I was so surprised that I hadn't heard of them before now.  

     When the hardback book arrived in the mail, I handed it to my 17-year-old son,  who would be using it over the next year, and he started thumbing through the pages.  It was quite impressive.  It begins with a Preface for the teacher that explains what is to follow.  It also describes their Emphasis on Mastery, Integration, and Kingdom.  After the preface, you have an introductory chapter that is followed up with 12 more informative chapters that include:
  • Measurements
  • Atoms and Substances
  • Atomic Structure
  • The Periodic Law
  • Chemical Bonding
  • Molecular Theory and Metallic Bonding
  • Chemical Reactions and Stoichiometry
  • Kinetic Theory and States of Matter
  • The Gas Laws
  • Solution Chemistry
  • Acids and Bases
  • Redox Chemistry

      We were also given a downloadable version of the Resource CD that goes along with the General Chemistry book.  This CD includes:
  • Recommendations for teaching this course
  • Quizzes
  • Exams
  • Quiz keys
  • Exam keys
      I was pleased to read that they teach science through a Biblical view.  They emphasize the fact that God created this beautiful world we live in. As I looked over the textbook, I was delighted to see how thorough the text was.  They explained everything in detail.  I feel that is important so our children will not struggle with understanding what is being taught.  

      Here is my son's point of view: During the time that I used this curriculum, I felt that it was informative and leaves no questions unanswered. It was thorough in explaining details of the topic of the chapter. This Chemistry course is better than others I have done in the past.  It is important to me that I learn science from a Biblical perspective and this book met that requirement. I am looking forward to finishing this one.

     What a blessing to hear that he is enjoying a subject that he has struggled with in the past.  It fills my heart with joy to see him able to learn such a difficult subject with ease.  It really is all about finding a good fit for our children and I would suggest looking into these wonderful courses for your students.  

     If you would like to learn more about General Chemistry and other resources from Novare Science & Math, I would suggest visiting their website and their social media pages:

     I want to encourage you to head on over to read some more reviews of this resource and a few others like Science for Every Teacher over on the Homeschool Review Crew website.  I would love for you to see what other homeschool families are saying about  Novare Science & Math. You won't be disappointed.

     Have a blessed day!!!!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of UnLock Math

     For years I have struggled with teaching certain math classes.  I knew how to work through the problems and get the right answer, but teaching it was a whole new ballgame.  I wish we would have had UnLock Math when my oldest three were growing up.  That is why I was so excited to be reviewing a year subscription to UnLock Algebra1.  Our 12-year-old son loves to learn through online classes, so this product was a great fit for him. 
     UnLock Math has several different online math classes that they teach such as UnLock Pre-Algebra, UnLock Algebra1, UnLock Algebra2, and their newest program Unlock Geometry.  If you are a parent that feels intimidated teaching high school math, this program may be just what you are looking for.  It can be used as a supplemental program or a complete math class. They offer monthly or yearly subscriptions to each of their programs.  

     UnLock Math has so much to offer homeschool families such as:

  • Engaging Video Lessons With A Real Teacher
  • Assessment Environment Using The World's Most Advanced Symbolic Computational Engine
  • Unlimited Practice & Review
  • Reference Notes
  • Complete Solutions
  • Automated Grading
  • Mid-Term & Finals
     We didn't have any issues when signing up for UnLock Algebra1.  Logging in is a simple process for both the parent and student.  Our son was able to sign himself in with ease.  He worked on his lessons about 3 days a week.  Normally we do math every day of the week, but we are on a more relaxed summer schedule right now. I was happy to see that the program keeps track of your child's progress and grades. That is always a plus for parents who already have so much to do.  

     When I asked if he liked the program he said that he enjoys the teacher breaking down each problem and making it easier for him to understand.  He also likes the fact that he can work at his own pace.  He doesn't feel rushed or overwhelmed.  This is a wonderful review from a child who has been reading since he was 3, but has struggled with math since entering middle school. We will be using the other math products with him as long as he continues doing this well with Algebra 1.  The program will take him about 8 to 9 months to complete.  
     As I went through the site, I was so thrilled to see how much time and effort was put into this program.  The teachers are easy to understand and take time to explain each math concept and/or equation. Each lesson begins with a Warm Up, then you head into the video lesson.  After you finish the video, you do Practice Problems. Once you are done with that, you work on the Stay Sharp problems.  They help you review past concepts.  Finally, you take on a Challenge question, this gives your child an equation that really tests their knowledge.

     During each lesson they make your child feel at ease as they are learning.  My son didn't have any anxiety when working through the math problems he was given.  He took his time and remembered what had been taught by the teacher during the lesson time.  When he took the quizzes/tests, he felt as though he had the knowledge to get the answer right and even when he did get an answer wrong, he didn't sweat it.  He knew he would grasp it in time. He didn't whine or get upset when I said it was time to do math.  That is huge!!!
     Would you like to learn more about this amazing online math program?  I encourage you to visit their website UnLock Math or check out their social media pages: 
     We also have reviews for all the UnLock Math programs over on the Homeschool Review Crew website.  I hope you take some time to head on over and read what others have to say about UnLock Math.  

     Have a great day!!!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of the Adventures of Rush Revere

     Do you see those huge smiles on my kids?  I have never seen them so excited to receive a set of books.  When we were chosen to review Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh, they jumped for joy. They love to read material that makes history fun for them to learn, and the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series does just that.

     There are 5 books in the set that we received. They are about 200 pages in length, but they are an easy read.  My fourth grader reads them quickly and retains much of the information. My kids love the fun little pictures throughout the books and the historic renderings of places and people of the time they are reading about. 

     In these wonderful books, you will have the thrill of meeting Rush Revere, his horse Liberty, and their friends Freedom, Tommy, and Cam. There are also many others you will become acquainted with as you read through the series. Not one page disappointed my children.  It was fun to hear them run through the house repeating the quote that started every time travel experience. This little saying is hard to forget: "Rush, Rush, Rushing to History!"  So much fun!!!

     The first book is Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims. In this book Rush and his crew travel back in time to the Mayflower voyage. They have the wonderful opportunity to meet the Pilgrims and to enjoy the first Thanksgiving meal.  You will get a glimpse into the everyday lives of the Pilgrims and you will see the struggles they faced and how they managed them.  

     The second book is called Rush Revere and the First Patriots. This adventure takes place right before the American Revolution. You will get to meet the colonist and even King George III during this trip. As we were reading this book, we talked about the different freedoms we have today because of the bravery of the men in this book.

      This is my son's favorite book of the 5.  He said it was action packed and helped him understand the time period better.  He has never enjoyed learning about this time in history until now.  

     The next one is my daughter's favorite.  It is called Rush Revere and the American Revolution. This book goes over the people and times during a place in history that was life changing for the American people.  Hope said it taught her why it is important for men and women to serve in the military and how we need to remember to pray for them.  She loves the happy ending when Cam gets to see his dad return from a military deployment. She said it reminded her how happy her sister is when her husband returns home from serving abroad.   

     In this next time travel adventure titled Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner, you will get a chance to learn about the American government, its documents, and what the symbols of America mean.  After reading through this book, we made a list of all the places we would love to visit so we can learn more about our nation.  We want to see where our Constitution is being kept and we would love to see all the beautiful monuments that help us remember the history of our country.

     Our final book is called Rush Revere and the Presidency. This one teaches about what it takes to become president of the United States and many little tidbits about our past presidents and their first ladies. This book was very informative and it reinforced what we talked about during the election process back in November of 2016. My children said they wished they would have had it to read before our unit study on the government since Rush makes learning fun.  My kids were sad when they finished this last book and decided they wanted to read them all over again.    

     As we read through these books we used the Study Guides that are provided on the resource page of the Adventure in Rush Revere Homeschool Depot.  These study guides helped me to see how much my children were comprehending.  They also opened the doors for some wonderful conversations about our history.  I absolutely love all the resources that is on their website.  

     Would you like to learn more about these books? I suggest that you check out their website Adventures of Rush Revere and their social media pages: 
      We also have some more reviews for you over on the Homeschool Review Crew website.  I encourage you to check out what others have to say about these books.  

      Have a wonderful day!!!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus

     When I was beginning my first year of homeschooling 19 years ago, I would have loved to have How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook) from Apologia Educational Ministries. When I was chosen to review it, I was excited because I wanted to share about this resource with other homeschooling families.

      When I began my homeschooling adventure,  I was at a complete loss at first and had to research everything on my own.  I had my husband's support, but everyone else thought I was crazy.  I knew that our choice to homeschool was what the Lord was calling us to do.  I didn't allow the negativity we were dealing with to compromise what God said was right for our family.  
     How to HOMESCHOOL is written by two wonderful homeschooling moms named Rachel Carman & Leslie Nunnery.  This set includes  two DVDs and a Coursebook.  This set will be a great help to those who are praying about homeschooling or just beginning their journey.  I enjoyed watching Rachel and Leslie discuss their experiences and encouraging families to teach their children diligently in the Word of God.  They used the word discipleship many times and that is exactly what your main focus should be.  We want to teach our children to love the Lord with all their hearts, minds, and souls.  

     The DVD chapters last from about 7 minutes to 14 minutes in length and correspond with the chapters in the Coursebook. Rachel and Leslie keep your focus and are wonderful speakers.  They are open and honest. That is refreshing to me. It reassures me to know I am not alone in the feelings I have had. 

     The Coursebook has 6 sections with 15 chapters in all. Each chapter has a section for notes and an assignment you will need to complete in order to get the most out of this book.  Here is what you can expect to learn:
  • Introduction: Join Us on the Journey
  • Chapter 1: How to Get the Most Out of This Course
Designing Your Road Map
  • Chapter 2: Setting Goals for the Journey
  • Chapter 3: Finding Support 
  • Chapter 4: Choosing Curriculum
Finding Your Way
  • Chapter 5: Practical How-To's (Nuts & Bolts)
  • Chapter 6: Organizing Your Homeschool Stuff
  • Chapter 7: Organizing Your Homeschool Day
  • Chapter 8: Tip from Veterans
Navigating the Detours
  • Chapter 9: Family Matters-Marriage
  • Chapter 10: Family Matters-The Rest
  • Chapter 11: Dealing with Opposition
Arriving at Your Destination
  • Chapter 12: High School Graduation and College
  • Chapter 13: If College Is Not the End Game
  • Chapter 14: You Can Make It!
Beginning Your Journey
  • Chapter 15: Continuing Education and Encouragement Opportunities

     I think the most important chapter is Setting Goals for the Journey.  In this chapter, you sit down with your spouse and figure out just why you are homeschooling. If you have a goal in mind you are more apt to keep going when things get hard. Our family wrote a mission statement years ago.  

     My favorite chapter was Tips from Veterans.  It is so important that we help those who are beginning this wonderful journey of homeschooling. We should share what we have learned along the way.  We need to be open and honest with our struggles and able to admit where we failed.  When we are genuine and forthright, it helps other homeschooling families to see that even on days we fall apart, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  You need to keep your goals in mind.  

     If you would like to learn more about this amazing resource you can visit their website How to HOMESCHOOL or check out their social media pages:

     We also have some more reviews for this resource and Internship for High School Credit over on the Homeschool Review Crew website.  I encourage you to check them out.

     Have a blesssed day!!!!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of MarshMedia

     In our homeschool, we have two tweens.  It is a challenge to teach them what they need to know about how their bodies are changing and the how to keep their bodies healthy during these changes. I would like to tell you about a program, that we were given to review, that can help us with these topics. MarshMedia is a company that produces health education products for K-8, and up to this point, has primarily produced these for use in schools.  They are now interested in reaching out to the homeschool community. Right now they are running a special for homeschool families.  If you would like to take advantage of this Homeschool Special go to:

       There are many topics that include personal hygiene, health, puberty education, safety, immune system disorders,  head lice, and nutrition. All together there are about 54 videos to pick from. The videos range from 15 to 25 minutes in length. Each one is upbeat and geared to keep your children focused on the topic at hand.

      We picked a few to watch.  The first video we watched was on personal hygiene. It is called Keep It Clean.  This program teaches our children that they need to keep clean for 3 reasons:
  • For your health
  • For your appearance
  • For your own self-esteem

We watched this video together as a group as it did not contain any material inappropriate for mixed company.  

     Our daughter, who just turned 10, is experiencing some major changes in her body right now.  I chose to watch the program Puberty, A Girl's Journey with her.  In this video, they teach on topics such as: 
  • When to expect the onset of puberty
  • The female reproductive system
  • The menstrual cycle
  • Hormones
  • Health and hygiene
  • The importance of exercise, nutrition, and adequate rest
She seemed to understand each topic and we had a long discussion after we finished watching it. Right now she is dealing with more of the emotional side of the hormonal changes so we talked about that and prayed for the Lord to help her as she felt these different feelings.  

     Our 12-year-old son has already been through some changes in his body.  He always has many questions for us.  I thought the program Straight Talk about Puberty for Boys would be a good fit for him.  In this video they talk about:
  • The male reproductive system
  • Hygiene and good grooming
  • The dangers of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs to growing bodies
  • Emotional and physical changes of puberty
  • Importance of exercise and good nutrition
  • Self- Esteem
Josh had many of his questions answered in this video, that he viewed with his older brother so he wouldn't be embarrassed watching it with mom. He said it was informative and he learned a lot.  

     I think MarshMedia did a good job with these programs.  I like how each is labeled with the appropriate age level.  We were able to visit some topics that were hard to bring up before and address any issues the kids were having.  

     If you would like more information about these programs please visit their website MarshMedia or check out their social media pages: 
      We also have some other reviews for you to read over on the Homeschool Review Crew website.  I encourage you to head on over there and see what other families have to say about this product.  

       Have a great day!!!!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of K5 Learning

     We are always looking for fun and educational ways to learn on the computer.  I was delighted to find out we were chosen to receive and review the online program called K5 Learning.  We were given a six-month subscription that we could use for up to four students.  This program is geared for Kindergarten to grade five and will help them with their reading, spelling and math skills. The program is a supplemental program, not a full curriculum. It is aimed at homeschoolers and children attending schools who would like to enrich their math, reading and spelling lessons. I like the fact that you can buy a monthly or yearly subscription, and it can be used for up to four students.  

       We chose to use these online lessons with our daughter who is just finishing up the fourth grade. She can always use extra practice with her reading comprehension and math.  You know the old saying "practice makes perfect", while I know we can never do anything perfectly,  I do think that the more we practice, the more proficient we become. When our children feel more confident in a subject, they will be able to advance to more difficult lessons with ease.

     Our daughter struggled for years with reading. She was not able to grasp the concept of phonics and it became a very frustrating experience for both of us.  It wasn't until about a year ago that it finally clicked for her.  She literally started reading overnight.  She went from level one books to chapter books in a short time.  If I had known about this program from K5 Learning, this whole ordeal, that brought us both to tears on most days, may have been avoided.  She may have been able to learn more quickly with the techniques that are taught in the reading lessons. 

     The reading section includes lessons on:
  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Sight Words
  • Vocabulary 
  • Reading Comprehension

     She has always excelled at math, but she had fun working on the math lessons offered by K5. 

     The math section includes lessons on:
  •  Numbers and Operations
  •  Measurement 
  •  Geometry
  •  Data Analysis
  •  Algebraic Thinking  

     Since she struggled with reading for so long, her spelling capabilities were not on par, but she is catching up quickly.  K5 Learning is also helping her in this area.  

     The spelling section has:
  •  Adaptive Instruction
  •  Optimized Visual Interface
  •  Over 150,000 words available to use

     Setting up your account is easy.  Assigning accounts to your children is simple.  Parents are given a parental account to oversee their children's progress.  It is a website my children and I can use with ease.  As you can see below, I signed in our son Josh as well, to show you how it looks when you sign up more than one student.  He is too old for most of the programs but enjoyed some of the math sections. 

{I have blotted out their usernames for privacy}

       If you would like to learn more about the K5 Learning site I encourage you to visit their website and social media pages: 

     We also have some great reviews to help you decide if this program is a good fit for your family over on the Homeschool Review Crew website. 

     Have a wonderful day!




Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Nature's Beautiful Order by Memoria Press

     Our daughter, who is 10, loves nature.  She loves animals, flowers, and playing in the dirt. When we were chosen to receive and review Nature's Beautiful Order by Memoria Press, we were so excited.  We knew this would be a perfect curriculum for her.  


     This amazing set is geared for grades 6-8, but she was able to complete lessons with only a few questions here and there.  She enjoyed reading the textbook and didn't mind filling out the student guide at all. Of course, I sat with her during her lessons and made sure she was able to comprehend it. It may be her love of nature that made this set adaptable for her grade level.  I felt she did not struggle understanding it.

      I love that the set also comes with a teacher's key.  It makes teaching and grading much easier for a busy homeschooling mom.  

      The Student Guide and Text have 18 chapters/lessons:
  • The Cat
  • The Lobster
  • The Cuttlefish
  • The Sea Urchin
  • The Bee
  • The Trout
  • The Frog
  • The Turtle
  • The Canada Goose
  • The Miracle of Flight
  • Day's Herald Bird
  • Birds at Home
  • The Groundhog
  • The White-Tailed Deer
  • The Carnivora
  • Farm Friends
  • Man the Upright Animal
  • Man the Steward
     We were able to complete one chapter a week.  I would break up the questions in the Student Guide to match up with our reading for the day.  I wanted her to enjoy and soak up what she was reading.  Taking things at a fast pace doesn't allow for discussions and reflection time. When she is going through a book on animals or nature, she likes to look up other books/sites on the subject she is learning.  I allow her time to do this as it helps her to absorb what is being taught.  

      Her favorite chapter was the one on frogs. It had an in-depth description of the metamorphosis of the frog and it intrigued this young lady who hopes to be a veterinarian one day.  She liked reading about the skeleton of the frog and how these amphibians differed from other animals. The complete and detailed account of these amazing creatures kept her attention throughout the entire chapter.   

     In our home, it is important to have a curriculum that supports our beliefs.  Memoria Press did just that.  We are Creationist and this set supports the Bible and what it teaches about Creation.  I was thrilled to see how they incorporated so much into this resource.  It is a great buy for those looking for Classical approach to teaching about nature.  
     If you would like to learn more about these amazing resources from Memoria Press, I encourage you to check out their website and social media pages listed below:

     It is important to research what you will be teaching your children. That is why I love that we can read reviews on the Homeschool Review Crew website and get a look into what other families have learned from different resources out there.  

     I hope you will find time to take a look at this wonderful set along with the many others that Memoria Press has to offer.  

     Have a blessed day!!!!