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Just Being Us
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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW: Our Review of Techie Homeschool Mom

     Just a few months ago my daughter asked if we could do a study of Egypt.  You can imagine our excitement when we were chosen to receive and review the Ancient Egypt Online Unit Study from Techie Homeschool Mom.  We couldn't wait to start.  I have been a big fan of Techie Homeschool Mom for a while but hadn't gotten the chance to purchase her unit studies yet. This was a huge blessing for our family. 

      It was very simple to create an account and to log in to begin our Unit Study. I knew it would be because Beth Napoli, the owner of Techie Homeschool Mom and creator of these amazing Unit Studies, wanted a site that was easy to navigate and would help family use digital studies in their homeschools.  It doesn't matter if  you are an avid computer user or a beginner, this site will help guide you to teach with digital resources.  It is not overwhelming at all.  

     My daughter just loved each and every lesson during our study of Egypt.  She said the lessons were simple to use even without my help. Each lesson and project was unique.  Many of the lessons were accompanied with videos to watch or instructions on how to do a project.  Hope said she didn't feel intimidated by browsing at all.  She enjoyed having wonderful videos all in one place that helped her to learn more about Egypt. 


    There were a couple of lessons she really enjoyed.  The one on learning Hieroglyphics was very interesting to her.  She loves art, so making images instead of letters intrigued her.  I bought a special little notebook to go along with her Hieroglyphics lesson.  She loved drawing each character and wrote a letter to the Pharaoh with her special paper and envelopes. Techie Homeschool Mom had so many wonderful sites to visit while doing each lesson and the slide show for Hieroglyphics didn't disappoint.  

     From learning about the Birth of Egyptians to how they made paper, Hope didn't lose attention once during the study.  As a matter of fact she didn't want to stop.  I had to make her pace herself so we could enjoy it more. 

      Hope's favorite project was mummifying her prince doll.  She has been interested in the process of mummifying since we visited a local historical museum that had a real mummy on display.  This project gave her insight to what that process involved and the videos in her unit study were very educational.  Here are some pictures of her working on her project: 

     After she finished with mummifying her doll, she decided he needed a sarcophagus.  She got online all by herself and searched how to make one.  She would have never thought of doing this before finishing this unit study.  She realized there are fun and good learning tools out there for her. She didn't want me to share pics of her sarcophagus until she is finished, but I managed to talk her into letting you see a sneak peek of it.  She will be painting it and making it look all cool she says.  

     What I like about the site is that I felt comfortable with her using it by herself.  I knew all the videos and slide shows would be appropriate and I didn't worry at all.  I also liked that I was able to see her progress right when I logged in.  It would give me a percentage of what she had completed. 

     Do you struggle with online learning tools?  Do you feel anxious when using digital resources?  You should really check out Techie Homeschool Mom.  You will love it.  She is so helpful and guides you through using these tools for your homeschool.  

      You can also follow her on these social media pages: 

     We have more reviews of this product and others that are available over here

Solar, Ancients and Famous People Unit Studies {Techie Homeschool Mom Reviews}
Have a blessed week!!!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Letting Go of Stuff.....

     It's SPRING!!!  My favorite time of the year.  Not only are things coming to life; we get to do our annual Spring cleaning.  I love to clean and re-organize.  It always makes me feel good to get rid of things we no longer use or have outgrow,  and to clean spots of the house that get neglected during our daily and weekly cleaning sprees.  

     This process is not so easy for my kiddos though.  They tend to get attached to things.  We always have a little fuss over a favorite toy or piece of clothing.  It doesn't matter if they have outgrown it or no longer play with it, they have a connection with these items and it is hard for them to let go.  

     This year we sat down and had a long discussion before we started cleaning.  I explained that they are growing up and we need to make room for things they will need for these new stages of their lives. After a few moments, they agreed, but we still had a few issues arise as we were actually putting things into boxes.

      I am not one who cares for things..... well other than pictures, books and a few sentimental pieces, so I do not fully understand the struggle my kids have each year, but I do sympathize with them.  I decided to let them pick 5 things that they just couldn't let go of. This seemed to helped the process.  I asked them to pick things that were very special to them.  Things that held a precious memory or that they would like to share with their children some day.  After they chose those 5 important things, they were more than willing to let go of the rest.  

     Even when cleaning, it's all about finding what works for your family.  As parents we need to help our children work through things instead of just telling them what to do and how to do it. It's important to cultivate minds that can think for themselves.  We want them to be able to make decisions for themselves.  When we give our kids choices, they are learning decision making skills.  As I allowed my children to pick 5 things they really wanted to keep, they realized how many other things they really didn't want, but thought they were incapable of letting go.  They felt in control of what was going on, and it made the process much more pleasant.  

      When we are doing our Spring cleaning, we begin with  3 boxes.  One for donations, one for selling, and one for trash.  As we sort through our stuff, we place each item into the appropriate box. Most of our things get donated.  Our selling piles are things that my sons know they can sell at local game stores or on eBay in order to make a little money for them to use on new items through out the year.  The trash pile are clothes that are torn or stained or broken toys/items that are of no use to anyone else.  

     Now on to mom's problem area.... I hate getting rid of books.
Why?  I always make the excuse what if I want to read it again or we can use it (usually curriculum) in the future.  Each year I have to talk myself into letting go, knowing that if I don't get rid of some of our books, I won't be able to buy anything new for our school or personal use.  It's not easy, but I get the job done. In my heart,  I know that it is for the best.  

      I try my best to keep our home organized.  It's not always an easy task but well worth the time and effort.  We know that if we keep our home in order, it will be easier for us to find things we need, and to share our home with others.  After our Spring cleaning extravaganza, we all feel better.  It's so freeing to let go of things we just don't need or want.  

      How do you clean your home and rid your house of unwanted or unneeded items?  I would love to hear from you.  You may have some new ideas others can use in their homes 😉

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of CrossWired Science

     Recently we were given the opportunity to receive and review a years subscription to  Sound, and Fluid Dynamics from CrossWired Science.  I love using Science resources that point my children to Christ. CrossWired Science goes out of their way to show the Glory of God through his creation.  It is a blessing to have a company do this. 

     Let me a share a little bit about this product. CrossWired Science is a new company and is still working on building access to many more videos over time. When I first logged on the site didn't have much for me to look at, but now they have so much more for you to see.  There are sample units and many little exerts of videos they have or will have. 

     Right now at the time of this post, They are offering a special on their digital subscriptions.  During the months of April 2019 and May 2019, as it is their launching year, you will get a few extra months to experience their videos if you purchase the yearly subscription now.  How great is that?

     This curriculum can be used as supplemental material or it can stand alone.  It is designed for ages 4-18.  The littles will love watching the videos and your older students will be challenged as they watch the videos and go through the questions at the end.  There are two ways to explore the videos.  They have First Timers and Second Timers.  When beginning the program I suggest going through the First Timers set.  Once you have fully finished these, then go on to the Second Timers.  These videos are the same, but will encourage more learning and digging deeper into the subjects being taught. 

     We personally used this as supplemental material.  Our daughter loves to explore nature and creation.  She enjoyed watching the videos 3 or 4 times a week and she did well answering the questions at the end of each segment.  There is also a box that pops up to take notes on what you are learning.  I thought that was really cool. 

     There are fun Science experiments to do as well.  We will be doing many of them over our summer break to keep our minds focused on learning even while we take some time off.  Science experiments are a great way to learn and have fun at the same time.  I am looking forward to working through the ones on the site. 


     I felt the site was easy to navigate.  The only problem I had was logging on at first, but once I got on it was a breeze.  As I said they are still in the launching phase so be patient with them.  You won't be disappointed with their resources.  My daughter also said she had no problem getting to her courses and she isn't good with computers 😊

     I like that the site keeps records of your students grades on the little question sections and allows parents to see the progress of their children.  The site has a great help section that will walk you through purchasing your subscription to how to use the curriculum with your child.  I love when a site has these little helps for me. It shows they care for their subscribers and want them to be able to use the product with ease.  

     I would encourage you to go and check out CrossWired Science for yourself.  I think this site has great possibilities as they grow.  I know we will continue using it over the next year.   

     We have more reviews of this material for you read over here

Sound, and Fluid Dynamics {CrossWired Science Reviews}

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW: Our Review of Stopmotion Explosion

     Thank you for watching our video review! We hope we were able to show you all the features of this product.  We want to give you an honest opinion while letting you see all that this kit is able to do.  

     Come check out the Stop Motion Animation Kit from Stopmotion Explosion!  You can also find them on their social media pages below:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/App-Page/Stopmotion-Explosion-104732269687187/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/StopmoExplosion

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1ich35AhOSQcXwrSHqrJdg

We have more reviews for this product over here


Stop Motion Animation Kit {Stopmotion Explosion Reviews}

Friday, April 12, 2019

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork

     When my oldest son entered high school, I had no idea how much record keeping I would be doing.  I sure wish I would have had  Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork by Janice Campbell of Everyday Education.  This book would have saved me tons of time and taken the stress out of filling out paperwork.  I am so happy that I was chosen to receive and review the PDF of this book.  It has taught me a lot and now I will not be apprehensive when making out my children's high school transcripts.

     Maybe you don't have children in high school yet and you are thinking what are transcripts?  Transcripts are the records of the courses your student takes in high school.  It is important for you to know what classes are required for graduation and to keep record of the courses that your child completed during those 4 years of high school.  Colleges will want to see these transcripts when your student applies for acceptance.  My son even needed his transcripts when he attended the Fire Academy.  

     I remember stressing over making his out.  It was my first time doing so and I didn't want to mess up.  If only I would have had a book like this to help me back then.  I encourage all homeschooling families to have this book on hand even before your child enters high school. 

     The 136 page book is broken down into 5 parts:
  • Meet the Transcripts: Here you will learn what a transcript is, who needs one, and who will be seeing the transcripts
  • Plan with the End in Mind: In this section you will learn what courses to take in high school, what standardized tests to take, and strategies for a successful first year at college
  • Keep Simple Records: Here you will be taught how to keep a high school binder and what work needs to be kept. You will also learn about special needs record keeping and resource recommendations.
  • Grades, Credit and the GPA: In this amazing section you will learn all about grading and writing evaluations.  It helps traditional and untraditional homeschoolers keep accurate and ethical records of your students grades and credits earned.
  • Create the Transcript: This part will take you step by step in creating a transcript.  Such a great help for parents! 
     At the end of the book you will find some wonderful resources listed to help you along the way as you homeschool your high school student. There are also some great reproducibles that will make record keeping a breeze.  

     I am using it right now for our youngest who just entered high school last Fall and will use it for our youngest daughter in a few years. It has been a huge blessing for our family and I feel it could really help you as well. 

     I encourage you to check out this amazing resource over on the Everyday Education website and to follow Janice's social media pages listed below: 

     We also have more reviews, written by honest homeschooling families, over here 

Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork {Everyday Education Reviews}
Have a blessed weekend!!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW: Our Review of Christian Heroes: Then & Now

     A couple of years ago we were introduced to the Christian Heroes: Then & Now series from YWAM Publishing.  We love them!  They are amazing books that focus on Christians who have made a difference with their lives.  I was thrilled to be given the chance to receive and review Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis book this time along with the Study Guide that corresponds with the book. 
     Our son Josh, who is 14, was so excited to read all about one of his favorite authors.  It didn't take long for him to read through the 189 page paperback book.  It has 17 chapters filled with knowledge of C.S. Lewis.  It is fun and educational at that same time.  It held his attention with no problem at all.  

     I asked him what he thought of the book and his response was this....
     "It was neat to find out that C.S. Lewis' real name was Clive Staples Lewis.  He didn't care for people to call him Clive so he asked them to call him Jack. I had no idea what a hard life he lived, but it never stopped his love of hearing and telling stories. He used his stories to tell people about the truth of life.  He especially loved to share his faith in Jesus Christ through writing imaginative stories." 

     My kids have loved C.S. Lewis'  books for years.  When they were little I would read these books to them, then as they grew older, they would read through them again themselves.  His amazing stories taught us so much about life.  I love how he brought each of the characters in his books to life. Our favorite books are the Chronicles of Narnia series.  We have the books and the audio dramas for them. They are getting worn out from years of use. 


     As Josh read through this true story of C.S. Lewis, he was also able to work through the study guide that was provided.  He would answer the questions that went along with each chapter.  This helped him to remember what was going on in the book. 
     I love how the study guide was set up it has a few sections such as: 
  • Key Bible Verses
  • Display Corner
  • Chapter Questions
  • Student Explorations
  • Community Links
  • Social Studies
  • Related Themes to Explore
     There is so much more. I can't list them all here, but I know you will love these Unit Studies. They can be used with many age groups.  Even high school students will be able to use them. 

     YWAM Publishing is a wonderful company that goes out of their way to make resources that go above and beyond.  The Christian Heroes: Then & Now series is my favorite. They are able to tell true stories in a way that keeps students wanting to read more and more.  Books like these are so important for our children.  They share what others have gone through as they answered the call of God on their lives. 

     Would you like to know more about this company?  I would encourage you to check out their website or their social media pages listed below: 
 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YWAM-Publishing-482973445102/

  Twitter: http://twitter.com/YWAMpublishing

  Instagram: @ywampublishing

     We also have more reviews of this book along with many others over here 
Study Guides - Christian Heroes Then & Now & Heroes of History {YWAM Publishing Reviews}

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Fix It! Grammar

     Our daughter, who is 11 and in the 6th grade, has been struggling with Grammar.  I was so thrilled to hear we had been chosen to receive and review Fix It! Grammar from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW).  After researching it on the website, I knew this would be a good fit for Hope.  I also loved that they have a placement test to see where your student is so you can purchase the level that would be perfect for them. 

     We were given the Teacher's Manual and the Student Book for this review, but if you can not purchase both, the Teacher's Manual gives you instructions on how to download the Student Book as a PDF for free.  You are free to print as many workbooks you need for your family as long as you purchased the Teacher's Manual. I think that is amazing!!!  How many companies allow you to do this? 

      Before you begin your journey with Fix It! Grammar, I suggest you watch the free webinar to get acquainted with the program and how it works.  It was very helpful for me. I also enjoyed watching the You Tube video of Andrew Pedewa explaining the program as well.  He is the one of the leaders of  IEW.  He does a very good job of walking you through this program. 

    When Hope took the placement test, we found that Level 3 Frog Prince, or Just Deserts, would be a good fit for her.  They have 6 Levels in total for Fix It! Grammar.  The placement tests will help you discern where your child will work best with the program.  If you have any questions about where to place them, it is best to begin with the first one. 

    So what makes this Grammar program different?  It is how they approach teaching it. Instead of doing a bunch of exercises that teach each Grammar rule, your student will dive right real-life sentences that help them implement the rules of Grammar.  This will then help them edit and correct their own writing later on. 

      We couldn't wait to begin when the books arrived.  I took a day or so to look over the materials and what we would need. I found that it would take us about 15 to 20 minutes to complete each lesson. We would be working 5 days a week as well. 
 The first thing you do as a teacher is to go through the review cards for the lesson you are on.  These cards come with your Student workbook or when you print out the workbook pages.  They are located right before the Glossary at the back.  You can cut out each week as you go or all of them at once.  So ours didn't get lost we made a little pocket at the front of the Student book to keep them safe. 

     The lessons are set up in four sections.   
          1. Learn It
          2. Fix It
          3. Discuss It
          4. Copy It

     You will talk about what new grammar concepts will be coming up then you work on fixing the mistakes in the sentences that you are given.  After your student makes the necessary fixes, you will discuss why they made the changes.  Once they have learned all they can from the passage, they will copying the passage in it's corrected form in a separate notebook.  This helps to reinforce what they have learned.  

      My daughter usually gets very frustrated with Grammar workbooks because they are so repetitious.  The way this is set up she feels like she is learning more useful tools to help her improve her Writing and Grammar skills.  

     I liked the Glossary that came with the Teacher Manual and Student book. It helped to remind us of the rules of Grammar and editing that we have been learning.  It's very simple to look through and is at your fingertips when doing your lessons. 

      We are enjoying this Grammar curriculum and would encourage anyone looking for a new approach to teaching and learning Grammar to try it.  

      If you want more information on Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) I would suggest that you check out their website and their social media pages listed below: 

      We also have more reviews for you to read over here

Fix It! Grammar {Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) Reviews}
Have a blessed day!!!