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Just Being Us
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Thursday, June 20, 2019

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW: Our Review of Jump In, 2nd Edition

     I have always loved writing short stories, essays, and even book reports.  I want to instill a love of writing in my children.  When I first started homeschooling, I didn't realize how hard it would be to teach writing skills to children.  I wish I would have had Jump In, 2nd Edition from Writing with Sharon Watson 22 years ago.  I was thrilled to be chosen to receive and review it.  I knew my daughter, who is in middle school, would benefit from working through it.  

     The set includes a Teacher's Guide and a Student Workbook for Middle School Composition.  The are paperback but are durable. The program can be used in many different ways.  They have a one year schedule, a two year schedule or the three year schedule that you can follow.  These are explained in the Teacher's Guide. Each lesson can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes.  Our family is going to use the two year schedule so Hope can get the most out of the curriculum.  

     The Teacher's Guide is 115 pages long and includes:

  • Schedules
  • Random Facts
  • Assignments
  • Teacher's Backpack (Helps you with teaching writing skills)
  • Sample Essay Evaluations
  • 10 minute Writing Plunges
  • Answer Key
  • Grading Grids

   This guide gives you knowledge of how to grade your student's writing and ways you can encourage them to write.  I feel it is well put together and I have enjoyed reading through it and using it to further my daughter's writing abilities.

     The Student Workbook is 286 pages long and consists of lessons titled: 
  • Get Your Feet Wet
  • Opinions-You've Got Them
  • Persuasion: The Basics
  • Cause and Effect
  • A Newspaper Article
  • A How-to
  • A Report
  • A Biography
  • Compare and Contrast
  • A Book Report
  • Description
  • Narration
  • Poetry
  • My Locker
     My daughter has been working through the Get Your Feet Wet and Opinions-You've Got Them.  She was a bit apprehensive at first as she hasn't loved other writing curriculum in the past, but once she got started she was intrigued.  She told me this curriculum wasn't like others she had done before.  They were asking questions that made her realize that they cared about how she felt about writing.  

     I was excited to see her wanting to write. She realized it didn't have to be perfect.  She just had to get her thoughts down at first.  She was thrilled to have subjects that she was interested in as well. 

    I had her write a paper with her thoughts from above.  She brainstormed ideas of how having a pet was beneficial.  She turned it into a paper telling parents why kids should be allowed to have pets, a subject she is passionate about.

      Once she had it down on paper, she decided to type it out so it would be grammatically correct and not just her thoughts on a paper. She was pleased with her work and printed it out for me to see.  I think she did a great job!!! This is a great resource for her and I can't wait to see her learn more from it.  It really is different from other writing programs.

     Do you have a middle school aged child who struggles with writing/composition?  I would highly recommend this curriculum.  Even if you don't homeschool, I think any child could benefit from working through this program.  

     Come on over and check out the Writing with Sharon Watson website or look them up on their social media links below:

     We have more reviews of this program over here. Just click on the banner below to see what other families are saying about this curriculum.
Jump In, 2nd Edition {Writing with Sharon Watson Reviews}

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW: Our Review of The Kingdom Code

     As a mom, I feel it is very important to learn about how to budget our money and to learn to be financially responsible at a young age.  When I heard about The Complete Starter Kit from The Kingdom Code, I was impressed.  I was so happy to be one chosen to receive and review this product.  I knew this would help me teach my youngest daughter what the Bible says about how we should use and spend our money that God blesses us with. 

     When our package arrived we were so excited to see the beautiful wrapping that were protecting the resources.  So pretty!!!  As I unwrapped them, I got even more excited to see how amazing the textbook, student packet and teacher's guide, and receipt book looked.  Such high quality and beautiful pages full of vibrant color.  I couldn't wait to dig in.  My daughter was thrilled also.  She loves getting new curriculum that she knows will help her live a life that is pleasing to God and will help her be a blessing to others.  

     The Kingdom Code is a money management curriculum. The Complete Starter Kit is directed towards 4-6th graders. It takes about 34 weeks to complete but can be adapted to your schedule.  Our daughter is just finishing up 6th grade and is loving every lesson she has completed so far. 

     The Kingdom Code teaches our children practical ways to manage their money as they learn to build a business of their own.  Here is a list of the many things your student will learn:
  • Budgeting
  • Self Confidence
  • Communication Skills
  • Biblical Principles
  • Problem Solving
  • Economics and Writing
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Positive Work Ethic 
     The classes can be used for homeschoolers, co-ops, Christian Schools, churches, youth groups, families, and even your grandchildren.  I feel that all children would benefit from this set.  It really is a great tool to help them become financially responsible.  

     The teacher's guide will help you get your materials together and set up for your child.  It is very thorough and I didn't have any trouble following the directions given. You will need to buy a few extra supplies for this course like a few 3-ring binders with clear inserts on the front to place the KCK binder pages, 5 divider tabs for the  3-ring binder, a red pencil, one folder with brads and pockets and a medium sized sandwich bag.  You will also have to purchase 6 zippered pencil pockets with clear plastic fronts to use later on in the curriculum. It didn't cost me much at all and some of things we had laying around on our school supply shelf.  I also used a 3-ring binder for my teacher's guide. 

     Hope has been learning so much from the 6 lessons she has completed. She is enjoying it.  She has been learning new terms relating to finances and has even started a little business of her own. Each lesson teaches your child morals as they manage their money. They will read through their textbook and do worksheets and activities from their student packet during each lesson.  There are 27 lessons in all.  As a family you choose what pace you want.  You can choose to do one lesson a week or more if you like.  We chose to do just one lesson a week so Hope can really digest what is being taught.  

     She keeps track of her progress on the KCK Treasure Map.  Once she completes a lesson she places a sticker on the map. 

     Hope has started her own cleaning business over the last few weeks with the help of this program.  She has laid out her business plan and even came up with a logo for her company.  

      She has been saving up for months to buy a new guitar and knew if she had a business plan she would be able to save up even more quickly.  She has been doing odd jobs around our house and for friends and family who will hire her to clean.  No job is too hard she says and she backs her work with a money back guarantee.  I am very proud of her and because she has been working so hard, her dad and I offered to pay for half of her guitar once she saved half herself.  I am thrilled to tell you she saved over half of what she needed and got her new guitar just a few days ago.  

     She now realizes that hard work along with financial responsibility are valuable to her future. She says she will continue to run her business and looks forward to learning more about finances in her Kingdom Code class.  

     So you may be thinking... Do they have something like this for younger children?  The answer is YES.  Kingdom Code has JR KCK Budget Kit and The Kingdom Code Coloring Book.  We were given a set of these for our review and I think they look great.  Younger children can learn how to manage their money too!!!

     Would you like a curriculum that helps you teach financial responsibility to your children?  I would encourage you to check out The Kingdom Code website and their social media pages listed below: 

     We also have more reviews of this curriculum over here.  Just click on the banner below.
The Kingdom Code Complete Starter Kit {The Kingdom Code Reviews}

Friday, June 14, 2019

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW: Our Review of American Christian

     Literature and composition have always been my favorite subjects.  I love to read and I love to write.  I have always wanted my children to love literature as much as I do.  Out of 6 kids, I only have one who enjoys great literature and writing that is why I was thrilled to receive and review American Christian from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources.  I am hoping to instill a love of  literature and composition in the heart of my high school son.  


     This set comes with a Student Guide and a Teachers Guide.  This particular set is geared towards 11-12 grade, but my son, who just finished up 9th grade didn't have any issues with it.  This curriculum will help your child acquire college -level composition skills.  They do this by having them read great literature then writing about it.  The American Christian set that we were given focuses on American Literature such as Can You Drink the Cup? by Henri J.M. Nouwen.  

     Along with this set of curriculum, you will need to buy/borrow 4 books.  We were able to find the first book Can You Drink the Cup? on a e-book app that we subscribe to.   The other books needed are A Circle of Quiet, Godric, and No Graven Image.  We are hoping to borrow those as well.

     The curriculum consists of 4 units, with 8 lessons in all.  You can decide the pace you want to work.  We chose to complete one unit every 8 weeks.  That will give us 32 weeks to fully complete the curriculum. I didn't want to rush through any lesson.  During this review we will be focusing on Unit 1.  

     The Teacher's Guide includes:

  • Introduction
  • Grading Tips
  • Schedules
  • Answers to Comprehensive Questions
  • Writing Exercises
  • Discussion Questions and Projects
     I love having a guide to help me teach a class. This one is not overwhelming and gives great advice on how to teach the lessons so your student can do well. 

     The Student Guide begins with an introduction that speaks of why this course is important, how to use the Student Guide, and activities to enhance your study.  As you go through each lesson you will see:

  • An Introduction
  • The Selection
  • While You Read (list of questions to keep in mind while reading)
  • Comprehensive Questions
  • Literary Lessons 
  • Writing Exercises
  • Perspectives
     At the back of the Student Guide you will find Appendices that include:
  • Discussion Questions and Project Suggestions
  • Reading List
  • Schedules
     They also have suggestions to enhance your study such as:
  • Vocabulary Notebook
  • Reading Journal
  • Biographies
  • Family Reading or Writing Night
  • Oral Summaries
  • Writing Group
     All this serves to help you get the most from your study.  We are actually having a lot of fun with doing a Family Writing Night.  I didn't know we had so many imaginative writers until you take the pressure off and just have fun. 

     Josh has been working through Unit 1.  He didn't care for it at first, but once he was able to see how much this could help him with his own writing (he loves to write Sci-Fi stories) he started to enjoy it more.  The selections from Anne Bradstreet were interesting he said. He didn't like reading poetry before. After reading through her writings, he did the comprehension questions.  

     Along with learning how to read poetry with more of an eye for detail and meaning, Josh even tried writing some poetry of his own. He would not allow me to share his personal writings, and I can't blame him.  As you write, you are sharing your heart and that should be allowed to be a private experience. He said writing poetry isn't as easy as it looks 😊

     Lesson 2 of Unit 1 consists of reading Can You Drink the Cup?  During this lesson, we are focusing on writing essays.  Josh has never been one to write an essay, but he is working hard on one right now.  He said the book inspired him. 

     I love this curriculum!  It is thorough and keeps your student focused on one lesson at a time.  Looking ahead I see it will also bring light to some Biblical lessons that I feel are important to know. I can't wait to keep going and see what wonderful literary lessons we will learn next.   

     Would you like to learn more about Hewitt Homeschooling Resources?  I would encourage you to check out their website and social media pages listed below:

       We have more reviews for this resource and many others over here.  Just click on the banner below.
Lightning Literature, My First Reports, State History Notebook & Joy of Discovery {Hewitt Homeschooling Resources Reviews}

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW: Our Review of The Wars of the Jews Set

     Recently we were given the opportunity to receive and review The Wars of the Jews set from Memoria Press.  This set is geared towards high school students, grades 9-12.  I was excited to let my son, who is finishing up 9th grade right now, to use it and get his opinion. He is always honest and fair.  


     Our family has been using resources from Memoria Press for a few years now. We have not been disappointed.  Their curriculum goes above and beyond.  This company has integrity and I would recommend them to anyone who enjoys teaching through the Classical Education method.  

     The Classical Education method incorporates the use of Great Books and the study of liberal arts in order to instill wisdom and virtue as you learn.  Memoria Press does a great job of this.  My kids have learned so much from their studies.  They even make learning Latin easy and fun. 

     The War of the Jews set includes three books, a teacher's guide, a student workbook and a book that tells all about the prophecy of the Fall of Jerusalem.  They are all paperback books, but are built to last.  My son is pretty hard on his workbooks, and these have endured quite a bit over the last few weeks and still look great! 

     The War of the Jews: The Fall of Jerusalem book is written by Josephus, translated into English by William Whiston.  Josephus was a Jewish man that was taken captive and became a Roman citizen before the Fall of Jerusalem. He is considered the leading historian with great knowledge of this time as he was actually there when the Fall occurred.  This book includes parts of book V and VI of his writings.  There are 18 chapters to read in all. Josh was a bit thrown off by the text at first since it is not written in the language he hears on a daily basis.  Sometimes he would have to read through a chapter a few times in order to comprehend it fully. 

     The Student Guide is 26 pages long.  It includes 10 lessons that go along with the textbook and then a review lesson at the end. The lessons incorporate facts to know, vocabulary, quotes, and comprehensive questions.  They are simple to complete once your child has read the text. Again, it may benefit your child to read through the text more than once since the terminology is different than what most kids are use to.  
A rare find... a teenager who allows mom to take a picture of him working :) 

     The Teacher's Guide has the answer key to the Student Guide questions along with a test at the back if you would like to see how much your student remembers on his own.  I personally do not administer tests like this, instead we go through the questions on the test together and discuss what we thought and what we learned from the course.  

     So, what did Josh think of this course?  He said he enjoyed learning about this time in History.  He loves that he can learn about God as he studies historical facts.  He said he has even more respect for God's people after reading what they went through. As his mom, I feel this book touched his heart.  We often forget these events of History. I feel this set is a great resource for your high school student to use as a supplement to their History class. 

     Would you like to learn more about Memoria Press?  You can check out their website or social media pages listed below:

   We have more reviews of this product along with others over here
⬊                                                ⬋

Classical Writing & Spelling, American History & Jewish Wars {Memoria Press Reviews}

Friday, June 7, 2019

Shhhh.....Can I Tell You A Secret? I Fail

     Yesterday was one of those days.  You know the ones that make you want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over you head. Nothing was going well.  No one wanted to get up.  Everyone was moving in slow motion. I was about to pull by hair out by noon.  

     I was feeling like a huge failure as a homeschool mom.  Here it was 1 in the afternoon and we had only gotten through a couple of subjects.  Usually we are done with school by 2 or so.  My head was pounding, my voice was getting louder and louder, and still absolutely no cooperation.  Then to top it all off my 16 year old son started to feel a little sick to his stomach.  He was turning quite green.  Thank God for our essential oils that helped him or our day would have been a complete loss.

     By 2, I was ready to climb into my bed, but that would have just put us behind even more.  So I decided to have a parent/teacher conference with myself in the bathroom.  I went in and locked the door.  I prayed and asked God to help me.  My nerves were on edge and my frustration was making me angry inside.  It was not a good combination.  After sitting there praying for about 10 minutes, I decided to reclaim our day.  I went downstairs, turned on some worship music, added some Joy oil to our diffusers and gathered the kids for a meeting.  I told them we were going to start over.  We were going to get a re-do, and that is exactly what we did.  

    Guess what?  It worked.  They were finally motivated to get things done.  We were actually done by 4:30 and we had the rest of the evening to enjoy. We had turned our insanely crazy day upside down. 

    When my husband got home, we decided to take a long ride on his motorcycle and it was amazing.  The temperature was just right, the cool breeze was invigorating and the sun streaming on my face made me feel all warm inside.  It was a great ending to our day.  

     What if I had just thrown in the towel earlier that afternoon? Our entire day would have been a fail.  We would have probably even woken up this morning with a bad attitude.  

     So what changed the day?  A mama on her knees in prayer.  I knew my bad attitude was just fueling the fire and if I kept it up, it would have gotten worse. Moms, we really do set the mood in our homes.  We either bring peace to the atmosphere, or we will bring distress.  It is up to us to change things.  We have more control than we think.  I love the verse in Proverbs 14 verse 1 - The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Let's choose to build up our homes, even when it feels like Satan is destroying it one piece at a time.  Ask the Lord to give you strength.  He can help us.  If we just admit our failures and weaknesses, He will fill in the gaps where we fall short. 

Do you need a do-over?


Thursday, June 6, 2019

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW: Our Review of Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year

     I have been homeschooling for over 22 years now.  I have tried many different planners and most, even though they were good, just didn't fit our family. For the last few years I have printed out the Schoolhouse Planners  from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. This year I was so excited to receive and review the printable version of  Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year from The Old Schoolhouse®.  I couldn't wait to begin planning our next school year. 

     This paperback, spiral bound planner, written by Gena Suarez, is just what a homeschooling family needs. The forms and devotionals are amazing. The 188 page planner includes:

  • Creating an Academic Transcript
  • Academic Transcript
  • Checklist and Skills Learned
  • Other Courses
  • 2019, 2020, & 2021 Calendars
  • Monthly Calendars with Notes and Hey, Mama! Devotionals
  • Weekly Planners
  • Forms for up to 5 children

     The 21 devotionals are also written by Gena Suarez.  She and her husband are the publishers of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and a wonderful encouragement to homeschooling families.  These little devotionals speak to the heart of the homeschooling mama.  They are uplifting and give you the encouragement you need to keep going. 

     Let's talk about the forms towards the end of the planner.  There are 5 different sets to accommodate up to 5 students. Right now we only have 2 kiddos that we are homeschooling, but these 5 sets of forms sure would have been a blessing when all our kids were in school.  Here is what is included:
  • Notes
  • Curriculum Planning
  • Attendance
  • Books Read This Year
  • Yearly Goals
  • First Semester Goals
  • Second Semester Goals

     I have already started using this planner as I begin to plan for our 2019/2020 school year.  I have chosen the day we will officially begin our year and decided the days we will have off.  

     I have also planned out what curriculum we will be using.  Now that doesn't mean we won't add more curricula or even cast away some of what we have chosen, it just means we have a game plan that we would like to try. 

     I can't wait to begin putting our weeks together.  I am a planner so I get giddy when it is time to set up our courses and make sure we have everything we need to accomplish our goals for the year.  

     Would you like to buy this planner that has already sold out of close to 98% of the print run and won't be printing more until next year?  Get on over to the website and purchase yours before they are gone.  

     Would you like to know more about this resource and others from The Old Schoolhouse®?  Check out their website or their social media pages listed below:

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TOSMag  @TOSMag 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tosmag/ 

  We also have more reviews of this planner over here

Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year {The Old Schoolhouse® Reviews}