Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hewitt Homeschooling Review

Hewitt Homeschooling Review

Vendor: Hewitt Homeschooling
Product: Chronicles of . . . A State History Notebook
Price: $19.95
Age: Grades 3rd-6th

Hewitt Homeschooling Review

The Chronicles of . . . A State History Notebook comes in a nice 3 ring binder with all the pages you need.  The notebook helps your child with reports, drawings, pictures, and information pertaining to the state they have picked. There are five main sections of this notebook:
  • Facts, Symbols, Emblems (e.g., state flower, tree, flag)
  • Geography, Population
  • Industries, Jobs
  • History, Government
  • Miscellaneous, Field Trips, Photographs
Each page prompts what needs to be researched and gives the space to put your findings in.  There is also suggested activities at the first of the book that you could do to add to the research, depending on how in depth you wanted to go with this. Some of those suggestions are things like interviewing people or making maps.  

How we used it: We picked Georgia to go over since we have spent a couple small spells living there.  There is so much history that we tried to learn in field trips while we were there so we wanted to see how much stuff we could already do on our own. We used this for us all to chip in with the work, which made a great learning experience for all. Some things in the book were better fits for older kids while others were good for the younger ones so it makes a good team learning book.  We ended up working on it daily.  Not always in the order of the book, since Savannah has a lot of history in it we would see things that would prompt us to want to go find a place in the book to put it.  We really loved the field trip section because we always do Fridays as a field trip day.  The field trip pages were even labeled for us to go to certain areas, like a nature site or a historical landmark.

What we liked about it: The kids loved this book!  Though we all tried to work on it, the bulk was done by my 9 year old.  She is my reluctant writer.  She excels in so many areas but she does not do well with writing reports or coming up with stories. I found if we did field trips she could always write about what we did and enjoy it (that is why we started doing field trips every week).  This book was basically a big book of field trip ideas.  While much of it we could get online also, we had just as much stuff we could do in person.  It was great being in Savannah too because so much of the history was made here.  This one one thing the kids didn't ever grown about when I would pull it out.  My 9 year old says, "I love it!" while the others tell me it is fun work.  You can't beat something that makes the kids enjoy learning and isn't that what homeschooling is all about?  All three of my kids gave this a two thumbs up and so did this mama! Great job Hewitt Homeschooling.

Be sure to check them out on social media below as well as what my other crew members had to say about things they reviewed from Hewitt Homeschooling.



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Analytical Grammar

VendorAnalytical Grammar
ProductJunior Analytical Grammar
             Grammar Companion DVDS
Age Range: 4th to 5th grade
Price: Book set-$39.95    DVD-$19.95

Junior Analytical Grammar is a teacher book and student work book set. This is set up to be an 11 week course.  That gives you 11 units which each geared towards taking a week to accomplish the unit.  The units all build off of each other so that you can continue on with the other sets from Analytical Grammar.  
The teachers book starts out with each day laid out for you. This is not like a normal teacher book but printed out like someone is actually talking to you and giving you tips on how to teach. After giving your instructions for the 5 days (which are how you do each week) you go to some tricks for each unit.  These are nice to have to give advice on how to teach things that maybe harder to grasp.  Next there is a couple pages of notes that are explaining what you are teaching.  The rest of the book is then the answers to the exercises and tests with a note page before each unit with further help.

The units taught:
Unit 1: Nouns
Unit 2: Articles and Adjectives
Unit 3: Pronouns
Unit 4: Prepositions
Unit 5: Subject and Verb
Unit 6: Adverbs
Unit 7: Patterns 1 & 2
Unit 8: Pattern 3
Unit 9: Linking Verbs and Patterns 4 & 5
Unit 10: Helping Verbs
Unit 11: Conjunctions & Compound Situations

For the week you have 3 work pages then day four is a play with words with the fifth day ending with a test.

The Grammar Companion DVDS that you can purchus to go go with these books has the authors of Junior Analytical Grammar actually teaching the unit and then working with a few of the problems with the child.

How we used it: I used this with my 9 year old daughter. She completed 3rd grade in April. So we are just merging into 4th grade and this was perfect (she tends to be ahead of her level anyways). She is also my more independent child, she would rather do something she can do alone then have to wait for me for instructions.  So I was able to set the DVD up for her and let her watch with her book and follow along.  I would though read through the tips in the teachers book first to prepare her for the day but she got to the point she didn't want my help at all and only came to me to check answers and if she had a question I would then go over the tip for that unit from the teachers book.

You can use the books without the DVD it is just a perk.  The book and teachers book has everything that you need in order to teach your child.  I think the DVD option is good for those that are teaching more than one child and need some help or if you just are not having progress with your child yourself. This book also helps your grade your progress.  No matter what the score was there was an encouraging word for it.  This is a really big deal to my girls.  When they feel like they failed they get major discouraged and do not want to continue on anymore.  The lessons are all pretty short and to the point.  They only take about 20 minutes to do with the child unless they are having a hard time getting it.  It makes it good for those that do not have a long focus and need to get through something quickly.  But it isn't so quick they do not catch the concept being taught.

Overall we all loved it. I think it will be great to finish out this year and move on to the next one.  I also think my other daughter will enjoy this as she hates learning from mom and sometimes her watching someone else teach something makes her feel more confident in it.  I really suggest you check this out and the DVD if you have some kids that need a little boost from someone else.  The videos even pause for the child to work through the problem they are helping use as an example.  It really can be a self taught program like my daughter used.

Be sure to check them out on social media.

Also see what others had to say about Analytical Grammar, including other levels.
Click to read Crew Reviews

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Co-op Learning

We went to the resource Conservation Education Center in Savannah. We learned that the whole building is made of recycled materials and all the lighting is made with energy saving bulbs and systems. They had it set up where the lights go off on their own when the re is no movement. Sometimes if we were still to long they shut off. Though they come on when you walk in so it is nice not to have to turn lights on and off.
We also recycle things that the city doesn't pick up. They take old electronics, the kids found all kinds of cool old things. They also take old car oil and eye glasses. One thing I found impressive is they take used shoes to give to people that can't afford some when starting their journey to look for a job. It is great to see those kind of programs being ran. I think if you are in or around Savannah Georgia you should look them up and help support them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Apologia-Flourish Book Review

Vendor: Apologia Educational Ministries
Price: $15.00
Age: Mothers

Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms is a book to help you embrace your journey in homeschooling your children. This book uses real-life principles to help you balance your families lives. The book helps you with goals and how to spend your time wisely.  The book comes with a code that gives you access to bonus forms and charts to help you.

I am a mother to four children. I have always been a stay at home mother and a homeschool mother.  I have also been a single mother to boot.  I can defiantly say that I have become frazzled and unbalanced more than once in my motherhood journey.  I can also tell you that when mama is frazzled then so is the kids.  When I get off balance in throws us all off and then nothing is productive.  I have struggled with ways to keep a schedule and keep things in order. I can say sometimes that was easier when being a single mom. Though I know when I was married it was harder too because I did not have full control of what was done always.  I so was anxious to get into this book knee deep and get some answers, some help, something!  I can tell you that I was not disappointed in the least bit.

Mary Jo Tate was like me. She was a mother of 4 and ended up in divorce and a single mother. She still felt the pull to homeschool like I did. It was so refreshing to know I am not the only one out there any that there is someone that has been there and survived. So in this book she talks about those struggles and how she got through them.  Each chapter ends with a Take Action! exercise that reviews over what the chapter was.  These really help you evaluate things in your life the same as she did. The back of the book has planning forms and you can get your own customizable ones from the online link that you get when you buy the book. These were great because even when you try to just live by the seat of your pants you can lose out on lots of time. I have found lots of my time is wasted doing things that are not as important as other things.  I am really excited to start using them more when our official school start date comes next month.  With 3 kids being schooled and an infant I need a better schedule.  I will also be moving back to a state that requires hours for each subject to be recorded as well as a daily journal of work so this will help me get into that groove as well.

In the bonus materials there is a pre-book self-evaluation you take. This asks you the questions about what is most frustrating in your life or the most satisfying. Then there is questions about your goals and such.  This are some good thought provoking questions to get you thinking.  After you read the book there is then a post-book progress check. This is questions that ask you what you learned about each topic that was in the pre-book self evaluation.  I think that it was awesome because it really shows you what you took from the book or maybe even parts that you could go back and reread on to get a better grasp on some tips.

How it fit into my life: Mary Jo Tate made two great points in this book that were a hit right to my heart. One that was the fact that not everyone gets it all done.  So many times I look at my fellow reviews and their posts and all the projects they do, and I wonder how in the world do they manage it.  In reality they got some stuff done but not as much as they probably wanted to either.  They probably look at me the same way thinking about the things we do wishing they could do it all.  The second point was that we have to learn to make peace between the ideal and the reality of our lives. She talks about (in chapter 13 I believe) how you think about your day and how it was.  Then if you actually set down and wrote out exactly how your day was at each point, see what is different.  We all strive for a certain thing and may think that we did want we needed for in the day, but did we really do it like planned?  I know I always aim to do certain things by certain times and it rarely happens.  I have to learn to be ok with it.  If we don't get things done before we have to run out the door then so what.  Those two things have always been the biggest things on my heart and I know God wanted me to see them differently when he placed this book into my life.

All mothers should read this book.  If you are single, married, a working mom, a stay at home mom, or any kind of mom for that matter.  This is a great book and it is very heart felt. You can check out the sample and the table of contents of the book.  This can give you a little look into it more. Also Check Mary Jo Tate out on social media below as well as my fellow crew members reviews.

Social Media Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FlourishAtHome
Twitter: https://twitter.com/maryjotate
Click to read Crew Reviews

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Carole P. Roman with Away We Go Media Part 2 Review

*This post may contain affiliate links, please see my disclosure page.

Price: $0.99 kindle edition
$8.99 Paperback

The "If You Were Me and Lived in...Australia" book is a bright and colorful picture book. The book is 24 pages of bold and easily read print. The book starts out stating what the country  is about and showing the location of the capital city. It also shows where the it is on the globe! The book goes on to explain what it would be like if you were a child in that country. For example, it gives some names and how they would be pronounced in Australia. There are places you would want to see there as well as games you would play.  There is also some history in the pages as well. 

In the back of the book there is a list of pronunciation of the words used in the book. All the facts are given in an easily understood text and things that younger kids would understand. Things are not listed as just a bunch of boring facts.

I think this book would go great with a unit study about the country.  You could add in some art and cooking to go with it.  It really makes a good starting point for some fun research from your young children to your older ones.

Be sure to look back at  my review on some of the other books in this series here.

*Disclaimer-I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dairy Free Spice Cake

  • 1 1/2 Cups flour + 2 Tablespoons (all-purpose) 
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin spice
  • 1 Cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp.  salt
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp.  pure vanilla extract
  • 5 Tbsp. vegetable oil 
  • 1 Cup water 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix first 5 dry ingredients in a greased 8" square baking pan.  Make 3 depressions in dry ingredients, with one being bigger (for the oil). Pour vinegar in one depression, vanilla in the other and the vegetable oil in third larger depression.  Pour water over all.  Mix well until smooth.

Bake for about 35 minutes.  I always use a toothpick in the center to make sure its done before pulling it out.

Monday, July 14, 2014


If you've ever used a bulb or battery-type aspirator to clear the mucus out of your little one's nose, you've probably said to yourself: "There has to be a better way!" Well, we just found a better way and it's called the BabyComfyNose Nasal Aspirator. Here's the secret: It works so much better because it uses your own suction. Think about it: your own lungs are a strong, natural vacuum cleaner - much more powerful than a tiny bulb or battery-powered motor. And the result is just a more effective method of clearing your baby's sinuses. 

But have no fear; you won't suck boogies into your mouth because of the design of the receptacle and the tissue filter that you insert into the body of the aspirator. This is why pediatricians are recommending BabyComfyNose to moms and dads. Recently, Dr. Sears of The Doctors TV Show recommended the BabyComfyNose as the best way to clear babies' noses. Take a look at the video 'How to Use the BabyComfyNose' here www.babycomfycare.com to see how well it works. Enter USFAMILY at checkout for a 20% discount. Or get the best retail pricing at Walgreens stores and save the shipping!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A student and a mom

Seriously I do not know how much being a student, a mom and a homeschooling mom sucks.  However this is not the point of the post.  No matter how much I feel overwhelmed and I want to crawl in a hole or quit school, I don't.  Would you like to know why I don't?

When I sit down and break open my books, my kids see that.
When I turn the TV off or put my phone down to study, my kids see that.
When I miss out on an event, my kids see that.
When I am working hard and doing lots of research, my kids see that.

So when you think of it my kids see all that I do.  If they see how much I put into school then I am doing my job.  As a parent we are to be role models for our children.  Children are more likely to do as they see not what they are told. I am not saying that you have to go out and start college to be a good mom.  This applies to anything in life.  If you think something is important in your life that you hope your kids will grow up and find it important too then you need to make sure they see it in you.

After all, seeing is believing right?? Homeschooling is hard and even harder when your kids do not find it to be important to work on things. When you show them the importance then they will strive to do better.  I have been a single mom while raising my babies and I still worked hard on my school.  I want my kids to learn that no matter what they battle is in front of you, you can always continue on with your dreams and wants.

I want my kids to see that if it is something important to them they will be able to do it no matter what.  It is also nice that when they see me working they want to work too.  They have learned that school time for mama is quiet time and I pay them the same respect when they are working on something.

Learning is team work and we are a family and a team.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Free All in One Curriculum

I know many of my readers are like myself and live off a small income.  It is hard to homeschool when things are not cheap and each of our children end up learning different and not able to share curriculum.  So here is a list I have found of places that offer free all in one curriculum for children of all ages.  If you have others to add please feel free to comment and I will add it to the list.  

This is a non profit outfit to help family's in need. www.thebooksamaritan.com

Monday, July 7, 2014

Moving Beyond the Page Review

Product: Language Arts Package - Charlotte's Web
Price: $20.92
Age :7-9 Years Old

The full packages comes with the online guide and the physical book Charlotte's Web by E.B. White and Garth Williams.  This package is designed to work hand and hand with the Science Package - The Water Cycle.

Product: Science Package - The Water Cycle
Price: $25.94
Age: 7-9 Years Old

The full package comes with the physical guide book as well as the book, A Drop Around the World by Barbara McKinney and Michael S. Maydak.

For the Language Arts Package - Charlotte's Web we started out by reading the book together as a family.  I only have one reader but I knew my 8 year old (who dyslexia curses her reading) would love to hear the story as well.  We have seen the movie and this was the first time for them reading a book that a movie is based from.  Then we moved on to the guide book that goes along with this book.  I will tell you this guide book can be a bit much for the younger of the age range if you try to do it all but my 9 year old seemed to keep up pretty well.  In the guide book you learn to work with charts, graphs, and maps that all have to do with the book.  This would probably be fun to do in the fall when all the spiders are out.  There is one page that you put information in about spiders also doing a life cycle of spiders.  So really you could take this and make a whole unit study with it. There is also work with adjectives, adverbs, sentence structure, paragraphs and writing narratives. All these are done with the book in focus or turning it into your own life with similarities to the book. The guide also merges into animal life cycles and the seasons and weather cycles which is where it goes into the same learning as the Science Package - The Water Cycle. At the end of the guide there is a project for the kids to do which is writing a book review (pretty sure I got an evil look for even suggesting this one) or making a book advertisement. It comes with a worksheet to put your ideas on and then one that is a rubric for your project to make sure you got everything you needed on it.

My ideas on this package: I think it was a really fun book to read and the activities were well fitting and pretty simple to do with my 9 year old.  I liked that online everything is broke down into sections like it would be in a physical book.  You have 7 lessons and then the final project.  It states a couple of the lessons take 2 days.  In reality though I think they could all use two days to really grasp the ideas that are being taught.  The spelling worksheets rock!  They have a task to complete each day to help you learn the words and then there is a list of vocabulary words from the book as well.  I will say all in all this was fitting for the 7-9 year old age range until we got to the final project.  My 9 year old is generally an advanced child and even scored way beyond on her grade level on her end of the year testing.  However she had a hard time trying to make the advertisement and it brought on some meltdowns.  There was so much stuff required to be on the advertisement that it seemed to overwhelm her.  We went through magazine ad's and such and they were all short, sweet, and simple and then she gets this huge list of all the stuff that was to be on hers.  Maybe it was just the fact that she has OCD and can not stand clutter and felt it was to much on one page, but it did not work out well for us.

For the Science Package - The Water Cycle we read, A Drop Around the World book and then went to the physical guide that came with it.  We love science and we love to learn about it so this one was exciting. There are 5 lessons in this guide and then the final project. There is a materials list at the front of the book so you can check off making sure you have everything you need in order to complete each lesson. The first lesson was about what water was made of along with a project.  We made a water molecule but we didn't have foam balls so we improvised with some play dough. 

It has activities for each lesson including watching clouds and graphing them over a time period.  Lesson 6 was to make an aquarium using real things like rocks, salt, plants and such on a paper plate then placing saran wrap over the top to make it look like a glass window.  We were visiting my parents while we did this one up north and I completely forgot to take the pictures before we left and they did not survive our trip home. I also love the little songs they have in this guide to help learn the water cycle.  The final project was really neat.  We are still working on it as we wanted to really get it right.  I was super shy in school and hated presenting anything to anyone, even my family.  So I want my 9 year old to be able to talk in front of people.  I am also going to have her present it in front of our co-op class if she will to not only teach them but give her that experience in talking in front of people.

I really enjoyed this lesson with the kids.  I had my 9 year old doing the book but we all participated in learning about the water and clouds.  Now anytime I say water one of them will interrupt with H20 to correct me.  I also think having the physical book is worth the $5 extra so I do not have to print everything out myself, plus it is all bound together and I don't have to make a binder for it.

Overall I will be using Moving Beyond the Page for more of our work through our homeschool career.  I would love to be able to afford to buy the whole set but it is not feasible for a big family and many different curriculum needs but for now we will buy them as we find ones that fit in with what we are learning.

Be sure to check them out on:Facebook – www.facebook.com/movingbeyondthepage
Click to read Crew Reviews

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Dairy Free Chocolate Cake

I always seem to run out of eggs around my house. Also I am trying to stear away and do more healthy options as well so we try to use alternatives instead. So here I tried out a cake using vinager. Yup as you all know my love of vinager I have found yet another use for it lol. 

 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 TBSP coco
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 TBSP oil
1 cup water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix first 5 dry ingredients in a bowl.

Make 3 depressions in the mixture, 2 small and the 3rd a bit bigger.

Pour vinegar in one depression, vanilla in the other, and the oil in the larger one.

Pour the cup of water over the top and mix well.

Pour mix into a greased cake pan. Or I usually use wax paper under mine.

Bake for approx. 35 minutes.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Experience History Through Music Review

Diana Waring presents her Experience History Through Music book and CD combos. I was lucky enough to get to be on the review team to test them out.

History was never a favorite subject of mine in school. I went to public school and my teachers were always dull and lifeless. I dreaded walking in the door as much as I did hearing what they had to say. Now check out Diana and try to tell me this woman is dull! Might I add that she has homeschooled her three children as well!

The books in the Experience History Through Music set are as follows:
America The Heart of a New Nation
Westward Ho! Heart of the Old West
Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Each book/CD combo costs $18.99 each. If you buy all three in July you can get the set for $50!

America: The Heart of a New Nation CD includes:
1. Yankee Doodle 
2. Star Spangled Banner
3. Erie Canal 
4. Oh, Susanna 
5. Sweet Betsy From Pike 
6. All Night, All Day 
7. Old Dan Tucker 
8. Wade In The Water 
9. Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier 
10. When Johnny Comes Marching Home 
11. Shenandoah 
12. Git Along L'il Dogies
13. Drill Ye Tarriers 
14. Polly Wolly Doodle 
15. She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain 
16. Old Joe Clark

This book is about the French and Indian War to the first transcontinental railroad.  The songs were mostly all familiar tunes from my own childhood and very catchy. 

Westward Ho! CD includes:
1. Apple Picker's Reel    
2. Boll Weevil 
3. Missionary's Farewell 
4. Oh, California 
5. Ho! For California 
6. San Juan Pig War 
7. Chisholm Trail 
8. Westward Ho! 
9. Home On The Range 
10. Little Old Sod Shanty 
11. Strawberry Roan 
12. Old Settler 
13. Gooey Duck 
14. Little Cabin in the Cascade Mountains  

This book is about the pioneers journey from leaving their home land and traveling.  It has many stories that tell the good and bad of their travels and the music fits right along with it.

Laura Ingalls Wilder CD includes:
1. Wait for the Wagon
2. Green Grows the Laurel
3. The Old Chariot
4. Buy a Broom
5. Sweet By and By
6. Rock me to Sleep
7. Buffalo Gals
8. A Railroad Man for Me
9. Beware
10. Pop! Goes the Weasel
11. Oft in the Stilly Night
12. The Girl I left Behind Me
13. My Sabbath Home

Now this was my most favorite book and CD to review.  This is of course about the life of Laura Wilder and things in that time period. Some songs are fun and playful while others are serious. 

All of these books have wonderful pictures and stories in them.  The CD's are professional with high quality sound and music. They are fitted for all ages, my kids range from 6 months to 9 years old and everyone enjoyed some part of it. The books pictures show many things that are interesting and amazing.  The Laura book expands more than any other pictures I have seen while studying her before.  The chapters in the books go right in order with the songs on the CD as well.

When we first got the sets in we decided to just listen to the CD's and get a feel for the music before we dived in.  I also couldn't wait to hear them!  So we put them in and turned the volume up while we did our chores for the day.  It lead to some pretty awesome karaoke type singing and some sweet knee slapping dancing.  Later we dived into each book reading a few of the stories and listening to the songs that go with them and talked about it more in depth. Some songs we listened to a couple times after reading the chapter that went with it because it helped us really try to feel what the song was really about.

Our favorite however was Laura Ingalls Wilder of course.  The thing is I grew up watching Little House on the Prairie when I was my kids ages.  I also grew up close to Laura's home in Missouri.  We visited it a few times and I will never forget those visits either.  I was very happy to take my kids there and let them enjoy it as well.  So they remember visiting, as well has having an "authentic" meal my mom main with a tin pail to carry the food and a tin cup to drink from.  It really helped them keep interest in the book and learn more about her and correspond that to the things we learned at her house. I think since my older kids are girls it was easier for them to relate to her and envision her being their age and what kind of life she had versus ours.

Overall I think these are great books.  Making learning fun helps our kids stay engaged and after all that is what homeschooling is all about.  Get up and sing and dance and have a good time while learning what all those songs mean to these time periods.

There are also sheet music in the books which my 9 year old loved. She always get out hymns and such to sing with and she was ecstatic to have these to sing along with the CD. By the way Diana is also a singer on many of these songs! Talk about a woman of talent!