Tag Archives: Home Educating Family

Around Here and New Reviews

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We have been very busy around our house lately. This week marked our first week back to full school days and co-op! It has been nice to get back into a routine. Our daughter turns thirteen next week (how did that happen?) and for her gift we painted her room and dresser and got her a new bedding set. I painted the dresser all black except one drawer that I did in zebra print. It turned out so fun! Our house is showing the upheaval that always comes with painting. I’m not sure why painting one room means the whole house needs to turn into a mess! Smile

I’ve also been busy with my duties for Home Educating Family Magazine. I have had a bunch of new reviews come out over the past few weeks. If you are interested, you can find the links below. I also have written a couple of articles for the magazine for the next issue as well as a blog post. I am so excited about being part of Home Educating Family! I also have a couple of new things in the works for my store at Crestview Heights Academy, but they are bigger projects than I usually take on and are taking some time. I can’t wait to show them to you!

Here are my newest reviews:

Explode the Code Book One

Some children seem to learn to read as naturally as they learn to crawl or talk. For others, a sequential phonetic approach is necessary to launch them as readers. This was the case for my son. We have used a combination of programs to help support his early reading, and Explode the Code is one of the best of these resources.

Explode the Code is a series of simple, sequential phonics workbooks that help children learn to use phonetic sounds for reading. The curriculum begins with a series of pre-reading workbooks entitled Get Ready for the Code, followed by eight Explode the Code workbooks that cover phonics instruction from short vowels through diphthongs, digraphs, and endings. You can also purchase a half book for Explode the Code books one through six that provide extra practice as well as several Beyond the Code books that work specifically with reading comprehension. Teacher’s guides are also available…. (Find the rest of the review at Home Educating Family)

 

Creative Curriculum Extenders

Language arts is not a favorite subject at our house. I have teasingly said that I have “movers and shakers,” but it is true that my children do not enjoy subjects that require a great deal of sitting or writing.  Creative Curriculum Extenders: Differentiated Projects for the Language Arts Classroom offers a wealth of activities that makes our language arts time more fun for everyone.

Creative Curriculum Extenders contains projects for ten different genre: autobiography, researching and informing, poetry, novels, and fairy tales as well as nonfiction, descriptive, narrative, persuasive, and expository communications. One of my favorites, under the autobiography genre, is writing a review of your life including pros, cons and a star rating! Other projects include composing songs, creating models, using power point, conducting interviews, plus many, many more…..

 

Hours in the Out of Doors

Discovering Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophies revolutionized my homeschool teaching methods. Her common sense approach to education refreshed our curriculum. While many of her ideas were easy for me to implement, I floundered when attempting Charlotte Mason’s methods for teaching science. Simply Charlotte Mason came to my rescue with Hours in the Out of Doors. This title, available in both print and e-book, “held my hand” as I planned a Charlotte Mason style nature study curriculum….

Did Adam Have a Belly Button?

“You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.” This familiar slogan aptly describes Did Adam Have a Bellybutton? Ken Ham adapted several of his Answers…with Ken Ham radio scripts into a book with a one page question-and-answer format.

Did Adam Have a Bellybutton? is divided into four sections: the book of Genesis, creation evangelism, evolution vs. creation, and the state of the world.  The book of Genesis section includes questions about the garden of Eden, the fall, Noah’s flood, and flood legends in other cultures. Creation evangelism discusses biblical examples of evangelism, evangelistic methods, the mission field, and the new millennium. Evolution vs. creation has questions about compromising, evidences for creation, evidence of a young earth, evolutionary arguments, and the fossil record. The final section talks about death and disease, racism, families, and schools….

 

Draw Write Now

When it comes to drawing, my personal raw talent amounts to creating an excellent stick figure! As a homeschool mom, I simply cannot be an expert in every subject I need or want my children to learn. There are a variety of ways that I address this issue, including finding excellent resources for those subjects in which I am not proficient. The Draw Write Now Boxed Set is just such a resource.

My son loves to draw. As a younger child, he was content with his own work and my stick figure drawings, but at nine he craves better drawing instructions. The step-by-step instructions in the Draw Write Nowseries are ideal for him. Each book in the eight volume series contains more than twenty drawing lessons arranged according to three themes per book. Some of the themes include Americana, Christopher Columbus, animals, weather, and storybook characters….

 

Betty Lukens’ Bible Felts

My husband and I believe it is very important for our children to have a good understanding of the Bible. We use a variety of resources to accomplish this goal. One of my favorites is Betty Lukens Through the Bible in Felt Small Deluxe Set.

Through the Bible in Felt Small Deluxe Set includes more than 600 felt pieces, three backgrounds mounted on sturdy cardboard, four overlays, a teacher’s manual, and a cardboard box filing system. The figures and objects cover every Bible story that we have studied, including twelve separate figures of Jesus for various purposes. The largest of the people figures measure about 6 1/2 inches tall. The backgrounds include an indoor scene, a purple backdrop, and a water-and-sky scene. The overlays transform one of the backdrops into a hillside, shore, desert, or throne room. The filing box system is made up of a large, flat, sturdy cardboard box and several flat sheets with the numbered outlines of the felt pieces traced on them. The felt pieces are numbered to allow for an easy return to their proper location…

 

Did Eve Really Have an Extra Rib?

With so many books, magazines, and television programs that subscribe to an evolutionary worldview, information against the biblical account of creation is hard to avoid. As our children become teenagers and make more of their own choices, it is inevitable that they will encounter this type of information. Did Eve Really Have an Extra Rib? is a question-and-answer book from Ken Ham that gives practical, biblical, and scientific answers to questions about evolution in an easy-to-read style. It includes more than 160 answers to tough questions….

Hints on Child Training

Can a parenting book originally written in the late 1800s be useful for parents in today’s society? Though written before television, video games, and the internet, Hints on Child Training is a common sense guide to parenting that is just as relevant for today’s families. According to the book’s introduction, H.C. Trumbull was one of America’s most prominent Christian authors, whose goal was to see peace and order in homes. As a parent, I am always looking for ways to create more peace and order in my home!

If you have read any of Charlotte Mason’s writings, you are likely to experience deja vu while reading Hints on Child Training. Mr. Trumbull’s approach to parenting has the same rational, practical, and attainable feel that Ms. Mason’s writings have for education. However, you do not need to be a Charlotte Mason educator in order to discover delightful nuggets of truth within the pages of Hints on Child Training

 

American History Stories

Our family is always looking for resources to help make history more interesting. I especially enjoy finding items that help us make use of the time we spend driving to various activities. American History Stories is a collection of short stories, poems, and song lyrics originally part of a four volume series by Mara L. Pratt originally published in 1890. Jim Hodges reads all 199 chapters aloud and makes them available as one collection. American History Stories includes more than fourteen hours of MP3 files that can be purchased on CD or as digital downloads. The tales begin with the early Native Americans and continue with stories about the explorers, the early American colonies, the American Revolutionary War, and the American Civil War….

Four Letter Words

The title of Four Letter Words captured my attention immediately. Written by Bill Giovannetti, a pastor and theology professor, and subtitled “Conversations on Faith’s Beauty and Logic”, the title seems a bit out of place–until you begin reading. The two-fold explanation for the title is creative and logical. First, the title of each chapter is a “four letter word”, such as wait, pain, or word. Secondly, Giovannetti takes this idea further by discussing the fact that the world hears us speak about the absolute moral truth in the Bible and interprets it as if we are speaking in four letter words….

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

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Hi, everyone!

We had a co-op field trip today (which I hope to post about later this weekend!) and so I am just now getting to the winner of last weeks blog hop!  Congratulations to Tracy, who will receive a Well-Planned Day Planner.  I will be contacting you for the email and mailing address you want me to send in to Home Educating Family.  Congratulations!

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Blog Hop and Giveaway: Homeschooling Outside the {Curriculum} Box

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I am participating in a blog hop with the rest of the Home Educating Family review team every Friday for four weeks! And if that weren’t exciting enough, each week I am going to be able to offer a giveaway for a product from Home Educating Family!  You can find out the details at the end of this post!

If you have been reading my blog for very long at all you know that my favorite “perk” about homeschooling is the flexibility it gives. I firmly believe that we are all unique and learn in a variety of ways. As adults we have, for the most part,  the freedom to choose an occupation that fits our strengths. Our children need some freedom in this area as well.  Children, especially young children, need to be taught where they are at. What works for one child may not work for another. Even in our home my children have two very different learning styles, neither of which matches my preferred teaching style. But that’s okay. In our home I have the freedom to choose activities and curriculum that will work for each child or for all of us.

Today’s topic is “Homeschooling Outside the {Curriculum} Box. I’ll be honest, I never really taught inside the “box”. I rarely choose curriculum that has explicit “say this, say this, say this” type instructions. Even if I do choose a curriculum like that, I often don’t follow it exactly. I use my curriculum more as a guide and add to it as I want to. That said, we DO use an overall comprehensive curriculum, My Father’s World. And I LOVE it! Our curriculum does a great job of laying everything out, but still giving a parent the freedom to choose how it is presented.

Since I haven’t homeschooled IN the box, I thought I would go a slightly different direction with the box theme and tell you about something that happened to me the first year I homeschooled. You see, I was fairly confident in my abilities as a beginning homeschool mom.  After all, I WAS a licensed elementary school teacher, as everyone would point out when I told them of our schooling decision. Sure, I could do this. I was a teacher after all.  So, armed with that confidence I attended my first homeschool conference with a friend of mine. We spent hours that weekend pouring over the curriculum halls to make sure that we picked the PERFECT curriculum. After all of the looking, talking to the vendors, and our own discussions we chose the same curriculum.

The curriculum we chose was a unit-style curriculum, Biblically-based. You could use it with your whole family.  It had wonderful, hands-on activities.  I took it home and with great excitement..and tons of confidence..planned out our year.  When I think back over all that I have learned, I have to laugh at how sure I was of myself at that time.   My confidence lasted less than a week and I learned quickly that having an education degree does not necessarily make you an experienced homeschool mom!  Smile   The curriculum that I chose simply did not work well for one young child.  If she had been older or if there had been more of them, I think it could have been wonderful.  It really is a good curriculum.  But she wasn’t and there weren’t.

Still, I tried really hard to make it work. I was frustrated.  She was frustrated.  And then I learned one of the best lessons I have learned as a homeschooler: if it isn’t working, DITCH IT!  It just isn’t worth the frustration of trying to make something work. I know that curriculum can be expensive.  I know that for many of us frugality is a way of life.  But it really, truly, isn’t worth it.  Don’t allow your curriculum to box you in!

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This week, thanks to Home Educating Family, I am able to give away an On-the-Go Planner to one of my readers!

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You have until midnight next Thursday (October 4th) to enter.  I will be using random.org to choose a winner, which I will announce next Friday (October 5th).  If you enter, please be sure to check back on Friday to see if you are the winner.  I will need to forward the winner’s name and email to Home Educating Family so that they can send you the prize!

Here’s how to enter:

You may have up to three entries per person.  Any extra entries will be deleted before I determine the winner.

1. You may have one entry just for leaving any comment on this post.  I’d love to know more about you, but even just a “nice post” will do!  Smile

2. You may have one entry for “liking” Crestview Heights Academy on Facebook.  Please leave a separate comment noting that you have done so.  If you already like CHA, just let me know that in the comment.

3. You may have one entry for tweeting about the contest or posting about it on Facebook.  If you don’t have Twitter or Facebook, you can email about the contest or just tell a friend.  Leave a separate comment for completing this activity as well.

Due to international sweepstakes laws, this giveaway is for US entrants only. This giveaway is not tied to any social media site. All prizes must be claimed within eight weeks. Thank you!

I can’t wait until next week, when I will be able to announce the winner of this contest and tell you about next week’s prize!

Please go check out the rest of my team’s blogs and read about how they make their homeschools unique.

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Making My Homeschool Unique: Blog Hop and Giveaway!

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I am participating in a blog hop with the rest of the Home Educating Family review team every Friday in September!  And if that weren’t exciting enough, each week I am going to be able to offer a giveaway for a product from Home Educating Family!  You can find out the details at the end of this post!

There are both advantages and disadvantages to homeschooling.  In my opinion, one of the greatest advantages is the flexibility it offers.  Flexibility in methods and resources we use, classes we teach, and even when we homeschool.  Our state does have some requirements that we need to meet, such as a minimum number of hours of instruction and certain core subjects we must teach.  Still, there is a great deal of flexibility available to us.  Today I am going to talk about how I take advantage of this flexibility in our scheduling to make our homeschool unique to us.

When we began homeschooling I pretty much followed the local public school’s calendar for my teaching schedule.  There are some good reasons to do this, the most obvious one being that we were out of school on the same days so I didn’t have neighbor children ringing our doorbell to play on days that we were in school! Smile  When I first started homeschooling I also had a home daycare and following the school calendar meant that the school aged children I kept were not at our house during school hours.  Later on we moved and I quit doing a full day care.  I soon realized that modifying our schedule would meet our needs better.

Over the years our schedule has evolved as our life changed.  My husband’s schedule has changed greatly since those early years.  I now school two students rather than one.  My son definitely does better with a routine and he learns better when we don’t take huge breaks.  We currently use a modified year-round schedule.  We start a new school year the third week of August and we school full days until two weeks into May.  We school all of September and January.  We take one whole week off each month in October, November, February, March, and April and two weeks off in December and May.  We school half days in June.  This gives us all of July and two weeks of August off.  I need that time to enter all of my information into my online planner and for my copying, filing, and organizing.

This schedule fits us very well.  We are off during the weeks that our extended families plan family reunions and other events, as well as major holidays.  June tends to be very warm here and my kids choose not to be outdoors most of the time, so schooling then seems natural to us.  And getting a WHOLE WEEK off during many months of the school year gives all of us time to recharge our batteries and get some extra housework done without having the re-entry issues we sometimes have when beginning in August.  Having that six week break, however, gives us a true “beginning of the school year” day, so we can take those first day photos right around the same time everyone else is heading back to school as well.

Having been a public school teacher it took me awhile to let go of school looking like public school.  But when I did, it brought a great deal of freedom.  We are not limited to certain months, days or hours for schooling.  Some weeks we do some of our schooling on Saturday or occasionally Sunday.  I prefer to work in the morning and early afternoon just because we are often busy in the evenings and my energy level is low, but every so often we will do some school work in the evening. 

If you are a beginning homeschooler, or if you have homeschooled for awhile but just really feel that you need a change, try to let go of the school mindset and think about how you can make your homeschool work for you.  Your homeschool does not need to look like anyone else’s.  It can be uniquely yours!

Now, for the giveaway information! 

I randomly chose the winner using http://www.random.org. Congratulations to Angela, whose comment was the second one on the page!  You have won a one-year subscription to Home Educating Family Magazine!  I will be contacting you to get your mailing information so that you can begin receiving your magazines. 

This week, thanks to Home Educating Family, I am able to give away a wall calendar to one of my readers! 

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You have until midnight next Thursday (September 20th) to enter.  I will be using random.org to choose a winner, which I will announce next Friday (September 21st).  If you enter, please be sure to check back on Friday to see if you are the winner.  I will need to forward the winner’s name and email to Home Educating Family so that they can send you the prize!

Here’s how to enter:

You may have up to three entries per person.  Any extra entries will be deleted before I determine the winner. 

1. You may have one entry just for leaving any comment on this post.  I’d love to know more about you, but even just a “nice post” will do!  Smile

2. You may have one entry for “liking” Crestview Heights Academy on Facebook.  Please leave a separate comment noting that you have done so.  If you already like CHA, just let me know that in the comment.

3. You may have one entry for tweeting about the contest or posting about it on Facebook.  If you don’t have Twitter or Facebook, you can email about the contest or just tell a friend.  Leave a separate comment for completing this activity as well.

Due to international sweepstakes laws, this giveaway is for US entrants only. This giveaway is not tied to any social media site. All prizes must be claimed within eight weeks. Thank you!

I can’t wait until next week, when I will be able to announce the winner of this contest and tell you about next week’s prize!

Please go check out the rest of my team’s blogs and read about how they make their homeschools unique.

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My Homeschool Story: Blog Hop and Giveaway!!!!

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I have some very exciting news!  I am participating in a blog hop with the rest of the Home Educating Family review team every Friday in September!  And if that weren’t exciting enough, each week I am going to be able to offer a giveaway for a product from Home Educating Family!  You can find out the details at the end of this post!

Every so often someone asks me why we homeschool.  It should be an easy question to answer, but it isn’t.  I didn’t one day wake up and decide to homeschool.  It was a process, one that I realize now God guided us through every step of the way…

You see, I never really intended to homeschool.  For that matter, I really hadn’t planned to be a stay-at-home mom, either.  For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a teacher, but my dreams of teaching always included things like rows of school desks, a blackboard, and recess.  Smile 

So, I went to college, got my elementary education degree, and….

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became a teacher.  And I loved almost every minute of it.  And then, this happened:

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And a few years later, this happened:

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And I couldn’t imagine being away from them more than eight hours a day.  So, my teaching career took a different turn, and I became a stay-at-home mom.

And then, a few years later…..

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…my baby girl turned five.  And our school district had all day Kindergarten.  And they wanted her on the bus at a little after seven and didn’t plan to bring her home until after four. 

So my husband and I talked..and prayed..and talked..and prayed.  And I spent hours reading about homeschooling and talking to people, including one of my best friends, who had chosen to homeschool. And we decided to “try” homeschooling for a year and “see how it goes”.  We could always put her into Kindergarten the next year, even if she would be an older six, right?

And here we are…eight years later…  Homeschooling has been the best choice for our family.  I can’t imagine how different our life would be had we chosen a different path.  How much I would have missed! 

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Now, for the giveaway information!  This week, thanks to Home Educating Family, I am able to giveaway a one-year subscription for Home Educating Family Magazine to one of my readers!  You have until midnight next Thursday (September 13th) to enter.  I will be using random.org to choose a winner, which I will announce next Friday (September 14th).  If you enter, please be sure to check back on Friday to see if you are the winner.  I will need to forward the winner’s name and email to Home Educating Family so that they can send you the prize!

Here’s how to enter:

You may have up to three entries per person.  Any extra entries will be deleted before I determine the winner. 

1. You may have one entry just for leaving any comment on this post.  I’d love to know more about you, but even just a “nice post” will do!  Smile

2. You may have one entry for “liking” Crestview Heights Academy on Facebook.  Please leave a separate comment noting that you have done so.  If you already like CHA, just let me know that in the comment.

3. You may have one entry for tweeting about the contest or posting about it on Facebook.  If you don’t have Twitter or Facebook, you can email about the contest or just tell a friend.  Leave a separate comment for completing this activity as well.

Due to international sweepstakes laws, this giveaway is for US entrants only. This giveaway is not tied to any social media site.

I can’t wait until next week, when I will be able to announce the winner of this contest and tell you about next week’s prize!

Please go check out the rest of my team’s blogs and read about their unique homeschool stories.

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Putting it All Together: Guest Post at Home Educating Family

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Hi, everyone!  Sorry to be a stranger.  I am madly copying, filing, cleaning, organizing and generally getting ready for the next school year.  We use a modified school year so the only month we have no school at all is July.  I wanted to let you know that I have a guest blog at Home Educating Family about how I combine various methods to teach our children.  You can check it out at the Home Educating Family blog.  I am hoping to have a post soon about what I have been doing.

Our Curriculum: My Father’s World Reviews

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Over the past few weeks I have had several reviews published at Home Educating Family Magazine Reviews, including several about the main curriculum we use.  If you are interested in learning more about My Father’s World, check them out:

My Father’s World Multi-Age Curriculum Overview:

Do you love the idea of unit studies using living books, combined lessons for your children, and hands-on activities, but don’t have the time to write them? Marie Hazell from My Father’s World has created a series of multi-age units that combine elements of Charlotte Mason, classical, and unit study homeschool methods with a biblical worldview. We have used four of the My Father’s World units, and continue to enjoy them each year.

The multi-age curriculum from My Father’s World is intended for children in fourth through eighth grades, with second and third graders joining in if they have older siblings already using the curriculum….Click to read the rest of the review.

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George Washington, Paul Revere, Abraham Lincoln, Sacajawea, Harriet Tubman. If you love American history, Adventures in My Father’s World will be an enjoyable year for you. This curriculum unit includes Bible, science, American history and geography, and art and music for second and third graders who are the oldest or only child in your home. Math, language arts, and foreign language recommendations are given and can be purchased at the My Father’s World website, but are not included in the unit.

In Bible, students learn about Jesus by studying His various names in the Bible, such as Light of the World, Immanuel, and Lamb of God. Memory verses that correspond with each name are learned. American history is taught using a variety of “living books” purchased with the program….Click to read the rest of the review.

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Learning about other countries, languages, and people has been an interest of mine for as long as I can remember. When I discovered that the first unit in the My Father’s World Multi-Age Curriculum was Exploring Countries and Cultures,I was immediately intrigued. I wasn’t disappointed. We have nearly completed our fourth unit (including Adventures in My Father’s World) from My Father’s World and Exploring Countries and Cultures is my favorite so far. My Father’s World teaches history in chronological order, with American, world, Bible, and Christian history taught at the same time, beginning in the second unit.Exploring Countries and Cultures gives students a trip around the world first, so that they will have a basic understanding of world geography when they begin learning about where historical events took place.

Exploring Countries and Cultures begins its world tour in the United States and continues through a representative sample of countries in all seven continents….Click to read the rest of the review.

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Creation to the Greeks is the second in a series of five units by Marie Hazell that make up the My Father’s World Multi-Age cycle. After a year of Exploring Countries and Cultures to learn basic world geography, students in Creation to the Greeks begin four years of world, American, biblical, and Christian history that is studied in order and at the same time as the events occurred around the world. Creation to Greeks is designed to be used with all children in a family that are in grades 2 to 8…Click to read the rest of the review.

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Marie Hazell has combined classical, Charlotte Mason, and unit study homeschooling approaches with a biblical worldview in the curriculum units she has written, based on curriculum she developed to use with her own children.Rome to Reformation is the third of five year-long curriculum units Mrs. Hazell has developed for grades 2-8. The teacher’s manual for each unit contains Bible, history, science, health, music appreciation, art, and read-alouds for one year. Math, language arts, and foreign language are not included in the unit. Parents may choose their own programs for those subjects or use the recommendations made by My Father’s World. The Rome to Reformation unit covers the historical period from Ancient Rome to the Reformation; Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven in music; and the human body and astronomy in science. Biblical and Christian history are studied in order right along with world history, which makes both the Bible and history easier to understand….Click to read the rest of the review.

Something Big is Coming to Homeschooling!

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Something Big is Coming to Homeschooling!  If you haven’t already, you need to follow this link to check it out and sign up to receive updates.  This is from the magazine that I am on the review team for and, let me tell you, you are NOT going to want to miss this!

New Review and Winter Jam

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Hi!

If you’ve been around here awhile you may know that late last year I started writing for the Home Educating Family Magazine review team site.  It has been such an exciting experience and I have learned a lot from it.  And there are lots of exciting things waiting in the wings for all of you.  If you haven’t checked out the site, you need to!  There are reviews on all kinds of products with more coming every week.  And several of the reviews have giveaways or discount codes associated with them!

My latest review is on the book “Raising Modern-Day Knights”.  Though geared more towards fathers I loved this book and I think many of you would, too.  Check out my review here.

We are headed off to Winter Jam with good friends today.  Music class, you know!  Smile   I can’t wait!