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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Are we a Privileged Species?? Schoolhouse Review Crew Review 2015 #HSmommas #HSreviews #FishFlix

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FishFlix.com Review


           The school year is winding down for us and we are switching to Summer mode. What does that mean in our home and homeschool? We do some schooling year round, but instead of the focus being so much on core curriculum we tend to migrate towards more DVD's and games and things that are not so writing based. So when offered the opportunity to review a title from FishFlix.com, I thought perfect timing. We chose the Privileged Species DVD. It sounded intriguing and Taylor is all about the Science behind the Human race but I was glad that it was coming from a Christian perspective.

FishFlix.com Review
  I struggle in my homeschool to feed both the Creation and Scientific sides of the life. I have a boy who is very black and white when it comes to thinking and has to know the Scientific edge to everything that is involved with his daily life, This I believe is partly because of his Asperger's Syndrome. I needed something that showed him that the two work together and not independently.

 So Imagine my surprise when I was offered this review and I found the title Privileged Species. This video talks about how the design of our planet was intended for Human life, it ties Biblical thought with Scientific evidence. For me and my family this was the best of both worlds.

  We love Bill Nye and so the boys were excited that he opened the film saying " I am a Speck!"
This video covers Biology, Chemistry, and Physics as well as other scientific methods acknowledged to support the fact that Earth was solely designed for Humans to habitat here. Elements were explored such as Carbon, Oxygen and Water and how we need those to sustain human life as well.  How just a few degrees one way or another and we would not be able to sustain Human life here on planet Earth.
Michael Denton is an Author as well as a Geneticist who provided some of his scientific studies based on his work with genes and retinal blindness.

  We look forward to researching more of Michael Denton's work as retinal blindness is near to us as my Mother and Husband both have retinal blindness from different issues. My mother having Diabetic Retinopathy and my husband having blindness due to a surgical procedure from a retina detachment many years ago.
I love when one topic of learning leads us off into research to dive in deeper or discover a topic that was just touched on in something else.

  This video helped me to prove to Taylor that Creation and Science are hand in hand and not separate from themselves. They had to work together for Human life and Earth to work in our favor. This film opened up for many discussions at the dinner table and it was nice to see everyone on the same side of the fence for once. It is a careful balance in our home. We have watched it more than once as a family, running about 33 minutes, it is a perfect length for a short family movies night and I know it will be watched again in the future.

  It is so nice to have a family film from A Christian perspective that our family could enjoy together. Unfortunately that seems hard to find these days as my boys get older. FishFlix.com offers many titles of Christian nature that are for learning and/or family enjoyment. With prices that are family friendly as well, you are bound to find lasting family enjoyment on a family budget. Choices are starting at $5 and shipping is free with orders of $35 or more. Privileged Species is currently selling for $9.99.

I suggest with all material to screen it beforehand if you have younger children. Be sure to click the banner below and see what the crew had to say about this and some of the other titles that we had the chance to review. It was sure hard to pick just one that was for sure.

 FishFlix.com not only offeres
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FishFlix.com Review

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Friday, May 15, 2015

S is for Smiling Sunrise.... Schoolhouse Review Crew Review 2015 #hsmommas #hsreviews #learnABCs

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Smiling Sunrise Review

   Sometimes I come across review items that do not fit our homeschool or family but I think would be a fabulous fit for my readers and friends as they all have much younger kids than I do at my stage in life.

  WordsBright is one of those companies that offers teaching tools for younger kids that are fun and eye catching with vibrant colors. Perfect for those little folks in PreK-3 or even a little younger. The meticulously crafted hardcover book S Is for Smiling Sunrise is packed with art work that grabs and keeps the attention of it's readers. Teaching manners and positive attitude as well as the ABCs. There is a free MP3 that comes with the book or you can purchase the CD instead. The CD would be great in the car while you are out running errands.
Smiling Sunrise Review

  Something fresh is always fun, there is also a free downloadable PDF teacher/parent guide to give you suggested ideas for each of the letters for games, crafts, even field trip suggestions. There is also some questions to take the child's learning a step further great for the little bit older guys in the targeted age range. Get's them thinking about what they learned for each letter!

  I could see taking a couple letters each week and with a younger preK to maybe 1st grader focusing on those letters doing some of the suggested activities and listening to the song as well as reading through the book.

  The book is an easy read for parents and was written by the Author Vick Wadhwa for his daughter so you can imagine the love that flows through this book. Written in a sing song matter, talking about saying Please and Thank You and Nature and enjoying each day we wake up to. This is a book that goes well beyond teaching the children the ABCs. In fact some adults should really listen and take to heart the teachings that flow from pages. My favorite was D is for Dawn and Day!! Wake up and enjoy the day and all that is new and remember to say "Please and Thank You."

   This particular part of the song and book brought me back to the years my oldest sang the Please and Thank You song from our Big Purple Dinosaur friend. This was so much easier on the ears(chuckle). I will definitely be putting this in my treasure box for my future grand kids that are not that far off really! I could see starting this out as a book read to a baby and as they get older playing the music and letting them read along. Definitely a book to grow with a child and promote family togetherness. This is a book that is great for gift giving and for the first day of a new school year for a pre-K or a little older. New books for a fresh start. In our homeschool I have made a tradition of having small goodies on the boys spots when they awake for our first official day of school. Wouldn't it be fun to start a new tradition of a new, fun but learning based book? Why not start with S is for Smiling Sunshine from WordsBright!! This hardcover book sells for $16.95 retail which is a great price for such quality.

Be sure to check out the other crew reviews to see what others did with this book as many of them have littles and I am sure they had so much fun.

Wordsbright Review

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Schoolhouse Review Crew Review 2015 #hsmommas #hsreviews #homeschoolhelp

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Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review



                      Do you ever come across a product that you wish you would have known about years before? I have had a few in my lifetime but this is at the top of that list. Being a veteran homeschooling mom of going on 6 years I often get asked what can I do to make this easier by some of the new homeschooling moms. I was excited to review the Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Course by the folks at Successful Homeschooling Made Easy to help me figure out how to better explain some simple ways to make this homeschooling way of life not so stressful.

    Little did I know it would also help make my life a little easier in the process.  Imagine that!! So what is it that I am talking about you may be asking! Well it is an online course sent by email with a PDF attachment each week with a topic to focus on and to build on from the topic you learned about the week before. This goes on for 26 weeks, I just received and started on week 10 myself. I am looking forward to the rest to come over the Summer so I can put all of the helpful hints to work on an entire school year in the Fall. I am also looking forward to helping out some of the moms who are much newer at this homeschool Gig than I am.

  First things first, once you head to the site and sign up you will get a welcome email explaining how to activate the course... Once you have done that, you will get an email pretty soon after with your very first lesson!! No reason to wait, jump right in and figure this homeschooling thing out.
Then each week thereafter you will get an additional email with your next lesson. Now they are in PDF format so you can print them out and punch some holes and put them in a binder or be like me and designate a folder on your computer to put all of the lessons into to create some order with less paper clutter. Although I did keep notes in a journal so I can refer to them as I need to as I go along through our year. Not only will you get the 26 lessons you get some fun bonuses thrown in sporadically as well. Math game, card games and so much more.
Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review

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  The first lessons I did were as follows.
Week 1:You can start Homeschooling today! Here is where you will learn the basics of getting started and importance of things such as Literacy hour and schedules and your personal quiet time or your Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Time...

Week 2:Math Made Easy! This is the most important one of the 10 I have done in my opinion. Often Math is the single reasons parents put off or choose not to homeschool altogether. Do not let this stop you, there are so many tools to help those of us who don't do Math.

Week 3:Welcome Home!!
This is especially helpful to those of us, including me that pulled our kids out of their traditional school setting to begin homeschooling. For us that was when the boys were in  5th and 6th grade. We chose to leave our 8th grader in school as he was successful there.

Week 4: Fireproof your Homeschool
What does this mean?? This is all about the Who you are, Why you are homeschooling and What you do each day. What do you want your homeschool experience to look like and how do you interact with those outside your home.

Week 5:Three key ingredients for Success. Do you know what they are? You will have to sign up to learn what they are. I will give you a hint, they are not what I thought they were! I know, that is not much help is it?

Week 6:  Fulfill Your Dreams! Do not live vicariously through your children, take time to fulfil your dreams, find yourself and do not just define yourself as a mother and a wife. This is very important.

Week 7: Why Curriculum doesn't matter? You may be saying of course it does.... But too many people focus on what kind of curriculum they are going to use and it often leads to an overwhelmed homeschool Mom... Focus on the basics and the rest will come naturally.

Week 8: Why you may need to let go of the good things!
Out of the home activities can be draining. Take time to enjoy your home. This resonated a lot with me as we are those Homeschoolers that are hardly ever home. especially as the boys have gotten older. So much to do and not enough hours in the day. I am often left feeling exhausted and burnt out. I am definitely going to do something about this for the upcoming school year.

Week 9: Housework and Homeschool! How do you balance it all so that your home doesn't look like a tornado at the end of each day which then leads to you feeling  inadequate and overwhelmed. Get the kids involved and make it part of your daily morning routine. There are tons of helpful hints.

Week 10 : Make A New Full Schedule! Now that you have added a little in each week and eased into it. Revise your schedule and put to use what you have learned. I wish I had started this way, it may have helped not make me feel so crazy.

Along with each lesson is a little bit of homework. Not a lot but just enough to put to use what you learned and really think about what you learned. This is where the note taking comes into play.

I look forward to the emails each week, it has really helped me reassess our homeschooling days. I only have 2 years left but I am hoping I can put to use what I learn to help others so that they can start off on the right foot so to speak. I am definitely going to be sharing the knowledge of this fabulous resource and telling all of my friends, both veterans and newbies to sign up for their very own course.

Where or where was this 6 years ago?? It would have saved me so much stress. Oh well, it is here now and it is never to late to begin again, the right way.

Be sure to click the link below to check out all of the reviews from the crew and then head on over and sign up for your very own Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Course. Then you can come back and thank me later for sharing this with you. There's a money back guarantee so what do you have to lose? Nothing!! SO don't delay, do it today! You can pay by the month for only $10 a month or sign up for the whole course up front and save 20% and pay only $48.
Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Busy Mom's Guide to Romance Schoolhouse review crew review 2015 #hsmommas #hsreviews

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Real Life Press Review


     Do you know who The Busy Mom is?? I do and I am a huge fan!! So imagine my delight when I was offered the opportunity to review one of her books, about the only one I did not own? I about flipped. The Busy Mom is Heidi St. John and she is the author of many books including The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Romance that is published from Real Life Press.

    Heidi is the Mom of 7 and Grandma of 1, but first and foremost she is a Wife. How does she do it all? She has homeschooled all of her kids from the beginning through high school and her kids are a spectrum of ages from about 5- adult.   She and her hubby got married in 1989. So when I say she is doing something right, she really is. Is she perfect, absolutely not, but her goal is to help all of us wives, homeschooling moms and everything in between to make things work and be a not so harried individual so we do not feel so stressed out all of the time.

  I love how her books read like a conversation with a good friend, over breakfast or coffee. I have had the pleasure of meeting Heidi in person and hearing her speak and have even seen her husband. I look forward to her talks at the homeschool convention each year. It is a highlight for me for sure. I always leave with a renewed spirit with in me, a thirst for a closer walk with God and a hunger to grow my marriage in the Lord. I always feel refreshed to keep on homeschooling and to find the healthy balance to juggle it all.

  This book is like a talk of Heidi's that I can take with me wherever I go. This like all of the others is one that you will not look to give away when done because you can keep going back for more. I often flag certain chapters as they resonate with me more than others.

  For instance in The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Romance certain chapters rang strongly with me because of struggles we are encountering in our marriage or similarities in our upbringing that cause me to sometimes lose sleep. Then there are the funny ones.
 The first is that of communication or sometimes the lack of. This is often the biggest frustration in a marriage. I know it is for me. It helps to know we are not alone in feelings of frustration, but Heidi helps lead you in the direction to fix that frustration.

  The second one was the talk of being from a broken home, the product of divorce and how you constantly hold that in the back of your head. Instead of thinking of it as this may be my destiny use it as a tool to change the pattern. I need to focus more on that. My Mom is in a marriage that is rocky to say the least even after 30 years. I often listen to her unhappy barking and I let it shift my mood and I feel as if marriage is not meant to be a happy relationship. I never had the role model for marriage growing up and so I am not sure I really know what it is supposed to look like. I was raised for the first 9 years of my life by a single mother with a somewhat absent father. My husband was raised parents who, the father was an alcoholic and the mother who did not know any better but than to take the abuse. So my husband doesn't have the foundation either.

  Now do not get me wrong we have been married for 20 years, 3 kids and have had a good life, far from perfect but good. My husband has some mental illness so it is not your typical marriage and the Romance I fear is long gone but I have not lost hope and that is in part thanks to Heidi's book. Marriage is hard work and I often forget that. The focus is on the children and homeschooling and with the kids almost grown, 2 more years and they will all be off to college I need to refocus and center my attention on my marriage. The balance is the key. There is Romance to be found in even the little things in life, sometimes we just need to look a little harder to find them. Once we do it will become easier and will be second nature.

   One of the funny parts in the book was Rule #246 Don't Scare the Mama!  My family even without meaning to often catch me in my own little world and give my heart a jump. I had to giggle when I read this as I should make this a rule in our home.

   If you are struggling to find a balance between homeschooling, being a Mom and being a wife. Pick up your copy of Heidi St. John's book for only $12.95 for a physical copy or $10 for a E-Pub version from Real Life Press The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Romance. One of the most important lessons you will take away from any of her books or talks as that you need to Grow your life with God, put him in the center and quickly watch as things come together.

   On a fun note, not only did I get to hear Heidi speak at GHC in April, but I attended her first Mommy PJ party for this convention and it was so much fun. I made a special PJ shirt for the event and she read it in front of the whole room, if you know me I do not like to be in front of a crowd and it was truly my BRAVE moment(my Mops friends will get this). It was so worth it and I felt like a teenager with her idol. It was a SQUEEEEEE! Moment for sure. I also got my copy of The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Romance signed. I was in heaven.



   If you get a chance to meet Heidi you will understand, as she is as REAL as it gets. She is down to Earth and a true child of God. I was honored for my experiences and for getting to review this book, and it will be joining my others including the one I picked up last year  The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Daylight.
Follow Heidi on Social Media to get to know her...
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/busyhomeschoolmom?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/heidistjohn
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/heidistjohn/
Be sure to click the banner below and read the reviews of a variety of products from Heidi St. John and Real Life Press.

Real Life Press Review


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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ARTistic Pursuits Sculpture Technique:Model Schoolhouse Review Crew Review 2015 #hsreviews #hsmommas #homeschoolart

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ARTistic Pursuits Review

What happens when you have an Art Curriculum that your kids just cannot get enough of? You get more, that's what! My sons quickly fell in love with ARTistic Pursuits when we reviewed it the first time, and we have been blessed to be chosen to review it several times. This time though we continued in the land of 3-D art away from flat paper, drawing, painting and sketching and expanded sculpting with the Model book. We were given one of the brand new books Sculpture Technique: Model.
ARTistic Pursuits Review

    Let's start with the basic information, Sculpture Technique:Model is geared for students 11-18, my boys being 15 and 16 are smack dab in the middle of this age range and did fantastic with it. The book, is just like all of the ARTistic Pursuits books, meaning they are comb-bound notebook style that lay flat nicely on the table for easy viewing while working on projects. This book is 83 pages full of hands on ART. Selling for $47.95 some may find this pricey but let me tell you, I being Miss Frugal Fran would buy it in a heartbeat. Coming from me that is saying everything. This is not a book that your kids will get through in a week, and they will also just do one project per unit and be done with. Your kids, as mine do, will go back time and time again. My boys still go back and use all of the books we have used in the past. Perfecting the various techniques over and over.

  One of the nice aspects of the Sculpture Technique:Model book is you can work out of sequence, this is wonderful if your kids are like mine and have a particular interest to get them started and excited and then they can continue in any direction that they would like to go. This book though we decided to start at unit 1 and go in order, Unit one talks about creating mass with putty. It is so funny to me as years ago I could not have gotten my boys to use putty because of the texture but now they find if soothing to work it through their hands. For projects that use clay or putty you want to be sure to have plastic containers on hand so you are not washing it down the drain when you go to clean up. Empty Butter tubs are used for things like this in our home. They are free and then we can just toss them in the recycle bin or trash when they are finished. The measuring cups that were needed I picked up at the local dollar store. As far as supplies I tend to use coupons and head to Michael's or JoAnn's as it really helps stretch the Art budget. This is where I purchased the Durham's Rock Hard water putty for our first lesson. Some of the tools we already had since Art is done quite often around here.  The important thing the boys have learned when doing art projects that require many items is to gather the items all together before getting started. This helps make sure you have everything you need otherwise you may be in the middle of mixing and realize you do not have all you need and then you will be scrapping your putty instead of putting it to use.

  The boys learned quickly that working with putty takes patience and time. You can not rush this process and sometimes it takes some fiddling with the recipe to get the consistency just right for the project you are working on. It takes time and patience to get it just right. There were many projects scrapped and restarted until they got the hang of it but that is all part of the artistic process. Airplanes and dragons are not just built in a day or so I have been told. Flowers from felt need to look realistic and that takes time as well. No matter what the medium they were using they learned that all modeling takes time and patience. You cannot always expect things to turn out the way you envision but practice makes somewhat perfect and in the end after many trials and tribulations you will end up with something you are proud to call a gift for a special someone.

    The boys learned about all different techniques such as pinch method and the coil method for short and tall models. They have worked with putty, clay and wax as well as paper mache'. They have gotten the opportunity to paint and glaze their creations and will be giving their newest creations to some very special people this coming Mother's Day. They learned wet felting and made flower masterpieces to give to a dear friend who has nobody to call her Mom. I know she will just melt when she gets it.

   I love how my boys are so proud of what they create and they are confident in their artistic abilities that they want to give them away as gifts. My mother especially treasures all of the masterpieces she has been given over the years but especially those in the years since we have been homeschooling and using ARTistic Pursuits. I have seen such an improvement in their artistic abilities and it has been wonderful to learn right along with them.

   I love being able to give my boys a fully enriched Art class right from the comfort of our home. This is not an arts and crafts book by any means this is true ART education. Fully faceted from beginning to end. Teaching all aspects of the topic of Art in each unit. This is not boring but hands on and lends to the kids excitement about getting creative and producing a project to be proud of and fit for gift giving. If you complete and entire book from ARTistic Pursuits you can gain a complete Art credit for High School level. This has been great as I know they are getting the complete package when they sit down and get to work.  I love telling our local homeschool friends about our "art classes". I speak nothing but high praises for ARTistic Pursuits and especially love visiting their booth at the homeshool convention I attend each year in Cinci. As a matter of fact I was just there a couple weekends ago. I love watching the children passing by as they get excited about what they see at the booth. Knowing I see the same awe and excitement in my boys as they complete their projects and units.

   Do you have a budding Artist in your homeschool, do you want to teach art but are not a creative, artsy mom? If you have answered yes to either of these questions then you have found the answer to your Art class prayers.

    Start with the one we received or one of the other art books from any of the titles below... for students as young as preschool or as old as High School, there is an art book for everyone.

The Way They See It
Early Elementary K-3, Book 1: Introduction to the Visual Arts
Early Elementary K-3, Book 2: Stories of Artists and Their Art
Early Elementary K-3, Book 3: Modern Painting and Sculpture
Elementary 4-5, Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition
Elementary 4-5, Book 2: Color and Composition
Middle School 6-8, Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition
Middle School 6-8, Book 2:  Color and Composition
High School 9-12, Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition
High School 9-12, Book 2: Color and Composition
Sculpture Technique: Construct
Sculpture Technique: Model


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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArtisticPursuitsInc

  As always do not just take my word for it, visit all of the crew members that were given the opportunity to review ARTistic Pursuits and see what they have to say about it, just simply click on the banner below.


ARTistic Pursuits Review
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wordless Wednesday Back to Geocaching

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wordless Wednesday New CAP pictures

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