The Power in Your Hands ~ A Review

The one thing I have always feared when homeschooling the kids is their ability to write. While I know how to write, I dreaded teaching them the high school writing skills they would need to progress into college if they wanted to. What is a mother to do when this happens? I found The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School from Sharon Watson.

The Power in Your Hands

What Is It

This is the 2nd Edition of The Power in Your Hands. This is a paperback book with over 100 daily lessons for your high school student. Within this course, your child will learn all four styles of nonfiction writing: exposition, persuasion, description, and narration. Not only will your child learn to write all four styles, but they will grade and critique other students work to help make them better writers.


Included for this review, we received the student text and the corresponding Teacher's Guide. While this course is a great, learn by yourself textbook, the teacher's guide has helped me to follow along with the lessons, and see the correct answers so I could help Moe Man with his lessons if he needed it.

Both the Teacher's Guide and Student Text are included in the 11th grade Curriculum Kit from Timberdoodle.

How We Used It

I had Moe Man using this program daily. I would assign the week of lessons and check in on Wednesday and Friday. This way I knew what he was doing and if he was having any issues with what he was supposed to be learning. The way the lessons would work by introducing what the child would learn about, we would spend as much time as needed working on these new skills until I knew that Moe Man had it pretty well under his belt.

The Power in your Hands Teacher Guide

After we learned the new skills, the child takes what they learned and put that into an essay, letter or speech. Sharon provides an awesome idea for the schedule of how to spend your time writing your paper. Altogether, the learning and the writing will take 2-3 weeks. And the cycle will repeat itself until you get to the section on grammar mistakes. This is a great section that allows your teen to learn about common mistakes and work past them.

What We Thought

First of all, I should mention that Moe Man hates to write. He fights it every time! I try and try to make it as easy as I can, yet he finds a way to fight it. He tried to fight this program, but fell short when he got the chance to correct the writings of other students listed in the book. Sharon knows teens. She knows that they don't always like to follow directions, but love to find other people's mistakes and point them out. This was Moe Mans all-time favorite part of this curriculum.

Power in your hands Editor

The schedule that Sharon provided for the writing of the papers was an ideal schedule. This is just what we needed each week to keep Moe Man on track without overwhelming him with writing 300+ words each time. She had it all broken down from the researching and outlining to the writing of the body, followed by the introduction and conclusion and ending with editing his own work to find mistakes. While he still didn't care for the actual writing, he had fun with the editing to see where the problems were.

Power in your hands Grading

After using this, we have fallen in love. This is something that I can teach without worry and the teacher's guide gives me the support I need to know that I am doing something right. Moe Man is finding it easier to spend time writing. He is able to look at the grading guidelines and see what I will be looking for instead of being blind to that. He has been able to spend time "grading" other papers and knows what I will be doing and looking for. He knows this writing thing from both sides of the paper now!

If you are looking for a good writing program for your high schooler, I would recommend that you spend some time checking this one out. When a non-writer starts writing, you know you have a good program!

Have you ever used any of Sharon Watson's super awesome writing products or freebies before? What is your favorite?

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 photo Disclosure_zpsalxv5hgx.jpg ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Are you frustrated with your current curriculum? Are you looking for something fun that will help your kids learn at the same time? Instead of being frustrated and tied down, why not use some fun journaling, and why not make it pretty, or handsome, with the notebboking pages that are designed for them. The Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Membership at has everything you need for just this!

Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Membership

What Is It is a website that has a notebooking page for almost everything, with new ones being added. The different topics are A-Z, Bible/Character, Famous People, Fine Arts, Geography, History, Holidays, Language Arts and Science/Nature. Oh, and there is even a section call Any Study. This is where you can pick and choose what you need for your homeschool if it isn't already listed in any of the other sections!

Debra, the owner of, is a homeschool mom herself who wanted something better for her kids. When she wasn't able to find, she made it. And I am thankful that she did! This is our go to page for all things notebooking!


How We Used It

There is no right or wrong way to use this site, just so you know right now. You will decide how you want to use it, and that is what you will do. We have used this site for YEARS, and each time I find something new to use in a new and different way. Each one of my kids use the resources here in different ways and each one loves what they do.

Little Miss

Little Miss is busy learning her letters. I am able to hop on in and find the letter we are learning about in the A-Z section and we can use the pages to go with that letter. We love coloring the big letters and making the fun little books. We are able to draw a picture(s) of things that start with letter and practice writing words that start with that letter. She loves just having her own books to read to Baby Girl.

Ray Ray

Ray Ray is busy learning about birds and clouds this summer. We are finding out that the Charlotte Mason style homeschooing is best for him, and these notebooking pages help us to learn in a different way. I simply printed up some pages on the different birds in our area and let him find the information he wanted to learn about them. He is busy making his own bird book, and loves watching the birds with his book. We have also had fun simply staring at the clouds. The nature study section has a great collection of pages on clouds and we are able to write about what we see and find the difference in the clouds to the weather and how they both seem to change at the same time.

Moe Man

Moe Man is even busy with these pages. He has found a style he liked in the Any Study section and used this as a way to take notes for his government course. He takes one page per lesson and fills it full of what he is learning. There are some really neat little squares on some pages, and he is able to use those to draw what he has read about. This is a fun way of notetaking that you would not get from simple lined paper. I love seeing what he comes up with each day!

What We Thought

I love these pages. I love having that one site that has what I need to make a boring subject fun. That one site where I can replace the worksheets with fun sheets. I love that there are two different styles of lines with each unit and that I can pick and choose which one will work for us each day. The Lifetime Membership has been worth it to our family and we will continue to use these pages long into the future of our homeschooling days. If you have to pick one thing for your homeschool, pick this. This is essential in our homeschool and I think you will feel the same way about it in yours.

A Schoolhouse Crew Review (3)

Want to see how other families have put these pages to use? Head on over and read these other reviews with me. I can't wait to find new ideas to use in our homeschool!

Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews


Stop by and show some social media love to Debra!

Twitter:  @NotebookingPgs


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Our Weekly Plans for November 16-20, 2015

What are we doing this week? Well a lot, and not much all at the same time! Here are my plans, but they can change quite quickly!


This week we are readjusting our schedule, finding the things that work for us. Ray Ray is making the switch over to a more Charlotte Mason focused learning. I have found that this is the best way he learns. Last year we didn’t “do” much, yet he taught himself to read, and does all his addition and subtraction in his head. I feel that if we keep his lessons short and sweet and have fun, we will excel beyond our wildest dreams. I am already being yelled at because the Pinocchio is too different from the original book we are reading out loud.

To make this happen, I have him working from and With these two programs, I am not spending much of anything (they are both free resources), and we are having fun again! That is all that matters, my kids having fun while learning!


Little Miss is going to be working with for her letter learning. I am also going to be adding in some sight words from and let her feel happy knowing that she is starting to read. Being in preschool should be fun and games, so I am going to make that fun and games for her.


Moe Man…my high schooler. He has been trying to go back to the “fun” years instead of these serious years. This week I am going to be working on letting him be more independent. He likes to have me “help” him, but I don’t want him relying on me. To help him along I will be writing all his assignments down for the week. He will have the option to ask me for help during a certain amount of time each day, otherwise, he needs to get it done, with a passing grade if he wants to go out and do his own thing later. I will let you know how that goes!

Adding to all of this, we are bringing back our morning time. We have had so much time away from this, I feel icky. I am happy to have it all back and running. I got our circle/morning time printables from Heather has something for everyone over there!


What are your plans for the week? Have any field trips or fun adventures in store? I would love to hear from you!

The Time I Failed at Homeschooling My Child

Failed at Homeschooling

I love homeschooling. I have always loved it, but it has not always loved me. I remember the first time we tried to homeschool with Moe Man. It was not as fun as any of us had planned.

Failed at Homeschooling

Back when we had just finished adopting Moe Man, we knew we wanted him out of the public school system. It was our personal choice. We thought we would be able to tailor things to his needs and help him learn better with his learning disabilities by giving him the one on one teaching.

When we had decided to homeschool Moe Man for first grade, there wasn’t that much available online like there is today. I wasn’t even on Facebook at that time! So I talked with the librairian, who introduced me to a homeschooling mom. This lady is still a friend of mine today!

I went out and bought a boxed curriculum. I didn’t know that I could mix and match based on our strengths and weaknesses. I spent way too much on that curriculum, only to find out, that it did not work for Moe Man.

Failed at Homeschooling

I had always wanted to be a teacher when I “grew up”, so I took a spare bedroom and turned it into a classroom. I had all those school posters up, we found a school desk at a garage sale, and I set up my teacher’s desk. It was a classroom in the home. It was a disaster waiting to happen!

As soon as we started, Moe Man started fighting me right away. Somethings were too easy, others were too hard, I had a schedule and by golly we were going to follow it day by day. We were going to get up and start school at 8. We were going to do this and that, there was no time for fun…just fighting.

After three months of fighting, I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t do the tears, I couldn’t do the fighting and just wanted to throw in the towel!

We re-enrolled him in public school half way through the year. I felt like a failure…

Failed at Homeschooling

You know what? I knew all along that I needed to get back to it. When the public school was failing Moe Man later, I prayed! When I got my answer, I pulled him and tried again, heck I always tell the kids to get up when they fall, so I had to do the same.

This time I had the internet, Facebook and other support groups. I knew that there were options and I searched out what worked for each child. This time, I succeed!

Tell me, have you had a moment when you failed at homeschooling, and came back later to succeed?

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Remember my review on A+ Interactive Math and their Adaptive Placement Test and Individualized Lesson Plan? Go check it out if you forgot about it! This was a great eye opener as to what the boys did or did not know about their math lessons.

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I get to giveaway a 3 month membership for up to 10 students ($119 value) to one of you!!

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9th Grade Curriculum Choices

Is it really time to start planning the new school year? I feel like summer has just started! This week Moe Man is doing his fun testing, so we have limited school. What better time to plan for the new year?

9th Grade Curriculum Choices

Moe Man is going to be in 9th grade! I am not ready for this, but I have no choice. Being in 9th grade, a freshman, means that I have to get more serious along with him. Being more serious for me means tracking more and grading more. No more pass or fail options. How will I do this? I am going to use Homeschool Planet to help me out. Remember my review?

That was the simple part. But now I have to actually teach him something! To make sure I am covering everything I need to cover I have printed up some of the High School forms from Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus. She has everything you need for school planners, and they are FREE!


Math this year is going to be Unlock Math. You will hear more about that in the near future. We are doing the Pre-Algebra. This is the math level that Moe Man is at right now. He is loving this online way of learning the math and I love that he is learning!


English this year is going to be a combination of a few different things. For writing we are going to continue to use our IEW Student Writing Intensive Level B. This was the first time that Moe Man loved to write, so we are going to keep using it!

9th Grade Curriculum Choices

We are adding in Sharon Watson’s Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide for our literature study. I love the book list with this program and I can’t wait to share our review with you!

We are also continuing our study of words by using Dynamic Literacy. I loved this program. I loved how simple yet effective the daily lessons were and I could see things clicking in Moe Man’s brain…this is good!

9th Grade Curriculum Choices


This year for science we are doing Homeschool Astronomy. While this is considered a science elective, Moe Man really wants to learn Astronomy, so we are learning Astronomy. I would much rather let him have his way (when he wants to learn something) than have to fight with him every day when it comes to school. Plus, he got a telescope from his biological mom, so we need an excuse to use it, right!?!?!

9th Grade Curriculum Choices

Social Studies

This year we are going to learn about the American Government while using A Journey in Liberty. I personally feel that a study of the U.S. Constitution is very much needed right now and this program looks like a great one!

9th Grade Curriculum Choices


For the electives this year, I decided to pick home economics. I picked this and Moe Man has no choice! I decided this on the day I asked him to make his own mac and cheese and he didn’t know what to do. That is when I realized that I was babying my boys too much and I don’t want to be that mom who has that boy!

For Home Ec, I have decided to make my own curriculum, but to follow the ideas that Angie from Real Life at Home gives in her eBook, Training Your Children in Home Economics. I love this book and I know that I will be able to make a curriculum for Moe Man and even adapt it to make a curriculum for Ray Ray also!

9th Grade Curriculum Choices

So there it is, the list of classes that I will be having Moe Man work on for his Freshman year. I am sure that we will add some things later as we get used to the schedule. And yes, we have the bible, but it is just him reading from Jesus Calling and from his bible at this time.

What are you using for your lessons this year? Do you have a Freshman? What classes will they be taking?