New to Homeschooling? Start Here!

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This year, 2020, is a new year for everyone when it comes to school for your children. There are so many different ifs when it comes to going back to school. A lot of parents are trying to decide between the risk of going back in person or doing distance learning. There are others who are feeling drawn to try homeschooling. While I don’t care what your choice is, I want to help those who are feeling called to homeschooling and are new to homeschooling this year.

homeschoool

One thing I want to point out, schooling from home and homeschooling are two different things. When you are schooling from home, you are following someone else’s choices for what your child to learn. When you are homeschooling, you take the time to research the different curriculum choices and decide what is best for each child in your house. Both of these require a parent to be there to help the child, but only homeschooling leaves the parent in full control of the education.

Home School Legal Defense Association

Homeschool legal help

When it comes to homeschooling, I highly recommend you first go to Home School Legal Defense Association. This site will hold all the legal information that you need to know about homeschooling in your state. After I decided I was serious about homeschooling full time for the rest of my child’s education, I became a member of HSLDA. While I haven’t had to use their legal defense, I am glad that I have them in case I need them. Not only that, but I love the legal documents that I need right at the tips of my fingers to print and use as I need.

Curriculum

When it comes to homeschooling, you are in charge of your child’s curriculum. What will you pick? What are your ideas and your goals? These all come into play when looking at curriculum. There are so many choices out there, so be prepared to spend some time researching what you want to use.

Online Curriculum

There are many choices for online curriculum if that is what you pick for your child. We have loved using many different ones. Some have been full curriculums like Easy Peasy Homeschool and others are just certain subjects, like A+ Interactive Math. If your child is fine with online learning, you will want to check these and many others out!

Physical Curriculum

Physical curriculum might be more expensive per child, but you have the books right in front of you and you don’t have to rely on the internet and multiple computers to get the daily lessons done. As much as I love the online curriculum, I have found that we love the physical curriculum so much more. We can be with each other and learning together. I have found that we love to use a combination of unit studies and Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling. We love learning altogether, so this helps.

Secular Vs Christian

The other when looking at curriculum is whether you want a secular or Christian curriculum. We love Christian curriculum like Gather Round Homeschool, but we have also had fun with a secular curriculum from Timberdoodle. Like I said above, there are many choices for homeschool curriculum, so you can find just what you are looking for!

Planning

When it comes to homeschooling, the planning is all up to you. Are you going to homeschool year-round? Will you follow the public school calendar? When do you want to take breaks? How many days a week do you want to school? This is all up to you. What is going to work for you, your kids, and your schedule?

Before you sit down and start planning out your lessons, you need to answer the previous questions. Once you have decided on the schedule you want to do, you can actually start the planning. Planning can happen in many ways. You can open and go and not even worry about planning. You can sit down and plan your whole year out in one weekend (I do NOT recommend this), or you can go somewhere in between.

My thoughts on planning:

I have done all ends of planning. I have spent money on a fancy planner and filled it all in ready to go for the year, only to have something happen and “getting behind”. This leads me to be stressed out and this rubbed off on the kids. The year was hard and not very fun. Open and go has also been done. This was a lot more fun for us, but I had no record of what we had done and I struggled at the end of the year to put something together for our records.

What I like to do now, I open and go at the beginning of the day. After we are done, I will sit down and write what each child did that day. This makes it simple for us to do what we can fit in for each day without feeling like we are falling behind. Now, this does not mean that I just don’t have any plan for the year, month, or week. I like to make goals for the year at the beginning of our year. At the beginning of each month, I will sit down and plan out the goals for the month. And I do this again for each week.

Homeschool planning for students
Check out these planners that I use with my kids!

Support

You need to find support while homeschooling. It can come from family, friends, or even online support. Not everyone is as lucky as I have been with the support of family and friends when we decided to homeschool. But even with that support, finding online support from other homeschool moms from across the country and the world has been a lifesaver! Sometimes there are just some things that your family and friends who do not homeschool will not understand, so finding the support from other homeschool moms is very much needed!

You can follow me on Facebook, MeWe, Instagram, or Parler for support and encouragement. But not only that, you will want to find other local support groups. I have found some within my state, with the curriculum I am using, and many other things. Make sure that if you plan on homeschooling, or are starting your journey, you look for support, not only from family and friends but also other homeschool moms and dads.

Prayer

Not everyone is a Christian homeschooler, but for those who are, prayer is very important to homeschooling. Prayer is what lead me to homeschool. Prayer is what has kept me going. Make sure you take the time for yourself and with your bible and God. Don’t let homeschooling take over every aspect of your life. Yes, you may cover the bible with your children in your homeschool lessons, but you Mom and Dad, need to take the time to do your own quiet time in your own bible. This will give you the strength you need to get through the tough days that will come.

Don’t forget, along this journey, you are not alone! If you have questions or need some support or encouragement, reach out to me! I am here to help you! hopkinshomeschool (@) gmail (dot) com.

If you or any of your friends are starting on their homeschooling journey, please share this with them to help them get started on the right foot!

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A+ Interactive Math – A Review

We love trying new things, however, sometimes we try something a second time to see how things have changed over time and between the children in our house. This is exactly what we are doing with A+ Interactive Math.

It was five years ago that we initially reviewed the A+ Interactive Math curriculum. At that time, we use the Adaptive Placement and Individualized Lesson Plan. This time we are using the Family Math Package. I am focusing this review on Little Miss and her third-grade lessons.

What Is It

The Family Math Package is an online math program for the whole family. You can have up to 10 students for $15 per month or $149 per year. You can access all the levels with this package. So, you do not know what grade level your child is at, you try one, it is too high or too low and you want to change. That is fine, you can do that without an extra charge!

This program takes the whole math curriculum out of your hands and teaches it for you. Each lesson starts with a video on what your child should know, teaches it if they do not know. Once they are done with the video, they move on to the Interactive Questions and Answers. These questions go over what was learned. This way you can know if your child has grasped the concepts that were taught.

With the Interactive Questions and Answers, your child will know immediately if they got the question right or wrong. If they got it wrong, they will have the chance to view the explanation of how the problem should be solved.

There is also an option for an eBook of the curriculum to print out along with a resources sheet. These are my favorite because my kids love to have important information at the tips of their fingers as they are working on the questions/worksheets.

How We Used It

Little Miss used this as her math lesson during this review time. While we were on summer break, we still did do some lessons. We love to focus on year-round school, but sometimes we just need a summer break. So, while I had planned on 4 days a week all summer, we did have some added breaks for the weather (we had a tornado touch down about ten miles away), and for hanging out with our public school friends.

We aimed to do this 3 times a week since this was summer. When we get fully back into school in the fall, I will be doing this 4-5 days a week, depending on the week. What is nice, they have a recommended lesson plan that you can print up and use with your child. There is no guessing what you should do next, just open and go.

While there are no dates on the lesson plan, you can tell that it is based on the regular public-school start and end dates because of the two-week holiday break (which would fall around Christmas time). Since we homeschool year-round, I plan to adjust the breaks to fit our schedule, which is not that hard to do.

What We Thought

I have always loved math, so I have always wanted my kids to love math. Finding the right curriculum to get them engaged and loving math can be hard. Homeschooling multiple students at different levels can be hard. With this curriculum, I was able to check out the different levels of this program. I could let the children go and know that they were still learning. This curriculum teaches for me.

The video lessons are anywhere from 3-10 minutes. This is a perfect time for children of all ages and stages. I loved that the videos did not drain on and on. They did not make you bored, they kept you engaged.

I loved the length of the videos. Each lesson was straight to the point. With the interactive questions following the video, I am able to see immediately if we need to spend more time working on the topic, or if we can move on without spending too much of our time focused on something my kids mastered the first time. It is an extremely focused curriculum, making sure that everything was mastered immediately.

We found this to be a great way to have independent math lessons. This allowed me more time to focus on the subjects that needed my attention while making sure my kids were still learning their math. It also gave them a sense of learning how to be independent at their school.

You can get 20% off by using the code: HopkinsHomeschool If you want to try before you buy, get a month for free right here: https://www.aplustutorsoft.com/freestuff/family-math-package

If you are looking for a math curriculum that is interactive and helps your child master their math skills while helping promote independent learning, you will want to check out A+ Interactive Math!

Fun Family Chess – A Homeschool Crew Review

My kids love to play games. However, sometimes I am not able to always be right there to make sure they are playing it right. Brain Blox has made it easy for my kids to play chess with Fun Family Chess.

What Is It

Included with Fun Family Chess are a folding wooden chessboard, 32 wooden chess pieces in soft pouches, a full-color chess book, 2 reference cards, and a chess cube. I will tell you more about this cube in a minute.

There are two different ways to play this chess game. First, you can play it like normal chess, using the reference cards if you need help or guidance with how each piece moves. The second way is the Fun Family way. This is the way the kids played chess while I was busy with work one day.

Fun Family Chess uses a color-coded cube and the reference cards for playing the game. All you need to do is set up your pieces, roll the cube (which will show you which piece to move), and move the piece you rolled. It still requires you to look around the board, see what you have happening and move the correct piece to help you win, but it is simplified for those just learning to play.

How We Used It

We have played this game both ways in our house. Little Miss is just learning how to play Chess and the Fun Family way was the best way for her to play. This is also the way the kids played while I was busy. Ray Ray has played before and really likes to think, plan and plot, so it made sense to play it the original way with him.

Little Miss has not ever played chess before. She loves it but has never actually played the game. I could have sat down and spent a whole afternoon explaining the game and how it works, just for her to get bored. Instead, we had a wonderful time playing chess the Fun Family way! All she needed to do was roll the chess cube, look at her reference chart and move. And I wasn’t able to make any huge moves when it was my turn since I also rolled the cube to move.

With Ray Ray, he has always loved this game. He learned a few years back with my mom, so rolling the cube was not fun for him. However, the reference cards were his best friend. He thinks that these are sent from Chess heaven just to help him beat mom in the game of chess.

While we didn’t roll the cube, we did still enjoy a long game of chess that ended up with us down to just 3 pieces on the board and him putting me in checkmate. He says the reference card helped him do that because he could plan his moves without giving them away and asking me how each piece moved.

What We Thought

This game has all thumbs up from us! We love the quality of the materials and how simple it is to learn how to play chess. I love that there are two ways to play, for both levels of my chess players. Little Miss doesn’t have to be confused and frustrated while learning the basics of the game and Ray Ray doesn’t have to be bored while playing the beginner way.

Since getting this game, I have noticed my kids enjoying more time learning and playing this versus asking to have screen time. When asked if they want to play, they gladly turn screens off and jump into a fun and educational game of chess.

We are glad to have this game in our house. It is well-loved and will be for many years to come!

Check out what the other reviewers have to say about Fun Family Chess from Brain Blox right here:

 

Fun Family Chess {Brain Blox Reviews}
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Wonders of Creation – A MasterBooks Review

My kids love books. This is no surprise! We have been reading books since they were babies. While they love reading books, sometimes reading to learn is not always as fun. We have had a chance to take a look at the digital copy of Wonders of Creation: Design in a Fallen World from MasterBooks. This book has helped us enjoy learning while reading!

What It Is

We had the digital copy of Wonders of Creation, but there is also a physical copy if you want to actually get your hands on this book!

Our digital copy has 218 pages from start to finish. There are 14 chapters in the book:

Table of Contents

  • 1. Since the Creation of the World
  • 2. Land Mammals
  • 3. Sea Creatures
  • 4. Birds and Flight
  • 5. Insects
  • 6. Stars and Planets
  • 7. Starlight and Time
  • 8. Beauty
  • 9. Mathematics and Beauty
  • 10. Materials
  • 11. Mankind
  • 12. A Changed World
  • 13. The Six Days of Genesis
  • 14. What Happened?

This book will not only talk about the perfect world that God created, but it ends with what went wrong. This is not a dark and terrible ending, rather we are walked through the fall that Adam and Eve created, and we are learning about the why’s that have come from this. The explanations have not only helped my kids understand the pain and suffering of the world, but it has also helped me understand it better!

How We Used It

Since this was not a textbook, there are no questions to be answered, besides our own, we used this as a book to read as we wanted. We started reading from the beginning but found ourselves jumping to the different categories that we were more interested in.

While we didn’t always use this for a textbook, I did decide that we would pull this out and read at least one section a week. This allowed us to talk about how everything was made perfectly the way that God had created it. It was the perfect break in our typical school and allowed us to still learn.

What We Thought Of It

We give this book thumbs up! We really enjoyed scrolling through and looking at the pictures. This leads to us reading about the different creations of the world and how they work. While reading about the Fall is not something we look forward to, this book was able to describe it in a great way for all of us to understand.

This is a book that my kids will be loving for years to come. I love knowing that my kids will be able to learn about creation with a strong biblical viewpoint. This will help them defend their faith and know that all was created just the way God wanted it to be.

If you are looking for a beautiful book full of great pictures and useful information, you will want to grab a copy of Wonders of Creation for yourself!

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Learning to Study with Victus Study Skills System – A Homeschool Crew Review

Learning how to study is an important skill for children to have, but just how do you help them learn how to study? We had the chance to get our hands on the Vitcus Study Skills System. After spending some time in the various books, all three of the older kids have learned more about the best way for them to study.

The first time we used this program, there was only one level. That level is the current Level 3. We loved using this and I was excited to see that they had added new levels to their already wonderful program. There are now 4 levels, from Level 1 (K-2/3) up to Level 4 (10/11 – college).

Moe Man was the one who had used Level 3 before. This is geared towards the middle school ages (5th – 10th-grade levels). One of the new levels is the college level (Level 4). I had Moe Man use this one this time. While he is not certain about what he is going to do after high school, this gave him good skills to have. I really liked that this book talks about the skills you need in college that are different from high school. The appendix is filled with a lot of great resources to enforce the lessons and really made Moe Man think more on the college level.

Another fun level is Level 2 (Grades 2/3 – 4/5). I picked Ray Ray to work on this one. He really loved learning about his learning styles. This was something that we had not talked about before. The same day that we started using this, Ray Ray was busy putting it to the test with his other work. We found less stress and more enjoyment out of school! I knew how to present things to him, and he knew how to do them for himself as well.

My biggest excitement came with Level 1 (Grades K- 2/3). This is the smallest book of them all, but it was just the right information for the younger ages! Little Miss was thrilled to be working on these short lessons, and while they are shorter than the other books, she grasped a lot of what they were getting across.

All of the books, except Level 1 have 10 simple lessons to go through. Level 1 only has 6 lessons, but it is for a younger crowd, so this makes sense. It is recommended to do to the 10 lessons over 5 days. We decided for Ray Ray and Moe Man to do one lesson a day for 10 days. This meant, instead of one hour a day, we would spend about 30 minutes a day working on this, which matched our current school style of short lessons.

There is a teacher book that you can get that goes for all the lessons, Level 1 and 2 come with a supplement to the teacher book that helps you tailor the lessons to the age of the child. Ray Ray loved being able to play games that brought the lesson to life for him.

But, back to Little Miss and the fun new Level 1 books! At the younger age, you are not really focusing a lot on actually studying versus getting the idea of studying. These 6 lessons are a little different from the rest. They are only about a page long. The pages do not have distractions on them, and they are straight to the point. There is more teaching to talk about and the short page to enforce what you tell them. These lessons talk about how they study, how they learn best, goals (the longest lesson, but the most important in my opinion), time management, skills on reading, and listening.

I loved that the goals lesson is the longest. Teaching younger children what goals are and how to achieve them will set them up for greater success in the future. They are taught about goals, by examples of things in their everyday life, not just school. After learning about goals in life, they are brought back to school and making goals for their classes.

I really enjoy the Victus Study Skills System. I was happy with it in the past and am thrilled with the new additions!

I am not the only one who used this program, click below to check out what the other reviewers thought of this!

K through College Study Skills {Victus Study Skills System Reviews}
 

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Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology – A Homeschool Crew Review

This is a review post. I received this item in exchange for my honest review. Below you will find just that, my honest review.

Having multiple kids around the same age means that sometimes I would really like to combine learning. One of these subjects I would love to combine learning in would be science. I mean, two kids, one science experiment, one time cleaning it up? What is not to love? I am able to do this with Apologia and their Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology and the corresponding Notebooking Journal and Junior Notebooking Journal.

What It Is

For this review, we received the student textbook, notebooking journal, junior notebooking journal, and the MP3 audio CD. I was excited to get both notebooking journals because that means that I would be able to use this with Ray Ray and Little Miss at the same time!

The Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Text is a hardcover textbook. There are over 250 pages, each filled with color pictures that engage the kids with what they are learning about. There are 14 lessons included, and each lesson, depending on your schedule, takes about 2 weeks to complete. That means that each lesson is broken down into manageable smaller sections. Within these sections, you will find vocabulary words in bold text along with fun “Try This!” activities to bring your learning into your own hands.

The Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Notebooking Journal is geared towards third through sixth grades. This notebook is spiral bound and contains over 200 pages of activities to keep your child learning past the textbook. Activities range from writing down fascinating facts, review questions, copy work, vocabulary crosswords, and projects. The end of each lesson has a page with more ways to explore the topic from the lesson.

The Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Junior Notebooking Journal is for kids Kindergarten through second grade. This is similar to the notebooking journal, but the projects are a little easier, and it also includes coloring pages. These are a great help when your busy reading and the little ones need something to help them focus.

Both of the notebooking journals include a sample schedule at the beginning. Both of these schedules are very similar. The readings are the same, so you can use this with two students, one on each level, and not worry about one schedule being different from another.

Finally, we also received the Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology MP3 Audio CD. In our previous review of Apologia products, I fell in love with having this CD. This is a reading of the textbook by author Jeannie Fulbright. This is not a boring, lecture style reading. This is a great substitution to me reading the text. I love to have this on hand for the days when I am not up to reading, but we still need to get it done.

How We Used It

I was so excited to get both Notebooking Journals for this review! This meant that I could teach both Ray Ray and Little Miss at the same time. This is a huge time saver in my day. The first thing I did was to adjust the schedule to fit us. Instead of two days a week, we used this three to four days a week. This meant that we could split the lessons up a little more during the week and spend less time on it each day. Once we found out what works for the week, we got started.

Our lessons usually started with me reading out loud to the kids. There were a few days when I couldn’t get Baby Girl to let me read, so I was able to pull out the MP3 CD and let the kids listen to Jeannie read. As we went through the lesson, we would take breaks to answer questions, the text is set up that way! Every so often in blue text, we have a question to have the children tell me what they remember so far. I love this style of reading and learning.

At the end of each day, we would spend some time in our Notebooking Journals. Each day gave us something different to use. I was impressed by the variety. Not only that, but all the cutouts we needed are conveniently located in the back for us to use. They are even in color! The kids really loved to get creative as we were supposed to be learning.

On top of our fun learning and notebooking, we had the chance to do experiments. This is hard for me because I don’t like or have the time for experiments with 4 kids running around. However, knowing that one experiment took care of ½ my homeschool, I went ahead with them! We didn’t do all of them, but we did enough to let the kids have fun and not drive me insane, which means one or two per lesson. We currently started my favorite experiment, “Growing Muscle.” This is where the kids have to if they can grow the muscles in their hands over two weeks. Guess what? I don’t have a mess with this!

What We Thought of It

What did I think of this set? I LOVED it! I am thrilled that I don’t have two science classes to teach. I appreciate the work that was put into the MP3 CD for those days that I just don’t have the time to read the lesson out loud, and I love that there were two different levels of the Notebooking Journal to make this happen!

There is no teacher’s guide with this, but there is no need for one. I have everything that I have with the textbook and the journal. The back of each journal has answers that I might need, and the front has the schedule to give me a guideline. That is one less book taking up space on my shelf.

The kids were excited about doing these lessons. They didn’t argue me, only when I told them it was time to stop.

Overall, Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology is everything I was looking for in a science program. Not only does it allow me to teach two students at two levels at the same time, but it is also Christian based. I look forward to learning more about our bodies with my kids as we continue to work through this book.

You can find Apologia on social media here:

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/apologiaworld    Tag:   @apologiaworld

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/apologiaworld      Tag:   @apologiaworld

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/apologia/            Tag:   @apologia

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/apologiaworld            Tag:   @apologiaworld

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/105053356034237782125

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/apologiaworld

Check out the other reviews of Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology right here:

Apologia - Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Reviews
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CursiveLogic – A Homeschool Crew Review

This is a review post. I received this item in exchange for my honest review. Below you will find just that, my honest review.

I believe that all children need to learn the necessary skills of life. One of these is knowing how to write and read cursive. Trying to find a simple program that made it easy for the kids to learn can be hard. However, we had the chance to review CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack and The Art of Cursive from CursiveLogic. This is the program we love for learning cursive in our house.

We have had the chance to review this once before with Moe Man, and we fell in love with how simple it was. I have tried a few different programs with Ray Ray, but they just weren’t what we were looking for. Having the chance to try the newly updated program, I was excited!

What It Is

The CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack is a workbook and access to the webinar. You will have access to this webinar for 6 months. The webinar shows you how to use the patent-pending CursiveLogic methods. These methods work on a shape-based approach. This means that your child will learn the letters that are the same shape at the same time.

As we learned the shapes, we learned a chant that helped us remember the shape. This was extremely helpful for Ray Ray to remember how to make the letters. Using this method of learning how to write cursive also allowed Ray Ray to write real words right away. This gave him a sense of satisfaction that made him want to do more.

We also received The Art of Cursive coloring book. This is just that, an adult style coloring book that works on the methods of cursive. This is a great way to practice the shapes as well as introduce them to pre-writers. It is also a great relaxing tool for mom when the kids don’t steal it from me!

How We Used It

I watched the webinar first. I wanted to know how to teach Ray Ray the correct way. As I was watching, I figured that at his age he would be able to watch the webinar with me to learn how to do the methods of CursiveLogic. We sat down together and watched the first lesson of the webinar and took did the workbook pages as we went along. Ray Ray was impressed that he was able to catch on within the first lesson. This made him want to learn more.

While this program is easy to use and Ray Ray picked up on it, I realized that he wasn’t ready to move as fast as they suggested. Each lesson is broken down into days, and each day you complete what is listed for that day. Instead of doing all the pages for each day, we slowed down and split the days up. This worked for us, gave us little frustration, and allowed us to continue having fun and learning.

The Art of Cursive was too “girly” for Ray Ray, and he didn’t want to use it. That was fine with me, as I thought it looked like a good thing for me to do to relax at the end of the day. My only problem, Little Miss, stole it from me. The first pages go over the shapes, but after that you get pictures. These are not ordinary pictures, each image is full of the different shapes, along with a quote.

What We Thought

We loved CursiveLogic the first time we tried it, and we love it more with the updates that have been done with it. While they are not drastic changes, they are just enough to make it even more fun and easy to understand. Ray Ray didn’t fight me after we adjusted the schedule to fit us and our learning. He loved that he was able to write in cursive and had to show it off when he saw that learning a and d meant that he could write dad without it being on the paper.

I loved having the webinar to help me teach the methods of CursiveLogic to Ray Ray. Having the webinar set up like it was teaching a classroom of students, made it easy to have Ray Ray watch and learn with me. Pulling that up at the beginning of each new shape method and knowing that he is getting an excellent understanding of how to do this makes me confident in knowing that he will know how to write in cursive without an issue.

Having the necessary skills in life is what I want my kids to learn. Cursive is one of those skills that I feel they need to know. Finding a program like CursiveLogic to teach this skill is a huge stress relief for me.

Check out CursiveLogic on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ilovecursive/

Find out what the other review crew members think about CursiveLogic right here:

The Art of Cursive & Quick Start Cursive {Cursive Logic Reviews}
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Starfall Education Foundation – A Homeschool Crew Review

This is a review post. I received this item in exchange for my honest review. Below you will find just that, my honest review.

Sometimes you need a break from your homeschool lessons. Just sometimes you need to have fun But what if you could make learning fun and trick your child into doing extra lessons? That is what happened when we were given a one-year subscription to The Starfall Home Membership from Starfall Education Foundation.

Starfall has been a part of my homeschool since the first day that I started homeschooling. Then, it was only Ray Ray using it. Now, Ray Ray still loves to use it as well as Little Miss and even Baby Girl. Starfall has become our go to when the day gets to be too long, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

What Is It

Starfall is an online product. You need to have internet access to use this program. This program covers many things from reading to math and ranges from Pre-K to 1st and even 2nd grade. There are also apps that you can download to bring the fun of learning with you on the go.

Starfall’s website is full of everything that you can imagine. They take the learning to a fun level that allows the kids to play games, watch videos or read books while learning reading and math. This is great for the beginning learners as well as those days when you just need something to do that isn’t the same thing.

Now, one thing that I haven’t noticed before, but just recently found was the Parent/Teacher Center. This section of Starfall is FULL of extras to help you as the parent and teacher to take the learning that you have been doing on the computer, off the computer. There are guides for you to see what your child can learn in each section, what apps help teach certain things, and what some of the extra resources are that you can purchase.

Not only does this section give you the guides, but it gives you printables! Yes, printables. These range from practicing your alphabet, printable books to read, journal writing, and even grammar worksheets. And that is just the ELA downloads. Math is not as much, but there are still some great worksheets to help practice what the kids are learning.

How We Used It

This is one of those programs that I let the kids go wild on. I don’t have to worry about links to outside sources, and even to get into the Parent section, you have to be able to answer a question. This means that when they are on this website, they are safe and learning. Yes, they could click in the address bar and go somewhere else, but this is very uncommon with my crew.

Playing their favorite symmetry game.

When it is time to get ready for school, or if I have to help the bigger kids with something, Little Miss will be able to go to Starfall and play around. I say it this way because she really doesn’t think of this as school. She feels that I am letting her have some extra game time.

As Little Miss progressed through her “play,” I would look at the different printable downloads and see which she was ready for. She is a reluctant reader like her brother was at her age. But as I watched her figuring out words and sounds, I loved being able to print books that matched her reading level, and these books went along with what she was learning on Starfall.

I did not set up a do this or do that schedule for her on this site. I figured the more fun it was, the more she would use it without arguing me. This meant that she was learning and having fun at the same time, and she wasn’t arguing with me over getting some lessons done. I did have to remind her that she couldn’t just sit there and customize her character the entire time, but she had no issue with moving on from there.

What We Thought of It

We have loved Starfall Education Foundation for the last five years. We have paid for this yearly subscription and have never thought twice. There is a lot of great activities that keep the kids interested. There is no need to worry about your child’s interest. They will love it! There is something for everyone within this program. They can work online, or they can take the download printables that are offered and do more offline. This is something that I love about Starfall, you can do online and proceed to take it offline when your child has had enough screen time.

I have never had an argument about using this program. From Ray Ray when he was at this stage, to Baby Girl as she is getting into it, all three of my little ones love to get on Starfall and play. I will let them do this because I know that when they are having fun, they are also learning1 This is a program that we will use for many years to come. It will always be a part of the first years of homeschooling for them.

There are 60 reviews total for this program. Check out all the other reviews right here:

The Starfall Home Membership {Starfall Education Foundation Reviews}
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Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones – A Review

Learning Bones with Dr Bonyfide

This is a review post. I received this item in exchange for my honest review. Below you will find just that, my honest review.

Learning about the skeletal system should be fun. There should be games and activities that keep a child interested. Keeping them interested is the hardest part. The Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones – Set of 4 was just what we needed in our home!

Learning Bones with Dr Bonyfide

What Is It?

This is a four-book set, each one focusing on different bones within the body. Each of these books can be used for a whole year, making this set start in 3rd grade and finish in the 6th grade.

The four books are:

  1. Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones of the Hand, Arm, and Shoulder
  2. Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones of the Foot, Let and Pelvis
  3. Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones of the Rib Cage and Spine
  4. Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones of the Head, Face, and Neck

Learning Bones with Dr Bonyfide

Each book consists of short, fun, and rhyming lessons. The books are full of activities for the kids to get hands on fun practice with what they have been learning. These activities can range from checking out “x-rays” with 3D glasses to drawing the bones as you trace your hands and feet or even just coloring the ribs while you practice their names.

On top of all the fun that filled the pages, these pages were full color. They are made of a thicker weight paper, so they can stand up to lots of flipping of pages.

How We Used It

Ray Ray was the intended reader of these books. However, he decided to take his learning of his bones a step farther. Two days after we opened the books, Ray Ray fell off his bed and broke his elbow! *Just a heads up, this did not earn him any extra credit, and it is not required when you decide to purchase the books!

Learning Bones with Dr Bonyfide

I did not have any lesson plans to follow when we got these books. Instead, we took the books and had fun with them on our own. I would simply write Dr. Bonyfinde on Ray Ray’s daily lessons and he would read as much or as little as he wanted. Typically, he would read the lesson and stop. The next day he would go and do the activities that went with the lesson.

We used this in addition to our current Science curriculum. The way this played out on our lesson plans was 2-3 times a week using it, depending on the week. This was a perfect spacing option for us.

What We Thought Of It

We love using these books. Ray Ray enjoys that the lessons were short and to the point, yet fun at the same time. He doesn’t get bored and jumps at the chance to do Dr. Bonyfide instead of his current curriculum.

I did notice that when Ray Ray uses a pen or pencil, the color on the back of the pages he writes on transfers to the following pages. While this frustrated us a little, we did find that using a permanent marker helped prevent the transfer and the pages were thick enough to prevent it from bleeding through.

Learning our Bones with Dr Bonyfide

I love that he loves to learn about his body. This is such a fun curriculum that I don’t have to argue with him to work on it. I think we will end up going through more than one book each year, as Ray Ray loves to read them that much.

If you are looking for a fun way to get your child interested in learning about their skeletal system, Dr. Bonyfide is the guy for you!

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Reading Eggs – A Homeschool Crew Review

One of the important things to teach our kids is how to read. Sometimes they don’t want to, other times they just need some motivation to help them out. We have fallen in love with Reading Eggs and the fun online learning and activates that we have found there!

Reading Eggs is an online program that keeps your kids interested in learning to read by engaging them with games, songs and rewards. These help to motivate the children to keep going. This is set up like a game, and earning eggs or cards (in Reading Eggspress) makes your kids push through and learn.

There are three different levels in Reading Eggs. You start off with Reading Eggs Junior. This is great for the new learners from 2-4 years old. This helps build their pre-reading skills and in a fun way. Reading Eggs is for 4-7 years old and starts lessons on a self-paced mode. Once your child has mastered reading, they move on to Reading Eggspress for 7-13 years old. This section takes the reading and looks at the meaning.

For this review, Little Miss used Reading Eggs to get her reading and Ray Ray used Reading Eggspress to help build his reading skills further. We used this as our language arts curriculum for 3-4 days out of the week.

Each of the lessons is self-paced. The kids are able to log in under their own user name and go when they want to. The first thing they did was a placement test to see where they should be in the program. Both children skipped many lessons, and were placed in the area that was challenging, yet they were able to do.

Each self-paced lesson consisted of numerous different activities. These ranged from games, reading and learning. Ray Ray being in the older section of this also had quizzes as a part of his lessons. These quizzes were really comprehension of what he had just read, but in his mind, they were quizzes!

Little Miss is just like her big brother, as in, she doesn’t want to learn to read. She fights me. I don’t really worry about it, knowing they will learn when they want, but when I logged her in on our Free 4 Week Trial, she wouldn’t stop! She wanted to keep going, keep learning! I wasn’t going to stop her!

After a week of using Reading Eggs, I noticed her picking up on reading. She paid more attention to the sounds of the words we were speaking to her and she was begging me to do her school! She wanted to learn to read! For once, she wanted to learn how to read! I just stood back and watched. Something was clicking for her and I loved watching that happen!

After two weeks, TWO weeks, she was reading sentences, and simple books! This girl went from not having an interest in reading to wanting to read and loving it! Why? Because she played a fun game on the computer and finished the “level”. Because that level lead to the next and she wanted to see what she could earn next, so she did the next lesson.

There is something new on Reading Eggs as well! A Homeschool Guide. This guide is for Kindergarten to 2nd Grade. Each guide contains 36 weeks of lessons mapped out with Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. Some of the lessons are online lessons using Reading Eggs, or Math Seeds, but others are reading the books in the Reading Eggs Library. This is a general topic, and you can build off it however you would like.

With quick learning, and simple sight words, reading a sentence starts early. This is enough motivation to keep your child interested in what they are doing. Little Miss loved that she could read so quickly and this was exciting for her. She wouldn’t stop! I didn’t make her! If you have a child who is struggling to read, or one who fights your current lessons, you need to give Reading Eggs a try! Don’t forget, you are able to use this 14 day FREE trial to see before you make a decision.

Reading Eggs
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