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 www.allinonehomeschool.com and www.amblesideonline.com 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 www.allinonehomeschool.com for her letter learning. I am also going to be adding in some sight words from Sightwords.com 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 www.onlypassionatecuriosity.com 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!

IEW Phonetic Zoo Spelling ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

IEW Phonetic Zoo Review

When you reach high school, are you done with spelling lessons? And how would you take a spelling class if you had too? Moe Man loves spelling and he loves the independence of using the Institute for Excellence Writing and the Phonetic Zoo Spelling Level C (Starter Set).

IEW Phonetic Zoo Review

What It Is

This is a full spelling program for grades 6-12, depending on skills. It is best to take the placement test to ensure your child is at the right level when it comes to this. Included in the starter pack is 6 audio CDs with the option to also download the MP3 version, lesson cards, personal spelling cards, Zoo cards, a downloadable teacher’s guide in PDF format and a Spelling and the Brain video seminar that is streaming with your purchase.

This is a phonetics based spelling program that uses Mrs. Anna Ingham’s Blended Sound-Sight Program of Learning. This is a wonderful multi-sensory approach to learning that really has helped Moe Man.

There is no lesson plan that goes along with this. Your child listens to the new rule while you talk about it together. You learn the new jingle together and your child while be able to use that while working on their words. While there are no lesson plans, no weekly have to do this, you do have lessons. And you work on this lesson until your child knows those words.

How We Used This

I started out by reading through the teacher’s guide and watching the Spelling and the Brain video. This video was a great insight into using the program itself. While I got what I needed from the teacher’s guide, I loved the video and the extra little hints on how this works and WHY.

We started our first lesson on a Monday. You don’t have to do a Monday, but we did. We went over the flashcard and the rule for that lesson. I gave Moe Man his Zoo Card…which he laughed at the first time, but kind of fell in love with, and told him to number his page for his first test. He was shocked, he didn’t have the list of words to study, there were no word finds, or fun games to play. And then I told him to get his head phones out. This confused him.

The Phonetic Zoo has your child using headphones while they listen to the words. The headphones bring the sound of the words closer to the brain…and blocks out the extra noise of the little brother and sisters. When Moe Man was numbering his page, he skipped a line between each number, this worked for when it came to correcting the words after.

IEW Review

Moe Man loves IEW and their use of pens over pencils. This helps with making them slow down because they can’t erase with a pen. This also makes him feel more responsible for what he is doing.

After listening to the word list and attempting to spell them correctly, Moe Man would listen to the corrections. This took a little getting used to for him to follow along. He had to learn how to pause the disk instead of asking me to stop, or me knowing when he needed me to stop. I noticed this changing the more he has used it. He is becoming more confident in himself and is paying better attention when it comes to this point.

Now, Moe Man will continue with each lesson until he gets 100% twice in a row! This is also different from the “normal” spelling tests. But this way, I know that he knows the rule and has had time to work on the words. And this is why your 47 lessons will last a different amount for each child.

What We Thought Of This

I personally loved this program. It was a great way for Moe Man to work on his spelling, and work in a way that stuck with him. There is no frills about it, you are working on learning the rules of spelling, not a game.

Moe Man loved the words. He has always loved spelling, and he loved this new approach to spelling. He would get frustrated when he had one wrong, but knew that he was close and was happy to share that.

There was nothing to complain about. Moe Man didn’t argue when he was told to do this and truly enjoyed it. I didn’t have hours of prep to make it work and yet seen results that made a mom proud!

While Level C is the highest level, there are lower ones that you need to check out. Head on over and see these other reviews!!

IEW Review
Crew Disclaimer



Brookdale House ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Brookdale House Review

How do you teach your kids the United States? You know, the names of the states and where you can find them? How do you make it fun and not boring? Well, we draw them…yep, Using Drawing Around the World: USA from Brookdale House.

Brookdale House Review

What It Is

This is a simple program that will help your children learn about the United States. This program, while simple is very effective in the repletion it uses. Each week you will work on one or two states all while refreshing what you have already learned in the previous weeks.

The first day of your four days of using this each week starts off with the children learning the state(s), what shape they are, and the facts about them. They will also find them on the map and start memorizing that as well.

Each of the rest of the days has your child drawing the states on the map first tracing the outline of those states next you have the chance to challenge your child and have them draw the state free hand.

Finally, on the fourth and last day of the weekly study, your child will list the states and abbreviations that they know, all the way from the beginning. This is the test each week!

Brookdale House Review

How We Used It

We had both boys using this program together. Monday would be the day they sat down and looked up the information together on the internet and the map we have hanging up. Ray Ray even pulled out our geography book to look at. They would find the information and each write it down.

The drawing was where I saw the difference in the boys. Moe Man loves to draw and really enjoyed the drawing part of it all. This is where he found himself memorizing the states. Ray Ray is my facts boy, he remembers the states by their facts!

Each week, I would quiz the boys during the week to see how much they remembered. I would see if they could remember the names and capitals of the states, as well as the abbreviations of the states. After we got that bit down, we would find them on blank maps. The maps that show you the states, but not the names. While this is not listed in the program, this is something I really like to do with them, it is a me thing!

What We Thought of It

I love Brookdale House, and all that they have to offer. When I heard they had this…I was happy! I wanted the boys, and the girls when they are older, to know our states. I know that it is hard for Moe Man to memorize, but I know that with Brookdale House, that he can. This company knows how to make memorizing facts fun.

The boys loved sitting down together and working on this. Moe Man loved to be able to find the information on his own and loved to be able to remember what he was learning. Ray Ray loved doing big kid work. And I loved watching both of them memorizing on their own terms.

Brookdale House has many options for learning. Check out some of these other programs the other Review Crew families reviewed.

 Brookdale House Review

Crew Disclaimer

Fascinating Chemistry ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Fascinating Education

Are you looking for a self-paced science course that uses videos instead of boring reading? Interactive lessons instead of dull worksheets? Well, that is where Fascinating Education comes in with their Fascinating Chemistry course.

Fascinating Education

What Is It

This is an online science course that is, although easy seeming, a full high school credit. While most of this is an online course, you are able to print some of the notes and quizzes so that you can use multi levels of learning for your child.

There really is no “grade level” listed, other than this is designed and passes as a high school course. Some children may be ready to take this Chemistry course in 6th or 7th grade, while it might be too hard for others.

This course covers how the atoms bond to each other creating molecules, and the properties of the bonds. Students will also learn about how these molecules play a role in our everyday life. We start with the structure of the atom, and move on to the 4 types of bonds. After that we move on heat, gas, pressure, etc. All the fun parts of chemistry!

Fascinating Education

How Does It Work

Once you get yourself signed in, your child will go to the lesson they left off on. They need to remember this, there is no checking off as you go along. This is part of the high school lessons (at least in our house) and that is being responsible for knowing what you are doing, what you have done and what needs to be done.

Each lesson starts with a video instead of a reading. Your child will follow along with the video and take notes, or follow the script if they need that reading on paper to help them (this can be printed for them to follow along with). The scripts, which I found very helpful for Moe Man, have the same slides and wording as the videos.

At the end of each lesson is a quiz. This quiz will go over what was learned during the lesson. If there are resources available to help with a question, you will be able to find them on the top right corner, otherwise you work your way all through the quiz. Once the quiz is over, you will receive your grade and the passing grade. You will also find out if you passed the quiz or not. You are given the option to review your results, print your results or retry your quiz. This is the point in time when you want to make sure you mark the grades since there is no grade book.

What We Thought

Moe Man is not a huge science fan. He likes what he likes, but making him do something else really makes me wonder some days. When it comes to Fascinating Chemistry, he would do a full lesson a day with no issue. Which causes a problem because there are only 19 lessons! While they say this is a full high school credit, I found myself finding other hands on activities to go with the lessons to add on to the learning.

We would print up the scripts to each video and have Moe Man take his notes right there. That way he knew what was happening and would be able to remember what his notes meant. I did let him take his quizzes online, but I would make sure to be right there to take his grade down. While I want him to learn to be responsible, I want to make sure that he is doing something and learning from it.

Moe Man's favorite part about this program, while there is a glossary of vocabulary words for each lesson, they are not the main emphasis of the lesson. This is wonderful since Moe Man is not a fan of vocabulary words. While not a major emphasis, if your child needed to understand something better, they still have that option.

Overall, we really liked using this as a core for our science. I personally felt like I needed to add more to the lessons. I would take a lesson and make it last 2-3 days by finding other items or worksheets to go with the lesson. This way I knew Moe Man was understanding what he was learning, and I personally felt better.

Fascinating Education

Fascinating Education has two other courses available also. Check out these other reviews and see what these other families thought of the courses!

What is your favorite part of Chemistry? Tell me below!!



Fascinating Education Review





Crew Disclaimer



Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Do you need a Christian homeschool literature curriculum for your high school child? One that takes reading to a whole new level? You need to check out Writing with Sharon Watson and her Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide collection.

For this review we received Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide Student Book, Teacher’s Guide, Quiz and Answer Manual, Novel Notebook (a Free PDF Download) and Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain and The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.

Writing With Sharon Watson

What It Is

This is a full literature program for high school students and counts as a full language arts credit. There are 70 lessons spread out amongst 7 different novels. Those novels, whether purchased separately or borrowed from the library, are Pudd’nhead Wilson, The War of the Worlds, The Friendly Persuasion, Peter Pan, Warriors Don’t Cry, A Tale of Two Cities, Fahrenheit 451 and The Screwtape Letters.

How To Use This

This program is very easy to use, but helps your child learn the different literary terms while reading some of the classics. The lessons are laid out simply for the parent/teacher to use. You have your objective for each lesson and you have your teaching for the lesson. You can know that by using the simple layout given, that your child will be learning something during this course.

Each novel takes a month to go through. You have two weeks (beginning and end) that you work on lessons and the middle two weeks are spent reading the novel. The first week of each novel takes you through learning new terms and concepts. This is the “grunt” of the learning for the month.

Once you’re done with your “learning”, you hop into the reading of the novel. While there are no lessons during this time, your child will work through their Novel Notebook. This is where they will show they paid attention during the learning, and find those concepts in action in the novel. This is a nice simple way to keep the terms in mind and to learn them by using them.

After the novel has been finished, your child will work on giving the book a rating and take a show you read it quiz. This quiz can be taken on paper using the Quiz Manual or online using a password to enter onto the quiz page. By taking the quiz online, your child can have instant answers on how well they did.

The final lessons have different discussion questions that you can use with your child. Instead of just writing and filling out worksheets, you are able to be vocal and interactive. Amongst all of this, there are “Facebook” discussion questions as well. This is a great way to do this as a group, even if your group is spread apart.

What We Thought

Moe Man has never liked discussing his books. He has a hard time with comprehension, yet he loved to read. I don’t want to make him hate reading by forcing comprehension on him, but I want him to learn it as well. Because of this, I was excited to try this program from Sharon Watson.

Moe Man was hesitant to start this program because it involves reading and learning from the novels. However, when he actually started the lessons, and found out they were different from what he was expecting, he eased up a little.

I really enjoyed the way the lessons and novel were set up. I really liked that they were spread out and not all faced paced. This helped Moe Man be more open to working and sticking with this program. While other programs are great for an intense study of the novel, Sharon Watson teaches your child what they need to know at a less intensive pace that makes them happy. A smart mom knows, happy kids make for happy homeschool…and when both mom and kids can be happy, than you have a successful homeschool!

We love the choices of books, we love the pace, we love the style of learning and we love the options of making this fit our homeschool, while still being a part of something larger via Facebook. After searching for the right literature program for Moe Man, even trying to make one custom for him, we have found that “it” program the clicks with him! I think Sharon was talking with Moe Man when she made this program!

We were not the only family who reviewed this curriculum. Check out these other reviews and see what everyone else had to say about it!

Writing with Sharon Watson Review
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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?