Our Summer Homeschool Schedule

It is warming up here in Minnesota, which means we want to spend more time outside. But, we also homeschool year-round, so how do we do this? It is effortless to make a few changes to our homeschool to allow us to be outside while still getting school done.

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Lessen the Work

The first thing I like to do when it comes to schooling in the warmer weather is to lessen the amount of work we do each day. We don’t need to complete all the boxes each day since we do our school all year-round. 

Monday’s our focus is Geography/History. We may add in more if we have a rainy or icky day, but this is all we do on Mondays.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, we work on Language Arts and Math. These are the main topics that I want to put a lot of focus on. I know my kids will self-learn anything else that they find interesting, but these subjects are needed for all that other learning.

Friday is our “fun day.” This is the day I will focus on Nature Walks or a fun nature unit study. While we love doing unit studies together, with the warmer months, we put those aside and just work on the basics.

Our Journey Westward

Take the School Outside

This might sound silly, but take your school outside with you! The fresh air will help the kids, and sometimes we even learn more by being outside. We have had some great memories while taking our school out of the house.

What about basing your lessons on things outdoors? We plan our gardens, learn about what grows best to what, and get the seeds started. This will lead to more learning and planning that you won’t find in a textbook.

There are so many fun ways to learn while outside, no matter the age! Getting out for nature walks is a great way to do science. We love the different ideas for nature walks from Our JourneyWestward.

Summer Reading Program

Another fun part of our summer homeschool schedule is the summer reading program from our local library. We like to walk up to the library when the weather allows, so we can do a nature walk on our way to get books. We get our exercise, but we also get fresh air, learn, and get books.

The summer reading programs are a lot of fun for both the kids and mom. It really makes reading more fun when you get rewarded for it! I know my local library includes the fun stuff for the parents also.

For those of you who homeschool year-round, does your schedule change during the warmer months?

Squishy Science – Review of Science Unlocked

Science is a subject that I never really cared for. I love math and reading, but with science, I get bored. However, I have three kids who need me to teach them science for school. What am I supposed to do?

**Affiliate links have been used in this post. To learn more, check out this page.

Science Unlocked is a new program that allows hands-on learning with everything you need in one box for a unit study. There are three levels of learning, Wonder (K-2), Accelerate, and Launch.

Today, I want to talk to you about the Wonder level, The next two days, I will talk about the other two levels, so make sure you come back to check out the others!

An Introduction to Squishy Science – Wonder Level

The Wonder Level is for grades K-2 and each box comes with almost everything you need to complete the experiments. You only really need to just add water. This is perfect for parents like me who don’t usually have the fun supplies available to do the experiments.

The Teacher’s Guide has an optional planning guide to work through the unit. Each activity and learning opportunity is broken down with the time required. Squishy Science will take approximately 6+ hours and 17 days to complete. You can work on changing this up and spreading this out to make this take longer.

While the Teacher’s Guide gives the basics for each lesson, the Student Workbook gives the child all the instructions on what to do for each lesson and experiment. There are color pictures and easy-to-follow instructions. Baby Girl is 6 and was able to do most of the steps by herself with a little help from me. She really loved the independence of learning.

What Did We Learn?

Squishy Science helped give Baby Girl an introduction to the properties and states of matter. She was able to get hands-on experience with how matter can change. We were able to talk about our senses and how they can help us with the physical property of matter. There were fun experiments that helped to form this connection of what she was learning to what she was making. And with things like slime and oobleck, where can you go wrong with science?

What We Thought

Baby Girl loved her science lessons with Science Unlocked and Squishy Science. She had so much fun getting dirty and learning new things about the things she was already interested in. I loved that everything was there and was easy for us to understand. The Squishy Science kit is $36.99 and with all the supplies, I find that very worth it. We were able to use this for a full month of science lessons. We also had the fun slime, stress ball, and other fun experiments that we could play with for days after the lesson was completed.

If you are looking for a fun science unit that will allow your younger students to get their hands into the learning without you running all over for supplies, Squishy Science from the Science Unlocked series is just what you are looking for!

 

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Hobo Hot Dish – Friday Favorite

I am a huge fan of comfort food. Food that brings back memories of great times. This last week I made a meal that brought back a lot of memories from my childhood, Hobo Hotdish.

Hobo Hotdish is a meal that my great-grandparents would make every time the family got together. We would have it on random Sundays when we got together after church, or on holidays when we would gather to celebrate. It is a simple, cheap meal that would feed a crowd.

We were all so young here, and Baby Girl wasn’t even born yet!

I have a family cookbook, one were we have put together all the family recipes so that we will always have a way to make some of our favorite foods. It was in this cookbook that I pulled out the recipe for Hobo Hotdish. I made a few alterations to the meal, using what I have learned through cooking and what I had in the house, but the main recipe is still the same.

Hobo Hotdish

Ingredients:

2lbs. ground beef (I browned and drained mine first)

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

½ cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

3 cups sliced carrots

3 cups sliced raw potatoes

2 cans cream of chicken soup

1 can water

 

Directions:

Grease the bottom of a casserole dish (I used a 9×13 pan). Crumble the ground beef on the bottom of the dish. Add the salt and pepper. Layer the vegetables in the dish. Combine the soup and water in a small bowl and mix well. Pour over the casserole. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 1 to 2 hours.

This made enough food to feed our family of six a full meal with very little leftovers. If it was made as a potluck meal, I could see it going further. It gave us our meat and veggies in one dish without the need for added sides. And everyone was full!

What is one of your favorite comfort foods that you can remember from growing up?

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Dyslexia Gold – Review

I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Teaching kids to read can be challenging, especially if they have dyslexia. Dyslexia Gold is an online program that can help children with dyslexia or even those who struggle with reading.

Dyslexia Gold is an online program for kids ages 4 through 16. While dyslexia is in the name, it is not needed to benefit from this program. For this review, we received a 12-month family license to the program.

There are multiple parts to Dyslexia Gold. Each of these parts works on a different area of learning. If you want to check for the key indicators of dyslexia in your child, you can use the Dyslexia Screening Test.

Engaging Eyes will work on training your child’s eyes using 3D and 2D activities. We received two different-sized 3D glasses to use with this section. Working on Engaging Eyes is recommended for about 10-15 minutes a day.

Fluency Builder will help the dyslexic brain with fluency. There are three levels, Easy (ages 4-7), Medium (ages 7-9), and Hard (ages 9+). Ten minutes a day will help increase speed, accuracy, and comprehension.

Reading Unlocked is for ages up to 7. This section is phonics-based and will help children learn to read.

Spelling Tutor is a spelling help for anyone. Your child will read a passage and work on practicing spelling words that they have trouble with.

Times Table Tutor will help your child with multiplication facts up to 12s.

Each of these sections will help with early intervention as well as catch-up intervention. While this is helping your child with reading, your child will actually be playing different activities in each section. More than 10-15 minutes per day is not recommended and your child will be told to come back tomorrow when they hit those time limits.

There were other families who put different sections to use with their children. Check out those reviews right here.

Dyslexia Gold

Fermenting Food with Fermentools – Review

I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

I grew up with my great grandparents always having some fruit or vegetable from the garden on their table. I loved having that fresh food available all the time, especially when the garden was covered in snow. I can do the same thing for my kids now with Fermentools and the starter set.

What Is It

The starter set comes with 1 of each: a Stainless Steel lid, glass fermentation weight, airlock, rubber stopper, rubber canning gasket, Himalayan powdered salt, and instructions. You will just need to grab yourself a wide mouth jar, water, and whatever food you want to ferment. I have done asparagus, cucumbers, and cabbage. I had and still have some trial and error, but that is just learning something new.

There are some great recipes included in your starter set. You can also find many great recipes online. All you need to do is figure out which ones you want first!

How We Used It

While this isn’t a homeschool resource, we used it as a part of working in the kitchen with mom. I was always helping my great grandparents with canning and even making saurkraut before I could walk! I want my kids to know how to preserve vegetables they grew or even had to buy from the store.

I love fermented asparagus. They taste like a pickle, crisp and refreshing. I love to make a few jars of this every year. Not only that, but I need to have saur kraut in the house. However, the store-bought stuff just never tastes like what grandpa would make. I am the only one who will eat it, and I don’t have room for a big crock to ferment the cabbage in. Fermentools allows me to make my grandpa’s saur kraut in small batches just for me.

What We Thought

I love Fermentools. I got a starter kit last year and proceeded to grab an entire six-pack. When given the chance to review this product again, I was thrilled. This is one item that I never thought I needed but now can’t live without. We all know those items!

If you want to make fermented foods or drinks, but you don’t have much room in your house, Fermentools is what you need. You can make several jars of different foods all at the same time. 

While I only did a few things during this review period, you can find what others made and thought of Fermentools right here.

Fermenting Food Made Easy with Fermentools

Wise Up: Wisdom in Proverbs – Review

I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

My goal as a Christian parent has always been to make sure my kids know God and Jesus Christ. Reading our Bibles is one of our most influential books in the house. However, I want my kids always to be learning more from the Bible. Positive Action for Christ has given me Bible Studies, like Wise Up: Wisdom in Proverbs, to help my kids dig deeper into their bibles.

What Is It

I got a copy of the Wise Up Student Manual and the Wise Up Teacher Guide for this review. As soon as I got these, I knew this company was going to give me what I wanted for my kids, so I went ahead and bought a digital copy of the Fourth Grade study for Little Miss.

The Wise Up Teacher’s Guide came with a 3-ring binder and dividers for the three sections, Teaching Material, Testing Material, and Answers. Each week is a new lesson, and the teacher’s guide gives you everything you need to teach your child the lesson and the student pages with the answers.

The Wise Up Student Manual is a paperback bible study. The lessons to be done once a week and there are 35 lessons. The beginning of the lesson has your child working through different parts of Proverbs, and the end of the study is the outline of the Teaching Lesson that you will read from the Teacher’s Guide.

How We Used It

At the beginning of the Teacher’s Guide, there are suggested weekly schedules. We opted for doing it five days a week, even through the summer. On the first day of the week, I introduce the target truths we will be learning during the week, our Scripture memory verse, and the teaching lesson. 

Over the rest of the week, we review the memory verse and work on the student exercises. On Fridays or the last day of the week, we do a quiz and see if we have memorized the memory verse.

Ray Ray has been able to do many of the student exercises independently, but it didn’t start that way. We had never found a bible study like this made for kids before, one that has the kids dig into the bible to find the answers instead of the basic stuff they already knew. Ray Ray struggled to get through some of the more challenging questions (explain in your own words what this means types of questions). But as we continued, I loved seeing that he needed my help less and less.

What We Thought of It

If I can say, this bible study and Positive Action for Christ is a prayer answered, that is the truth. The bible studies they have for kids make it so the kids are digging into their bible to find the answers. They walk away with knowledge and not just fill in answers and mark the box to say they completed the assignment.

The teacher’s guide is easy for me to use and easy for me to understand. I can understand my role in the teaching process for the week and what is expected of Ray Ray. Even Ray Ray knows what he needs to do each week. He knows that he can break the week down as he wants to, doing more one day and less the next.

Positive Action for Christ and Wise Up: Wisdom in Proverbs is just what our Bible study time needed! Check out more reviews right here.

Positive Action Bible Curriculum Reviews

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Find a King James Version Bible for You! – And a Giveaway

I have always had a bible handy, but it wasn’t until recently that I fell in love with the King James Version of the bible. This version of the bible has been around since the early 1600s. I had the chance to review three different King James Version bibles, and I have the opportunity to give one away!

King James Study Bible

I love a good bible study, but I have never really had an official study bible. I was so pleased to open this to use during my daily bible study. This study bible has everything! Notes at the bottom of each page explaining the meaning of what I am reading, introductions to each book in the bible, color pictures, and maps. The Study Bible is a bible that I am fully in love with and can’t set down.

King James Ultrathin Reference Bible

This is the size and style of the bible I am used to using. I can throw this bible in my purse and take it anywhere I need to go. However, I decided it was time to update Ray Ray’s bible and gave him this one. The two-toned, leather-bound bible is excellent for a young man. 

One Big Story Bible featuring The Gospel Project

Out of the three bibles I received, this is the only hardcover bible. I love that this means the cover will hold up to the wear and tear that Baby Girl will put this bible through. This bible is full of so many extras, full-color illustrations, digital pop-ups, big words, big questions, Christ connection, memory verses, and seeing the big pictures. These resources help bring this bible to life and allow kids to ask questions, find answers, and see how the bible is a part of our daily lives.

What I Thought

These bibles are amazing. I am in love with them, and I love that we are reading the exact version of the bible together that was read many years ago. I love the quality of these bibles and all of the extra information in each one. There is a bible for everyone in the King James Version.

From a simple text Bible to fit in your pocket or purse to Study Bibles with award-winning study tools, the process allows you to find what you are looking for quickly—and weekly specials with up to 50% off are easy to find too!

 

Enter Here for your chance to win your choice of one of these three bibles.

*For the USA only. Winners will be notified by me via email on June 2nd, 2021 and must respond with their choice of bible and mailing address by June 3, 2021.

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Winter – January Online Book Club

How is it really the new year already? It feels like it should still be November or December. But, then again, in Minnesota, we have gotten very little snow so far. This makes it seem earlier in the winter. For this month’s book club, the theme is Winter.

*I have used affiliate links in this post. You can find the full details right here.

It makes perfect sense to have winter be the theme for January. With cold temps and snow falling. We have actually also had a lot of fog and hoar frost this month! It makes it feel like we are in Narnia!

This month we are reading a few fun books that are related to the winter theme. I can’t wait to share with you at the end of the month what we thought about them, and how we had fun reading them and bringing them to life!

Voyage of the Frostheart by Jamie Littler

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

The Mitten by Jan Brett

Blizzard! by Jim Murphy

The Adventures of a South Pole Pig by Chris Kurtz

 

We would love to have you join us in this fun book club adventure! Grab a winter-themed book and let’s share our fun and adventures!

There are other great families joining us also! Check them out right here:

At Home: Where Life Happens
The Life We Build
Homeschool Coffee Break
A Net in Time

 

Celebrations Around the World – December Online Book Club

The month of December is a slow month for school for us. We like to take this time and just let the kids focus on what interests them, a free month for school. However, I did want to have a little focus on Celebrations and I wanted the kids to learn a little more about celebrations that they may not have known about before.

*Affiliate links are included in this post. To find out more, check here.

For this month’s book club book, I picked Celebrations Around the World. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I grabbed this book from the library, because I had never seen it before. I was pleasantly surprised by it and we were able to have a lot of fun learning about different celebrations!

Celebrations Around the World

This cute and colorful book covers many of the popular celebrations from around the world. We were able to read short tidbits about celebrations such as Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. But not only that, we learned about Las Fallas, Midsummer, Bastille Day, Anzac Day, and many more.

The kids had so much fun learning about these celebrations, and want to do some of the celebrations over the next year. While this book gave a good idea of the celebrations, I knew Ray Ray could learn more. I grabbed a few notebooking pages, had him pick two or three new celebrations, and let him get to work doing his own research on them.

I really love being able to use a book with some basic information about new things to allow my children to dive deeper into their own learning of things. This means, they are learning what they want, but still learning how to do the research that they will need in life.

The Best Birthday Cake in the History of Ever!

So, you may have seen my review of this book last week, but I couldn’t write a book post about celebrations without sharing this book! This is a new favorite book of ours. This takes the celebration of Christmas and brings the focus onto Jesus.

My kids loved sharing with our neighbors about the real reason for Christmas by sharing cupcakes…yes, you can share the meaning of Christmas with a simple cupcake! If you want to know how, check out the review right here.

There are a group of bloggers who are sharing with you in this online book club. Make sure you hop over and check them out!

Life on Chickadee Lane
School Days
At Home: Where Life Happens
The Life We Build
Let’s Get Real
Homeschool Coffee Break
Tots and Me
Bossy Homeschool Mom 

Also, if you have shared about a book on celebrations, we would love to see it! Share it below, but please remember to keep it clean.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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The Best Birthday Cake in the History of Ever! – Book Review

This year has been a year of making new traditions. So many times we can not or should not do what we love to do. I thought this would be a great time to start a new Christmas tradition with the kids, and Little Miss had actually mentioned doing the same thing before I got the email about this cute book.

I was thrilled to review The Best Birthday Cake in the History of Ever! by Jennifer Hill and Mary Walker from Side Door Communications. Check out what we thought of this book!

What Is It

This is a hardcover book with beautiful color illustrations on the pages. Through this book, we are told the story of how this family came up with the idea of a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas Eve.

The story is told in a rhyming way that made it really fun to read. We also have the birthday cake recipe, because this is no ordinary cake. Every ingredient in the cake has a meaning and a purpose. *One note, for those who have children who believe in Santa, this book does not say anything to change their minds. This just brings the focus to Jesus.

Not only do we get the cake recipe, but we also have access to fun activities and free printables to go along with the story.

How We Used It

We sat down as a family and read this book one afternoon. The kids loved the pictures and the story was very intriguing. We loved the meanings behind each and every part of the cake and the party that they threw for Jesus.

After we read the book, we decided that we wanted to make the cake for our friends and neighbors. However, this year we are not doing a party as we would like, we still wanted to spread the message that this book carried.

Instead of making a cake, we did cupcakes (easier to carry and deliver). Also, I did not have the right cake mix or the chocolate chips, so again we improvised and used food coloring to make the white batter red. This kept the message for what we wanted to share.

Instead of making one angel for the cake, we did multiple angels to go on each plate we were delivering. Once everything was ready, we went out and brought the cupcakes to each house. We did not just drop them and go, we told the story behind the meaning of every aspect of the cupcakes.

What We Thought Of It

My kids loved this book. They also fell in love with making the cupcakes and sharing the story about Jesus’ birthday and the meanings of the different aspects of the cupcakes. By doing this activity of sharing what we learned, my kids are beginning their journey as disciples of Jesus. While the houses we went to already know and believe in Jesus, this was a great way for my kids to start talking to others about Jesus.

This will surely become a family tradition that we will do every year. We look forward to doing this again, and the kids actually want to do the sharing with others we didn’t get to with our first batch of Jesus’ birthday cupcakes. We were even told that one of the angels we shared made it to the top of a Christmas tree to remind the family of what we brought to them (and not just the cupcakes!).

If you are looking for a new tradition for this holiday season, I highly recommend grabbing this book and sharing the story of The Best Birthday Cake in the History of Ever!

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