2020 Word of the Year – Focus

It is that time of the year again. The time for me to find my word of the year. I missed this last year, and I regret not finding the time to do it. I talked a bit with a friend the other day and decided that I had found my word without looking for it.

I picked the word Focus for my word of the year. I had a rough year last year. There were a lot of things going on and I lost focus on the important things. I wanted to do many different things. We had a move, we were struggling with finances, I wanted to do more and never really focused on what mattered to me. I lost me in the process of trying to do more.

This year I want to focus. I want to focus on my time in the Bible. I really want to focus on making time each day this year to get quiet with my Bible and talk with God more. I have a few different studies going on right now, but I will be spending some time this week focusing on which one I want to finish first.

Last year I officially started a position at the Social Media Manager for the Homeschool Review Crew. Between taking that on and keeping up with my essential oils home business, I also thought it would be great for me to try to work from home more. To be able to still homeschool and help my husband with his health. While I love the idea of being able to help with the finances, I have realized that I can’t do everything. I still love my position as Social Media Manager, and I still love my oils. But my focus is not going to go too much further beyond that.

Also, I miss writing and sharing with you, my readers. So, another focus is going to be trying to write about the things we are going through this year. I want to be intentional and try to give you an update on us at least twice a month, if not more. So, keep an eye out for that!

Finally, homeschooling. We love it. We won’t quit it. But…I have lost my focus. I wanted to do the best and the newest of everything for the kids. I thought if we did more, they would have a better education. However, the kids were fighting me, they weren’t having fun and I was jumping around a lot between the kids. So, I am focusing on our education and making it simple to teach and still a lot of fun. We are going to be using the new Gather ‘Round curriculum. I love that it is altogether for the most part and we can do three kids at one time! Watch for me to share more about this.

This year I am going to focus more. Focus on what matters and let myself take that all in. I am not going to jump feet first into things, rather I will jump Bible first. I am going to make sure this is the best year yet, with focus.

Check out more posts about word of the year right here:

Learning to Play Piano with Simply Music – A Homeschool Crew Review

We just moved at the end of last month. That was a feat. It was also an adventure. One thing we found out, the previous owners were willing to leave the piano that was in the house! This was exciting for everyone in the house. What was even more exciting was that we grabbed access to the Music & Creativity – Foundation Course from Simply Music to review. What great timing!

What It Is

Simply Music is an online program with videos lessons taught by Neil Moore. To use this program, you will need two things, a piano or a keyboard and a computer with internet. 

The Music & Creativity – Foundation Course consists of 19 lessons plus a quick start for those who want to play yesterday!

Each lesson will contain the Lesson Content (videos), Reference Materials, and Lesson Content (soundtracks when you are working on learning to play songs).

Lesson One is all about the basics. These videos, while seemingly boring, were packed full of information for those who are beginners. I really appreciated how Neil went through all the basics and we got started with making sure we had all that we needed, the piano and my laptop to watch our lessons on.

Lesson Two was broken down into two learning strategies. These are actually sprinkled throughout the program. The first two that Neil introduced us to were to make sure we were learning slowly and to control the events. I loved that he told me and my kids to go slowly. This is a great part of this program, going at our own pace and going slowly when we need it.

Once you start Lesson Three, you start the first song, Dreams Come True. This is where we are right now. There are six parts to this lesson. We have been spending a lot of time mastering each part before we move onto the next. This is the part of a self-paced lesson that I am liking.

After we master this song, we have about 10 other songs that we will be working on. At the pace we are going, I can see this program taking us about 24 -30 weeks. I am assuming that when the kids and I get used to playing, the later lessons will move quicker. Either way, we have a great start at playing the piano!

How We Used It

We got access to this course before we started our move. I was able to preview the first couple of lessons, but it wasn’t fun without the piano in front of us. After finally moving in and being done with the unpacking, it was close to the end of the review period, so we are not as far as I had hoped, however, we are excited to keep learning!

We took the first two lessons and watched them together. Depending on the video and the length, we would do on average, one or two videos at a sitting. We set aside about 3-4 days a week to watch the videos. If you are not in the middle of a move, I am sure you could get through the first two lessons in a day or two and get started on your song a lot faster than we did!

Once we got to the first song, this is when time slowed down for us. We watched the video together. After that, we would each take some time, about 15-20 minutes, to practice each part. I refused to let any of us move on to the next part of the lesson until we had it mastered. Neil takes the time to break the song down into small chunks. As we learn and master one part, we can work on adding the next part. There is no way to get overwhelmed.

What We Thought

We love this program! The kids and I are able to each do it at our own pace. I never thought I would be playing the piano, but I am loving that fact that I am able to figure it out and enjoy it. Not only that but the same program that can teach me also teaches my 10 and 8-year-olds as well!

We don’t have to feel rushed, we can take our time, and we are told to do that. We are told to slow down and focus. I really appreciate a teacher taking the time to tell us that. It is not about how fast we can learn to play, it is making sure we know what we are doing. 

Knowing that this program is broken down to help us, makes it fun for everyone. I am not a musically inclined person. I have issues knowing what notes are what, and I have had fear of not being able to allow my kids to learn how to play music without paying for a teacher. Neil is a great teacher, and in honor of their 20th anniversary, you can get this foundation course for free! What better way for a family to introduce learning how to play music at a price that fits every budget!

While we didn’t get as much time with this program before sharing our review, the other families that reviewed it had a lot more time! Check out their reviews right here: 

Learn to Play the Piano with Music & Creativity - Foundation Course {Simply Music Reviews}

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Biblical Worldview History with Pathway to Liberty – A Homeschool Crew Review

My boys love history, they are like their father when it comes to that. I have never really liked it. This made it hard for me to teach this subject. We have tried many things, but nothing met my expectations or theirs at the same time. That is until we found Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum!

Ray Ray and I have had the chance to check out Pathway to Liberty’s World History (Year 4 Level 2) a part of A Pathway to Liberty’s History Curriculum. We are excited to tell you all about it!

What It Is

For this review, we received a spiral bound teacher guide as well as a spiral bound student guide. The student guide is about 100 pages longer than the teacher guide because it has the extra pages for the students to write their answers on for each lesson.

Each guide starts the week the same way. We see the overview of the week. This has the scripture, principle, and leading idea for the week. There are four lessons for each week. We not only see our current level but all four levels and what is to be done for each lesson. There are also writing options for each level as well as ways to expand the history and vocabulary words.

 

Each week, the lessons are clearly labeled which makes it easy to see what needs to be done. The pages are black and white, which is simple to print if you get the digital edition.

How We Used It

Ray Ray and I would sit down together at the beginning of the week, sometimes Monday, other weeks it was Tuesday due to appointments. We would look over the weekly overview and talk about what we would be doing each day. This gave him an overview and allowed him to mentally plan what was going to happen.

Many of the reading was in the guides, but we did also use The Chain of Liberty (find it here) and A History of US (we found all of the ones we needed at our library). Some of the readings got a little long for Ray Ray, so we would take turns reading them.

 

Since there are only four lessons each week, we would take the extra day to work on our vocabulary and writing. The weeks when we started on Tuesday instead of Monday, we would only do the vocabulary on Friday. I really appreciated that all the levels writing options are listed in each guide. This meant some weeks I could have Ray Ray do his level or level one if it was a tough week. Meeting him in the middle is always something I love to do.

What We Thought

This is the history curriculum that I have been searching for! It is based on Biblical Worldview and shows Christ in history. I love the scripture verses and principles at the start of each week and how the rest of the week grows off that.

The lessons take about 20-30 minutes, but they are not boring. They are fun and engaging. There are YouTube videos that are made to go along with some of the lessons. These really made Ray Ray even more interested. He loves watching YouTube, so watching these was a fun addition to the lessons.

I really enjoyed being able to open the teacher’s guide and not feel lost. I could easily work through this with Ray Ray. The hardest part I had was to go on my libraries website to get the A History of US books on hold for when I needed them.

If you are looking for a history curriculum that is biblically based, Pathway to Liberty is what you are looking for!

Read the rest of the reviews from the Crew right here:

Universal History, The Middle Ages, US History & World History Curriculum {Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum Reviews}
 

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Online Unit Studies with Techie Homeschool Mom – A Homeschool Crew Review

I have always loved exploring the way my children learn. Each of the four learns in a different way. This makes it fun, and hard for me. Thankfully Ray Ray can do Unit Studies with Techie Homeschool Mom and I don’t have to worry about him. Currently, he is working his way through the Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 1).

What Is It?

Techie Homeschool Mom is an online program that gives you access to unit studies. They have a variety of studies available. While they are fully online for learning, there are many things that take the learning to different levels. You and your child will use different online programs (the free versions) and some other items from around the house.

Techie Homeschool Mom offers a variety of unit studies that will appeal to your child. Some take an hour, others take longer. But each is set up in the same way. The lessons are all online and are easy to follow.

Famous Artists is one of the longer studies that will take more than one day to complete. It is broken up into different sections. You will first learn about art itself and follow up with some of the famous artists like DaVinci, Monet, and Picasso.

As you go through each artist, you will learn about them, their pieces of artwork, and you will finish up with adding them to your own exhibit using Emaze. This was the fun part!

How We Used It

Ray Ray loves to take my laptop and disappear to do his schoolwork. This is not a fear of mine when he is working on his unit study from Techie Homeschool Mom. The units are laid out in step-by-step directions. He completes one and moves on to the next.

When it came time for Ray Ray to study art, I wouldn’t see much of him. He would get comfy someplace in the house and work through his lesson. The program shows me what is done and what needs to be done. I had a list from the beginning of what supplies we would need, so I was able to make sure we had them on hand. This meant that I wasn’t saying ‘We will come back to this when we have the supplies.” Or “We can’t do that right now.” Those are always huge setbacks for us.

There are about 5 sections per artist and 10 artists in this collection. We would do one section a day, completing an artist per week on average. This means that this collection would last for 10 weeks. Each day varied on how long it took, depending on the video or how much Ray Ray would write or design, but they didn’t last so long that he lost interest. Every Friday was the day that Ray Ray would work on Emaze exhibits.

What We Thought of It

We love Techie Homeschool Mom and her unit studies! While the majority is online, the platform she uses is not hard to understand. I liked that you complete one thing and move on to the next. I loved that she brought in other online elements to enrich our learning. These were the free versions, so I didn’t have to worry about purchasing something, yet I was able to allow my son to use new technology in his learning, bonus!

The lessons are not too long. And we can stop and start up as we need to. This is great for us. If a lesson gets too long, Ray Ray can pause, if needed. This didn’t happen much, as he was having fun playing with all the technology that is introduced to him. Being a “techie kid” meant that he loved the way Techie Homeschool Mom allowed him to express himself in the unit study.

We have used other unit studies from Techie Homeschool Mom and loved them as well. Ray Ray loved the one on Martin Luther King Jr. In that, he made his first picture graphic using a quote. This was great to see him think of ideas and make them come alive.

If you have a techie child at home who loves unit studies, I would recommend that you check out what Techie Homeschool Mom has to offer.

We were not the only ones to check out Techie Homeschool Mom. Head on over to The Homeschool Review Crew and see what everyone else thought!

 

Solar, Ancients and Famous People Unit Studies {Techie Homeschool Mom Reviews}
 

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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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Staying Motivated in the New Year

I have taken on a new position over the last year. This is great for my family, but it also means that I have to figure out how to schedule my days to get it all done. This upcoming year, I plan to make two simple resolutions to help me work from home and keep the home somewhat normal!

Little Changes Mean Big Changes

One thing that I did not know, was that making one simple little change in my routine would have big changes following it!

Now that I am working from home, I am looking for help on how to schedule and manage our days so we can still get my work, the kids’ school, the house cleaned and food for dinner all done in one day.

In making these small change, I have come to realize that I need to make more and bigger changes in our daily life. I am looking for ways to make the day to day easier for everyone in the house!

How to Make it Work

So, how do I make it work? I rely on resources that will help me make things work. Being a part of the Homeschool Review Crew has given me the option to find products that help me in ways I never thought possible.

LisaTannerWriting Balancing Diapers and Deadlines helps me figure the basics of my working from home while homeschooling and keeping the house. This program has been awesome. It is the simple things she talks about that make huge changes in our house. She has found great techniques and gives you guidance on how to make it work, working from home while keeping the house!

MyFreezEasy has been a blessing with helping me plan meals. I love looking at Pinterest, but I get lost. I can take half a day looking at all the fun recipes and only find one or two that work for us. But when I log in to MyFreezEasy, I am able to find recipes that work, find the shopping list I need, and make a second batch of the recipe to freeze for a later date! How simple is that for a busy work at home, homeschool mom??

Motivated Moms is a great resource that allows me to make sure my house is liveable. I am not saying that it is spotless, I have four kids so I don’t expect that, but I love having a simple plan laid out for me that allows me to keep my house livable while I am busy with other things. In fact, I use this list of daily chores when my kids come to me saying they are bored. They can pick a task and complete it to help mom out.

Working from Home and Homeschooling is Possible

Over this last year, I have learned that working from home and homeschooling at the same time is possible. You need to find your groove and rely on the resources you have available, but it is possible.

I have tried to do this on my own, and I failed, miserably. But when I finally went to look for help, I found that I had some great resources to help me! These resources helped me fill in the blanks that I couldn’t figure out on my own. They filled in the gaps and allowed me to keep homeschooling and working from home at the same time.

You Can Do It

You can do it. You can work from home and homeschool. You can have a liveable home while you do it. All you need are the right resources. I recommend you check these out and see how they would work for you!

How do you homeschool and work from home without losing your mind?

 

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Beloved – A Devotional for Young Women (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Raising kids can be hard. Making sure they are learning all they are supposed to learn, from school, to chores, and of course their faith. Little Miss in my oldest girl, and when I got the chance to review Beloved: 365 Devotions For Young Women from Zondervan, I jumped at the chance!

What Is It

Beloved is a hard covered book with 370 heavier pages. The simple flower design on the cover goes throughout the book adding something to the pages without being too crowded. There is one devotion page for each day of the year. It is undated, so you can start your year whenever you want to.

This devotional is aimed at girls ages 13-18 years old. All of the devotions are based on different women and girls from the Bible. Through this devotional, we see that the Bible is not just a book for and about the guys. We have our eyes opened to the everyday and extraordinary women.

How Did We Use It

Little Miss is a few years younger than the recommended age for this devotional, but I knew this was something that she would still enjoy, so I decided that this was something we would do together. Little did I know, I would gain just as much as her as we read through each day.

Each day started with a short Bible verse. Each of these verses are about different women of the Bible. They do not jump around like other devotionals that I have read, rather, they go together from one day to the next, telling the story of the woman.

Following up after the Bible verse is the devotional that goes with that verse. This devotional will take a lesson from the Bible verse to teach us. On Day 36 the verse was Genesis 19:25-26, the devotional takes the disobedience of Lot’s wife and shows us that curiosity can lead to disobedience. This was the perfect starting point for a great conversation with Little Miss about curiosity and sinning.

And it wasn’t just that day that leads to conversation. Each day we sat down, we ended in conversation about how we can learn from this devotional. While the stories are old, they still ring true in what we face today as young women following Jesus.

What Did We Think

Both Little Miss and I fell in love with this devotional. This was exactly what we were looking for as a way to grow stronger in our faith together. This was not too old or too young for her. Reading it with me, she was able to understand and learn from it. I can see this being a devotional that she will use over and over again, always learning something new each time she reads it.

The pages are thicker, which means they will not likely tear from constant use. There is a space at the bottom of each page for notes, which I am leaving for when she can take her own, and there is even an attached ribbon bookmark, which makes her feel extra special when she uses it.

We both loved that the devotions were short, but they were deep. There was a lot of learning that we both got out of it. Where I would see something for me as a wife and mother, she would pick out something for her as a daughter and sister. This is a book full of lessons, and for now, a lot of bonding time between the two of us. I can not wait until Little Miss is ready to take this on her own and dig even deeper into her life as a young woman of God.

There are 60 other reviewers who had the chance to use this with their daughters, click the picture below to see what they thought of it!

 

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women {Zondervan Review}
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New York City – By the Way ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I am going to admit something to you, I have a slight addiction. That addiction is to great books! Whenever we pass by a bookstore, my kids know that we will be spending quite some time there. Last year we had a chance to review a By the Way book, and we loved it. When we found out that there was a new book, New York City from, By the Way, we were excited to check it out!

What Is It

New York City – By the Way is a hardcover book that is filled with beautiful color pictures and cartoons. Each page is a heavyweight page and stands up to kids flipping through them (I know this because I brought it to Bible study one night and a dozen kids were busy reading it when they finished their work.)

There are 48 pages full of information in this book. We follow Alex and Lexi with their youth group as they travel to New York City and learn about the history of New York City and even about the animals!

How We Used It

This is one of those books that you can hand to kids and not worry about what they will read. That is what we did at first. The kids tore it away from me when I opened the package and went off to look at it! The first thing they did was to take a look at finding the hidden images throughout the book.

After finding the images, it was time to read. There is a lot of information in this book. This is not a sit-down and read it all the way through in one sitting with a three-year-old book! Instead, this is a start at the beginning and read for a bit. In fact, after reading the first page, the kids wanted to jump to different parts that they found interesting while looking for the hidden images.

Ray Ray is in love with New York City. He does want to visit there one day, so he is the one who took the book to read the whole thing through. He came back to me with tidbits of information that he had learned. “Mom, did you know there are 175 zip codes for one city! We only have one for our whole city!” “I loved how they talked about 9/11, but I wanted more about this.”

What We Thought Of It

This book has been a hit in our house! The kids love looking through the pages and looking at the pictures. I really enjoyed the way the information is presented, in a story format. This made it easy for the kids to gain an interest in different topics. As they were searching for the hidden pictures, they found topics they wanted to learn more about. This was a great way to build their interest!

I also loved the way that the story shows God in everything. Not only did we learn bits of information about New York City, but we also learned about God and Jesus throughout!

After reading this book with the kids, we all long for a visit to New York City to see some of the sights that piqued our interest while reading this book!

Three other books were included in this review. They are Ireland, Indiana, and Alaska. Check out the reviews right here:

By the Way Book Series: New York City, Ireland, Indiana & Alaska {By the Way Reviews}
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Fitting Words – A Homeschool Crew Review

I am still in shock that I have a senior in high school this year! Where did all these years go by? There is only one thing harder than grasping you have a senior, it is finding curriculum for them that they love to use.

Roman Roads Media gave us a chance to review Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric (complete program). This is just what I knew Moe Man needed, and he loves using it, so it is a win-win!

What It Is

Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric is a curriculum that will provide high school students and above with a full year’s credit of learning how to communicate by studying the great speeches and giving their own speeches as well.

We received the complete program that comes with the student text, student workbook, video course, exam pack, and answer key. These all complement each other and makes this course a great one, especially for Moe Man.

The student text is a hardcover text with about 400 pages. Each of the pages is clean and uncluttered. This makes it easier to read. There is also room on the edges of the pages for notes if your child likes to take notes, mine doesn’t, but I love to, so noticed this right away!

The workbook is a spiral bound book. There are plenty of well-spaced lines for writing answers to the questions asked for each exercise. Even my large writing son had no problem writing his answers on these spaces.

The video course is my favorite aspect of this program. Moe Man is great at reading, but sometimes he doesn’t remember what he read. We all have those moments when listening to someone read or explain the lesson brings things to light that we would not have noticed before hearing it.

This video course is 4 DVDs that go with each lesson in the textbook. It is recommended to watch the lecture of the lesson first and follow up with reading the lesson after. Not only that but at the end of each lesson, there is a lesson application video to watch. There is even a pre-exam video that walks you through what you need to know for each exam. All the videos helped to reinforce what your child needs to know for each lesson.

The exams packet has review sheets for each exam. They are not study guides, instead just a sheet with the things the student should be able to do and know before the exam. This allows your child to review in the way that is best for them. You will also find all the exams in this packet. The last thing you will see is the speech judging sheets. This is an excellent way for me to be able to judge each individual speech. It also allows the student to know what they will be graded on for each speech.

Finally, we have the answer key. It is just that, a softcover book full of all the answers for the worksheets in the textbook as well as the exams.

How We Used It

At the beginning of the answer key, you will find two optional schedules on how to use this curriculum. There is an option for one or two years.

Since this is Moe Man’s last year of school (Yikes!) we opted for the one year schedule. Using the one year schedule, we see what to do each week and day. The bonus, it is only 4 days per week! Moe Man was happy to see this!

I wrote up what needed to be done on Moe Man’s planner, and with this guide, I could easily do the whole first semester in just about half an hour. After that, he logs in to see what he needs to do and goes. It is strange not to have to help him throughout the day like I used to have to do, but I am glad that he is getting better at doing things on his own, and the videos really help take my place in discussing the main point!

The way the schedule is broken down, it is easy to complete all that is needed each day without the stress of too much to do. At first, Moe Man wasn’t sure about the videos. However, now on lesson 7, he is appreciating the videos to help him with the lessons! They are not long, only lasting about 10-20 minutes, but they are full of the main points and great examples of the topics the kids are learning about!

There are 5 speeches that Moe Man will give throughout this course, the first of which will come after lesson 13. I am looking forward to this because he has a hard time speaking in front of people. I have to decide and split up the speeches between us at home and a good friend of the family. I figure this will give Moe Man a different audience for different speeches, and it will give him a chance to be judged by more than one person.

What We Thought

We loved this curriculum. I loved the simplicity on my end, and Moe Man loved how he was able to do this on his own without my help. He loves being able to do his work on his time instead of mine, so having a curriculum that includes the videos to help him, has helped us both.

The suggested schedule is perfect for Moe Man, and it helps me. I am always one who loves a schedule that is done for me vs. me having to figure one out. One thing I did notice was that the Table of Contents was the same for both the workbook and the answer key. This isn’t a huge deal, but I kept wondering where the schedule was in the workbook, and couldn’t find it.

Finding a curriculum that focuses on the great speeches, like that of Martin Luther King Jr, Patrick Henry, or even Pericles, is hard to come by. But Fitting Words is just that. We love the style of teaching and the use of these and other great speeches to help us learn!

There were others reviewers who used this curriculum or the new Picta Dicta curriculum. Check out those reviews right here:

Classical Rhetoric and Picta Dicta {Roman Roads Media Reviews}
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Kingdom Files – A Homeschool Crew Review

As we started our new school year, I wanted to find a way to learn more about certain people in the Bible. I love our previous Bible studies, but this time I wanted something that we could cuddle up and spend time reading together. I found that option with Barbour Publishing and their Who Was Kingdom Files books.

We received Who Was Jonah? and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? for this review.

The kids were excited about these books, but Ray Ray was a little upset. As he was looking through, he saw that there was Who Was David? which happens to be his favorite Bible hero. After falling in love with the first two, I had no issue grabbing him Who Was David? and loved watching him get excited and begging to read it right away!

What Is It

The Kingdom Files books that we have are all small paperback books that are about 80-90 pages long. They have a larger, but not huge, font that makes it an easy to read book. There are also beautiful black and white hand-drawn illustrations on the pages that go along with what you are reading.

The stories are broken down into three sections. You start off with the Fact File. This file folder gives you the key information about the character you are going to be reading about. You have the Action File that is the main story. This is where you will learn about the character’s story, what God wanted to share with them and how they reacted to God’s plan for them. Finally, we have the Power File. This is where we find some great information to remember about God. Our favorite from Jonah was God Doesn’t Abandon. This is combined with a memory verse that goes with the information.

Throughout the story, we also find Clue Boxes. These boxes are like the study boxes in your study Bible, and they offer your children ways to look at the story and how to apply what they are reading to their daily life and the life of the character you are reading about.

How We Used It

We started with Jonah. I mentioned that we wanted to find something for Bible that would allow us a way to study the people of the Bible comfortably. We would cuddle up on the couch, or around the table during snack time and read a chapter at a time. After reading, we would spend time discussing what we had read and how to apply that to our lives.

After each chapter, we would go to the Power File and grab a power-up to go with the chapter. While there is nothing that says you should do it this way, we found that spreading these power-ups through the chapters gave us more time to study the memory verse that went with each power-up.

What We Thought

We loved these books for our Bible study each day. They were a great way to learn more about the people of the Bible instead of just the events. The were able to see Jonah, Mary, and David as the real people they were.

We loved the way the books were set up and how easy they were to read. Every one loved that even though the books were easy to read, they were very informative. The information was easy to understand for the kids, but also allowed us to dig deeper. My kids were able to take the story and apply the lessons to the things we have gone through.

There are also other resources available here that you can use to go along with the books after you read them. You can find fun activities and teacher resources that you can use for different projects!

If you are looking for a way to show your children the people of the Bible as they were, real people, the Kingdom Files by Matt Koceich are the books you will want to read with your children.

Kingdom Files {Barbour Publishing Reviews}
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