DISCLAIMER:  I received this complimentary product as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew

There is so much that we can learn, so many ways that we can grow when we are learning music. Having spent many years of my life making music and performing, there was much that was gained from these experiences musically and otherwise. For that reason I am so glad that my two boys have wonderful teachers who inspire them in their learning of the guitar and the drums…Yet my two girls tend to be less interested in developing musical skills.

While I do not want to push this on them, I also am certain of the love they would have for making music if they would just give it a try. So along comes Practice Monkeys offering affordable, virtual training for our whole family with  3 months of classes to any (or all) of the programs that they offer.

This is an amazing and very full program that provides online live and previously recorded, lessons based on the Suzuki Method for violin, piano, cello, and guitar. They also offer a self-defense program which is based on Brazilian Jui-Jitsu wrestling (Gracie University).

Monday through Thursday there are fifteen-minute group lessons for each level of instrument. The students attend the lesson and are expected to also practice independently throughout the week (at least 2x for 15 minutes). Should your students be unable to attend the live classes there are recorded lessons for them to view. They can also access all sorts of helpful resources in their “treehouse.” Since my older girl has days, now and then, where she just doesn’t want to quit practicing and playing, I love that she can head to the “treehouse” and just fill up on all sorts of good things!

For every level there is a checklist of skills and songs that the students should be learning and developing. Students are moved into the next level when they successfully pass an assessment (private, paid for separate from monthly fee) done privately. Of course the instructors are glad to help students to prepare and help determine if it is time for an assessment to be done. This way you can be sure of how your child is progressing and know for sure when it is time to have them move up. I know just saying assessment causes my girl to be a bit anxious so there is always a comfort to knowing that “you’re ready.”

The instructor is Mrs. Van Kleeck: experienced and enthusiastic; bringing over 26 years of experience in teaching via the Suzuki Method, she is so energetic and fun and engaging as she interacts and inspires her students. Miss Sarah believes (as do I) that one must seek virtue in every area of life, and strives to teach in a way that does just that. With a background in Classical and Charlotte Mason Education, 13 years of mothering, and 9 years of homeschooling.

The following classes are currently available:

  • Violin Classes through Book 7 Suzuki
  • Piano Classes through Book 3 Suzuki (Books 4–7 are in development)
  • Guitar through Suzuki Book 2 (Books 3–7 are in development)
  • Cello through Suzuki Book 3 (Books 4–7 are in development)

Practice Monkeys’ program contains everything our kids need to develop musically. This includes: Technique, Poetic Knowledge, Habit Training, Ear Training, Theory and Reading Development, Sight-Singing, and tons and tons of fun! Learning simply MUST be fun!

This program is super simple to get started with – no musical instruction required on your part – Each instrument has a page that tells you exactly what you need so your children can get started making melodies in their hearts. 🙂

My son, using this with his guitar mostly engaged in the “treehouse” videos. He is just not much for musical instruction online – it doesn’t help that he has a teacher he sees on a weekly basis so if he doesn’t feel a need for something he is not very likely to apply himself to it. But he certainly did enjoy exploring the videos and firming up some of his technique. I think his teacher appreciated seeing some extra development as well in his abilities.

My youngest daughter (6) was initially going to explore violin a bit as a friend had offered us one that their son grew out of but unfortunately that was just not to be. Suffice to say she decided to explore the piano a bit along with her older sister. This is a super affordable and flexible way to encourage a love of musical learning in my more hesitant children. Without a doubt, if you are looking for a program that will not only teach musical ability but also engage your children in technique this is definitely what you need.

We will certainly be continuing to use this with our children and perhaps as time allows we will be able to delve in more deeply because there really is so much this program offers. If you just aren’t sure do consider registering for one of their free classes. If that doesn’t hook you, I don’t know what will. 🙂

Practice Monkeys on Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PracticeMonkeys/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7wOO7WqC5Yk-nID8fhVaiA/videos

Make sure to click on the graphic below to see what other Crew Members thought about this program as well as the different programs that they used!

Online Lessons for Children: Violin, Piano, Cello, Guitar, and Self Defense

Practice Monkeys {Review}

I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

What do you do with multiple kids who have varying levels of ability and interest in math? For our family, the answer is CTCMath. This is a complete online K-12 math curriculum. This is a super easy program to use, friendly even to the younger ones, just watch the video lessons, answer a few practice questions and complete tests as you work your way through. I find it refreshing also that this program does not align with Common Core. For this review we received a 12-month subscription with accounts for every one of our children.

CTCMath offers a variety of membership options and homeschool families are given 1/2 off the price of monthly or yearly membership for single user or family. That is a HUGE plus for us! Whatever your need may be, I am sure they have something that will fit well.

This is yet another material we are using that is Australian based – my girls just love the accents so much! Some days they try to mimic it – Why not? If it helps them engage in math studies. 🙂

One thing my son really likes is that there are pdf’s you can print out. As he goes into more advanced math, he really likes to have a reference to go back to, especially when he is struggling to really get a specific concept. Having the option to do this is wonderful!

At the Parent dashboard you are able to assign tasks although we did not use this. My younger son is currently working through various lessons; skipping the things he feels mastery in, via diagnostic tests. This is one of those parts that my kids really like. Not having to complete lessons for topics they feel good about. At the same time, when they are struggling, they are able to complete the lesson and as many problems as they need to, so that they feel ready to move forward. It is encouraging to my children that they can move through math in this way. I appreciate being able to see them take control of their learning like this!

My older girl is learning and mastering her multiplication tables with this program. That is quite a feat and she is so pleased! her first choice each day when it is time to work is CTCMath. Finally, something that doesn’t require a struggle. Since she wants to be a veterinarian one day, she is very aware of the value of knowing math well.

Beyond the regular lessons, she enjoys playing on the Speed Skills and Times Tables. A fun way to practice what is being learned. I think some days she could play these all day long. My son prefers Swap Pieces, a puzzle in which you must move all the blue pieces to the blue squares and all the red pieces to the red squares. It sounds simple but this can really bobble the mind!

The weekly revision section is a wonderful way to encourage my kids to continue forward, practicing what they know, brushing up on anything that they may have forgotten. There are even printable worksheets for those days when you do not want to, or cannot perhaps, work on the computer. I like being able to print these out – since we tend to be going all over, quite often, maybe I don’t feel as guilty as I did before, not being home to do all this “work.”

My children have developed so much since we began using CTCMath and I am thrilled to see them grow as we continue using this program. We plan to move into Pre-Algebra while we still have this; my son is eager to get there while he has a program that he says, “knows how to teach kids sensibly.” My girls are just having so much fun – it’s such a joy to see them learning and not being so stressed out about those difficult things – somehow the simplicity of this program makes it all so much easier.

CTCMath is on Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ctcmath
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ctcmathofficial
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ctcmath
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/ctcmath/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWn5e6974bpIEAe46VnovZw

Read more reviews of CTCMath from other members of the Crew by clicking on the banner below.

CTCMath {Review}

I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

We love to read. I think anyone who knows me knows how crazy I am about stories. There are just so many amazing stories out there and so many things we can learn along the way. For so many reasons, I was beyond excited to explore One More Story, having been blessed with a one year subscription. This is so much fun; like audiobooks, but with beautiful, eye catching illustrations (which my younger ones really love).

One More Story can be accessed on any computer or mobile device; there is also a free iOS app. Their is super easy to navigate, after one quick lesson my girls (6 and 9) were able to login on their own, locate books they wanted to read and enjoy one story after another. only one login is needed for access, whatever method you prefer to use.

There are two options for your children to choose from: Read Along offers a real read-aloud book experience for your child and I Can Read It allows older children to read the book themselves.

For our beginning readers or little ones not yet reading, as they listen to stories in Read Along mode, each word is highlighted as it’s read. What a fun way for them to start learning and recognizing letters and words.

In I Can Read It mode, there is no music or narration so they can focus on the story they are reading. No distractions! great for my older girl. If there is a word they do not know, they can tap or click it, and the program will read the word aloud. Isn’t this a fabulous way to learn, or just grow, in reading skills.

In the Parent’s place you can track stories your children are enjoying; they also provide a handy list of words learned. I found this a great way to see what my girls loved (that we might want to add to our home library) and also to encourage reading independently with physical books too.

Scanning the books myself, I was thrilled to find some of my favorites from when I was a child, like The Snowy Day and Whistle for Willie. Always have loved that author!

My girls were thrilled with books like Kiss the Cow and Ladybugs Can’t Be Tall. They have Black Beauty too – a favorite for all of us! We love horses around here.

There are just so many (I think 80+ books in all) to choose from! While my girls tend to choose the same books each time they access our account, I strive to encourage them to find one new book to try. Personally, I plan to enjoy, with them, every one of the books on this site before we are through.

One More Story on Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LifelongReaders
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EarlyReader

Make sure you click on the banner below; you can read reviews other members of the Crew wrote about how they used and enjoyed this in their home!

One More Story Online Library Reviews

One More Story Online Library [Review}

Posted in TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

Progeny Press {Review}

We have been spending a lot of time on the go lately. What with hockey season in full bloom (travel, no less) it seems we are always on our way to a rink. Somewhere. Sometimes, somewhere far away. So we have been investing in lots of great stories. Audio books, movies and documentaries that are worthy of their viewing and my listening. Some of those classics are coming out – what a great way to enjoy these stories – Progeny Press is a great way to expand on the learning that is within so many great stories! For the purpose of this review we received the following two literature guides: Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide (recommended for grades 9-12) and Shadow Spinner Study Guide (recommended for grades 5-8). I received these as PDF files for download. I love when all I have to do is click and go. Doesn’t that sound great? 🙂

We have had the pleasure of reviewing a number of materials from Progeny Press in the past. There is absolutely nothing not to not love about a company whose desire is,”To teach children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on the scriptures for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!” Certainly in the years we have been using various literature guides from them, we have not been disappointed. There is so much to learn and they do a great job of putting it all together for us to easily enjoy. Plus, with there being so many of us, it is nice that there is such a wide variety to of stories choose from! Certainly there are many we enjoy exploring together both old and new.

My oldest son is fourteen and not at all a reader. It can be frustrating because he has an amazing ability but chooses not to read unless he absolutely has to. He is the one who always wants to know if there is a movie he can watch in place of the book. For whatever reason he just has not caught the bug (so frustrating for this momma who cannot get enough of books). So we do a lot of reading aloud. I read and the kids all listen and maybe draw or build quietly. Yet I want to be sure that my oldest son really gets it; that he is attending to the story I am sharing with them. This is the best way to do that (I think) and it only requires a couple things: a Bible, dictionary, thesaurus and a concordance now and then can help too. Working through one section per week, these can easily be completed in about eight to ten weeks. As you work through the pages of these guides, you can see the story coming to life all the more as kids connect the dots and see even more of the art of story telling and those themes and ideas within.

These are so easy to use! Each of the study guides begins with a synopsis of the story. Following that is an introduction to the author, and then background information for the story being studied. Each guide also has an amazing number of ideas for pre-reading activities that can include geography, vocabulary, timeline development, perhaps researching certain topics related to the story about to be read. As we worked through The Hound of the Baskervilles we began to research various breeds of dog. Since this story was inspired by a folk tale we also looked to see if there were any folk tales related to the area we lived in. We certainly found quite a few related to not just the state we live in but also the Upper Peninsula of Michigan were our family resides. Who knows if we ever would have looked into folk tales or urban legends if it hadn’t for the direction given within this study guide. Aside from the ideas in the study guide they also have lots more on their Pinterest page.

Once we began to read the book, we really dug into the study guide. Each section covers about three chapters so its really not that difficult to work through. One day we would complete the vocabulary words – the study guide is interactive so you can complete the questions with a click of the mouse – there is an answer key that comes with the study guide. I kept that for myself and would use it to review as needed once the activity was completed. In some activities it was multiple choice, in others you needed to type out the definition, as you understand the word.

There are also comprehension questions – sometimes my son would write the out, more often than not we would use them to engage everyone in a conversation about their thoughts related to what we were reading. Even the younger ones can get involved and share what they think.

With my oldest son I really appreciated the analysis portion of the study guide – a great way to ponder what characterization means, dig deeper and delve into how the scriptures can be used to interpret and better understand the story. Many of the activities in this area really encouraged by lately very reluctant and restless older boy to consider not just what the scriptures say but what they mean for him and his life. Being observant, or diligent, the worshipful act of study. There are so many things like this that we can find when we slow down and look more closely at the story and the characters within.

Each study guide is so involved, so comprehensive. It would be so easy to spend months, maybe even years working through the pages of each one. In one of the activities we were to design a map; in another there was research to be done. I have always loved writing and researching – my kids? Not so much. But many of these activities really introduced it in such a way that it was not overwhelming at all.

An example of one my oldest worked on for some time was this: what does the Bible have to say about prayer, how we do it and what it means. Since it has been a real struggle to get him really praying, searching the scriptures, I was rather excited to find some paper that he was writing on related to prayer. Sometimes it takes something like this. Really, I always remind my kids, it doesn’t matter what someone else has to say, if you don’t understand it for yourself. We need to know what we believe, not just following along on someone else’s path. Our greatest learning experiences often come from our own desire to search for ourselves, making something personal.

There is so much more I could share within the pages of these study guides too; always so much more than I expect. In one of the study guide activities we researched pigeons; what are they and how/why do people raise them?

For the brief time we were in a local 4H group my kids loved learning about different sorts of animals; what they are used for and how they are cared for.

Sometimes I think we forget how much can be learned about one thing – math, history, geography, science, reading and writing. I have to remind myself to get out of the box sometimes and not worry as much about the academic books but look deeper myself and see all the opportunities and adventures we are involved in, along with those academics that are sometimes hidden within. I cannot say enough how much of a blessing I always find these to be. I admit we do not keep to a strict schedule when it comes to completing each portion of the guide but we definitely, in ur own time, do enjoy and learn so much more than I often could have imagined, from these.

There are so many more to choose from than the two that our family had the chance to explore. Be sure to click the image below to read reviews from oter members of the Crew who dug into lots of other great literature guides from Progeny Press.,


Facebook: facebook.com/progenypress
Twitter: twitter.com/progenypress
Pinterest: pinterest.com/progenypress

Crew Disclaimer

I tend not to worry too much about my younger kids when it comes to grammar. When they are young I really seek to focus on helping them to just learn to enjoy the experience of writing. But as they get older, there are some things that we need to add to their writing skills. I wasn’t really sure how to do this with my oldest son; he is very active, he is currently on a mission to write his own book, but as he does, I see so many things that need correction. How to do this without discouraging his heart? I jumped on the chance to review Daily GRAMS: Grade 7 from Easy Grammar Systems. Perhaps with this simple material, as he works, he can see and correct for himself, to better his work. Without momma nagging, with dad criticizing – maybe – all on his own, he can see and direct himself just a bit.

I love the concept and layout of Daily GRAMS. Designed specifically for review, these focus on reviewing those important grammar skills in only 10 minutes a day. These are designed for grades 3-7 so even our younger ones can learn in a way that fits their age and ability. We received the Teacher Edition of the workbook which includes everything you need. So quick and easy; no need to prepare or fuss. Just open the book and get to work. There are 180 daily reviews that include working in:

  • Punctuation
  • Capitalization
  • Analogies
  • Roots/Suffixes
  • Fragments/Run-Ons
  • Homonyms/Antonyms/Synonyms
  • Clauses and Phrases

As you can see this covers so much! All in one book too. Since we are doing a bit of a major remodel right now, it is great to be able to do so much with just one book. Add to that, my son not being one for “book work” and the short and simple lessons that are in this one are a real hit. I am still not sure he likes grammar, but at least he is willing to do the work each day. Since the whole purpose of this book is to give our students daily review promoting mastery of grammar concepts, I am happy to have material that we don’t have to fight to complete. In a short time, every day, he is slowly gaining greater abilities and understanding in grammar.

Each page is set up with a specific format. The first sentence includes capitalization for correction. The second sentence requires students to work on punctuation. In the third and fourth sentences we move towards those general concepts. In some cases I found this was a great opportunity for him to do deeper study to gain a greater understanding of the concepts he was working on. In these sections there are at times, definitions, or perhaps I should say a bit of written guidance (example, participle – formed by adding -ing or -ed to verb). Sentence five is combining; so this is where students work on writing more complex sentences.

There are also portions of Daily Gram which include Friendly Letters/Envelopes and Guide Words within the Dictionary. These are good skills for our students to practice at any age. In some exercises he also practiced alphabetizing, locating words, and determining the eight parts of speech. So many wonderful ways to learn and develop grammar skills in a short time!

Since my oldest son prefers to work on his own I would give him the specific page he was working on for the day (the answers are in the book – I prefer not to tempt him by giving it all to him). When he completed the daily gram, we go over it together. Slowly. There were times he would catch something and correct it right away with me. Other times I would need to encourage him, ask questions, try to direct him to a correction that needed to be made or redone.

I think I can speak for my son when I say that this is such a breath of fresh air. We love how simply everything is laid out and my son even says the more he does the easier (and faster) he can complete his gram each day. This is definitely not something that is stressful or frustrating even for students struggling with grammar. When we did start to struggle, we were easily able to locate the answers in the back of the book and often that was all we needed for it to make sense. Seeing can be believing at times. 🙂

Of course if you are looking for something that will teach grammar they have something for that too. However the Daily Grams, these are just for review. My son does four of these a week (sometimes five) and he is completely independent as he works. This is one of those things he can right away in the morning or on days when he works, he can complete one in between things. As we become more “on the go” we really appreciate materials like this that can help to strengthen his skills (communication written and oral are so valuable) without it feeling like we are getting a root canal.

There are a variety of materials that Easy Grammar System has to offer; be sure to read reviews from other Crew members since we all had the opportunity to use a variety of their materials. I am sure you will find one that is just right for you!


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EasyGrammarSystems/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Easygrammar
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/easygrammarsystems/

Crew Disclaimer

Easy Grammar Systems {Review}

Posted in TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

Pathway to Liberty { Review }

History is something that is so very important. But we have to understand it properly; we also need to consider the worldview with which the information is being presented. Our children need to see how it is all connected; when they see how it all comes together, I do believe that is when we really begin to learn and love history. Needless to say, I was more than happy to review Year 3 U.S. History, Pathway to Liberty’s History Curriculum, from Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum with my three older children.This is an amazing, slightly overwhelming, program to help our children understand for themselves, the history of our great nation. After all, as someone once said, “Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.” I think of how God tells His people over and over again about the value of telling others of God’s goodness; we must testify of His great works so that others know and believe and walk in a greater faith. We received Year Three Materials, along with The Chain of Liberty (and study guide) for our family to enjoy.We need to be taught the principles of liberty. Truthfully, when I think back to my education, what I learned of American history, there isn’t much. And it certainly wasn’t taught from a Biblical perspective.This program has four levels of study and 26 weeks of lessons. This curriculum was designed for teaching one or multiple students ranging in age from K-5 through 12th grade. I especially love how the material is presented in a way that encourages our children to engaged and to think biblically, reasoning for themselves as they go along because if learning doesn’t transform us, have we really been learning?Each of my older children received a student book, for their level of learning, so we received levels one through three.

  • Level One- Kindergarten thru Third Grade
  • Level Two- Fourth thru Sixth Grade
  • Level Three- Seventh thru Ninth Grade
  • Level Four- Tenth thru Twelfth Grade

All of the books are spiral bound (this made things tricky for my lefties) but they are full of very clearly laid out plans for each week. I was thrilled to see that all three levels my children were working in were very similar in content. Each week involved specific videos on YouTube (not my favorite location for viewing honestly) along with a Scripture, Principle, and Leading Idea. In the Level 1 book my daughter had to fill in the blanks to complete the lessons for the week, while my older two boys had to write them out each week. We also had word studies to complete each week (so glad I still have that old 1828 Webster’s Dictionary); this consisted of writing out a definition both as recorded and as understood. For my older boys they also would record the word related to their life. I like that. Honestly, I never thought about that before but I think it helps us better own and understand things when we can relate them to our own life.Do men have a right to think for themselves? As we read The Chain of Liberty, together as a family, we explored the concept of liberty. We read and discussed what it means to thrive and what sort of things help the individual and the nation, to thrive. We also spent time in the accompanying study guide where, after reading each chapter, we answered questions to ensure that there was understanding. Some of these explored words that were “new” to us while others encouraged us to explore our understanding of the purpose of the law. To consider problems and solutions that we see in these days and times. Defining words such as equality; searching for ourselves the purpose of the creation of public schools (that’s a good one since my oldest has begun to desire a public education). This touches on so many things that perhaps we are unsure, or leery, of introducing to our children. Socialism, humanism, evolution, existentialism – Some of these, do we even know where or how to begin? These are topics that are very well discussed, briefly, within the pages of the book in a way that encourages us to see if and how these fit into liberty and prosperity.This does an amazing job of covering the history of America, from the very foundation to the Civil War.One thing I have found in so many history materials, is that we tend to dive right in. There is no exploring history itself; what it really means for something to be “history.” This program (I love it) records history as: ” The record of God working in the lives of men and nations.” I have never loved a definition so much. Truly, this is what history is. It is a testimony of God’s hand at work among us. From the beginning of time, to this very moment (okay, maybe a moment that already occurred). For our children to see and understand God in all of this – I sometimes feel like God and history are together but separate. We need to know for ourselves that one cannot be without the other. And there is such value in seeing how it all is woven together; one event and one person inspiring and pioneering the way. What if every one of us, our life, is paving the way for another?We are really enjoying our journey through the history of America; so many amazing resources. Recommended books and videos (we saw Pocahontas and my daughter instantly connected that with this!) that have really brought these events to life for all of my children. As Bible Quizzers the weekly scriptures were fun (so many my kids already knew and recognized – how’s that for exciting!) and the principles and leading ideas really help them to focus on something more. God prepares every one of us for a good work, which we were created for. We need eyes that see His work in the lives of the many men and women who were a part of these big and small events, that made America a place of liberty. That fought for and stood for liberty and freedom. Even more, we need to know what it means historically and for our own lives. I think of the value of ownership; when we claim this as our own, isn’t it that much more valuable? It is cared for, treasured. So should our history be and God gives wisdom and understanding that we can know and see His hand, and His work, in every part of it. I am constantly reminded, He has a plan, He is always in control. We can see that though the studies we do in these books. Our younger ones have a foundation being built; our older ones strengthen their foundation and then, dig a bit deeper. Exploring specific individuals and events (there are suggested topics broken down so nicely to help our older kids get started) so that we can see and learn from them ourselves.I do wish we would have started with the very first set of books in this series because I had no idea this was going to be so involved, so thorough and so exciting! This is one of those materials that I truly have to say is a blessing from the Lord. All of my children have enjoyed some aspect of it; I believe growing in them a desire and a love for a deeper understanding of the Bible and history itself. My girls love to color and draw and the maps and coloring pages within the lower level materials were something they really enjoyed. I am a big fan of history, especially when it can be alive and personal; this is one of those materials I cannot say enough about! I do believe it is lighting a fire within all of my children for understanding and seeking to know the way we have been and the way we should go. History should inspire and excite us. We should see these men and women, these life changing events, as a part of our own story. For awhile now I have sought out something that would do more; that would draw my children in and also be a bit easier for momma to manage; there is definitely plenty of inspiration and wisdom to be found within these books. For young and old, let us build, with our children, on the solid foundation that is Christ – who never changes – bringing His wisdom to hearts and minds that are transformed and renewed daily, for Him.

Be sure to read other Crew’s reviews on other years and levels of study:

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PathwaytoLiberty/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Pathway2Liberty
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pathwaytoliberty/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClVQD1kM1KnthMBWFTQ_AbQ/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pathwaytoliberty/

Crew Disclaimer

Show Me Thy Ways {Review}

There are so many things “to do” nowadays. There are sports, music lessons, lessons to be taught…It can be overwhelming when there is just one child, but in our family of four, to engage in all of these activities … It is simply not possible.

For one thing, this momma is very much a homebody – for another – these things all cost money and time. Lots of time.

If we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that since the day of creation, there has always been a way that we are called to walk in.

My oldest son is currently my “rebel without a cause”. He is just in this place where he won’t do it simply because he was told he needs to. I vaguely remember when I was 12 struggling to find my way and to exert myself so others would see that I could do this myself. I understand his desire to be in charge and I want to encourage him to make decisions and boldly walk that path, but I also want him to understand that, as a child of God, there is a way that ins right, which we are meant to walk in. I admit it took me longer than it probably should have to figure out that this stage he is in, its a heart issue. Sure, there are issues with obedience and respect woven in there, but more than anything this is an issue of his heart. And that is something only God can truly work in. So I was ever so grateful to have the chance to review Show Me Thy Ways (textbook/workbook) in which we could all get together, and dig a bit deeper into God’s word and way. While this is meant for grade four learners, all four of our children enjoyed the opportunity to learn together, more about our great God!

I very strongly believe in reading, writing and math. However, the older I get (maybe it’s the older my kids get) I realize how important it truly is for all that we do each day to point them to the Lord. It doesn’t matter so much, all of that other stuff, if we are raising our children without a heart for the Lord. And it can be so easy to get lost in those lists and expectations that so many of us were raised with. Too often I compare what my children are doing, to what other children their age are doing. Not in a good way. My oldest son has even done it a couple of times; he may perceive himself as “stupid” because he isn’t as good with numbers as other kids his age. It is then that I begin to realize we need to work on our foundation. We may never be on the same path as other around us; we will have different struggles than those next door to us. But if we are rooted in the Word of God, we need not worry, 🙂

After reading an amazing book (I will share that another time) that spoke of how so many of our youth are walking away from the faith, I knew that we really needed to focus more on God’s word. I knew that we needed to take some time to really learn not just what the Bible says, but also what it means for us today. I had read a couple of blog posts about some families who use the Bible, nothing else, for home education. I haven’t been that brave myself but find this set of books, I thought, I could give it a try, using our Bible along with the curriculum to really get to know all of these stories and the people in them, more personally. If we see all of these men and women as members of our own family, perhaps that can really encourage us all the more, to hear their stories and learn from them.

My boys thought it was kind of humorous, when we began reading the textbook because it speaks to “discussing questions in class” and my boys, knowing how much I strive to stay away from standard terms like school and classroom, they had so much fun teasing me about it. Once we got past the silliness though we really had to get thinking. Right away. From the very beginning we are reminded that God is a Spirit; His thoughts and ways are so much higher than we could ever imagine. Our minds, our thoughts, are human and thus, we are significantly limited in our ability to understand the things of God without His Spirit. This is not your regular Bible learning material. I think even on the first few [pages, my thinking was challenged, just a bit, as we read.

When we look at the reasons for so many youth leaving the faith, often it comes down to them not being able to truly defend and know, this faith for themselves. How many of the children in our own family cannot truly claim this truth for themselves? It really does matter how we perceive this and what we do with what we know. And so the pages of this book (workbook too) are full of activities and exercises to help our children to go deeper and to see truth “in action” for themselves. As you can see in some of the images I share here, there are so many different ways for our children to learn and explore how true and real the Word of God is.

I love learning with my kids where all of these places are today; where did Abraham walk? What about that wilderness journey? Forty years of wandering where? What a wonderful way to bring the Bible alive for our children so they can see for themselves how real it is. This continues to be a wonderful way to learn and explore so many of those wonderful stories within the Bible. From day one of creation all the way through to the time when David is anointed king; explore and learn, not just the stories, but some of those details that we may overlook but which have powerful meaning for us even today.

We really are enjoying our time with this; exploring and pondering the type of music Jubal would have played if we was alive today (with a little guitar player, a drummer and a piano player in the making this can be quite fun!). Recognize and consider such simple truths, like how it never rained before the flood of Noah. Explore the value of being patient with God; trusting in His timing and the path that He has, unique to each one of us. For my older son I do love how this has made him think about the Word of God on a different level. There is something beautiful that comes from learning the Word of God – seek first His kingdom – and singing it, writing it, exploring it even more!

Five Minutes 



This is such a small word and yet it causes such challenges!  A word that keeps me up at night.

It causes me to fret and it creeps into my mind as I lay in bed at night.






I realize that these are thieves the come and only steal and destroy. They take away our joy and peace. They cause a love of learning to diminish and they make strong healthy relationships impossible to maintain.


I have realized in the last few weeks that we simply have too much stuff. There is just too much that we desire to do and impulsively seek to master. Instead of finding one thing we find many and intern we complete none. Sometimes sadly we do not even begin.



We need to keep it simple. We need to have a schedule and a home that is simple. The more time we spend outside of our home the less freedom we have. And the more stress we feel as we struggle to balance those things at home while also maintaining those things outside.



The more I read the more I realize my children need time to play and explore things on their own. They need time to process and pondor their interest and their curiosities.  In time some of these will become their passions. If I give them time.


I admit that I have realized I cannot train up my children well nor can I inspire them in this way. We need to slow down. And in order for that to happen my children have to have the time to explore and ponder ideas for themselves. I have too often overwhelmed my children when they show an interest in something; I fear I have jumped the gun.


When my oldest son took an interest in leatherworking and I immediately sought to get him all the materials possible. But his interest only lasted long enough to make a pouch for his pocket knife. My younger son took a wood carving class with his Scout Troop and when he loved carving I immediately went out to make sure he had all the tools necessary to continue.



In my attempt to enable them to learn and grow and follow their interests I fear I have been stamping out their little fire. I have forgotten that a great fire needs time to grow….


It’s time to simplify.



Teach Me Some Greek {Greek ‘n’ Stuff Reviews}

We all love languages! I especially love the old ones, Latin, Greek. Yet studying them can be a real chore. Its hard to find materials that really help you to enjoy learning whether as an adult or as a child. Thankfully you can learn Koiné (common) Greek without breaking a sweat, using Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! – Level 2 set from Greek ‘n’ Stuff. We received a CD for pronunciation , the workbook for this level and the answer key to go along with the workbook.



I have to admit I was a bit worried when we received this, because we were totally new to this program. I am one of those “have to start at the beginning” people – So receiving level 2 when we never completed level 1 – I admit I struggled a bit with this. But I have always wanted to study ancient greek (my oldest son too) so we determined to just do it.



I was so pleasantly surprised by this material! As soon as it arrived I went ahead and got the materials out, popped in the CD – I was like a kid in a candy store you could say! This is the kind of things I get so very excited about 🙂

Level 2 of this program introduces the alphabet and as you progress, it also begins to teach some simple words.

We completed one lesson per week; that’s about 5-6 pages in the workbook provided. There are also flashcards in the back which should be used daily to help really reinforce each week’s lesson. There are 30 lessons in all – I almost forgot to mention, the audio CD provided included level 1 and level 2 pronunciations and reader. Nice, right? 😛

While initially my boys found the CD to be “for little kids” (never mind that my younger one is 7) they soon began to enjoy listening to this. Now and then we would use it while we were in the car running errands or going from one place to another. Being that my oldest loves to Bible study, I reminded him of the great value this could have for him, in studying the Word at an even deeper level. And what blessings could come from his diligent studies too as he learns and then shares the fruit of his labor.




This is recommended for grade 2-4 but due to the content of this level it is great for anyone of any age who wants to learn Biblical Greek and has no prior experience. I love that the goal of this program is to help students in their studies of the New Testament so that they are better prepared to discern faulty theology. It’s also a wondercul way to encourage the study of vocabulary since there are just so many words in our own language that have roots in the Greek.


We are having so much fun with this! Well, mostly me honestly. My oldest son doesn’t mind doing pronunciation work and he uses the flashcards plenty, but he isn’t big on the workbook. Often I will read the questions and have him tell me the answers; narration of a sort. My other ones are a bit young and not quite seeing the benefit but my younger son does have fun learning new words – since he is a very curious one – and even learning where some other words come from.  Plus he thinks speaking the Greek sounds kind of funny. Not totally sold on it but I think in time he will find a greater appreciation for this. In the meantime, this momma is really having a wonderful time learning Greek. 😛


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Loving Logic of English Essentials ~ A Review

English is one of those things I just love! And I love to teach it; my boys however do not enjoy it as much as I have always imagined they would. So there are some struggles we face when it comes to this area. But thankfully there are wonderful materials out there to help us all along, as we journey through home education together. My boys love science and so, being able to share a “science” of reading can sure bring lots more joy to our learning!



Logic of English was designed (simply put) to make it all make sense…my younger son loves because he is big on why. Why is it spelled this way and said that way? This program is a no nonsense approach  to reading and spelling as well as being multi sensory (works great with my night and day boys). As you teach the 74 basic phonograms and the 30 spelling rules…it all begins to make SO much more sense!



The Logic of English program consists of three materials:*Foundations: Complete Language Arts Curriculum for ages 4-7*Essentials: Spelling, Reading and Grammar for ages 7+*Handwriting: Cursive and Manuscript Handwriting InstructionThis review is meant to cover the Essentials: Logic of English Complete Set which includes:*Essentials Teacher’s Manual*Essentials Student Workbook (consumable)*Spelling Journal (consumable)*Basic Phonogram Flash Cards*Spelling Rule Flash Cards*Grammar Rule Flash Cards*Advanced Phonogram Flash Cards*Game Book*Manuscript (or Cursive) Game Cards*2nd Set of Manuscript (or Cursive) Game Cards Boldface*Quick Reference Chart




They also do have The Essentials Reader , this is a digital reader and was not included in our materials, which I stumbled across online. I have been considering getting this myself to go along with this; I do believe that reading is rather essential and think this would be a great addition to this set of materials as, the reading and writing could be a bit more intensive, in my opinion, with this program. I have to say one of my favorite things about this program is the fact that it is multi-level. That means that I can use it for both my younger son (7) and my older one too (11).



Each lesson has sections for A, B and C to strengthen and work at the level of each child using the program. And this program covers so much! There are fun games to play, there is reading and writing, spelling, grammar, vocabulary and phonics! I was totally impressed with the materials when they arrived. Surprised too. So much to do! In a good way of course. 🙂 We began immediately; I was so appreciative of the sample schedule they have available too. While we didn’t stick to it completely, I always appreciate having a little guide, at least when I am getting started with something new. And being that I was using this with both of my boys, it really helped me keep track of where each one was in the program. I am a huge fan of schedules, while at the same time, being a huge fan of teaching from a state of rest. Relaxed home education. That said, this schedule helped to keep us on track while at the same time, allowing us to take our time as we went through the lessons. My younger son particularly loved the games in this program and since he has struggled a lot with reading (he is my “why” boy) and phonics, we definitely wanted to take our time and have fun. Most days we completed the mini-lessons (maybe 20 minutes in the program) using flashcards and games that are a part of this program. There would be some simple teaching in one of three areas: Spelling, Phonograms and Grammar. There is also plenty of review built into this program so on those days that we just don’t seem to complete the whole lesson or in the case of a struggling learner, it is good to be able to catch those areas early and then go back and work a bit more on them together. Most of the time my younger son really enjoyed doing these lessons; there were days though (who doesn’t have them) where he just couldn’t make it through. But that’s okay because this program makes it easy to teach the lessons slowly. There were days too that he would practice phonograms on the App, this was a nice way to encourage learning on those days he just wasn’t up for a lesson (my daughter who is 5, uses the app as well and loves it!).






With my oldest son we really enjoyed the more advanced level built into this program; grammar concepts and mechanics, latin & greek morphemes and of course reading, spelling and writing too. This new edition also includes morphemes (for level C learners) and this is a fun learning opportunity for my oldest (who loves languages) to learn about the words borrowed from other languages and then learn how to apply the roots in both spelling and vocabulary lessons. I was especially pleased with the placement tests, pre-lessons (to help fill in the blanks; get everyone up to speed), and a Spelling Journal to help keep track and master those commonly misspelled words. This was a great help to my oldest son (although lessons went a bit long for my short attention, kinetic learning boy) and really helped us to see where we needed to really focus. And I admit there were time were we had to go back, quite a bit, to cover material at a lower level. Thankfully this program makes it easy to do just that. Can I say this has also really inspired him in writing and cursive?

As a momma of four children, I do love that Essentials includes 3 levels of instruction in each volume!  Thus it can be used with multiple children at a number of stages, you can customize the program for each child, and use it again too to go deeper in understanding!  For me, this is a big advantage. It is flexible while at the same time clearly laid out for you, to make it easy to use!

The lessons are broken into five days of teaching:

Day 1: Essential Concepts: Phonograms, Exploring Sounds, Spelling Rules.

Day 2: Building Words: Spelling Journal, Spelling Analysis (spelling lists for A, B or C)

Day 3: Words in Context:  Grammar and Dictation

Day 4: Words in Action: Vocabulary, Dictation, Composition, Reading

Day 5: Check Your Understanding: Review




There is always something new being learned, so its never a dull moment and at the same time each lesson is a building block, advancing our children in a slow and steady way towards mastery of the material. My younger son will attest to the fact that, with games like Phonogram Tic Tac Toe and Spelling Snap!, its really tons of fun to learn! This program is perfect anyone who is looking for a more classical approach to teaching English, and also I definitely encourage this for those kids, like my own, who need to know “why”. With a younger son who just struggles with the phonics approach, this has been quite a blessing to him. This is not simple, it is also not independent. But it is so well put together, you really don’t need to know much at all yourself to be able to teach. The lessons are all clearly laid out and very easy to understand. As a lover of English, I love being able to just sit down with the books and get to it. Plus, I learned quite a bit from this program myself.Lifelong learning 🙂    To learn more about Essentials: Logic of English Complete Set, visit the Logic of English website with several online teacher training videos so you can see what a lesson looks like.  For those who are overwhelmed by all of this, these videos will really help you to make sense of it all while also inspiring and invigorating you! You can also take a tour of the program, download sample materials and check out their levels and placement so your children start in just the right place.