Sunday, June 30, 2013

Moving Beyond the Page Review

We recently had the opportunity to try out a curriculum that easily takes one topic and makes the connections with many subjects.  And the best part of all....there was little to no extra work for me involved.  No extensive lesson planning, just read or print and ready to go.  If you have not had a chance, please read on and learn more about Moving Beyond the Page.

Moving Beyond the Page curriculum uses a unit study approach to make connections between  subjects like science, language arts and social studies.  This classical approach also includes hands-on projects that make these unit studies easily used for multi-level teaching with students who have different learning styles.  They encourage critical thinking and creativity for a wide range of learners from those with delays through gifted learners.

We were able to have two different children use this review package.  Joey worked on the Social Studies, The Power of People unit (Ages 8-10, $23.94).  We received a spiral bound lesson planner with worksheet reproducibles as well as the paper back copy of Presidential Elections and Other Cool Facts.


The lesson book included a list of materials needed for each lesson, as well as general supplies to have on hand for your child to easily do more research on the topics being studied.   A vocabulary section is broke down for the child to learn.  Each lesson is then listed out with the skills that will be worked on and critical thinking questions.  This is followed by Activity suggestions to go with each lesson.  This is where the page numbers for the sections you will be reading from the provided reading material.

You are not encouraged to read the book in full everyday.  It is meant to enhance and encourage your child to do more research and to love learning more.  There are even more options for extra activities, such as for this unit study having your child interview a community leader in your town or write a speech to get people to vote for them if they were running for a city council position.  It even includes extra thinking questions at the end.  You can view some of the unit examples by visiting Moving Beyond the Page curriculum sample section.

Joey did really well with this.  He was not able to use it independently, but depending on your child's skill level and age, it could be done.  He learned a lot about the structure of our government.  The worksheets included were easy for him to understand and complete.

We worked on this program 3 days a week.  The lessons, depending on how in depth our discussions became, took under 30 minutes to complete on most days.  He was able to see the importance of how government runs well, depending on the person who is in office by looking back at past politicians.

I studied this on a more basic level with Joey, but there is definitely room for a more in-depth study for gifted students.  I skipped over the materials that would have possibly frustrated him.  I love the suggestions though such as, pretending your student is president of the United States.  Have them create their own "New Deal" and present it to you.  Even create an advertisement for their program.  That is definitely a way to encourage more learning and help those who love creativity also.

While Joey was using The Power of People unit, Lydia was able to use two online units.  Amazing Weather (Ages 7-9, online with book $29.91) and Communities and Culture (Ages 7 -9, online with books $42.83)

I was a bit nervous about using an online lesson planner.  I order e-books and print lessons/unit studies, so this was a bit different for me.

I received actual print copies of all the books needed, except the lesson plan.  That was online.  The user interface on Moving Beyond the page was very easy to use.  I was very happy to be able to easily log in and see what was recommended for that day.  Again, there are so many suggestions given for activities to go along with the reading.  For Communities and Culture, we received the Binkerton Kids books on Ancient Egypt and Medieval Times. These were fun historical fiction stories.  Moving Beyond the Page offers a very thorough set of comprehension questions to go along with the reading.  I was easily able to sit and discuss what was happening in the story without pre-reading too much and writing out my own questions.  (That was a huge timesaver for me!!!)

Material list easily listed for me, all activities (which again....I could pick and choose depending on attention span on that day).  Not that you could skip all the activities, but if something was a bit difficult for either child or we were just having a rough day....I could easily adjust the planner.  There is even an area where parents can share extra ideas with others in the IdeaShare section.

Both Amazing Weather and Communities and Culture were very easy to use.  We worked on these 3 times a week and easily finished them.  The books included in your unit study were able to keep the kids attention, in fact Lydia was a little more attentive to what we were studying this time and even listed a few weather facts out of the blue one afternoon.  That doesn't happen real often, she doesn't like to reveal what she has learned.

Lydia also worked with the suggested spelling program.  Moving Beyond the Page has a suggested list of vocabulary for each age group.  There are downloadable forms, and Lydia is loving these forms and this way of doing her words now.  One day she practices, another day makes up sentences using the words, practices again with a pretest and then writes any words she has missed, and then a final test.  She has been making huge strides over the past month using this program for her sight words!!!  So we will definitely continue using this method as long as it works.

I have thoroughly enjoyed using Moving Beyond the Page.  It has fulfilled any expectations I have for unit studies that I would try and create myself.    Since we had the opportunity to try both the print and online programs, I am not sure which I like better.  There is a cost savings by using the online program, but there is also a benefit to having the entire lesson planner printed and spiral-bound.

The only drawback that I have with this homeschool program is the cost for ordering the entire package set.  It is reasonable considering the amount of materials that you receive, including all your books.  I know that the cost is out of our budget to order the entire program for our family, but I am looking at individual unit studies.  I have my list ready for the upcoming year.  The ease of use and the fun/creative activities with each lesson, has made a huge impact on our daily lessons.  I would definitely recommend Moving Beyond the Page and can't wait to order and start the upcoming studies that we will be getting from them.

Several members of The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to try out several different study units from Moving Beyond the Page.  Still not sure, check out their reviews and see how these products worked in their homes.


Moving Beyond the Page is also on Facebook.....take a few moments to read about them and like their page for updates.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Juggling another full-time student.....

You all know how it is.  Providing hands-on, one-on-one attention to all your kids who seem to need it all at the same time is very hard.  It never fails that while I am working with one child, another needs help with math or is having a computer issue all at the same time.  I have to admit that I am a little nervous about adding Caty into the "full-time" schooling mix.  She is very hands-on.

I have discovered a way to keep Caty going a couple different ways.  As I start getting pulled toward another child while working with Caty, I flip over toYouTube or ABC Mouse.

Here is an example of what might happen....

Joey:  "I can't get logged in.  It's telling me my password is invalid."

I roll my eyes, and say give me a moment.  I flip over to You Tube quickly find one of Caty's favorite books that she enjoys watching.  (No I don't turn her loose by herself on Youtube.)  Make sure she is in my seat and go to help the kiddo in need.  All the while I can watch over my shoulder that she is staying on a "stay involved" track.

She loves to watch any books online, one of her favorites is the Pigeon series by Mo Willems.

At storytime recently she has discovered a love of Pete the Cat also.

and her real favorite (it's not all here, but she loves it anyway)

If I am going to be more than a few minutes.  Maybe a child has hit a road block on a subject and needs some more help, I finish with Caty and then set her up on ABC Mouse and she is also loving More Starfall.  These are both great sites that allow me to give her educational playtime so that I can keep her in a little bit of the structure she thrives on, while living in a chaotic day.

Another favorite thing, is when I need to step away to another child, I will let her just explore on the All in One Homeschool (Easy Peasy) page we are working on.  She can watch all the little videos she likes.  Most of the time she really enjoys watching favorites repeatedly.

I never realized how many stories are read on YouTube.  The amount of fun educational songs is only limited by how much time you have to watch them.  With parental supervision, it can be a great source for your homeschool.  Check and see if one of your child's favorite stories is on there.

So far this seems to be working well for us, hope this helps someone find a few moments of peace and sanity.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Random 5

This is my first time participating in the Random 5.....Here are some random moments from this past month.

A few back yard campfires....who needs a fork!
 Lydia playing with my camera, pretending to be Laura Ingalls.
 Joey with his favorite newscaster!!  Melissa Voetsch at the Give Autism the Boot Fundraiser in Perrysburg.
Caty playing with dolls right in the aisle while I was waiting for some mat board to be cut.
Apparently he stayed up too late, hiding his iPad playing.
The girls and I went to the Neil Armstrong Space Museum with some friends.
And firefly hunting.

This post could've been much longer, was really trying to keep it at 5...but went over.

Homeschool Mothers Journal - Week 5

In my life this week....

Positive attitude has been kind of hard this week.  We got punched pretty good when our appeal for the insurance company was returned a repeat denial and then we were turned down for patient assistance for Joey's pills.  I am praying....praying for the future.  We just don't know how things will be going or what is going to happen.  There could be some major changes in our lives coming.

I have been trying to catch up, but my body had decided this week is a great week for fibro issues.   I was doing fairly well the last two weeks and then BOOM I got hit with all kinds of things this week including severe brain fog.  My sleep is really interrupted also, so that is not helping.  I have been applying clary saige essential oil to help with my hormone issues.  Peppermint oil has been my best friend for headaches and eucalyptus is also been by my side alot for allergies.

In our homeschool this week...

Schoolwork went rather smoothly this week.  Yeah!!!  No big projects or anything.  Lydia is working on State Fair projects and I need to help Joey finish up his 4H projects for judging.

Helpful homeschool advice to share....

I normally don't do this one, but I have to keep reminding myself what a wonderful resource our local library is.  Why spend so much money on curriculum?  If you can plan your own unit studies, you can save tons of money by using all the resources your local library has to offer.

My favorite thing this week....

Taking the girls out firefly hunting was fun!  I think that may have been their favorite.

Things I am working on.....

Organzing....yeah that is what I would like to get done....organizing.....

Things I am reading.....

This is where I post the pretty pics of the Weather Fairy books that I am reading with the girls.  And the Samantha American Girl books that I am getting ready to start.  Yeah, no "pleasure" reading for me right

Things I am cooking....

I made salmon patties (and not from canned salmon).  They turned out pretty yummy.  I diced the salmon fine, mixed with brown rice flour, orange zest, salt and ground ginger.  Fried them in coconut oil.  Served with a side of sauteed zuchinni and brown rice.  Even Joe commented the rice was good (that could be the touch of cayenne I added to the veggie/rice mix).

I made another dish that seems to be becoming a favorite....chicken fajita stirfry (basically chicken breast sauteed with multi colored peppers and seasoned with cumin and cayenne pepper).  I serve it with homemade green chile mashed potatoes.  It's good the next day too!

I also used the sunflower seed butter I made Sunday to create a banana sunflower seed butter chocolate bar.  I thought they were a touch dry, so my goal is to re-create the recipe again....but improve on it.

Lydia is going to learn how to make carrot/raisin salad tomorrow.  We also need to make a pineapple cake or some sort of cake for the girls.  They found a cute "decorating" style in their American Girl magazine and they want to try and decorate a cake now.

I rewarded the kids this week....

We are considering taking them to see Monsters University this weekend.  The boys have kept up on their school assignments really well!

I'm praying for....

Extra strength and patience in the upcoming days as Joey will be switched on meds again.  Also for Joey's body to handle the changes well.

My favorite thing this week....

We all were able to go to the Kingdom Hall on Sunday!!!  I was so excited, and nervous.  But the boys did wonderful!!!


Caty is diagnosed with sensory issues.  I need suggestions for pacifier issues.  She uses it as a soother.  But I get very funny looks if we are in a store and she is near overload and has one in her mouth.  I would love to tell everyone to mind their own business.  But would like to offer her another option.  Any suggestions that you have used or seen used with kiddos with sensory disorder.

Everyone have a great week!!!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Frugal Date out with My Hubby.....

For our anniversary this year, I surprised Joe with a date a month.  Some time where we could hopefully get alone time.  That is so hard for us.  I hate to ask my brother and his wife to take the kids all the time, and sitter costs add up for 4 kids (and I always feel like I can never pay her enough because of the challenge the kids can be).  We honestly do not get out together enough.  We celebrated 15 years this year, and our goal is to try and focus more on us as a couple.  

So the date ideas I gave him were no cost or very low cost.  We are always up for trying new adventures, so I signed us up for a river canoeing adventure with our local parks department.  A 3 mile tour around one of the islands in the Maumee River.  Cost was $24.00.  My brother and his wife watched the kids for us, so not cost for sitter (we traded dates with them so they could go have lunch and watch a movie another

Here's some pics from our adventure....

 We put our own canoes in the river, those things are HEAVY!!!
 Pictures were hard to take.  Trying to paddle, the sun was bright (and I was using Lydia's camera without a eye view-finder) made it a challenge.
 You can see the erosion on the island from the river current.
 Some of the wildlife we saw.
Turtles sunbathing...
My strong steering guide :)
 So we were not completely alone, but it was so nice to hear the silence and calm in the areas as we paddled along.
 More wildlife ... blue herons
Largest earth filled bridge.  The Interurban Bridge, which crosses the river at the park, was the largest bridge that was filled with earth and reinforced by concrete.  Today the bridge, which formerly served as part of a commuter rail line, is in ruins.
The large rock in front of the bridge, is the Roche de Bout (also spelled Roche de Boeuf) is a big limestone outcrop which forms an island near the center of the Maumee River. It was a landmark for early explorers and natives. The landmark was used by the MiamiShawneeLenape and their allies as a location for councils. Leaders of these tribes met there before the Battle of Fallen Timbers with General Anthony Wayne in 1794, which was a pivotal battle for the settlement of the Northwest Territory.

We survived the 3 mile paddling adventure.  I was pretty sore the next day, but it was so much fun.  We definitely will be doing this again.

(Refreshed Daddy and Mommy)

Some ideas for cheap/frugal dates:
1.  Picnic lunch at a local park.
2.  Go out for lunch, instead of dinner (cheaper meal prices).
3.  See a movie at matinee prices.
4.  Take a walk along a river and pack a favorite dessert picnic.
5.  Rent a hotel room (search local sites to find good deals), and enjoy the hot tub without kids during the afternoon.  If you do not have a sitter for the night, pick up your kids after you spend some time together, and then have a wonderful family night of swimming and pizza.  -- This could cost a couple hundred dollars...but we want to do this with the kids at least once this year.  We get alone time, but don't have to worry about an overnight sitter.
6.  Have a special dessert planned and watch a favorite romantic movie after the kids go to bed.

Hope you all have some time alone with that someone special.  Remember hugs and 'I love you' goes a long way!!!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...there is a slight breeze and it's actually comfortable outside.  It was so hot and humid yesterday, you didn't feel like moving.  Today's temps seem better.

I am thinking...That we live on such a wonderfully created planet.

I am thankful...for quiet moments

In the kitchen...tonight will be making salmon with lemon rice

I am wearing...a summer maxi dress....super comfortable

I am creating...getting ready to start working on our American Girl Study guides for the Samantha books

I am stay home the rest of the day, already been a long day

I am wondering...why insurance companies think they know our children better than we do.

I am reading...a book about Jane Goodall with Lydia (no Mommy books right now, just not enough time for me to  read for pleasure)

I am hoping... that we can figure something out to help Joey, he's too sweet of a kid to have to suffer through manic episodes when medicines are available.

I am looking forward to...a time when I don't have to worry about medicating him...

I am to use my camera better

Around the house...lots of little cleaning projects, our house is always a mess somewhere.

I am pondering...Why everyday has to be so dramatic?

A favorite quote for today...

“You know, everybody's ignorant, just on different subjects.” 

A few plans for the rest of the week: we might take the kids to see the new Monsters movie this weekend.

A peek into my day...

We were killing time in our van.  We folded down the back bench seat, laid out a blanket and played cards while waiting for Grandma at the doctor's office.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Homeschool Mothers Journal - Week 4

In my life this week....

Just been plan busy....trying to get some yard work done.  Office work done.  Some cleaning done.  I need to tackle the basement.....but so few come out of our basement alive that I may just skip that.  Unfortunately though there are so many boxes that need to be gone through.....that it must be done.  (I am heaving a huge sigh right now at the thought!)

I am still working on essential oils.  I have been using clary saige for hormone issues, which I thing make my fibro issues worse.  So far, seems to be helping a bit.  Still in experiment process though, so not jumping up and down yet.  The peppermint oil is really doing great for my headaches though, and so is the clove oil.  Eucalyptus is helping with my allergy stuffiness.

In our homeschool.....

We were on a mini-vacation.  They had the week off, except for their Reading club books.  Lydia had Cloverbud Day Camp for 3 days though, and Joey did have guitar lessons.

The girls and I took a field trip to the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum this past Friday!  It was a neat place to explore (even if there was a nasty person there).  Our group still enjoyed themselves.

What I am cooking....

Made a pretty yummy Thai "peanut" chicken using homemade sunflower nut butter.  Also did some salads.  We went to the Farmers Market Wednesday afternoon and I was able to get some goat cheese curds......yeah!!  They are so yummy!!!  And for someone who does not get to eat dairy often, I was savoring every morsel.  One day for lunch I made chicken caprese wraps.  I made chicken breast using garam masala spice and ginger, and diced it up.  Mixed it with fresh basil, diced tomato and the goat cheese curds.  Served it in leaf lettuce (half the ingredients were from the market!!).  I packed mine to go on our field trip this past Friday.  It was sooooo yummy!!!

My favorite thing this week....

Going to the Space Museum with the girls.  It was a lot of fun!!

Hope everyone has a great week.