Monday, August 31, 2020

School Has Started .... It's Going to Be Different This Year

We do school year round.  I have always encouraged staying on top of math and reading during the summer.  Well it's the official start of balancing a full course load.  Of course it's different this year.  I am down to only two students!!  Caty is in 7th grade this year, and Lydia in 9th grade.  I planned out special treats for the first day of school.

Each kiddo got a new pencil box that locks, a lap desk, and a lot of markers, pencils, and drawing/art supplies.  I also found some cute notebooks, folders, and binders for each one.

Breakfast was a hit.  Just canned cinnamon rolls that I created a large cinnamon roll with.  But Brayden has asked for this several times since.

I gave them "packed" lunches for lunch time.

Their back to school treats 

For dinner we had square school pizza, salads, and fruit cups.

This year for Geography we are using Guest Hollow High School program.  I plan on doing this over a two year period.  There is a A LOT of material in the program.  It's a bit overwhelming for the girls and so I thought spreading it out would be a great option.  The book list is quite large, so we spend so much time a week on this.  I include videos like the Geography Now series on Youtube.  We have been using this series for a couple of years.

Our first week in Geography found us in Belize.  We also talked about the different types of maps.  I made Fry Jacks, a popular street food.

We have a few sports that have started back up again.  Softball, soccer, and bowling have all started back.

We are also using Guest Hollow's High School Chemistry in the Kitchen series.  There is so much material here.  Video links, science experiments and just fun information.  We will be taking it slow through this also.  Since Caty is not even considered high school yet, we are working at a good pace for both girls.

This week they did an experiment in buoyancy.  One glass is water, the other is filled with salt water.

We are using Teaching Textbooks for math for both girls.  Caty is struggling a bit with math topics, as is Lydia.  So we are working through slowly and practicing to mastery the basics.

Caty is taking a weekly class on Outschool to help with her vocabulary development.  I almost forgot, and she took the class in the van before we went Goodwill shopping.  She wanted to find some things to makeover.

A new back-to-school tradition was a sleepover.  Well we can't due to Covid.  So we hosted a virtual sleepover.  I put together bags for each "guest" with candy, popcorn, nail polish, and even a pair of cozy pjs.  They held their sleepover on Zoom.  It was fun.  I even included cereal for their breakfast.

They played games, watched movies, and did their nails.  They had fun!

The next day brought a day of painting.  We are trying to paint Lydia's room and I needed to paint the kitchen also. 

I'm liking the way the kitchen is turning out.  I still have trim to paint and I'm trying to find a wall border I like for this also.

Brayden and Caty made dinner for us that night.  Caty learned how to fry potatoes and Brayden made his homemade chicken and dumplings.

This is different this year.  I'll be working full-time and homeschooling.  I am able to teach both on Outschool and for a local co-op online.  So I have to force myself to be super organized to tackle it all.  Lots of praying and lots of coffee for me this year!!  Bring it on!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Homeschool Easy - 5th Grade Entire School Year Curriculum Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

We recently had the opportunity to review the 5th Grade Entire School Year Curriculum from Homeschool Easy.  This program is definitely a blessing to families to those who need help planning out their year studies.

Planning out a new homeschool year can be a struggle.  So many decisions to make on what curriculum to use.  When you take into account how much each subject add up, the amount it can take to homeschool can exceed many families budgetary limits.  Especially right now, parents need easy to plan out materials due to the fact that many families have two working parents and they are trying to homeschool their children.  Homeschool Easy has taken the stress out of the planning for families, and it is very affordable.

Homeschool Easy is a downloadable curriculum for grades 1 - 5.  It is a complete curriculum, meaning that it covers all of the Core subjects including science, math, grammar, writing, reading, and even history.  Each one of these subjects could cost a little over 50.00 per student, so finding a budget friendly option for families is very necessary.  Homeschool Easy has created a program that provides the entire year for only $100.00 for the entire year worth of curriculum.

I will admit I was really skeptical.  It seemed to "easy".  This seemed like there was a catch.  So I was excited to dig in.  The downloads were very easy to do.  Each subject is separated out into a separate download, so for those without fast internet, downloading will not be overwhelming.  

As I opened each subject, it is broken down into weekly and monthly files (depending on the subject).  For Grammar, I simply printed out the worksheets for each week.  I would staple the sheets together, since Caty seems to lose every single sheet of paper I give her.  If this was a subject she needed extra help on, I would sit down with her and work with her through the samples on the page and then have her work on the next ones.  If she needed more practice, I would print the worksheet again.  

Science and History use the Britannica Kids program for research.  Also included are links for videos on YouTube that include using the Crash Course program for reference.  These are all materials that do not require extra funds to use.  

Most of the subject include items on vocabulary usage, which I really like since this is a weak area for Caty.  

Planning using Homeschool Easy is .... well.....easy.  All you need to do is make your list of subjects.  Print your materials for the month, because the example above from science has what you need to accomplish for the month listed and then you print the weekly worksheets that you will need to cover.  Every subject is completely broken down.  Very little planning!!!  Your biggest planning will be if you want to do a hands-on experiment in science to make sure you have the simple materials required or the library books for reading.

Homeschool Easy does provide suggestions on how to get started.  These include, that in some subjects children may not be able to work completely independent.  Parent involvement is required to help students understand any new topic that will be worked on that week.  I do like that at these grade levels, teaching the subjects is pretty easy.  The answers are provided for families, so that you can quickly check the materials your child has done independently, especially in Math.  This can be a subject that is difficult for parents, but easily researched if you are struggling to teach.  The worksheets are a great way to help your student become stronger.

Caty used the Chapter book reading program during the review period also.  I liked the addition of vocabulary for the books that she was reading.  This made her stop and think  Caty likes to read through a book very quickly and does not always stop and really look at what she is reading.  So this can make her struggle.  And best of all, I was able to grab the book off of our shelf, print the pages, and her reading was handled for the month.  I simply assigned out to her what chapters to complete each week.

The downside of Homeschool Easy, you will use a lot of paper.  But there is not a bunch of wasted paper with printing unnecessary teacher instructions.  Any of those pages, I simply left open on my laptop.  I was able to download all of the materials and store them easily on my laptop to bring up as I needed them each week.

I would definitely recommend Homeschool Easy to parents who are just starting to homeschool.  There is an ease of use that can really help struggling parents.  There is not unnecessary busy material involved with these subjects.  Everything is exactly what students are needing to accomplish to further their education.  The fact that students are learning research skills for subjects such as history and science also really prepares them as they start getting into middle school and high school when they need to be really mastering the skill of research.  The websites you are using for the research are child-friendly and also easy to use.  Depending on the level, your school work can easily be accomplished in just a couple hours a day, leaving the rest of the day for the ever important play learning and exploring of specific interest of your child.  

We are going to continue using the Grammar, Math, Reading, and Spelling program after the review period.    These are areas that Caty does struggle in and at a lower grade level in, the materials that I can easily print to work with her on are excellent and well-laid out.  So even if you are looking for extra supplemental materials for students who are struggling with learning disabilities, Homeschool Easy is definitely a program for you to look into.  You can purchase several of the subject independently.  You do not need to purchase the entire year.  

My hats off to the creator of Homeschool Easy!  I wish I would have known about you years ago.  I would have been a loyal customer for a lot longer with my other children!

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review the various grade levels of Homeschool Easy.  Please click on the link below to see how they used this program in their homes and what they thought of it.

Homeschool Curriculum for Grades 1 to 5 {Homeschool Easy Reviews}

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Institute for Writing Excellence - Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level B Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

We recently had the opportunity to review the Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level B from Institute for Writing Excellence (Grades 6 - 8).  This has been a great way for Lydia to really look at writing and improve on her writing skills.

Lydia struggles with writing, and yet it is one of her past times that she really enjoys.  Her stories are awesome.  She loves writing science fiction and dystopian society stories. The plot and characters are there, and yet she struggles with sentence structure, run-ons, and creating paragraphs. I had heard that Institute for Writing Excellence was a very Intense program that would allow children of all learning styles to progress in their writing.  I was honestly not expecting the package that we received.  I guess in my brain I am used to needing to do a certain amount of research and extra work with most curriculum.  Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level B is extremely user friendly, and takes the load off of my planning.

Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level B is specially designed for help students who are struggling with writing to catch up where they need to be. It is written for Grades 6 - 8.  The package we received the Student binder with packet of worksheets, forms and charts, the Teacher's Manual, and 24 Forever Streaming videos.  

When I first opened this package I will admit there was a feeling of being very overwhelmed. There is a video that you can watch to help you get your binders set up.  The instructions on how to use Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level B are also included and is very easy to use and plan out.  

Lydia could really work independently on her assignment.  I would write out on her daily list, what materials that I wanted her to use.  She could log into our IEW account and easily access the videos that she needed to watch for the lesson.  She could also see on the checklist inside of her binder what she needed to be working on.

Mr. Pudewa is a very easy teacher to watch.  He has a kid humor that can get a student to laugh, no matter how corny the pun is.  

The Student binder is meant to help students to organize themselves better.  I created a few extra tabs for Lydia since she has Executive Functioning Disorder. This puts her at a disadvantage at trying to wade through her schoolwork independently. 

Each video guides through students on a roughly 40 minute video.  During each video, Mr. Pudewa allowed them to check for the answer to his question in the included reading passages.  Then he reviewed the material with them to see if they had picked the write words.  

You can easily adapt this program to your schedule.  Lydia currently is using  Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level B roughly 3-4 days a week.  On the weeks she only does 3 days, she does writing a little longer. 


The Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level B is a great addition to both homeschool and public school households.  If a student in public school is struggling, they could easily work on this program outside of school hours to get the extra help that they need really breaking down the steps to creating sentences and paragraphs.

So far all of the materials that Lydia has been using to write about has been about animals, so that is definitely keeping her attention as she is an animal lover, and animal facts definitely keep her attention.  

We will continue using Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level B.  I plan on ordering Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level A to do with Caty, since she is struggling to understand sentence structure.

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to try out various products from the Institute for Writing Excellence.  Click below to see how families used these materials in their homes.  

Structure and Style® for Students Year 1 Level A, B & C {Institute for Excellence in Writing® Reviews}

Friday, August 14, 2020

Super Teacher Worksheets Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Are you needing some help with practice sheets or just keeping up with a child who LOVES to learn?  We recently reviewed the 1 Year membership from Super Teacher Worksheets.  This has been a great benefit to our homeschool planning!!!

Ok...I admit it.  I was a geek in school.  I didn't mind the work, for the most part.  I loved worksheets and busy work.  I actually have a couple kids that enjoy worksheets, and I'm always looking for materials that are easy to print and search through to save me time and give them busywork.  

Super Teacher Worksheets provides parents and teachers with worksheet and activity help for a wide variety of subjects including math, science, language arts, phonics, reading comprehension, health, geography, brain teasers, printable games, and even provides a worksheet generator.  It has been created for Grades PK - 6.  If you have students with special needs, this range could be used for a while.

I will be honest, we have been active subscribers to this site for a few years now. I recommend it to many of my homeschool friends. When dealing with multiple grade levels and so many different learning delays, I was struggling with finding help and curriculum in specific areas.  Super Teacher Worksheets has been able to provide me with access to thousands of worksheets to help the kids get more practice in areas they are trying to master.

Instead of buying multiple math books, at a high cost, I have been able to print various worksheets that allow them to practice to mastery in specific areas of concern.  As they master each grade level, I just print the next harder worksheets for this area of study. planning is done.

Another area that I love about Super Teacher Worksheets, their seasonal printouts.  They gather all their seasonal items into a file that you can browse by subject and easily see recommended grade level also.  I also print fun worksheets for math, writing, and spelling that are themed the first week of each season.

Using Super Teacher Worksheets website is super easy.  When we need practice material, I can either search through the subject area or there is a search bar option also.

You just click View PDF of the file that you want.  

Unlike other websites, the Individual Membership from Super Teacher Worksheets does not restrict  you to a certain amount of worksheets each month.  You have unlimited downloads for your family to use and print out.  They also do not restrict you to specific levels, so it's perfect for Homeschool parents who have several different grade levels to plan out for.  You can even create your own worksheets with their Worksheet Generator.

Lydia is using a pretty specific math program this year.  Recently she needed some extra practice on factors and fractions.  She went through all the options on her program and then I checked out Super Teacher Worksheets to find some worksheets that allowed her that practice that she needed.  She gained more confidence and passed her test with no problem.

This year instead of buying a special spelling curriculum for Caty, who is starting spelling a bit late due to her reading delay, I decided to try the weekly spelling program that is offered on Super Teacher Worksheets - 
Individual Membership.  

I wasn't sure how she would do.  But so far it has been excellent.  I pick and choose what worksheets she will be doing each week.  Some weeks she needs extra writing practice, while others I print the fun word searches.  I like the long/short vowel worksheets that forces her to split the words down and remember the spelling.

All the worksheets and booklets that we have used so far have been easy to search for and print.  They provide the right amount of practice for each student.  I also can choose to print an answer page if I need it for quicker grading or if I just need to verify that I am helping them in the right way for an answer (hey I will admit that I struggle with some language arts supporting details).

We use the science worksheets, the Reading Chapter book comprehension series, the Geography areas about the states, and I will admit....there is more materials available than our little family would ever be able to use.  But the cost is so budget friendly....Super Teacher Worksheets is an invaluable resource.

Every time I think that I have possibly used a little bit of every resource they have to offer, I am shocked and find something else that I can use.  Super Teacher Worksheets is one of my most used resources in our homeschool.  

I will continue to use the Super Teacher Worksheets materials as long as I can and highly recommend their resources to any homeschool families that are looking for some ways to save time and money.  If I added up the cost of the pages I have used just in the past couple months by comparing them to workbooks I would have had to purchase, Super Teacher Worksheets really will save you money.

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to try out 
Super Teacher Worksheets in their homes.  Please take some time to see how this program worked for them by visiting the Review page.

Printable Activities and Worksheets! {Super Teacher Worksheets Reviews}