Category Archives: education

Learning About the Old Testament and Ancient Egypt With an Online Course From Veritas Press . . . A T. O. S. Review

For a good number of years, my eldest, “The Batman” has repeatedly asked to learn about ancient Egypt. For all of those years, I’ve tried and tried to find unit studies, lapbooks, anything, that would be Biblically based, and would be at a level he could handle, but absolutely nothing I found would work for him. Enter, this review from Veritas Press!

We were fortunate enough to receive a full year access to the Veritas Press Self-Paced History: Old Testament and Ancient Egypt, which costs $199.00, as well as the physical Old Testament & Ancient Egypt Flashcards, which are available for $19.95.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History: Old Testament and Ancient Egypt covers the period from creation through the fall of Egypt to Rome.

The Veritas Self-Paced History is suggested for grades 2 – 6, but in our family, this is literally one of the first educational programs I have not had to make major tweaks to accommodate our special needs kids. 🙂 Now, “The Batman” is 21, but with his developmental delays, his educational level in many areas is much younger. He is REALLY enjoying this class! I am so glad I was able to get this review! I have many times over the years, received catalogs from Veritas Press, and just thrown them away, because first, I thought their material looked too difficult for my kids, and second, because we don’t follow the “Classical Curriculum” method of homeschooling. Veritas Press, according to their website, is a Classical Christian Education provider, following the “Trivium“, which approaches education in the order of three stages of learning; grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric.

We, on the other hand, are extremely relaxed, eclectic/unschoolers, so I wasn’t sure this would be a great fit around here, but so far, he is doing very well, and without very much help in navigating his way through the class site! 🙂

Once we received our access, all I had to do was go online and register myself as the teacher/parent, creating a user name and password. After that, I simply had to add “The Batman” as a student, creating a user ID and password for him, and then register him into the course chosen. I had a few false starts and problems, but a quick phone call to customer support took care of that! One definite issue was that we needed to use the Firefox browser instead of Internet Explorer. Once we did that, things started to go much more smoothly. 🙂 “The Batman” and I watched the tutorial on how to use this course. The tutorial was actually interesting to the both of us, and gave “The Batman” plenty of opportunities to practice the different things he was being taught how to do, so that once he began the course, he was able to do them by himself.

OK, so by now, you’re likely wondering how the Veritas Press Self-Paced History: Old Testament and Ancient Egypt works, and how we are using it, right? Well, this class is COMPLETELY done online, up to and including the quizzes and worksheets, which is great for “The Batman”, who has very poor fine motor control, and thus, very poor hand-writing. He is very much enjoying that part, for sure! The lessons are all done at the student’s own pace, hence the name “Self-Paced History“! This is good for us, because we are definitely a “go at your own pace” kind of family. 🙂 The only thing he is using that is not online are the very nice Old Testament & Ancient Egypt Flashcards, which you can see below:

This is the front of one of the very large, colorful cards.

The reverse side of the card nicely sums up what is being taught, along with giving ideas for additional resources.

Of course, he is also using his own Bible, because the course uses the New King James Version, whereas Our family uses only the King James Version, and we want to be certain that he doesn’t miss something by using a different version of the Bible.

There are suggested literature resources to add in if you choose, but since so far they have been books that we do not own, what I have had him do at the end of each lesson where there is extra reading, is to read the summation of that portion of the book referred to. This is working out OK for now, but I know that he would like very much to have the go-along books, as he is so very interested in this time period. If you do prefer to have the Literature on hand, there are three different literature kits available for the Veritas Press Self-Paced History: Old Testament and Ancient Egypt. They are:

Old Testament & Ancient Egypt Self-Paced Literature Kit Level 1, available for $110.30 (a savings of $17.44), and is recommended for children who would be generally in 2nd or 3rd grade, and comes with 13 books.

Old Testament & Ancient Egypt Self-Paced Literature Kit Level 2, available for $88.35 (a savings of $16.39), and includes 10 books.

Old Testament & Ancient Egypt Self-Paced Literature Kit Levels 1&2, in case you have children at multiple levels, available for $151.14 (a savings of $27.47), and containing all of the books in both levels.

I am seriously considering at least the purchase of the level two package for “The Batman”, so that he can read them along with the lessons and have them to keep.

One of the things I really enjoy is that at the beginning of each lesson, we review a memory song about the 32 events we (I say we, because I find I am learning along with “The Batman”, as are the other children) are going to be learning. Repetition is a great thing when it comes to something like this, and basically, we are learning a Biblical timeline through this song. Both “The Batman” and I like very much the fact that if he logs off before finishing a lesson, the course remembers where he was, and when he logs in again, he is asked if he wishes to pick up where he left off. He can also print off the quizzes and such when he finishes them, something he loves to do so that he can show them to his dad when he gets home from work. 🙂
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The lessons themselves are quite fun, using videos of characters who speak and move, fun games, fun songs, and tests/quizzes that are in different formats, helping “The Batman” to remember that there are different ways to answer the on-screen questions. Sometimes, he has to drag things to the correct order, sometimes he has to click the correct answer, and so on. This has been good for him, as he has always been one to not like things changing too much. Each “lesson” runs anywhere from 10 – 20 minutes, which is really just about perfect for “The Batman”, and there are 160 lessons in this course. Here he is, along with HIS Batman, going through a lesson. 🙂
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I am very pleased with this course, and would definitely consider more Self-Paced History courses from Veritas Press, though I’d need to plan ahead for my budget, as I would want to have the literature bundles as well. As I said before, because “The Batman” really loves this time period, and wants to learn as much as he can, I intend to ask his dad if we can manage to order the literature bundle. It is so rare that we’ve been able to find something this good, that he actually WANTS to learn about. I believe it’s more than worth it, and then the books will become part of our permanent educational library.

You can learn more about Veritas Press through their various social media links:

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99 other crew members reviewed this and other products from Veritas Press. Please do go and check them out by clicking the graphic below:
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Filed under education, home education, homeschool products, Online Homeschooling, Self-Paced History, Special Needs Children, special needs education, TOS Review, Veritas Pres

Learning Wrap-Ups: A T. O. S. Review

Let me just say right now, WOW, WOW, WOW! I had heard of, and seen in various catalogs, Learning Wrap-Ups many years ago, but never really checked them out. So, when I was given the chance to receive them as a review product for my kiddos, it was a no-brainer, I went for it!

I had no idea that Learning Wrap-Ups was a company which carries educational products other than the original Wrap-Ups.

We received so much in our package! Here is a list of all the wonderful, colorful, hands on products we were given:

Learning Wrap-Up Math Intro Kit W/O Cd’s – $44.99

This kit contains one set each of Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, and Fractions. As you can see in the picture, they are in a sturdy storage case. There is also a teacher guide with ideas for use.


Learning Wrap-Ups Vocabulary Intro Kit
– $35.99

This kit comes with four sets of Wrap-Ups, covering the following concepts: Antonyms, Synonyms, Homonyms and Compound Words.

We also received two workbooks, 10 Steps To Addition Mastery and 10 Days To Multiplication Mastery, each of which comes with the appropriate Wrap-Up for the price of $12.99 each.

Next out of the box, more fun hands-on learning tools. This was something which before this review, I had never even heard of, so I am REALLY grateful to have gotten the chance to check them out! This additional product from Learning Wrap-Ups is called Learning Palettes, and they are very cool!

We received:

1st Grade Math Learning Palette 1 Base Center Kit – $71.99. This set covers Numbers 0 – 10: Intro to Addition & Subtraction, Numbers 0-100, Money, Simple Fractions, Addition & Subtractions with sums and differences through 18, Algebra Concepts, Geometry & Measurement, and Probability & Statistics. This kit comes with one Learning Palette base and 6 curriculum packs which each contain 12 cards, giving a total of 864 questions and answers covering the concepts I’ve listed here. The whole set comes in a very nice, sturdy, clear carrier, and the palette base has a sturdy, clear cover to keep the parts contained.

and

http://learningwrapups.com/learning-palette/reading-lp-titles/1st-grade-reading-1-base-center-kit.html – $61.99. This covers blends & digraphs, reading comprehension, nouns, verbs and adjectives, vocabulary and phonics. This kit is just like the math kit, except it comes with five curriculum packs, containing a total of 720 questions and answers that cover the concepts I’ve listed here.

We were also given a Full Online Family Subscription for all levels of Reading/Math Palettes instruction at LearningPalette.com up to 5 users for a full year – $59.99. I also have a coupon code for you that will give you a 20% discount for the online subscription. Just use the code HOMESCHOOL. How great is that? 🙂

So, now that you know what we received, would you like to know how they worked out for us? Well, let me tell you, I knew right away they would be great for our family when my most reluctant reader, “Mr. Loquacious”, was the first one to get ahold of them, LOL! He knows what they are called, but often asks “can I play with the Fun-Wraps, mom?”
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So far, I’ve only managed to get photos of him and “The Artist” playing with the Learning Wrap-Ups, but the others think they are pretty cool, too.
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Wondering how they work? Well, it’s fairly simple. For each concept, we have a set of key type shapes, which are fastened together at the top so they can be swiveled when we wish to change to the next one, and a sturdy string that is attached. For example, in addition, on the first key there is a large number 1 in the center. on the left, there are numbers going down, as well as numbers going down on the right. There are notches next to each number, on each side. The idea is that you wrap the string from the first number to the notch by the answer. When completed, you turn the key over, and if the string is going over each of the raised lines, you know you did it correctly!

The Learning Palettes work a little differently. In each kit there was one palette, with a clear cover, and the colored circles to match when doing the various cards. “Mr. Loquacious” would place the card of his choice onto the palette in the correct position (which is very easy, as there is a guide peg and a hole to put it on). Then, he would simply look at the card (math or reading), and figure out which color circle went with each answer. When done, again, this is self-correcting, as he simply now would flip the card over. If all of the circles match the circles on the flip side of the card, he got them all right.
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You can see, he’s very intently working on them, because they are FUN! I personally feel that whenever possible, learning SHOULD be fun, don’t you?

With both the Wrap-Ups and the Learning Palettes, one of the things we like best is the portability. “Mr. Loquacious” even brought the Learning Palette kit to church to play with during my choir practice time this past Sunday afternoon. 🙂 I think they will be nice to have in the car on trips, as well, but maybe I’ll need to purchase additional bases so that more than one child can use them at the same time, since there are TONS of cards!

So far, “Mr. Loquacious” has been the only one to go onto learningpalette.com, but he is really enjoying it. It works much the same as the physical Learning Palettes, but with a computer and mouse instead of the physical pieces. He enjoyed going back and forth between choices of card and topic, math and reading both.
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What *I* love about the online version is that it allows you to have multiple children with log ins, and *all* of the levels, whereas the physical product is purchased one level at a time.

When it came to the workbooks though, my boys were not yet ready to apply the Wrap-Ups to them. They do work with the Wrap-Ups, so I am hoping that as they become more proficient with them, the workbooks will be something they can handle without a lot of the “oh, woe is me” stuff that generally comes with workbooks around here. 🙂

When it comes right down to it, this is a wonderful product! As I said before, I firmly believe that learning ought to be FUN. Remember, if you want the Full Online Family Subscription for all levels of Reading/Math Palettes instruction at LearningPalette.com up to 5 users for a full year – $59.99, just use the coupon code HOMESCHOOL and get it for 20% off! That coupon code is good at the time of this review, but I do not know how long it lasts, so if this is something you want, jump on it, you won’t be sorry! 🙂

Don’t just take MY word for it, definitely do go and check out what other Review Crew members thought of Learning Wrap-Ups! There are several different levels being reviewed! Just click on the banner below, and it will take you right to their reviews!

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Progeny Press . . . A T. O. S. Review

My children and I have been given the fun opportunity to review a study guide from Progeny Press, our first time ever! 🙂

Progeny Press Review

Progeny Press gives us the chance to study works of literature from a Christian perspective, which I do appreciate. Their guides do use the NIV translation of the Bible, but in the “Note To Instructor” section of the Study Guide, it is clearly stated that the study can be used with any version of the Bible. My family prefers (and always uses) the King James Version.

Because we already owned the book and had been needing a push to get it read, I chose the Study Guide for “The Courage Of Sarah Noble“, which is currently available for the cost of $11.99. This is a downloadable product, so there are no shipping costs, plus, you have the advantage of using it for more than just one child if you like.

The Courage Of Sarah Noble, The E-Guide is suggested for lower elementary (grades K through 3), and my kids are older than that, but we quite enjoyed it anyway. My guys are special needs, two of them still struggle with reading, and the others with thinking skills, so it was a good fit. I would definitely put the reading level of the book at the upper level of the suggested range, but that could just be because “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” still struggle somewhat when it comes to reading, and “Mr. Loquacious” dislikes reading altogether! We did think it was a pretty good book, which is based on a true story, something that all of my boys thought was really “cool, mom!”

The book “The Courage Of Sarah Noble” is about an eight year old girl in the year 1707, who goes to cook and clean for her father when he builds their family a home in the wilderness of Connecticut. During her time there, she learns the meaning of trust and friendship as she gets to know the Indians living nearby, and stays with them when her father goes back to get the rest of the family.

The pdf Study Guide is 39 pages long, and if you have reluctant children when it comes to handwriting (or are not proficient with it), the guide is set up so that they may type in the answers, and then print out the pages to keep in a notebook, portfolio, or any type of records you like to keep.

Within the study guide, there are “Before You Read” activities, such as defining a word, looking up a place on a map, or speculating on the “why” of something you will be reading about.

There are “As You Read”
Activities, such as making a list of how many times Sarah reminds herself to “keep up her courage”, and holds her red cloak. We are asked why she holds it, and what it reminds her of.

As we read the book, the study guide broke it up into two chapters per session, with pages for vocabulary, questions, and Bible passages having to do with something in those two chapters.

Question and answer portions we generally do orally, because we like to do unit studies together, and because it makes it easier for all to participate, no matter what their writing or thinking proficiency happens to be.

Finally, there are “Activities, Arts and Crafts” which relate to the book, and which your kids may find to be lots of fun. There is a crossword puzzle, a game that Sarah played with the Indian children, instructions for an art project to create a picture of Sarah and her father, a craft project in which the child can build a pretzel log cabin, and a recipe to make corn meal biscuits.

Finally, our study guide gave us a list of suggestions for further reading, plus an answer key for all of the questions in the study guide.

The Courage Of Sarah Noble, The E-Guide from Progeny Press is very thorough, and we really liked it. I particularly like that it is from a Christian perspective, and that we are not locked into a specific Bible version. It was definitely “tweak-able” for my special needs family, and also for my “King James Version only” family. I also appreciate that as far as I can see from looking at the various titles available, if you do not already own the book you are interested in studying, you will most likely find it at your local library, which definitely saves on the cost! 🙂

Check out Progeny Press via the following social media:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/progenypress
Twitter – https://twitter.com/progenypress
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/progenypress/
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/ProgenyPress

100 Review Crew members reviewed a variety of Progeny Press Study Guides. To see what they and their children thought, please click the graphic below!
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Golden Prairie Press, A T. O. S. Review

Digital Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum, is a curriculum we were given to review, along with 99 other Schoolhouse Review Crew members.

This curriculum is from Golden Prairie Press, the home of “History At It’s Best”, according to their header.

Digital Heroes & Heroines Of The Past: American History Curriculum is a one year package of 30 lessons, and has been designed for children from 1st through the 6th grade levels. It is available for $98.99.

This downloadable curriculum will take your student from 1000 AD up to the present day, using two e-books.

The first half of the curriculum is Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 1 e-book, which covers the original people in America and continues on through the administration of President Jackson ( 1829 – 37 ).

You will then continue on with the second half of the curriculum: Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 2 e-book, covering 1837 to the present day.

We also received the following items, which are included in the digital curriculum:

Additional Materials CD (we received this as a collection of pdf files) which can be used as supplemental materials, including timelines, instructions and videos, coloring pages, and much more.

Historical Skits e-book, which contains 19 skits from the time of Columbus to World War 2. Your children can use these to further bring history to life, if they are interested in acting out what they are learning.

Sing Some History CD, which we received as audio files. This contains many of the songs that are referred to in the curriculum, further bringing the history to life while you and your children listen to them.

Listen to Some U.S. History MP3 CD (we received this as a downloadable collection of mp3 files), allowing you and your children to listen to 20 original speeches, poems, sermons, and documents that are mentioned in the book.

What we like:

The format of the curriculum e-books. I enjoy that we are given two different options for each lesson as far as the reading goes, one for younger students who aren’t ready for more lengthy information, and one for the older kids, which goes into more depth. For my kids, we are actually able to (mostly) use the more in-depth portion, as long as we are using this as a read aloud. This is not a problem, since that’s how we do a lot of curriculum, allowing us to do it all together. I enjoy being able to read right from my laptop, so that we only need to print things like coloring pages, etc.

The sound files! We enjoy hearing what we are learning about, whether it is the music or the speeches and such.

We like the Additional Materials CD for things like coloring pages, the extra sound files, and the timelines. Speaking of the timelines, the thing I like the best regarding them is that there are different versions available. You may choose to print out the fully filled in timelines (perfect for some of my kiddos), or the partially filled in (allowing your kids to fill in the rest), or the blank ones, so that your more advanced kids may fill them in from memory or by looking them up.

Here’s the best thing, as far as I am concerned . . . while there are Bible verses throughout for the kids to read and/or memorize, only the reference is given. The verse is not written out in the text (or at least, I haven’t come across any which are as yet), which means no matter what version of the Bible you use (we are a King James only family), you need to get your actual Bible out and LOOK UP THE VERSE FOR YOURSELF! I LIKE that! There is no reason any child who can read cannot learn to look up verses, and too many of us, especially in curriculum, become lazy and just let the text we are learning from do it for us.

What we don’t care for:

Most of the activities are simply things we rarely bother with. We will probably do some of the cooking ones, but I don’t see my kids making paper canoes and such, for example, or a teepee in the house. However, as some of my friends would remind me, that’s mostly because “I” don’t like the mess involved, so, maybe if not for that, my kids WOULD do them. Maybe “I” need to loosen up a little bit on this one, LOL!

All in all, for my kids, I do enjoy this curriculum, and am pleased that it is digital, allowing me to print as many copies of things as needed for my kids. Although it is designed as a 30 week curriculum, I’m quite sure that we will take considerably longer. We very likely didn’t get as far as other reviewers, because with four special needs boys, I do tend to go much slower when it comes to working our way through curriculum. But that’s OK. In MY opinion, it’s one of the beauties of homeschooling, the fact that you do not have to do things in a specific way or time frame. 🙂

To check out Golden Prairie Press on social media, please go to:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoldenPrairiePress

Please always remember always that my opinion is just that, and there are many other crew members reviewing the same product. I encourage you to click the graphic below, and go check out there reviews as well!
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Philippians In 28 Weeks . . .A T.O.S. Review

I have been blessed to have another opportunity to review a product from the Home School Adventure Co..

I received a pdf copy of Philippians In 28 Weeks “Love Him With All Your Mind” with Reflection Journal, written by Stacey Farrell.

This book is available in the ESV or the KJV version. As most of my regular readers have already guessed, I chose the KJV version.

Stacey Farrell has devised a very simple way of learning (memorizing) Philippians, although I made it harder than it needed to be at first, lol!

The ages this book is meant to work for are:

Read aloud and discussion as a family: ages 9-11

family discussion and/or parental/teacher guidance, ages 12 and up

Most high School age students should be able to handle this book on their own.

Philippians In 28 Weeks is available as a complete print edition, in either ESV or KJV, for $28.95. The ESV version is also available as a complete e-book for $14.95, while the ESV Memory Cards e-book is available for $9.95.

Stacey has set out five steps to memorizing the book of Philippians:

1. Read the book of Philippians every day.
2. Record your insights in the journal she provides in the book.
3. Repeat your current week’s verses daily.
4. Review and recite from memory.
5. Retain what you have memorized, by reciting your verses at the start of the week, before beginning a new card.

Stacey has provided a very nice log within the book, so that you can keep yourself accountable for keeping up with your study, along with a very nice set of printable cards which have all of the verses to memorize for each week. They are meant to be printed out with the verses on one side and a picture on the other side, but I would prefer not to use all that ink, so only print out the verse side. Also, I have never really cared for the “what everyone thinks Jesus looks like” picture that is used for either the cover of the book or the cards.

I had intended to do this with my boys, but truly over-estimated what they could handle at this time. This is the time of the year when they are memorizing scripture for several different groups within our church, and they just couldn’t manage anymore without falling apart. Therefore, while I will definitely save this for use with the boys later (perhaps during the summer?), I thought it best to at this time, try to do this one on my own. Even so, it ended up being more difficult than I thought it would, but that is NOT the fault of the book, or the author. I have been battling health issues for several weeks, and just as it seemed to be getting better, and I began working on this, it hit back with a vengeance!

However, I really, really love this system! And especially with the things I’ve been dealing with, Philippians is the perfect book for me to work through, so I will be persevering, and I will finish it. I know now that for me, it WILL take longer than 28 weeks, but even so, it is worth it, because I think having verses from Philippians automatically come to me when I need them will be a wonderful help to me during difficult times. I will continue on, even if I need to maybe take TWO weeks for each one week section. I think Stacey Farrell has come up with yet another winner, and I hope she does many more titles for the Homeschool Adventure Co. 🙂

Please, do check out the Homeschool Adventure Co. on the following social media links:

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To read what other Review Crew Members thought of Philippians In 28 Days, along with other products from the Homeschool Adventure Co., please click the graphic below.
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Weekly Wrap-Up . . . Education for MOM! :-)

So, I have been exploring this thing called Zentangle for a little while now. When I first discovered it online, and read all the stories of people it was really helping in areas of relaxation, anxiety, even physical issues like shaky hands due to Parkinsons and other things, I knew I had to try it. Besides, it’s really, really beautiful, and you don’t even have to be an artist or have an art background to do it! I had been trying to learn what I could, from books and the internet. One favorite site is Tanglepatterns, which has an index of many, many patterns, complete with step-outs to show how to draw them.

This past weekend, I went to my very first Zentangle class with two Certified Zentangle Teachers. It was AWESOME! We learned ten different tangle patterns, and used them to make two zentangle tiles.

Here’s my first one, using patterns crescent moon, hollibaugh, printemps, static, and tipple.
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During the second half of the class, we learned five more patterns, and made a tile using florz, hibred, ‘nzeppel, pokeroot and pokeleaf. Here is mine . . .
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In both sessions, we also learned about aura-ing on some patterns, and how to shade to give our tiles dimension.

One of our teachers, Dennie York, has posted all of the tiles the class made on her blog dentangles. Go give it a look, and check out the rest of her blog too, it’s just become one of my favorites! 🙂

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Filed under education, home education, just me, Weekly Wrap-Up, Zentangle

Weekly Wrap Up . . . More Drama!

As I told you last time I did a wrap up, “Mr. Loquacious” has had a chronic nosebleed problem. Since the Sunday night when he blacked out at church, he’s had a number of new nose bleeds, and so this morning had an 8;00 appointment with the specialist. Well, he will next be having surgery to hopefully correct the problem. Of course, he is very unhappy about this. 😦 Now, we wait for the surgery scheduler to call, and the earliest he can have it will probably be in May.

Other than that, this past week has been slow and easy with homeschooling. We did some science experiments from Supercharged Science, those who are in piano lessons did daily practice, and we’re working on a history curriculum that is an upcoming review. Plus, our homeschool co-op at church had the end of the year creativity fair Friday night, so the two youngest, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” participated in that while “The Batman” and “The Artist” were at a youth group activity that was a pirate theme murder mystery party. Pictures will be coming in a post very soon! 🙂

Hope this week will be a bit simpler to deal with!

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Filed under education, family, home education, Home-school Group, Homeschool Group Monthly Activity, Kids, Weekly Wrap-Up