Category Archives: home education

Matific Galaxy {Our Review}

Matific Galaxy is an online math resource that provides fun activities for learning or practicing math skills such as counting, ordering, addition, and subtraction. We were given this online program for the purpose of this review, and “The Puzzler” has been enthusiastically using it ever since. I can honestly state that he really, really likes it!

Matific 1

“The Puzzler” has learning disabilities, particularly when it comes to math. While he can count his 0ne dollar bills and pennies, he cannot count money beyond that, so after looking at the skills per grade,

Matific 4

I went with K, because as I said, math is where he struggles the most, not matter how hard we’ve worked with him. If the time comes that he’s getting beyond this level, it is a very easy option to change where I have him set.

Matific 5

You really CAN easily see their progress from the parent zone of this site! Here is one of the progress reports I have been able to see . . .

Matific 3

As you can see, *I* need some more practice though, in doing screen shots! But this is just one of the screens in a long page of results.

One of the things we like is that the lessons are very short, which works well with the short attention spans I deal with around here. At the same time, even though I told him to use this at least 15 minutes 3 times per week, “The Puzzler” regularly went longer, AND asked me to log into my laptop so that he could play Matific Galaxy at additional

As he goes along, “The Puzzler” can check his own achievements, without waiting for me.

Matific 2

“The Puzzler,” working in different lessons.

Here he is in an activity he didn’t care for, he said it was hard to draw the numbers with the mouse. The number he drew is at the very left, almost out of view, and he’s about to do one in the upcoming blank square.

Matific 8

One of the reasons I think that this program is one that he is frequently wanting to use is that it has the feel of a video game, wherein he must complete each section befor he can as my boys put it, “Level up!” This means, until he is ready to move on, he cannot level up, so he is learning all the time. We limit the boys to one hour each per day on video games, so I’m thinking this was to him, a legitimate way of getting around the time limit! Because “it’s SCHOOL, Mom!” Well, I’m totally OK with that!

I really am happy that we were chosen to review Matific Galaxy! I think you should go and check it out!

Please, click on the banner below to read what 49 other fair and honest crew members think of Matific Galaxy. I bet you’ll like what they have to say!

Grow Your Math Skills with Matific Galaxy {Matific Galaxy Reviews}Crew-DisclaimerAs always, I would just love it if you would join me in all of “My Journeys Through Life.” Just go to the subscription box at the top of the blog and enter your email information. After that, you will always know when there is something new happening. I hope to see you here very soon! -)

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Filed under educational games, home education, Homeschool Math, Math Games, Matific Galaxy

Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner 2019/2020: My Review

If you looking for a planner to help with your homeschool organization that comes with encouragement for the homeschooling mama, then I think you should check out the Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20  Year with devotions written by Gena Suarez and published by The Old Schoolhouse®.
Hey Mama
This is a very sturdy, soft cover planner. I really do not see it falling apart as so many do. With a beautiful, laminated cover, thick pages preventing bleed through and a spiral binding so it will lay flat make the physical aspect of the Hey Mama! planner so nice. The only change I would make would be to make it top bound, because I am left handed.
Now the inside! The inside is where all of the magic happens! When you first open this planner, there is a letter from the author Gena Suarez, encouraging you to be a student of the Word as you walk this homeschooling journey. As you will see throughout, Gena is an encouragement all the way!
One of my favorite things was finding out on the copyright page that all of the scripture used in the Hey Mama! planner is taken from the King James Version of the Bible. My regular readers know how very important this is to my family. 🙂
This 188 page book has forms for what seems like pretty much everything a homeschooling mama will need to keep track of the homeschool year for up to five (yes, I said five!) children. There are forms for:
  • Academic Transcript (along with a page to teach you how to do so.)
  • Checklist and skills learned
  • Other Courses
  • Calendars for 2019 through 2021
  • Monthly Calendars
  • Weekly Planners

There are sections for each child which have pages to cover:

  • Notes
  • Curriculum Planning
  • Attendance
  • Books Read This Year
  • Yearly Goals
  • First semester Goals
  • Second semester Goals

And scattered throughout this book are my favorite, 21 devotionals just for us, written by the author Gena Suarez. I could read a whole book of just her devotionals, one per day! Here I am, with the one about joy, which is something I have struggled with for a while.

Now, this planner doesn’t actually begin until July, but I have started writing in summer activities my son has with the teen group at church, such as camp, for example.

Hey Mama 2

As the year goes on, this planner will be great for not just academic stuff, but for church activities, family trips, park days and so on. I highly recommend the Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/2020 year! Now, only a limited number of planners have been printed and they are nearly 98% sold out, so I would advise that if this is something you feel would be great for your homeschool that you don’t delay!

82 Homeschool Review Crew Members got to test out a copy of the Hey Mama! planner, and they would love to have you read their thoughts! Please, click the banner just below and check them out!
Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year {The Old Schoolhouse® Reviews}
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As always, I would just love it if you would join me in all of “My Journeys Through Life.” Just go to the subscription box at the top of the blog and enter your email information. After that, you will always know when there is something new happening. I hope to see you here very soon! -)

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Filed under Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner, home education, Homeschool planner, Homeschool planning, The Old Schoolhouse

Make-A-State Activity-Pak From Home School In The Woods {Review}

Adding in the Make-A-State Lap Book from Home School in the Woods‘sHands-on History Activity-Paks series has been the perfect hands-on addition for our studies. We have reviewed other products from Home School In The Woods, and you can read those reviews here.

We have been wanting to learn about all of the states we touched on during our big move from Michigan to New Mexico, so we chose to begin with Michigan, since we were all born and raised there.

HSITW MI 5

We like the Hands-on History Activity-Paks because while they are Lap Books, they are not HUGE Lap Books. This works for us because we deal with short attention spans around here.

The Make-A-State Activity-Paks come in more than just the Make-A-State Lap Book. Also available in this category are:

  • Artists
  • Composers
  • The Old Testament
  • The New Testament

Each Activity-Pak is available for download at the price of just $18.95. This is an excellent price, as it gives you the opportunity to print as many copies as you need for your children, to re-use it when younger children are ready, and in my case, to re-print pages that got messed up for whatever reason

Before “The Artist” began the Michigan Make-A-State Activity-Pak, I got out the file folder (only one!) he would need. I then printed out the pages showing the placement of everything in the Lap Book. Then, I printed out the pages which told, in order and with small pictures, which activities to do and in what order. I used THAT to tell me which pages to print out for him. I also let him into my paper crafting stash to choose what color card stock he wanted to use for the two inside pages of his Lap Book.

Once everything was printed and contained in the folder, I had “The Artist” begin doing the projects.

Having never been really successful with using glue sticks on Lap Books, one of the supplies we keep on hand is double-sided tape. Other supplies you may want to have on hand (and probably already do, if you are a home schooling family) are colored pencils, crayons, scissors, regular pencils, printer paper and card stock.

This Activity-Pak has 20 activities to create for your Lap Book:

  • Key State Facts
  • Origin Of State Name
  • State Motto
  • State Symbols
  • State Song
  • State Industry / Agriculture / Climate
  • State Wildlife
  • Regions
  • State Geography
  • State Government
  • State Seal & Flag
  • State History

And more!There also some bonus pages:

  • State Pages to help with some information for your chosen state (though it will still be necessary to research information which is not included)
  • A Name That State file folder game to print out, assemble and play.

Even though all the people in our immediate family were born and raised in Michigan, there ended up being things we either did not remember, or just didn’t know. I just asked “The Artist” about that and he says that he only knew (without looking it up) one famous person from Michigan, didn’t know much in the Industry / Agriculture / Climate section, or what the state seal looks like. So, even if you elect to study the state you live in, you might be surprised at how much you will learn!

Here is “The Artist” showing me page by page, his lap Book.

Home School In The Woods is a hands-on history company, with multiple product lines which are as follows:

Project Passport: Ancient Rome study has been release ahead of schedule, and is now available for download here. The now complete Project Passport collection is available here.

To read 89 additional reviews written by my fellow crew members about many of the products from  Home School In The Woods, please click on the banner just below.

Hands-on-History, Project Passport, À La Carte Timelines and Time Travelers {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

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As always, I would just love it if you would join me in all of “My Journeys Through Life.” Just go to the subscription box at the top of the blog and enter your email information. After that, you will always know when there is something new happening. I hope to see you here very soon! -)

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Learning About Science From WriteBonnieRose {Review}

We like to add fun subjects like science to our summer studies so I was excited to receive Learning About Science Collection, Level 3 (Cursive) from  WriteBonnieRose!

I have done one other review of a WriteBonnieRose publication, you can read it here.

“The Artist” is my most enthusiastic science kid, so I was certain he would enjoy doing Level 3 of the Learning About Science Collection. I let him look over the options once we received our download for the purpose of this review, and he decided he wanted to begin with Life Science: “What’s Going On Inside Plants?’

Other topics in this series include:

  • Earth Science, Discovering Rocks, Minerals & Crystals
  • Physical Science, Energy And It’s Many Forms
  • Earth Science, Exploring The Earth’s Land forms
  • Earth Science, forecasting & understanding the Weather
  • Life Science, Kinds of Animals & How They Live
  • Life Science, Life in the Oceans Hidden Zones

Also included in our download is a four page pdf with a goodly amount of categorized web links to add in when we want to find out more in a given topic.

Each one of the “workbooks” from WriteBonnieRose is around 20 pages in length. They can be printed out and used as worksheets, bound together as a book, or simple stapled in a top corner, as we did. Eventually, we will remove the staples, and then either 3-hole punch to put all together in a notebook or maybe I will take them to be spiral bound as a complete book.

As I said above, “The Artist” was interested in starting with “What’s Going On Inside Plants?” workbook. I am very impressed at what he was able to learn that he didn’t already know from it! A few evenings ago, for some reason the topic of fungi came up at supper (you just never know what you will be discussing at supper when you have a bunch of boys! 🙂 ) I said that i thought maybe moss was a fungus, and “The Artist” immediately said no, moss is a non-vascular plant. When I asked him how he knew this, he said “I learned it from WriteBonnieRose! Here is the page that he was referring to:

Bonnie Rose 3

Here is the cover of the workbook “The Artist” has been focusing on:

Bonnie Rose Cover

I did manage to get one picture when he was actually working on, and coloring the workbook pages:

Bonnie Rose 2

One thing we really appreciate is that these are labeled as “levels,” as opposed to grades. My kids are age-wise older than the third grade, but they have different levels of abilities depending on their individual delays. This was perfect for “The Artist,” because he loves science, and he absolutely prefers to learn in bite sized chunks.

Write Bonnie Rose

Bonnie Rose is a writer. She was never homeschooled, and never had any children. She ended up writing for the homeschool community because she loves children, and is a supporter of homeschooling. Another author suggested that she go to a homeschool convention, where she picked up a free copy of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. She ended up volunteering to write for Schoolteachers.com, an educational website developed by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

Bonnie Rose is an excellent writer of educational materials, and I very much recommend her!

To read about what my fellow crew members think about this and other levels of Learning About Science Collection, please click on the banner just below!

Learning About Science collections {WriteBonnieRose Reviews} 

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As always, I would just love it if you would join me in all of “My Journeys Through Life.” Just go to the subscription box at the top of the blog and enter your email information. After that, you will always know when there is something new happening. I hope to see you here very soon! -)

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Filed under Bonnie Rose, home education, Homeschool Science Curriculum, homeschooling, Homeschooling Science

GPA LEARN: A T.O.S. Review

We have been using the online math program called GPALOVEMATH from GPA LEARN.

Full disclosure time… as most people who know me well are aware, I am NOT a math person. In fact, as soon as I had enough math credit to graduate when in high school, I never took a math class again. I would really like this to be different for my kiddos, though, so I was pleased to see how great GPALOVEMATH turned out to be!

I have four kids, and so far, three of them have been using this program, and enjoying it! I mean, even asking to do more of it, though I expect that has a lot to do with the motivational feature, which I will talk about a little later.

GPALOVEMATH is, as I said above, a web based program which covers grades from Kindergarten through fifth. I currently have kids working in grade 1, grade 1, and grade 3, but one of our twins “Mr. Loquacious” is finding it too easy and asked to be bumped up a grade, as did “The Artist”, who is deficient in math, but is finding this time around that 3rd grade is too easy. “The Puzzler” needs help in the first grade level, so he’ll stay there for now. One of the nice things though, is that I CAN change the grade level they are in, by myself, as opposed to having to ask the company GPA LEARN to do it for me.

One of the things that my kids like for any homeschool program is having it be interactive. This one is! Each grade level has a learning coach who interacts with the student. In the levels we’ve been using, first grade has an Australian penguin who’s name is PI, and in the third grade level, the learning coach is a robot named Abacus.

GPALOVEMATH is set up so that I can log in as myself and have access to each of my kids’ information. I can test drive anything they have coming up, and I can set up surprise rewards for them, which they earn after a certain number of lessons and quizzes are completed, depending on how many rewards I’ve chosen. I didn’t tell them about it, so when it happened, they were thrilled, and as I said up above, started asking for more time on the program, lol! Not only can they earn my rewards, but there are awards set up by GPALOVEMATH which they may work toward when available, such as ecards for places like Toys R Us and Target.

Regardless of which grade my kids are using, they will have over 150 lessons and 10,000 problems. In each lesson, they begin with instruction, then they practice the concept, and finally, move on to the quiz. I think the practice session is especially beneficial to my twins. When they finish a lesson, the program tells them how they did, and they can see how many points they have built up to that point. If they are working toward a specific thing, such as one of the ecards, the program will tell them how many more points they need to reach it. I like that, it’s motivational, and MAY help them develop more patience. 🙂

I had occasion to phone tech support at GPA LEARN, and was extremely pleased! “Mr. Loquacious” was having a problem with the final problem on a quiz, and even I couldn’t do it. It called for typing a number into a space. Neither of us could do it, and when I tried to send through the feedback button at the bottom, I couldn’t type into that either. Finally, I gave up and called for support, where a very nice man named Darryn answered. He and a coder named Chad spent a bunch of time trying to help me figure it out, and we just couldn’t do it. He took down my phone number and promised to call me back. Well, in probably 15 minutes, they did, in fact call back. They had me log in as me, and test drive the quiz to see if we could recreate the problem. It still didn’t work. After all of that time, we finally figured out that I had not been using Chrome, which is the browser that works best for this program. *I* felt completely stupid, but Darryn and Chad assured me that this is what they are there for, and I was doing fine. 🙂

We really like GPALOVEMATH, and would very highly recommend it.

You can have access to all 6 levels for one child at the cost of $149 for the year or $12.99/month. For a limited time, it is available at $129 with code GPAINTRO15.

Please check out GPA Learn via their social media:

Social Media:
http://www.facebook.com/gpalearn
http://www.twitter.com/gpalearn
http://www.pinterest.com/gpalearn

GPA Learn Review
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Digital Science Online: Visual Learning Systems (My Review)

My four boys and I have been having lots of fun using Visual Learning Systems as a group for a little over a month. We received a subscription to both the Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5) and the Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12)

The Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5), is divided into two sections. One is primary, which would be the grade K through 2 collection. This included well over 50 units of study, contained within the following subjects: physical, earth, life, and health. This is a great section if your children are in that age/grade range, there are tons of beautiful videos, animations, photos, and activity sheets, etc.

WE did not use this section, because my kids were beyond it, for the most part, but I really wanted you to know that it is there, and that it’s GOOD.

We HAVE been using the elementary a lot, because, frankly, I thought it was the best way for us to work as a group, something which many of my readers know that we enjoy doing. The elementary section of Digital Science Online has subjects like physical, earth, and life, with subtopics or units within them. As with the Primary section, there are lovely, well made videos, animations, photos, worksheets, and hands on activities in some areas. It’s meant for grades 3 through 5.

We have, for the most part, enjoyed this, except for having to crowd around one computer (something I will also address a little later). It was very impressive how, when we would choose a subject, there would then be a list of sub-topics within that subject, effectively giving us a unit study, already all organized for us! The reason I like this aspect so much is that all four of my boys really, really enjoy watching science and nature programs on television. The problem with that though, is it’s hard to put together a group of programs at the same time which would work together as a topical unit.

Eventually, though, with the exception of “The Puzzler”, the boys really wanted to have a go at the higher level, which I’ll talk about in a bit, because truthfully, I thought only “The Artist” would be able to handle the Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12).

How wrong I was!

As I mentioned back at the beginning of this review, we were also given access to the Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12).

The Secondary Edition has considerably more units of study, with a great number of sub-topics. My kids liked the longer videos, which, once again, I must complement. They are quite beautiful.

I have asked them to stay away from some sections of the biology units, after they pointed them out and said they didn’t think they should look at them. I was very proud of them for this actually, as it shows they have been listening to us and to their teachers at church when we discuss what is or is not appropriate for them.

There are also areas in which evolution is used as a given, where we believe, and teach, from a Creation world view. It was very interesting, however, to listen to everyone of our boys, at different times while watching different sections, saying things like “That’s not true, there’s no millions of years” or “Evolution isn’t real, we know that”. 🙂

The Secondary Edition also has worksheets and such, but these are really beyond any of my boys other than “The Artist”. I DO find that “The Batman” and “Mr. Loquacious” can do a lot of them orally, though.

AS I told you above, I really thought it would be better to use this program as a group, because as often as possible, I prefer it when we can do that. This DID work, for a while, but lo and behold, just today, they asked me two questions:

Will this work on our tablets?
Can we do it separately so we can choose our own topics?

Well, guess what, it works on the tablets! I hadn’t even tried, because I’m used to things like this being mostly for iPads, which we do not have. WE have Android Tablets. SO, I told them I would try it on mine first to check, and if so, we’d see if it would work on theirs. It did! 🙂 Since I had never actually set up separate student accounts because *I* wanted this to be a group learning thing I thought my kids would love to do this together, I chose to call customer support, given that I had forgotten how to set up separate log ins. Guess what found out? Well, while yes, I CAN do that, I don’t HAVE to! They can all log in using the information I used for the one log in, and they can all do it at the same time, on their own tablets or a computer. YAY! The customer service is wonderful. The first person I spoke with was named Louise, and the second was Emily, because they handle different aspects within the company.

One of the reasons I was so pleased to discover that this could be used on their tablets, all at the same time, and that they could be doing different subjects at the same time, as well, is that now, we don’t have to have a “discussion” about what we will learn about “today”. Being able to use the tablets in this way is a definite plus as well for the family who travels, because their children will be able to take this beautiful program along, and learn science their way. It would be great if you’re staying somewhere with provided wifi, and much better than spending all your in room time just watching television.

ALL in all, we really, really like this program. I even had one child come back inside from playing to ask if he could do some more science on his tablet! What better rating is there than that, right?

Want to see what my fellow Crew members think of Digital SCience Online? Just click on the banner right below!

Visual Learning Systems Review

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Filed under education, family, home education, homeschool products, homeschooling, Homeschooling Science, Kids, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post

Who invented the term “Stay At Home Mom”?

I am a full-time wife, homemaker and mom. I am NOT, however, a “Stay At Home Mom”, who sits around doing nothing. In fact, I don’t know too many moms who are, especially if we are also homeschooling moms. Let’s see, just today, we had to go into the next town to pick up a written prescription at the doctor’s office, then drop it off at the pharmacy.

We then went over to a friend from our church to pick up some things that the boys had left at their house yesterday while she kept them for us so that my husband could go out for the day for my birthday.

We did our piano practice, we undecorated the Christmas tree so that my husband could take it down and put it away, and packed up the other decorations I had put out.

We are preparing to get back to homeschooling, now that Christmas and my birthday are done, and I’ve been picked for my first crew review for 2015.

Let’s see, what else? We have church on Wednesday evenings, so we needed to make sure that everyone was cleaned up and ready to go, that supper was ready early enough to eat and get there on time, and that my boys who are in the teen class had all of their materials ready that they are to turn in on Wednesday night.

Then, we were notified by the pharmacy that we couldn’t pick up the prescription, that the insurance company was refusing it. Well, the child who needed it is completely out, and needs it for tomorrow, so I finally called the pharmacy. Turned out that they entered it wrong. I got them to re-enter it, and was able to pick it up after church, along with dropping something off to a church member who is sick.

Did I mention laundry? Well, there was laundry (home ec?) to do as well.

We moms who do not work at an outside of the home job, we still work, and we are BUSY! We aren’t (at least, I’m not) sitting around, watching soaps, talking nonstop on the phone and eating bonbons. And guess what? f you’re a mom, whether you work a paying job or not, you are WORKING, and at something very, very important. Don’t stop believing that!

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