For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

5 Days of Hosmeschool Encouragement - Take a Look Tuesday - Grade 8 and 10

On this second day of the Back to School blog hop hosted by the Schoolhouse Review crew blog, I will finally be sharing with you our plans for this coming year.

This year I was later than usual in planning our school year. Like I mentioned yesterday, grade 9 did not go as planned, so I was still getting over the frustration and then we were on Vacation overseas, so waited until we came back earlier this month to work on it.

This year I will have a 10th grader finishing some grade 9 stuff and an 8th grader.

10th grade line up ( with the credit in brackets)

History (1) /Literature (1) /Philosophy (.25)/Bible survey (1):  Tapestry of grace Year 1: Ancient times
We are circling back on our rotation to year 1. This will be Zach' first time doing Ancient Times at the rhetoric level. Looking forward to it. Both his brother and him will still be doing this in a co-op  setting as the past three years.

Math (1 per grade completed): Lifepac.
I switched him last year mid-year, and that set him back half a year, so he is still in the catching mode. So he will be finishing Algebra 1, then on to Algebra 2 and Geometry at the same time, because I am trying to get him ready to take the ACT or ACT (have not decided which one yet).

Logic (1): The Discovery of Deduction
This has been on the schedule for two years, here to hoping it gets done this year

French (1): Duolingo and Breaking the Barrier

Science (1): Ck12 Physical Science

English : The Lantern English Co. Formely SoVerbose.
We are trying out this company, and i was able to secure a free quarter in exchange for a review

Writing (1): Silverdale Press.
We got this as a review last year and liked the content, so we will attempt to complete it this year.

Art History (1): The Master's Apprentice
This is a review item from this year as well that we will seek to complete this year.


He will also still be doing violin and participating in the ensemble he has been part of for 3 years now.


8th grade

Math: Lifepac Algebra I

Science: Ck12-Physical Science

Logic (1): The Discovery of Deduction by Classical Academic Press

Writing : The Lantern English Co. formely SoVerbose.
We are trying out this company, and I was able to secure a free quarter in exchange for a review. They run 8-weeks long courses. He will be doing English IV covering punctuation.

English: Analytical Grammar

History /Literature /Philosophy /Bible survey:  Tapestry of grace Year 1: Ancient times
We are circling back on our rotation to year 1. This will be Johann's' first time doing Ancient Times at the Dialectic level.

French:

Here is another sampling of the blogs participating this week:

Nicole @ Bless Their Hearts Mom
Patti @ Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy
Rebekah @ There Will Be a $5 Charge For Whining
Rodna @ Training Children up for Christ
Stacy @ A Homemakers Heart
Tess @ Circling Through This Life
Wendy @ Life at Rossmont Yvie @ Gypsy Road

Monday, August 20, 2018

5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement - Motivation Monday - On High School

The Schoolhouse Review crew is having a Back to School blog hop this week and the topic is Homeschool Encouragement. I am pretty confident that anyone embarked on this homeschooling journey can use a little encouragement.

Today, Monday, the blog hop kicks off the week with motivational posts. Since I am entering my second year of homeschooling High-school I thought it appropriate to talk about homeschooling the High School years and maybe encourage those dreading it.



First, let me tell you that the high school years are nothing like the preschool or elementary years. I recently read an article on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog talking about the loneliness that comes from homeschooling High school, and I could not agree more with many of the points made there: the weird look when people find out you are homeschool high-school, the changing nature of field-trips, how more expensive it all becomes, the waning away of those precious childhood moments and feelings, and more.

Our grade 9 year did not really go as I had hoped and planned. I had to make changes mid-way and made a few choices that in hindsight were not the best. I was not very happy with the way my son was handling his time, not finishing his assignments, and sometimes not giving his best. Basically it was a very frustrating year for me. This has caused me to many time wonder, should I still be homeschooling, would he not be better in public school? This has caused me to doubt my ability to graduate him and successfully get him ready for college or university.  BUT, deep down there was always this conviction that he was right where he needed to be... that the Lord was doing a work in him and in me...that it will turn out okay in the end.

This whole process caused me to think hard about my reasons for homeschooling high school. Is it because it is cool? Uh no! Is it because it is easier? Certainly not? Is it because I am scared of the outside world? Not really, I think my son's got a pretty good grounding and is secure in his relationship with God. And on top of that, we have a good family relationship and communication going on. So what is it? In addition to answering this question I was also forced to look beyond the academics to the deeper benefits of homeschooling. I have a lot to be thankful for, and a lot to look forward to. On Thursday I will talk about the things I am most thankful for, but for now let me tell you what in the end motivates me to continue on this journey.


First, this is what I believe the Lord gave me to do. I strongly believe in God's mandate for able parents to take on the education of their child. There are so many resources available for us to use, we are not left on our own!

Second, home is the best place for them to be grounded for what the world will throw at them in this ever changing culture. Forging a strong christian worldview takes time. Even though I think my boys have a pretty good foundation, there is till a lot to add and nurture. The rhetoric years have a lot to offer in  preparing teens to be good critics of the world.

Third, home is the best place for them to prepare to be culture changers instead of culture absorbents and consumers. Freedom to explore their gifts and abilities is a big motivator to homeschooling.

Fourth, God has it all in hand. He knows what he has in store for my kids, I just need to do my part and be in prayer for them.

Fifth, this journey is also for the benefit of my growth, as a leader, a planner and a teacher. I need to take on the challenge relying on God's grace and help.

So, all of this to say homeschooling High School is a daunting task, after all it is just your kids' future we are talking about, but I know it is totally doable. I have seen and read about many successful stories, so I know I am not dreaming. If you are contemplating homeshooling high school or are a bit discouraged in the midst of it all, be encouraged and inspired today to keep on if you know that is the path for your family.


Here is a sample of blogs participating in this week's blog hop. Give them a read!
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Margaret @ Creative Madness Mama 
Marla @ Jump Into Genius
Meredith @ Powerline Productions: Being World Changers/Raising World Changers 
Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Missica @ Through The Open Window
Monique @ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling

Friday, August 3, 2018

Code for Teens - TOS Review

In this age of computers and digital life, knowledge of computer language, and how this whole world works can be a real asset for kids to have. Computer programming curriculum abound and deciding on which one to use to expose your child to coding or computer science can be a daunting task  That said, the crew was offered one  for review, and I took the opportunity to give it a try. The curriculum in question is Code for Teens: The Awesome Guide to Programming by Code for Teen.

We received a digital copy of this program so we were not able to benefit fully from all the aspects offered by the program, but it definitely is very appealing. The book is written by a husband and wife team, Jeremy Moritz, a software engineer, and Christine Moritz, an illustrator.


Code for teen teaches kids steps by steps how to write and understand computer language. There are a lot of different computer languages but because Java Script is the most commonly used, this is what Code for teens focuses on. 

As the name suggests, this program is best suited for middle schoolers and high schoolers.. It start at the very beginning and bring them to a level, after 9 chapters, where they can build a game. Each chapter follows the same pattern:
  • Lesson (5-6 pages long at last on my PDF copy)
  • Practice example
  • Quiz
  • Concepts review
  • Drill
  • Aggregate review

The lessons are written in a very friendly an readable way. It is written in a very engaging way that is bound to keep your child's attention. All the answers to the quizzes, drills and reviews are to be found at the back of the book so the child can self-correct himself, since it is supposed to be a self-taught program. In the couple of pages dedicated to parents, at the beginning of the book, they are strictly told to "stay away". The chapters build on each other and the whole program is rigged with so much practice and exercises that parents can be reassured their child will be learning. 

At the end of the book, the student can also find a glossary of terms to help him grasp the concepts taught as well as review them.


I had my soon to be 8th grader give this a try and he thought  it was pretty easy to follow and taught "cool" stuff.

So, if you are looking to expose your child to computer programming, or are just looking for a new one to try, make sure to check Code for Teens. Visit them  on their Facebook page, and check the other crew members' reviews as well.

Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming {Code for Teens Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Bible Study Guide for All Ages - TOS Review

As a christian family, knowing our Bible is of primary importance.So I am often happy to try new curriculum that help accomplish that purpose. One of the most recent items we got to review on the crew is a Bible study curriculum called Bible Study Guide for All Ages. It comes in four different levels, and I requested the Advanced level (5th and 6th grade) o try out with my 7th grader.


What is Bible Study for All Ages? It is a bible curriculum that takes through the whole Bible in three years, teaching kinds about the whole picture of the Bible. Everyone in the family, or in your church can be studying the same Bible story at the same same but at different levels. All the levels come with a teacher's key and students pages. Optionally you can purchased Bible book summary cards as well as a timeline and song CD.

Each child needs to have his copy of the students'pages. I had my 7th grader go through this program. At the advanced level, it is very independent. Everything is there for the child. Each lesson, can take 1-3 day to complete, depending on the child. They each contain:
  • A remember it section: where a important facts from previous lessons are being reviewed.
  • A memory workout: where the kids are encourage to put certain facts to memory. This is where the song CD can come handy.
  • A Guess What section:  the kids are encourage and led to understand better certain facts about the lesson
  • A Time Line: where the kids are led to see where the characters from the story fit in the time line of History
  • An apply It section: where the kids are brought to think deeper, through a set of questions, on the implication and application to their own life of an aspect of what they just learned about.
  • A Discover the Bible section: where the kids dig deeper on the actual facts and events in the Bible Story. It serves as a sort of review.
  • An optional Get Active section: where kids get to be creative, commit to take further  action, work as a group.

What I love about this curriculum is that it goes through the whole Bible. It does study the text and helps the kids go to the Bible itself and reflect upon what they are reading. It is engaging, in that it has lots of activities to do, all relating to the story. It is pretty straight forward. I was not too keen on the physical format of the book itself, as the pages easily detach with use. That said this is a very good option if you are looking for a curriculum that will allow kids to explore the whole Bible and the full story line.


Bible Study Guide For All Ages {Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Master and His Apprentices - TOS Review

In all my 10 years of homeschooling I always have had a hard time including Art in our weekly schedule. I would have these big plans at the beginning of the year, but always fell short of keeping them.

Our team at Schoolhouse Review crew had the chance to review an Art program geared to the high school years or even for adults to benefit from. I jumped on the chance to try it with my soon to be 10th grader. The program in Question is called The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective, and put our by a company by the same name The Master and His Apprentices.

The Master and His Apprentices is written by a homeschool graduate who loves, studied and teaches Art and English. You can read her very inspirational story on the curriculum website. She is very knowledgeable and loves the subject as well as the creator of all Art: God. Her curriculum breathes owe and praises to the author of all Art. In her first chapter she truly makes the reader come away with a new appreciation of the beauty of Art and of its creator.

Throughout the curriculum besides teaching about the development of art throughout History, the main goal of the curriculum is truly to bring the reader to new appreciation of the author of it all. She does a wonderful job in accomplishing this.

The curriculum is available as physical copies as well as digital. They are available on the author's website as well as other book distributors such as Christianbook.com and Rainbow resources. We got the digital version which I was able to put on both my computer and the boys'.
The curriculum comes with a textbook, as well as a teacher's guide which contains a workbook, tests and an answer key. I printed the workbook for my son to work on. If used with a high school student it is designed in such a way that it can count as a full High school credit.

We both found the chapters to be long, but after all this is a high school level program and also geared towards adult. I started reading the chapters with my son and found myself enjoying what I was reading ( I am not much of a Art person). The workbook is quite involved and my son did not find it easy to go through it. Some of the questions as factual (basic recalling of what has been read), some were more subjective and reflective, and some were meant for further thought.

The curriculum takes you through the different times in History after taking the student through an overview of the beauty of Creation in the second chapter. The sections are as follow:
  • Ancient Culture (Ancient Near East, Egyptian, Aegean)
  • Classical Antiquity (Early Greek, Etruscan, Roman)
  • Middle Ages (Early Christian and Byzantine, Medieval and Islamic, Romanesque, Gothic)
  • Renaissance (Proto Renaissance, Early Italian Renaissance, High Italian Renaissance, Northern Renaissance
  • Baroque Era and Beyond
It also includes nice extras such as timelines, charts, pictures, maps, an extended biography and more.

I love how easy to read, colour, and pleasing to read the textbook is. Though the chapters are long (as mentioned earlier - 10-15 pages), Gena really brings you in and captures your attention. Reading the textbook prompted me to highlight stuff, which I encourage my son to do as well, as often time, these were the things asked in the workbook.

One thing to note about this program is that it is written from a young earth perspective. Though I do not necessarily embrace that view ( I am not rejecting it all together either), I think what she has to offer in this Art overview tromps any objection to that bias. It is just that packed-full with valuable Art appreciation concepts and facts
I personally loves this curriculum and am looking forward to use it during the course of the next 4 years in concurrence with our History program, as will starting back with Ancient Times in the Fall.
My son thought that the emphasis on God being the master artist was really cool and that the questions really make you ponder about your views on art and God.

You can find the Master and His Apprentice on both Facebook and Pinterest.

The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective {The Master and His Apprentices Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Silverdale Press - TOS Crew Review


This is my first year homechooling a high schooler. It has not gone quite has planned and one of the subject that I am still working on with my 9th grader is writing. As a boy he did not like writing in the elementary levels and I did not push it until about 5th grade. Now with the high school years upon us, writing has become a must. So, when the chance to review a writing curriculum came up, I took the opportunity to try it out.


Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers is a writing program put out by Silverdale Press LLC, a company dedicated to providing high quality education to homeschooling families, especially for the middle and high school years. Founded by a couple with high credentials (a Ph.D and a lawyer), their goal is to cultivate knowledge and sharpen skills in students.

I was immediately attracted by the fact that they were classical and using the framework of classical rhetoric to teach students persuasive writing, given that our homeschool bent has been classical. I was not disappointed.

Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric is a full high school 36-week curriculum, designed to be used 4-days a week. One of the main emphasis of the curriculum, as is of classical education, is the imitation of great writers. In each chapter of the curriculum the students read a great writer, analyses his writing and then is led to learn from it. Also, at the beginning of the curriculum, the students are encouraged to make a list of 10 books to read over the course of the program to widen their exposure to good writing as well as their knowledge base so as to have content to engage and write about. My son got actually excited bout picking up the books.



The curriculum comes with a textbook, a reader, which contains all the reading selections, a workbook, and an answer book for the teacher. I like that the curriculum can be done by the student independently. It is done workbook style, but the questions are both factual as well as thought provoking. I like how it forces the students to truly understand what they read as well as see how the writing itself contributes to the power and effectiveness of what was written. It is very cleaver. My son is not a quick thinker (he likes to take his time) and I had to really push him to look at the text more carefully instead of the surface.


Another important aspect of the curriculum is the practice. The student is asked to write a 500 words essay with a given prompt at the end of each chapter. The idea is that you learn best by not only exposure and study of good writing but by constant practice.

As soon as we got the curriculum we dived into it. I printed the workbook and made sure my son had the textbook and reader on his computer. My son had trouble with completing the essays, but I encouraged him to push through and keep working on them. Some topics inspired him better than others.

I personally like the selections that they put together in the reader. It includes:

  • Winston Churchill
  • Jane Austen
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • JFK
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Augustine
The way the curriculum teaches writing is somewhat different than traditional curriculum. It takes the student on a journey to discovering what makes good persuasive writing good. As mentioned earlier one of the means is through imitation and study or great writings, the other mean is through a careful, systematic teaching of what constitutes or makes good writing. They take the student through an understanding of how one can have a good topic, how to arrange one's arguments, what good arguments are and how to be ready to defend one's position.

I really like that the last few chapters cover style, punctuation, and the aesthetic of good writing.

I am looking forward to finishing this curriculum with my son. It really looks promising to me. Bonus is that my son does not mind it at all except for the essay every week.

Makes sure to check the other crew members' review as some got to try out their study guides.



Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers & White House Holidays Unit Studies {Silverdale Press LLC Reviews}





Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary from The Critical Thinking Co. - TOS Review

If you love logic and critical thinking and want to impart that to your children, The Critical Thinking Co. has been in the business of doing that for years. I have been homeschooling for 9 years and I have always heard of them, and always in a positive way. I myself have used some of their products and have not been disappointed in them. So it was natural for me to ask for one of them again and it came up for review. This time a lot of the choices were totally new products to me and they look quite intriguing. I opted to give Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary Book 1 a try. It comes both as a physical book and an ebook. We received the e-book version.

Critical Thinking Detective™ – Vocabulary Book 1
Critical thinking is an essential skills to develop. Including logic and critical thinking in our curriculum every year has been a priority of ours since we started homeschooling. Now that my boys are in 9th and 8th grade the kind of logic books we use has changed a bit. With kids in Middle School and High School you want challenging but still fun books, and if it can do double duty even better. This is what you get with the higher grade selections from The Critical Thinking Co.

I am planning for my son to take the SAT and one of the things he need to be good at is vocabulary. So, what best way to hit two birds with a stone than to go through a book that allows you to practice critical thinking and at the same team enhance your vocabulary.

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary did not fail. What this book is is a collection of mysteries that your child has to solve. The trick is that the setting and the clues use vocabulary that your child most likely do not know. This forces him to have to look for their meanings in a dictionary.


This particular book contains 12 mysteries where you have to figure out who is guilty based on series of clues. The child the has to understand what is being said and analyze the clue to deduct who the culprit is. After each mystery, you are then suppose to work through a worksheet where your child can practice the words he just learned. This is the part that my son had a hard time with. He was able to solve the mysteries quite easily, but when it came time to fill the worksheet, he had troubles. Actually, when I tried it myself I found it quite challenging. The worksheet is a fill in the blank kind where you need to figure out which of the new word (18-15 words listed at the top) fits in the sentence. It was also confusing that there were more words listed than needed in the worksheet. Even with having to look up words, the whole process is not overly long, about 1/2 hour max. My son preferred to do the mystery on one day and the worksheet on another day. I discovered a couple mysteries in that you could fill in the worksheet right on the screen, but I son still preferred to print them. And, thank goodness, all the answers are at the back! I certainly needed that.



Geared toward kids grade 5-12, Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary is engaging, colourful and right up what you expect coming from The Critical Thinking Company. It can be done independently, but kids on the younger spectrum might need coaching. The only objection I have is that it only works on Windows computer, given that my boys use  Mac. They had to do the work on my computer. All in all I would definitely recommend this book for vocabulary enhancement which doubles up as critical thinking practice. Some kids, like my 7th grader may not like the tedious side of having to look words over, but some might thrive on it. My 14 year old who likes to use big words is actually enjoying learning new words.

The Critical Thinking Co has a wonderful and wide array of products for you to check out. For you crew readers they have a couple of offers:

  • Free Shipping + 15% Off Any Size Order! Use Coupon Code: TOSCREW18. Expires 12/31/2018.


Critical Thinking, Understanding Math & Vocabulary {The Critical Thinking Co.™ Reviews}

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