Friday, April 21, 2017

Notgrass History: Exploring America


Oh my goodness, I am super excited to tell you about Notgrass History!! "Notgrass History curriculum uses narrative lessons, primary source documents, historical novels and biographies, and hands-on activities to create engaging learning experiences."

Started by the Notgrass family in 1999, they produce courses for Middle School and High School centered around God's Word. 

We received Exploring America, an American history high school curriculum. This set is simply amazing but I don't want to give anything away, so you will have to wait until my review toward the end of May. 




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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Homeschooling Support


Before homeschooling even becomes a reality, I think it is so important to have the support of your friends, family, and community!

Start with your family first


Discuss it with your spouse.  What are your goals?  Are they in agreement?  Make a plan.  Will he or she help with teaching?  Are the children on board?  Are they excited?  Do you have the support of the grandparents?  Will they have a role?

For us, homeschooling was something we started considering when our daughter was about three years old.  It didn't really become a reality until she stayed home for Kindergarten and was only official when she didn't enroll in First Grade.  Hubby and I knew that this was the right move for her at the time and we were both in agreement.  Staying home indefinitely would be hard financially, but it was on our radar since she was about three, so we saved up.

The grandparents on the other hand, weren't quite as sure.  Homeschooling was new and never attempted in either family.  I'm sure it didn't make sense to them at the time.  Both had questions and weren't quite sure she would get the same kind of education as if she were in school.  It took some time for them to understand our decision and become comfortable with it {and that's really all you can hope for}.

Find a local support group


Search online for a support group in your area and get involved.  Facebook is a great place to start. Finding a well rounded and thriving support group will help you more than you know.

When our daughter was three we joined a local homeschooling group which just happened to have a preschool subgroup.  Her and I both met some wonderful families that we are still friends with now over 10 years later.  I had so many questions back then and it was helpful to talk with moms who could steer me in the right direction.  By the time she was "official", it was a breeze.

From that small group, we started a local Facebook group that currently has more than 400 families.  Inclusion in the group is by invite only and all new members have to be currently homeschooling school aged children and local to the area.  Any member can start an activity or smaller group and we have been able to become involved in many things we otherwise would not have been.  Oh, and the online support and encouragement is AMAZING!!  

If you aren't having any luck finding a local group, try searching for your state on Homeschool World.  This is the most comprehensive site I have found but you could always just Google homeschool groups in your city or state.

Join a Co-op


Sometimes it's just easier for everyone when you have a group you are meeting with on a regular basis for accountability.  A cooperative, or co-op, is an autonomous association of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual, social, economic, and cultural benefit.  Co-ops come in all shapes and sizes and finding the right one for your family is important.

We've been involved in many co-ops over the years.  Some which have included core subjects like math and history and others that just covered things like nature study and art.  Sometimes it takes trying one out to see if it is a good fit.  We have been involved with Classical Conversations for her 7th and 8th grades years.


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So there you go! I think having a good support system is so important! For other homeschooling questions, take a look at these Homeschool FAQs.



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Monday, April 17, 2017

Roman Roads Media: Classical Rhetoric

Another company that I am anxious to tell you about is Roman Roads Media. They are classical Christian publishers, "with the goal of making high quality curriculum accessible, affordable, and flexible for the Christian homeschooler."

Roman Roads Media was founded in 2011 from the love of classical education and the desire to publish material for the homeschooler. 

I will be reviewing Fitting Words | Classical Rhetoric for the Christian Student. 


Look for my review around the middle of May. 



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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

IEW U.S. History-Based Writing

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I am excited to share with you the reviews that I will have coming up over the next couple months.

The next company that I'm excited to tell you about is the Institute for Excellence in Writing or IEW. The mission of IEW is "to equip teachers and teaching parents with methods and materials which will aid them in training their students to become confident and competent communicators and thinkers."

IEW offers curriculum for children K-12, college students, special needs, English Language Learners, and Professional Development.

I am thrilled to be reviewing the U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons.


Look for my reviews around the end of April to the beginning of May. 



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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Homeschool FAQs


I usually tell people I've been homeschooling our daughter since birth. Officially though, accorging to our county, I've homeschooled her since she was six. But I think the first curriculum I purchased was when she was three...so we can go with that. She turns 14 next month so I've been at it for about 11 YEARS!!  Ekk!  

That's 11 years of homeschool groups, individual curriculum, boxed curriculum sets, co-ops, playgroups, activities, programs, testing, evaluations, sports, online classes, and more.

Some years we joined outside groups and some years we didn't. Some years we tested and some years we had her portfolio evaluated. That's the wonderful thing about homeschooling...YOU decide what is best for your children. Every year is a surprise.

So, here are some frequently asked questions that I have received over the years about homeschooling. 


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What about socialization?

This is honestly the most absurd question I get and probably the most frequently asked over the years.  The mainstream thinking is that if you don't send your child to a brick and mortar school with 30 other kids in each class, all day long, they are not socialized. I was especially asked this question since I have an only child. Of course those who know her personally, know she is very well rounded. Homeschool children have an abundance of opportunities to interact with, not only children their same age, but children of all ages, as well as adults. There are so many opportunities for homeschool families now, it can be overwhelming choosing the right one. So, yeah, she's pretty socialized. ;)

I don't have the patience to homeschool, how do you do it?

Honestly, some days I feel like I don't have the patience either. A child who is in 2nd grade math and one in 8th grade math may have different struggles, but the struggles are still there. The technique I used last week no longer works this week. She got it and then she didn't. Bad attitude yesterday and lovely smiles today. Sometimes I just need to take a deep breath, walk away, and pray. But it's so worth it for the times she finally gets it!  The days she doesn't get any wrong or the special times we are just sitting and learning together. The days, weeks, and years are flying by and I've enjoyed every moment of them!

Is homeschooling legal?

Yes!  Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states BUT you must follow the homeschooling guidelines in your state. Click for current homeschool laws in your state. 

Do I need a teaching degree to homeschool?

No, you don't need any special degree to homeschool and you do not need a college education. However, depending on the state where you live, you may need some sort of education qualification, like a high school diploma or GED, to homeschool. Our state currently has no parent qualification requirements. You can find more information on your state here

How can I teach a subject I know nothing about?

I have felt this way on more than one occasion, especially since our daughter has been in Jr High. Latin? Algebra? Chemistry? Logic? Did I say Latin? Well thankfully, many of the curriculum packages out there are easy to use and come with teacher's guides, lesson plans, and DVDs to help the parent. You can also find online groups and forums with other families using the same curriculum and ask questions. 

How do I choose a curriculum, there are so many?

At first it's going to be research, lots of research, and quite possibly trial and error. Join a local homeschool group or a group online and ask what others are using. If you can, go to a homeschool convention. If you have never been, check out my article on homeschool conventions and how to navigate them. Here is a list of our favorite curriculum over the years. 

Is homeschooling expensive?

It can be, but it doesn't have to. It's really up to you. There are so many resources out there to homeschoolers. You can read my articles on Homeschooling for FREE and Homeschooling - Can You Afford it?  Some years I have purchased all of our curriculum and books used at local homeschool sales and online buy/sell groups. Other years we have joined co-ops and programs that came with a cost. It's really up to you.

Can my kids play sports while being homeschooled?

Yes, but the rules vary state to state, and more likely, county to county. Because it's different for each state and county, check with a homeschool advocate, like HSLDA. You will most likely need to call the school in your district as well.

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I hope these questions and answers have been helpful to anyone thinking about homeschooling but not quite sure where to start. Or maybe you have thought about it but don't think you can do it. Believe me, you can, and it is very rewarding, for both you and your children. 



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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Memoria Press Writing and Latin


I mentioned last week that I am excited to share with you the reviews that I will have coming up over the next few months.

Memoria Press is the first company that I want to tell you about. For those who have never heard of Memoria Press, since 1994 they have been family-run publishing company that produces simple and easy-to-use classical Christian education materials for home and private schools.

They offer curriculum for preschool through 12th grade and their products are characterized by simplicity, quality, and affordability. They are also designed for homeschool families who have no familiarity with the subject being taught. 

I will be reviewing First Form Latin and Classical Composition.


First Form Latin


Classical Composition


Look for my reviews around the end of April to the beginning of May. 



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Friday, March 31, 2017

Upcoming Reviews


I am sooooo excited to share with you the reviews that I will have coming up over the next few months!!  

Over the next week or two I will post a little about the particular curriculum from each company, but for now I'll just tell you who I will be working with.












I have been in contact with a few other companies and will add to this list once confirmed. I am so excited to get started!!



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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Sense of the Resurrection: An Easter Experience for Families


If you are looking for some fun and meaningful activities leading up to Easter for your entire family, take a look at A Sense of the Resurrection: An Easter Experience for Families

A Sense of the Resurrection: An Easter Experience for Families contains 12 fun, hands-on, easy, meaningful activities to help your kids come face to face with the Easter story.


In my opinion, just 12 activities is perfect because it's a busy time of year with school and other events.  The lessons are short and sweet and recommended for all ages. So you could use it during the last 12 days leading up to Easter or spread it out to a few days a week through the whole Lenten season.  

The activities are really neat, like baking bread for the Last Supper and feet washing, which creates great memories for families.



The booklet does touch on the subject of Jesus' death and resurrection so Amanda has included a helpful page about how to best talk to your children about this hard to tackle subject.

This simple eBook includes printables, Scriptures, and specific conversation and starting points so you and your kids can get a sense of the resurrection

Find Out More: A Sense of the Resurrection: An Easter Experience for Families is available as a downloadable eBook for just $9.99. But wait...use code OURHOMESCHOOL for 20% through 4/15/17!!


**** GIVEAWAY CLOSED ****

Please leave a comment telling me why you would like to win A Sense of the Resurrection: An Easter Experience for Families and I will pick a winner on Monday, April 3, 2017.

Contest ends on Monday, April 3, 2017 at 11:59 EST.  The winner will be chosen by Random.org.  This contest is open to U.S. residents who are 18 or older.  If I am unable to reach the winner by email within 48 hours, an alternate winner will be selected.  Your entry is only valid if you include a way for me to contact you (either an email address in your comment or on your profile).  The winner's name will be obtained and publicly announced.  The number of eligible entries determines the odds of winning.  No purchase is necessary to win and this contest is void where prohibited by law.





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Monday, March 27, 2017

Homeschooling for FREE


If you feel like money is keeping you from homeschooling, you'll be happy to know that there are plenty of ways to homeschool for FREE!!  Below are just a few free online resources!

FREE Curriculum

Ambleside Online 
An Old Fashioned Education 
Khan Academy 
Simply Charlotte Mason 
Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool 
Mater Amabilis 

U.S. History
Daily Grammar
Home Spelling Words
Core Knowledge
Open Education Source 
Hippo Campus 
Raising Sweet Blessings 

Art Projects for Kids
Classics for Kids

FREE Online Books

Project Gutenberg
The Baldwin Online Children's Literature Project
Children's Books Online
Children's Storybooks Online 
Bibliomania


FREE Audio Books
LibriVox 
Free Classic Audio Books 
Books Should Be Free
Storynory 
Librophile
Lit2Go
Open Culture 


FREE Printables

Homeschool Share  
A Journey Through Learning 
In the Hands of a Child 
CurrClick 
Teachers Pay Teachers 
Lapbook Lessons 
Homeschool Freebie of the Day 
NotebookingPages.com 
Notebooking Nook 

Confessions of a Homeschooler

FREE Online Planners and Forms

New Bee Homeschooler
The Peaceful Mom 
The Homeschool Mom
Highland Heritage


FREE Educational Games
Learning Games for Kids 
Starfall



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©2010-2017 Our Homeschool Reviews. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://ourhomeschoolreviews.blogspot.com/

Monday, March 20, 2017

Homeschooling - Can You Afford It?


If you are finding yourself wondering if you can even afford homeschooling, here are some tips to keep in mind to save money:

Set a Budget

Have an idea of how much you want to spend each year and stick to it.  It can be really tempting to buy everything you see when you walk into a used curriculum sale.  Research ahead of time the prices for each item.  Write it down and bring it with you.  Just because all the other moms are equipped with roll carts and bags, doesn't mean you have to be.  Relax and look for what you need.

Make a Spreadsheet

I started one when our daughter was in Pre-K.  I keep track of the item's retail price, how much I pay for it, and how much I sell it for.  

Borrow or Swap

If you know someone who has what you need but they are not using it this year, see if you can borrow it or swap it for something you have for the year.

Use the Library

If you have a well stocked public library nearby, this is a cheap way to find all those books on your reading list.  Take advantage of their interlibrary loan system.

Buy used

Buy from friends or shop your local used curriculum sale if you have one.  In the past I have had good luck with the Homeschool Classifieds.  It was pretty simple to set up an account and look for what I wanted.  I was able to buy and sell a few things, which worked out great!

Shop Sales

Buy school supplies when everything is on sale, and during the tax-free weekend if your state offers it.

Shop Online

I have found that if I can't find something used, I may be able to find it cheaper on Amazon or Books-A-Million.  Both offer free shipping if you buy over $25 and Books-A-Million has a 20% off educators discount for teachers.  You just have to sign up for the card and then register the card number to your account.

Join a Co-op

Co-ops offer support and ideas that you would not have available otherwise.  If there is not a co-op near you, you could join the Homeschool Buyers Co-op, the world's largest purchasing cooperative for homeschoolers.

Hand Down/Combine Kids

We only have one child so we sell things after we use them, unless they would be a good resource for the future or they were consumable.  But for bigger families, hand down books and curriculum to younger siblings and combine children close in age so they can use the same curriculum.  

Search FREE Sites

If I can find a free online site that has games, resources, or materials, I have tried to incorporate it into our schedule.  Stay tuned for an upcoming post about FREE Homeschooling Resources. 

Netflix
Last year we decided to cancel our Direct TV and get only our local channels and Netflix. We LOVE Netflix!! There are many educational movies on there and you could probably find something to go along with any topic you are learning.

Amazon Prime

We don't have Amazon Prime at the moment but I've thought of getting it for the instant streaming of movies and TV episodes. Plus, there are over 350,000 Kindle titles to borrow for free. Still something we are thinking about. 

I hope this has been helpful!  There really are ways to stay within your budget so you can homeschool!  





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