Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Curriculum Sale!

Click here to checkout this sale!
Since today we are talking about curriculum and I just posted our fourth grade plans, have you purchased your curriculum yet?  Hearts at Home Store has the best prices on over 200 popular publishers! If you find it for less, most of the time they can match or beat it!  Carrie, the owner, is a local friend and homeschool mom, so please stop by if you can!  Below are some of their great deals!

Picture Smart Bible Sale! Save 20% and get FREE Shipping!
Have you been looking for a Bible curriculum that is fun and your kids will love?

Mike's Inspiration Station Art Instructional DVDs Sale!  Buy Volume 1 Set of DVDs 1-6 at 20% off and get Volume 2 Set DVDs 7-12 for FREE! That's 12 art instruction DVDs for only $31.96 - a $79.90 value! 

Click here to checkout this sale!
American History DVD Sale!  Save 30% off retail prices PLUS, with the coupon code below get an EXTRA 10% off!

Curriculum Plans for Fourth Grade

Funny Bunny is in 4th grade this year...I can't believe it!  We started at the beginning of July so she is already in her 5th week!  

We are using Heart of Dakota’s Preparing Hearts for His Glory this year.  The history part of the program provides a one-year overview of world history from creation to the late 1900's.  The two main spines for History are Grandpa's Box  and A Child's History of the World.

For Math we are using Rightstart Math E and Daily Math Word Problems 4.  We have been using Rightstart from the beginning so we are sticking with it for now.  Funny Bunny is actually just finishing up Book D, so we will begin E in the fall.  

For Science we decided to use Christian Kids Explore Biology.  Funny Bunny really liked Heart of Dakota's scheduling of the One Small Square books but we have read those already and I thought we would try something new.  She is not sold on this text just yet, but I like it.  :)

For Spelling she is working through All About Spelling 4, which she will complete in the first half of the year, and I also picked up Abeka Spelling, Vocabulary, & Poetry 4, that she can start on in January. 

Last year we used Rod & Staff English 3 but this year I already had First Language Lessons 4 on hand so we are working through that.  It is pretty thorough and so far I like it.

For Bible we attend Community Bible Study (CBS) in the fall but before that begins we work on Bible passage memory work of Psalms: with the CD "Lead Me to the Rock."

We started Latin for Children A last year and only completed half of it so we are finishing up the second half.  I'm glad we took it slow because if we would have rushed through it I don't think she would be where she is now.  She is doing very well!

For Writing Funny Bunny is going to be attending Essentials through Classical Conversations and they will be using IEW's Ancient History Writing Lessons.  We worked through IEW's SWI A last year so I think this will be perfect.

We also do a LOT of reading...aloud and independent!  Here is a list of books assigned for this year.

Read Alouds:
Life in the Great Ice Age
The True Story of Noah's Ark
Noah's Ark, Noah's Flood
The 5,000-Year-Old Puzzle: Solving a Mystery of Ancient Egypt
Triumph for Flavius
Fountain of Life
Viking Quest I: Raiders of the Sea 
Door in the Wall 
The Wonderful Winter 
The Family Under The Bridge
Twenty and Ten 

History Independent Readers:
The Trojan Horse  
The Young Christian's Introduction to the Bible
Little Miriam of Galilee
Leif the Lucky
Pedro's Journal
William Shakespeare and the Globe
Peter The Great
Mozart the Wonder Boy
The Little Riders
Minstrel in the Tower

Misc Independent Readers:
Folk: Sarah Whitcher's Story
Hum: Mary Poppins
Real Fic: Misty of Chincoteague
Real Fic: The Secret Garden
Real Fic: Shadrach
Mys: Key to the Treasure
Mys: Red Sails to Capri
Non Fic: Helen Keller
Fic: Heidi
Hist Fic: Riding Freedom
Fic: Betsy-Tacy
Hist Fic: Adam of the Road
Adv: The Black Stallion
Adv: Black Beauty
Adv: Where the Red Fern Grows
Hist Fic: Mystery Roman Ransom

I think that covers the majority of what we are doing for 4th grade.  There are some other things here and there, and you can see the entire list at 2012-2013 4th Grade Curriculum.  You can also see the curriculum we have used since Pre-K on the left sidebar. Thanks for stopping by!


{For some added inspiration...check out last week's Curriculum Blog Hop from the Schoolhouse Review Crew below!}

Monday, July 30, 2012

Homeschool Methods


I'm so excited to be participating in the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop with the Schoolhouse Review Crew!!  We will be blogging each day this week about different homeschool topics, so I hope you can follow along with me and my Crewmates!  

Today's topic is: Homeschool Methods

There are so many methods for homeschooling nowadays, and it can become quite overwhelming to choose.  Before talking about what we do though, I thought it would be helpful to review a few of the more popular methods.

Charlotte Mason: This method is based on the writings of a 19th century British educator who felt children should learn from real books with living ideas.  It involves nature, discipline of good habits, narration, and living books.

Classical: This method is based on the Trivium, which is made up of three stages.  The Grammar stage includes memorizing lots of of facts and language, mainly Greek or Latin.  The Dialectic stage involves the study of logic; understanding what has been memorized and asking questions.  Lastly, in the Rhetoric stage the student learns how to present arguments in a persuasive way.

Unit Study Approach: This approach allows a child to learn a subject as a whole instead of just reading chapters in a textbook.  It takes all of the subjects, such as Science, History, and Language Arts, and focuses the lessons around one central theme, say Astronomy. 

Literature Based: This method uses great books as the centerpiece for learning, instead of textbooks. 

Unschooling: Unschooling allows children to learn through their natural life experiences, including child directed play, game play, household responsibilities, work experience, and social interaction, rather than through a more traditional school curriculum.

Eclectic: An Eclectic Homeschooler is one who looks at the different approaches and methods of homeschooling, and takes little from each one.

So what method do we use?  I'm a big Charlotte Mason fan, and though I wish I could say we use this method, we really don't!  We enjoy nature, do narration, and use living books in our schooling, but a lot of what we do would not be considered Charlotte Mason.

Ultimately I think we fall somewhere between Classical and Literature Based.  Funny Bunny is extremely good at memorizing facts, especially if they are to a song.  We also love to read great books to go along with what we are studying.

Of course, I don't think it really matters, that's one reason we love homeschooling, it gives us the flexibility to do what we want, and change it if it's not working! 

{Want to see what other homeschoolers are doing?  Visit all who are participating at the links below.}

Friday, July 27, 2012

And the Purex Coupon Winners Are...

Comment #104 - HannahAchrissmile said...my fav video is the Boiling Water one!

Comment #98 - janetfaye said...I like Our Homeschool Reviews on Facebook

I used Random.org to pick the winners and I have already them via email.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Purex Giveaway via Our Homeschool Reviews and thanks again to Purex for allowing me to offer this great product!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Zane Education Review


Zane Education provides an effective, subscription-based, online visual learning education solution using subtitled educational video, quizzes, interactive video study tools and free lesson plans. They provide online learning for 11 different subjects and 260+ K-12 curriculum topics, with more material being added all the time. 

Features include: 

• Online subtitled videos delivering content for each topic.
• Interactive quizzes that provide online testing for each topic.
• Interactive study tools allowing for aspects of each video to be further explored and investigated.
• Lesson Plans which provide further activities.
• The Study Center which provides additional resources including the World Fact Book to support study. 
• A Getting Started Guide and selection of User Guides.

Topics include: Art, Biology, Geography, Health, History, Library Skills, Literature, Mathematics, Music, Religious Studies, Science, and Social Sciences.

Zane Education offers four premium membership options: Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Topic Taster.  You can select to pay a single annual payment (with the 12th month free), or a monthly recurring payment. There is also a free basic membership that gives you access to a limited amount of materials.

Once you have selected your membership level and are logged in, you simply click on the videos button and you will come to a screen with your video options on the left.  If you click on the picture below, you can see all the subjects listed as well as the videos by grade, which I think is more helpful.  You can also see in the center is every subject with the ages and grades listed.  On the right are the additional study tools.

Once you choose your video {I chose Elementary Science: Animals} you come to the following screen where you can view your video.  You can see the options for the online quizzes and video learning tools on the right. 

My Thoughts: I am going to be honest and say that I am a little conflicted over the videos.  As you can see in the picture above, the video screen is small and it does not enlarge to a full screen.  There are also buttons which you can see to the right of the screen which do not have any functions.  The videos are also more like a slide show of still pictures.  Some have movement here and there but most that we watched did not.  It also seemed that many were dated.  The video above reminds me of the old Dick and Jane books.  I also noticed in other videos the people were wearing clothes that looked to be from the early nineties.  Not saying that is bad, just an observation.  I also noticed that the subtitles at the bottom would switch before the picture did and a couple videos that we watched cut off the audio of the last word at the very end.

I also think it is very important to note that these videos are secular in nature and the mention of evolution is throughout.  Zane offers a Christine Home Learning Guide that includes the following excerpt:

"Zane is proud to be a leader in electronically publishing mainstream school curricula—secularly preparing our children and our world for the twenty-first century. Zane also is proud to be publishing the Christian Home Learning Guides, which offers a Christian perspective of the humanities and sciences. Zane is most proud, however, to be publishing both together—preparing children today for success in the secular world in which we live, while also providing them the framework to reconcile this secular knowledge with their religious beliefs."

Of course, that may not be a concern for some, but thought it is worth mentioning.  If this is something that you think will work for your family, I strongly suggest previewing the videos first.

Lastly, we watched the videos in the Elementary Science: Animals section but I also watched a few videos in the Biology section for older students.  I wish there was something for older elementary student.  I personally thought the Elementary Science videos were a little young.  My daughter would have been able to understand the majority of the Animal Classification videos and they would actually compliment our studies right now, but goodness the test was hard.  I thought it was extremely specific to the information given and I scored a 60%.  :(  Maybe I should have paid better attention.  ;) 

Find Out More:  You can find out more online at Zane Education and on Zane's Facebook Page.  As I mentioned earlier, they offer four premium membership options.  

The Gold Membership is $17.99/mo or $197.89/yr and includes access to all 1,500+ subtitled videos for K-12 plus all other facilities on the website.  You also get a free downloadable copy of Zane's Learning Video Catalog (a $49.95 value) and Zane's Christian Home Learning Guide (a $49.95 value). The Silver Membership is $12.99/mo or $142.89/yr and includes access to all subtitled videos within your selected GRADE LEVEL plus all other facilities on the website. The Bronze Membership is $8.99/mo or $98.89/yr and includes access to all subtitled videos in the SUBJECT you have chosen. The Topic Taster Membership is $5/mo and includes access to the video(s) within a SINGLE TOPIC.

As a special to my readers, the code ZE765HSM will give you a 35% discount on the purchase of any annual 12-month Gold, Silver or Bronze Membership subscription through until the end of August 2012. 

My Crewmates are also talking about Zane Education, so you can check out what they think about it HERE.


Disclaimer:  This product was given to Our Homeschool Reviews for free for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor.  I have received no compensation from it and all opinions and experiences within this review are my own.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Back to Homeschool Ebook

Have you heard about the Back to Homeschool ebook?  If you are looking for help in planning your homeschool year, look no further!

A friend of mine has written a wonderful planner for those who are preparing the start of their homeschooling year.  Before I get into the planner though, let me tell you a little about the author, Misty.

Misty Krasawski is mom to eight wonderful children whom she homeschools.  She blogs at
Encouraging Beautiful Motherhood , she is the Community Director and a contributing writer at MomHeart Online, hostess of an online mentoring program for moms called Titus 2 University, has written an article for an upcoming devotional book from Group Publishing, and is a regular contributor to Home Educating Family Magazine as well as Heart of the Matter Online .

Who would this planner benefit?

* Those wanting an answer to the question: "Where do I start in my planning"?

* Anyone wanting more organization to their planning.

* Those who would like to include their spouse in their planning.

* Someone wanting a closer relationship to God, their husband, and their children.

So how is this planner different from others?
  Well for one, it does not have calendars or forms.  What it does have are thought provoking questions to think about and answer. 

This planner takes you from homeschool planning for each child, to preparing your home, and it even includes recipe ideas. 

Find Out More
:  You can find out more about the Back to Homeschool at Encouraging Beautiful Motherhood.  It is an ebook, which you can download instantly for only $4.99.  You can also follow along with Misty on Facebook.

Disclosure:  This product was given to Our Homeschool Reviews for free for review purposes, and I do not have to return the products to the vendor.  I have received no compensation from it and all opinions and experiences within this review are my own.


Wordless Wednesday: Dance Wear

Ready for another year of dance!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Knowledge Quest: TimeMaps Review


Have you heard of Knowledge Quest?  They began back in 2001 by a homeschool family who had a desire to produce simple black and white maps that children could label and color while studying both world and American history.  

Fast forward to today, and they have more products that I could name, one of them being TimeMaps.

The goal of TimeMaps is to communicate history in a truly engaging way. To do this, we use a combination of timelines, historical maps and encyclopedic entries merged together to deliver authoritative content that can be digested in an enjoyably way. TimeMaps are computer software files that use Flash - a free program from Adobe. Maps are shown in chronological order at the click of a button and progress at your timing, showing how civilizations, countries and continents have changed over time. Quizzes and encyclopedic entries are included and can be turned on and off at your discretion. TimeMaps are a work in progress with many Ancient and Medieval civilizations having reached completion with more historical topics on the way. 

We've broken the TimeMaps into individual units with coordination Teach Notes for the optimal teaching experience. This way, you can affordably purchase JUST the maps that you are going to use this year. However, we have also grouped them together into a Collection so that you can get them all at once at a tremendous cost savings.

Currently available: Ancient China, The Rise of Rome, The Fall of Rome, The Rise of Islam, The Black Death, European Exploration, and The Atlantic Slave Trade. 

Doesn't that sound neat?  I thought so, and wanted to learn more!

This year we are studying Creation through the mid 1900's, so one map I know we will be using is the Rise of Rome.  Once downloaded, you run the program and come to the following screen where you have the option to start the program, view worksheets, or explore world history with their free, award winning online atlas.

When you choose to start the map program, the first map you come to is below, the Roman Empire in 500 BC.  

The great thing about this program, is not that you get just a map, it's that it is entirely interactive!!  See that little "i" in the circle below 500 BC?  Click that and below you can see people, places, and more information have been added.

I can click on any of the people or "i" icons and get more information in the box on the left.  Then clicking on the "Q" will bring up questions about what I just learned.

And this is just ONE of the maps!  Each set is in chronological order and I can click the arrow to see what happens next in history.  

The Rise of the Roman Empire has 12 maps that span from 500 BC to 182 AD, all which are interactive and show how Rome spread over the area.

And in addition to the interactive maps, worksheets, and access to their free online atlas, you also get a PDF to go along with each map.  This document gives an introduction of the program, activity suggestions, commentary on the maps, blank timeline pages, and teacher and student maps.

My Thoughts:  I know these are going to be a wonderful addition to our homeschooling!  When we get to the Rise for Rome, for example, I will simply have Funny Bunny use the interactive maps to learn the information.  She can then go back and answer the questions and I'll print out the blank map from the PDF and have her label it for the time period we are studying. 

Find Out More: You can find out more online at Knowledge Quest Maps.  You can purchase the TimeMaps Collection for $44.95 or individual maps for just $9.95.  The Collection includes all 7 sets  - 75 dynamic, animated maps, quizzes and encyclopedic information for each, as well as complete Teacher Notes with activities, map commentaries, timeline pages and student maps to label and color (and you save $24.70 over purchasing individual sets).

My Crewmates are also talking about Knowledge Quest, so you can check out what they think about it HERE.


Disclaimer:  This product was given to Our Homeschool Reviews for free for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor.  I have received no compensation from it and all opinions and experiences within this review are my own.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Homeschool Mother's Journal 7-20-12

In my life this week…  

things are back to normal now that VBS is over.  We worked on school Mon-Thur and had today off.  Funny Bunny had a play date at a neighbor's house this morning and was so excited about it!!  They had a good time together.

Last night I attended an Open House for my newest Thirty-One team member.  We had a nice time and it was fun to meet her family and friends.  I know she is going to do great!

In our homeschool this week…  

Funny Bunny finished her third week of 4th grade!  We read about Noah and how people spread after the Tower of Babel.  

The book assigned to Funny Bunny for reading right now is Mary Poppins and she has been enjoying it.

A book we are using for devotions every morning is Jesus Calling.  We have had it for a while now so I decided to read a new passage to FB in the morning while she is still lying in bed.  They are short and kid-friendly.  I'm going to try and post some verses from time to time.

My favorite thing this week was…

shopping for school supplies {I can get excited about that, right?!}  We picked up some folders, notebooks, paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils, construction paper, and a few other things.  We really didn't need much and I'll save most of that for next year.  

Oh, we also picked up this

It was on sale.  Now we can enjoy some time in the backyard next week!

Today Only: Alpha Omega Sale!

Click Here to Checkout Hearts at Home Curriculum's LOW Prices!

TODAY ONLY, at Hearts at Home, all Alpha Omega Publications: SOS, Horizons, LifePac, and Weaver, are all 20% off.

PLUS, when you purchase $150 or more in AOP - you also get $79+ worth of art instruction DVDs for FREE!!

Just click the banner above to check out the sale!

And the Child Training Bible Winner Is...

Comment #82: Swinging On Small Hinges said...I "liked" CTB on FB.

I used Random.org to pick the winner and I have already notified her via email.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Child Training Bible Giveaway via Our Homeschool Reviews and thanks again to Mindy for allowing me to offer this great product! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Coming Soon: Back to School Blog Hop


Starting on Monday, July 30th, the Schoolhouse Review Crew will begin their Back To Homeschool Blog Hop!  Topics will include:

Homeschool Methods  

Homeschool Curriculum  

Homeschool Planning  

Homeschool Classrooms 

Homeschool Co-ops 

 I'll be joining in each day and would love for you to follow along!

Purex Let's Be Honest Campaign & Giveaway!

Have you seen the Let’s Be Honest promotional campaign featuring Second City Comedian Molly Erdman?

Purex has created a funny series of short video vignettes sharing honest moments that reflect the ironic truths of everyday Life, Laundry, and Whatever.

And… the campaign will also offer a sweepstakes. Everyday one lucky entrant will win a year’s supply of Purex detergent!

There will be new funny videos uploaded every few days at www.purex.com, plus posts on Facebook and promotional tweets on Twitter. The daily sweepstakes will run through July 24th.

So go and check it out!



So, here's how TWO readers can win one coupon for Purex Triple Action!  For each comment, you will get one (1) entry.

1. Leave a comment telling me why you would like to win

2. Follow my blog using Google Friend Connect

3. Subscribe to my blog by email through Feedburner

4. Like Our Homeschool Reviews on Facebook

5. Follow me on Twitter @OurHSReviews

6. Watch the Let's Be Honest videos and tell me your favorite

7. Like, Share, or Retweet your favorite

**Remember to please leave a separate comment for each entry**

Contest ends on Thursday, July 26, 2012 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. 

Disclosure:  This product was given to Our Homeschool Reviews for free for review purposes, and I do not have to return the products to the vendor.  I have received no compensation from it and all opinions and experiences within this review are my own.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Morning Devotion - Faith

Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see. - Hebrews 11:1

God has done all this, so that we will look for him and reach out and find him. He isn’t far from any of us, and he gives us the power to live, to move, and to be who we are. “We are his children,” just as some of your poets have said. - Acts 17:27-28 

From time to time I'll be sharing passages from our morning devotions.  I hope they can be an encouragement to you!

Apologia: Who Is My Neighbor? Review

WOW!  I feel so blessed to be able to review another volume of Apologia's "What we Believe" series.  If you missed my other reviews, you can read more about them below.

Volume 1 - Who Is God {And Can I Really Know Him?}
Volume 2 - Who Am I {And What Am I Doing Here?}

For this review I received Volume 3 - Who Is My Neighbor {And Why Does He Need Me?}.

The third book in the award-winning What We Believe series helps children understand what it means to be salt and light to the world (Matthew 5:13-14). This study will encourage kids to develop a Christlike servant attitude based on these biblical truths: God created me to be a blessing to the world; God chooses to work through me; I can make a difference at home, in my community, and at church; the church is God's family; the church is one body with many gifts; and I am an important member of Jesus' body.

It includes eight, very meaty lessons.

Photobucket1: Does Anyone Really Need Me?
2: How Can I Make a Difference?
3: Who Is My Neighbor?
4: Why Did God Make Families?
5: What Can I Do For My Country?
6: Why Can't We All Just Get Along?
7: Who Is God's Family?
8: Why Does The Church Need Me?

For more details on each lesson, you can view the complete Table of Contents.

Each lesson follows a similar structure with the following key components.  If you'd like, you can view all of Lesson 1.

* The Big Idea
* What You Will Do
* Short Story
* Think About It
* Words You Need to Know
* Hide it in Your Heart
* Integrated Learning
* What Should I Do?
* Prayer
* Encounters with Jesus
* Take a Closer Look
* House of Truth

Although this Bible curriculum is fairly easy to use and very flexible, a helpful lesson plan is included.  They have suggested taking three weeks per lesson, two days a week, but of course you can use it any way you would like.

We also received the Notebooking Journal that goes along with the book.  I absolutely recommend getting this, as it adds so much more to the lessons!!  It includes artful graphics, imaginative writing prompts, puzzles, activities, and eight full-color mini books. 

Again, lesson plans are included, along with suggestions for each day's reading and journal assignments. 

My Thoughts: I have LOVED this series and Who Is My Neighbor? is no exception!  Children will learn so much from it!  It is recommended for ages 6-14, and although it has been enjoyable to read aloud to Funny Bunny, I think she will get much more out of it when she is older.

And for those Heart of Dakota users like me, Volume 1 and 2 are scheduled in Revival to Revelation and Missions to Modern Marvels!  My guess is that Heart of Dakota will continue including the What We Believe series as they write new books.  I'm so excited about it!!  :)

Thoughts of a 9-Year Old: This book has good thinking points for kids my age. I like it! 

Find Out More: You can find out more online at ApologiaWho Is My Neighbor? is a hard-bound, 273-page book for $39.  Who Is My Neighbor? Notebooking Journal is spiral-bound, 240 pages and sells for $24.  Who Is My Neighbor? Coloring Book is for younger students or those who learn best while their hands are busy.  It's a softcover, 64-page book that is just $8.

My Crewmates are also talking about Apologia: Who Is My Neighbor, so you can check out what they think about it HERE.


Disclaimer:  This product was given to Our Homeschool Reviews for free for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor.  I have received no compensation from it and all opinions and experiences within this review are my own.