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. 




Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Our Homeschool Reviews and get our articles right to your inbox!

©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/

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.


***

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.



Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Our Homeschool Reviews and get our articles right to your inbox!

©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, 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. 



Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Our Homeschool Reviews and get our articles right to your inbox!

©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/

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. 



Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Our Homeschool Reviews and get our articles right to your inbox!

©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/

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. 


***

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.

***

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. 



Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Our Homeschool Reviews and get our articles right to your inbox!

©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/

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. 



Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Our Homeschool Reviews and get our articles right to your inbox!

©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/

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!!



Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Our Homeschool Reviews and get our articles right to your inbox!

©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/

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.





Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Our Homeschool Reviews and get our articles right to your inbox!

©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 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



Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Our Homeschool Reviews and get our articles right to your inbox!

©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!  





Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Our Homeschool Reviews and get our articles right to your inbox!

©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/

Friday, March 17, 2017

Homeschool Conventions


I love homeschool convention time!  It's not every year that I can attend, but when I do, I enjoy visiting with the vendors, looking at new products, flipping through books, and listening to the speakers.  It is so great to have all the homeschool companies in one place at the same time.  

So how do you prepare to attend a homeschool convention? 



Check the speaker schedule


Several weeks before the convention, get the speaker schedule and decide who you want to hear.  Once you have narrowed that down, make a note of how much time you will have to walk around the vendor hall and when you have to leave to listen to the speaker.  Sometimes this can be hard to decide because there may be several great speakers and their times may overlap.  I think most conventions offer recordings of the speakers that you can purchase afterwards in case you miss out.


Make a list of vendors


Before you get there, scroll through the list of vendors and highlight those you really want to visit.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming once you get there and you may miss that booth you really wanted to see.  


Scope it out first

The convention closest to me is not tremendously big, so what I usually do is walk up and down the isles first and just check everything out.  I don't stop at any booths the first time around.  I'm just taking everything in.  


Take your time


When I've gone through once, then I start on one end and take my time.  Keep your eyes open, listen to questions other parents are asking, ask questions yourself, grab brochures and business cards, and check out samples.  


Make notes


If there is a vendor that you liked, make a note of it so you can come back to review it again.  If you are in a large convention hall, also write down what isle you are in so you can find it later.


Bring snacks  


If you have your children with you this is a must.  Even if you don't, sometimes the food options are not the best and there can be long lines, which just wastes precious time.  Pack snacks, and even your own lunch, to save time and money.


Get there early


If you can, get there as soon as they open to get the most for your money.  Parking alone can take a long time, depending on how large the convention is. 


Set a budget


This may be the most important thing.  In all honesty, I rarely purchase from the conventions.  I just love to go to flip through materials and check out curriculum I've never seen in person.  It's easy to go overboard.  Set a budget before you get there so there is no temptation to buy more than you need!


Have fun!  


Leave the kids at home if you can and go with friends.  Make a day trip or weekend out of it.  Enjoy your time!




Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Our Homeschool Reviews and get our articles right to your inbox!

©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/

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: Guess the Ride


Can you guess the ride?

This is from our trip in January. We got to the park early enough to be in the first group to ride. We wanted to ride the top row though so we stepped back and waited for the next round. After everyone boarded from all three boarding areas, it was empty. Even the workers left for a few minutes and they hadn't let the next group enter yet. So we were alone in this huge room. It was a little strange with no crowds.



Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Our Homeschool Reviews and get our articles right to your inbox!

©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/

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Update on Our Homeschool Reviews


So here's a little update on what's going on with Our Homeschool Reviews.

I started my blog way back in May of 2010 when I began writing reviews for The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew. I happily reviewed some wonderful products and posted about our day to day homeschooling adventures for about four and a half years. I loved it and so did our daughter!



The first picture I posted back in 2010

Then after some thought, in December 2014 I decided to step down from reviewing for TOS simply because our daughter was about to start Jr High and she needed a break. It was hard to say goodbye to that close-knit group, but it was best for our family. I was still pretty active on my blog and enjoyed writing and interacting with readers and friends.

As time went on though, I needed a break too. 


Fast forward about two years and I'm finding myself with more time. Our daughter, who is now 13 and in 8th grade, has been pretty independent over the past year with her school work, and, well, I still love reading through curriculum! I miss it!


So here I am! Ready to dive into some new curriculum and share my thoughts with you. I'm excited to get started! I hope you are too!


***Stay tuned for some exciting announcements! I'll be sharing with you some of the curriculum that I will be reviewing over the next few months. ***




Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Our Homeschool Reviews and get our articles right to your inbox!

©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/

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Favorite Curriculum Over the Years


Oh wow!  This picture is bittersweet!  My girl is 13 and in 8th grade now but this brings back so many wonderful memories of homeschooling. And a lot of those memories were created with great books! I thought I would list a few of our all time favorites. 

All Time Favorite Curriculum
Before Five in a Row/FIAR
Explode the Code
Hooked on Phonics
Heart of Dakota {LOVE!!}
History for Little Pilgrims
Draw Write Now
Draw and Write Through History
Song School Latin
A Child's History of the World
IEW's Writing Courses
Apologia's Science
A Pioneer Sampler
Mystery of History

All Time Favorite Books/Readers
Grandpa's Box
Mr. Pipes Books
Viking Quest Series
One Small Square Books
The True Story of Noah's Ark
Daughters of the Faith Books
The Family Under the Bridge
The Little Riders
Toliver's Secret
Twenty and Ten
Life in the Great Ice Age

There are many more books and curriculum sets that we have enjoyed but the ones listed above bring back the sweetest memories of sitting together and just enjoying life and learning.



Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Our Homeschool Reviews and get our articles right to your inbox!

©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/

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

25+ Christ Centered Easter Activities


If you are looking for Easter resources, Raising Homemakers has a list of 25+ Christ Centered Easter Activities

A few things that we have done in the past have included:

 Making Pretzels on Good Friday.  You probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry.

 Making Resurrection Rolls on Holy Saturday.  These are so easy and fun to make...and pretty yummy to eat too.  Plus it is a great way to explain the true meaning of Easter.

*  Telling the Easter Story with Resurrection Eggs.  


*  Watching The Gospel of John.  This is a tradition every year.

*  Dying eggs.

*  And of course, going to church Sunday morning. 



Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Our Homeschool Reviews and get our articles right to your inbox!

©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/