Today's Wisdom

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Would You Like To Join The Homeschool Review Crew? Applications now being accepted!


If you think you would like to be a part of the Homeschool Review Crew, applications for the 2017 school year are currently being accepted. It is hard to put into words just what a blessing the crew has been for our family but I will try. 


The Homeschool Review Crew has been a part of our family for the past 6 years now! We have had the amazing opportunity to build some great friendships and we absolutely love being able to have so many hands on opportunities to review homeschool products and curriculum. We have found so many treasures that we are still using in our homeschool since joining the Homeschool Review Team. 

One of our all time favorite products that we reviewed has to be the historical series from YWAM Publishing.  We have not only made them our read aloud books but my son has requested to use them for his literature credit this year.  Had we not reviewed that first book, I don't know that I would have ever tried them.  

I remember when we first began homeschooling and devouring any posts about curriculum and homeschool days. It can be overwhelming and I want to help others out the same way that I was helped out.  It really is a blessing to be able to share our thoughts on these products with you! 

Along that same line of thought, we each have a unique voice to share.  Our families are all different but often times just seeing how a product is being used in another homeschool family's life will be just the thing you've been searching for to fit your own child.  So, let's hear as many voices as we can and work together to encourage each other in our homeschooling journeys.  

You can read more about the qualifications of the Homeschool Review Crew here and if you do decide to join, please let them know that I sent you.  Once you are ready to apply, you can do that here.  Looking forward to meeting some new faces and hearing some new voices!

Click the banner below to find out how the crew has blessed so many.

What being on the Crew means ...

Review of The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection | #familymanministries

The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection {The Familyman} Reviews

There are only 68 sleeps until Christmas 2016! Can you believe that? It seems like we were just putting away last year's decorations around here. The key to a successful Christmas for me is always planning ahead of time so I am not overwhelmed as we have several traditions we like to do each year. I was thrilled when the opportunity to review the Digital Downloads from The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection came available. These audios are written by The Familyman, also known as homeschooling dad and author, Todd Wilson.
The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection {The Familyman} Reviews
If you are familiar with any of Todd Wilson's works then you will know that his sense of humor shines through all he touches. Each story is read by master storyteller, Jim Hodges. His character voice reflections are hilarious and really help you feel like you are watching the story unfold instead of just listening to it. These audio books were the perfect companion to our basketball practice driving time. We received the Digital Downloads of each audio book. They are in MP3 format so I transferred them to my phone so that we could listen to them in our van. We also received a single CD of The Stranger. I thought I would prefer the CD format but transferring the files was no problem at all so both are great options.

Not only are each of these stories engaging and funny but each one contains its own teaching lesson. Specifically, each audio book always points you back to Jesus. I'm going to try to give you a little synopsis of each and hopefully not spoil any of the stories for you.

The titles included in this series collection are:

  • Captain Chaos and The Manger Blaster - This story will be fun for those in your family who love superheroes. This superhero grows tired of hearing and doing the same old traditions every Christmas so he gets a glimpse of what life would be like without some of those traditions. This story lasts for 19 minutes and 21 seconds. 
  • Cootie McKay's Nativity - When the town hall nativity ends up involved in a car wreck, no one can believe it when Cootie McKay, one of the town's oddest characters, saves the day. After all, he had created a turtle out of hubcaps for his front porch. What could possibly go wrong? This story lasts 30 minutes and 45 seconds. 
  • The Stranger - This story details a homeless stranger in town who visits the members of the same congregation in the local town church. Unfortunately, instead of receiving the help he needs, he is sent away over and over again until he visits the home of the Pastor. The stranger is Jesus and the question to ponder is how you would respond if Jesus came to visit your home in the form of a homeless beggar. This story lasts 18 minutes and 9 seconds. 
  • The Bishop's Dream - This story centers around Bishop Nicolas who goes around sharing the love of Jesus with the children of the poor. One night as he is reading his Bible, he falls into a deep sleep and begins to dream. In this dream, Bishop Nicolas discovers the commercialism that is the Christmas we know today. Bishop Nicolas is soon saddened to discover that this dream shows his very own story and that people were placing him above his Savior. This story lasts for 20 minutes and 16 seconds. 
  • Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest - The day after Thanksgiving, Isaac's dad digs deep down in his closet in search of his Christmas vest. In this story, you will follow along as Isaac's dad recalls the first time he saw this vest and the meaning behind why he wears it every single year. This story lasts 12 minutes and 54 seconds. 
  • Gladys Remembers Christmas - Gladys was not a fan of Christmas. In fact, she hated it. All that begins to change when her father sends her on a mission to bring him a box from their attic. This story lasts 22 minutes and 52 seconds.

We were also sent these two additional Christmas stories that are not included in the collection.
  • The Secret of the Snow Village - This story takes you right inside one of those little ceramic Christmas village sets and teaches you what Christmas is really all about. With the scene details given, you can just imagine yourself going inside one of those little villages. Follow along with Katherine as she finds out that "Christmas isn't about lights, decorations, gifts, carols, or even snow. It's about Him." This story lasts for 20 minutes and 53 seconds. 
  • It's Called Christmas - This story is a message from the future written directly to you! The problem in the future is Christmas has been totally removed. Follow along to find out why and how you can help to get it back. This story lasts 27 minutes and 34 seconds.

Children will learn about serving others, sharing Jesus with others, not judging others, and so much more. These are great conversation starters for families who want their children to know that Christmas is all about Jesus. Each story is less than 30 minutes so they can easily be woven into your schedule if you wanted to make them apart of your school day too. We will definitely be adding this collection to our family Christmas traditions!

Find out more by visiting The Familyman on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and their blog.

The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection {The Familyman} Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Review of Educeri Lesson Subscription Service | #educeri

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews
Educeri ....... Educeri a division of DataWORKS has over 1000 Ready to Teach Lessons available with their Educeri Lesson Subscription Service. With a subscription service like this, you can easily supplement any curriculum. There are a variety of subjects available in grades Kindergarten through High School. 

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews

The beauty of an online subscription service is the availability. You have access to the lessons 24 hours a day so you can prepare any time you wish. These lessons are designed to help teachers teach a variety of topics in subjects such as Math, Science, Language Arts, Writing, History, and more. The majority of the lessons at this time are in the Math and Language Arts sections.

The website is very easy to navigate. You can search by subject or grade simply by clicking the corresponding tabs.

We mainly used the 8th grade Language Arts lessons in our homeschool as that is one of the areas where I find we always need extra practice. The 8th grade Language Arts section had 43 lessons to choose from. I split the lessons up so that we covered 1 lesson per week and I just picked out the ones I thought we needed the extra help with. 

Once you decide on the lesson you wish to teach, you click on that lesson and you are taken to the lesson screen.

In the "Additional Resources" section is where you will find PDF printable pages for your student so the first step is to print those off.  

The next step is to click on the blue button that says "Teach Lesson". You are then taken to a virtual whiteboard where the lessons are completely laid out for you including what to say! There are also little side notes to guide the teacher in making sure the student understands the words being taught in the topic - these are labeled as vocabulary. Included as well are checking for understanding questions (CFU) to ask the student to help them pull from memory what they already know.

The answers to the questions are also given one at a time so you can discuss them with your students. Here is a slide where the answers are given to the first question. As you continue through the slides, the remaining answers are given.  There are even slides that show the student worksheets and answers so you can discuss their independent work as well.  It is pretty neat that you can do this like a virtual whiteboard so no need to even leave your seat.   

You can quickly navigate between slides using the menu button as shown in this slide.  That is a great feature if you wanted to only teach specific concepts.  

I think this program works better having the teacher involved with the lessons. I guess older students could go through the slides themselves but it was designed so teachers could help students with the concepts. As the teacher, you may want to preview the lessons ahead of time too although I had no problems diving in on the day we went through them.
Another great feature is you can use this service with multiple children making it very cost efficient.

The Educeri Lesson Subscription Service can be purchased monthly for $7 or annually for $75. You can also sign up for a 30 day free trial (no credit card necessary) to see if this service would benefit your homeschool.

You can find out more by visiting Educeri on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service
Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Homeschool Highlights | Week 8

Week 7 came in with a bang - literally. Our town and surrounding areas suffered some major flooding from Hurricane Matthew. We did really well during the hurricane but the day after as Jonathan was on his lunch break, this happened.

No one was hurt so we are feeling extremely thankful and blessed.  To top off our blessings, less than a week later he found a car in his budget and is back in business.   God is good...ALL the time!  

We drove by there yesterday and walked up to see how it currently looks and this is what we found.  It's probably going to be a while before this road opens back up.

Ironically, I took this picture as he was passing by the day before as the rains were already starting to worsen.  I was a happy mama to see him heading home.  

This funny was passed around social media outlets for a few days.  Although the flooding was nothing to laugh at, this brought some fun to our day.  

In our homeschool, Sarah and Stephen are still plugging along and finished Week 8 so we're almost 1/4 done already!  As I've mentioned before, this is my 3rd time going through Apologia's General Science and I finding it to be quite boring at this point.  Sarah was struggling with the reading so I decided to add in a little outside help from The Virtual Homeschool Group.  Seeing the visual slides and reading the information in the book together seems to be helping her.  This week she was learning about levers and pulleys.  This is a free resource so be sure to check it out if you haven't already.  

The country were are currently working on is Canada and that is also the country Sarah chose for the Geography Fair coming soon in November.  Stephen chose Chile.

We've been enjoying our freezer meals still and I need to work in a day to make a new batch since it worked out so well for us this month.  

Our read aloud is Cameron Townsend.  We are a little behind schedule on this book and I think I'm just going to create a new schedule instead of trying to catch up at this point.  Sarah is reading These Happy Golden Years, and Stephen is reading about his favorite historical figure, George Washington.  

We've been slacking on our weekly review time too!  I must get my act together and make that a priority for the upcoming weeks.  I am about to tackle this pile after posting this.  

Currently, we are loving this game, Commissioned.  It has a temporary spot on our dining room table at the moment because every spare moment we get we gather around to play!  Stay tuned for a review coming soon.  

Here is how the "done" book pile is currently looking.  

If you think you would like to be a part of the Homeschool Review Crew, applications for the 2017 school year are currently being accepted.  It is such a blessing to our family to be able to try new curriculum.  You can read more about applying here.  

I'm linking up to a brand new linky this week started by a fellow crewmate, Homeschool Highlights.  Click the button to link up for yourself and to find out more!

Homeschool Coffee Break

Also linking up with Weekly Wrap-Up.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Review of Online Christian Filmmakers Academy | #onlinefilmcamp

Online Christian Filmmakers Academy {Family Gravity Media}

For the last few weeks my daughter and I have been studying Christian filmmaking with Online Christian Filmmakers Academy from Family Gravity Media, a division of Families For Christ Ministries, Inc.

This course is so thorough and brought to you by father and son team, Ken and Zack Lawrence, who have actually gone through the process of movie production. Their productions include the film, In His Steps along with the TV Series, Welcome Home Antelope Valley and various DVD releases. 

Online Christian Filmmakers Academy {Family Gravity Media}

Online Christian Filmmakers Academy is a video course so each lesson is taught through video. Some lessons have extra handouts that can be downloaded and printed for further study and each module has a quiz at the end. Only 2 of the module quizzes were available at the time of this post because this is a new course and the final touches are currently being added. Throughout the year more material and bonuses are scheduled to be added. 

The course is broken down like this:
  • Introduction
  • Module 1 - The Camera - 6 lessons and quiz
  • Module 2 - Cinematography - 15 lessons and quiz
  • Module 3 - Sound - 6 lessons and quiz
  • Module 4 - Pre-production - 5 lessons and quiz
  • Module 5 - Production - 6 lessons and quiz
  • Bonuses 
Lessons vary in time with some lessons only being 1 minute long to the longest being 33 minutes long. Each lesson can be completed pretty quickly so doing more than one lesson per day is extremely doable. However, if you have the equipment you may want to take longer to play around with it. You also can complete the course without any of the equipment mentioned too.

The video lessons were so awesome because we did not own a lot of the equipment so being able to see them in action on the screen really helped us to visually connect with what was being taught. You can tell me about lighting all day long but showing me the different effects really helps me to see the end result that I should be looking for. For instance, in the screen shots below they were showing the visual affects of creating artistically just using light. This example was using a black and white film but the video instructions are in full color. You can see that the shading of the plant gives the white background more interest. 

The PDF downloads were great visual aids in addition to the videos and contained full color illustrations and photos as well as additional information for students. 

The course was extremely easy to navigate through and each lesson was automatically marked complete once you finished watching the video. In the introduction video, students are given complete instructions on how to navigate inside the course which basically means scrolling to the bottom of the screen once finishing a lesson and hitting the next button.

In the top left corner, you can easily navigate through the modules by clicking on the menu button. Each lesson also has a place to leave a comment asking any questions your student might have for the instructors.

For the quizzes that are available, they are completed online and answers are multiple choice. They are also automatically graded for you.

This course was a good fit for my daughter, who is 13 although we did tweak it a little. She has just started her own YouTube channel and uses a point and shoot camera. She learned a lot especially about lighting and sound but the material was more than she could retain at times so we decided that she would skip the quizzes for now and just focus on the video lessons. I took the quizzes myself.

The course is available for one year so you can work on it at your own pace. Until November 30, 2016 you can save $100 off the regular price by entering coupon code FALLCREW16 on the check out page. Each member of your family can use this course as long as it is completed in the year's time frame.

You can find out more about the Online Christian Filmmakers Academy by visiting their Facebook Page.
Online Christian Filmmakers Academy {Family Gravity Media}
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Review of MyFreezEasy | #freezeasy #freezermeals Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}

The Freezer Meal Plan Membership from MyFreezEasy makes freezer cooking so fast and easy there is no excuse to not have a meal at home even with our busy schedule.

We are about to hit our busy season with basketball games and practices taking up the majority of our week. I struggle with meals during this season and we often end up at a fast food restaurant so I was so excited to try MyFreezEasy. I have been wanting to try my hand at freezer cooking for a while and have pinned some plans on Pinterest but never really followed through so this was my very first time doing freezer meals!

The MyFreezEasy Premium Annual Membership makes having a freezer full of meals so simple and quick. Once you log in, you have several different meal plans to choose from:

The Traditional Plan
The 20 Meals Plan
The Gluten Free Plan
The All Pork Chops Plan
The All Ground Beef Plan
The All Chicken Plan
The Slow Cooker Plan
The Clean Eats Plan Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}
The beauty of the membership is you can choose one of the plans above, mix and match plans, or create your own plan using the month's recipe selection.  Being able to switch things up allows you to take advantage of meat sales too!  Since I had never embarked on a freezer meal journey before, I decided to keep it simple and use the traditional meal plan for the most part. I did swap out 2 of the recipes because I was also trying to maximize my freezer and pantry ingredients that were already on hand.  The original plan had a teriyaki pork tenderloin recipe included so I swapped that one out for a Slow Cooker Taco Soup recipe.  The 2nd recipe I swapped out was a Spanish Rice recipe for a Slow Cooker Chili Mac recipe. Swapping the recipes was extremely simple to do.  You also had the option of changing serving sizes.  The standard recipes given were 4 servings.  I changed ours to 6 since we are a family of 5 and honestly we probably could have stayed at 4 servings because we had plenty for our family plus leftovers for every meal when I added in sides.  So, to change the serving sizes, you would click on a drop down box and your recipe and shopping lists would automatically be updated with the required amounts needed.  To change the menu (located on the right in the photo below), you would select the recipe from the left and drag it over to replace the recipe in the menu box on the right.  

After you have selected which menu plan you would like and swapped any recipes, you are ready to print.  All menu plans can be downloaded and saved and you are encouraged to do so since they are no longer available on the site once a new plan for a new month begins.  Each meal is doubled so you end up working with only 5 recipes and doubling each one.  

The meal plan list was 14 pages long and included each recipe plus shopping list by recipe and store, prep day instructions and meal assembly instructions.  It even included what needed to be put out on the counter.  I absolutely loved the step by step instructions and that I could check off as I went.  You also get step by step video instruction showing Erin Chase, the creator, doing the same prepping and assembly you will do if you choose the traditional meal plans. There are highlight videos included for every meal plan too. She shares tips along the way to help you too.  The video came in handy for me to visually see what I was about to embark on and I also was able to see an ingredient that I had no idea what it was - mango nectar.  After seeing it in the video, I recognized that I had seen it at my grocery store before and was able to easily find it.  

I taped my instructions to the cabinet above the counter I was working on so I could easily see it at a glance.  

With shopping list in hand, my helpers and I set off to purchase the items that we did not already have in our freezer or pantry. 

After arriving home, we set up the counters as the meal prep instructions stated and began our first freezer meal adventure.  

Exactly 45 minutes later we had 8 meals in the freezer!  I had only 8 because I decided to only do 4 of the recipes last minute.  The meals I chose had very little prep.  I only had to brown all the ground beef, season it and boil some of the pasta for the Easy Lasagna Bake.  The main job seemed to be opening a lot of cans!  After that, assembly of the meals into baggies and pans began and all we had left was the clean up. 

The Lazy Lasagnas ready to go.  There were printable labels available but I just chose to write mine. 

Some of the meals in the freezer.

Clean up time wasn't really that bad either!

I loved the fact that each recipe included instructions on how to prepare it from the freezer as well as if you wanted to prepare it at that moment.  

The meals I chose did need to be thawed out overnight in the fridge or set in water for 20 minutes before cooking so I did need to try to keep in mind our menu plan for the week so I would know when to pull a meal.  

My family liked each of the 4 recipes that we tried with the Lazy Lasagna being our favorite followed closely by the Slow Cooker Taco Soup.  I decided to serve the Spicy Mango Chicken Tacos over rice instead of inside a tortilla for our first recipe.  For the next one, we definitely want to try it as a taco.  

When all was done, I felt so proud to have 8 meals for my family in the freezer and wondered why it has taken me so long to do this.  I think I was always scared of putting in a days worth of work to find out that our family didn't like any of what I had prepared!  I also didn't want to do the calculations needed. With MyFreezEasy plans, the plan is already laid out for you so it can be accomplished in a very short amount of time.  You can easily change serving sizes and recipes.  It's like having another brain to assist you in meal planning!  Who doesn't need that?

Find out more by visiting MyFreezEasy on FacebookInstagramPinterest. Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}
Crew Disclaimer