Today's Wisdom

Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: Veritas Press Self-Paced History

Veritas Press Review

I have shared here before that I have a hate/love relationship with the subject of history.  When I was in school, I hated it. I did what I could to pass and get through but retained nothing!  Since beginning our homeschool journey, my relationship with history has changed so dramatically and I give all the credit to great homeschool History curriculum!  
Veritas Press Review
Veritas Press has come up with with another great twist to history in a course called Self-Paced History.  I had the opportunity to review the time period of Veritas Press Self-Paced History: Explorers to 1815 and the Explorers To 1815 flashcards that are used with the program.

There are 5 self-paced history courses available:

Veritas Press Self-Paced History: Explorers to 1815 is an interactive online course that takes you through the different historical time periods chronologically and uses the classical approach of many different types of memorization aids.  The price for a year of online study is $199 per student.  You can add siblings for $100 off.  If the quiz results are not important to you, you can have each additional child go through the course independently but only the first quiz results will be recorded. There is an option to print out the results of the quizzes as they are taken so you can keep a record that way too.  You can also have the children do the course together but it will but only have one student's name on there.  The students could take turns answering the questions.  It really just depends on what you want to do!

It is recommended for Grammar stage students in 2nd-6th grades with a minimum age requirement of 7 years of age at the first day of class.  

During this course, you will cover 32 historical events from Explorers to 1815.  Each event has 5 lessons for a total of 160 lessons.  Each lesson lasts from 30-50 minutes depending upon the student.  The lessons are designed to be used each day of the week covering an event per week over a period of 32 weeks.  However, you are given an entire year to complete the course.  This allows you great flexibility to fit the course into your own homeschool schedule.  We chose to stick with our normal schedule of 3-4 lessons per week and still should finish in plenty of time before the year is up.

This course can be completed by the student independently and is entirely self paced.  I had Sarah, my 5th grader, take the course and I enjoyed watching the lessons with her.  

You will be taken on a journey through history by characters dressed in the time period.  Our time period characters were James, Abigail, and a totem pole named Ikuhabe.  They carry you through colorful backgrounds and make you feel like you are right back in history with them.  We found ourselves laughing out loud often which attracted other family members to join in on our journey.  

As you navigate through the course with your tour guides, you are given activities to complete through out the tour. Some are graded quizzes and some are just to help you retain what you are learning.  Activities include filling in maps for geography lessons, comprehension questions, spelling exercises, vocabulary, timeline dates, and so many more. 

There are a few hands on projects disbursed through out the course as well.  These can be downloaded in PDF format.

Here is a beginning geography lesson.  As you learn more, the activities become harder as well including all you have learned so far.

Below is a sample question/answer screen.

Here is a spelling activity.

The course also uses the Explorers To 1815 Flashcards. The cards sell here for $19.95.  It goes through the dates and information given on the cards and you are quizzed on that information as well. Each event lesson covers the memory work song that goes along with the flashcards - another classical approach to memorization. Most of the interactive worksheet questions will come from the flashcards.

As you navigate through each course, you will continue to be asked questions about previous lessons to make certain that all information that is being taught is retained.  The course works so effectively!  The different approaches to learning really cater to different learning styles and help the information stick.

An optional resource available with the course is scheduled reading plans for different level historical fiction books.  The books used for Level 1 are found in Level 1 Kit and usually for 2nd and 3rd grades.  Level 2 books are found in the Level 2 Kit and usually for 4th-6th grades. There is also a Combined Kit available if you have children in both age ranges.  

Since this is an online course, you will need to test your computer's compatibility and you can do that here.  You can also watch sample lessons of the different time periods available.

Overall, we love this program!  It is a unique approach to learning history and I could see it freeing up time for many homeschool teachers because it teaches and automatically grades as well!  I could see the price being an issue for us if we did not combine students but I think this could easily be used for 7th and 8th graders as well.  They may find the characters a little hokey depending on your student's personality but Stephen (my 8th grader) enjoyed joining in with us as well.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer, Summer, Summertime!

It's officially summer on the calendar and in our homeschool! That doesn't mean we aren't doing anything but we are enjoying lighter days!  

We've been doing a lot of history with Stephen and Sarah and Jonathan is still catching up from getting behind.

We're enjoying some water time at the lake and beach.  We are only attending a few camps this year to keep with our lighter schedule.  I want summer to be family time!  VBS will be coming up next month so for now, we'll keep an ice pop in one hand and sunscreen in the other while we soak up some Vitamin D!

Happy Summer!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Diana and Friends Experience History Through Music Giveaway -- $700+ Value!!

Coming up soon, I will be sharing more with you on a new history curriculum - Experience History Through Music by Diana Waring. great new history product that should be releasing the end of the month.  Not only is it history but history through music.  My daughter has been reading The Little House books and it's so cool to actually hear what some of Pa's songs would have sounded like!

Diana and Friends Giveaway
To celebrate the release of Experience History Through Music, I am joining members of the Diana Waring Launch Team for an amazing giveaway. Friends of Diana have joined in and as you can see, someone's homeschool is going to be greatly blessed!  Here's what you could win! 

From Diana Waring Presents

american history -- never this fun
Experience History Through Music - set of 3 books with CDs ($50/set) Diana Waring Presents is about to bring back into print the BEST folk music you have ever heard, combined with the fascinating stories they represent in American history!   The Experience Music Through Historyseries includes: America - Heart of a New Nation, Westward Ho! - Heart of the Old West  and Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The musicians are amazing, every instrument is real, lots of great vocalists, and more toe-tapping music than you can imagine! The books tell the stories behind the songs.  Together, they bring American history to life through it's music!!With fascinating history books and toe-tapping folk music CDs, American history has NEVER been this fun!

Encouragement for Homeschool Moms Collection ($25) Every mom needs that word of encouragement from someone who has been there, who has grownup children and can speak with assurance about the journey. Homeschool moms have an extra portion of the journey to navigate, and often wish for an extra voice that will offer direction but without nagging or prodding. Diana Waring has that voice.  

From A Journey Through Learning

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$50 Gift Certificate $50 to spend in the A Journey Through Learning store, applicable toward any digital download purchase.  


From Homeschool Legacy

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Westward Ho! Part I ($19.95) Load up your wagon! Discover the extraordinary times of adventurous frontiersmen and brave pioneers as you travel cross-country along the Erie Canal,  Oregon Trail, and even “remember the Alamo” in Westward Ho Part I. Westward Ho! Part II ($19.95) Continue the exciting saga begun in Westward Ho! Part I as you journey with the forty-niners, ride the rails of the Transcontinental Railroad, experience life on the prairie, and discover the exciting era of cowboys and cattle drives in Westward Ho! Part II. 

From Knowledge Quest Maps


Map Trek: Atlas and Outline Maps of World History ($55) Map Trek is a historical atlas plus outline maps that allow you to teach geography alongside history. This is a resource that any homeschool parent can use with brilliant success, even if you don't remember a thing from your history or geography classes in public school.  

 From Home School Adventure Co. 

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Philosophy Adventure™ Digital Download ($39.95) Philosophy Adventure™ is designed to help students 6th-12th grade cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as they explore the history of ideas.  

 From Heidi St. John (The Busy Mom and Real Life Press)

Firmly Planted Family Devotional Digital Volume 3 ($39) The Firmly Planted Family Series is divided into ten-week studies and is your key to making sense of the Bible—even if you’re learning right along with your children. Each lesson provides a core idea, a simple narrative, memory verses and discussion questions for children of all ages. And the companion student workbook is filled with age-appropriate, full-color, reproducible activities for children of any age!  

From Raising Real Men

Free Registration to Boyhood Boot Camp or Boot Camp 9-12 LIVE webinar series (winner's choice) plus Mom & Dad Special Raising Real Men (Book for Mom to read in the bathroom + AudioBook for Dad to listen to on the commute) ($62-69)

Free Registration for Marriage Retreat Online plus His & Hers Special of My Beloved and My Friend: How To Be Married To Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses (book + audiobook), ($65)

 From Institute for Excellence in Writing

$50 Gift Certificate $50 to spend in the IEW store, applicable toward any purchase.  

From The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

ST-Affiliate-300x300_zpsb38aa8ae ($139) A one year membership to the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Nearly 100 classes for Pre-K to High School, taught by expert teachers, and lots of extras including the Schoolhouse Planners, Schoolhouse Expos, monthly free ebook downloads and more. 

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine 2014 Print Book ($15) Be encouraged, enlightened, and educated with the all new 2014 Annual Print Book published by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.You’ll get a year’s worth of homeschool support in almost 300 pages in this full color one-of-a-kind print magazine for homeschoolers, by homeschoolers. This is a magazine you’ll refer to again and again.  

From Writing with Sharon Watson

The Power in Your Hands ($53.96) With The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School, they’ll learn what they need to know for high school and will be prepared for college writing. 69276_1454187188126914_157492202_n
Writing Fiction [in High School] ($35) Are you raising the next C. S. Lewis or Jane Austen? Help your student develop their fiction-writing talents. Writing Fiction [In High School]: Bringing Your Stories to Life will help.

To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter below. Residents of the U.S., age 18 and older only. Other Terms and Conditions can be found in the Rafflecopter. 

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Budgeting 101 - Our Family's Story

Come read a little about our family's Budgeting system over on The Schoolhouse Review Crew's Spotlight. If you have any questions, let me know!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Creamy Banana Pudding

Here's a favorite recipe from our family.  It's a great summertime dish for us.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Review: A Life In Balance from Learning Breakthrough

Learning Breakthrough Program Review
I was recently given the opportunity to review A Life In Balance available from Learning Breakthrough Program.  
Learning Breakthrough Program Review
I received a PDF copy of A Life In Balance and began to read it right away.  I found it so thought-provoking.  It is 210 pages long but an extremely quick read.  The conversational style writing keeps you intrigued and it is hard to put down once you get started.

The book is an autobiographical account of Frank Belgau as was told to his son, Eric. As he described his childhood complete with the labels placed upon him because of his disabilities, I found myself in tears.  The book continues to take you through his passion and love for trying to help children who had been pushed aside by the system right up until the development of his own program, Learning Breakthrough. It also gives you exercises to use with your own children to help them and you understand and overcome any neurological barriers they may be facing. They refer to this as "brain fitness".

The program was developed for children with learning disabilities such as ADHD, Dyslexia, Brain Injury, Dysgraphia, and more.  However, the program can be used with anyone.  The book contains stories of children as well as adults who have been helped following the programs' simple daily exercises.  It is not only used to improve grades but to improve daily life.  The precept behind the program is that activities involving balance can have a significant impact on motor skills, visual processing, reading, learning efficiency and academic performance.  

I have never heard of this concept before.  Mostly what you hear today for treatment of children with learning disabilities involves medication.  So often, these children are truly intelligent and not given the opportunity or tools needed to help them.  Frustration sets in for both the student and the parent and no one knows anything else to do but medicate. So, if you are looking for another  alternative this is the book for you.  The book was written for adults and I learned so much from reading it.  
Even if your children do not have a learning disability, I think much knowledge can be gained by reading A Life In Balance.  For example, inside you will find details on how to observe your child's walk to see if they have any balance issues by watching their feet and arm movement.  I would have never even thought to observe those before reading this book.

Dr. Frank Belgau has put his system in practice in many classrooms and worked hard to make the tweaks necessary to make it the most effective. His system stems from over 30 years of research and observations.  A Life In Balance takes you through some of the trials and errors he faced to put his system into place.  Dr. Belgau holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX and a Doctor of Education degree from Pacific States University in Los Angeles, CA.  

You can purchase A Life In Balance at $16.94 (current price at this posting) and find out more about the Learning Breakthrough Program.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

For Sale: Homeschool In The Woods Timeline Figures

I have the following 2 sets of Timeline Figures for sale.  I ended up with 2 copies.  They are in great condition - like new!

I would like $15 for each set or $25 for both.  Shipping is not included in that price and I'll leave it up to you if you want it sent Media Mail or Priority.

Paypal only!  You can leave a comment below if your interested or have any questions.  You can also email me!