Sunday, September 23, 2012

Homeschool Legacy-We the People

Most of our school year is centered around a specific subject that typically revolves around what we are learning in history that year.  Last year was Rome to the Reformation and this year is U.S. History so we try to use any type of unit studies, hands on activities, field trips, etc. that will help us with that period of history.  I'm pretty sure most people try to do that but sometimes we get in a boring rut of just learning and not having fun while learning.  Along came Homeschool Legacy with the Once-A-Week Unit Study and we went from hum drum to fun fun!  Here are a couple of key points to remember:
~No prep work is required!
~Easily incorporated into your current schedule because they are only once a week.
~Flexible enough to compliment any curriculum (I wish we would have known about Knights and Nobles this last year when we were studying Rome to the Reformation it would have been so fun!)
~Biblically centered
~Interactive and family oriented for grades 2-12 except for We the People which is recommended for grades 4th-12th
~A breath of fresh air from textbooks
~Family games and movie nights are included
~Our family doesn't participate in Boy Scouts or American Heritage Girl BUT if your family does then you are in for a treat because,
Once-a-Week Unit Studies
are Boy Scout & American Heritage Girl friendly! Each Once-a-Week Unit Study has a corresponding merit badge associated with it. This unique feature allows scouts to earn merit badges while completing the unit study assignments with the rest of their family.
Homeschool Legacy has a wide variety of interesting unit studies to choose from and many of them would have tied into our year of U.S. History studies.  It was hard to choose between all of the following historic studies:
 Native Americans (6 week study) $17.95

Early Settlers in America (6 week study) $17.95
Revolutionary Ideas (7 week study) $19.95
We the People: Getting to Know Your Constitution (8 week study) $19.95-Discover America's Christian heritage with this thought provoking unit study. Walk beside the Founders as they explain in their own words their Christian beliefs and hopes for our nation.

We the People is the unit study we ended up choosing and it has been fantastic and so easy to incorporate into our schedule because you only use it one time per week! 

 During this 8 week study you cover the following topics:

1. The State of the New Nation
2. The Constitutional Convention
3. Your Bill of Rights
4. The Legislative Branch
5. The Executive Branch
6. The Judicial Branch
7. Amending the Constitutuion
8. Your National Symbols

Library books/videos that were recommended (they were alphabetically and numerically arranged by the Dewey decimal system to help make it easy to find your library books) and that we read helped us to focus in on the Founding Father's, the three branches of the government, our national symbols, the Constitution and Amendments and the voting process.  After reading about the voting process and with all of the Presidential debates going on we are hoping that the kids are allowed to watch me vote in the next election, that's some hands on learning!
Here are some of the things our family has enjoyed about using Homeschool Legacy.
One of our favorite activities has been playing Preamble Scramble.  This is a game where you cut out the Preamble into different sections and then put it back together in the proper order.  The kids have gotten so good at it that I had to print out a second one and they race putting it together, I have to admit that they usually beat me and ALWAYS beat dad!
Kenzie playing the Preamble Scramble while we are in the middle of packing and moving.  That's what you call homeschool dedication!
I love that important documents and pictures were included and discussed.

The focus of the one-day-a week unit study was on quality and not quantity so the things that you learn about have a focus and aren't just glossed over to be forgotten by the next day.

Art Appreciation is included in the lessons.

Field trip ideas are included but most of them are in Washington D.C. so ideas for local and state field trips are included as well.

Stump Your Dad Trivia was something that my kids and my husband looked forward to each week.

My children enjoyed the independent reading but loved the family read-alouds and the family devotional and our family found that to be our best time to open up discussions about what we had been studying that week.  This led to many debates and a greater appreciation for our Founding Fathers.

This is a fabulous unit study that's very pertinent to what is going on with the government right now, especially with the Presidential election that's coming up.  If you start now you could even be finished just in time to vote and you might have the option to allow your children to watch you vote for our next President!

Kylan was looking up some of the vacabulary words.

Do you have any Boy Scouts in your family? They will earn their Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge.

American Heritage Girls earn requirements for Citizenship and Government and Our Flag badges.  

Plus Homeschool Legacy has several more unit studies that sounded interesting but didn't tie into our U.S. History studies. To learn more about those unit studies and to learn how Crew members incorporated Once a Week Unit Studies into their school week click on the Crew button below.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reading and a recipe-skinny poolside dip and Swipe book review

Two things that I love to do are read and play around with new recipes.  So I decided to start posting about my two loves combined into one blog post, I'll try to post them bi-weekly BUT we are in the middle of moving so this might not happen as often as I was hoping for...we shall see. 

A Recipe

Now, I want to share a recipe and it has nothing to do with the book.  I just love Skinny Poolside Dip, I'm pretty sure it was my friend Jen from 6 Happy Hearts that shared it earlier this summer and I've made it several times and had rave reviews by my friends and family.

Skinny Poolside Dip

1 red pepper 2 jalepenos (unseeded) 1 can of corn 1/2 can diced olives 16 oz fat-free cream cheese (softened) and 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dip seasoning mix   Mix ingredients together. Serve with crackers or raw veggies   I don't like to use the red pepper though, I use the Mexicorn instead because I'm lazy and it already has the red peppers cut up in it!  Last night I used 1/2 black olives and 1/2 green olives and loved the flavor that they both brought to the dip.  I normally use black olives only but we are moving so I'm cleaning out my fridge and trying to get rid of everything and I saw a jar of green olives that needed to be used.        


My thoughts:

I'm currently reading Swipe by Evan Angler and it's a fascinating read about receiving "the Mark".  It brought back memories of this movie called The Thief in the Night series I watched at church when I was a young child (it terrified me and I don't recommend it for children) the book isn't terrifying though, I'm actually enjoying it.  It's all about an apocalyptic world and when you turn 13 you receive the Mark. The book is written from the point of view of a 12 year old boy named Logan, he's just on the cusp of turning 13 and receiving his mark but it just doesn't feel right to him.  So far it's an adventurous mystery about what happened to his sister when she was supposed to receive her mark, she vanished.  I can't wait to finish and see what happens to Logan and find out what happened to his sister.

I don't normally talk about the cover of a book especially since I've been reading most of my books on a Kindle so I don't see the cover that often.  I loved this cover and thought that it went perfectly with the book and is a great design for an apocalyptic world design.

Swipe is considered a YA novel and can be purchased at for $9.99 for the paperback version and $7.69 for the Kindle version which is what I'm reading.

About the book:

Everyone gets the Mark. It gives all the benefits of citizenship. Yet if getting the Mark is such a good thing, then why does it feel so wrong?

Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war, Swipe follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn’t even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship.

The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It’s almost Logan Langly’s 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn’t been able to shake the feeling he’s being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back.

When Logan and his friends discover the truth behind the Mark, will they ever be able to go back to being normal teenagers? Find out in the first book of this exciting series that is Left Behind meets Matched for middle-grade readers.

SNEAK, is the next book that just came out on September 4th, 2012 in the Swipe Series.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Call of a Coward:The God of Moses and the Middle-Class Housewife

About the book:

The problem with promising God you'll follow Him wherever He leads you is that you just might have to go.

When her husband returned from a church mission trip and disrupted her tidy, middle-class afternoon with the conviction they should pack up and move to a Mayan village in Guatemala, Marcia Moston had to wonder: faithful or foolish?

On a journey that leads from the highlands of Guatemala to a small Vermont village, Marcia follows God's call for her husband even though it seems to conflict with her own dreams, requires credentials she lacks, and demands courage she doesn't feel she has.

Written with humor and insight, Call of a Coward is a candid account of a modern-day seeker and a very real God who makes cowards courageous, ordinary lives purposeful, and dried-up dreams fruitful.

About the Author:

Although I hold degrees from the University of Vermont and Trinity Theological seminary, most of what I've learned has been by the proverbial seat of my pants. I've taught English in a Christian high school, worked with orphans in a Mayan village in Guatemala, led mission teams throughout Central America, delivered Yellowbooks, stuffed vending machines, and lived in everything from tepees to parsonages.

I love to share the stories of what a very real God can do with the smallest of our offerings. My debut nonfiction, Call of a Coward: The God of Moses and the Middle-Class Housewife, is the winner of the 2010 Women of Faith writing contest.
This biography was provided by the author or their representative.

My Thoughts:

When I started reading this book I wasn't sure what I was getting into but all I can say is that it was an amazing story of obediance and courage!  It's a story that was written by a middle-class housewife and went on to win a writing contest because it's just that good.  I give it 5 out of 5 stars for her descriptive details about living in conditions that we consider third world but she made it seem like an adventure.  This book makes you take a look at everything we have in America and makes you wonder if you God called you, would you go?  Would you be courageous or a coward?  Would you obey or not?  I would often lay awake wondering if I would obey but then I realized that our family has already obeyed God.  He called us on a very special journey to adopt two special children from South Korea.  The road was long, hard and our mountain was made of paperwork but we followed where God was leading us and it was and still is an amazing journey.  Everyone's journey isn't the same but if you listen and follow God's voice He will lead you down the correct path and that my friends is what life is all about!
Call of a Coward can be purchased at for $9.99 for the Kindle version or the paperback version for $12.99.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, September 17, 2012

Children of Angels-book review

About the Book: 

“Not my iPod!” Jeremy Lapoint’s day plunges to record lows when Sid Lundahl and his crew stomp the only nice thing he owns-and Jeremy gets in trouble for fighting. With Dad in prison and Mom struggling to scrape by, Jeremy’s life seems hopeless.

Until he has this urge to … fly.

One leap and Jeremy soars through the air. With this and his other new-found powers, life is suddenly amazing, wonderful. Until a real-live demon chases him through the school hallways, terrifying him and making him a freak to his schoolmates. He’s the only one who can see the monster. Jeremy wonders if the flying thing’s worth it.

But during the chase, Asiel, Jeremy’s guardian angel, wields his sword and battles off the demon. Later Asiel explains that Jeremy’s a Nephilim: half human and half angel. Jeremy’s shocked. His quest to uncover how he got like this sends him to the Higher Humanity Institute where he meets other Nephilim like him along with a slew of enemies-both human and … not.

In the midst of his strange and dangerous struggles, Jeremy also receives the peace and love he’s always longed for but never knew. When called to lead an angelic battle for the truth, will Jeremy cling to the One who can win the war or let his old doubts and fears overtake him?

Fun, danger, friendship, mystery, and faith-along with awesome angels and demons-fill the pages of this exciting book. A must-read for kids (and grownups) craving adventure with a life-changing message.

Meet Kathryn: 

When Kathryn Dahlstrom’s husband was transferred to Los Angeles, she traded Minnesota’s black-bear country for the inner-city and taught children at a Child Evangelism Fellowship Good News Club in Watts. She also began her writing career. In addition to writing six titles in the Good News Club children’s fiction series published by Child Evangelism Fellowship Press, the author is also a screenwriter and film producer.
Currently, she and her husband, Tim, live on wooded acreage north of Minneapolis/St. Paul where they care for her mother. They also have an adult daughter, Kristina.
Find out more about Kathryn at

My Opinion:

I found this to be a fascinating book that I passed on to my 12 year old daughter and she loved it and couldn't put it down.  My 11 year old son is currently reading it and has lots of questions about angels, demons and Nephilim.  While I found it an enjoyable read this book also had a spiritual effect and made you aware that there really are battles taking place that you don't always see.  I was aware of this but it opened my children's eyes in a way that can't be explained.  Children of Angels was definitely a book that will start some interesting conversations with the young ones in your family.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars for the incredible detail involved in the spiritual warfare.

To see what others think about this fascinating book click on the litfuse button!

Thanks for reading, 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Speekee TV

Speekee TV is the world's number 1 Spanish course for young children ages 2-10 years old.  My 11 and 12 year old both reviewed a generous 6 month subscription to Speekee TV, my 11 year old loved it but my 12 year old thought it was a little young for her.  My 11 year old liked the puppets and the children that help with the videos and he thought the puppets were hilarious and he has actually learned quite a bit of Spanish just from watching the videos!  

Speekee TV offers a free 2 week trial by clicking on the link and is $7.50 per month after the trial period or $60 per year.  Each video has a theme like the zoo, a cafe, etc and my son set up his stuffed animals and has been pretending like they are a class and he's the teacher.  He'll watch the video several times and then go over everything again with his "class".  It's been a lot of fun watching him enjoy learning Spanish (as well as teaching it) and he's loving learning, it makes this mom smile.  I love that he has started answering me in Spanish now and he also names animals, foods and anything he can figure out in Spanish.  This is an immersion approach that really seems to work well with younger children.

There is also an option called FastTrack which gives you an easy to follow plan that lasts 40 weeks, each week has suggested activities, vocabulary flashcards, and worksheets.  

About Speekee TV:

Speekee Puppet
  • SONGS YOU CAN’T STOP SINGING (this is true, I find myself singing the songs)

Thanks for reading, 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Marshall Publishing

Marshall Publishing & Promotions, Inc is media fun for everyone.  They offer award winning CD's, DVD's and books.  I was so excited to have the opportunity to review The History of The Oregon Trail & The Pony Express DVD since we are studying U.S. History this year I thought this would be a wonderful supplement to our curriculum. This DVD includes 2 separate programs that had fascinating facts about The Pony Express and The Oregon Trail, captivating photography, live re-enactments, maps, and spectacualr photographs all of this combined together make history come to life.  This program is recommend for 4th grade and up and is perfect for history buffs, classroom use and in our case homeschool.  Click here learn more about Marshall Publishing or to purchase the DVD for $24.95 if you act now it's on sale for $19.95 ($5.00 savings). Use the code, “TOS27” to receive free shipping! .


The Pony Express

My children and I really enjoyed learning more about The Pony Express and one of the things that really stuck out to me was that they only operated for 19 months but made a lasting impact on our nation. When I've heard about The Pony Express in the past I never realized that they only operated for such a short time, I love that I'm learning right along with my children, we even mapped out the routes that were ridden between California and  Saint Joseph, MO.  We compared and contrasted each of the stops that we've been to and how differently the towns look now and how The Pony Express impacted each location. This DVD brought back memories of reading a book about The Pony Express as a child and how I dreamed of being a Pony Express Rider even though they no longer existed in our era. 

The Oregon Trail

While watching The Oregon Trail portion of the video we realized the massive amount of people that actually traversed the Oregon Trail. The video shows the rivers they crossed, the landscape, some of the joys and many of the hardships that were faced.  What made this video very interesting to us was that we were watching while we traveled over part of the trail while we were on vacation.

Our picture taken along the Oregon Trail near Independence, MO

Can you imagine traveling over this mountain on a wagon?  I can't! I remember hearing stories from my great-grandmother about traveling by wagon and being lowered down steep areas by rope, she said it didn't frighten her though because that was the only way they knew how to do it back then. Watching the video made me reflect on how easy we have it now with cars, trains, airplanes, and speed boats we can get to locations so much faster.  We traveled from Missouri to Colorado in 14 hours and we tried to calculate how long it would have taken to travel it by wagon and we figured out that if the pioneers traveled an average of 10 miles per day it would take approximately 90 days to travel the 900 miles that we traveled in one day.

Marshall Publishing also produces many other DVD’s for various ages, several of which were reviewed by other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew to read more reviews and learn about other products that Marshall Publishing offers please click on the banner below.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Math 911

Professor Weissman has been teaching math for over 50 years so he's very passionate about helps students learn Algebra, Trig and Pre-Calculus.  After all of these years of teaching he's developed a method that he feels really helps each student understand how to solve higher math problems.  Yes, there are plenty of work and textbooks out there but what about illustrations that show how to solve these problems.  Afters years of research and a lot of trial and error a tutorial software was developed by the name of  Math 911

The Math 911 software generates problems for the students, the answers are not marked wrong but each student has to get a specific number of correct answers to prove that they have mastered that level and then they are allowed to move on.  If the student doesn't understand the problems there is an area to click on for step by step instructions.  Then, the student will practice until they master the subject.

We were given a complete download of Math 911 and ours level (Intro to Algebra) came with a free PDF with explanations on how to do the problems.  The complete Math 911 program(all levels and subjects included) is available at a discounted rate of $49.95
The suggested age range is 12 and up or anyone that is ready for Introductory to Algebra.

My Opinion
To be completely honest this was to advanced for my 7th grader and she was very frustrated when we were trying to use it.  That's my fault because I thought she was ready for Intro to Algebra but she's not quite there yet.  I do think that this is a great program and would be a wonderful supplement to any curriculum that you are currently using.  As I was going through the program I was wishing I had something like this when I started learning Algebra 25 years ago.

Thanks for reading, 

Friday, September 07, 2012

50 Days of Hope-Book review

About the Book:
You’ve just heard a diagnosis that shakes your world: It's cancer. And what you long for most is the hope that everything will be okay. You are not alone. As a longtime cancer survivor, Lynn Eib knows firsthand how that feels. And as a patient advocate helping thousands facing cancer, she also knows what gives people hope. In 50 Days of Hope, Lynn shares amazing, true stories of those who have been in your shoes and discovered that when God and cancer meet, hope is never far away. Whether you’re a cancer patient or walking with a loved one on a cancer journey, you’ll find 50 Days of Hope packed with the daily dose of encouragement you need.

About the Author:

In a seventh-grade journalism class, Lynn Eib decided she wanted to grow up to be a newspaper reporter. Two years later she applied to be the sports editor of her school's weekly paper even though the administration said only boys could have that job. She finally convinced them she knew sports and would stay out of the boys' locker room and got the job. Her love for newspaper reporting never waned and she majored in journalism at the Ohio State University, where she also met the love of her life on her first and last blind date. They married eight months later in 1973, and her husband, Ralph, recently retired after 32 years in pastoral ministry.
Lynn says she never thought she could write a book because she sees herself more as a reporter, but her books (When God and Cancer Meet,Finding the Light in Cancer's Shadow, and most recently released, When God and Grief Meet) are true accounts of amazing things she's seen God do in people's lives, so she's been able to continue to "report." Lynn also wrote the inspirational commentary for He Cares NLT New Testament with Psalms, which is specially focused for those dealing with serious and/or chronic illness.
When she's not writing or following her favorite sports teams, she works as a patient advocate in her oncologist's office, offering emotional and spiritual support to his patients and their caregivers. She's held this most unusual job since 1997, and she and her boss often speak on the benefits of combining spirituality, faith, and prayer with medicine. As a longtime colon cancer survivor (diagnosed at the young age of 36), Lynn gives inspirational seminars and talks throughout the country to cancer survivors, their caregivers, and health professionals. The Cancer Prayer Support Group she founded in 1991 (and still facilitates) may be the oldest such continuously meeting, spiritually based group in the country and has spawned dozens of such similar groups around the nation.
For more information about Lynn's ministry, starting a Christian-based support group, or resources to encourage those dealing with illness, visit her Web site, "Equipping to Encourage,"

My Opinion:

I read the book because I know so many people that have struggled with cancer, I've had 2 different types of cancer and I'm still alive to tell about it.  It's a huge crushing blow when you are diagnosed and at first I thought I wouldn't live to see my children grow up or grow old with my husband but after treatment and several surgeries I made it.  It doesn't happen that way for everyone though.  This book would be an invaluable resource of hope for those that are struggling in their cancer journey and need something to help them focus and think positively and learn to rely on the Lord.  I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to anyone you know that has been diagnosed with cancer.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Everyday Homemaking-Molly Crew

Everyday Homemaking is so full of practical ideas for homeschool, home and cooking and was a great help in setting up a chore system for our family that actually worked for us.
I was fortunate to review The Everday Family Chore System and it has literally changed how my son cleans, organizes and studies. He's on the Autistic
spectrum and often stuggles with remembering to finish a task once he has started it and he also gets overwhelmed and won't know where to start.  I've tried everything and nothing has worked for him until now! 

 The age suggestion is 2 years-teens, and you can buy it for $17.99 in a digital download, or $19.99 for the coil-bound option. I received the digital download but ended up printing out most of it and putting it into a binder.

This book has 3 sections

1.  Laying a Foundation-This section talks about training our children to become ready to leave our house and how we need to teach them while they are at home so they are ready to make that leap when the time comes.  I love that she had age appropriate chores, I often struggle with this. 

2. Implementing the Plan- This section explains how the system works and how you can modify it for your family if you need to. How to teach them and to motivate!

3. The Actual Chore System- This section was fantastic and very helpful with many printables and the How-to-do-it cards were a God send to my son.

Click on the Molly Crew button to see what other members of the Molly Crew have to say about Everyday Homemaking.

Thanks for reading,

The Flirtation Experiment-book review and giveaway

About the authors:  Lisa Jacobson  is an author, a podcaster, and the founder of, an online community of Christian women aut...