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WriteShop Junior: Book E ~ Review

WriteShop_graphic

WriteShop provides homeschool writing curriculum from students from Kindergarten through 12th grade. WriteShop Junior is written for students in approximately grades 3-5, and provides instruction in creative writing through step-by-step lesson plans and lots of hands-on student activities. Write Shop Junior is written in 2 levels, D for grades 3-4, and E for grades 4-5. Each level’s complete set includes a teacher’s guide, activity pack, time-saver pack, and junior writer’s notebook, and can be purchased in either printed ($106.95) or digital PDF ($78.50) form. We have recently been given the opportunity to use the digital form of WriteShop Junior: Book E, and are happy to share our review with you today.

About the Program

WriteShop Junior: Book E covers various forms of creative writing, which are divided into 10 lessons. Each lesson spans 2 to 3 weeks, depending upon what works best for your schedule. Topics covered include:

Lesson 1: Writing a Fable
Lesson 2: Writing with Humor
Lesson 3: Writing an Adventure
Lesson 4: Writing Science Fiction
Lesson 5: Writing a Mystery
Lesson 6: Concrete Poetry
Lesson 7: Writing a Personal Narrative
Lesson 8: Descriptive Narrative
Lesson 9: Writing a Book Report
Lesson 10: Writing a Nonfiction Report

Each of these 10 lessons is broken down into smaller parts, referred to as Activity Sets. Every lesson has 8 Activity Sets, which provide a way of organizing the activities so that material is presented to students in a consistent and familiar format from one lesson to the next.

Program Components

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The WriteShop Junior: Book E Teacher’s Guide provides everything you need to teach writing to your students. It begins with a brief overview of the program, and then gives examples of possible schedules so that you can see which one will work best for your situation. It even gives tips for teaching multiple students who are using different levels of WriteShop. A comprehensive list of materials and supplies is then given, which includes detailed explanations of the student components of the program. Following that is a breakdown of individual lesson activities, and the purpose and procedure for each one.

Following all of this background information is the main part of the teacher’s guide, which is the step-by-step explanation of the program’s 10 lessons. Not only does this program explain what you need to teach and why, but it literally does the teaching for you. Each lesson is completely scripted for you, which means you don’t have to be good at writing yourself in order to teach students to write well. Clear, thorough explanations are also given for the hands-on activities within each lesson, so there is absolutely no guess work when it comes to implementing this program.

 

graphic_ActivityPackThe WriteShop Junior: Book E Activity Pack includes the student worksheet and activity pages that correspond to each of the 10 lessons.

The Activity Pack includes worksheets for activities typically found in various writing programs, including brainstorming, the writing assignments themselves, and self-editing sheets. In addition to these, WriteShop expands upon the writing process by offering pre-writing worksheets, journal prompts, and hands-on, skill-building activities. The back of the Activity Pack includes additional forms for keeping a reading log, extra journal pages, and a writing skills evaluation chart so that students can keep track of their writing progress throughout the program.

Also included in the Activity Pack is the Fold-N-Go Grammar pack. This pack includes printable sheets with instructions explaining how to assemble them inside file folders in order to create a set of 10 grammar reference guides. These guides will then provide students with their own personal quick references for the following topics:

  • Sentences
  • Four Kinds of Sentences
  • Compound Sentences
  • Parts of Speech: Review
  • Dialogue
  • Homophones, Homonyms, and Homographs
  • Five Paragraphs
  • Prefixes and Suffixes
  • Compound Words
  • Synonyms and Antonyms

Construction of each of the guides is worked right into the lesson plan, with one guide completed per lesson.

graphic_Time-SaverEThe WriteShop Junior: Book E Time-Saver Pack contains all of the necessary printable components used in the hands-on games and activities featured throughout the program. The time-saver pack does just that. It saves time by giving you pre-designed game cards, spinners, and other game elements, which can be quickly printed on cardstock and used right away, rather than taking precious time away from the lesson to make everything by hand.

 

graphic_JrWritersNotebookThe WriteShop Junior: Book E Junior Writer’s Notebook is a convenient place for students to keep track of their planning activities from their writing processes. The 12 worksheets included provide students with a unique way of focusing on the specific elements of writing, such as setting, plot, and characters. The worksheets also offer student the means to improve their existing compositions by helping students with such things as word choices, creating interesting beginnings and endings in compositions, and conveying emotion to the reader. Students are able to print out these forms as they feel necessary.

How We Used it & Our Final Opinion

Because my youngest son is in the upper age range of this level, and my oldest is one grade above, we decided to use this program at the faster, 2-week-per-lesson recommended. I love the idea of this program, but for us, it was simply overwhelming as far as the number of elements involved with its implementation. That is not to say that there was too much work in the program. The program itself is well laid out, with what I would consider an age-appropriate amount of work and activities. The issue is only that the program simply did not fit with my children’s learning styles.

I think that this program is perfect for parents who do not enjoy writing themselves, or do not consider themselves particularly good at writing or teaching it to their students. In those cases, I am sure that parents would appreciate the detailed explanations, and would find the completely scripted lessons an absolute life-saver.

Furthermore, I am sure that completely tactile learners would find this the perfect curriculum. There is never a case of “take out a blank piece of paper and write”. Instead, everything is presented by way of fun, illustrated worksheets and activities that are mostly hands-on in nature. In other words, it is perfect for students who need a more stimulated, active way of learning the writing process.

Unfortunately, with a younger child who is easily overwhelmed by too much sensory input, and an older child who is a no-nonsense straight shooter, this program simply didn’t work for us. I can say, however, that the program is fantastic for what it is, and I can definitely see why I have heard so many people raving about it. I do wish it had been a better fit for our family, as there is nothing AT ALL flawed about the program. I am sure tactile learners, reluctant writers, and non-writer parents out there will absolutely adore this program.

For more information, please check out the WriteShop website, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+. Please also click below to read the other Crew reviews!

 

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Moving Beyond The Page ~ Review

MBTP

Moving Beyond the Page provides literature-based homeschool curriculum, on a vast number of topics, in the areas of language arts, social studies, and science. Their curriculum is broken down into a series of units, organized by age level, from ages 4-5 all the way up through ages 14-15. Their unit style works particularly well for gifted and hands-on learners. My family has recently had the opportunity to use a couple of the units from their 10-12 age group, the language arts unit, Albert Einstein, and the accompanying science unit, Force and Motion. Today, we are happy to share our experience and review.

About the Curriculum

The Moving Beyond the Page curriculum is broken down into concepts covered over the course of the year. Each of these concepts is further broken down into a series of smaller units. These units each cover one particular theme relating to the main concept. The concepts and units can be studied in any order, however, allowing a very personalized learning experience for each child. The units can each be used independently, though some (like those my family has chosen) have also been written to work in conjunction with each other.

Each unit includes a Note For Parents page, which describes the structure of the curriculum, explains each component of the lessons, and provides a sample week’s schedule. It goes even further to explain the structure of each lesson, and finally, an example of a typical day, and time allotments for unit activities.

Each lesson is then clearly laid out in the curriculum guides, with checklists to ensure you have everything you need, ideas to think about, and things to know before you get started. The lesson then begins with the reading passage and accompanying questions, a series of corresponding activities, and finally a “wrapping up” section for reinforcement or further study.

Albert Einstein

einsteinThis language arts unit is available in either printed ($48.93) or online ($44.87) form, which includes the curriculum and all additional required materials. For the purpose of this review, we were given the online version. The unit is broken down into 8 lessons, plus a final project. It is made to accompany the biography, Albert Einstein by Kathleen Krull.

The lessons not only help guide students through the book through the use of lesson review questions, but also provide opportunities for activities such as mapping of various countries in which Einstein lived and worked, constructing a timeline of his life, research of other notable scientists that influenced Einstein, and much more. In the final project, students will use all that they have learned in order to construct a biography scrapbook of Einstein’s life and work.

Also included with this unit is a Rummy Roots card game, which is written right into the activities section of the unit. This game teaches children ages 8 and up 42 different Greek and Latin roots, providing an excellent vocabulary builder. The curriculum also includes a vocabulary list, as well as weekly spelling lists to correlate with the unit, making this an all-inclusive language arts curriculum.

 

Force and Motion

Force_motion_graphicThis science unit is also available either in printed ($50.07) or online ($46.01) form, which includes the curriculum, accompanying book, and experiment kit. The unit’s 8 lessons and final project are made to accompany the book The Quest for Personal Best: Individual Sports by Lisa Greathouse. Through the study of various sports and the athletes that participate in them, students are introduced to several physics concepts. Some of the fascinating topics covered include gymnastics and balance, bicycles and friction, skateboarding and gravity, and more.

Like the literature unit, this curriculum provides a series of review questions related to the required reading book, but then goes further by providing a variety of hands-on activities for reinforcement. In this unit, that includes a number of worksheets (included within the unit) plus simple experiments, which use the items from the experiment kit. Because this unit covers force and motion, the experiments involve simple activities such as using a spring scale to measure mass, using marbles to demonstrate Newton’s Laws of Acceleration, or a ball drop experiment to illustrate directional changes. The curriculum provides all necessary instructions for conducting these experiments, as well as forms for students to record their data and conclusions.

This unit also includes a list of vocabulary words covered in the study, as well as a unit review sheet to ensure understanding of the unit’s key concepts.

How We Used it & Our Final Opinion

We decided to follow the units as suggested in each of the curriculum guides, and I must say, the suggested schedule was very helpful in implementing the studies. I was admittedly overwhelmed at first receiving the curriculum, but after reading the introduction notes and suggestions, it was very easy to get up and running. I was also a bit nervous at first about the amount of hands-on work, as my youngest can sometimes get sensory overload by too many activities. However, this curriculum was extremely well balanced, providing plenty of reading and written work in addition to the fun experiments and activities. The hands-on activities are long enough to enforce the concept, but short enough to keep students focused and on task. Follow-up report forms are also helpful in ensuring students understand the purpose of the experiments, and how to interpret their findings.

As the parent, I loved the fact that everything was either included with the kit, or involved simple, household items. For activities that involved outside sources, such as online articles, everything was provided right in the curriculum, which saved a lot of time searching for resources. Having everything all in one place made teaching a breeze. It made it so easy, in fact, that older students could even use this curriculum independently, with minimal parent assistance.

This curriculum makes learning even difficult concepts easy and fun. I would definitely recommend this not only to typical hands-on learners, but to all homeschoolers. With the wide variety of subjects available, parents are sure to find something that appeals to every child. And, with the clear explanations and easy to follow instructions for each unit, it really takes the stress out of lesson planning. My boys definitely enjoyed this curriculum and are asking for more units from Moving Beyond the Page!

 

For more information, please check out the Moving Beyond The Page website, or follow them on FacebookPlease also click below to read the other Crew reviews!

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Experience History Through Music – Review

Experience History Through Music by Diana Waring is a fantastic series of CD and accompanying books full of some of our nation’s best loved folk songs. This series is a fun way of studying American history, and is sure to appeal to even the most reluctant historians.

There are 3 sets in the series, each focusing on a different theme within our country’s history. Each set contains a CD of high-quality musical recordings. The accompanying book gives background information about the song itself, as well as the time period in which it was written. Historical photographs and artwork throughout the books enhance the stories and help engage readers. At the end of each book there is easy sheet music for each song, which makes it easy to sing and play the music for yourself.

diana waring available now

Each set is priced at only $18.99, but now through the end of July, you can buy all 3 book/CD sets on sale for $50. This is a great deal for these fantastic sets!

 

Westward Ho!: The Heart of the Old West

westwardhoThis set includes songs written around the time period of the western expansion. It is the perfect addition to studies on the time period of cowboys and rodeos, the California gold rush, logging in the Pacific Northwest, the Homestead Act, and other events of the 1800s.

This set contains many songs with which we were not familiar, so it definitely offered a great learning experience for us. My husband, being from the Pacific Northwest and close to the Cascade Mountains, was especially interested in the stories pertaining to his old stomping grounds. It led to some great storytelling sessions for our boys, as he related his own experiences with the area and his own family’s settlement.

Track listing for this set includes:

  • Apple Picker’s Reel
  • Boll Weevil
  • Missionary’s Farewell
  • Oh, California
  • Ho! For California
  • San Juan Pig War
  • Chisholm Trail
  • Westward Ho!
  • Home On The Range
  • Little Old Sod Shanty
  • Strawberry Roan
  • Old Settler
  • Gooey Duck
  • Little Cabin In The Cascade Mountains

 

Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder

musicalmemories_LIWThis set is sure to be a huge hit with Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little House fans. The songs have some familiar tunes, as well as some that were new to us. The book from this set is simply wonderful. It features real pictures of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family, and shows many of the restored buildings of the Ingalls homestead and their surrounding landscape.

My boys are fans of the Little House On the Prairie show, so they were fascinated by the pictures and stories of the real Ingalls family. Pictures of the vast land, covered wagons, and steam engine locomotives, as well as stories of pioneer life had my boys completely captivated.

Track listing for this set includes:

  • Wait For The Wagon
  • Green Grows the Laurel
  • The Old Chariot
  • Buy A Broom
  • Sweet By and By
  • Rock Me To Sleep
  • Buffalo Gals
  • A Railroad Man For Me
  • Beware
  • Pop! Goes the Weasel
  • Oft in the Stilly Night
  • The Girl I Left Behind Me
  • My Sabbath Home

 

America: The Heart of a New Nation

America_heartofanewnationThis set features some of our country’s most familiar folk songs, which is sure to encourage plenty of sing-along fun. Songs like Erie Canal, Oh Susanna, and She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain, are songs that I remember singing as a child, and having them as a part of this set provides a fantastic way to share those childhood favorites with my own children.

This set also includes some of our country’s most well known patriotic songs, including Yankee Doodle, as well as our national anthem. This is the perfect time of year to study these songs, and my boys were especially fascinated by the stories of soldiers, battles, and honor.

Track listing for this set includes:

  • Yankee Doodle
  • Star Spangled Banner
  • Erie Canal
  • Oh, Susanna
  • Sweet Betsy From Pike
  • All Night, All Day
  • Old Dan Tucker
  • Wade In The Water
  • Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier
  • When Johnny Comes Marching Home
  • Shenandoah
  • Git Along L’il Dogies
  • Drill Ye Tarriers
  • Polly Wolly Doodle
  • She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain
  • Old Joe Clark

 

Experience History Through Music by Diana Waring would make a perfect addition to any homeschool. These wonderful sets can be used to enhance both American history studies, as well as music appreciation courses. However, I think that they are more than just curriculum supplements. These sets can provide wholesome fun that the entire family can enjoy together, and truly make learning fun and engaging for all ages. I would highly recommend these sets for anyone of any age interested in taking a musical journey through early American history.

DianaWaring_Disclaimer

Author Interview With Diana Waring

This week is the official launch of Diana Waring’s new Experience History Through Music series. This series includes 3 different sets of CDs featuring some of our country’s best loved folk music, as well as their accompanying books that tell the stories behind the songs. Our review for these fantastic products will be posted tomorrow. Until then, I would like to share a bit more with you about the author, Diana Waring, and an interview with her, in which she gives insight into her creation of this series.

About Diana Waring

DianaWaring_headshotAuthor of Beyond Survival, Reaping the Harvest and Diana Waring’s History Revealed world history curriculum, Diana discovered years ago that “the key to education is relationship.” Beginning in the early ’80s, Diana homeschooled her children through high-school—the real life opportunities to learn how kids learn.  Mentored by educators whose focus was honoring Him who created all learners, and with an international background (born in Germany, university degree in French, lifelong student of world history), Diana cares about how people learn as well as what they learn.  Audiences on four continents have enthusiastically received her energetic speaking style.

Author Interview With Diana Waring

 

1. What was your life like musically as you were growing up? Did you take lessons, sing with your family, in a church choir, etc.?

 

I ALWAYS loved music. . . I was always singing, started playing clarinet in 4th grade, oboe in 7th grade (!!!), taught myself to play guitar in 10th grade.

I was an only child, my parents were not musical, and we did not attend church. . .

But music WAS in my grandparents’ lives. My father’s father played guitar and sang before he had a stroke in 1953 (there is a FASCINATING story there — tell you later), and my mother’s father played various string instruments and sang, as well. I have met folks who knew him, and they tell me he was a fabulous story-teller and a fun musician.

Once I learned to play guitar (in 1969), I started doing folk music whenever I had the chance. If you can believe this, I even tried to get permission to play in bars when I was 15. After I became a Christian, I started playing worship music for prayer meetings. . .

Which led to me becoming the worship leader at our Christian fellowship in college and at the church I attended.

Since music was one of my greatest motivators, I expected to continue in that realm. . . particularly within church settings. It was unexpected to have the door suddenly open up in 1989 to create these American folk music recordings–but I loved the songs and the genre of music!!

Now, here we are, 25 years later, and I am absolutely THRILLED to have this musical part of my life come back!! I pulled out my 12-string, donned my historic costume, and sang folk songs in Greenville, Cincinnati and Harrisburg this spring — and it was a JOY!!

 

2. How did you start writing history books?

 

The very first book I wrote WAS a history book—an earlier version of “America.”  As I have shared in the back story, when a friend suggested that it would be beneficial to attend a homeschool convention—and the only way I could afford to get in was to become a workshop presenter—the idea of marrying American folk music to American history seemed like such fun that I had to write a book!  (And help create the folk music recording!!)

 

One thing often leads to another.  Doing workshops on making history come alive using musicexposed me to the notion that there are many other wonderful ways to make history come alive, like literature, geography, the Bible, science, art, architecture, cooking and more.

 

All of this melded together when I started teaching my own children world history in 1992.  There were so many things I wanted to knowabout how events recorded in the Bible impacted the ancient cultures of the time. . . seeing the “secular” civilizations through Scripture and better understanding Scripture in light of those civilizations.

 

I was SO excited about what we were learning that I started telling others at homeschool conventions. . . which led to the History Revealed curriculum (20 years in the making).  Nine books in that series (plus nine sets of audio CDs), plus two of the three American folk music/history books (and CDs) make a grand total of 11 books on history that I have had the opportunity toresearch and write!

 

Goodness!  I had no idea when I started homeschooling that I would learn so much.  :)

 

3. What is your favorite period of history?

 

My standard answer is that my favorite period of history is the one I am currently studying!!

 

I think the deeper answer, though, is that I have always been fascinated by the incredible drama of WWII and its aftermath.  I was born in Germany ten years after the end of WWII, and when it dawned on me as a fifth grader that my birthplace was at the epicenter, the reality that history HAPPENED engaged my heart and mind.

 

Add to that the fact that my grandfather was the chairman of the National Security Resources Board, appointed by President Harry Truman in 1951.  He was the man responsible for putting the resources of America to work if we went into another world warwhich was not a far-fetched idea in 1951 as we engaged in the Korean War and the early Cold War.  I still remember listening to my grandfather say, “Diana, we must always know what the Russians are doing. . .”  The Cold War was not a newspaper headline to him, it was VERY real.

 

So, with all of the personal family history, I think it is safe to say that WWII and the Cold War are, by far, the most fascinating to me.

 

4. Have your kids followed in your music-loving/performing footsteps (on any level)?

 

Yes!  All three of my kids play instruments, all three love various types of music, and all three still enjoy singing with me whenever we get together!

 

My oldest, Isaac, is actually an amazing musician.  He plays numerous instruments, often more than one at a time—which wows audiences!  He has a huge baritone voice, which can fill a room faster than most.  One of the most incredible things about Isaac is that, in performance, he can ask for words or phrases from the audience, then compose a song on the spot with those words—and it is so catchy that people will walk out the door singing the song!!

 

Mike is more of an athlete than a musician, but he plays bass guitar, Australian didgeridoo, and he sings both melody and harmony with a fabulous tenor voice!  He wrote one of the most delightful songs I’ve ever heard:  “Round Trip Ticket to Samoa”. . . which we always thought would be a stunning song for travel agents.  :)

 

Melody was my classically-trained musician.  She studied classical piano very seriously, as she prepared to go to a conservatory and then into the world of concert pianists.  Dr. Jay Wile, who attended her senior recital, told me that he was blown away with her musical talent. Tragically, when she entered the conservatory, she developed severe pain (which continues to baffle doctors) that prevented her from continuing in music.  I absolutely melt, though, when she comes to visit and plays once again on my grandmother’s piano.  She loves, loves, loves music.  (The tragedy turned to beautywhen she began serving refugees, those in poverty, and youth-at-risk.  She is amazing.)

 

5. Of all the songs in the three new books, which songs are your favorites?

 

I LOVE “Ho for California” in Westward Ho!  Somehow, this one became my favorite. . . I remember the day we drove across the Sacramento River as a family, on our way to a homeschooling event in California, singing at the top of our lungs, “Then, ho, brothers, ho, to California go.  There’s plenty of gold in the world we’re told on the banks of the Sacramento. . .”

 

“Gooey Duck”  was, by far, the most popular song that we performed in our concerts.  There is something so catchy about this song!  Also, as I was writing the original Westward Ho! book, I chatted with my grandfather about gooey ducks (giant clams).  He chuckled and told me that though they were plentiful in Puget Sound waters when he was a lad, they were SO ugly that people avoided eating them unless they were desperate.  That has tickled me ever since. . .

 

“Sweet Betsy From Pike” is another favorite, included in America. It is such a singable ballad, and full of humorous possibilities.  It was a delight to sing it on the recording!!

 

 

6. Do you play a musical instrument. If so what? and how old were you when you started playing?

 

In chronological order, here are the instruments I play (don’t you know a historian would tell it chronologically???):

 

I learned to play clarinet in 4th grade.

Switched to oboe in 7th grade.

Switched to guitar (which I taught myself to play) in 10th grade, as braces made playing oboe impossible!!

Bought a mountain dulcimer and learned to play it when I was 17.

Learned to play recorder when I was 19. . . played it in the musical, “Godspell.”

Took some lessons on piano when I was 20, and kept working at it on my own.

Learned to play banjo when I was 23.

But my real instrument is voice!!!  I was a vocal major for a time in college, and have sung in concert choirs, as a worship leader, doing folk song concerts with my kids, and, last year I had the opportunity to sing Beethoven’s 9th symphony in Indianapolis!

 

 

7. Which of the songs in this series of books resonant the most with your life and why?

As a musician and storyteller, I love the possibilities of telling stories in music—ballads are an incredible art form.  “Old Settler” and “San Juan Pig War” are the two that I most enjoy singing for others, as they tell such memorable stories. . .

 

And, I love “Sweet By and By.”  We used to end our “Yankee Doodle Tells A Tale” concert with this song, and it never failed to bring me to tears. . .singing of our “bountiful Father above.

 

8. What value do you see in students learning America’s folk songs?

How many opportunities do we ever have to actually DO what our ancestors did?  As a real and normal part of our lives?  You and I live in a world that is vastly different than the time period represented in America, Westward Ho! and Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  And, yet, we can still sing and enjoy the very same songs they did, we can taste a tiny bite of history through the medium of folk songs, and we can experience America through it’s music!

 

Plus, it’s part of our American heritage.  It’s part of our history.  And what could be more fun than learning history through songs you can clap to, stomp to, and sink your teeth into??  :)

9. Are these Experience History Through Music products to be used as curriculum?  Is there a schedule to follow?

Though students can experience American history through these three books and CDs (and have a lot of fun in the process), it is not an actual curriculum. They are supplementary materials that can be enjoyed by anyoneThere is no specific schedule to follow, no tests to take. You might describe it as a sort of “stealth academics,” meaning that your kids will be having so much fun singing the songs, they won’t even realize they are learning.  But YOU will.

 

10. Do you have other books/products in the works?

Always!!

Next on my list of books to write is one entitled, “Daughters of God.”  I am hoping to have it finished by this fall.

Then, the plan is to create an American history curriculum for elementary age students, one that allows for the same sort of creativity and freedom as my world history curriculum, the History Revealed series.

Once these are both done, I have lots of things I have always wanted to write, but never had the time. . . including fiction—historical, of course!!

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

I am so excited to share a preview of an upcoming product that we are reviewing, which will be sure to appeal to all of you early American history fans. Experience History Through Music by Diana Waring is a series of music CDs with accompanying books, that tell the story behind of some of our country’s favorite folk songs. There are three fantastic sets in this series: America – Heart of a New Nation, Westward Ho! – Heart of the Old West, and Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. These sets are full of fantastic music and fascinating stories that are sure to help bring your history studies to life. We will be posting our review of these books the week of June 30th, and I look forward to sharing our experiences with this series with you all. Until then, I am pleased to announce a GIVEAWAY in celebration of the series release!

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 funExperience 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!

 

EncouragementCollage2Encouragement 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

Logo New 300 trans$50 Gift Certificate $50 to spend in the A Journey Through Learning store, applicable toward any digital download purchase.

 

From Homeschool Legacy

westward ho I 300x400Westward 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

HardcoverCD_ecover_croppedMap 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.

PAPS-R-96dpi shadowPhilosophy 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)

fpf3-bundle-covers-180x180Firmly 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

RRM-Mom-Dad-300x295Free 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)

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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

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

 

From The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

ST-Affiliate-300x300_zpsb38aa8aeSchoolhouseTeachers.com ($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.

Big-Book-14-Cover-113013-e1392516063206The 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-front-coverThe 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_nWriting 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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Home Discipleship ~ Book Review

front coverAs Christian homeschoolers, it is our job to provide our children with a solid education that prepares them for adulthood. But in the hustle and bustle of choosing courses, curricula, testing, credits, etc. we are at risk of losing focus on what should be our main goal of parenting: discipleship. But, what is discipleship exactly? Isn’t that the church’s job? Is teaching our children to believe in God enough? Where do we begin?

Home Discipleship by Kimberly Williams explains that above all, we must set the foundation of learning in our home upon our wisdom from God. This foundation is built through the discipleship of our children, by showing our obedience and devotion to our Lord. This book can help parents learn what it truly means to go beyond teaching belief in God, and to raise up real disciples of Christ.  Its 12 chapters offer a thorough study of the facets of discipleship, and includes “Practical Application” study questions at the end of each chapter to help parents implement these facets in the home.

I found this book to be eye-opening, as well as humbling. There are times when I have been guilty of allowing the discipleship of my children to take a back burner. This book, however, was not only a reminder of the necessity of keeping God as the focus of our homeschool, as well as our lives, but it also offered a plan for putting necessary behaviors into practice. Christ should be our main focus, and all other teachings must fall in line under that godly wisdom. I believe that Home Discipleship can help parents to see the importance of not just teaching children what to believe, but also showing, by example, how to live out that faith daily.

  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. ~ Proverbs 1:7

 

 

Please visit www.homediscipleship.net to learn more about this book, or click HERE to order your copy.

~ SPECIAL OFFER ~

Use Promo Code U9KNMTVM at checkout for 20% off your order!

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About the Author

kim 2Kimberly is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mother, author, and most importantly a disciple of Jesus Christ. Living in NW Arkansas with her husband and three precious children, her career is her family. With the loving support and encouragement from her husband and the amazing grace of God, she has been homeschooling since 2000. Each year brings new experiences, creates wonderful memories, and brings her family closer together. The Williams family realizes that homeschooling is much more than ABC’s and 123’s. It is about discipleship. Kimberly contributes to various homeschooling magazines.

Her passion for writing has one purpose, to point others to Jesus Christ. She is the author of Living Out the Word, a series of expository ladies Bible studies through the books of the Bible. In addition to writing, Kimberly also enjoys speaking to women and encouraging them in their daily walk with the Lord. She points them to God’s Word and challenges them to be a true help meet to their husbands and loving mothers to their children. In her spare time, Kimberly loves to read classic literature, play the piano, and write songs and poetry. She would love to hear from you at www.livingouttheword.net or on her blog at www.untilthedaydawn.wordpress.com.

 

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Virginia Soaps and Scents ~ Review

At the end of May, I had the opportunity to attend the NCHE conference in Winston-Salem, NC. It was my first conference, and I admit, the vendor hall was my absolute favorite part of the event. Among the many curriculum vendors I came across the booth for Virginia Soap and Scents. (I know, I know. I was there for homeschool goodies, but there’s nothing wrong with a little mommy time too.) At the booth, I met the fabulous owner, Richelle, who told me the story of the company’s beginnings, which was actually the result of a homeschool history project. Now, she and her talented family, have turned a simple history lesson into an extremely successful family business.

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I will start by saying that I have extremely sensitive skin, so I am always a bit nervous about trying new skin care products. After so many trials and failures as far as products go, I am so excited to finally be able to say that I have found a company whose products ALL work so amazingly well for me, that I simply have to share my experiences with these wonderful products.

 Handmade Soaps

Virginia Soaps

The stars of the show are, of course, the handmade soaps. All of the soaps at Virginia Soap and Scents are made from a blend of palm, coconut, soy, olive, and castor oils, plus colrant and scent. That’s it. No strange or harmful chemicals, just good quality ingredients go in to making these soaps. (For more information on how these soaps differ from commercial soaps, which are actually detergents, please read THIS.)

These soaps truly won me over from the first lather. Luxurious is definitely a word I would use to describe it. Not only do they lather well, even in my hard water,  but the lather itself is light and moisturizing, not drying like commercial soaps. And the scent is simply divine. (The Lemon Verbena is my favorite!) The fragrances are light and natural smelling, not obvious chemical imposters.

I could tell a huge difference in my skin after using these soaps. Moisture loss is always an issue with commercial products, but these soaps leave my skin feeling clean, yet still hydrated. I have noticed that I need less lotions or moisturizers following my showers, because my skin is already receiving plenty of moisturizers from the soaps!

Another interesting thing to note about these soaps is that they can all be used as a solid shampoo. All those fabulous oils that are so good for skin are equally as good for hair! I have tried numerous shampoo bars in the past, but these are the absolute best, by far. You can rub the bar in your hands first, or rub it directly onto the hair and work it into a thick lather, then rinse as normal. I find that one lather is plenty to remove daily grime, hair products, and all, so I don’t bother with repeating. I would recommend following the hair washing with one of two things. Especially for those who have hard water, the first thing I recommend is a VERY diluted vinegar rinse. A spoonful of vinegar in a big cup of water will make sure the soap rinses completely, and return your scalp to its normal pH. The other option is to follow the shampooing with Virginia Soaps and Scents’ Honeysilk Hair Conditioner bar.

 

Honeysilk Hair Conditioner

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABecause these soaps work so great for the hair, I was so excited to be able to try out the Honeysilk Hair Conditioner, which is actually a solid conditioner bar. The bar is actually very easy to use, and is definitely convenient for traveling purposes. Because this is not a soap, and thus does not lather, I apply it directly to my hair, in a downward motion along the strands. Then, I gently work it through and rinse.

I will note that for those interested in this product, but still prefer a liquid conditioner, there are instructions at the bottom of THIS page for turning your solid bar into liquid conditioner. Note this does NOT work with the soap bars, only the conditioner.

 

Facial Cleansing and Skin Repair Oil

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter the soaps, this was the next product that I used that I absolutely fell in love with. It is an oil-based facial cleanser. I know what you’re thinking – “oil is what I want OFF my face, not ON it!” But this product uses what is known as the oil cleansing method, which THIS brochure explains. It basically states that oils break down other oils. So instead of drying out your skin by removing every single bit of moisture from it, this oil-based product breaks down unwanted facial oils, while still leaving the skin moisturized.

You apply this creamy oil to the face, and massage in. Then, you simply remove it with a hot, wet washcloth. The dirt and unwanted oils are washed away, and clean, moisturized skin is left behind.  It even works as a makeup remover as well. AND, as if that wasn’t amazing enough, you can also use this as an everyday moisturizer, particularly if you have any areas of excessively dry skin. This oil does it all, and I have found that it has dramatically improved the quality of my skin, especially on my face and neck. This is officially my new favorite facial product.

 

Apricot Facial Scrub

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am a big believer in exfoliating regularly. The problem with a lot of commercial exfoliators, however, is all the harsh chemicals, which can severely irritate the fresh layer of skin. And then some exfoliators are simply much too rough. I don’t exactly want to feel like I took coarse grit sandpaper to my face.

The Apricot Facial Scrub, however, is a wonderful alternative. It is creamy, but light and easy to spread. Its apricot seeds are ground very finely, so that they exfoliate gently, without harming the delicate new skin. The smell is nothing short of delicious.

I will say that the first time I used this product, I was a little worried. I loved how it went on, how well it scrubbed, but then when I rinsed, I didn’t feel the typical “squeaky clean” feeling. I thought for a moment that it had left some sort of residue behind. But once I finished rinsing and patted dry, I realized that what was left behind were wonderful moisturizers that were quickly absorbed right into my skin. Immediately, I touched my face and could not believe how smooth and soft my skin felt. This is definitely the best exfoliator ever.

 

Whipped Shea Moisture Cream

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This is what I would consider your everyday lotion. It is smooth and soft, and extremely light. It absorbs into the skin very quickly and does not leave behind any sort of thick, coated feeling on the skin. But don’t let the lightness fool you! This is an intensely moisturizing cream, and it leaves my skin feeling super soft. It is gentle enough to be used as a facial moisturizer, yet potent enough for all-over moisturizing. The scent is lovely and light, and not at all overpowering. But, for those who prefer unscented versions, that option is available as well. This is definitely the best everyday moisturizer I have EVER used.

 

Honey Bee Lotion Bar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor those who need a heavier, more intense moisturizer, the honey bee lotion bar is just the thing. I have found that this bar works especially well for problem areas such as super dry knees or elbows, or dry, cracked feet. With this tube, you can dab your fingers onto it, or apply to the skin directly from the tube. It feels a bit thicker initially, but much like the whipped shea moisture cream, it absorbs very easily into the skin, and gets to work right away. Even though I have only been using this for a short time, a couple of my problem areas have almost completely disappeared.

Another unique way I use this product is on my hair. I have very long hair, and my ends get very dry in the heat of summer. At night, I work some of this into my ends, and then twist my hair into a bun. When I take my hair back down in the morning, my ends are soft and smooth. I absolutely LOVE this lotion bar.

 

 Himalayan Salt Deodorant Spray

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI admit, I was a bit skeptical about this one. I have tried other natural deodorant alternatives, and either hate the scent, or they simply fail as far as odor and sweat protection. I had never tried a salt deodorant, however, and have never seen it available in a spray form.

Well, call me convinced, because this stuff is pretty awesome. Just a couple of quick spritzes under each arm keeps me protected all day long. I also find it incredibly gentle. I even tried it on my 12 year old son, who needs a good deodorant, but is having a problem finding something that does not irritate his skin. This definitely fit the bill for him. And with the convenience of a spray bottle, it is very easy for him to reapply as needed throughout the day (like after football practice!) In short, we are both pleasantly surprised by this product and plan on getting more for the whole family. Definitely a wonderful, safe alternative to commercial deodorants!

 

 Sunscreen SPF 30

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe last fabulous product I want to mention is the SPF 30 sunscreen. I am extremely fair complected, and sunscreen is definitely a necessity. As we all know, though, many sunscreens are thick and goopy, and quite frankly, a pain to apply. Furthermore, the thick creams and harsh chemicals can often clog pores and cause breakouts.

This natural sunscreen is so light and gentle that it glides right onto the skin.  The tube makes it easy to apply either directly onto the face, or with your fingertips to rub in to arms, shoulders, etc. I can literally barely feel that I even have it on. That is, of course, until I spend time in the sun and come in without a hint of sunburn. This sunscreen protects my skin completely and perfectly. I have had no sunburn since I have begun using it, and have had no breakouts regardless of length or frequency of use. And yes, it is definitely gentle enough to use on children’s skin! The whole family is definitely benefiting from this product. We just love it!

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These products have been nothing short of amazing for me and my family. Especially considering all of my sensitivities, and the number of ingredients I have to avoid because of them, finding something that works is no small feat. Virginia Soaps and Scents, however, has definitely been a blessing! All of their products are well made, and of the highest quality ingredients. You can just tell that the family behind them has put so much thought and care into developing each product. This is a small sampling of all the amazing things that Virginia Soaps and Scents has to offer. I am so glad to have come across this company, and I hope you all will take the time to try some of their wonderful products!

 Please also follow Virginia Soaps and Scents on Facebook!

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