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Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Peek into our Homeschool: November 2016

So I was right . . . no way I could get in weekly wrap-ups, but I did make it to a second Monthly Recap!

November was a good month.  We had a few regular weeks where we "checked off" all the subject areas, and then the last two weeks have been very laid back as we enjoyed Thanksgiving, and then just took some downtime to regroup and decide how to finish out the calendar year.  So here are some of the highlights from this month . . .

Park with Friends

The Park is always a fun, but one week the building where we have co-op was closed the day we meet, so we met up with some new friends for a play date.  My kids have determined this one to be the "best" in the area, as far as playgrounds are concerned.  The only thing that would make it perfect for me is if it were completely fenced in like some of the other playgrounds in the area.

Eloise loves the slides right now!

 And climbing . . .

Learning about Elections

The boys spent a lot of time leading up to the election going through their presidential cards and reading the random facts on the back.  When Elliott got bored waiting on the states to be called, he decided to put these cards in order again.

When Emory got bored, he decided to draw Trump and Clinton on the back of his electorate map.


This session, the boys are taking Science, Music Appreciation, Guitar and Gym.  Emory asked last week if he could stop the guitar lessons and just read a book during that time.  It's a very small and relaxed co-op, and Independent Study is allowed as an alternative to that class, so last week he sat out with another kid his age, but I think I might take them some educational games.  

Elliott on the other hand, is enjoying the guitar lessons, and even practices at home without being reminded!  Emory said guitar is not his dream instrument, but he's expressed interest in piano lessons, so we're looking into that.  

Eleanor has Storytime (where I read a book and do educational activities/games related to the story) and Crafts in the morning.  After lunch is Music for Littles and Gym.  

This week was all about shapes. 


The boys and I finished up our Pilgrims/Thanksgiving unit in Beautiful Feet Books.  I'll be posting an update to that series soon to share our thoughts on the books they use and supplement books/activities we tried.

Eleanor rowed Prayer for a Child for Before Five in a Row for Thanksgiving, and I'll be sharing that post eventually too.  It was a sweet book.   {She also rowed Corduroy which was a big hit, and then Play With Me--I need to write that one up too!}

She did a couple generic turkey crafts too.   It is hard to fill this girl up when she gets on a roll with her school/crafts and she's been there lately.  "I want another one . . . I want more school . . . can I do a project?"

Other Highlights

  • We finally signed up for library cards here!  The children's department (an entire floor) is really nice and we've been getting lots of extra books to enjoy. 
  • Astronomy - the boys built a Mars community and we observed the supermoon earlier in the month, then we took the last two weeks off from formal science to finish up our Pilgrim/Thanksgiving unit 
  • Angel Tree:  The three big kids went shopping with Daddy to pick out gifts for our Angel Tree child
  • The Homeschool Review Crew ended - Blue Ribbon Awards
  • Continuing AWANA and practicing for the children's Christmas program (I'm told Elliott has a short solo??)
  • The end of November was very relaxed--we all needed some downtime, so we mostly read books, played games, puzzles and did arts and crafts and Elliott has been using Scratch to code 

Homeschool Coffee Break

©2011-2016 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

2016 Blue Ribbon Awards

As always, at the end of the Homeschool Review Crew year, members are asked to vote for their favorite products.  This is a bittersweet post for me, as it marks my last crew post.  Even though I've genuinely valued my time on the crew, I think it's time for my family to take a break this year.  However, I certainly couldn't pass up the Blue Ribbon Awards!  Members of the crew are asked to vote for their "favorites" in a variety of categories, and the kids get to pick their individual favorites too.  It is a fun way to acknowledge all the companies who have shared with us and blessed our families.

So, here are this year's favorites!  These are in no particular order.

Times Tales
Winner:  Favorite Math Supplement
I voted for this in its winning category, because it is a fun way to quickly memorize the upper times tables.  It's mostly video based, with some printable worksheets and games.  Elliott really liked it, and I'll continue to use with the kids because it meets the needs of different learning styles.

Heirloom Audio Productions
Winner - Favorite Literature Resource and Favorite Book, Novel, Audio Book or Audio Drama
Dragon and the Raven
Beric the Briton
The Cat of Bubastes
This is a 3-for-1 because they're all by the same company, and it's sooo hard to choose just one.  We voted for one of them in both of the categories where they won, but I won't tell you which one, because it doesn't matter--it was a random pick since they're all equally fantastic.  Heirloom Audio Productions makes high quality audio dramas of famous stories from history. These are a great way to bring history to life, and are enjoyable for the whole family.

{In past crew years, I have also reviewed With Lee in Virginia, In Freedom's Cause, and Under Drake's Flag, and they are also all superb!}

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization
Winner:  Favorite Literature Curriculum 
This got my vote for Favorite Literature Curriculum but also All Around Favorite.  I ended up voting for it for All Around because it's truly one of the best programs I've reviewed in the 5 years I've been on the crew.  It's appropriate for K-12+ and can be used with multiple ages at the same time.  The resource includes digital and non-consumable components, which means it can be used repeatedly.  The additional audio downloads about reading aloud were very eye-opening and I learned so much from them.  The poetry selections are engaging, yet easy to memorize.  It was a truly well planned and executed product.  The kids have fun with it, even if they do get a tad competitive with each other, and we ALL enjoy this program.
Winner:  Favorite Science Supplement 
We voted this for Favorite Science Supplement and Best Online Resource.  This isn't something we use everyday, but it is something that can be used for every subject, and is open-ended.  Plus, it can be used with all ages, so it's truly a lifetime resource for homeschooling families!

Apologia Astronomy
Winner - Favorite Science Curriculum
This won our vote for Favorite Science Curriculum of the year, and Elliott's Kid Pick.  The kids have really enjoyed science again and look forward to it.  We're seriously considering using another one of their titles next year!

Carole P. Roman
Winner - Favorite History Supplement
In addition to it being our favorite history supplement, it was also Emory's Kid Pick.  It's always fun to see where their minds go.  We read these over several days, because they're lengthy and meaty and packed full of facts!  We've been delighted with her geography series, and I highly recommend you check out her blog and Amazon page, as she frequently offers Kindle editions of her books for free!  While we love our physical books, we're still excited to pick up some of her other titles this way.

BONUS - Logic of English
Winner - Favorite Reading Curriculum 
I'm sharing this as a little bonus, because my review of it was a little different.  Instead of reviewing for the Crew, I reviewed the Foundations Level A for The Old Schoolhouse website, which of course is part of the same family as the Homeschool Review Crew.  This has also been one of the best reviews in the last five years.  I reviewed it in the spring and my then-first grader's reading skills improved drastically almost immediately, and I've since purchased additional levels.  This year my 4th grader has switched to Essentials per his request.  We're using the first edition, which is what I reviewed a few years ago, and it's a much better fit now that he's older and has a longer attention span.  The crew reviewed the 2nd edition and Foundations this year.  It has literally changed the way I approach teaching reading and spelling, and I love, love, love it!  It gets my vote for reading, spelling, grammar . . . everything!

I reviewed at least seven other products that were category winners (some winning multiple categories), but I couldn't possibly list all of our choices here.  To see the full list of winners, and what the KIDS on the Crew picked, be sure to check out the official 2016 Blue Ribbon Awards, and then see what other crew members are sharing in their "favorites" posts!

Past Winners
I didn't write a post for 2012, but here are some previous favorites of ours during our time on the crew.
The Best of the Best:  Blue Ribbon Awards (2013)
Blue Ribbon Winners and our Favorite Reviews from 2014
Our 2015 Blue Ribbon Winners

Meet the Homeschool Review Crew Curriculum Favourites for 2016

©2011-2016 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

52 Lists: Thanksgiving Menu

The most recent List was to share our Thanksgiving Menu.  We always go to my in-laws for Thanksgiving.  The menu is large and varied, as there are multiple families across four generations, and we range from 1-89 years old, so my mother-in-law wants (more than) enough food, and something for everyone.

  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Gravy
  • Stuffin' Muffins
  • Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Cranberry Salad
  • Rolls
  • Broccoli Casserole
  • Potato Casserole
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Green Beans
  • Corn
  • Fruit Salad
  • Pumpkin Roll
  • Various Pies
  • Cookies
  • Various beverages

What's on your menu??

52 lists with Chasing Slow

©2011-2016 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.