Tension, anger, fear, anxiety-it all begins with a heart that craves control.
Tension, anger, fear, anxiety-it all begins with a heart that craves control.
I adored this book. To me it’s written in the style of the Bronte sisters. A good strong heroine who can take care of herself and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Who then has to learn how to allow her heart to have a voice as well.
Poor Miss Ellison. I loved her character. She’s worked so hard to make herself the doer. The one who cares for the poor and unfortunate because she knows no one else will, certainly not the landed gentry who are supposed to do this. After all, they own the houses the poor live in, the ones that are crumbling.
Then she meets that new landowner. The new master of the village if you will. She’s already got her mind made up about him though. He’s horrible, he’s arrogant, he’s only out for a good time and spending money. And of course, he will never care for these people. Mainly because he and his brother caused the death of her mother. Something she’s never been able to let go of much less forgive.
Such a wonderful book. Well written. It flies when you’re reading it. I loved getting to know Miss Ellison and making her my new friend. And of course there is some suspense and danger as well. And you get the chance to love and hate the same character but at different times. I won’t give away the ending but I will say Miss Ellison, sweet Lavinia, learns a lot about herself and who she is. That may have to do with a side of the family she’s never known or it might have to do with who she is inside. I’ll let you find out whether she’s rich in money or love or both!!
We love to read here and historical fiction is a favorite. We’ve loved reading Bessie’s Pillow by Linda Bress Silbert. Strong Learning, Inc. sent out a physical copy of this book for us to review. Also provided are amazing study guide materials available online for us to use. This book is based on a true story so it could also be classified as a biography as well.
I would recommend this book to be an independent read for middle school and high school students. The materials found on the Bessie’s America page are more geared towards this age range as well. However, they can be tweaked to work with elementary students as well.
The book , Bessie’s Pillow, is set in the early 1900’s. Bessie travels by herself from her home country of Lithuania to the United States. She’s an immigrant. She’s also a Jew. Her reason for immigration is to escape the persecution the Jews are already under in her home country.
As a country formed of all immigrants, we as a people tend to love to read about immigration stories. We trace our history and heritage to find out where we came from and who our “people” are. There are websites devoted to ancestry and helping people reconnect with family they may have lost along the way. This book is a chronicle of one families history.
Linda Bress Silbert is the granddaughter of Bessie. She and her husband are the owners of Strong Learning, Inc. and the voice behind this book. Fun fact behind the making of the book is that the narration is taken from interviews that were recorded of Bessie talking with her daughter, Linda’s mom. I would love to have something like that of me talking with my grandmother. Such a treasure!
I used this book mostly as a read aloud with my children. Well, there was actually a progression of reading this book. I read it to myself, just free reading. It’s captivating to me, but then again I really love history and this era for the Jews is chock full of information. Next, my oldest daughter age 12 read it on her own. Lastly, I read it aloud to all of the kids ages 3-12. We then worked on some of the pages within the study guide. There is a wealth of additional information within the study guide pages on the internet.
Primarily I would recommend that kids under age 7-8 not do any formal material with this book. Some of the concepts are harder for them to reverbalize in my opinion. That being said they did listen and participate in our study, but I don’t believe they took away as much from it as the older children. I will definitely be rereading and redoing the study with them when they’re a bit older.
My kids loved the book. I loved the book. It really brought a new perspective to us of someone who went through a period of history that we can only read about. We celebrate Jewish holidays in our home and often study the history of Jews plus major time periods and the history of the holidays. This brought a much more personal feel to our Jewish studies. This book is getting a permanent place on our shelf.
Definitely check out the page titled Bessie’s America which allows you to delve deeper into the time period in this book. It’s an amazing period in our history as a country. Plus, you’ve got the beginnings of a vast movement throughout Europe that will forever change history as well. This book and the material provided to us through this page can fully be made into a unit study. I feel that given a bit of time to plan I could easily make an entire semesters worth of information and a unit study focusing on the book and it’s history.
Learn what other reviewers thought of Bessie’s Pillow over on the Main Crew Review blog where all the reviews are linked up. You’re sure to find a schooling approach and view that will give you the information you would like to know. Bessie’s Pillow and Strong Learning, Inc. can also be found on facebook and twitter.
As a mom of 10 kids age 12 down to under a year I have a hard time getting crafts and art into our homeschool day. After all, creating art with kids is messy and takes forever. Or at least that’s what I used to think. Join us in learning about Creating a Masterpiece online art lessons that we’ve been reviewing thanks to the Homeschool Review Crew. We received the Monthly Plan which gives us access to all the levels and all the lessons.
Working on creating art with kids has been my goal for the past month. I personally have not done so well. I’m not artistic at all. Really. Truthfully. So when people talk about how some of my kids don’t draw at grade level I shrug it off because I certainly don’t either! Stick people. I can do stick people!!
Right now we’re still working through all the lessons involving oil pastels. I wanted to work on one type of drawing at a time so that it was easier to manage the art supplies. I love the oil pastels that I got off Amazon. It’s a HUGE classroom size box and really perfect for my needs as a homeschool mama. Oh and guys that’s not an affiliate. I can’t do affiliates with Amazon due to the state I live in so you’re just getting a tip of advice there.
When I knew we were going to be incorporating more creating art with kids in our homeschool through this review I also knew we’d need paper. Again Amazon to the rescue! I bought this ream of drawing paper and we’ve definitely been using a lot of it. I know there are actual art stores out there, but when you live out in the middle of nowhere Amazon Prime is your friend(or is that just me?)!
My kids have LOVED using this art curriculum. I’ve tried a few of the lessons as well and it really is easy to understand and do. However, I have no artistic talent so I’m not sharing my masterpieces here.
As the oldest child keeps telling me, “Mom art is communicating just different than writing.”. And she’s right of course. Kids who can’t express themselves always through writing can do so in words. Those who have no artistic talent for drawing(like me) are creative in other outlets. I love to knit and crochet and sew, etc. I do have to say that this program is amazing and I’ve even impressed myself with the fact that I did a nice picture.
My fridge is always full now of gorgeous art pieces and my computer is almost always going with some art lesson or another. Different kids have lists of which projects they’d like to do next so I have a nice list of all the other art supplies I need to be purchasing.
Creating a Masterpiece is online through video instruction. The goal of the creator, Sharon Hofer, was to guide students in creating excellent artwork on par with kids who were in a fine art school that they would be proud and willing to display. This program contains step by step instruction to create high quality artwork in the comfort of your own home at your own pace.
There are 15 different types of art or media to choose from. They include:
With this many areas to choose from there is bound to be something that will interest them.
Within the art program there are also levels from Beginner, Level 1-5. There are so many art projects as well. You’re not going to get bored creating art with kids with this program!
If you’d like to learn more about creating art with kids and Creating a Masterpiece please go to the Main Blog Post over on the homeschool review crew blog. All the crew review posts will be linked up. Since we all had free reign over what we decided to create you’re going to see a great variety! Enjoy!
You can also find more about Creating a Masterpiece and their monthly plan subscription by checking them out on facebook as well as their website.
Riding the range is something that captivates most young children. They play cowboys and Indians and ride imaginary ponies across the yard. My kids are no different. They love to pretend and play like they’re on a big ranch. Part of this play lately comes from reading the newest Andi books from Kregel Publications and Susan K Marlow. These newest titles in the Circle C Stepping Stones series are Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top. We received both of them through the Homeschool Review Crew so we could read and review!
My children love to read! Several of my kids have already devoured these two books and are ready for more. Since we aren’t buying any new books right now they’ve gone back to read the other Andi book we have. And any other horse and farm related books they can find!
We’ve read some of the older chapter books about Andi and now these two books. My kids love Andi and her adventures riding the range. They’re great read alouds or for kids to read on their own and discuss. We highly recommend the Circle C books.
The new series is intended to go between the beginner series and the longer chapter books for older children. So the age range for this new series is 7-10. At present there are six titles that are going to be in this series. Your kids will love riding the range with Andi and her horse Taffy.
Andi has a pretty Palomino horse that she loves to ride named Taffy. Her older brother Justin is a lawyer. Chad(another older brother) runs the ranch while her older sister Melinda cares more for her appearance than the ranch or her younger sister. Mitch is another older brother who has a horse named Chase. A Spanish cook completes the household. Andi’s mother is described as being “very nice” while unfortunately her father has passed away.
In Andi Saddles Up we find her celebrating her ninth birthday with a new saddle and bridle for Taffy. It’s the first book in this new series. Andi wants to learn to be a trick rider but her brother does not approve of that plan! Instead she finds a new friend. But this new friend is on the wrong side of a feud between her father and Andi’s brother Chad. Can they still be friends? What about this feud? Can Sadie and Andi find a way to stop the feud? 104 pages of fun and excitement will help you find out! At the end of the book there are two pages of fun history facts that relate to the story within.
Andi Under the Big Top has a circus coming to town! While you might get that from the title you won’t know that Andi again finds a new friend! This young man is named Henry Jackson and he works for the circus selling treats. As Andi gets to know Henry she finds out some sad news. Henry ran away from home to join the circus. He’d like to go home now but he can’t. He’s trapped. Andi wants to help him but how? As Andi comes up with a plan will she be able to save Henry without suffering any losses of her own? Great story line that not only helps your children have a fun read but opens up doors to talk about strangers and what to do if they ever get lost. This book is 105 pages long.
If you’re interested in learning more about Susan K Marlow and Kregel Publications plus their newest Circle C Stepping Stones titles please check out the main Homeschool Review Crew blog where all the reviews are linked up. You can also find Kregel Publications on twitter and facebook as well as Susan K Marlow on twitter and facebook.
Elisabeth Elliot was a remarkable woman who didn’t let life get in her way. We’re doing a people groups study that focuses on the Waodani people. These are the very people who murdered her husband that she then went back to minister to. Walking with the Waodani is a brand new unit study from Home School Adventure Co that we’ve received a preview for through The Homeschool Review Crew.
We were given a list of items that the Home School Adventure Co produces to choose an item for review. As part of the Homeschool Review Crew we get to say which we’d like the most and then sometimes we’ll receive it and sometimes not. Walking with the Waodani was our top pick. Primarily because I love doing unit studies and it ties in with our regular yearly curriculum so well. This People Groups Study was definitely something that I could see us using and enjoying.
I have always respected and looked up to Elisabeth Elliot as an example of a great Godly Christian woman and so getting to delve more into her life and the people she served appealed to me. My kids don’t really get that aspect yet though we’re adding to this study a biography of her life. To me, it is important to understand the people we reach out to with our faith and both were a focal point of Elisabeth Elliot’s life.
This study focuses on the Waodani people through the journey of Russell Winters who is a homeschool graduate. He took a 7 week long adventure through Ecuador. This group of people has hit the radar of people prior to his journey though. They were the tribe involved in the killing of 5 missionaries in 1956. It is also commonly referred to including the name of Nate Saint and there is a great biography out about his life and what is called Operation Auca(the other name for the Waodani people).
This study is fun and engaging. While learning about people and places your child is going on an adventure. Take a trip to Ecuador! Learn about the people, places, and the culture. Also included in their “travel journal” that they’ll keep are things like the animals and agriculture. It’s all fun and entertaining but also full of knowledge and information that will engage the brain and the heart of your child.
The fun thing that makes this easy to use for me is that it’s designed to be used by a wide array of ages. I was able to use this with all my children but really focused on using it with the ages 6-12. One of my six year olds and the three year old did not participate much in the study. They’re doing more preschool type work though.
We received an e-copy of the study. It’s currently not completed though almost there! There are going to be four lessons to the study. Three were released early to us for this review. It’s going to be great guys! Personally we’re sitting here waiting on the last lesson. My kids love exploring Ecuador and learning about this tribe of people that we will probably never encounter on our own. The e-book is currently set to be priced at $14.95 with the physical copy being $18.95. You’re meant to cover one lesson per week in this study but we’ve been taking longer so we don’t run out of study before the last lesson comes!
Lesson 1: Shell Mera (Then)
Lesson 2: Shell Mera (Now)
Lesson 3: Ecuador
Lesson 4: Quito
If you’re interested in learning what other products were offered to the Crew to review from Home School Adventure Co or for other opinions about Walking with the Waodani please pop over to the Main Review Crew blog where the reviews are all linked up. You can also find the Home School Adventure Co on twitter, facebook, pinterest, google +, and youtube.
I love to implement old-fashioned learning into our schooldays. Recently I was able to do this with Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A from Eclectic Foundations as part of a review through the Homeschool Review Crew.
This curriculum was on my wish list due to the fact that it is built around and uses McGuffey’s Readers. I have the whole set plus the Arithmetic that we take with us to Civil War Reenactments so that I can use them with our children. I really wanted to be able to use them on a regular basis but didn’t want to spend the time creating a curriculum around them.
Enter Eclectic Foundations and making my old-fashioned learning dreams come true! All you need to purchase in addition to the curriculum is a copy of McGuffey’s Reader.
The student workbooks are consumable so you will need extra of those for each student. Teachers only need one copy for multiple students though.
When using this great old-fashioned learning curriculum, your child doesn’t need additional language arts curriculums. This one curriculum covers phonics, grammar, spelling, reading comprehension, handwriting, compositions, and poetry. A well-rounded education in a neat and tidy package!
The curriculum works you through 36 weeks using four days per week. It has a Biblical worldview as does the original McGuffey’s readers that it’s based on. Each level has 144 lessons. Level A, B, and C are currently available with Level D hoping to release this year!
With Level A phonics lessons come first. After all, you have to know the letters and what they say before you can read! After phonics comes handwriting. Letters are first made using play dough or some facsimile and then written. Word cards are included to be used towards the end of this Level. My kids loved the Mother Goose poem that was found at the end of each lesson.
The word cards are unique as they are to be colored by your child. Your child, the student, colors the cards as part of the course work. Each card needs to be colored as shown as they correlate with parts of speech. So, even if they don’t know what a “noun” or a “verb” are, they can read all the green words and see that they are actions. All the red words will then be naming something.
This curriculum is super easy to use. It works at a calm easy pace and you do four short lessons a week. This is great if you’re using with younger children or older children as it’s not stressful. You can then also have time on the fifth day to work on anything you need extra practice on or just have a freebie day. My kids love freebie days!
I loved that this only is four days a week as much as my kids did! It means that we have time to do other things or even add in an extra read aloud book on our off day. Or, because we tend to have a really busy day on Mondays we just use it as a skip day so we’re not late for our other appointments.
All in all, my daughter who is using this curriculum(age 6) is really loving it. My 3-year-old has also been begging to start so she will being cycling through Level A soon as well. It’s easy to use and teaches all that is important to teach to young children concerning language arts. Best part, that it doesn’t take hours and agonizing with a child who doesn’t want to do it!
Want to learn more about old-fashioned learning and Eclectic Foundations? Check out the main Blog Post over on the Homeschool Review Crew blog where all the reviews will be linked up. Different levels have also been reviewed so you can see which level your child might be ready for. We received and reviewed Level A but there are also Levels B and C as well. Find Eclectic Foundations on Facebook too!
There are several ways to learn and teach math when you homeschool. You can do math by mastery, integration math, etc. Most of our homeschool journey thus far has been using a math that is integration in nature. It takes a new concept and teaches it, plus integrates everything they’re learned up to that point. This means that your child is doing a new concept plus several old concepts in each lesson. Math by mastery is giving them a new concept and having them do several of that type of problem until they have mastered it. Simple.
For some reason, maybe because it was such a simple approach, I never used any type of math by mastery until now. We recently received a CD in the mail. This was not a music CD though, oh no. This was a Math CD!! You’re not likely to believe all the excitement my kids showed when we took this out of the package. It was like they couldn’t wait to do school! And in fact, they couldn’t wait!
What could cause such a response? Math Mammoth. Math Mammoth is a mastery based math program(math by mastery). We received the Math Mammoth Light Blue Series CD. This CD contains all that you’ll need to teach math for grades one through seven(1-7). Each grade contains two workbooks, books A and B. It’s all downloadable. You can download it from the CD onto your computer and have your child do it right there or you can print it off and put them in a binder for your child to use at their desk or table.
I have also found that my child who is five and is in the second book of kindergarten math from another company is able to do the beginning grade one(1) math with ease. They do mention on their website that you should have your child take at least one placement test before starting Math Mammoth as they can be a harder curriculum than others. I did have my older children take the placement tests. Most were placed in the same grade they had been working on but others who do struggle with math went down a grade. I’m hope that the math by mastery technique is going to really improve their math understanding.
Math Mammoth is aligned and goes above and beyond the Common Core Standards. I don’t look at those and they don’t mean anything to my homeschool, but I did want to share that for those who follow their guidelines.
The Math Mammoth Light Blue Series CD is a large homeschooling families dream. Or at least a long hoped for dream of this mom who has ten children! I’ve dreamt of being able to not spend so much on supplies to homeschool my brood and this is it for math! One CD to homeschool all my children through the 7th grade. Plus, it only costs $180.00 through the Educents website RIGHT NOW to purchase it.
Let’s do some math. Ten children times seven years of math each equals seventy total grades to teach(I might have just exploded my own head). $180.00 divided by 70 grades. That’s only $2.57 per grade per child! You can’t buy workbooks for that price. Trust me. I’ve been buying them. Less than $3 for all that I need. Of course, if I print off materials I’m also going to have to add in paper and ink and printer wear and tear, but you get the picture!
Right now I’m homeschooling the older eight of these kids with Math Mammoth. I’ll talk briefly about each child, their age, and where they are in Math Mammoth plus what they enjoy or dislike about the program. I do have some children who are considered special needs due to Reactive Attachment Disorder(RAD), ADD, ADHD, Dsylexia, and general delays both physical and mental.
For the kids views! I have two who are done with 4th grade math in a different curriculum. By the placement test they had mastered most of the 4th grade but we decided to start with 4th grade Math Mammoth. We started at the beginning which meant they could whiz through it and then slow down when they get to a concept they don’t know. Pretty sure they’ll be in the next grade sometime this fall. Their ages are 11(girl) and 9(boy). My son within a few weeks already is in the second book. He loves math and really loves doing it on the computer.
Doing math on the computer is fun. Or at least that is what my children tell me. Both of the above kids love doing their school on the computer and they can do it independently of me which is a plus in my book. So while one of them is doing math the other can be working on a different subject at the table and then they switch. They each of course think they need their own computers. Which brings me to the fact that you can use Math Mammoth on multiple computers.
Next I have an 11 year old girl who is delayed. She just finished 1st grade math. I decided to start her in the second grade level to see how she would do. So far she’s doing really well but does not do well doing it on the computer. This brings out another great point that I like about Math Mammoth. I can print! So, I printed off the first book for her and she is working through that with her pencil. She’s happier and learning which makes me happy.
On down the line I have a 9 year old girl who I started in 3rd grade math. This was a bit much for her as she is also delayed and has some learning problems. I backed her down to 2nd grade math(love the flexibility) and she’s doing much better. Some of her work she does on the computer and then we print off extra papers for her to use if there is something she’s struggling with.
These extra papers come from the Soft-Pak math software that also comes as part of the Math Mammoth Light Blue Series CD. There are six programs on this part of the CD and you do have to download and install it. With Soft-Pak you get Math Maker, Math Master, Math User, True/False Math Challenger, Language Arts Master, and List Maker.
I love being able to make my own worksheets focusing on what area that child is struggling in. I have not explored all the add ons with the Soft-Pak but what I have used I love. It’s great for the parent and helps enhance the learning experience for the student.
Lastly I have three students doing the 1st grade level of Math Mammoth. They are two 8 year old boys and one 5 year old girl. My six year old girl is not ready for this level of math yet. All of these three students have finished or are close to having finished the kindergarten level in another math program. They are each moving at different paces and loving getting to use the computer for their math.
I do have one issue with this program . . . . I don’t have enough computers!! We only have one computer currently for our family and my husband also has to use it for his self employed business. We’re looking into getting a few more computers or possibly some tablets. This will make doing math much easier for us as more than one can do it at the same time and I won’t have any negatives about using it!
I can whole heartedly recommend Math Mammoth and math by mastery to all other homeschool families. Particularly those who are going to be homeschooling more than one child and would like to save themselves money. Do I think this will work for everyone? No I do not. In fact, I may even have some kids who would do better with a different math, but I can endorse this math program as being one that my kids enjoy and do well with.
Born in France to a Canadian father and an American mother, Michèle Phoenix is a consultant, writer and speaker with a heart for Third Culture Kids. She taught for 20 years at Black Forest Academy (Germany) before launching her own advocacy venture under Global Outreach Mission. Michèle travels globally to consult and teach on topics related to this unique people group. She loves good conversations, mischievous students, Marvel movies and paths to healing.