App Central: Our Favorite Learning Apps and How We’re Using Them

App_CentralThere are many apps on my device. I’m happy to inform you very few are games. Why is this? Our learning apps take up the bulk of our space, and we couldn’t be more pleased with this decision. Today, we’re sharing our favorite learning apps and how we use them in our adventure called homeschooling.

Grab your reading glasses, we’ve got quite the list! And each one is well-used…

Calculator + – While a standard calculator app came pre-installed on my device, Calculator+ far outshines any other we’ve come across yet. We use this with Algebra helps and Geometry. It’s a lifesaver.

Dictionary (Merriam-Webster 1828) – We own a physical dictionary, but having a dictionary app on my device is a help while on the go. We’re big believers in looking up new words when we come across them, searching out new vocabulary is always a treat. The app includes a word of the day and weekly challenges.

Hiking Project – As we’re continually looking for new places to hike, this app is a lovely resource to have on hand.

Garden Answers – Simply take a photo of the plant you’re looking at and this app will identify it for you. Garden Answers is helpful for those of us who are not experts and/or desire immediate answers without time for much research.

Aniscience – An adorable science app for littles, discovering laws of nature and basic plant and animal species. It’s too cute for words, and a great app for beginners.

Snapseed – We use this photography editing app on a daily basis. The options available are incredible and help the children explore creativity while learning the fundamentals of good photography.

Splice – While used less often, Splice is helpful for making photo/video collage of our adventures. We create quick slides to share with family and friends, learning skills such as Ken Burns effect, slide transitions, and more.

Stop Motion – The title tells you what the app is for, but it doesn’t explain how fun this app really is. Stop Motion is a great tool for the kids to explore film making.

Podcasts While not directly an app for learning, and a pre-loaded app on the device when purchased, this app has proven to be instrumental in learning. There are so many excellent podcasts to enjoy. HERE‘s our current list, which keeps growing continually!

LibriVox – While I’m sure most of you have heard of this app before, we would be remiss in not mentioning it. We use LibriVox quite a bit, downloading reads for the road or to listen to while making meals.

Red Herring – I am not a big player of games, but when I find apps which help feed the mind as well as entertain, I’m hooked. Red Herring is a visually basic game; there are no bells or whistles. What you will find is a challenging word association game which will stretch the knowledge of your vocabulary. Given a list of words, can you determine how to categorize them properly based on what they have in common?

KAMI 2 – Here’s another game which is not high on graphics, but excellent on mind bending and thinking outside the box. You’re given a geometric image and a pallet of colors. You then have a limited number of “taps” to clear the board so the entire image is now one color. It’s more challenging than you think. As a bonus, players can create their own geometric images to challenge friends and family.

Word Cookies – I’m sure by now everyone has heard of this game. We’re addicted and are constantly one-upping each other to see who’s on the higher level. On the off-chance you haven’t heard of this game, each level consists of cookies shaped like words which you need to string together to complete the word list. Each level has new letters and an entirely new set of words which you need to find.

Capitals – Another fantastic word game. Capitals is a two-player game which has you building words using letter tiles in order to clear the board and dominate your opponent.

Piano Tiles 2 – I had reservations about this game at first. How could tapping piano notes be at all beneficial. I was entirely wrong. Piano Tiles 2 – not the original version – consists of only classical music, which the children learn by tapping their device screens. My children now know more about classical music than I, and will quiz each other frequently to name the piece within a certain number of notes. My favorite feature is the history given on each piece, including composer and country of origin.

Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System/Galactic Genius with Astro Cat – I bought the book. Then discovered there was an app. The rest is history. This entire Astro Cat series is genius.

First 5 – This Bible app was recommended by another homeschool mom, and I’m so glad I took the time to download it. It’s a great start to the day.

Bible (YouVersion) – This app was another recommendation, and I love it. There are many Bible study courses you can download for free, along with Bible reading plans. My current plan is 5x5x5 Discipleship Journal. I’m not going to lie… My favorite thing about this app is the ability to select audio; I can have the Bible read aloud to me all throughout the day while doing mindless chores or cooking meals.

Whew! Looking back, this is quite a long list. I’d tell you this is all I’ve got loaded on my kids’ devices, but that wouldn’t be true. Right now, I’ve an entire folder dedicated to chemistry apps for the coming school year. It’s becoming an addiction these free apps. There are many more which come and go, along with apps for purely entertainment value.

For the most part, the apps we download are meant to stretch the mind as well as entertain. While I’m not opposed to playing games, I wish to limit the amount of time blankly staring at a screen. The above list helps keep learning fun, increases our skill, and adds to the adventure called homeschooling.

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

~ Matthew 6:22-23

Your Turn!: Share your favorite learning apps with us so we can partake in the fun!

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Review: Fascinating Chemistry

Review_Fascinating_Chemistry

A new school year equals a new study in the field of science. This year we’re focusing our attention on chemistry and we can’t think of a better time to review Fascinating Chemistry by Fascinating Education.

Fascinating Education is an audio-visual approach to teaching science. Fascinating Education offers courses in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Medicine, and Atoms & Molecules. Fascinating Education is presented by Dr. Sheldon Margulies, The Fascinator, a retired neurologist who uses his life experience and expertise to help students learn. Fascinating_Chemistry_1

Fascinating Chemistry is a series of nineteen lessons which include a video, a script of the lesson and a lesson test. Each video is approximately 45 minutes in length. Videos are complete with menu and glossary, allowing the student to better follow the outline of each lesson. Students are also able to use the helpful menu feature to revisit areas which need strengthening without the hassle of scrubbing through an entire session. Lesson Scripts are an exact wording of the video lessons, including images. Several lessons contain links to lab activities for students to enjoy. Tests are given as multiple choice slide-presentations, with question helps for those who need them. After taking tests, students are able to review their test, print their test, and/or retake their test if needed. PDF versions of tests Fascinating_Chemistry_2are available. Test scores are not kept online, thus should be printed if so desired. Lesson topics include The Structure of the Atom, The Ionic Bond, The Covalent Bond, and more.

Fascinating Chemistry includes nineteen lessons total. Our family found it beneficial to break down these lessons into smaller sections, working through each lesson at a slower pace for greater understanding, rather than viewing an entire lesson in one sitting. We found the videos simple to follow and our narrator, The Fascinator, easy to understand. The lessons were clear and well laid out. The occasional labs are fun and appealing to kids.

It is our opinion Fascinating Chemistry may be used in a homeschooling setting with highFascinating_Chemistry_4 school, junior high, and/or upper level elementary students. The lessons are easy to follow and understand. Labs are equally simple. As the entire curriculum consists of only nineteen lessons, we would highly recommend breaking down the given lessons into smaller, half lessons to stretch the curriculum to fill an entire school year.

Chemistry is the name of the game for the year. We’ve just begun our adventure and are enjoying the hands-on application of all we’re learning. With the help of Fascinating Chemistry this will be a lovely journey. Now if I could only explain to my children chemistry experiments do not all need to consist of blowing things up or overflowing crucibles of foaming chemicals.

If you’d like to learn more about Fascinating Chemistry, as well as Fascinating Education, please visit them at their website. To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into the Fascinating Chemistry please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: Which area of science are you studying this year?

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Review: Make-a-State Activity

Make-a-StateThanks to Home School in the Woods and Make-a-State Activity, learning about our home state has never been as easy or as fun. This past month we’ve had the privilege of reviewing this incredible resource and can’t wait to share it with all our homeschool friends.

Make-a-State Activity, part of the vast Activity-Paks series from Home School in the Woods, makes learning fun and hands-on. This pak came with just about everything we needed to get started on our learning adventure. We downloaded a digital copy of Make-a-State Activity which consisted of project directions for our lap book, PDF images to complete activities, and a helpful “Start” file which allowed us to see everything in one location with clear directions on how assemble the lap book and all included projects. Make-a-State Activity contained a multitude of projects including Key State Facts, State Wildlife, State Geography, Famous People, and many more. It should be noted, while we chose to specifically focus on our home state of California for this Make-a-State Activity project, all fifty states are included in the Activity-Pak, allowing families to use and re-use this resource to their heart’s content.

Having previously enjoyed HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages, we were better prepared for the large quantity of printing, cutting,Make-a-State, Color_Page and assembly necessary to complete the lap book. However, it should be noted younger children might need assistance with cutting and completing certain portions of the book itself.

While we generally study history together as a family, my son and I were the only ones to embark on this particular learning adventure. Little Man is just out of fourth grade, when learning state history is suggested, and my thought was to use Make-a-State Activity to assist with achieving this goal. We decided to complete the entire Activity-Pak during the review period, working steadily through activities. We were able to meet our goal, easily finishing within several weeks.

Working through Make-a-State Activity was simple and fun. This was a great summer learning project and a lovely way to discover more about where we live. Mom appreciated the variety of options available to us. My son enjoyed including his own drawings, thoughts, and research. We love that everything is included in the downloadable file; we have permanent access to everything – pdf print outs, directions, color pages, and more! We have yet to find another company which does as excellent a job as Home School in the Woods when it comes to activity-paks and lap books. Their resources are top of the line, and incredibly affordable.

Make-a-State, State_InfoNever has completing a state research project been so easy or so fun! Thanks to Home School in the Woods, we learned much and enjoyed the journey.

In addition to Make-a-State Activity, Home School in the Woods offers a wide variety of hands-on history curriculum including Time Traveler American, additional Activity-Paks (Old Testament/New Testament/Composers/Artists), Lap-Paks, Timeline Trio, and their newest feature “A La Carte” projects! We’re excited to take advantage of this latest development, which includes a great number of games.

If you’d like to learn more about any of these hands-on curriculum or Home School in the Woods, please visit them at their website Home School in the Woods and on FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+ and YouTube.

To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Home School in the Woods has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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Your Turn!: In which grade did your children study their state/country history?

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Don’t Think You Can Homeschool? Think Again!

I_Can't_HomeschooHomeschooling can seem like a daunting journey, especially for those who are new to the concept. We are unsure of where to start, overwhelmed by the notion of taking on our children’s education, and feel as if we are not enough.

Join us as we review this fun series, sharing reasons families believe they can’t homeschool and offering encouragement for those unsure of the adventure called homeschooling.

I Can’t Homeschool!…

I Lack Self Control
They Won’t Listen
I’m Uneducated

I’m Unorganized
I Need ME Time
I Have Too Many Kids
My Kids Are Too Big

My Family Will Disapprove
I’m A Dad!
My Kids Have Special Needs

Big Changes to Our 2017-2018 Routine

Big Changes to Our 2017-2018 RoutineEvery year our learning routine grows and adapts to fit our needs. You’d imagine as the children get older, we’d tighten the belt and the work load would increase. Instead, this coming year, we’ve chosen to take a step back and lighten the load. The kids are more than pleased with the change. And no one is more surprised than I that we’re doing better than ever.

Change is hard for me. I hem and haw over whether or not this is for the family’s best interest or if I’m just trying to make my life easier. While I don’t think there is anything wrong with choosing a more simple path, I always wish to be sure I am doing so for the right reasons and not because I am being lazy or irresponsible. This year, we’ve made a few changes which definitely make life easier. One has been an adjustment for the better. The other? The other is a step of faith, based on the leading of the Lord.

This year, we’ve chosen to forego testing. Did that just make you nervous? It took a moment for the Lord to calm my heart and help me see things His way. As our children have gotten older, they’ve become more independent in certain areas of their learning. From spelling and grammar to arithmetic, the girls cruise through their lessons so smoothly they hardly need me around. Seeing as they are doing the work on their own and I am checking it on a daily basis, testing seemed a bit redundant. I watch as they study, noticing they complete lessons without heavily relying on open-book to answer correctly. On the Lord’s leading, testing has been put on hold. For now. I’ll be honest, I struggle with this from time-to-time. However, their work has not lessened in quality and their appreciation for each subject as increased. We’re taking this one day at a time, and enjoying the experiment.

Group learning, history and science, has also seen changes. In previous years we’ve done both history and science on the same day. Perhaps it’s my OCD nature which couldn’t seem to let go of covering every topic each and every day. Maybe it’s my personal schooling career which followed a similar routine. Who knows? This year, we’ve chosen to try something different. Two days a week we focus on science, and the other two we turn our attention to history. Not only does this help mom – who no longer needs to stress over having two, fun, engaging lessons planned everyday of the week – the kids appreciate having one daily focus. The length of time spent on our study has increased to accommodate our change, but no one seems to mind. In fact, it’s given us an opportunity to delve deeper and work on activities which we normally would have skipped due to time constraints.

These few changes have definitely lightened our daily and weekly homeschooling routine, and I believe we’re the better for it. Instead of increasing our work load, we’ve simplified; creating opportunity for deeper study and natural appreciation for the adventure of learning around us. Each day begins with prayer and hearts open to wherever the Lord leads.

Interested in the finer details of what we’re studying this year – including our course in chemistry and foreign language? Take a moment to pop over to view our 2017-2018 Course of Study and more at Our Year!

“Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a level path Because of my foes.”
~ Psalm 27:11

Your Turn!: Are there any major changes in your coming homeschool year?

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Our June Reads

Our_June_Reads_2017It never ceases to amaze us how many books we finish in a month. The lists we share here are merely books we’ve used in a homeschooling/parenting capacity; there are many more which we read on our own! June’s list has a ton of incredible finds from our local library. Everything on this month’s list was completely new to us, which is always fun. All of them were used in our learning to some capacity. Most of them are now on a book wish list.

  1. What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? (Judith Viorst) – From the beloved and internationally bestselling author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst comes a brand-new collection of clever, hilarious, and poignant poems that touch on every aspect of the roller-coaster ride that is childhood.
    A poetry book I specifically chose for the kids. The poems are cute and a great conversation starter regarding feelings. 
  2. The Big Bad Book of Beasts (Michael Largo) – Michael Largo has updated the medieval bestsellers for the twenty-first century, illuminating little-known facts, astonishing secrets, and bizarre superstitions about the beasts that inhabit our world—and haunt our imaginations.
    The title alone had me, but the book itself is a gem. The Big Bad Book of Beasts is a fantastic reference guide for authors and artists, filled with both realistic and fantastical creatures to explore. This was pushed to the top of my ever-increasing book wish list. 
  3. What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew (Daniel Pool) – For anyone who has ever wondered whether a duke outranked an earl, when to yell “Tally Ho!” at a fox hunt, or how one landed in “debtor’s prison”; this book serves as an indispensable historical and literary resource.
    Our girls continually seek more knowledge about old English traditions and mannerisms. This book was the perfect fit. We highly encourage a slow reading to fully intake the multitude of knowledge to be found within.
  4. The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling (John Muir Laws) – The ultimate guide to nature drawing and journaling. This is the how-to guide for becoming a better artist and a more attentive naturalist.
    The ultimate guide to nature journaling, to be sure. Mr. Laws does a lovely job of explaining how to nature journal, including tips on drawing various creatures and nature finds. Don’t be scared of the obvious skill Mr. Laws has as an artist, however. Enjoy the beautiful examples of his work and move forward in confidence. 
  5. Kid Artists/Kid Athletes (David Stabler) – The series that began with Kid Presidents has new volumes that chronicle the childhoods of 16 celebrated artists and athletes!
    Okay, it was the adorable covers which caught my attention. I admit it. But the pages within are absolutely fantastic! Forget the kids, I enjoyed reading these books and continually am encouraging the kids to dig in. 
  6. Rebel Science (Dan Green) – If you think scientists are boring eggheads in white coats who never leave the lab, this dynamically illustrated book will set you straight!
    We discovered this read at our local bookstore and immediately checked it out from our library to fully explore it’s contents. Now, I’m going to have to buy it. It’s that good. Please note, the author isn’t Christian but that doesn’t come into play when reading, as the book’s intention is to give a timeline of when scientists lived and their contributions to science in general. 
  7. The Atlas of Oddities (Clive Gifford) – Atlas of Oddities takes kids on a round-the-world adventure that will help them see our planet in a whole new light.
    Maps hold a fascination for me. So when I can pick up a beautifully illustrated book for my children to enjoy, I’m all over it. The illustrations are out of this world cute and teach so much. You’ll definitely want to give this one a try.

We generally gather our reading materials from the library, but several of these have been added to our book wish list. Great reads are worth revisiting!  We were so excited to find another incredible selection this month! A few of them were excellent aids in nature study. Join us again next month as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading.

Your Turn!: I’ve been on a poetry kick lately, do you have a favorite poet?

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A Simplified Life

Simplified_LifeBefore summer gets away from me and life once again becomes crowded with too many homeschooling resources, parent-taxi responsibilities, and an overburdened calendar, it’s time to take a moment to breathe and simplify life. Perhaps you’re feeling like me and could use a little encouragement. Join us in reviewing this fun, simple to follow series!

With these basic, easy steps, we hope to help simplify life. Join us as we share our thoughts on how to simplify all areas of our lives, homes, and learning.

A Simplified Life: Menu Planning
A Simplified Life: Chores
A Simplified Life: Homeschooling
A Simplified Life: Educational Resources
A Simplified Life: Extra Curricular Activities
A Simplified Life: Free Printables

The Read-Aloud Dilemma

Read_Aloud_Dilemma“Do we really have to sit here and listen, Mom? Please!” Four anxious faces stare back at me, waiting for my answer. Our current read-aloud story is supposed to be Robin Hood. The plan was to progress through the book together, taking in the beauty of the words and having an open discussion of ideas. Instead, my kids are hoping I’ll see things their way and the torture will end. We have a read-aloud dilemma and this mama’s praying for a solution.

Our stand-off might leave you with the impression our children dislike books in general. Let me assure you this is not true. Our children read an average of 100-150 books per week. Reading is not the issue. Reading aloud is not necessarily the issue either. We read our history and science lessons together daily and enjoy the experience. So what is the problem?

The Dilemma – The simple fact is reading aloud takes time. We need to be sitting down all together and work through the literature at a pace which will, on average, suit the entire family. This is difficult when you have children in a wide age range and some of your children are exceptionally fast readers. Reading aloud can additionally be challenged by children who naturally have shorter attention spans. Time dedicated for reading together might need to be short, and those children who are steeped in the read might balk at having to stop for the sake of other siblings.

While our children are all willing, and happy, to sit through read-alouds which directly pertain to our “learning day”, when it comes to fictional reads, all patience flies out the window. It seems we need a compromise.

The Compromise – I have reading lists which I’d like our children to work through, literature which would be of benefit or add beauty to their learning adventure. Rather than make them suffer through reading it as a group, these books are provided for them to read at their own pace. Often, our girls breeze through them quickly. My youngest and I slowly meander through his list with dedication, adding fun side trips to encourage a love of reading.

Outside our regular learning routine and during devotions, reading aloud as a family is generally done in the car! Those long drives to nature walks and field trips are the perfect opportunity to pop in a good audio book and enjoy a story. We can also pass around a novel, taking turns reading the book to the group.

The Discussion – As each of our children work through their reads, Mom is sure to keep an eye on progress and engage them in dialogue. We talk about favorite characters, lessons learned, world views, selections which we all found rather dull, passages which were beautiful beyond words, gentleman which were anything but, ladies who needed stiffer backbones, places we wish we could visit, and so much more. We laugh, groan, and sniffle together. As a few of us start in, the rest inevitably chime in with their thoughts or are encouraged to read faster in order to join in the conversation.

One key point I should probably highlight is that all assigned and highly recommended reads handed to our children are books I have read myself. Either I read them before handing them over or have read them in the past. If I am going to have an intelligent conversation with my children about key ideas and plot points, it would behoove me to know what they’re reading. As a side note, I would personally feel a hypocrite if I required my children to read something I had no intention of working through myself. My children take note of this and it makes an impression upon their hearts.

Now, four smiling faces urge me to, “Start the next story, please!” Happy voices remind everyone about our last read, while anxiously waiting to hear what is coming. We all settle in for the drive, and our minds are taken on a journey to another place even as our bodies are being transported on another adventure. Our read-aloud time is no longer a dilemma, but a delight.

“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned;”
~ II Timothy 3:14-15

Your Turn!: How has your family dedicated time for reading aloud?

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Review: Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series

“I want to try to help you understand what ‘American Exceptionalism’ and greatness is all about. It does not mean that we Americans are better than anyone else. It does not mean that there is something uniquely different about us as human beings compared to other people in the world. It does not mean that we as a country have never faced problems of our own. American Exceptionalism and greatness means that America is special because it is different from all other countries in history. It is a land built on true freedom and individual liberty and it defends both around the world.”
~ Rush Limbaugh

Adventures_of_Rush_RevereIt’s another summer of fun, and fun just isn’t the same without a few good books. To kick off our reading extravaganza, Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh sent us the entire Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series, and we can’t wait to share them with you!

Rush Revere is a series of fun, historical-fiction books teaching children about American history. There are five, hard-bound books included in the complete set which we received. The books themselves are beautifully bound with lovely illustrated dust covers. The stories are printed on semi-gloss paper made to look like old parchment, colorful illustrations and maps are found throughout each book. In each story, a different portion of early American history is covered.

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims – In an effort to better help his students appreciate history, substitute teacher Rush Revere and his horse Liberty take his class back in time to discover how America came to be. Through the use of technology – and incredible internet connection – Rush Revere’s class watch as he and Liberty show them the real picture. Our first adventure has us traveling through several “time portals”, discovering why the first Pilgrims wished to travel to America, following their journey across the Atlantic, and their plans for establishing a new colony. We meet important historical figures such as William Bradford, Captain Myles Standish, William Brewster, Samoset, and more!

Rush Revere and the First Patriots – Once again Rush Revere and Liberty have us rush, rush, rushing to history. Rush, Liberty, and a few students find themselves exploring the beginnings of the United States. Jumping through time portals, our friends meet important figures as Ben Franklin, Patrick Henry, and many other heroes. During their adventures, we learn of events leading up to the Boston Massacre and talk of revolution.

Rush Revere and the American Revolution – Rush, Liberty, and our favorite time-traveling students find themselves on another adventure; this time exploring 1775 America and meeting heroes who fought for independence. Rush Revere finally gets to meet his hero, Paul Revere, and the kids experience first-hand what it was like on that fateful night at the Old North Church.

Rush_Revere_Books

Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner – Rushing off on another adventure, our favorite time-traveling crew find themselves in 1787. Heated secret debate over the Constitution and Bill of Rights, lead our friends to meet James Madison. A hop through the time portal has them learning about a famous portrait of George Washington, the Star-Spangled Banner, and a song by Francis Scott Key.

Rush Revere and the Presidency – Rushing into our next adventure, the time-traveling crew discover just how hard running a brand-new country can be. While the students are campaigning for student body president at their local middle school, Rush Revere and Liberty have them jumping through time portals to meet presidents George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson during their time in office. Learning importance lessons from each, the students hope to win the election and save the day!

Based on our experience, we would estimate the reading level from approximately 2nd-5th grade. While my junior enjoyed reading for exploration, the books are better suited for our son in fifth grade. He has a greater appreciation for Liberty’s humor and breezes through the stories with ease. It’s taken him only a few days to finish each book. I was the first in the family to read through all the books, as I was especially keen to give them a try. I found an empty afternoon and finished all five in one go. Both of us chose to read the books independently and finish at our own pace.

Kids_Reading_Rush_RevereqIt’s impossible to tell which book in the series was our favorite, they are all wonderful. Each had many adventures we enjoyed and lessons learned. The stories are clean, well-written, educational, and enjoyable; all features we look for in our book choices. We loved “Liberty Asks How Smart Are You” questions at the back of book one, which prompted further discussion and allowed us to dig deeper. A few highlights of our read were Rush always in colonial costume, even students in the story comment on his outfit. We found this silly, and inspirational. Rush’s horse, Liberty, is quite the funny character. At times offering colorful quips, more likely to be appreciated by young boys reading the story. We were pleasantly surprised to find the stories light-hearted and enjoyable, holding kids’ interest while teaching much. As a bonus, pictures were included of kids and their books; some in costume and others with their horses, Liberty.

As we explored answers to Liberty’s questions, we made sure to spend time perusing the incredible resources to be found online at Two If By Tea. Scholarship information, challenges, projects, activities and more abound! We especially appreciated the Homeschool Depot, where we could send a message to Maddie and the Rush Revere Crew. We also found homeschool resources for each book, with lessons on William Bradford and other heroes. You can even have a look at Rush Revere’s library!

The Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series has been fantastic to review! We’ve learned much and enjoyed our new adventure in learning. What a perfect way to start our summer of fun.

If you’d like to learn more about Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series, as well as Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaughy, please visit them at their website. You can also find Adventures of Rush Revere on social media sites such as FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: What is your favorite historical-fiction book series?

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Time’s Up!: Challenging the Fifty-Five Minute Class

Time's_UpWhen our kids were little, we had the freedom to delve into our learning unconditionally. We could study as much or as little as we wanted. Once our children merged into the higher grades, every book I read advised grading and routines be based on a certain amount of time spent in each subject; so many hours equalled a full course of study. Did I really want to set my children on a course where learning had a time-table? I couldn’t imagine myself saying, “Time’s Up!”

There were many books we read to help us better prepare for junior and senior high. Most of them advised a minimum of 55 minutes per subject per day in order for the children to fully learn the subject and give enough credit to complete each course of study. While I understand the heart behind this principle – you want to ensure your child is being fully immersed in the subject and has opportunity to explore – I think this can sometimes be misleading.

Veteran homeschoolers understand that to fully intake a class, a child does not need to sit with book in hand taking copious notes and staring at diagrams for an hour each day. (Although at times this might be helpful.) Learning comes in many forms. At times it will be on field trips, with hands-on learning, or interviewing those currently working in those fields. Sitting at a desk is merely one way our children learn.

I wonder how many new homeschooling families get confused over this issue? Do they panic at the thought of having to time their classes; stressing over whether or not they met the guidelines? I imagine that is enough to send anyone into a fit of vapors and become discouraged.

In our home, I generally do not time our learning. My children understand we have a routine. We start with one subject and move forward until all topics for the day have been covered. Even my daughters who are in high school are not timed during their learning day. I do not stress over whether or not they did learning for a particular length of time. Why is this? Because I understand some learning will be done much quicker, especially if this subject is of particular interest. I also understand some subjects take longer, depending on the day and my children’s focus.

How do we ensure our children are getting enough exposure in a given area? Through careful planning. We try to balance our book work with plenty of in-the-field training, trips, and projects to help them better understand each subject. Life is learning. With a little creativity and thoughtfulness, we can easily use this to enhance our lessons.

Does this mean we never time our children? Not necessarily. There are a few areas of study which do get timed. Our children need to understand sometimes in life this is necessary. When taking college courses, our children will be expected to complete tests in a given time period and turn in assignments on a given date. I want them to be fully prepared to enter into adulthood. So, while everything is not tested and timed, I do try to balance the two and help our children mature.

Time it not a major factor in our learning day. We study each topic to our hearts content and finish when we are done. We follow a loose routine and follow the leading of the Lord. For those new to homeschooling, I would encourage you to carefully consider how you establish your growing student’s schedule. Fifty-five minutes a day does not a course make.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
~ Proverbs 16:9

Your Turn!: What guidelines do you use to help establish a full course for junior and senior high students? Share your thoughts with the rest of us!

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