Hark the Herald Homeschoolers Sing!!!

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What a special morning! We had the privilege to visit a retirement community this morning and carol throughout the halls. I have a special place in my heart for the elderly so I especially enjoy this outing every year! It was so sweet to see the resident’s faces light up as they saw the children. Some of them even sang along with us and they were all so appreciative. As often happens when serving others, I think we were all blessed even more that the residents were ūüôā .

Review of Schoolhouseteachers.com:

As a new 2014 Schoolhouse Review Crew member, I have been blessed to receive and review a Yearly Membership Option  to www.SchoolhouseTeachers.com.  SchoolhouseTeachers.com offers lessons and classes in over 5o different subjects including photography, math, foreign language, music, art, history, and many more!

Classes and lessons are provided¬†for a wide variety of ages from preschool to high school. There is a section called “Dailies” which includes things such as games, copywork, spelling, and even a monthly menu planner with recipes! Under “Extras”, subscribers have access to many amazing planners, The Old Schoolhouse digital magazines and supplements, and monthly bonus E-books.

Subscriptions are available yearly for $139 or on a monthly basis at $12.95 per month, plus your first month is only $3!¬† What a GREAT deal!!!¬† BUT WAIT!!!¬†(I sound like an infomercial ūüôā )…, if you purchase a Yearly Membership Option¬†¬†during the month of December, you get a FREE 1 year membership for a friend and a free print copy of the 2014 print issue of Old Schoolhouse Magazine (the digital magazines are always free)!

There are so many interesting subjects that it was HARD to decide which classes to use with the boys, so I let them look through the options and choose an elective to study.


Ryan chose to take a course in photography designed by Michele Peterson that is geared for middle through highschoolers.


He is only in the fifth grade so some of the material is difficult for¬†Ryan to understand, but since we complete the lessons together I am easily able to adapt the information to his level.¬† Each day, we read the printable lessons together and discuss the various assignments.¬† The assignments consist of various activities such as learning about the settings on your cameras, taking still shots using the “auto” setting, practicing with the AV mode, and taking shots using different shutter speeds.¬†¬†¬†Ryan loves it when he gets to¬†run around¬†and take photos!

Here’s a quick slide of some of Ryan’s assignments:

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I also chose to print out a lapbook provided by SchoolhouseTeachers.com¬†to reinforce what we were learning.¬† Activities include things like vocabulary words and learning the differences between Calotype and Daguerrotype photographs.¬†¬†The lapbook¬†is a wonderful way to learn about the history of photography!¬† Ryan is going to use his lapbook for his February report in our public speaking group, so we are “killing two birds with one stone” ūüôā !


Brendan (8th grade) LOVES working with computers, so he decided to go through the computer science/programming course by Chris Yust.¬† I went through the lesson archives and printed off everything because I’d like for Ryan to take the course next year.¬† I appreciate how the class is written directly to the student and is easy to understand.¬† After reading the first day’s lesson, the students do a matching activity to review basic computer terms.¬† There are also short videos provided throughout the class to enhance learning.¬† Most days include an assignment which requires the student to complete activities on the computer.¬† These activities build on each other and increase in difficulty as the class progresses.¬† I like how Mr. Yust provides a mixture of activites that¬† appeal to visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners.



The course covers topics such as using Windows Explorer, file and folder management, using text editors, and basic web page design with HTML.  I think that the  SchoolhouseTeachers.com Computer Progamming class would be perfect for a student who has a basic understanding of computers, but would like to learn more in-depth skills.  Brendan was hoping for something a little more advanced, but is still enjoying reviewing the basics.  The class is ongoing and Mr. Yust will be continuing to add lessons to the site regularly so I believe that the material will get more difficult and challenging as time goes on.


I am excited to continue “digging” though the many resources at SchoolhouseTeachers.com and finding more courses to enhance our studies!¬† I only had time to review the photography and computer science courses, but you can read how other homeschool families use Schoolhouseteachers.com for their students at http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/schoolhouse-teachers-review/ .

You can also check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/theoldschoolhouse !

Tinsel Tuesday!

I know, I know…it’s cheesy, isn’t it?¬† Sorry, I couldn’t come up with a title ūüôā !

We’ve had a busy day full of school, P.E., guitar lessons, and Christmas activities (also known as “forced family fun” – ha, ha). Brendan got some sweet thank you notes and goodies from some of the students that he helps coach in homeschool P.E. Ryan made a cool experiment for science that demonstrates how the diaphragm and lungs work together.

We all made our own gingerbread houses after dinner and are continuing to count off the days until Christmas using our new Advent calendar. The children’s department at our church provided kits for families with young children. They gave us fabric, magnet sheets, paper punches, Bible verses, Tootsie Rolls, and instructions in a package several weeks ago. We just had to cut everything and purchase a mini muffin pan. I used a 50% off coupon to AC Moore and was able to buy one for less than $6.00. It is such a GREAT idea and I’m so thankful for a church staff who encourages and equips families to creatively teach their children about Christ at home!

Report Day!

We went to our second report group for the year and as usual learned about many fun topics including several book reports, kangaroos, Beethoven, the history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, and even snowmen ūüôā . Brendan researched and reported on careers in computer science and Ryan did his report on camping and RV’s. A few of the younger children had moments of tears and nervousness.¬† I can totally empathize.¬† I don’t like public speaking either!¬† ¬†It was so sweet to see the other kids comforting them and cheering them on and both children managed to get through their reports!¬† I am very proud of all of the students!

Can you believe that Christmas is only 15 days away?!? I think I’m almost finished other than a few more things that I need to get for the kids.¬† I hope that everyone is slowing down long enough to focus of the true meaning of Christmas.¬† Need ideas?¬† Attend a Christ-centered program at a local church, do an Advent calendar together as a family, read the Christmas story from the Bible, have a birthday party for Jesus, find a way to serve others (visit a nursing home, adopt a family in need, etc.), or¬†display and talk about those Nativity sets that are buried in your attic.¬† Enjoy this special time of celebrating the birth of our Savior!

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O Little Town of Bethlehem:

Tonight we went to an event in Richmond called The Bethlehem Walk. It is an amazing ministry that is sponsored by Salem Baptist Church in Goochland, VA (http://www.salembaptistchurch.info/).

We have been to things like this before, but it is always fun to experience what it may have felt like back when Jesus was born. I am very thankful for the many different opportunities that are offered around us that focus on the true meaning of Christmas!