Excited About a Fresh Start!

Ryan is super excited about starting school once Christmas break is over…NOT ūüôā !!!


Happy New Year!!!¬† I’m excited to see what 2014 has in store for our family!¬† Although I’ve enjoyed having two weeks off from our regular schedule, I’m ready to get back to school and our regular schedule….if only the kids were excited too¬†ūüėČ .

There will be many changes this year.¬† I’ll have a new niece in just a few weeks, my cousin is having a baby boy in March, Brendan will be entering his high school years, Ryan will be starting middle school, Justin and I will celebrate our 17th anniversary, I will begin my new position as a 2014 Schoolhouse Review Crew member, there will be new experiences, we’ll have good days and bad days, challenges will come, and thankfully God will be with us all no matter what the new year brings.¬† I love the picture below and think that it’s a great reminder:

For I know the plans I have for you,‚ÄĚ declares the Lord, ‚Äúplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

I hope that 2014 is a year full of love, faith, laughter, growth, blessings for you and your families!

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 !

Change Can Be A Good Thing!

I have been blessed with the opportunity to review an AMAZING resource to homeschool families.¬† I’ve been enjoying The Old Schoolhouse Magazine since we first¬†began our journey of educating at home¬†two and a half years ago.¬† They have undergone several changes since 2010 when I first subscribed to the magazine.

Those of you who know me well understand that I don’t like change very much…I’ve had¬†a similar¬†hairstyle¬†for years, our furniture is in the¬†same place that it was the day we moved into our house¬†ten years ago, and I still have a (really) hard time accepting that I am now the mom of a teenager!¬† So when The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (www.TheOldSchoolhouse.com) announced¬† that they would be switching to a digital format instead of paper copies, I was not a¬†happy camper.¬† I loved being able to “dog ear” my favorite pages,¬†¬†smelling the fresh ink, and feeling the excitement of discovering the latest issue in¬†my mailbox!¬† But change is just a part of life, and so I downloaded the app to my tablet and checked out the new “modern” version of The Old Schoolhouse.¬† WOW, WOW, WOW!¬†¬†There were some amazing new features¬†in the new digital version that made the changes all worth it!¬† ¬†The best change of all is that the digital¬† format is completely FREE!¬† Yes, that’s right…FREE!¬† You can go see for yourself at www.TOSMagazine.com or www.TOSApps.com.¬† Now, let me share some of my favorite parts of the current November/December issue and you’ll see why I have devoured this magazine for years!




If you see an advertisement for a product or curriculum that you want to learn more about, you just click on the web address and¬†you¬†are instantly taken to the company’s homepage!¬† HOW COOL IS THAT?




The magazine is FULL of many different types of articles from tips for new homeschoolers to encouragement for the tired and weary.¬† They also have fun¬†stories, and¬†this was one of my favorites because it involves food (ha, ha).¬† I like to add fun and interesting topics to our homeschool from time to time and will definitely be sharing the story of gingerbread with the boys as a Christmas activity.¬† It’s always fun to “spice things up” ūüôā !____________________________________________________________________________________________


The Old Schoolhouse does a wonderful job of keeping us up-to-date on the latest news, trends, and policies that are important to the homeschool community like this article on Obama’s “Race to the Top.”



I love reading product reviews by other homeschool families.¬† I have spent many hours researching curriculum, games, and books over the years.¬† It is so helpful to read about the experiences and opinions of “real” families.¬† I enjoy hearing what works and what doesn’t work for them, comparing products, and¬†looking at pictures of the products being used.¬† This month’s issue featured readers’ favorites and I was excited to see¬†that several of our curriculum choices were also the favorites of other families! ¬†The Old Schoolhouse has a FANTASTIC resource for reviews at www.SchoolHouseReviewCrew.com .



I found this article on higher education¬†to be especially helpful since Brendan will be in¬†the ninth grade¬†next year.¬† It is scary when you get into those upper grades and can be confusing as you try to wrap your mind around transcripts, college prep courses, credits, electives, and GPA’s. This article answered questions such as “what kind of prerequisites must be met in order to participate in dual-enrollment classes?”¬† and “when do you need to register?”¬† The article was written by a veteran homeschool mom of seven who has had several children successfully complete dual-enrollment courses which she states helped them with transitioning into college.


I appreciate the focus on training our kids to serve others!

I appreciate the focus on training our kids to serve others!


If you want to know the mission of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, this says it al!