Review: A Schoolhouse Review Crew Review

High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {} If you are like me, you are always on the lookout for excellent resources for your family as you homeschool. The yearly membership to one of the first resources I recommend to my friends who are considering homeschooling. The site has grown incredibly over the last few years since it launched in 2012. This can be a complete curriculum for your entire crew all the way from preschool through high school graduation! I have been impressed over and over as I search through the site and see what is available.   High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {}  The core subjects are solid, so if you are searching for a curriculum this is a great landing spot. Expert teachers and veteran homeschool parents have crafted excellent courses that are worth far and above the subscription cost. The value here is just off the charts! My background is in English and History and I’ve been very pleased with not only the quality of these subjects but the wide variety of study material. I had my husband peruse the math portion as this is not my strongest field. He was especially impressed with the high school leveled courses which are available. You can easily plan a course of study you wish your children to complete or even allow them to choose an area of interest and know it is completely safe. The science courses have a biblical worldview which fits well with our families beliefs. I am also excited to implement many of the Bible teaching options. Many of these courses include video teaching which is always a bonus! Sometimes because I feel more confident allowing someone else to convey the teaching, but also because my girls love it when we use any kind of video learning.   The core subjects are only the beginning! The electives offered range from foreign languages to homesteading to photography to architecture to film making… I was actually overwhelmed with all that is offered. There were a number of courses I was interested in working through, and because a subscription is for the entire household, I can! This week my girls will be allowed to look at what is offered and choose an elective which interests them to complete. I know they are going to be very excited about this because most of our courses are planned by me alone.  

  The final aspect of this site are the amazing resources available for planning, grading, and record keeping. Not only is there a wonderful planner available and multiple printables for planning, there are step-by-step instructions to walk you through the process. High school transcripts and help in knowing how to plan is also available. This is amazing! There are innumerable courses of study for homeschooled high school students, but I have yet to see as complete a resource anywhere else. Everything you will need to complete a full course of study for high school is available at your fingertips. I’m not quite to this place yet, but I am so pleased to know this is available when the time comes whether I will be looking at a full course of study or a few courses to fill in the gaps.  Currently I’m excited to once again use as a supplement to our regular curriculum. In addition to allowing the girls to each choose an elective to study this year I’m also already using many of the wonderful games to add to our learning. A few we have already enjoyed are some language arts and math games which gave the girls a chance to think about both subjects a little differently. Application of prior knowledge for practice is much more fun when placed in the format of a game!   

Daily Puzzlers was a fun language arts game that incorporates spelling, vocabulary, and logic. A jumble of letters is given and then clues to produce several words from the mix. On the website there are printable letter tiles or older students may be happy to simply write the letters down. We own several letter tile games already so we just picked the letters from those. Rose (11) and Beth (9) were quick to know the answers. Grace (7) struggled a little more. She is great with spelling, but was not as quick to catch onto the vocabulary clues. By the time we got to the end she was getting the hang of it, so as we play this more I believe she will greatly benefit. 


Under the Everyday Games section we played both the multiplication and addition versions of Happy New Year 2017 Odds and Evens. We are very much a game family and this was a fun one for the girls. I modified the game slightly by using some 9-sided dice we already had. They rolled and either added or multiplied the numbers. Once the correct fact was deciphered they would place their piece (zoo animals in our case) on the next even or odd dated square. This is a great way to practice math facts because it is fun. Rather than the drudgery of copying down facts on paper, randomly having facts to calculate feels less structured. Because the girls love playing games anyway they jumped at the chance to do this! I snatched a little video of them while they thought I was just taking pictures. So you can hear them correcting their sister some and there is of course some friendly competition.


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Music: Monkeys Spinning Monkeys Kevin MacLeod (
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  Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments below and don’t forget to head over to the main review from The Homeschoool Review Crew to read more reviews about this wonderful site!  

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Prima Latin from Memoria Press: Review

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Ever since I was in college I decided I was going to teach Greek and Latin to my students. This was when I discovered the connection to Greek and Latin and our own vocabulary. When I taught middle school English full-time they had roots each week and my current junior high homeschool English students I teach once a week also have roots to study and learn weekly. While I saw this as highly valuable for older students as they looked toward college, it honestly didn’t cross my mind to teach them to my own young daughters as part of our homeschool curriculum.
 photo PL_completeSet_zps91680a55.pngWhen the Prima Latin pakage from Memoria Press arrived my girls were jumping up and down! I told them we would be learning Latin and they couldn’t wait to start. This particular package is meant to be used with children in grades 2-4. The set costs $90.90 and includes a teacher’s guide, student guide, DVDs, CDs and flash cards. These items can also be purchased individually. 
I initially starts this with Rose who is finishing up 2nd grade. She has started to learn small amounts of Greek from her grandfather and was very excited to embark on this new adventure. I like the layout of the student books as they are easy to follow and very sequential. The first lesson focuses on learning the Latin alphabet which was a bit of a challenge for the vowels. 
Beth saw us doing our Latin lessons and she asked if she could try. We were only one lesson in at this point so I decided to give it a try on her own. She has just finished up Kindergarten and I wasn’t sure if she was ready….Boy did she give me a happy surprise! She quickly engaged with the text and seemed to really enjoy this lesson. The only part I modified a bit was to have her to more of the practice work in the book orally rather than written as her sister had done. 
Rose and Beth completed the first lesson on their own. After that first lesson the girls started working together on their Latin. This was a fun and unique experience because  I typically teach the girls individually on their own levels for different subjects. They enjoyed doing this work together. 
I would sit on the couch and teach the girls in the living room. They found some Latin words to be quite funny and would get a giggle out of them! We listened to the CD or DVD as the lessons indicated. 
The only portion of this program I did not care for as much was the teacher’s guide. It was basically the student guide with answers written in. With subjects I’m not as familiar with, like Latin, I prefer a more scripted book for the teacher’s guide. 
Don’t forget to check out more reviews from my Crewmates below!
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Choosing Curriculum

It’s that time of year! Everyone who is already homeschooling is deciding whether they should stick with the curriculum they have chosen and those who are considering homeschool for next year are feeling overwhelmed with their options. Feelings of excitement, worry, anxiety, and confusion abound!

We were blessed to find our core curriculum home from the beginning with Heart of Dakota. I didn’t know much about homeschooling when I decided to look for a preschool program for my 2-year-old daughter and a quick search at brought Little Hands to Heaven to the top of the list. I liked what I saw. My husband liked what he saw. I clicked a button, and we were on our way!

I have found out I am fairly unique to have discovered our curriculum home so early on in our journey. I didn’t know to search for opinions about the curriculum. I had never heard of a forum before. So how did I know this was the direction to head?

1. Prayer – As with every major decision in our family we prayed about what to do with our oldest daughter. My husband and I both strongly felt preschool was not a direction we wanted to head. The reasons for this are best left for another time! However prayer was an integral part of the decision as well as whether to go with a formal curriculum or not. I knew little of what was expected to be taught in preschool, but I knew if I had a plan I could follow it.

Lesson: Seriously pray about your curriculum decisions. God cares about every aspect of our lives including, maybe even especially, about the education of our children. It is great to ask for advice from others, but seeking God’s wisdom is best. 

2. It Had What I Wanted –  Since I was new to all of this I honestly didn’t know what I was looking for, but when I saw what was included I realized this curriculum had a list of everything I would have wanted: Bible, letter recognition, interaction, music, math, activity, clear instructions for the teacher, and all in one place! I was also pleased with what I saw for older children as well, even though at the time we had no intention to homeschool for grade school. 

Lesson: Make a list of deal-breaker qualities you are looking for in a curriculum…the things which are so important to you that you cannot imagine teaching without them. For some this includes lots of hands-on material, for others it will mean computer based. The only thing I knew was it had to be Christ-centered. Also make a list of it-would-be-nice items.

3. It Fit Our Price Range – Compared to the other programs I saw at this was very inexpensive. When I figured I would reuse it for any future kids, it seemed even more excellent. I budget $300 for the year because we have chosen a mostly non-consumable curriculum and I shop for used books to go along with our new guides. This is definitely on the low end of what many families spend and realistically I know it will increase as my daughters get older.

Lesson: Discuss with your spouse how much you can spend. This can keep your expectations within reality as well as keep you from overspending! 

4. We Tried It…And It Worked – I loved how things went for preschool with my daughter. Even now all three of my girls are enjoying school…and so am I! In the back of my mind…even though I didn’t think I wanted to homeschool…I knew I’d come back to Heart of Dakota if homeschooling ever became our path. Once we did choose to homeschool most things went smoothly. The only areas I added to were those my daughter asked about at first. Then when it became clear my daughter needed rules for spelling and she was not doing well with the abstract thinking of our math program, I sought out something else did work – All About Spelling and Rod and Staff. I didn’t throw the entire program out just because an area or two weren’t working quite like they should.

Lesson: If it’s working, stay with it. If not, figure out why so you know what you are looking for in a new curriculum. Don’t simply change because you have heard about a new trendy curriculum or all of your friends are doing something different. Curriculum usually has individually specific scopes and sequences especially for history and science. Jumping around could potentially leave major gaps in your child’s education. 

Also, give it a chance. Just because the first two or three weeks aren’t what you imagined doesn’t mean it is time to throw it out. It takes time to adjust to homeschooling and time to adjust to a new curriculum. Give yourself grace and time to make those adjustments and search out the reasons behind the days not going well. It may have nothing to do with the curriculum and have more to do with a rebellious child or disorganized day. 

5. Go Forward With Confidence – Nothing will ruin a curriculum faster than a teacher who cannot confidently teach it. I felt completely inadequate in the beginning, but I didn’t let my daughter see those feelings. I needed her to feel confident in my ability to teach her because I wanted her to be confident she could learn. Sometimes I’m not completely sure about something…and I’ll tell her this…but I try to exhibit confidence in my ability to find the answer. Scripted lessons have been a huge part of building my confidence in teaching. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and All About Spelling are both scripted and I feel very confident in both of those areas now!

Lesson: Whatever your choice is, move forward with confidence in your choice and your ability to teach it…even if you have to fake it! Rest in the knowledge that you do have the ability to teach and you’ll give your child confidence in what their ability to learn as well!