Friday, January 28, 2011

Freebie Friday

It's Like Having A Money Tree In Your Backyard!

This week's freebie is sure to please every homeschool family. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has just released their 2011 Freebie Directory and it is filled with amazing freebies!

Try Before You Buy!

Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch?
In the homeschool community, it's a reality, particularly when you come to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine's annual Homeschool Freebie Directory. In these pages (and on their website) you will find a good number of freebies and samples to get you familiar with what this vast community has to offer. Start contacting these companies for YOUR freebie gifts today. And tell your friends! It's all FREE!
Just click the link below and enjoy!

Have a blessed week!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Freebie Friday

It is Like Having a Money Tree in Your Backyard!
This coming Saturday, students all over the country will be taking their SAT exams. This starts the busy season of test preparation as students start to think about college. Therefore, this week's freebies are websites geared towards SAT preparation.
The first website, was featured in the New York Times on January 7th, 2011. This site has 60 complete test prep lessons, full practice exams, and a summary feature that tracks your progress. The site seems promising and is 100% free!
Next, is , a personal favorite. This site has over 50 practice test covering SAT math, critical reading, and writing. It also includes 1500 SAT vocabulary word list.
Whoever says SAT practice is not fun, has not seen this final website: Sheppard Software has created vocabulary games to help improve your vocabulary and improve your SAT scores. This is a good site to explore for all kinds of FREE educational games.
If this weeks freebies have been a blessing to you, pass them on to a friend!
Thanks and have a blessed week,

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Balancing Act

Organization is Key in Balancing Work and Homeschooling

As a homeschool mom of four children ages 20-10, I have found that working several jobs requires a great deal of organization and scheduling. I usually complete lesson plans for my two youngest children on Sunday afternoons. My 10th grader uses Bob Jones' DVDs, so I check her work each Sunday.In order to keep the house in order, the kids all are assigned daily household chores. Their chores are broken up into morning, afternoon and dinner chores. On Thursday afternoons each child is assigned to either thoroughly clean the kitchen or a bathroom. Chores are rotated monthly to keep the work load fair. Probably, the easiest way to illustrate how I balance work and homeschooling is to give you a glance at a typical schedule on a Monday, Wednesday or Thursday.

5:30-6:00- I wake up and throw a load of laundry in, fix breakfast/lunch for hubby and pick up the house a little
7:00-8:00- Wake kids up, kids eat breakfast and do household chores

8:00-11:30- School begins-I try to do math, reading and science with the 2 younger kids

11:30-1:00- Recess for the kids, We have lunch and I run errands, return phone calls or help my 10th grader with math. Kids complete afternoon chores.

1:00 -I start work (I work from home) and kids go back to their schoolwork
3:00- I take a break from work and check in on the kid's progress.
4:00- Kids are usually finished with schoolwork.
5:15- I take a break from work -fix dinner.
6:00-8:00- Kids do evening chores, practice instruments then have free time
9:30- I sign off from work!!

On Tuesdays and Fridays, my children and I attend a Co-op. I teach high school math classes while they take various music classes and have social time with their friends.

I have found that the solution to juggling work and homeschooling is to have a schedule, get the kids to help out and be organized!! Please keep in mind that my youngest child is 10 years old. I am not sure I would try this with kids who are younger.

Click the button below to see how other homeschool moms are juggling work and homeschooling.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Curiosity Files

The Dung Beetle
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Project Managers: Heidi Strawser & Amy Christy

If you are looking for a new approach to studying science, Explorations with Professor Ana Lyze—Expert in Outlandish Oddities...The Curiosity Files might just be the perfect answer. I decided to try out this new unit study series because my fifth grader loves science, and I was not disappointed. We took a week off from Karina's regular curriculum and explored the very interesting insect; the dung beetle.

The Curiosity Files are fun unit studies geared for children ages 8-13. However, with a little adjusting the units can be used with the whole family. Each unit includes reading, reading comprehension. Bible, copy work, history, math, arts and crafts,spelling, vocabulary and of course, science. Also included are a list of books and websites to enhance your study. There is more than enough information for a full week of exploration.

We really enjoyed this unit study and highly recommend the Dung Beetle study. The study contains lots of interesting information and Karina really enjoyed all of the hands on activities and the links to websites. I appreciated that the units are from a creation perspective and include Bible verses as well as a well rounded curriculum. Just add your own math program and dive in for a science adventure.

If you're curious, the Curiosity files is available at the Old Schoolhouse store ( ) for $9.95 per unit or you can grab a nine pack of units for only $46.00 , a three pack for $23.00 or a two pack for $15.34.
Here are the Curiosity Files titles currently available:
•Blue Diamond
•Dung Beetle
•Puffer Fish
•Red Tide
•Zombie Fire Ants
•Blue-footed Booby
•Cicada Killing Wasp

I purchase this unit and was happy to provide an honesty review of this product.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Positive Action For Christ

The Life Of Christ:
From the Gospel of John

By Frank Hamrick
Positive Action For Christ
800 688-3008

I do not know about you, but I have a hard time finding a good Bible curriculum that is easy to use with my middle and high school students. So I was excited when I learned that Positive Action was sending a copy of The Life of Christ to use with my children in exchange for my honest review of their Bible curriculum.
When I first opened the box, I was impressed with the Teacher's Manual. The manual is in a sturdy three ring binder, which contains teaching strategies, background information, quizzes, test, answer keys and a recommended reading list. The manual also has copies of the pages from the student's manual, so that you are able to follow along as your student reads and completes the activities. One really nice benefit is the included computer CD that provided transparencies to accompany each lesson. The colorful, soft cover Students Manual includes activities, lessons, maps, charts and Bible study questions. The student's book is 277 pages and is consumable.
Another feature I especially appreciated was the insert in the Teacher's Manual that shows a parent how to use the Positive Action Bible Curriculum in a homeschool setting. They also include suggestions for using the program for independent study, for co-ops, church groups and family devotion time.
After reviewing the week's lesson in the teacher's manual, my 12 year old son and I worked through the lesson in the student manual. We chose to use the optional Scripture memorization portion of the program which is included in the student manual. After completing the student's lesson, we completed the "Notes from the Teacher's Lesson", which serves as a review of the students lesson and is accompanied by transparencies. Each lesson has a quiz and a digging Deeper section. Upon the completion of each unit, a test is provided.
I found the content of each lesson quite interesting and well organized. The curriculum is divided into 7 units which includes a total of 35 lessons.
I felt the content was appropriate for the target age group. However, I believe middle school age students will need a more hands on approach to assure a solid understanding of the courses content. High school students should be able to use this program independently. I would definitely recommend this Bible course to fellow homeschoolers and I am looking forward to completing the study with my 7th and 10th graders.
Where can you find this great Bible curriculum?
How much does this program cost?
The Student's Manual is $17.95 and the Teacher's Manual is $41.95
There are several other options available on the Positive Actions website.

Click the banner below to see what others had to say about The Life Of Christ.

Freebie Friday


Well it's two weeks into the new year and I am looking forward to spring already. There's something about flowers blooming and birds chirping in the morning that gets me in the mood to get up early and get the school day started. Unlike chilly January mornings that make me want to pull the covers over my head and go back to bed. This week's freebies are meant to motivate you and get you through these cold winter months.

The Homeschool Blogger is offering FREE online classes that are aimed at motivating and enriching your homeschooling. So go to:
and sign up for the next webinar.

Kids and Teenagers with Focus/Attention Issues - What's up? How to really help!

Jan. 18th - 1 PM EST / 12 PM CST / 11 AM MST / 10 AM PST
Do you have a child who has to work too hard to stay focused on a task?
Does his pencil become paralyzed when you leave the room for a few minutes? Does he seem lazy and unmotivated?

Are you at your wits end about how to help this child? "He's so smart, but it takes him FOREVER to complete his work!" Johnny is a constant motion machine. Tom cries in frustration over minor matters. Susie forgets what she has just learned.

These behaviors leave you drained and with little to show for your efforts . You've tried all the focusing "tricks" from the books you've read, but still find that you have to use so much of your teaching day just getting the required work out of this child or teenager.

This workshop will give you a totally different approach to children and teenagers with attention/focus issues. Find out how to identify the cause of the behavior and target your strategies. Begin to detect the physical clues that your child is presenting and explore the physical causes of attention / behavior issues. Is it really a character issue, or could something else be going on? Let Dianne, a certified nutritionist, help you explore simple ways to help your child at home. Many parents report great success using this approach with their teenagers.

January is always a great time to organize your home, restart your diet and update your household budget. I have found Molly's newsletters a great source of information and support.

Molly shares frugal tips, tutorials, recipes and more - delivered right to your inbox each week!
FREE Menu-Planning E-Book with subscription! Watch your Welcome Letter for download link!

Special Offer! Get the January 2011 Digest for free when you subscribe to this free weekly A Minute with Molly newsletter.
See details HERE.

Also download Molly's FRESH! cookbook. It's full of fresh food recipes and is totally free!

Hope these freebies make your day a little warmer! Have a great week.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Virtual Nerd


The slogan for Virtual Nerd is "Real help in Math and Science". Well, after using their online tutoring website, I find their slogan to be true. Being a high school math teacher, I am oftenskeptical about online tutoring programs. I guess I'm just old fashion. When I think of a math tutor, I'm thinking real person, not a video. So when the Virtual Nerd gave me a free six week membership in exchange for my honest opinion of their program I tried to keep an open mind. Well, I was pleasantly surprised with the program. I found the videos to be of good quality and the online tutors spoke clearly. The concepts were explained in an easy to understand manner and I especially appreciated the notes that were in the side margin.

Virtual Nerd includes tutorials in Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 & 2, and Intro to Physics. We only used the math portion since none of my children are studying physic at this time. However, I did browse through the Physic program, which looks very similar to the math sections.

Each subject area of Virtual Nerd has a search engine, where you enter a topic. For example, my son is working on solving multi-step equations. When we typed in multi-step equations, quite a few videos pop up. You can then browse through the videos to see which ones addresses the specific topic. The short videos include a tutor explaining a concept as they write on a white board. In the right margin, summary notes are listed.

We also used the Algebra 2 section and found it quite useful. Here's what my Algebra 2 student had to say about Virtual Nerds:

Overall I loved the site! Everything was nicely laid out, and the format is easy to use. I like that you can pause the video whenever you want to apply it to your own problem. Also it's nice having an actual person there explaining it, because she covers little details that might not otherwise get covered if they just gave you the steps. It's also useful to have them lay out the steps one by one over to the right so you can use them without having to watch the whole video again. The only real problem I had with the site was difficulty finding what I was looking for. If you search a topic it may give you a list of 50 different things, a lot of which don't even apply to your search. So the site is helpful... if you can find what you need. It helps a little if you're very specific with what you type in. For example, saying "solving a quadratic equation with the quadratic formula", instead of just "quadratic equations".
So that's pretty much it. There wasn't too much that I didn't like about the program.

How much does it cost to use the Virtual Nerd website?

The standard subscription rate for the Premium Plan is $49 per month. They also offer 3-month, 6-month and 12-month packages, which result in substantial savings.

Click the banner below to see what others had to say about the Virtual Nerd.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Freebie Friday

It Like having a Money Tree in Your Backyard!

I pray that everyone had a wonderful Christmas vacation and a Happy New Year!
As we get back into the swing of school, I have a few freebies to help make your homeschooling easier.

The first website offers an Algebra 1 class completely free, text book and all!

Here is a peek at what's included.


Reading: Why Study Algebra?
Chapter 1: Working with Numbers and Variables
Chapter 2: Introduction to Equations
Chapter 3: Linear Equations
Chapter 4: Inequalities
Chapter 5: Systems of Equations
Chapter 6: Polynomials
Chapter 7: Factoring
Chapter 8: Radicals
Chapter 9: Quadratics
Chapter 10: Rational Numbers
Chapter 11: Statistics
Chapter 12: Transition to Geometry
Selected Answers

Every chapter and every lesson is here, including examples, chapter reviews, and tests. You'll have access to all 73 VIDEOS with lectures and over 700 solved exercises in Flash (same as YouTube, but with better resolution). Also to the ENTIRE TEXTBOOK with over 6,000 exercises in Acrobat. If you need Acrobat, get the latest free Reader.


The next site is Zane Education.

A Basic Membership provides access to all the free facilities on the Zane Education website.

Cost: This membership is FREE - but requires you to register at no cost.

A Basic Membership provides:

•Access to 500+ Mathematics videos (K-12)
•Access to all 260 online educational quizzes (K12)
•Free downloadable copy of the ZaneEducation Video Catalogue.
•Access to all of the K12 educational resources in the More Resources section including the World Factbook, World Leaders Guide, Historical documents and much more.
•Download of Free sections of The Christian Home Learning Guide
NOTE: A Free Basic Membership DOES NOT provide access to our other 960 education videos (K12) for Art, Music, History, Science, Biology, Literature, Geography, Social Sciences, Library Skills, Health and Religious Studies.

Have a wonderful week!