Friday, April 29, 2016

Still moving and ASL ~ Weekly Wrap-Up

I just wanted to make a quick post to update our week. It has been another busy week around here packing and getting ready for the move. We got some good news this week that we can stay in our current home until May 7th. This will bide us some time and hopefully our new house will be ready. We've been driving by it to see if any progress is done, and it looks like the people are moving out if they haven't moved out completely. I sure hope we can get in soon. All of the boxes and my house being chaotic is starting to wear on me.

School has proven to be hard to keep up with during this time, but we are doing it. I am thankful for the things that I am reviewing right now because it's a lot of work that the kids can do independently. If they have questions, I'm close and they can ask. I just don't have to sit over them and that really helps right now. 

Edyn is still going to her ASL sign language class and she LOVES it. Her teacher is beyond AMAZING!! Edyn has a heart for the deaf and hard of hearing. It's funny because I see so much of myself in her. I too wanted to work with deaf children, and was even going to college to become a speech pathologist. It was something I had a desire to do for a long time, but I ended up being a Mom instead. I definitely wouldn't change it for the world, but I am happy she has that same love for the deaf community. The only thing she would change about her class is this over achiever weirdo dad and his rude wife that bring their kid there. They are distracting and it makes Edyn so aggravated! She is REALLY trying to learn this language, and they make it awkward. The wife likes to talk to the teacher like she's dumb. She's deaf not stupid and that makes Edyn VERY angry. She loves her teacher and when the mom talks to her like that I can tell she wants to let her have it. We are praying that after this 6 week course, she can do another one. She's even been practicing doing ASL songs. She's getting really good and I'm pretty impressed. 

Well that's about it going on now. I'm hoping that we get to move soon and get some normalcy back into our lives. 

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

GREEMU by Devonian - A Schoolhouse Crew Review

I have always heard about the benefits of emu oil but have never tried it. With us being a vegetarian/vegan family, I was super excited to hear that there was a plant based alternative for emu oil. GREEMU by Devonian which is distributed by Koru Naturals conforms to the standards of pure emu oil. We have been using it for the past couple of weeks and it has proved itself to be a wonderful product for all types of things.

What is GREEMU?

Emu oil that most people are familiar with is extracted from the fat tissues of emu birds. It has a composition of fatty acids that are not present in other oils. Although it has many wonderful uses, it poses a real problem for people who are opposed to using any type of animal products. Devonian designed GREEMU with this in mind and made this product free from any animal ingredients.

GREEMU is a blend of plant oils and butters that have the same lipid composition that matches Grade A emu oil. It is made with macadamia seed oil, palm oil (certified organic), shea butter, sunflower seed oil, and rice bran oil.

These 5 oils come together to create this unique vegan "emu" oil each adding their own benefit to the mix.

Macadamia Seed Oil: Hydrates dry and rough skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines; also good for hair

Palm Oil: Highly beneficial for skin health

Shea butter: wonderful moisturizer that also contains vitamin E; great for face and hands and also a perfect conditioner for dry and brittle hair.

Sunflower seed oil: helps repair skin's barrier, reduces inflammation and helps hydrate dry skin

Rice bran oil: used by Japanese women to keep the skin wrinkle free and smooth

How did we use GREEMU?

I really wanted to review this with both my 14 year old daughter and myself in mind. We both were blessed with dry skin and eczema. I get dry patches on my face and also my legs. She like me gets dry patches around her nose and on her forehead in her hairline. We would use this in the morning and at night to go with our daily routine. We would apply it mainly before we would do our make up and at night when we would take it off.  It proved itself to be a fantastic moisturizer. First of all, you don't need to apply much. A few drops go a long way with this product. If you get too much on, you will feel oily. Just go with a small amount and you can always add a bit more if you need it. It's not supposed to be slathered on like a cream moisturizer.

The second use I had for this was for my dry legs. During the winter especially, my legs get super dry as do my hands.  I have to say, I put this on my legs and it was a glorious feeling. It was like instant hydration for them. It felt wonderful and instantly took that dry itchy feeling and turned it around.

The last thing that we were really happy and amazed with was for my daughter's wild and crazy hair. This girl has hair that is extremely thick and semi curly. Of course in Texas this tends to make her hair incredibly frizzy. We applied the oil starting from the root, and moving down to the ends of the hair. Her hair is so dry that I actually applied a little more at the end where it's the worst. It worked wonders. It made her hair shiny, but not oily, and much more manageable. I was highly impressed with this!

What did we think?

Since I have never used emu oil before, I really don't have anything to compare GREEMU to. But, with that being said, I feel like as good as it worked, then it would definitely be a great alternative. With it being free from any animal ingredients. it will appeal to the vegan/vegetarian community too.

We were sent a bottle 4 fl. oz. size bottle, but a little goes a long way. Again, you aren't going to just drench yourself in this. Also, I want to point out that they say if you are allergic to plant oils, then this is probably not the product for you. The only thing I would suggest to change is the bottle. It just seemed a little messy and sometimes I would get out more than I wanted to use. I definitely don't want to waste it! Other than that, I would definitely want to make this a staple of my home.

If you are looking to purchase an all natural, vegan alternative to emu oil, then I would highly suggest GREEMU by Devonian. You won't regret it!

Make sure to follow Koru Naturals/Devonian on Social Media!

We were lucky enough to have 85 people review this product. If you would like to read other reviews, just click the banner below!

Greemu Devonian Review

Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Heroes of History - Davy Crocket by YWAM Publishing {A Schoolhouse Crew Review}

Living in Texas, and especially in San Antonio, we are surrounded by a ton of history. Growing up, history was never my favorite subject because I thought it was boring. That has really changed for me, and as a homeschooling mom, I want to make history fun and interesting for my kids. I don't want to read out of a text book the facts about history. I want to make it come to life for them, and show them these places of history if I can. We had the chance to review Heroes of History-Davy Crocket by YWAM Publishing and also use the digital study guide that comes with it. I was super excited about this one because we have been to the Alamo several times, and the kids know who Davy Crocket was, and have even seen some of his belongings.

The Heroes of History is a biography series about influential people that brings history to life. The story form of the book tells all about the people who have helped shape our history over the years, but also makes you feel like you are right there with them.

What we received ~

YWAM Publishing sent us the physical book, which is a little under 200 pages. They also sent us the downloadable digital study guide that goes along with the book. This way you can take this book and turn it into a unit study if you want to.

How did we use it?

You could totally just read Davy Crocket: Ever Westward and learn so much. It is filled with so much information, not only about the person who it's about, but also things they used and places they went.

The digital study guide is very easy to access after you download it. As you can see from the screenshot below, it is not just for homeschool settings. There are also guides for small groups and classrooms. In the guide designed for homeschool, it tells you how to utilize the series if you want to use it for your core U.S. history curriculum, and even provides a timeline so that you can have an idea of what books to read in order. It also goes into detail on other uses of the unit study. Whether you want to use it as a family read aloud or if you are looking for ways to incorporate language arts using this series, it's all here.

The Unit Study Guide has some fantastic ideas to really make studying Davy Crocket fun and engaging. We read the chapters and then would go to the study guide for the chapter questions. This is a great review and a way to make sure the kids are understanding what's being read. I LOVED the idea of having a display corner so that the kids can go and collect things that are related to Davy Crocket and where he lived. I would have done this, but we are in the middle of a big move and I am packing everything that stays still too long. I am definitely going to incorporate this on the next Heroes of History book we read!

 The unit study has so much more to offer including terms and vocabulary that is used in the book, and also some ideas for arts and crafts to go along with it. After we get moved the kids want to recreate a model of the Alamo!

It also comes with some great printouts that include a fact sheet about Davy Crocket, maps, and a timeline! We are still working on our timeline, but the kids really enjoy it!

What we thought ~

So honestly I've never had the chance to read any of YWAM Publishing books until this one. I have to say I am SO impressed. I literally want to order more for myself to read because this book is so good. We used it as a read aloud book, and even did some reading to my husband, and the kid's cousin via video chat. All of us were very impressed how the book read and kept us all engaged. I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone that is interested in the heroes. I have read some boring biographies before, but you won't have to worry about there here. The entire book is engaging and even leaves you with a few "chapter cliff hangers".  I found the kids were wanting to move on to the next chapter because they wanted to find out what happened next! That is a plus in itself!

I am also very impressed with the study guide that comes with it, because it is also chock full of information about your hero.

We have really enjoyed reading Heroes of History- Davy Crocket by YWAM Publishing and can't wait to order more of these wonderful books! They are actually on sale right now and marked down from their normal $9.99 per book to $7.50 per book. This is the perfect time to stock up!

Be sure to follow YWAM Publishing on Social Media!

YWAM Publishing was very generous and allowed 100 of us review their books. If you would like to read reviews on other books in this series, click the banner below.

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

Crew Disclaimer

Friday, April 22, 2016

Project Move 2016 Part 2

Well we have been packing and packing this house, and I still don't feel like I've put a dent in it. I do know I've packed a lot though because the boxes are slowly closing in on us. We have to be out of here by next Saturday, but we still don't know if our new house will be ready or not. This is super stressful. We are going to ask if they will just let us pay to stay in our current home until it's ready, but I'm just not sure how that will go over. 

So much as been going on and I have been extremely overwhelmed. The day after I posted about being stressed out about the move, we got some freak 20-25 year hail storm. I'm talking hail the size of baseballs and softballs! I posted pictures on my last Wordless Wednesday, and you can see them here. It was one of the most frightening sounds I've heard. Honestly it sounded more like bowling balls on my roof. It was so loud. All I could think of was getting my family away from the windows...and our cars. Mine in particular, because hubby drives a work truck. Yep, to my dismay, my car took a very hard hit. Damage to the tune of around $10,000. That's a lot. To me, it looked worse than many on the block! Windows GONE, dents allll over, and broken mirrors and broken dreams. Pretty much everyone in our neighborhood that was parked outside lost windows. A lot of houses lost windows and I am surprised we didn't. I'm thankful for that. 

The insurance adjuster didn't come for 8 days. In this time period we learned that we didn't have rental on our policy. We also learned that our deductible was $2000....Yes you read that right. My husband changed insurance companies right after we bought my car. He never realized that the deductible was so high. After we found a place to bring my car, which is a miracle considering that they said a lot of places were booked until August, we now had to face that deductible. My husband talked to them and by the grace of God, they are waiving the ENTIRE deductible!!! This is a gift from God!!

So now we are just packing and purging through our house. Our new house is just a little bit smaller than our current one, so we are going with the "If you don't love it, need it, or use it, then it goes!" method. It seems to be working pretty good! I've donated a lot of stuff already to the women's and children's shelter. 

I will try and give another update sometime next week. Hopefully we will know a little more on our move in date! We passed by tonight and did a little bit of stalking and it looks like they've moved a lot out so that's a good start!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Writers in Residence by Apologia Educational Ministries - A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Writing has always been a challenge for Edyn. She just doesn't like to do it. Even though she feels this way, I think a good writing curriculum is important.  Writers in Residence by Apologia Educational Ministries has been a real game changer in the writing department for Edyn. This is a complete writing curriculum that also includes language arts that integrates grammar, punctuation, and capitalization.

If you're part of the homeschooling world, or even if you're not, then you have probably heard of Apologia Educational Ministries. With them being the #1 publisher of creation based science and Bible curriculum, it's hard not to know them. Apologia Educational Ministries has teamed up with award winning author Debra Bell to create this amazing writing curriculum.

What we received for this review ~

We were blessed and able to review the full curriculum which includes the All-In-One Student Text and Workbook, and also a 2nd book which is the answer key. Writers in Residence comes as a 526 page, spiral bound book with a laminated cover, full of colorful and engaging lessons. It is a 32 week curriculum which is geared for kids in grades 4 - 8. I love the fact that the answer key is also a separate book. It makes going over the lessons with Edyn much easier.

How we used Writers in Residence ~

We have been and will continue to use this as Edyn's only writing curriculum. We love everything about it. The goal of Writers in Residence is to have a complete collection of writings from your child that you can cherish forever. I have always loved to keep things like that, so it's just one more thing to love about this.

Writers in Residence is broken down into 6 different units. One of my favorite things about it (and there are a lot) is that each Unit starts off with a Spotlight on Christian Writers section that does a Q&A with that particular author. I think this is a fabulous idea so that the student can learn from and get to know real authors.

Another thing that always makes me love a program just a little bit more is when it is broken down into parts and easy to understand. Writers in Residence does a fantastic job of that. First, there are 6 Units and they all cover different topics in writing and language arts. They are as follows:

  • Unit 1: I Remember
          Writing Assignment: "When I was Young" (sentences)
 Language Arts covered: action verbs, nouns, conjunctions, subjects, and predicates
  • Unit 2: I Imagine
          Writing Assignment: "Very Truly Yours" (creative writing)
Language Arts covered: adj, proper nouns, personal letter, capitalization, commas, simple sentence,
linking verbs, complements
  • Unit 3: I Investigate
           Writing Assignment: "My Family Hall of Fame" (research writing)
Language Arts covered: paragraphs, modifiers, descriptive adj, determiners, sensory words
  • Unit 4: I Think
           Writing Assignment: "My Favorite Author" (opinion essay)
Language Arts covered: paragraphs, adverbs, transitions
  • Unit 5: I Remember
           Writing Assignment: "The History of Me" (autobiography)
Language Arts covered: first person, phrases, prepositions, prepositional phrases, object of preposition
  • Unit 6; I Imagine
          Writing Assignment: "Zap! Pow! Kazam!" (short story)
Language Arts covered: quotation marks, punctuating and formatting dialogue, commas,
interjections, question marks, exclamation points

One of my very favorite things about this curriculum is that there is a daily schedule! This is PERFECT for Edyn since she can check off each day as she goes. This also frees me up from having to section it off and tell her what she needs to do everyday.

Each Unit is broken down into Modules, and then even the Modules are broken down into smaller sections. This again is perfect for Edyn because big chunks of things are overwhelming to her.

Edyn worked on this program normally 4 days a week unless there was something that had come up and she could only do it 3. Either way, it was easy to jump right back into the next time she picked it up. It would normally take her around 30 minutes or so to complete. At first, I would do it with her, but she got to the point that she was just picking it up and doing it for herself. This is a dream to me!! As a busy homeschool mom, anything that they can do independently is a huge plus.

Lessons would include reading and language arts but it all tied into the writing assignment they were working on. For example, one assignment she had to work on was called vigorous verbs. After she learned about them and how they increased interest in her writing, she had to go back to her rough draft and change out her verbs to more vigorous verbs.

After each module is done, there is a chance for me to check her work and see how thoroughly it was done. Instead of giving a grade, it's based on a point system. How well did she work on each section? Did she put all of her effort into it? You give an amount of points as to how you think the student did. If they need to work on something you would give a lower amount of points. This way there is no letter grade given.

Thoughts on Writers in Residence ~

There isn't anything that I could suggest to make this better. It is so well done and thought out that it would help any struggling writer. It isn't what I would call "schooly" either. It's a lot more fun than that. For Edyn to just pick it up and do it on her own says a lot. If she doesn't like to do something she will definitely let us know, and she didn't complain about this. As for the parents, again, this is something that they can have a little freedom with. It's broken down enough that they won't get too far ahead before you are able to check the work that they've done.

I definitely give Writers in Residence by Apologia Educational Ministries over 5 stars. It's given Edyn a new outlook on writing and the confidence that she can enjoy it!

Make sure to follow Apologia Educational Ministries on Social Media!

Apologia was generous enough to let 95 of us review their product so if you would like to read other reviews, please click the link below!

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review
Crew Disclaimer

Making Pizza ~ Wordless Wednesday

Since it's this guy's birthday tomorrow, I'm going to make Wordless Wednesday all about him! Here he is making pizza at a very cool family owned restaurant in our town. The owners also homeschool their kids!

To see more WW posts or to link up your own, click the pic below!

Wordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont

Monday, April 18, 2016

Math Mini-Courses by A+ Interactive Math ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Math is definitely not my kids favorite subject, so I'm always trying to find curriculum that will teach them, but that they will also enjoy doing. Sometimes we find a good curriculum that works, but the kids may need more practice in just one area. The new Math Mini-Courses by A+ Interactive Math focus on small areas of math so that your child can get the extra practice needed and close learning gaps.

What did we receive for this review?

A+ Interactive Math was very generous and let us try 2 of the Math Mini-Courses of our choosing which includes the one year of access to them. Because of where we are in our curriculum, we chose to do Decimal Numbers and Measurements and Conversions. They have so many subjects to choose from that I even ordered one more on my own, Elementary and Middle School Multiplication, that I knew we could really use.

Here's a list of what they offer:

  • Counting and Identifying Numbers (1st-3rd) ~ 15 lessons
  • Place Value and Number Combinations (1st-3rd) ~ 15 lessons
  • Naming, Comparing, and Arranging Numbers (1st -3rd) ~ 17 lessons
  • Early Elementary Fractions (1st-3rd) ~ 10 lessons
  • Early Elementary Addition (1st-3rd) ~ 17 lessons
  • Early Elementary Subtraction (1st-3rd) ~ 15 lessons
  • Elementary and Middle School Multiplication (2nd-6th) ~ 13 lessons
  • Elementary and Middle School Division (2nd-6th) ~ 15 lessons
  • Tables, Charts, and Graphs (1st-6th) ~ 17 lessons
  • Elementary Geometry (1st-4th) ~ 19 lessons
  • Elementary Algebra (1st-4th) ~ 27 lessons
  • Advanced Geometry (4th-7th) ~ 35 lessons
  • Advanced Fractions (4th-8th) ~ 26 lessons
  • Decimal Numbers (3rd-7th) ~ 20 lessons
  • Percentages (5th-8th) ~ 13 lessons
  • Time (1st-4th) ~ 20 lessons
  • Money (1st-5th) ~ 18 lessons
  • Number Types and Conversions (3rd-6th) ~ 35 lessons
  • Ratios, Proportions, Probability, and Statistics (3rd-6th) ~ 14 lessons
  • Measurements and Conversions (2nd-6th) ~ 23 lessons

How did we use the Math Mini-Courses in our school?

I actually had Gavin stop his normal curriculum to concentrate only on the Math Mini-Courses for the time of the review, and it has worked out great.

When we first got our access code it was a bit confusing trying to get it set up. I didn't find it to be very user friendly. You will initially log in as the parent, and then you will set up your student's account. The student will have their own username and password.

Once you have the student's account set up, they can start their Math Mini-Courses. They will launch the course and it will bring them to a screen that is called "My Dashboard." From here the student will be able to access all that they need for the program.

There is a "How to get started" in this section that does explain how to utilize the program best. The way we did it was pretty much the same as suggested. We worked on both lessons so we could get a feel of each one. We did one lesson a day. With the Video Lesson, the Interactive Review, and the Online Worksheet it took Gavin about 30 minutes. That's not bad timing at all for a math lesson.

After launching the Video Lessons, it was again a little confusing to me. You will come to a screen that looks like this:

You will need to click on the folder to bring the lessons down. You will click on the first lesson to get started, and it will bring up the video.

After watching the video, the student will need to click the interactive lessons. These are key because if the student gets one wrong then the course will reteach them so that all learning gaps are closed. I just want to note that some of the interactive lessons will have a little frog at the bottom. It will say "submit" on his stomach, make sure that you click on the frog and not just "next" or it will not count your answer as correct. We had to go back and retake it for this reason.

When Gavin had finished the Interactive Lesson it gives you an overall of how the student did.

 I would generate the online worksheet for him last after he was done with the Interactive Q & A. When he finished, it would go into the generated worksheet reports and I could check to see how he did. At the end of each chapter is a test to take.

The only thing I really would like to see upgraded is that when he was finished with a lesson, I would much rather not have to go in and manually changed it to "completed." Also, I would like it to bring you back to where you left off. We had trouble remembering where we were when we left off. It would just make it much easier if it was set up to show what had been completed and where you are in the program.

What did we think?

Honestly even with all of the things I would like to see changed, I really am impressed with the content of the program. Both programs that we were given to review were set up the same way, and they were both engaging for Gavin. They explain things really well to where he would understand it. There is plenty of practice with the online worksheets, but also the available printable worksheets. Overall the new Math Mini-Courses by A+ Interactive Math definitely get a thumbs up!

**Make sure to follow A+ Interactive Math on Social Media**

A+ Interactive Math was generous enough to let 80 of us review their product. If you would like to read other reviews over different courses, click the banner below.

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Hail ~ Wordless Wednesday

Last night we got and softball size.

To see other WW posts click the link below!

Wordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont