Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sunflower fields ~ Wordless Wednesday

We have some sunflower fields not far from our house, so we stopped and took a few pics.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Lifetime Membership from ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

This is one of those jewels that I have wanted for a very long time! If you are a homeschooling mom and love lapbooking or notebooking, then this site is a TREASURE and you need it. No really, you do. I think I jumped up and down and did the happy dance when I found out I had been chosen to review the Lifetime Membership from!

Ok so let's talk first about what is and how it started. Debra Reed is the owner and publisher of She is a homeschooling mom of 10 children, ages toddler to adult, and was looking to get rid of boredom and burnout in her school. After 6 years of homeschooling, she was tired of chasing after different methods, curricula, and that perfect schedule. She decided to start notebooking, and the rest is history! I will post her personal story that she made a video about. It's truly inspiring, and I could watch it everyday just to remind myself that things don't have to be difficult!

What is notebooking all about?

If you're new to homeschooling, or more of a traditional homeschooler, then you might be new to this notebooking thing. I had read about it a little bit when I first started, while I was trying to understand lapbooks. I've explained lapbooks before in a previous post that they are a collection of smaller pieces of information all put into one larger book created by the student. Well, notebooking is a very similar idea but rather than little mini books that are cut out and glued into a file folder, it's pages that the student fills out and keeps in a 3 ring binder. The notebooks can be personalized for each student and each subject. It really becomes a scrapbook of all that they have learned.

Notebooking goes along very well with a Charlotte Mason style of education. We have recently started quite a bit of CM learning here. It has proven to be effective and we are enjoying it. You can learn more about Charlotte Mason style learning here.

The reason CM learning goes hand in hand with notebooking is because after reading educational books, the child can then record what they've learned on the notebooking pages. This is how the journal is started for that subject.

What is so special about

So, like I explained above, notebooking provides you and your child with a record of what he or she has learned. These are a wonderful way to show off their accomplishments to family and friends, plus it gives them something to go back and review. It's a win win method!

Debra Reed has gone above and beyond with to supply you with a wealth of pages so that you can find a page for pretty much anything you need! You won't believe how many topics are covered.

Once you get your Lifetime Membership, you will get a step by step video tutorial on how to use these wonderful pages. This is a tremendous help in learning how to use them effectively and how to set up your notebooks! When you go to the Member Center, you will see headings that will hold different categories of the pages that are offered. There are thousands of pages readily available to you. provides you with notebooking pages that are open ended so that it leaves room for the child to discuss what was learned. They are not worksheets under the guise of notebooking pages. The headings listed are:

  • Any Study - 3D Notebooking pages and mini-book system, and basic lined pages
  • A-Z - This is great for young beginners. Under this heading are notebooking pages on the alphabet, almost any animal you can think of, sports pages, and more. All in alphabetical order so it's even easier to find. 
  • Bible/Character - Bible and Characters from the Bible
  • Famous People - Artists, Composers, Missionaries, and much more
  • Fine Arts - Artist and Picture studies and more
  • Geography - This will have Continental Maps, Country Study, USA Study, and World Maps
  • History - Everything you need for History including all time periods
  • Holidays - pages for all Holidays and they are listed under the month they occur which makes it even easier to find
  • Lang. Arts - Lots of Copywork Pages
  • Science/Nature - Pages for all aspects of Science and Nature Notebooks
How did we use these in our school?

Since we are in between "years" right now, I decided to just pick a few pages out that we would enjoy doing. We are about to start our new year in July, and I can't WAIT to really put these pages into use!

So the first thing we worked on was the weather pages offered under the Science/Nature heading. We currently keep a nature journal so we just added these pages to it, and worked on them daily. We would watch the news and also read about it online pretty much everyday. It's super hot in Texas right now, so we didn't get to write much's HOT. We tried a couple of different pages to see which one we liked better for weather. That's a great thing about, there are a few different options for each subject!

We also decided to keep a log of the precipitation amounts here in San Antonio, and guess what? There wasn't much!

We also just decided to check out some books from our library over our great state of Texas. We came home and printed out some notebooking pages to use! I love having this readily available for us! We haven't gotten very far with it yet, but here's some examples. We are going to do a complete notebook of all things Texas! I can't wait to continue this study!

This one is still a work in progress!

What did we think of this product?

I loved it before I even tried it! I have always heard wonderful things about this website, and it held true to all of the hype. I am very thankful that I will have this treasure of pages to use in our school! If you are a notebooking family or even thinking about it, the Lifetime Membership from is definitely something that I would recommend!

I linked her informative and encouraging video below! Take the time to watch it, you won't be sorry!

Be sure to follow them on Social Media!

Twitter @NotebookingPgs was very generous and let 100 of us on the Crew review the Lifetime Membership. To read other reviews just click the banner below!

Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, June 27, 2016

Old Testament 1: Genesis to Joshua Self-Paced Bible by Veritas Press

If you are looking for a fun and exciting way for your child to learn the bible, then my first review this week is for you! Gavin has always loved to learn the bible especially when it's made fun, and he can easily remember what he's learned. We've been using the Old Testament 1: Genesis to Joshua Self-Paced Bible by Veritas Press for the last few weeks, and Gavin adores it!

If you're not familiar with Veritas Press, they are a company who believes in and is devoted to offering curriculum in Classical Christian Education. Although I don't think we fall into the category of Classical Education homeschoolers, this program is top on my list for learning the bible.

What did we receive for this review?

We were given a 12 month access to the entire course for the Old Testament 1: Genesis to Joshua.

 Each course is designed for kids in 2nd to 6th grades and includes:

  • 32 major Biblical events
  • Music to help the student memorize the order of events
  • Tools for remembering names, dates, and places
  • Activities, projects, worksheets, and tests
  • Foundational context for future in-depth study
  • Art, Music, and Geography exploration activities
  • They offer a 60 day money back guarantee!
How did we use the Self-Paced Bible in our school?

Gavin loves this program so we used this pretty much every day. He always asks to do it first thing in the morning now, and I'm totally fine with that.

In this program like I said before there are 32 events, and each event has 4 lessons. Veritas Press suggests that the student completes an event every week, and that will give you a 32 week bible course. This is very simple to do with this program.

On the parent side of things, I really like that the teacher/parent has an account and also the student has an account. It was very easy to set up Gav's profile and even put a profile pic for him from the teacher account. I also love that it grades everything for you!

Accessing grades and assignments is simple. When you click on "Grade Book" at the top of that screen it will bring you to a screen that you can easily access the student's upcoming and completed assignments.

From this point you can get a quick view of Graded Assignments or click on the course and get an overview of everything upcoming and completed plus the grade given.

Now let's talk about the student's perspective. I asked Gav what his favorite things are and he said that he loves the people and the characters. He said that everything about the program from the songs to the stories helps him learn and remember the bible.

When he starts a lesson, there is normally a video that goes with it. He loves listening to Asher and Abbie as they take him through the story and give him key points to think about.

Throughout their story, they will stop and do interactive lessons with the student. In the example below Gav was learning about the family line of Adam and Eve. They did a family tree so to speak to give him a visual of how it went. He had to move the tiles and fill in the empty spaces.

The lessons take about 15 minutes to complete including the video and worksheet, but it doesn't even seem like it takes that long. They are completely interactive and engaging for the student.

After each unit there is a test that follows to see what all they have learned. After they complete the test, they will move on to the next unit.

What did we think?

This really is a self-paced course. Gavin knows exactly how to log on and get started without me. All I have to do is go to my account and check his scores. I like to have him tell me about what he's learned everyday, and that can always spark a good conversation, plus help him review. I really love this course. I love that he wants to do it and is eager to learn more about the bible. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to learn more about the bible whether homeschooled or other. We will definitely be continuing this program and learning more about the Old Testament! If you are interested in a well thought out and engaging bible curriculum, the Self-Paced Bible by Veritas Press is definitely for you!

Make sure to follow Veritas Press on Social Media!

Twitter @VeritasPress

Veritas Press was very generous and gave 85 of us on the Crew a chance to review their products. Click the banner below to read more reviews!

Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Homeschool Record Keeping by ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

I am not good at keeping records for school. It's not that I don't want to do it, I'm just not good at organization and I'm not afraid to admit it. It's just not a gift I was given. What makes it worse is that in Texas, they don't check anything for school so, I just go along doing our own thing. Now that my kids are getting into high school though, I feel like I need to get it together and really start doing something proactive with records. It will make my life a whole lot easier while making their transcripts. I have been reviewing My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping) by to see if it would help me in my record keeping. was very generous and gave me the annual membership to review. is an online homeschool record keeping program. It offers several different tools to help with organization and tracking in your school. Here's a few of the things they offer to help with organization.

  • Automated Grading - this automatically tracks a student's class average when a lesson is finished
  • Automated Attendance Tracking - it will automatically keep track of attendance and hours
  • Teacher's Aid - friendly reminders that take out guess work in planning, recording, and tracking
  • Lesson Plan Generators - You can create lessons in bulk
  • Lesson Rescheduler - Reschedule lessons for your student if your behind or ahead
For tracking, reviewing and reporting they offer things such as:

  • Activities Tracking - This is a great feature because you can track awards, extra curriculars, volunteer work, events, reading logs, and even standardized tests if you need to.
  • Reports - You can create transcripts, report cards, lesson plans and more
  • Class Grade Review - Review all graded assignments to see how your child is doing on their class average
  • Dashboard - This is where you will go for easy access to everything you need for your student's school year
  • Lesson Plan Sharing - you can save time by finding, copying, and sharing lesson plans

Upon receiving my membership, I found that sign up was super easy to do. It was quick and simple to add each student that I wanted to keep track of.

One of the things that I can appreciate is that you can schedule your school year to fit your needs. You can schedule days off for breaks etc. I found that you can add classes, and even specific times for classes. This is not something we personally utilized, because our school days change from day to day especially with times.

I probably didn't use this program in the way that it was designed to be used. For one, we school year round and we are about to start our "new" school year in July. I just tried it out with what we were working on and reviewing. I'm going to go in and change it up a bit when we start in July and see how it works for me on a regular basis. Rather than going through all of their lessons and adding them into it, I added them everyday AFTER we worked on them. This way it still kept track of things, it was just after the fact. That way I was able to see what we did. To me it still works the same way.

I love the Homeroom portion of this program.  It keeps it simple to see everything you need for each child, and it's easy to switch between students here.  The Homeroom is like an overview of everything right there on one screen.

As you can see on the picture above, everything Gavin was working on is laid out for me. Now, when I use this program for real, I will most likely try to input some of his subjects like I did his Science Shepard. With that one, I went through all of his lessons and did an automatic lesson planner. It numbered all of his lessons for me. The numbers are a bit off, but that's because we had already been working on the program.

It's very easy with a click of the mouse to see the classes, attendance, awards, readings, extra curriculars, and tests.

There's even a graph for attendance.

Another awesome feature is that you can keep a reading log. I think this is great even for kids to be able to see their accomplishments with this.

I can see where this program is a huge benefit for making transcripts which I'm about to have to do for my son. I did a practice run until I can sit down and enter everything for him. He hasn't been homeschooled but the last 2 years so I will need to go back and look at his public school records also. I have to say it was SUPER easy and looks completely professional!! I will take the time to sit down and enter everything just so I can make his transcripts. It will be worth it! Like I said, this was just a practice run, but I wanted you to see how good they look.

All in all this program can be a great asset to any homeschool. It will definitely make organization so much easier. I am looking forward to using it more efficiently starting in July when we start our new school year. If you are in need of organization please check out My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping) by

Be sure and follow on Social Media! was very generous and let 80 of us on the Crew review their product. If you would like to read more reviews, click the banner below!

Homeschool Record Keeping { Review}
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

LearnBop for Familes by LearnBop ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

We love to review Math programs, so that's exactly what I have for you this week. We have been using a brand new, self paced math course, with both Gavin and Edyn. LearnBop for Families by LearnBop has really been a fun, engaging, and helpful course for both of the kids.

LearnBop is actually an interactive learning system for the well known K-12 Mathematics, and has been available to schools for some time now. They have now branched this out to the homeschool community.

What did we receive for this review?

LearnBop was very generous and actually gave us a 12-month subscription for the Family Plan. With this plan, you can have access for up to 4 students.

What is LearnBop for Families?

LearnBop is set up for grades 3 through 12 and teaches the students to solve problems rather than just throw math problems at them. LearnBop is perfect for catching a student up if they are behind, or even getting ahead on math. It would be great for summer to keep a student on their toes and ready for the next school year. LearnBop prepares the students for high level tests, but can also boost their confidence in math. It's also great for parents who need a little extra help teaching their kids math. This is great for me because although math was my favorite subject, it's been quite some time since I've been in school. Sometimes I need a little reminder on the process of things.

How did we use LearnBop for Families?

Well when we first got our log in information, I logged into my parent account and set up each child with a user name and password. The set up was super easy to follow. I love when a program is user friendly. This is also where you can set up your child's "roadmap". I have Gavin set to 3rd grade and Edyn set to 8th grade. Each grade is broken down into Units.

When the student starts the road map, there is a warm-up before each new Unit to determine where your child is on the concept. From that point on, each Unit is broken down into Building Blocks. Each Building Block will bring them closer to completing the Unit.

So the Building Block will start off with the child watching videos. Both Gavin and Edyn liked to watch all of the videos and then start on their "bops." Bops are basically the math problems that are given after watching the videos on a certain concept. The student will have to complete 90% mastery on a concept before moving on. One thing that I really liked about this program is that if the student doesn't understand a problem, then it is broken down for them in a step by step process. It really helps them understand how to get the correct answer to that problem. After all of the videos that explain the concept, there are even more videos to explain it further if the child needs it.

The student can always check their progress on their dashboard. Here they can see things like their learning progress, how many videos they've completed, concepts mastered, and more. This is great for my kids who love to see what they've accomplished.

What did we think?

One main thing I can appreciate about this program is that it's super easy for the child to follow. I can pretty much let the kids be independent while working on this. This is always a plus. The kids really like this, so we will definitely continue to use it. We haven't had any issues with it at all, and it seems like a good fit for us. If you are looking for a good math program to fill the gaps or even just for summer to get ahead, LearnBop for Families by LearnBop is a great option.

Make sure to follow LearnBop on Social Media!

LearnBop was very generous and let 100 of us review their products. To read other reviews, just click the banner below!

LearnBop for Families Review
Crew Disclaimer

Bob Ross Inspiration ~ Virtual Fridge

So if you're an 80's kid or even early 90's then you've probably heard of Bob Ross and The Joy of Painting. If you haven't, Bob Ross is a soft spoken man who paints happy trees and mountains with oil paints. He's super interesting to watch, and honestly very calming and relaxing.

So recently we were scrolling through Netflix and lo and behold there is Bob Ross and The Joy of Painting just jumping off the screen begging to be watched. My husband said, "Let's watch an episode." We started with the first episode, and ended up watching it for 3 solid hours! So, tonight when my hubby came home from work, he turned on Bob and watched another 2 hours of him lol! This cracks me up considering Bob isn't fighting with anyone or blowing anything up.

Tonight he invited Gavin to come watch with him. Gav was a little apprehensive because it didn't look interesting. 15 minutes later, Gav was literally mesmerized and had been drawn in to it just as my hubby and I had.

After that episode ended, Gav had the paints out and a canvas and decided he wanted to paint. I'm all for inspiration, and Bob Ross clearly was that for him. Soon after Edyn came in and decided she was going to paint too. I love spur of the moment fun like this. It's unofficial learning and the kids are having fun, but also making memories at the same time! If you've never had the pleasure of watching Mr. Ross, try him out. He's an amazing painter, and you just might get creative along side him!

Here's the kid's artwork for today!

Edyn went for abstract art

Gav decided on a water color landscape painting

Virtual Fridge Link Up

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bone Conduction Headset by Forbrain - Sound for Life Ltd ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

When Edyn was about 11 years old she was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. Until she started showing signs of this, I was one of those people that really didn't think that A.D.D was a real thing. Edyn's A.D.D. has had an impact on her learning throughout her school years and affects things like her memory and retention of what she's learned. I have to say that when I was chosen for the review of the Forbrain - Sound for Life Ltd using the bone conduction headset, I cried tears of joy. This could be what we've been waiting for!

How does A.D.D. affect learning?

The first signs of A.D.D. with Edyn were obviously her grades. She was going to public school back then, and her grades were dropping. Of course, both her teachers and I were getting concerned. I don't know if it was mother's instinct or just the symptoms she was having, but I had a real feeling that she was suffering from A.D.D. I started researching, as any mom would do, and everything pointed to the obvious. I started talking more to her teachers and doctors. We did some testing and she was on the severe side of this issue. I was noticing that she had a real problem following through on a lot of tasks that she would start. She would fidget and rock, shake her leg constantly, and blurt out random things. To a person who wasn't educated on A.D.D and didn't know much about it, it just sounded like she didn't have manners. To her, she was lacking the control to hold off with her question because her little mind was like a ticker tape running across the bottom of a t.v. screen.

As the years went on, she was put into classes that were supposed to be a little more one on one. She was eventually even put on medication, and that was not what I wanted. Her A.D.D. is one of the main reasons I started homeschooling her. It was very hard for Edyn to sit still in class without moving or fidgeting. On top of that she wasn't retaining a lot of what they were teaching, so they would move on and she was still lost.

Focus is obviously a huge problem. When Edyn studies, or reads, or does anything with structure, her focus is way off. She has to have it completely quiet with zero noise. Every little thing will distract her while she's trying to study. This is really hard to do in a homeschool setting, can you imagine what it would be like in public school? At least while we homeschool, I can set up an area for her to work, or send the others to a different room while we work. It's just more conducive for her to learn at home.

What did we receive for this review?

  • Forbrain headset with rechargeable battery
  • The unit comes in a nice hard shell case that zips up and provides great protection
  • USB charging cable
  • 3 extra covers for the microphone
  • User manual and quick start guide
  • 2 year Manufacturers Warranty

What is a bone conduction headset?

Now that we've talked a little bit about why the focus is on Edyn for this review, let me tell you about Forbrain itself. Forbrain may look like a pair of headphones, but it is so much more. It can be used to improve attention, speech, and memory.

There are two ways that sound is transmitted to our brain. One way is air conduction which has to travel through several structures within the ear before being transmitted by the nervous system into information. The second way uses bone conduction which is when the sound waves are transmitted through the bones in the head. Since Forbrain uses bone conduction, it transmits the sound of your voice 10 times faster than air conduction, and is also much more clear.

Forbrain's dynamic filter blocks out environmental noise and amplifies the users voice. This is what helped Edyn tremendously with her focus.

How did we use Forbrain? What did we think?

Like I said, Edyn has a hard time retaining things that she's learned. We decided to use this while she reads her book, and also with her poetry memorization. She used it to read around 20 minutes a day, sometimes more, and she used it just a few minutes while she worked on her poetry. After reading the very first day, her words were, "Mom, I LOVE THIS THING!!" She of course read out loud to me and was able to tell me exactly what she read. She wasn't distracted one bit while she was reading. This is huge for her! She couldn't hear any outside distractions and was able to completely focus on what she was reading. She wanted to keep reading. That is the testimony to it working. Normally while reading she gives up because she has to reread things that she's already read, and just doesn't want to keep having to fight it.

I hope we have conveyed just how much we love this product. It has worked so much for Edyn and we are so thankful for that. Some of the other things that we love about it besides the fact that it works are the long battery life and the fact that it's so portable. It's easily brought anywhere with you because it's super light weight and the perfect size to throw into a bag.

If your child or even you are having any issues with attention, speech, or memory, then the bone conduction headset by Forbrain - Sound for Life Ltd is for you!

Don't forget to follow Forbrain on Social Media!!

Forbrain was extremely generous and let 85 of us review their product. If you would like to read more reviews, click the banner below!

Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd Review
Crew Disclaimer