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Books About Math for Pi Day

March 14th is National Pi Day, the perfect day to celebrate mathematics! If you want to learn more about pi, including its meaning and history, here are some books worth checking out, both for children and adults. Perfect for homeschoolers, or anyone who is fascinated by irrational numbers.

March 14th is Pi Day, the perfect day to celebrate mathematics! If you want to learn more about pi, including its meaning and history, here are some books worth checking out, both for children and adults. Perfect for homeschoolers, or anyone who is fascinated by irrational numbers. #math #piday

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Elephant Toothpaste – Fun Kids Science Experiment

Tired of the same old baking soda and vinegar science experiment?  Here is a cute experiment for making elephant toothpaste that makes lots of colored foam and is fun for kids. It uses stuff you probably have sitting around the house anyway, and while it is not as explosively fast as baking soda and vinegar it produces quite a bit of colored foam.

elephant toothpaste


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High School Record Keeping for Homeschoolers

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Some parents are intimidated by the idea of homeschooling through high school, but it really isn’t that much different from the younger grades.  I have graduated two children from 12th grade so far, and they have had no trouble getting into and succeeding in college. From my point of view the one big difference between high school and younger grades is that in high school you have to keep good records of schoolwork.

High School record keeping for homeschoolers is important, because as a homeschooling parent you are also serving as an administrator and guidance counselor. At the end of high school will need to produce information for transcripts and college applications, and good high school record keeping will make that whole process much easier.

Catapult Engineering Academy Review

Last school year my 10th grade son took an engineering class from Catapult Engineering Academy. The class was Introduction to Solid Modeling and Engineering Design, and was my son’s favorite class of the year. The 2014-2015 school year was the first year this was offered, so I wanted to write a review to help other homeschool parents learn about the classes.

About the Program

The classes offered are based on the Engineering Academy at Hoover High School, in Alabama, where the same curriculum has been used in a traditional school setting since 2004. The idea is to take these classes and transfer them to online course so that more students can benefit from them. Right now there are two classes offered, the Solid Modeling class my son took and an Engineering Computations class which teaches MatLab and Labview. Eventually two more classes will be added, Engineering Instrumentation & Analysis and Engineering Design & Entrepreneurship. The classes are designed to prepare students for the kind of classes they will encounter in a college engineering curriculum.

There is a huge push to encourage high school students to learn about and consider STEM careers. Students with STEM skills are in high demand in the workforce, and the jobs tend to be well paying.  But preparing for these careers can be hard for homeschoolers because of the technical knowledge required.  These classes help provide access to engineering curriculum and trained teachers with expertise in the subject matter.

Solid Works Screen Shot - Catapult Engineering Academy

Roman Roads – The Aeneid Curriculum Review

I received a copy of The Aeneid to review, all opinions are my own.

Last year I reviewed The Greeks homeschool curriculum from Roman Roads, and I loved it!  So this year I was excited to review the next installment of Roman Roads Western Culture series, The Aeneid.


The idea of the curriculum is to have an integrated Humanities curriculum which covers literature, history, philosophy and more all in one course.  The Aeneid is the first unit in The Romans course, and it studies the great classic from Vergil, a poem which shaped and influenced Roman society and Western culture.

Homeschool and College

642559_89524063When people find out we homeschool one of the things they are always curious about is college.  Many people know someone who has homeschooled for a few years, but homeschooling all the way through and sending a child to college is still unusual.  I have sent two kids to college from homeschooling, and have learned a lot.

One of the first decisions to make was what kind of college to apply to.  At first my daughter was planning to go to a community college for the first two years and save money.  Then she started attending the local community college part-time, and realized she wanted something different.  We live 45 minutes from the closest community college, and the drive gets tiring fast.  Every day she goes it takes at least 1 1/2 hours out of her day for the commute, more if the weather is bad.  Plus with the price of gas going up daily it isn’t as cheap as it seems at first.

Back to Homeschool – 10th Grade Curriculum

Summer is winding down, and it is time to start thinking about the new school year. This week I am participating in a Back To Homeschool blog hop with many other homeschool bloggers, to share our tips, ideas and encouragement for the new school year. One of the biggest parts of back to homeschool is deciding what curriculum to use. This year I only have one student, my son in 10th grade, and here are our curriculum plans.

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This year my son is studying biology. I am planning to use Biology from Miller & Levine. This is a classic text that is used in many of the public schools around here, and I was able to get a free copy last spring. I am not that great at biology, but my oldest is an Environmental Biology student at college, so she will help out if needed.

Our local homeschool coop is doing biology labs, so we will use that for the lab component. We will supplement with The Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments in some areas. I also want him to do an in-depth research project to enter in the Science Fair that our local science museum hosts. He is planning to do a study on stream pollution, with some help from his big sister.

Roman Roads: The Greeks Homeschool Curriculum Review

Roman Roads Media ReviewClassical education is something that has always interested me, because the Great Books of Western Civilization underlay so much of our culture.  So I was happy to get the chance to review a classical curriculum from Roman Roads Media.  Roman Roads Media is a company dedicated to publishing Classical Curriculum for use in homeschools.  They have quite a variety of curriculum, and the one I was able to review is Old Western Culture: The Greeks.  This is a comprehensive, year long, integrated humanities curriculum, which covers literature, history, philosophy, and art by studying the great works of Ancient Greece.  I love this program, and it is absolutely my favorite of all the homeschool resources I have reviewed this year!

About The Greeks

This program is designed for children in grades 8 and up.  This is a full-year long course which consists of four separate units, which are:

  • GREEKS: The Epics
  • GREEKS: Drama and Lyrics
  • GREEKS: The Histories
  • GREEKS: The Philosophers

Roman Roads Media Review
The course is available both as online streaming or as a series of DVDs.  I received the entire course online, and one unit on DVD so I could evaluate both.  I am going to talk mostly about the online version, and explain the differences between the two at the end.  The course is designed around a series of lectures from Wes Callihan, a well known classical educator who teaches online tutorials and has written extensively about the classics.  Each unit contains 12 lectures from Callahan, interspersed with various reading assignments, quizzes, exams, and papers.

Moving Beyond the Page – Secular Literature Based Homeschool Curriculum

Last year I reviewed two homeschool units from Moving Beyond the Page, and they were my favorite of all the products I used last year.  You can read my review from last year here.  So naturally when I had the chance to review some more units from them this year I jumped at the chance!  I received two units this year the Language Arts Package – Watership Down and the Science Package – A Dynamic Planet.

Moving Beyond the Page Review
Moving Beyond the Page is a secular literature based homeschool curriculum that uses challenging and engaging projects to encourage critical and creative thinking.  It includes unit based studies in Language Arts, Social Studies and Science. There are units designed for children from the ages of 6 to 14, and the units I reviewed have a suggested age range of 12-14.  The curriculum is available in both an online version or a physical version.

Veritas Press Self Paced Omnibus Curriculum Review

As my children have gotten older and hit the high school years I have found that I am using more online curriculum for homeschooling.  It is very convenient to be able to get an expert in the field to teach high school course. Veritas Press is a curriculum company that has been providing resources for Classical Christian homeschooling for years, and they have started offering their courses in an online, self-paced format.  I recently had the chance to review the Veritas Press Self-Paced Omnibus I course, which is designed for students ages 12 and up.

Veritas Press ReviewAbout the Program

At the high school level the idea of classical education is to study the ancient civilizations which did so much to shape our world.  The Omnibus curriculum uses actual ancient literature and writings, not textbooks.  It is all encompassing because it covers Ancient World History, Theology, and Ancient Literature as integrated subjects, not as separate disciplines.  The books studied in this year long Omnibus course are:

The Last of the Mohicans Study Guide from Progeny Press Review

Progeny Press ReviewClassic literature can be challenging to study with your kids, which is why I am glad there are study guides available to help.  I recently had the chance to have my son use a Progeny Press Guide, and chose to review the Last of the Mohicans Study Guide.

Progeny Press’s goal is to help children understand literature.  They are written from a Christian perspective, with an emphasis on Biblical values.  The guide I received is designed for children in grades 8-12.  My son is just finishing 9th grade, so he is right in the age range.  I received an e-guide, which retails for $21.99.  They also sell hard copies of the guides.

Progeny Press Review

Micro Business for Teens Schoolhouse Crew Review

Teens always need money, but earning it can be difficult.  My 15 year old son and I recently had the chance to review some ebooks from Micro Business for Teens which are designed to help teens start and run their own business.  The books we received are Starting a Micro Business, Running a Micro Business and Micro Business for Teens Workbook.

Micro Business for Teens Review
These books are designed specifically for teens, so while the business are more complicated than a lemonade stand they aren’t designed to be major undertakings.  As the author explains a Micro Business is like a small business, only smaller!  There are no employees and the business is simple and cheap to start.  These books are designed for kids ages 10 and up, although children at the younger age of the range will need more assistance from Mom and Dad with a potential business.

Artistic Pursuits: Construct Schoolhouse Crew Review

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Art is not my son’s favorite subject in our homeschooling.  And I am not the most artistic person either, so we have mostly outsourced our art instruction.  But when I saw the new books from ARTistic Pursuits I was intrigued, because they cover Sculpture, which sounds much more fun to both my son and I than drawing or painting.  So my son agreed to help me review the Sculpture Technique: Construct book and try some three dimensional art.

ARTistic Pursuits ReviewThe Program

This book is designed for ages 11-18, and is all about using an additive construction process to put materials together to make sculptures.  This book has 4 units, which are:

  • Creating Form in Papermaking
  • Creating Planes in Cardboard
  • Creating Motion with Paper-mache
  • Creating Volume with Wire

You can work through the units in any order, but we decided to start with the Papermaking unit, mainly because I had made paper before with my older girls and thought it was neat.
So we got our our papermaking dip kit and got to work.

Victus Study Skills System Review

Study skills are important for all students, especially as they get older and are dealing with high school and college courses.  One thing I have learned from my two oldest kids is that while some children are good at organizing and studying others need to be taught the skill explicitly!  So when I had the chance to review the Victus Study Skills System for my fourteen year old son I figured it was excellent timing.  My son is in 9th grade, so classes are getting harder and this is perfect time to establish good skills that will carry him through more difficult course work.

The Program

VictusLogo_zps1f12bd33I received the Student Workbook and Teacher Edition to review.  This course is designed for children in grades 5-12, and the Student Workbook retails for $20, while the Teacher’s Edition costs $40.  The program is designed around three foundational cornerstones, which are designed around three questions that the student needs to answer:

The Presidential Game Review

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My family enjoys playing board games together, so we were happy to get the chance to review The Presidential Game, which bills itself as “The Most Powerful Game in the World.”  This game was both fun to play and educational, which made it a huge hit at my house. photo logo_zpse414894c.jpg

The game simulates a U.S. Presidential election, and is played by two teams, the Republicans and the Democrats, who battle for control of the country. Teams play for a predetermined number of weeks of a campaign, and the team that has more than 270 votes at the end of the game is the winner.  Game play moves along at a good pace, with games lasting anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and half.

Institute for Excellence in Writing Review

Becoming a good writer is critical for students today.  I have used quite a few different writing curriculum over the years, but one of my favorites are the products offered by the Institute for Excellence in Writing.  Andrew Pudewa teaches these classes, and he is an excellent speaker and teacher who I have been fortunate enough to hear in person on a number of occasions.  So I was happy to have the chance to review two of his programs,  and Student Writing Intensive Level C Set (SWI) and Teaching Writing with Structure and Style Set (TWSS).

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Moving Beyond the Page Homeschool Curriculum Review

I recently had the chance to review some homeschool curriculum units from Moving Beyond the Page for my son who just finished 8th grade.  This is a comprehensive curriculum that covers science, social studies and language arts, and it is based on using living books, activities and projects.  I loved this program, and thought it was well designed to be interesting to children and educational all at the same time.  The units included many different activities designed to appeal to different learning styles and encourage creativity.  I have been homeschooling for 15 years, and this is one of my favorite things that I have ever used, and I wish I had found it years ago!

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Writing with Sharon Watson – TOS Homeschool Crew Review

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I have always found writing to be one of the easier subjects to teach my kids – at least when it comes to standard school essays.  But my sixteen year old daughter doesn’t just want to write research reports for history, she wants to write a novel!  And creative writing is not something I know much about.  So I was excited to have the chance for my daughter to try out a creative writing product from Writing with Sharon Watson.

Writing Fiction [in High School]: Bringing Your Stories to Life!Writing Fiction [in High School]: Bringing Your Stories to Life!Writing Fiction [in High School]: Bringing Your Stories to Life!


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