• why we started using GATHER ROUND: some initial thoughts & mini review + what we plan on doing next
    curriculum,  reviews

    why we started using GATHER ROUND: some initial thoughts & mini review + what we plan on doing next

    Well, it’s been a few months since I shared a video.

    I am excited to finally be back with another one!

    If you get my newsletter you’ll already know that we decided to give the Gather ‘Round curriculum a try – a big change from our normal unschooling ways – and today I want to share some of our initial thoughts with Gather ‘Round and where we plan on going from here.

     

    Gather Round Curriculum Review - why we started using GATHER ROUND: some initial thoughts & mini review + what we plan on doing next

     

    why we started using GATHER ROUND: some initial thoughts & mini review + what we plan on doing next

     

     

    Here are some links and resources I shared in the video:

     

    If you like the video format, I would love to hear what other kinds of videos you would like to see from in the future. I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to post videos but I have a lot of fun with them and hope to get back to sharing them regularly.

  • Homeschool Book & Resource Haul - lots of fiction and non-fiction books for our homeschool
    resources,  reviews

    Homeschool Book & Resource Haul: fiction and non-fiction books we’ll be using in our homeschool

    We’ve acquired a lot of new homeschool books and resources and wanted to show a homeschool book and resource haul with you today!

    Also, I decided to start a homeschool specific YouTube channel! I will be using this space to share all sorts of homeschool things including tips for beginners, resources we are loving, homeschool day in the life videos and of course, homeschool book hauls.

    I would love for you to pop over and subscribe on YouTube, that would help me out a lot!

     

    Homeschool Book & Resource Haul - lots of fiction and non-fiction books for our homeschool

     

     

    RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS VIDEO

     

    Book Outlet Referral Link – get $10 off your first order

    Finch & Pine Design

    Challice @ Sodbuster Living

    My Fablehaven Review

     

    BOOKS MENTIONED IN THIS VIDEO

     

    Trees: A Rooted History

    Raid of No Return

    Treaties, Trenches, Mud & Blood

    Lafayette

    The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome

    The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Greece

    The Thrifty Guide to the American Revolution

    Ada Twist’s Big Project Book for Stellar Scientists

    Oh! The Beautiful Things He Makes!

    Men of Faith: George Muller

    Kingdom’s Quest

    Kingdom’s Reign

    Kings of Arrethtrae

    Fablehaven

    Inkdeath

    Mouse in Space

    Dear Canada: A Season for Miracles

  • A Flexible Homeschool App Review
    reviews

    A Flexible Homeschool App Review

     

    There are all sorts of homeschool planners. You’ve got the “plan-every-detail-to-the-exact-second” type and the “we-just-do-what-we-want-when-we-want” type. And then about a thousand other types in between.

    For those of you that fall between the two extremes, I’ve got a cool resource to share with you today!

    The folks over at A Flexible Homeschool App contacted me to test out and share a review of their site with you.

    In case you haven’t heard of it before, A Flexible Homeschool App is a great homeschool planning resource for those who love planning and recording their homeschool digitally.

    Actually, according to their site, A Flexible Homeschool App is for organized moms who want to stay focused on providing a quality education for their kids. (Though, I would add in that it is also for “wannabe organized moms” because the site helps you become more organized!)

    The site is made for us homeschoolers and made by homeschoolers. These people get us.

     

    A Flexible Homeschool App Review

     

    I used the site to document our recent study on bees. I loved being able to input the books we would be reading, links to YouTube videos as well as other resources.

    I liked being able to link directly to books on Amazon (especially when some books have very similar names), but then I could also link directly to other resources including YouTube videos since we use some good YouTube channels on a fairly regular basis in our homeschool, I also used it to link to other online resources we use (like various printables).

    I think A Flexible Homeschool app is perfect for organizing unit studies, it’s nice to have a full list of our resources in one easy spot.

     

    A Flexible Homeschool App Review

     

    WITH A FLEXIBLE HOMESCHOOL APP YOU CAN . . .

    * create a flexible plan

    * keep track of each kids work individually (because we all know that kids don’t all learn at the same pace)

    * record what you did and how long it took

    * create a list of resources you will use for each unit (you can even mark if it’s a resource you already have, one you need to borrow or one you need to buy)

    * take a break from your plan without it messing up your plan

    * not worry about constant notifications when you “fall behind”

    * easily create printable reports (perfect for those who need to send in reports at the end of each year, or those who need to send them in more often)

     

    A Flexible Homeschool App Review

     

    I think A Flexible Homeschool App is a great resource for homeschoolers, especially those who enjoy digital planning or use a lot of digital resources (it’s a lot easier to save a link online than to try to write one down!).

    For those of you who have to send in year end or progress reports to your province/state/school division I would highly recommend using A Flexible Homeschool App because you can also create term or year end reports. I know some of you have to go so far as documenting how much time you spend “schooling” and this would be a great tracker!

    At the end of our school year I always need to send in a periodic log and a (small) portfolio to our school division. I’ll admit, there have been many times where I have relied on pictures I’ve taken to help me fill out the periodic log. If I had been using something like the Flexible Homeschool App it would have made filling out the periodic logs so much easier.

     

    A Flexible Homeschool App Review

     

    IS IT FOR YOU?

    If you are curious if A Flexible Homeschool App is right for you, here are some of my thoughts:

     

    A FLEXIBLE HOMSCHOOL APP MAY BE RIGHT FOR YOU IF . . .

    * your homeschool plan changes on a regular basis

    * you use a lot of online resources (YouTube videos, printable worksheets, etc)

    * you like to plan digitally

    * you like to be organized

    * you like to keep digital records

    * you need to keep a fairly detailed record of your homeschool (either for your own sake or that of your province, state or school division)

    * you like to input your learning on the go

     

    A FLEXIBLE HOMESCHOOL APP IS PROBABLY NOT FOR YOU IF . . .

    * you are a die hard paper and pen planner and recorder

    * you never deviate from your original plan

     

    TRY IT FOR FREE

    If you want to try A Flexible Homeschool App out and see if it will work for you and your homeschool you can use the code: intentional to try it out for free for two months!

    Check out A Flexible Homeschool App!

  • Homeschool Typing - Typesy Review
    reviews

    Typesy – An Online Typing Program Review & Giveaway

    In a homeschool book I read once the author asked her Facebook friends what practical life experiences people felt like they learned from traditional school. Do you know what the majority of the responses were?

    Typing!

    ????

    That kind of makes me laugh out loud cause, they know you don’t have to go to school to learn to type, right? It’s kind of sad that that was the only practical skill most people could think of.

     

    Homeschool Typing - Typesy Review

     

    Raeca is big into writing stories, the other day she started a new one and said “I think reading a lot has made me better at writing stories.” #readingwin

    She likes to type her stories out so she can go back and change and add things in easily so one of the skills I want to work on with her is typing, so when Typesy reached out and asked if I would use their program and write a review post it seemed like a great fit.

    As a blogger who dreams to one day possibly write a book, I obviously value the ability to type at a decent speed. And in this day and age I think it is a skill anyone under 70 should be able to do well.

    So, should you teach your children to type? Absolutely!

    Should you use Typesy to do so? Read on to find out!

     

    Homeschool Typing - Typesy Review

     

    WHEN SHOULD YOU TEACH TYPING?

    First of all, I know some will definitely ask at what age they should teach their kids typing skills and I honestly think it depends on the child. It depends on their interest, the size of their hands, their fine motor skills, their reading ability, etc. If they take piano lessons I think that is an advantage when learning to type because it teaches them to use their fingers individually in a way they don’t do much of until that point.

    For Raeca I think grade three has been a good time to learn. She started learning last year but timed tests were giving her quite a bit of anxiety so we dropped it for awhile and this year she is doing a lot better with them.

     

    Homeschool Typing - Typesy Review

     

    TYPESY REVIEW

    So, Typesy is an online typing program where you can learn to type (surprise!).

    Typesy has three different licensing options: one for schools, one for individuals and one for homeschools (!!!). I love that they didn’t forget about the homeschoolers and they even have an option for homeschool co-ops.

    Typesy has a really nice user dashboard and you can even work on your own typing skills as a parent.

    In the admin panel you can add students and check the progress of your students. You can see when they logged in last, their current WPM (words per minute) and accuracy levels and all at a glance, so if you had multiple kids you could see their stats all at once which is handy for saving time.

    I really appreciate that you can set individual speed goals for each student. With a child with some anxiety I wanted to be able to set her speed goal really low to begin with to increase her confidence and comfort before pushing her and I like that Typesy allows this option.

    Typesy also has some typing games which just makes the learning more fun for kids. They have speed boosting games and accuracy building games so your kids can work on the specific skills they need to.

     

    Homeschool Typing - Typesy Review

     

    PROS & CONS

    Because I like making lists, here’s a little breakdown of some Typesy pros and cons for you:

    Pros:

    • great graphics
    • easy to use
    • effective – it’s been helpful so far in teaching Raeca how to position her hands and increase her confidence
    • fun – not only is it effective but the speed boosting and accuracy building games make learning to type enjoyable
    • great reporting – it’s so easy to see how she is doing

    Con:

    • each student has their own log in username and password – I know this actually makes a lot of sense, especially when you have big groups, like a classroom or a large family but with only one kid currently using it, it’s mildly annoying to remember my password and hers. It’s a very minor con and solely exists because I don’t have a great memory – thankfully Google can save her password so I don’t actually have to remember it. ūüėČ

     

    Homeschool Typing - Typesy Review

     

    WHO IS TYPESY FOR?

    I think Typesy would be a great fit for those who want to to teach typing in their homeschool and record their child’s progress or those who need to have detailed homeschool records – this is an easy way to track typing progress.

    It is also a great program for those who want a simple and effective way to teach typing to their children. Typesy has introductory videos for kids to watch that explain the different sections and it is a great way for kids to have a little more control in an area and is pretty hands off for parents.

     

    Homeschool Typing - Typesy Review

     

    GIVEAWAY

    —– THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED —–

    Here’s something fun: Typesy has offered to give away a few homeschool licenses! I’ll be giving away two, five year licenses here on the blog and two over on Instagram, feel free to enter both giveaways to increase your chances.

    To enter here all you have to do is leave a comment below sharing how you think your kids will use their typing skills later in life.

    Giveaway Details: The giveaway is open worldwide and will end at 11:59pm PST on Wednesday, December 12th. Typesy has supplied the free licenses and winners will be alerted via email after the giveaway ends.

     

    Homeschool Typing - Typesy Review

     

    Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post which means I was paid by Typesy to give an honest review of their product.

  • House of Dreams: The Life of L. M. Montgomery middle grade book review
    book reviews,  books,  reviews

    House of Dreams: The Life of L. M. Montgomery – Book Review

    I came across House of Dreams, a biography on L. M. Montgomery a few weeks ago via someone on BookTube and I knew I needed to read it.

    As a Canadian I am embarrassed to admit that the only Lucy Maud Montgomery book I’ve actually finished is the first book in the Anne of Green Gables series.

    Just prior to seeing this book I had decided to try to read all of L. M. Montgomery’s books by the end of 2019. Of course, that was before I knew how many she had written but I’m still going to give it a try.

     

    House of Dreams: The Life of L. M. Montgomery middle grade book review

     

    OTHER POSTS YOU MAY ENJOY:

     

    Another thing that pulled me in to this book was the cover and inside illustrations, they are done by Julie Morstad, who is also a Canadian and has written and illustrated some cute children’s books.

    House of Dreams (named after one of Maud’s own books) is written for the middle grade crowd and middle grade books are some of my favorites to read which gave me yet another reason to purchase this book.

    I loved how easy¬†House of Dreams was to read. Liz Rosenberg did a great job organizing the story of Maud’s life, just before picking this book up I had set aside a biography of Beatrix Potter because it was so incredibly boring,¬†House of Dreams was completely different in that regard and for that I was so thankful.

     

    House of Dreams: The Life of L. M. Montgomery middle grade book review

     

    While the book was well written, one thing I was not prepared for was how dark the story of Maud’s life was going to be. Thanks to a Heritage Minute video that came out earlier this year I did know that Maud had suffered from depression but I didn’t realize how long her struggle was or how much it penetrated her life. (Obviously, as someone who has never struggled with it, it’s not something I completely understand.)

    From what I have read from L. M. Montgomery and from what I know about her other works is that she writes in a very uplifting way, which gives no indication of how hard her personal life was.

    I had hopes to read this book with Raeca at some point down the road, and I still may but it will be further in the future than I had originally thought. We read and listen to quite a few biographies right now thanks to the Christian Heroes Then & Now series and reading¬†House of Dreams after so many Christian biographies was a bit of a downer. While the Christian biographies do not usually have particularly easy lives there is always a hope that is missing from Maud’s life. Both her and her husband struggled with mental illness, which, knowing her husband was a minister made it an even more sad fact. Not that people in the church don’t struggle, but there is still hope and that was obviously missing from Maud’s life and that of her husband.

     

    House of Dreams: The Life of L. M. Montgomery middle grade book review

     

    I didn’t know any of the details surrounding Maud’s death until reading this book and the fact that her death was potentially a suicide also gives me pause when thinking about reading this book with my kids, it at least makes me want to delay the point at which we read it.

    So, those are some of my thoughts on House of Dreams, over all the book is extremely well written but the content is, in my opinion, for a bit of an older audience. While I often read middle grade books with my kids now (who are 5 & 8), this one I would probably wait until they are teenagers to go through.

    Have you read this book? I would love to hear your thoughts!

  • What Should Danny Do? A Book Review
    reviews

    What Should Danny Do? Review & Giveaway!

    Today I’ve got another book review to share with you!

    Just a reminder: my book reviews are totally honest, even if I have received the book for free. Unfortunately that means not all of them are glowing reviews.

    But this one, What Should Danny Do? It’s a glowing review.

    Oh, and you are going to want to keep reading, because there are giveaway details at the end.

    The first thing that caught my attention about this book was how it is interactive. Does anyone else remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books? What Would Danny Do Is like the picture book version of a Choose Your Own Adventure!

    But I don’t just like it for the interactive aspect, what I really like is how the book teaches how the choices Danny makes in his day (and the ones we make in our day) can drastically affect the outcome of our day. This book goes so well with my plan to focus on building character this year.

    What Should Danny Do? A Book ReviewSide note: if you take a photo from above it may end up looking like you only have one arm.

    The story has nine different ending options. How Danny’s day ends depends on how he uses his super power: The Power to Choose. Different choices he makes in his day affects his outcome (spoiler alert: the nicer he acts the better his day goes).

    This whole concept couldn’t have come at a better time for our family. What Should Danny Do?¬†has helped give our family the language we need to discuss attitudes and how our choices can really affect the outcome of our day.

    There is a $4 off discount code for¬†What Should Danny Do? in the Intentional Homeschooling Fall Bundle that is on sale right now, or if you don’t like super amazing deals and would rather just have a small deal you can purchase What Should Danny Do? and get $2 off with the code: CHANTEL (The $2 off code expires this Sunday, September 24th).

    Also,¬†I’ve got a giveaway for this book on Instagram right now, hop on over and enter!