I'm sure we're all happy to say goodbye to 2020 and jump into 2021! Though, I recall a lesson learned back in December 1999 when I was convinced that January of 2,000 would bring an array of flying cars and alien life. True change takes time....
Speaking of change, I've decided to take the year off from writing curricula reviews with the Homeschool Review Crew. Working with them has been an incredible blessing in my life, and my families lives, and I look forward to working with them more in the future but for the time being I'm shifting my focus solely to finishing up my degree- and of course, our normal homeschool routine.
I'll likely be off of social media for some time, and not continuing with weekly blog posts, but, I'll be sure to keep you up to date with all the important stuff as it develops! You're welcome to subscribe for the occasional e-mail updates!
For now, I'll leave you with some of my favorite "New Years Resolutions" to ensure the best year yet!
Yay! You're Here for Free Books!
I'm so excited to use these titles to help give back! Birth and Blantyre was written in 2018 to raise awareness of the birth crisis in Malawi. In researching and interviewing moms and birth professionals, I was shocked to learn about the high maternal mortality rate and the conditions women faced in Malawi.
This week, you'll be able to download this brief title for free WHILE being a part of the change !
Here's the link to the Amazon download:
and if you like this offer- please share it with your friends so we can raise as much awareness as possible!
Reviews are also super helpful for the Amazon platform!
Next Up is Re:Birth
Re:Birth is where it all began and how I began encouraging expecting mama's. In it, you'll journey through Scripture to uncover the redemption of birth through Jesus, while reading incredible birth stories from around the world. From miscarriages supernaturally stopping, to my own son who didn't have a heart beat for three weeks (he's 8 now!), you'll leave encouraged and expectant for God to do amazing things in your own pregnancy and birth!
Yours for FREE with the link below:
Be Blessed, friends!
(Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.)
It's been a wonderful year, filled with amazing products to review for the Homeschool Review Crew! It makes perfect sense, then, that my final review would be a new book that's inspiring, wholesome, and biblical for young girls. The Adventures of Rooney Cruz RINGLEADERS from Truth Becomes Her takes young girls on an voyage through the Bible to glean an important lesson!
In chapter one, readers are introduced to Rooney Cruz, a young girl who is nervous about trying out for a play. A visit from her angel friend Mari helps remind her that God has a special purpose for her to be a messenger- and that Mari will bring her to meet some Biblical "ringleaders" that helped deliver the message of God to the world.
In chapter two, Rooney auditions for her play and is swooped back in time with Mari to meet Elizabeth and learn about the purpose of her baby John. The lesson brings about a reflection of her own purpose in God’s plan.
Chapter three, Rooney faces disappointment about her school play, but Mari comes and Rooney's bracelet takes her back in time to meet Mary who had her own plans that rapidly changed with the visit from the angel Gabriel. This journey helps Rooney find acceptance in her own disappointment and look forward with anticipation for God’s plan.
In chapter four, Rooney participates as a backup in the play despite her disappointment. Mari takes Rooney back to meet Jesus during his ministry to a Samaritan woman at the well where she sees God’s love extends to someone outside of the traditional role of the day.
Chapter five Rooney apologizes to her classmates for having a bad attitude and is surprised that her role in the play has quickly changed. Chapter six takes her back to be with Mary and Martha as they host Jesus. Here, Rooney learns that simply spending time with Jesus is more important than worrying about her role in the play.
Chapter seven, Rooney witnesses Jesus’s power when He raises Lazarus from the dead. Chapter eight, Rooney experiences Jesus’s death and resurrection. Here, she understands the importance of going and telling others about Jesus- the special message she was meant to tell. In the final chapter, Rooney takes center stage, understanding it’s her job to shine for Jesus and glorify Him in her performance.
My six year old loved reading this story with me! She felt the Bible verses included were important, special, and “made her feel happy.” As a mom, I could feel the love poured into this book and know that others will be positively impacted by its empowering message!
In addition to the book, we received a coloring book with corresponding pages to the story, a devotional story, and a mother/ daughter journal.
Overall, The Adventures of Rooney Cruz RINGLEADERS was a fantastic story that teaches girls valuable lessons! I'd highly recommend this story collection to families looking to instill positive values in their children and empower them with the word of God!
Many other members of the Crew checked out The Adventures of Rooney Cruz- check out their review below!
This year has been so painfully polarizing for us in America. Masks or no masks? Lockdown or no lockdown? Protests or riots? Blue or Red?
Of course, I hold my own political opinion and have for the last decade or so, but with election day looming and only one President being declared, it's time for America to stop focusing on the political party and embrace the individual behind the belief.
We all fear, we all hope, we all bleed, and a particular political opinion doesn't degrade a human to a level any less than our own human fragility.
It's time to say, I voted! And, I'll be your friend regardless of who you vote for!
Warm Springs is a delightful little town south of Atlanta, Georgia. The mountain is famous for its warm springs which attracted Franklin Delano Roosevelt on his quest for a cure for his polio related paralysis.
The reason for our travel was to soak up as much Roosevelt-related history as we could. I adored our visit to Springwood back in March, and The Little White House had been on my "to-visit" check list for years!
Upon arrival, we purchased our tickets and walked through a well assembled museum, with a short opening video followed by hundreds of artifacts, including two of Roosevelt's cars. After, we walked through a path of state flags as a tribute to the late president.
My husband was thrilled to find an old version of the US Army flag
Next, we passed through security points that were erected for the President's safety and followed a path that lead to a small two room guest cabin and a separate two bedroom servant's quarters.
After touring the two outside buildings, we went into The Little White House through a ramp to the side door. The kitchen looked to be fully original, even including a spot on the wall where FDR's chef wrote the dates she had served his first and last meals to him,
We saw his secretary's small room and bathroom, his living and eating area, bedroom and Eleanor's separate room.
Below, is Roosevelt's bed.
After visiting Springwood, I was surprised at the quaint size of The Little White House. A park ranger informed us that both Eleanor and Sara objected to him purchasing the property at Warm Springs and Eleanor warned him Sara wouldn't give him another dime if he needed more for the project. I also felt a sense of finality there. Not death, or anything creepy, the rooms just represented where his book closed.
When our visit to the Little White House was complete, we enjoyed a great lunch break at Dinner's Ready by Chad. The food was deliciously southern, though I was able to stay gluten-free with their taco salad while the rest of the crew enjoyed chicken tenders and fries!
To finish up our Roosevelt tour of Warm Springs, we went to Dowdell's Knob, a favorite picnic spot of Roosevelt's. The view was beautiful- and has we been a few weeks later, I bet we would have seen some more fall foliage! Nevertheless, it was meaningful to spend some time enjoying the view and reflect on the time Franklin spent there. I bet he had much to ponder on that mountain top, and perhaps he pondered eternity as he visited it two days before his death.
I pondered our own family's Roosevelt mystery. Was he my great-grandfather, or not? More on that another time...
It's birthday celebrating time in my house! We spent a beautiful weekend in Warm Springs, GA and next week we're off to Hilton Head, SC!
With so much going on, I'll leave you with a preview of our Warm Springs weekend post!
Have a great week!
Night Zookeeper is an online learning program based on the popular children's book series. Students will adventure through the Night Zookeeper’s magical world, learning creative writing skills, spelling, and many other tools to help then become excellent writers.
When we began exploring the program, my third and first-grader started by creating their characters. My homeschool room was pure giggles as they fiddled with the drawing tools and made some silly-looking characters. These characters essentially become the avatar throughout the program. This online program allows for interactions with others in comments and game competitions but is handled in a safe, effective Coppa compliant way. Teacher/Moderators give students feedback on their work and children are encouraged to complement other’s writings. Parents can easily monitor their children's work and interactions by logging into the Parents Dashboard, where each assignment and comment is laid out by date. The Parent Dashboard also provides students’ scores so parents can quickly identify areas a student is struggling in.
There's no shortage of activities for students to do, and new content seems to appear weekly! My students began playing different games and discovered neat writing prompts. Night Zookeeper hosts over 1,000 different games that focus on spelling, grammar, and sentence building. A favorite we found involved selected the word that was spelled correctly to cross a river of hot lava!
When a student is feeling creative, they can check out the “create” section, which offers a wide array of writing prompts. A few specific instructions are provided, and the rest of the words are left up to the student. Here, my son was challenged to compose a 40-word poem, use two adjectives, and use the term “persistence pays,” in it:
The “Lessons” feature provides structured, class-like learning. The lessons we watched began with a video and develop into a writing assignment. My students could choose between a Night Zookeeper lesson, which explained the concept of the story world, or as lessons that dives into animals. At the end of the lesson, it’s time for the student to demonstrate their comprehension by writing a report. This is accomplished in a dialogue format, which is a great step by step way to write a thorough recap of their learning. My third grader was asked to complete sentences to form his report, while the first-grade level was simpler and more material was provided through the story characters.
Overall, Night Zookeepers developed a mystical story world to engage young learners and help them develop their writing skills. It’s filled with great learning games, lessons, and creative prompts. Our time one Night Zookeepers challenged my son’s reading comprehension, helped build his parts of speech recognition- all while having fun! This program felt very unique in its online focus on creative writing. The interactive feedback from teachers was a helpful tool to build student’s confidence and guide them on the right- or shall I say “write” path! I’d recommend it to families looking for a magical journey into creative writing!
They're currently offering 50% off which you can access by clicking the image below.
I love a good deal! And, I love fast and free next day delivery a la Amazon Prime! This week has been our first week getting back into the rhythm of homeschooling after our move, so I decided to surprise my kids with some fun activities for them to end their school day with. Since they feel like major scores, I decided I’d share them with you, friends!
For my 8 year old son, I found Giggleway Solar Power Science Kit.
I was apprehensive because we’ve tried kits before that are supposed to introduce kids to something like coding- and then the kit doesn’t work, mom and dad struggle to make sense of it, but the pieces are just plain wrong. THIS kit was AWESOME! My 8 year old was able to assemble a Solar Powered Windmill on his own, with little assistance from me, and he still has two more builds to complete.
The kit was $4 off, and there was a coupon for an additional percentage off so we paid $18 and it was well worth it!
My daughter loves to paint, and I’m eager to start a garden in our new home, so I ordered Dan & Darci Paint & Plant Flower Growing Kit
This kit was on sale for $24.00 (a $10 savings), and had an additional Amazon coupon to clip to save $7. It comes with everything that you need to grow marigolds, cosmos, and zinnias, plus paint to decorate the planter.
My daughter had a blast painting and planting- and I'm looking forward to some lovely flowers in our new warmer climate!
Last but certainly not least, I ordered a Paint by Sticker book for my 4 year old.
She loves stickers, and I thought this was a great educational tool to help her learn to recognize numbers while playing!
Have you scored any great deals on Amazon recently?
I'd love to hear about them in the comment section!
Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
Every now and again, I come across a curriculum that not only inspires my children but inspires me and reminds me of why I embarked on the journey to homeschool. This week, I’m excited to share our experience using the Wisdom Wonder Project! We checked out their Little Wonders Kindergarten Program, but they offer an array of different levels from junior kindergarten to second grade.
For our first month of the Kindergarten Program, we received a downloadable Literature Unit, a Block Play unit, along with Little Masters Art Program. For ease of use, I printed and bound them.
The Literature Unit consisted of a weekly book to read accompanied by activities to bring the story, and learning to life. In September, we read “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” which we were quite familiar with, “King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub,” a new-to-us story that we were able to find on YouTube, “A Sick Day for Amos McGee” and “How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World.” The stories were so fun, and each had a variety of activities.
The Literature Unit seems to be the foundation of the kindergarten program, with one book per week and eight accompanying activities. We strove to do three to four of the activities with each story. For “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” we took a nature walk to a high place, just like Harold climbs up a tree to get a better view, and we made fun purple collages inspired by the story, painted with water colors, and made purple snacks!
Though I intended to use this program with my 4 year old, all of my children enjoyed participating in the crafts and activities- even my 3rd grader!
Part of the September Literary Unit also involved memorizing a lovely stanza of the poem September by Helen Hunt Jackson. My kids enjoyed reciting it after me, and I was pleased to have committed it to memory as well! Each week has additional recommended books to read, a feature that I love as it’s like having a homeschool mom friend to point out the best titles in the children’s section of the library!
This program reminded me of my first years of education in a Montessori classroom. With the emphasis on art, creativity, rich literature, and developing formative math skills, the Wisdom Wonder Project is a beautiful curriculum to inspire a love of learning in small children. Simply put: I adore this program! Wisdom Wonder Project is a great fit for homeschool families looking for a classical, literature rich foundation for their emerging scholars!
Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew checked out the Wisdom Wonder Project, and you can see their reviews by clicking the image below!
is an author, blogger, and homeschooling mom of four, giving her excellent credentials to run her own circus one day!