Menu Plan Monday ~ July 21

Our dinners for the week:

~ Monday: Leftover roast beef from Sunday
~ Tuesday: Fettuccine Alfredo (my son's birthday)
~ Wednesday: Chicken tacos camping trip)
~ Thursday: Country fried steak with Gravy
~ Friday: Homemade pizza (boys and husband will be on Trail Life camping trip)
~ Saturday: ?? (just me and my two girls as boys will still be on their camping trip)

I am linking up with Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday and Marcy at Ben and Me for Blogging through the Alphabet.


Random 5 on Friday

The Pebble Pond

 I am joining in on this week's edition of Random 5 on Friday hosted by Miranda at The Pebble Pond.

1. We have one more week until we are starting our new school year. Starting date is July 28.

2. We are doing the 6 weeks on/ 1 week off schedule for the 1st time ever. I have been homeschooling 8 yrs and need some type of schedule that will work for us and I think this is it. We will still take 2 weeks at Christmas.

3. My 2nd son's birthday is coming up on the 22nd and he wants me to make him a flan. You can find the recipe I use here.

4. We are branching out from Abeka this year and using Mystery of History for history and Apologia and Science in the Beginning for science.

5. My 8 yr old daughter likes to boss her 3 yr old sister. :)


Learning Numbers ~ Free Printable

I will begin teaching my 3 year old daughter her numbers and letters this coming year. She already knows a few letters and can count to 10. I've been looking for some number activities, but really haven't found anything I like. I made some number cards and decided to share them with you.

They have the number on one card and an object on another card of that number. I plan to laminate mine and cut them apart to use for learning and as a matching game. I only did numbers 1-10 for right now.

You can click here or click the image above for the free printable.



It actually took me some time to come up with a topic for the letter k. Since I have been lesson planning, a k word that kept popping up in my brain was knowledge. I kept thinking and decided to go with the word keys for the letter k.

Your'e probably thinking- that is not a picture of a key. You are correct. I am talking about teacher curriculum keys. I have been using my teacher's keys while trying to plan out our school year.

I have three children, so I have many teacher's keys to go through and make sure everything is set up according to plan. We use A Beka for math, grammar, reading, and health for the 4th and 6th graders. Their teacher's keys are easy to use. Since I am using some new curriculum this year for science (Apologia and Science in the Beginning), history (Mystery of History), and penmanship (A Reason for Handwriting), I need to go through and make sure I have everything set up.

I am in the process of copying everything from the teacher's keys into my new Old Schoolhouse Hey Mama planner. I'm just writing what pages need to be accomplished for each subject for each child. It's not taking as long as I thought it would and in the end, it will be nice to just open the planner, see what pages need to be taught, and get out the corresponding teacher key.

I may look like this now:

But, maybe by preparing now, I will look like this everyday:

We start back in two weeks on our new 6 week on, 1 week off schedule. Every seventh week, is when I'll look like the first person while I am planning using my teacher's keys.


Moving Beyond The Page ~ Review

Moving Beyond The Page

I had never thought to use a literature based curriculum in my homeschool, because, really, I had never heard of it. Being on the Schoolhouse Review Crew has been such a blessing to me and has let me explore many items that I probably would have never even thought to use for my kids. Moving Beyond The Page is a curriculum published by Epiphany Curriculum, LLC. We were given two units to review: Language Arts Package: Secret of the Andes and Social Studies: Slavery and the Civil War.

What is Moving Beyond the page?
Moving Beyond the Page is a research based, hands on curriculum for language arts, social studies, and science through unit based studies. Moving Beyond the Page encourages the student to use their critical thinking skills. They offer curriculum that is based for 4- 14 year old students (K through middle school). They offer a complete curriculum or individual unit studies that are geared for ages 7-14.


About Language Arts Package: Secret of the Andes:
We received the online version of this unit. This unit is geared for children ages 10-12 and costs $19.92. Included with this package is the online curriculum (teacher guide and student worksheets) and a physical copy of the novel, Secret of the Andes.


About Social Studies Package: Slavery and the Civil War:
We received the print version of this unit. This unit is also geared for ages 10-12 and costs $39.93. Included with this package is a spiral bound curriculum (teacher guide and student worksheets) and two other books, If You Lived When There Was Slavery In America and War, Terrible War- A History of US Volume 6.

How we used each unit:
I had my 10 year old son work on the Secret of the Andes study and my 12 year old son worked on the Civil War study.

Both units had 4 pre-requisites that the child should be able to pass to use the study:
  • Able to read and comprehend novels at a late 6th or 7th grade reading level
  • Able to write multiple paragraphs on a topic
  • Familiar with the five paragraph essay
  • Usually used by children in the fifth or sixth grade

 secret of andes

The online study of the Secret of the Andes is only available for a certain amount of time after purchasing the unit. When you first log in, you will see the above screen (without the lines through each lesson). The first lesson is a preparatory lesson. The child spends the time exploring, in this case, the Andes Mountains and the country of Peru. There are also 3 activities for the child, subject/verb agreement, the Andes Mountains, and a vocabulary crossword puzzle.


For the subject/verb agreement activity, the parent prints off the pdf of the activity. The answers are located right below for the parent when the parent overview is turned on.


Some activities require the student to click on a link that will take them to an external site to learn more.

The next eight lessons are about the book itself. The student is required to read two chapters a day and answer questions, do activities, and visit websites about the chapters that were just read. The final 3 days, the student works on a narrative essay.

I had my 10 year old son read through the required chapters each day. I would then log in to the curriculum and print off the pdf’s for the day. He worked on those and after finishing them up, I would let him visit the external sites (if there were some) to learn more. There are 10 lessons and a 3 day final project.

After using the print version for Slavery and the Civil War, I find that I liked the print version better for the student. Everything is already printed for you and the student can write directly in the book. The parent overview is in the back of the book. The online version lets you toggle between having the parent overview on or off with your password.


The lessons are set up the same way. The student is to read pages from the required books and answer questions and do the activities. There are several lessons, some taking 2 days, and then there is a final project for the child to complete at the end.

My 12 year old son worked on the Civil War unit. I gave him the workbook each day and he was able to find his lessons, do the reading, and do the activities after reading. I would check his answers for the questions when he finished. He was also able to visit external sites to learn more about the places of the Civil War. MBTP made it easy and shared the clickable links on a page called IdeaShare so we didn’t have to type them in every time.

What we thought:
Having not used unit studies in the past, I was worried my boys would not like them. My 10 year old didn’t like using the online version. He said he would rather have had all of the instructions printed out rather than having to keep looking at the computer to see what the activities needed to be done. I printed all of the activities (they are PDF’s) and gave him the ones he would need for the day. He did like that he was able to just click a link to an external site instead of having to type it in. He also did like visiting the websites and learning more about the people and country he was reading about.

The only thing about the online version that I did not like was having to print off the pdf’s of the activities and questions. I liked that it gave the parent overview within each lesson rather than in the back. It was easy to turn off so the student cannot see it.

My 12 year old son liked having everything for his study right in front of him. He enjoyed doing the activities and learning more about the Civil War. The only thing he did not like was that some of the activities took a while to complete. He likes to get things done fast.

I liked having the print version rather than the online version since everything was already printed for me. Even though the parent overview is in the back it is easy to find and refer to during the lesson. One problem we ran into was the website link recommended for the online timeline is no longer correct. I had to search on the website for the correct link to the timeline. With a quick search on the site, it was easy to find and use.

Overall, we prefer the print version over the online. We loved using unit studies and we may have to do a few more during our school year. Even though some of the activities did take a while, my boys did enjoy doing them.


July Is Josiah's Month

I am still plugging away with blogging through the alphabet at Ben & Me.

July is the month of my second son's birth. His name is Josiah. He is a wonderful son and will be turning 11 years old on July 22.

He loves to help any way he can around the house. He loves both of his little sisters. He is a leader in most situations, definitely not a follower. We all love Josiah and he is becoming a wonderful young man.

Clockwise: Birth, 4th of July 2008, 2011 with 2nd baby sister, 2005 with 1st baby sister, 2014 at a recent outing, at the beach 2014


Veritas Press Self Paced History ~ Review

Veritas Press Self Paced History 1815 to Present

I love history! I graduated from college with a degree in history. My favorite time period in United States history is the Civil War period. I was excited when we were given the chance to review the Veritas Press Self-Paced History: 1815 to Present. I had actually never hear of Veritas Press, but the courses looked fun and interesting. We also received the 1815 to present flashcards.

What is Veritas Press?

Veritas Press is an online school which means the courses are all done online. They offer live courses and self-paced courses. The courses from Veritas Press are classical Christian courses. It began when a couple wanted a way to teach history chronologically while combining Biblical events that were not recorded in the Bible.

What is the self-paced history?

Self-paced history means that you are given one year from the date of purchase to complete the course. Each course has 160 lessons and covers many historical events. These self-paced courses are ideal for students in grades 2-6. Each self-paced course is $199 and the flashcards are $19.95

The five self-paced history courses that are available are as follows:
  • Old Testament and Ancient History
  • New Testament, Greece and Rome
  • Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation
  • Explorers to 1815
  • 1815 to Present
There are five lessons to cover each event during the time period the child is studying and each lesson takes approximately 30-50 minutes each. This is not just another history program, this self-paced history helps the student memorize important information while at the same time making it interesting.

Computer requirements:

Since the course is fully online, there are some system requirements for the courses. Each course is compatible with Apple and PC operating systems. Some other requirements are:
  • Flash Player 10 or above
  • Up to date browser (we used Chrome)
  • DSL/cable connection (Satellite connection is not recommended)
  • 1 GB of RAM
You can see all of the technical requirements on this page.

We live in the country and are literally the last house that can receive internet as the pole is right in our front yard. We did not have any technical problems at all. Everything loaded just fine and played back just fine for us.

How we used self-paced history:

It was very easy to set my daughter up with the course after receiving the information. I helped her log in the first time, but it remembered her log in info after that initial log in. I bookmarked the course page and she was able to get onto the website and do her lessons by herself.

There are 32 events that are covered during the 1815 to present course, starting at the Monroe Doctrine and ending with Modern America.

I had my daughter use the course 3-4 times a week (except for the week my hard drive crashed). I sat in with her on most days, just because it was really interesting. Marcus and Eva lead each lesson and sometimes a 1950’s era robot, Gorton-3, makes an appearance. They are lively in their delivery of the lesson and keep the lesson interesting.

Each lesson includes many review questions, games at the end for review, and a memory song.


Each lesson gives a table of contents and attachments. The table of contents lists all of the topics covered during the lesson. The attachments lists the memory song (which opens in a new window as a pdf) and any crafts. You can also access the craft supply list form the dashboard page (see below):


The flashcards are a great tool to have even though they do introduce and show them during the first lesson of each topic. My daughter read through the cards each day before starting the lesson so she could remember the major points that were being taught. It took a couple of weeks to receive the cards and it showed on her first worksheet (she received a 66%). I didn’t realize that the 1st two cards were listed on the dashboard page under documents (see picture above) and she could have read through it on the computer. After receiving the cards, she passed all the worksheets and tests with 100%.


Each flashcard has a picture and the topic on the front and gives all the information for the topic on the back.

At the end of the lesson, there are sometimes optional reading listed. We opted not to do the additional reading at this time.

What we thought:

My daughter loves doing things that are exciting and lively rather than reading through a book and writing on paper. She enjoyed going through this course. She liked being able to see the places that Marcus, Eva, and Gorton-3 were discussing in the background behind them. She also liked playing the review games and “was happy that they had lots of review questions so she could get a good grade on the test.” She also said that she did not like listening to the memory song in every single lesson, she would have liked it to only be in 2 or 3 of the lessons each week.

I enjoyed this course when I sat down and watched it with her. The “teachers” were lively and made the lesson exciting. I liked hearing the memory song each lesson and found myself singing it throughout the day. It does help with learning the events in order.

Some other things I liked about this course:
  • I didn’t have to do any prep work
  • Independent
  • Keeps the grades for you
  • Continuous review (reviews stuff from the 1st lesson during the 14th lesson, etc.)
  • Also teaches geography/ map skills

The only con I have is the price of the program.

Overall, this is a great course and my daughter has learned so much. She said she would like to keep going on with the lessons.

Check out sample lessons for all of the self-paced history courses.

Keep in contact with Veritas Press through social media:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/veritaspress
Twitter -- https://twitter.com/veritaspress
Pinterest –  http://www.pinterest.com/source/veritaspress.com/
Google+ -- https://plus.google.com/100404634762414542020/about



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