Hewitt Homeschooling ~ Review

Hewitt Homeschooling Review My First Report

I had never used any of Hewitt Homeschooling products before. When I saw that there was a possibility of reviewing  one of the My First Report, I was happy to try it out.

I received My First Report: Southern United States to review. The packet is $8.95 and is suitable for grades 3-4, while those in 1st and 2nd can use this with parental direction. Those in grades 5-8 are also able to use these as remedial work.

What is My First Report:

The packet comes with each page already hole punched. This made it easy to add it to a pronged folder.

Also included are a cover sheet, an introductory sheet, the question sheets, activity suggestions for each subject, and other resources such as an outline map of each state and ruled pages to write the reports. The ruled pages come in 3 different line widths (5/8”, 1/2”, and3/8”). There is also a space at the top to add a picture or drawing.

The states included in this study are:
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • Tennessee
  • Alabama
  • Mississippi
  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas

Using one report a week will last a whole quarter.


How We Used My First Report:

Since we live in North Carolina, I had my 4th grade daughter start with our state. To find the answers to the questions on the report, we visited the library and picked out a couple books on North Carolina. On the back of each state page are facts about the state that help guide the child in writing the report. On the bottom of each state page are several vocabulary words. These can be used as spelling words each week.

My daughter read through parts of the books or if the book was short she would read through the whole book. After reading through the books, she would look at the questions, find the answers, and write the answer.
After she finished the questions, I would have her start on the report. At first she needed a little help writing complete sentences, but after the first couple of reports, she started to get the hang of it. She loved being able to draw a picture from the state she was writing about.

For the review, she chose to do a few of the unit study activities. She wanted to listen to some of the songs that were listed. I looked some of them up on YouTube for her. I listened first to make sure it was the correct song.
She also chose to some of the art activities that were listed. She loves to draw, paint, and color.

I also had her do a couple of the history activities. I would have her look up some of the famous people that lived in the states she was studying.

What we thought:

To be honest, when I first received the package, I had no clue how to even use it. After reading through the instructional sheet a couple times, it finally clicked. I was to have her research the state (either with books from the library or through the internet) and have her answer the questions. She was then to turn those answers into a report of the state.

When I realized what she was supposed to do, I liked the program much better. I really liked how it had the child research the state, answer the questions, and write the report. I also liked that there were other activities listed that she could do to make it more interesting.

At first my daughter thought these would be boring, but after the first one, she said she really liked doing them. It was fun to read about the state and get to know more about it.


Flourish ~ Book Review

Do you find it difficult to find balance in your daily life while trying to homeschool and perhaps run a home business? Are you struggling to get it all done and find yourself exhausted at the end of the day? Apologia Educational Ministries has published a book just for you. Flourish: Balance For Homeschool Moms written by Mary Jo Tate is a book about finding balance in your everyday life.


About Flourish:

This is an almost 300 page softcover book that was written by a homeschooling mom for homeschooling moms. It is available from Apologia for $15.00.

The book has 16 chapters and 2 appendices. The chapters are geared to give advice on how to find balances in our daily lives. The chapters are as follows:

  • An Invitation to Flourish
  • Change Your Mind to Change Your Time
  • The FREEDOM Toolbox
  • Where Did My Time Go?
  • Aim High: Setting Goals
  • What Do I Do Next?: Seven Essential Planning Tools
  • We Interrupt This Program
  • It’s Time For an Attitude Adjustment
  • Oxygen Masks and Monkey Bread Days
  • Training Your Children
  • Making Memories
  • Managing Your Home
  • All of Life is Learning
  • Solo Act: Flourishing as a Single Mom
  • Home Business
  • Moving Ahead

The appendices are:
  • Appendix A: Recommended resources
  • Appendix B: Planning Forms

As you can see above, this book has something for everyone. From single moms to work at home moms to stay at home homeschooling moms. Each chapter is filled with tips, personal stories, quotes, and examples. At the end of each chapter is a “Take Action” page. It helps you to apply the things you have just read.

My Review:

As soon as I received the book, I sat down and read the 1st chapter. It was a good read for me and I was hooked. I put the book down, because I had other things to do at the time, but I would try to read a chapter every day during this review period. Some days, it was hard to put the book down and I would read two or three chapters. I even re-read some of the chapters. This book gives so much information and wanting to remember it all, I read with a notebook and pencil by my side so I could jot down the things I wanted to re-read and remember.

I loved the FREEDOM acronym which is to be used to remember important strategies for meeting all challenges in life. FREEDOM stands for:

  • Focus
  • Reflect
  • Educate
  • Eliminate
  • Discipline
  • Organize
  • Multitask

Another favorite chapter of mine is Where Did My Time Go? Mary Jo gives so much great information for managing your time wisely. One thing I have failed to keep up during our summer break is a routine. During the school year, we do have a routine, but not having one now, has been hurting me. I need to remember to keep the routine at all times.

One more favorite – Managing Your Home. I loved reading all of her tips for keeping up with housework, meals, and organizing. I have started implementing so many of the tips and ideas from this chapter and it has helped me to better mange my time and housework duties.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and will definitely re-read many parts of the book. I will continue to remember the many tips and ideas from the book and use them in my life to find my balance.


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
~ 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



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