Posted in 2019 Home School Review Crew Posts, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschool Planning, Uncategorized

Review of My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping and their Annual Membership Plan

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Regardless of what style of homeschooling your family does, at some point, every family needs a way of maintaining records of what topics and subjects have been covered.  Also, every family at some point or points needs to be able to generate transcripts and other types of reports to demonstrate what your students have covered. With the Annual Membership Plan, I can use My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping to easily track and organize our homeschool.

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My School Year Homeschool Record keeping is a record-keeping program that functions as a planner and more.  From everything from keeping track of the usual subjects and attendance records to creating transcripts and more this program has a lot to offer.

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I freely admit I am a planner-junkie.  I love planners.  I love exploring what various programs have to offer.  So I was excited to have the opportunity to review this program.  I would like to state I am the primary one who has been using this program since I am setting up our new school year using it.  Our new school year will not start until the day after Labor Day in the United States, so we still have over a week to go. This planner is online so it goes where your family needs it to go.

My School Year Homeschool Record-keeping offers a homeroom where you can quickly see at a glance your students.  There is a calendar which displays appointments, extracurricular assignments, and more.  The lesson plan book displays assignments.  A large number of reports are available to use and print.  Finally, the Teacher’s Aid displays what you or your students still need to do.  Because I have a few subjects we have not made a final decision on what materials we are going to use, those items display here and serve as reminders of what I still need to do.  Also, because we have not started our school year yet, I see prompts to enter attendance into the program.

I began by inputting basic information such as school information, student information, subjects, and even our extra-curricular activities.  I found the program fairly easy to use when getting started.  The screens were fairly easy to follow.

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For families who have more than one student using a particular curriculum, it is fairly easy to assign those students to the same lesson plan.  When our children were younger I would have loved this feature.

I love how the calendar function displays appointments, events, extracurricular activities, lessons, and reading list as well.

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Also, the number of reports and the types of reports available is impressive.  Here are some examples of what reports you can create.

 

You can find My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping on social media on:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MySchoolYearWeb
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/MySchoolYear

Each day you can set up the program to send emails to remind you of what needs to be completed that day.  I find this to be a worthwhile function.

All in all, I am pleased with this program.  It packs a lot into a fairly straightforward program.  So check out the Annual Membership Plan from My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping to see how you can easily track and organize your homeschool.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are also sharing their experiences with this online planner this week.  So click here or on the graphic below to read other reviews.

 

Posted in 2019 Home School Review Crew Posts, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Music, Online Homeschool Programs

Review of Simply Music’s Music & Creativity – Foundation Course

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If you have thought about piano lessons for yourself or your children but are unsure if it would be worth the time and investment you’ll want to check out the Music & Creativity – Foundation Course from Simply Music.  For this program, your family will need a piano or a keyboard with at least 49 keys, a printer to print out the resources, and optionally 2 sets of headphones along with a tablet or phone.

When I was a child, my parents initially signed my sister and I up for piano lessons.  However, in the way many things for children go, I was allowed to quit.  Now as an adult, I regret quitting.  So when I saw the opportunity to review this program, I was excited.  This was not going to be a program for my children to review (my only son who wants piano lessons was already taking lessons from an in-person instructor this summer.

This online piano program includes online piano lessons, printable resources including a keyboard you can print out for when your student needs to practice either when you are on the go or do not want to disturb other members of your household, downloads of the soundtracks for the musical selections, a resource notebook, and a printable version of Music and the Art of Long-Term Relationships.

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Simply Music provides online piano lessons to students in the comfort of their own home.  According to a quote on the website, “From his earliest years, Neil Moore, the Founder of Simply Music and creator of the Simply Music Piano Program, heard music and pictured it in his mind in terms of shapes and patterns. This relationship to music became the basis of his entire approach to learning and playing the piano.”  This relationship with music provides a dramatic contrast to the way many piano instructors approach their lessons.

As a busy homeschooling mom and blogger, I love the convenience of being able to learn the piano on my own time in my own home.  This program encourages the students to go at their own pace rather than rushing through the material.  From watching the videos, I can tell that Neil Moore, the founder of Simply Music, genuinely cares about his students and loves what he is doing.

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For this review, I used a tablet for watching the lessons and listening to the soundtracks.  I plugged a set of earbuds into my tablet to hear the lessons and soundtracks.  Then I plugged in a set of headphones into the jack on our 61-key keyboard.  This allowed me to hear both what I was playing on the keyboard and what was being said or played in the lessons.

The program starts out allowing the students and their families to either dive right into a section where they play actual music or you have the option to go right to the lessons.  I elected to go straight to the lessons. I love how easy the screen is to navigate.  Once logged in, I had the option of what course to select.  Then I had the option to print out and download the additional files necessary for completing the course.  Once that was done, I was able to dive right into the lessons.

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Mr. Moore starts off by providing basic information about the keys on a keyboard and basic information necessary to play.  Then he moves on to discussing proper techniques and more.  I happened to be watching some of the videos going about the background information in our bedroom, and my husband wound up watching with me.  We both found the approach Mr. Moore uses to be easy to understand and learn from.

I was able to quickly and easily navigate to the page to sign up for the course online.  Once signed up, I was able to easily sign in and begin the program.  In this program, the emphasis appears to be going slowly to ensure learning is done properly.  I loved how the lessons were broken down into manageable sections.  Although for younger children or those with no background in music, more time may need to be devoted to the first lesson to ensure mastery.

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I feel mastery is necessary for this program.  So during the review period, I gave myself the grace to do exactly that – master a lesson before moving on to the next section.  So during this review, I only made it into the 3rd lesson.  Right now, I am trying to master the first part of this lesson, which has me working with my right hand.  Because I feel comfortable taking my time, I feel confident I will be able to master this piece. Here is a video of me practicing part of the first song in the third lesson.

One of my favorite parts of the program is the music selections.  The arrangements have a richness and depth to them.  The soundtracks are available as piano solos, vocal accompaniments, accompaniments, as well as improvisations,   The quality of these soundtracks are amazing.  Ode to Joy and Amazing are two of the selections, which are two of my favorite pieces of music.  While some of the other pieces I am not familiar with, having listened to the soundtrack, I look forward to playing them in the future.

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In addition to the actual piano lessons, I received a PDF copy of Music and the Art of Long-Term Relationships  I found this book to be one that spoke to my soul.  In junior high and high school I played in the band and also sang in the choir.  So music has been a part of my life.  Our children have been brought up singing in church.  Then they picked up musical instruments.  Our children tend to be self-motivated for the most part. This book delves into the need for parents to play an active role in their children’s musical endeavors.

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I recognized the importance of having a personal relationship with music, both for myself and for our children.  The idea of using music as a form of self-expression causes me to recognize the importance of this statement.  For our family personally, musical expression is a way for us to praise, honor, and worship God.  I love the idea of being able to sit down at a piano or keyboard at any time in order to worship God.  I love how the book emphasizes the idea of having a lifelong relationship with music versus allowing students to just quit.  I also appreciate how it talks about the highs and lows that will come with learning music, but recognizing also those highs and lows will be temporary.  This book is one I definitely feel is worth reading and goes hand in hand with the entire philosophy of Simply Music.

I would recommend parents and older students read the book either before beginning the program or shortly after your family begins the program so you understand the basis of the program and what your role as parents should be.  Truly, the term “Life Coach” fits the job we as parents do perfectly.  Because I am the one doing the program in our home, my husband is my “Life Coach”.  He does an excellent job of helping recognize that statuses and feelings change (even when I may not want to accept that fact).

You can find Simply Music on Social Media on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.
Whether you have a background in music or not (or whether your child has a background in music or not), I feel this program would be a wonderful way of learning to play the piano.
So if your family is interested in online piano lessons from a different perspective, check out Simply Music’s Music & Creativity – Foundation Course for yourself.
Other members of the Home School Review Crew are posting their thoughts on this program this week.  Click here or on the graphic below to read other reviews.

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Posted in 2019 Home School Review Crew Posts, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Online Homeschool Programs, Unit Studies

Review of Techie Homeschool Mom’s Famous Artists Online Unit Study Volume 1

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Today I want to introduce you to the tech-based learning discovery experiences of the Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 1) from Techie Homeschool Mom.  The unit studies from Techie Homeschool Mom are designed to integrate multiple subjects across multiple age levels.  This online unit study incorporates, information, activities, along with creating original artwork.  The online unit study is meant to be self-paced.

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Beth Napoli, of Techie Homeschool Mom provides resources designed to guide learners in this ever-changing digital world.  From historical figures to famous artists to specific time periods and more, Techie Homeschool Mom has something for everyone.  These studies are designed for mid=elementary school children through middle school children.  Even though our daughter was outside of these age ranges, I still felt this product had something to offer our artistic daughter.

This online unit study provided an excellent amount of videos, text, audio files and more to help keep my daughter’s artistic mindset interested.  Once we were able to login to the course, the first section of the course provided detailed instructions on how the course was structured, how to used emaze (required to create an online digital art gallery.  Emaze is an additional site that is required for this particular unit study.  The instructions provided in the course made it easy to complete this task.

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Once we were set up with emaze, our daughter quickly moved into learning about what is art.  Then the course moved into information about specific artists and their time periods including Leonardo da Vinci, John James Audobon, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Georges Seurat, Gustav Klimt, Henri Matisse, Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, and  Salvador Dali.  The one thing I loved about this unit study is that it is meant to be self-paced.  So if your student wants to take off on rabbit trails, they can do so easily.

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Our daughter had to do a parody of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.  She turned the Mona Lisa into a Medusa look-alike and I think she did a pretty good job.  However, when she found out I had shared the drawing with her father, she seemed to be rather surprised that I had done so.  Her brothers who saw the drawing thought she did an excellent job and were immediately able to recognize what she had done.

For each artist, our daughter had to create a word document in the program of our choice to record her thoughts and information regarding the Artistic Movement, the artist, artwork of the artist along with recording the information about the artwork.  One thing I liked as a parent is that students are given links to go to in order to find the artwork and information.  The videos are primarily contained within the online unit study, so children are not just wandering around the Internet without guidance.  I feel this material presented is age appropriate with the exception of the nudity.

If our daughter was younger, I would have previewed the course and the materials before allowing her to complete anything.  Because our daughter is 16 and I wanted to watch the materials with her, I decided to just have her begin the course.  If I had found anything objectionable, I would have either marked the section complete or found some way to minimize the information.

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My one caution about this particular course is that it does contain nudity.  However, this information is clearly stated at the beginning of the study.  Parents are given the option to preview the lessons before their student completes them and have the ability to opt-out of any lessons they do not feel are appropriate for their child.  So with that stated, I definitely feel this course is one that should be done with parental supervision.

This course is self-paced meaning there is not a particular schedule to follow.  So I let our daughter work on the course at her own pace.  So we have completed through the Impressionism period.  For the Impressionism Period, I realized too late that we did not have the materials we needed for the project, so we just used what we had on hand and will go back later to do it properly as described by the course.

Here is a sample of one of our google docs of information.

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Here is our daughter’s Mona Lisa parody.

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Here is the link to a video of our daughter’s online art gallery.

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Here are the Techie Homeschool Mom’s Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/techiehomeschoolmom/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TechieHSmom
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/TechieHSmom/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGI-La5pBP4oFnd9DCRCdVg
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/techiehomeschoolmom/

All in all, I have to say our family is very pleased with the Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 1) from Techie Homeschool Mom.  So check it out for yourself.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing other products from Techie Homeschool Mom including the Ancient Egypt Online Unit Study, the Ancient Greece Online Unit Study, the Ancient Rome Online Unit Study, the Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 1), the Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 2), the Solar System Online Unit Study, and the Famous Inventors Online Unit Study .

So click here or on the image below and check out more of these reviews of products from Techie Homeschool Mom for yourself.

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Posted in 2019 Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Science

Review of CrossWired Science – Sound, and Fluid Dynamics

CrossWired Science provides online science learning in a fun and engaging way with Sound, and Fluid Dynamics.  Let’s face it, homeschooling families can use all the help they can get when it comes to streamlining our day.  I know when I was homeschooling our children, anything I could use that would allow me to combine the children into one course was helpful.  So even though we are only homeschooling two now who are both in high school, I was excited to have the opportunity to review this digital subscription.

CrossWired Science is a brand new science program that is quite different from most science curriculums.  Rather than a textbook, the program utilizes videos to convey the necessary information along with worksheets, experiments, research opportunities, reading, devotionals and more.  So it provides a wealth of learning opportunities along with opportunities to reinforce and grow your children’s faith.  A Parent login and dashboard, as well as a Student login and dashboard, are available.  The Student dashboard provides access to basically everything the student needs to complete the course.  However, some links such as the additional videos are only available on the Parental Dashboard.  The Parental Dashboard provides additional resources, planning calendars, answers to the worksheets, Quiz Results, Student progress, along with general links and unit links.  The site is easy to navigate and to find what you need.

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It is meant to be used as either a stand-alone curriculum or as a supplement and is good for children of any age.  The curriculum is Biblically-based which is important for our family.  More material and improvements to the program are being made daily.  Currently, there are two Global Topics that are available – Sound, and Fluid Dynamics.  Each of these is meant to take roughly a month to complete.  Each Global topic includes 8 core videos. The Fluid Dynamics Global Topic core videos include topics like the Wright Brothers, Planes, whiskers, boxfish and Penguins, Bernoulli, and more.

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The Sound Global Topic covers such topics as Sonar, how the ear works, how musical instruments work, how sound travels and more.  As a parent who has taken a class on sound and music in college, I was impressed by the material for this Global Topic.

A suggested plan is included on the website.  The plan is broken down for either those children who are 4-8 years old or those children who are over 8 years old.  Students will watch the Core Videos and do the quizzes and worksheets if able.  Then, each family has the freedom to select from the U-Choose selections such as Gold Digs or Digging Deeper or you can choose to use your own resources.  Students can try either level 1 or level 2 on the link lessons.  Students can read a book or magazine or start a collection.  Families can also do research, reinforcement activities, experiments or even field trips.  There is a tremendous amount of possibilities.

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Both of our children have science curriculums they are already using and love, so we were using this more as a supplement.  So currently, we are not doing the experiments, but I plan on having the two spend time this summer doing them instead.  Also, because this is a supplement, we did not choose to do everything suggested.  We focused primarily on watching the videos, discussing what we watched and doing the online quizzes.  We loved how reading is required, but various reading plans are provided.  If we were doing this as a stand-alone curriculum, we would utilize the Benge Books since we already have almost a bookcase full of them.  These books are perfect books to read alone or read aloud and even when our children were younger, they enjoyed reading or listening to them.

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So we did not work on this every day.  My goal was to cover one of the global topics within a three month time period.  I figured this plan would allow our children to go on any rabbit trails they desired.

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Since our family plays instruments and sings, we decided to start with the Sound course.  While in college, I took a course of the Physics of Sound and Music, so I was curious to see what would be discussed.  I found myself learning quite a bit as I previewed some of the material for myself.  The quality of the videos is excellent.  The videos are short enough to keep the attention of younger students.

The courses are set up with two different learning opportunities – one for first-timers, meaning those who are going through the material for the first time as well as one for second-timers – those who are repeating the material or who already have extensive knowledge of the material.

Eventually, 24 Global Topics will be available that will provide for 6 years of educational opportunities.  Over time, the depth and breadth of this program will be increased substantially.  CrossWired Science plans on keeping the cost affordable for homeschooling families, which is important to me.  It will provide for all Science material from kindergarten through Chemistry.  So if you are looking for a fresh approach to science check out CrossWired Science and online science learning in a fun and engaging way with Sound, and Fluid Dynamics.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are discussing CrossWired Science and their experiences this week as well.  Click here or on the graphic below to check out other reviews by Crew members.

 

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Posted in 2019 Home School Review Crew Posts, Book Reviews, Books, history, Homeschooling

Review of Theodore Roosevelt from YWAM Publishing

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I love adding  Christian biographies to our studies so I was excited for our daughter to review Theodore Roosevelt, one of the books in the Heroes of History series from YWAM Publishing. We also received a Study Guide to use with our book.  When it comes time to read about historical figures, YWAM Publishing does an amazing job creating books my family loves to read.  Throughout our years of homeschooling, we have collected quite a few of these books.  But when it came time to select a book for this review, Theodore Roosevelt won easily.  I am glad to say the book did not disappoint our 16-year-old daughter.

YWAM Publishing provides a variety of true biographies, missionary biographies, and historical biographies with their Heroes of History Series, their Christian Heroes Series and their Christian Heroes: Then & Now Series.  Our family has enjoyed reading books from all three series.  I never have to be concerned about what our children are reading when they pick up one of these books.

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When looking for books to read, historical biographies always capture my daughter’s attention, and Theodore Roosevelt was no different.  Several times during the course of reading this book, she bounced into the room I was in with some piece of trivia she wished to share with me.  For example, she was intrigued by the idea of him being a taxidermist just for fun.

He also had an extra pair of glasses sewn to the inside of whatever shirt he was wearing.  So this way, if anything happened to the pair he was wearing, he had a pair to use in that pair’s place.  He decided to keep it a secret that a doctor had told him he would live a short life if he did not stop exercising so hard.  But instead, he exercised harder. He established wildlife preserves and national parks.  During his presidency, he also established the National Forest Service.  He really liked Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett, so he and his friends established the Boone and Crockett Club, which was the first conservation club in the United States.

She was surprised by Theodore Roosevelt’s mother and the complicated relationship between his mother and father because of their different ideologies.  Also, he spent the first year of his political career making absolutely no compromises which affected his popularity.  In his third year, he recognized this fact and began making compromises.  Possibly this fascinated her because of the heated debates and discussions she has with her three older brothers in our home.  She expressed the book was a fun read and would be an excellent book to just read casually.

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In addition to the book, we also received the downloadable Study Guide to review as well.  The Study Guide comes as a link that leads to a page that includes instructions for how to use the study guide – broken down by Small Groups, Classroom Use, and Homeschool use.  The homeschool section includes ways to utilize the Heroes of History as a Year-long U.S. History course.  Personally, I love this idea for students who do not favor using the traditional textbook method.  I could see the books and study guides providing incredible opportunities for exploration and learning.

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The study guide includes instructions for using the study guide along with other helpful resources and learning opportunities such as:

• History
• Geography
• Essay writing
• Creative writing
• Reading comprehension
• Public speaking
• Drama
• Art

With all of these choices, every student will find something to interest them.  Initially, I planned on using the Study Guide with our daughter extensively.  However, she was enjoying the book so much and retaining an incredible amount of knowledge she willingly shared with us, I decided to mainly use the study guide verbally rather than writing everything out.  This method seemed to allow our daughter to express herself easier than writing may have done.  However, in the future, we may not revisit this book and complete some of the activities in the Study Guide.  If we were using the Study Guides, I probably would have allowed her multiple methods of answering questions and more including drawing, since that is her one of her passions.

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There are questions for each chapter include:  a vocabulary question drawn from the text and referenced to a page in the book, a factual question that comes from the text, two comprehension questions, as well as two open-ended questions seeking an opinion or interpretation.  The first three questions are meant for younger students, while the final three questions are more challenging.

As I have stated before, our family has essentially used YWAM Publishing materials since we began our homeschooling journey.  If you would like to read other reviews our family has done for YWAM Publishing selections, click here for our review of C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller, part of the  Christian Heroes: Then & Now Series as well here for Betty Greene – Wings to Serve.

You can find YWAM Publishing on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram at @ywampublishing.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing selections from YWAM Publishing this week, and you can click here or on the graphic below to explore other reviews.

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Posted in #write28days, 2019 Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

#write28days – Day 6 SchoolhouseTeachers.com

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So today is day 6 of the #write28days challenge.  So today I want to share another resource, our family really loves.  The resource is SchoolhouseTeachers.com.  There is such an incredible amount of material on the site.    From planners to a members forum to videos to information just for parents and more, there is something for every family. There are Online Classes, Online Electives, Elementary Homeschool Courses, Middle School Homeschool Courses, High School Homeschool Courses, Homeschool parent support, access to RightNow Media material, access to World Book material and even Homeschool Planners.  There is also a forum where you can connect with other homeschooling parents.

 

When I first became part of the Homeschool Review Crew, I wrote a review in January 2017 about the site.  You can read that review here.

Here is an excerpt from that review:

This site provides a wealth of information for homeschooling families.  There are online courses, elementary courses, middle school homeschool classes, and high school homeschool classes.”

When our daughter recently reaffirmed her desire to learn French I went to the website and found a French course for her.  I was really excited to find the resource so easily and within the membership.

The site is easy to navigate and the courses can be found either by grade or subject.  Our family has been very blessed by this resource.  So check out Schoolhouseteachers.com for yourself.  Whether I am looking for full courses or just something to supplement courses our children are already working on, I always check out Schoolhouseteachers.com first.

There are even forums on the site where you can connect with other homeschooling parents.  You have a choice of purchasing either a monthly subscription or a yearly subscription.  I promise you will get your money’s worth out of the subscription.

If you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew. click here or on the graphic below.

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