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 Bible, Deovtionals, Homeschool Review Crew Posts

Review of “Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women” from Zondervan

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Zondervan has a beautiful new devotional to help your daughter grow in her faith:  Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women.  As the mother of one daughter who is sixteen, I am always on the lookout for devotionals and other books that will help grow my daughter’s faith.  So when I found out about the opportunity to review this devotional, I knew we needed to participate.

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Zondervan provides a variety of Bibles, books, curricula, academic resources, and digital products for more than 80 years.  The company was founded in 1931 by Pat and Bernard Zondervan. According to their website, Zondervan has remained dedicated to producing quality Christian content with integrity, which has allowed sustained growth and has established the company as a revered and reliable source for transformative and inspirational content.”  Harper Collins acquired Zondervan and helped form HarperCollins Christian Publishing.

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Our family has used resources from Zondervan for many years.  Everything we have gotten from them always delivers what we are looking for and expecting from their products, and this devotional did not let us down.  I planned on my daughter and myself doing this devotional together. With three older brothers, I attempt to find devotions for young women that we can do together.  This devotional is meant for young women ages 13-18, but I feel that girls older or younger would also enjoy and benefit from this devotional.  Daughters and mothers definitely will benefit from doing this devotional together.

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This devotional includes Scripture references from the New International Version, which is my only negative thought about this devotional.  I would have preferred them to cite the book in the Bible, Chapter, and Verse and then allowed families to use whatever Bible they prefer to use.  However, my daughter and I just read the verse and devotion in the book and then referred to our King James Version Bibles to reread the Scripture.  I feel this extra step provided our daughter the means for comparing the wording in various Bible translations.

Every devotion features an easy-to-read, timely devotion, which is paired with a Scripture passage about a Biblical girl or woman, such as Ruth, Mary, Esther, Mary or Abigail.  The pages speak about the pressures and changes young ladies face while giving them real-life applications to find and include God in their own lives.

We have found several devotions which spoke to us.  One of them addressed the Proverbs 31 Women and referenced the verse, Proverbs 31:10, which talks about the Proverbs 31 woman having a noble character.  The devotional then discusses the concept of an “ideal” woman.  The devotional does an excellent job of addressing how God has made us all individuals who are perfect in our way in His sight.

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Another one of the topics I was glad to see the devotional address was Abigail’s encounter with David after her husband had treated David with tremendous disrespect.  Day 217 addresses this topic.  The devotional shows how Abigail provided the best she had to offer and offered respect in how she approached him, spoke to him and even provided for David and his men.  The devotional makes it clear how much being respectful can go in an encounter with someone.  Days 218 through 228 continue the story of Abigail before moving to Bathsheba on Day 229.

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You can find Zondervan on social media at the following location

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So if you are looking for a devotional to help a young lady in your life grow in her faith and Biblical knowledge, check out Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women from Zondervan.  If you would like to read a review of this devotional from other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Bible, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Reading

Review of The Captain Sun Adventures -Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith

My son loves reading this new comic book, Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith, from The Captain Sun Adventures. For many years now, our four children (three sons and a daughter), have been pulling me slowly into the world of comic books – at least in the movie format. We have been watching the Marvel and DC movies. Every chance they get, they buy comic books or Manga books. So when the opportunity to review this comic book came up, I knew it would be a perfect fit for our 17-year-old son.

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The Captain Sun Adventures is meant to be part devotional and part graphic novel. It is intended to help children develop a Christian worldview. There are currently three books in the series. Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith, the book we are reviewing is the first book in the series. This book combines a superhero with the Bible in a format designed to capture your child’s imagination.  People of all ages will enjoy this comic book with a Christian view.

According to their “About Us” page, Bryce Morgan is the pastor of Way of Grace Church in Buckeye, Arizona (www.wayofgracechurch.com) and a part-time cartoonist with the West Valley View newspaper. He wrote all three books and illustrated the second and third ones. He and his wife have three children who love comic books.

Now I do have to say our youngest son who is our third child is not my most ardent comic book lover. Some of his siblings love the genre more. However, he is my son that is always willing to jump in and assist me with a review. So I decided to have him read this book. At some point, I will have our 15-year-old daughter read it as well.

Our son found Chapters 7 and 8 to be his favorites. These chapters showed the main character was not all-powerful, and he could be defeated. Our son stated that he does not like undefeatable characters. He felt like the graphics were fairly well done. He felt the storyline was easy to follow. Our son also stated that ending did not give him closure. He felt like it would be a satisfactory ending, but the so he wants me to buy the other books for him.

It seemed like at the end of chapter 8, meaning the end of the comic book, it looked like it was heading in the direction of a “happily ever after” type ending, but for him, he felt the conclusion could have been elaborated more to make him more satisfied. He felt like the book implied there was more to the story, but for him, it just cut off and left him wanting more.

You can find The Captain Sun Adventures on Social Media on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

If you are looking for a Christian version of a comic book that has a superhero and references the Bible, check out Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith, from The Captain Sun Adventures.
If you would like to read other reviews by members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Reading, Uncategorized

Review of Kingdom File Series from Barbour Publishing

 

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 Barbour Publishing sent us two new titles Who Was Jonah?  and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? which are part of their Kingdom Files series.  These Christian books for kids are definitely worth reading. Our family has been enjoying their books for quite a while. So we were excited to have the opportunity to review two books from this new series.

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Kingdom Files is a Bible-based book series for children ages 8 to 12 years old. Every book in this series examines the life of a Biblical character and helps children become excited about learning about key people in the Bible who were part of God’s plan and kingdom. The books are written by Matt Koceich, who is an elementary school teacher and creator of the “Imagine” series of books. He makes his home with his family in Texas.

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Each book has a FACT FILE – which includes general information about the Bible character. This includes their name, what work they did (their occupation), where they lived, what work they did for the kingdom of God, a timeline along with key statistics. Next, there is an ACTION FILE – this is where the Biblical story is told in a way the child reading the book can understand. Finally, there is a POWER FILE – where the main lesson of the story is broken down to where the child can see and understand that the Bible stories from ancient times do apply even in today’s time.

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One of our family’s favorite parts of both books are the fantastic line art drawings that help capture the imagination of the readers. The books are written with a font that is easy to read regardless of age. Personally, I think these books would be perfect to use as a read-aloud for the entire family – regardless of age. Our youngest child is 15-years-old, so we each read the books independently. However, if she was in the age range of 8 to 12 years old, I would probably have required her to read some parts of the books out loud to me. I also would have had notebook sheets and possibly coloring pages to go along with the stories as well. Or since our daughter loves to draw, I may have had her draw what inspired her as I read the story aloud to her.

The possibilities are endless. “Who Was Jonah? examines the life of Jonah beginning when God wanted him to become a prophet. Rather than doing God’s will, Jonah instead decided to run away. Matt Koceich does an excellent job of telling the story in a way that captures the reader’s attention. He also does an excellent job of explaining ideas that may be hard for children to understand – such as when the sailors casting lots (meaning using either sticks with markings on them or small, flat stones with symbols on each one. The descriptions and explanations are perfect for children of the intended age range. The clue boxes are easy to spot and provide an excellent opportunity for students to engage in a meaningful way with the book. I could see these being used for oral narration, writing prompts or even family discussions at the dinner table.  There are even note pages that the reader can use to record their own thoughts, the memory verses and more to help with retention.

Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus?  examines the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus played in the Kingdom of God.  It discusses how the angel Gabriel visited Mary in her hometown.  It also discusses how she and Joseph probably felt about what was going on as a result of the pregnancy.  It goes through Mary’s encounter with Elizabeth – her cousin.  It examines the sacred night when Jesus was born and how it came to pass that Jesus was born in a manger.  Our family loved how Bible references were included throughout the book.  It talks about the magi, King Herod, Jesus at the temple when he was about 12 years old, and more.  One of our favorite parts of the book was the wedding at Cana where Jesus turned water into wine at his mother’s request.  We appreciated how the book discusses how Jesus wanted to honor God’s wishes before his earthly mother’s wishes.  But he did end up performing the miracle in the end.

The Power-Up Files at the end of the book provide a Bible verse to memorize along with informative commentary.  There are 10 files for each book.  One of our family’s favorite Power Up Files is the one entitled “God doesn’t Abandon”.  It talks about how Satan tries to convince us that God does not care about us, but Jonah’s story proves that God does provide.  It uses Hebrews 11:1 as the memory verse.  I have included a graphic of this verse below.  Our family felt like the amount of information along with the memory verse provided a perfect balance for children who are ages 8 to 12 years old.

Hebrews 11_1 King James Version (KJV)11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

You can find Barbour Publishing on social media on  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.  So if you are looking for Christian books for kids, and especially biographies for kids, check out the Kingdom Series, including Who was Jonah? and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus?   for yourself.  These books from Barbour Publishing by Matt Koceich are definitely worth reading.

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

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Posted in 2018 Home School Review Crew Back to School Blog Hop, Homeschool Planning, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

Back to School Blog Hop (5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement) – Friday Favorites

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We have been homeschooling since our oldest son was 10 years old and he is now 22-years-old.  So over the years, we have found quite a few favorites.

My first favorite came almost as soon as we began homeschooling.  We were blessed to be in a military community with a homeschooling group that met once a week at Camp LeJeune.  When we pulled our son out of public school, I immediately signed us up for the group.  Even though our other children went to public school, there were still plenty of opportunities for them to interact as well.

Because this was a military homeschool group, the moms had a lot of helpful advice and fantastic products to recommend.  I was introduced to Cathy Duffy’s Top 100 Picks that included sections for determining the parent’s teaching styles, the children’s learning styles, how to create a homeschool mission statement, suggestions for curriculum based on learning and teaching styles and more.  This book is my go-to resource when looking for information for myself or helping other homeschooling families.  I can not tell you how many times I have recommended this book.

Another one of my favorite resources is the Rainbow Resource Catalog.  From the first year we homeschooled and attended our first homeschool convention until this day, this is one of my absolute favorite resources.  If it relates to homeschooling, you are almost guaranteed to find what you are looking for in this catalog or at one of their booths at one of the homeschooling conventions.  I have spent many hours pouring over this catalog and browsing their booths through the years.

When looking for any type of art supplies, Miller Pads and Paper is my go-to company.  Their prices are incredible.  The supplies they bring to conventions are incredible.  Plus their staff is amazing.

Institute for Excellence in Writing is our favorite for writing.  Our three sons despised writing, but once we found IEW, they tolerated it if not actually enjoyed it.  Of course, our oldest will talk up a storm about the time he rode in an elevator with Mr. Andrew Pudewa and had a great conversation with him.

For math, one of our family’s favorites would have to be Life of Fred.  Our daughter started these books with the very first one for elementary school students and went all the way through the middle school books.  She loved the stories and the amount of work required.

For right now, I think that is enough of our family’s favorites, but stay tuned because I plan on this becoming a weekly post for Fridays.

If you would like to read my other posts from this series, click here.

Here are some of the others who are participating in this blog hop series.

Nicole @ Bless Their Hearts Mom
Rebekah @ There Will Be a $5 Charge For Whining
Rodna @ Training Children up for Christ
Stacy @ A Homemakers Heart
Tess @ Circling Through This Life
Wendy @ Life at Rossmont
Yvie @ Gypsy Road

 

If you would like to read the posts by other members of the Home School Review Crew for Friday Favorites, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

Review of God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn

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As a homeschool mom, we all need encouragement from time to time so I was excited to read God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn written by Julie Polanco.   I remember when we first decided to homeschool our oldest son when he was in the fifth grade.  Until that point, I never would have believed our family would ever be called to homeschool.  But God had other plans for our family.  We were blessed to have a local homeschooling community to walk beside us and encourage us.  I love the ideas she presents in this book about Christian unschooling.
Julie Polanco has been a Christian since 2000. She and her husband homeschooled their children from the very beginning. Serving in the Womens’ Ministry and the Worship team for her family’s nondenominational church keeps her busy. Her first child graduated in 2016. She is a regular contributor to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and their Homeschooling with Heart blog. She is involved in the homeschooling community on a local level and through her blog and books. She also finds time to be a freelance writer.
I know there are many who begin their homeschooling journey alone and with no support.  Julie Polanco shares her heart and experiences through the book God Schooling:  How God Intended Children to Learn.  The book is broken down into two sections:  Dispelling the Myths and then the actual practice.  Many people visualize unschooling as children running around all day unsupervised and unfocused.  However, Julie Polanco illustrates how unschooling God’s Way results in children who grow and learn in the manner God intended them to learn.  Julie emphasizes throughout the book that schedules and routines are perfectly acceptable and in many cases necessary for daily life.
As I read this book, I knew Julie Polanco could relate to everything I felt and thought through the years.  I love how everything in the book revolves around God, His Will and walking in His Way.  It takes away the myths of homeschooling being simply doing things the public school way at home.  At the end of each chapter, there are questions to answer that delve deeper into what has just been read.  I found these questions to be an excellent way of helping me to think more about what I had just read.

As I read how there is Biblical support for natural learning. As we began our homeschooling journey, I knew our oldest son needed time to decompress from his experiences at the public school. He needed time to connect with our family, our God and to recapture his love of learning. So we took the time to do those things. After reading Julie Polanco’s book, I wish I could have read this book when we began our homeschooling journey. As my daughter loves to say in general (and not specifically about homeschooling), “Many mistakes have been made!” I know we did a lot right, but I wish we had the ability to go back so I could do some things differently.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the beginning through the middle of the book:

 

As I read this book, I remembered the importance of recognizing the abilities and developmental readiness of our children was more important than what some other person (educator, other professional or parent) thought my child should be doing. For example, our youngest son experienced motor skill delays growing up. So I had to recognize that certain fine motor skills that came easily to our other children would not come as easy to him. We had to adapt and become creative in what his schoolwork looked like. On the other hand, his younger sister did not have any motor skill delays, so there were things she could do easier than her brother. When they were younger, we found a homeschooling gymnastic class that all four children could participate in together. The activity, motion, and patience of the teachers brought our youngest son a long way in his motor skill development.

I love the parts where Julie talks about how children need to be in motion.  Our three sons were extremely active when they were younger.  They seemed to be in perpetual motion.  If they had attended public school, I feel like we may have been told they suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder at the least and more likely we would have been told they suffered from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  I realized they were just growing boys who needed to be active and to be in motion.  So as Julie suggests, I made sure the boys were in motion a good part of the day.

As I read God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn, I realize how different every child is and how God created each and every one of them with His specific purpose in mind. This means each child has specific gifts and talents, He intended them to have. So I can not ignore those facts.  Given our youngest child will be turning sixteen in a few months, the later section of the book was the most relevant to our family.  I love how she went in depth about choices for beyond high school.  With three teenagers and one child in his 20s, I know everyone does not need to go to college.  Our oldest son is now working as a nursing assistant by taking a three-week course earlier this summer.  So far, I think our third son is the only one who will be attending a normal four year college program.  Here are some other quotes I loved.

I also loved how various means of keeping records are discussed inlcuding scrapbooking, journaling and more.  Obviously the more stringent the requirements are for your location will help determine how detailed your records need to be.

This book details a form of relaxed homeschooling that takes the students and families into consideration.  It is meant to develop a life-long love of learning.  So check out God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn written by Julie Polanco for yourself.For your information, the e-book version is available for half price sale through August 22, so now is the perfect time to check out this book for yourself.  If you want to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in family, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

Thoughts for Tuesday, August 7, 2018

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Today begins Youth Service Camp at our church, so our 17-year-old son is attending that.  He left this morning and will not be home until Thursday night.  The youth will be staying in various homes of the adult leaders, including our pastor and his wife.

Meanwhile, the rest of the family is keeping to our normal routine.  This means our oldest son and my husband are working.  I am blogging, reading and preparing for reviews along with cooking and chores.  Our second son is working on projects and other interests.  Our daughter is working on schoolwork and drawing.  So it ought to be a fairly quiet week around the house.

Upcoming Reviews

Here are some of the reviews our family is currently working on for the Home School Review Crew:

  • Godschooling by Julie Polanco
  • Branch Out World
  • GrammarPlanet
  • RomanRoads Media

So stay tuned in the next few weeks for these reviews.  Also, be watching for the Home School Review Crew Back to School Blog Hop coming August 20-24.  I can not wait to see what our Crew Members have to say.

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Now for the topic of the day, I am finding that homeschooling high schoolers can be lonely – both for our high school students and for myself.  Everyone is so busy and caught up in either what they are doing or with outside activities.  Plus, it seems like it is a lot harder to find other homeschoolers with time to interact or that have similar interests.  Plus, we are a military family who moved while some of our children were either in high school or getting ready to enter the high school years.  Being new in a community can make things very difficult for finding friends and activities.

On the bright side, we have found at least one thing that has captured the interest of several of our children and that is the Home School Band for our area.  All four children play instruments and my husband and I do as well.  Below is a picture of our youngest son and me at the summer music classes learning piano.

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So what is your family doing this summer or planning to do this fall?  I would love to hear from you.  If you would like to read about what other members of the Home School Review Crew are blogging about this week, click here or on the graphic below.

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