Family, Family Life, History, Homeschool, Kwanzaa, Holidays, Unit Study

What Celebrating Kwanzaa Means to our Family!

Well, the holiday season is moving fast and there are only a few days until Christmas, but for hundreds of black and brown people, the celebration continues the day after Christmas. Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday that celebrates African culture and its importance in the African-American community. It is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st. Seven core principles are celebrated during this time: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. These principles are essential in helping to promote African culture and unify African-Americans. Kwanzaa is also a time to reflect on the history of African-Americans, honor ancestors, and recognize the struggles of the African diaspora. It is a time for African-Americans to come together to celebrate their culture, traditions, and community. Kwanzaa is a time for African-Americans to find strength, embrace their identity, and work together to build a better future.

The seven principles of Kwanzaa are

The seven core principles of Kwanzaa are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). These seven principles serve as a guide for African-Americans to celebrate their African heritage and culture and promote unity and self-improvement.

A few years back I wrote a blog about how we celebrated a Montessori Inspired Kwanzaa. You can read about our Montessori-Inspired Kwanzaa here. I have been meaning to update and write about how celebrating Kwanzaa is an ongoing tradition in our home. My son looks forward to celebrating each year and takes part in lightening the candle and leading the celebration. For us celebrating Kwanzaa is a way of life its not just a week, we practice the principles all year. Kwanzaa is not political or religious and it is not something that is celebrated in Africa. Kwanzaa is mostly celebrated in the United States but it was inspired by the South African region harvest celebration of the “first fruits”. I highly recommend that you do your research beforehand and check out the Official Kwanzaa Website.

I pull our Kwanzaa materials out right after Thanksgiving and I set up our area, you can check out our Kwanzaa unboxing on our Little Learner and Mom Instagram. Setting up early allows me to think about our intentions for the upcoming year and it gives us all a full month to think about these intentions. My son spends his time journaling about each principle and reflecting on how he demonstrated those principles during the year. I personally reflect on Umoja ( Unity) and Nia (Purpose) during the month of December.

Kwanzaa doesn’t require a lot of prep as a matter of fact our first kinara was made out of toilet paper rolls and tissue paper, a handmade Mkeka, and one of my son’s sippy cups. The homemade materials were the best because they were made with the principle of Kuumba in mind. We treasured those materials and set them out continuously each year until they fell apart. For our next Kinara we also made ourselves some wooden candle holders. Our current Kwanzaa set is from Kwanzaa Kit. Over the years we have made changes and built off of the previous year. I plan our meal plan for the week ahead of time, I try to include a special dish or dessert each day on the 6th day we have a grand meal that includes recipes from both my husband and my mother. I also have my son pick a recipe he wants to prepare.

Kwanzaa 2022

This year for Kwanzaa we have lined up:

Resources for Kwanzaa

There are several picture books about Kwanzaa, you can find our favorites in our Amazon store. I have also included some resources for games, cookbooks, kinara sets, and decorations. It is not too late to grab some candles (Mishumaa Saba) from your local craft store and you can just use a candle holder and just light your candles. The Kamali Academy Kwanzaa Unit Study has some wonderful printable principles cards you can print on cardstock and laminate. You can do like we did and just make your material, you will treasure these over the years. I have created a Kwanzaa Pinterest board full of ideas you can look over. Here are a few of my favorite Teacher pay Teacher Resources:

The most important thing about Kwanzaa is making the celebration your own there is no right or wrong way to celebrate. Take baby steps at first and enjoy the week learning and enjoying your family. Kwanzaa is an affirmation of African American people’s connection to their African roots and their history, and it is a time to reflect on the importance of self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Kwanzaa is a time of self-reflection and celebration of African American culture and heritage, and it is a reminder of the importance of community and family.

Be sure to follow us on our Little Learner and Mom Instagram as we celebrate!

Until the Next Time,

Mom

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6th Grade, Education, Family, Homeschool, Middle School Math

Brilliant: Premium Subscription!

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Ok so I am in the 40+ club and I try to keep my brain sharp by working on logic games and puzzles. So when presented with the opportunity to review Brilliant Premium Subscription I thought this would be perfect for me. Well, I was wrong…my husband who was laying beside me became curious about what I was doing and took over.

Brilliant is a digital way to bring STEM to your family designed to provide daily math courses in areas of

  • Mathematical Fundamentals
  • Pre-Algebra
  • Geometry Fundamentals
  • Geometry 1
  • Algebra 1
  • Algebra 2

Brilliant is designed to help your student think logically in areas of math, science, and computer science. The program is for students in grades 6th – Adult. What is unique about Brilliant is students will move along a learning path as they work on areas of interest. My student is a rising 6th grader, but he really enjoys working at Brilliant. I think what caught his attention was one exercise with balance beam math, he instantly recognized the concept and enjoyed reviewing this in a digital form. I really enjoy the logical parts of Brilliant my husband and I take turns solving them. I also like how Brilliant will send you emails of new challenges and reminders to log in.

Brilliant exercises take about 10-15 mins to complete, if your student needs to break from the course the progress is saved until they are ready to work again. Students can toggle between math exercises, logic, science, and computer science fundamentals. There are over 60 + courses in the Brilliant Premium Subscription which is such a great variety of STEM learning opportunities that your homeschool is covered when using the Premium Subscription. Brilliant is downloaded to all of our Apple devices and we all are working on learning paths. My husband and I are in steady competition over who can complete the new challenges first. Our son has sometimes beaten us to challenges, but it is okay because I love the benefits we are getting from Brilliant.

If you would like to read more fabulous reviews on Brilliant Premium Subscription be sure to check out the Crew’s reviews by clicking the banner below.

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Critical Thinking and Logic, Education, Family, Games and Apps, Homeschool Family

SmartGames: IQ Six Pro Review

I received IQ Six Pro from Timberdoodle Co. in exchange for my fair and honest review.

This year as part of our electives I am making more of an effort to work on critical thinking and logic skills. I am so serious about us spending more time working on logic I have made it a family affair. We were given the opportunity to review SmartGames IQ Six Pro to review. Smart Games IQ Six Pro is included in the 2022 Ninth-Grade Curriculum Kit Timberdoodle Co. and rightfully so because this game is great for younger and older students.

SmartGames

SmartGames is award-winning company, that creates educational and inspiring games for kids for all ages. We are no strangers to this company we have owned several of their games when my son was younger. SmartGames work on providing games that children and adults will play and learn. SmartGames target the following areas:

  • Cognitive Skills
  • Social Skills
  • Language Skills
  • Build Confidence

At SmartGames we believe Learning through Play is one of the most important concepts in childhood development. Through play children can learn cognitive, social and language skills, and build the self-confidence needed to navigate challenges in life.

SmartGames

IQ SIX PRO

IQ Six Pro is a compact game, but just because it is small doesn’t mean that it is not mighty. The game comes with game board with a clear lid. Inside the little box you will find the 12 game pieces and instructional manual. The game is for ages eight years and older and includes 120 puzzles and their solutions. There are four levels of gameplay starter, junior, expert, master, and wizard. The game can be played 2D (inside box and on back on the back of box) and 3D. I am personally still working out the kinks with the 3D version. The 2D gameplay has been fabulous for us to play as a family. The instructions are easy to follow, and you will find yourself having to really think about the solutions and the outcomes before placing your pieces.

The gameplay simple your goal is to place the pieces as the challenges tells you and then fit the remaining pieces into the original challenge. Sounds easy right? Well, that’s where the critical thinking comes into play because there is only 1 solution. IQ Six Pro is like a handheld interactive Tetris game and but better.

So, this is how my family used IQ Six Pro Wednesday nights is family logic game night. Like I said previously we are longtime users of SmartGames so we own a few of their compact games. I set our games out and we all grab a game and start playing, but because IQ Six Pro was new, we all wanted to jump in a play. So we set a timer and each person got 3 mins to try to solve the puzzle then we would switch and sometimes we would play the one challenge together taking turns trying. My husband who was super confident he had this in the bag quickly finish challenges we told him he had to do a wizard level. Sure, enough he got stumped and spent a lot of time working the challenge.

My son uses IQ Six Pro as part of his brain breaks and logic learning rotations. He prefers the interactive games over any book logic work. He has worked his way up to the master level. I have noticed he will do previously challenges over and will time himself. We have taken IQ Six Pro on car rides; vacation and he even took it to his summer camp and introduced it to his friends.

We really like IQ Six Pro and I plan to give my mother one for her birthday and send a set to my sister for the holidays. It makes a great stocking stuffer and fits well in a morning basket. Just a few minutes a day your student can work on their critical thinking skills and have fun. What really like about IQ Six Pro is that it is screen free and he really has to work to get the solution.

Smart Games IQ Six Pro is a great compact game for the entire family. We plan to invest in many more of these compact games over the next few months to add to our collection. You can also get your own Smart Games IQ Six Pro from Timberdoodle Co. and it is also included in the 2022 Ninth-Grade Curriculum Kit. I would like to thank Timberdoodle Co. for sending this great game to add to our collection.

Until the Next,

Mom and J

Education, Family, Family Life, Morning Basket, Science

Johnathan Park: The Adventure Begins, Series 1 Review!

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

We love audiobooks in our homeschool we try to use them when we are doing activities, as well as to avoid screens. For the last several weeks, my family has been enjoying Jonathan ParkThe Adventure Begins, Series 1. The Adventure Begins, Series 1 is not an audiobook this is an audio adventure for your children to listen to. I was a little skeptical because my son likes to have the book and audio when does things like this, so I wasn’t sure how he would take to this.

The Adventure Begins, Series 1 takes the listener on a wonderful journey of science and faith. Students meet Jonathan and his father and immediately throw into an action pack adventure with him and the Brenan family. My son was hooked from the start. The Adventure Begins, Series 1 audio adventure includes amazing sound effects and all the makings of a great book in audio format. I found myself sipping coffee and listening and wanting to know what would happen next in the story.

The Adventure Begins, Series 1 covers the following science topics:

  • The Evolutionary Tree
  • The Convergent Evolution
  • Laws of Energy
  • Designs of the Water Cycle

What is different about these science lessons is they are taught from a faith-based perspective. I didn’t find this an issue because we enjoyed the storyline and liked that it was something different for us to listen to and opened up doors for discussions about these topics and our faith. The Adventure Begins, Series 1 also includes character-building lessons that I appreciate.

Jonathan Park The Adventure Begins, Series 1 includes four albums, and each album includes three 26-minute adventures. We received the digital version, but Jonathan Park does offer a hardcover version. Downloading the digital was easy to do and I put them on my son’s iPad and we would listen during his handwriting and morning time. Jonathan Park – The Adventure Begins, Series 1 is based on real places and historical events. The story is fiction but exciting. My son wanted to binge listen to these audio adventures and I had to pace him. The Secrets of the Hidden Cave kits the adventures off as Dr. Park (paleontologist), his son and Brenan’s family stumble upon an exciting discovery. I think what drew him in was that Jonathan was a relatable character.

I know what you are thinking I am being really vague about the story, but you will have to grab Jonathan ParkThe Adventure Begins, Series 1 so you can join the adventure. Right now is the perfect time to grab this wonderful series because The Adventure Begins, Series 1 is on sale for nearly 60% off with free shipping in the US using the jpcrew22. Be sure to check out the other Crew’s reviews on Jonathan Park The Adventure Begins, Series 1 by clicking the banner below.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JonathanParkAudioAdventures

Curriculum, Family, Family Life, Homeschool Family, mindfulness, Writing

52 List Projects: Journaling Inspiration for Kids!!

I received My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS from Timberdoodle Co. in exchange for my fair and honest review.

The last 2 years have been quite a roller coaster for everyone. Lately, I have been feeling like my son has lost a little of our connection. It could be just we are just overwhelmed with being in quarantine for so long and the entire family has relied a little more on screens which have allowed for some disconnection. I have been having some major mom guilt about not spending real quality time with my 9-year-old and I was looking for a way to bring us closer.

One of the things we ha My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS. After looking through the book for my son I bought the adult version for myself. My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS so happens to be included in the Timberdoodle Co 6th grade curriculum kit.

The My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS is a great way for your student to spend thinking and writing about things that matter to them most Kids will enjoy the fun list of prompts that help them reclaim their inspirations and aspirations. My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS is perfect for kids who are 8-12 years old. It’s during these years kids really start to come into their own and their personalities really start to shine.

My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS helps students to build “grit, self-knowledge, and acceptance”. Through completing the weekly list prompts with affirmations and parent support your child can navigate their way through adolescence with confidence. There is a “Grown-Up’s Guide” available long on the 52 List website that lays out 6 ways to offer support:

  • Participate and connect
  • Build accountability
  • Offer hands-on help
  • Give older or more sensitive kids extra space
  • Encourage group journaling
  • Listen and honor kid’s privacy

I found these 6 ways very helpful because the mom in me had to let go of the let me help you figure this out and just let him do it for himself. Each week asked him if he wanted help or if he wanted me to read his list. The layout of the journal is very simple there is 52 kit that is to be done over the course of 52 weeks so that is one list a week. The writing prompt is listed on the top and below students have 2 pages to write their thoughts. Kids are not limited to just writing they can do whatever they want on these pages, the journal also includes stickers.

How We Used

I decided that our journal time would be on Friday mornings after breakfast, I brew us some tea and set out both of our journals and special journaling pens. We chat a little about the week and what is to come over the weekend. Turn on a little Lo-Fi Hip-Hop and begin to write. There is no time limit we just spend this time humming to music, sipping tea, and enjoying our time together.

The “Grown-Up’s Guide” also offers talking points for each list in the My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS. I review these conversation starters the night before or while the tea is brewing. I personally didn’t want to have the guide on the table with me because I wanted to have this space free from clutter. Our journal time is meant to reaffirm our relationship and build his confidence. He has really enjoyed the last few weeks of our journaling in My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS.

So we’re slowly moving into our new homeschool year and I asked him what are some things he would like for us to continue to do, he immediately said he wants to continue our Friday journal time and has asked if his dad can get his own 52 List journal to join us some Fridays when he is home.

Final Thoughts

I have seen a great improvement in my son’s writing and creativity since using the My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS. We are talking more and I have noticed a decline in his anxiety and attention to detail. We have experienced some WOW moments and had some heart-to-heart conversations. This has been a great way to kick off weekends because we plan family games and movie night activities. I highly recommend My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS for your kiddos ages 8-12 years. This is a great journal for back to school or the start of the new year. Kids can write before bed or just when they need to decompress and express themselves. A great addition to the morning basket and poetry tea time or if you just want to have some quiet time. This is also great for self-esteem building and a growth mindset.

My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS is available for individual purchase from Timberdoodle Co as well as it is included in Timberdoodle Co 6th grade curriculum kit. Be sure to check Timberdoodle Co. for your upcoming homeschool year and back to school needs by clicking the banner below.

Until the Next Time,

Mom and J

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Education, Family, Homeschool, Homeschool Family, Unit Study

Five Senses Literature Lessons: Children of the Longhouse Unit Study!

Complimentary product received from Five Senses Literature Lessons

I am starting to lesson plan for our upcoming school year and one of the things I like to include is 3-4 unit studies each year. Last year my son had the opportunity to take classes with Kelly Tudor, if you are not familiar with Kelly Tudor she is a citizen of the Lipan Apache Tribe in Texas. She teaches Indigenous studies classes in Outschool, and she is a wealth of truth about Indigenous people. We love her classes and we will be taking full advantage of them again this year.

I mention Mrs. Tudor because we always do an Indigenous study between October and November. This year we will be using the Five Senses Literature Lessons ,Children of the Longhouse Unit Study.

About Five Senses Literature Lessons

Five Senses Literature Lessons were developed by an occupational therapist, turned homeschool. The lessons are secular and can be used as a full curriculum depending on the student. There are 4 levels instead of grade levels, the reason being the lesson is designed to appeal to all students based on their abilities.

You will see some overlapping of skills because not all children learn at the same pace and may need more time to develop skills. The literature lesson covers multiple academic disciplines such as:

  • History and Social Studies
  • Science and Math
  • Art and Health
  • Language Arts

Everything you need to teach these lessons is within the literature guide. Speaking of the lessons you will receive embedded video and resource links for each lesson which makes this guide easier to implement. You really don’t have to print out the guide itself just the appendix section that has all the printables you will need. I personally like to have both a hard copy (planning and note-taking reasons) and a digital version for the clickable links.

I want children to experience learning with their whole bodies. I want them to not only hear about something but taste it, feel it, talk about it and wonder about it beyond what they were shown. I do not believe that learning about history, science, art or language should hinge on how well a child can read or write.

Laura Sowdon – Five Senses Learning

Five Senses Literature Lessons work for children with disabilities as well as gifted children. The guides appeal to all learning styles and I really like that they were created by the occupational therapist because she has taken the time to really design a program that is relaxed and stress-free for both the learner and parent.

Children of the Longhouse Unit Study

Children of the Longhouse, Unit Study is a part of the green level for students ages 8-12 years. The green level concentrates on historical fiction, critical thinking skills, independent learning, and ambitious hands-on activities. The creator of this unit study was very intentional to point out that the unit was about Appreciation not Appropriation I really like this because I don’t know how many times I have tossed a book or printable because of misappropriation.

There are 13 lessons that directly correlate with each chapter in the book. You will find a book list, how-to-use, supply list, pre-reading activities, and appendix. There is a detailed chart that tells you what subjects are going to be covered in each chapter lesson. Students will learn about Indigenous culture, herbology, sports, woodworking, food, anatomy, and first aid. I really appreciate the life skills included in the resource and recipes.

Last Thoughts!

I really like the Children of the Longhouse, Unit Study from Five Senses Literature Lessons. The unit has cut down my prep time for this year’s unit study on Indigenous Studies. I like the included book list for optional resources all I have to do is grab the books from the library. I do like she included the Wildcraft board game that has been one on my list for our homeschool. November is our slow-down month with homeschool so having all the integrated subjects included takes my mind off lesson planning for those subjects. We are working on independent learning this year so having some of the activities that encourage these skills is a major plus. Five Senses Literature Lessons are great for family studies and morning baskets.

Right now there are 7 unit studies available in the Five Senses shop. I am hoping that she will come out with some new unit studies. At the time of this review Children of the Longhouse, Unit Study is $9.95 and she is having a Summer Sale you can save 25% off with the code hotmom2022.

If you would like to see a full walkthrough of this unit be on the lookout for our video on Little Learner and Mom IG.

Until the Next Time!

Mom

5th Grade, Education, Family, Homeschool, Teaching Resources

HUE HD Pro Camera Review!

Complimentary product received from HUE!

When the pandemic struck I was teaching at my son’s homeschool co-op. After several weeks of trying to pull things together for our students, we ended our school year on a sad note. Then Fall 2020 came and like many schools, homeschool co-ops turned to virtual teaching so we could stay connected with our students. Fast forward 9 months and teachers across the country had learn to adapt and come up with some innovative ways to teach online. I happened to follow one great teacher on Instagram and she spoke highly of the HUE HD PRO Camera. Teachers commented on the post saying the same great things about HUE HD PRO Camera. I knew I needed to get one of these because I was also teaching online and needed a better way to present lessons.

When I was approached to review HUE HD PRO Camera I was overjoyed because this has been on my list to purchase as soon as I could.

HUE HD PRO Camera is super simple to set up and can be used on PC and MAC computers, be sure to check your system with the HUE HD PRO Camera system requirements. I first set it up on my son’s PC because he has already told me that he is using it for stop animation, so I went ahead and downloaded the software for him and HE showed me how to use the camera. Then my husband got wind that I was setting up on my son’s computer and he insisted he was next on his MAC so he could use it for recording music production tutorials. Later I set it up on my computer to try out with my summer virtual students.

HUE HD PRO Camera includes a flexible body and stand, you can use the camera while on the stand or attach it directly to your computer. The camera can capture a standard size document or A4. With manual focus and magnification, you can use up close with objects for demonstrations. HUE HD PRO Camera uses a high-quality microphone and LED lights. The additional HUE INTUITION software is spectacular for teaching allowing you to be able to “annotate and manipulate the live video stream”. The HUE INTUITION software also allows you to:

  • Record Videos
  • Scan documents
  • Image Capture
  • Skype

I am super impressed using it with one of my virtual students I tutor he likes to have a visual of the page we are working on so he can find the page faster in his book and we can work together. Now before having the HUE HD PRO Camera I had to scan the sheet then upload it to my computer, then try to work on the sheet with him using annotate in Zoom while trying to manage my teacher’s manual. Now all I have to do is turn on my camera share screen and place the page in a sheet protector and slide under HUE HD PRO Camera and keep it moving. No more scanning and weird clumsy writing with annotating.

HUE HD PRO Camera is a really great addition to our homeschool and my teaching online. I am still learning my way around HUE INTUITION so I can really use the software to make things easier for my students and my son. At the time of this review HUE HD PRO Camera is $79.95 and it comes in four cool colors. You can also project on whiteboards and projectors, this is definitely a must-have for back to school for teachers. If you are looking for a gift to give your student’s teacher I recommend HUE HD PRO Camera they will love it.

Until the Next Time,

Mom and J

Early Math Skills, Education, Family, Homeschool, Preschool

Creta Class: Math Class

This review is in partnership with Creta Class. I received access to the app to facilitate my review all opinions are my own.

Math is one of those skills you want to start your children on the right path. As parents, we are our children’s first teachers and we play all kinds of finger play games for counting and read tons of picture books with numbers and counting. What if there was an app that could start your little learners on the right path. Well, the creators at Creta Class have created a wonderful educational platform for children ages 3-8.

At first glance, I was captivated by Creta Class graphics and Momo and his friends. Creta Class was designed by early education experts to ensure your little mathematicians kickstart their math skills on the right foot. Creta Class experts have really outdone themselves with the app. We have reviewed many apps and I was very impressed with how this app was designed.

Creta Class learning approach is systemic there are 5 stages of learning, starting with the very basics of 2D & 3D shapes. Students will work over the week concentrating on that week’s skill. I really appreciate that the app is done daily for as little as 10 minutes a day. Creta Class Math Class lessons are presented with fun animation between the videos students practice the skill 3 times. Creta Class is a mastery math class, students will practice skills and review until they move on to the next week’s unit. Parents receive a detailed report after each week’s unit as well as students can see their progress. Creta Class Math Class is a great way to lesson plan if you are a homeschooler and supplement learning.

What I really like about Creta Class is it’s not a video game or overly loaded with games. The lessons are meaningful and designed to keep your student’s interest and help them learn basic math skills, without all the extra distractions. Creta Class lessons cover:

  • Problem Solving
  • Arithmetic
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Builds Confidence
  • Spatial Awareness

Creta Class 5 stage plan has 240 lessons with one lesson a day for 12 months. I also like that the platform combines lessons that use both real-life pictures and illustrations. With me having background in Montessori I really appreciated the simplicity of the lessons and they are child-led and focus on the whole child.

My son and I tried out several of the units. My son is older than the app appeals to but he found the app fun and agreed with me that this would have been great if he was younger. I really enjoyed the weekly challenge at the end of Unit 1 week 3, he said it was cool how they reviewed all the week’s concepts at the end of the week with a racetrack race. I personally also liked that Thursdays is a review of all the week’s lessons. Creta Class is a safe and educational app that I would feel comfortable using with a younger child. This purposeful screen time with a focus and goal, I wish this app was around when my son was younger.

I really like Creta Class Math Class for ages 3-8 years the program lays a solid foundation for early math skills. With 1000+ lessons, personalized lesson plans, and engaging activities math is fun and easy to master. Students develop a healthy growth mindset toward math and build self-esteem.

Creta ClassI highly recommends Creta Class, you can learn more about this fabulous math app by clicking the banner below or clicking here. Creta Class is available on IOS and Google play. If you are looking to start your students on a great path to math excellence Creta Class is definitely where I would start.

Until the Next Time,

Mom and J

4th Grade, Family, Family Life, Homeschool, Homeschool Family, mindfulness, Mom Life, Parenting

Homeschool Rewind!

It’s been a while since I have just written a blog piece that wasn’t a review in a long time, but 2022 means new things for our homeschool journey. For the last 4 years, we have been eclectic homeschoolers. I bought the curriculums and wrote out elaborate homeschool lessons. Then in October I started to feel burnt out and observed my son was just not his usual cheerful self and we butting heads a lot when it came to getting lessons completed. Seeing my now unhappy 4th grader I started to examine what was going wrong without homeschool.

Unkownglingy after careful observation our homeschool was starting to turn into the one thing I hated and promised myself I wouldn’t do, we were doing “school at home”!!! How did we get here? We weren’t playing games anymore… hands-on learning opportunities were still present but opportunities were few. Then it was the curriculum I had chosen curriculum that wasn’t interesting and just busywork. What had I done to our homeschool? How could I get things back to our happy place?

The first thing I did was sit down with my son and talk with him. I was shocked at how unhappy he was with our current homeschool situation, I promised him that we would get things back on track. Luckily I kept all of my previous planners and I opened them up and started to examine our previous years. After looking over the planners, I ordered a new planner because I wanted a fresh start. I needed to start fresh and our current planner for the school year was a constant reminder to me of what I had done to our homeschool. I looked over our curriculum and took the advice of a good friend on Youtube and made four piles:

  • Summer Review!
  • Stretch for 5th and 6th grade!
  • Donate/Sell!
  • You were nuts buying this!

After doing a curriculum check I had to do a mental check, we desperately needed to include mindfulness back into our homeschool day. I personally was suffering from weekly headaches and anxiety. My son was also starting to show signs of anxiety because we were just not starting our day peacefully but rushing. So I purchased us some new meditation cards, My 52 List Project, and 52 List Calm. I also picked up a few books for executive functioning and a workbook for gifted kiddos.

I also slowed our pace down for doing actual homeschool lessons. We now operate on 3-4 lessons independently and then the ones that require more 1:1 we do in the afternoon. I am making it a point to meal plan again and prepare 3 meals a week that can stretch for 2 days and the 1 day is a fun meal! I pulled out our Kid Stir, Raddish Kids kits and dedicated one afternoon a week lunch to us cooking together. While revamping our homeschool I noticed we had a significant amount of games that still had their wrapper on them. I pulled all those new games out and put them in the forefront.

I looked over our curriculum and noticed we were doing a lot of repetitiveness in lessons. Now I am well aware that there is going to be review in many curricula, but what I saw was we were truly repeating stuff my son had fully mastered. So I am taking a hard look and decided that I would make some big changes for 2022-2023, we would move towards the 5th/6th-grade curriculum. After all, his math was already 5/6th and he is working well above 4th/5th-grade in language arts, geography, history, and science. So why am I boring him to pieces with repetitive lessons he has mastered. I will continue to analyze his lessons and add support where needed. It was time for a major change and to offer him lessons that work for him and that he loves.

I think what help me validate my decision was watching my good friend Erica over at the Melanated and Well Educated 2022-2023 curriculum choices video. My son is a huge Mrs. Erica fan he studied her video and made his own list of things he liked from the video. He also let me know he wants me to get books about anatomy and physiology and cardiac science because he wants to learn all he can about the heart. With the sincerity and excitement in his voice, I knew he was ready to shift his learning. Little J is looking to expand his knowledge beyond the standard curriculums I was considering. He wanted to see even more of his ancestry in his lessons, my child is wanting to be fulfilled and I needed to pour into his cup.

So many changes have taken place these last few weeks that I know will make our homeschool more of what we both want. Be on the lookout for our 2022-2023 Curriculum Choices and Summer Review Choices!

Family, Family Life, Homeschool Family, Read Alouds

Whatsoever Stories: Farmyard Faith Review!

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew

I have always been interested in farm life. I love the idea of raising my own food and being self sufficient. Even though I dream of the day of raising chickens and planting an enormous garden but it is nice to have the opportunity from Whatsoever Stories Farmyard Faith by Kinsey M. Rockett.

If you have been looking for a book that will take a deeper dive into farm life then Farmyard Faith is the book for you. Written with such grace and endearment this book will take you on journey of a ten year life span as the Kinsey family transition city life to farm life.

With so many different life events you will watch this family manage adversities and build their bond as a family through their Christian faith. Farmyard Faith is paperback book with easy to read fonts and excellent paper quality. Farmyard Faith is over 200 pages of heartfelt emotions to bring the reader and their family closer to their own faith.

From learning to milk cows to keeping bees Farmyard Faith is full of surprises and learning moments for your family. A great read aloud for the entire family. Farmyard Faith is ages 10 – Adult. I read the book for my own pleasure and a few times shared some of the chapters with my son.

Farmyard Faith is a Christian literature but it will work for any faith. You will find biblical scriptures throughout the book. Chapter 26 Farmyard Fun features some insightful information that I found funny and valuable.

Farmyard Faith is a great read be sure to check out the other Crew’s reviews of Whatsoever Stories Farmyard Faith by clicking the banner below.