Archives For curriculum helps

Well planned day planner

Back to School is coming up for us!

sponsored post image3

Do you have a planner you love to use for Homeschooling?

-GIVEAWAY OVER- In the past I have done a mix and match sort of thing, using some online planners, some apps, some Mom type calendar systems.

I think even when you are being “laid back” it is magnificent to be able to look back and see that record of all the things you do over the course of a year. Humbling in a good way. Every day adds up into such a special year.

But, you can get overwhelmed trying to organize. So, 

this year, I am trying to simplify, go minimal, go old school…whatever you want to call it.

I want a planner to hold in my hands. A planner that can handle all my sudden thoughts and notes.

I want Minimal, yet a mix of Mom planner and Teacher planner. A planner that’s not afraid to go Biblical on me, reminding me with verses of my faith. A pretty design wouldn’t hurt.

Plus, not an online planner for me this year. No worrying about whether I have printer ink.

When I saw the Well Planned Day Family Planner, I was drooling to get one. (I even wanted it last year).

But, there is such a thing as a budget, so I waited. And then I got a chance to review it!! (*see my notes at the bottom if you’d be interested in being a #HEDUAgal.)

So far, I like what I see.

well planned day planner

great spaces for thinking through school plans

The planner itself is 8.5 x 11, just the size to fit in your book pile or your school bag. It is spiral bound, 236 pages, with coated covers and color throughout.

The year runs July 2013 – June 2014. It is setup to organize Mom and up to four children at a cost of $26.95. (Watch for sales and bundle prices as well.) Or…win my GIVEAWAY!

well planned day planner

great spaces for memories

While the Planner is not unwieldy, it has some of my “must-haves”

  • It melds organization for home and school together. For example, you have school assignments and record keeping and right alongside, grocery lists and home budgeting.
well planned day planner

We do not school (officially) year round, so this is Mom space for now

well planned day planner

Until school starts, these blocks are MOM spots…later they’ll be more daily task/kid oriented…

  • There are special sections for planning field trips, enrichment activities and books to read.
  • They included perforated report cards. I do mine on the computer, but these are adorable and could make someone’s life easier!

Well Planned Day Family Planner

  • There are monthly tabs and a 2 page layout for each month with big blocks to write in.
  • I love the encouraging articles for each month and the verses throughout the planner.

Well Planned Day Family Planner

Overall, I think this Planner is a nice, sturdy one with a decent number of extra things, yet not too many forms I will never use. I like the convenience of not worrying about printing anything out and I’m just happy with this.

Go take a look at the Well Planned Day Family Planner for yourself AND Enter to win one here! (Giveaway ENDED 8/18/2013)

“For legal reasons, this giveaway is open to US residents only.”

Prepare yourself for all the other cool stuff you will see on the HEDUA website. Because they do offer some great other planners, including a wall planner, an online system, and bundles…oh my. Find what would work for your style!

I do also recommend their magazine, I like the articles and get that myself. And, they have a great facebook page and a talk show and reviews…all good stuff. Take a peek at the HEDUA Facebook Page also.

Now, I said I would share this earlier!


HEDUA has an affiliate program. If you are a blogger and would be interested in earning money just for sharing what you love check out this link:









child using e-reader on iPad

It is Summer! An extra good time to relax and learn while having a good time…

As a home educator and a mom, I really count on technology to provide my kids with all kinds of resources and activities.

The tech resource getting the most use lately in our homeschool and home is my our iPad.

From using safari for quick research, to watching documentaries, to reviewing apps with whiteboards and algebra, my teens get a lot out of the iPad. My youngest really likes the iPad most for watching shows and playing games. I am okay with that, but I try to find at least educational games and things for her on there.

A new e-reading platform launched by Ruckus Media Group called the Ruckus Reader turned our iPad into a fun e-Reader for my baby!

The Ruckus Reader IS the main technology. Within that, there are loads of digital storybooks you can download for your children. Right now, I think there are about 30 titles that work with this format. The titles range from the storybooks to interactive readers (iReaders and eReaders) that have both the story and then games and maybe video as well, and also some of my favorites — the video books, great stories narrated by celebrities.

The titles are basically for kids 3 to 8. You will see old favorites like My Little Pony, Curious George, Crayola. Many publishers are working with Ruckus Reader, so there are many ebooks so far, and more are being added all the time. I just got a notice to go update and get a new ebook that was just added, in fact.

I like that there is a real variety of fiction and non-fiction, and the videos and such. My daughter is already a good reader, so I am not using the app to teach reading so much, but for the younger children, many of the titles are designed to build upon each other and help children learn to read, while the included games actually measure the child’s progress.

You can download Ruckus Reader titles individually, but it is great to download the whole library! The price is very reasonable at $24.99 for six months, as you get access to over 25 titles. OR, you can get the first title in a series for free, then pay $3.99 each or 2 for $5.99. My daughter and I loved getting the entire library, it felt like Christmas downloading like crazy!

Our favorite titles in this Ruckus Reader?

I love, love the SeaWorld Bookshelf. This includes Sharks, Penguins and Whales.

My daughters favorites include My Little Pony and Transformers.

We are both looking forward to one that is coming: Cyberchase!

There is a nice twist on this App, as it keeps track of my child’s progress and emails me updates, called the Reader Meter, weekly.

So what are the Cons?

  1. I worry that I will lose all the ebooks we have if I do not get this again in six months.
  2. I wish all the ebooks would stay under one main icon on my iPad (I hate having lots of icons all over the screen)
  3. Although the technology for the reading is designed around state standards, it is still a new technology. So far, my meter reader is a little off and doesn’t “know” that my child is a good reader. I have seen this with several of our technologies that keep track of childrens progress. It is still a developing technology.

What are the Pros?

  1. I have tons of really well designed eReaders, iReaders and Videos right on my iPad desktop.
  2. With the six month subscription, I have almost 30 ebooks already, o that is less than .99 cents an eReader, iReader or video. And, I will continue to get more.
  3. All are educational in nature and suitable for her age. She does not get frustrated and need help, but sits and plays.
  4. The titles include tons of characters she knows like Curious George and My Little Pony, plus old classic stories that she enjoys.
  5. Most of these titles have options so they can read the book to the child and they lead the child in the games
  6. The reader meter does keep track of what my child spends time on and I can eve email that info to her dad and grandparents (you can set it to email to up to four email accounts)
  7. The App notifies me when new titles are available.
  8. I love the little library shelves in the App. Adorable setup

All in all, I really recommend the Ruckus Reader App. Go take a look! You can connect with Ruckus Reader:



*I received a trial membership for Ruckus Reader in order to do this review. I have given my honest opinion.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Reward Earned!

Over the years, I have tried loads of charts and graphs and reward systems as I raised my kids. Some worked great, some not so well. As most of my children are now teens, the charts are fewer!

Still, I have a six year old, and as much as she mimics her brothers and sisters, she still deserves some focus, some help with goals and chore charts…instead of her mother just fussing at her.

So, turns out, we both love this new site that offers free chore chart systems for kids and teens, called

The site loads quickly and has bright and colorful chart graphics and loads of options for things to include in your charts. The options for little ones use pictures and words for chores, so even non-verbal young children can see what they need to do. Setup is so simple and they have over 50 templates to make your chart pretty. For example, Emma was much more excited to do her chore chart when it was designed all in hot pink, with a girl with a guitar. Haha!

We are able to print out a sheet for Em, but also, I let her login on the iPad and click on each of her completed goals. She loves doing that.  I would love a little app for this too!

Anyway, has free charts for tweens, teens and adults as well. I made a chart for Nick and a goal setting chart for myself. There are good instructions on how to use everything, complete with video instructions if you need.

You can use the site free, and I have three charts on there currently. You can set up your charts to share with friends, which might in itself be a nice incentive, to say, add grandparents to see progress. Older kids could share with friends. I always do better with my goals once I tell the world about them!

So besides for maintaining Mom’s sanity, why else should you use a chore chart? goalforit points out a few reasons below:

  • “Responsibility; A Chore Chart is an ideal way to help your kids feel like they are making a contribution to their family by doing their part around the house.
  • Understanding right from wrong; Setting behavior goals is an important way to help children strengthen their character and judgment.
  • Healthy Habits; Teaching good habits involving nutrition and physical activity are the cornerstone of prevent obesity in children and adolescents.
  • Money Matters; The optional point system teaches children three important lessons for managing money; earning, spending and saving.”

So far, the kids like this and I really needed a boost to get the household more under control for this new year. I am excited to use these to be more consistent. As a mom, I know the consistency is so important. makes it easy for me to be more consistent. If you like they will even send email reminders and parenting and goal setting tips.

Seriously, go check this site out and have a plan for the New Year!


Are you looking to complete your homeschool curriculum for this upcoming year?

I’m in the midst of figuring out exactly what we want to do…it is hard to not overwork my kids, there is so much great curriculum out here!

Anyway, I have more than I need and maybe something here is just what you need to round out your year. So, FOR SALE!

My paypal email is: Shipping is not included. I will ship media mail.

FOR SALE, High/Jr High

  • Exploring Creation with Physical Science. 2nd. edition. Fair condition. Does have some writing, highlighting. Beat up a bit. Will be heavy to ship, add media mail shipping. $65 new, asking $30 plus shipping

Text only.

Text only.

locPositive Action For Christ, The Life of Christ. Includes Teachers Manual hardback binder, Full Color Students Manual softcover, Transparency CD. Retails 42.95 for Teacher manual/binder, 18.95 for student book. Asking $30 for both. NOTE: the first 3 student lessons have been written in).

  • simply draw Simply Draw with Bob Parsons. In hardback binder, does not include dvd-that went missing:( Retails $37.50 on sale. Asking $15 in great shape, the careful child used this!
  • Set of Nine Stories From History Graphic Novels. Retails $6.99 each ($72) Asking $15
  • vocabaheadVocabAhead, SAT Vocabulary: Cartoons, Videos and Mp3s. Softcvr. Retail $12.95. Asking $5

For Elementary:

  • all togetherScott Foresman Social Studies, All Together, K-1 curriculum. Hardbk. new. Retails $43.47. Asking $15


  • Set of 4 Computer Video Games (work on pc/mac) for children– Elmo’s World, Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom, Dora’s Lost and Found Adventure, Go Diego Go’s Great Dinosaur Rescue and Safari Rescue. Retail from 16-20 each. Asking $10 for all 4.

I am also listing the curriculum I need for the upcoming year. If you have any of these and are willing to do a trade on something, I am interested, email me and maybe we can work something out:

High School:

  • Easy Grammar Plus. Nick’s testing results from this year in Grammar…necessitate this one!
  • Mystery of History Volume 2 (I’ll be using Illuminations, of course:) I have some $ saved from being an affiliate, but I really want to purchase Illuminations downloads for High School and Elementary and purchase MOH2.
  • An easy Spanish book/wkbook. Nick has done all sorts of “bits” of language, mainly online. We need to get serious without using too much of his energy on this

My Elementary One:

  • Math U See Alpha

Gosh, I need a lot to do what I’m thinking! Can you tell I’m a procrastinator? My husband and I were brainstorming today and finally…um…finalized what all I really want. So there it is:) Come September 1st, I WILL be ready, Haha!

Mathscore Review

Heather —  February 1, 2010


Summary & Rating: 4 I found Mathscore to be a no frills, supplemental Math curriculum for children in grades 2 through 9. The program was designed by MIT graduates to help children practice and improve their math skills. See a demonstration video of the Mathscore program, You can also look at a working preview from the child’s point of view.  I expect that this program will only improve over time. Some of Mathscore’s research based premises seem very sound. Shoot… I am no math genius but even I agree that children need practice that adapts based on their performance (they call that adaptive math practice).

freeMathScoreDemoI received a  trial subscription to review for the TOS crew. One thing that was immediately apparent to me and my children was that Mathscore is what I would consider plain visually. There are not a lot of avatars and games, for example. The site is very much…well, Math oriented. Numbers, boxes. Using the online program you will find straight forward and timed math worksheets, lessons and activities.

Frankly, at 4 and 14, I feel that my children are too young and too old for this particular curriculum. My youngest loves the bells and whistles that many sites offer and is really too little to pay attention. My older child could, I believe benefit from Mathscore. However, it is hard to get him into it because it is work and not dressed up as fun–and he is already very busy. I do see the benefits of increased practice and plan to have Nick use the program a bit more to shore up his math skills.

Some Mathscore facts:

  • Students are assessed by the program and parents are given recommendations based on these assessments
  • Parents have a high level of control with choosing which math curriculum the child can work on
  • Progress reports can be emailed to parents daily
  • Mathscore would be a good alternative to tutoring
  • multiple users can be logged on at the same time if you use several computers

Mathscore is available starting at $14.95 per month for the first child. There are many pricing options.

Take a look at Mathscore for yourself with this free 2 week trial to Mathscore. You can also access a free worksheet generator on Mathscore.

To see what my TOS crewmates have to say, click here!

A trial subscription of Mathscore was provided to me for the purpose of my review. I received no compensation and I have expressed my unbiased opinion on this product.

Instant Challenge Bridge Builder

Heather —  November 11, 2009

Check out The Instant Challenge over at Delightful Learning. This is a gifted learning type game for kids from Destination Imagination.


I actually have a few kids who LOVE puzzles and like challenge…then there is my one other child who needs the practice of dealing with the frustration of a challenge…then, there is me–I am horrible with spatial type stuff  & I am amazed by what the kids come up with. Basically, that means Mom’s no help! If you have little ones who like to create this will be great fun:)

The challenges have just begun, so jump in and challenge your kids!

Our experience with Instant Challenge #1, Bridge Builder

Whoa, did we have fun with this one…starting with the fact that Mom did not see the downloadable “mom” sheet that gave additional and important directions! Hmmm…wonder where that adhd came from?

Anyway, the kids did have a blast with the instant challenge of building a bridge in 5 minutes which could hold weight, using 52 cards and a pair of scissors (the scissors could not be “in” the bridge). Say What??

emtriesbrid (2)

I have to say, we failed miserably in our first attempt. Then, I saw a photo where the challenge builders had tape I went back and actually really read through the directions! The bridge only needed to cross about 6 inches…we used index cards because the kids wouldn’t use their playing cards…now, you guys care about your stuff?


Ok. Then we had a workable bridge, but it did not hold weight. By then, we were distorting the time rules horribly, to make sure WE GOT this bridge!


Eventually, Nick’s bridge was AWESOME and actually held screws which were really heavy (I was out of nails) So, in the end, we had a ton of fun, but we went way over the time allotted.



Next Challenge, here we come!

Today’s TOS Crew Review is a joy to do. My tech savy kids and I give the Web Design For Kids (…And Curious Grown-Ups!) DVD a high five. We were all impressed by the specific, simple instructions and the ease with which my kids created their personal web pages while viewing this DVD.

Continue Reading...

Today is a Review Day!

Heather —  June 29, 2009

As a kid, do you remember being all excited to organize all your brand new school supplies for the first day?

I totally do. I remember lining up newly sharpened pencils, colored pencils, erasers, composition books…having a special pencil case usually completed my pile of treasures. I was READY. I was excited…I felt like I could take on the world.

I have to say, that is exactly the feeling I get thumbing through my brand new OldSchoolhouse Planner for 2009! I get a sense of peace looking through the planner and adding my own personal notes and plans into my new book…my ONE book…instead of my usual many separate books.

Are you curious about what kind of planner would give this mom of five a sense of peace…the feeling that she’s actually not missing something? Okay. I knew you were, just a bit. As I mentioned a little while ago here on my blog, this year I am a member of The OldSchoolhouse Crew (TOS Crew), and as such, will be using homeschool products and sharing my thoughts about them with my local homeschool group, and with you here on Faith, Family & Fun.

Well, one of these products is the 2009 OldSchoolhouse Planner, the 375 page E-Book subtitled “Making a Plan for School and Home.” The editors have done a great job of determining what organizational helps homeschool moms (and dads) need to make their duties as teachers and homemakers easier. The cost is a steal at $39. You can take a look at a sample of the planner or peek at the table of contents here.

Basically, the Planner is divided into 4 distinct sections. These are:

1. Main Body of the Planner. This section includes yearly and monthly calendars. Each month offers a topic with an article and ideas for unit study, clickable hyperlinks to more resources, and recipes. With my homeschoolers being on separate ends of the spectrum–one preschool, one High School, I am pleased to see topics ranging from “Lapbooks” to “Getting into College”. I feel good about having topics like American Government Basics, Weather and Astronomy.

2. Miscellaneous Educational Information. A helpful section with wonderful charts & tables like measurement conversions and historical timelines. (Great quick reference so I sound like a genius to my kids:)

3. Homeschool Forms. This year I will be homeschooling a highschooler. Frankly, I am worried about keeping excellent records–I know it is essential for this age. I believe this section of the planner will make a real difference in our lives. There are forms in here I never thought to keep, but which will support my child. There are evaluation forms, annual plans, report card forms, High School transcripts, High School hours tracking log, copypages, even journaling pages…way too many to list here!

4. Household forms. These are the icing on the cake for me. Not only will I have my official records covered, but I can feel more in control on the home front. I love the family health information forms, homekeeping reminders, food inventory logs, address book, party plans and gift lists!

The Pdf file downloads easily and all the forms are interactive. While you can just download the file and type into the forms and then print out as you see fit, I often need to print things out–hold them in my hand to really know what I am doing:)

I immediately went ahead and printed my Planner out and placed it into an Avery Heavy Duty 2″ binder. It fits easily. I think it is marvelous that I have all this knowledge and the forms at my disposal!

On top of that, as I get more organized during the upcoming year, I will type things into my PDF Planner and reprint…all updated, tidy, and beautiful! Plus, I cannot “lose” a form–they are in my PDF file! This will be great for using for records. Can you tell I am a “thrower-outer” who tends to lose things? Truly, I tend to file things in “special” places and then cannot find them. Not with this:) I am so glad this came when I was getting ready for record keeping for High School. Also, my state is very easy on Homeschoolers regarding records, but I hear many states have more stringent requirements. Having many of these forms handy can help protect your family.

Another nice option is that the Planner is expandable. The OldSchoolhouse Store already has monthly modules geared to supplement your original monthly units, with more on the way. These modules include lesson options on topics such as summer fun, and federal, state and local government, just to name a few. Take a look at these here.

The 2009 Planner can be ordered right here and..if you purchase your 2009 Planner by July 12th, you can also get the 2008 Schoolhouse Planner Useful Excerpts for free! See my post about the excepts, here

Kudos to the OldSchoolhouse! The only thing I need now is a special holder for my planner that zips, so I can fill it full of photos and post-its. Check back with me throughout the year to see the difference having the planner makes for us!