Archives For Homeschooling

MathRider for Math Fact Games

Heather —  February 3, 2012

Do you find yourself looking for ways to drill in math that your kids will enjoy? I am constantly looking for ways to make this necessary reinforcement seem like fun for my youngest student! I was glad to try MathRider. Check out this math facts game that offers students races and quests and tracks their progress, using computer intelligence to adjust to their needed level as they practice.

Em really enjoys racing “her” horse and does very well doing timed addition and subtraction with this game. We do have several math fact type games and what she likes most about this one is having her horse and being able to do the quests, where she takes her horse on a journey and completes math questions to move on and complete her quest. The game has several quests and I would like to see even more , as she likes that portion of the game so much.

The game does track her progress and adjusts the questions to fit what she needs. There is quite a bit of background “code” so that the game can track her progress and intuitively advance her. It is easy for a parent and student to see how they are doing, through incentives like point bonuses, time bonuses, quest progress, progressively animated rewards and a comprehensive statistics screen.

I think the graphics are adorable and the sounds are very pleasant. Visit MathRider to learn more and get a FREE trial! Right now, the software is on sale for $37.

See what my crewmates have to say about Math Rider


I received a Trial download of Math Rider through the TOS Crew for review purposes. I have given my honest opinion.


Want to find piano lessons for children? Try Kinderbach.

Kinderbach is more than piano lessons. It is Piano, with Music Appreciation.

Each lesson has playing and coloring and singing along so that your child has a gentle introduction to many music concepts.

Kinderbach lessons basically include a video session, with singing and stories, worksheets to color and cut and some type of music practice—whether that is tapping to a beat or playing on the piano. In just the beginning, my daughter learned about reading notes, about rhythm and levels of sounds…and little by little she learned where and what all the keys were on the piano. Additional music pages help kids feel successful in playing simple songs pretty quickly.

See a video about how Kinderbach works on their site.

The video sessions are led by Kari Gregor, creator of the program, who uses a cast of characters to help deliver many of her lessons–small children will love Dodie and Frisco—my child certainly did. The fun videos do all the teaching.

You can use the online or DVD versions and move at your own pace. We have used Kinderbach before, but this time around I LOVE being able to use my iPad for the lessons. Using the iPad makes it so portable and easy for our family! I hear that Kinderbach even has an APP coming out (not positive, though, check that infoJ)

Anyway, when we first tried Kinderbach, we were able to look at two weeks’ worth of lessons totally free. You can too—click to see their two week trial. To really enjoy each lesson, for us I found it helped for me to preview the lessons and print out any sheets we would use in that lesson, so it was streamlined, although an older child could easily work alone.

We do have access to a piano, but you can easily use a little keyboard as well to get going (we did for awhile).

Kinderbach’s online lessons start at $7.99 a month. DVDs can also be purchased starting at $40.45. You can also preview Kinderbach with their free trial. And there is a sale going on right now, hurry! Details: “Sale ends TUESDAY, January 31, 2012. Can you believe it’s the end of January already?! Anyway, 40% off coupon code is: KBclear2012”.

So much nicer than going to piano lessons!

See the Kinderbach website to find out more, and find them on facebook.

See what my crewmates have to say about Kinderbach.


I received three month access to Kinderbach through the TOS Crew for review purposes. I have given my honest opinion.

We Choose Virtues

Heather —  January 19, 2012

Emma has been choosing one card per week to put up on her wall and work on

“We Choose Virtues…simply inspiring character that lasts”

We Choose Virtues is a curriculum for character development that was created by pre-school teacher and children’s pastor, Heather McMillan. You can purchase the various components in sets or teachers and parents can just mix and match some pieces to choose and use the system for ongoing learning.

I received several items, including “Virtue Clue Cards,” from the creator. I think the artwork is fantastic and really got my child’s attention.

You have to see the character illustrations and the content of these! My daughter loves the cards and easily associates a behavior with the character “card” so I can say things like, “Em, remember Cake Jake? Lets get our wanter under control.” And she does! The set of cards represents the 12 virtues for the younger set:

They are…I am Diligent, I am Kind, I am Helpful, I am Obedient, I am Forgiving, I am Perseverant, I am Gentle, I am Patient, I am Self-Controlled, I am Content, I am Honest, and I am Attentive.

I also received ebooks of the Teacher’s Handbook, Memory Verses, Family Character Assessment and the Virtueville coloring book.

These products, from the Our Kids Set are for Early Education-Elementary kids (ages 3-11). The parts of We Choose Virtues are designed to use in a classroom or home setting, and can be used one-on-one.

I really have enjoyed looking at these with my six year old. She is very receptive to the colorful, fun characters and easy to remember concepts. I could see using this long term. Prices range, but for example, the clue cards are very inexpensive at $5.99. (on sale right now).

Go check out all the stuff!

During January, February, they are having some sales:

  1. The 100 Days of Virtue Poster and Stickers will be included FREE with any Homeschool Kit purchase during these months.
  2. Code VIRTUE15 for 15 % off the shopping cart is still available
  3. Code FAMILY for $3.00 off the Kids Virtue Poster
  4. Code SHIPFREE for free worldwide shipping

* only one code can be used at a time

Visit the We Choose Virtues Facebook page for tips on parenting, leadership and inspiring lasting Virtue.

See what my crewmates have to say about We Choose Virtues


I received the Virtue Clue cards, and several download files through the TOS Crew for review purposes. I have given my honest opinion.

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!

A little while ago, I reviewed a wonderful French program for Nick.

At the time, I was more worried about Nick getting some language work done than my younger child.  As we worked and after I really reviewed their site, the Great Commission Languages I decided that the level Nick was using is just too difficult for Em.

Still, I had her work through the sample lessons on their site as Nick worked and she seemed to really enjoy learning French. So, I really want to get the junior level for her!  Here is a sample from Le Francais Facile Junior Level. This is for k-3 and is great, with nice illustrations and characters that children can identify with.

In light of how much I like this curriculum and the fact that I would like to buy more I decided to become an affiliate for The Great Commission languages.  I really do like this course, and i think many others will, too! They do also have Spanish, however I have not reviewed that one.

If you are looking for a language program, I encourage you to take a look at this one! And, please use my link if you do. You can find it here:

The Easy French

Thank you!

Do you like Great Commission Languages and want to be an affiliate too? Webmaster’s Earn Money Here!

Zeezok offers a number of educational products, with a common denominator being their appreciation of history, art and literature. I have reviewed several products for Zeezok, and I am always pleased with the content of their products. (Here is a previous review for Flyboys Z-Guide) They are so creative. With all the ones I have tried out, my students learned while having a great time. The content was solid educationally, they learned…they retained…and they had fun.

The “Z-Guides to the Movies” are no different. These movie viewing guides with activities are great fun and can help introduce or reinforce many educational subjects. For us, we were working through the historical period of the Early Church and the Middle Ages. For a fun, snow day and a transition from Attila the Hun onto the future, I got the “Z-Guide to the Movies” for Knights of the Round Table (High School). I got this in an ebook, immediate download format for $12.99. The movie must be purchased separately. I was able to find this 1953 movie to accompany the Z-Guide to the Movies available for instant download for $2.99 through Amazon. (Of course, if you want to, you can buy this movie, also).

So, I was just waiting for a snowy day in January to work on this!  Here is a brief summary of what exactly is in this Z-Guide to the Movies from their site:

Join Merlin, Arthur, Queen Guinevere, and Lancelot as they battle the evil Modred and Morgan Le Fay for control of the British Isles. This guide contains a topic overview, movie synopsis, and ten learning activities based on this classic tale. Learn more about medieval England and how to become a knight. Write your own code of chivalry or design a castle. Evaluate your personal beliefs with the “Worldview Activity.” Probe the director’s mind with “The Filmmaker’s Art” activity, and get the entire family involved with the “For Family Discussion” section at the end of the guide. Choose those activities which best fit your student’s course objectives, areas of interest, or time schedule.

So, we settled down to make this an all day thing, rather than do a little bit each day—which you also could. I ended up including my six year old as well as my highschooler, because with me sitting with them and the movie being pretty tame, I felt comfortable with this.

My highschooler ended up doing all the activity guide questions and especially like designing a castle. The little one was excited to hear about Camelot. Like I mentioned earlier, we have several of these now and I really like using these for a special treat with the kids. Take a look at these movie study guides for yourself, many titles are available and you can search by time period or by child’s ages.

Visit Zeezok at and see everything they have to offer.

Just another great Product from:

See what my crewmates have to say about Z-Guides to the Movies.


I received Z-Guide to the Movies through the TOS Crew for review purposes. I have given my honest opinion.

How To Have a HEART for Your Kids
Do you love your kids? Do you value them above yourself? Well, yes, you might say, of course I would give up my life for them… But, then again, it is one thing to throw yourself in harm’s way to take their place, a whole other thing to make choices to love them through the minutes of the day. The long drawn out, “I don’t want to do that, I want candy minutes…”
How do you really know what is best for them? What is your Foundation? If sometimes you sit and ponder these things, this book about how to love your children is perfect for you.
I am excited to be joining in this book club for the next several weeks. I have read the book, How To Have  a Heart for Your Kids before, and I think it is a fabulous little book. You can actually read my earlier review of the book🙂
I chose to join in the bookclub because when I first read this book, I felt like I should spend more time thinking about the concepts in the book and even doing some of the end of the chapter activities. But, I was busy. Busy, busy…you know!
As this new year begins, I want to focus more on the things that are REALLY important to me. And having a heart for my kids is one thing that is super important to me. Yet, it is not always urgent, and so gets lost in the shuffle of urgent, immediate things. I hate that!
Anyway, for this week, we were to read the introduction. A few things really jumped out at me from the introduction and I’d love to share those portions.
The author, Rachael Carman, is now a mom of seven. But, when her Mama journey began, she never anticipated having so many children or homeschooling. In fact, she confesses on page 9,
“I had lived most of my life principally concerned about myself and all in all, I had been rather successful.”
She also mentions that after the birth of her first child, she tended to be living for “Someday.” The day when she would “get her life back” and return to teaching.
I won’t tell you all the details, because this is a must read book~ but suffice it to say that she ended up being the teacher she and her husband had prayed their little boy would have.
I love all her stories about becoming a homeschooling mommy.
But, honestly, this book is not about homeschooling. This book is about keeping your heart open to God’s leading and listening to God’s plans for your life…and homeschooling.
When I began homeschooling, it was a funny and crazy time. (Here is a bit of the story) But I was very excited. I had already been a professional working woman, and the glamour of that had long worn off. I had already been a stay at home mom for a few years and homeschooling seemed like a logical choice. Looking back, I see that God had been preparing me for a long time and I probably missed many opportunities to begin earlier!
Anyway, on page 29, Rachael says,
“I had bought into the world’s lie that I had to harden my heart to find happiness as a modern women, when, in fact, that joy can come only by keeping the heart tender.”
So, for me, thinking about the introduction, I think this is the most important part. To make yourself vulnerable by being tender. To see what each of your children really needs. Beyond shoes or toys. Now, noticing what they really need should also not feel like a chore, but a joy–the world is so caught up in material needs that sometimes our children are spoiled and it is difficult to just be with them. Sometime this is their personality (they more needy ones) or sometimes it is our (the parent’s) fault.
Either way, to really love your children, these needs should be addressed. Sometimes this is so hard! And, when it is hard, go through God! Being with your babies should be a joy whether they are 2 or 22. This is God’s Gift to us, having our children!
okay. I better go get stuff done. I can’t wait to go read what my book club friends have written. I purposefully didn’t read anyone else’s yet — hope I followed directions:)
Would you like to join in? Visit for all the details!

Our Curriculum To Reflect Spring Semester Updates–2012

As I finished up our Fall Schedule and did grades for my two that I homeschool, I realized I have changed some things up, and added some curriculum I like. So, here is a list of what we are doing for the next few months:

11th Grade Curriculum, Nick

  • Bible: Deeper Roots, Discovering a Christlike Character
  • History: Illuminations, Mystery of History 2 (Renaissance) also some US Govt.
  • Geography: A mix of Illuminations Geography
  • English: Excellence in Literature, Intro to Literature, Institute for Excellence in Writing, Student Writing Intensive, C
  • Math: Geometry
  • Science: Apologia, Exploring Creation with Chemistry
  • Elective: College Prep Genius
  • Health Elective: Vintage Remedies
  • French, Easy French
  • Computer Science:
  • Physical Education: winter sports, skiing
  • Driving Course

1st Grade Curriculum, Emma

  • History: Illuminations, Mystery of History 2
  • Bible: Little Keepers of the Home
  • English: All About Spelling, level 1, First Language Lessons, Penmanship
  • Math: Math Mammoth 1-B, Life of Fred, Butterflies
  • Science: Real Science for Kids, Chemistry, Pre-level 1
  • Latin: Song School Latin, French
  • Physical Education: Soccer
  • Choir

I haven’t taken the time to link all these (as I am teaching, haha!) But, on my homeschool page I do have some linked if you are curious…and I have done some reviews on many of these (just use the search bar to the right). Otherwise, if you have a question about any of this curriculum, leave me a comment!

Also, please do let me know if you are using any of these as well for similar ages. That would be fun to see how things are working for you, too!