The Typing Coach Online Typing Course (A Review)


The Typing Coach Online Typing Course


The Typing Coach

Today, I will be reviewing The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach.  The course is intended to be used at a pace of a lesson per week, over ten weeks, which we followed. Although, at first, Kira’s pace ran a little over a week to master the first lessons.

Imagine if you will, for a moment, a teenager who loves to write books.  Now imagine said teenager hating to type.  It seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Especially in today’s digital age.  However, that is what I had on my hands! Kira would always cringe with her typing lessons.  I tried YEARS ago, first with Jumpstart, then with Elementary Advantage and Middle School Advantage.  No matter how I tried to help Kira, the connection was simply not being made. My Grandmother gave me my first typewriter when I was only 6 years old.  If memory serves, she purchased it at a garage sale.   As a daughter of a Word Processor, I learned typing quickly by watching my Mother when I would go to work with her.  Back then, the typewriters were simply gigantic! As time went on, the typewriters were replaced by computers. I loved to play on the computers at the law firm my Mother worked at, and pretended I was one of her employees!  I loved it so very much that I took typing courses in middle school and then business classes in high school. Unfortunately, my daughter did not share in my enthusiasm!

Then we received The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach! As with any subject Kira does not love, there was the initial anxiety.  The angstitude (My regular readers will recognize the term. For those of you who have not read my blog before, I make up words. They are easily discernible as a rule) had begun.

I imagine it comes from her father.   He even texts with one finger.  His typing….well…you can imagine.

Before giving up all hope and praying for technology to advance fast enough to predict our thoughts and virtually type them,  The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach provided just what Kira needed!

The course layout from the audio and the student packet to the leaning checks and test were just what did the trick for Kira to actually enjoy the learning process into typing.  She went from her angstitute to actually asking if she could do her typing lessons!!!

It was refreshing to watch Kira actually typing without looking down at the keyboard every millisecond and having BOTH hands placed properly on the keyboard!!!!

I asked Kira for her opinion on The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach.  She said, “It is an awesome program! One thing that I like about it is, with other programs I had to type what was on the screen and when I looked at the screen, I could also see the keyboard. In reality, I wasn’t actually learning the keys, I mean I could still see them after all! Whereas, with The Typing Coach Online Typing Course, what needed to be typed was off to the side, not directly on the screen, ensuring I memorize the keys and properly learn them.”

Kira and I both highly recommend  The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach. Whether young or old, this course is absolutely wonderful and can help the worst typing students become a typist!




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Only Passionate Curiosity, Homeschool Rescue (A Review)


Homeschool Rescue


Only Passionate Curiosity


Let it not be said that I begrudge being a homeschool parent.  I absolutely love being able to spend each day with my daughter.  But….after over 13 years of spending each and every single day with my daughter 24/7, without a single babysitter or day off since she came home from the NICU when she was born, the exception being,  the one night after her hernia surgery when she was a baby……well…..there are a few days where I start to question what the heck I am doing.

At first, homeschooling was a breeze.  I mean, seriously, Kira learned her ABC’s at two and was reading by three.  It seemed only logical that I foster this young prodigy and help her learn at her extremely rapid pace. Flash forward to a teen ager with a teen ager’s angstitude. Yes, I make up words, but admit it, you know EXACTLY what I mean! There are some days where I feel as though I am in a sinking hole surrounded by dirt, with no way to claw my way out!

I remember the nay-sayers on homeschooling.  Mainly my husband’s family.  I mean, who wants a pasty white unsocialized freak? Not my words, this is what they said. Actually, I have had friends (using that word loosely here) who actually said homeschooling is a form of abuse that Christian cults use as a way to control! Although I still think they all have a warped sense of what homeschool is all about, those notions and those words stay. Like a cancer, they spread and infiltrate the mind…..especially on those dark days when I wonder if I made the right choice for my daughter, and her future.

Now, Kira will be the first to tell you that she has zero desires to attend a physical school building.  Whether it be public or private, Kira is completely against traditional education.  I honestly have nothing to do with her opinion on this either. I ask her routinely if she would rather go to school. I have even pleaded with her previously to at least try school. This would be amidst an angstitude moment!

When I first began homeschooling, I told my husband as long as she was progressing and learning to pace with her age range/grade level, I would continue homeschooling. I just never realized what it all entailed. Being a result of the public education system in Miami, I now realize how little I actually had to learn. I was blessed with electives.  I personally always chose art or music. How I managed to get by and never have a form of geography, or even economics, is beyond me. My daughter, however, is not afforded such luxury.  (That is a joke, it is not a luxury to be ignorant!)

The best part of being a homeschool Mom is learning everything you were never taught, right along with your child!

When days come where rolling out of bed and having to not only illustrate a book, create multiple advertisements for published books, deal with social media for a global company, do the laundry, cook meals, and be mentally alert, but then also have to be an attentive educator arise, and all I want is to sleep happen……what the heck am I to do?!?!?! I had been mentally unplugging.  Virtually going on autopilot.  Mind you, I did not know I was doing this.  I did not know the word NO! In doing this all, I managed to over obligate myself.  When I say over obligate, I mean full on 18+ hour days.  And these obligations provided virtually no reward of payment, or anything else, for that matter. My autopilot mode had lead me straight towards what could have been a meltdown.  Then I visited Only Passionate Curiosity!

Homeschool Rescue.  Those words are apt, it is a rescue!

The entire course provides immeasurable content and resources. Whether you watch the videos or read the transcripts, (this is what I did as I read as Kira was amidst her lessons) you realize you are not alone! Additionally, the Facebook group also provides an even greater sense of inclusion. Learning you are not the only Mom doubting every move you make is certainly a relief!

I personally was ready to jump straight to module 5.  However, I am glad I did not.  Each module presented key points and valuable resources for our homeschool.

I only wish this was available when I first began teaching Kira.  However, I do believe all things happen for a reason.  This came just in time for me personally.  My burnout was about a week away, in all honesty. Between my health, my increased workload,  and Kira’s angstitude, I began drastically doubting everything I was doing.

The 60 day planner alone was a God send.

I highly recommend Homeschool Rescue from Only Passionate Curiosity to each and every homeschool family!



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ArtArchive, Entire Level III (A Review)


Entire Level III

From ArtAchieve

Today I will be reviewing ArtAchieve and the Entire Level III. As an artist/illustrator, I am always tickled when Kira gets excited about art. I do not expect her to follow in my shoes, but love that she enjoys art as much as I do. I admit, when I was her age, I was nowhere near as artistically skilled as she is.  I could attempt to take credit, as I did start teaching her extremely young. However, her talent is all her own doing; I merely foster her talent. When I was 13, I was nowhere near as able to grasp detailing, shadows and light as Kira is.  When I saw ArtAchieve, I knew it was right up Kira’s alley.  It is simple enough for the youngest budding artists, yet intricate enough to hold the attention of older artists,  admitting myself included!

Our lessons included a few from Level II, so Kira began with those.

Kira was excited to do the Level II Lesson 4 : The Elephant From Ghana. 

The background for the style provided is wonderful.  I found myself learning right along with Kira.  I also thought the relaxation technique was great! Kira especially enjoyed the warm ups! As an artist, I personally had never known of this, but it was quite obvious it helped Kira tremendously with the lessons.

Kira doing the warm up

At this point, I must add this in, Kira kept saying,  “Gandhi’ instead of Ghana by mistake.  I would be remiss if I did not mention the multiple Cross Curricular Connections opportunities.  In this one lesson alone I was provided the opportunity to help Kira learn not only about Ghana and the beautiful artistic traditions, but also a lesson about Gandhi. Each lesson provides wonderful opportunities for the Cross Curricular Connections.

Kira’s completed lesson

Next Kira tried her hand at Level II: Hiding Butterflies. This one posed more of a challenge for Kira.  But it was a good challenge, if you ask Kira.

Ready to paint her drawing!

 Kira tends to struggle mentally with her painting. She seems to love using pastels, markers, paint pens, or colored pencils more.  I am not sure why, as I absolutely love all of her paintings.  I was incredibly impressed with her clean lines on her drawings.  I cannot manage lines to smooth! The warm up technique certainly helps.

Kira loved the Cross Curricular Connections we were provided in this lesson.  Besides the fact we both are extremely fond of butterflies, Kira absolutely LOVES science! The science behind the camouflage thrilled her!

Kira amidst painting

As an artist, we have all materials needed for the lessons already, but the required tools are really inexpensive and easy enough to find! We have enough acrylic to paint a house. Kira chose her own colors and design. I, for one, absolutely loved it.

Kira's completed lesson
Kira’s completed lesson

Remember me mentioning Kira not being fond of her painting? Well, I am assuming this would be why she decided, on her own time, to do her own take on the lesson using her oil pastels. The techniques she learned from ArtAchieve were apparent!

Kira's own drawing.

Kira was ready to dive into Lesson III! By now, Kira was a pro.  She didn’t even need me anymore.  That is always a bittersweet feeling.  I still am not used to Kira turning the computer on and logging into a site and doing everything on her own.  Okay, I admit, I still feel odd when she makes her own breakfast and lunch too!  Sometimes it seems she is growing up much too fast.  I digress, I have strayed from topic! Lesson III: The Hawaiian Frog; Kira loved this one!

Kira and her Hawaiian Frog!

I could see Kira’s confidence building with each lesson.  ArtAchieve has helped build Kira’s confidence immeasurably!  Although I only ask one lesson a week, Kira expressed desire to more. Here are a few more pictures of Kira and her lessons.

Kira painting!
Kira’s progress

I am extremely pleased with ArtAchieve!

Kira and I both highly recommend ArtAchieve to all home school families, young or old.

Social Media Links:
Facebook:   @ArtAchieve
Instagram:   @johnahofland
Twitter:   @ArtAchieve
Pinterest:   artachieve
Google+:   ArtAchieve

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Reviewing Bessie’s Pillow Published by Strong Learning Inc

Reviewing Bessie’s Pillow Published by Strong Learning Inc



This a review of the book, Bessie’s Pillow  published by Strong Learning Inc.

Kira loves to read.  Love is an understatement, actually. By the age of 6 she had read virtually all of the young children’s section of our local library. This was on top of her own personal collection which held 200+ titles.

Her love of reading was inherited from my Mother, I imagine.  Many of her personal collection were given to her by my Mother before she passed from cancer in 2009. I mention my Mother as the following review will have quite a bit to do with her.

I knew prior to receiving the book that this would be a wonderful lesson for Kira,  especially with the current state of affairs in our country with immigration.  As descendants of immigrants, I felt this was a perfect lesson prompt for Kira about immigration. Linda Bress Silbert’s “Bessie’s Pillow” is an absolutely perfect way to begin a homeschool lesson about immigration. Her historical fiction first person account of an immigrant’s plight truly is outstanding and a perfect way to introduce a young mind into the world of an immigrant.

Kira quickly read through the 279 (small font) novel in an afternoon.  I did not ask Kira to read it quickly.  This was her own doing.  Although she loves reading, she does not love every book she reads.  Bessie’s Pillow falls under the category of a book she loved.

Kira’s favorite character was Nathan Dreizen. Kira normally finds history boring, but said this story was great.

After reading the book, Kira was curious and eager to learn more.  She asked permission to visit the Bessie’s Pillow website as mentioned in the back of the book. Once we visit the site and landed on the Discover Bessie’s America page, the fun began!

Once we began exploring the website we quickly navigated to the European Immigration page. Once there, we started our own little ancestry search. I knew a handful of information only.  As I mentioned earlier, I lost my Mother in ’09 to cancer.  I lost my father at the tender age of 11.  Both my maternal and paternal grandparents have also passed.  Although I do have quite a gigantic family on both sides, I do not have a great deal of lineage information.  In tow with what little I could remember, we began our search.  What a delight this was!  I had done this once before in about 2007….information was not as readily available as now,  however, and I could not find much at all. This time though, we found a plethora of knowledge all at our hands courtesy of the links on :Discover Bessie’s America page!

My Mother’s grandparents hail from Ireland and Germany, we found them in no time. Our search took us back to my great-great grandparents before we were forced to stop for dinner! I printed off what we found. We next will begin our search on my Father’s side, then we get to begin my husband’s ancestry.

Now our St. Patrick’s day celebration and my preparation of brisket and soda bread has a new meaning for Kira, as do the decorations around our home on the holiday. The history behind the celebrations we have will help keep traditions for many generations to come, I hope.  I fondly remember my Nana telling me stories and now I can share those with Kira.

Bessie’s Pillow , published by Strong Learning Inc. provided the perfect gateway to a fabulous lesson which shall last us for several months.

Our searches have not cost us a single penny either! Although there are several sites out there that may provide more information at a price, we managed to obtain all our information without spending any money!

Kira and I highly recommend Bessie’s Pillow to every home school family.
Twitter:  @BessiesPillow


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Creating A Masterpiece Monthly Plan

 Creating A Masterpiece’s Monthly Plan

Create A Masterpiece Logo

This a review of Create A Masterpiece’s Monthly Plan.  My daughter Kira decided to use lessons in charcoal for our review of Creating A Masterpiece’s monthly plan. It has been a wonderful journey with Creating a Masterpiece. Kira has learned a lot and loved each moment!


Lessons in Charcoal: Sailing Adventure and Lessons in Charcoal Shading; Stork, both available on the wonderful Creating A Masterpiece site.

Kira has been having a blast with Create A Masterpiece!!!

Kira began with the Lessons in Charcoal; Sailing Adventure.

Being an artist myself, you would think I could easily teach Kira the basics of charcoal. Indeed I have tried. But Kira would become frustrated easily when I did try.

We both would end up with soot-colored hands and extremely frustrated. I felt dreadful because I really could not explain properly for Kira to learn.

I think it is  easier for me to just create art than actually try and explain my personal process.  Especially when I do not follow any sort of fundamental technique. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised as Kira began immediately sketching along with the videos as she watched. I kept my distance and although I could see and hear everything, I essentially was not involved what so ever. I knew from previewing the videos myself prior that all any young budding artist needed was there for the viewing. I just hoped that Kira would soak it up like a little artistic sponge!

Create A Masterpiece Logo

Kira has always loved to draw.  It was no big surprise when she quickly completed her first lesson. Although she  is her own worse critic, I was absolutely amazed at the results and how quickly she achieved them with Creating A Masterpiece! When she was frustrated, Kira could pause the lesson and walk away. The waves and mast had her slightly annoyed at first. But as quick as that came, it soon left! The monthly plan is a phenomenal deal for any family!


Create A Masterpiece Logo

Once she completed the lesson, Kira requested to try more, even asked if she could try a more difficult level! I of course was beaming with pride.  It always excites me when Kira is eager to learn!

Create A Masterpiece Logo

Once Kira began her second Creating A Masterpiece lesson, Charcoal Shading: Stork, her pace slowed a bit. I could see and hear that she was learning a lot more with the more advanced lesson.  She would pause the video and study her piece and take her time.  Kira was slightly frustrated at first with the legs. I believe she finally grasped that art is far from perfect and saw how wonderfully her own Stork was becoming!

Create A Masterpiece Logo

Once completed, Kira was SMILING! Finally, something she made that she liked! It was very hard not to try and say, “do this” or “try that”. But I knew that she needed ZERO input from me.  The lesson was completely inclusive. All I had to supply was charcoal and a sketch pad, which of course we had plenty of.

Now Kira would like to tackle even harder lessons.  I imagine before long my child will surpass me artistically, if she has not already.  I am perfectly fine with that.  In fact, I absolutely love it!

I wish I had learned about this site sooner. The lessons are absolutely amazing. Kira and I highly recommend Creating A Masterpiece to every home school family.

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Reviewing Creative Freewriting Adventure


Reviewing Creative Freewriting Adventure

Kira has been having a blast creative writing  with Home School Adventure Co.’s Creative Freewriting Adventure!

This a review of the Creative Freewriting Adventure: A journey into freewriting.

For some children, writing  is a difficult task. Trying to create the perfect story and rewriting over and over can seem quite mundane to any child.  With the tools available from Philosophy Adventure , children are able to establish writing skills  over the course of several weeks with clear step-by-step instructions and writing checklists!

At first Kira was EXTREMELY leery.  When she first read her instructions, Kira freaked out.  It was….wait for it…..wait…..TIMED! Now how dare they?!? Kira has always panicked when something was timed. When I say panic, I mean full bodied anxiety.  There is nothing quite like watching your child go into meltdown over something so… well, let’s face it, trivial.  I (in my mind, of course) counted to ten, took a deep breath and told Kira to just give it a try. After all, it was for a review.  If she hated it, no big deal. What happened next was nothing short of a God given miracle!

Her first writing prompt was about Thales. She was provided 15 minutes to come up with a story. Much to her surprise, she completed her story in 13 minutes.  Mind you, she does not like the story, but was impressed that she was actually able to write it in under the allotted time! Here is her story from this first lesson;

I set out late one night for the well, thirsty for a drink of water. When I arrived, what a sight did I see before my eyes!

     It was Thales, the old philosopher. Like normal, he was watching the constellations, not paying a lick of attention to where he was going. many in the village say he is a batty old loon, but I like his philosophy and way of thinking.

     Anyways, Thales was not watching the ground below his feet, so he did not see the large stone protruding from the ground just a few feet in front of him. I started to cry a warning, But, alas, it was too late! He tripped magnificently and fell in the well with a loud cry and a large splash.

     So maybe it was wrong, but I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing. I extended a hand and pulled the old man out of the water. “Are you okay?” I asked him.

     He did not respond, but walked away with an indignant turn of his head, dripping a trail of water as he went. And, of course, he was still gazing at the stars.

     I watched, bewildered, for a minute, then turned to get that forgotten drink of water.


By the time she made her way to a prompt to write her own take on another book she felt like a pro!!! In the allotted time of 30 minutes she was able to complete the two part prompt in 25 minutes. Here is her story;

She was shroud in black, and spoke not a word, like a mysterious ghost of foreboding.

     I am just a simple scribe, working under His and Her Majesties. I have worked for them almost three decades now, but never have I seen anything like this.

     Princess Rosalie, their daughter, is a troubled and troublesome young lady. She moans and frets constantly, unhappy with this “awful life”, and upsetting the castle. If you ask me, she is just spoilt-rotten and deserve nothing more than a what-for.

   Tonight, as the moon rises with the twilight sky, they have called upon this woman in black to fix their daughter. They call her simply ” the wise woman”.

     “Please,” the queen pleads with her, “there has to be something you can do to help her.”

   The cloaked woman listens silently, impassive, almost. When they have finished their testimony, she takes the king’s goblet in one hand, gnarled and wizened from age. She raises it to the black expanse ‘neath her hood and drains it, slamming it down on the table.

     “I’ll be back.”

     They were the only words she spoke that night. She glided swiftly and silently out of that room and out of the palace.                                    


     It is the second night, and the “wise woman” has returned. The king and queen are watching her with hopeful faces. She circles the room, surveying both the room and the food and drink on the table.

     Finally she comes to a stop before the king’s throne. Thunder bellows outside. She stands before him and unclasps her robe.

     We gasp and cover our eyes, not from the sight of her, but, rather, the blinding light radiating from her. Within a few moments, the light is lessened, though not completely gone, and we open our eyes.

     The king and queen look around the throne room, bewildered. It is obvious that, for them, she has disappeared.

     I, however, can still see her with my eyes. Unlike the hand yesterday told, she is not a wizened old crone, but a beautiful young maiden, more beautiful than any princess I ever have and ever will see. She was not unclothes, but clad in a shimmering emerald dress.

     “If you want my help, there is a price to pay!” she cries in a voice that is sweeter than honey, but stronger than steel.

To complement the wonderful writing lesson there is an amazing coloring book!

For my mini artist/writer this was quite the bonus! Kira had a blast writing and coloring!

I let Kira pick her favorite to post;

I admit that Kira has always loved to write. So writing was not her learning struggle. It was the timing aspect. I tried to explain to her what creative writing was like for me in school. Hard to compare when being asked, “Is that not why you home school me?” Yes, Kira is quick on her feet! But I remembered being timed, I actually loved it because it forced me to focus. I see how it has done the same now with Kira! Although she has always written amazing stories, this has forced her to actually fully focus. It is an enormous blessing in all of her lessons!

Philosophy Adventure is designed to help students 6th-12th grade. The lessons are great by themselves or can be used to complement other educational resources.  You need nothing extra either! Well, a pen and a computer of course.

They have subjects including English Composition, World History/Geography, Speech/Communications, and Logic/Critical Thinking.

Kira shares her own review here;


I wish I had learned about this site sooner. The resources are absolutely amazing. Kira and I highly recommend Home School Adventure Co to every home school family.

You are invited to sign up for Home School Adventure’s  newsletter and receive a free Study on Thales – The Father of Western Philosophy. The study includes: Thales Lesson, Note booking Page, Freewriting Assignment, Memory Cards, and more.

Twitter:  @HomeSchoolAdven




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Review of the Yearly Membership




Today I am reviewing and their Yearly Membership.

Being a mother to an exceptionally smart 12 year old (Kira would quickly point out she is mere days away from being 13) requires that I must find as many educational resources as humanly possible to help me with her studies as a homeschool Mom!

The task of combing Barnes And Nobel can become quite frustrating as my daughter loves to read….the distractions from the educational section to the young adult books is seemingly never ending.

I have found an absolutely fantastic solution, !

I was thrilled to receive this free membership to review through the Homeschool Review Crew. I had been considering the membership for a while now.  As a new member, I was excited to receive the 2017 Annual Print Edition free! This is available to all new members who join prior to January 15th.

Where do I begin? My gosh…from building a customized schedule to guidance on what to teach when, the possibilities are virtually limitless.  When I first began reading, I feared that it would be information overload. I quickly realized it would make my entire homeschool process easier than it has ever been!


The freedom to download and print lessons at the pace my daughter learns is absolutely wonderful. And the lessons are completely inclusive.  I found myself learning right along with my daughter.  We are especially fond of the check list each lesson contains to help us maintain progress.  There are even certificates of completion and final course in Applecore available.  And all is set by your pace.

From preschool to the 12th grade. Every subject imaginable. Full lesson plans as well as videos and tutorials.

My daughter dove in head first.  Even though KIra was technically still on a holiday break, she was eager to explore.  It was no big surprise when my budding artist/architect chose Classical Archaeology. Perhaps the biggest sign that my daughter is enjoying what she is learning is when she tries to teach me.  I believe that not four minutes of silence would pass without her telling me something new and fascinating. To watch Kira delight as she was actually learning is extremely rewarding for me personally.  Even when she had to draw a once dreaded map…..   Years ago I used another curriculum  (which shall remain nameless for the moment) that required Kira drawing maps. Many maps.  It became the absolute worst part of her studies quite honestly.  Although she has never thrown a tantrum, these maps have brought her close to doing so previously. Within as much when Kira mentioned having to draw a map I gasped.  I immediately tensed up for fear she would be upset.  Much to my surprise it was the opposite! There was my daughter drawing her map and giggling and ENJOYING her lesson.  Small victory! This in itself makes me absolutely recommend and the Yearly Membership to all homeschool families.

Personally I imagine I will more than likely continue to use throughout Kira’s education straight through to the 12th grade. I only regret not using this sooner and am already amidst letting her used the lessons beneath her current grade as there is more here than I previously had used!





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