Apologia Educational Ministries, How To Homeschool (A Review)


How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook)


Apologia Educational Ministries

Today, I will be reviewing How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook) from Apologia Educational Ministries. I must say before I start, I was extremely grateful to receive this to review, as we already love Apologia. My daughter, Kira, has completed their Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics, and is just about to begin their Exploring Creation with Physical Science.

A non secular view into how to homeschool with Leslie Nunnery and Racheal Carman, who together bring 27 years combined homeschool experience! How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook)  from Apologia Educational Ministries  provides immeasurable insight and knowledge for new or seasoned homeschool parents.

Although I myself have been a homeschool mom for almost 10 years now, I learned several things I did not know while watching the informative DVDs and using the wonderful coursebook.

The coursebook provided with How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook) from Apologia Educational Ministries is a wonderful tool. The note areas and assignments help guide you on your homeschool journey.  I only wish I would have had this prior to beginning my own homeschool journey back in 2008! Virtually any question you may come up with as a homeschool parent is addressed in this wonderful How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook) from Apologia Educational Ministries! I know many of my scariest moments of the past were addressed in this DVD.  I sure could have used their advice in those days!

Think of this almost as a non secular The View (talk show) type series, where Rachael Carman and Leslie Nunnery speak openly and frankly as to the ins and outs on homeschool education.  The good, the bad, and the amazing aspects that you can expect and enjoy throughout your own homeschool adventures!

Although I wish I had found this sooner, I believe I received this in perfect time, as we are just about to prepare for high school in our own homeschool here.   It is scary and exciting simultaneously.  The insight provided in How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook) from Apologia Educational Ministries from Rachael and Leslie is simply immeasurable. They have addressed, as well as have quelled, my fears.  I believe all homeschool Moms face their task with a healthy dose of fear.  We all question if we are making the right choices for our children and for their future.

The DVD segments are split up perfectly.  They are timed short enough that even the busiest of homeschool parents is able to watch. I personally enjoyed the segments daily with my coffee.  The coursebook made it easy to jot my notes down.  The assignments, also, for me personally, provided reaffirmation of why I even began homeschooling my daughter in the first place! I think as we move forward we can get into a rut, or perhaps lose focus along the way.  I am grateful for How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook) from Apologia Educational Ministries, as it has helped me retain my initial focus and not lose sight of the true meaning of homeschool for my family.

I highly recommend How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook) from Apologia Educational Ministries to all homeschool families.  Whether you are just starting out, or are in the final years of your homeschool, it is a valuable resource!

Next we are looking forward to Internship for High School Credit from  Apologia Educational Ministries ! I still cannot believe Kira is almost ready for high school guys!!!!

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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!



Social Media Links:
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/OnlyPassionateCuriosity/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/opchomeschool
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/OPChomeschool/
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/onlypassionatecuriosity/
Goggle+:  https://plus.google.com/b/110290451358830656260/+OnlypassionatecuriosityHomeschool

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High School Essay Intensive From Institute for Excellence in Writing (A Review)


High School Essay Intensive From

Institute for Excellence in Writing



High school writing can be overwhelming with preparing for SAT and college applications. I was excited to receive High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing for my daughter.

Today I am reviewing High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing.


By now, if you avidly ready any of my  blog,  you may realize that my daughter loves to read. What you may not know, however, is that Kira LOVES to write.  This passion began early on with Kira.  I have totes full of her stories.  I remember at the tender age of 6, Kira writing cute stories.  She also illustrated the stories at that time, which was an extra special treat! Now, at the tender age of only 13, Kira has 3 books, (not published yet, of course) and has several that are unfinished. Her imagination is simply unmatched. I remember when she was very little, watching her play with her toys, creating multiple voices, and adaptive story lines to coincide. Honestly, this child has talent. I am biased, I am sure, as her mother. Nonetheless, I am always impressed by her imagination and story making skills.

Kira has always excelled in Language arts. Spelling, well, spelling is not her strongest suit. Her writing style also lacked somewhat.  We were both extremely excited to receive  High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing.  Kira seemed a bit miffed when she first opened the box.  No doubt, she was expecting a book to read.  I swear, this child loves to read anything.  So when she saw the beautifully encased 5 DVD set, she was visibly disappointed. Immediately, she focused on the paperwork inside.  It was something she could read! Her frown instantly revealed a smile. She quickly unwrapped the printed materials and began to read.  Perhaps my little one might come around to actually enjoying watching a DVD and learning!

Much to her surprise, Kira found the DVD’s enjoyable! From the humorous instructor to the surprising elements therein, and the student responses, Kira was HOOKED! I absolutely loved hearing her giggle along with the other students as she watched the DVDs!

Prior to the lessons, I asked Kira to write a couple of paragraphs.  I wanted to have a comparison to show how she was able to display what she was learning.

This was her preliminary writing, prior to using  High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing;

A Day at the Beach


                The sounds of waves crashing upon the rocky shore and seagulls flying overhead surround me. The ground is grainy and rough beneath me, but the water is cold against my bare feet. A refreshing breeze brings relief from the heat and with it the sharp, tangy smell of salt.

                I feel at peace, in harmony with nature, here. I could sit upon these rocks and watch the tide change and waves roll all day, watch the clouds move through the sky and birds circle overhead, and be content. I love the beach.


Once she had completed several lessons, I asked her to please rewrite her paragraphs, but this time, I asked that she apply what she learned from High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing;


A Day at the Beach



                The sights and sounds of the beach surround me. Crashing upon the rocks, the waves roar as if lions. Loudly, but not too annoying, the seagulls squawk overhead. Beneath me, the sand is hot and grainy, but the lapping water is cool against my bare feet. A refreshing sea breeze brings the sharp smell of salt. It is a beautiful day on the water, and I have lost myself in the sensations of the shore.

                In this calming place, I could stay forever. Sitting upon these rocks, watching the waves roll and the tides change, I would never leave. The beach is another world, where peace reigns and war is not known. Upon this rocky shore, I am at home.


I am sure, as the reader, you notice a drastic difference. I was absolutely thrilled by the results. The TRIAC method works.  I kept hearing Kira repeat this along with the DVDs and she actually memorized it.

High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing is simply wonderful.  Whether your home school student is preparing for the ACT, SAT, or simply wants to further their general understandings for essay writing.  Kira and I highly recommend this fun Seminar and Handout set.



Social Media Links:
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/excellenceinwriting
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/iewtv
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/iew  @IEW
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/iewriting/


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Lamplighter Publishing and The Secret Bridge ( A Review)


The Secret Bridge


Lamplighter Publishing

Kira was very excited when we received The Secret Bridge from Lamplighter Publishing to review!

Kira absolutely loves when she receives mail, but, to receive a book in the mail, well, she actually does her happy dance!  Needless to say, my little avid reader dove straight in! The beautiful binding to this book had me, as an illustrator of children’s books, in absolute awe!

Beautiful binding!
Amazing detail and texture!
Attention to detail, throughout!
Attention to detail, throughout!

By now, if you have read any of my posts about Kira, you know she is quite the little reader! Within as much, it was no surprise to me that Kira read The Secret Bridge from Lamplighter Publishing cover to cover in only a few days!

Kira loved this story.  She said it is well written, and that she loved how the story delved into the phycology of the characters. Kira especially loved the fact the book contained footnotes and direction to each verse in her bible.

Job 22:22 “Receive, I pray thee, the law from His mouth, and lay up His words, in thine heart.”

This passage is the one Kira said most represents the story in its entirety.

Kira found herself lost in the 1800’s!

Her favorite character would have to be, Mr. Jocelyn, because of his good heart and intelligence. She also liked his quirks.

I asked Kira what her one favorite part from the story was, and she replied, “How determined Bridget was when Godfrey returned home, that he would go to his family first.”

The Secret Bridge from Lamplighter Publishing  is simply wonderful. To think my daughter was actually enjoying a story written in 1899 is simply astounding. A vast contrast to the tales of myth and lore, such as Maze Runner, one of her favorites.

The story and the physical book itself are absolutely beautiful.  The intricate binding is absolutely unmatched.  This book leads to be passed down generation to generation…providing Kira does not warp the binding from rereading.  You should see some of her books; many look as though they were run over by a train! Kira has a tendency to reread books over and over and over!

Kira highly recommends this book to everyone.


Social Media Links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lamplighterministries/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lamplighterbook  @lamplighterbook
Google+:  https://plus.google.com/107546529632801860503

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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: https://www.facebook.com/Artachieve   @ArtAchieve
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/johnahofland   @johnahofland
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ArtAchieve   @ArtAchieve
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/artachieve   artachieve
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+JohnHoflandartachieve   ArtAchieve

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CompuScholar, Inc – Digital Savvy (A Review)


CompuScholar, Inc and Digital Savvy

This is a review of CompuScholar, Inc, formerly known as  Homeschool Programming. Although there are many courses available such as Web Design,  and Java Programing, today I will be reviewing Digital Savvy.

As Kira is fairly new to computer systems, I felt as though Digital Savvy would be our best option for her to begin with.  From the fundamentals to hands-on projects, it truly helps your child learn everything he or she needs in today’s ever-growing technological universe!

Although Kira has used a computer for years, she actually knew nothing about the machines she has used. When it came to file saving, searching, or other things that required more than a simple click, she always came to me. Now this is where I fell short.  Although I had with some things, I had never actually taken the time to sit and show her each element into our operating system or any behind the scenes aspects to our computers. Perhaps I took it for granted.  I learned it all hands-on.  I had no user manuals. Perhaps I thought Kira would learn via osmosis somehow? I only realized how little she knew once she began Digital Savvy!

Kira was quite excited to try Digital Savvy from CompuScholar, Inc.  Although Kira does have her own tablet and laptop, she rarely uses either. All of her school lessons are done on our desktop computer.  The normal routine would be that I turn the computer on, load her lessons and sign her in.  It was not an issue of me not trusting Kira either.  I just never ever gave it a second thought.  Mind you, she has done coding lessons on the computer previously. So, when it came to the computer itself, I really never gave it any thought.  Actually, a bit stupid of me really. Especially when I think back to my own transitioning between Windows 8 to Windows 10. I imagine to a child, learning Windows is paramount to learning another language entirely. Perhaps this is precisely why now computer programming itself is being considered a language option for public educators.

I digress, I am straying from topic, aren’t I? Kira was extremely eager and could not wait to dive in. We scheduled Digital Savvy  daily amidst Kira’s lessons. It was simply amazing how much Kira was learning and how fast.

Kira and I both loved the program layout.  Although we did struggle to hear some of the educational videos, despite turning our volume past 40.

Each evening as we prepared dinner Kira would quiz us as to our own computer knowledge. It was cute to hear her ask questions like, “Mommy, do you know what FLOPS is?” As each day passed, her questions became more and more difficult. At one point she asked, “Do we have baseband or broadband?” I honestly could not answer. I suddenly realized perhaps I could benefit from her lessons as well!

The course contains 25 chapters.  Each chapter contains structures lessons. Each  structured lesson contains a Lesson Video, Lesson Text, and Lesson Quiz.

The layout is simple and wonderful. I can imagine younger children would also easily navigate throughout the lesson.

Surprisingly, Kira exhibited zero angst with the quizzes, perhaps because the subject matter was more fun for her. Normally quizzes involve a mini temper tantrum of some sort, whether it be a display of anxiety or an audible sigh of annoyance. Instead, this time, I heard, “Hey Mommy, I aced the quiz!”

The hands on lessons were simply a God send for me personally, as Kira is an aspiring author. I have allowed her space to transcribe her hand written books on the desktop.  Whenever she wanted to work on her books (yes, I said bookS , at 13 she has finished writing 3 and is amidst writing 4 others) I would open Microsoft Word for her and set it up. Digital Savvy includes word processing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

{Insert happy dance here!}

Suddenly, Kira was making her own lists and tables.  Could this be? Oh, a choir of angels sang!

I am absolutely in LOVE with CompuScholar, Inc  and Digital Savvy, Kira and I highly recommend it to any home school family with a computer! We are very excited to try Web Design and Java Programming next!


Homeschool Programming
Facebook – www.facebook.com/HomeschoolProgramming
Twitter – https://twitter.com/HSProgramming   @hsprogramming

CompuScholar, Inc
https://twitter.com/CompuScholar   @compuscholar


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Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer by Peggy Consolver – Author (A Review)


Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer

by Peggy Consolver – Author

Kira was very excited when we received Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver – Author to review! My little reader always lights up when she receives mail, but to receive a book in the mail….well this is perhaps her most favorite!  Needless to say, my little avid reader dove straight in! The beautiful bookmark that was enclosed was also a delightful bonus!


Kira was extremely pleased with this book! Kira said, ” Before I found the story of the invasion of Canaan boring. I never thought of it from the view that Peggy Consolver – Author had portrayed in Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer . I like how it had the two sides, the Hebrews and the Canaanites.

Kira reads a lot. As a homeschool parent, I always fear she is not fully comprehending what she reads. This is especially true when reading her bible.  Any outside source that can compliment bible study is always a welcomed blessing!

The corresponding study guide is a wonderful tool to compliment the story! The cultural information was absolutely terrific, to explore both ancient and modern culture of the  Israelites. Kira found many projects as a result for us to do.  This has enabled us to enrich our present curriculum to include extra fun activities, all the while learning throughout the process!

As if by fate, my husband and I had just been amidst organizing our craft room.  While doing so I had spotted some thread I purchased many moons ago to make bracelets.  When Kira spotted the plaiting and asked if we could do this craft, I easily agreed, remembering the thread I had just seen!  With Kira in tow, we quickly went to retrieve my thread!




Kira absolutely loved the plaiting lesson!

As a fan of reading and art, Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver – Author was a wonderful addition to our curriculum.

Suddenly a 379 paged book has enabled us to fill over a month’s worth of lessons and crafts!!!

When I asked Kira what her favorite part of Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver – Author was, she said she could not name one part as she actually loved the whole book.  However, she did tell me that her favorite character was, Eskie.  Kira said she liked Eskie because he reminder her of herself, in that he talks a lot and is funny.  She also liked his braveness.

Both Kira and I highly recommend Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver – Author. Whether as a stand alone lesson or a supplement to a preexisting curriculum, this story is a delightful way to learn.  It provides an endless abundance of learning opportunities for your young reader, while also providing valuable curriculum resources to enable a full round lesson.

We are so delighted to have had the opportunity to review Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver – Author.  Her historical fiction take on this story is absolutely fabulous.  Peggy Consolver draws the reader in instantly! Kira read the book cover to cover and would not put it down until it was finished!



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