Thursday, August 16, 2018

Homeschool Review: GOD Schooling (Julie Polanco Books) #hsreviews #GodSchooling #ChristianUnschooling #RelaxedHomeschooling


I've been a homeschooling momma for 19 years.  Over the course of my homeschooling years, I've read tons of books about the many different ways that homeschooling can be successfully done.  I enjoy reading about how others make home education work for them and I like finding new ideas to implement at my house.  I love that we have the privilege to educate our children at home -- and that we can use a mixture of things to make it a good experience for each of our families.  As we began our final Senior year, I have spent some time reflecting on the past few years and wondering if we have done enough preparation to send our "baby" off into the world.  You know, sometimes a momma just needs a bit of encouragment and I have found just that in the book GOD Schooling:  How GOD Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco.  I especially like it when moms can stand shoulder to shoulder and offer hope to one another.  Isn't that what we are called to do?

I daresay that none of our homes look exactly alike and none of homeschooling is exactly the same, but I do believe that we all want the very best for our children.  I was highly encouraged to read Julie's heart as she shared her journey to be more obedient to GOD's plan for her family.  She grabbed hold of my heartstrings in the very first chapter when she said that GOD led her "on a journey to re-examine my goals, my relationships, everything."  Y'all, these words resonated deeply within me and I couldn't wait to join her on the journey to joy and peace.  Even though I've graduated three, I can't help but worry "am I doing this right?".  I needed the reminder that in the end these are HIS children and HE has designed a special plan just for them.  GOD doesn't need me to prepare them for HIS plan, but HE's been so gracious to allow me to be their mom and walk this walk alongside them.  What a balm to this mom's soul to read this:

Doesn't HE prepare you to do HIS Will in the most miraculous, mind-boggling ways that have very little to do with your own efforts?  Do you think that the CREATOR of the Universe would leave your child's future, HIS future, entirely in your hands?


GOD Schooling:  How GOD Intended Children to Learn is a 163-page, 9-chapter book that begins with what the Bible says about homeschooling and walks with you through the developmental stages of childhood sharing tips and and ideas for how to help your children learn along the way.  At the end of each chapter, there are study questions to answer and ponder and pray over and discuss.  There is such insight in these chapters for parents as we seek to turn our children's hearts toward Heaven.  What I like most of all is that Julie promotes relationship above all else -- both your relationship with JESUS and your relationship with your children.  She reminds us to PRAY fervently, to play with our children, and to value our time with them.  This idea of education through relationship is making all the difference in the world in my home right now.  My daughter and I have had the absolute BEST few weeks as we talk and learn together.  It has sent a breath of fresh air through our household as our relationship transforms.

As a homeschooling mom of four, Julie writes from the trenches.  She has walked the walk.  I appreciate her insight into high school transcripts and graduation celebrations and am using several of her tips as I work through this Senior year.  I want my girl to be passionate about what she's studying and what she's learning.  I appreciate Julie's relaxed homeschooling style and wish that I had been able to read this book way back at the beginning of my homeschooling journey.  She has changed the way that I look at so many things already and has helped to calm my fear and worry.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that GOD called me to homeschool my children.  I have often let the whispers of the world make me question our journey.  GOD Schooling:  How GOD Intended Children to Learn reminds me that I'm not on this path alone.


Julie Polanco Books

You can find out more about Julie Polanco's books by visiting the following Social Media sites:


You can receive a preview of GOD Schooling:  How GOD Intended Children to Learn right now when you visit the website and subscribe to the monthly newsletter.  How cool is that?  The e-book is currently on sale (1/2 price!) through August 22.  Check it out!

I was given the opportunity to review GOD Schooling:  How GOD Intended Children to Learn from Julie Polanco as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this topic pack and how they used it (or just click on the banner below).  

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn {Julie Polanco Reviews}


Crew Disclaimer

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Homeschool Review: Paddington Bear (Branch Out World) #hsreviews #BOWresources #projectfuntolearn #PictureBookExplorers


Way back in college in 1988, I had the opportunity to hang out in Paddington Station when we visited jolly old London as part of a British Studies class.  I was super excited about that particular Underground stop because of my love of a certain friendly bear named Paddington who traveled all the way to England as a stowaway from Peru.   Do you remember reading about him?  I've always loved that bear.  I was excited about pulling out my pictures from my trip and sharing them with my daughter as we toured the pages of  Branch Out World's Lit Study Paddington Bear.  Part of the Picture Book Explorers series, Paddington Bear is a 69-page unit study based on the book Paddington by Michael Bond.  (You will need a copy of this book to accompany your study.)


The PDF file can be viewed directly from the computer or tablet screen or it can be printed and added to a binder for easy access.  Written specifically with students ages 5 - 10 in mind, Paddington Bear offers a wide range of learning opportunities for families and can be easily adapted for use with students of all ages.  The Picture Book Explorers series utilizes a literature-rich approach to study.  Families are encouraged to read their particular book of study together every day for five days and to work through activities that complement the story.  These activities offer greater explorations in the fields of

  • history and geography (through the setting of the story)
  • literary devices, grammar, and creative writing (through the vocabulary of the story)
  • art and illustrations (through the pictures of the story)
  • animal studies and hands-on experiments (through the science of the story) and
  • math (through crafts and recipes that relate to the story).

For further study, Paddington Bear suggests additional resources that will enhance learning including books and videos.  There are tons of ideas and activities offered for each day of work and parents are encouraged to pick the ones that will be most compelling for YOUR children.  This is perfect for home educating families to cater to the strengths of their students.  There is something for everyone -- even food.  Littles will be enthralled with a toast and marmalade tea party and middle schoolers will like sharing Peruvian snacks of popcorn, raisins, banana chips, and Brazil nuts.  At my house, we are looking for Inca Kola -- a popular drink that supposedly tastes a little like bubble gum or cream soda -- now that we've learned about it.

Because Branch Out World is a British company, they offer a fresh perspective on the study of Paddington Bear.  The map work and fact sheets offer a nice challenge for older students and the discussion of the push and pull factors of migration is an awesome addition to high school geography.  The authentic recipes (ever heard of caster sugar before?) sent us searching for conversion charts.  Coloring is always fun, no matter how old you are, and my animal-loving daughter enjoyed looking up basic facts about the Andean Bear and filling out the guided worksheet.  You already know how much I love a timeline and the way that it helps us all to be more aware of the relationship between different historical events.  It was interesting for us both to place our dear friend, Paddington, in his rightful place in history.  Add some studies on architecture and gardening and you really do have the perfect literature unit for all students.




I know that younger students will enjoy putting the included passport together and making the mini-books that accompany the study.  Of course, the shaving cream art is fun for everyone (me included).  My daughter and I enjoyed looking through travel posters of England and Peru and even pulled out my photo album that included receipts, pictures, and a daily journal of my visit to England.  The unit study allowed us time to explore together as it brought a childhood favorite book to life in the heart of a high school senior.  How fun is that?

Branch Out World

You can find out more information about the multitude of resources offered by Branch Out World by visiting the following Social Media sites:



I was given the opportunity to review the Paddington Bear Lit Study from  Branch Out World's Picture Book Explorers series  as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this topic pack and how they used it (or just click on the banner below).  


Paddington Bear {Branch Out World Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Safely Hidden {Scripture & a Snapshot}



There's something special about a girl and her dog.  Especially when the dog is petrified of rain and thunder.  A crazy thunder and lightning storm came through on Friday and this is how I found these two.  Do you see him hiding in there?  She'd built him a fort so that he would feel safe and then crawled in there to be with him so he wouldn't be alone.

Isn't that just like our DADDY?  In our times of trouble, GOD hides us away.  HE never leaves our side.  HE promises to be with us yesterday, today, and forever.  Oh, how very loved we are.  There's just something special about a girl and her FATHER.





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Friday, August 10, 2018

The Nest

Earlier this summer I was totally enamored with watching the sweet babies in the nest on my front porch.  I'll never forget the morning that I woke up and they were beginning the preparations to leave the safety of the nest in the Peace Lily plant.

When I walked outside that day, there were four little heads sticking out of the nest as mama and papa chirped nearby.


Within just a few minutes, they had all perched on the perimeter of the flower pot.  I knew they were working up their nerve to make the first flight and I spent the next 30 minutes or so watching them take off.


They remained under the watchful eye of their parents who waited nearby with continual encouragement.  I watched until I could no longer see them and I returned back to an empty nest on my front porch.  It still rests right where they left it.  I can't bring myself to move it.  There is such symbolism in that nest for me.


The entire process has been a great reminder to me of my role as a parent.  We have nurtured and provided a safe haven for our children.  We have prayed over them and loved them and tried to prepare them for life.  I know that they can't stay in our little nest forever.  I know that the day comes when each must find their way in the world.  I pray that we have offered encouragement and provided the map they need to become who GOD intends for them to be. 

Yes, I know they all must eventually leave and soar on their own wings, but I pray that they know the nest will always await their visit.


But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:31
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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Step Out of the Boat {Scripture & a Snapshot}




I love these kids more than they'll ever understand.  Join me in praying that they'll eagerly step out of the boat, get their feet wet, and run to JESUS every single time HE calls.


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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Homeschool Review: A Timeline of WWII (Home School in the Woods) #hsreviews #historystudies #worldhistory #americanhistory #historytimelines #historycurriculum


I am a sucker for a good timeline.  I really like the visual representation of history that a timeline affords.  I like being able to "see" how all of history fits together in the grand scheme of life.  That said, one of my all-time favorite timelines comes from Home School in the Woods.   Home School in the Woods is a  hands-on history company that offers multiple product lines.  There really is something for everyone.   I've reviewed several different products and resources over the past few years (Lap-Paks, Project Passports, HISTORY Through the Ages Timeline Trio, and even The Art of Quilling) so I was happy to have the opportunity to add more figures to our beautiful Record of Time book.  We have been using A Timeline of World War II from the À La Carte Timelines and it's been a fun way to transition back into our school year. 


The 28-page PDF of the World War II timeline contains 98 figures and 66 of them are brand new.  Isn't that exciting?  What that means is that if you've already been utilizing the Timeline Figures Collection, you're going to definitely want to add this World War II collection to your studies in order to get all of the new figures, too.   I really appreciate that Home School in the Woods continuously strives to keep us as updated as possible.    

I started off by reading through the PDF and printing the pages of timeline figures.  Since we have the BIG Record of Time timeline notebook, I knew that we wanted to add the World War II figures to the correct pages in it, but A Timeline of World War II  does include templates and instructions for creating your very own World War II-specific timeline, if you'd like.  It would be the perfect complement to any study of World War II.  Each "figure" includes a picture with a brief description underneath and the relevant date(s).


After the WWII figures were printed, my girl spent some time coloring the ones she wanted to focus on first.  As you can see, her focus was mainly on the women who played a role in the War.  I thought that was a great way to pique her interest in WWII -- especially since my grandmother, her great-grandmother, served as a "Rosie the Riveter" putting planes together in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  How cool is that?


Once they were illustrated to her liking, it was simply a matter of cutting out the figures and gluing them to the timeline.



Notice that WORLD WAR II is labeled on the timeline.




The dates make it easy to find the correct place for each of the timeline figures, but I especially like that the PDF offers suggested placements, too.  Below are screenshots from my PDF file which shows you suggested placement AND also give you a glimpse of the template provided, if you choose to do a stand-alone timeline with this set.  I like the frontline fence illustrations here and the fact that the WWII specific timeline is able to be broken down more for in-depth study.



Our favorite movie of all-time refers to the AAGPBL. 

The neat thing for us is that our homeschool co-op will be hosting a World War II-focused History Fair in December (followed by a field trip to the National WWII Museum).  A Timeline of World War II has been most beneficial in helping my daughter to determine what her project focus will be.  Can you guess which direction she's headed?  She will also be creating the stand-alone timeline to complement her project board.  Talk about perfect timing!  We didn't even know the focus of the History Fair when we started this review.


Home School in the Woods



If you are headed into a study of Ancient Rome this year, you'll want to make sure to check out the newly released Ancient Rome Pack (pictured below).  This completes the Project Passport collection of Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, The Middle Ages, and Renaissance & Reformation.   My daughter thoroughly enjoyed our time in Project Passport and I think your family will enjoy it, too.


Project Passport Ancient Rome

You can find out more information about the multitude of resources offered by Home School in the Woods by visiting the following Social Media sites:



I was given the opportunity to review the À La Carte Timelines from  Home School in the Woods  as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of these great projects and how they used them (or just click on the banner below.)  


Hands-on-History, Project Passport, À La Carte Timelines and Time Travelers {Home School in the Woods Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer
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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Mighty LOVE {Scripture & a Snapshot}



We had a fabulous week at camp learning about the MIGHTY LOVE of GOD.

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