Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Notebooking Pages {TOS Review}

We use Notebooking in almost every aspect of our homeschool! Most of the time, my kids design their own Notebooking pages because I couldn't find just what I was looking for. You can imagine my delight when I was chosen to review NotebookingPages.com!

Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews
I received a Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership - what a blessing for our family! The Lifetime Membership includes thousands of Notebooking pages and designs. There is a wide variety of topics available. Here are the categories and just a few of the sub-categories:
  • A to Z - including A to Z copywork, A to Z transportation and A to Z sports
  • Bible and Character -  including New and Old Testament categories, Bible journaling, and character studies
  • Famous People - including famous artists, composers, missionaries, presidents and many more
  • Fine Arts - including art and picture study
  • Geography - including continental and world maps, USA and country study
  • History - including Ancient to Modern times, timelines and book of centuries
  • Holidays - including holidays for nearly every month
  • Language Arts - including copywork and Latin and Greek word study
  • Science and Nature - including astronomy, anatomy, nature study and experiment pages
As you can see, there is a huge variety of notebook pages to choose from! And I didn't even scratch the surface of the topics available.

The Lifetime Membership comes with:
  1. All current Notebooking pages
  2. All future Notebooking pages
  3. Search bar and Table of Contents
  4. Tutorials, Tips and Videos
  5. Unlimited Lifetime access

We used NotebookingPages.com in several ways in our homeschool. Mikaela and Eli will be studying American history this year, so I printed out the United States Study Notebooking Pages for each of them. They had to learn the country's flag, bird, symbol, and seal, among more! They had copywork for the national anthem and pledge, coloring pages, and states and capitals to label. There were over 30 pages in this pack!

I printed out some nature study pages for my little ones to use, since we are in a new state and area. They will be learning the trees and birds that are native to North Dakota using the simple, yet beautiful nature study pages. We will also be using some Bible journal quiet time pages.

I also printed out some plain Notebooking pages that they will be able to use anytime for any subject! It's handy to have a folder of these available. Mercie used one this morning to record what she's learned about nomads the past week.


I am very impressed with the level of organization and diversity that NotebookingPages.com provides. It's very quick and easy to find the topics and designs I'm looking for. You can either save the files to your computer, or just open in Adobe and print {which is what I do}. The pages are beautiful and simple. I love how open-ended they are! Your child can really make the Notebooking pages his own.

The Lifetime Membership is available for only $97, or 4 monthly payments. This is a really great deal, because you receive so many Notebooking pages, all in one place! If you have never tried Notebooking in your homeschool, I urge you to give it a try! You can read tutorials and more on their website and get plenty of  ideas for using Notebooking.

Check out NotebookingPages.com on Facebook!

Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Six Pix on Saturday

Silas turned 6 on Tuesday, and we went to a little place called Scoopz for ice cream and lunch after swimming lessons.
Titus and his new friend, Saylor, playing with play-dough outside our camper. They are up here working, too. It's nice to have new friends!
Silas is learning to use a noodle and kick his legs in swimming lessons.
On Sunday, there were horse and wagon rides here at the park! Rod took Silas, Titus and Mercie.
The kids slept on the futon one night and watched "Treasure Buddies".
Before swimming lessons, we snapped a group selfie!

Weekly Recap #4

The three youngest children started school this week! I know, I know, it's only June! But, my kids thrive on a routine, and they were anxious to get started. New school books can do that you...

Mercie is in 3rd grade this year! She has started all of her subjects except WriteShop Primary C and Rosetta Stone Spanish. This is what she did this week:
  • The first five lessons in her math book {reviewing addition and subtraction facts}
  • Week 5 in Learning Language Through Literature Arts {she learned about phone book listings this week and reviewed the spelling words and rules from the prior weeks}
  • Typing Instructor {she is moving along quickly}
  • Read books from the library and did a few pages in her Reading Journal
  • Completed science and history with Silas {more on that below}

Silas is a first grader this year! He has not picked up Foundations A {Logic of English} yet. He has started using an online program called Reading Eggs, and he is thriving on it! Here is what he did this week:
  • The first 6 lessons on Reading Eggs and some of the accompanying worksheets {the letters s, t, m, b, I, and a}
  • Reading the words cat, bat, sat, mat, sit, bit, and it
  • The first five lessons in his math book {reviewing the numbers 1-7 and working on number words}
  • Penmanship from Laurelwood Books
  • Several pages in Finding the Answers {a workbook by Rod and Staff}
  • Competed science and history with Mercie {more on that below}

Mercie and Silas are using the Story of the World Volume 1 for history. We read the Introduction and Chapter 1 this week, along with the book "Archaeologists Dig For Clues". We talked about the first nomads and how they turned into farmers. The kids painted a cave painting on a crumpled paper bag, found Jericho, the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and the Fertile Cresent on a map, and colored a picture of a shaduf, the first "farming machine".

They are using Winter Promise's "The World Around Me" for science. This week, we read about what science is and how it's used. We read about people and places around the world, and they made a nature observation drawing in their science notebook. We also did a simple experiment showing how salt water makes things float by adding 10 TBS of salt to a cup of water and leaving one cup with plain water. We dropped an egg into each cup, and watched the egg in the salt water float while the egg in the plain water sunk to the bottom.

Titus is officially doing preschool work this year! We started a letter-of-the-week type curriculum that I wrote myself. We are working on recognition, not sounds yet. Here is what he completed this week:
  • He made apple prints on a letter A
  • He used pattern blocks to make the A and a on a pattern block card
  • He used Cuisenaire rods to make the A and pictures
  • He stamped A's on a sheet of cardstock {using paint, because I forgot to pack my ink pads}
  • He played "Where's the A?" with letter tiles
  • He made an A collage with stickers
  • We read books on apples
  • He made a torn paper apple mosaic {I love those!}
  • He made patterns with and counted some colored apples
  • He rolled a die and added apple seeds {raisins} to an apple core printout
  • He completed several pages in "Adventures with Books" and "Counting With Numbers" {workbooks from Rod and Staff}

All three of the kids had swimming lessons this week, and they will have another session next week. Mercie is doing so well, they are moving her up to Level 2 instead of Beginner. She loves it!

Silas turned 6 on Tuesday, and we celebrated by going out for ice cream and lunch! We are having his party here tomorrow.

Eli's birthday is today! He is with my parents, and won't be here until next weekend. It's the only time I haven't been with him on his birthday! He is 11 today.

How was your week?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My School Year {TOS Review}

As my children are getting older, I'm finding the need to keep more detailed records of their schoolwork, activities and books they've read. I want to have a really nice transcript to present to a college or at their "graduation". When I was chosen to review MySchoolYear.com, I was anxious to see what they offered for record keeping. I was given the My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping)  Annual Membership.

MySchoolYear.com is a website that offers many different tools to help keep you and your homeschool organized. In simple terms, it is an online lesson planner and record keeper! Here is a list of the things MySchoolYear.com provides along with a short description:
  • Automated Grading: tracks the student's class average
  • Automated Attendance Tracking: keep track of attendance or hours
  • Teacher's Aid: friendly reminders for planning, recording and tracking
  • Lesson Plan Generators: use Rapid Repeat or Quick Split to create lesson plans
  • Lesson Rescheduler: reschedules lessons if you're behind
  • Activities Tracking: tracks awards, reading logs, volunteer work, sports, and more
  • Reports: creates transcripts, report cards, lesson plans and more
  • Class Grade Review: review all graded assignments
  • Dashboard: gives you access to see everything at once
  • Lesson Plan Sharing: find, copy and share lesson plans

I used MySchoolYear.com mainly to track extra-curricular activities and reading logs for my children. I planned on using the Lesson Plan Generators to create lesson plans for my children. However, we don't use a "do the next lesson" type of homeschool, so the Quick Split or Rapid Repeat options wouldn't work for us. {Quick Split divides a book into sections by days or lessons; Rapid Repeat repeats an assignments with new lesson numbers.} It was too time-consuming to try to type in all of the details and information for each lesson for my each of my children. If your lessons consist of diving a book into sections or doing the next lesson each day, it would be quick to generate lesson plans.

I added each of my children and their "classes" for the year. Once I did that, I realized I wasn't going to add the lessons or create lesson plans. So  I just started tracking books read and volunteer work. I tried tracking some of their sports, like karate, and it was too confusing. I had to put some information in that wasn't relevant, like "Total Hours" and a "Start Date" and "End Date". They've been taking for a while, and I don't know how many hours they've taken! They haven't ended it yet, either. So I was a little frustrated trying to figure that out, because you have to input that information.

The Reading Log was pretty easy. There is plenty of information you can type in, like page numbers, start and end dates, type of book, price and more. There is also the option to just input the book title and completion date, which is what I did.
The Volunteer Work was easy to keep track of, and I hope motivating to my kids to get out there and do some more service work! Seeing it in print always makes you want to do more.


Honestly, I am not very impressed with MySchoolYear.com. It doesn't fit our homeschool needs at this time. I found it inconvenient and unnecessary. I like the idea behind this program - I love the idea of keeping a reading log for each of my kids, tracking their volunteer work and extra-curricular activities, and keeping records of their attendance and hours. It would be very helpful to have all of this information in one place, especially as my children grow older and have more things to keep track of. It is mobile-friendly, which is a plus if your family is on the go quite a bit.

The Teacher's Aid that provided the helpful reminders did help me figure out quite a bit. I wasn't sure exactly what I was doing at first. The Teacher's Aid gave me some suggestions, like "Does Mikaela have any extra-curricular activities to add?" or "Eli needs lessons for America the Beautiful."

My overall opinion is this: If you have children with a "lesson-a-day" type of school-work, this would work for you. However, we don't, and it will not work for our family. Take a look for yourself, though! Check out MySchoolYear.com!

Homeschool Record Keeping {MySchoolYear.com Review}

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Six Pix Saturday

I thought it would be fun to have a Six Pix Saturday! I'll post six pictures from the week with a short caption. Anyone care to join me? I could make it a linky party!

This isn't from this week, so I'm cheating a little, but I wanted to post this picture of Mikaela and her {not-boyfriend} friend Aaron before they went to the Junior High Dance! They are really good friends, and I'm glad they can go do things together and have a good time! They go to movies and out to eat with a big group of their friends and Aaron's mom quite often when we're home!

Titus has had such a good time at the playground area of this park. He loves to cheese it up for the camera! Such a cutie!

Our camper had a blow-out on the way up here, and it busted the water line! Rod had to fix it the day after we got here, and Silas was helping by holding a flashlight for Rod. Such a sweet helper. He and Titus both love to be with Rod, doing anything!

Mikaela and Eli are headed to camp this morning! My mom and dad are going to be counselors there, and {pictured here} two of their good friends from Nicaragua flew in the States to spend some time with them. They are going to do the music at the camp next week! I love this picture!

I took this on the trip up here. We stopped at a gas station that had this dinosaur sitting by the road, so of course the little boys wanted a picture with it! I saw a few more gas stations with this same dinosaur later on, so I'm guessing it's their logo or something!

Titus and Mercie sitting on the couch, waiting for me to get ready to go to the library! Notice the shorts and boots....yeah.
{These are all pictures from my phone, which is why they are long and skinny!}

Friday, June 17, 2016

52 Lists Project: My Happiest Moments

In my 31 years, I have had lots of happy moments! It's hard to narrow down my happiest  but I'll try!
  • The day I met my husband - I knew in my heart I was going to marry him! I was almost 16 years old, but I went home and told my mom, "I'm going to marry that boy." And I did! It's funny now, because she was thinking, "yeah, right" but five kids and 15+ years later, here we are!
  • The day each of my children were born - Each birth was different and special in different ways. Mikaela was my firstborn, and she turned me from a little girl into a mother instantly. Eli was my firstborn son, and we bonded right away. Mercie was such a sweet baby, looking just like a doll. Silas was the first baby I breastfed, and that was a special bond between us that lasted 18 months. Titus was a very needy baby, and he nursed for two years!
  • The day that Mikaela, Eli, and Mercie asked Jesus into their hearts.
  • The day that Mikaela and Eli got baptized. {Mercie hasn't been baptized yet.}
  • Hearing little voices singing praises to Jesus
  • Seeing my children open their Bibles without being prompted
  • Watching my children perform acts of kindness for each other
  • When Silas puts his arm around Titus's shoulders
  • Listening to my children recite scripture
  • Special moments between Rod and I
  • Being in nature, in awe of God's creation.
  • Spending time with my parents and sisters
  • Making new friends
  • Talking about Jesus with other people - I love when I meet people who love to talk about Jesus as much as I do!
  • When I realized that Jesus wanted more of me - he wanted a relationship with me, not just the motions.
  • Knowing I'm saved! Seriously, knowing I'm going to spend eternity with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is pretty awesome! {especially considering the alternative...}
  • When God speaks to me through his Word - powerful!
I'm going to leave you with a few of the Bible verses that make me especially happy when I read them.

 Image result for mark 2:5

Linking up with Chasing Slow:

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Weekly Recap {a day early} and Travel Trailer Tour

We made it to North Dakota late Monday night, around 9:00. It was so light outside, the kids played at the playground for about two hours while Rod and some of the guys working with him set up the trailer. I couldn't believe it started to get dark at 11:00 pm! The sun was up bright and early, too!

It's really pretty where we are staying. We are staying in a park with lots of trees {unusual for this part of North Dakota I hear}, a playground, picnic tables, and lots of space!

We found the library on Wednesday {we waste no time}, got a library card and picked out our 3 {THREE} books each. That's all you can check out here - three books a person! Little do they know, we usually have fifty or more books checked out at a time! Luckily, the library is close so we can visit several times a week.

The kids are signed up to start swimming lessons on Monday. They are excited! They have a super nice pool, but my kids can't swim yet. Hopefully, they will get their fill of the pool at lessons each day!

I'm going to show some pictures of the travel trailer and how I am "organizing" our school books and supplies. We don't have the fanciest nor the newest travel trailer, but it's our home for much of the year. It's a 40 foot long Luxury by Design trailer, with two slides, two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

This is the main part of the camper - our living room, kitchen, school room, and boys bedroom! Rod ripped the booth of the trailer and built the bunks you see. The boys sleep there now - two little ones on top and Eli on the bottom.

Here is our "couch" {it's a futon}. Underneath, I have tubs with play-dough, modeling clay and accessories, Mercie's WriteShop supplies, and a bin of all kinds of paper.

Here are the boy's bunks. Underneath, I have tubs of Legos, Duplos, cars and trucks.

On the other side of the futon, I have this cube organizer. The kids school books are kept here. It may not look organized, but it is! Mikaela and Eli each have two cubes, Silas, Titus and Mercie each have one, and I have one for Mercie and Silas's science and history. On top, I have a tray that contains our pencils, colored pencils, glue sticks, scissors, and markers. 

I have different sized containers for our supplies.

In between the futon and the bunks, there is a cabinet. I have art supplies and books in the cabinets. In these bins I have the kid's binders that won't fit on the cube shelf and Titus's preschool supplies - pattern blocks, Cuisenaire rods, counters, and that kind of thing. I am using my School House Teacher's bag to corral our library books!
Rod built me a small desk so the kids and I can use the computers. I have one computer for the kids with their Rosetta Stone Spanish, Stop Motion, and Typing Instructor. The other computer is the one that I use and the kids can't!

Here is my 'kitchen'. There is a pantry and refrigerator to the left of the stove. Not much counter or cabinet space, but we make it work!

This is a view of the kitchen and the bunkroom. That is where the girls sleep.

These are the girl's bunks - Mercie on top and Mikaela on bottom.

The kids use this dresser along with the small closets in the bunkroom. Five kids equal a lot of clothes, shoes, and underwear! Mercie has her Barbie's and accessories in the wicker basket on top. I hung a shoe organizer on the back of the door for hair bows, ponytails and brushes.

How do we eat without a table, you ask? When it's nice, we will eat outside on the many picnic tables provided. When's it's not nice, we will eat on the floor or futon! We've already had several picnics here. The kids love it, and there's no mess to clean up inside!

Isn't she gorgeous? She's already been working on the Typing Instructor program and loving it! She is progressing very quickly - much quicker than I thought she would! It's so much fun, she does it several times a day without me asking!

Concentrating hard!
We have had a busy few days so far up here! Hope to slow down and rest the rest of the week - my body is exhausted from traveling. How was your week?