Review – Do and Discover Rock and Gem Dig Discovery Kids

The last few weeks have been super busy in the Divine household! Little Divine went to summer camp at our local animal shelter for a week and she had a blast! Plus we just celebrated 4th of July here in America as well. I’ve been trying to get all caught up and back into a rhythm at home since they have ended.

One thing I like to do is have Little Divine work on projects of some sort during the week. During all of our moving, resettling, and moving again over the last year, we’ve ended up with a large collection of projects and activity kits that haven’t been done. Now that the major events of the summer are over – with the exception of Little Divine’s birthday – I feel we can get back into a little bit of a routine.

We have several dig kits for kits that involve excavation on a small scale. I think these kits are really fun because kids learn to do the work to unearth their treasures! (^.^) It brings a different level of excitement because it feels like a treasure hunt. Since the weather here is so warm, I thought this would be a great activity to do outdoors!

We started with the Do & Discover brand Rock & Gem Dig. This set is sold at Toys R Us and on Amazon but has now been rebranded under the Discovery Kids Rock & Gem Dig name. The set says it included 11 gems hidden in the block, a pair of little safety goggles that were too small for Little Divine, a mallet, a dowel, a magnifying glass, a brush, a streak plate, and a color poster with instructions. I found the brush they included to be pretty useless so I pulled out one of my paint brushes for her to use instead.

The box it came it was a really good size so I was very surprised at how small the little block to dig in was. It was actually quite small. I’m hoping some of the other sets we got have more to them. We decided to use a rectangular plastic storage container about 6 inches tall as her excavation site. This way all the extra dirt is contained in one easy place for clean up!

In the above photo you can see where Little Divine discovered her first gem. It wasn’t long after she started chiseling away that she found this one. I was thinking this process would take a lot longer than it did, but the block was pretty soft and easy to get through. This is definitely nice for younger kids, but it makes the process too quick for older kids.

Here is the kit totally demolished! The box says it includes 11 gems but we only found 10. Both Mr. Divine and I looked through it with Little Divine and we couldn’t find an 11th gem anywhere.

Even with 10 gems, Little Divine was quite pleased with her new treasures.

Once the gems were all cleaned up, Little Divine tried to test them out on the streak plate to see how it would work. She’s taken classes on rocks and minerals before so she knew that with a streak plate you can tell what a mineral is by the color of powder it leaves behind. She was unable to get any sort of streaks to show up on the plate included though. We tried several times but no results.

I did like that her set came with a large poster with information on identifying gems. Extra learning material included in a fun way is always nice! We will be keeping the poster and the 10 lovely gems Little Divine dug up.

All in all, this was not a bag kit for about an hour’s worth of use. I am disappointed in how small it was and how easy it was to break through. Also, the streak plate and some of the tools they sent weren’t very useful. I would say this kit is great for younger kiddos and those who aren’t expecting anything too fancy. Little Divine is about to turn 11 so this kit was enjoyable for her but not extremely challenging. She does love little treasures so the gems were a nice add to her collection! (^.^)

I’ll be reviewing other kits in the future so keep an eye out!

Have you tried this Rock & Gem Dig set?

Don’t forget to check out my Esty Shoppe featuring unique and one of a kind items! Dragon Fire Rose

The Complete Idiot’s Guide To European History

The Complete Idiot’s Guides aren’t just for idiots!

Who knew right?

It turns out they can be super handy tools for learning. They offer condensed info on subjects and are generally presented in a way that can be understood pretty easily. Mind you, some vary and are meant for kids while others are meant for adults. You can absolutely use the adult versions for kids, just keep in mind that some of the info may be over their heads.

For example, today Little Divine learned what heretic means. She’s ready The Complete Idiot’s Guide to European History. She’s been studying through the ages starting from the beginning and working her way up. This book was a suggested book from the library website based on other books I was getting for her on the subject. I’m surprised it was suggested as it isn’t a children’s book, but I like trying new things so we’re using it!

Little Divine is turning 11 next month so I didn’t feel it would be too over her head. I figured she’d ask questions as she read, like she did this morning with heretic.

I’m very pleased with how the book is set up. There are lots of chapters and each is relatively small, between 10 and 20 pages usually. I find that breaks up easier for younger readers. As you can see in the picture, I’ve used sticky tabs to mark each chapter with the date and pages she needs to read. I find this to work wonders with helping her keep on target with her reading. It’s easy to forget which chapter you were on after a weekend so sticky notes help kids know what to read and when!

We are two days into the book and so far so good! I am not one of the coddle my child parents so if death and crime come up in her book, I’m okay with her reading it. It opens up discussions on so many things! History is often very, VERY ugly. I don’t feel that at this age there is a reason to hide that from her. I also want her to see the good in history as well. I strive to give her a very well rounded view of each subject she learns.

We are planning to get more of The Complete Idiot’s Guide books on many more topics! Have you used these books in your homeschooling before? Tell me what you thought!

Don’t forget – if you’re looking for one of a kind handmade jewelry, goodies inspired by video games and awesome characters, busy bags for kids, artwork or prints… check out my Esty Shoppe: Dragon Fire Rose  ❤

The Fine Art of Learning

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Little Divine: “Why did you give me a book on race cars to read today?”
Me: “I thought it looked interesting. Give it a try and see if you have anything interesting to journal about after.”
Little Divine: “Hmm, I guess we’ll see.”

Ten Minutes Later.

Little Divine: “Did you know they give out big money prizes to whoever wins the races? And there is a race pretty much every month! And there is this guy, Richard Petty, who holds the all time record for winning 200 races! I wonder if he’s still alive? I’m going to check Google.” (continues to talk while doing so)

This is the learning I’ve hoped for. This is the whole reason I homeschool Little Divine. For a much more natural and child led type of learning. I absolutely bring home books that are on a variety of topics, some Little Divine doesn’t think she’ll be interested in, because I want her to explore the world of learning available to her and find new that peak her interest. With a library card and Google at hand, there is very little that we can’t learn about. I want to challenge Little Divine to research and explore things that come across her mind or her desk so when she’s an adult she will do the same.

Why is the sky blue? Just one question can open the door to so much learning and excitement!

Yesterday Little Divine spent hours researching ways to stimulate the mind of our dog and then trying them out. No one told her to – this was an idea she had all on her own. She got online, found things to try out, and spend a good part of the day doing them. I cannot speak on the dog’s mental stimulation, but she sure was thrilled to get attention and a lot of dog treats! Little Divine shared many of the things she learned with us over dinner and throughout the day. She was really enjoying it!

A few weeks ago Little Divine spent a good hour online researching insects that live in our area, as well as resourceful ways to get rid of the pesky or dangerous ones that can sometimes get in your home. She then recounted to me all the information she learned with pride. I told her I hoped she enjoyed her science lesson and she stared at me curiously. I explained that learning about insects was a part of science and she gave her self a great lesson on them. Her reply? “I didn’t even think of it like that.” No, she just got online and looked up information she wanted to learn. No one stopped her and told her she had to learn what the class was learning. No one told her that it was time to switch to another subject. No one reprimanded her for looking up information on the computer. She got to learn something she was interested in on her terms.

I read a post about unschooling yesterday that I really enjoyed. The writer used a quote from the book, Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling  by John Holt and Patrick Farenga. In it he describes unschooling as, “interest driven, child-led, natural, organic, eclectic, or self-directed learning… associated with the type of homeschooling that doesn’t use a fixed curriculum… allowing children as much freedom to learn in the world, as their parents can comfortably bear. The advantage of this method is that it doesn’t require (the parent) to become someone else — a professional teacher pouring knowledge into child-vessels on a planned basis. Instead you live and learn together, pursuing questions and interests as they arise …This is the way we learn before going to school and the way we learn when we leave school and enter the world of work.

Unschooling, for lack of a better term (until people start to accept living as part and parcel of learning), is the natural way to learn. This does not mean unschoolers do not take traditional classes or use curricular materials when (they) decide that this is how they want to do it. Learning to read or do quadratic equations are not “natural” processes, but unschoolers nonetheless learn them when it makes sense to them to do so, not because they have reached a certain age or are compelled to do so by arbitrary authority. Therefore it isn’t unusual to find unschoolers who are barely eight-years-old studying astronomy or who are ten-years-old and just learning to read.”

I read that quote to Mr. Divine and he said, “Very nice! That sounds like us.” I think often people assume unschooling means no schooling at all. This is not the case. Unschoolers take classes and learn. They just do it at the child’s pace. Learning is MEANT TO BE FUN. Schools have long since taken the fun out of it. Unschooling is trying to put it back in. Little Divine is full of information and facts. They are things she’s learned about and enjoyed learning about them. I think it’s truly sad that so many school children hate school. Learning should be a wonderful experience!

Last week went to the local museum for Nuclear Science week. We spent 3 hours enjoying the sessions and activities! I signed Little Divine up because nuclear science is not something we’ve covered a lot. I was also thrilled to see a class for just homeschool children was offered. One speaker was a little unsure how to speak about his lesson since we had grades 2 through 8 in our group. Yet the children of all ages were able to sit down and listen, as well as learn what he was teaching and do the activity well! Little Divine and I both learned a lot of neat stuff that we were able to take home and share with Mr. Divine. Neither of us expected to enjoy it as much as we did or glean so much from it. (^.^) It was a great shared learning experience with Little Divine and it opened the doors for more learning at the dinner table with Mr. Divine. We traveled through history and science together as a family.

And so while I look online at a new series of Manga style educational books I’ve found for Little Divine, she reads stories of Roman gods and goddesses, telling me interesting information as she comes across it. She then journals about anything interesting she’s read in the book and we discuss all of it throughout the day. Later we’ll do a science experiment and watch a movie on Robin Hood. For us, this is educational bliss. ❤

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Reading Based Homeschooling

 

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I am constantly trying to find the best way to do things for our family and ways to improve our lives. Homeschooling is a very flexible system of education and we tweak it as needed. When we started off homeschooling years ago Little Divine loved doing her workbooks. They were colorful, fun and engaging. They held her interest and she enjoyed doing them. As we’ve progressed over the years the books have become less colorful, less fun and she doesn’t enjoy doing them as much. We will find a few that she enjoys and gets a lot out of, but a majority are just very plain looking and the book work isn’t something that appeals to her as much.

When we find that something isn’t working, we evaluate it and see if we can find a way to work. If it’s just not working out – it’s time to look for an alternative. That’s exactly what I did for Little Divine. She LOVES to read and is reading at a 9th grade level at least. Books have always been something she’s loved since she first learned to read. She enjoys reading  daily and gets a lot out of it. Because of this I started looking online for information on book centered homeschool curriculum and ways of teaching.

The program I like the best is Build Your Library. This program offers a low cost curriculum for grades K – 9. I’m hoping they expand to higher grades each year so we can move up with them! You purchase each year individually and they each come with generally the same stuff depending on grade level.

  • A lesson plans with:

    • a daily and weekly schedule
    • reading list
    • a set of narration cards
    • vocabulary words, discussion questions and dictation passages tied to the literature readings
    • Weekly writing assignments
    • memory work projects
    • Activity pages (including map work)
    • research projects
    • art projects

The price isn’t bad at $24.95 – $54.95 per set depending on the grade level. That’s a small cost compared to other yearly curriculum programs! I have never been a fan of homeschool curriculum companies who think charging families $300-$600 a year for a curriculum is fair business. Homeschool should not be that expensive. This is another reason I like Build Your Library because I feel their prices are very reasonable.

Little Divine is in 5th and 6th grade books right now. Build Your Library has 5th grade working on US History but I wanted to start off our whole reading based learning system from the very beginning. We have begun checking out books from the Ancient History book list from Grade 1 from our local library and will work our way up through the other grade reading lists until we’ve reached our grade level curriculum. This way we get to start at the beginning of history and move forward! (^.^)

Little Divine is super excited! I showed her the books on the list we are working on right now and showed her the lists to follow. She told me that she’d much prefer learning with reading over workbooks. We are not throwing all our workbooks out the window though. Each week she will be given the choice to pick which workbook she wants to work on each day. She can also work on whatever pages in it she wants. I still feel that writing skills and book work is beneficial, but this way she gets to pick what she works on each day and hopefully it will add some enjoyment back into it for her!

Another thing I added is her choice of something to learn about every week. Each week she gets to pick something she wants to learn about and it can be anything! We will go to the library for books on that subject, watch videos online, and find documentaries on it. We will fully immerse in that topic and learn all we can about it! I’ve told her that if she really loves a topic she can extend how long she learns on it, it doesn’t have to just be a week. This gives her another way to guide her learning and enjoy what she’s learning!

I feel that giving her freedom with her education is extremely important. Homeschool isn’t meant to be a duplicate of the school system. It’s meant to be something that’s special and unique for each child. We as parents often have to make decisions for our kiddos but there are also many times we should let them make their own. I will be here to guide her and step in when needed. We should always remain present in our children’s lives and decisions, even when we let them make their own.

I have to say that both of us are so excited for this new path! Sitting down to devote and hour or more to laying out all her lessons and make her worksheet packets is quite a task. It will be a nice change for me to just hand her the workbooks for the week and tell her to work on them as she desires! Homeschool shouldn’t stress out the parents daily either. It should be an enjoyable experience as much as possible. No you won’t always have enjoyable days, but it should be enjoyable more than not.

Have you tried a books based/reading centered curriculum for your kids? What did you think?

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Code.org Coding For Kids Review

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Little Divine has found her thing. Or at least one of them. She wants to learn how to make her own video game. This is a skill we are happy to encourage! Mr. Divine works with computers and makes video games in his spare time so this is something that we know a lot about.

We have had a hard time with Little Divine and STUFF for a long time. Her room looks a lot like an Amazon storage warehouse…. As that’s her space, we encouraged her to clean it up and organize it, also suggesting she get rid of stuff she doesn’t need/use/want/play with. We felt it should be up to her to do so though, and didn’t force her one way or another. For some reason she just didn’t want to let go of any of her stuff until recently. We FINALLY found a motivator that works for her – for every 2 toys she brings down from her room for us to sell or give away, she gets 1 hour of video game time.

Success!! Hoards of toys have made their way down from her room without hesitation! Little Divine is now able to see the importance of priorities and what matters most to her. She’s been quite surprised herself how she no longer wants to keep things she never uses and how easily she’s able to get rid of stuff. I did a lot of online searching and found that this is actually a very common experience for kids. The age varies widely when kids hit that, “Aha!” moment and start to purge their stuff, as well as the reasons for them doing it. Many times there is no real cause, they just wake up and decide to get organized. Parents are too busy being thankful for it to ask too many questions!

I absolutely understand that childhood should not revolve around screen time. However, we know exactly what games Little Divine plays as she has to ask permission to add any, and we have parental controls set on her laptop as well. Just because she brings down 20 toys does NOT mean she gets 10 hours of game time that day! She still has to do her priorities first and have good behavior to get game time. It’s not an every day thing either. However, this is something that clearly matters to her and is worth getting rid of tons of toys for! That is an important consideration, especially since there it is a learning experience as well. These are skills she can use through adulthood and even turn into a career.

Learning what Little Divine loves has been an important factor in our homeschooling experience. I’m trying to find the best homeschooling path for us so Little Divine truly gets an amazing education that she LOVES. I don’t want her to hate learning. This is why we do a lot of interest led learning. Kids learn best when they are learning about things they love and enjoy! ❤

Little Divine talks about making video games a lot and that process begins with coding. I’ve spent a lot of time looking for coding programs and apps for kids for that teach it in a fun and engaging way. Kids like things presented in a creative and exciting way that will hold their attention and keep them focused on it. Too dry and they don’t want to do it.

Code.org is an amazing site! Not only is it free, but it offers a large selection of coding programs for kids. As I type, Little Divine is working on their Minecraft Hour of Code. Minecraft is one of the games Little Divine enjoys A LOT and will play both with us and by herself. She’s spent hours in creative mode doing whatever her heart desires. With Minecraft Hour of Code, she’s getting to learn how to code with one of her favorite games! ❤

Code.org is a non-profit founded in 2013 with the goal to expand the access of computer science and help participation grow, especially among women and students of different nationalities. The site offers classes for all ages, including adults. There are not enough women in the computer science and technology fields according to the stats I’ve read so I’m very happy to see there are sites, including Code.org, that are trying to change that! As Little Divine is female, I want her to see that she can go into the field of her choice and her gender has nothing to do with it. I also want her to be able to find role models and friends who share the same interests!

What caught my eye on Code.org the most was the variety of classes and programs for kids. Kids are sponges so the earlier you can start teaching them something, the better it will stick. Little Divine will sit at her laptop and work on these coding programs non stop without complaint for hours. This is when you know that your child is loving learning!

For me, it is a really big deal to see a website or organization that has put education first. By offering free programs and classes, Code.org is doing just that. While there are great coding programs for kids out there that have a high price tag, I prefer to focus on the ones that put education above profit.

When you take something a child loves and you nurture that love, you create a positive experience and memory for your child. Encourage and support the interests of your child because they will gain so much more from it with you by their side, helping them get the most out of it! The whole goal of homeschool is to give your child a fulfilling education that is based solely on them. It’s meant to be tailored to them and guided by them. When we keep that in focus, our kids get amazing experiences while getting an a great education!

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DIY Yeast Inflated Balloon Science Experiment

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We love hands on projects here in the Divine household! Science, crafts, wood-working, art. You name it, we like doing it! Creating things, especially together as a family, is tons of fun! Little Divine and I have had a lot more time recently so we’ve been looking for more hands on learning activities to go along with her homeschooling. I bake bread so yeast is a common ingredient in our house. This project seems to be a popular one online with the kids and adults alike! (^.^)

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First things first! You need 1 empty water bottle of whatever size you choose. You will also need yeast, 1 non-inflated balloon, sugar, and warm water. We mixed in 2 tablespoons of yeast into hot water and mixed it well. Then we poured it into our water bottle using a funnel. We added 4 tablespoons of sugar to give it some extra to eat off of! We gently swirled the mixture around inside of the bottle and then put our red balloon over the top of it.

Almost immediately we saw results! Our balloon slowly started inflating before our eyes! Little Divine was thrilled and thanks to Mr. Divine making homemade mead, she could tell us all about why the balloon was inflating and what was causing it. (^.^)

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We spent the next 2 hours checking on our balloon as it grew and grew! It actually got pretty big! We were all very impressed with our project and it was a lot of fun. Plus it was simple to put together and didn’t require expensive ingredients. That’s always good! If you try this experiment, let me know what you think!

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DIY Glitter Bottle For Kids

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I found a fantastic online article this morning from Mindful.org about the benefits of a glitter jar for children. The author gave great examples for kids to use their glitter jars to help with behavioral issues by comparing the glitter to overwhelmed minds. He said that he asks kids to think of the glitter swirling around as all the thoughts going through their heads that distract them and keep them from focusing. He feels it’s a useful tool with children of all ages, not just small children. I wanted to give it a try because one kiddo I watch has a lot of concentration and behavioral issues, and Little Divine gets distracted easily sometimes while she’s doing school work.

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We started off with supplies from our local Dollar Tree. I figured if we needed more advanced supplies we’d go to Hobby Lobby. I decided against glass jars as they can get broken easily by kiddos. These hand sanitizer bottles were the perfect size and made of plastic. We picked up glitter and used glitter I had for nail polish. I figured the combo of glitter should assure a pretty bottle!

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I peeled the labels off the bottles and emptied the sanitizer out. We added water and 1 drop of food coloring to the bottles. Any more than that would have made it too hard to see in it. We added as much glitter as the kids asked for! After I shook them up and they were satisfied with the results, I super-glued the lids on the bottles. I then cut thin strips of fun colored duct tape to cover the tops just to ensure they stayed on and closed!

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The results were fabulous! We did have glitter settling at the top, not just at the bottom, but the kids didn’t mind. (^.^) They love the result! We talked about the bottle representing our minds, and the glitter being all the many thoughts and feelings we have each day. I told them that all their feelings are okay, and we don’t want them to go away, but we do want to find a way to calm our minds so we can focus during the day. We talked about breathing slowly and deeply to calm our minds while we watch the glitter fall and settle in our bottles.

I’m really hoping these are a big help for the kids! Little Divine is 10 so I feel she can better understand how to use her bottle in a calming way, and remember to do her breathing to settle her mind. This was a fantastic project for $2.14 and they turned out very pretty! ❤

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Homeschooling Families Should Support Each Other

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I started my morning off today like I usually do – I got up, made coffee, and got started on all the things on my to do list. I check my email and Facebook to see what needs my attention while I drink my coffee and get started on my day. Sadly this morning I saw a Facebook post that put a sour taste in my mouth.

A homeschooling mom, just starting out, asked for advice in a group because her son was flying through his Kindergarten level workbooks and they were too easy for him. I completely related to this as Little Divine flew through hers too and I moved her onto First Grade early on because she wasn’t being challenged. I work in childcare so Little Divine had learned all the things they teach in grade K long before she started it. I was excited to see that I could offer her a little first hand advice so I scrolled through the comments to see what else had been shared.

Several women had the nerve to tell this woman in a rude manner that workbooks are not meant to be a full curriculum and that’s why her son was flying through them. (o.O) Uhmm, ANYTHING can be a full curriculum. THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF HOMESCHOOLING! Homeschooling is giving your child the best possible education that works for them and your family. If Unschooling is a complete curriculum, so is using workbooks. I do not say that in a way to put down unschooling, I am simply trying to show that if  people who don’t use any school books to educate kids do so successfully, why are we trying to say using a type of school books isn’t enough?? Why do we have to question what others choose to do anyway??

Homeschooling is supposed to be a tailor-made education for your child. Children are supposed to get something different and unique compared to the public and private education systems. It is supposed to be something that you choose based on your children and family alone. How you homeschool is your business and no one has the right to put someone down for schooling differently than they do.

I am tired of seeing people in communities tear each other down. We are in a COMMUNITY! We should be lifting each other up and offering support. We should be giving advice when it’s asked for, offer helpful tips and tricks, and share great resources. We should encourage all those in our community and be supportive even when they do things the complete opposite of how we do them. The world is full of people who tear others down. Can we please stop contributing to it??

When I first started homeschooling Little Divine 5 year ago, I didn’t know anyone who homeschooled. The first woman I met was a nightmare. She was what we all do not want to be – a homeschooling Nazi who happily put others down for not doing things the way she did. She acted appalled that Little Divine didn’t know how to read at 5. Really?? Many kids don’t learn to read until 7 or 8! But I didn’t know that at the time so I rushed her into learning how to read because this woman made me feel I was failing as a homeschooling mom. She also put my down for buying workbooks from the dollar store and local thrift stores, telling me my daughter COULD NOT get a good education with those materials. I turned to a friend with much younger kids who was so livid at the other woman’s hate. She assured me Little Divine WOULD get a fantastic education because I loved her and would always do my best to educate her well! ❤

I eventually cut ties with that woman. I was disgusted by her behavior and actions. She didn’t even work, yet used her husband’s hard-earned money to put others down who couldn’t afford the things she could. I have no problem with stay at home moms, but I DO have a problem when they use their spouse’s money to put others down and hurt them. It’s not okay to put others down AT ALL.

I don’t care how you educate your children! I support each and every one of you! ❤ You are a rock star for putting your child’s education first and taking a front seat in it! You are amazing! Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently! It is time we stop attacking, belittling, and putting other homeschooling parents down for how they teach their children. It is time we step up to support each other and learn from all the families who school differently. WE ARE A COMMUNITY and we should be acting like it!

I left a comment on the young woman’s post today making it very clear that ANY way of schooling can be a complete curriculum and no one should be criticizing anyone else. I wanted her to see that others will stand up for her and how she was treated was wrong. We all should speak up if we see homeschooling folks putting each other down. Set the better example and show people that we are a community trying to support each other! ❤

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Time4Learning Educational Online Website Review

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Image from Time4Learning.com

We homeschool Little Divine and have been homeschooling her since the very start. She is a smart kiddo and has always been ahead so homeschooling was the best fit. Plus the schools where we live are not super great. I’m happy with her home education and feel it is the very best option for her.

I am always on the lookout for great curriculum! Learning should be fun and it should help kids learn important things. It’s a hard combo to find of fun learning and good learning. Little Divine has been super involved in the computer the last few months, and just about everything involving the computer is a big interest to her. I decided to try looking online for an online homeschool curriculum that would give her the best all around curriculum. I looked at A LOT of sites. I ruled out any sites that were strictly Common Core as we don’t generally like a lot of the way Common Core teaches. Also ruled out were the overtly religious sites as I don’t want Little Divine to have someone’s religious principals forced on her while doing basic subjects. I feel religion should be taught to kids when they are developmentally able to understand it, and it should be a wide view of multiple religions, not just one.

We ended up landing on Time4Learning. It covers Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. After a short time period you also get an Art course as well. They just wait to open that up to you to make sure you are going to stick with the program. What I like at Time4Learning is that it is FUN. When we did the demo, Little Divine was totally focused on it. That’s important to me. The lessons are fun and she’s learning from them. Trust me – I quiz her at dinner about her daily lesson! (^.^)

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Parents get their own login and tools to use. You get updated reports as to what your child is working on. I literally can see her progress on the report showing how far along she is on an assignment. And they are updated as they go along, so I get up to the minute status on how much she’s completed. I can set her study time and her recess/gameroom time as well. I get to choose how fast she completes her grade level, how many lessons she does a day, and what lessons she does. It really give the parent a lot of freedom!

The price isn’t bad either – $19.95 a month for kids K through 8th, $30 a month for kids in high school. There are also options to get a major discount on rates if you pay for 6 months or a year in advance. My opinion is to sign up for the monthly and then buy in advance if it really works well for your family. That way you aren’t in the hole for a lot if it isn’t a good fit.

* Right now Time4Learning is offering a Buy One Month, Get One Month Free deal! So you get to try out 2 months of the site for only $19.95. I signed Little Divine up on this deal because I wanted to give her a good amount of time to try it out. THE DEAL END ON JUNE 30TH AT 11:59PM EDT! It isn’t available much longer but they might have other deals available after this one. This deal is ONLY for new members! *

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We haven’t been signed up long, so I’ll be reviewing it again as we get farther along. I really wanted to pass on the discount to you all because I feel it’s a really good buy. I don’t like spending a lot on curriculum but I really like how they teach. Little Divine hasn’t enjoyed that as she’s moved up in grades her books have lessened on the fun. She’s in 5th grade and it seems that her books have less and less colorful pages and fun mixed in with the learning. For us, this site is what we’ve been looking for to help put the fun back into learning.

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I’ve read that an issue with online curriculum is that kids don’t retain as much. If this is a concern for you, supplementing with other fun educational material or books and workbooks is your best bet. You can use them way less if you use a site for the core of your child’s learning which saves on money and paper. I am always an advocate of repetition because I feel it helps with retention! There are a lot of ways to help kids get the most out of their learning and make sure they retain it!

All in all, we currently recommend Time4Learning to be used as a homeschool curriculum! We are using the 5th grade level on all subjects to start off. Let me know what you think about the site if you give it a try! (^.^)

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