Friday, March 27, 2015

HomeSchool Office by Lord Heritage {A Schoolhouse Crew Review}

About The Company:

Lord Heritage is a company that was founded by a mother daughter duo.  Jennifer is a homeschooling mom who ran a small business out of her home and Joyce is a retired business professional.  They came together with a common goal; to help prepare the next generation in spiritual truth and in the heritage of the Lord Jesus through education. 
Identifying the Christian homeschool movement as God's Spirit speaking to the hearts of other parents, Lord Heritage focuses on supporting homeschooling families for the same calling.


About The Product:

They are supporting homeschooling families by creating a web based program, HomeSchool Office.  HomeSchool Office is designed to give you the framework to be able to organize home and school all in one.  This is designed for the homeschool family by a homeschooling family.


They come with a strategy they call POWER.






The Plan:

  • Plan subject goals and objectives
  • Build a master schedule
  • Setup lessons
  • Create projects for home or groups
  • Lay out your school budget

The Order:

  • Schedule lessons
  • Integrate home & school activities
  • Setup important reminders
  • Create customized lists

The Work:

  • Provide student access
  • View/print individual schedules
  • Follow daily lessons
  • Manage to do lists

To Evaluate:

  • Manage requirement for state compliance
  • Oversee daily attendance
  • Track hours per subject
  • Maintain grading per subject

The Report:

  • Comply with state regulations
  • Customize reports
  • Generate transcripts


HomeSchool Office allows you to track multiple students, grades, subjects, extra curricular activities, co-ops, tutors, private lessons such as music or tennis, etc.

They do this all while remaining flexible.  If you have a sick day you can “bump” a day and all your lessons will shift.  If you are working ahead or on the weekend or something, you can also everything forward by one day. 

You can copy subjects by child, so after you have entered one child’s math and you want to use that for the next child the next year, then you just copy it over and you don’t have to re-enter it.

With HomeSchool Office being web based it is accessible from any device with a browser, including your iPhone, iPad or android device


Our thoughts and feelings:

There is definitely a learning curve entailed in learning this program.  It goes deep and is very detail oriented, which is perfect for someone like me.  This was difficult to set up for me as I was very limited on time.  I had a short notice surprise move thrown on me of over 200 miles. I am very grateful for what I did have set up though, because it made it easy to bump complete days or even just subjects that we were not able to complete on a particular day.  I truly wished that I had more time to work with the program. I feel like I didn’t have the time to truly learn it and play with it before implementing it. 

I found after all the time it took to learn it, I didn’t want the detail for my younger children.  However for my high schooler and soon to be high schooler the transcript option and details were wonderful.  I loved the feature of sending messages to my “team” (my older students) and having them reply.  This was a neat feature that I have never seen before on any planning software.


HomeSchool Office offers a free 30 day trial which is worth checking out.  After that it is $79 per year.

To see what others think of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.

 Review Crew

Friday, March 20, 2015

GPA Love Math

GPA LEARN has a cool all online math program for kids Kindergarten to grade 5.  This program is known as GPALOVEMATH.

GPALOVEMATH is streaming, so it is available on our computers or iPads and that has proven to be quite convenient. 

I have used this with my Kindergarten age son who is very computer literate.

Each level has 150 lessons. Completing 4-5 lessons a week will have your child finishing a grade every 10 months. 

The format of GPALOVEMATH is:

Learn – Engage – Motivate.

They learn by using the instruction portion. (see below)

They are engaged with the parents.  Each lesson that is completed the parent will receive an email showing what topics were covered and discussion points you can use to engage with your child.

They are motivated by GPA Learn’s unique reward system. The students earn points for completing lessons.  These points can be used for all kinds of things.  Some our company sponsored, like a Toys R Us e gift card and others are parent sponsored like staying up late.

There are also automatic rewards that the child gets after completing so many lessons.  The parent customizes and picks these rewards.  There is a giant list to choose from or you can just create your own.  My son loved this part!  He loved simple rewards like “Mom does one of your chores” or “You get to choose what is for dinner” 

by using

Instuction - Practice – Quiz

The instruction portion is where you work alongside an animated coach to learn and solve problems.

The practice portion is where you follow along with your animated coach to solve practice problems.

The Quiz portion is where you answer the questions on your own and evaluate how well you know the skills.

A day/week in our life:

Tyler began by logging into this math program and just starting at the beginning. He used the Kindergarten level.  He would just work at the beginning of the program and work his way through the lessons in order.  Since we are halfway through our school year he had already learned many of the things.  He did not enjoy sitting through them.  I decided to let him just quiz out of all the things he had already learned.  He was quizzing out of 3-5 lessons per day.  Once he got to where he needed to learn things we stopped doing that and he had to sit through the videos.  Each lesson has a pre-requisite that needs to be done before it will unlock.  There is a way around this by choosing to do the lessons under the Kindergarten topics section.  We chose to keep doing them in the suggested order.

The videos were funny and engaging.  He had to push the arrow every few seconds to turn the page.  This kept him paying attention.  

He really enjoys this math and I have decided to keep it as his primary math for the rest of the year.

Find GPA Learn on social media here:

To see what others think of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.

 Review Crew

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

World History Detective Book 1 {A review}

The Critical Thinking Company is known for their over 150 award winning books and software.  They have been around since 1958 and our family owned.

Their mission statement:

The Critical Thinking Co.™ is committed to developing students' critical thinking skills for better grades, higher test scores, and success in life. We do not teach through drill and memorization or teach to the tests—we empower the mind! 

The Schoolhouse review crew was offered many choices on what to review.  We chose to review World History Detective Book 1.

World History Detective Book 1 is for grades 6-12.  It is 361 pages long and can be used multiple ways.  This could be a stand alone history curriculum.  It can be used to supplement a social studies curriculum, or it can even just be used as a review/ refresher for older students. This book is on Ancient and Medieval Civilizations.

The way this book works is very “work booky” (That’s totally a word!). 

Let’s use lesson 31 for our example. This lesson is on Daily Life in the Roman Empire.

They would read 9 paragraphs and then answer 9 multiple choice questions. To answer the multiple choice questions, you would choose the best answer and then after to write which sentence (the sentences are numbered) best supported your answer.   Followed by writing a short essay answering the question “What were the positive and negative aspects of life during the Roman Empire? using complete sentences. Then they would complete a concept map.  This looks like a flow chart to me. 


You can take a peek inside this book here.  World History Detective Book 1 has won 3 awards already. 


A day/week in our life:

I used this with my 15 year old daughter who hates history. She doesn’t like the way history “takes so long to learn” (her words).  I figured that a simple workbook with no extra fluff, like projects and research would be good for her.  I was right!  She still dislikes history, but she loves solving problems and this book has been a great balance between the two. She would complete about 3 lessons a week in this book.  Lessons took her about 30-45 minutes.  The reading isn’t to long and it’s to the point, while still requiring you to think.  This was troublesome for her in the beginning, she just wanted to be able to copy the answer from the reading.  After about 2 weeks of using this she caught on that it was more than learning history, that she was required to actually think. 

My thoughts and opinions:

It’s too often in our home that the work is too easy.  Using this book showed me that my daughter can think for herself and decipher clues to come up with an answer.  After about 2 weeks she began to enjoy this.  She looked at it less about learning history and more about finding clues.  She said that history is still not her favorite subject but it’s “not so bad” this way.  She likes that she can just get it done.  I like that  she uses her reading comprehension and writing skills at the same time.  I also love that this book is self-directed.  She only needs me to look over her answers. 

The Critical Thinking Company can be found all over social media.  Check them out.

To see what others think of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.

 Review Crew

Monday, March 16, 2015

Here we go again.



We are moving.  For the second time, while homeschooling!  Yikes. 

This move has been very emotionally challenging for me.  My husband has been out of town quite a bit leaving everything to me.  Then we bumped our moving date up by 11 days!  I love where I live.  Think positive right!  My friends all keep telling me what a new adventure this will be….

This weekend.  Here we go!

Friday, March 13, 2015

FPE: Mother, Should I Trust the Government? {A review}


Freedom Project Education is a company that was founded in 2011.  They offer classical education from Kindergarten up to 12th grade. They use a non-common core curriculum that teaches Judeo Christian values. They are an accredited private school based out of Wisconsin and offer live online classes, live on campus classes and online courses that are not live.

We were able to take their live online class entitled, Mother, Should I Trust the Governement?.  This particular class is only offered once per year and is what’s known as a family class.  Here are their current (as of this writing) family classes available.



About The Class:

This class met once per week for 8 of 9 weeks for 2 hours.  We took a 20 minute break about 1/2 way through it.

This class taught about why our government was founded and what the Funding Fathers wanted for us and how over time it has become corrupted.

This class is based around the book by the same name, Mother, Should I Trust the Government?

A day/week in our life:

Each week the class would meet for 2 hours.  In our time zone that time was from 5pm and went until 7pm.  With a 15 minute break around 6pm.  I actually thought that the class would be hard to attend with the timing of it.  It was actually not that hard. Tommy was able to take watch the class and interact with it using our iPad.  He did it at the computer once, but there were too many family distractions at that time of the day. Like me cooking dinner.   So taking the iPad upstairs was a huge help for him to be able to concentrate and pay attention.  It was not optimal for me though as I couldn’t watch nearly the amount of classes I wanted to. 

After each class there would be a small amount of reading in the book assigned as homework.  The following day I would be emailed a link to the recorded session so that I could watch it at a later time or if he were to miss a class for some reason then he could watch the recordings.

Our thoughts and feelings:

This family class is recommended for ages 13 and up.  It’s not that it wasn’t appropriate for younger kids, it’s just they may not understand all the concepts talked about.  2 hours is also a long time for a younger kid to sit. 

Both Tommy and I enjoyed the fact that he took this class.  He was able to take an online co-op class and he enjoyed it.  Tommy is my son that does not enjoy co-op classes at all, so the fact that he enjoyed this one is huge!  He told me some things that made the class enjoyable is that it wasn’t huge, or didn’t feel huge.  The teacher was funny and had a sense of humor, so it wasn’t dry and boring.  He also liked learning about the things he learned. 

I do recommend these types of classes from Family Project Education as this one was fun for us.

You can find Freedom Project Education on social media here:

To see what others think of Freedom Project Education check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.

 Review Crew

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Visual Learning Systems- Online science {A Review}

Visual Learning Systems is a company that offers science for the visual learners.  Their mission is to provide high quality, visual-based content that instructs, challenges, and inspires students. 

They offer their levels of science in both English and Spanish.  They are also available as DVD format or a yearly online subscription. There are two levels of the online subscription.

Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5) (This is primary as well as elementary science.)
Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12)

These are both $99 for a year subscription.

About The Company:

They are able to fulfill their mission by having video lessons that are engaging and neat. There are also extensive teacher guides that include everything from a pre-assessment, to worksheets with vocabulary and quizzes, to post-assessments and hands on activities and experiments to try.

About The Product:

I received a year of their online subscription.  I used this with my 4th grader who is a very visual learner and loves computers. 

Once you log into your account you will see a list of topics for that level.  I just let Katey choose her topic and we jumped around, but you could easily go in the order they are listed.

Once she chose a topic, I would look at the pre-assessment and we would work through that together.  I am not big on giving a test on many things let alone a test she is highly likely to fail.  So we treated it more as a pre-discussion than a test. Then she would watch the video.  They are about 10-20 minutes in length and they were fascinating.  They held her attention and were not cartoonish or babyish as she would say.  She loved that it felt like older kid science but that topics were presented in a way she could easily comprehend.  The first day we did a few of the worksheets that went along with it. After that we decided to just discuss the videos and then do some of the hands on projects.  This was much more realistic for me as a homeschool parent. 

More than once the videos would grab the attention of one of her siblings also.

Our thoughts and feelings:

Science is something that I struggle to teach as a homeschool parent.  It just takes so much time.  Last year I ended up teaching a science class at co-op just because that made more sense to do.  This year, I don’t have that kind of time, so I was really excited to be able to try out Visual Learning Systems.  This makes teaching much easier on me. and my daughter seriously loves this program.

Something I really liked about this program is how versatile it really is. They give you everything you need and more, it’s up to you how you use it.  This could be used as a stand-alone science program, it’s that comprehensive or as a supplemental program to a science you are already using.

We used it as a stand-alone program (and we still are.)

Katey loved that she didn’t need to wait on me to do science, she could just watch the video and talk about what she learned.  I even caught her watching some videos twice.  The hands on activities that are recommended are simple enough, educational enough and fun enough to make this program well rounded.

Find them on social media here:

Facebook -
Twitter -

To see what others think of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.

 Review Crew

Monday, March 9, 2015

Amidst the Chaos


I see the good, I really do.  I see the fresh start, I see the spirit and soul cleanse. I just don’t want to let go of what I have here.

As I prepare my family for a move that none of us are all that excited about making, I just have to wonder what is in store for us.

We have had some good family times lately and I see much more of that in our future.

I have still been running almost every day and I am in great shape. 

I am grateful for the experiences that I have had and the people I have met while living here.   Reluctantly on to the new….


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Koru Naturals: Lip Balm and Emu Oil ~ A Review.

Koru Naturals is a company based out of the US that brings quality natural ingredients over from New Zealand to create products that use what nature has to offer to protect the skin, fight common health problems and promote general good well-being.

I received two of Koru Naturals products, The Pure Emu Oil and their Pure Lanolin Lip Balm.


Let’s start with the Pure Emu Oil. I received the 2oz bottle ($9.85).  The list of ingredients is 100% Grade A Emu Oil.  That’s it.  Just pure emu oil. This milky white oil is recognized by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia. This oil is used as a hair and skin moisturizer.

How we used it: 

I have naturally curly hair, otherwise known as frizzy.  I live in a dry environment. I often cake ingredients in my hair just to tame the frizz.  I used a quarter size drop of emu oil in my hair when I got out of the shower and I would go all day with out frizz.  I would rub the extra left over on my hands onto my face to moisturize my face.  My face felt great.  I did go outside one day and get a slight sunburn on my face, since it doesn’t contain and sunscreen due to it being all natural.  So just remember to put some sunscreen on if you will be outside in the sun for a while.  I loved the way this made my hair feel silky smooth without feeling greasy or oily.  I did like the way it made my skin feel moisturized just right, but I went back to my regular face cream with sunscreen in it after the sunburn.

The Pure Lanolin Lip Balm (4 pack, $9.80) was very exciting for us.  We live in a dry cold (right now) climate and our lips get chapped and sore every winter. 

The lip balm is pharmaceutical grade pure anhydrous lanolin. There is petroleum derivatives that actually cause dryness, requiring even more frequent applications, which is common in most lip balms. Which explains my husbands addiction. (see below).

How we used it:

My husband has an addiction to a certain brand of chap stick, I was interested to see how this would compare.  I tried it first and it was interesting and felt a little sticky on my lips.  After about a minute the sticky feeling was gone and my lips felt great all day. When it was my husbands turn to try it I warned him of the sticky and he tried it and the same thing.  He ended up not having to use his other chap stick all day.  One time I saw him reach for his other one and I asked him if it was because his lips were dry, he told me they were not dry, it was more out of habit. I am so glad to have broken the habit of chap stick use, just by using one that actually works.

The lip balm comes in a 4 pack for $9.80.  Which divides out to $2.45 each tube or pot. That is less than we were paying for this other brand that he was having to use all day long. 

Follow Koru Naturals on Social Media:


To see what others think of this check out this post.  Check  out other great posts and reviews on our crew blog. Review Crew

Monday, March 2, 2015

7 Life Hacks for the Over Scheduler.



I am a chronic over-scheduler.   I almost always feel like I can fit more into a time than I actually can. This quickly leads to burnout.  Don’t let that happen to you.

Over time I have found some tweaks that have helped me. Here are some suggestions.


  • Make your to do list fit on a 3x3 post it note.  If it takes up more than that, it’s too much.  Prioritize and downsize.

  • Schedule around “hard edges”.  Each night I write out 2 index cards.  The first one has my plan from 7:30am-1pm.  The next one is my plan from 1pm on. My hard edges are at 7:30am.  I am up and fully ready for the day.  Thanks to The Miracle Morning.  My next hard edge is 1pm.  That is when we are done eating lunch and having a break.  It is also when some of our co-op classes start.  So that time is convenient for me. I have a hard edge is when I run.  I like to go running either at 3 or 4pm if I can, each day the time of this “hard edge” changes as to what we have going on.  Another hard edge is dinner time.  We eat between 6 and 7pm.  So nothing is scheduled from 5:30-7 for the person in charge of cooking that night.  Everyone is in bed by 10:30pm.  This “hard edge” scheduling, where I have set edges has really helped me to not get behind in what I am supposed to be doing.  I feel just enough pressure to get the items done before the next set of items comes up, but not so much pressure that I stress about it.

  • Time blocking. This is very similar to hard edge scheduling, it is just based on certain times.  We don’t always eat lunch at 12:00 on the dot even if it’s written on the schedule.  Time blocking works for me on some things and not on others.  My favorite time blocking sheet is free right here.

  • Focusing on one thing at a time has proven for me and is scientifically proven to be more productive.  I am a multi tasker by habit.  I still try to focus on just the one thing I should be focusing on at any given moment.

  • Schedule in nothing.  This may seem crazy.  This may seem simple.  It may seem like you don’t have the time to schedule in nothing.  Trust me, if you don’t schedule in down time, you will stress more.  Believe it or not, the down time will help you be more productive.

  • Don’t spend more time on a task than needs to be.  Sure I can load the dishwasher in 5 minutes good enough or I can spend 15 being a perfectionist.  Depending on how relaxing I am finding do the dishes being that day depends on how fast I do it.  I am not saying do all tasks as fast as you can all the time.  Some tasks need our utmost attention to detail, other tasks will be just fine if we lessen our time spent on it.  You decide.

  • Delegate.  Delegate.  Delegate.  You are not required or expected to do it all.  Life is crazy. You know the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”.  That’s because moms need help.  If you don’t want the village raising your child then delegate something else. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Don’t have volunteer vomit.  Be strong and work on yourself first.  Let others take on some of the work load.  Would it make your life easier to hire a cleaning person?  It doesn’t have to be a professional company that you shell out hundreds a month for.  You can pay a neighbor girl $10 an hour to come for 2 hours twice a month.  You can have your older kids help your younger kids with reading. You can use the TV as a babysitter sometimes.  You don’t have to do it all.  You are good enough. 

Do you have any tips for over schedulers?  Share them in the comments below to help people out!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...