Lord Heritage HomeSchool Office (a TOS Review Crew Review)

Are you a pen and pencil planner type homeschooler…or do you prefer technology to keep you organized? I am ashamed to admit it–technology scares me. Ok, maybe that is overkill. I like to pretty much stay in my comfort zone, so as a primary self-proclaimed ‘pencil pusher’ I decided to break free and try something new! As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was given the opportunity to review Homeschool Office from Lord Heritage. For this review I was given one full year of access to the planner, which is web based ($79 value).

Homeschool Office is an online planner with “POWER”….literally. Using the acronym POWER, this product provides several things:

  • Plan (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • Order (1 Corinthians 14:40)
  • Work (John 17:4)
  • Evaluate (Matthew 28:20)
  • Report (Romans 14:12)-
The Home Screen

The Home Screen

This is my favorite part! When I logged into my account, I was greeted with “my” life verse…Jeremiah 29:11. Appropriate…a planner with a plan! For more screen samples of HomeSchool Office, click here.

The drop-down menu

The drop-down menu

Being a pen and paper gal, I was blown away by all of the options available with this product! Those included tracking grades, their schedules (each individual student), and even my budget for the year! Check out the picture above to see all of the different budgeting options: curriculum, field trips, kits, legal (I would use this for HSLDA)…even office supplies (the area I tend to overspend on). The feature I really liked was transferring the data I entered for my oldest son, a high school junior, automatically onto a transcript form. This is my FAVORITE part of this planner. I could just enter it all, hit print and go!

This planner is truly any techy homeschooler’s dream. It provides so many options. From schedules for each student, homeschooling budget, transcript options, schedules for each child, which are printable, and so many more! Check out the screen samples here.

Sadly, though, for us pen and paper gals, it reminds us of all life could be…if only we could leave our comfort zone. We travel a lot for extracurricular activities, church activities, my husband’s job, and having family 500 miles away. For me it’s easier to just have everything in my main planning folder. We don’t use the computer much for school either except research and supplements so it’s not just the planner that would be difficult for us. Too much screen time equals eye strain and headaches for me as well.

Since this isn’t a download, and no shortcut or icon is located on my computer, it also makes it easy to ‘forget’ about. And no, there isn’t an “app” for this. Perhaps if there were an app, I might be inclined to use it more. Even so, I barely use the calendar on my iPhone. Yes, I’m so “behind the times” I know! I tried adding it to the homescreen of my iPhone, to “create” a shortcut/app so to speak but it was burdensome logging in each time. I think I spend the better part of my life hitting the “forget password” button. And yes….those ARE in my planner. But, alas my planner doesn’t always go with me. My phone does so an app option for this product would be amazing!

All in all this is a fantastic product for keeping all of your homeschool information together in one place-whether it is a schedule, a budget or a transcript. My favorite was how it kept track of my high schooler’s classes and carrying them over to a “transcript.” Goodness knows I sure need help there.

Are you a techy homeschooler? Have you been searching for a great online planner? Why not try HomeSchool Office FREE for 30 days! Try it and see if you like it. I have used almost every online planner there is and even though this currently doesn’t work for me, it’s one of the best out there.

Crew Disclaimer
Check out what the rest of The Crew thought!!

 HomeSchool Office Review

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The Box of Red Marbles~a Children’s Book Review

 

What a delight-reviewing a book that I can sit down and read with my children. This one came at a very good time! My older sons work with special needs people from all ages and walks of life through an amazing organization, SPOT Junior Civitan. We have a member of our family with special needs and many friends who have children affected. It was wonderful to see a book out there for kids to know they are not alone. Now onto the review.

From the back cover:

What do the helpful, caring friends in a diverse, special education classroom discover among the red marbles and about themselves?

When this book arrived for review, my 7 year old was immediately enchanted with it. As a matter of fact, that is one of the reasons my review took so long–she had the book and I couldn’t find it! We sat down and read it together. With each page that showed a different child and a different need, she asked “mommy what’s wrong with him/her?” This fostered great discussions for us. The main child on the front has a form of Epilepsy that requires him to wear a helmet to prevent injury. Our oldest son has Epilepsy that only occurs in his sleep so of course this was a chance to talk with her about how his was different, etc. My heart warmed as we read this story and not once did she laugh, point or make fun of any of the children. We want our kids to respect EACH and every human being God created and to know that EACH and every one of His children are deeply loved by Him. That they ALL serve a purpose here on this Earth and they are not a ‘mistake.’ They are fearfully and wonderfully made.

One of my favorite parts of the book is on page 31. This book takes place at a school and there are multiple children with multiple needs in this classroom. The kids had been looking at what they thought was a box of red marbles. Until……(NO spoilers here!!!) On page 31, the teacher looks at each of her students and recognizes the gifts and talents in each one of them. Encourager, helper, the sharer, and the observer. They “are not given the time to shine because others judge the outside instead of learning what is on the outside.”

I absolutely LOVE this book and love the fact that the author has more! A retired special education teacher for over 24 years, she has recently begun writing about her teaching experiences. Available for purchase:

A Seat on the Playground: The Joys of a Special Needs Teacher

Another book coming soon is The Royal Storyteller. Watch for it!

Review disclaimer

This particular book was made available to me from OlivePress

 

 

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What Matters Most

torah linky

Recent ponderings have left my heart in a ruckus. Fear came over me…the kind of fear I hadn’t experienced for quite some time. What am I doing? Is it enough? Does it matter?

Homeschool can jerk the fear right into me like nothing else. Nevermind the HUGE victories we have had lately with my youngest who, it seemed, would have enormous difficulties learning to read. Those victories came from excellent advice from a good friend and from an amazing curriculum…yes, I know…I sing it’s praises often. Homeschooling Torah really does help our family…not only spiritually and financially, but educationally as well. I am forever grateful to the Elliott’s. Not only is she making leaps and bounds in reading…she is learning and LOVING cursive writing!!

Ava Bible

Practice ACT tests struck fear in my heart that perhaps I hadn’t taken this homeschool thing serious enough with my oldest. God bless him, he is the first and sadly, the guinea pig…will I ever get this together? Upon further review, (by his DAD), it was found that the majority of the problems were items he hadn’t studied yet. Chemistry? He opted to take Advanced Biology this year putting Chem off until next. He *is* currently in Geometry but Algebra is the bane of both of our existences. Much of Algebra I is available on Homeschooling Torah…(can you say summer school?!?)

I began to get deeply unsettled…gone was the confidence I once had when I wrote this post. My mind begins spinning back to a time long ago when I began to worry; to compare; to jump on the hamster wheel of this ‘pursuit of knowledge’ thing. To look into the very things I felt God had already given a ‘no’ to long ago. I had prayed very specifically, very often for my homeschool. I felt like I had found the ‘perfect’ curriculum. Guess what? Grass is greener syndrome reared it’s ugly head. Fear gripped me over and over.

Then I remembered. God didn’t call me to this to lead me right back around the homeschooling wilderness again. It was up to me to “obey right away” or make another trip in the desert.

Then I remembered. The verse I have prayed over my homeschool as long as I can remember:

All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children (Isaiah 54:13)

Now it’s your turn, share in the comments a time you felt God say no, yet you circled that wilderness again. LINKY IS LIVE!! Link-up any of your homeschooling, homemaking, Bible study, natural health….ANYTHING is open! Link to as many posts as you will like! Can’t wait to read them and share some of them with our readers on Friday!

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Bella’s Gift~a Book Review

Would you choose to love with no reservation and hope like no other when you were faced with impossible odds for your newborn child’s survival? Those are questions no new parent ever hopes to face, but ones that hit the Santorum’s pretty hard when their 8th child, a beautiful cherubic girl was born with a rare condition called Trisomy 18 (or Edward’s Syndrome). Only 10% of children with this condition are born alive. Those who are face innumerable odds stacked against them–a 90% mortality rate before their first birthday.

Most people know Mr. Santorum from the political arena. Having served in both the House of Representatives, and the Senate, he went on to enter the race for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 2012. Eerily enough, Mrs. Santorum is a former Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse and Attorney. Having seen the heartbreak of many families in the NICU, she perhaps knows this dance all too well.

When you open this book, you are swept up into the world that is the Santorum’s. Each chapter tells Rick or Karen’s point of view, or what was going on at the time. The two were in very different positions, so to speak, upon the birth of Bella. Multiple pictures of the family are included with this book, which is not an easy read at all. For several reasons. It is first, and foremost, heartbreaking to hear of any child who is ill. However I personally found it difficult to get into because of the political nature in many of the chapters. I say that lightly because I realize that while all of this was going on with them, there was a lot of political things going on as well. Reading through much of the beliefs and so forth made it sometimes difficult. That said, it is a very heartwarming story.

Review disclaimer

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Reading & writing….oh my!!

Redeem the time

 

This week has been interesting to say the least. Our learning has been varied…at times all over the place. It would make most people mad, but for us, it’s just incorporating a lifestyle of learning.

photo

First up this week, we gathered together twice to watch history being made….literally. On Monday, we gathered to hear Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, speak to the AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committe. See it here:

On Tuesday, we gathered again around the kitchen table to hear Prime Minister Netanyahu give a passionate speech to congress. Many have likened him to Churchill and I have to agree. My brain was instantly spinning to the connections between the time of Esther, Purim, and the state of affairs in the Middle East today. Foremost was the connection of Persia in the story of Esther and the proposed annihilation of the Jewish people. It’s where the famous line, “for such a time as this” comes from. Currently, the Jewish people are AGAIN fighting against proposed annihilation from Persia–current day Iran. It’s the same place!! According to PM Netanyahu, a recent Tweet from the Iranian leader (in English no less), was “Israel must be annihilated.” Hmmm…The speech was on Tuesday…Purim was on Thursday. The parallels are mind boggling. Hear the speech here:

What is even more amazing is that in the last few weeks, using our primary curriculum Homeschooling Torah, the older boys were learning about Persia. They quickly made the connections. They actually read a fascinating historical fiction book several weeks ago that they loved:

This Shabbat we plan to do several activities to teach about Purim–another GREAT bonus to using Homeschooling Torah…learning about the feasts and festivals!

Due to bad weather, dad was home Thursday so we had a slow start. We watched a movie with him about Troy and the war with Greece that ended it. Achilles, Hector, etc. This was fascinating, again reviewing what they had learned using mixed media. We asked dad questions and he answered. Many of them the boys already knew and answered. I never took World History in high school or college so this is ALL new to me! I only had Geography and American History. I am ALL for using different ways of learning, especially if it’s visual (that’s my style)!

working on cursive

Esther copywork

I LOVE the way our copywork is from the Bible. Often I will use the verses from Homeschooling Torah, or elsewhere. This week the girls copied from Esther. All of their subjects are built around Scripture which I love!

Outline

Another part of Homeschooling Torah we love is the Grammar and Writing. My 8th grade son went from hating Grammar and not getting it, to light bulb moments and actually enjoying it. We haven’t done the diagramming yet though. I love that it has just enough ‘help’ for mom, aka the teacher, but enough wiggle room to get creative. This week in writing, the boys were creating outlines, enumerating paragraphs, and much more. THIS is my favorite part of the day. As you can see above, mom ran with teaching this!

blood smear

My 16 year old is using Apologia’s Advance Biology, Anatomy & Physiology with lab modules taught by a local friend–who happens to be a CRNA! Here mom ‘took one for the team’  by pricking her finger so that he could look at a blood smear under the microscope. That was followed up with a Moody Science video called Red River of Life.

Now it’s your turn!! Link up YOUR homeschool related posts with us! This link is open for a week. Can’t wait to see what you share!

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