Greetings from the Sunshine State!

Greetings from the Sunshine State!  This is on of the most anticipated events of the year by many Florida homeschoolers, the annual FPEA Convention!  One jam packed long weekend with too many things to do but there is always something for everyone from workshops to the exhibit hall, from the kid’s program to all of the extra activities that are planned, all the way to the homeschool graduation on Sunday!  By the time you read this post I will already be home from our annual homeschool convention!

This year we decided to stay at the Gaylord Hotel, where the convention is held.  Usually we stay off site and drive over after breakfast.  When we went to the fall conference last year we stayed at the host hotel and we realized how much easier it made everything.  We slept in later, didn’t have to deal with parking in morning, and it was so nice to be able to walk from the hotel room over to the conference.  The fall FPEA conference is tiny compared to the convention.  Usually, my husband and I attend the convention without any kids and make it a couple’s weekend.  This year, since we had to bring one of them for something homeschool related, we decided to bring the other two older kids.  My mom kept the youngest two for the weekend.  They were happy to have grandma over with them to play.

There was a long line to check in.  While we were waiting a magician from the hotel stopped by and played some games with my girls. They enjoyed the card tricks he did for them and it helped pass the time.  There were multiple people out there entertaining other guests waiting in line.

Once we got our luggage and settled in we went over to the convention center to pick up our ID badges and then went over to the pool to get our arm bands.  Since the FPEA convention is a huge event they use arm bands for the pool to easily identify who is allowed to be in the pool area.  If you lose your arm band it is expensive to replace it!!  ($50).  Don’t fret if it falls off (unless you lost it).  They will replace it free of charge providing you bring the broken one to them.  After we got our pool bands the girls went with Daddy to the water park and I went over to the convention center to go to the exhibit hall.

I highly recommend that the first time that you attend the FPEA convention you should make plans to go to the exhibit hall on Thursday evening.  It is only opened for a few hours in the evening but well worth it.

There is not enough time in the weekend to do all of the workshops and look through all of the booths.  I do also recommend purchasing the audio files of the workshops.  There are tons of awesome speakers every year!  I listen to the workshops throughout the year.

I made it through about four aisles before my crew was through playing in the water park and was ready for dinner.  My girls did not want to leave the exhibit hall without first saying hi to their Spanish Teacher Señor Gamache from La Clase Divertida.  We looked up where his booth was and the girls met him.  La Clase Divertida is a video based program that teaches elementary school children Spanish.  They LOVE this program.  We still have a few more lessons to complete in Level 1 but we will continue on with Level 2 when we are through.  Here is my review of La Clase Divertida.

After we left the exhibit hall we went to dinner at Chipotle and then over to Publix to get breakfast food.  Food here at the hotel is very expensive.  The guests staying at the hotel use the same parking lots as those who are at the convention for the day.  We would have to sit in all of the convention traffic just to park.  Not worth it!!  The girls are so thrilled that they are staying at a hotel that has a water park.  One of the girls excitedly told the cashier that we are staying at a hotel and there is a water park.  The cashier asked her which hotel we are staying at and she replies, “Orlando”.

When we arrived back at the hotel a spot close to one of the entrances was available and we took it.  Parked just a few spaces was this truck.


Hello to whoever owns this truck!  I wish I would have seen you on the road because we would have honked and waved!

After we came back to the hotel for the night I looked through what I had picked up at the booths.  I rarely purchase anything on the first night.  I use this time strictly to visit booths, look around, and get their catalog or any other information.  When I look through everything I will write down anything I know I want to buy and the prices, make a note of any questions that I want to ask a vendor, and things that I want to go back to look at.  I saw a couple of vendors that I thought the girls will enjoy seeing but they were ready for dinner by the time they caught up with me tonight.  Snce I only got through three aisles out of sixteen it looks like I will not go to as many workshops (sad face) so I can get through the exhibit hall but I know I will be able to catch them on audio at a later date.

Everyone is all settled down for the evening and are asleep.  I wanted to blog for a few minutes before heading to bed myself.  The mornings do come fast and will be, as usuall, non-stop from the time we get up in the morning until we are ready to go to bed.

Have a great evening!!



{Review} Sunya Publishing

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

The girls and I love playing games together and Sunya – The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting by Sunya Publishing is a great addition to our game collection!  We had the pleasure of reviewing this new game that is for ages 7 to adult and 1-5 players.


Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting comes with a teacher/parent guidebook, 60 Sunya Playing Cards, 30 Math and Science riddle cards, and a Sunya Adding & Subtracting number line card.

When I first received the game, I sat down by myself and played a few rounds of the game using addition.  This helped me get familiar with the game before teaching it to my girls.  In the Basic Game of Sunya Adding & Subtraction the object of the game is to be the first person to use all of the cards in their hand.  Before beginning the game the dealer sets up the plus (or minus card if playing subtraction) and equal cards.  Then three number cards are used to form the first number sentence.  The dealer then deals four cards to every player and the remaining cards are used for the draw pile.  Cards are placed face up.  I love this detail because players can help each other out when making number sentences.  Then every player takes their turn until the first person runs out of cards and yells Sunya!  There are some tricky rules but the game is easily adaptable if your child is having difficulties with a particular rule or if you would like to change it up a little bit.  This game is a perfect game to take on a road trip!

The cards are the size of a standard playing card and did not come with a storage case I keep the cards in two ziplock bags to avoid mixing up the number and the riddle cards as their backs have the same design.  The number cards have both a number and the same number of dots as the number on the card.

The School and Homeschool Teacher/Parent Guidebook is comb bound and included in the guidebook are directions for three games, Math Activities for Young Children, a copy of the Math and Science Facts and Riddles Cards, and some additional games, facts, and riddles.  I like that the guidebook has a copy of the “Math and Science Facts and Riddles” cards.  They are the written in the same size font as the font on the cards.  As students are reading the cards out loud it makes it easier to follow along in the guidebook.  The guidebook was a mixture of color pages and black and white pages and the Crew was asked to give feedback on which pages we preferred.  I loved the colored pages!  The colors (purple and orange) are very vibrant and complemented each other.  The pages that were in color were easier on my eyes.  If Sunya Publishing decided to stay with the black and white pages my suggestion would be to increase the spacing between the instruction steps and have wider margins.

The Math Activities for Young Children provide additional activities that the cards can be used for such as flash cards, sequencing, matching, making equations, and completing the equations.  I like that there are suggestions for other uses of the cards.  We used the number cards for matching as well as playing Sunya game number 1.

IMG_1295Playing a matching game.

IMG_1304Playing Sunya Game

My girls and I have enjoyed playing Sunya – The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting.  When it is time to put the game away the girls ask to play just one more game.

Please click the Schoolhouse Review Crew banner below for additional reviews of Sunya – The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting as well as reviews for Sunya – The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing.

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}


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{Review} Science Shepherd

Science Shepherd Review

My family had the blessing to be able to review Introductory Science by Science Shepherd.  Science Shepherd sent my family the Level A Introductory Science workbook, the answer key for the workbook, and gave us a 1 year subscription to the video course.

Science Shepherd’s Introductory Science is a Creation based Science curriculum for ages 6-11.  Having a Biblical Science curriculum is important to my family and all lessons are Biblically based.  There are two levels to choose from, Level A and Level B, and both use the same video course.  You will find yourself studying meteorology, geology, oceanography, plants, astronomy, and much more studied over the course of 35 weeks!  The weekly lessons are divided over 5 days but the way Science Shepherd has set up Introductory Science you can easily adapt their schedule to fit the schedule and needs of your family.

Science Shepherd Review

The lessons are open and go, with very minimal prep work.  The daily lessons are kept short, no more than about 5 minutes.  The videos are very professional.   Key points, pictures, and videos are displayed on the screens behind the gentleman speaking (it reminds me of a newscaster).  The experiments on the videos are done by kids.

After the lesson is through Sweet Pea answers a few questions from the student book and most days there is an activity or puzzle to complete.  With younger children I do suggest watching the video together and working through the questions together.  Sweet Pea is reading but she did need assistance with some of the words in the student book.  Sweet Pea loves word searches and was thrilled when she saw them in the work book.

The workbook is spiral bound, has 321 pages, and the pages are printed in black and white.  The graphics are kept to a minimum.  This is great for those who have children who may get distracted from busy pages.  The large print is great for beginning readers.  All supplies for activities are found around the house and if you by chance don’t have the items they can be found inexpensively at a local store.  The answers are found in the Answer Key which is a separate booklet.

Logging into the web interface is easy.  The student (or parent if you have younger children) will log into the web interface to access the lesson videos.  The videos are well organized and it is easy to find the video for the day you are working on.  Like the lessons in the workbook Science Shepherd has divided all of the videos to match the workbook with separate videos for every day.  We found the week we were working on and then clicked on the corresponding day’s video.  This is a very awesome setup!  I don’t have to fast forward or rewind through a video to find the lesson that we are on.  You know how it is when you fast forward or rewind a video and you go to far or not far enough and become frustrated.  This doesn’t happen with the Introductory Science videos.  I click on the daily video for that day and Sweet Pea and I watch it together.  If we need to watch the video again we can click on the play button and it is all set for us!

I asked Sweet Pea what is her favorite thing about Science Shepherd’s Introductory Science program and she exclaimed, “Everything!”  She has enjoyed everything that she has done so far and would like to continue using Introductory Science.

Science Shepherd’s Introductory Science is very affordable for homeschool families!  For one student in Level A you can spend as little as $50 for the video subscription, student book, and answer key.  Here is a breakdown of the costs:

  • $35 for a 12 month subscription to the video course
  • $5 – $15 optional extension if you need more time
  • $12 for Level A Student Book or $15 for Level B Student Book (1 book per student)
  • $3 for either Answer Key

Please visit Science Shepherd on any of their social media links and check out their great Introductory Science program.

Twitter –

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Monday Ramblings!

Happy Monday!  I pray that everyone had an awesome weekend!  We did.

One of the kids lost a tooth last week and was very excited.  We don’t do the tooth fairly but before anyone gets upset, the kids still get money for losing their teeth.  They know it comes from us instead of some person who sneaks into their room in the middle of the night to collect the tooth and replace it with money.  If you ask them about the tooth fairy (santa or the easter bunny) you will probably get a blank stare or on of the kids saying, “We don’t do that.”.


Have you been to a homeschool convention before?  If not, I cannot encourage you enough to go to at least one.  You might find yourself surprised.  Ours is coming up soon and I am so very excited!  Looking forward to the weekend away, getting to see an exhibit hall full of curriculum (I might be a little bit of a curriculum junkie), and all the marvelous workshops!  I come back so refreshed and renewed.  What a perfect way to end the school year for those who break for the summer or an awesome break for those who school year round.  If you cannot make your local convention, check to see if they offer the audio files of the workshops.  If not, you can find some on you tube, the podcasts app, or on the vendor’s websites.

One of the things I didn’t expect when I began to homeschool are the friendships that have been developed through the various groups.  For as long as I can remember I knew, without a doubt, that I would homeschool my kids.  It was something that the Lord showed me way back when I was an education major in college.  After I had Sweet Pea, I started researching curriculum, seeing what was out there, and learning more about homeschooling.  I came across a curriculum that I really liked the look at and it looked like it was a great fit for our growing family.

Christmas time comes around and they have a Secret Sister Ornament Exchange time.  You sign up, fill out a questionnaire, and send it in.  You get someone’s name and someone else gets yours.  You pray for your sister over the course of about a month and then send them an ornament.  There is a lot of fun with clues and trying to guess who you have and who other people have.  I believe I joined the ornament exchange the first year.  Since then I have been in the ornament exchange every year and have gotten to know the ladies in the group.

Another thing the group has is an annual retreat!  Yes, it does seem crazy at first.  You fly or drive somewhere to meet up with a group of homeschool moms that you have never met in person and spend the entire weekend with them.  Every year the group who attends varies and you will meet new faces as well as see old faces.  Last year, my hubby surprised me at the last minute the night before the retreat and said we had the money for me to be able to go!  This was the first year that I got to go!  It was a surprise for everyone but one person.  She kept it a surprise that I was able to come at the last minute.  I blogged about my weekend.  Click on any of the three links below and you can get a taste of the special weekend that we had!

Super Surprise 1
Super Surprise 2
Super Surprise 3

To help with the costs of this year’s retreat our group is fundraising one of the items we are selling are Yankee Candles.  I will receive 40% of sales from my link to help me with the expenses of the retreat.  There is no pressure to buy anything.  Thank you for any purchases made!  These weekends are super special and I look forward to being blessed by spending a wonderful weekend with beautiful and Godly women.

That is about it for this Monday evening.  It is getting late and with children in the house the mornings come early.  Please do check back later this week as I do have a couple of reviews that will be publishing soon.  Have a wonderful and blessed evening!

{Review} Institute for Excellence in Writing

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization IEW Review

One of my favorite homeschool companies is Institute for Excellence in Writing.  I love their products!  They are a well known company and a favorite in the homeschool community.  My family was blessed have to opportunity to review Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization.


Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization IEW Review

When we received Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization we received: 1 Spiral Bound Teacher’s Manual, the Student Book in an E-Book format, 7 downloadable audio MP3s, and 6 cd’s in a beautiful case.  The kit comes in a sturdy box that can be used to store the Teacher’s Manual and CDs.   IEW also graciously included a copy of the spiral bound student book.  The spiral bound student book is not included in this set and is available for an additional cost.

Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization is for Grades K-12 and consists of 5 levels.  In Levels 1 through 4, your students will memorize poems from various authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson, William Shakespeare, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, and more.  In Level 5, your students will memorize excerpts of famous speeches.  Regardless of grade level everyone begins in Level 1 and works through the program at their own pace.  Students will move on after memorizing the current poem or speech.  As part of the program they will continue reciting the poems and that they have learned.  Once Level 1 is completed the student will move on to Level 2 and will work on learning the 20 poems in Level 2, like they did in Level 1.  The Level 1 poems will continue to be recited but on an every other poem every other day schedule.  Then when they move on to Level 3, Level 2 will go to the every other poem every other day schedule and Level 1 poems will be recited a little less.  Using this schedule through Levels 4 your student should be able to recite all 80 poems for life.  Once they are done with the first four levels they are ready to move on to memorizing the speeches in Level 5.

The teacher’s manual explains why poetry memorization is important, talks about mastery learning, how the program is set up, and how to teach it.  The teacher’s manual is 200 pages and contains all poems from each of the five levels.  It is set up similar to the student book and there are notes in the margins for the teacher.  There are optional lesson enhancements, author biography, and the bibliography in the back of the teacher’s manual.  The directions to download the student e-book are at the beginning of the teacher’s manual and may be reprinted as many times as needed for your immediately family only.  At the beginning of every level there is a list that you mark off when you have memorized the poem or speech and a box to help keep track of the days that you have recited the poems and speeches that you have memorized.  There is a certificate of completion for every level.

In the CD case there are six cd’s.  The first 5 are the poems from each of the levels read by Andrew Pudewa and the sixth is a bonus DVD of Andrew’s Nurturing Competent Communicators workshop.  Having the poems on CD is an added benefit.  We can listen to them in our house as well as in the car.  There are also 7 Audio MP3s that can be downloaded from IEW’s  website (The directions are in the Teacher’s Manual).

The MP3s are:

  • Nurturing Competent Communicators
  • Mastery Learning, Ability Development, and Individualized Education
  • Ten Thousand Ties and Then Begins Understanding
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Writing

If you haven’t heard Andrew Pudewa speak I highly encourage you to attend one of his workshops or listen to IEW’s podcasts.  I have thoroughly enjoyed all of his workshops and podcasts.

The girls and I are learning the poems together.  I am having fun memorizing the poems right along with them!  Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization will continue to be part of our homeschool day.  My girls favorite poem is ‘Ooey Gooey’ by an unknown author.  They are usually in stitches by the end of this poem every time they recite it.  Even the two year old and four year old will say bits and pieces of ‘Ooey Gooey’ and laugh right along with their sisters.  My mom took a video of the three girls reciting ‘Ooey Gooey’ while they were waiting for me to run an errand.



You can find IEW on the following social media sites.

Twitter  @IEW


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Happy Monday!

I pray that everyone had a wonderful Monday!

Not much has been going on.  Peanut spent the night with her grandparents over the weekend.  They went to a movie.  Sweet Pea and Lil’ Bit joined them for the movie.





We are enjoying our time on the Crew!  Lots of fun and wonderful things that our family has been blessed to review!  The girls are excited any time I mention that we received a product to review!  We received a couple review products at the end of last week, one arrived today, and we should be receiving another one this week.  Very exciting reviews coming up, including one that will be posting very soon!    Here is a sneak peak at what just arrived.






Have a very blessed week!

{Review} Zeezok Publishing LLC

Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}



My family had the pleasure of reviewing Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades by Zeezok Publishing LLC.  Book 1 covers seven composers: Schubert, Mozart, Paganini, Bach, Hayden, Handel, and Beethoven.  The package includes a student activity book, music discs, lapbook CD, and biographies for all seven composers.

 Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}

When I saw this review come up I was thrilled!  I believe that music education is important!  I grew up playing multiple instruments from elementary through college, and have continued to play the flute some since.  I don’t remember studying composers in school.  If we did it was very little.  I know there are college classes that cover this information but I never took any of those.  Sweet Pea is showing interest in music and then this review became available!  Perfect timing!

Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}


The biographies about the composers are very well written and make perfect read a louds for the entire family.  The book that we read was ‘Joseph Haydn the Merry Little Peasant’.  There are 118 pages in this book.  The font size is large and had wide margins.  Just about every page had a beautiful illustration and/or a music score.  Also included with the music score is the location of where you can find it on the CD.  I loved that it allowed us to play the music and read along on the score!  Sweet Pea enjoyed being able to follow along and look at all of the illustrations as we were reading the book together.

The student activity book contains the activities for all seven composers.  The consumable book comes with perforated pages and is already hole punched for easy removal and storage in a notebook.  Every composer has their own section and every page is tagged with which composer is being studied.  Every composer has a suggested four week schedule but it is easily adapted to fit your schedule and the ages that you are teaching.  An answer key is available at the end of every composer study.

A sample of what you may find yourself doing during a week while studying Haydn:

  •  read a chapter from the book
  • answer comprehensive questions
  • listen to music
  • studying character qualities
  • baking
  • games and puzzles
  • lapbook activities
  • & much more!!

While learning about Haydn Sweet Pea also learned about the orchestra and instruments in the orchestra and the families within an orchestra.  During week 2 of the Haydn study there are pictures of the instruments in an orchestra along with a short description of each one.  Being a flutist I noticed right away that an alto flute was chosen to represent the flute family.  So if you are wondering why the keys and/or head joint looks different, this is why.  The alto flute (picture below) was also used throughout the student activity book when referencing the flute.  There is a matching game where Sweet Pea is able to take the cards with the instrument’s name and match them up with their picture.


There are five music CD’s included in the package.  Throughout the student activity book and the composer biographies will let you know which disc you need and the track number.  The CD’s are also great for listening in the car and throughout the day.  One of the five CD’s covers the individual instruments of an orchestra and you will get to hear them play individually.

The lapbook CD has pdf files of the lapbook pages for all seven composers.  You may print as many copies as you need for your family only. In our house, instead of using file folders to create lap books, our girls prefer to comb bind colored card stock and make their books this way.  I gave Sweet Pea the option of either one and as usual she chose to make it with the colored card stock.  Sweet Pea’s favorite item in her Haydn lap book is the wheel from, “The Life of a Wheelwright”.  Haydn was a master wheelwright and one of the activities was to cut out a wheel graphic, put some information behind the flaps, and adhere it to the lap book with a brad.  You can spin the wheel around.


I am thankful that our family had the opportunity to review this product.  I am looking forward to completing the remaining units in this Music Appreciation book!


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Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}

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