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Homeschooling Middle School Kids with GrammarFlip

A simple, straight-forward homeschool grammar program that is perfect for independent learning in the middle school years. {This i...

A simple, straight-forward homeschool grammar program that is perfect for independent learning in the middle school years.


grammar-curriculum-homeschool

{This is a sponsored post. I have been compensated for my time. All opinions are my own.}

Over the years, I've pretty much stuck with grammar books that fit with our Charlotte Mason philosophy. And I still like those books.


But the world is more technology-oriented these days, which means we have more options when it comes to homeschool curriculum choices.



As most of you know, my kids and I prefer real books and pencil/paper over online learning. Every now and then, however, we try out an online learning program.

This time, it's GrammarFlip.

TLTR Synopsis: This grammar program is fantastic for middle school kids. We loved it and you can get a 30-day trial here.


How a 3D Pen Can Expand Your Artist's Skills

As the mother of artists, I'm always interested in offering them new mediums or products to try. Variety may be the spice of life, but i...

As the mother of artists, I'm always interested in offering them new mediums or products to try. Variety may be the spice of life, but it's the lifeblood of art.

Recently I was introduced to a new 3D art pen. You know I had to get it!



affordable-3d-pen


{Disclosure: I received this product free of charge and was compensated for my time. As always, all opinions are my own.}


Most of my kids are artists. So when I came across this pen from Atmosflare, I had to give it a try. While Alexis is mostly into drawing, she's keen to trying various types of art from oil painting to murals.

Lorelai likes to learn artistic things, but hasn't yet found her niche. So she's always experimenting. Although I got the pen for Alexis, in the end it was Lorelai who was creating with it.



Benefits of a 3D Pen

Another tool in the artist's toolbox - Children need a variety of art supplies if they are going to develop their artistic skills. A 3D pen is a unique tool for creation. 

Boredom Killer - Art is one of the best go-to activities when the kids develop a case of I'm-bored. The more they draw, the more their artist skills improve.


Improves hand-eye coordination - Drawing in 3D definitely requires practice and skill. For kids with dysgraphia (like mine), it can be particularly challenging (see tips below), but time and practice pay off.


Builds Confidence - As your child's skills improve, so will her confidence in her abilities. The more confident in her abilities she becomes, the more her art will improve. It's a non-vicious cycle! 



Tips for Using a 3D Pen

child-drawing

1 - Learn when to use and not use the light. For some drawing, the light isn't necessary and actually hardens the ink faster than you'd like. For vertical or mid-air horizontal lines, you'll need the light on as you draw.

2 - Get a feel for the drawing speed. If you move to quickly, the result is thin lines that sag. If you move to slowly, the ink hardens too quickly, sometimes sealing the pen to the artwork. So practice! 


3 - If you make a mistake, just pinch it off and pick up where you left off.


4 - Keep wet cloths or wipes handy. 3D drawing can be sticky!



Get Your Own 3D Pen!

You can purchase a pen at Atmosflare, Toys "R" Us or Best Buy.

The pen is affordable at only $29.99. Cartridge refills are only $5.99.


Connect with Atmosflare:


Two Giveaways! 

instagram-challenge

iHomeschool Network and Atmosflare are having an Instagram challenge! Join us on Instagram February 22 to March 6, 2016 for a chance to win.
  • 1 GRAND PRIZE – AtmosFlare 3D Drawing Pen + full set of all available ink colors
  • 2 SECOND PRIZES – AtmosFlare 3D Drawing Pen + one extra ink cartridge
Get the details here.

AtmosFlare Instagram Challenge



Keep up with the latest products for your homeschool. Subscribe here to have my reviews delivered to your inbox!



How to Get Farm to Table Fresh Food Delivered Right to Your Door

I'm all about natural living, including eating real foods . Farmers markets are a favorite for picking up fresh, real food in my lo...

grubmarket online market


I'm all about natural living, including eating real foods. Farmers markets are a favorite for picking up fresh, real food in my local area. 


But did you know you can have farm fresh food delivered right to your door? It's true!

After trying everything in the box, I'm excited to bring this information to YOU! 


Children's Videos for Your Homeschool

{Disclosure: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own. For more info, please see my fu...


Highbrow is a video subscription service offering educational children's videos.

{Disclosure: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own. For more info, please see my full disclosure policy.}

I often find Lorelai watching educational videos or doing online research about science related topics. Except for math, science is her favorite subject.

When I saw the science experiment videos offered by Highbrow, I knew she'd enjoy them.


Get Rid of Math Gaps Once and for All

{ Disclosure:   I am working as a Brand Ambassador for this product, a position for which I am compensated, having used the program mysel...

A+ Interactive Math provides testing of major mathematical concepts and creates individualized lesson plans for homeschool students.

{Disclosure: I am working as a Brand Ambassador for this product, a position for which I am compensated, having used the program myself and finding it to be a product worthy of promotion. This post may also contain affiliate links.}

Do you have a child who struggles with math?


Do you worry that your child may have missed some important math concepts?


Does your child need to strengthen his math skills?

If you've answered 'yes' to these questions, I suggest you take a look at A+ Interactive Math.


Using a U.S. Atlas to Teach Homeschool Geography

{I was given a free copy of this product and compensated for my time. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive rev...

Using a U.S. atlas can be a fun, enjoyable way to teach geography in your homeschool.

{I was given a free copy of this product and compensated for my time. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. Full disclosure.}

I have a confession to make: I have never been the greatest when it comes to teaching geography. 


It's not that I am incapable of teaching it. I've just never put the highest priority on it. When things get challenging, as they do around here, it's one of the first things to go.

I find myself in a mindset of doing what I see as the basics - math, language arts, history, art, music and those sorts of things. When I cut back, geography gets cut. I suppose if I'd ever had a curriculum that was easy to follow, that may not have happened. Instead, I've been "winging it."

That all ends now. 


WordUp! Increase Your Child's Vocabulary with Latin And Greek Roots

{ Disclosure : I am working as a Brand Ambassador for this product, a position for which I am compensated, having used the program myself ...

WordUp! is a fun, entertaining and effective way to increase your child's vocabulary using Latin and Greek roots. www.HeartofMichelle.com
{Disclosure: I am working as a Brand Ambassador for this product, a position for which I am compensated, having used the program myself and finding it to be a product worthy of promotion. This post may also contain affiliate links.}

I've never been one to create vocabulary lists, require definitions, and all the boring tasks that typically go along with teaching vocabulary. Instead, I've used living books and taken cues from my kids about what words they do and do not understand.


But now...


There is a fun way to help the kids increase vocabulary by understanding the Latin and Greek roots of words. Did I say it's fun? Because it is.


Learning German Using an Online Foreign Language Course

{ Disclosure : I received free access to Middlebury Interactive Languages in order to review it. I also have been compensated for my ...

Middlebury Interactive Languages provides online learning for kids of all ages. Read my review to learn how it worked for our homeschool children.

{Disclosure: I received free access to Middlebury Interactive Languages in order to review it. I also have been compensated for my writing time. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.}

My History with Foreign Languages

When I was a teenager, I had a friend whose parents were deaf. Not only were they deaf, but they were also from Puerto Rico and spoke no English. In order to communicate, we used a notepad. The friend's mom would try her best to help me understand what she was saying by pointing to an object, write the Spanish word and then teach me the sign.

I was so fascinated by it all, then I set out to learn these languages myself. Of course, the family was Hispanic and used a different sign language than ASL, but ASL is what I chose to learn. My step-mom used to buy books to help me learn it. I learned much Spanish in my east Orlando neighborhood, but also signed up for it in school.

Although I didn't stick with ASL long-term, I did stay with my Spanish classes all through middle and high school.


Teaching Foreign Language in My Homeschool

When I began teaching foreign language in my homeschool, it only seemed logical that I would teach these two languages. Unfortunately, my daughters haven't had a strong interest in either. They were just doing what I said we would do. We had success with a Spanish program last year, but if the kids aren't interested, why press onward?

When Lorelai began 6th grade earlier this year, I asked her what she wanted to learn. The answer? German.

Great. I don't know German.


Kiwi Crate: A Kid Crafts Subscription You're Going to Love

{ Disclosure:  I received this product free of charge. I was compensated for my time. I was not required to give a positive review.} W...

A review of Kiwi Crate, an educational, high quality craft subscription for kids.

{Disclosure: I received this product free of charge. I was compensated for my time. I was not required to give a positive review.}

When I first heard of Kiwi Crate, I was interested and considered subscribing. Kiwi Crate is designed for children ages 3-16 and I really wanted it for my 6-year-old. A few weeks later, I was offered me the opportunity to review it and I jumped at the chance. 

Supplement Your Homeschool with Middle School eLearning

{ Disclosure:   I received this product free of charge and was compensated for my time. I was not required to write a positive review.} ...

Standard Deviants Accelerate is a great online educational teaching tool you can use to supplement your homeschool curriculum.

{Disclosure: I received this product free of charge and was compensated for my time. I was not required to write a positive review.}

This year, I've put a strong focus on independent work in our homeschool. Although I design our own literature-based curriculum, sometimes it's fun to try outsourced resources. Sometimes those are online courses.

Teach Time Management with A Plan in Place Student Planner

Do you have a child who struggles with time management?  I have a child who has a huge problem with time management. She has Aspe...


Teach your homeschool student time management with this student planner.


Do you have a child who struggles with time management? 

I have a child who has a huge problem with time management. She has Asperger's (loses track of time when involved in a task) and dyslexia (has no concept of time). By far, dyslexia plays the larger role in time management issues. 

Jim Hodges Audio Books: Living Books for Your Homeschool {Review}

I love living books. I also enjoy audio books. I've found the perfect combination of both and I want to share this find with you. ...


Jim Hodges Audio Books are the perfect edition to any homeschool. They're particularly helpful to struggling readers and auditory learners.

I love living books. I also enjoy audio books. I've found the perfect combination of both and I want to share this find with you.

While strolling around the vendor hall at the Great Homeschool Convention in South Carolina, I came upon Jim Hodges Audio Books

It caught my eye.

- Could this be helpful to Alexis? (She has dyslexia.)
- Would the children enjoy audio books?
- What is he offering?
Jim introduced himself as the owner and explained the various sets of CDs on display. We had a nice conversation about the Charlotte Mason method, living books, and how history can be used as the spine of a curriculum

When all was said and done, I placed an order for G.A. Henty audio books.


Brain Bubble TV: Fun, Educational Videos for Homeschoolers

Want to help your homeschool student be smarter in 60 seconds? Three words: Brain Bubble TV

A review of Brain Bubble TV, 60-second educational videos, which can be used as a homeschool supplement.

Want to help your homeschool student be smarter in 60 seconds?

Three words: Brain Bubble TV


Discover Praxis: An Alternative to College

Not all kids want to go to college. Many parents don't want to hear that, but it's true. Some kids have a natural knack towards b...

Praxis is an alternative to college for kids who either don't want to attend or want to take a gap year off between high school and college.

Not all kids want to go to college. Many parents don't want to hear that, but it's true. Some kids have a natural knack towards business. They just want to go out into the real world and do what they do. 

Alexis and I have been discussing her options. Although she's planning to dual enroll for the fall, she may or may not want to continue college once she's 18. We're discussing options. What options are available should she decide not to continue with a college career? 


Homeschool Typing Lessons with Keyboard Classroom

Lorelai is 10 and wants to learn typing. Sure, she types. Everyone types these days. But she wants to type quickly and without looking at ...

Typing lessons are easy for this 10-year-old girl. Learn how your #homeschool child can learn to type using Keyboard Classroom.

Lorelai is 10 and wants to learn typing. Sure, she types. Everyone types these days. But she wants to type quickly and without looking at the keyboard.


It's time for typing lessons. 


A few months ago, I obtained a keyboarding program. Although she wanted to learn to type, Lorelai didn't seem terribly enthusiastic about using software for learning. Since I was fresh out of pixie dust, we went with the keyboarding program.

Five minutes into the program, she was excited about it. Since then, it's one of her favorite things to do on the computer. I'm sharing with you a bit about this typing program today.




Why You Need a Crayon Roll in Your Art Kit

Do you find yourself tired of dealing with... Crushed and torn crayon boxes? Lost crayons? Wastefulness (paper boxes)? What if I told...

Do you find yourself tired of dealing with...
  • Crushed and torn crayon boxes?
  • Lost crayons?
  • Wastefulness (paper boxes)?
What if I told you there is an eco-friendly, simple, cute, convenient way to take crayons around the house (or out of the house)? 



I am always on the lookout for new ways to simplify. If it benefits our homeschool or the children's interest in art, all the better.

I live a very eco-friendly lifestyle. I only use natural cleaners and body products. I use reusable cloth items rather than any disposable paper items (napkins, diapers, baby wipes.. you name it). When I found a product that would keep my child from losing her crayons in an eco-friendly way, I jumped right on it. 



Excelerate Spanish Review

I always thought teaching Spanish to my kids would be simple. I taught it in public school to third graders, why wouldn't I be able to...

I always thought teaching Spanish to my kids would be simple. I taught it in public school to third graders, why wouldn't I be able to teach it to my own?

Well I was wrong. I haven't been able to successfully teach Spanish to my kids. Nothing seems to stick. No amount of fun activities, lapbooks, drills or anything else has resulted in my kids actually being able to use Spanish in any real way. 


Until now, that is.  

Excelerate Spanish has changed all that.

Art in History: A Brain-Based Art History Project

In our family, art and history are favorite subjects. A few months ago, I decided I want to teach a new subject, art history, to the gir...

In our family, art and history are favorite subjects. A few months ago, I decided I want to teach a new subject, art history, to the girls. I even considered writing an art history curriculum, but who has time for that? Not this mama.

The Challenge
Quite frankly, even if I'd written a curriculum (or just lesson plans), I would never have come up with a creative activity. I'm too left-brained for that. For my kids who are right-brained learners, that's the pitfall of my homeschool. 


They love creative, hands-on activities and I am sorely lacking in the creative ability to dream up those activities. Thanks goodness for bloggers, curriculum writers and Pinterest! 


The Answer
Imagine how delighted I was to learn about a company that provided art history projects! 


Composer Studies for Older Children

{Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. The information shared is my own opinion based on personal use of the product. Ple...

How to conduct composer studies with the 8 - 13 year old homeschool student.

{Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. The information shared is my own opinion based on personal use of the product. Please see my full disclosure and policies here.}

Today is Day #3 of my 10-day series, Composer Studies for Young Scholars

Yesterday, I explained how to conduct composer studies with young children, using the Charlotte Mason method. I use that method with children up to about the ages of 7 or 8 years of age.

It is perfectly acceptable to continue that process with older children. However, I prefer to add a little "meat" to their studies once they can read and write. 


The way I do that is by using A Young Scholar's Guide to Composer Studies. This is what I am currently using with Lorelai, my 10-year-old daughter. I want to share with you some of the features and how we use this curriculum. 



Helping Your Child: A Review of Dyslexia 101

I was so happy to get my hands on a copy of Dyslexia 101 a few months ago and now I want to share it with you. As many of you know, m...

A review of Marianne Sunderland's book, Dyslexia 101.


I was so happy to get my hands on a copy of Dyslexia 101 a few months ago and now I want to share it with you.

As many of you know, my 15-year-old daughter has dyslexia. So does my 26-year-old son. Both of them were older when I discovered they had dyslexia. Since finding out, I've learned everything I can about it. The information has been surprising. It is frustrating to realize how much misinformation is out there about this particular challenge. 

I find that even people who have children with dyslexia don't know as much about it as they could. Knowledge is power. When we have the knowledge and understanding about what our children are struggling with, it gives us the power to help them.