Are We There Yet?

Amy's wandering the internet and sharing the best with you!

Leave a comment

Write from History: A Writing Curriculum for Kids Who Don’t Like to Write

write from history

My 5th grade son dislikes writing. He would say “hates” if I let him. He’d rather be whacking something, taking it apart, or building it in Minecraft (where he would then whack it and take it apart).

Finding Write from History was like a breath of fresh air. It is a Charlotte Mason writing curriculum that uses primary source documents to teach writing, grammar, and history.

There are four books from which to choose:

The two levels cover grades first through fifth, but can be used on into middle school due to the upper level writings included in the books. The difference in the two levels is the reading difficulty and copywork style. You can pick manuscript or cursive. The readings are in the form of historical narratives, primary source documents, poetry, and cultural tales. A grammar section is located in the back of the book with lessons for color-coding the copywork. We have a grammar curriculum that we love so this one was a bit too basic for my son, but it would be a great fit for a beginner grammar course. Update: Brookdale House now offers Sheldon’s New Primary Language Lessons if you want to add a more formal grammar curriculum.


Each lesson includes these activities:

  • Reading
  • Oral Narration
  • Copywork
  • Grammar
  • Dictation

As a member of the Write from History launch team, I chose to review Write from Medieval History Level 2 Manuscript Models. We will be moving into this time period after the first of the year, and though my son writes beautifully in cursive, I didn’t want him to have to concentrate on that aspect. In fact I didn’t address his handwriting at all. I figure it will improve as he gets used to the longer copywork passages.


A few of my favorite things:

Flexibility- This is a history supplement, so you just browse through the table of contents to find a passage that matches what you are studying. You can work your way from start to finish, but you don’t have to. The grammar is broken down into a new part of speech each month and works with any lesson in any order. I’ve always combined as many subjects and ages as possible in our homeschool (one of the reasons I love Charlotte Mason). These lessons are easily adapted for multiple ages because you have the freedom to structure them any way you want.

Scheduling- A detailed 5-day suggested schedule is included, as well as a couple of optional schedules.

Definitions- Many Charlotte mason newbies get hung up on the differences between narration, dictation, and copywork. There are a couple of pages of helpful definitions and examples to help you straighten it all out.

Interest Level- Because we aren’t starting medieval history for another month or so, I let my son browse through the table of contents and pick what he wanted to read. (He chose his first selection because it was one of the shortest copywork assignments. Ha!) I knew we had a winner a few minutes later when I heard the words that are music to this momma’s ears, “Hey Mommy! Did you know….?”. And while he still doesn’t like to write, he enjoys seeing exactly what is expected from him so that he knows when he is done.


A couple of my not so favorite things:

Lack of Answer Key for Grammar- Answer keys make my job so much easier, but a little birdie told me there could be one in the works. ;)

Too Much Flipping- It can get a little awkward switching from front to back to look at the grammar lessons or optional exercises, but there is an easy fix for that–> get the eBook! I will definitely go the eBook route for future courses. Super simple to pick the topic I want and print it out when I need it.

The Write from History books are priced at $22.99.

Your reluctant writer with thank you!!
(Or maybe not, but I bet they will no longer hate writing.)

I received a free book for the purpose of giving my honest review. No other compensation was given. My affiliate link is used in this post – thank you for supporting my site through any purchase you make!

Leave a comment

getting off at the next port

Whew!  I did it!!  All of my reviews are done and today is the end of my voyage with the  2009-2010 TOS Crew.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought I was signing up for a 3-hour tour and it ended up being an extended stay on the island. I have loved (almost) every minute of it!

The free products have been such a blessing to our family – we received so many things that I didn’t even know we needed, but that is what happens when your Crew Leaders pray for God to direct the right items to the right families.

An even bigger blessing has been the TOS Crew Forum, a place where we could discuss ANYTHING and feel confident that no one thought we were TOO strange.

I would encourage you to check out the TOS Homeschool Crew if you are looking for curriculum for the Fall. That is how I found our beloved history curric, and also how I found out about The Crew. You can view reviews from this year and last year on the blog.

Leave a comment

review – LobsterNetwork

When I found out we were reviewing a stuff-sharing site, I couldn’t imagine why it would be called LobsterNetwork.

Then I saw this neat-o logo & it all made sense:

LobsterNetwork is a FREE online community that you create to keep track of your stuff. You can create a group of friends & family and then you can lend/borrow each other’s stuff. You can also sell your stuff in the marketplace.

There are so many great uses for this site:

  • Inventory your stuff for insurance purposes
  • Make your own card catalog for your home library
  • Create a group with your church or neighbors to share stuff like tools, videos & books
  • Create a group for homeschoolers to share curriculum
  • Crafters could make a group listing all of the supplies they are willing to share
  • Make a wanted or for sale list for others to browse

LobsterNetwork has tracking features that  include automated reminders for the owner & borrower. No more wondering who borrowed your favorite book or tool.

I am going to start using LobsterNetwork as an inventory for books & build it from there over the summer. We have a small church building with no room for a library, so I think this would work great to have a virtual lending library among the members.

Check out the videos and the Getting Started Guide for even more ideas.

The Nitty Gritty: FREE!

Value: FREE!

See what my TOS Crew Mates have to say about LobsterNetwork!

I received no compensation for writing my honest review.

Leave a comment

review – Cerebellum

I must confess that I have no idea what an AP History Exam is, so keep that in mind as you read this review, LOL. I don’t have a high schooler yet.

I received the History of the U.S. AP Exam Prep DVD, part of the Light Speed Learning series published by Cerebellum. You might be more familiar with their brilliant Standard Deviant DVDs, of which I am a big fan. That is the fast, fun style you will find in the AP EXAM Prep DVDs.

History of the U.S. AP Exam Prep has a DVD and a Digital Workbook. It reviews the 30 most tested topics and gives helpful strategies for taking the test. They go over each step of the test & what to expect, which makes this a perfect resource for those of us who stress about the unknown.

I will definitely be checking out the Cerebellum library before next year!

The Nitty Gritty:

  • $14.98, but they were on sale for $11.24 at the time of this post

Value: Great deal for tutoring & peace of mind.

See what my TOS Crew Mates have to say about Cerebellum!

I received a free DVD for the purpose of writing an honest review. No other compensation was given.

Leave a comment

review – Super Star Speech

When our son was younger, I discovered how hard it is to find speech resources. Most of the articles and websites I came across were written from a professional aspect for speech therapists. It was just mumbo-jumbo to me.

Thankfully, he didn’t have a severe problem and just struggled with a couple of letters. We were able to slowly work our way through them the best that I knew how. If only I had known then about Super Star Speech!

Super Star Speech is the work of Deborah Lott, a homeschooler who is a licensed Speech language pathologist a with Master’s degree in Education/ speech pathology.

There are four books available:

~ Super Star Speech: Speech Therapy Made Simple helps you identify & correct your child’s speech. You might discover, after giving the assessment, that your child is simply too young to have mastered a particular letter. The thing I love about this book is that everything is broken down into simple charts & activities. It is very easy to follow.

If your child only struggles with a couple of letters, then you might want to purchase one of the following: Super Star R & L, Super Star S, Z & Sh, or Super Star Ch, J & Th.

Funny enough, my 5 year old has struggled with the letter R, yet when I gave her the test she passed it with flying colors. Just goes to show you that sometimes it IS just a matter of time.

Don’t have any speech problems? Be sure to check out the fun Homeschool Games.

The Nitty Gritty:

  • $18.95 spiral bound
  • additional discounts for a set or e-books
  • $3.50 ea. for games

Value: These are a great price for a valuable resource.

See what my TOS Crew Mates have to say about Super Star Speech!

I received a free set of e-books for the purpose of writing an honest review. No other compensation was given.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 149 other followers