Rabbits, Rabbits Everywhere: A Fibonacci Tale (Review Crew)

Rabbits Rabbits Everywhere by Ann McCallum - HomeWithPurpose.net

I’m a huge proponent of literature based learning – in EVERY subject.

Yes, even math and science! What better way to learn skills and facts than in the context in which they were developed or discovered, or in a story where they’re actually being used? I’ve always used literature to supplement our studies in these subjects: biographies of famous scientists and mathematicians, fun “math adventure” books, etc.

Rabbits, Rabbits Everywhere from Ann McCallum Books falls into that latter category. It’s a fun picture book designed to teach the concept of the Fibonacci sequence to young children through a story. The Fibonacci sequence is a pattern of numbers in which each number equals the sum of the previous two numbers (so: 0…1…1…2…3…5…8…13…21 and so on). This pattern can be seen all around us in nature, so it’s a fun concept to teach to young students! [Read more…]

Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses (Review Crew)

Standard Deviants Accelerate

Online and multimedia learning are essential parts of our school day.

They’re a great way for both my older and younger students to work independently, and they free me up to work one on one with another child. They also provide instruction that I can’t offer in some subjects (I’m thinking particularly of higher level maths and sciences), and give my kids an opportunity to experience different methods of learning and teaching styles. So, I was thrilled when we were given a subscription to the Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses to use this year.

Standard Deviants has long been known for their outstanding educational videos. The Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses use these videos alongside complementary interactive activities to create online courses in core subjects for middle and high school students. There’s a large selection to choose from in a variety of subjects.

Here’s the list: [Read more…]

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner: A Beautiful, Functional Planning System

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner - HomeWithPurpose.net

Staying organized is always a struggle for me.

I’m not one of those naturally organized people, and with four kids at four different grade levels, plus all their extracurricular activities, there’s a lot to keep up with! I love the idea of going paperless and doing everything on the computer, iPad, and my phone (and I do use software to keep track of the older kids’ assignments), but the reality is that when it comes right down to it, I think I’m more of a pen and paper gal. This year, with Kaitlyn graduating and Kyle entering high school, there’s even more to keep up with, so I’ve got to stay on top of it!

I’ve heard wonderful things about Apologia Educational Ministries’ The Ultimate Homeschool Planner, so I was excited when I received one to try out! It was designed by Debra Bell, author of two of the most influential books in my homeschool journey, The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling and The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens – both must reads in my opinion!!

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner is designed to work with The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students and The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens, but they’re not required – it works just fine by itself too! It has space to keep track of up to six students, and is offered in three different color options: yellow, orange, and blue. I received blue, which happens to be one of my favorite colors! :)

It includes daily, weekly, and monthly planning pages for 48 weeks, along with a host of other planning forms. There are pages for yearly goal setting, recording memorable moments, tracking activities and reading lists, recording grades, planning for high school, the “year in review”, and more.

I really like the spiral binding and plastic cover (similar to what some three ring binders are made from), and the handy pocket for keeping track of loose papers. I also love the quotes and Scripture verses scattered through the pages. But I think maybe my favorite part of the whole planner are the encouraging articles included in the User’s Guide and Teaching Tips sections. There are so many great tips on planning, making memorable moments, learning styles, studying, and more included in these sections that I think they’re worth the price of the planner themselves!

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner Storage Pocket - HomeWithPurpose.net

A handy storage pocket!

One invaluable practice that I’ve implemented since using The Ultimate Homeschool Planner is what author Debra Bell calls “Monday Morning Tutorials” and “Friday Afternoon Reviews”. At the beginning of the week, I meet one on one with each student to go over the upcoming assignments and give direction. At the end of the week, we meet briefly to check completed assignments, and discuss and answer any questions. This is something I’ve tried to implement rather haphazardly in the past, and it’s been such a huge help in keeping my high schoolers on track and making sure I hold them accountable.

I think my favorite of the actual planner pages is the weekly planner section, where I can not only plan out my week at a glance, but then record “memorable moments” and “evidences of grace” at the end of each week. I love that feature!

Week at a glance pages

Week at a glance pages

So far this year, The Ultimate Homeschool Planner is helping me stay focused and laying out clearly what I know I need to do, but don’t always go about in the most organized fashion (monthly and yearly planning, goal setting, etc.). Not only that, it’s beautiful and functional, and the supporting materials are super helpful and encouraging. I think it’s the best homeschool planning system I’ve come across in well over a decade of homeschooling!

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review

Phonetic Zoo: A Self-Teaching Spelling Program (Review Crew)


Phonetic Zoo Level B - HomeWithPurpose.net

Some kids are natural spellers and some are not.

If you’ve followed me for long, you probably know that Kyle (14) falls into that latter category. I’ve tried several different programs to help him brush up, but it’s been hard to find something that doesn’t seem “babyish” to him…until we discovered Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Phonetic Zoo program. Just like most other IEW programs we’ve tried, this one’s been a hit! He’s done Level A and is now working through Level B. For this review, we received the Phonetic Zoo Level B Starter Set, which includes: [Read more…]

Koru Naturals: A Review

Koru Naturals Review - HomeWithPurpose.net

Many, if not most, of the personal care products found on grocery and drugstore shelves are full of questionable, unpronounceable ingredients.

We use more natural options like essential oils and coconut oil as much as we can, and I’m always interested in trying out new products from companies that are more natural-minded. Kaitlyn (17) and I have had the opportunity to try out several products from Koru Naturals for the last couple of months.

Koru Naturals features natural skincare products from New Zealand and Australia with manuka honey, manuka oil, emu oil and lanolin as the main ingredients. They generously sent us their Skin Clear Cream, Manuka Honey Propolis Soap, and Argan Oil and Sandalwood Hair Tonic. I’ve used all three, and Kaitlyn has tried both the Skin Clear Cream and the hair tonic.

So what do we think?

I’ll go through each product individually, tell you about it, and tell you what we liked about each one and how they worked for us. [Read more…]

Do You Believe? Experience the Power of the Cross DVD Review

Do You Believe? Experience the Power of the Cross DVD Review - HomeWithPurpose.net


There have been several well made faith based films in recent years that I’ve enjoyed watching.

It seems to me that they mostly “preach to the choir”, but that’s not necessarily always a bad thing. I don’t think Christians should see these as an evangelism tool, but I do think they can be encouraging and prompt a healthy examination of our own faith. I know I’ve had some great discussions with my older kids about different aspects of our faith brought up by these movies. So, when I had the opportunity to review Do You Believe? from Fishflix.com, I took it. The description and cast list for this film had me intrigued, and I thought it would be a good one to watch and discuss with my teens. [Read more…]