The crazy life of the ClarkClan. Living a life of grace through Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Homeschool Legacy–Weather on the Move

Weather on the Move Homeschool Legacy

For the past few weeks we have been using a Once – A – Week unit study from Homeschool Legacy.These studies are designed so families can set aside their regular curriculum one day a week and interject a little fun, creativity, and hands on learning. These studies use a wide variety of subjects to explore one main topic.

We have been using the Weather on the Move unit study. By the end of the 7 weeks using this study, Boy Scouts will have earned their weather merit badges and American Heritage Girls their Young Meteorologist Badge.

A variety of activities and subjects are included in each weeks lesson. The focus for the Weather study is science, therefore many science lessons and experiments are the mainstay of this study. While science experiments abound, history, geography, language arts, crafts and more are also included.

The lesson begins with a library reading list. The nicest thing about this list is that the books are arranged by the Dewey Decimal system to make them easy to locate in the library. A supply list for the day’s activities is also located at the beginning of the lesson. Each activity that matches a Boy Scout merit badge is easily denoted in the book with the Boy Scout symbol. American Heritage girls can also look for the symbol to earn their badge.

The library books chosen for the week are meant to be read every day. As well, a family read-aloud is designed to be used daily. The rest of the activities can be done all in one day as a replacement for your regular school subjects. All subjects are covered, from family devotions, to science, history, geography,language arts, research, arts and crafts and more . A “Stump Your Dad” Trivia question is fun for the kids to ask and see if dad really knows.  Field trips round out the study.

ClarkClan Experiences

We have been using this study for five out of seven lessons. We really liked the family devotions. The devotions “set the scene” for the day’s lesson and brought into focus what we were studying.

We found the science experiments we have done to be fun and worthwhile. They were easy to implement, as long as I had gathered supplies ahead of time.

Arts and Crafts was also a favorite with my children. They enjoy all types of art and loved learning new things. For example, Rebekah learned how to make paper snowflakes, so our house has been covered in flakes.

One stand out feature for me was that by completing the study, my Boy Scout, Ben, will earn the Weather merit badge. I liked having this study to be able to fulfill a Boy Scout purpose while also having fun and sharing the learning  with Ben’s younger sister.

Problem areas for the ClarkClan

There were times I had a hard time implementing the study. An example would be field trips. There are field trips suggested, yet we have not taken one. We live in a  fairly small town and the field trips suggested were not available in our town.

As well, I had a slightly hard time with the idea that this was a “Once –A –Week unit study, that needed something done, (reading, read aloud) on a daily basis. A second day was also needed for field trips.


I would recommend this study, especially to other families with Boy Scouts or American Heritage Girls. They are in depth and easy to follow. It took us about half a day to complete the activities, which was perfect for our busy Tuesdays. I had to work around a few things, such as the field trips, but was able to make the study work for us.

We reviewed the Weather on the Move book, but there are many Once – A – Week unit studies available. Visit the Homeschool Legacy website to see the full list  of science and history studies available.


Visit the Crew Blog to read reviews on a variety of Once –A – Week unit studies.

Disclaimer: As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a PDF copy of Weather on the Move for free from Homeschool Legacy in exchange for my honest review of their product. All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Raising Real Men–A Cry From Egypt

Raising Real Men


A Cry from Egypt focuses on a Hebrew slave girl, Jarah, her family and the life they lead as slaves under the Egyptians.  It is a rough life, with harsh overseers. Jarah’s father is a believer in the one true God, Yahweh, while her mother follows the god’s of Egypt. This creates a tension in the family, that forces Jarah to think about faith and who she will follow.

Just when life seems to be unendingly harsh, with Jarah, wondering if Yahweh is listening, along comes word that the “lost” prince, Moses is back. Then amazing, yet baffling, events begin to happen. Rivers turn to blood, frogs appear in droves, flies are everywhere, and more. What does it mean? Will the Hebrew slaves ever be free?

The author, Hope Auer, is a homeschool graduate and has been writing stories and plays since she was young.  Through her passion for history and telling stories, she has created The Promised Land Series. She loves the Lord, life, church, family, and children.

ClarkClan Experiences

Our family likes to read historical fiction. Historical fiction makes history come alive and very memorable. A Cry from Egypt by Hope Auer is historical fiction of the highest caliber. It is well researched and accurately portrays the time period of the Hebrews during the ten plagues.

Three people in our family read this book, mom, Sarah (15) and Ben (10). The consensus among us was that this was a well written, interesting book. Ben read the book during his reading time and enjoyed it. Sarah was given the book and asked if she would read it and tell me what she thought. Once she started, Sarah finished the book quickly and stated she really enjoyed it. She would like to read the second book in the series. Mom read the book and was quite impressed at the story. It was true to the biblical account and brought to life the hardships and heartache of being a Hebrew slave. Excitement, adventure, faith this book combines all in a fun to read, action packed book.

Our family would recommend this book to others.  It is appropriate as a reader or read aloud for kids from about 7 up to adults. There are some intense overseer encounters that involve whippings so caution should be used if reading this book to younger children.


Other Schoolhouse Review Crew members also read and reviewed A Cry From Egypt. Visit the Crew Blog to read what they thought about the book. As well, another book published by Great Waters Press was reviewed. You can read the reviews of Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship on the Crew blog.

Disclaimer: As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a copy of A Cry From Egypt for free from Raising Real Men in exchange for my honest review of their product. All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Family Time Fitness


  • Homeschool Physical Education Curriculum
  • Fitness 4 Homeschool – Core 1
  • K-8 Curriculum – Good for the whole FAMILY
  • No previous knowledge of physical education needed
  • 260 lesson plans/ minimal preparation time
  • Assessment Tools to help track progress
  • Encouragement emails
  • Online Webinars
  • Lifetime access to all program updates and revisions
  • Available for a one time payment of $57.00


I have kids that like to be active. They play outside, ride bikes, rollerblade, but I have never specifically done physical education with them. Family Time Fitness has changed this fact. We now have a specific time for PE and are having a blast doing it.

Family Time Fitness has created a physical education curriculum  that allows homeschool parents to teach PE easily. The program is designed to fit every age and ability. Using a structured program helps to provide the building blocks of proper physical development. The curriculum is customizable to fit any schedule and can be used in almost any space, either indoors or outside. It is progressive  and sequential but also utilizes repetition. While it is marketed specifically for K-8th grade, the Core 1 curriculum is designed so the entire family can join in the lessons.

Family Time Fitness also offers a High School Physical Education program. This is a foundational strength course and helps to meet the PE requirement for high school. A co-op program with 52 lessons is available for use in a group setting.

ClarkClan Experiences

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We have found this program to be very easy to use and a lot of fun. The supplies were minimal and we had most everything or were able to obtain it at the dollar store. Ben(10) and Rebekah (9) were the main kids to use the program, although Sarah (15) joined us at times and mom did the exercises along with the kids.

The PDF files come in batches of 20 lessons each. So to familiarize myself with the program, I printed off the first file which was 62 pages long. I found out that all I really needed to print off were the last 20 pages. The first 40 pages are in depth descriptions including internet links for each exercise. These are good for the parent to look over beforehand and make sure they know how the exercise works. The last 20 pages are one page summaries. These give the equipment needed and the names of each exercise so the parent can quickly glance at the sheet to see what is coming next

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Each session begins with warm-up exercises. These stretch the muscles out and get them ready for the more active section. Activity/Game play comes next. This is the “get your heart pumping” make you sweat part of the session. My kids had a great time with these activities. The cool down has the muscles being stretched out again. The session ends with an outdoor activity, if you so desire.

Except for the outdoor activity, all activities can be done indoors. We have a fairly small house, but were still able to accomplish the exercises indoors. At one point, we decided to do the entire session outside, but quickly decided it was not for us as the grass made the kids itchy when they were laying down for the stretches as well as ants crawling over them made a not so pleasant experience.

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I was surprised at how much we enjoyed this program. I thought that since the kids were active, they were getting the exercise they needed. While it is true they were getting exercise, there were things that they needed to work on. For example, I learned that Ben had never learned to skip. So we taught him. It was absolutely hilarious when Ben was learning to skip and in a way only a 10 year old boy can, stopped, looked at me and said, “And WHY do I want to learn to skip?” He learned. We also learned that even though he is very active and plays sports such as tennis and golf, he was not very flexible. The warm ups and cool downs have helped with this. Rebekah as well has gained a lot from this program. She is more confident in her movements and had a great time learning the new stretches and playing the games.

Initially, I thought that there was too much repetition in this program. But after using it consistently for over a month now, I have changed my mind. My kids have not complained at all about doing the exercises again and again, in fact they like that they can feel themselves getting better at them. I also liked that each session was not competitive. Each kid was able to do the best of their ability without feeling like they were competing against each other.


Many of my Schoolhouse Review Crew mates also reviewed Family Time Fitness. Click on the banner above to read what they thought about the program.

Disclaimer: As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received a PDF download of Fitness 4 Homeschools for free from Family Time Fitness in exchange for my honest review of their product. All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

It Is Well With My Soul

This summer Matt and I were privileged to take 5 youth/young adults to CA for a Higher Things conference. While we were there we were able to go to the beach. This was special to me because I was able to stand in the Pacific Ocean and pray for my sister who lives halfway around the world in Guam, also in the Pacific Ocean.

While I was standing in the waves that were crashing all around us, I started singing to the kids every song I could think of that involved the ocean. The one hymn that kept coming to my mind was “When Peace, like a River”. The lyrics start out “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll”

I had no idea during that trip, that this hymn would comfort me over and over in the next two months. There have been times in the past months that I have felt like the sea billows are rolling over me. But then, I remember the rest of the first verse, “Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, It is well with my soul.”

It is well with my soul. I may not know what is coming next, but I am continually learning that God is in control. I have faltered, I will falter again. But I know the forgiveness that has already been granted to me through Jesus death and resurrection. I can say with confidence, “It is well with my soul”.

Speekee TV


In the Winter of 2011, we were given the opportunity to review an introduction to Spanish course called Speekee TV. Speekee became a favorite at our house fairly quickly. You can read our review by clicking here.

Now it is Fall of 2012. For the last six weeks, we have been reviewing Speekee again.  My kids are about 18 months older than they were when we last reviewed this product. I wondered how they would like the videos, would they still be interested? I am happy to report that, yes, they still like Speekee and have learned from watching the programs.

  • Speekee “The World’s Number 1 Spanish Course for Young Children”
  • Speekee TV – Spanish for Kids online program
  • Designed for ages 2-10
  • $7.50 per month or $60 per year subscription plans
  • Free two week trial is available by clicking here.
  • No minimum subscription periodSpeekee

Who is Speekee?

Speekee is the purple puppet pictured above. She is the main character in a series of 10 videos designed to give kids an introduction to speaking Spanish. Speekee, along with Dino, Lupe (sock puppets), and a group of all age kids, sing and dance while your child does the listening and learning.  Each Speekee video is filmed in Spain using real Spanish speaking children. The Speekee program originates from the UK (Britain) and the Spanish taught is Spanish as spoken in Spain.

The videos were created by Jim Porter and are just the tip of the iceberg for the Speekee program. Jim Porter has broken the videos down into segments and provided a scheme of work with worksheets and activities to cover two years. There are 10 videos in all and each one is broken down into four weeks of activities. To make the program even more user friendly, he has also provided “Fast Track”. 

Fast Track is a weekly e-mail with everything you need to have a week of Spanish learning. It has a link to the video for the week, as well as daily activities. One nice feature of the Fast Track e-mail involves the dialogue from the video written out for you to practice with your child. This helps with planning out using each lesson during the week. From the Fast Track screen, the worksheets for each lesson are also available to print. The addition of Fast Track has made this a very easy to use program.

The music is catchy and the lyrics are fairly easy to learn.  You can have the option to have they lyrics printed at the bottom of the screen or keep them off completely. The action on the screen, along with the hearing of the Spanish are what helps your kids learn. Most of the time we kept the written lyrics off, so the kids were not distracted by the words scrolling along the bottom of the page.

The Speekee program is designed for ages 2-10. We are at the older end of the age group with a 9 and 10 year old using the program. My kids enjoyed it tremendously when we reviewed it before, and once again liked hearing the catchy music. One thing I noticed with my older kids was they wanted to go faster than the Fast Track program had them going. They wanted to do one video per week, instead of stretching each video out over four weeks.  This could also have been a result of having reviewed this program before and the kids knowing which videos were their favorites and wanting to get to them.

I would recommend the Speekee TV program for a great, gentle, and fun introduction to the Spanish language. I think it is ideal for pre-schoolers and early elementary ages. I find my kids and even myself singing the songs from the videos randomly throughout the day.


Many of my Schoolhouse Review Crew also reviewed the Speekee program. Click on the banner above to read what they thought about the program for their children.

Disclaimer:  As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received a subscription to Speekee TV for free from Speekee in exchange for my honest review of their product.  All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Worry and Fear

Stress, anxiety, fear, uncertainty. These are all a part of life and I am struggling with them right now. I have had problems in the past with these issues, but have been facing them much better. Then I had a minor surgery, and had what they think was a reaction to a medication that cause major panic attacks.The medicine is gone, but I am still undergoing some stress symptoms.

I thought I was doing much better. I was not in a fight or flight type of mode with the anxiety just under the surface. Then yesterday seems to have set it off again. It was a stressful day, very busy with kids going in all directions. We had also put an offer down on a house. We were expecting a counter offer, instead we got word someone else had offered as well and did we want to change ours.  Then a bowl fell from the dish rack and a piece came up and hit my daughter’s foot. It was not a big cut, but fairly deep. My husband had one of his paramedic friends come over and check it out for us. He determined it did not need a stitch, just some super glue, so we took care of it.

Needless to say, all this has put me on edge. I  am praying as much as I can. Praying for others, to take my mind off of my worries.  I am also determined to just go on with my day. Complete school with my kids, go to co-op, then help at chimes and play bells with evening. While doing school, I am also hoping to get some laundry done and hung out on the line. I walked this morning and am planning on walking some more to relieve the stress.

I am determined to remember that God will never leave me nor forsake me. That just as Job had trial after trial, God was with him and He will be with me, as well. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Everyday Homemaking–Everyday Cooking



About the Product

Everyday Cooking is a collection of tried and true recipes and hints. Written by Vicki Bentley, a homeschooling mother of eight, who offers her “in the trenches” way of cooking. With an emphasis on whole foods, Everyday Cooking offers busy families easy to prepare, nutritious and budget conscious recipes.

ClarkClan Thoughts

We have had a great time using this cookbook. I liken it to opening your mother’s favorite recipe box and finding all sorts of recipes inside collected as favorites over the years. In fact, when my mother was looking at the cookbook with me, we both kept exclaiming  “we make that recipe”.

The cookbook starts with a section for busy families. This section gives advice on how to get dinner on the table quickly by preparing items in advance. The breakfast ideas section gives alternatives to dry cereal and milk in the mornings.

Then the main recipes start which are divided into categories: Appetizers & Dressings, Bread & Grains, Main Dishes & Soups & Sides, Desserts & Snacks. The recipes contained in these sections are the bulk of this cookbook.

I came to the conclusion that the main reason I really enjoyed Everyday Cooking was because Vicki cooks like I cook. There were tips that I already use as well as picking up a few new ones. Every recipe we tried we enjoyed.


This dinner shows ‘unstuffed cabbage” that we served with bread and watermelon.

Another favorite recipe was ‘Cornstarch Pudding”. This quickly became almost dangerous because it is so easy to make. My kids learned that it only takes about five minutes and they had warm chocolate or vanilla pudding.

2012-09-05 13.18.23Recently we were given fresh off the tree apples from a friend at church. So we pulled out the Everyday Cooking and looked to see if there were any recipes using apples. Sure enough, there was an “Apple Crisp” recipe. Rebekah had a great time making this for the family. And everybody had a great time eating it.


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I think this would be an excellent cookbook for both new and experienced cooks. I liked that the bread section contained multiple color pictures to show each stage of what the bread should look like. This is a great help to someone who is just beginning to learn bread baking, as well as more experienced using a new recipe.

The ending sections contain valuable information on meal planning, grocery shopping, kitchen equipment and more. Learn how to make a menu for a month of meals, then make a grocery list to go with that menu. I found the article on slow cookers versus pressure cookers to be very interesting. I have never used a pressure cooker, but may have to look for one.

The only thing to remember that may be a little frustrating using this cookbook, is that these are family recipes. This means that the instructions can vary in their depth depending on the recipe. Some cooking experience is helpful. 



Many of my Schoolhouse Review Crew Mates also reviewed Everyday Cooking. Visit the Crew Blog to read their reviews as well as the reviews of another Everyday Homemaking book called The Everyday Family Chore System.

Disclaimer:  As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received an Everyday Cooking e-book for free from Everyday Homemaking  in exchange for my honest review of their product.  All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Notable Novelists

How many famous 20th Century novelists can you name? Before playing Notable Novelists I only knew about 3 or 4 off the top of my head. Now I know quite a few, as well as a little information about each one. We have had a great time reading about 20th Century Novelists while playing a fun, easy to learn card game.


  • Notable Novelists – A Card Game for Book Lovers
  • Available from
  • $10.95
  • Ages 12 and up
  • 2 or more players

Gina Manola, Nick Rudd & Townes Durbin have created a fun game that celebrates some of the most famous authors of the 20th  Century. Many of the authors are Pulitzer, Nobel and National Book Critics Circle Award Winners. Eighteen novelists are included in the game such as Willa Cather, William Faulkner, and D.H. Lawrence.

The object of the game is to collect the most Literary Sets. A Literary Set includes: An Author card, Library Card, Bio Card. The author card offers a picture of the author along with birth/death date. The Library Card names three of the works from the author. The Bio card gives a piece of biographical information about the author.

The game is simple to learn. Each player is dealt four cards, then the idea is to collect the cards needed to complete a literary set by requesting a card from another player or drawing one from the draw pile. My kids quickly realized this was a little like “go fish”. So we had a little fun with it and when a card was requested from someone and the answer was to draw we would say, “Go search the library!”

The game is designed for ages 12 and up but in our family, everybody learned to play. So Rebekah 9, Ben 10, Sarah 15, and mom all had a great time learning the names of famous authors. Rebekah needed some help reading the names to begin with, but she picked it up quickly. We used this game frequently between school subjects as well as an evening family game. Photobucket

Other Schoolhouse Review Crew members reviewed both the Notable Novelists game as well as Playplay games. Visit the Crew Blog to read what they had to say about how they used these games.

Disclaimer:  As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received a Notable Novelists card game for free from  in exchange for my honest review of their product.  All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s

Sunday, September 2, 2012

You are going to do what? Homeschooling High School


How are you going to homeschool high school? That is a question I heard over and over. The truth is, I didn’t know how I was going to do it. But, I knew that it could be done. Now, we have graduated one and are in the midst of high school for the second. It can be done and kids do survive and thrive in the “real” world.

For high school, I go away from being the main teacher, to becoming more of a mentor/advisor. I find programs that work well for my kids to do on their own and then report back to me. I did  this with Matthew and now am doing the same thing with Sarah.

For example, we use Sonlight as our core program. This is history and literature put together. In my kids younger years, I sit with them reading everything in the history portion to them and asking them questions about their reader books. Now for high school, Sarah looks at the schedule gets her history reading done and her literature reading done. Then she answers in complete sentences the literature study questions to turn in to me. For history, three days a week, I sit with her and go over her readings, asking the questions from the study guide. I like this method of independence, while still being able to get face to face and discuss issues and make history come to life.

I expect Sarah to get her math, which is done completely on the computer, done on her own daily. I can go in and check her grades and how much time she has spent working that day. If she is having trouble, I expect her to find a way to figure out how to solve her dilemma. This means that she has to ask for help from me (ha,ha, I am not a math teacher), her dad, another online source, a friend etc.

Every other subject is done in about the same manner as the cores of math, history and literature. I oversee, am here to answer questions, make sure assignments get done, and go over trouble spots. I read papers, critiquing and grading as I go. We keep grades in high school that we did not in the younger grade. This helps when it comes time to make a transcript for college.

Another big question about high school at home is sports. We have had two ways this has worked out for our family. While we were still living in MT, the homeschool group in Great Falls had an athletic director and a boys jr. varsity and varsity soccer team and a girls jr. varsity and varsity volleyball team. Matthew was able to play three years of varsity soccer before we moved due the the military. Sarah was able to play jr. varsity volleyball for one year before we moved. The town that we are living in now does not have any homeschool sports teams that we know about. But we did find  one of the Christian schools will allow homeschoolers to play on their sports teams. So, Sarah is having a great time playing varsity volleyball this year.

And college, which is the big question at the end of homeschooling high school. “Can they go to and succeed in college?” My answer is yes, I have one that is doing very well in college. My mother says it is because of the way we did high school, expecting him to work on his own. Matthew in his first year did very well, doing all his assignments, with no prompting from me.  In his first semester, he took 13 credits, then in the second semester he took 17 credits. I am amazed that he kept a 3.5 GPA for the two semesters while working 30+ hours a week.

While I was apprehensive about homeschooling through high school I have found it to be a rewarding experience. At this point in our lives, I can’t imagine school any other way.

There are many ways to homeschool through high school. Visit the Crew Blog and read what other people participating in the Blog Cruise have to say about the way they get the job done.