Posted in Homeschool Events

The Old Schoolhouse Store Sale – November 23-28



The Schoolhouse Store is having its Sixth Annual Schoolhouse Store Black Friday Sale Nov. 23-28, 2011!

Even a ONE DOLLAR purchase automatically gets you a LOT of free products.

During this six-day promotion, nearly 200 items are at special promotional prices ranging from 10-75% off original retail. Everyone who makes a purchase in the store will receive a package of free gifts. With anypurchase–even just a buck, you will receive $71.88 worth of free products. EVERYONE gets these. Or, get MORE. By purchasing $30 or more in the store during the six-day Black Friday promotion, you will receive $150.69 worth of gifts! Grabbing up $50 or more gets you $272.46 in free stuff. And anyone who spends $100 or more will receive $442.85 in free items–check them out–they’re awesome.  And you get Gena Suarez’ new book, too, valued at $17.95, if you spend even ONE DOLLAR in the store during Black Friday!
Go to The Schoolhouse Store Black Friday Sale page for more information!


Love, Luck &

Posted in Resources, Reviews

Everyday Education: Excellence in Literature – Review & Freebies!

Everyday Education’s Excellence in Literature: Reading and Writing Through the Classics curriculum is designed as a university/college-prep course for Grades 8-12.  I love reading and I love classic literature – I even majored in English and Drama in university.  I was thrilled to receive Excellence in Literature’s English I: Introduction to Literature in exchange for an honest review 🙂
PhotobucketThe e-book and print version both have 132 pages, and we received the e-book.  What is covered in English I?

Unit 1: Short Stories by
• Sarah Orne Jewett: A White Heron
•Edgar Allen Poe: The Purloined Letter
• Guy de Maupassant: The Diamond Necklace
• O. Henry: The Ransom of Red Chief
• Eudora Welty: A Worn Path
• James Thurber: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Unit 2: Jules Verne: Around the World in Eighty Days
Honours: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Unit 3: Mark Twain: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Honours: The Prince and the Pauper
Unit 4: Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre by Charlotte
Honours: Shirley or Villette

Unit 5: George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion
Honours: Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot

Unit 6: Robert Louis Stevenson: Treasure Island
Honours: Kidnapped
Unit 7: George Orwell: Animal Farm
Honours: 1984
Unit 8: William Shakespeare: The Tempest
Honours: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Unit 9: Johnathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels
Honours: The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

PhotobucketMy 12 year old son enjoyed reading all the classic short stories in Unit 1, and had no problem doing the assignments.  I’ve been enjoying reading along with him – from some of my favourite authors, to ones I’ve always wanted to read, to ones I’d never even heard of.  I like how the mini literary analysis/observation “papers” build up to a longer essay at the end of the unit.  The course is well set out so that the child can work along very independently. I love how I can challenge my son by opting to flesh out the curriculum with the “Honours track”. We’ll be working through the rest of Literature I over the course of this year.  We’re going to jump around a little and do the Shakespeare unit next, as The Tempest is being performed at the end of the month at the local university – how’s that for timing?!

With all the great literature out there to choose from, want to know how Janice Campbell of Everyday Education, chose the literature for Excellence in Literature?  Read her blog post: How I Chose Great Books for Excellence in Literature.  Still not sure if you and your child will like EIL? Click HERE for a FREE unit – Unit 3, focusing on Mark Twain (one of my favourite authors)! And would you like a free writing-evaluation rubric and a great twice-monthly newsletter, The Everyday Educator? Go to Everyday Education and fill out your name and email to the left for your freebies!

The print version of Excellence in Literature: English I is $29.00 US + $13.00 Shipping to Canada ($4.95 to the US).  The downloadable Ebook version is $27 and is designed to be printed double sided and put in a 3 ring binder.  OR get the entire 5-year curriculum for $139.00 US in print + shipping, or $135.00 for the e-book.

Check out the Everyday Education website for information on the full course.  Click below to see how other TOS Crew families enjoyed EIL:

Love, Luck &

Posted in Resources, Reviews

Always Icecream: For girls only – Review

Always Icecream is an online learning site for girls only, in grades K-8.   Girls earn $coops by participating in learning activities such as practising math, geography, language arts, science, typing and more. They can then use these $coops to have some fun playing games, decorating their very own homes in MiniWorld, and feeding their virtual pets on Pet World.  We received a free membership to Always Icecream in exchange for an honest review 🙂

My 7 year old daughter has been thoroughly enjoying Always Icecream.  It is the first thing she wants to do when we start our homeschool day.  Whenever my daughter is on Always Icecream, she always ensures she has an atlas beside her, so she can identify countries and states for geography…

She has also started to learn to type using the “Ice Cone Machine”…

And of course, besides the educational content, she enjoys a lot of “fun stuff” too.  My daughter loves the virtual pets that hatch out of eggs.  She spends quite a bit of time drawing pictures of her special pets as well…


One of my daughter’s favourite elements of this site is the educational videos.  She has spent endless hours watching how-to videos on cake decorating, and we made two fancy cakes in our homeschool in one week as a result!  I convinced her to take a break for a little while LOL, we can’t do that every week.  And she spends a lot of time drawing along with how-to-draw videos as well.

Another of my daughter’s favourite parts of her Always Icecream experience is the social part.  She is absolutely tickled pink by all the friends she has in her “Neighbourhood”.  She is able to “friend” other girls and chat with them, visit their mini-homes, and shop in their stores for virtual items they have designed.  This setting is optional, as are a lot of things on Always Icecream, through your parent account.  You can turn on and off each category from “Christian Education” (i.e. Bible Quizzes) to “Math Drills”.  You the parent can also award $coops, whether just because, or as a reward for doing her chores if you like.  Once a week you will also get an email updating you on your daughter’s progress.  Or you can view it online anytime – it shows Your Daughter’s Recent Learning Progress, Moderated Communication (who your daughter has chatted with – all communication is moderated), Educational Videos Watched, and Artwork Created in the past 90 days.

My 7 year old daughter sums up Always Icecream in a word, “awesome”.  I know she’ll be using and enjoying this site for years to come!

Always Icecream has a number of payment options: $0.99 US for the first month, $4.99 US per month afterward or $9.98 for 2 months, $29.99 for one year, or a Lifetime membership for $99.99!  Discounts are also available for multiple children.  You can try it absolutely free right now by going to the Always Icecream website and clicking on “Try It Free”.

To see how other daughters of TOS Crewmates liked Always Icecream, click below:

Love, Luck &

Posted in Homeschool Events

Join in the Schoolhouse Birthday Bash! Sept 20-30

The Old Schoolhouse is celebrating its birthday! Visit the Homeschooling with Heart blog every day between Sept 20-30 for interviews with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine columnists.


Thursday, September 22nd – 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m (EST): Join in the Schoolhouse Birthday Bash Facebook Party! RSVP for the Facebook Party HERE.

Love, Luck &

Posted in Resources

Time4Learning – Review

PhotobucketTime4Learning is an online learning program for any child, from Preschool to Gr. 8, whether they are homeschooled or traditionally schooled.  In your homeschool, you can use it as a core curriculum or as a supplement.  It offers instruction in math, language arts, social studies, and science (art is also available at an extra cost).  This online program works on either a MAC or PC (high-speed internet is ideal).  My two children received a free subscription to Time4Learning for the past few weeks, in exchange for an honest review 🙂

When your child logs onto Time4Learning, he will find the following 2 options: Lessons or Playground.  When my Gr. 8 Level son clicks on “Lessons”, he gets the following options: Honours Algebra, Language Arts, Language Arts Extensions, Math, Science, and Social Studies.  Parents can set up the minimum time their child needs to complete lessons to be able to access the Playground.  For instance, for a young child you can set up Lesson Time for 15 minutes, and then they are allowed 15 minutes of Playground access.  On the Playground, my son likes to access some of the good old arcade games that I used to love playing when I was a kid, such as Pacman, Space Invaders, Asteroids (and sometimes he even lets me play LOL).

When my Gr. 3 Level daughter clicks on “Lessons”, she gets the following options: Language, Language Arts Extensions, Math, Science, and Social Studies.

Here is a screen shot of some of the Gr. 3 Language Arts my daughter has been working on:


On the Playground, my daughter still loves to access the young children’s games that are related to some of her favourite television shows, i.e. Clifford.

On the Parent Account, the parent can access Lesson Plans, preview and plan lessons, access the reading list, and the Science Supply list so all the ingredients are handy for experiments.  A Parent Forum is available where you can ask questions and chat with other parents.  There are discussions about homeschooling, about special needs, about using Time4Learning in the summer, and more.  I think it would be nice if Time4Learning sent regular updates to the parent via email.  However, they do have progress reports you can access on your child’s screen, by clicking on the backpack, “My Portfolio”.  You can access the reports in pdf format, and print them out for your records.


Time4Learning made my Top 10 of the TOS Homeschool Crew 2008-2009 Review Season list.  My children were in Primary and Gr. 4 at the time, and couldn’t get enough of Time4Learning.  In fact, we have subscribed to it off and on over the years.  They weren’t as “into it” this time around.  I’m not quite certain why, although it could be in part because they’re enjoying what they’ve already been working on so much, and possibly in part because we weren’t homeschooling in full swing when we started reviewing Time4Learning this time around.  The bulk of Time4Learning is pretty much the same as the last time we subscribed, but the art option is new.  A note for Canadians and other international families – there is quite a bit of U.S. content in Social Studies – personally this does not bother us, as we like to learn about our neighbours to the south.

Time4Learning costs $19.95 US for the first child, and $14.95 for each additional child per month.  There is also an option to pay up front, per year, for less.  Try a free demo HERETime4Learning has a 100% satisfaction guarantee.If our learning program does not satisfy your family’s needs, you can cancel your membership by email or phone during the first 14 days and we will refund your money directly to the credit or debit card used to pay for your membership. This offer is only valid for new members.


Love, Luck &

Posted in Homeschool Events

The Schoolhouse Expo – May 16-20 – News!

I’m so excited! In just 3 weeks The Schoolhouse Expo will be here!  The Schoolhouse Expo Live tickets are all sold out as of today.  But, you can still purchase an Expo to Go and get access to MP3 recordings of each session held during the 2011 Spring Expo! The Expo to Go is just $19.99 US and you can enjoy all 40+ sessions, whenever it’s convenient for you.

Whether you’re attending live or “to-go”, visit the Vendor Hall tab of the Schoolhouse Expo website now.  You won’t believe all the freebies and discounts offered by almost 100 vendors!  Knowledge Quest offers 25% off all their products.  Timberdoodle offers a free book with any purchase.  Schola Publications (Latin Road/Phonics Road) offers free shipping.  And there’s so much more, so be sure to check it out.

Love, Luck &


Posted in Homeschool Information, Parenting

Is Homeschooling Your Dream Job?

For my entire childhood, except for a very brief time when I was 5 and wanted to be a nurse, I always wanted to be a teacher.  In fact, I was regularly told I should be a teacher, especially by my classmates whom I was always helping with their work.  Well here I am, a teacher.  Not only do I teach by homeschooling my own children, but I also teach private music lessons.  I LOVE both of these jobs (not to mention also being an Usborne Books Educational Specialist and my writing etc).  I feel very blessed, even though money is tight.  I live in the most beautiful place in the world (in my opinion), and live on a farm in the country, which is also something I always dreamed of.  For my farm dream to be complete, all I need now is some horses – so far we just have chickens 🙂

I believe that all homeschool mothers – all mothers for that matter – should have and pursue interests, and I have a lot of them.  I am very active in local theatre.  I hand-spin, weave, and knit – I belong to a spinning guild and we get together regularly to spin and socialize.  I love playing all manner of games and I get together weekly with friends to play – now that my son is older I drag him along too.  Not surprisingly, I love to sing, and so I serve at our church on the Worship team.

If I were to daydream a little more, I suppose I might dream of being an actress.  It would be pretty amazing to be on the stage, which I already love, and get paid to be there to boot 🙂  And something else that has always interested me is archaeology.  I may actually be able to join an archaeological dig at the Fortress this year – it’s sort of like a summer camp for adults, LOL.

So how about you?  Is homeschooling your dream job?  Can you imagine doing anything else?  Is there something you always dreamed about, or want to get around to once your children have all graduated?

Love, Luck &

Posted in Blog Hops/Walks

TOS Blog Walk: Week 19

Come join me as I visit some of my fellow TOS Homeschool Crew blogs this week!

1. Accidentally Homeschooling
2. Live The Adventure
3. Garden of Learning – one of our TOS Crew Leaders
4. Reviews & Reflections – one of our TOS Crew Leaders
5. C.H.I.N.A. Chronicles
6. A House Upon The Rock
7. Tumbleweed News – Vickie is a friend and fellow Canadian
8. Simply at Home
9. Life at Rossmont
10. Abundant Blessings
11. Blue Skies Academy

Love, Luck &


Posted in Blog Hops/Walks

TOS Blog Walk: Week 18



It is time to take a cruise through more TOS Homeschool Crew blogs this week!


1. Homedaze
2. Pondering on the Prairie
3. Mrs. D’s Homestead
4. Training Children Up for Christ
5. Ahoy Maties!
6. Mountaineer Country
7. Life with the Tribe
8. Tenacity Divine
9. Ramblings of the Blonde Mother Bear
10. Circling Through This Life

Love, Luck &