Saturday, August 31, 2013

Farewell....until we meet again at another domain...

Do you know what the problem is with living in a circus?

After awhile, it gets loud.

So loud that sometimes it's hard to think

...or to hear your own writer's voice

...or more importantly the voice of The Savior.

I have been on an incredible journey the past 3 years writing Homeschool Circus.

I have met some incredible people.  I have gotten my hands on some incredible homeschool products and have treasured writing reviews.

In many ways, it's been like a perpetual birthday!

As my children get older, I find that it's easier to homeschool.  What I wasn't prepared for was how much more my actions and activities would affect THEM.

Especially with teens, your actions weigh so much more than words.  It isn't enough for me to tell them how to live.  *I* am their living model.

With that it's time for me to dim the spotlights on Homeschool Circus and send the monkey home in order to concentrate on my calling - to share our homeschool journey.  This time with an emphasis on homelife and less on reviews.

Because I value my time as a curriculum reviewer, this site will remain up.  It is my sincere hope that future visitors will still enjoy and glean from those posts.

Thank you again for visiting, reading and commenting over the years!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Kid Coder Beginning Web Design from Homeschool Programming Review

I am an affiliate for Homeschool Programming and this review does contain affiliate links.....

This past year, my 14 year old son completed Teen Coder Windows and C# Programming from Homeschool Programming.  He really enjoyed the course, learned a lot and earned 1 electives credit for high school.

Though not as tech savvy, my 12 year old has wanted to learn some programming as well.  So, between my 14, 12 and 10 year olds we reviewed the Kid Coder Beginning Web Design from Homeschool Programming.

From their website:

KidCoder: Beginning Web Design is the first semester course in the KidCoder Web series. 4th–12th grade students will learn to create their own web pages using HTML. Hands-on fun for all students, young or old!

Topics Covered in this CourseKidCoder: Beginning Web Design
  • Mark-up concepts
  • Website layouts and files
  • Backing up projects
  • Essential HTML symbols
  • Styling of text
  • Using symbols and lists
  • Internal and external hyperlinks
  • Navigation bars and footers
  • Simple CSS effects
  • Spacing and positioning
  • Graphics and image editing
  • Tables

Kid Coder Web Design is created for students between 4-12 grade and retails for $70 for the course only, $85 for the course with video and $20 for the video only. The second semester (Advanced Web Design) is available as a package for $120.

OUR EXPERIENCE:  Read the rest of the review HERE!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up - Colonial Times, Leather Britches & Strawberry Fool!

After a much needed blogging vacation, I am back refreshed and ready to start sharing our homeschooling journey once again!

While we weren't present on the blog-o-sphere, we were still very busy.

Since our last wrap up, we've read:

Shock of all shocks - yes, that IS a text book!

Colonial Times & Leather Britches

  Worldly Saints was an eye opening look at the Puritans.  My high school son and I both had the wrong impression of this group of people.  If you think they were just a bunch of 'starchy stick-in-the-muds', think again!

Colonial Times & Leather Britches

My high school student also read Paradise Lost by John Milton

Colonial Times & Leather Britches

I LOVE being able to study music and art in the context of history.  This is a tremendous aid to retention!

Colonial Times & Leather Britches

And.... in case all you thought we did was read, we dove into the Colonial Cookbook again.  This time try our hand at:

Johnny Cakes

Colonial Times & Leather Britches Johnny Cakes

Definitely better eaten warm with butter and real maple syrup.

Colonial Times & Leather Britches Johnny Cakes

Cod Cakes

Colonial Times & Leather Britches Cod Cakes

Though I had to modify the recipe some (I took out the potatoes), it was still tasty!

Brunswick Stew

Colonial Times & Leather Britches Brunswick Stew

No squirrels were harmed.... definitely better eaten the next day!

Strawberry Fool!

Colonial Times & Leather Britches Strawberry Fool

An old rhyme goes:
"Curly-locks, curly-locks, wilt thou be mine?
Thou shalt not wash dishes, nor yet feed the swine,
but sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam,
And feed upon strawberries, sugar, and cream."

Leather Britches

Colonial Times & Leather Britches


Colonial Times & Leather Britches

This is the method the colonist used to dry green beans.  Blanche, string and dry.....

Colonial Times & Leather Britches

Fancy enough to wear.  Just kidding.  In all seriousness,  since we live in a humid part of the world, hanging these to dry isn't going to work.  So, I got out the dehydrator where they are currently sitting.  I'll update their progress next week!

We also celebrated my daughter's 10th birthday!  The boys helped make her a homemade princess cake!  What it may have lacked in looks, it made up for in taste!

Colonial Times & Leather Britches

Who are these masked men?  My oldest two at the 3-d showing of Meerkats.

Colonial Times & Leather Britches

Finally, our latest project .... hmmmm... what could it be?  Stay tuned!

Colonial Times & Leather Britches WordPress for Dummies

Now onto preparing for a busy week of Spanish and Science/Writing co-ops that are starting once again!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Step Away from the Computer......

Homeschool Circus is taking a blogging vacation as the head crew member (aka Mom) has been diagnosed with "Media Overload" with symptoms of "Attempting to Juggle it All AND Keep Up with the Joneses over at Blah Blah Blah Blog".

The only cure is prayer, peace, quiet and limited internet.

See you all in about a week!

~The Homeschool Circus Crew!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mega Meal Monday - Easy Chicken Feta

Good Monday!

Looking for another quick and painless freezer meal that's uber tasty?  (As long as you like Feta Cheese! )

Try Chicken Feta....

Mega Meal Monday - Easy Chicken Feta

This recipe can now be found at Tales of a Homeschool Family.  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up: Colonial New England, Age of Reason & Tea!

Another week has wrapped up here at the Circus.  In addition to learning more about Colonial New England, Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler (plus doing a whole mess of experiments), we managed to have some tea, visit Arabian Nights and go to the beach.

I'd like to say, "All in a day's work"...but, it's not work, it's life.  And a good one at that!

Here's a peak at our week:

First up - a look at our reading for this week.  My Rhetoric aged child also read Paradise Lost by John Milton.

Weekly Wrap Up:  Colonial New England, Age of Reason & Tea!

This was followed by trying some Colonial Recipes.  These two were from The Colonial Cookbook by Lucille Penner
Colonial Cooking - Crab Stew
This is Crab Stew.  Fabulous & Rich!  I think this would be a great addition to a Christmas Eve meal!

They called it 'Boiled Dinner', we call it 'Corned Beef with cabbage & root veggies'
They called it 'Boiled Dinner', we call it 'Corned Beef with cabbage & root veggies'

Just Mom & Me Having Tea is a great Bible Study to do with your daughter.

Just Mom & Me Having Tea is a great Bible Study to do with your daughter.  We finished the first study which concentrated on how God created you to be - unique and special!

Just Mom & Me Having Tea is a great Bible Study to do with your daughter.
We don't have a lot of fancy dishes.  Fortunately, our local Goodwill had some cute plates and cups!

Just Mom & Me Having Tea is a great Bible Study to do with your daughter.

A spot of tea, candles, some macaroon cookies and special 'What I think is special about You' scrolls make the perfect table setting! 

Arabian Nights' new dinner show

This is my daughter and I at Arabian Nights' new dinner show.  It was interesting to say the least.  Review coming this week!

Craft Cart

And FINALLY - sorting and organizing our craft supplies.  This is our 'craft cart' that has spilled over into bins and bins of miscellaneous stuff.  We managed to get it sorted, the used or broken supplies thrown away and repair some of the drawers on the cart.  Amazingly, everything fit nicely back into the cart when we were finished!

Join us next week for The Settlement of the Middle Colonies and the Rise of Absolutism and more Colonial Cooking!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Typecrush Review

Looking for ways to integrate more spelling and fun into your game time?  Check out Typecrush.


What is Typecrush?  From their website:

"Typecrush™ is a word game based on letter frequency analysis—how frequently letters appear in the English language. It's kind of like a color-coded hangman, but way more entertaining and educational. Best for players age seven and older, Typecrush is as simple or challenging as your imagination decides.
There’s only one rule in Typecrush—whoever solves the word first gets to choose the next word. That’s it. "
Using the Letter Frequency Chart, the upper colors denote the more frequent letters used in creating words.  And, the bottom colors denote less frequent letters used in word formation.

This game is so fun and easy to play!  Just empty Typecrush's 98 game pieces onto the table.  Pick your word, choose the appropriate discs, turn them over, and then let the guessing begin.

We decided the best way for us to play was to go clockwise around the table giving each player a turn with the Letter Frequency Chart with their guess.  If they choose the correct letter, they get to try to guess the word.  If they miss, it's the next player's turn.


As each letter is guessed, it is turned over until the 'guesser' is able to guess the word correctly.


Well, um....I'd like to think of some great excuse for this one...but, lets just say Typecrush is a great way to work on spelling!!!

My 14, 12 and 9 year olds all agreed that they enjoyed Typecrush and would play it again.  (Also noting that they thought it was a lot more fun than most of the word games out there).  To add to the fun, choose specific categories like states, presidents or food for your words.

Typecrush is great for ages 7+ and retails for $25.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Clothed with Thunder Book Review

In Sonrise Stable: Clothed With Thunder , the third book in the Sonrise Stable series, Author Vickie Watson does a fabulous job weaving family, evolution refutation and faith in this heart warming tale of forgiveness and restoration.  She also seamlessly bridges the story of the previous books into this one so even the youngest reader can follow along.

At the beginning of the story, homeschooled sisters Rosie and Carrie decide to give a presentation on horses from a creationist perspective to a largely unbelieving crowd.  The girls are encouraged by their family to research and present the facts.

Being a Young Earth Believer myself, I love the extra care and explanation given to Creation throughout this book.

...."And the irreducible complexity part?"  Rosie reminded her.
"There's a lot more to it.  I'm certainly no expert.  I know there are red and white blood cells, proteins, and enzymes.  You could ask your Aunt Lisa.  She studied all that in nursing school.  But yes, the irreducible complexity part - all these things work together.  If any part of the system doesn't work, the blood doesn't clot.  And if the blood doesn't clot, the person or animal will bleed to death from even a small scratch."
"I get it,"  Carrie said.  "So everyone would have bled to death while they were waiting for all the parts of the blood clotting process to evolve."

And further on in the book.....

"Just like in the skit we acted out, archaeologists find bits of skeletons in different locations, sometimes on totally different continents, and claim they are connected.  There's no place in the world that shows fossils in rock layers that match the pictures shown in books about horse evolution.  In fact, some of the different animals have been found buried in the same layer of rock.  If they evolved from one another over millions of years, how could two different kinds be found in the same layer?"
Rosie picked up a large piece of paper and handed it to Carrie who gave it to the girl at the beginning of the first row.
"You can pass that around.  There was a big storm at our house the other day, and I saw my pencils blowing around over the top of that piece of paper.  When the storm was over I looked and saw that picture of Scamper.  It was amazing."  Rosie paused and looked at the audience.
"Yeah, right.  You expect us to believe that?"  one of the kids said.
Rosie smiled.  "If you don't believe that something as simple as a pencil sketch could happen by accident, how can you believe that things that are much more complicated - like people or horses, could evolve by chance?"   

These are great examples of presenting the facts of Creation and living out your faith among unbelievers!

During this time Rosie and Carrie's Grandma is recuperating from an accident when a well desired horse farm comes up for auction.  Winning this property would open up new doors for this family!!

Through patience and prayer the reader sees God working all things to His good and glory - Especially in the area of forgiving a long-held hurt and learning first hand how to pray for those who persecute you lived out through the youth in the story.

These books convey a strong, positive message.  My daughter loves following "the horse stories" and learning more about these wonderful God-created creatures.

If you are looking for wholesome literature with a Biblical Worldview for your 9-14 year olds, please check out these books!

Disclosure: I received the above product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

This post contains an affiliate link.  That means should you click on the link and make a purchase, a small portion of that sale goes to this blog.  You are not charged extra.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tapestry of Grace Tuesday Link Up #2

Welcome to the second Tapestry of Grace Tuesday Link Up!

What's been going on in your homeschool?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mega Meal Monday - Tater Tot Casserole

Can you believe it's August?

It's almost time for our 'school year activities' to kick in.  And that means our freezer had better be full of meals!!!

Here's another meal that freezer fabulously.....

Tater Tot Casserole

This recipe can now be found at Tales of a Homeschool Family.....  

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up: Early Non-English Settlements: New France & Documents

I've just realized that it's been two weeks since our last Weekly Wrap Up!  Where has the time gone??

I don't know about you, but, our summer has not gone as I had imagined.  But, being persevering Homeschoolers, we press on with Plan B!

Here's a glimpse into this particular week of homeschooling:

First a combination of all our readings.  My highschooler (Rhetoric level) student also read The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut and selections from Roger Williams, John Winthrop and Ann Bradstreet.

Weekly Wrap Up: Early Non-English Settlements:  New France & Documents

It's truly amazing to read about the Dutch and Swedish settlements in the new world!

Weekly Wrap Up: Early Non-English Settlements:  New France & Documents

Literature selections for my Upper Grammar and Dialectic level kiddos.  My RELUCTANT READER joyfully read The Sign of the Beaver --- success!

Weekly Wrap Up: Early Non-English Settlements:  New France & Documents

In between reading, swim lessons, Kempo and life we did manage a few games of Made for Trade.  It's fun, but, much better when a demanding preschooler is not trying to 'crash' the game.

Weekly Wrap Up: Early Non-English Settlements:  New France & Documents

My 12 and 9 year olds had a chance to take a few art lessons from a nearby friend.  They enjoyed the fellowship and I enjoyed having someone with an artistic flair teach my children!

A "resist" drawing and watercolor.....

Weekly Wrap Up: Early Non-English Settlements:  New France & Documents

 Also, my friend's son taught a classes on designing with Sculpty clay.  That was a big hit!

Weekly Wrap Up: Early Non-English Settlements:  New France & Documents

A cupcake and a little red-haired girl.  

Weekly Wrap Up: Early Non-English Settlements:  New France & Documents


Weekly Wrap Up: Early Non-English Settlements:  New France & Documents

Miscellaneous character

Join us next time for The Age of Reason!

Friday, August 2, 2013

LeapFrog Home Learning Products!

LeapFrog has long been a part of our homeschool.

Our littles have all watched the "old school" LeapFrog Letter Factory videos and have loved them.

But, did you know that Mega Brands also distributes non-electronic LeapFrog products for youngsters that are very affordable?

I didn't either!

Check out this wonderful box of goodies my preschooler and I were blessed to review!

LeapFrog Preschool - Kindergarten

I managed to snap this picture before my almost 4 year old, giddy with excitement, tore through it!

Most of these items shown are geared toward Pre-K-K  children.

First we tried the dry erase products....

These books are super durable, great for little hands and are perfect for 'busy bags" when you are out and about.  These books cover shapes, patterns and numbers.

Colors, Shapes & Numbers is appropriate for ages 3+ and retails for $4.99

Color, Shapes & Counting is appropriate for ages 3+ and retails for $2.49

LeapFrog Preschool - Kindergarten Alphabet FlashcardsNext, are Alphabet flashcards.  The flashcards are colorful, fairly durable mainstays in lower and upper case.  These flashcards are appropriate for ages 3+ and retail for $2.99
And then we HAD to try the Pencil Grips.  In fact, the whole family HAD to try them!

LeapFrog Preschool - Kindergarten Pencil Grips

My youngest took to using them right away.  It took some of us 'olders' a little bit to get use to them...guess some of us aren't holding a pencil correctly!

LeapFrog Preschool - Kindergarten Pencil Grips
My 'almost' 4 year old - a lefty!

LeapFrog Preschool - Kindergarten Pencil Grips
My 12 year old trying out the pencil grips

These nifty Pencil Grips are appropriate for ages 3+ and retail for $1.99.

LeapFrog Preschool - Kindergarten Kindergarten SkillsNext is a Kindergarten Skills workbook.  I'm not big on workbooks, but, this one has 60 brightly colored pages and runs from simple pencil strokes to letters, numbers and mazes.  My youngest was able to do the first couple of pages.  I have no doubt that he will grown into this one!

This is appropriate for ages 3+ and retails for $3.99.

LeapFrog Preschool - Kindergarten Kindergarten Skills
Trying out the beginning exercises in the Kindergarten Skills workbook

These weekly Success Charts are a fun way for children to see their progress in whatever areas a parent chooses - be it in school work, attitudes or chores.  Can you believe my older kids wanted one of their own too!!!

LeapFrog Preschool - Kindergarten  Success Charts

These are best for ages 5+ and retail for $3.99.

Lastly, a really nice Creative Journal for 2nd-3rd graders. There's a space at the top of the page for an illustration, and plenty of room to write a story.
I had meant to put this away for the future.... but, alas, I was too slow! Appropriate for ages 6+, this journal retails for $2.99.

I think I have a budding author on my hands!

Look for these AFFORDABLE LeapFrog items on Amazon or in the stationary or arts/crafts area of Target, Walmart, Michaels and K-mart.