Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review of Pro Plan


So, I’ve really been loving this new educational website I got the opportunity to use and review. It’s called and we’ve been using the Pro Plan makes some areas of homeschooling much easier. I know for our family testing isn’t always the priority but sometimes it really helps to reassure where your kids are academically. Many times I find that I’d like to have the kids dig a little deeper in a subject. And provides lots of ready made resources like worksheets, online tests and also lessons.

I’ve especially liked the upper grade science and English resources. This one is a worksheet for a unit on the Respiratory System.


And this one is showing the structure of DNA! The printables are really high quality and very easy to understand. I also love that you can save the tests as pdf files for later use or for reference.

Another cool feature is the Games area. You can create custom bingo cards and word searches with the generators. The Test Maker is amazing! You simply search through the over 130,000 available questions and add them to make your own test. You can also share the test with your kids/students online. They also have a great help section should you run into any problems while creating your tests. Here are just few of the helps topics from the testing section:

  1. How to Administer Tests Online
  2. How to Find Questions
  3. How to Customize Your Tests
  4. How To Use Questions with Images
  5. Using Question Groups
  6. How to Design a Good Test
  7. How to Write Good Test Questions

There are lots of freebies on but I’ve found that the Pro Plan really is a way better experience. They're always adding more resources. One of my favorite resources is the Blog. I’ve always been a follower of homeschooling and educational blogs! I’ve gotten some amazingly useful ideas from blogs. This is the most recent blog entry from the blog. It’s relevant to homeschoolers!


I have to be honest, as I first toured the site I was worried that it was geared more towards public school teachers. As a homeschooler, my needs don’t always line up with what is geared toward the schools. However, after digging a little deeper I found some really great resources that I hope to continue using for years to come. My daughter and I love the word search puzzles. I found lots of great science lessons and worksheets that my 2 high schoolers will no doubt be using as well. It really does have something for all age groups. Many resource sites  are also geared more toward elementary education. So it was really refreshing to find resources for junior high and high school as well!

Here are some of the perks of using the Pro Plan on

  1. Use Test Maker™ to create unlimited custom tests and worksheets
  2. Up to 100 questions in your custom tests and worksheets
  3. You get to use questions with images
  4. Save your own tests as PDFs
  5. Use Test Room™ to administer unlimited online tests & lessons
  6. Pre-made premium content(Common Core ELA and Math)
  7. Browse and search CCSS-aligned questions by standard
  8. It’s only $24.95 for the whole year! has been an interesting find. It comes highly recommended!

Click here to see what other Schoolhouse Review Crew members had to say about and the Pro Plan!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review of Home School in the Woods HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections

Our family recently to the chance to use and review HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections from Home School in the Woods. We've been homeschooling for a really long time and Home School in the Woods has been around for much longer than we've been choosing curriculum. They are a trusted source for high quality curriculum. It was so cool to get a chance to give feedback on one of their products.


It’s our first time trying a lapbook product. I was a little unsure when I first looked at the product because it honestly at first glance looks like a lot of cut and paste. But because it’s an election year and I really want my kids to get an idea of what’s involved in the election, I gave it a go.

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Here’s a little information on the product. It’s broken down into 21 sections/projects. 

  1. Definition of Election
  2. Different forms of Government
  3. The American Experiment
  4. The Three Branches of Government
  5. Suffrage
  6. Who Do We Vote For?
  7. Terms of Office
  8. A "Handful" of Political Parties
  9. Caucuses and Primaries
  10. National Conventions
  11. The Presidential Campaign: Platform
  12. The Presidential Campaign: Stump Speaking
  13. The Presidential Campaign: Media — News Source
  14. The Presidential Campaign: Campaign Advertising — Spreading the Word!
  15. Raising Money
  16. Statistics
  17. Election Day
  18. The Electoral College
  19. Inauguration Day
  20. The Electoral Race!
  21. The "Vocabinet"

Each section has an audio portion that give you the information that’s also presented in the booklet that you print out and assemble. You can use the booklet and audio as a read-along for emergent readers. My daughter preferred me to read the sections to her as we worked on the different parts of the lapbook.

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You can see she really loves the coloring part. The audio portions range from 1-7-ish minutes which is very easy to fit into any school day. I printed out portions as we got to them but you could print it all out at once. I found it easier for me to cut sections out and she would do the coloring and adding the pieces to the lapbook. My advice is: Get good glue. You want the pieces to stick and stay. My daughter has had a little more experience with the Home School in the Woods as she was in a homeschool co-op class that used the Time Travelers curriculum. She really loves all things crafty.

Here’s some product shots to show the finished product.
The little one on the right actually moves with a brass fastener! So cool!

The doors really open!

I really appreciate all the interactivity that results from the projects. It makes for a fun piece they can hold onto and show off. This was such a fun project. I’m not sure we are lapbooking converts but in the very least we had fun with this particular lapbook.

As a supplement to the lapbook, we also got some books from the library. Here's a couple of the ones we found. Monster Needs Your Vote by Paul Czajak and Vote from Eyewitness Books. 

Click here to see what other Schoolhouse Review Crew members had to say about HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections from Home School in the Woods!


Monday, February 15, 2016

Minor mishap and a lesson in physics

Miss me? Me too :) On January 23rd, it was a Saturday, I was helping a friend pack their kids room for a move. I stepped up on a bed. Of course, I removed my shoes because I'm not rude. After I finished the work that took me up on top of a bed, I stepped off...on to my shoe...and fell. So yeah, I broke my left wrist. I heard a loud pop. And this thing has been my constant companion ever since. Pretty, huh?

This is the second time in my life I've broken a bone. The other time I was 10 and it was my right wrist. I can tell you that this time around has been so much worse for several reasons. 

  1. I am not great at typing with one hand. 
  2. I can't drive well with one hand. 
  3. One word...bra...'nough said. Seriously, try it one handed. 
  4. Showers with one arm wrapped in a trash bag? Not easy. 
  5. I can't straighten my arm...even when sleeping. 
  6. I can't open ziploc bags unless they have actual zippers. 
  7. I haven't tied my shoes in almost a month. I just step in and deal. 
  8. Toothpaste...try it.
  9. Putting hair up in a ponytail/clip one-handed...not happening. 
  10. I don't bother unbuttoning or unzipping pants anymore. I've become the master of quick changes.
It's also been eye opening. I'm a very prideful person. I know! I never realized how self-sufficient I am. I've had to learn to ask for help for little stuff. It really stinks. I have to trust that my daughters hairdressing skills are not going to give me a "daddy ponytail". But I've also come to be thankful because: 
  1. It could have been so much worse. 
  2. Where I fell was between two hard wooden beds. 
  3. My head missed the second bed by inches. 
  4. My back and spine missed a large wooden dresser by inches. 
  5. When I fell, I was holding a handful of nails. 
  6. I was in the company of a friend who saw me fall and was there to help. 
  7. I didn't twist my ankle stepping on my shoe. 
  8. I have a amazing husband who came to be with me at the ER.
  9. I'm right handed!
  10. My family is amazing! They've been really helpful and patient with me. 
Anyways, it's not been a great month for me but then again sometimes it takes something sucky to make you stop and appreciate the wonder of the ordinary. I get to rid myself of the beast next week. But in the meantime, I'll survive. 

Here's my yucky X-ray for all you sciency people. Pretty gross.