Menu Plan Monday 7/17/17

menuplan2_zps5425df44

You know how when you get back from vacation and it takes you a while to get back into reality mode? That’s pretty much where I’m at this week. We had a great week in North Carolina last week, and here we are at home again, and I have loads of laundry to do and stuff to put away and I’m having a really hard time getting motivated to do any of it! At least I was able to get my dinner plans together for this week. Here’s what’s on our menu:

Monday: Crispy Chicken with Beans

Tuesday: Spanish Rice (crock Pot)

Wednesday: Mexican Pizza

Thursday: Baked Lemon Chicken

Friday: Buffalo chicken salad

Thanks for stopping by for Menu Plan Monday! Have a great week.

TOS Review: Fascinating Education (Fascinating Biology)

Fascinating EducationAll kids learn differently, and one of the great things about homeschooling is how you can customize your child’s education to meet their needs. So, one of my kids is a fantastic book-learner. You can just hand him a textbook, tell him where to start, and send him on his way. My other one, however, really struggles with textbooks. Too many words on a page, too big, too intimidating etc. So, I have learned to find alternate methods of teaching for him, including online learning. For this review, we got to check out Fascinating Biology from Fascinating Education.

Fascinating  PhysicsThe course consists of 18 lessons that include topics like energy, nutrients, reproduction, adaptations, plants, and more. Each lesson offers a narrated power-point style video with a navigation bar on the side. I really appreciated this part because it was easy to break the lessons up if you wanted (for kids like mine with a short attention span) and pick up right where you left off. If you have a child who is not an audio/visual learner, Fascinating Education also gives you a word-by-word script of the lessonn with the pictures included so your child could read the lesson instead. These are also handy for reviewing before taking the tests.

biology 1

The tests are basically quizzes that review the information in the lesson with multiple choice questions. Students receive their grade immediately and if they did not do well, they are given the chance to review the test and retake it. I really really like the review part, because that is what I would have my son do anyway if he had trouble with a test in any subject. I think giving your kids a chance to review where they went wrong helps them learn the correct information and then they can retake the test afterwards. You can also print PDFs of the tests if you prefer to use paper and pencil.

biology 3

As far as how we used Fascinating Biology, it was pretty easy. I would look at the lesson for the week and decide how much my son would do each day. One thing to know about this program is that some lessons can be long (45 minutes). If you have a child who can focus on a presentation for that long, then you’re fine. If not, you can break it into sections using the menu like I did. My son usually did at least three sections per day, depending on the rest of our schedule. It will probably take us a little longer to complete it that way, but I don’t mind. I’m more concerned about making sure he really understands the information.

biology 2

After each lesson, we would talk about what he learned, and I could use the script at this point to follow along and make sure he knew what he was talking about. The tab on the side also includes a glossary of terms that you could use to have your child keep a biology vocabulary notebook if you wanted. Once he finished an entire lesson, we would review the key terms and then he would take the test. If he did well, we would move on, if not, I always had him review the test and also the script to go over those concepts that he missed. If you want, you can also print the tests, which will give you the score, and list of questions which tell you which ones your child got right and which ones they got wrong.

One thing to note, the program at this point does not save test scores, nor do they keep running grades, so you will have to keep track of that yourself. Also, while some of the tests include questions from multiple lessons, there are no formal mid-term or final exams. Since Fascinating Education has made some changes to their programs, there have been a few technichal issues with sound and things like that, but I didn’t really feel that was a big issue. Their team is very responsive and works hard to resolve problems quickly, and I find it is not uncommon to run into hiccups when using computer-based programs in general.

I feel like Fascinating Biology is a great overview of a biology course. After trying and trying to get my son through a traditional textbook course, I was really happy to find something that worked well for him. I think he is getting a fantastic grasp of biology concepts, and will have a great foundation to move on from.

To see what other members of the crew had to say about this product, and the others we got to check out, click here:

Biology, Chemistry & Physics {Fascinating Education Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Menu Plan Monday 7/10/17

Happy July everyone! We have our vacation this month and I am so excited. Yes, I am one of those people who cooks while their on vacation. It saves us a lot of money when we travel. I try to keep it light with quick, easy meals so I don’t have to work too hard, and I make the kids clean up so, it’s not too bad! This is our menu for the week:

Monday: Italian Stuffed Peppers

Tuesday: Tacos

Wednesday: Spaghetti

Thursday: Mexican Chicken Salad

Friday: Cookout

Thanks for stopping by for Menu Plan Monday! See you next week!

Italian Stuffed Peppers

lasagna pepp

I love a good stuffed pepper! I have a couple different recipes for them, spicy, in the crock pot etc, but I wanted to try something different so I threw this together for a change.

Ingredients:
2 lbs. lean ground beef
6 bell peppers, seeded and sliced in half
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 jar spaghetti sauce
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning,plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan

Directions:
1. Cook the garlic and onion in a skillet until soft.
2. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, drain.
3. Add the spaghetti sauce and seasonings, then simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Wash and slice the peppers and bake in the oven at 400 for 10 minutes.
5. Spoon the meat into the pepper halves and top with the Parmesan.
6. Bake for an additional 15 minutes and top with an extra sprinkle of Italian seasoning.

Enjoy!

TOS Review: Hewitt Homeschooling (American Lit)

Hewitt Homeschooling

I love literature! Reading has always been one of my favorite things, and I love sharing books with my kids. I am always on the lookout for good literature programs for my son, especially now that he is older. For this review, we got to check out the American: Early-Mid 19th Century literature program from Hewitt Homeschooling. This program is aimed at highschool freshman and sophomores. I used it with my 10th grade son.

 Lightning Literature and Composition Pack
American: Early to Mid 19th Century

Early-Mid American Lit is the first part of Hewitt’s American Literature program, with a second book, Mid-Late 19th Century, that follows. You can choose to either use one set each semester, or spread out one book over an entire year. For my son, the slower option is better as reading is not his favorite subject and requires a lot more effort from him. The course consists of a student book and a teacher’s guide.

The teacher’s guide includes suggested schedules for a one-semester and full-year course, which makes it easy for you to set up the course. I will tell you that the one-semester schedule is very heavy on the weekly reading, which is why we opted to go with the full-year course. It ended up being too much for son to do in a week along with his other subjects. The guide also includes rubrics to use for grading, checklists for writing assignments, and answers to the questions in the student book.

The course itself consists of four units, with two lessons per unit. Students read a mix of classic novels (which you can easily find online or at the library) as well as poems and short stories that are included in the student book. Some of the authors covered in the Early-Mid American Lit book are Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Longfellow.

I had my son start with the introduction, which gives background on literature in general, writing tips, and information about how to use the guide. Since the course is pretty student oriented, I wanted to really go over this part since I knew he would mostly be using it on his own. The first unit begins with the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. This section does use a very specific edition of the book which I was able to find online. We broke the reading into weekly assignments, based on how the guide set up the questions, and my son would read each day, then complete the questions in his notebook. In general, we got to about 3 sets of questions per week.

I felt the questions themselves were a good mix of direct recall and questions that caused students to think and synthesize things in the text, and were appropriate for high schoolers. After completing all of the reading there was a lesson about autobiographical writing. We read through and discussed this section together, then I had my son choose one of the writing assignments at the end of the unit. I liked the variety of options students had for their writing assignments, with choices that range from simple to more complex and serious to humorous. I feel like my son is much more motivated when he gets to choose an assignment, and it leads to less conflict between us.

 

The second lesson in Unit 1 moves onto Washington Irving. It included a fun short story written by Irving that my son read in the text with a series of short comprehension questions after. I felt like this was a good way to break things up so they don’t feel monotonous. Students get to read full novels, but also get breaks and are able to read shorter works as well.

All in all, the Early-Mid American Lit course is a solid program. It offers a a wide variety of classic literature to your children in an easy-to-use design. You can literally just read the introduction to the course and get started! Also, this program comes as either a student book and teacher’s guide or a full set that includes all the necessary novels, which allows you to choose what fits your budget.

To learn more, connect with Hewitt on social media here:

Hewitt Homeschooling on Facebook

Hewitt Homeschooling on Twitter

Hewitt Homeschooling on Pinterest

To see what other members of the crew had to say about this program and the others we got to check out, click here:

Hewitt Homeschooling {Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

TOS Review: Novare Science & Math

Novare Science & MathSo, how do you feel about high school science? I’ll be honest, when I was in school I loved my English and writing classes, but math and science, not so much. So, teaching upper level science is one of those things that kind of gives me some anxiety. I’ve tried many different courses with my boys, and to be honest, they all stress me out a little. For this review, I got to check out General Chemistry from Novare Science & Math, and I think I may have found something that will work for us!

Novare General ChemistryFirst of all, this is a very complete Chemistry program aimed at students in 11th grade. This is because they need to either have completed, or be working through, Algebra 2 in order to do the math in the program. My son (a junior) is working on Algebra 2 right now, and he didn’t have any problems with the math (at least so far).  General Chemistry, wirtten by John D. Mays, is a faith-based science program, which I appreciate. Mays himself is a Christian and a scientist and does not believe the two need to be mutually exclusive, which I agree with.

The textbook itself is really well done and is definitely a book that will last a long time, in case you have upcoming students you want to use it with. It consists of 12 chapters with topics like isotopes, molecular structure, metallic bonding, dissolution and more. The philosophy behind Novare’s programs really focuses on student mastery of the concepts they learn. This means students will dig in-depth on their topics, and also repeat previously learned topics on reviews to make sure they really engage with the information and retain it for the future.

Each chapter in the color textbook begins with objectives which the students are supposed to read and use as goals for each chapter. The idea is that by the time they finish the chapter they will have mastered each objective. Chapters are broken into sections, which does make it easier to set up a schedule for the week. The text itself is well-written and easy to follow. Since the sections are small, my son didn’t feel to anxious about digging into it (large textbooks with tons of reading intimidate him). All of the math computations are fully explained, with examples, so students get a chance to really practice what they are learning.

At the end of each chapter students complete their chapter exercises, and these are again divided by section, which makes it easy for your child to go back to a specific place in the chapter to review concepts as needed. In addition to the textbook, the General Chemistry Resource CD includes chapter tests and quizzes, solutions for problems, and mid-term and final exams. Each chapter has at least two quizzes to give students a chance to test themselves on their own knowledge before moving onto the chapter test.

To complete the course, you can also get the Chemistry Experiments book which is definitely on my list of things to purchase as we move forward. This particular edition is designed for homeschoolers and includes experiments that are easier to perform at home rather than in a lab setting. Doing experiments is a big part of high school math, and if you’re like me, you definitely need a guide to make those happen!

So, what did we think of this chemistry program from Novare Science & Math? We really liked it. I appreciated how easy it was to use and my son didn’t feel it was boring or too difficult to understand. Basically, I would look at each chapter and divide the workload up over 1-2 weeks. For weeks that included a lot more math we might work at a slower pace becuase I wanted to make sure my son really understood what he was doing. Other weeks, we might go a little faster. I liked having the multiple quizzes because I would have my son take them and then go back and correct his mistakes before using them as a study guide for the test.

At this age, I feel testing is important, as it is something kids will need to be more and more familiar with as they get older. Also, having the tests and exams ready to go made it much easier for me to assign grades and keep up with my son’s progress. As far as the math goes, that is another area I am not really fluent in, however, the computations in this program are really well-explained and with the solutions it was even possible for me to follow!

The price for the Chemistry materials varies depending on what you get, but with the textbook and resource CD coming in at less than $120 I think it’s a great deal! To learn more, connect with Novare on social media here:

Novare Science & Math on Facebook

Novare Science & Math on Pinterest

Novare Science & Math on Instagram

To see what other members of the crew had to say about this program and the others we go to check out, click here:

Biblical Based Science {Novare Science & Math Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Chicken Thighs with Bacon and Sour Cream Sauce

bacon chicken

 

So….chicken thighs were on sale at the store this weekend, and since we are on a tight budget, I bought a lot of them. Seriously, my family and I are going to be eating chicken thighs a lot over the next two weeks. This is something I threw together with some other on sale items and what I had in the fridge.

Ingredients:

4 boneless chicken thighs

1 bunch green onion

3 garlic cloves

salt/pepper to taste

8 slices bacon

1 cup chicken broth

1/3 cup sour cream

 

Directions:

  1. Heat some oil in a skillet and cook the bacon until done, you want it crispy, but not burnt.
  2. Dice the garlic and chop the onion
  3. Remove the bacon to a plate and drain off the grease, leaving 1 tbsp.
  4. Add some olive oil to the pan and season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides.
  5. Cook the chicken thighs in the oil over med-high heat for about 5 minutes per side, until browned.
  6. Remove the thighs to a plate.
  7.  Add the garlic and half of the bacon  to the pan and cook for about 1 minute.
  8. Add the chicken broth and sour cream and use a spatula to scrap up any browned bits on the bottom.
  9. Return the chicken to the pan, cover and reduce heat to simmer, cooking for about 10 minutes.
  10. Serve chicken with the sauce and topped with the additional bacon and green onion.

Enjoy!