Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Notebooking Pages -- A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Review Crew
In April I learned NotebookingPages.com was one of our next vendors, and I volunteered for the review!

I was already in love with my Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership, and I thought this was a great opportunity to tell all my readers about Notebooking Pages. I've loved Notebooking Pages for, I think, over ten years! Since I love
Notebooking Pages so much I became an affiliate, and this post contains affiliate links. (Other Crew Reviewers received Lifetime Memberships in exchange for their reviews.)

When I learned we were on this review it had been awhile since I had used any
Notebooking Pages. It was very exciting to start brainstorming about how to use the product with what we were currently working on!

So if you are not familiar with the practice of notebooking, this is a perfect place for me to explain it to you.

With the Charlotte Mason style of education that I have stayed with for most of this student's education, notebooking has been a tool I have used all along. We originally used composition notebooks.
We had pages for composers,
artists, hymn studies, 



so many topics!

When I learned about NotebookingPages.com and saw there were lots of *FREE* pages available, so I began using those immediately.
Later I was totally blessed to be the winner of a giveaway of a Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership! I hope you can imagine how blessed I was! So I now had access to the entire collection, and the collection increases in scope and depth all the time!

We set up notebooks for Composer Study, Artist Study and Nature study right away.

The notebook covers I printed out are provided by NotebookingPages.com. We used 1" 3-ring white notebooks with the plastic sleeves to organize our pages. 

Beginning a Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership can be overwhelming. It is hard to know where to start. When you purchase your membership the Notebooking Pages owner, Debra Reed, sends you instructions on how to get started. Once you log in, you will see the tool bar across the top of the page.

You can pick "Tutorials", "Tips & Tools" or "Videos" - they're all good places to start. If you're like me, though, you're going to immediately go to look at all the options. (Don't do that! What are you thinking?) 

Once you are a bit familiar with how to use Notebooking Pages, take a few minutes to think about what you are studying or want to study. It's summer - maybe you want to do a nature study about lightning bugs, apple trees or Northern cardinals. Write down your ideas and then go looking for pages on your topic(s).

You could also start by just going to the pages, but Notebooking Pages is like a smorgasbord - you want to sample a little of this, a little of that. You can't digest everything at once. Sample slowly!

As you make decisions, you might want to start one or several 3-ring binders to safely store your pages to keep them safe. You can pick topics in artist studies, composer studies, history stories, geography, Latin, Bible, character studies, grammar, literature/author studies and science/scientist studies. I love the science divisions (trees, birds, insects, astronomy and more).

Notebooking is an excellent discipline for developing and practicing handwriting. The practice can be used to monitor spelling weaknesses and determining what the student needs reinforcement on in phonics and spelling rules. Writing assignments can be reviewed to help the student learn and improve grammar and punctuation skills. The practice of writing helps the student retain the information studied, and the material created can be reviewed to help the child remember. This can often be done by having the child show her Bird Book to Grandma or his Astronomy notebook to Uncle Jake.

There are even pages that can help Boy Scouts earn merit badges! There are merit badges for mammals, trees, birds and nature that there are Notebooking Pages that dovetail with these. Scouts need to be able to identify a certain number of birds, identify certain plants, etc. 

The Notebooking Pages make wonderful documentation for relatives who wonder if your child is really "doing" anything when you say you are home schooling. They also make great documentation if you live in a state like mine that requires yearly or bi-yearly portfolio reviews. If your student is prolific with Notebooking Pages, your reviewer will be impressed, especially if you do Notebooking Pages in all (or as many as possible) the state-required subjects. (I don't remember Notebooking Pages in Mathematics, health or physical education...)

This review is specifically about the Lifetime Membership, but I'm going to tell you one more thing. My student, who just finished taking English 101 through Dual Enrollment at the local community college, balked at having to write out new assigned Notebooking Pages. "Why do I have to write this out? Why can't I type it?" You might experience this with your older students as well.

My son's comment reminded me of another product I have from NotebookingPages.com. They also have a web app (that I have) that you can use with older students to let them type in their information on their pages, among other things. I won't tell you more, since that's not what this review is about. But if you want to know more about it, go to their main page and look for a link on the tool bar to learn more.

Other members of the Review Crew also reviewed this product. To see other product reviews, please click the button below.
Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Menu Monday for 2016-06-27

Menu Plan Monday for the week of June 27/16 - recipe links and menu planning inspiration to help you get dinner on the table stress free!

Our cadet is at Civil Air Patrol TriWing Encampment this week, so I'm cooking for two. The plans may change, but here's the original plan:

Chicken Caesar Salad, Texas Toast

Dinner out (Date Night!)

(leftover) lentil soup, salad, rolls

Reuben sandwiches

Ravioli, salad, Texas toast

Cheeseburgers, potato salad, fresh veggies

dinner out

Lemon chicken, broccoli, quinnoa

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Year in Pictures

A blog friend, Kym, blogged her year in pictures. I thought that was such a good idea and wanted to do it too, so here goes!

School started the day after Labor Day, 2015.

My plans were written in my Apologia planner.

 My mantle was weighted down with most of our books... 
We started the year strong with our various subjects. 
  • daily (or fairly regular) Bible reading; 
  • Apologia Chemistry;

  • BJU Algebra 2
  •  When Worlds Collide for English Literature and Composition;
  •  Tapestry of Grace for History;
  •  BJU Spanish I;
  • and an eclectic approach to music, art, physical education and health.
It didn't take us long to crash and burn on this Spanish. It is not a program a non-Spanish speaker can teach to a non-Spanish speaker.
We worked on Chemistry ...at times...
 My cadet stayed active in the Civil Air Patrol.
He supported CAP at Joint Base Andrews open house (in an eagle costume);
 and Wreaths Across America (no photo) in December, St. Patrick's Day Parade,
rocket launches,
local fitness days, banquet, field trips, and lots of weekly meetings.
As a Boy Scout, my teen has earned all necessary merit badges and is working to figure out an Eagle project (required to attain Eagle rank).
We saw the beach in September,
leaves in October,
a big birthday in November, Christmas in December,
big snows in January,
new dual enrollment college days in February,
  braces off in March,
as well as a dead Honda and a new Toyota,
lots of rain in April, end of ENGL 101 with a B in May, rocket launches in April, May and June,
and now preparing for Tri-Wing Encampment on Sunday.
It's been a long year, and I didn't take enough photos, but I tried!


Thursday, June 23, 2016

MySchoolYear.com - A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Review Crew
This spring I learned there was a product available for review being offered by MySchoolYear.com.

I just love trying out planners, so I was delighted when I was selected to review My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping). I received a 12-month subscription in exchange for my review.

When I received access to My School Year, I had to think about how I wanted to use it during the review period. It was May, so one might initially think I'd start planning my next school year. I decided that was not my best way to use it at that time. There were too many unknowns about next school year at that time, so I decided to plug in information from the current (soon to end) school year.

When you first begin with My School Year, you start by setting up a school year. I set up a school year for 2015-2016 and a school year for 2016-2017, but then I focused on 2015-2016. (I looked at next year but couldn't decide on anything, not even start and end dates, so last year it is.)

So to begin, as inferred above, I entered the start and end dates of the 2015-2016 school year. Next I entered holidays and breaks. We take a week at Thanksgiving, one in the spring, and two weeks at Christmas. We started the day after Labor Day, and take Memorial Day. The end date is rather squishy, as we are still working on subject that suffered some neglect during the school year, but I marked it to end 6/17/16.

Next I clicked on "Enroll Students" as you see in the photo above. My student doesn't like his name to show in my blog entries, so I cut that off. When you set up the student, you enter an email address. After scheduling assignments your student(s) receive emails with their assignments in them. How cool is that?

From this point I set up subjects studied during the year and curriculum or other resources used. Set up asks for class time. We don't adhere to that type of schedule, so I entered arbitrary times.

As you can see, I entered his English 101 dual enrollment class grade from the local community college. You are able to enter grades either by the assignment or by an override you can enter the grade for the complete course.

Then I had the decision to either enter information for every class, every day, every subject, every assignment... Or come up with some other plan. I decided to enter summary grade information - tests, quizzes, homework, attendance, etc. To pick an easy subject, I decided to start with Art, and discovered I had Art listed twice. ::sigh:: Fixed it. Not changing photo.

Set up asks for class time. We don't adhere to that type of schedule, so I entered arbitrary times.

My School Year has so much potential for use in ways I'm not using it yet. For instance, next year two of his dual enrollment classes meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday at specific times. Scheduling that is easy to do with My School Year.
Clicking on "actions" on ENGL 102, I get the following:
I selected "Edit Class Details" and got this screen:
Choosing "view other settings" gave me this screen:
On this page, selecting "Dual Credit" sets it up so it will show that way on the transcript, which My School Year will also generate when you ask it to. I was looking for a way to enter beginning and ending dates for the semesters, but the program picks this information up based on dates entered to indicate assignments due. Where there are no assignments, there is no notation of the class on the student's reminder emails. I don't entirely understand it yet, but I'm sure using it will give me understanding. Most of my review period has been between these semesters.
So... I really like My School Year. It has proven to be very intuitive and easy to use. When I needed help and called them, I got a real person and immediate assistance with my questions!

With My School Year there are quick ways to schedule assignments, and quick ways to bump them forward. You can schedule assignments in advance, or you can record them as you do them. You can use the program to keep track of time spent by the student on each subject. You can record grades by the assignment, or you can just enter the entire grade for the year, useful for creating a transcript after the fact. I can go back and enter 9th and 10th grade year-end grades and know my transcript is humming!

So My School Year is an absolute winner in my house. I hope you will consider it. I'm loving it.

Other members of the Review Crew also reviewed this product. To see other product reviews, please click the button below.
Homeschool Record Keeping {MySchoolYear.com Review}
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