Wrapping up a Year of Sonlight

When we began using Sonlight a year ago to learn about the Eastern hemisphere, I knew it would be an adventure. Reading exciting novels together, we imagined what life was like for children on the other side of the globe. Non-fiction selections highlighted history and culture. Enthralling missionary biographies demonstrated what it’s like to lay down your life to share God’s good news abroad. As the girls also read many novels on their own, their independence blossomed.

With such a wealth of reading material, both twins were excited to start their Sonlight assignments each day. While they chowed down on breakfast, I asked questions about the previous day’s reading and then began the day’s read-alouds. After a brief break to complete a math lesson, they continued exploring the remaining Sonlight resources on their own later in the day.

It’s hard to believe that we made it to the end of the thick instructor guide and to the bottom of our reading list. What amazing books were included in the Sonlight program! Let me share with you several stand-out books that we will continue to treasure.

Read More

Most Helpful Crew Review Resources of 2019

Since I am a member of the Homeschool Review Crew, my family has the privilege of voting for our favorite review products of the year. This week, my daughters and I sat down to select this year’s most fun and helpful Crew review resources. It was fascinating to discover that our favorites were all unique. Read on to find out what we voted for.

Read More

Review of Calvert Homeschool - Studying High School Science Online

This fall, we had the opportunity to review online courses from Calvert Homeschool. Initially, I reasoned that it would provide a convenient online curriculum for my high school daughter to study government. Since I have multiple students, we were able to enroll in the family plan, which allows all three of my daughters to use Calvert Homeschool Online. With access to a full curriculum, they could even complete all of their courses on the site.

After exploring the various options, my high schooler surprised me. Could she take the high school Chemistry course instead of a government class? Of course, she could! My 8th-grade twins, who were also ready to try something new, dove right into high school level Integrated Physics and Chemistry. Since we already had materials for our other areas of study, we chose to focus on Calvert Homeschool’s science programs.

Read More

In the Footsteps of Jesus - the Journey of a Lifetime

Recently, while reading from the Gospel of Matthew, I intuitively recalled last year’s journey to Israel. It’s amazing how, more than a year later, the words of Scripture still leap off the page in a new way. As the passage drew me in, I could picture the places and imagine what it was like.

The idea that I walked in the footsteps of Jesus boggles my mind. I am glad I went. Our church is planning another tour of Israel for next year. Although we may not make the trip this time around, I decided to compile a summary post to recap our experience. Follow all of the links to read the full account. Will it inspire you to make the journey of a lifetime to the Holy Land?

Read More

Review of Smartick Math Enrichment

The first time I investigated the Smartick website, I was intrigued. Kids ages 4 to 14 can use the site for about 15 minutes a day to improve their math skills. Although I feared it would not benefit my 13-year-old twin math prodigies, I signed up for a free two-week trial to let them preview the site.

During the first three days, they completed a series of level assessments to determine their starting point in the program. One girl was highly motivated and enjoyed Smartick from the start. Although her twin sister did not share her excitement, she didn’t mind using the website for 15 minutes a day. Based on their interest level, we signed up to review Smartick for the Review Crew.

Read More

Why I Love Being on the Homeschool Review Crew

When I started my blog two years ago, I had no idea how it would change the way we homeschool. A few weeks after I began blogging, I applied to join the Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Homeschool Review Crew. Although I thought it was a longshot, I was thrilled to receive a “Welcome to the Crew” email later that month.

Being part of the Homeschool Review Crew was the best thing I could do for my blog. Read on to discover ways it has helped me grow—both as a blogger and as a homeschool mom.

Read More

Making Progress in Mandarin Chinese

How do I prepare for a trip to a foreign country? Learn to speak the local language. Before traveling to Russia 20 years ago, I used a Berlitz course to study while my babies napped. Since foreign languages fascinate me, it was a small sacrifice, which was richly rewarded during my overseas trip. When I introduced myself in floundering Russian to a camp full of kids, their enthusiastic cheers astonished me.

Ever since our family began considering a trip to Taiwan, the twins and I have been studying Chinese. We would love to communicate easily with the locals while visiting. As our departure date approaches, I’ve increased my language study time. Although my initial efforts focused on understanding spoken Mandarin, I’ve begun learning to read and write Chinese as well. It’s been an adventure.

In my quest for the best language study resources, I tried several promising apps and websites that were disappointments. Others have helped tremendously. Read on to find out which ones are keepers.

Read More

Is it Really Just Like Riding a Bike?

Have you heard our big news? We’re planning to spend several weeks in Taiwan near the end of the year! After I informed my mother-in-law that we had tickets to visit her in Taiwan, her advice was unexpected: “Start practicing riding a bike!” Cycling is a favorite means of transportation in Taipei, and ‘Grammy’ often cycles with friends on Saturdays.

Although I loved riding a bike as a kid, I hadn’t straddled the saddle of a non-stationary cycle for years. For my entire adult life, I had avoided riding this two-wheeled contraption. After such a long hiatus, I was actually afraid of trying to ride it again. With Grammy’s advice echoing in my mind, I prayed that the statement “It’s just like riding a bike” was really true.

Read More

How to Get an International Driving Permit

While researching places to visit in Taiwan, my husband suggested that we may want to drive while we are there. Unfortunately, we cannot merely use our US Driver’s Licenses. Imagine getting pulled over by a Chinese-speaking police officer. I could show him my License, but how could he know that it is legitimate?

To drive in Taiwan, we need International Driving Permits, which translate and validate our licenses in 11 languages. Although we don’t have concrete plans to drive anywhere while we are overseas, we want to keep our options open. Getting an International Driving Permit is surprisingly simple. Using a US license, apply at a AAA office.

Read More