MV Logos Hope in Subic Bay 2015

It has been raining for the past days and it seems that summer season has ended. We haven’t been able to go to the beach or anywhere for the summer vacation. But we are quite excited to head to Subic and Baguio by next month! We haven’t been to Subic for the past 5 years and the kids have never been to Baguio yet. Here’s hoping that our trip pushes through.

We intend to go to MV Logos Hope as it docks at Subic Bay Freeport Zone from June 9-July 5.  The MV Logos Hope is the world’s largest floating book fair together with International crew from over 60 countries!

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If you are planning a road trip soon, don’t forget to drop by MV Logos Hope!

Expo Mom 2015: #MomManifesto

ExpoMom2015 #MomManifesto

Expo Mom 2015 takes a different turn this year as it focuses on the moms! Mommy Mundo encourages moms to reflect and discover themselves through the the Mom Manifesto campaign which happened from April 22-May 20. Taking only 15 minutes to complete each session, the online workshop helps moms to become more intentional with the way they use their time and be aware of their missions, not only as moms but as fulfilled women, whether they are working or staying at home.

During Expo Mom 2015 which happens on May 22-25 at the Glorietta 2 Palm Drive, Makati City, there will be a culminating activity for all moms who joined this campaign. They will also get to share their #MomManifesto . Expo Mom 2015 celebrates the purposeful moms who knows her mission in life, her goals and priorities, her hopes and dreams!

Of course, the trademark fair of mom-approved and mom-tested products and services during the annual Expo Mom event will also be worth visiting! Each year, there are many products that I have personally discovered for my kids through Expo Mom exhibits.

Expo Mom 2015: #MomManifesto is co-presented by Cordlife Philippines, supported by Huggies, Cycles Mid Detergent, Fern-C, Nurture Nook, Pioneer Insurance, JoomaJam, Wang Videography, ImagineNation Photography, and media partners Working Mom Magazine, Rappler, WheninManila.com, Crossover 105.1, Newlyweds@Work, and venue partner Glorietta and Ayala Center.

Donations in cash and kind (books, school supplies, clothes and shoes) will be accepted at the entrance of the expo. All proceeds will go to MomShare’s partner beneficiary, Childhope Asia Philippines. This is for the literacy and health programs for street children under its care.

For more information, visit Expo Mom on the web.

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review

Learning never stops. I believe that moms, especially homeschool moms, should continually learn from others. Successful Homeschooling Made Easy has created an online course which is designed to make the homeschooling an easier journey for moms. I am blessed to be chosen to review this course. I have been homeschooling my children for the past 5 years and the journey has not been a smooth one. There were many ups and downs along the way and learning from seasoned homeschoolers has always helped me through the various seasons of my journey.

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Course  is a 26-week long subscription program for parents who are interested in homeschooling or those parents who need a fresh start in their homeschooling journey. The lessons are sent via email every week as a PDF attachment by Stephanie. Stephanie Walmsley created this course as a homeschooling 101 guide to help parents achieve successful homeschooling. Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review

Each week, a PDF document  with at least 5 pages will be sent to my email address. Every lesson address a key component in achieving stress free homeshooling through out the years. Lessons are focused on giving the teacher tools to develop personalized ideas on homeschooling and help them apply these ideas to their own families. There are weekly assignments that needs to be completed.

Some of the topics include: How to Start Homeschooling Straight Away, Teach Math and other Subjects, Vision and Goal for Your Family’s Homeschool, Fireproof Your Homeshool, The Key Ingredient for Success and others.

The lessons can fit whether one is homeschooling a preschooler or a highschooler. It also works even if you are homeschooling just one or a group. The lessons also help you avoid burn out and unneeded stress by teaching you to choose the right curriculum and programs your family.

The whole course costs $48 but if you want to pay monthly instead, it will cost $10 a month.

How I Used the Product

As I received my email with a download link for the first lesson, I made sure that my Adobe Reader was working so that I can open the file using my laptop. I read the short introduction and was immediately starting my first lesson. The first lesson was about making a schedule that works for my family. There were a series of questions about how we spend time as a family and based from my answers, I was asked to make our 8 week schedule. I printed the file at the end of the document and followed the instructions.

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It took me about 15 minutes to complete the first lesson and the assignment. I took note of the tips that I think will be useful for our family like the LITERACY HOUR.

As I received the 2nd lesson for the succeeding week, I was  quite excited to see how I can make Math more easy for my children. I was reminded that Math needs to be taught 3 ways: via practical experience, talking about it and writing about it. Most of them, I just skip the first part which is practical experience and it makes Math more dull and that is probably why my daughter doesn’t like Math very much.

The very practical guide to choosing the right Math curriculum for your family is truly a helpful guide for me. It helped me evaluate if we are using the right product for our family. Then I even received a BONUS lesson which was about  Math Ideas, making Math more enjoyable to learn for the kids.

The 3rd lesson was about helping a child who has been studying in a public or private school adjust to homeschool. There were several moms who shared their real life stories and what they did to help their kids adjust.

4th lesson was about fireproofing our homeschool. It talks about the philosophy on education, what I want to achieve in my life and whyI want to homeschool the kids. This week also see my adding new things to our schedule like FUN things to do.

5th lesson revolved around 3 questions that will help me achieve our family’s goals. It was really important as this helped shaped the goal of our homeschooling.

6th lesson reminded me to take care of myself and to reach for my dreams. It is important that as a person, I do not neglect myself as it is not holy to forget myself in the name of my children.

7th week is all about homeschooling. It gave a brief background on “school” and why curriculum shouldn’t really matter. It also gave an overview of the methods of homeshooling.

What I Thought of the Product

As I used this product during the review time frame, I have gained fresh insights on Math and how to fireproof our homeschool. I was also reminded of our family’s goals and how I shouldn’t be worried about the “best” curriculum there is. It was refreshing to learn from a veteran homeschooler!

If you are seriously considering to homeschool your children, I  would recommend this product to you. You will gain valuable insights and be guided in making wise choices for your homeschool. As this product is designed to work alongside your current homeschool year, you would probably need to use it best in the beginning of the school year or even before your school year.

For a homeschool parent who needs guidance in re-organizing and restarting their homeschool, this would also be a good start. The course asks the important questions and makes you reflect on your style, goals, methods and how to be a better homeschool parent. It is like attending a conference.

The only downside of this product for me is that it takes too long to complete. 26 weeks is half a year and almost an entire school year. I would rather have all the lessons in 2 or 3 months at least.

For more information, check out the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheBroadRoom.

I invite you to read the reviews of other Schoolhouse Review Crew members to see what they think of this product!

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review
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The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight from Real Life Press Review

As a homeschool mom for 5 years, I have experienced some high and lows in our homeschooling journey but I admittedly am still no expert in homeschooling so I was pretty excited to read
The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight from Real Life Press. I was given a PDF copy to review this eBook by Heidi St John.

Real Life Press Review
Real Life Press believes that Truth can only be found in God’s Word and publishes materials on marriage, parenting, homeschooling and Bible study. The people behind Real Life Press are Jay St. John, who is the publisher and and leads Firmly Planted Ministries and Heidi St. John, who writes, speaks and blogs at The Busy Mom.

Throughout the past years, I have been following The Busy Mom’s blog. It has been a source of encouragement to me. I like how candid Heidi can be, using humor and her real life experiences as application points.  I was pretty excited to read The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight, especially as we were heading to our summer break when I got my copy of the eBook. I knew that this book would provide fresh insights, encouragement and help me re-evaluate as we close another school year.

Real Life Press Review
I used my iPhone’s iBooks app to open the PDF file and as soon as I started reading the  introduction, I knew that this was the perfect book I need to read to help me make the most of our break. The entire book focuses on 8 practical ways to use the daytime hours wisely including home organization, meal preparation, homeschooling and other important things that moms do at home.

In the beginning of the book, Heidi reminds us that as homeschool moms, we must make our marriage the top priority relationship at home, though she discusses more about this on her other book The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance. Then she mentioned that we are to nourish our relationship with our children and to always see the big picture because time with the children is limited and is truly precious.

Detailed chapters on how to do this follows. It begins with Intentional Daylight. She reminds us that a crucial component to homeschooling is knowing why we are homeschooling. Afterwards, it is important to make P.O.A. or Plan of Action which you need to hold loosely depending on the season of your life. Nurturing ourself should be included in our plans to ensure that we don’t overwork ourselves.

Organized Daylight is probably one of my favorite chapters. It focuses on controlling clutter and reclaiming space at home. Since we live in a minimal spaced house, I need to make sure our house is free of clutter. Heidi reminds us the importance of decluttering and practical steps to organizing our home.

Scheduled Daylight talks about time management. Self-control and prioritization of what really matters is of utmost importance to achieve proper management of time. There are different daily schedules which one can use as a template for our own home.

Hungry Daylight focuses on meal preparation and practical tips on menu planning, picky eaters and how to make meal times special.

Discouraged Daylight deals with discouragement that comes to all homeschooling moms. I identified with this chapter and found it very enlightening. I was reminded that it is the grace of God which enables me to do all that he has purposed for me to accomplish. I don’t rely on my strength and wisdom but depend on His power and grace to be an effective homeschool mom for my kids.

Consolidated Daylight talks about multi-level homeschooling and how to breathe LIFE unto your homeschool days.

Wasted Daylight helps you identify the daylight wasters and how to deal with them. Social media can be a great source of information but it can also be a time stealer. It is important not to waste your time and energy daily on unimportant stuff.

The last chapter, focuses on Surrendered Daylight. It is so easy to be pressured by our society so this is something that should be dealt with immediately. Refocusing our aim and surrendering our homeschooling to God allows us to find peace and calm in the Holy Spirit rather than on what “should be” happening to our children.

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All through out the book, I learned that there is NO PERFECT MOM or SUPER MOM. God is the reason why I chose to homeschool the kids, and I must continually draw strength from Him and seek Him first always. I choose to remember what Heidi said “If He has put homeschooling before you, trust Him! He has already equipped you for the job!”

Go get your own copy and be inspired to homeschool. The eBook costs $12.95.

For more information, go to The Busy Homeschool Mom’s FB page : https://www.facebook.com/busyhomeschoolmom?fref=ts or Twitter page : https://twitter.com/heidistjohn or Pinterest page : https://www.pinterest.com/heidistjohn/

Read other Real Life Press product reviews by the Schoolhouse Review Crew by clicking on the image!

Real Life Press Review
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Star Toaster’s Orphs of the Woodlands Review

My 5th grade daughter loves to read and when I was given a chance by Star Toaster through the Homeschool Review Crew to review their online curriculum, Orphs of the Woodlands I was really excited to see what this program was all about and how my daughter would like it! I was given a  one year access to the program in exchange for my review.

Star Toaster Review
Orphs of the Woodlands is an online interactive reading adventure for 4th-7th grade students. This product was developed by the Star Toaster team who believes that children primarily learns inside the home and that character eventually defines success. With the goal of helping parents to teach their children positive values, this interactive program also sets the tone that learning is NOT BORING. With a very interesting storyline, the student can become involved in the story through the completion of games and while doing so, learning vocabulary words, grammar, math, science, thinking skills, life skills and the arts. There are over 300 lessons in the whole program!

Since this is an online program, I only needed to make sure that my browser Google Chrome was working and I had a stable internet connection. Upon logging on as the parent, I added my daughter’s account and set a password for her. It is important to note that you must use a different password for your children as you will be using the same email account to log in the system.

My daughter logged in and immediately started watching the tutorials and she was on her way! She started reading the story, The Treasure of the HighTower and was hooked! She was asked to name the main character of the story, who is a squirrel and she named him Squeaky. She read about 15-20 minutes before she finished the first chapter. As she was reading, whenever she encountered a word in red, she can point the cursor to that word and the meaning would be flashed. She learned several new words in each chapter.    

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The story is about the squirrel who is newly recruited to become a spy and fight against the Night Creatures. As he learns how to be a spy, he also learns about the orphs or orphans of the woodlands who needs his leadership and care to survive.

After each chapter, my daughter needed to complete jobs or games to collect stars. There is a specific number of stars that each orph needed to survive. So the more jobs completed, the more stars collected. The number of stars needed depends on the number of orphs under her care.

The jobs are divided into several categories. There is Math, Science, Vocabulary, Thinking Skills, Character, Life Skills, and the Arts. As she reads more chapters, there are more jobs for her to click on and finish. As she completes more jobs, she earns more goldstars per job each time she finishes the chapter.

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The jobs are quite interesting as she gets to learn different things for example, she clicks on Sound Specialist under Science and she learns about sound waves. A video teaching will be shown as her training then she answers some questions based on what she just learned. Sometimes, instead of videos, she will be presented with texts about the subject matter.

Star Toaster Review 
She can also choose to click on the map and buy land, build projects and acquire the needs of the orphs. She needs more stars to do each project so this will lead her to complete more jobs.

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Upon clicking the timeline, she can go back to the previous chapters she has read and review them or proceed with the story. Though she will not be able to skip to chapters she has not finished yet.

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What We Thought of the Product

My daughter enjoyed the product. She said that it felt like she was playing a game more than doing an online reading curriculum. Her favorite is that she got to learn many new words and fresh insights on science facts! The only thing that she didn’t like was that she had to finish so many jobs for the numerous oprhs that she had to care for and couldn’t get to the next chapter easily! Sometimes, she would tire of the jobs and log out already.

As the mom, I loved this product!

First, it encourages independent learning. My daughter needed little assistance from me during the entire time she was using Orphs of the Woodlands. It was easy to use and interesting enough to hold my daughter’s interest to complete the jobs/games .

Secondly, I loved the updates that I was getting through email. I was sent an email everytime she finishes something. I also like the fact that I can login and see what she has been accomplishing and learning.

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Thirdly, this is a well-rounded product. I don’t need a separate curriculum for each subject. The program touches on the basics of what your child needs to know in every area of life.

Fourthly, the learnings from the story is not just academic but it’s all about life skill and is character based. I like it that my daughter learns to be patient, diligent and responsible as she completes the jobs in the story.

Lastly, it is not a costly online reading curriculum. In fact, it is perfect for a summer reading program. The book can usually be finished in 2 months and just costs  $19.99 for the 60 day subscription for up to 3 students. The 30 day extension just costs $6.99.

If you have reluctant readers at home, I encourage you to try this out! There is an on-going FREE TRIAL to the first chapter of The Treasure of HighTower book of Orphs of the Woodlands!

Star Toaster Review
For more information on this great product, follow Star Toaster Facebook page, Star Toaster Pinterest page and Star Toaster Twitter page.

Check out what other Schoolhouse Review Crew says about Star Toaster…Star Toaster Review
 

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