Used Curriculum Sale in St. Charles

Time to dig out and dust off all the school curriculum you no longer need, and bring it to . . .

NPLH’s Curriculum Sale!

Come and sell or just to shop!

Guest are very welcome, so do invite your friends.

(If they’d like to sell, please have them contact us at

A limited number of tables will be available, but feel free to bring your own or use the plentiful floor space!  =)

Thursday, May 14

7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Riverside Community Church

37W130 Crane Road

St. Charles, IL  60175

(at Randall & Crane)

Deal from Homeschool Buyers Co-op

I just took advantage of this and wanted to share my excitement . . .

Homeschool Buyers Co-op has a great deal on The One Year Adventure Novel right now. You can get 15% off this amazing curriculum if you order by the end of Monday. Most likely you will actually get 20% off because the more people that order, the better the discount becomes. As long as just a couple more people order the group will hit 100 orders and the 20% discount rate.

I had just decided to use this curriculum and saw this deal come across my page. This is a video course with quizzes and a student workbook for a full year of high school writing. High school students in Illinois must earn two credits in a writing focused class, so this is definitely something we need. And, I have a great instructor via video to teach my kids! It is expensive (about $200) which is why I was thrilled to get a hefty discount. Aside from college tuition and books this is our only curriculum purchase this year, so I decided to go with it. I know we will enjoy it for year to come.

Wish I could give you a more thorough review of the product, but it does look fantastic, and my daughter (just turned 14) really enjoyed the couple lessons she previewed. When I said I wasn’t sure we could afford it she said it could be her birthday gift if that would help cover some of the cost. That’s how excited she was about this program, willing to pass on birthday presents to get it!

If you are interested, be sure to head on over for this deal soon, it will end at midnight (I think that’s 2 am here) Monday the 19th.

The deal: Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op One Year Adventure Novel

ETA: They have already reached the 20% off level, so all purchases will now be nearly $40 off the list price!

Homeschool showcase in Naperville

Naperville Public Library

The Naperville Public Library will be hosting a Homeschool Showcase

When: May 6 from 7:00pm – 8:30pm at

Where: Nichols Library, 200 W. Jefferson, Naperville IL.

What: This is an opportunity to “show us your stuff”. We invite homeschooled students to display any projects they have worked on. Set up time will be any time between 5:00 and 7:00. The program is not advertised in the library’s program guide, but will be open for all library patrons to visit.

Please invite your family and friends to visit your display.

Please contact Anne Bultman, or 630-637-6106, by April 30th if you are interested in displaying your work. Also, we ask that each family bring a snack either as part of your display or to put on a snack table. Work may be displayed by small groups, families or individuals. Please help make this a success by forwarding this information to other groups you may belong to that serve the Naperville area.

Also coming up in Naperville: .Curriculum Share Night on Monday June 3rd will allow homeschoolers to get together and show curriculum materials they like and talk about how they used them. This will be a great opportunity to network with other homeschoolers and learn from their experience as well as help the librarians know how to better assist homeschoolers.

Our curriculum plans and link to more

Not Back to School Blog Hop

The new year!
We have a couple weeks yet before we begin. August 22 is our official start date at this point, but at least we know where we are headed.

I made myself a master list like the following but just with the generic subjects listed and then a box for each day of the week. Then I won’t forget what they should be doing each day. And, I can use it to record their grades for each assignment in each subject which will make record keeping so much easier.

In the past I would pull out their individual notebooks and pull their grades off the top of each graded assignment. Now, I will just record it all onto my master sheet throughout the week and just have one paper of info to put into the computer on the weekend. That will make my weekend job a 15 minute one rather than an hour long one.

Lots of the same. We know what works for us and what we love, but some new stuff, too. Of course, since we don’t really follow the regular school calendar, many of these books and subjects they are already in the midst of.

I am streamlining a bit this year and doing history all together. Obviously their homework and their interaction with the material will be quite different over the 8 year age span, but we will all be in the same time period and it will tie into our Bible time as well. Science for all 2-8th will be the same as well. My 8th grader already finished Physical science and General Science so she gets to have fun with us this year as she isn’t really ready for high school science yet.

I am mixing up grammar this year. We love Rod & Staff, but it gets a little repetitive year after year. So, I am going to switch every other year and pepper in Shurley and Easy Grammar. We gave both of these an introductory run during our summer school and they seem to fill the need well.

High School continues to stretch us, but mostly in a good way. This year we will tackle Spanish and Advanced Mathematics (including pre-calc) together.

Nathan — 2nd grade
First Language Lessons (mostly oral)
Saxon Math 3 (already half way through)
Handwriting without tears — big focus!! Trying to improve his pencil grip and penmanship this year
All About Spelling level 3 (almost done)
Truth quest History (Beginnings — ties into Bible)
Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology
PE — baseball, gym and swim, PE at co-op
Brooke – 3rd grade
Rod & Staff English 3 (half way through)
Saxon Math 5/4 (half way through)
All About Spelling level 3 (almost done)
Truth quest History
Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology
A Reason for Handwriting T (half way through)
PE — soccer, gym and swim, PE at co-op
Faith – 6th grade
Easy Grammar Level 1
Saxon Math 8/7 (half way through)
All About Spelling level 4
Truth quest History
Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology
PE — soccer, gym and swim, PE at co-op
Paige – 8th grade
Shurley English 7
Algebra 1 (half way through)
Puppetry (Co-op)
IEW Level B (Co-op, I’m teaching)
All About Spelling level 4
Truth quest History
Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology
PE — soccer, gym and swim
Blake – 10th grade
Apologia Chemistry (Co-op)
PE — baseball, gym and swim, PE at co-op
Spanish 1
Advance Mathematics (Saxon)
IEW Level C (Co-op, I’m teaching)
Truth quest History
Full days, but wonderfully full. I look forward to another year of exploring life and our amazing world with my kids. In between it all we continue to enjoy the antics of a two year old who breathes new life into everything. Thankful to God for another opportunity to live life in the midst of my family each day.

TOS Crew Review — Eagle’s Wings

Eagle's Wings

Science often strikes fear into the hearts of homeschool moms. It is the topic that many feel unable to teach when they first begin, but with the right tools we can all succeed and enjoy our science experience. Many homeschool moms actually say that science is their favorite subject to teach after a few years under their belts. Eagle’s Wings’ Considering God’s Creation can be a great tool for the new mom that needs some help figuring out how to bring science easily in their home, or for the veteran mom that loves teaching science and is looking for a quality, affordable product.

The book has 36 lessons which covers topics such as: Creation, The Universe, Weather, Kingdoms, Anatomy, and more. The authors present the lessons from a solid Biblical worldview in this easy to use and easily adaptable science book.

Product: Considering God’s Creation

Details: A science curriculum covering natural science and adaptable for second to seventh Grade.  272-pages plus Teacher’s Manual with audio CD. The authors, Sue Mortimer and Betty Smith, are sisters that grew up as homeschooled missionary kids in Mexico. They initially wrote this curriculum to use in homeschooling their own kids.

Price: $29.95

What we loved . . .

  • Science for almost the whole family. Made to easily work with 2-7 graders, but my K and 1 are easily following along with it all. They suggest even having an older child teach this to the younger ones as their own science. We didn’t try that, but I am considering seeing how it goes. You always learn so much more when you dig in to material to actually teach it. This might be perfect for my 7th grader to actually teach to the younger ones and all their science would be taken care of for me. I really like the sound of that.
  • Created by homeschoolers for homeschoolers. There is a lot to be said for curriculum written by someone who has been there and knows what homeschoolers need in a curriculum. We want easy to use, all in one, multi-age, accurate info, hands on supplements, and I especially want Biblical grounding. These homeschool veterans had all that in mind when creating this science course. It’s not the flashiest, most beautiful book on your shelf, but it has everything you need to teach your kids science well.
  • Lots of learning styles. They use music, experiments, discussion, crafts, projects, observations, listening, and reading to get their lessons across. My kids enjoyed the simple activities, the catchy tunes, and the suggested studies. This program was definitely a good fit for us. I look forward to finishing it in the year ahead.
  • Can be reused. We didn’t tap into these, but at the end of each lesson they offer “Digging Deeper” resources for use on your second run through the material a couple years later.
  • Biblically grounded. If you have read me for any length of time you know this is of utmost importance to me. Each lesson is tied in to Scripture. You could easily use that portion as your Bible lesson for the day as well.
  • Student book may be copied for your kids. You only need to purchase the one set that comes with the student book which you are free to copy for your own children. This is wonderful for kids that love to redo favorite crafts and it is helpful on the budget since you don’t need a workbook for everyone.
  • Focus on Creationism — This kind of goes with the Biblical grounding, but it bears repeating because they repeat it so often. They often present “evolution stumpers” that focus on truths that validate Creationism and weaknesses in the evolutionary theory. This is a huge part of why I want my kids to learn science at home, so I really appreciate their intentional emphasis on this area of teaching and learning.

Some considerations . . .

  • Lessons aren’t broken down by days. Although the lessons are scripted, it is up to you how much you do in a given day. Each of the 36 lessons are meant to fill a week of science classes so the curriculum takes a full school year to complete. But you have the flexibility to determine how much you do in a day, how many days each week you cover science, and how deeply involved to get with each lesson.
  • Black and white. The student book has lots of graphics that it uses for the different notebook activities, but they are all black and white. If you have a kid that loves color they can of course color their own, but be aware that the cover is the only page in color in these books.

Eagle’s Wings has created exactly what I like to find in a curriculum. It offers you a quality product at a reasonable price and creates an easy to use curriculum at the same time. This might not be a good fit for every family, but it has really clicked with us. The activities are easy to pull together and I’m not tempted to skip them because I know they won’t take a lot of time or clean up and the kids will enjoy them. This is exactly what I needed in a science curriculum.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Eagle’s Wings as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.


TOS Crew Review — IEW

Another day of middle school writing assignments. Another day of frustration, long hours at the desk, and very little accomplished. And, unfortunately this was not a new struggle. We had battled over writing on and off since he first held a pencil.

Sound familiar? My oldest child has really struggled with putting pen to paper. He is the math and science guy. He can pull apart an engine, put it back together and tell you how it works. But ask him to write down more than a paragraph, especially one that involves creative thought and you will think you just asked a snail to fly you to the moon.

Enter IEW. It gives concrete, practical tools for writing and writing well. My husband was home one day when they were watching their lesson for the day and he said, “I wish someone had told me how to write a story like that. That’s easy!” That sums it up pretty well. Andrew Pudewa takes what is nearly impossible for so many students, what is a source of major frustration and energy drain to teachers and students alike, and makes it easy.


Product: Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Teaching writing/student writing intensive combo pack level C

Details: A combo pack that brings information for both parent and student. The two components can be purchased separately as well and include the 10 hour teaching writing workshop (Andrew Pudewa in front of an audience of parents) for the teacher and the student program (Mr. Pudewa teaching a writing workshop for high school students) designed for use over 15 to 30 weeks depending on how much time you put into it each week.

Price: $239 for the whole combo pack

Because there are two distinct components to this combo pack I will separate my review of these items. I don’t want the value of either of these parts to get lost in a lengthy list of pros and cons. To start with, I want to share my thoughts on the level C teaching writing intensive for students.

What we loved . . .

  • Great for the non-writer and the non-writing teacher or non writing-teacher. I love to write. It’s part of the reason that I got into blogging. Taking fingers to the keyboard is a natural outlet for who I am. Unfortunately, most of my children do not take after me in this way and they really needed a teacher that understood and didn’t just keep telling them to write something — or else. They really enjoyed watching the videos, my daughter even said she had a new favorite teacher (I tried not to be hurt by that, as she assured me she was just expressing how much she enjoyed the videos. Um, okay). We really needed a fresh face to lighten the mood surrounding writing.
  • Good for older students, but still a little flexibility in the age. IEW encourages you to pick a level based on your student’s age, not on their writing ability. Older kids, even beginning writers, can progress more quickly and handle reading passages with more difficult wording. The exercises in each level are designed with a certain age grouping in mind. Level C is geared specifically toward high schoolers. I did use this for my son (entering high school) and my daughter (entering 7th grade). They were both able to work at the level required. It was a challenge for them, but a good one. They both have strong reading and vocabulary skills, just not great writing skills. I have really seen them grow through the specific methods they now have in their tool belt for writing assignments.
  • Witty teacher. Andrew Pudewa has a dynamic teaching style. I found myself watching along just because it was an enjoyable lecture. He interacts naturally with the kids in the video’s classroom, and teaches with professionalism, a sense of humor, and a thorough understanding of his subject and writing method.
  • A full year curriculum. They say you can use this for 30 weeks or go up to twice as fast and finish in 15 weeks. I can easily see this taking a good chunk of next year to finish as well as we have just used it about half of this school year. There are plenty of supplementary exercises if you want to go slower and activities that you can easily skip if your child is picking up the steps more quickly. I know IEW is often taught in co-ops around here, but I really like the flexibility of doing this at home where they can work at their own pace and go more quickly through some weekly lessons and take their time to fully master others.
  • Gives kids concrete steps. Without stifling their individuality, IEW gives the student specific steps to take to complete a writing assignment. These steps will look different depending on the type of writing, but with this teaching they can write and follow the rules and know they will come out with a great product. My son likes things concrete, specific, clear expectations, obvious write and wrong in an assignment. IEW makes writing a more concrete subject for students like him, and he thrives under it. My daughter likes the freedom of writing, but never knew how to get started. IEW has helped her to get that boost to get the assignment started and then her writing ability takes over from there. IEW has helped them both in their own unique ways and helped them both to become better writers.
  • You can do it! Even if you are not a writing teacher you can easily use this curriculum at home. You buy the level, you can make copies of the notebook pages for each of your kids, and let the video do the teaching once a week, roughly, and you follow up the rest of the week. They break it down into very manageable size lessons that fit easily into our full homeschooling days. I was very pleased with the schedule that they set up for us to follow. Of course we did tweak it here and there, but it gave us a mostly useable starting point.
  • Covers all areas of writing. We still have some of the curriculum yet to finish, and when we are done my kids will be very comfortable with writing in many forms — lecture note taking, summarizing, research papers, essays, creative writing, and taking notes from references. They need to be able to do way more than write a story or narrate a lesson back to me. Writing will be one of the first impressions that they give to people throughout life and I definitely want them to be comfortable with it so they can present themselves well.

Some considerations . . .

  • Video doesn’t have clear breaks. I don’ t know why this bothers me so much, it is really a little thing. But, I just wish that the videos stopped or had a break when a lesson was done. When I first watched I had not paid enough attention to the timing and kept watching for almost three hours because I thought the end should be coming soon. Well, it had come and gone and come and gone and come and gone. After learning my lesson I would write down on a little sticky note what time the DVD player should say when we were done for the day. My kids did enjoy the reading lesson, but they don’t want to do more school than necessary on any given day, so they made sure it stopped where it was supposed to after that.
  • Still requires writing. To learn to write, they will need to write. My son definitely did less groaning with IEW than with other programs or assignments we had tried.  However, he it is not a magic pill that made him love writing. It did, however, enable him to do it. Now I can give him a writing assignment or tell him to write a summary of what we learned and he doesn’t first spend a half hour staring at a blank sheet of paper. Now he has the assignment done and turned in by then. That is a step in the right direction.

And, then about the teaching conference on DVD:

What we loved . . .

  • Comprehensive workshop for teacher/parent. Even though I am comfortable writing and teaching writing, IEW has a little bit of a different approach to writing and in order to best teach the approach to my kids and supervise their learning of it, I needed a little extra instruction as well.These videos helped me have a more thorough understanding of the what and why behind their methodology. This really helped build my enthusiasm for the program and I think that then rubbed off on my kids as they started into their own video series. I could tell them without hesitation that they would enjoy Mr. Pudewa’s teaching style and I was right on.
  • Can be watched a little at a time. I rarely have 10 spare hours at one time, probably not even in one month could I muster that kind of extra time. So, these videos can be watched a little at a time as your kids progress through the material themselves. If you have a chunk of time over the summer to watch them in a couple sittings that works as well, or you can choose to watch it in segments that apply to the lesson the kids are learning as well.
  • Suggested schedule. If you do want to use this all at once as a workshop (invite other moms over, too, and they can even order their own notebook to go along with it!), they give you a suggested schedule and some tips on making the most of it. I did watch some of this with a friend that was also getting started in it and it was a great motivator to walk the path with another real live person while we enjoyed the DVD presentation as well.
  • Anticipates questions and prepares you well. Obviously, no one knows that program like the creator. Sitting under the teaching of the person who put it all together was priceless. He knows why it includes certain components. He knows how to best utilize the resources included in each pack. He knows how to schedule the material into your homeschooling experience. He answered my questions and more and helped me feel confident and comfortable about teaching my kids at home using IEW.

Some considerations . . .

  • Video doesn’t have clear breaks. Again, this is the same as the kids’ videos, so I won’t repeat myself, but I found it distracting to have to watch the counter rather than being free to focus on the speaker as a session got close to an end.
  • Need to focus. It is really best to watch this without distraction. This was not a DVD that I could put on in the background while I cooked dinner or played a board game on the floor with the kids. I had to be sitting, facing the TV, notebook in hand, listening and taking notes to really absorb it. The material is practical and specific and you won’t want to miss it. Be sure to set aside a time when you can really listen and make the most of this great resource.

After having tried this program and having it so willingly received by my kids I am excited to check out more of their products. They have writing courses geared toward specific time periods in history (they run just $29 for the student book), and continuation courses for those ready to build on what they have learned in these courses (these can take up to two years to complete). I’m sure this won’t be the last we see of Mr. Pudewa in our living room.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through IEW as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.


Beacon Homeschool Used Curriculum Sale

Big sale coming at the Beacon Homeschool Group.

Register if you are interested in selling at this sale (priority is given to members, but others are welcome as well). Loads of things to choose from for less than new cost!!!

When: Tuesday, April 26 7:00-9:00pm
Where : Elk Grove Village Public Library

Everyone is invited to come out and see the great finds!
For more details, check their website.

Beacon is a non-denominational Christian support group for parents who home educate their children. Their membership is open to any home schooling family for support. The goals of Beacon are to provide fellowship, encouragement, field trips, workshops, and resources for our members to benefit from.

Writing Resources and more

Company Name - Company Message

You can expect to hear more from me about this site that author Jan May recently emailed me about.

I have girls, three of them to be exact. As much as I love my boys, I feel an extra dose of responsibility to raise my girls and prepare them for adulthood. I’m the mom they will try to emulate (or sometimes not). I’m the 24/7 example of a wife for them to see. I feel the weight of this on a daily basis. And, as they will attest, I am constantly seeking out new resources to help me in this job.

This newly discovered site won’t necessarily help them as future wives and moms, but it does have a heart for nurturing godly growth in girls in the 8-12 age range. If you have girls that fall around those ages, I would encourage you to take a look as well.

The site — “Wonderful website for creative writing resources.
Free creative pages, crafts, recipes for girls ages 8-12. Homeschool
links for writing contests and helps. Creative Writing Curriculum that
guides the student to create a character while creating her as a paper

Enjoy this site which promises resources targeting boys in the near future —

Some Handwriting direction

Debra Reed has a great website with lots of resource for the notebookers, and notebooker wannabes among us. I have enjoyed many of the resources that she has made available, many of them free!

She recently sent out this email with some links to a site with lots of homeschooling resources including a number of books specifically for handwriting and copywork.

Here is a snippet about the site and the family behind it:

Bogart Family Resources loves providing busy homeschooling moms with convenient, practical, multi-sensory, skill-building resources that save time while building Christian character.

Our popular Christian copywork titles are an excellent example of our approach of combining practical skills with character training and Bible memory work.

Read more about them and Debra’s article about their handwriting tools.

Everyone needs to learn how to write, so why not make is a little easier on yourself and take advantage of all the legwork that this family has done. Also, if you sign up for their mailing list they will send you a certificate for $5, basically a free book to get you started.

Did you need a reason to rationalize buying more curriculum? How about because it is free? Go on, check ’em out.

TOS Crew Review — Easy Classical

The demands on homeschool mother’s schedule are many and I enjoy finding products that make our life a little easier. The company Easy Classical has worked to put together a number of schedules to help homeschoolers incorporate more great materials into their school days.

They offer schedules for specific grades, subjects, and topics. Their schedules are thorough and offer abundant information. They do require additional purchases as they do not include the books you actually read, but merely provide book lists that their schedules incorporates. Most of the books you could either view online, order through CBD, or borrow from your library or Interlibrary loan.

Product: Early Modern History Schedule

Details: A thorough year-long schedule including book lists of history texts and read alouds, quizzes, activities, and tips to get the most out of this year of study

Price: $29.95 for downloadable product. Or, $35.95 if  you would prefer a physical product shipped to you.

What we loved . . .

  • Loads of resources. This is far more than just a couple page schedule to get you through the information in a year. They have gathered some great titles and put them into bite sized pieces for an educationally rich year of history study.
  • Favorite titles. Although I don’t recognize every book that they recommend I do see many familiar favorites and others that I have heard others rave about.
  • Classical approach. Well, I don’t know if I should say we love this, but I know many others would. I lean more toward Charlotte Mason if anything, but I do see some of the benefits from a classical approach. So, that said, this schedule does build on a Classical educational philosophy (hence the company name — Easy “Classical”), which is a time proven method.
  • Permission to adapt. One problem I have run into with schedules is my self-imposed need to do it all. This schedule says at the outset that you should not attempt to complete everything that they recommend. They just want to offer enough variety for the many different students and teachers that they are serving. And, they also acknowledge that life will sometimes get in the way and we won’t accomplish all that we had hoped in a given week. That is of course okay, and they reassure you that they expect that in the formulating of these materials.
  • Age range. It is sometimes challenging to teach a wide age range of students on a daily basis, but Easy Classical is designed to teach kids in grades K-6 and I felt that some of it could be adapted to older kids as well. I would have no trouble using this for all of my learners, pre-K through 8th grade.
  • Look before you buy. By looking through their website and downloading the samples you can get a good feel for this product and see if it is right for you and your family before purchasing it. Sample schedules could be used to give it a trial run in your homeschool and you just might find this product a great fit for your homeschool.

Some considerations . . .

  • Would still require some advanced planning. While the schedule is made out, you would need to round up the books and have other supplies on hand. They make it as simple as possible without selling you hundreds of dollars of books to go with it, but you will need to track them down. They do have a wonderful page on their site that links to all of the books and resources that they recommend.
  • Might not work for everyone. Any time that you find a great product, it will not fit every family. Some kids won’t enjoy the books, some won’t like the writing (which I felt this schedule was a bit heavy on, especially for younger kids). But, you can try it before you commit, so that is definitely not something to hold you back.

I have used schedules in the past from various sources and always get away from them. I prefer book based programs because I get so bogged down and “check-box” driven when I use a schedule. I end up using them more as a book list than an actual schedule. I also prefer oral narration to quizzes, but that comes from my Charlotte Mason bent. That said, I think this is a great resource. It looks easy to use, fits a wide range of ages, and uses top-notch books as its spine. This would be a great asset to any homeschool looking for a quality history program.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Easy Classical as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.