Celebrating My 100th Post on WordPress!

Hey Hey!

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My son and I. Yes we are weird. I love him! Lol

I was a bit surprised when I logged in the other day and saw I had 99 posts! Really though, I have written many more prior to WordPress. I just did some deleting of really old posts. Still, how exciting! This is my 100th post and I wanted to brag a little. I also wanted to shout a big THANK YOU to all of my readers. So thanks!

A few years ago, when I decided to start a blog, I wanted it more for a journal. A way to keep track of all the things I do with my children. It was not always easy and I did not get to share as much as I would have liked. Eventually, this blog blossomed into helpful reviews, some tips on different methods of homeschooling and really, just my experience as a homeschool…now unschooling Mother.

There is still so much I want to write and express. One day I may have more time to spare for writing. Those will be sad days. Why? Because that means my tater tots will be spuds! Yes, I referred to my children as potatoes! One day when they are grown I will probably have more time to share my experiences, opinions and just love of writing. By then I just may be a pro!

Life is full of hurdles, accomplishments, frustration, challenges, and Joyousness. It all makes a person stronger in character and each day is a gift to be treasured.

Back to the celebration. I thought I needed a way to share more about myself. Get a little personal. This way you can see I’m just a real human, Mother, wife and daughter. Below I have posted some questions and tidbits that I have been asked before.

Check them out 👇

  • How long have you homeschooled your kids?

Well, if you count the time when I pulled my girls out of public school for good, then that would be nearly 6 years next January. I have sorta lost track of the time. Best thing I ever did for my kids.

  • Do you feel judgment when it comes to the way you parent and the fact that you chose to have your children home educated?

I definitely use to! The hardest thing was hearing that my kids would become too isolated or coddled. That they’d never experience real life at home. That is further from the truth. They learn more about life at home, just with me. As far as socialization, I believe they have quality socialization. The fact that they get to be around people of all ages is extremely important. I do the best I can for them and I think that is enough at the end of the day. As far as my parenting goes, I am judged at times but that is okay. 🙂

  • You make it look so easy! Is homeschooling difficult and how do you manage it all every day?

Oh my goodness! I cannot believe that someone actually thinks I make it look easy. That is what I thought when asked this. Anything you see on social media and the web isn’t 100 percent. I don’t share every single moment because I just don’t have the time. I probably should share a few bad days. That is just it though, who wants everyone to see their messy side?

To answer the question though, YES it definitely is difficult. Mostly for myself, not for the kiddos. One must really change their mindset when learning to homeschool. I started out with public school ideas. That is the opposite of what one should do. Get AWAY from that. I can go on and on but the most important thing to know is that your kids will learn at home just like they learned other things at home.

By the way, I do not always manage it all every day. If I can’t, then I save it for another day 🙂

  • What do you like to do for fun? Do you have any hobbies outside of the home?

I do everything with my kids. We read, cook, bake, grocery shop, fight, watch tv, sew, craft and anything else together. Nope, I do not have any hobbies outside of my home. I am perfectly fine with that right now. One day when my kids are grown I will take up some hobby. I know then I will be bored and need to learn something haha. I will take in every moment with my kids as long as I can!

Last question…

  • Do you ever feel like giving up?

YES. However, I will never! I am a Mom and that is not allowed 🙂

 

That was fun! I really enjoy sharing some things about me. Do you have something you would like to ask me? Post it in the comments below and I will do my best to answer. Thanks again for reading and all of your support.

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Fun Times with Slime

Hey there!

Just wanted to drop in and share a quick and fun activity the kids and I did today.

Saturday’s are for cleaning and fun here at our Homeschool Academy. 😄My Bella came to me with her Pinterest find. Homemade slime! At first I was thinking, “oh geez, not another messy project.” Not the case at all! Also, I have seen many parents try this before but never was too interested.

I’m glad I went ahead and tried because it really made my kids happy. And when they are happy, so am I. Just see for yourself. Check out their video below.

They were so excited when we started making it and how all the ingredients had to work together to make it slime. As my daughter Cheyanne said, “The contact solution is the activator!”

I was so impressed with her knowledge in that and asked her how she knew. She watched it on YouTube!

Like I always say, your kids are learning when you aren’t looking. So make sure they are learning the right things! So impressionable at their ages.

I hope you enjoyed my quick post! I sure did. Here is the recipe on Pinterest!

Would you like to see more like this?

Comment below with some ideas on what you’d like to see us do. ❤

Back to School with Kwik Stix

Hey Hey!

It is that time of year again. When all the kiddies are heading back to public school and homeschoolers are preparing for new curriculum and lessons. Can I just say, first, how exciting it is to start a fresh new school year? I have always loved the feeling of NEW. Although we do continue our learning ALL year, it is important for me to reflect and organize for myself. I had planned (very difficult to keep plans around here), to have our “first” day of our NEW journey on Monday, August the 13th. Well, we had some things come up and had to postpone it for another week. The kids were okay with it because we have been spending our week in the water and surviving this heat.

Things to come…

A few things I have planned this year are, to finish some of the last years’ history and math activities, a brand NEW science lesson, exploring new words with my 1st grader, lots of crafts and so much more! I must balance all of this with a toddler and things to keep him busy as well. There will be no such thing as boredom in this house.

Kwik Stix

Oh, and guess what???

I have a special and fun review and simple activity to share. Recently, Pencil Grip Inc. contacted me to try out there awesome mess-free paint. Of course, I said yes. We love anything to do with Art! Mess-free is even better 😀

They are very much like pastels and go one very smoothly. They really are mess-free. However, I am not sure I would consider them to be like paint. Well, not like the paint you may be thinking of. For example, acrylic or water-colors. It is actually Solid Tempera paint. It can be used on paper, posters, wood and more. They are also non-toxic.

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More information: No water needed, bright vibrant colors, dries almost instantly, and Nut, Egg & Gluten Free.

We received the Metalix colors. I believe these do as they claim and my youngest (6&8) children loved them the most. My oldest daughters (10 and up) didn’t enjoy them as much, as they are into more detailed art with acrylics. Honestly, I love them as a Mom! I can allow my littles to use them whenever they feel the urge to get creative, without worrying about the mess. I no longer have to tell them to wait for me to help. They can just have at it!

So, you will have to determine what will work best for your children. Age is a big factor. They are fat like regular sized glue sticks. Perfect for little hands!

Want to see more? Check out the video below and let us know what you think 🙂 Be sure to keep scrolling after the video, to find out where you can order Kwik Stix today!

Don’t they look so fun? I can’t wait to use them for my next project. I think we may try them on a woodcraft!

You can purchase Kwik Stix online at Michaels, Target, and Amazon. They are also available in your local Walgreens! Thank you Pencil Grip for letting us try your new product. Also, a big thank you to all my readers. I hope you enjoyed this update and review.

If you have any questions about this product or homeschool, please leave a comment or send me an email at whatshappeningwithjessica@gmail.com

Have a beautiful week!

❤ Jess

 

Book Review: The Forgotten Lands Part 1 & 2

Hey y’all!

I am a true book lover. Books of all kinds make me super excited. Whether they are for me or my children, they make me jump for joy…on the inside. I try really hard not to embarrass myself ha!

It really makes me happy that my children love books and reading as well. My 13 year old has always asked for books for Christmas and birthdays, aside from music of course. She will read all day and night if I let her. And I do!

So, I’ll stop rambling again…I have two brand new books to share with you! By author Jennifer Strain, I bring to you The Forgotten Lands Dragon Island and Stormy Mountain.

Dragon Island (Book 1)

Join Sadie on a thrilling adventure as she discovers that her grandfather’s treasures are from a once-forgotten land. When Sadie and her cousins find a magical map, they are whisked away to a land where royalty is plagued by fire-breathing, book-eating dragons! Can Sadie save the Queen’s most prized possessions?

Let me just say wow! I started to read this book to my kids and they loved it. I did get busy and couldn’t finish it. However, my eight year old daughter Bella finished where I left off.

I asked her what she thought of the story and she said this:

I love adventure books! I really thought Dragon Island was awesome! I couldn’t stop reading and it never got boring. I really was so happy to have the next one to read. These books are so exciting and I could see all the adventure happening in my mind!

What was your favorite part of the story?

When Sadie and her cousins were coming up with a plan to defeat the dragon that was eating the Queen’s books.

So as you can see, the first story was very much enjoyable to her.

Stormy Mountain (Book 2)

Join Sadie, Finn, and Nora as they return to the Forgotten Lands in another whirlwind adventure, this time to a place called Stormy Mountain–a land as fierce as it sounds. The cousins must work together to solve a problem that has plagued the mountain for years. Can they figure out a way to stop the weather that threatens the survival of the mountain and the mysterious sprites who live there?

I will let Bella tell you what she thought of the second book. I feel like even if I read it, her view is more important than mine. This is because it is a children’s book and their imaginations are much better than mine.

I really loved it so much that I did not want to stop reading it!! The sprites are really cool! I like that the sprites are all different colors. And I like how one of them is pink. And when they first met the sprites I knew it by the moment that they were SPRITES!😄 It was so Awesome. And I love how they control the weather. It was so fun to read!💞

She melts my heart. The words of children are the sweetest. I believe she will grow up to be an amazing woman. She is already so amazingly smart and has the biggest heart.

I believe these stories were a HUGE hit in our home. I hope Jennifer is working on book 3!

If you head to the website, there is a free download to go with these books. I just found it! Here is a direct link to the Free Download.

What do you think?

Does this series sound like a good fit for your children?

Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think.

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You can find The Forgotten Lands books on Facebook at The Forgotten Lands.

Visit her website at Forgotten Lands Books.

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*I received these books free for my honest review. All words were my own. Please take a look at my comp page. Thank you!*

Homeschooling with a Toddler

Hey hey!

Wow! I took a much needed break from the blogging world. As much as I love to write and share with you all, it was getting too overwhelming.

It is so important to take a step back and do things that are the most important for your family. Of course, that is and always will be the well being and care of my children.

Life definitely handed me a reality check. It signed and dated it for “whenever and whatever necessary”….stamped and pre-approved. Get it together Mama!

Okay, now that I’m done rambling….what have I been up to exactly?

Raising an adventurous, daring, sweet, handful of a toddler boy! I call him my Tator tot….because he is so cute and well he’s a toddler. Haha!

He’s been learning how to play with his siblings. Especially with his older brother, who is now 6 years old. I know at 18 months, it’s a bit hard to play with others. It’s one of those learning curves.

Toddlers and babies love playing alone because they like things their way and nobody else’s! At least that is what I have experienced.

I’ve also learned that no toddler is alike. Each of my other four were all so different, yet so much the same. It’s so odd. So basically, we have been trying to survive the toddler times again!

Tator tot is so determined. It truly amazes me. We are at that point where if it doesn’t happen for him, the temper is released. It’s hard to process emotions when we are little and cannot use many words to communicate.

So yep, I’ve been busy. This stage of life is a job all on its own. It also doesn’t last forever. He will be grown one day and we will look back on the challenging days, as well as the beautiful, and laugh and reminisce.

Getting Ready for Fall & Learning

Just a quick word about what to expect this fall. We will be getting back into our groove by September.

You will see a few new Homeschool reviews for various products. Some new and some related to past reviews.

My goal is to share more of our real life struggles, mundane days and activities. Hopefully this year we will have more hands on activities to share.

Pray that we can accomplish our goals this year. Toddler times are rough and busy around here.

❤ Jess

How have you been doing? Any tips, advice or just plain fun stuff to share with us?

New Beginnings!

Check out My fave gal. ❤😊

4 apps better for your kids than Pokemon

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I have something for YOU today!

Have you had any luck with educationally rich apps? Did you download a handful of them and never get around to using them? What about the Pokemon Go app that was released in the summer of 2016? I have heard some great reviews and some bad. However, I never really felt it a good fit for my kids’ educational needs.

Whether you love it or hate it – or don’t know what it is – Pokemon Go is one of the most popular apps in the world right now. Here are some alternatives created intentionally to foster learning, making them a truly worthwhile time investment. For fun, and since Pokemon’s from Japan, I’ll count the 4 apps in Japanese – Ichi, Ni, San, Go!

Ichi (One): Have story time anywhere with the FarFaria App

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I like this app because kids can read quietly and be entertained wherever they are. It also gives the entire family access to thousands of books on an iPad, Kindle, phone, etc, so there are options for all ages! Turn screen time into story time with this “Netflix for Children’s Books” app. It’s great to be able to save books to the app so they can be read offline anywhere! For example, in a home office, at the park, in the car, and of course at bedtime.

Great for: Ages 2-9

Cost: For a limited time, $19.99 (Save $20!)

Ni (Two): Improve reading skills with the Hooked on Phonics App

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Love Hooked on Phonics at much as I do?

They’ve really brought this time-honored system to the 21st century with this amazing app. It has educational games to keep kids engaged at home or on the phone anywhere. I love that it syncs children’s progress to all devices – so if dad is on the road he’s up to speed on the kids’ progress, and if you don’t have the iPad around, you can just download the app, sign in, and have the kids pick up right where they left off. Seamless.

Great for: Ages 2-8

Cost: For a limited time, $29.99 (Save $20)

San (Three): Learn coding skills with the browser-based Learn to Mod program

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Do your kids love video games and winning badges? Use that to get them coding! The Learn to Mod program is a browser-based software that teaches kids how to “mod” Minecraft with both Blockly and Javascript (neither of which I understand, but there you have it). The program includes hundreds of video lessons, puzzles, and quizzes that get kids learning this impressive skill while having fun. The cool badges keep them coming back for more and even pique mom’s interest. 🙂

Great for Ages 7-13, girls too!

Cost: $29.99

Go! (Four): Need help with homework help? Use the GradeSlam app and ask a tutor!

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Does your high schooler need help on a particular subject? Are you strapped for time to help with homework? There’s an app for that! GradeSlam provides 24/7 tutoring in all subjects to students in middle and high school, as well as college. With their award-winning chat-based tutoring platform, your kids can access tutors anytime they (or you) need. This is a perfect supplement for subject matter beyond your scope, busy spells, and for when kids head off to college. For anyone gearing up their juniors for college entrance testing, this is a no-brainer.

Great for: upper school to college ages, tougher subjects

Cost: For a limited time, get a whole year for $99 (save $81!)

I hope I’ve expanded your digital horizons beyond Pokemon today! What apps do you and your family use? Comment below and share the knowledge!

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