Home Education, Reviews

Free Online Piano Lessons with the Best Teacher Ever

About two years ago, I was searching for an inexpensive online piano lesson option for my son’s homeschool “specials” block. At the time, I was a busy homeschooling Mom, chasing an infant/toddler, plus expecting another blessing on the way. So the online option was our best route. A simple Google search guided me to what I call the best online piano school I have come across to date.

If you haven’t already heard of them, let me be the first to introduce you to Hoffman Academy! This online piano school offers fun and engaging one-on-one piano lessons, starting with the basics. Keep in mind that at this time, my son was only eight years old, so I figured I would have to sit by his side and do some extra explaining throughout the lesson (with what little I remember from taking lessons over 25 years ago)… but, he immediately caught on because of the easy-to-follow lessons. I was also shocked that Mr. Hoffman had him learning songs and concepts from the beginning! With over 160 interactive lessons and practice tasks, I never have to worry about my son getting bored with learning. I also don’t have to worry if he is actually learning.

The biggest kicker is this high quality music education is absolutely FREE (for the basic plan).

Let all the frugal homeschoolin’ mamas say YYAASSSSS!!! But hey, don’t let the words basic plan fool you. The basic plan offers a wealth of lessons that will have you thinking, are you sure this is free? YES! If you are interested in adding more to your kiddos piano learning experience with printable sheet music, worksheets, and interactive games – there is the option to upgrade to a Premium Plan, {which only costs $18 per month}. Can we still say inexpensive?!?!

We were super blessed to be gifted the premium plan for six months, and let me tell you – it’s worth. every. penny (and more)!

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Once you introduce your child to Mr. Hoffman, you’ll see why all of us parents who use his online piano school are amazed and grateful for finding such an amazing resource. Mr. Hoffman not only brings a Master’s in Music and studies of Early Childhood Education to the table, but he also has a contagious sense of humor and gentle teaching method.

I can relax knowing that my son looks forward to his music lesson every single day. Funny thing is we started out doing music specials once a week, but he begged to start doing it every day! I recommend Hoffman Academy for every parent, homeschooling or not, to try at least once. Then, you’ll see what all the rave is about this amazing (and FREE) online piano school!

CHIME IN: What are some {free} online options for filling in those special block in your homeschool schedule? Share in the comments!

PSST… Wanna get two months free? June 5th through June 25th, Students will save $30 when they sign up for a yearly membership during their Summer Break Sale!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the Huddlestons was not endorsed in any way for this review. This is simply a frugal homeschooling mama sharing an amazing homeschooling find and wants to spread the word!

Home Education, Reviews

New Huddleston Family Favorite Book: Anna, Kid Engineer

“It was once again time for the annual Science Fair at Easy Creek Elementary School. Anna wasn’t excited about the upcoming event because of the embarrassing projects she’d come up with during her 3rd and 4th grade years. This was her last year of elementary school, and she wanted this year to be different. Anna loved to tinker and make new things out of old toys she found at yard sales. but what dd her tinkering have to do with a science fair project? Read more to find out if her 5th-grade science fair project turned out to be amazing, a flop, or somewhere in between.”

Anna, Kid Engineer by Shenek Alston

 

You’ve probably heard the acronym STEM and instantly think science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Although this Texas-accredited term had its first appearance tied to immigration debates regarding visas for immigrants who are skilled in these fields, it takes on a very new meaning in these recent days.

From homeschools to public and private schools, STEM is a highly sought after group of academic disciplines. We are beginning to see the importance of these subjects in the lives of even the smallest children. That’s why I was head over heels to get my hands on this STEM-based book – Anna, Kid Engineer by Shenek Alston.

I have to be honest and say that I was a little late getting on the “STEM” train, but most of time, my kiddos are already doing STEM related activities! Having this book added to our collection.

Anna, Kid Engineer is a beautifully written and well illustrated book. As a homeschoooling mom of four kiddos, ranging from 4 months to 10 years old, I was amazed at how it kept the attention of even the younger ones. It especially resonated with my ten year old as he is a little tinkerer himself. I could tell that he was encouraged by the book to continue entertaining his engineer-based thoughts.

Anna is also a great representation of today’s child. All children can relate to Anna whether they are homeschooled, private schooled, and/or public schooled. Most children can understand how Anna feels about being in the Science Fair, and definitely relate to her emotions of being nervous about something.

The presence of family and friendships is another great aspect of Anna, Kid Engineer… not to mention the ongoing undertones of encouragement and support. My family and I give this book 5 stars and 2 thumbs up! It is definitely kid tested, mother approved!

 

Purchase the Digital Version HERE!
(also comes with audio version)

 

Purchase soft and/or hard copies HERE!

 

See a live preview of Anna, Kid Engineer HERE!

 

CHIME IN: What are some of your favorite STEM-based books? Let me know in the comments!

 

Until next time, happy homeschooling y’all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Explore With the Huddleston’s website for more product reviews, free resources, lessons plans, and curriculum supplements!

 

Home Education, Reviews

How I take my kiddos around the world without leaving home!

Our family absolutely LOVES the idea of traveling around the world. In fact, we have several locations pinned on our family dream board. Although we can’t just hop up and go wherever we want right now, that’s okay! You see, the season we are in is one of planting, and boy is there a lot of planting going on with four young kiddos (the youngest being 1 month old). 🙂 But hey, we are cool with that because behind the scenes, the hubby and I are mentally mapping some cool plans and working diligently for when the season of travel arrives in our driveway!

In the meantime, this frugal mama is able to make our dreams become a reality with resources like Paradise Praises’ Kids Travel Calendar! The simplicity of this calendar makes it easy for my kiddos to focus on what the calendar actually has to offer. While they are fascinated by the ability to color the pictures, write in the dates, and take note of any special occasions in the boxes – I am thrilled about what’s taking place behind the scenes (and you will be too).

The Kid’s Travel Calendar is helping my children with:

  • time comprehension
  • fine (and gross) motor skills through coloring
  • writing
  • creativity
  • thinking and sharing (speech/communication)

It has also helped spark some creative lesson plans! Since each month has a different country with a greeting in it’s original language, I figured that we could “travel” to the difference places each month and:

  • learn about their culture (language, lifestyle, way of life)
  • make an actual play trip packed with plane tickets and passports
  • look up recipes and try an actual dish that’s well known in that country
  • create a lapboard to house the wealth of info we find

Add some YouTube videos and a few crafts and we’ve got a full blown unit study that will last the entire year! Not to mention, we are able to save (LOTS) of money! This calendar is less than $6. Add that to a Dollar Tree store trip and I won’t spend over $20!

Another major go for me is that fact that I can use this calendar with all of my children, including my two-year-old. They have been gracious enough to include a single-family use reproducible license, making it super simple to make copies for everyone in my family.

It’s resources like the Kids Travel Calendar that make homeschooling a unique and fun adventure, all without having to leave the comfort of our home. Don’t get me wrong, we like to get out but sometimes getting “out” isn’t always doable. So our next option will be turning our home into the places we want to go!

If you’re like me (or even totally opposite), you’ll wanna snag one of these resources. I’d even go as far as to say that every home, homeschooling or not, would benefit from having one of these! Get yours HERE (or by clicking on any photo)!

 

CHIME IN: Do you travel from the comfort of your home? Share you ideas and things you’ve done to make traveling from home a success!

Psst… don’t forget to stop by Paradise Praises and check out their other products. From home and family to homeschool, they have something for almost everyone!

 

Until next time, happy tavelin’ y’all!

 

 

Home Education, Reviews

[PRODUCT REVIEW] The Focused Homeschool Planners (for teacher and student)!

Y’all should know by now that I absolutely LOVE planners. I’m always posting pictures of my different journals and planners. . . and even still, I have managed to get my hands on another planner. What drew me to this planner is the word focus and that fact that this planner is made by a homeschooling mom who knows how important it is for not only our children to focus, but also us as the Teacher-Mom. 🙂

Let’s be honest, did we really go into homeschooling skipping and dancing through the fields like the Sound of Music? I may have been excited about the thought of homeschooling, but trust me when I say that I was nervous, not quite sure where to start, let alone how I was going to plan and organize my homeschool! Insert TONS of prayer and Pinterest pins!

Over the past several years, I have probably tried no less than two to three different planners per year. Yeah, I know… crazy, right?! So anytime I come across something that perks my ears and causes me to buy, subscribe, or sign up – I’m there! Well, in walks this new planner by a fellow homeschooling blogger friend – Stephanie Eidson, also known as The Multi Taskin’ Mom. She is the master behind my amazing new planner The Focused Homeschool Teacher’s Planner and The Focused Homeschool Student’s Planner!

When I told my son (10 year old 4th/5th grader) that he was going to have his very own planner, his eyes brightened up and he instantly became excited. You see, I’m always writing my sons plans on the board, or telling him verbally what he needs to accomplish for the day. Now, we are able to sit down and plan out his entire week together. It’s the next best thing to the workbox system (I’m still working my way up to that, LOL)! Can we say A PLUS (plus plus plus)?!?!

Now let’s dive into some perks of why I recommend The Focused Homeschool Teacher’s Planner:

The first, and most important section of this planner is the Student Focus Page. Using this page each month helps you see just where you need to focus your attention for the month. It allows you to see the growth that is taking place and help identify any weaknesses.

Planning: As you’d expect this planner is full of planning pages.

Monthly Planning: There are 3 different options for the monthly planning pages.

Weekly Planning: There are 3 options for the weekly planning. Each has an option for lined or unlined pages. Mix or match to create the perfect planning layout for your homeschooling style.

Quarterly Focus Pages: These are designed to help you keep up with goals and tasks based on the quarters of the school year.

Unity Study Pages: Plan your own unit study or track the progress of one that you have purchased with these pages. It makes it so much easier.

High School Plans: Now keeping up with the high school year has focus. There is a break down page to track the curriculum you use and the credits you gain from them. There is tracking for the entire 4 year plan, and more! Plus it is all in one place. No more piecing them together.

Extras: The extras in this planner are unlike those in any other planner. You’ll find –

  • Lesson mapping – for planning out how many lessons you should complete a day for the school year.
  • Spelling Lists – for you to write out each weeks list for reference.
  • Book Lists
  • Curriculum Wish List
  • Website and Password Log
  • Attendance Log with 2 date layouts and a blank date layout.
  • Field Trip Planner
  • Field Trip Log

Can we just say GENIUS!?

Now for a quick review of The Focused Homeschool Student’s Planner:

Just like the Teacher’s planner, the first, and most important section of this planner is the Student Focus Page. Using this page each month helps your student see just where their focus should be for the month. It allows them to see the growth that is taking place and help identify any weaknesses.

Monthly Planning: There are 3 different options for the monthly planning pages.

Weekly Planning: There are 4 options for the weekly planning. Each has an option for lined or unlined pages. Mix or match to create the perfect planning layout for your homeschooling style.

Quarterly Focus Pages: These are designed to help you keep up with goals and tasks based on the quarters of the school year.

Extras: These pages are optional pages that your student may want to use throughout the year to track other important aspects of their homeschool journey.

  • Book List
  • Website and Password Log

Again, GENIUS!!

Now for what made me grab a binder, turn on my printer and instantly start printing this planner… Each page is in gray-scale for easy printing. In other words, this planner is an INK SAVER!

Okay, okay, okay… now for the GOOD NEWS! Stephanie has priced these amazing planners for $12.99 BUT you can snag them for only $5.99 EACH or as a bundle for ONLY $10.99 for BOTH (mouth drops)!

Hurry and get your yours because this deal is only good until January 12th!! Click ANY of the pictures to be directed to The Multi Taskin’ Mom‘s Shop to purchase your own Focus Planner!

 

Until next time, happy planning y’all!

 

 

 

 

This post contains affiliate links. With the Huddleston’s received a free copy of each planner in exchange for an honest review and was not compensated monetarily for the review.

 

Home Education, Reviews, Spiritual

[Review + Giveaway] What God is Doing by Anne Marie Gosnell

There’s no doubt about it that when it comes to finding credible and reliable curriculum and resources for homeschooling, one can quickly get stressed and want to throw in the towel – especially when it comes to Biblical-based curricula/resources . I have friends who have spent hundreds of dollars on well-known box curricula only to have it collecting dust by the second semester. I have also come across some of what I thought would be amazing curricula and couldn’t even figure out where to start with teaching it to my kiddos.

So as a creative homeschooling mom, I inevitably am looking for curriculum and resources that are:

  • easy to teach
  • easy to understand/comprehend by my children
  • preferably accommodates to varying ages/grades
  • quick prep
  • built on sound, concrete concepts

With this in mind, I was extremely excited when I came across Anne Marie Gosnell’s What God is Doing: Old Testament Object Lessons for Kids. This type of resource is something that people like me have been dreaming about.

Why? you ask?

First of all, she had me at Old Testament Object Lessons for Kids. Have you ever felt like teaching the Old Testament beyond the book of Genesis is almost impossible? (raises hand) Have you found a reliable resource that helps teach the Old Testament in depth? (kuddos if you have) What God is Doing offers just that:

  • background sections to help put the lessons in proper context
  • geography sections to help pinpoint a variety of locations with accuracy
  • object lessons that many children know and see daily
  • easy to understand Bible lessons that paraphrase events from the Scripture focus

Second, what I absolutely love are the Life Application and Comment Box sections. Anne Marie put it best, “This is where Scripture “comes alive” and the kids learn how to apply it to their lives.” This is vital when it comes to teaching my children the importance of how to live out what they are taught. It’s not enough for them to just learn it as a fairy tale.

Speaking of which, the tips offered by Anne Marie let me know the heartfelt passion she put into making this resource. She encourages me to:

  • encourage my children to use their Bibles
  • not use the word “story” but to present the Bible as more than a story
  • help my children understand that the people in Scripture were real
  • be enthusiastic about the Word
  • and, share my testimony with my children

Last but not least, the layout of each page makes reading and prepping a breeze. I am able to easily locate the different sections, highlight what I want to easily go back to, and I have used label tabs to separate the chapters. This also isn’t a little 50-page book either… it’s over 150 pages long with 26 solid object lessons. And as an added bonus, there are even coloring pages – which are always a hit with my kiddos!

If you are looking for a great resource to help teach your children the Old Testament, I highly recommend Anne Marie Gosnell’s, What God is Doing: Old Testament Object Lessons for Kids! You can actually win a FREE SOFT COVER COPY of this book by entering my giveaway below! And if you help spread the word, you’ll gain even more entries! This giveaway will be open for an entire week and one blessed winner will be drawn Sunday, December 31st at noon (CST)!

Until next, blessings!