Orphs Of The Woodlands Review

Got kids who need to “up” their excitement about reading? Are your boys unmotivated to read? Do you need a wholesome online learning program where kids have fun learning with educational games? Then you might want to check out the amazing online resource by Star Toaster called Orphs Of The Woodlands.

free trial with 300 lessons

Orphs of the Woodlands

Online Interactive Books with Learning Games
Designed for kids in 4th through 7th grades
2 month subscription, available for $19.99 for up to 3 children in the same household.

Each book is designed to take about 60 days or less to complete.  Extensions are also available if your child needs more time to complete the book.  The first book is currently available,  and more books for the series are in development with the goal to eventually cover an entire year’s worth of curriculum.  Be sure to check out the free trial offer of the first 100 pages of the book and see for yourself how fun learning with this program can be.

Character Building
Wholesome character qualities learned and practiced by the character in the story:
Do your best.
Learn something new every day.
Be trustworthy.
Be a good leader (servant leadership).

Academic Lessons
Hundreds of academic lessons are woven into the story. It is like an interactive unit study in hyperdrive. Cross curricular subjects kids get lots of practice in:
Story telling
Thinking skills
Language Arts (grammar, vocabulary, etc)
Cultural social studies
Study of well known people
Arts and Crafts
Life Skills

Special Effects
To make this a really fun learning adventure, lots of special effects are woven through out the story and the activities. Some of these include:
Flash Cards
Disappearing Ink
Spy Reports / Top Secret Files
Memory Games
DIY instructions for crafts
Gold Stars are currency that can be earned and used
Cool sound effects, and more…

Progress Reports
Parents can keep track of their child’s progress and their learning challenges on the Progress Page where updates are posted. Parents are also sent regular emails with fun facts to discuss with their child too.

progress report

Check out this video to learn more about Orphs of The Woodlands Interactive Books and Games


How We Used Orphs of the Woodlands:

We received a subscription to the first book available in Orphs Of the Woodlands called The Treasure of HighTower.  I had my 10 year old, 12 year old, and 14 year old sons work on it for 30 minutes a day. They loved it! My 14 year old son has finished, and the other two are still working on it.


This program follows a fun story theme throughout the whole program and is designed to be completed with in 2 months.  Afterwards the kids move on to the next story book in the series.  Orphs of the Woodlands stands for orphan animals who live in the forest. You character in the story takes on the job of taking care of them and meeting their needs.

Screenshot (35)

To earn money (gold stars) the character has to do jobs and do them well to get paid.  Jobs can be in any curriculum category and come available or open at different times in the story.

Screenshot (34)


Screenshot (33)
The student can keep track of the “open” jobs, and the jobs they have completed and what chapter in the book they correlate with, as well as what academic subject area they cover.


Woven throughout the story are fun facts to learn:


Screenshot (47)


We had a lot of fun making recipes from the story.  My oldest son typed Bicker’s grouchy recipes onto a word document to keep in a file so we can keep making them even after the program ends.



For this review, we made Blueberry Crumble Grumble.   It comes out like a cake bar and is moist and delicious!


We also made Nuts To You Cookies.



These cookies are so good!  They taste like pecan sandies.  We didn’t have enough pecans, so we added in various seeds and nuts and they turned out amazing.



We made a few substitutions in the recipes to fit our family’s needs.  The crumble called for 2 1/2 cups buttermilk.   It is a large amount of milk and I thought it might bother some in the family with lactose intolerance.  So we used almond milk in the crumble.

For the cookies we replaced the powdered sugar with evaporated cane juice. Also I only had half the amount of pecans so in addition we added in additional walnuts and pumpkin seeds.  I am going to remake them again and see how they turn out with gluten free flour blend too.   We will try a blend of almond flour and coconut flour to start.  They are a crispy cookie so they lend well to the substitutions we made so far.

What does my 14 year old think about it?
“I like how you get to follow a storyline or storybook. It is a really cool storyline. I like how they incorporate math and science, Latin sentances, cooking, arts and crafts where you learn how you would make something, quotes of wisdom from famous real people in history, etc.

For example: Professor Forp will give one math or science lesson a day if your character cleans his house (he is messy in the story), and will give you an additional lesson in exchange for a Latin sentance. The character has a friend named Radar (he is a friend and is also his boss in the spy network), and he says random Latin sentances all the time. My character learns the sentances and uses them later to exchange for more lessons with the Professor.

One of the characters is a cook. His name is Bicker. He makes a lot of recipes you get to learn.   He names the food disgusting names but they are actually delicious.  He doesn’t want the others to eat the food so that he can have more to himself.

It is a fun program and I can’t wait for the next book to come available.  I finished the first one and I’m kinda sad it is over already.”

What does my 12 year old think about it?

“I think it is really fun way to read.  I like the story and the games are fun.  Sometimes I get tired of reading, but it motivates me to earn stars so I can take care of the Orphs.  The jokes are funny too. ”

What does my 10 year old think about it?

“I love it mom!  It is really cool!  It teaches you to want to read.  You don’t want to quit.  You want to keep going and know more of what is going to happen next in the story.”

Social Media:




Star Toaster Review

Be sure to check out what other families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about using this product with their kids.

Crew Disclaimer


Getting In More Fruits and Vegetables

I’ve been making healthy changes in my life. I’m 45 and I realize I haven’t always made the best food choices.  There are things about my health I can improve. One of those is to consume more healthy fruits and vegetables.

Fruit Kabobs

It is recommended that we eat at least 9 to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  Those are minimum numbers for basic nutrients. You  will want to eat a lot more to stay healthy and fight disease, and also if you do athletic activities.

Veggie Sandwich

4 Ways To Get In More Fruits And Vegetables.

Here are 4 ways to include more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet:
1. Make fruit bowls, fruit or fruit and veggie kabobs, and smoothies at breakfast.
2. Include vegetables on your sandwich, in a salad, or as a fresh crunchy side dish for lunch.
3. Set out vegetable trays, or make your own “???” (salad, taco, loaded potatoes, veggies and dip, etc) for supper,  and offer bowls and plates filled with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to choose from. The more exposure your kids (and husband) has to seeing and sampling these, the more likely they will be to develop a desire to eat them.
4. Take Juice Plus+ Capsules or Juice Plus+ Chewables.

Veggie Tray

The Next Best Thing

I know I don’t eat enough servings of fruits and vegetables in a day.  Over time this creates a gap in my nutrition and health.   I am thankful for the option to eat additional whole food nutrients in a simple way, dried and encapsulated. It is the next best thing to fresh fruits and vegetables and supplies a full spectrum of nutrients, enzymes, probiotics, and the synergy of the live food my body needs.

Juice Plus+ Capsules

I am bridging the gap with these 6 capsules.  I am eating the nourishment of 30+ fruits, veggies, berries, and grains. All the nourishment is in tact, just like when I use my juicer and dehydrator to preserve my garden harvest. It is still whole food and all of the nutrients are there including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, prebiotics, probiotics, antioxidants, cartenoids, phytonutrients, chlorophyll, anthocyanosides, polyphenols, immune boosting and histamine lowering herbs, and so much more.  I wish I had known about this years ago, but it’s never to late to make a positive change.

Fruits, Veggies, Berries Juice Plus+


And I don’t have to worry about my kid’s diet missing out on vital whole food nutrients. Juice Plus+ offers the same whole food nutrition in gummy chews that kids love.


My kids love these amazing chewy fruity gems of nutrition.


On average most kids in the USA get less than 5 servings a day of fruits and veggies.   That is far less than the 9-13 servings that are recommended.  Let’s face it, kids don’t always have big appetites for fruits and veggies.  They prefer cookies, junkfood, hotdogs, and chicken nuggets.  So what is a parent to do?

Spinach and raspberry salad

Keep trying.  Keep introducing fruits and veggies at each meal and snack times.  And then do the next best thing to be sure you have covered all the bases.


But with Juice Plus+ Chewables, parents can have the confidence that they are bridging the gap in their child’s nutrition too.  And Juice Plus+ offers the chewables to children for free with the parents purchase of adult capsules or adult chewables.

Juice Plus Chewables

Let me know if you would like more information about how Juice Plus+ can help you and your family with bridging the gap in your healthy lifestyle.

Be blessed!


Week 12 Update on the 90 Day Challenge

Life is changing fast around here. Winter has gone and spring has arrived. Snow and ice is no longer my enemy keeping me captive indoors!  So it is time to get outside and move. Yeah!

I have completed week 12 (90 days) of this health and wellness journey and I can’t believe I have reached the end of the challenge.  Be assured I will start another health focused challenge, as I am not done with my “getting healthy make over”!

As a matter of fact, I am so excited about several things I have implemented during this challenge that have really helped me more than any thing else I have ever done, with the exception of attending the Zumba classes at the Arden North Carolina YMCA two years ago.  I do wish I could still attend that class, and believe it would make the outcome of this healthy makeover even more amazing.  My instructor in that class was my hero!!  She’s the mom of a special needs child, and her life testimony was so inspiring to me.  I hope to find a good substitute for that dance class here in rural Indiana soon, but up to this point I have not found it.


I am so excited to share with you that I am down 2 pant sizes and have lost 19 lbs on this challenge.  That is about a 1.5 lbs per week average.  Slow and steady wins the race, right?  RIGHT!

Weight Loss as of March 29 2015

So what have I done during the 90 days that worked for me?

I think the two most significant improvements in my lifestyle were that I joined:

Juice Plus+ and their Transformation 30 program,

Juice Plus Products


and doTerra essential oils and supplements.

Natural Solutions Enrollment Kit


Combining these two amazing all natural strategies with my on going strategy of creating healthy meal plans with the Fast Metabolism Diet, incorporating some Trim Healthy Mama and Low Carb Paleo recipes is the pieces of the get healthy puzzle I needed to move forward.

I am getting in a little exercise.  It was so hard this winter to do anything as I was snowed in for most of it.  I have joined a plank challenge with my Juice Plus+ friends.  A plank is a strength exercise where you stretch out on the floor and then hold yourself up off the floor with the strength of your own forearms (arm is bent and the entire forearm touches the floor), and toes.  It works a lot of the muscles in the body just by holding yourself still in that position.  You start off with doing 20 seconds and slowly increase your time a few seconds longer each day.

Another “little” activity I finally got motivated to do is walking on the eliptical for a few minutes each day, just enough to get my blood pumping and move my lymph fluids.  I am glad to start using it again as it usually just collects dust until one of the kids notice it and play on it.   My husband has wanted to get rid of it many times as it takes up space, but I usually say “hey I plan to get on this thing” and then it sits.  Speaking of sitting, sitting at the computer is very unheathy as it doesn’t promote the movement of either of my blood flow (nourishment of cells and organs) or my lymph fluids (immune system, detoxing, and prevention of disease).   We have a small mini-trampoline and I like to jump on it, but it is outside on the porch and it was too cold all winter to use it.  Hopefully I will get motivated to use that some each day.  I definately need to increase my exercise level.  Now that the weather has warmed up a little (we are still in the 40’s during the day and 20’s at night), I can get outside and walk around and work in the yard soon.

I am so excited how these programs are pieces of my health puzzle and are coming together as a wellness makeover strategy to bless me on my journey.

Things I am accomplishing:

1) nourishment to the whole body

2) healing vital organs and body systems:

liver, digestive, lymph, immune, skin

3) weight loss

4) energy

5) renewing my red blood cells and DNA (takes about 5 months on Juice Plus+)

Sharing my journey isn’t about making a buck, or sales.  However, I am excited I can earn money sharing health and wellness products and give my testimony how they have helped me.  I also like the benefit to help my family out financially and be able to purchase these products to better my health. But sharing this journey is about health. This is serious.  This is my health.  It is your health.  I am 45 years old. I don’t have any more time to Mickey Mouse around with fads or gimmicks.

It has to be real. It has to heal.

I am doing so much better with the healing of my body and having more energy.  Once I incorporated doTerra Mito 2 Max, and LifeLong Vitality Pack (vitamins, minerals, herbs, probiotics, omega fatty acids), and Terrazyme enzyme blend that promotes cellular function and communication through out the body, it began helping me detox and helped me digest my foods so my gastrointestinal system is working at its best.  These are the best vitamin mineral health supplements I have ever used.  I am really pleased with the quality and the results.

doTerra Supplements

I figured out that I had a weightloss stall for a few weeks while my body was making some serious repairs.   It takes time to heal!  I don’t think you realize this when you are young.  I didn’t figure it out until I was over 40 and went through major sugery with an emergency C section.  I know I have a damaged thyroid and adrenal glands, in addition to being over weight.  So I wanted to increase the nutrition to those organ systems, but how?  I already eat a healthy diet and it wasn’t helping me heal or loose weight.

So what could I do that was all natural (I am not a fan of synthetic pharmacuticals),  to heal?  It is nearly impossible to eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables to heal adequately when you are dealing with a healing crisis.  However, once I incorporated Juice Plus+ and thier Transform 30 program I began to see more healing and my weight has continued to go down as my body has detoxed and organs have been nourished with over 30+ fruits, veggies, grains, and herbs in the Juice Plus+ Trio Blend, and over 20+ plant foods in the Complete.

Fruits, Veggies, Berries Juice Plus+

Yes, I do get frustrated when the scale is slow to show progress.  When I started this challenge I expected more.  I seriously thought I would have accomplished a 30lb loss by now, but that didn’t happen.  Instead the scale went down and back up a pound and down again over and over and I didn’t feel that I was making very good progress.  The progress seemed so small some weeks that I was embarrassed to even tell anybody I was working on it.  But even though I may not see it on the outside, or even on the scale, I am making progress. My body is healing on the inside. I can see little things like the improvement in my fingernails, having more energy, sleeping better, thinking clearer,  pooping healthy, and even the integrity of my skin has improved and there is healing of my cracked heels.   That is progress!

It is happening. Slowly. Change is taking place.

In 12 weeks, I have lost 19 lbs.


My Next Get Healthy Makeover:

I am dedicating this whole year (and the rest of my life) to getting healthy and staying healthy.  So I am going to do this again, on a 30 day cycle now. I have everything in place and have made the big changes these first 90 days, and now it is about making little tweaks.

The Transformation 30 program helps you implement one simple healthy change in your life every 30 days while using Juice Plus+.   A small tweak here and a small tweak there adds up to big results!  That is do-able!

So for the next 30 days I will be focussing on:

    • 1) Meal Planning

I will continue with recipes from the Fast Metabolism Diet, Trim Healthy Mama, and Low Carb Paleo strategies.  The biggest help in these programs is to not overload on carbs and fats in the same meal, either focus on carbs and proteins this meal, or focus on fats and proteins in this meal and alternate the meals every three to four hours, but to always incorporate nutrients dense veggies and proteins into each meal.

    • 2) Staying hydrated.

I am trying to drink 3 quarts of water per day.  I am adding in doTerra essential oils for flavor and a boost to my health.   So far Lemon or Lemon and Lime are my favorite oils to use for flavor.  I am also drinking the Trim Healthy Mama beverages called Good Girl Moonshine (ginger and apple cider vinegar lemonade and sometimes adding in fresh fruits for more flavors) and the Shrinker tea for even more hydration.

    • 3) Juice Plus+ 

I will continue to take Juice Plus+ Orchard, Garden, and Vineyard Blends (Trio Blend), and Complete for nourishment from over 50 plant foods with all the nutrients and vitality intact.

    • 4) Transformation 30 program by Juice Plus+ for health and vitality and weight loss.

If you decide to enroll in the Transformation 30 program, be sure to get in on the $100 Cash Giveaway I am doing with some friends.  We want to motivate you to get healthy and what better way to get a little motivation than some free cash in your pocket that you can spend however you want.

    • 5) doTerra essential oils and Life Long Vitality vitamin and mineral and healthy supplements.

I am continuing to use my doTerra supplements because I know it is a part of my healing journey.  I am helping repair my body and recover.  The doTerra oils are superior to other essential oils. They are Theraputic Grade and work better than pharmecuticals to keep me healthy.  I love the way God had designed the human body to respond to natural methods of healing.  It is an ongoing conversation with our creator.

  • 6) Healthy Activity
  • Incorporating healthy activity into my personal time and into my family’s day too.

  • 7) Spiritual Healthy Activity
  • Pray and talk with the Lord daily.  Spend time each morning reading his word before I start my day.  He is my daily bread.  Sing praises to him daily for He is worthy to be praised.  Thank Him each day for my life because He is the Author of it and He is the air I breathe.  His mercies are new every morning and I am greatful.  His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven will endure forever and ever.

Praise the Lord!  I know I am healing and making progress to achieve my naturally healthy weight and I have confidence that God has given me wisdom and resources, and I will get there!


So there you go.

What have I been up to the past few weeks since we talked last?  Are you working on your health?  What are you doing to reach your goals?  Please leave me a comment and let me know.  I love to read your comments!



It’s NOT Greek To Me! Review

I grew up hearing people say “It’s Greek to me“, meaning they didn’t understand what was being said.  The message I got was that “it” was confusing, and also I learned “it” was probably not worth the trouble to learn.  This put a notion in my mind that many subjects, including the Greek language, was too hard to learn.  I have always wondered if this was true.

Ready to Teach logo

Though I had my previous doubts, I am excited to say we are learning GREEK!   We were recently sent Greek Morphemes Lessons (It’s NOT Greek To Me!) by Ready To Teach for review.

I am so thankful that through working with the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I have been pushed outside of my comfort zone and have had the opportunity to review many great subjects and curriculums that I would have previously doubted I could learn or be able to teach my kids.

Greek Morphenes Lessons

Greek Morphemes Lessons
(It’s NOT Greek To Me!)

Expanding English Vocabulary with Greek Morpheme Analysis
Instructional Set includes:
• 1 Instructors Manual
• 1 CD and a thumb drive
• 1 Student Workbook
Retails for $69.95
Additional Student Workbooks available for $9.95


This is a vocabulary learning program, for students in middle school and high school.  But it also teaches thinking skills including analysis, synthesis, inductive reasoning, oral presentation, dictionary usage, and reading strategies.  It is recommended to be useful for visual learners , auditory learners, and tactile/kinesthetic learners. It can be used in a parent (teacher) and student setting or in a classroom setting with multiple students.

Many of the words we speak in the English language, especially words related to science and math, come from the Greek language. By learning the morphemes (root words, prefixes, and suffixes), we can figure out just about any word just by breaking it down (work it). This course teaches you 200 Greek roots, prefixes, and suffixes for your student to work. Learning these morphemes will help them decipher thousands of words used in the English language.

In addition to the Instructor’s Manual, Student Workbook, CD, and thumb drive, you will also need a dictionary to look up words, a computer to play the PowerPoint CD or thumb drive for each lesson. You will need scissors or a way to cut apart the study flash cards, a hole punch to put a hole in them and a ring to keep them together. You might also want to laminate them to make them last longer. You may want to use a chalkboard or a whiteboard for lesson review. You may want to use an overhead projector for the transparencies if you are teaching in a classroom setting.

How we used this:

I will be honest, I was a little bit intimidated getting started.  The word “Greek” just sounds so exotic and far away.  The instructors manual is big, and looks serious, and contains a lot of words to the page.  Anytime I approach “instructions” and there is a lot to read, I feel intimidated or overwhelmed.  But, I told myself “you just have to DIG IN”!

Once we dug in, it was much easier than it first appeared.  The Instructors Manual is a large book.  It contains the lessons, answer keys, transparency masters (we didn’t use these), reviews, tests, and a few pages of study cards at the back.  There is very little instruction once you get past the first few pages, because the whole course follows a pattern.  Once you learn the strategy pattern in the beginning, you just keep repeating the same strategy through the whole course.

strategy graph

This course has 12 lessons.  The course is designed to do one lesson a week, but you can be flexible and go faster or slower if needed. The lessons are laid out nice with a strategy you can duplicate every week to master the course. All five days of the week are laid out with a simple “to do” or “assignment” for the day.

Each day’s lesson takes between 10 minutes and 30 minutes to do.  The only thing different is during the first week you will prepare the study flash cards for the whole course, all 12 lessons.  You will make cards for lessons 2-12 for future use, and then a few days later you will make the cards for lesson 1 and begin using them.  You have the option to make your own (color coded blank pages to be filled in and cut out, provided in the student book) or use pre-made ones (complete cards to be cut out in the instructor’s book).

study cards

Powerpoint and assignment A: “work” first half of words from PowerPoint

Powerpoint and assignment B: “work” second half of words from PowerPoint

Check second half of words from day before and do
assignment C-1 : create context clue sentences with 8 words that you worked during the first two days.

assignment C-2 : create two new words, “work” the words, create context clue sentences with them.

assignment D: share how you came to your conclusions the day before with your new words.  Work the new words with synthesis and analysis. Match the words with funny definitions.

Review and Test

MOMS (Dad’s) and kids,  YOU CAN DO THIS!

For example, here is what 1 week of learning looked like for lesson ONE.

study Greek

Day one: we reviewed the Power Point file for lesson 1.  My son wrote down the meanings of each of the morphemes as the lesson progressed.   Next he “WORKED” the word.  This means he took vocabulary words,  and broke them down into its separate parts.  Each part is a Greek morpheme (roots, prefixes, and suffixes are sound with meanings in the Greek language) and the student writes down what the possible meaning of each part is.

Day two: we went back over our worked words from the day before. Reviewed the second part of the lesson from the PowerPoint file and completed more “worked” words.

Day three: we went back over the second set of worked words from the day before.  Then reviewed the PowerPoint to learn how to write four types of context clues.  We learned 1) definition in context, 2) synonym, 3) antonyms, and 4) examples.   We used words from the lessons in sentences.  Then we used morphemes we learned to create two new words and “worked” those words.

Day four: we reviewed the work completed from the previous day. Then we made study cards (instructions are provided and these will be used for future lessons). Next we completed review exercises.

Day five: we went back over the assignments from the day before.  We also practiced using the study cards we created.  Next he took a lesson test.

I recommend this course for homeschool families. It will help your students to be able to understand the words they read and become better communicators in middle school, highschool, college, and adulthood.   If I had taken a course like this as a young person, I would have had the confidence to tackle more difficult subjects in highschool and college.  This course would definately benefit everyone.  I am ordering more student workbooks so my other sons can take this class too.

Koru Naturals Review

Be sure to check out what other homeschool families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about using Greek Morphemes Lessons (It’s NOT Greek To Me!) with their kids.

Crew Disclaimer


Thick As Thieves Review

My oldest son loves to read.  He was so excited to receive Thick As Thieves from Circle C Milestones  for review.

Thick as Thieves

Thick As Thieves

Historical/Christian/ Fiction
Ages 12 and above
Retails for $9.99

Thick as Thieves from Circle C Milestones

We received Thick as Thieves and the accompanying downloadable PDF Study Guide for this review.   This is the first book in the reading series in the Circle C Milestones ages 12 and above (young adult) reading / learning level by author Susan K Marlow.

Circle C Milestones

Andi Carter is 14 and lives on her family’s ranch called Circle C Ranch. She loves horses and she has a special horse named Taffy who gives birth to a foal during the story. The book is about her life on the ranch, her family and responsibilities like chores, and going to school during the 1880’s in America.

My son is 14, we homeschool, and live on a homestead.  He cares for his animals on our farm daily in addition to some household chores he rotates responsibilities with his siblings like helping with the laundry, taking out the trash, and dishes. He also has schoolwork he completes everyday. Even though he lives 150 years after she did, he could identify with the main character of the book Andi Carter.

reading Thick as Thieves

There is a wonderful FREE STUDY GUIDE offered with this book. It is written like a unit study and is 40 pages filled with cross curricular activities that relate to both the book, but also to this time period in history.

capture image

The Study Guide includes: vocabulary, discussion questions, geography, history, writing, and “just for fun” activities. A great supplement for homeschool unit studies.

crossword puzzle

I don’t want to spoil the plot for you by giving away too much of the story ahead of time, but you can read a free excerpt from the book to “wet your whistle” and see why this is such a great read for teens and young adults.

My son enjoyed this book so much he did not want to put it down.  He has already asked for us to get him more books like this about Andi, and all her adventures at different stages in her life. It is a very well written book with great attention to detail. Many character qualities like work ethic, faith, genuiness, friendship, relationships, responsibility, and integrity of the character comes through.


Author: Susan K Marlow

Susan Marlow

The author, Susan K Marlow is a homeschool mom who has dedicated her life to her family and to writing wholesome Christian fiction books for kids of all ages to enjoy. She has authored over 17 books for children.  Each learning level she has written for has it’s own series of books.

Susan Marlow Books

If you want to read more books, from the Susan Marlow web site, you will see the info-graph above, and once you click “enter” on the picture of the series or learning level you are interested in, a whole web site for that specific learning level appears with books, study guides, articles, photos and more.  She has really done a wonderful job organizing this into a user friendly resource for families.

In addition to writing books, Susan also teaches writing workshops, and enjoys living in Washington on a homestead.  Her connection with homeschool life and homesteading really comes through in her books and my kids can relate to the Andi and the other characters.

Social Media

Be sure to follow Susan Marlow on her social media links for all the latest news and updates.

Andi’s Blog: Circle C Adventures   http://circlecadventures.blogspot.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CircleCAdventures
Twitter http://twitter.com/SuzyScribbles

Koru Naturals Review

Be sure to check out what other families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about reading Thick As Thieves in their homeschool.

Crew Disclaimer


HomeSchool Office Review

One of the great things about homeschooling in the United States of America is that you have the opportunity to educate your children with an awesome education that lines up with your values.  You have the freedom to homeschool.  You can make a plan for your child’s education that works with your beliefs, your child’s interests, and the priorities you have established for your family.  Once you make your homeschool plan, you will need a strategy to help you stick to it.

Thankfully there are wonderful homeschool focused companies who have developed products to help you meet your homeschooling needs.  You can create a homeschool and family plan and stay on track with a great product like HomeSchool Office from Lord Heritage.

Lord Heritage Homeschool Office

HomeSchool Office

HomeSchool Office is a Christian faith-based online planning program for your homeschool and family life.   Their goal is to help parents create a practical plan they can implement that lines up with God’s word.

Isaiah 54:13
All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace.

This is a digital online planner with awesome features to help you keep your homeschool organized and on track, within your budget, and meet your educational goals.  HomeSchool Office subscription retails for $79.00 a year.


HomeSchool Office is a digital office.  It contains a dashboard hub (your virtual office) where you can set up your daily, weekly, and monthly schedules, to do lists, curriculum, grades, a homeschool budget, and you can keep track of tasks and a master schedule that helps keep track of multi-tasking simultaneously.

How We Used This

We received a year subscription to HomeSchool Office in exchange for trying it out in our home and writing an honest review.  I was a bit overwhelmed entering in schedules, school lessons, and activities for six kids plus myself at first.  This program is way more organized than I am used to, but in a good way.  Once you get through the set up process for each student, this becomes an amazing useful tool.  Especially if your children are highschool age because it can keep track of multiple years of subjects and grades and create transcripts.

Older children can be self-sufficient in reviewing their daily schedules on the web site, and you can print off the schedules for all of your children, younger or older, to put in their notebooks or hang on the wall.

Below are several screen shots of the HomeSchool Office dashboard. The strategy of HomeSchool Office is P-O-W-E-R.   This word is both a biblical strategy as well as an acronym to help you remember the tabs on your dashboard.  The desired outcome as you establish a plan, complete your goals, and evaluate progress is to develop children who demonstrate Self Control, have Patience, who are Helpful, and are able to Use Time Wisely.

Just as God had a plan, we also need a plan.

In this section, I :
Plan goals and objectives for each subject we are studying.
Build a master schedule
Setup goals, objectives, and lessons
Create projects for our home and groups
Create our school budget


Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God is organized and without chaos, and Christian homeschool families should also set up an organized homeschool setting.

In this section I:
Schedule lessons
Schedule home activities
Schedule school activities
Schedule reminders
Create to do lists


1 Corinthians 14:40
But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

Because God has a confident work ethic through the finished work of Jesus, we should teach confident work ethics to our children that glorify God.

In this section:
Student access online
View/print individual schedules
Follow daily lessons
Manage to do lists


John 17:4
I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.

God communicates with us, and we should communicate with our children, maintaining relationship, promoting accountability and encouraging them.

In this section I:
Manage our requirements for state compliance
Monitor daily attendance
Keep track of hours completed per subject
Maintain grades for each subject


Matthew 28:20
“…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

We should be transparent and accountable in the work we do like Jesus was.

In this section of my dashboard, I:
Create customized reports
Create customized highschool transcripts
Comply with state regulations


Romans 14:12
“So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.”

As my older children get into highschool, this online planner will help us stay organized. It will be a blessing to be able to just push a button and be able to print out a report of grades and accomplishments as well as a highschool transcript for college application.

I have been homeschooling a long time.  Over the years I have met hundreds of homeschool families and if there is one theme that permeates every family who takes on the challenge to homeschool, it is the challenge to stay organized and on plan.

Whether you use a pre-made curriculum, or an eclectic conglomeration of projects to meet your educational goals, every body needs a plan, and a strategy to get the plan done, yet be flexible and free enough to make changes when needed.

Whether you are new to homeschooling, or are a homeschool veteran, HomeSchool Office can help you follow through with your goals, keep you and your students on track, and reach the outcome you desire.  You can try out a Free 30 day trial to see if it is a good fit for your family.

Social Media

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HomeSchool Office Review

Be sure to check out what others on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about using Homeschool Office in their home.

Crew Disclaimer


Keep Trying!

I fail.

I try,

and try,

and keep trying.

Sometimes I succeed.

I have a lot of dreams.

I have made a lot of mistakes.

I have a lot of hope for the future.

One of my biggest struggles is my health.  One of my biggest accomplishments is also my health.  I am 45 years old, and I am trying to get healthy after challenging health issues of infertility, thyroid issues, adrenal fatigue, 9 pregnancies between ages 30 to 45, surgery, anemia, weight gain, allergies, and auto-immune issues.   WHEW!  It has been a challenge!  Learning about my body, and what works and doesn’t work for me has been a lifelong journey.

It’s not easy.

For a long time, I kept falling further behind.   Even though I tried, I wasn’t going forward to reach a better level of health.  But there are successes and I do go forward, even if I also take a step back or sideways from time to time.  I will get there, I will reach my goals.

Sometimes I don’t even know where to begin.

So I pray.

What else can I do?

God has the answers and solutions to my situation.

He has the answers for yours too.

I’m on a journey.

I am getting better.

I am healing.

I am working toward a healthier me.

I keep trying.

I saw this video today. I was inspired to go further as I watched these two women encourage each other to keep trying.

I hope you will keep trying too!


“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”                                                   3 John 1:2