Learning Microsoft Word: Weeks One, Two and Three



I have been wanting to share my knowledge with homeschoolers for quite some time. Microsoft Office is such an essential skill these days. Please enjoy the following for FREE. If there is enough interest, I’ll continue to post more…

MS Word Week 1

MS Word Week 2

MS Word Week 3

I also have interest in sharing about Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher if there is enough interest.

Enjoy the journey!

Schoolhouse Review ~ Talking Fingers #hsreviews

Talking Fingers Inc. ReviewWe had the opportunity to review Read, Write & Type from Talking Fingers Inc. and let me tell you – P, our son that used this program, VERY RARELY *REALLY* enjoys any kind of schoolwork regardless of if it is a game on the computer or something he has to manually write. But this, THIS, he LOVED. He actually did not want to stop working through it and he even asked if he could use it. This multi-sensory and motor approach stimulates learning and helps children who have different learning styles.


So, let me explain the program a little. Talking Fingers has three different programs for three different grades: Talking Shapes (iPad app for PreK – K), Read, Write & Type (for K-2; which we are reviewing here) and Wordy Qwerty (Grades 2 – 4).

Dr. Jeannine Herron and her colleagues didn’t set out to make Talking Fingers Inc. but found out that there wasn’t a good program available that would teach children a phonic sound associated with a keystroke. And they wanted children to learn the fun that technology can bring to learning. They really have some amazing thoughts about how this program helps children learn. You should read it all HERE.

Once you login and go through the beginning “story” (which you can quickly pass through by hitting the space key) you are taken to this screen. This is the “Home Screen” where they go to each of the different areas of action.

Talking Fingers Inc. Review

One of the first places they go is the auditorium where they confirm if the word starts with the proper letter or not. I really love how EVERY.THING is covered in this program! For instance, if they aren’t sure what the picture is, they simply click on it and the program tells them what the word is.


There are very short stories that they listen to and answer questions about that also show the story in action on the right – just another way they “cover all the bases” in this program. My son really loved these stories!


There is “the playground” area where they type what they’ve learned over and over also using the space bar. As they type, the “letter character” (each letter has its own character) moves across the playground. Once it reaches Vexor (the “bad guy” who stole all the letters) they have completed that area.


This is another area they go and they “compete” against Vexor to see who will win. In this particular picture the student is to pick what the appropriate letter is depending on where the picture is located. So if the picture is on the left, they are to pick the first letter of the word. If in the middle, they pick the middle letter and if on the right, they pick the ending letter. I really loved this one! What a fun way for them to learn this part of spelling! (And again, if they don’t know they word of the picture, they just click on it and it tells them what it is.)


In the below screen shot, they type the actual word of the picture.


As they progress through the program – they begin to WRITE the story they see and are told. Nice progression!


They even have an area that covers writing and sending emails! P REALLY enjoyed this! Here is one of the emails he wrote. They learn to put a title / subject, “bad boy” and then write the email and send it.


Another screen shot showing the progression of the program … now working on four letter words with a space between.


Another thing they do within the program: read the sentence and select the correct picture and look at the picture and select the correct sentence.

TF11 TF12

As they complete each area, they get to print off certificates. My son really loved having certificates to print off and show off!

Talking Fingers Inc. Review

Many times I was able to walk away and work on other things (normally the dishes) while he was working on this program. That doesn’t seem to happen very often either and I really appreciated this about the program. Not only does he GREATLY enjoy it but he can do it without my help!

Honestly, I am very rarely impressed with online programs but this one – THIS ONE – was impressive! Not only does my son LOVE working through it but it is a program that seems to have covered ALL the bases necessary. This is a program I HIGHLY SUGGEST!

And now that I’ve looked at the cost – WOW! – affordable! Now I **REALLY** suggest it! *grin* $35 for one online user (and the price has a discount for each additional user).

As a side note: Read, Write & Type is fine for kids in Australia, Canada and the UK, too, but the pronunciations of phonemes are different in those countries than they are in the U.S.

Other ways to stay in touch with Talking Fingers Inc.:

Twitter  @readwritetype

Now hop over and read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew! (Keep in mind that reviews will be posted any time between 4/12/16 and 4/14/16 so make sure to come back and see them all!)

Here’s praying you have fun learning!


Crew Disclaimer

Schoolhouse Review ~ Homeschool Copywork #hsreviews

Homeschool Copywork Review

We had the opportunity to review the Lifetime Membership from Homeschool Copywork. This is a lifetime membership (as it says) and is good for Kindergarten through High School … keep in mind that copywork is not just copying text it is about punctuation, spelling, vocabulary, reading skill and much more which is why it is applicable for high school too!

When you login this is the page you see that gives you easy “buttons” to push for each area of copy work you want to see. Here we are at Early Elementary Copywork. The Animal Alphabet and Transportation verbiage are links you click to download the pdf file that offers the copy work book for each item. For ease, I went ahead and saved the pdf files we were interested in to our external hard drive (file sizes range from just under 1,000 KB to well over 11,000 KB) so I wouldn’t need to get in to this site and download each time I wanted to use a sheet.


There are currently approximately 35 files for early elementary, 45 files for middle elementary, 50 Junior / High School and 11 Bonus files. Keep in mind that MANY of the files cross over several of the others meaning for instance the 1 Corinthians 13 file is found in all three of the schooling areas. The bonus files are notebooking pages and coloring pages.


We didn’t actually use just one book for this review … we jumped around from one to another to another as we felt appropriate for that particular moment. There are so many wonderful options it was hard for us to choose just one. Here P is working on the Animal Alphabet file. (The page under the iPad is from Dragons of the Bible.)



HOWEVER, there are SPECIFIC copy work files that would be SPECIFICALLY helpful for different studies such as Fearfully and Wonderfully Made … which will go nicely with the Science study P is currently doing on the body. We just started that in science so we haven’t utilized the pages yet, but here is as an example of that file. Pages such as the one below have a blank page following it with lines for the student to do the copywork. We could also tie in “The Human Body” notebooking pages from the Bonus Area for P’s science study on the body.


One particular day P was having a bit of an attitude issue so we utilized a page from the “Character Building” files … *grin*


You can see a few examples of what is available on the Homeschool Copywork website but let me share some with you here:

  • The Poems of Emily Dickinson
  • Dragons of the Bible
  • Vincent Van Gogh (there are several actually)
  • Franz Liszt Quotes
  • Quotes from Jane Austen
  • Star Spangled Banner
  • Several Hymn Study and Copywork
  • Armour of God

And MANY more!

To wrap up, there are three different membership options:

Free Membership offers the free items available and the Charlotte Mason resources.

Full Membership offers access to everything current and added for one year. Current cost is $29.95.

Lifetime Membership is the same as Full Membership but will last the life of the site being available. Current cost is $45. (This is what we were given for this review.)

Other ways to stay up with Homeschool Copywork:

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/HomeschoolCopywork
Twitter: http://twitter.com/AmyBlevins  @AmyBlevins
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/hscopywork
Google+: http://plus.google.com/+AmyBlevins
Instagram: http://instagram.com/homeschoolencouragement

Now hop over and read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew! (Keep in mind that reviews will be posted any time between 4/12/16 and 4/14/16 so make sure to come back and see them all!)

Here’s praying you have fun learning!


Crew Disclaimer

Blogging Thru the Alphabet – Animals – W is for Wolf


I’m joining in the Blogging Through the Alphabet series with Through the Calm and Through the Storm as well as Adventures with Jude. I will be having animals as my theme. And sheesh – we are almost done with this round!

Here are my past posts in case you missed them:

A for Aardvark    B for Badger    C for Capybara    D for Dodo    E for Eagles  F for Falcons

G for Giraffe  H for Hedgehog   I for Ibis    J for Jackal   K for Killer Whale   L for Leopard  M for Macaw

N for Nyala   O for Okapi  P for Porcupine  Q for Quetzal  R for Rhinoceros  S for Skunk  T for Termite

U for Uguisu  V for Viper


Wolf. Scientific Name Canis lupus

Wolves are best known for their howl which they use to communicate in many different ways. They may be a lone wolf looking for his pack or a pack of wolves letting others know of their territory. They may also just be joining another wolf that has already started howling.

Wolves vary in color from all white to all black with all colors in between. The biggest wolves live in Alaska and range from 125 – 135 pounds; the smallest is in Iran at 60 pounds. The wolf has no known natural predators and is thought to live about 10 years in the wild.

Wolves are carnivorous (meaning they eat meat) and they normally hunt large animals, but they will hunt small animals if need be. They normally hunt as a pack for large animal such as moose.

They develop deep bonds with their pack and have even been known to die for one of their pack members. Once they find a mate they normally stay together for life. They do have a hierarchy they establish within their pack and those at the top eat first and the others eat what is left, even if that means they have to wait to eat.

Adaptable gray wolves are the most common and were once found all over the Northern Hemisphere however they are also known to attack domestic animals which has them as one of the most despised animals by humans. MANY have been shot, trapped and poisoned in order to keep them away. In the lower 48 states they were hunted to near extinction.

The red wolf is found in the southeastern United States and they became extinct in the wild in 1980. Scientists have been breeding and reintroducing them in North Carolina and there are now around 100 red wolves in the wild.

Wolves live and hunt in packs of about six to ten.

I thought this was interesting, wolves can interbreed freely with dogs, red wolves, coyotes, and jackals to produce fertile offspring. This is a case of incomplete speciation. There are physical, behavioral, and ecological differences between these species, but they are fully genetically compatible. None of the animals in this group can breed with foxes, which are too far separated genetically.

They have one breeding season per year and that is in the winter. That is so when the cubs are born and finally ready to hunt there will be plenty around for them. It also allows them time to grow and mature before their first winter season where it is more difficult to find food.

I hope you enjoyed learning about these amazing animals as much as I did! Come back next week when we cover the letter X and learn about the Xerus.

Now go check out all the other posts of those who are joining in with Blogging Through the Alphabet. They can post this entire week so make sure to check back and see what has been added!

Enjoy the journey!

Schoolhouse Review ~ HomeschoolDipolma.com #hsreviews

Exclusive High School Diploma Review

Our family was VERY EXCITED when we saw this review from HomeschoolDiploma.com and their Exclusive High School Diploma as we are graduating our first this year! Excellent timing by the Lord, as usual. Just prior to seeing this review posted I had been searching online for diplomas so I had just a small amount of knowledge of this subject (homeschool diplomas).

Once we found out for sure that we were accepted for this review, J and I hopped on to their website to check out their available diplomas. This is a very exciting time – as one graduates high school and steps out in life to be whatever the Lord may have for them – and we wanted to celebrate it in a very special way with something he will have for the rest of his life!

Honestly, I was surprised at the number of options we had to choose from for a diploma from HomeschoolDiploma.com. First there are four different styles and those are:

Standard has 1 wording option with a stick-on foil seal.

Personalized has four wording options (State Wording, College Prep Wording, “Thanks to God” wording or Godly Wisdom wording – there is a link at the end of these styles that you can click to see specifics of what this means) with a stick-on or printed seal.

Exclusive has four wording options (State Wording, College Prep Wording, “Thanks to God” wording or Godly Wisdom wording – there is a link at the end of these styles that you can click to see specifics of what this means) with a foiled and engraved seal.

Guilded has four wording options (State Wording, College Prep Wording, “Thanks to God” wording or Godly Wisdom wording – there is a link at the end of these styles that you can click to see specifics of what this means) with hand-illuminated 23 kt gold seal.

** You can see their detailed information on the four different styles HERE. **

Once you have decided which STYLE you want – you then get to CUSTOMIZE it too!

You get to pick:

  • Cover  (they offer NINE different options!)
  • Cover Personalization
  • Seal used
  • Paper type

There are also other things you can add:

  • Latin or English Honors Seal
  • Using own custom verse or motto
  • Hand calligraphy of student name
  • Rush production time (not that any of us would ever run late at anything! Right? LOL)

For us, I had J sit with me and we looked at all the different options. We chose the Exclusive High School Diploma. Once you have decided that then you choose and type in:

  1. Seal – ours had four options
  2. Student Information – type in full name and pick gender
  3. School Information – type in full name (city and state too, if desired) and school administrator
  4. Diploma Wording – the four choices listed above
  5. Verse or Motto – if you want to add (this cost extra)
  6. Dates and Signatures -date of graduation and TITLES under signature lines (they offer suggestions)
  7. Design Details – paper (two choices) and lettering (two choices)
  8. Honors Designation – if wanted, costs extra
  9. Diploma Cover – pick from nine different options (can personalize with student name for extra)
  10. Diploma Add-Ons (archive diploma, wallet diploma – both for additional cost)
  11. Finish Order

This looks like a lot – and it is for offering what is needed and allows for individual preferences – but the process and the ordering is REALLY EASY! I truly appreciated the signature line suggestions they had!

So, now that it is ordered. You wait. When it arrives. GORGEOUS!


Something very simple but VERY appreciated by me was the clear plastic covering the entire diploma had when it arrived. This is something special and this just helps to keep it clean until we get to present it! Also a copy of the invoice, of course.


Another thing I really appreciated was this little note from them about signing the diploma. Something so simple but so very helpful for us newbies! Basically it says to wait to sign it until you give it to them.


Then there is the outside, the cover … GOR-GEOUS!


Then you open it and WOW! This thing is truly something to appreciate for J’s remainder of his life! The actual certificate size is 8-1/2 x 11 and just makes us so very happy. I am SO EXCITED to have something SO GORGEOUS to give our son when he graduates!

Something else HomeschoolDiploma.com provided was a couple samples of graduation invitations and these two were GORGEOUS as well. (I seem to like that word but it is so true!)



Fine quality paper that was expertly printed and definitely had a professional feel and look – something folks would be proud to use! (We recently moved over four hours away from all our family so we didn’t use invitations but if we did, these are ones to consider!)

They also have caps and gowns and graduation rings.

Overall, we could not be happier with the look, feel, quality, service, and ease of getting this diploma through HomeschoolDiploma.com!

Other ways to keep in touch:

Twitter @cornerstonegrad

Now head over and read the other reviews from other Crew members! (Reviews will be posted between 4/11/16 and 4/13/16.)

Here’s praying you have fun learning!


Crew Disclaimer

Heirloom Audio: Dragon & Raven Unit Study Curriculum {Review}

We recently reviewed Heirloom Audio‘s newest audio drama The Dragon and The Raven and LOVED it! So when Heirloom Audio asked if anyone was interested in reviewing their BRAND NEW unit study curriculum that corresponds with this audio drama – I couldn’t say “YES!” fast enough!


I was excited when it arrived in the mail and I could get my hands on it and see exactly what it was with my own eyes. And … as typical for Heirloom Audio … they didn’t let me down! This study guide (as I’ll call it) is 8-1/2 x 11 and 117 pages. The pages are made of something slick and durable (I have no idea about paper so I’m not exactly sure what it is). It is full-color and VERY NICE. It is spiral bound which works WONDERFULLY as you are going through the different things with your kids. (As an added bonus, they sent us a “Live the Adventure Homeschool Adventure Family Planner” which is 79 pages of space for homeschool scheduling, meal planning, lists, book lists, and more.)

As a mom of boys, this is right up our alley! (I know girls like the audio production – based off reviews – so I’m sure they would like this too. But I’ll be posting as a mom of boys, which is what I am.) It covers so much it is amazing! Basically it covers all areas of the audio production in further detail – which is all about Medieval Times. So, if you are looking for something to supplement your Medieval Times learning – this would be it! (And, honestly, it might be enough to be an entire curriculum for this time period, depending on how much of the booklet you do.)

So, it covers:

Feudalism, Vikings, Writing, Weapons, Music, Storytelling, Latin, Poetry, Court Systems, Games, Ships, Mercy, Art, Math, and more!

Whew! It is a lot, but it doesn’t FEEL like a lot (and that is a good thing, in my opinion).

Each “section” has a little bit of an intro to what it is discussing. It then has different activities you can do. Some are looking up vocabulary, some are games, some are writing, some are researching … again, all areas of learning are covered! It also has activities for older or gifted students! Each section is about four pages.

So, one of the areas we really enjoyed was learning about feudalism.


For this one we decided to use our iPads to look up vocabulary online. It was a nice opportunity to use it for an educational purpose.


They had a “Feudalism Candy Simulation Game” that we kind of turned in to a general learning opportunity that allowed us to touch and visualize what feudalism meant. Who does the most work? Who, in the end, gets the most money? And things like that. It was a lot of fun and a nice visual for learning. We love fun ways to learn! In this, the peasants had 10 coins and had to pass 8 of them up to the Knights. The Knights had to pass 6 up to the Nobles and the Nobles had to pass 4 up to the King. (Although a smaller representation of reality it helped to really solidify what we were discussing.)


Some questions they wanted us to answer:

Did “Learn the Adventure” meet your expectations? I would say, “YES! but … it not only met, but EXCEEDED my expectations!”

Would “Learn the Adventure” be a helpful addition to your teaching? I would say, “YES! Oh my gosh YES! There is NO DOUBT this is a teaching help!!” If so, how? It helps guide through many different subjects within the Medieval Times. It helps focus attention on important things, events and people. It offers suggestions of additional ways to learn as well as websites and other resources for additional learning.

For future editions of “Learn the Adventure”, would you add or subtract anything? I would say, “I definitely would not subtract anything. I would like to see more specific references within the guide that pertain to the audio drama as well as a little more specific instructions with the games. But overall, 99% of it I wouldn’t change a bit!”

Now, one thing I do not know is how much this will cost … so, I cannot share anything about that.

Thank you for this wonderful addition to your already amazing audio dramas Heirloom Audio, really, THANK YOU!

Here’s praying you enjoy the journey of learning!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this in exchange for my honest review. No compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

Schoolhouse Review ~ Trigger Memory #hsreviews

The Trigger Memory Co REVIEW

We had the opportunity to review Times Tales DVD Digital Download from The Trigger Memory Co. If you haven’t heard of this, you will be very excited that you are reading this review! Below shows what comes with the program and what you need to use. With this you get two downloadable MP4 files as well as three pdf files. You watch the videos and use the pdf files for their worksheets (one of the three files is an answer key). This program sells for $19.95 at the time of this review. We used this with our 8 year old 2nd Grade son.


The Trigger Memory Co REVIEW

So, what exactly is TIMES TALES? I’m glad you asked! This is truly an amazing teaching tool! It teaches times tables to students through stories. Yes…STORIES! The students don’t even realize they are learning their times tables! GENIUS IDEA!! And…IT WORKS!!!

They suggest you listen to Part 1 of the DVD first (about 30 minutes – we had to split it in to two 15-minute sessions) and then do the Part 1 worksheets for a week. Then listen / watch Part 2 (also about 30 minutes – we had to split it in to two sessions – 19 minutes and 11 minutes) and then do Part 2 worksheets.


Honestly I was kind of “ho hum” about this review when we got it but boy was I WRONG! This thing is really impressive! It is quick and easy and OH.SO.EFFECTIVE!

So, what do I mean by this program “teaching through stories”? Exactly that! For instance, each number has a name, seven is Mrs. Week (and Mr. Week) because there are seven days in a week, eight is Mrs. Snowman (because she looks like a snowman), three is a butterfly (because the three looks like the butterfly wings), so on etc. Then each character is shared in a story like this one: There are two trees (the trees are nines). One had eight apples and the other had one apple. So without even realizing it, they learn that 9 x 9 = 81. So fun and so easy! And as you can see below – IT WORKS!

Here is a sample of one of the Part 2 Worksheets which are completed after listening to Part 2 (Part 1 are the same just the lower numbers). There are also flash cards and crossword puzzles. The numbers are shown on the different sheets as their characters and as regular numbers so you start with the character sheets and then move to just the number sheets. Such a wonderful way to work through learning higher times tables!


By the end of the program they are learning division! COOL! My son was actually really frustrated because as he said, “They haven’t taught us that!!” I said, “Just listen. And remember there are always the same three numbers.” So he listened, and not surprisingly, he got it right! He was really happy!

By entering your email address at this link you can get a free sample download.

As a side note, this program has seen GREAT response to students with special needs also!

Ways to keep up with The Trigger Memory Co.:


Now hop over and read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew! (Keep in mind that reviews will be posted any time between 4/4 and 4/6 so make sure to come back and see them all!)

Here’s praying you have fun learning!


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