YET ANOTHER USA HOMESCHOOL BOOK HAUL Part 2: Homeschooling on a Budget

Books, books & more books…

I love doing book hauls! However it is not unusual for me to be behind on getting them posted. I finally release the second of my book hauls from the spring.

Since we are heading back down to the states in a few weeks I figured I better get my butt moving to share these. So stay tune, next weekend I will be posting the last of my USA Homeschool Book Haul.

Without further ado:

Meet Martin Luther King, Jr. (Landmark Books)

I Have a Dream: The Story of Martin Luther King

Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse Amos

The Secret Soldier: The Story of Deborah Sampson

DK Biography: Benjamin Franklin: A Photographic Story of a Life

DK Biography Abraham Lincoln: A Photographic Story of a Life

DK Biography: Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Photographic Story of a Life

Walt Disney: Young Movie Maker (Childhood of Famous Americans)

Anne Frank: Young Diarist (Childhood of World Figures)

Turn On The Light, Thomas Edison! (Before I Made History)

Go Fly a Kite, Ben Franklin!

The Castle Mystery (The Boxcar Children 36)

The Mystery of the Purple Pool (The Boxcar Children Mysteries 38)

The Mystery of Star Ruby (The Boxcar Children Mysteries Book 89)

The Mystery of Mummy’s Curse (The Boxcar Children Mysteries Book 88)

The Hockey Mystery (The Boxcar Children 80)

The Canoe Trip Mystery (The Boxcar Children Mysteries)

The Mystery of Lost Village (The Boxcar Children Mysteries Book 37)

Despicable Me 2 – The Official Minion Manual – Poster Included

Minions: Who’s the Boss?

Frog and Toad Together (I Can Read Level 2)

Helen Keller (In Their Own Words)

Thomas Edison :In Their Own Words

Dolphin Freedom

In Their Own Words: Pocahontas

Get on Board: The Story of the Underground Railroad

The Wright Brothers (In Their Own Words)

Wright Brothers At Kitty Hawk

Who Was Michael Jackson?

Henry and the Paper Route (Henry Huggins)

The Secrets of Droon 21: Flight of the Genie

Benjamin Franklin (In Their Own Words)

Dying to Meet You (43 Old Cemetery Road)

Over My Dead Body; 43 Cemetery Road-Book Two

Till Death Do Us Bark (43 Old Cemetery Road)

The Phantom of the Post Office (43 Old Cemetery Road)

Five True Dog Stories (Little Apple)

Shadow of the Shark (Magic Tree House Merlin Mission)

Leon’s Story (Sunburst Books)

World’s Dumbest Crooks

The Adventures of Grandfather Frog (Dover Children’s Thrift Classics)

Uncle Wiggily Bedtime Stories: In Easy-to-Read Type (Dover Children’s Thrift Classics)

Little Bear’s Friend (An I Can Read Book)

Little Bear (An I Can Read Book)

Dear Dr. Bell. . . Your Friend, Helen Keller

Clementine, Friend of the Week (A Clementine Book)

Stone Fox

The Story of Harriet Tubman: Conductor of the Underground Railroad (Dell Yearling Biography)

A to Z Mysteries Super Edition 7: Operation Orca

Pee Wee Scouts: Moans and Groans and Dinosaur Bones

Pee Wee Scouts: Cookies and Crutches

Pee Wee Scouts: Bad, Bad Bunnies

Pee Wee Scouts: Blue Skies, French Fries

Lucky Dog Days (Pee Wee Scouts)

Donkey Rescue (Petsitters Club)

The Mare’s Tale (Pet Vet)

Motorbike Bob (Pet Vet)

The Kitten’s Tale (Pet Vet)

The Pup’s Tale (Pet Vet)

The Mystery in Hawaii: The 50th State (Real Kids Real Places)

The Curse of the Ancient Acropolis (Around the World In 80 Mysteries)

Let me know what was the best book you found in your last used book haul!

This post does contain affiliate links

Homeschool Collection August 2019 Edition

Raising Bookworms: What We Read in July 2019

We Want To Read All The Books…

So we got a little side tracked from our summer reading basket this month. But that is OK, because we were just digging in deeper and learning more.

I know that the Magic Tree House series gets a lot of slack. People either love it or hate it. I will admit, when I read on a forum that one woman calls them “Jack and Annie said” books, I couldn’t disagree with that comment.

However, in my opinion they are still very valuable. The characters are lovable and they introduce Zakari to family people and places. They plant the seed in his head, and it allows us to dig deeper.

In July, The Magic Tree House released a new book all about Benjamin Franklin. So you will see we took that and ran with it.

Check out my video to get a better look at which books we read, and you can find the links below for each book.

Calendar Mysteries 7: July Jitters

The Woodshed Mystery (The Boxcar Children Mysteries)

The Puppy Place 18: Sweetie

Clifford: Cookie Crazy (Clifford the Big Red Dog)

Five True Horse Stories (A Little Apple Paperback)

Little House Friends (Little House Chapter Book)

Night of the New Magicians (Magic Tree House Merlin Mission)

Turn On The Light, Thomas Edison! (Before I Made History)

To the Future, Ben Franklin! (Magic Tree House)

Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse Amos

Go Fly a Kite, Ben Franklin!

Benjamin Franklin (In Their Own Words)

Who Was Ben Franklin?

Benjamin Franklin (10 Days)

What Is the Declaration of Independence? (What Was?)

Louis Braille: Bringer of Hope to the Blind (People Who Made a Difference)

What did you and your kiddos read in July? Let me know in the comments below!

This post contains affiliate links. We are grateful every time you use our links to get your books on Amazon.

Homeschool Collection August 2019 Edition

TOS Review: Home School in the Woods

World History (Project Passport), U.S. History Studies (Time Travelers) and Timeline Collection: A Collection of Historical Timeline Figures  {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

I’m super excited to share a product Zakari and I had the chance to review. We had the chance to use Home School in the Woods Timeline Collection: A Collection of Historical Timeline Figures.

What is Home School in the Woods?

Home School in the Woods is a family business created by Amy Pak, and her homeschooling family. Amy started homeschooling her family “In The Woods” around their home in 1996. She wanted to find a way to teach history, a subject she did not really relate to when she was in school.

She soon discovered discovered timelines, and other visual resources. Using these tools and other things like living books, drama and writing, she too soon began to fall in love with history.

What is the Timeline Collection: A Collection of Historical Timeline Figures?

Timeline Collection: A Collection of Historical Timeline Figures is a digital download or physical CD-ROM jam packed with over 1200+ figures and events to use in your homeschool history lesson. This is not a stand alone product, but can be used to compliment almost any homeschool history curriculum or history unit study.

How Did We Use the Timeline Collection?

This month we have been diving into some American history. I know, we are Canadian, but I believe there are a lot of valuable things to learn from great American historical figures.

During this review period with used the Timeline Collection to help us connect other famous people in history to the famous historical figure we were studying, Ben Franklin.

Want Some More Ideas?

I could write an extensive post about how to use a timeline in your homeschool, but I could never do as good a job as the creator of this product, Amy Pak. I highly recommend you check out her post Teaching with Timelines.

In this post she writes about, “teaching with timelines to help restore some order to the insanity and keep your history studies light and fun rather than sluggish and boring.”

How We Are Using This Product With Our Doman International Program?

These beautiful black and white timeline images are exactly what I have been looking for to use in our homemade books. Sometimes it is hard to come up with new ideas for our homemade book program. I often suffer from writers block.

In my opinion, the simple black and white photos provide the detail my son needs, without any distracting backgrounds.

How This Will Help Our Homeschool Year

I’m so excited to start our new school year up again in September, because these two discs have provided me with so much material! We can use he PDF pages of all the figures to find particular figures and events. While looking at these pages we can also see what else was going on around the same time, and start to dig deeper and see how they are connected.

Thank You Home School in the Woods!

Thank you for giving Zakari and I the chance to use your product. I know this will be a valuable tool for our homeschool years to come.

Want to Learn More?

If you want to see how other homeschool families have used a few of the Home School in the Woods programs, click the banner below! There you will find a linky with reviews on:

  • Timeline Collection: A Collection of Historical Timeline Figures for all ages.
  • Time Travelers U.S. History Studies:  Intended for grades 3-8, but can be adapted up or down.
  • Project Passport World History Studies:  Intended for grades 3-8, but can be adapted up or down.
    -Ancient Egypt
    -Ancient Greece
    -Ancient Rome
    -The Middle Ages
    -Renaissance & Reformation
World History (Project Passport), U.S. History Studies (Time Travelers) and Timeline Collection: A Collection of Historical Timeline Figures  {Home School in the Woods Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Our Health Journey: Dr Amy Yasko Autism Protocol

Dr Amy Yasko


I am by no means an expert on any of these tests and supplements. I am only sharing our journey and my understanding of this journey. It is your responsibility as a parent to do your own research and find what works best for your child. I am not responsible for any problems that come up if you blindly follow what I have done with my son. Each child needs something different. What might work for my son, maybe damaging to your child.

Health Journey

We have been working with herbs & supplements for years now with Zakari, yet we haven’t yet gotten the results we were looking for. I’ve always felt like I’m been throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping that it will stick. Some things have helped greatly, that is for sure. But we always seem to plateau.

However over the last year or so I have heard so much about a different kind of method of supplementation based on the DNA Methylation Pathway. Dr. Amy Yasko states that a one size fits all approach is not the way to go. Using DNA Methylation Whole Blood test alongside another test such as Hair Elements Test, and Urine Amino Acids Test, she personally makes suggestions for each patient.

Failed Genetic Testing

Originally when I decided that I wanted to base Zakari’s supplements around his DNA profile I ordered a kit from It is supposed to be a simple saliva collection, and with the proper software, you can process the raw data to give you most of the information needed.

Well, this “simple” saliva collection is not so simple when you are trying to collect it from a non-cooperative child. My good friend and I had to pin Zakari down and using a brand new nasal aspirator we collected all the saliva we needed. It took a good 15 mins of fighting and screaming, but we thought we got it.

However several weeks later I received an email from 23andme saying that our 23andMe Analysis was unsuccessful. They wanted to send us another kit to submit another sample. I contacted the company and explained how hard it was to get that first sample, and that I don’t think we would be able to get a better one. The woman I talked to was so nice, she said while it was usually company policy that test be tried twice before they issued a refund, in this situation they would refund me minus shipping cost.

Was This A Blessing in Disguise?

In the end, it was a blessing that the 23andme test failed. It turns out a few months before the company changed the SNPs that they test for. Many of the SNPs we look for were no longer being tested.

Why We Chose the DNA Methylation Blood Spot ?

In the end, the DNA Methylation Blood Spot test was just a simpler option. Trying to collect blood from a finger prick landed up being a million times easier than saliva from an unwilling child.

While it was more expensive, the actual SNPs I wanted to be tested were just not included in the cheaper saliva test. I was able to learn more and create a more individualized plan going this route.

Genetic Results

  1. AHCY/1 +/- Hetero
  2. AHCY/2 +/- Hetero
  3. AHCY/19 +/- Hetero
  4. MTHFR/A1298C +/- Hetero
  5. MTRR/A66G +/+ G
  6. MTRR/11 +/- Hetero
  7. BHMT/1 +/- Hetero
  8. BHMT/8 +/- Hetero
  9. CBS/C699T +/- Hetero
  10. COMT/V158M +/+ A
  11. COMT/H62H +/+ T
  12. MAOA +/+ T

What Are We Were Noticing At First?

We had been using only a few of Dr.Amy’s suggestions at first and we are noticing a huge difference in Zakari’s behavior, attention, and overall well-being. People were starting to comment on how calm he is. When we sit down to work on his homeschooling, he is so much more focused and attentive. He was learning more in his Doman Program.

Additional Testing We Have Run

Hair Element Test:

A few things this test showed us that Zakari had high levels of lead in his body. Based on this I did a lot of research and realized that many soils in the city we live in is contaminated with lead! So I knew we had to work at getting this out of his body.

We also realized his body was leeching out lithium. From what Dr. Amy has shared, lithium is an important mineral to have in Zakari’s body to ensure he is processing B12 properly. By not watching those levels and continuing to supplement B12 without proper lithium, his body was depleting in both minerals. Basically, I was making the situation worse by giving him B12 supplements.

Another thing Zakari had dangerously high levels of was Manganese. Once again I believe this is traced back to the city we live in. Our water system in Winnipeg is known to have spurts of ‘brown water”. We have been told it because of Manganese levels in the water being high, but still at the safe level. Even when the water is not brown, the levels apparently are too high for my son to flush out of his system.

Urine Amino Acids Test: With this test, we were able to tweak his supplements even more. Creating an even more individualized treatment plan.

Comprehensive Parasitology x3: We have run this test twice. Once in January, and we just received results for the test I ran at the end of June. The first test showed Zakari had too much yeast, a nasty little parasite that can sometimes be hard to get rid of, along with a type of Strep. I have not yet met with our naturopath as we are still waiting on a few other tests, but from what I can see we were able to get rid of the parasite and the strep.

Supplements We Started With

GABA Balance

Nerve Calm

Trace Mineral Drops

Vita D-light Spray: Has an herb which helps the body better absorb the Vitamin D

BodyBio – Magnesium 3 Liquid Mineral

Second Batch of Supplements and Supports We Started

Zinc Lozenges (Replacing the one we were on with this brand)

T-Cell Formula

B-Cell Formula

Coenzyme Q10 Spray (Replacing Ubiquinol with this)

Potassium Drops

Inflammatory Pathway Support



Lithium Drops Never take this supplement without proper testing! Too much lithium is not good for the human body!

GABA Balance = Life Changing

Prior to starting this program, we were using low dose GABA and seeing some small changes. Once we switched to a higher dose GABA from Dr. Yasko’s site, the positive changes in Zakari were unbelievable! He was overall calmer and happier. GABA Balance also helped Zakari get better sleep at night.

I always make sure I now have a good supply of GABA Balance on hand. I am also very careful how I store it and I only purchase it from Dr. Yasko’s site. If stored incorrectly it can actually go bad quite easily and cause problems. I made the mistake of buying GABA from the local health food store, and it was clearly not stored properly. Zakari went nuts on it. It basically increased the behaviors I was trying to reduce. I will never make that mistake again.

When There Is Not Enough Money To Continue

Sadly after a while, I had to decide how I was going to approach this method financially. Because these tests were being performed without a licensed naturopathic doctor, I could not claim them under our insurance.

I also was unable to get custom made supplements through Dr. Amy. Zakari for example had dangerously high levels of Manganese in his Hair Mineral test. But the supplements that Dr. Amy sold and nearly every trace mineral supplement on the market contained Manganese.

I also did not have a local medical professional that could help guide me through this process. Yes, Dr. Amy makes suggestions on the test, but there are no dosing recommendations. I didn’t always feel comfortable making that decision on my own.

Venturing On Our Own A Bit

We decided to start working with a local naturopath who was very familiar with the importance of methylation in kids with autism. She was able to help me run a few more of the test we needed to be done, and because the labs were done through her, my husband’s private insurance plan covered most of the cost.

Dr. Jasper was able to have a custom compound trace mineral supplement made that did not include things Zakari did not need. We also switched to a Ubiquinol that was a much high dose, and most cost-efficient, but still very high quality. She also custom made him a special B complex supplement that suits all of Zakari’s needs.

Supplements We Are Using as of July 2019

I must stress, I am not sharing this so you can follow it. That would be a disaster for your child. We are on these based on our test results, and every child would require something different. I am sharing this as an example only. I love to see what other families following this method are using.

  • Hydroxy B12
  • S.Boulardi
  • GABA Balance
  • Trace minerals (Custom made to not include manganese)
  • B Complete Special (Custom made not to include methyl B12)
  • Ubiquinol (custom made to be fresh and more cost effective)
  • Vitamin D3
  • Inflammatory Pathway Support

Upcoming Changes

We just did a whole new set of tests in preparation for our next Doman International visit. We are still waiting for a few results. Then I will be meeting with both our naturopath and the staff at Doman International to figure out the right way to work through the findings.

It is very important to note that this protocol is always changing. When new test results come in we adapt accordingly. This may mean increasing or decreasing the dose, discontinuing, or adding in a new supplement.

I know our plan is not perfect. I feel overwhelmed each time we get a new set of test results back. If it was not for a great group of well educated, fellow parents also doing this, and our naturopath, I would be lost. Because of these wonderful people, we have been seeing great results. As a parent, I feel so empowered that we are now treating the problems my son has, not just the symptoms.

Forum & Other Parents

If you want to learn more about Dr Amy Yasko’s program, check out her forum.



What to Learn More About Doman International?
Click HERE to fill out a quick form and a representative from Doman International will contact you to set a FREE 30-minute consultation.

Disclaimer: This page may include affiliate links. I appreciate it when my readers use them as it provides me a little compensation and no extra cost to you.

YET ANOTHER USA HOMESCHOOL BOOK HAUL Part 1: Homeschooling on a Budget

Back in May I went to the USA without the kids and spent a whole weekend with my parents and younger brother. We drove out to Fargo, North Dakota in my parents motor home.

Because my dad was driving, I was able to read the whole way out. I read A Child Called It: One Child’s Courage to Survive & The Lost Boy: A Foster Child’s Search for the Love of a Family Lately if you look through my Goodreads, its easy to see most of the books I read are of the children’s variety. So it was nice to read something that was not written for children for once.

Don’t get me wrong, I love reading children’s stories with my kids, but sometimes a Mama needs some adult conversation.

Of course on the way in I stopped at Mike’s Parcel Service and picked up several boxes of books, curriculum and supplements. I also bought a HUGE 600 page package of laminating sheets. Sadly Amazon packed it will my box of puzzles, and the laminating sheets were so heavy they destroyed the wooden box. Thankfully Amazon refunded me the money for the puzzles and my dad was able to repair the box.

It was such a nice get away, and felt like the old days. We laughed and talked about the old times when my brother and I were kids. I know that this weekend away will be one of those memories I have with me for always.

My mom and I did very good on our Weight Watchers plan. We were able to track and still lose weight at our weigh in the following week. I stocked up on products that I cannot get in Canada and we tried a few need products, and loved them.

Crossing the border was a nightmare. We did not calculate our receipts the way the border patrol wanted us to and we were hauled in. Sadly I depended on my phone to proved receipts for the items I picked up at the border, and for the first time ever I could not get reception at the border. Thankfully, the border patrol officer inside was much nicer, and took pity on us. After a quick look through the motor home, he waved us through.

All I know, is now I plan to have the numbers added up in different ways, ready to go. I will also not depend on my phone to proved receipts. I will print my PayPal and Amazon invoices before I head out.

So of course, if your like me your saying: So what books did you pick up??

Check out the video below to see Part 1 of my USA Haul. Below you can find all the links to the books mentioned. Stay tuned for the next two parts of this USA Haul!


From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Phineas L. Macguire: Brownies Soothe the Savage Beast

Phineas L. Macguire Gets Cooking Part 1

The Turret

Miss Bianca in the Salt Mines

Miss Bianca

Miss Bianca in the Orient

The Rescuers 

Little Farm in the Ozarks (Little House, The Rocky Ridge Years)

In the Land of the Big Red Apple (Little House Sequel)

Amelia Earhart: Young Air Pioneer (Young Patriots series)

Helen Keller (History Maker Bios Series)

Hurricane Heroes in Texas (Magic Tree House)

Warriors in Winter (Magic Tree House)

The Mystery at the Roman Colosseum (Around the World In 80 Mysteries)

Mystery at Kill Devil Hills Carole Marsh Mysteries

The Mystery at Mount Fuji (Around the World In 80 Mysteries)

Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom (Easy Biographies)

Albert Einstein: Creative Genius

Adventures of Little Critter (An I Can Read Book Series)

Adventures of Little Critter (An I Can Read Book Series)

Penny Dora and the Wishing Box Volume 1

Spectrum Paperback Math Book, Grade 1, Ages 6-7

Science K & Up (Kumon Sticker Activity Books)

Science Sticker Activity Book (Kumon Sticker and Activity)

Geography: U.S. and Canad Book (Kumon Sticker Activity Books, Pre-K & Up)

You Wouldn’t Want to Explore With Sir Francis Drake!

Little Critter® Little Red Riding Hood: A Lift-the-Flap Book

How Much Is a Million? (Reading Rainbow Books)

If You Made a Million

Skeletons (The Magic School Bus, A Science Fact Finder)

Champ: Gallant Collie

Florence Nightingale (Usborne)

Dear America: Down the Rabbit Hole

Dear America: A Journey to the New World

Dear America: A Light in the Storm

Dear America: A Picture of Freedom

Elizabeth Blackwell: The First Woman Doctor

The Cat Who Went to Heaven

Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes

Rose at Rocky Ridge (Little House Chapter Book)

Brookfield Days (A Little House Chapter Book; Caroline 1)

Pioneer Sisters: (Little House Chapter Book)

Rose and Alva: (Little House Chapter Book)

The Chocolate Touch

Muffy’s Secret Admirer: A Marc Brown Arthur Chapter Book 17 

The Lucky Stone (Yearling Book)

Meet Abraham Lincoln (Landmark Books)

I Am Albert Einstein

Henry and the Paper Route (Henry Huggins)

The USA (Horrible Histories Special)

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

The Berenstain Bear Scouts and the Terrible Talking Termite (Berenstain Bear Scouts)

The Berenstain Bear Scouts and the Ripoff Queen (Berenstain Bear Scouts)

Hachiko Waits: Based on a True Story

Double Dog Trouble

The Penguin Problem (Ready, Freddy!, No. 19)

The Whipping Boy

Dear America: The Winter of Red Snow

Dear America: So Far From Home

Dear America: When Will This Cruel War Be Over?

The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins: A World War II Soldier Normandy France, 1944

The Journal of James Edmond Pease a Civil War Union Soldier (My Name is America)

My America: My Brother’s Keeper: Virginia’s Civil War Diary, Book One

My America: Freedom’s Wings: Corey’s Underground Railroad Diary, Book One

My America: Flying Free: Corey’s Underground Railroad Diary, Book Two

My America: Westward To Home: Joshua’s Oregon Trail Diary, Book One

My America: A Perfect Place: Joshua’s Oregon Trail Diary, Book Two

Pippi Goes on Board (Pippi Longstocking)

Pippi in the South Seas (Pippi Longstocking)

The Courage of Sarah Noble

The Well : David’s Story (Logan Family Saga)

Who Conducted the Underground Railroad and Other Questions About the Path to Freedom

Triplet Trouble and the Talent Show Mess

Philip Hall Likes Me, I Reckon Maybe (Puffin Newberry Library)

Kidnapped (A Stepping Stone Book)

Me Oh Maya 13 (Time Warp Trio)

Martin Luther King Jr. (Heroes of America)

Bobbsey Twins 01: The Bobbsey Twins of Lakeport

Bobbsey Twins 02: The Bobbsey Twins’ Adventure in the Country

Bobbsey Twins 04: Mystery at School

The Bobbsey Twins On a Houseboat 

The Bobbsey Twins’ Big Adventure at Home (The Bobbsey Twins 8)

Bobbsey Twins 09: The Bobbsey Twins’ Search in the Great City

The Bobbsey Twins’ Adventure in Washington (Bobbsey Twins, No. 12)

The Bobbsey Twins Camping Out (The Bobbsey Twins, No. 16)

The Mandie Collection, Vol. 2: Books 6-10

Mandie Collection: 6

Have you read any of these books? What did you and your kiddos think?

Homeschool Collection {Monthly Round UP}

This post does include affiliate links. We appreciate it if you want to get any of the books mentioned in this post or video that you use our link. It helps us get more materials for Zakari’s homeschool.

TOS Review: Crafty Classroom – R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook Gr. 1

Hands-on, Low-prep and Ready to Go Learning - Tots to 3rd Grade {Crafty Classroom Reviews}

For the last few weeks Zakari and I have been working through Crafty Classroom‘s R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook Gr. 1.

R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook Gr. 1 is a HUGE 36 week, 4 day a week curriculum for you to use to teach your child to read.

R.E.A.D. stands for Ready, Eager, Able & Determined to READ!

What is R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook Gr. 1 All About?

When you download the R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook Gr. 1 PDF, you will initially find a 4 day a week, 36 week schedule.

For the first 2 weeks your student will be reviewing the Long Vowel Sounds.

Every week, except for review weeks your student will work through:

  • a reference charts
  • vowel teams & word list
  • sight words
  • weekly vocabulary
  • grammar
  • Science & Social Studies
  • writing assignments
  • & a early reader

Some Assembly Required

While the course is for the most part designed to be a print ready format, there are a few things that need to be prepared. This will take a few minutes before initially starting the program with your student.

For example cutting the Story Strips for your child’s Daily Writing Notebook.

How Did We Use This Program?

When I opened up the PDF I received, I was surprised to see how large it was, 942 pages to be exact.

So the first thing I did was go through and read the first few pages before I printed out anything.

Then I printed out the the Comprehensive Weekly Curriculum Overview and Curriculum Overview for reference.

Once I had that done, I went through all the workpages, and decided what my son needed work on, and what he already grasped. Because he is already reading, and I’m wanting to focus on writing, grammar and penmanship. I had to be careful and asked myself is this a good use of his time? Or is this busy work?

Once I had a few weeks of work printed, we started working through the sheets I had selected.

Busy Work? You Said Busy Work?

Like I said, Zakari is already reading, so for him, some of these work sheets are busy work. But if he was walking into this program without a strong grasp of sight words and blend, these pages would not be busy work.

If I was using this program with a child who was needing to learn how to read, I would likely hit each work sheet in the order they are presented.

Now with all that said, some of the phonics & sight word work sheets were still beneficial for Zakari to work through. We were not using them to learn sight words or phonics, we used them to work on his scanning and fine motor skills.

What Did I Like Best?

I just loved the Story Starters. While language and conversation doesn’t come easier for Zakari, I need to make a conscience effort to try to engage in conversation with him more. But it can be hard when it at times is only one sided. I never know what to say, as I don’t want it to come off contrived or forced.

While working with Doman International, we are suppose to use a choice board to help give Zakari a tool to engage in conversation. The problem is I struggle staying motivated with this because I never know what to ask.

Now I have 144 possible questions to ask my son and learn more about his likes and dislikes. It is so much fun, and then I scribe his answers in our daily writing notebook.

I know this is not the main purpose of the curriculum, but I just had to share how we were able to adapt it for a child with special needs.

Want to Know What Others Though?

If you want to learn about what other homeschooling families thought about this program and others created by Crafty Classroom, click the banner below. There you will be connect with 50 other homeschool families trying different Crafty Classroom products!

Hands-on, Low-prep and Ready to Go Learning - Tots to 3rd Grade {Crafty Classroom Reviews}
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Year Round Homeschooling: What We Do In The Summer

Summer Homeschool Plans

I cannot believe that it is July already! My big kids are out of public and private school for the summer. But what about Zakari? Do we put the books away for 2 months as well?

No, no we don’t.

What Did I Want Year Round Homeschooling to Look Like?

Early on year round homeschooling just made sense to me. I just had to work though how this was going to look for our family. 

I knew I didn’t want to slow down our learning during September to June. Zakari was completely capable of doing a full course load during the school year. But starting the next years curriculum in April or May didn’t seem right either. Some times children need those few months to mature enough to be able to handle the next level. So what should I do then?

Why We Homeschool in the Summer

Well wait! We homeschool in the summer?? What kind of monster am I? Kids need breaks too!
Whoa whoa whoa! I’m not a crazy slave driver. I do not have my 1st, almost 2nd grade son sitting at a table 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. 
Like many homeschool moms, I work from home. For me working from home is running a home daycare. But we still are able to get what we need done, giving my son even more free time then his public & private school siblings. 

What Our Regular School Day Looks Like:


Playtime/daycare activities

Several hours outside 


Daycare kiddos lay down for nap or go off to preschool

Zakari and I homeschool for two hours with several movement breaks.

Daycare wakes up. 


Playtime/daycare activities

Outside till daycare kids are picked up. 

ABA tutor does 1.5-2 hours of ABA Monday-Wednesday. 


Family time 

Bedtime routine

Read aloud time till Zakari falls asleep (30mins to 1hr 30mins)  

Our schedule will look different come September. We will no longer be working with ABA. Zakari will start his Doman International program again & maybe a music class. But for the rest of the July this is what our average day looks like.

This year I have been blessed with the majority of August off. I’m hoping to be able to get a lot of school work done and even more outings in!

What We Are Using to Homeschool This Summer

For the last few years our main homeschool curriculum as been Bookshark. Last summer when we finished Bookshark PreK in April, we started Build Your Library Level 0 right away. This year I decided not to do a full curriculum from spring to fall. We had so many awesome resources I had hoarded collected over the last few years, to collect and purchase another full curriculum did not seem economical.

So I spent some time going through what we already had and I came up with this:

180 Days of Science: Grade K: In January we started working through 180 Days of Science for Kindergarten. We usually did a few pages a few times a week. But we still had some left at the end of June. So we will be working to complete this book.

180 Days of Spelling and Word Study: Grade K: Zakari started working though this book in the spring. We were really happy with the lay out, and how it is helping reinforce spelling basic words. It has been great practice for him. If you want to read more about this book you can check out my review here: 180 Days of Spelling & Word Study Kindergarten: Review

180 Days of Social Studies: Grade K: We also started this workbook in January and are nowhere’s near completing it yet. But that OK. I’m not in a hurry, but we would like to start hitting it 1-2 times a week. If we have to add it to our September line up that is totally fine with us!

180 Days of Reading: Grade K : This was another book we received from Teachers Created Material in the Spring to review. Even though Zakari is reading at a much higher level then this, the stories and comprehension questions are short and multiple choice, making them ideal for learning how to answer questions.

First Start Reading Books C to E: When we started reviewing First Start Reading earlier in 2019, I never imaged the impact it would make on Zakari’s spelling skills.

Sure as we near the end of book C, he really hasn’t learned how to read any new words, as he already knew them. However I can see the repetition and copy work are helping him understand how words are spelled out. In the short time we have been using this program, he has gone from not being able to spell at all(besides his first name), to being able to spell most 3 letter words, starting to spell 4 letter words and now can spell his last name too.

Rhythm & Writing Program

Usborne First Sticker Books

One thing I have noticed with Zakari is he has been able to control his impulses more this year. This has allowed him to be able to do more fine motor work. Last year he was unable to use stickers. If he did get the sticker off the sticker sheet, he would rip it, or mouth it.

Now he can scan a sheet of stickers for the right sticker, remove said sticker, and place it in the right spot in the book. If the sticker rips its by accident, and he no longer even tries to bring it to his mouth. These sticker books have become very enjoyable to him, often how I coax him to the table to the table to start on school. Once he has warmed up using these sticker books, he is more then happy to start working on other assignments.

Preschool Beginner Math: for 2-4 year olds This is a program that I did purchase for summer. It is written by a YouTuber that I just love, Jady A. While I know Zakari is well past a Preschool math level, there are some concepts that must be know in order to really thrive with Math. So we are going to quickly power through this book to make sure there are no holes in his math education.

This is especially important with children on the Autism spectrum. They are notorious for grasping higher level concepts and having no understanding of another concept on a much lower level. This mean it can be quite easy for us teachers to just assume they know something.

At the end of the school year we started working through Houghton Mifflin Reading: Student Edition Grade 1.1 Here We Go reader that I got in a used Calvert Grade 1 curriculum pack. While we didn’t use a lot of the pack this year, I really liked these textbooks. So this summer we are reading 1-2 stories in these books 3-4 times a week. I’m hoping that come September we can dive right into the Grade 2 books, but if we have a bit of the Grade 1 readers that’s OK too.

Houghton Mifflin Reading: Student Anthology, Grade 1.2 – Let’s Be Friends

Houghton Mifflin Reading: Student Edition Grade 1.3 Surprises 

Houghton Mifflin Reading, Student Edition Grade 1.4, Treasures

Houghton Mifflin Reading: Student Anthology Grade 1.5 Wonders 

The Sassafras Science Adventures: Volume One: Zoology:(NOT IN THE VIDEO) This is not something I planned on using this summer. But while at a fellow homeschool mom friends birthday party, she lent me The Sassafras Science Adventure Vol 1 & 2. I planned on holding onto it for the new school year, but once I got my hands on it we landed up diving right in.

Can you believe I even found the teachers guide at the thrift store this week? It was a sign that we were meant to work though this curriculum.

Summer Reading Club

Zakari with his 2018 Summer Reading Club Haul

Last year we were introduced to Abby’s Usborne Summer Reading Program. This worked out so great for us because it made sure we were keeping up with our reading during the summer. It also give us the chance to order books on the American side of Usborne. I was surprise to see the US side of the company was a much larger selection then the Canadian side.

So when I saw Abby’s video this spring saying she was doing another Summer Reading Club, I jumped on the chance to join again. We just complete the program and Zakari logged 1900 minutes. 500 more minutes then last year. Plus so many family members this year generously made pledges. Stay tune for an Usborne Haul video.

Outside plans

Of course a large part of our summer will be enjoying the great outdoors. We live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, infamously know as “Winterpeg”. So I have promised myself to get the kids outside as much as possible, knowing that the upcoming winter will come fast and as usual hit hard.

So far we have hit 2 splash pads, been to a few different beaches 3 times, and have been to two pool parties. Plus we enjoyed many hikes and park visits.

Upcoming Doman International Appointment  

In a little less then a month, we will be meeting with Doman International via video call. In the meantime, we are getting ready. This means hair metal testing, blood work, and sending stool samples off. I’m also sure that in a few or two I will receive a packet of forms to fill out.

I’m excited to meet with the team again and start planning for Zakari’s upcoming therapies. This is it, them and us, figuring out what makes Zakari tick. He has come so far, and I know since IAHP and Doman International split, Doman International has been using new programs that were not available when we last visited. Plus Zakari has grown and developed so much already, I”m sure he’s reading for a whole lot more.

One program we will not be doing is patterning. As much as I understand the benefits, I could just never get a team together to do it enough to make it beneficial for Zakari. So I’d rather focus my energies on programs we can make work.

Few Days Away

Last year we took the kids down south to Grand Forks, North Dakota to go spend a few days at Canad Inns hotel. There we are going to get the bulk of our school supply shopping down, pick up some homeschool resources at the border parcel pick service, and spend tons of time at the water park.

You can read more about our trip last year here: Traveling With Autism: Mini Vacation Grand Forks 2018

Homeschool Mama’s! What are your summer plans?

I always love hearing about how other families spend their time during the summer. What do you do? Please share in the comments below!

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TOS Review: The Heart Changer

The Heart Changer {Jarm Del Boccio, Author Reviews}

The Heart Changer

This month our family had the chance to read and review the Biblical/historical fiction The Heart Changer, a debut book from a, written by Jarm Del Boccio, Author.

We received a digital copy, and I was able to read it on my iPhone quite easily. The download process was seamless, and with in minutes I was able to dive right into the book.

What is the story about?

The story is told in first person, about a 12 year old Israeli girl named Miriam. In the first chapter, we learn how to Miriam is captured during a horrible raid on her village. She is picked as a “gift” to the Commander’s wife to serve as her maidservant. The Commander’s wife is dissatisfied with the maidservant she currently had, and was pleased when Miriam arrived.

Miriam struggles with her faith, feeling abandoned, as she is force to serve the family who may have been responsible for the death of her own family. There are so many unknowns in Miriam’s life, she is completely unaware how the Lord is preparing her for a greater mission.

What age range is this book for?

The Heart Changer’s publisher recommended age for this book is ages 7 to 12. I originally started reading this book with my newly 7 year old son, however within a few pages I decided to stop. For my son I decided that the book was a little too mature for him. I am not one to usually sugar coat what we read, however this book was so well written in my opinion, the scene was so real to us.

I decided to continue reading this book on my own and I will put it aside for a year or two, and then pull it out to read with my son. My decision to stop reading it with him was just a “mom gut feeling”. In no way was the book inappropriate, and I’m sure it would be a fit for many 7 year olds. However I consider Zakari to be a young 7 year old, so it just did not feel right.

That being said, limiting this book to the max age of 12 would be unfortunate. As an adult I enjoyed reading about Miriam’s trials and her journey while she struggled with her faith.

Teachers Guide

What I loved was parent’s can access the Teacher’s Guide free of charge. Just head to the publishers website, and scroll down till you a see a white graphic with black text that simply says The Heart Changer Teacher’s Guide, like the image below. Click on that image(on the publishers website), and it will bring you to a PDF copy of the teachers guide.

In this teachers guide you will find:

  • A getting to know the author section
  • Getting to know the main character Miriam section
  • Researching the setting section
  • Activities relating to The Heart Changer
  • and Syrian Recipes

What I thought about the book?

I really enjoyed the story and the style it was written in. The author capture the emotion of the character that made her come to life.

What to Know What Others Thought?

If you want to hear what other homeschooling families thought of this book, click the link below. There you will find reviews from 40+ families.

The Heart Changer {Jarm Del Boccio, Author Reviews}
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Raising Bookworms: What We Read in June 2019

Raising Zakari to love books is a passion of mine. My goal while homeschooling him is to expose him to as many great books as possible. I know kids grow so fast and that my time with him while he is small is limited.

This June turned into a month where we read even more then usual. I made sure wherever we went that I had a book with us. We really took advantage of almost ever moment we could get in a bit of reading.

This month we read 23 chapter books! I think that is a new record for us!

If you want to see what we read, check out my latest video! And if you want links to the books we read, keep scrolling down to check them out!

Calendar Mysteries 6: June Jam: Zakari and I just cannot get enough of the younger siblings of the A to Z Mysteries series. We love scheduling these books into our read alouds. Most of these I was able to find used, however we were missing June. When we find a good series I have no issues paying full price for them. Once again author Ron Roy did not disappoint!

Cars 2: Fueled for Adventure (Disney Chapter Book): When I read a book, to me it is like a movie going on in my head. That is not always the case for all readers. So I think it is beneficial for kids to read books about characters they may already know from TV shows or movies. It makes it easier for them to image what is happening in the story.

This Little Pig (Janette Oke’s Animal Friends)

Farm Rescue: I was pleasantly surprised with this book. Zakari and I read another book by this author and we were not impressed. I actually landed up selling the whole series because I knew we would not read them. When I realized who wrote this book, I was nervous, but this series seems to be more our style of books. So I’m excited to continue reading this series.

The Mystery of Pony Hollow (A Stepping Stone Book)

Laura & Nellie: (Little House Chapter Book)

Zombies Don’t Play Soccer (The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, 15)

Passager: The Young Merlin Trilogy, Book One: This book was a bit out of our usual style of reading. But seeing as we are reading the Magic Tree House Merlin Missions, I thought it might be fun to read about Merlin’s early years. Overall we liked it.

Animal Adventures: (Little House Chapter Book)

Liz Learns a Lesson (The Critter Club)

Firefighter Dog (Artlist Collection, The Dog) We really impressed with this book. It take place at the point for view of the dog. It was neat to learn about why dalmatians are often used as a fire dog.

Hollywood Spaniel (Artlist Collection: The Dog) Another great story from the point of view of two dogs. One dog is a famous TV star, while the other is lives with a poor family. They switch places, and when it is discovered the switch lands up helping everyone involved.

Jack (The Puppy Place 17) Charles and Lizzie have their work cut out for them when they try and help find a forever home for Jack, who loves to chew… on everything.

Claude at the Beach: This was such a cute book. Honestly the only reason I grab this at the book sale is because my dad’s name is Claude. But after reading this one, if I found more in the series I would pick them up.

Frog Power (The Cul-de-Sac Kids) (Book 5)

Blue Bay Mystery (The Boxcar Children Mysteries Book 6)

Warriors in Winter (Magic Tree House)

The Spell Thief (Little Legends) This is a new series I picked up from the Scholastic Book Club. One line in the whole book had everyone busting a gut while I read aloud in the car.

“Such a wonderful spell!” exclaimed the stepmother wistfully. “I remember turning my third ex-husband‘s new wife into a cake using that spell. Of course it didn’t last very long, just a couple of hours – just long enough for her family to get hungry.” 

Hurricane Heroes in Texas (Magic Tree House) This had to be one of my favorite Magic Tree House books, it is tied with Tonight on the Titanic (Magic Tree House, No. 17)

A Ghost in the Castle (The Kingdom of Wrenly) We were so excited when this came in the mail early! We had preordered it of course, because we are addicted to The Kingdom of Wrenly. So when it arrived several days before its actual release date, we dove right in. Every time we get a preordered book ahead of schedule, we always feel special knowing we are of a small handful who got to read it early.

Ballpark Mysteries 1: The Fenway Foul-up

School Days (Little House Chapter Book)

Daisy the Kitten (Dr. KittyCat 3): This series was recommended to me by a YouTube friend. We enjoyed it, I’m not sure I would pay full price for them, but if I come across any of the others in the series at the next book sale or a thrift store I would be sure to grab them.

Thanks for checking out what we read in June! Share with me in the comments what you and your kiddos are reading.

This post does include affiliate links. If you decide to get any of these books we would appreciate if you used the links in this post. Amazon gives us a small commission at no extra charge to you.

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TOS Review: Learning Dynamics

Learning Dynamics Reading Program  {Learning Dynamics Reviews}

Learning Dynamics: Start Reading in 4 Weeks!

So anyone that has followed my blog for even a short time knows I believe parents should start teaching their children to read as young as possible. So when I had the chance to team up with TOS & Learning Dynamics it was a no brainer!

Zakari & I were sent the complete Learning Dynamics Reading Program to review.

This kit included:

  • Lesson Manual
  • 50+ Full-Color Books
  • 30+ Songs – Music CD: If you are like me and don’t use CDs very often, the music can also be downloaded from the Learning Dynamics Website.
  • Activity Book / Workbook
  • Letter Rewards
  • Flashcards

Right away I could see the whole kit was reusable, with the exception of the workbook. However when I went on their website I saw that extra copies of this workbook can be purchased for additional students.

All of the books and flashcards are printed on high quality paper, and I feel are very durable. They can easily withstand being passed down to younger children when done.

Want a closer look at what is included in this kit, check out the video below:

Can You Use This Program With Special Needs Children Too?

As mom to a special needs kiddo, this is a question I ask myself while reviewing each product. But I’m happy to say, yes! This program is an awesome way to help teach little ones with special needs to read.

Learning Dynamics assumes that the child has no reading experience what so ever, ans starts right at the beginning with letter sounds. Within 4 weeks your child will be reading their first book.

What if your child already knows their letter sounds?

That’s OK, just flash through the beginning part of the program as a review and slow down when you get to an area where your child starts to seem more unsure. For us that look like using the first part of the workbook as penmanship practice and then flipping further ahead really diving into the materials my son needed practice on . Like lesson 39 where Learning Dynamics starts teaching the student about vowels.

How Does The Program Work?

Learning Dynamics requires very little prep work from the parent. It is recommended that your child use the program 3 days a week.

The parent reads one page from the manual, then follows the clearly laid out instructions to teach a short 15 minute lesson to the student. Afterwards parent celebrates the child’s success and then you casually review what they learned during the day.

Our Overall Thoughts

After using this program for a few weeks, I have to say I am quite happy with it. Many other programs on the market only include a few small books for your child to work through. Learning Dynamics includes 50 books for your child to work through. This is especially motivating to a student, as they work through the lessons, their collection of book that they can read grows and grow.

Artemis the cat trying to read over Zakari’s shoulders

I love keeping the books that we have already gone through accessible to Zakari so he can practice reading at his leisure.

Now Available in Canada!

When I first received this product, I had it shipped to the border parcel service, because at the time this review was only open to US members of the TOS Review Crew. But

Interested In Trying This Program?

Use this link and receive 10% off your purchase!

Want to Know What Other Homeschooling Families Thought Of This Program?

Click the banner below and discover how 40 other homeschool families used this program!

Learning Dynamics Reading Program  {Learning Dynamics Reviews}
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