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Meet a Reviewer: Amanda Hopkins

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Hey, everybody!  We got the chance to have Amanda interact with us here at WinterPromise.  Amanda is one of our bloggers and has done a review for us in the past and is currently experiencing the “Thanksgiving 1621” program.  We love having her on our team.  It was very enjoyable to hear what she had to say about life, homeschooling and her thoughts on a dream planner even!  Amanda is an enthusiastic homeschooler and blogs about her and her family at hopkinshomeschool.com.  Her thoughts should inspire you, too!

WP:  Tell us about you and your family Amanda.
Amanda:  I am a stay at home mom to my three beautiful children. I live in east central Minnesota with my husband of 8 years. Our oldest two are boys, they are 13 and 5 years old. Our youngest is a little princess who is 2.5 years old. We love playing outside in the many different weather conditions we have here.

WP:  What inspired you to homeschool your kids and when did you start?
Amanda:  Our oldest son was in public school until the middle of his 6thgrade year. Our middle son went to public preschool for two months. When our middle son didn’t like preschool we thought we would be able to do preschool at home no problem. Than when our oldest started to have some issues at school and we were busy “helping” the school a little too much we decided to pull him out.

We have been homeschooling for almost a full year now. We now have a 7thgrader, Kindergartener and tot schooler. We plan on continuing this journey with our kids for as long as the Lord allows us to (I hope until they graduate).

WP:  What are the different companies that you have tried? Have you ever tried to go it alone?
Amanda:  When we first started I used Easy Peasy All-in-one Homeschool. Over the summer I did a lot of piecing things together and I am in love with Pinterest for those in a rush moments of needing something quick.

WP:  Amanda, when did you first experience WinterPromise and what were your first impressions?
Amanda:  The first time I ever heard about WinterPromise, honestly, was when I did a Google search for a Charlotte Mason style curriculum. I came to the website and was in love with everything I saw. When I was invited to help promote the opening of Spirited~Autumn~Hope, I jumped for joy! I love how everything is planned out and I just need to grab and go. This makes it much easier to spend more time doing the fun stuff with my family.

WP:  What has been your favorite program with us and why?
Amanda:  My Kindergarten son would say that his favorite program was Simple Machines, and that would be because he got to do a lot of that with Daddy. I personally really enjoy the new Thanksgiving in 1621. Like I already said, I love that everything is done for me, but I also love that it covers Thanksgiving from both the Pilgrim’s and the Indian’s point of views. There was a lot of work put into this program and it shows!

WP:  From your perspective, Amanda, what makes WinterPromise different from any other curriculum?
Amanda:  A lot of the curriculum options that I have looked at are really just the facts that are needed for the kids to learn and don’t have a lot of fun added into them. I don’t like the black and white get it done type of school. WinterPromise does not do that at all. There are lots of fun things added into the different weeks. Something as simple as drawing a picture of what we are learning about make it that much more fun for my kids.

Another thing I like about WinterPromise is the different themes. I like knowing that we are staying on one theme and I am able to find extra books or coloring pages to go with that theme. It is fun to see the house transform into the different themes that we are learning about.

WP:  Amanda, there has to be a funny story or two from homeschooling that you have. Tell us a good one!
Amanda:  Over the summer we watch my friend’s kids. We started school the last week of their summer vacation, but ended up taking it easy and not being too strict on everything. When they had to go back to school, they were crying that it wasn’t fair that my kids got to sleep in late and do school in their pajamas.

WP:  Do you have any opinions on a WinterPromise planner? What would be in your dream planner to help you stay organized?
Amanda:  My dream planner would include a weekly schedule that had a space for each child. It would have to have pretty colors and/or pictures in it. As fun as digital planners are, I am a pen and paper girl when it comes to planners.

WP:  Have you ever used any of our ebook options?  What was your experience with them?
Amanda:  Although I love the paper and pen for planners, I love the eBook options when it comes to curriculum. I am able to get the item so much quicker than waiting for it to come in the mail! I can print what I want to print and store the rest on my computer or tablet until I need it.

WP:  Amanda, how does your husband stay involved in the homeschooling, or does he let you handle most of it?
Amanda:  My husband is an over the road truck driver. He loves to have me ask his opinions on things, but he mostly plays the role of principal, while I am the teacher. When he is home the kids love to cuddle with him and listen to him read. When it comes to those “boy” things, like Simple Machines, he loves to get involved and will add in many life topics for the kids to learn about. The kids get to tell him about what they learned each day and he loves to quiz them on different items. Even though he isn’t “home” every day, he is still a part of school each and every day.

Thanks so much, Amanda! As we mentioned, you can follow Amanda and her family at hopkinshomeschool.com. We love hearing about how much our families enjoy learning together. It sounds like Amanda is a fun teacher!

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Winter Promise Wednesday!

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This week I have another wonderful review to share with you from Wendy who blogs at Following In His Footsteps! Wendy is using Children Around the World this year with her children and has written an introduction on how they are liking this program so far!

Children Around the World review

 

Here are some of the things that Wendy is looking forward to as her family uses Children Around the World:

What I  Look forward to about reviewing Children Around the World

  • We will be learning more about many countries, which will mesh well with our overall studies as a family.  We were already planning to learn more about other countries and cultures this year when this review opportunity came along. God knew what I needed well before I did!
  • We will get to plan and take part in what Winter Promise calls ‘Cultural Gatherings’, which includes planning and cooking food from several of the countries we will study, for family, and sometimes friends. A celebration, something I love!
  • Included along with all of the other components of the digital program is a guide for how to use Children Around the World. I especially enjoy this feature, as I always like to read the directions before preparing a recipe, playing a game, or building anything.I am very much the same with a curriculum package. Once I know the ins and outs of how it is supposed to run, I may then make changes to suit my family.
  • Though this program is digital, I am not stuck using it only on the computer or printing it out for use! While one can print out all of the files and store them in a large binder if preferred, the files can also be placed in Dropbox and read on my iPad. I can even open it with Kindle and read that way. This will be so much easier than printing everything out or reading on my Mac, and I am grateful that it is an option available to me, so I had to share it with you!

To read Wendy’s full post, hop over to her blog!

 

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Winter Promise Wednesday

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Today I want to share with you how Jennifer, from Royal Little Lambs is using Animals & Their Worlds in their home!

Jennifer says…

I cannot express how pleased I am with Glow in the Dark Fish. I had never heard of it before. It is a whole family Bible study, worshiping God through creation. It’s a book after my little naturalist heart. We’ve been in awe of God through spirals and Fibonacci and other patterns in nature. Liz and Alex drew spirals in spider webs and snail shells as I read that lesson. 

It is ah-may-zing! The kids want to read it every day, but it’s listed on the curriculum guide as once a week. It’s a fave. 

We went ahead and completed the animal height chart (we’re supposed to do just the animal we’re learning about each week, but I didn’t have the heart to tell them no after we completed the construction and first sticker). The kids loved this so much! We also made little stickers for the kids and our cats. 

Jennifer shares a lot more on her blog, so check out her full review of Animals & Their Worlds!

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Winter Promise Wednesday

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I am so excited to share with you today about another Winter Promise family and how they use the curriculum in their home!!

Pauline shares on her blog about how she combines Animals and Their Worlds with Children Around the World!! I’m going to share some of her info here on our blog, but click over to her place to read the full post!

Here’s what Pauline has to say about using Winter Promise and how they combine the 2 programs!

SCIENCE
max absolutely LOVES animals and learning about them. so when i stumbled upon winter promise’s animals and their worlds, which a science-based curriculum, i totally jumped on it. we will be going through seven different habitats and studying the animals that are found in them. i’ve spent the last couple weeks going through the teacher’s guide and the resources/books that come with the boxed curriculum, and we even tried out some of the lessons, as random topics of discussion about specific animals came up throughout our days. i have to say that, from what i see and what we’ve tried so far, we are SUPER EXCITED about it!

Here are the Winter Promise exclusives they are using from Animals & Their Worlds: 

– the teacher’s guide

– the habitats, hallows & homes journal

– the animal notebooking pages

– the animal height chart

More subjects & how they included Children Around the World

GEOGRAPHY/WORLD CULTURES/BIBLE
i am also adding my own component to it as well. since being convicted about some things lately, i’ve been trying to communicate with the kids that there is a world out there with children just like them, yet whose lives may not necessarily look the same. i decided that if we were going to essentially be traveling the globe studying habitats, we might as well take a closer look at the countries those habitats are located in, and meet children who live there! so basically i am adding a very, very, light, introduction to geography/world cultures component to our animals/habitats studies to help give max a global perspective of the world and to enlighten him on the needs of those in other countries so we can pray for them and find ways to help them.i found out winter promise offers a children around the world curriculum that focuses on the plight of children in different countries, but it’s lessons are geared towards older children. i ended up spending a lot of time looking through the specific resources contained in that curriculum and ordered only a few things from them that i thought would possibly compliment our studies this year, and would be age appropriate.

Winter Promise Exclusives they are using from Children Around the World

– children of many lands (i like how the book is written as if you are meeting a child from that country, and he or she is basically giving you a tour of their country)

– the maps & map figures (which are SUPER COOL!!!)

– and the personal involvement and prayer journal (which i purchased in ebook format, and will be the base of our bible-related studies this year)

I love reading about how other families are using Winter Promise! This is the first time I’ve personally read about a family using TWO programs and combining them! How fabulous does their school year sound?!?! If you want to read more details, please check out Pauline’s blog!
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Winter Promise Wednesday

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We love sharing how you are using Winter Promise in your homes!

This week I would like to share a few links and pictures with you from around the web…

Leigh, from Little Homeschool in the Woods shares about starting off their new year with Winter Promise!

Amy, from A Nest in the Rocks, had an English Tea party to start off their Children Around the World year!! Read more about their tea party and how they are using Winter Promise in their home on her recent post.

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Amber, from The Classic Housewife, is using our Dinosaur Days program with her science loving son who was eager for more science! It looks like they are having a great time! Read more about their fun with Dinosaur Days AND enter her give away for this program which will end on August 16th.

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Winter Promise Wednesday and YOU!

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Hi friends!! I wanted to share a little bit more about Winter Promise Wednesdays in the hopes that some of YOU would like to participate!

As you know, I (Candace,) have just recently started working with Winter Promise mostly in the area of this blog and social media. Well, what I am running into is that a lot of people have not heard of Winter Promise! And, we want to help families learn more about these great resources! I, myself, am a first time Winter Promise user, having purchased Quest for the Ancient World for our upcoming school year. When I started reading through all of the lessons, schedules, book lists and project ideas, I was truly amazed. I wondered WHY I had not tried out this product before. Truly, I am so excited about this curriculum and would not be doing what I’m doing (for the blog and social media) if I didn’t love it.

I want to help spread the word! I want to show-off families that are using Winter Promise in their homes so that other families can see how wonderful it is.

One of the main beauties of homeschooling is how DIFFERENT each of our families are. And that is the case with Winter Promise as well…you see, lots of different types of learners and different types of homeschoolers can use this curriculum and have a great school year. Kaeryn even shared here on our blog about using Winter Promise with different types of learners.

Have you used Winter Promise before?

Do you have pictures of your family doing a project or working on something with your Winter Promise curriculum?

We would love to show-off your family here!

Please leave your email or a message so that I can contact you and we will be in contact!

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Winter Promise Wednesday: Through the Years

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We are starting a brand new series called Winter Promise Wednesdays!  We would LOVE to be able to show-off YOUR families using Winter Promise in your homeschool. Today we are blessed to have a guest post from Jennifer, who has a blog dedicated to their Winter Promise adventures!  Thank you so much for sharing your family with us, Jennifer! 

There’s something special about a homeschool company which fits so well with your family that you keep coming back.  For our family, Winter Promise is that company.  It all started when our oldest son was entering first grade.  We had a FABULOUS year, using WinterPromise’s Animals and Their Worlds theme program along with the first grade Language Arts, which today is called Stories to Short Chapters and features all WinterPromise written readers.



We were excited to dive right into American Story 1 for second grade.  It was so fun and exciting that it inspired our homeschool drama of the year, in which our boy played King Ferdinand to his cousins’ Columbus and Queen Isabella.  We also completed Language Arts 2 from WinterPromise, which today is called Readers to Real Books.  Our science program was World Around Me, which has proved to be a family favorite as well.

The following year was our first year for two full time students.  Middle son joined in the fun, working on Animals and Their Worlds with Language Arts Basic K, which is now titled Letters to Little Words.  Eldest son went on to American Story 2 and completed the new LA3 from Winterpromise, featuring Scout the Dog.  It was a full and exciting year, including the baking of gingerbread men from the resource Last Safe House.

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Our fourth year of WinterPromise studies was a lovely mishmash of Adventures in the Sea and Sky, with Younger Learner Guide and Hideaways in History!  It was one of my favorite years, but both programs were SO full that we ended up saving some of the resources for later.  By this time, we had added another little boy to our family, so it was a great joy to watch him scampering in and out of the Hideaway structures.

 

 WinterPromise has become part of our homeschooling culture.  The joy of side by side learning and sharing is one I would not trade for anything.

 

Every year, we are excited to find new field trips which bring our studies alive!  Anything from a local interactive Jamestown experience, to Georgia mounds built by Native Americans, to an Air Force Museum or Kentucky Down Under- we take great joy in following our studies into the real world.






Winter Promise Wednesday: Aussie Style!

We are starting a brand new series called Winter Promise Wednesdays!  We would LOVE to be able to show-off YOUR families using Winter Promise in your homeschool. Today we are blessed to have a guest post from Kendra, who blogs at the Aussie Pumpkin Patch! If you would like to guest post for the Winter Promise blog, please fill out this form and we will be in touch: Winter Promise Blogger Interest Form

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A few years ago I was in a bit of what’s known as homeschool burnout. We’d outgrown our trusty old curriculum & I wasn’t truly sure where to go next. After much searching, praying, & considering I stumbled, quite literally, upon Winter Promise.

{Invitation the boys made for our English Tea}

It was a breath of fresh air, an answer to prayer, & quite literally saved me from enrolling my children in the local public school. Winter Promise had just the right mix of Adventure Reading, Non-Fiction spines, timeline work, & notebooking. Exactly what my family loved & enjoyed doing, only I didn’t have to figure out how to line it all up or schedule it out because it was all ready done for me. We had the best school year!

 

{Winter Promise Timeline Notebooks 3.5 years later}

 

Here we are a few years later & we’re still enjoying Winter Promise. One of my very favourite things about Winter Promise is how very easy & simple it is to combine children of different ages & grades. My boys are two years apart in age & about 2.5 grades apart in school. It’s not always easy breeching that small gap, but I find it quite simple with Winter Promise. Allowing my older one to accomplish all the notebooking & timeline bits, while having my younger student do the ones most applicable for his age & level.
{Maps from CAW Theme Photo}

 

 

This year we had intended to separate our children & using completely different themes with them. I wanted my 6th grader to use Children Around The World while my 4th Grader wanted to use Animal Worlds. We set out with that intention in mind adding in some extra adventure reading to both, but in the end our younger student felt left out not to be enjoying the same Theme as his big brother. We found it so easy to just slip him in despite being all most two complete terms into our school year. We simply picked up an e-copy of the lovely World Traveler’s Guide, & oh isn’t the e-copy beautiful with all that lovely colour inside of it!

 

{boys working together photo}

 

As a family we read all the lovely spines, or main books, for Children Around The World & then my children set themselves up at our work table surrounded by the books they need to work on their notebooking pages. My older son is able to help his younger brother which is very sweet to see.

My children absolutely love the non-fiction books & it’s often a fight over who gets to pry through them first after I’ve read aloud from the daily sections. Who knew looking at toilets & televisions around the world would cause such a fuss! While I do read the read alouds to the both children as well, I do assign each child a book of their own, perhaps as an audio or one we read together, something at their own age level. It’s fun for everyone to share together what they’ve been reading about in relation to our studies.

{Crazy Family Dressed up photo}

 

 

Our family has really enjoyed the cultural gatherings getting into the full swing of things complete with dressing up & pretend tours through famous cities & landmarks. The boys have gone all out with special invitations & encouraging us to use “proper accents” according to the country we are visiting.
It’s such a blessing to have found a curriculum that my children love, is a joy to use, & helps us create such wonderful memories along our homeschooling journey!
You can read more about Kendra’s family using Winter Promise on her blog where she has a full category of posts written as they were using the curriculum over the years. Thank you, Kendra!! 
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Quest for the Ancient World

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We’ve been homeschooling for 7 years now!! {That’s hard for me to believe!} and we’ve been fairly relaxed, very eclectic, reading lots of good books, doing lots of wonderful unit studies. And we just finished 2 wonderful years of American History where I mostly pulled everything together myself.

The truth is, I enjoy pulling everything together myself. I’m a former teacher, I’m a researcher by nature, I love looking for the perfect craft to go with the perfect lesson plan, etc. But, I gotta tell you, it’s a LOT of work. Searching Pinterest for days on in can be exhausting. ha!

I also gotta tell you that I have looked at LOTS of curriculum programs before. I have looked. And looked. And looked. Even in searching for World History stuff, I looked allllll over the place. I came *this* close to purchasing another major program at a recent conference but just didn’t have  100% peace about it.

Then, I came home, looked at the Winter Promise samples and was hooked. WHERE have you been my whole life, Winter Promise? 🙂

Here are the specific items that drew me in to this program:

  • assignment sheets ALREADY PREPARED for the girls for the entire year! I have already printed and put into a 3-ring binder for my girls, and my teacher guide is 1 weekly sheet also and I have those printed and in a binder also. (I might opt to spend a little more and get the print version next time. It is a LOT of pages and I ran out of ink halfway through printing and had to wait and order online. Cost might have actually evened out, not sure.) 
  • an independent reading schedule to coordinate with the history – plus comprehension questions for each book!! So excited about the “independent learning” opportunities for my girls this year – this is an area I have felt lacking in the past.
  • On the girls assignment sheets there are boxes for me to add in math, science, anything else I want to add for them.
  • list of recommended videos to coordinate with the schedule for the year – and bonus!! Several of them are offered for free on amazon prime, which we already have a membership for!
  • awesome notebooking pages, already found & done for me, for the whole year
  • “missions” or projects EACH WEEK for Hannah to choose from and complete independently
  • Links in the teacher’s guide to videos and online places for us to search out to add to our studies
  • many of the same titles to be read through the year as other world history programs
  • reading from BOTH Story of the World AND Mystery of History (I’ve always struggled to choose just one!) The schedule is already all written out for us
  • 4 day week plans through the year
  • very updated looking teacher guide, notebooking & worksheets to go along with everything (I know this is silly, but some of the samples I looked at online were so ancient looking!)

Winter Promise is a great blend of Charlotte Mason, quality literature, experience & activity based, and notebooking. I’m excited about all these great things that I love coming together in one place without having to piecemeal this year.

I can’t wait to get started!

Would YOU like to share on your blog about using Winter Promise in your home? What you love about it? Specific projects you’ve done? We’d love to have you join us! Please fill out this form and we will be in touch!  Winter Promise Bloggers Interest Form

Candace blogs at His Mercy is New and homeschools her 3 children in beautiful East TN. 

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Excited to be sharing!

Hello Winter Promise Friends!!

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and also invite YOU to be a part of something new and exciting at the Winter Promise blog!!

My name is Candace and I’m the brand new Community Coordinator for Winter Promise!! I know, what does that mean?? Well, Kaeryn and I have been talking about what we can do to share with the online world about our love for Winter Promise. This blog, along with several social media platforms, will help us to do that! We are working on several projects that we are excited to share with you in the coming weeks!

I am a homeschooling mom of 3 children, ages 11, 10 and 8yrs, from beautiful East Tennessee. If you’d like to read more about me or our homeschool, please hop over to my personal blog, His Mercy is New.

Now, on to the exciting blog news!

We want this blog to showcase what we love so much about Winter Promise! And we would LOVE to have YOU join us!

Here are some ways you could get involved:

  • Share about Winter Promise on your own personal blog!
  • Share about  how you use Winter Promise in your home here on OUR blog!
  • Share about Charlotte Mason ideals & methodology on our blog!

So, what do you think? Won’t it be awesome to read about how other families are using Winter Promise in their homes? I hope it will be a blessing and encouragement to each of us!!

If you are interested in one of these blogging opportunities, would you please take a few moments to fill out this form for us??

Winter Promise Bloggers Interest Form

Thank you!! Looking forward to hearing from  YOU!