Lessontrek–Our Favorite Online Homeschool Lesson Planner

Lessontrek Online Lesson Planner Features

We have been using an awesome online homeschool lesson planner for many years now and it continues to be just what I need for homeschool lesson planning and record keeping. Over the years Lessontrek has made some upgrades and recently a few features I was really excited about have been developed! We are pleased that Lessontrek is back as a blog sponsor and are excited to share these new features with you!

In the past we have written a few posts outlining features we love, be sure to read about the gradebook feature here, see a video tour here, & answers for FAQ here.

There are several new features since I last shared and several more in the works! Read more below!

Shared Subjects

One of the key new features I am most excited about is shared subjects. This feature allows you to connect a subject between multiple students so you only have to type the plans once. It automatically shows up on the connected students’ lesson plans! This is a major advantage for us this year since my 5th and 8th grader are both doing the same history, geography, writing, and grammar!

Lessontrek Online Lesson Planner Shared Subjects

Below I will share a simple tutorial of how to set this up. I know many of you already use Lessontrek and thought this might be helpful!

First, set up one child using the typical add subject method. Once you have the subject set up for one child, then move on to the steps outlined below.

When you go to set up the next child, click “Import Subject” where you would normally add a subject and it will pull up your other students and their information! Simply select the subject already created for the first child and it will add this to this child! As you type weekly plans they will automatically appear for both students now! No more double typing!

Lessontrek Online Lesson Planner Shared Subjects Tutorial


Attendance Tracking

Another cool new feature is so simple yet needed for many state requirements – attendance tracking! With this added feature, you just click ‘Mark Complete’ at the top of each day in your planner and it keeps track for you. When you click the attendance button it will show you your update {see screenshot below}.

Lessontrek Online Lesson Planner Attendance Tracking


Student Login

My final favorite new feature is the new ability to create a separate login for your student! Your student can login and see their progress and lesson plans without being able to adjust things.

Lessontrek Online Lesson Planner Student Login


Coming Soon

Many of you have asked for the “bump ahead” feature which will allow you to plan ahead and easily bump the entire school year ahead if you get off track for a sick day or some other reason. This feature is in development now!

Coming VERY soon – Google Calendar and other Google products integrations! Yup, you’ll be able to add lessons to your Google Calendar that include the assignments and notes you enter in Lessontrek. You can also create notifications in each lesson that gets added to your Google Calendar. 

More exciting news…Edstart Logo

Lessontrek was accepted into Amazon Web Services EdTech program called: AWS EdStart. It will help make Lessontrek more scalable, reliable, and secure!

    Want to try Lessontrek?

    Click here to give it a try for 2 weeks for FREE and then grab your Annual Subscription and get 15% off using this special discount code: CA15

    Lessontrek Online Lesson Planner Discount Code 2019



    Why We Love Reading Eggs

    We Love Reading Eggs

    {disclaimer – this post is sponsored by Reading Eggs}

    It has been years since we have used Reading Eggs. There’s a silly reason for that – I didn’t realize that it was for older kids too! We used it a lot when my daughter was younger but then when our subscription expired, I didn’t think it was worth looking into again because I thought she had aged out of the program. Thankfully I was wrong! I have always thought of it as a “learn to read” program for younger kids, and it definitely IS THAT, but it is so much more!

    stages_rex_201812

    When I was contacted to partner with Reading Eggs for this review, I was thrilled to be reminded of this wonderful program and to see that it is something my 10 year old can use! She is the perfect age for the Reading Eggspress section and has been testing it out with me as we prepared for this review! Read below for a bit more about the Reading Eggspress section.

    ReadingEggspressAssignments

    Reading Eggspress continues the learning to read journey for 7 to 13 year olds, helping children further develop their comprehension, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and writing skills.

    Key features include:

    • My Lessons – over 200 comprehension lessons which cover five broad levels equivalent to school grades 1 to 6.
    • The Stadium – your child can compete against students from around the world or against the computer with four contests that tests skills in spelling, vocabulary, usage, and grammar.
    • English Skills – focuses on common spelling rules, generalizations, and strategies using a combination of teaching videos, engaging online activities and games, with printable worksheets and assessment tests.
    • The Library – home to over 2500 e-books, each with their own comprehension quiz.

    My 5th grader has been using Reading Eggspress for a few weeks now and I have been watching over her shoulder a lot to get a feel for it. So far I am very impressed. I must be honest and tell you she isn’t thrilled with it – mostly because it is a bit challenging for her. She likes for things to be easy and some of the questions and activities are a bit more difficult than she would prefer. But what this means to me is SHE NEEDS IT! I was only planning to use the free trial we had for the review, but I am planning to purchase the program for her to use weekly.

    Reading Eggs for Little and BIG kids!

    After peering over her shoulder and noticing where she tends to struggle, I realize the importance of her using a program like this. I get feedback in the parent dashboard so I can see how she is doing, which is something I love!

    One of my favorite features is the printable plans so I can actually assign lessons to her daily plans.

    Reading Eggspress-4

    Another thing I didn’t know about Reading Eggs – printable activities! When I looked in the Bonus Material section in our dashboard I was sweetly surprised to find worksheets to go along with the online activities. I have hers printed out and ready to go for the start of full homeschool on Monday!

    Reading Eggspress-5

    Try Reading Eggs for FREE!

    If you have never tried Reading Eggs, I HIGHLY recommend it. There is a FREE 4 week trial, just click here! You will get access to ALL of the levels, plus Mathseeds – a program we used extensively when she was younger!

    Upon signing up your child can also take the free placement reading test that will place them at the appropriate lesson according to their reading ability.

    Reading Eggs Free Trial Access

    Reading Eggs free trial



    Improve Writing Skills with Night Zookeeper

    Night Zookeeper Review

    {disclosure – this is a sponsored post, we were given a Night Zookeeper subscription for this review}

    I am so thankful Night Zookeeper reached out to us and has partnered with us for this review. My daughter loves to write and when I read about Night Zookeeper I just knew she would like it. I just didn’t know how much she would LOVE it. She has begged to keep using this and has been playing, creating, and writing almost daily since we have had it!

    Be sure to read our full review below and know that we have an incredible discount code for our readers! I am sharing that first so you don’t miss it!

    Night Zookeeper Discount Code s

    What is Night Zookeeper?

    Night Zookeeper is a website designed to improve writing skills of children. It is best for ages 6-12 and when you join you’ll be able to select the age of your child, which will change the type of lessons, challenges, games, and level of vocabulary that they will encounter.

    How It Works

    The process…

    When I first logged on to take a look around I was a bit overwhelmed, but then I realized how it all works and now I love it! I will outline the main process for you so you, as a parent, can see how your child will be using this website! Below you can see a sample of the homepage a child will see, with the different areas. It is amazing how quickly a child will explore and figure this out – faster than I did!

    Home menu

    CREATIVITY

    Children draw their own magical characters that go with them through the Night Zoo, developing and growing their creative writing skills. Below you can see a few of the creatures my daughter has created! She LOVES this part so much!

    Night Zookeeper Creations

    VOCABULARY

    The foundation of all great writers is their broad and rich vocabulary. Night Zookeeper helps your children learn thousands of new words through exciting, personalized activities and games. The creatures you create show up throughout the games, making things more personalized and fun!

    Word Games

    GRAMMAR

    As children progress, they’ll encounter sentence building games, short writing challenges and many more exciting activities that help them to use these new words in longer, more complex sentences. She doesn’t necessarily love this part, but she does it willingly. As a teacher/parent, I LOVE these games!

    Night Zookeeper

    WRITING

    Children are then challenged to put their learning into action, producing stories, reports, poems and other styles of writing.

    Night Zookeeper-2

    This is such a neat feature and she has written more than I even realized! I logged into her account to grab a screenshot and found this story I didn’t even know she had written! There is a “blog” that shares children’s writing which is approved by moderators before going live. They also provide feedback through comments, like you can see at the bottom of the screenshot below.

    Sample Story

    More facts about Night Zookeeper:

    • 7 day free trial, cancel anytime online   
    • Night Zookeeper works across tablets, PC’s and laptops. They recommend using either on Safari, or Google Chrome browsers for best performance.
    • Night Zookeeper is based in the UK so if you live in the US, you will notice some spelling differences and your kids will probably point them out to you – like mine did! It provided some great conversation!

    Final Thoughts…

    I definitely recommend Night Zookeeper! I honestly wasn’t sure at first, but as we have used it and I have seen how much my daughter LOVES it, I am totally on board! It is a wonderful addition to our language arts homeschool curriculum.

    Save 30% off of any Night Zookeeper subscription by using the code: 1plus1

      Night Zookeeper Discount Code



      Garden Theme Unit with Ivy Kids Kits

      Garden Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kits

      {disclaimer ~ Ivy Kids is a blog sponsor and sent us a kit for this review}

      Ivy Kids Kits rock! We have been reviewing kits for a long time now and the boxes never disappoint!

      Not familiar with Ivy Kids Kits?

      Ivy Kits are a monthly educational subscription for children ages 3-8 developed by early childhood teachers with children of their own. You can tell these kits were developed by people who truly know young kids.  The activities are awesome. Not only can you subscribe to a monthly kit, you can also buy past kits.

      Each Ivy Kit contains instructions with ways to modify games to best suit each individual child and provide adults with questions to structure a child’s learning. There are enough games and materials in each kit to engage and cognitively stimulate a child throughout the month and can be replayed for years to come.

      We were sent Jack’s Garden for this review!

      Jack's Garden Ivy Kids Kit-2

      In this Ivy Kids kit featuring the book Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole, you will find:

          • The book Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole: A beautifully illustrated story, told with rhythmic text, about a boy that grows a garden.   
          • Wooden Flower Frame: Use the paints to decorate the wooden flower, then add your favorite photo. The frame will make a beautiful addition to any room or a wonderful gift for a loved one. 
          • Birdhouse and Feeder: Paint the wooden birdhouse. Then cover the roof with a natural adhesive, like peanut or soy butter, and add your preferred bird food. Then observe the birds that come to visit.
          • Garden Sticker Collage: Place the insects and flowers on the background to create your own realistic garden scene.
          • Make Your Own Plush Bird: Create your own soft plush bird. Simply lace the front and back of the bird body, fill it with soft stuffing, and add stickers.
          • My Garden Tools: Add water to the soil disc and within seconds you will have a planter full of soil. Use your garden tools for exploration or add your insects for imaginative play. 
          • My Garden: Grow your own wild flower garden with the fast and easy-growing seed packet provided. 
          • Garden Hunt and  Exploration: Visit a garden and try to find everything on your “Garden Hunt” sheet. Use your included gardening and insect tools to explore the garden and take samples. Record your findings on your observations sheets.
          • Bug Hunt: Can you find all the bugs? Players must try to find, collect, and identify as many of the hidden plastic bugs as they can.
          • Bug Number Stories: Create your own addition and subtraction number stories using the different realistic bugs. Your garden has 3 bugs. 1 more bug comes to the garden. How many bugs does the garden have now?
          • Green Bean Seed Germination: Germinate green beans in a baggie. You will see growth within 1-2 days. Make daily observations and record your findings.
          • All Around the Garden: Players take turns moving insects along the alphabetical garden board. The player whose insect reaches the finish first wins the game.
          • Garden Memory Game: Find the most matches to win the game!

      Your Kit includes a guide for each activity to help promote your child’s learning while you play together.

      Jack's Garden Ivy Kids Kit

        Some Activities From Our Box…

        Jack's Garden Ivy Kids Kit-3

          

        After looking through the activities, we immediately chose to make the crafts! Nanee was at our house and the crafts are fun for them to do together! You can see the yellow bird in the background that they sewed together and she is painting the birdhouse.

        Make Your Own Plush Bird: Create your own soft plush bird. Simply lace the front and back of the bird body, fill it with soft stuffing, and add stickers.

        Birdhouse and Feeder: Paint the wooden birdhouse. Then cover the roof with a natural adhesive, like peanut or soy butter, and add your preferred bird food. Then observe the birds that come to visit.

        Jack's Garden Ivy Kids Kit-4

           

        They also did the seed planting/prep together! I love that my mom can easily dig through the Ivy Kids box and find fun activities for them to do together.

        Green Bean Seed Germination: Germinate green beans in a baggie. You will see growth within 1-2 days. Make daily observations and record your findings.

        Jack's Garden Ivy Kids Kit-9 

        My Garden: Grow your own wild flower garden with the fast and easy-growing seed packet provided. 

        Jack's Garden Ivy Kids Kit-10

        She still loves playing games with me and this game of memory got really silly. To make it more fun we challenged one another to come up with a silly way to say the words as we flipped them over.

        Garden Memory Game: Find the most matches to win the game!

        Jack's Garden Ivy Kids Kit-7 Jack's Garden Ivy Kids Kit-8

        All Around the Garden: Players take turns moving insects along the alphabetical garden board. The player whose insect reaches the finish first wins the game.

        Jack's Garden Ivy Kids Kit-5

          

        She is always up for some sticker fun!

        Garden Sticker Collage: Place the insects and flowers on the background to create your own realistic garden scene.

        Jack's Garden Ivy Kids Kit-6
         

        Not everything from this kit is pictured, she enjoyed more of it and is still enjoying some of it! 

        You can buy this kit here!

        We also loved our other Ivy Kids Kits, click on the images below to take a peek inside of each kit we have loved!

          Rainforest--Unit-Study-with-Ivy-Kids[1] Ladybug-Unit-Study-with-Ivy-Kids-Kit[1]  Three-Snow-Bears-Ivy-Kids-Kit6222  Fish-is-Fish-ivy-Kids-Kit-Review3122 A-House-for-Hermit-Crab-Unit-Study-w Dogs-Colorful-Day-Ivy-Kids-Kit-Revie[1]Gotta-Go-Gotta-Go-Ivy-Kids-Kit-Revie[1] Mrs.-McTats-and-Her-Houseful-of-Cats Over-in-the-Ocean-Unit-Study-with-IvPenguin-and-Pinecone-Unit-Study-with Rainforest--Unit-Study-with-Ivy-Kids Rainbow-Unit-Study-with-Ivy-Kids-Kit

        Ivy-Kids-Kit-The-Snail-and-the-Whale[1] When-it-Starts-to-Snow-Ivy-Kids-Kit3

        20% off your first kit for NEW Subscribers to the monthly subscription kits!

        Use code: IVY20

        OR

        Buy any 3 past kits and save $10 plus free shipping with code: 10OFF

        A huge thanks to Ivy Kids for sending us these kits to review. If you are looking for a simple way to do unit studies with your young child, I highly recommend Ivy Kids Kits!

        When you subscribe to Ivy Kids, each month you will receive a very well organized kit containing a book and ten or more activities based upon the story. Everything you need to learn and play is included in your kit. I mean EVERYthing. These kits are incredible!



        When it Starts to Snow ~ Ivy Kids Kit

        When it Starts to Snow Ivy Kids Kit

        {disclaimer ~ Ivy Kids is a blog sponsor and sent us a kit for this review}

        Ivy Kids Kits rock! We have been reviewing kits for a long time now and the boxes never disappoint!

        Not familiar with Ivy Kids Kits?

        Ivy Kits are a monthly educational subscription for children ages 3-8 developed by early childhood teachers with children of their own. You can tell these kits were developed by people who truly know young kids.  The activities are awesome. Not only can you subscribe to a monthly kit, you can also buy past kits.

        Each Ivy Kit contains instructions with ways to modify games to best suit each individual child and provide adults with questions to structure a child’s learning. There are enough games and materials in each kit to engage and cognitively stimulate a child throughout the month and can be replayed for years to come.

        We were sent the When it Starts to Snow kit for this review!

        Ivy Kids Kit-3

        In this Ivy Kids kit featuring the beautifully illustrated book When it Starts to Snow by Phillis Gershator, you will find over 10 STEAM activities inspired by the story:

        Ivy Kids Kit-10

          • The book When it Starts to Snow by Phillis Gershator, a charming story that explores what happens to woodland creatures when it starts to snow. Where do they go? What do they do?
          • Read along Bookmark: Use to assist with reading comprehension.
          • Plush Wolf Pup: A soft and cuddly wolf pup. 
          • Wolf Pup Den: Create a cozy den for your wolf pup.
          • 3D Snowflake Sun Catcher: Decorate the snowflakes with glitter glue and assemble to create a sparkly 3D Snowflake.
          • Snow Sculpture: Pretend that the Model Magic clay is snow and use it to create a “snow sculpture, then decorate it with glitter glue.
          • Make Your Own Play Snow: Just add 1 teaspoon in Instant Snow Powder to a 3.25 oz. cup of water and create lots of fluffy white snow. 
          • Build a Beaver Lodge: Use the wooden sticks to build a lodge for the beaver in the snow. 
          • Bear Cave:  Cut a paper cup to create a bear cave.
          • Create Your Own Winter Woodland: Create homes for the beaver, bear, and rabbit in a snowy woodland.
          • Salt and Ice Experiment: Explore why salt is used on ice in the winter. Compare a 2 pieces of ice, one with salt and one without salt. Record your observations and results. 
          • Winter Shelter Board Game: The object of this game is to get your animal pawn from its START space to its winter shelter.
          • What do Animals Do in Winter?: Some animals migrate, some hibernate, and some adapt to the cold. Sort the animals cards according to the animal’s behavior in the winter. Then use the card for practicing letters, sounds, and alphabetizing.
          • Snowflake Symmetry: Use the wooden sticks to create your own symmetrical snowflakes. 
          • 100 Snowflakes: What do 100 snowflakes look like? Find out by placing 100 snowflakes onto the hundred board.  
          • Let it Snow: Pick a board, there are 4 to choose from. Then roll the die and place a snowflake on the number rolled.
          • Snowflake Race: Roll the die and add snowflakes to the graph until the snowflakes in one of the columns reaches the top.

        Your Kit includes a guide for each activity to help promote your child’s learning while you play together.

        Ivy Kids Kit-2

          Some Activities From Our Box…

          When she opened the box and saw the super-soft wolf she squealed. She LOVES stuffed animals, so this is always a treat for her!

          Ivy Kids Kit

            

          After looking through the activities, we immediately chose to make the instant snow. We have never even seen this before so we had no idea what to expect.

          Make Your Own Play Snow: Just add 1 teaspoon in Instant Snow Powder to a 3.25 oz. cup of water and create lots of fluffy white snow. 

          Ivy Kids Kit-9

          I filmed her when she did it for the first time, see it below!

          She played with the instant snow for hours, literally. Honestly, she is still playing with it, and has made more. We used the snow to make the winter scene too!

          Create Your Own Winter Woodland: Create homes for the beaver, bear, and rabbit in a snowy woodland.

          Ivy Kids Kit-5

            

                         

          The salt and ice experiment was so cool! I have never done it with the paint like this, it was fascinating!!

          Salt and Ice Experiment: Explore why salt is used on ice in the winter. Compare a 2 pieces of ice, one with salt and one without salt. Record your observations and results. 

          Ivy Kids Kit-4

          We learned about what animals do in winter with the fun activity below.

          What do Animals Do in Winter?: Some animals migrate, some hibernate, and some adapt to the cold. Sort the animals cards according to the animal’s behavior in the winter. Then use the card for practicing letters, sounds, and alphabetizing.

          Ivy Kids Kit-6

          As always, she loves the games included with each kit. One day it was really warm and sunny, so we sat in our garage with the door open and played some of the games together.

          Winter Shelter Board Game: The object of this game is to get your animal pawn from its START space to its winter shelter.

          Ivy Kids Kit-7


          Snowflake Race: Roll the die and add snowflakes to the graph until the snowflakes in one of the columns reaches the top.

          Ivy Kids Kit-8

          Not everything from this kit is pictured, she enjoyed more of it and is still enjoying some of it!

          You can buy this kit here!

          We also loved our other Ivy Kids Kits, click on the images below to take a peek inside of each kit we have loved!

            Rainforest--Unit-Study-with-Ivy-Kids[1] Ladybug-Unit-Study-with-Ivy-Kids-Kit  Three-Snow-Bears-Ivy-Kids-Kit622  Fish-is-Fish-ivy-Kids-Kit-Review312 A-House-for-Hermit-Crab-Unit-Study-w Dogs-Colorful-Day-Ivy-Kids-Kit-Revie[1]Gotta-Go-Gotta-Go-Ivy-Kids-Kit-Revie Mrs.-McTats-and-Her-Houseful-of-Cats[1] Over-in-the-Ocean-Unit-Study-with-Iv[1]Penguin-and-Pinecone-Unit-Study-with[1] Rainforest--Unit-Study-with-Ivy-Kids Rainbow-Unit-Study-with-Ivy-Kids-Kit[1] Ivy Kids Kit The Snail and the Whale

          20% off your first kit for NEW Subscribers to the monthly subscription kits!

          Use code: IVY20

          OR

          Buy any 3 past kits and save $10 plus free shipping with code: 10OFF

          A huge thanks to Ivy Kids for sending us these kits to review. If you are looking for a simple way to do unit studies with your young child, I highly recommend Ivy Kids Kits!

          When you subscribe to Ivy Kids, each month you will receive a very well organized kit containing a book and ten or more activities based upon the story. Everything you need to learn and play is included in your kit. I mean EVERYthing. These kits are incredible!