Welcome Friends!

Welcome to Harbor Lights! We are so excited you have stopped by. Please let us know if you have any questions.

R is for The Rag Coat – ABC Blogging

ABC Blogging the Fun Continues

We continue with another week of the ABC Blogging Challenge.  I love the fact that I have to keep working at to make the challenge each week.  It has given me a good reason to keep the blogging going each week.

Join in with ABC Blogging

Want to join in, take a moment to leave a comment here or in one of the other social media platforms.  We are almost done with this alphabet but you are welcome to use the link at the bottom of the page to add your own contribution.

R is for The Rag Coat

#abcblogging #books #ragcoat R is for The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills.  I was introduced to this book when my children were rowing along with Five in a Row.  It is a heartwarming story of a young girl in a rural mining community.  Her father dreams of her going to school.  When he dies it seems as if it won’t happen.  She gets to start school but with no winter coat she may no longer be able to continue. The woman of her the community quilting circle come up with a colorful solution.  But the other children aren’t kind at first.  But she learns to stand up with pride.

When we first read this book it immediately brought to mind the Dolly Parton song Coat of Many Colors.  We made sure to listen to the song.  I had the older ones write a comparison between the song and the book.  You can also use it as a jump off point of the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors.

Pinterest again has some ideas for learning with The Rag Coat.  The Home School Mom website also has links and ideas to go along with The Rag Coat.  There are lots of ideas that can be used from this book including quilting, coal, disease, poverty, helping those to need, bullying, and standing tall.

This is a beautiful book and I hope you have a chance to check it out.

ABC Blogging Link Up


Ben and Me
Share Button

Essential Skills Advantage – Online Learning Review

Essential Skills Advantage Review
Essential Skills Advantage – Online Learning 

Essential Skills Advantage is an online learning site that provides lots of fun ways for children to learn reading and language arts skills from beginning readers through the sixth grade.  There are lots of interactive activities designed to take full advantage of the e-learning format.  Once you sign up for membership you have the opportunity to access all levels of the program so that you can find the best fit for your child and can continue to challenge your child.

Essential Skills Advantage Review

How We Used ESA  for Online Learning

When we started Essential Skills Advantage (ESA) Premium Plan during the summer break so I had Hannah start with the fifth grade level and usually log in 3 or more days per week.  We started our school year last week and although she has just started seventh grade I am looking at this program as online learning enrichment so she will continue to work through the fifth and then the sixth grade material.  She is now doing ESA every school day.  She spends about 30 minutes per day using different areas.


Using Essential Skills Advantage 

Once the account is set up you are given a special link.  From there the child can log into any of the areas available.  Here are some of the areas that available for the student to log in.

#onlinelearning #esa #essentialskillsadvantage #languagearts #reading


Once Hannah chooses a subject area she wants to work with she gets the sign in screen and adds her unique user name and pass word.

#onlinelearning #esa #essentialskillsadvantage #languagearts #reading

Each study area has several topics or levels.  Each topic has several activities that help the student master the topic.  Activities including word searches, matching, typing the answer, multiple choice, just to name a few.

#onlinelearning #esa #essentialskillsadvantage #languagearts #reading

Hannah has been working through the following study areas:

  • Reading Comprehension 5 – This includes a passage to read and then several activities that help reinforce comprehension including multiple choices, word meaning, and comprehension.
  • Vocabulary Builder 5 – The topics in this level include Homophones, Antonyms, Homographs, Compound Words, Figurative Language, Easily Confused Words, Prefixes, and Suffixes.
  • Spelling Master 5 – Which covers Long Vowel Patterns, Tricky Pairs, Silent Letters, R Vowels, Spelling Rules, and Homonyms.
  • Grammar 3-5 – Covers Plurals, Sentences, Adjectives, Pronouns, Verbs, Adverbs, Capitalization, and Punctuation.

There is also a Spelling Stumpers area for 1st – 5th grade or 5th-9th grade that is set up in levels instead of topics.  Hannah hasn’t tried any of these out yet.

Parent Use of Essential Skills Advantage

As a working parent I love the idea of online learning.  It is especially helpful when I can easily check in to see that learning happened and how well it went each day.  You can log into the parent area where you can view your students and the activities they have completed.

#onlinelearning #esa #essentialskillsadvantage #languagearts #reading


When you click on the marks area it will list the areas the student has worked on and the last day that they have completed any activity in that area.

#onlinelearning #esa #essentialskillsadvantage #languagearts #reading

You can then click-through to get more details of which activities they’ve completed in each topic and how well they did in each area.  I use this area to get Hannah’s grade for the day.

#onlinelearning #esa #essentialskillsadvantage #languagearts #reading

Thoughts on ESA

#onlinelearning #esa #essentialskillsadvantage #languagearts #reading As a working homeschooling having something online that provides all the information Hannah needs to work through the program and be successful means a lot to me.  I love how easy it is for me to go back and check that she has worked each day and how well she is doing.  If there is an area that she has trouble with then we can address that area.  I think the graphics and activities are bright and encourage the a child to come back daily.  When they are excited about what they are doing and use the program willingly I know that there will also be learning taking place.

Hannah said she likes Essential Skills Advantage because you don’t have to write anything.  She also like that the each activity is short so she doesn’t get frustrated with it.

We continue to use Essential Skills Advantage until she has completed all the available levels.

Essential Skills Advantage – Facts About Online Learning

We reviewed the Premium Plan which cost $9.99 a month.  This plan offers additional features from the basic plan.  To sign up for the Premium Plan use this LINK.

They are also now offering a Basic Edition that will include sponsored ads and fewer features.  This program is free and will allow families access to many of the learning activities.  You can learn more about enrolling in the Basic Sponsor Program at this LINK.

Review Crew Link Up

While the Review Crew all used the same Premium Plan we all used it with different ages and levels so take a minute to check out the other reviews.


Click to read Crew Reviews
#disclaimer #reviewcrew

Share Button

Curriculum Choices – 7th and 10th Grade

New Year, New Ideas

We have been making some new choices for the new year and we are revisiting some older things.  We are also making changes in how we manage our homeschool to be more successful as a working mother.

Managing our Curriculum

The newest thing in our homeschool this year is adding Homeschool Manager.  It is an online school scheduling program that gives me the ability to enter their assignments for the week.  They have a family password so they can get in and view their work list and mark off what they have completed.  When I log in I can see if any thing is overdue and what needs to be graded.  Then I can enter grades.  We are only on day 4 but so far it has worked really well.

Curriculum Tenth Grade

Joshua has started using Life of Fred for math.  Because we were unsure what he was really solid on and what he still was unsure of we have gone back and start with the Fractions book.  We will continue to move through the series in the recommended order from here.  He had started IEW – Student Writing Intensive B last year as a review but instead of finishing it we decided to start over with SWI – C.  As soon as it arrives we also be adding Fix-It! Grammar Book 1 form IEW.  Joshua will also continue working through the Phonics Zoo List A using Spelling City.  For science he is using Summer by the Sea a biology study by Queens Homeschooling.  He will be using Florida Virtual School for Driver’s Ed and we may choose other courses as the year goes on.  I’m sure we’ll add more but that is what we are starting with.

Curriculum Seventh Grade

Hannah will be using Math Mammoth Blue to finish working through Multiplication and Division Topics.  From there we will decide what to do next.  Possibly a move to Life of Fred.  She is also continuing to use Mathletics.com for math enrichment.  She will be continuing Language Lessons for the Elementary Child 2.  She is restarting Student Writing Intensive B.  Online she is using Essential Skills Advantage and Word Builder.  For history she will finish the Veritas Press course in Greece, Rome, and New Testament she started in the spring.  For science she will finish Nature Walk with Aunt Bessie from Queens Homeschooling and then move on to the next book.  Optional learning activities for her will include Homeschool Piano and Lumosity.

Time to Start using our Curriculum

I think the act of getting this all laid out in a public forum will help us all to stay committed to this school year.  There will be minor adjustments through the year depending on what we are reviewing but this is the base we will work from.

#curriculum #school


See Other Families Choices

Head over to Ben and Me to see if what other families are choosing to do this year.

Share Button

Q is for the The Quiet Way Home – ABC Blogging

ABC Blogging – The Home Stretch

Well we are more than half way done.  I love the challenge of bringing you one or more books each week.  This has been so much fun.

Join the Fun of ABC Blogging

Join in by creating your own letter themed post, check out the other blogs in the link below, or by commenting about your own favorite books here or at any of the other social media outlets.

Q is for The Quiet Way Home

#abcblogging #books #q #quietFor the letter q, I bring you “The Quiet Way Home” by Bonny Becker.  This is a gentle story of a young girl and her grandfather walking home and finding the way that takes them past the quiet things.  The illustrations by Benrei Huang really bring the words to life and give the book a warm feeling.  This book was part of my Before Five in A Row collection.  I don’t think it is currently in print but check out your local library or interlibrary loan to see if you can find a copy.  Pinterest of course has a page of The Quiet Way Home ideas.  School Time Snippets offers a Sound Matching Game.

Today will all the rushing around we do in our life and all the noise that is out there this story is a good reminder to hush to hear the quiet things.  So enjoy this story with your children and then take and walk and hear what quiet things you can find.

ABC Blogging Link Up

Click the graphic below to find all the ABC Blogging fun for Round 5.


Ben and Me
Share Button