Crossing the Finish Line


I’m sure you can guess what the subject of this blog post is!

Yes. It’s our son Jackson’s graduation.

14 years ago, we started our family journey of home education. Early on, we did many of the activities that many of you probably did or do; nature center activities, library events, swim lessons, Kindermusik. Plus lots of art and reading at home. (And Veggie Tales.) While we hadn’t originally planned to homeschool, we sensed that that was God’s good plan for our kiddo. And, it was a good plan!

We began our journey in preschool with Five in a Row. When Jackson was in kindergarten, we used a variety of curricula and added piano lessons (in a wonderful group teaching program for young children).

And, we were off!

We used a lot of literature-based curricula, like Sonlight, which utilizes readers and historical fiction alongside history textbooks. We found that online or computer-based curricula was great for Jackson’s learning style, especially in math. We did a lot of experiments in science courses which ran from plants and photosynthesis, to electricity and magnetism, to weather, to chemistry.

We had amazing opportunities for group learning, in American art lessons, field trips, and a nature/hiking club. We joined a homeschool coop and support group, which (over the course of 8 years) gave Jackson tons of opportunities for great friendship, acting, fellowship, and service.

We also faced some speed bumps over the years. I had some serious surgeries in 2012, and again in 2017. Our family definitely went thru times of suffering and challenge. But during those difficult times, we also saw God’s provision and the support of our friends. I joined The Old Schoolhouse’s Review Crew, which allowed us to use and review curricula at no financial cost to ourselves. Jackson had some amazing educational activities because of the Crew, and both he and I made some lasting friendships.

And suddenly, it was 2019-2020, Jackson’s senior year. And it was a VERY full year, as I’m sure every student, teacher, parent, and homeschooler across the globe can say. COVID-19 of course changed much about our son’s senior year. His coop classes suddenly switched to online, in early March. Since we were already homeschooling, Jackson’s coursework wasn’t really affected; we simply continued what we were doing. Social activities dried up…yet Jackson was able to connect with friends via the internet. But graduation was up in the air. Because our state basically went on lockdown, our coop’s graduation ceremony was cancelled.

However, our coop’s graduation committee rallied and they planned and held an exceptional graduation ceremony in early summer. It was so meaningful. We’ll never forget it!


Crossing the Finish Line

And with graduation, the journey our family has been on together for 14 years has come to a close. And in what a crazy way, in the year of “the corona.”  If y’all are anything like me, your expectations of what the year would look like were blown out of the water. While we really never know what’s coming in a particular year, none of us could have predicted this one.

And yet, we persevere and press on. Jackson will be attending college as a freshman this month. My career as a homeschool mom and teacher has officially concluded. And in the blink of an eye, at that! For so many years we have been working toward the goals of finishing each year well and toward eventual high school graduation. Some of our homeschool years went so beautifully, and others just…did not. But I can tell you that I don’t regret one single one of those years. Homeschooling my son has been one of the great joys of my life. Humbling? Yes. Challenging? You bet. But rich in time, in love, and treasured memories? All of the above. God has been good and has sustained us through many a trial and many a happy moment.

And we and our son are off to walk out the next step in our journey!




Creating a Homeschool Transcript

Record-keeping might not be everybody’s thing. Yet, keeping a record of your child’s school years and the work they did in each one is so important. You might think you’ll remember everything your child did in his school years, but as time goes by you might be surprised at how blurred the years become!

As your child prepares for high school graduation and the path they’ll take beyond homeschool, you’ll want the records of their school years, especially the high school years. Especially if they plan to go to college after high school, when you’ll generally need a copy of their high school transcript. This is challenging…but doable! Here are some great tools that were amazing helps for me.




Lesson Planners

What has worked best for you via lesson planning? There are great online planners that many of my friends have used. However, I am (and always have been) a paper and ink (or pencil, in this case) planner lover. My two favorite planners have been The Old Schoolhouse’s Hey Mama Planner and the Well Planned Gal‘s Well Planned Day Planner.


These planners are just fantastic and must flow well with my thinking and planning styles. There’s room to record the courses, the days, semester grades, attendance, books read, and both contain extra places. The boxes include enough room for pages, time spent, even extra notes you might need to record. These were just, truly, invaluable when I prepared my son’s transcript.

You’ll need to be keeping records of all these things, and having them all in one place will make your life so much easier!



Homeschool High School Made Easy

Lea Ann Garfias‘ awesome Homeschool High School Made Easy was my first introduction to what the homeschool high school life would comprise. This lovely book, written in a conversational style that makes the reader seem immediately welcome and comfortable, covers tons of good info for the mom of homeschooled high school teens. Garfias, who was homeschooled herself in addition to homeschooling her own kiddos, covers teaching styles, testing, relationships, homeschooling styles, dating, driver training, and life preparation. The book sections that relate to transcript prep include credits, standardized testing, college essay writing, state requirements, college entrance.

Homeschool High School Made Easy was the most wonderful book to read. It made me feel so much  more comfortable about homeschooling high school and gave me a great overview of the things I needed to be conscious of and focusing on as we moved through the high school years. So helpful!

Lee Binz The HomeScholar Resources

Several years ago, I purchased Lee Binz’ “Total Transcript Solution”  from TheHomeScholar website. This was, hands down, the most helpful training and resource I utilized in creating Jackson’s transcript. This provided samples of excellent transcripts, instructions on what needs to be included in a transcript, and what colleges find impressive in a student’s records and applications. It was offered to me at a discounted price and I purchased the Silver membership level. I learned most of what I know about transcripts from Lee Binz!

The HomeScholar does have a ton of free resources that you can check out, if you’re not ready to purchase some products. Here are some examples of freebies you can find there:

  • Free seminars on: scholarships for homeschoolers; high school success; avoiding high school mistakes; grades/transcripts/credits
  • Free guides: high school Kindle e-books; 10 Essentials for Homeschooling High School; free record-keeping samples, and more
  • Free workshops

Just visit TheHomeScholar for all these and more. And just so you know, I’m not an affiliate for TheHomeScholar. They’re just an amazing help that I wanted to share with you!



My own tips for you

It is a HUGE task to create your student’s transcript. I learned so much about how to do it recently, and all that I learned (along with all the work my son put in during his high school career) made a huge difference! Here are the things I found most helpful, that I hope will assist you!

  • Keep good records of your student’s coursework, including:
    • Hours spent
    • Books read
    • What was learned in each course
    • Curricula used and completed
    • Field trips or activities which enhanced learning
  • And, update those records semester by semester. (Again, this way you won’t have to rely on your memory!)
  • Keep records of your child’s extracurricular activities, such as:
    • Piano (or any other instrument) lessons and performances
    • Drama activities, roles played in performances
    • Volunteer work (places and organizations served at, dates serves, and number of hours)
    • Leadership activities
    • Honors and awards
    • Sports activities
    • Jobs held
  • Learn what a Carnegie Unit is, to assist you in knowing what is required for your students’ transcript records
  • Visit the websites of each college or university your child is interested in, if he or she wants to attend college. Find out what they require (course-wise and ACT/SAT test scores) for admission or selection so you know what you’re needing to set as goals. You can also contact the universities’ admissions office to inquire what they require from homeschooled students for application.
  • Know your state’s laws for homeschool graduation and course completion. It’s definitely going to vary from state to state, but this will help you to plan your student’s high school course work requirements.



I hope this has been helpful for you! Most of all, enjoy the time with your high schooler. It really does fly by so quickly.

Enjoy! –Wren


Senior Year Homeschooling 2019-2020

I can hardly believe it. But my son Jackson is a senior this year. They say the years fly by, and they do. I can hardly believe we are at this point though!

I realized the other day that we’re in the last week of September, and I haven’t had a moment to share with you what we’re working on this year. So, here’s the rundown of what we’re doing during the 2019-2020 school year!



I worked off and on all summer on preparing Jackson’s high school transcript (more on that later, it was definitely a large undertaking!). Much of what he’s taking this year is standard senior class material; others, we cobbled together to give him some fun and interesting electives.


American Government

We’re using Notgrass History’s Exploring Government and We Hold These Truths for Jackson’s American government credit. I wasn’t familiar with Notgrass at all but I really liked what I saw when I researched their curricula. The government book spends time on history of law, Athenian origins of democracy, the Magna Carta, and other historical movements and texts that helped form the basis for what became the American system of checks and balances, democracy, and the Constitution. We Hold These Truths is a book of documents from primary sources, which is fascinating. For example, this week Jackson will read the Magna Carta and a table of 12 laws that upheld Roman society and citizenship. In this curriculum, there are reading assignments, quizzes, projects and papers and essays.



We’ve been fans of Apologia sciences for years, and this year Jackson is studying Exploring Creation with Physics as a lab science course. This is a hard, rigorous curriculum. It includes experiments, reading, texts….and LOTS and LOTS of math. (For me, myself, I say, “Ugh!” Physics is just science disguised as math. And unlike some of my math genius friends, I am just not a math girl. Fortunately we have hubs as a tutor. He IS a math genius!)

This is probably the most challenging course Jackson has taken during his homeschool years; for us, even more challenging than chemistry was. It is fantastic college prep, though.

In addition to the textbook, CD, and lab kit, we’ve also subscribed to author Dr. Jay Wile’s teaching videos. He has a Vimeo series that includes two teaching videos per module (chapter). That helps a lot.



Over the years, we’ve used a variety of math curricula; everything from Saxon to Teaching Textbooks with a few in between. Last year, on the recommendation of a friend, we used Math-U-See, and we chose to go with that again this year.

Math-U-See’s format works well for our family. The student watches a teaching video the first day of the week, which introduces the formulas and equations for the lesson. Next, each day he works on practice lessons on those topics. At the end of the week is a test. Once the student can pass that, he moves on to the next topics. This format ensures good practice and ultimate learning, which any math student can benefit from!


Foreign Language

Jackson chose Spanish for the two years of foreign language study in high school. He is using several curricula for this; one, that focuses on vocabulary, writing, and grammar; another that provides speaking and listening/interpreting practice. Later in the year he’ll read literature set in Spain or Mexico. I’m deliberating between several books on that, which range from historical fiction to magical realism. We’ll see!


Health and Nutrition

As one of his electives, Jackson selected Apologia’s Health and Nutrition course. So far, we’ve been very pleased with it. It covers not only physical health, but mental and emotional health as well. The reading is interesting and the assignments, creative and thought-provoking.



Art, Drama, Creativity

Jackson is also working on an art course this year. It includes a Veritas Press book, History of Art: Creation to Contemporary that I love. It starts early on with the Lausanne Cave Paintings, moves to Mesopotamian art (Sumerian, Babylonian), then Egyptian art, then continues to move through history focusing a bit on each era and movement of art. I use this as a jumping-off point; we move further by exploring online art images related to each age, and filling in more historical data than a survey book is able to include. For each movement we also create artwork in a variety of media.

For the drama portion, we’re focusing on screenplays, famous plays in movie form, and Shakespearean plays and sonnets.


Film as Literature (Film Analysis)

This is a fantastic course I happened on at the end of the summer, when I was looking for an additional elective course. It’s very interesting! Each week, we view a film (classic, historical, foreign, sci-fi, and other genres). Then, Jackson writes about his experiences, assesses the films, considers the original books or novels. As we continue, we’ll study more about various parts of the movie-making experience like screenplays, setting, character development, storyline, camera work, and so on. Our primary curricula for this are the student and teacher versions of Movies as Literature, plus Movie Nights and Reading in the Dark.



English IV

As we have many other years, we purchased curricula from Sonlight for Jackson’s senior year. They have some fantastic collections of literature for high school; but we couldn’t make up our minds between British Literature, Classical Literature, American Literature, and 20th Century Literature. So, we cobbled together a hodgepodge of them. In the classical category, we have books like The Odyssey. In British Lit, we’ll study several Shakespearean plays, Dickens, C.S. Lewis. From World Lit we selected One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and Red Scarf Girl. American lit? F. Scott Fitzgerald, a book about Albert Einstein’s relativity discovery, The Green Glass Sea, and more. Plus a couple of poetry books.

For the writing and vocab studies, we’ve been working on PowerHouse Writing’s essay course. I just ordered Word Power Made Easy (took a while to make up my mind on that one) for Latin and Greek Roots. In the spring, we’ll do more essay work via IEW’s The Elegant Essay.



Now that everything’s organized and we’re in the swing of the schedule, it’s wonderful. But that pic above? That’s what everything looked like on Box Day, a.k.a. the day I unpacked everything. I was a little overwhelmed! But, it’s all good. It just needed a good lesson planner—-and a plan!


Hope your school years have started out wonderfully!


Enjoy!  –Wren

Our Experiences with Bridgeway Academy’s Chemistry with Lab 2018-2019

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Hello friends!


As I write this, we have just completed my son Jackson’s junior year. This year, we were privileged to partner with Bridgeway Academy, and Jackson was able to take his high school chemistry class online with them. This class was part of Bridgeway Academy’s Live Online Classes. It was effective and interesting, and I’d like to share more with you about our year and experiences!




About Chemistry with Lab

Bridgeway Academy‘s high school chemistry course is a full-year, Live Online Class. Chemistry with Lab (LLAY90799CH; follow link and scroll down the page for more info on the class) meets weekly from September through May. The course uses Paradigm’s Chemistry with Lab textbooks along with Bridgeway Academy‘s Chemistry Lab Kit. Students will need a computer to log into the online classroom, where the teacher and students meet and interact together. The class meets once each week, for an hour and a half. Upon completion of the course, students earn 1.5 high school science credits.

The Paradigm textbook set includes softcover text and activity books (IPC Chapters 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, and 11). This chemistry program focuses on the history and discoveries of chemistry, the people who made them, and the places they were made. The texts teach and introduce material about the elements and scientists. The activity books contain quizzes and questions on each text chapter’s material.

Bridgeway Academy‘s Chemistry Lab Kit includes a lab manual and a materials kit for all the experiments students will complete in the course. The kit has everything except a few household items (like distilled water, paper towels, etc.) that will be used. For example, in the lab kit you’ll see: beakers of various sizes; an electrolysis device; pipettes; reaction plates (the clear plastic rectangles with wells in the photos); safety goggles; wire gauze; various metals (copper, iron, nickel, zinc); and other materials you won’t find at home. It also includes solutions, like glycerin, HCl, sodium oxalate, zinc nitrate, and many others. The lab manual has directions for many experiments, fill-in-the-blanks for answers, and mathematical chemical equations and problems to work.




What did each week’s class look like?

Each week, Melissa Lindahl, Jackson’s chemistry teacher, Jackson, and his fellow classmates would log in together for class time. Ms. Lindahl would teach the week’s lesson and interact with students. She taught students the chemical (math) equations for the elements and their combinations. She also reviewed the experiments, the materials, safety guidelines, and their purpose. Bridgeway Academy utilizes a site called Moodle which hosts classes. Its technology works extremely well, and provides video of the teacher while enabling students to connect in class via text and/or voice. At the end of class, Ms. Lindahl would assign the week’s reading and activity book work. Each week following class, students would work in the books (activity and text/reading), complete experiments, and then upload their work via Moodle to Ms. Lindahl. The Moodle site and student dashboard also provided exams for each chapter. Students would take the exam online, and results were recorded there.



All students in the class completed a class project on a class of elements in December. The Moodle classroom enabled them to present their projects to the teacher and their classmates (with Powerpoint visuals or recorded video) at that time.

The Moodle classroom is set up so that the teacher can use the webcam for teaching, to show students the experiments they’ll be doing, or to display video or Powerpoint slides. It can also provide a whiteboard, which Ms. Lindahl used to teach students how to solve the chemistry math equations.



Here are some examples of the year’s work

Here’s just a sampling of some of the subjects that were covered in Jackson’s chemistry this year:

  • Barium, radium, strontium, and hard water
  • Mendeleev, the periodic table, and his predictions of missing elements
  • Valences, covalent compounds, and chemical bonding
  • Medieval metals, created diamonds, nitrogen’s many uses
  • Chemical bonds
  • Acids, bases, pH
  • Electrical current
  • Elements and the scientists who discovered them
  • and more!

In addition, students put what they learned into practice by completing experiments at home using the materials from the chemistry lab kit and noting their results in their lab manuals. There were 17 experiments in all; they were safe to do at home (although some materials required special care and handling, and always required the use of safety goggles).

During the experiments, Jackson learned about:

  • Paper chromatography
  • The electrical conductivity of various solutions
  • Mole ratios
  • Decomposition
  • Titration
  • Reaction rates

Following each experiment, he filled out its lab manual pages, then scanned them and sent the pages to the Moodle classroom for Ms. Lindahl to grade and record.




Our impressions of Chemistry with Lab

We’re really happy that Jackson was able to take his chemistry class via Bridgeway Academy. Personally, my only experience with chemistry was an introductory course my son took years ago in elementary school. (Awesome, but the key word there is “elementary”!) So I had serious doubts about being able to teach chemistry to Jackson, and to teach it well; basically, I’d have to learn a complete new scientific language and study hard myself for a long while before I’d really be able to teach him. (And to be honest, even if I had done those things I don’t think I would have been a good instructor for this course.)

Instead, we had Melissa Lindahl, an experienced and certified science teacher, for whom the language of chemistry seemed to be second nature. She effectively taught difficult new concepts each week, and prepared students for the math concepts that they’d be using in the experiments as well as instructing them about the materials (especially the solutions and solids they’d be using) and the proper way to handle each one.

Here’s what Jackson says about the class: “Ms. Lindahl was a good teacher and the class had interesting subject matter. I appreciated having a dedicated class time each week and a teacher who covered the material in a good amount of time. Those were definite high points. I did feel as though sometimes the Paradigm curriculum lacked some chemistry information that is often taught in high school chemistry classes. It focuses more on the history of chemistry, I think, than the whats and hows of the science taught in other courses.”

Jackson would probably have benefited from more time practicing the math equations required for the course. Ms. Lindahl explained them well during the online classes (and was also available via email outside of class) but the text itself didn’t spend extensive time on them. However, the history and the information on the elements made the course very interesting.




In closing

Are your homeschooled students at the point that they need their high school science credits, such as biology, chemistry, or physics? Are those subjects that you personally need more help in teaching?

If so, I’d definitely recommend Bridgeway Academy to you. Their certified teachers, online classrooms, and curricula can make all the difference in the world for your homeschool! Plus, your students will earn credits toward their high school transcripts.

Here’s how you can find out more about Bridgeway Academy

Just follow the links to the Bridgeway Academy home page, or to the Live Online Classes page. Bridgeway Academy has so many amazing classes for all of your students, from elementary age, to middle schoolers, to high school teens. Check them out. We’ve had wonderful experiences with them throughout the years!


Enjoy! –Wren


DISCLAIMER: From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

“Hey Mama!” Schoolhouse Planner for 2019/20 ~ A Review

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As a homeschooler, one thing that is vital for me each day (and each year) is lesson planning. Each year I purchase a paper planner to use. This year, The Old Schoolhouse® kindly sent me the Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 to review. I’m so excited to use it starting later this summer! Let me share more about it and how it can help you in your homeschool year!



About the author

The Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 is a 1-year homeschool planner with enough space for one through five children. It’s authored by Gena Suarez of The Old Schoolhouse®,who, along with her husband, Paul, publishes The Old Schoolhouse® magazine. They are the parents of 7 children and are longtime homeschoolers themselves. Gena brings this lifelong experience to bear in the wonderful new Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20. The result is everything you’ll need for the 2019-2020 school year!


What you’ll find in this planner

First, I have to say, it is absolutely GORGEOUS. The front and back covers are a white background with lovely flowers superimposed across them. The flowers have sort of a native cherry blossom look, but the colors are blue, purple, and a little red/brown/yellow. It’s pretty and quite appealing to look at; even before you open it! It opens and closes without a hitch. It’s spiral-bound and the covers are laminated, so it is durable and lays flat for desk work or closes like a spiral notebook would if you’re only planning to work on the first (or second) part of the week.

The Hey Mama! planner is chock-full of practical helps, weekly/daily/monthly calendars, lesson plan pages, attendance records, and other important record-keeping pages for the homeschool year. There are also encouraging notes and devotionals from Gena to the homeschool mamas on such timely topics as; anxiety, God’s provision, trials, adventure, perseverance, dread, failure, and joy. I love Gena’s words to us homeschool moms. Homeschooling is a wonderful vocation, an adventure, and a delight; but it’s also, on some days, a task we may not feel equipped for. These devotionals will bless the user on those days!



Here are some of the practical helps you’ll find in the Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20:

  • Tips on creating a transcript, and a form to you for your high schoolers
  • A checklist for skills learned and courses studied
  • 2019-2021 mini-calendars
  • Monthly large calendars with big squares to jot notes and appointments on each day
  • 90 pages for each week’s lesson plans, with spaces for up to 5 students
  • Planning pages for each child, including curriculum planning, attendance, books read over the year, yearly and semester goals



My thoughts

I haven’t begun to use my new Hey Mama! planner yet. We have JUST (and I mean, JUST) finished my son Jackson’s junior year as of last Friday. So at the moment, we’re all breathing a huge sigh of relief.

However, our minds are beginning to turn to the 2019-2020 school year, which will be Jackson’s senior year. We’re considering curricula, coop classes, volunteering, driving lessons and practice; all the things that will comprise his last year of high school. As this planner starts in July 2020 and runs through May 2020, I’ll begin filling it in soon, I’m sure!

I love everything about the Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20. I love the feel of the beautiful color; the nice white pages inside just waiting for my pencil to begin writing; all the practical helps that will lead and support us on our way in this coming year. I can’t wait to get started!


How you can get your own Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20


It’s easy! Simply follow this link Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20  to purchase your own Hey Mama! planner from The Old Schoolhouse® .  Prices start at $22, with planners also available for shipping to Canada and to international addresses.

And, don’t delay. The Old Schoolhouse® has sold through 98% of their print planners. If you’d like to get one of these planners for your 2019-2020 homeschool year, this is your moment to do so!


Thanks for letting me share this with you! Have a lovely first week of June!


Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLOSURE: From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

There’s Still Time to Register for Bridgeway Academy Trimester Courses for Spring 2019

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Hi friends!

Are you a little tired of the homeschool curriculum your family has been using?  Do you need a breath of fresh air for yourself, or your students’ schooling?  Well, Bridgeway Academy might be the answer for you!

I wanted to share some fascinating class info for Bridgeway Academy‘s spring 2019 class list.  You can register for this spring’s Live Online Classes (trimester courses) now…all the way up until February 28, 2019.  These are available for students in elementary grades through middle school, currently.  They provide the opportunity for your kiddos to engage in online classrooms with other homeschool students across the country, with certified teachers who are passionate about their subject matter and great educators as well.  We have loved having these opportunities for my own son!

So, what kinds of classes might you find for this upcoming semester?  You could register your child for:

  • Tales of Survival: Geography & Literature (11 spaces left)
  • Practical Skills for Tweens & Teens (4 spaces left)
  • Music Appreciation (10 spaces left)
  • Magic Tree House: Ice Age (11 spaces left)

There are also some fantastic courses in the literature category.  Elementary students can learn more about digital storytelling or engage with classics such as the always-beloved Charlotte’s Web.  In addition to the “Tales of Survival” course listed above, middle schoolers can delve into fantasy literature, a favorite genre for many teens.

And really, that’s not all!  Just click on Our Courses to see the other cool offerings Bridgeway Academy is offering this spring!  You might just find the perfect thing for your own child and his or her education…and a way to extend the joy of learning in untold and unusual ways!



Head over to Bridgeway Academy to learn more.  Remember, registration for these spring trimester  closes February 28, 2019.  So don’t delay!


Enjoy!  –Wren

Deadline extended to register for fall Bridgeway Academy classes!

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Are you still finalizing your child’s fall homeschool courses?  If so, I have good news for you!



You can still register your children for fall courses through Bridgeway AcademyBridgeway Academy offers fantastic online classes in all core subjects and in many electives for students in elementary, middle school, and high school.  Students attend classes online with other homeschooled kids from around the country, which are taught by experienced, interesting, certified teachers.

We’ve had fantastic successes in the two classes Jackson has attended with Bridgeway Academy; high school biology and elementary marine biology.  (You can click on the highlighted links to find out more about those.)  Bridgeway Academy also offers many other science courses.  As well as courses like these:

  • Music Appreciation
  • Writing
  • Computer Technology
  • Renaissance History
  • Algebra
  • Public Speaking
  • Geography
  • and much more!

Check out the course catalog and learn more by visiting Bridgeway Academy’s Live Online Classes page.  From there, you can see everything Bridgeway offers.  You’ll be amazed!

Registration deadline info

Bridgeway Academy has extended their course registration deadline til September 10, 2018.  So head on over!  You can sign up via the Bridgeway Academy’s Live Online Classes link.


Enjoy!  -Wren








DISCLOSURE:  From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

New from Bridgeway Academy: Author in Your House & Coupon

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Are you considering which writing curriculum you’d like to use in your homeschool this year?  Well, if you are, consider Bridgeway Academy!  They have some fascinating new online classes taught by best-selling author Renae Green called Author in Your House which might be just what you’re looking for.

Bridgeway Academy provides excellent online classes taught by accredited, skilled teachers in all subjects.  My son Jackson has taken two online courses from Bridgeway Academy and we couldn’t have been happier with his weekly class time, his assignments and studies, and his overall experience both with his teacher and his classmates.  He has learned so much.

Author in Your House is a new course which is available for middle school students (grades 5-8) using the book Chasing Dreams, which details the life of 12-year-old Rebecca’s life in the early 20th century.  High school students can take Author in Your HouseWrite Your First Novel with Renae Green guiding them through the writing of their first novels.  Either way, students will receive a first-class education in writing from a skilled and gifted author.  Visit this link to view the Course Catalog which details the information on these and other classes for elementary, middle school, and high school students.


Plus, you can purchase these at a discounted price through July 20!

Families can get 15% off Bridgeway Live Online Classes (course materials and additional kits excluded) by using the code SUMMER2018 at checkout.

We have loved our Bridgeway Academy experiences.  If you’re looking for some amazing class opportunities for your students, please visit the Bridgeway Academy website and learn more!


Enjoy!  –Wren


Our Experiences with Bridgeway Academy’s Apologia Biology Course & Lab 2017-2018 (Plus a Coupon)

I can hardly believe it, but we are in the final few weeks of my son Jackson’s 10th grade homeschool year.  We were incredibly blessed to be able to partner with Bridgeway Academy this year, and Jackson took his high school biology course–Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Biology (FYC Biology Course w/Lab)–online with them.  I couldn’t be happier with Jackson’s experiences, and I’d love to share our final thoughts with you as the semester winds down!



Bridgeway Academy

Are you familiar with Bridgeway Academy?  The company provides accredited homeschool options that can fit any family’s lifestyle. From customized textbook and online options to live online and blended learning, Bridgeway helps families find exactly what they need for a successful homeschooling year.  Live courses, which are attended online by students in first grade all the way through 12th grade, provide fascinating academic experiences for families. In fact, thousands of students have participated in Bridgeway Academy Learning Lab classes from 1989 to the present day.  And parents will be interested to know that 92% of Bridgeway Academy enrolled students proceed to their first choice college!


High School Biology & Lab with Apologia

Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Biology is the course I had always hoped and intended to use with my son for his high school biology credits.  The textbook is both rigorous and intellectually challenging, and covers biology in an interesting way.  Chapters cover the following topics:

  • the definitions of life and biology plus classification, taxonomy, and biological keys
  • Kingdoms Monera, Protista, and Fungi
  • the chemistry of life
  • the cell, cellular reproduction, and DNA
  • Mendel and Genetics
  • Evolution
  • Ecology
  • Kingdom Animalia (invertebrates, arthropoda, chordata)
  • Kingdom Plantae
  • Reptiles, birds, and mammals

Each chapter also includes two challenging review sections (for test preparation), experiments, and question-and-answer portions in addition to text, vivid photos and diagrams.  This is the textbook that is utilized by Bridgeway Academy in the FYC Biology Course w/Lab, along with the company’s Biology Lab Kit.  The lab kit provides everything from a stainless steel dissection kit, lab supplies, and 7 lab specimens (earthworm, grasshopper, perch, crayfish, frog, cow eye, and fetal pig) for the dissections that are covered in the course.  When the student completes this course (with a D average or above) he’ll have accumulated 1.5 academic credits for both the biology course and lab.


High School Biology with Bridgeway Academy

So, what does Bridgeway Academy bring to the table when they’re offering an online course with the already-excellent Apologia Exploring Creation with Biology?  What would you think if I answered, “More than I could have imagined!”

First of all, they provide an exceptional online classroom experience.  Bridgeway Academy utilizes Moodle for its online classrooms.  Collaborate within Moodle allows students to attend classes alongside their peers who are taking the same class.  The teacher teaches the class via video and students can interact with him/her and with each other using their own computers’ cameras or text chat.  Moodle also provides a way for teachers to administer tests and daily or weekly assignments.  Students upload their assignments and projects to Moodle, where teachers grade them and a record of work is kept.  Technologically, Moodle made it very easy for Jackson to interact with his class, stay up-to-date on his assignments, and keep track of his work.  There were a few times where Moodle had glitches but they were few and far between.  And if you are taking an online class, that’s exactly what you need and want!

Secondly, Bridgeway Academy hires interesting instructors who bring years of education and training to the classroom.  Jackson’s biology teacher, Mrs. Carla Berg, is an experienced and accredited scientist and educator.  In every single class, Mrs. Berg brought impeccable scientific training to make her classes interesting and exciting to the students.  But just as important, she brought excellent classroom management abilities to bear as she guided students through their own interactions with the class.  I’m sure that she is also well-aware that students have different learning styles, because I saw her utilize classroom activities for visual learners, auditory learners, and kinesthetic learners in every class.  She also varied classroom activities every week, which helped her students stay engaged and learning all semester long.



Third, Bridgeway Academy provided a learning experience with this high school biology class that truly exceeded the best that I could have done myself.  I am interested in science.  But I freely admit to you that I am not a trained scientist, nor is high school biology my forte.  And honestly, the very thought of dissections…well, those also are not my forte!  But with Bridgeway Academy, I didn’t have to excel at any of those things.  Instead, Jackson was able to take a top-notch, academically rigorous, well-done biology class taught by an experienced teacher whose love for science poured out in each class.



What I’d like for you to know about our experiences

There are so many positive outcomes that both Jackson and I have experienced during our high school biology year with Bridgeway Academy.  (More than I could actually fit into a blog post!)  But there are things I’d love to share about them here.  (And I’ll try my best to keep the list from becoming too lengthy!)

  • He has received an exceptional education in high school biology that has prepared him well for college science coursework
  • He was challenged to produce his best work continuously throughout the year, whether it was on tests and projects, in-class participation, or daily reading and Q&As
  • He had the benefit of a well-educated and interesting instructor who was committed to her students’ success
  • Bridgeway Academy’s Moodle provided excellent record-keeping for each student (including a portfolio download option)



Does that sound amazing to you as a homeschool mom or as a student?  I just cannot speak highly enough about Bridgeway Academy and their incredible classes.  If you’d like to discover more about Bridgeway Academy, visit Bridgeway Academy Learning Labs and check out their extensive list of awesome online courses.  Whether your student is in the elementary, middle school, or high school grades, you’ll find some incredible options.

And just so you know, Bridgeway Academy would like to provide a coupon for you to use when you sign your child up for a class!  Just use coupon code WREN18 when you visit the Bridgeway Academy site to receive  10% off any Learning Lab purchase.  (Coupon expires June 1, 2018.)

Enjoy–and think of Bridgeway Academy when you’re considering your child’s next homeschool courses!  –Wren

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DISCLAIMER:  From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.



New Bridgeway Academy Classes for 2018-2019 ~ Plus Coupon Code!

Readers of the FINCHNWREN blog know that Jackson is taking a two-semester high school biology course (Apologia Biology) through Bridgeway Academy.  You also know that the class has been incredibly good.




But, did you know that your child can register for 2018-19 Live Online Learning Lab from Bridgeway Academy as of February 15th?  Whether your student is brand-new to homeschooling or an experienced homeschool student; and whether he or she is an elementary, middle-school, or high school student, there are fantastic courses for your learner.


  • For elementary students – choose from topics like art, robotics, classic novels, Magic Tree House based history, science and more
  • In middle school – select from enrichment classes in game design, creative writing, archaeology, cartooning, geography and more to full year courses in the critical subjects
  • High school students can take courses on in any of the core subjects (language arts, history, science and math), plus select from plenty of elective options which include Spanish, music, art, personal finance, and debate, to name just a few


And new for this 2018-19 school year, Bridgeway Academy is introducing the “Author in Your House” series of courses where your student can learn from the best-selling author of books for all ages and humor columnist, Renee Brumbaugh Green!


Perhaps you’re looking for something to liven up your homeschool days; or perhaps you’re just experiencing the winter doldrums as a teacher.  Bridgeway Academy could be the answer to bring fun online learning to your homeschool!  Classes are taught by experienced and certified teachers, and students have the opportunity to interact online with other homeschool peers as they learn together.


I’d like to share with you just a few additional reasons why we have found this Bridgeway Academy biology experience to be so rewarding.  Jackson has learned so much from his excellent science teacher.  He has had the opportunity to interact online during class with students from all over the United States.  And in addition, I’ve also had the privilege of seeing him grow as he is challenged to do his best.  This biology course is building skills in my son that will prepare him for life and college.  As a homeschool mom, I couldn’t have asked for more!



Enrollment in 2018-19 courses begins now and FinchNWren is excited to be able to offer our followers an exclusive 10% off on each individual course* purchased between February 15th and March 8th!


View course information for the new school year and use coupon code WREN18 to save!

Be sure to hop over to Bridgeway Academy for more information.


Enjoy!  –Wren