Back to School Sale!

Homeschool Curriculum Sale

Greetings everyone, I am pleased to announce that one of the most important sales of the year at Guest Hollow has begun!
WHAT ARE THE DATES OF THE SALE?
July 24th through August 7th

This sale is going to run for a while this year, running from today all the way through August 7th! This will get everyone well past the first of the month and give all of you a decent amount of time to shop without pressure in order to make the perfect selections for your family/homeschool.

WHAT IS THE DISCOUNT AMOUNT:
20% Off

We are offering a deep discount of TWENTY PERCENT OFF of your entire order. You may order as many items as you like.

WHERE DO I GO TO GET THE DISCOUNT?
GuestHollow’s Website – Online Store

You may go to http://www.guesthollow.com. There you may add AS MANY ITEMS AS YOU LIKE to your shopping cart in the GUESTHOLLOW.COM ONLINE STORE.

WHAT IS ON SALE?

GuestHollow Store Items
I am pleased to announce that ALL of the items delivered via the GuestHollow Store are eligible for the 20 percent discount.

HOW DO I ACTUALLY GET THE DISCOUNT?
Enter the coupon code at checkout.

Getting your 20 percent discount is easy. Simply put the discount code referenced below in the coupon code box when you check out.

SO WHAT IS THE CODE?
back2school

The coupon code you will enter into the coupon code box to obtain your discount is case sensitive. The code is:

back2school

We suggest you copy and paste the code and ensure that you do not add in any extra (white) spaces or other characters when you put the code in.

HOW WILL I GET MY PURCHASES?
via e-mail with download instructions

After you make your purchase an email will be sent to you detailing how you will be able to download your purchases. Please read this email carefully and make sure any passwords you are sent are copied carefully. Some of the downloads are pretty large, so it may take quite a while to download them depending on your internet service. DO NOT try to open the item until you have confirmed the download has completed. Please save the items that you order on your devices. It is not intended that you should log in each time you use the curriculum.

HOW DO I SHARE THIS WITH OTHERS?
From the GuestHollow Facebook Page, the GuestHollow.com Main Page, or the GuestHollow Blog.

We would absolutely LOVE for you to share this sale with others. You can find a post similar to this one on our Facebook page:

GuestHollow Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/guesthollow/

THANK YOU! If you have any questions please leave a comment!

Happy Independence Day!

At Guest Hollow we are proud to be Americans and we are proud of our country and our heritage. This weekend our country will be celebrating Independence Day or as many refer to it, “The Fourth of July”! Though fireworks have been canceled in many communities, ostensibly because of the current virus crisis, we want to give you something to celebrate and so we are going to let you purchase ANY items from the Guest Hollow store for “76” percent of their normal price! That is 24 percent off!
Just enter the code 1776 at the time of checkout and you will receive a WHOPPING 24 percent off of your order!

This sale is strictly limited to July 3rd until July 5th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We won FIRST place in SIX categories!

Practical Homeschool Awards - 1st place winner

GUEST HOLLOW SWEEPS **SIX** CATEGORIES IN THE 2020 PRACTICAL HOMESCHOOLING MAGAZINE READER AWARDS !!!!!!!!!!!!
– We want to THANK YOU!!!!!!
It is with a great sense of gratitude and deep honor that GuestHollow.com announces that we have been selected for not one, not three, not five, but SIX awards by the readers of Practical Homeschooling Magazine!
 
A few weeks ago we received a surprise call from Mary Pride over at Practical Homeschooling Magazine. She was requesting an interview with us and some photos… She shared the AMAZING news, (news that we have had had to keep under wraps for weeks), – that GuestHollow’s WONDERFUL CUSTOMERS voted SIX of our curricula into FIRST PLACE in SIX categories for Practical Homeschooling Magazines Homeschooling Reader Awards!
 
Receiving any ONE of these awards would be no small thing for ANY homeschool material producing company, but for a little literal mom and pop company like GuestHollow to earn SIX?!?! Well, this is just way beyond what we would ever have expected, and we truly have YOU to thank for this!

As I have sometimes shared, GuestHollow is such a tiny company that we do not even have an advertising budget. We rely completely on YOU, our customers, to let other people know that GuestHollow.com even exists! So imagine the utter jaw-dropping and giddy celebrations that happened here at the GuestHollow home-office when we got Mary’s call!

 

We just cannot thank ALL OF YOU enough for believing in us enough to nominate GuestHollow for these awards and for voting a multiplicity of GuestHollow curricula into the FIRST PLACE slot of six awards!
 
Grab a copy of Practical Homeschooling Magazine’s Summer 2020 edition and open it up! I would like to direct your attention to page 12 where there is an article titled “Be Their Guest”. The article starts out with the sentences:
“Guest Hollow came out of nowhere to be one of 2020’s biggest Reader Award Winners. “Why had we not heard about this company before, we wondered. So our publisher Mary Pride, tracked down Jennifer and Charles Guest to hear their story.”
 

The article/interview then devotes 3 / 4 of a page to detailing who we are, where we came from, what we do, and what some of our future plans are. Practical Homeschooling also posted a photograph of Jenn holding up some of the GuestHollow curricula in our home/office library.

 

Again, we have all of YOU, our truly loyal customers, to thank for this. It is only because of YOU that Mary Pride at practical Homeschooling – https://www.practicalhomeschooling.com/ learned about us. Indeed, almost all of our NEW customers have learned about us from YOU generously taking some time to share about GuestHollow.com with others online and elsewhere.
 
So, would you like to know what it was that YOU voted GuestHollow into winning?
Well, we would humbly like to share with you that we swept some very important categories. And so without any more ado here is a list of the Practical Homeschooling Awards that we were selected to receive:
 
Somehow we tied for PRACTICAL HOMESCHOOLING’S ***FIRST PLACE*** AWARDS for ALL of the following GuestHollow Materials:
 
-> GUEST HOLLOW HIGH SCHOOL AMERICAN HISTORY in the History Category of the Practical Homeschooling 2020 Reader Awards
 
-> BEOWULF’S GRAMMAR in the Grammar Category of the Practical Homeschooling 2020 Reader Awards
 
-> GUESTHOLLOW HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGY in the High School Biology Category of the Practical Homeschooling 2020 Reader Awards
 
-> GUESTHOLLOW HIGH SCHOOL CONCEPTUAL PHYSICS in the High School Physics Category of the Practical Homeschooling 2020 Reader Awards
 
-> GUESTHOLLOW GEOGRAPHY COURSES in the Geography Category of the Practical Homeschooling 2020 Reader Awards
 
-> GUESTHOLLOW HIGH SCHOOL CHEMISTRY IN THE KITCHEN – in the High School Chemistry Category of the Practical Homeschooling 2020 Reader Awards
 
Again, we want to thank all of you for your support and we are totally humbled (and of course excited beyond belief) to have won so many first-place awards in the Practical Homeschooling 2020 Reader Awards. Thank you for being part of the GuestHollow family.
 
Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. 🙂 

Guest Hollow’s Geography

Homeschool geography curriculum

The high school geography update is now FINISHED!

In January we released Guest Hollow’s High School Geography & Cultures Curriculum (adaptable for middle school).

As soon as the curriculum was released, one of the main books went out of print. We decided to provide a FREE online book (with embedded videos, maps, etc.) as a replacement. This necessitated changing the schedule and the workbook as well.

All updates are now finished and available as a free update to those who previously purchased the curriculum!

Geography customers can access the new online version of the schedule by logging into the store via:

https://guesthollow.com/store/my-account/

and then clicking on “My Membership.”

You can access the new downloads by visiting the “My Account” page and then clicking on “Downloads.”

There is a new Microsoft version of the schedule, a new PDF version of the schedule, and a new workbook. The old files are still available for those of you who bought that version and want to use them instead of the new ones. That way you will still have access to your downloads if you need/want them.

The online textbook is available to everyone for free:

https://www.guesthollow.com/textbooks

We’ve already received some great feedback about the new online book. Students are loving it!

Check out the main geography curriculum page to access sample weeks:

https://www.guesthollow.com/homeschool/geography/geography2.html

Click here to see what terrific books we’ve scheduled in as well as a workbook sample:

https://www.guesthollow.com/homeschool/geography/books2.html

Guest Hollow’s High School Geography & Cultures Curriculum is already shaping up to be one of our most popular programs! <3  We hope you enjoy this update that makes it even better!

Don’t forget to join us at the Guest Hollow Geography Homeschool Curriculum User’s Group on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/GuestHollow.Geography.homeschool/
🙂

How to get books when the libraries are closed…

Coronavirus library closure

Please share this with your fellow-book-lovers!

It seems like the entire country is shutting down thanks to COVID-19! One of the recent shutdowns that is directly affecting me is the closure of my local library system.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! LOL…

I use the library all of the time to create and update curriculum schedules, besides feeding my voracious book addiction! When I was homeschooling, I used it even more (feeding 3 young minds is a full-time job!) and we used to come home with a trunk-load of books on a regular basis. If you are wondering how you are going to keep your homeschool going when the libraries close, I have a few tips for you on keeping the readers in your family happy. 🙂

  • Research the electronic resources your library has access to such as:Hoopla

Hoopla 

Hoopla Digital provides a wide range of digital content and allows library patrons to download or stream media content for free. Hoopla has videos, books, music, and graphic novels available!

Overdrive and Libby – Overdrive gives you access to tons of e-books and audiobooks. Use the free Libby app to sign into multiple libraries or use more than one card for each library.Libby app

Libby can also send books to a Kindle and show you all of your loans and holds on a single shelf (even if you are using more than one library’s access to Overdrive).

FlipsterFlipster – You can check out digital versions of magazines from Flipster. What’s available will vary from library to library, but there are usually some really great offerings like Time, craft magazines, Consumer Reports, Babybug, Cricket, cooking magazines, health & nutrition magazines, and more!

RBdigital 
– This library subscription gives you access to audiobooks, ebooks, videos (including videos from The Great Courses), magazines, and comics.

rbdigitalCloud Library – See if your library has a subscription! You can get tons of popular books to read on your computer, tablet, or phone.

cloudLibrary

A small sample of books taken from the cloudLibrary homepage.

 

The Amazon Ecosystem

 
  • Use a Kindle or other tablet and purchase Kindle books at discounted prices. Ebooks are often less expensive than physical books. Some classic books are also FREE. I shop for books all the time via Amazon and I LOVE my Kindle. Since my library closed down, I’m going to be getting a lot of digital books in the months to come.

  • Kindle Unlimited
     has a 30-day free trial and sometimes has special deals where you can get a 3-month subscription for 99 cents! A subscription gives you access to the Kindle Unlimited Library of 1.4 million titles in eBook and audiobook format. Some of the books in our language arts program are free through this subscription like the books by Brian P. Cleary.

  • Amazon’s Free Time Unlimited gives kids access to books, apps, and videos for an inexpensive subscription. Try one month for free to see if the books available are a match for the program you wish to use. Note: The iOS version of the app only gives you access to books and movies. You need the Android version to access apps/games and other features. Some of the books in our Guest Hollow programs are featured in Free Time Unlimited (at the time of this writing) like An Ambush of Tigers, What do Authors Do?, National Geographic Readers: Sea Turtles, Eye to Eye, The Trojan Horse, and Phineas Gage.
  • Use Audible for audiobooks. Try it out for free for 30 days and get TWO free books you can add to your homeschool library. Audible is great for reluctant readers or for listening to “on the go.”
  • Try the free trial for the Amazon-owned ComiXology app. One of our customers shared that she was able to get two free comics for our American History Curriculum with her 30-day free trial!

Other Subscriptions and Online Freebies

 

  • Epic Digital LibraryEpic! is a digital library for kids 12 & under. You can instantly access 35,000 books, learning videos, and more. They have a 30-day free trial and right now are offering FREE access through the end of the school year (June 30, 2020) by teacher invitation. There is a nice selection of books and comics that can be read via a computer or tablet/phone.
  • FunBrain books
    FunBrain books – You can read a variety of books via FunBrain like Judy Moody, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and more!
  • Storyline OnlineStoryline Online The SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s award-winning children’s literacy website, Storyline Online, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White and dozens more. (Thanks to my daughter Hannah for sharing this one!)
  • scribdScribd allows you to subscribe and borrow tons of eBooks, magazines, audiobooks, and various documents (like sheet music). You can get a 30-day free trial. I’ve used Scribd several times to borrow books when creating Guest Hollow curricula. It’s saved me a bundle!scribd
  • Open LibraryOpenlibrary.org lets you borrow hundreds of thousands of books in digital format. You can read the books online or download them in ePub, PDF, text, and sometimes Kindle format. A lot of the books in the Guest Hollow programs can be found at the Openlibrary website like A Patriot’s History of the United StatesColonial LivingThe Cartoon Guide to Genetics, and many more.
  • Internet ArchiveArchive.org has lots of free books, magazines, movies, software, music, and more. You can search and see if it has the book or magazine you need in a digital format.
  • Free books online
    Project Gutenburg
    – Check out this library of over 60,000 free eBooks in a variety of formats. You can read them online, via a Kindle, tablet, phone, etc.

Used Book Websites

There are lots of websites besides Amazon where you can get used books if you need to have a few books in hand vs. digital books. Pay attention to the recent recommendations about virus spread via surfaces to know if this is the right option for you. 😉

AbeBooks.com. Thousands of booksellers - millions of books.

Thankfully, there are so many options for reading that don’t require anyone to leave the house. I’ve already checked out a ton of books for my Kindle and will be settling in for some great reading during this time of family and reflection! If you have any go-to resources for books, let us know by sharing a comment! Please also feel free to share this post!

P.S. Don’t forget to check out our free pack of printables to keep your kiddos busy and entertained!
https://guesthollow.com/store/shop/stay-at-home-sampler-pack/

 



Making Irish Blaa for Geography

Irish Blaa

I’m currently working on creating a FREE online “spine” book for Guest Hollow’s High School Geography & Cultures Curriculum. While working on the section about Ireland, I found a recipe for Irish Blaa. I couldn’t resist how these rolls looked via the online pictures, so I had to try making them for dinner.

Irish Blaa

They were so easy to make and turned out great!

Irish Blaa

Look at this fluffy and delicious roll!

Irish Blaa

Geography is yummy!

Is your student interested in cooking his/her way around the world? Guest Hollow’s High School Geography & Cultures Curriculum is chock-full of more delicious and ethnic recipes, great books, videos, art, music, activities, and more!

The current geography schedule uses The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Geography as a spine book, but we recently discovered that The Complete Idiot’s Guide is no longer being published. That’s why I decided to make a FREE online spine book to replace it with tons of fun embedded videos and lots of photos to illustrate what students are learning. I think it’s a much more visual and in-depth book than the original spine.

Everyone who purchases the curriculum will get a FREE upgrade to the new schedule as soon as I finish wrapping things up. 🙂

You can take a sneak peek at the current rough draft of the online geography “spine” book here:
https://guesthollow.com/textbooks/

Let us know what you think!

Join us on the FaceBook Geography Homeschool Curriculum User’s Group and be on the lookout for more posts and pictures of our geography curriculum in action!

Drops Language Learning App Giveaway!

Drops language app

I’ve been really busy working on creating a high school geography and cultures curriculum. One of the things I recommend when learning geography is to learn a foreign language. Today I’m hosting a giveaway in honor of the up-coming geography program and the goal of learning about other cultures and languages: Drops!

Drops is an addictive, colorful app that teaches you individual words. It’s not a full-fledged language program that deals with grammar and conversation, but that’s part of its charm and ease of use. With Drops you learn vocabulary (along with some travel phrases and scripts for languages like Japanese) in a way that’s simple, easy, and fun.

There is something about it that just makes you want to sit for a while and tap/swipe/learn. Drops is the perfect app for when your brain is too tired for a more rigorous language learning effort, when you only have a few minutes, or to introduce a new language learner to something that isn’t intimidating and difficult. It’s also great for learning a LOT of words.

I made a quick video to show the different word categories and how the app works:

There are 35 languages available:

Drops has quite a few categories of words you can practice – from the very basic (food, colors, weather, etc.) to more advanced vocabulary that has to do with things like biology, computers, geography, politics, and much more:

Drops app review

You can choose your level to get access to more difficult words as you progress. Drops also allows you to practice scripts where you can trace with your finger or stylus to make the characters you are learning:

Learning hiragana with the Drops app

The free version of Drops gives you access to most features with a 5-minute time limit. Purchase a premium subscription and you get additional benefits like access to the word dojo (that helps you practice/retain the words you’ve already learned with a special algorithm), offline learning, no ads, no time limit, a word collection (where you can see all of the words you’ve practiced with instant pronunciation, etc.), all topics are unlocked, and you can restart a topic. One lucky winner of our giveaway will get a one YEAR premium subscription!

drops language app review
I can look at all the words I’ve been learning and practicing from the collections screen.

Enter our giveaway for a free subscription to Drops. You can also download the app and give it a try. Everyone can play for free!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’d like more language learning suggestions and ideas, click here to read a previous article I wrote.
Homeschooling with Guest Hollow

LingoDeer Giveaway! One of the best apps for learning a language!

Lingo DeerI mentioned how I’m learning Japanese in a previous post about learning languages. I have tried just about every app in existence to see which one works best and have finally found one I absolutely LOVE based on a recommendation from one of my customers: LingoDeer!  To celebrate this terrific find and thanks to LingoDeer’s generosity, I’m hosting a giveaway where 3 lucky winners will get a lifetime subscription to LingoDeer. Before I get to the giveaway details, I want to share the details of this terrific language-learning app!

LingoDeer currently features 9 different languages: Japanese, Korean, Spanish, French, Chinese, German, Portuguese, Vietnamese, and Russian. I was told that they are also going to add Italian this year and are open to adding other languages in the future when the right talent joins the team. LingoDeer is also committed to expanding and improving the languages they currently feature especially the Asian language courses.

The app was originally designed for Asian languages (and that continues to be the main focus), but when I use it to brush up on my German, it shines just as much as it does for Japanese!

Lingo Deer currently features 9 different languages.

Japanese hiragana

Learning any language can be difficult, but learning an Asian language (for an English speaker) is a bit more of a challenge (at least for me, lol). First, you have to learn an entirely new “alphabet.” In Japanese, this means you have to learn hiragana, katakana, and finally kanji.

Lingo Deer starts you out learning the basic alphabet with the proper stroke order for some of the languages like Japanese and Korean. With Japanese, LingoDeer teaches you the basic hiragana and katakana. Kanji are introduced as sight reading. but you can always have the option to see the phonetic hiragana (or the English letter based romaji) above the kanji to help you read.

Other languages in LingoDeer also start out with the alphabet, so you can learn any special characters or pronunciation. The Chinese lessons teach pinyin and a set of “survival” characters. I think LingoDeer alphabet lessons are the best for Korean and Japanese, but they are always working on making their app better and adding more features, so it’s possible the other languages will get the same level of introductory “alphabet” lessons.

After the optional alphabet section, you start the lessons. After trying a boat load of other apps, Lingo Deer turned out to be one of the BEST with just the right amount of difficulty, perfect lesson lengths that aren’t overwhelming, and grammar explanations to help further your understanding.

Lessons start out with optional learning tips. After you’ve completed a lesson, you can click on the stopwatch icon for a quick pop quiz to practice vocabulary and other concepts.

The exercises are varied to keep interest high and to help build retention and understanding. Some of the exercises are:

  • Match a picture to a spoken word
  • Match English to Japanese
  • Choose the correct translation
  • Fill in the blank
  • Drag and drop to spell words and create sentences
  • Multiple choice
  • Drag a phrase into the correct position in a sentence
  • Listen and choose the correct word
  • Speak and compare your pronunciation to a native speaker

In the screenshot below, you can’t just guess to get a correct answer! You have to build the sentence by dragging and dropping the correct hiragana and spell out every word.

I found this to be challenging at first, because with other programs I could just “guess” the correct answer by reading one or two words in a sentence. Having to spell out every word in an exercise like this really reinforces the material in a way that discourages cheating. 😉

When I was using other Japanese programs, I had a hard time differentiating between some of the basic grammar concepts. Lingo Deer has you learning things in context AND provides additional explanation, so you aren’t left guessing.

In the above screenshot, I can touch each word to see a detailed explanation. I can also press the microphone icon to record myself saying the sentence and then compare it to a native speaker. Unlike some apps, speaking is optional, so if you are in a quiet environment, you can still progress through the lessons without having to make a peep.

There is a review for each lesson so that you never forget what you’re learning. You can review grammar, vocabulary, or both at the same time. Review is also built into the lessons so that grammar and other things you learned from previous lessons are reinforced gently.

There is plenty of review. You can practice vocabulary and grammar individually via different modes.

Knowledge cards in the review section give you more info about grammar and structure:

Knowledge cards help you understand grammar and structure.

You can also download your lessons to work offline!

LingoDeer also features a progress chart, badges, awards, and a ranking system to stay motivated and to track your learning.

With other apps I sometimes felt frustrated during my language lessons, but LingoDeer leaves me feeling encouraged and happy with my progress. I also find myself retaining the lessons better than most other apps due to the lesson structure.

LingoDeer is available via Android or the Apple app store:


…And now I’d like to share LingoDeer with three of my readers via a giveaway:

THREE winners will get a LIFETIME subscription to LingoDeer!

Take a look at the gallery for more LingoDeer screenshots: