Skip to main content

TOS Homeschool Crew Review - Illuminations ~ Year One High School (Bright Ideas Press)

This product review cannot possibly be lengthy enough to cover all that is provided in the Bright Idea Press product Illuminations (Year One ~ high school). It is an all-inclusive curriculum based on the Mystery of History and All American History series. Mystery of History serves as the spine for Illuminations (Year One ~ high school) and includes bible, language arts (grammar, writing, vocabulary), literature, science, humanities (poetry, theater, music, art), geography, history, and life skills. Yes, I meant it when I said it is an all-inclusive curriculum! Add some math and you should be ready to go :)

Some curriculum items you will probably need to go with Illuminations (Year One ~ high school) include Winston Grammar (which I absolutely love!), Mystery of History Volume 1, English from the Roots Up, WriteShop 1, the Ultimate Geography & Timeline Guide, Ruth Beechick's "Genesis: Finding Our Roots", A Young Scholar's Guide to the Humanities, Joshua Harris's book "Boy Meets Girl", Precepts: Covenant,"Discovering God's Way of Handling Money" from Crown Financial Ministries, Homer's Iliad, The Phantom Tollbooth, Josh McDowell's "More Than a Carpenter", Plato's "Trial of Socrates", and reading by Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Sophocles and Aristotle, and a copy of the Bible. Many of these items can be found used in good condition at places like and for very reasonable prices.

The product I received at no cost for review purposes was the download version of Illuminations (Year One ~ high school). Other products available from Bright Idea Press include:

Illuminations (Year Two ~ High School)
Illuminations (Year Three - High School)
Illuminations (3rd - 8th grade ~ Year One)
Illuminations (3rd - 8th grade ~ Year Two)

The lesson plans include flexible lesson templates that allow "the Mom" to pick the elements of the curriculum to use for her family's unique needs. There are also yahoo groups available so that you can communicate with other Illuminations users. The download version has a contact page with links to the company so that you can contact them quickly and easily with any questions.

The User Guide has a tutorial that explains how to use the curriculum. In the "Quick Start" section you a 5-page introduction, a book and program checklist, instructions, and a literature evaluation form. The "By Subject" section allows the user to find information by subject (Bible, Literature, WriteShop1, English from the Roots Up, Geography, LIFE101, Supplemental, & Graphic Organizers). Under the "By Date" tab information is divided into 36 weekly segments; there are also some Blank Schedule Grids for moms who prefer to adapt the lesson plans to better suit their family's needs. "Contact Info/License" gives the user to license their product, contact the company, or browse through the catalog.

Some of my favorite features include the option to change the lesson plans prior to printing them out. What a blessing for an "eclectic" homeschooling mother like myself! No scratched-out, messy papers; instead, neatly done lesson plans with my additions included. In the "Weekly Schedules" there is a place to put notes - another great option that allows the busy homeschooling mom to keep her notes all in the same place. I also love the fact that I can choose to use 4 or 5 day a week lesson plans. Having Fridays "off", so to speak, allows the students time to catch up and may even give mom a few minutes to relax. Not every subject is taught every day - so breathe a sigh of relief if you felt overwhelmed reading over the curriculum list covered by this product.

The cost of Illuminations (Year One ~ high school) and Illuminations (Year Two ~ high school) are $95 for a complete download, $115 for the cd rom, or $47.50 for a single semester download. The cost of Illuminations (Year Three ~ high school) is $240 for the full year download or $120 for a single semester download. (See the website at to learn more & to see about the high school level products coming out in late January 2011.)

Having said all of the above, I would like to finish this review with a sincere THANK YOU to Bright Ideas Press for allowing me to review this product. It is something I have looked at many times over the years but never quite got around to purchasing - primarily because I was afraid I might not be able to adequately use the curriculum. I was glad to find out that not only is this product easy to use, it's also easy to adapt and makes excellent use of some of my favorite homeschooling products. It has been a delight to use and I look forward to using more of Bright Ideas products in the future. It is everything I hoped it would be and then some.

Happy homeschooling everyone & have a blessed Thanksgiving this week!

Day 56 done :)

Jan L. Burt


Popular Posts

A Homeschool Mom's Devotional (# 1)

Colossians 4:17 tells the reader to "be sure to carry out the work the Lord gave you".

How can this be applied to the enormously busy lifestyle of a homeschool mom?

First of all, we must always remember that the Word of God has the answer for our every need and we can trust fully in God to use His Word to lead us, guide us, correct us, and bless us.

Keeping that in mind, let's consider what this verse is saying. We are told to carry out, or complete, the work the Lord has given us. We are wives, mothers, homeschoolers. Those three BIG job descriptions come immediately to mind when I think of homeschooling mothers. Applying God's Word to our life means carrying out our work as wives, as mothers, and as homeschoolers.

When I am exhausted from another long day (or long week, long month, long year, etc.) I still must honor the Lord by blessing my husband. Maybe that means having a hot meal on the table when he arrives home from work. Perhaps your husband would prefer a…

My Preferred Bible Reading Plan

We all know that reading our Bibles is a key part of living a healthy life as a follower of Jesus. But busy homeschool moms may, at times, struggle to know what part of the Bible to read on any given day.

Some people read the Bible through, Genesis to Revelation, and when they finish simply start over. Others have reading plans that follow along with the sermons their pastor is currently preaching. And yet others find themselves "stuck in the Psalms", since they're not quite sure what to read.

I'm not going to tell you how many chapters a day you should read, or that you need to do exactly what I do. I'm just going to share what has worked for me, and hopefully encourage you to get into the Word using some type of plan ~ because every homeschool mom knows what happens to our plans when we fail to create a plan, right?!

I use a prayer and Bible reading guide called "Prayer Point", published by Samaritan's Purse. About every 8 weeks, I receive a new i…

Do You Homeschool? Then You Need to Read This Article!

Whether you have been homeschooling for a month, a year, or a decade, you've inevitably faced the "questions". Questions about socialization, college, athletics, driver's ed, high-school biology, etc. etc. etc. and so on.....

It seems as if homeschoolers are ripe for questions from day one; but the flip side seems to be that there really is no flip side. We are expected to patiently answer any and all questions, smiling politely and pretending we've never heard this line of questioning before. But when we try to ask a few questions about, say, public schools as a whole or the issue of private schools being used as a last-ditch landing spot for students expelled from public school, well...ahem...we're pretty much told to keep quiet. No one wants to hear our questions, and often times no one really wants to hear our answers to their questions. They just kind of want us to....go....away.

I'm not planning on going away any time soon. And neither are my five …

Everything by Mary DeMuth

The book Everything by Mary DeMuth became a "keeper" for me almost as soon as I began reading. Mary sugarcoats nothing in her attempt to make Jesus' gospel what it rightly is ~ and as you probably guessed from the title of her book, it rightly is about everything.

Eighteen chapters, three sections, one-hundred and ninety-eight pages...if you take the time to delve into them you will grow exponentially in your walk with the Lord. In Everything Mary calls us out, calls us higher, and admonishes us with honesty and openness. Sharing from her heart and relying heavily on the truth that is God's Word, she sets things straight. There aren't just one or two things about this book that I have taken to heart; and there aren't just a couple of quotes I could share here. The book in it's entirety is a game-changer!

Please buy this book, read this book, apply the truths in this book to your life, and let the Lord become your everything!

HERE is a direct link to Every…

TOS Crew Product Review ~ Reading Eggs

Reading Eggs is an online learning program for pre, early and emergent readers (ages 3 to 7 primarily, with a unique online area for readers ages 7 to 12).

As my children are all older, this is primarily an informational review, kind of like "looking back" to consider how this program might have worked for our family several years ago. However, we did spend quite a bit of time using the online are for older readers, called "Reading Eggspress" - I will mention both throughout the review.

The Reading Eggs website is divided into three categories: First Steps for 3-4 years; Ready for School for 5-year-olds; Fun Practice Makes Perfect for 6-7 years. The ages are really more like guidelines, so your child could easily move through all the levels at their own pace. And when ready, they could move on to the lessons available at Reading Eggspress.

I feel this would have been a fun, easy to use resource for my children in their early years as readers. There are loads of option…