4-H Curriculum Review – Home Food Preservation

25% off  4-H Curriculum during April! 


What is 4-H?

4-H is America’s largest youth development organization.  The organization gives kids an opportunity to participate in hands-on projects covering health, science, agriculture and citizenship, and do so in a positive environment where they receive guidance from adult mentors.  4-H reaches nearly six million young people across the U.S –  from every corner of America – from urban neighborhoods to suburban school yards to rural farming communities.

The 4-H programs include STEM & AGRICULTURE programs, CITIZENSHIP programs, and HEALTHY LIVING programs, and FYI – they’re great for homeschooling!

The 4‑H Healthy Living program is designed to help kids learn about living a healthy lifestyle through fun, hands-on activities and projects. The materials for this program emphasize inquiry-based, experiential learning – where kids “do, reflect, and apply”.

The Healthy Living Home Food Preservation curriculum is part of the Healthy Living Program.  The Home Food Preservation curriculum is the focus of this review.

The 4-H Healthy Living Home Food Preservation curriculum consists of four different manuals. The manuals include:  1. Freezing, 2. Drying, 3. Boiling Water Canning, and 4. Pressure Canning.

You can purchase them separately or as a bundle, with a bundle discount.  I like options and I like discounts, don’t you?  🙂

Each manual includes nutrition information, kitchen basics, the basics of the preservation procedure, and activities so kids can learn the techniques. The manuals are  between 36 and 40 pages; are for grades 3-12, beginner skill level; and are written for the youth participant.  They’re authored by the University of Idaho, using USDA food preservation guidelines.

For additional info on each manual, see below


Kids learn how to safely freeze foods and how to use the frozen foods in healthy recipes.  Activities include freezing fruit and vegetables, conducting a taste test, and creating a freezer inventory.

– 40 pages





Kids earn how to safely dry foods and how to use the foods they dry in healthy recipes.  Activities include drying fruits and herbs, making fruit leathers, and making a menu plan.  My kids like this manual, they especially like the activity of drying fruits.

– 40 pages



Kids learn how to safely preserve fruits, tomatoes, fruit spreads, and pickles, and how to use these home-canned foods in healthy recipes. Activities include canning fruit, making syrup, jams and jellies, and making pickles. Making pickles is a big hit with my kids.

– 40 pages



Kids learn how to safely preserve tomatoes, vegetables, and meats, and how to use home-canned foods in healthy recipes. Activities include canning vegetables, beans, and combinations of meat and vegetables.

– 36 pages


Each manual lists the manual’s objectives and each activity includes a short lesson followed by hands-on opportunities and questions for additional learning.  Also, each manual includes an achievement program to help kids identify their goals and keep track of their accomplishments.

FYI – here are sample pages from the four different manuals

Your role as a parent

This isn’t a curriculum that kids can do on their own. Parents do play a key role in helping their kids learn the information, skills, and safety practices behind food preservation. Also, my kids needed parental help to set goals, find resources, and evaluate their progress as they completed the manuals.

Other 4-H Curriculum Options

In addition to the Home Food Preservation manuals, there are many other 4-H curriculum/manuals/resources/kits, which cover a variety of subjects.  In fact, there are over 400 curriculum books and educational materials kits available at the national level.  All resources have been developed by experts at universities across the country, including the University of Illinois, Cornell University, Penn State, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  FYI – I really like all of the Practical Skills Curriculum (STEAM, woodworking, etc.), the Diversity & Inclusion materials, the Environmental & Outdoor Science curriculum, and the Cloverbuds materials for kids 8 and under.  Plus, I really like “extras”  like apparel & accessories and “essentials“.  I know they’re not really essentials – but if I like a product I like to go all in.  Especially with an organization like 4-H!  🙂

You can View ALL the Different 4-H Curriculum Options Here!


And 4-H Curriculum can be Found at  


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Thrive Academics Voyage Review

I have a high schooler, and college is right around the corner (sniff…sniff). We’re spending more and more time talking about his interests, what he thinks he might want to study, colleges, financial aid, etc. Because of this, I was really happy when we were given the opportunity to work on the Thrive Academics Voyage review.

Voyage is an online College and Career Readiness course for high school students – with four different modules:

  1. Who I Am (Personal Development)
  2. Career Planning
  3. College Planning
  4. Financial Responsibility
Life skills are included in every module and include skills such as communication, teamwork, decision making, and responsibility.  Each module tells you up front, what skills will be covered.

Thrive Academics Voyage Review – Module 1:

The Who I Am module contains important information – and many thought-provoking questions are asked. These include: Who are you? What’s important to you? What are your passions? Yes, this is heavy stuff!

Specifically, the module covers the importance of identifying one’s purpose and strengths, having a vision statement, the difference between short and long term goals, the idea of SMART Goals (goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely), the need for action plans, and more. The PDFs and exercises that go along with the module and reinforce the topics are really good/very helpful. My son complained about starting the program but once he dove in, he was excited to finish each module.

Here’s an idea you might want to think about: Take this part of the course with your teen. Explain that passions and strengths can change over time – then share your results with each other. It’s a great opportunity for meaningful dialogue. And you can learn more about yourself and your child at the same time. So, it’s a win-win.

Thrive Academics Voyage Review: Module 2 – Career Planning.

The career content is aligned to the National Career Development Guidelines. It covers the differences between jobs and careers; how to research career options and choose a career with a future; as well as how to fill out a job application, write a resume, and more. Yep – it’s important information for sure! Information that might be hard to discuss and prep your child for if you didn’t have a program like this in place.

Thrive Academics Voyage Review – Module 3!

The College Planning module is especially valuable –and you’ll appreciate this material too. It’s aligned to the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards and it discusses community colleges, 4-year universities, and tech/trades school options. The course doesn’t assume a student will be going the 4 year route – which I appreciate. My son was looking into trade schools for a very long time and I was glad this didn’t push in one direction or the other.

Other important info: As a college student, you need to know where each class is before the day classes start, high school and college grades are determined in a different manner, internships are very valuable, and more.

The PDFs for this module are extremely helpful – especially The Federal Student Loan Program PDF and the My Schools Profile PDF.

Even though I really like this module (my son did too), there are some topics that are omitted. These include – the importance of the PSAT, dual credit courses, and the option of online college courses. Dual credit and online options are especially important to homeschoolers. Be sure to discuss these with your teen.

Thrive Academics Voyage Review – Module 4: Financial Responsibility:

The Financial module is chock-full of information. It includes info on budgeting and wants vs. needs; how to open a bank account and balance a checking account; credit cards, compound interest; taxes; financial responsibility; even retirement, and the importance of starting a retirement account at a young age.

Thrive Academics Module 5: Everyday Living

This module teaches important topics students will need to master to live on their own. These include health and nutrition, communication, healthy relationships, traveling, getting a driver’s license, and learning how to buy a car and rent an apartment/home.

I really liked all four modules. But what did my son think of them? I asked him, and here are his responses (positive and negative) –

  • The content is important –I pretty much needed to know all of it– especially the college and financial stuff.
  • Having to fill out my personal profile and my purpose statement was a valuable experience – I had to think about my strengths and my goals. Not stuff I normally spend a lot of time on.
  • I liked a lot of the PDFs. Some were really useful – so I liked them because of that – and I liked the ones that looked like infographics. You can print off all the PDF s which was good for assignments – and as Module 1 suggests, good for taping to your wall/mirror.
  • I liked the animation including the drag and drop activities and the avatars.  Much better than clip art and boring power point slides.
  • The final exams in each module were good –  even though I’m not big on exams.
  • It’s online….so it’s self-paced….I could complete it when I wanted to – I like working at night.
  • There are a few things I’d change – 1. you can’t skip a screen. So if you already know how to write a check, you still have to go through the screen.  2. Each module includes summaries – what we discussed/what we learned – they are kind of a waste of time (although, not much time – they’re not long). 3. There’s no pre-test option. I appreciated the college info, but some of my friends that have older brothers and sisters kind of know lots of this stuff already. If you could take a pre-test first, you could skip the stuff you already know. A lot of online programs have this option and I guess I’m kind of used to it.
  • The good info certainly outweighs my pain points with the program and I am glad my mom worked with me on this. I learned a ton and will take all of this information with me to college.

On a personal note (from me, the mom), I found Voyage to be exceptionally valuable.  It’s kind of your one-stop shop for college and career readiness – and I liked that Voyage is a course full of information and activities, not just a resource. So many college and career readiness programs out there are just resources, which is fine, but Voyage has an element of engagement that we really appreciated.

And I was thrilled with the financial responsibility component! Even though my son knew some of this info already, a refresher is always welcome.

So, yes, I would recommend this course to any family with a high school student.



Just FYI – one more bit of info – Thrive Academics also offers

  • In-home or online tutoring for grades K-12 in math, language arts, reading, writing, science, history, and foreign language.
  • Test Prep for the ACT, GED, GRE, ISEE, PSAT, and SAT.
  • College Advisement.

So far, I haven’t used these services, but I like that they are offered. Ancillary products/services are always a plus in my book – especially when it comes to college readiness.


Voyage offers competitive and affordable pricing for home school students at $60 per student for a 1 year subscription.

Learn more here:


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Teaching Self-Government Review


Have you ever yelled at your kids?…of course you have. We’ve all done it. I’m not proud when I do it, and I’m surely not happy afterwards. I always feel horrible and often apologize to my kids. I was so excited when I had the chance to write about the Teaching Self-Government review we did over the last few weeks. This program was created by Nicholeen Peck and can be done completely online. Wouldn’t it be nice if your children always followed instructions, accepted criticism and accepted “no” as an answer? Let me tell you about this course and why I am so glad we had the chance to try it out.

Nicholeen, the author of this program, is an international speaker, author, mentor, former foster parent, and President of the Worldwide Organization for Women.  She has appeared on various news shows and radio programs to discuss effective parenting, and she has authored many parenting books including Popular Parenting Methods, The Power of Calm, Londyn LaRae Says Okay, Porter Earns A Quarter, Big Win For Quin, Paije Takes the Stage, and more.

Teaching Self-Government Review

As we go through the Teaching Self-Government review, I’ll tell you what I liked about the program and why we decided to publish a review about it. This program is a thorough, faith-based, positive, online class taught by Nicholeen Peck.

Immediately, in lesson 1, I started devouring everything Nicholeen was teaching. It resonated so strongly with me and our belief system. At the end of this course, I came out with an understanding that the key to having a peaceful and disciplined home was for me and my husband to learn how to self-govern.

This course is laid out nicely – using the visual of a tree – with roots, trunk and branches.  You start with the roots – and take lessons to build the trunk and fill out the branches and fruit of the tree.  (It’s rewarding to see your tree grow as you complete the individual classes – kind of like Hooray stickers for grown-ups!)

In the Roots portion of the course, you cover the basics/foundation of the course, including:

  • Popular Parenting Methods (The Cultural Parenting Revolution)
  • Training The  Heart
  • 4 Keys of Self Government (Analyze, Make a Plan, Act Deliberately, Communicate Effectively)
  • The Power of Calm
  • Vision – Home Culture (What do you want your future family to feel like?  Now is time to plan your family culture to stand the test of time)

Teaching Self-Government review – When you progress to the Trunk lessons, you learn about the following:

  • Marital Relationship & Couples Meeting (The tone of your relationship with your spouse sets the tone for your whole family.  If your children are not happy, the first relationship parents need to focus on strengthening, is the couple relationship)
  • Roles (the roles of children and parents should not be confused)
  • Tone (Acceptance, Love/Mercy, Trust)
  • Family Economy (Consequences) Tolerances (Your family economy is the system of credits and debits.  It defines the way consequences are earned and lost.  The family economy should not be a surprise to the family members.  Knowing the economy ahead of time decreases anxiety for all family members)
  • Parent-Child Relationship
  • Seek to Understand
  • Family Mission (The mission of the family is the what the family is becoming together and how they achieve their vision)
  • Family Meetings
  • Personal Mission
  • The Family Standard (provides boundary lines that keep everyone safe and serves as a shield of protection from the negative influences of the world)

Teaching Self-Government review – The Branches section of the course covers:

  • 4 Basic Skills  (Following Instructions, Accepting “No” Answers, Accepting Consequences, and Disagreeing Appropriately)
  • 5 Social Lessons
  • Assertive Communication
  • Praise
  • Corrections and Rule of 3/Time-Out
  • Pre-Teach
  • Parent Counseling Sessions  (These sessions are “talks” where parents get to ask their children about what’s going on in their lives. It’s a time to seek to understand)
  • Family Activities/Fun
  • Problem Solving/SODAS (a problem solving exercise, and one of the best ways to evaluate a situation and see what could have been done better)
  • Mentor Sessions  (This is the time to make goals together and to see what is needed)
  • Motivators

Teaching Self-Government Review

In addition to these sections of the course, I was emailed every week with parenting advice and support. I actually looked forward to receiving that email each week. She also supplies weekly call-ins that you can join. You can submit questions before the call and she will go over most of the questions so that you get answers to anything you need help on. So, not only do you get to go at your own pace with this program, you get support on any given week, which was incredibly helpful to me and my family as we worked through this. The support group calls and weekly gems (articles that are written every week) were some of my favorite parts of this program. I felt like I was part of a community and that I wasn’t in this alone.

This course really taught me that in the end, we should be teaching our kids to master themselves…meaning their actions and their thoughts. We want them to be happy, functioning adults in society one day. They shouldn’t just act nice because we want them to – they should want to do it on their own and know why.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of the course:

  • Work from the bottom up – start with Roots. It really does lay the foundation for the rest of the course and is an important part of the teachings.
  • Work a little bit every day (you can probably finish one class per day which is what I did).
  • Be realistic in your expectations. Don’t expect behavioral perfection right off the bat. You (and your family) may have to work at it.

Honestly, I really got a lot out of the course while we were working on the Teaching Self-Government review.

In particular, I found the following to be very positive:

  • There is SO MUCH GOOD INFORMATION! (Some videos are an hour or more – others might be 4 minutes in length. Regardless of the time involved, the information is worth it)
  • The info makes sense! She lays everything out so that it is easy to understand and she is very clear in her communication. I never left the course having questions about what she was teaching.
  • I thought her advice was fairly easy to implement. It wasn’t intimidating and made me feel like I could make the change I so wanted.
  • The information is provided in a variety of ways and you can choose how you’d like to learn it. Video, text, or both.
  • If you’re really interested – bonus materials are provided. I found these helpful when I wanted to get more in-depth on a particular subject.
  • Assignments are included. You can use the new knowledge effectively.
  • If you follow the course and implement Nicholeen’s advice, you will probably become a calmer individual (I know I have in the weeks since I’ve finished the course), and your family, homeschool, and home will see a calming influence too. (Now, read this bullet point again – it’s an important one!)
  • You don’t need to take my word for it, you can see testimonials here.
  • The website offers lots of relevant information – via great blog posts.
  • The resources are priced well and can be purchased alone or in packages.
  • Nicholeen offers lots of support, including a FREE Family Mentor Session.
  • She also offers a 100% Money Back Guarantee (although I doubt she’s ever had to refund anyone). Still….I like that it’s available and it is a true testament that she believes in what she teaches.

This advice has the ability to be modified for all homes and all beliefs.  Use what you can/what you feel comfortable with.  I do know her advice/techniques WORKIf you have a Family Vision, set rules, are consistent, and enjoy calm in your life and in your home, your entire family benefits.


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