Join me in a year long journey reading through the Bible

  • Wow, this was a lot to read today. A lot to take in. Le t me see if I can recap this correctly. He begins by telling us about Gods defense of Jerusalem and...

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Family Portrait

Every year we get a picture with Santa or a professional picture of our family. This year we just were not able to do that. So instead we took a family portrait here at home. I also figured it was time to change the picture on my blog. Raquel is a little under 2 there and she is already 3 1/2. I could not decide which picture to use. Do you like the one I used or should I change it to this one? LOL! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year Resolutions?

I have never been one for trying to make a huge list of New Year Resolutions. However, I do have lots of things I would like to accomplish during 2009 (most in regards to homeschooling and the Children’s Choir I teach at church) but I am not sure if those are really considered New Years Resolutions or not. See I would like to get back into exercise again. I always, around November, loose track of my exercising until after the holidays. Of course I have a long laundry list of school things I would like to complete by the end of summer 2009, choosing new music for the choir, etc. But these are all just normal everyday things I think of all year long. However, there are two things that I really want to start doing starting on January first?


The first one is to finally love my body! I have been skinny in my elementary years, fat most of my teenage/early 20's, skinny once again in late 20's and most of my 30's and then back to fat currently after I had my little girl. I have felt the feelings of bliss fitting into a size 10 and walking down the street getting whistles and the feeling of agony fitting into a size 20 and the looks of horror on people faces as they see me walking towards them. But now I am in my 40's and I finally just realized that I need to be happy with my body no matter what size it is. Now that does NOT mean I will stop exercising and eating right. It just means that I will not beat myself up everyday when I look in the mirror for not being what everyone else in this world wants me to be. So my resolution is to be content with my body. I did that once before and when I became that content I lost 120 pounds. Maybe that will work again, maybe not, but I know I will sure feel a lot better about myself no matter what the outcome and be a lot happier.


My second resolution is to finally read the bible from cover to cover. I have never read the Bible from beginning to end before. I have read most of the books of the Bible through book studies at least once, but this year I am going to read it in chronological order. I have a daily reader Bible that is in chronological order and my church is also starting a group that happens to be using the same book. So we will all blog about it each day. Now that’s a whole God thing in itself. I was planning on doing this and had set a plan for it, had the Bible in hand when a few days later I received an email from my church saying they were putting this exact same Bible study together. Must be a God telling me that this was the right thing for me to be doing this coming year!


I will also be reading each day’s entries to my children as part of their Bible study. We will still do their regular daily Bible study, but I will add this reading too. I am hoping that by reading the entries out loud I will understand and retain more of the information I am reading as well as my children will pick up on some of the information I will be reading to them. I want to get them out of their children’s Bible and into the real Word of God sooner then later. Yea, I have always read passages from the Bible, but when we read stories it has always been from the Children’s Bible. This will be a wonderful change in our Bible time together.



How will I make these resolutions stick? I have 3 steps that I think will help me to make these two things become a habit.


1. For each resolution, focus in on one goal at a time I can do to make the change. Example: if you want to loose weight focus in on eating 3 pieces of fruit each day. When this has been accomplished, focus on another small goal.


2. Put together monthly objectives. Example: For the Bible reading I have put a check list of chapters to read each day for the month of January.


3. Don't beat myself up if I mess up. Example: Keep positive thoughts like "I have done really good so far. Lets get back on track tomorrow".


Anyway, I would love to hear from all of you and what you thoughts are on New Years resolutions. Do you have them? What are they? Are you totally against them? Write me and let me know. You can either comment on the blog or send me a personal email. And if you are interested at all in doing the Bible Study with me, let me know. I would love to blog back and forth with you about what we learn and your take on things. Just an FYI, I do take the Bible to be literal not figurative. So keep that in mind as we discuss our thoughts on what we are about to learn.


In any case, I hope you all have a wonderfully safe and fun New Year. May God bless you and your family in 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Kinderbach

I was really excited to review Kinderbach since I am a singer and teach the children’s choir at my church. First let me say that this program is geared towards the very young child who does not have any type of music training. My son, 6, did like the program, however he was quit a head of the program since I have been teaching him music for the past year or more. My daughter, 3, liked the graphics and the music and singing a lot. She found this program to be fun and pretty easy to follow.

Karri McGregor is the creator of Kinderbach online lessons with printable activity sheets that reinforce the activities they learn online as well as give them some extra practice after their lesson. She teaches music theory and note reading, and the children actually get to play the piano during a lesson. The curriculum can be done online or she has a DVD that you can purchase if you have dial up. Frisco and his friendly donkey, Dodi, teach basic musical concepts. Kinderbach is an extremely cute and helpful method of piano teaching for very young children.

The online Learning Center has about 300 sessions as well as the PDF files for the activity pages. This costs $14.95 per month. This is about 2 years of instruction for 2-7 year olds. They also have a free trial for two weeks that you might want to check out.

Score 8 out of 10

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Math Mammoth

Maria Miller is the author of the Math Mammoth, which is a series of math workbooks that are available in e-book format. Now first let me say that I am in no way a math genius nor do I know how to teach math well without some help from a good core curriculum. With that said, one of the things I liked about Math Mammoth is the fact that you can sign up for her informative emails. When you sign up you will receive 6 how to teach math articles, 280 bonus worksheets, and a few emails that explain her books.

I think if you, the teacher, know math well, and for the student who is really loves math, this is the curriculum for you. The worksheets have a basic explanation on “how to” do the problems and the answer key provides the answers to the problems with no solutions. Since I am NOT mathematically endowed, as my children get older and the math gets harder (algebra), I would have to spend time figuring out the “how to” get to the solution of the problems.

Right now this curriculum is a pretty good match for my son (6) especially when we will need a bit more practice with an individual concept. The modules are set up into learning topics (a new concept being introduced and then practiced) instead of progressive learning (a new concept introduced, then only given a few problems to go with the new concept then reviewing from previous lessons). Depending on you and your child this could be a great way of learning for you.

Her prices vary depending on whether you buy a single unit, entire color series, partial series or buy it all! For more EXACT pricing, please visit her website. Math Mammoth has 4 main workbook groups to choose from. Here is an example of her choices.

The Blue Series: grades1-5, somewhat self teaching, Each book concentrates on a few topics only, such as addition & subtraction, multiplication, clock, fractions, division, geometry, etc. They are especially good for remedial or supplemental work - whenever your student needs extra help on some particular topic. Price example: $3.00 per unit to $65.00 for the whole series

Light Blue Series: grade 1-4, somewhat self-teaching, The Light Blue series covers all topics for a given grade level. Each grade level includes two parts of a work text (A and B), tests, an answer key, and a worksheet maker. Price example: $14.00 to $81.00 (for entire series).

Golden Series: grades 3-8, contains problems only, these are workbooks or worksheet collections, which provide very variable problems in a convenient one-topic per sheet format. Golden Series books are great for class work or homework, for general review, reinforcement, or practice material. Price example: $50.00 for the entire series

Green Series: grade 3-8, contains problems only, Math Mammoth green series brings you workbooks by topic. These are pulled out of Golden Series collections so there are duplicate contents. This makes excellent practice material for teachers and parents who wish to have worksheets on certain topics. Price example: $50.00 for the entire series.

Score 7 1/2 out of 10

Friday, December 26, 2008

the 12 Days After Christmas

well, I am back. Even though I did not leave on a vacation I turned my computer off for a few days. Now that I am back on line, I thought I would start off with something I thought was very funny and soooo very true for the after holiday blues! Enjoy.

On the day after Christmas my true love gave to me...

12 bills for paying.

11 relatives left to visit.

10 really dirty looks for giving the kids stuff they shouldn't have.

9 orders to take the reindeer's down off the roof before New Years Eve.

8 other small jobs to do that will not take too long if I get at it now!

7 stops to exchange gifts.

6 gift cards to redeem at the mall.

5 hours on line trying to untangle the mess of holiday guarantees that did not arrive on time.

4 hours waiting in line for other stuff.

3 trips to the movie and I only like one.

2 hours to watch football.

AND 1 smile to say I Love You even with all these shortcomings.

Adapted from the CBS News

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Christmas Wish to You

Well, the time has finally come. It is Christmas Eve and all the work and shopping and wrapping and baking we have done is all about to be demolished. Sometimes I look back at Christmas and ask myself was it all worth it. The answer...Yes! For me, the month of December is all about learning more about Jesus with my kids. Participating in the advent daily with them and praying to God that the world will know Him, especially at this time of year if at no other time.

Also December 24th is a time for me to people watch. I love to go to the malls and watch people freak out on Christmas Eve. I will never forget the one year Anthony (my husband) and I (b4 kids) went to South Coast Plaza Mall in Santa Ana. Now first let me explain for those who do not live here in Orange County California. South Coast Plaza is an upper scale mall filled with Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Channel etc shops. Anyway, this one year we went to the mall about 5:00pm. Now the mall was closing at 6:00. We walked around and just watched the people. We actually saw several people running through the mall trying to get all their gifts purchased. The lines were very long and ridiculous. At 5:55pm as we were leaving this one shop was closing its doors as we actually saw a human being run under the closing door to try to get that last minute gift. Needless to say, Anthony and I had a laugh at this person expense. I still wonder what the security guards were thinking as they were watching the security monitors.

My point. Please do not let today turn into a scurry for you to finish all the things you still need to get done. Take today and read the gospel of Jesus Christ and His birth to your children. Take a moment to call a few friends and wish them a Blessed Christmas. And more then anything take a moment to wish our Savior a Happy Birthday and a mighty Thank You for coming here to us and giving us eternal life.

May you and your family have the most blessed Christmas possible. Merry Christmas from the Nitz's. Kristin, Anthony, Vincent and Raquel. and don;t forget...Spencer, Shalimar, Sunny, Fish 1 Fish 2 and Whitie!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Finding Joy

Joy. What is joy? Is it happiness, fun, kindness, love? I think it is so many things to so many people. Now the question is when you know what joy is to you, how do you find it? Especially during the bustle and hurriedness of the Holiday season. Notice I said holiday not Christmas. When we get caught up in the struggles of finding that parking spot, finding the right gift, having enough money, having enough time, eating too much food and regretting it etc., are we really celebrating Christmas?

Christmas is not about how many gifts we get or give or how much weight we do or do not put on by January 2nd. It is about our Lord and Savior's Birth. There was the ultimate and best gift of all that we were given so many years ago. The gift of everlasting life through our Lord Jesus Christ. And it all started with His birth.

There are many things that give me joy. Watching my kids (6 & 3) sing in the children's choir at Christmas time; being able to stay home and doing as God commanded me to homeschool my children; singing Christmas Carols; watching my kids eyes light up on Christmas morning, knowing that no matter how tight it gets financially, God is watching over us And listening to my children tell their unsaved friends about Jesus Christ. Those are but just a few.

What is the one thing that gives me the most joy not just during Christmas, but all year round? Knowing, without a doubt, that when I die I will be lifted up in the hands of our Lord and be with Him forever. That is where I find my ultimate joy.

My prayer is that everyone out there would be able to stop for just a moment during this season and find that same joy in Christmas. Merry Christmas to you all!

ABC & 123 Lapbook

We made the cutest tacktile ABC and 123 Lapbook. You just have to check out the pictures. Click here to see it. http://raquelshomeschooldays.blogspot.com/2008/12/abc-and-123-lapbook.html

Friday, December 19, 2008

Raquel The Cheerleading Captain

This has got to be the cutest thing. On 4th of July my family and I went to Tustin High School to watch the firework show as well as the entertainment. My daughter brought with her a set of pom poms to cheer on the fireworks. When the cheerleader saw her dancing around with them they took her on as her team captain. This is just the very tail end of it. i wish I had caught the whole thing on video, but at least a have a few seconds to remember this by.

Introducing Raquel the Team Captain of Tustin High School Cheerleadering Squad.
video

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Get Rid of the Gimmees

This is such a great post, 9 Steps to a Meaningful Christmas for You and Your Family, by Terri Johnson at Knowledge Quest.

Christmas can be a magical time for children. Yet this holiday can also bring out whininess, disappointment and an ungrateful "gimme, gimme" attitude in our normally sweet children. How can we, as caring parents, counter-act this contagious and disheartening attitude? Let's use the word CHRISTMAS as an acrostic to remember some key thoughts and actions that can help our children (and ourselves) gain a proper perspective and appreciation for this most holy of holidays.

C - The letter "C" stands for two words - candles and carols. Light your home with the glow of candlelight. The presence of candlelight evokes a holy essence in your home - fitting for the holy occasion that we celebrate. Fragrant candles are even better! And remember to sing the carols of Christmas - together as a family and to yourself as you go about your daily tasks. Play them also on your stereo. The words of the traditional carols will imprint themselves upon your heart and mind and upon the hearts of your children as well.

H - The letter "H" stands for homemade. Christmas does not have to empty your bank account. In fact, the most meaningful Christmas gifts are usually the ones that are the least expensive. Children naturally love to give the creations that they make. Help them to find gifts that they can participate in the making of - simple yet thoughtful gifts that show their love and care for the receiver. (This year, my children are making fleece scarves and pocket warmers for their cousins and other relatives.)

R - "R" stands for reading the Christmas story. Do not forget to spend time in the Word of God, reading the account of our Savior's birth. He is the reason we celebrate this time of giving. We follow in the footsteps of the wise men who gave their precious gifts to an infant King, the Savior of the world. And do not just read it aloud together once, but several times throughout the upcoming weeks. (Helpful hint - this relates to letters "M" and "A" below.)

I - "I" stands for invite. Open up your home and invite your friends and neighbors in for tea and cookies. Why keep all those yummy cookies to ourselves when we can share them with friends? Don't worry about having your home look like a picture out of a magazine. We don't need to be perfect. Our homes do not need to be perfect. But we do need to share the love of Christ with our friends and neighbors.

S - "S" is for scoot out the unused toys. Like it or not, your children will be receiving more stuff for Christmas. Prior to Christmas is a perfect time for sorting through unused and unwanted items and giving them away to charity. During this cold and dark season, your unwanted blankets, coats and shoes can be a very real blessing to those who have less than we do.

T - The letter "T" stands for toss. Toss out the toy catalogs! This one is serious. One of the major causes of the "gimme" attitude springs from the onslaught of toy catalogs that enter our homes every autumn. If you would like to keep a few to order from, then by all means do. But do not put them into the hands of your children just to browse, or even to give you ideas. Scanning through toy upon gadget upon toy will begin to spoil the giving heart that you have instilled in your child only to be replaced by envious thoughts.

M - This one relates to the letter "R" above. "M" stands for memorize. Take a few moments every morning to memorize scripture. Luke 2:1-20 or Isaiah 9:6-7 are both good choices for this time of year. If you are reading this prior to Thanksgiving, Psalm 100 is an excellent psalm to memorize and it is only 5 verses long. Very doable!

A - Celebrate Advent. If you have never celebrated advent, perhaps this is the year to begin. Basically, advent is a purposeful celebration during the four weeks that count down to Christmas, reminding us each day of the first coming of our Lord and His imminent second coming. Here is a handy downloadable book that you can have in time for the first Sunday of Advent, which, by the way, is November 27th. http://www.joyfulmomma.org/Advent.html.

S - "S" is for Santa. I'm not knocking the fun that can had with the idea of Santa, but don't be afraid to tell your kids the truth. There is a good book that explains where the story of "Santa" came from and it is called Santa, Are You For Real? We let our older children help in the Santa fun. The younger kids set out the plate of cookies and write Santa a nice note. The older children get to stay up later and eat the cookies and write a return note from "Santa". Another fun activity is to play Secret Santa during the month of December. Each member of the family draws the name of another member of the family. The name of the person you draw is the one to whom you become the "secret santa". This gives family members the opportunity to do kind things for each other. These things can include giving small gifts, writing notes of encouragement, or doing acts of service. But be sure not to get caught! Reveal yourself to your special someone on Christmas Eve.

Enjoy Christmas this year and if you feel yourself getting weighed down by whininess or ungrateful attitudes within your family, remember the acrostic CHRISTMAS and do one thing different to make a change within your home. May God bless you and keep you and give you peace.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lets Make A Web Page eBook

Phyllis Wheeler is the author of Let's Make a Web Page! eBook which she wrote to help 8-12 year old children learn to create a web page of their own. Phyllis really knows how to portray the building of a web page in a very easy plan to follow. Younger children will need a little help from you (however she does have another eBook called Lets Make a Web Page Jr. for ages 7-9) while the older children won’t have any problems creating a web page on their own. She directs each step you take leading you by the hand in the creation of your very first web page.


Your first step is to interview a person, which she explains exactly how to do this for your web page. Once you have your interview picked and done…off to make a web page we go. Phyllis will then explain HTML coding, downloading the program for building your web page, how to include a picture, adding sound, animation and then of course how to post it.


The e-book is very well written. The one thing that was great for my son and me was the fact that she includes actual pictures of the programs we are using. We are visual learners, so this was just right for us. She also talks about the concerns of safety on the Internet and explains several ways for your child to search safely. She even mentions a free way to do this. She also has a Gallery of Greats for those students who have built a fantastic web page. Go over and check out some of the other kids work.

The regular price for Let’s Make a Web Page is $29.99 but currently she has a special for $19.99. If you are like me and want to teach your kids about the computer but have NO IDEA how to do this, consider purchasing Lets Make a Web Page by Phyllis Wheeler at Motherboard Books.

Score 10 out of 10

Puppetools

I think most parents realize how important play is in the development of our children. There is also research out there that says that play can also aid in learning. Jeffrey Peyton, the creator of Puppetools, feels this is very critical in helping educators and us parents in this area and he has a plethora of information to provide us with tools to add puppets into their daily school time as well as fun time. He has devoted many many hours to researching this and has developed a web site filled with tons of information and videos showing us how this can work for us in our schools as well as homeschools.


He has provided lots and lots of patterns for you to print out to make puppets, directions for his special hinge that he came up with (which is fantastic) and of course if you need some help he has the video examples of puppets other people have created and how they use them. You see when a child enjoys what they are learning and has fun; they retain a lot more of that information. If you have a child with learning disabilities, just think about how much more of their attention you will have.

Both my son (6) and daughter (3) really enjoyed this. I was not sure about the whole puppet issue, but it has turned out to be a fantastic addition to my homeschooling. They were very easy to make and both my kids made several. They re-act to the puppets questions quicker and want to talk to the puppet. I don’t use them every single day, but I do incorporate them into our learning about 2-3 times a week. They really look forward to it as a treat and ask for the puppets to come out and play.


They do have a subscription if you want to join and be able to read all the wealth of information and watch the abundance of videos. $99 a year for up to 30 users. This subscription would be best for a school or a PSP or maybe even a co-op. But for most of us we could use the $20 a year for just the one family.

Score 7 out of 10

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Gift by: Jill Cooper

I just had to post this. I get an e-news from Living on a dime and this was in one of her lastest emails.....

She stood at the window watching the snow falling gently to the ground. Thanksgiving was over and soon it would be Christmas, her favorite time of the year. But her heart was heavy in spite of the snow and the feeling of Christmas that it should invoke. The Christmas spirit that she had felt all year long seemed to have been drained out of her with a couple of simple phone calls, each from a family member saying they didn't want to exchange gifts this year because they couldn't afford them.

As she turned from the window her eyes fell on her little tree standing in the corner. It's lights twinkled ever so brightly, casting a warm glow over the small pile of gaily wrapped gifts lying under it. A smile touched her lips as she thought of each person that the gifts were for. In her mind she could see the joy and excitement on their faces as they tore open the gifts and saw what was in them.

All year, she had carefully planned their gifts and had sacrificed much time and money in order to be able to buy them. She listened to each person's big desires and little ones and had drawn so close to them that she knew not only the things they verbally said that they wanted but also the things they hadn't voiced. She knew she had bought each one the perfect gift -- Not the most expensive gift, maybe, but the perfect one for them.

Yes, she had sacrificed a lot to buy the gifts, but because her love for each person was so great and because of the joy she felt in giving, she didn't see it as a sacrifice at all. So what if she had to turn the heat down a couple of degrees and wear a sweater in order to be able to have a little extra to buy that special something for someone she loved. Yes, it's nice to go out to eat at the end of a long hard day, but it's even nicer to watch the face of a child open a present and go into rapture over his new car or to see mom get tears in her eyes because you not only remembered her favorite perfume but also how much she had longed for it.

Of course there had been times when she had looked in the store window thinking how wonderful it would be to own a dress like that, but when it came to a choice between that and the fur trimmed coat her granddaughter wanted, the coat won hands down. To see that granddaughter running towards her and throwing her arms around her once more thanking her for the new coat would make her feel more beautiful then any new dress could.

Oh, she knew there were those out there who would scold her and say she should think of herself more and do more for herself, but she just shook her head in pity for them. They had no idea what they were missing out on with that attitude.

It was that very same attitude that had caused the heaviness on her heart right now. The phone calls she had received came from people who had spent all year spending money on the things they wanted: new cars, TVs, clothes and going out to eat and now they had nothing left to give to someone else.

"When did it happen?" she wondered, "-- this change in people's thinking." What happened to the times when even a small gift was greatly appreciated because you knew the person had sacrificed so much in order to buy or make it? What happened to the times when parents, spouses and children worked so hard in order to be able to give that special gift to someone they loved? When did it become acceptable to call on your expensive cell phone, from your favorite restaurant, to let others know that you can't buy them a gift this year because you can't afford it? Had she been mistaken all this time in her understanding of gift giving?

With a droop in her shoulders she turns and walks toward the little tree. How could it have lost its sparkle in a matter of moments? Why do the presents under it suddenly look less gaily wrapped? With tears gently rolling down her cheeks, she stoops to turn off the tree's lights. As she reaches for the plug, her hand accidentally brushes her Bible laying on the table. As she looks up through the blur, her eyes alight upon the passage on the open page. "For God so LOVED the world that he GAVE his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

A sweet peace starts warming her heart. She begins to smile and her tears are flowing even more freely now -- not from sadness, but from joy. The lights on the little tree become brighter and brighter, lighting up the whole room with it's sparkle. The gifts under it look more beautiful than those in the most expensive department stores for, in that moment, she realizes that she wasn't wrong to love, to sacrifice and to want to give gifts to the people she loves.

Hadn't God Himself so loved us that He gave, with the greatest of sacrifices, the most wonderful gift, His Son. She was so glad that God hadn't spent His time in heaven selfishly using all His resources for Himself. She was thankful that He hadn't sent her a message saying, "Sorry, but I can't afford to give you a gift this year."

In those few moments of heartbreak she had learned something more. She had learned what God must feel like to have the gift that He sacrificed so much to give be rejected and scorned. How hurtful to take away the blessing of giving from someone or to reject their gift.
Yes, it seemed to be popular to say, "We can't afford to exchange gifts this year", but it didn't matter. She would continue to love, sacrifice and give, always following her heavenly Father's example.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What a great post by Jill Johnson at Knowledge Quest.



Christmas can be a magical time for children. Yet this holiday can also bring out whininess, disappointment and an ungrateful "gimme, gimme" attitude in our normally sweet children. How can we, as caring parents, counter-act this contagious and disheartening attitude? Let's use the word CHRISTMAS as an acrostic to remember some key thoughts and actions that can help our children (and ourselves) gain a proper perspective and appreciation for this most holy of holidays.


C - The letter "C" stands for two words - candles and carols. Light your home with the glow of candlelight. The presence of candlelight evokes a holy essence in your home - fitting for the holy occasion that we celebrate. Fragrant candles are even better! And remember to sing the carols of Christmas - together as a family and to yourself as you go about your daily tasks. Play them also on your stereo. The words of the traditional carols will imprint themselves upon your heart and mind and upon the hearts of your children as well.

H - The letter "H" stands for homemade. Christmas does not have to empty your bank account. In fact, the most meaningful Christmas gifts are usually the ones that are the least expensive. Children naturally love to give the creations that they make. Help them to find gifts that they can participate in the making of - simple yet thoughtful gifts that show their love and care for the receiver. (This year, my children are making fleece scarves and pocket warmers for their cousins and other relatives.)

R - "R" stands for reading the Christmas story. Do not forget to spend time in the Word of God, reading the account of our Savior's birth. He is the reason we celebrate this time of giving. We follow in the footsteps of the wise men who gave their precious gifts to an infant King, the Savior of the world. And do not just read it aloud together once, but several times throughout the upcoming weeks. (Helpful hint - this relates to letters "M" and "A" below.)

I - "I" stands for invite. Open up your home and invite your friends and neighbors in for tea and cookies. Why keep all those yummy cookies to ourselves when we can share them with friends? Don't worry about having your home look like a picture out of a magazine. We don't need to be perfect. Our homes do not need to be perfect. But we do need to share the love of Christ with our friends and neighbors.

S - "S" is for scoot out the unused toys. Like it or not, your children will be receiving more stuff for Christmas. Prior to Christmas is a perfect time for sorting through unused and unwanted items and giving them away to charity. During this cold and dark season, your unwanted blankets, coats and shoes can be a very real blessing to those who have less than we do.
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T - The letter "T" stands for toss. Toss out the toy catalogs! This one is serious. One of the major causes of the "gimme" attitude springs from the onslaught of toy catalogs that enter our homes every autumn. If you would like to keep a few to order from, then by all means do. But do not put them into the hands of your children just to browse, or even to give you ideas. Scanning through toy upon gadget upon toy will begin to spoil the giving heart that you have instilled in your child only to be replaced by envious thoughts.

M - This one relates to the letter "R" above. "M" stands for memorize. Take a few moments every morning to memorize scripture. Luke 2:1-20 or Isaiah 9:6-7 are both good choices for this time of year. If you are reading this prior to Thanksgiving, Psalm 100 is an excellent psalm to memorize and it is only 5 verses long. Very doable!

A - Celebrate Advent. If you have never celebrated advent, perhaps this is the year to begin. Basically, advent is a purposeful celebration during the four weeks that count down to Christmas, reminding us each day of the first coming of our Lord and His imminent second coming. Here is a handy downloadable book that you can have in time for the first Sunday of Advent, which, by the way, is November 27th. http://www.joyfulmomma.org/Advent.html.

S - "S" is for Santa. I'm not knocking the fun that can had with the idea of Santa, but don't be afraid to tell your kids the truth. There is a good book that explains where the story of "Santa" came from and it is called Santa, Are You For Real? We let our older children help in the Santa fun. The younger kids set out the plate of cookies and write Santa a nice note. The older children get to stay up later and eat the cookies and write a return note from "Santa". Another fun activity is to play Secret Santa during the month of December. Each member of the family draws the name of another member of the family. The name of the person you draw is the one to whom you become the "secret santa". This gives family members the opportunity to do kind things for each other. These things can include giving small gifts, writing notes of encouragement, or doing acts of service. But be sure not to get caught! Reveal yourself to your special someone on Christmas Eve.

Enjoy Christmas this year and if you feel yourself getting weighed down by whininess or ungrateful attitudes within your family, remember the acrostic CHRISTMAS and do one thing different to make a change within your home. May God bless you and keep you and give you peace.

Raising our Leaders

If you read my blog, then you have kids. If you have kids then I know you want to raise your kids to the best they can be. I know my goal is to raise up our next generation of leaders to make our world better then what it is now. If that is one of your goals with your children, then take a few minutes and check out this video. Some fantastic information. Then if you find you want more information check out this web site and this web site too.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Old Schoolhouse December Module

Oh what joy!!! I just received the December module from the Old School House and the subject is “Lets be Scientists”. How fun.

My son loves science and I need all the help I can get to come up with fun things to do. This semester we are working on the human body and lo and behold, there is information on the human body with all sorts of resources for me to get extended information from the net. Plus they have a few amazing body experiments.

The December Module also has recipes for making slime, snow, invisible ink etc. I can’t wait to make everything in this module. I have to admit I have never made any of the cooking (food) recipes in any of the modules, but the Shrimp Casserole looks yummy. I think that will be dinner this weekend! Oh and did I mention the weather, the stars, biology and chemistry. All this for only $7.95. Not a bad deal for a great little reference e-book filled with information to answer those many questions our children have or to start you off on a unit study. Click on over to The Old Schoolhouse and take a look at a sample for yourself.

And just in case you are missing the Schoolhouse Planner and want the December Module to go along with it you can pick that up for 46.95. And I am sure you have all the other modules, but just in case you can pick up July through December for $41. 95.

Score 8 1/2 out of 10

Alphabet Alley

You have to check out these absolutely cute and perfect for Christmas games I got to review. Now, first I have to be honest about one thing. When I got these to review, I thought that this was going to be about the same quality as I can get in the $.99 store. Boy was I wrong! The Two by Two Matching Game is so sturdy! My daughter (3) is a destructive force when it comes to things like tiles for games. I cannot tell you how many cards and tiles have been ripped in our household. But this one is perfect for her. She had an easy time of picking them up and she loved the cute little Noah’s ark pictures on the tiles. And for $10.99, that’s not bad for a great learning game, and don’t forget a great Christmas gift.

We also received the Noah’s Ark Go Fish . I have to admit that it took a bit for my daughter to grasp the concept of Go fish. We have never played it with her, but with the help of my son (6) she caught on quickly and really enjoyed the game. The cards are much larger then your normal playing cards, thicker and sturdier. And guess what? She did not bend them! Yea! I am buying a set for my nephew for Christmas who is the same age as my daughter. I know he will love them too. My goodness, for $5.99 who can go wrong?!

You know what I really like? Alphabet Alley is a faith-based company that produces high quality toys for the early childhood learner. Yes that’s right, they are faith based. For my family that is always a huge plus! Go to Alphabet Alley. They have soooo many other cute gifts for the kids on your Christmas list this year and all with in a reasonable budget!

Score 10 out of 10

Monday, December 8, 2008

Core Learning Art Studio

Core Learning publishes teaching software for math, language arts, health, and art, all for elementary to the Jr. High school grades.

Crayola Art Studio is the simplest and most complete computer based art program I have ever seen for children. Most of the drawing functions and their tools are in an easy to find toolbar that have symbols not words. This is so easy that even the real young user like my daughter (3) can find what she wants. Crayola Art Studio’s drawing tools are very cool. If you use the crayons, they draw like a crayon, If you use watercolor, they bleed just like a true watercolor would etc.

Ok now I have to tell you what is the absolute best thing I like about this program. There are 2 programs. One for the older kids with lots and lots of drawing tools and one for the younger kids that is a little more simplified. My daughter (3) spent 30 minutes playing around with the stickers and shapes. I had to pull the computer away from her so my son could get a try. My son, who is an artist, absolutely LOVED this program. He has created some beautiful drawings for us. The best part, they are saved on the computer instead of printing every little dot that’s drawn.
I HIGHLY recommend the Crayola Art Studio for your child. This would make an excellent Christmas gift for anyone (adults too) who loves to draw. Oh and did I mention…NO MESSY paints, markers, stickers on the furniture etc. And then you do not need to worry about storing all the real life pens, paints, paper etc and worry about the mess and the caps being off the pens and the paints spilling and so on and son on. Go for it. It’s only $24.95. That’s not bad for a whole art studio. It would cost you 4 or 5 times that to buy all the stuff for your craft collection.

Score 10 out of 10

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Time4Learning

Well, this review was a little tough for me. Why you ask? Because I already have a preset idea about computer based schools. I am not extremely happy with a child spending their school day on the computer. I also prefer to be a little more hands on with assigning my children’s schoolwork and choice of curriculum. And I like to be able to physically see the work sheets or writing assignments and know for sure that they are not playing around but are really doing the work I have set for them.
I prefer to have a Christian based curriculum. Yes, I still teach my children about secular things in life like evolution etc, but the basis of their curriculum is God honoring. Time4Learning does have some evolution in their science subjects and some culturally and age related humor that may not be appealing or acceptable to some parents such as nose picking, etc. So now with that bias said, and a hope of being able to put it aside for a month or so, I set forth to do the best review I possibly could.

Children learn by having fun. Every homeschooler and teacher knows this. That is what Time4Learning strives for. While they are on the computer I really think they do not realize that they are in the midst of school time. They are just playing games and learning at the same time. I think this would really help a child with learning disabilities greatly!

Time4Learning is for preschool all the way to 8th grade. They offer language arts and language arts extensions, math, some science, and some social studies. The lessons are BEAUTIFULLY animated and very interactive and are up to government standards. If you have a child who loves computers or computer games, they might really enjoy this program very much. I know my son had a great time with it and we used it for 2 weeks in place of our regular core curriculum. Time4Learning could be used as a core curriculum or as a supplement, which is how we are using it now.

My son, 6, loved this program and had fun with it, however I did find that there were times he got stuck because he was off in lala land, day dreaming and did not listen to the instructions. Then he would sit there for 15 minutes just staring off into space until I would ask if he was stuck. For my son, this kind of schooling would be more supplemental then it would be a core curriculum.

My daughter, 3, had a rough time with Time4learning at first. The mouse action of click/hold/drag was a little much for her to comprehend at first. However, when I sat with her and did some of the mouse movements for her until she learned them, she sure enjoyed Time4Learning. And now she has a much better grasp of how to use the mouse with the click/hold/drag movement.

Overall, I was quite surprised at how much I actually liked the program and how user friendly it is. But, that old bias of having to be in control of the assignments and curriculum choice still holds true in my heart. We will for sure use Time4Learning, but as a supplemental game time for my son only.

Depending on your budget the cost of Time4Learning may be an advantage or a disadvantage. Time4learning is $19.95 per month, and each additional child is $14.95. If you consider the cost of some of the other on line schools or even a tutor it is practical. I recommend Time 4 Learning to those who are not control freaks like me and who don’t mind their children being on the computer for extended amounts of time. Hey at the least go try it out for a complementary lesson. It cannot hurt and you might find your kid loves it!

Score 8 out of 10

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Salem Ridge Books

I was sent three books, The American Twins of the Revolution, Glaucia the Greek Slave and Mary Jane all by Salem Ridge Press. Believe it or not a homeschool teenager who wanted to bring some of that old wonderful literature from the days gone by started this company. This is one company that produces books that you can feel safe handing to your children and know they will be edifying to the Lord and CLEAN!!! Salem Ridge Press has some very strict procedures for showing relationships between a boy and a girl. There is absolutely NO kissing and everyone must have a modest clothing, if there are transactions going on they are done in a Christian like manner and there is no offensive language.

The American Twins of the Revolution is $12.95 and is based on a true story of the American Revolution! It’s a delightful and since it is based on a true story you could do a unit study utilizing the book as one of the readers.
Glaucia the Greek Slave is $14.95; This book had a wonderful message in it. One of the great things about this book is that new words are defined at the bottom of the page. Pretty cool. It was a great book and one of my favorites
Mary Jane, Her Book $12.95; The scenario is that of Mary Jane a little and her daily fun and learning adventures. This book was written more for younger crowd, however I started to read it to my boy, 6, and I think it was a bit too girly for him, so I read the rest by myself.

I highly recommend you check out Salem Ridge for some early Christmas book shopping.

Score 10 out of 10

Monday, November 24, 2008

Trigger Memory System

Trigger Memory System, has fantastic tool for your children. Clean n’ Flip Charts. Now what are these charts you ask. They are flip charts for your children that explain how to clean their room, bathroom, kitchen and do their laundry. I have been lookig at these for some time now and I was so lucky to be able to review them. My son (6) now, finally, gets his room clean without asking me every 5 minutes what to do. He has had the resposiblity of cleaning the bathroom for about the past year and a half. But before I was always reminding him what to do. Now he just goes to the chart! Next, we will work on the laundry after the holidays and this coming summer my daughter (by then 4) will take over the bathroom and my son will take over the kitchen. Well, thats the plan anyway. The Zone Cleaning and Bedroom Cleaning flips charts make assigning and completing household chores a breeze! It’s really a fun & easy chore system my kids love!

I also got a chance to review Times Tales by the same company. Ok, at first I said, “What is this? There is no way my kids will learn multiplication from this!” Then my husband said the same thing when he saw it! Boy were we wrong. Not only did both my 3 and 6 year old memorize the cute little story like rhymes, but also my son goes through the flash cards for section one with ease. We were supposed to start multiplication after Christmas. Having this system already in place will make it so easy and quick!

Ok so now that you can tell I really love both products from Trigger Memory here is how much they cost. The clean and flip charts are only $7.95 each or $29.95 for all of them. The Times Tales is $29.95 which gives you the teacher manual as well as flash cards, the flip chart with stories and some workpages. Hey if you are like I was struggling to get your kids to clean his room right then get the flip charts. And if you are starting or struggling with multiplication, then try out the Times Tales. Both are great products and worked for this family!

Score 9 1/2 out of 10

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Little Man in the Map by Schoolside Press

I absolutely hated geography in school. I never memorized the U.S.A. states and where they were, but then I was given this cute book called The Little Man in the Map, by E. Andrew Martonyi, illustrated by Ed Olson, Schoolside Press. The Little Man in the Map uses rhyming stories with coordinating pictures of animals or people etc. to help kids remember states and where they go in the USA.

It’s illustrated in a full color cartoon style. My 6 year old quickly grabbed it and started to read through it. Now I wish I could say he had them all memorized, but he certainly had more then the 5 he knew before he looked through the book. Schoolside Press’s Web site offers 2 FREE coloring pages that you can download and also a 38 x 22 full color wall map for $21.95. This will help to strengthen the memorization of those state locations and names. Hey you never know, maybe I will finally memorize where all 50 states are! A small disclaimer: some of the states shapes are in the shape of an elf and magical creatures. Now they do not teach about elves or anything like that, but I know there are some Christians who might not like that so I thought that there are even pictures of these things in a book for their children. So, I thought I would let you know about it. To me it was no big deal and beside we are Christians that do celebrate Christmas with Santa. So there is my disclaimer.

If you are teaching or going to be teaching in the near future USA geography, I highly recommend purchasing The Little Man in the Map. Hey it’s only $19.95 and it could make a great Christmas gift.

Score 9 out of 10

Friday, November 21, 2008

When a Child Acts Out in Public to Get Their Way

When your child acts out in public to get their way, you CAN get control back. Here, James Lehman, MSW lays out some step-by-step techniques for you to use next time you hit the mall or grocery store.

I’ve worked with many parents over the years who routinely gave in when their children acted out. One mother I met, I’ll call her Linda*, had a twelve-year-old son who often used emotional blackmail and threats of misbehavior to get his way. Linda dreaded taking him to the mall, because she knew she’d end up buying him anything he asked for in an effort to keep him from calling her names, stomping and yelling at her, and making a scene that left her feeling humiliated and powerless. In effect, her son’s behavior was holding her hostage. Remember this: When you don’t give in to your child, they have to figure out another way to solve their problem.

So what happens if we always respond to this type of behavior by backing down? Your child learns that if he misbehaves or threatens to misbehave, that will solve his problem, because somebody’s going to give in. Make no mistake, the message you’re sending your child is that misbehavior works. When your child acts out in public, if they’re not responded to in an effective way, they develop a pattern of behavior where they learn how to blackmail you to give them their way. And their mindset is, “Give me my way or face my acting out.” That may involve yelling, screaming and tantrums if they’re younger. It may be angry faces and a disgusted tone, disrespectful remarks and even cursing when they get older. Either way, the whole game they’re playing involves using behavior to try to control outside circumstances, instead of learning how to solve the problems they face.

When kids learn this lesson, there are two outcomes. Your child discovers there’s absolutely no reason to change, no reason to mature. And every time you reward them for misbehavior, you’re making that portion of your child’s personality stronger. That’s right: you’re actually strengthening the part of them that wants to misbehave and that doesn’t want to follow social rules or be civilized. In fact, you can look at parenting in that way: our role is to teach our children the rules of how to be civilized and live in our society. And in our culture, we go to the mall, we go shopping, we treat people with respect, and we behave in an acceptable manner. When you give in to inappropriate behavior, your child grows up without the coping skills to deal with the difficult situations that life presents.

The other thing that you need to understand is that when your child uses acting out as a problem-solving skill, they are not learning how to develop other more appropriate problem solving skills. Kids will throw a tantrum when they’re frustrated or upset—that happens. But whether they’re throwing a fit because they’re frustrated, upset or overwhelmed, the same rules still apply. If you give in, you’re simply teaching your child to continue acting out in public. A Word about Younger Kids When children between the age of two and three throw a tantrum, there should be no consequences other than to have them sit some place until they calm down. When most younger children get tired and overwhelmed, they have a hard time controlling their emotions. It’s part of a parent’s responsibility to know their kid, know how much stimulation they can take, and when they’re tired or hungry and need to leave.

When I’m at the mall or downtown where I live, in the late afternoon I’ll see little kids around the age of three, four, or five years old crying or really shutting down. I think most parents recognize that their kids are overly tired. But the adult mind manages stimulation very differently than a child’s mind. We know how to compartmentalize everything and weigh things out. For kids, stimulation comes at them like a wave. And being in a mall is like being at the circus for a child. I think that parents have to be aware of that and be tolerant of some frustration their kids will express. Parents also need to learn how to either avoid those situations or find ways to manage them.

When your young child throws a tantrum, whether it’s because he’s tired or because he’s angry at not getting his way, the management skills are the same: You wait it out. You give a little reassurance. You don’t give in.

5 Techniques to Help You Manage Your Child’s Acting Out Behavior Remember, you’re the expert on your child. You know what makes your child tired. You know the extra help he needs. And you know the situations that are frustrating for him. Prepare your child before you go into any new or stimulating situation. Say, “If you start getting frustrated, let me know. We’ll take a rest. All right? If you get frustrated, if you can’t handle it, let me know, we’ll go home. And if you throw a tantrum, this is what I’m going to do.” I think by being realistic about your child’s temperament and discussing plans with them ahead of time, you can really enhance your ability to manage situations in public.

Train your child by taking small steps first. I think if parents have a child who acts out in public, you want to try what’s called a “slow immersion.” So in other words, if this kid can’t handle going to the mall, take him to the drug store first. Say, “Let’s see how you handle this. We’re going in for five or ten minutes.” Lay the rules down. That way you’re not at the mall, you’re in a more manageable location and you’re close by your child. Start to train them by taking small steps, by coaching them in little pieces: little pieces of learning how to socialize and solve problems and act like everybody else.

Write the Rules Down and Keep Them Handy. Before you even go into public, I think you need to decide what your limits are for your child in terms of behavior. Let them know exactly what’s going to happen. For pre-teen kids and under, keep a 4x6 index card in your car with 3 rules on it: 1. Respond to first request. 2. Accept “no” for an answer. 3. Don’t raise your voice or misbehave physically. Read that card in the car before you go inside the mall or store. That one small act is going to help your child keep it together; reading the rules to them is like lending them structure. You can’t assume that kids are going to recall information that will help them change. Here’s another way of looking at it: Let’s say you’re speeding and you get a ticket. The assumption is that the next time you’re in a hurry, you’re going to remember how it felt to pay that ticket and you won’t speed. Even though that may be true, each state still has the speed limit posted every five miles. So give your child consistent reminders that will keep them focused.

When the rules are broken. If your child breaks the rules when you’re out, I would take them out of the department store. If they throw a tantrum, I would stay with them in that tantrum and when they are done, I would take them out of the mall. At this point, the show is over; there’s no way there’s going to be any more shopping. With younger kids, you can just hold their hand and take them to the car. But if they resist you, don’t get physical. Let them throw their tantrum. Have a seat, watch the show. And if people ask questions say, “He’s throwing a tantrum and there’s nothing I can do.” I think parents have to do that every time until the acting out in public stops. If possible, bring a magazine or a book so that the child can see that he's not getting your attention through that inappropriate behavior.

Let me assure you that I know how embarrassing this can be for parents. But you have to understand, your child also knows how uncomfortable their behavior makes you; that’s how your child is blackmailing you. So, in their mind it’s, “Let me have my way or I’m going to blackmail you in front of all these adults. I’m going to embarrass you and make you uncomfortable.” It’s just that simple. And you need to stop letting them hold you hostage with their behavior. Remember this: When you don’t give in to your child, they have to figure out another way to solve their problem.

Leave them at home. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with leaving your child at home with proper supervision and telling them, “You can’t come today because you can’t handle it. You made a scene last time we went shopping and so today you’re staying home.” And if your child promises and begs and swears, say, “No, let's see how you behave staying at home. If you handle that OK, then we'll see.” And make them sit at home. Make them understand that you’re not going to be blackmailed and that you’re strong—and that when you make decisions, you’re going to stick with them.

Here’s the simple truth: when children resort to inappropriate behavior to get their way, they don’t learn how to solve problems. And when they don’t learn this skill, they go into adulthood with a real handicap. You see many adults who only know how to get angry and yell at each other whenever there’s emotional stress. Part of that is because they have very poor communication skills and very poor problem-solving skills. When confronted with a problem, they only know how to avoid it, which means they let it build up on the inside until they explode.

So make up your mind that you’re not going to let your child hold you hostage with their misbehavior. Don’t give in to emotional blackmail when your child threatens to act out. I tell parents to think of it this way: your child has got to get to bed tonight without a crisis. That’s their goal. And our goal as a parent is the same thing: to get to bed tonight without a crisis and to teach our children the skills they need. If you can do that, then you’re all set.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

All About Spelling

I did it! I found the best spelling program ever! The program name is All About Spelling. The program is so versatile. It can start at preschool aged children (my daughter) all the way to High School level (Level 6) because they are not specified to grade levels but they are arranged by concepts and spelling patterns.

I know some of you out there have children who might be dyslexic, and this program would be perfect for you. Again, because it is based on concepts not age, you take bite-sized chunks that each child can comprehend. And with the use of manipulative, flash cards, verbal skills as well as writing words on paper, there is something for every child to be able to soak up the information into their brains.

Lets talk for a moment about the down side, prep time. Here is where it gets a bit time consuming. When you first get your packet you will get cutters cramp. (LOL) All the tiles, flash cards etc have to be cut by hand. This is the one thing I wish the company would either do for you or at least have everything perforated so that it can just be torn apart and maybe they could print the letter tiles onto magnet paper instead of having the parents stick magnet squares on the back of each letter tile.
But once you get past all that and your hand and arm have rested for a day (LOL), the prep time each day is 5 seconds. Yes, you read it right, 5 seconds! This is the prep…get the book, get the cards, and get the board, your done! Then its off to work we go and because you use all the senses of your child it only takes about 15 minutes or so a day.

My son, 6, is a reader already, however we decided to start with level one at the very beginning. We whizzed through 2 or 3 lessons at a time and now we have slowed down to 1 lesson a day and we are almost to level 2.

I waited to ask him what he thought of the program until after we slowed down. I have to say I already knew what the answer would be just by his reaction everyday when I would say it was time for spelling. He LOVES it! He said this was the most fun of all his schoolwork except for art and PE. Now that’s pretty good, since he only reads when he has to. And as far as my daughter, 3, goes, I have her sit with us when we do spelling so she can see all the cards and even do some of the manipulative with my son. I am really excited to see her progress, because she is just not picking up on the letter sounds. She knows the alphabet, but sounds keep getting mixed up for her.

If you have not figured it out by this very long review and the tone of the review, I LOVE this program and HIGHLY recommend it for EVERYONE! Please, check out a free sample for yourself and read the FAQ to get a better idea of the program. Then once you get it and work with it for a while, please come back here and put a comment for others to see. If you are like me and have tried several spelling programs, and your still looking, then try All About Spelling for sure. I know you’ll love it too.

Score 10 out of 10

Splish Book from TOS

And Then Mama Said…”It Takes Time to Learn to Read”. Isn’t that such a true statement? We sometimes forget this as a homeschooler and try to rush and push our children to keep up with so and so. But reality is that our children will read when their brain is good and ready!

This book by Gena Suarez and Kevin Collier is a wonderful reminder of just that. OK, now first let me say that this book is geared toward a read aloud for the younger kids or for a child who is a reader already, but it is a great reminder to the parent who takes it in hand and reads it to their children.

My boy, 6 who is reading pretty good now, absolutely loved this book. He loved the story and when Mama listed one of the reasons she homeschooled in the book, my sons’ eyes lit up. He said, "See Mommy Splish is homeschooled too". (He is too cute, but then again I may be a bit prejudice!) My daughter, 3, enjoyed the book too, however I printed it out in black and white and when she saw the color graphics on the computer she loved it even more and was more interested in listening. Yea Color!

Oh did I mention there is a companion workbook too? I highly recommend this book. It was fun, talked of God and was a great reminder that we do NOT need push our kids to read. It Takes Time to Learn to Read!

You can go to The Old School House and pick up a copy of the e-book for only $9.95 and get the activity workbook for free. Not too bad of a deal. If your not sure, go ahead and download a sample and see for yourself how cute it is. You won’t regret it!

Score 9 out of 10

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Future Belongs to Our Children

OK, so I know there is this continuous battle between the public school Christians and the Homeschooling Christians. A lot of times the public school Christians feel like us homeschoolers are calling them bad parents or bad Christians for putting their children in the Devils path. And the homeschooler feels the public schoolers are calling us stupid by throwing our un-socialized children in a bubble.

There are sooooo many reasons for people to continue public school even thought it is a publicized fact to be a broken system. Money, who has the money for private Christian school? Time, there may be reasons that both parents must work full time jobs both during the day and maybe evening too and so on. But patience is not one of them. Do you think I was born with patience enough to homeschool? NO! I learn everyday about patience and pray that God will continue to be oh so graceful in giving me an abundance of it!

There are also a lot of public school Christians that also believe that their school is full of christian teachers and that their school is still built on a christian value system. So their children are safe from all that stuff we hear has come to California. Well, I have to agree with the fact there are some schools that do have a lot of teachers that profess to be Christians, but I will say that a teacher can only teach what their superiors allow them to teach. If they say no Noah, then No Noah! As far as the school being based on Christian values. You have to ask yourself these few questions about your school before you can say that for sure. If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then really is it a Christian value system?

1. Does your school teach about creation or evolution? Now if they teach both, great. That means they believe in free will. To put ALL options on the table for the children to decide. But if they teach that evolution is a fact and never bring up any other option of where we came from other then a money or cave men, then you have to ask yourself if that is a fact you are willing to have your child drilled in his/her head for the next 12 years.

2. Does you school have a policy in place to increase awareness and acceptance towards different groups based on race, age, gender or Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals or Transgender persons? Another words, "Amy Has Two Dads", Gay Pride Day, "My Daddy Wears a Dress", During the health class they could possibly discuss sex change operations, or how about the whole Gay Pledge Card thing http://nutbugs.blogspot.com/2008/11/gay-pledge-cards-in-calif-schools.html. Is this something you want your child to have drilled for 12 years in their heads?Does God says it is OK to have a sexual partner without marriage and of the same sex?

3. Does your school have a policy in place for discrimination against, gender, races, age, disabilities, immigrations status, occupation, religion stereotyping of Gender Identification or Sexual Orientation? Not to say we should discriminate against them, beat them or hurt them however we certainly do not need to teach about the choice people make in sexual acts in school or give them any special place or privilege in our schools. What, should we start teaching about people who like to be whipped during sex or beastiality. Those are choices too. Right?

4. Does your school have a family planning policy? Another wards for the school to have free family planning available to pregnant children or some that are wanting to know about how to have sex, counseling and free condoms. All without parental consent? Or have the birds and bees discussion to your child without your permission. Who knows what Mr. Joe's view is. Could be a view of the birds and the birds or the bees and the bees or the birds and birds and bees. Get it?

5. Do you know for sure the answer to all of these questions?

OK, I know your saying, "Kristin aren't you being a little paranoid?" YES! I am raising up the future generation. That means the future president, first lady, congress men, senator, mayor or maybe just a future voter etc. So if I don't like the way the world is going today and I do not take control of what my children learn and how they are being raised, then how can I complain? I am not doing anything to change the future of our world.

Look, I know I can not possibly keep any of this stuff completely away from my children. And I would be a fool to never explain any of it to them. But at 1st grade? Or 4th grade? No! Let the kids be kids for a while. We throw movies like Hanna Montana or High School Musical at our 6 year old and expect them to stay 6? No way right? Then why would we throw sexual preference at them at 6 or 8? Why would we throw condoms at them at 6 or 10?

Please let me make it very Crystal Clear. I am in NO WAY saying you are a bad parent, a terrible Christian etc. because you choose to put your child in public school. I am not trying to make you change your mind either! I just want you to be aware that if your child comes home asking Questions or telling you there is NO God or Mommy, did you know that an ape is our cousin?, you know where it might be coming from.

I pray all the time for my friends children. Homeschooled and public schooled alike. I pray that each one will grow up with a fear and love for God like no other! And I pray for you that God will be there protecting your children from the evil ones hands! Whether you homeschool or public school, just remember your child could make a difference in the future of our world with what you teach them today!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Spears Art Studio, inc.

Art can be a touchy subject to teach I think. Why you ask? Because at a young age, say 3-8 years old or so, you want to keep it fun, but still get some basic art concepts taught and some art appreciation too. Yet you have to be careful not to bore the heck out of the kids or make it to easy or too hard for them. Now that’s a hand full!

Spears Art Studio keeps art and crafting fun for the kids. Each month they have a theme that usually goes with the holiday or the season for that month. It all begins with a 16 page teacher notes section explaining basic art concepts and how to teach it as well as a supply list, background resources for artwork, writing prompts, educational and theme objectives and then all weekly themes have one or more Scriptures as a foundation. Many activities have additional Scriptures as a foundation for that activity oh and did I mention an art lesson too!

Now here are the things I really liked most of all. For that week you have a kindergarten lesson and a lesson for 1st through 8th grade. Each one related to the other except skill level builds upon itself from grade to grade and year to year. And best of all it is Biblically based. Spears Art Studio uses scripture verses in every lesson plan. And best of all you can apply this curriculum without having to purchase expensive art supplies.

Now there were a few things that I would want to see maybe added. I have to admit I have a lot of e-books and I enjoy them tremendously. Some times though if the e-book is not laid out right it is work to find things you are looking for. It can be especially hard if each chapter of the book is in a separate pdf. file. I ended up printing the Teacher instructions as well as the lessons I was currently working on so as to have them at hand instead of reading them from several different pdf. files. What I personally would rather see is the entire e-book in one pdf. file with a table of contents that is interactive. That way you can go back and forth with a click of the mouse in the table of contents to the teacher notes then to the study for the day etc. No printing required
Also the teacher is expected to demonstrate the configuration of animals from basic shapes. Drawing things just from a simple direction like that is not going to be effortless for some parents. However, with a little practice all is possible.

Overall, both my children, 3 and 6, loved the crafts and art projects in this curriculum. If you are looking for an easy well-rounded art curriculum for your homeschool or even for a traditional school, I think you might want to try Spears Art Studio Inc.

Spears Art Studio curriculum package on CD is for grades K-8, which costs $44.95. They also have available curriculum for High School Art Survey, Beginning Calligraphy (I plan on getting this one) and Children’s Literature Study Guides.

My son's picture

Score 8 1/2 out of 10

Homeschool Bloggers New Blog

Hi Homeschool Crew! A new blog was launched last week all about the Schoolhouse Store and they would love it if you could give it some attention! The blog address is: www.homeschoolblogger.com/storespotlight.

They just did a drawing and gave away 10 of the Homeschool Planners to some of their earliest subscribers to the blog. In addition, they are giving away a $100 store gift certificate once they reach 1,000 subscribers! They are already over half way there!

The Store Spotlight blog is offering midweek markdowns (a new item 1/2 off every week), interviews with the companies whose products they carry, and random FREE products! You won't want to miss a day! Thanks for visiting my blog and I hope you enjoy the Schoolhouse blog!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nativity Set Giveaway

Hey remember the Nativity set I reviewed from One 2 Believe? Well, one of my associated form The Old School Hose Review Team is having a contest and she is giving away her nativity set. You can go to her contest page here at a Better Life then I deserve and enter to win.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hot Topic for Discussion

Now I think most people would agree that when a certain gene in an animal is not used over an extremely long period of time that the gene goes dormant. Would you say that in the animal kingdom most male animals find a female animal to procreate so that their species can live on and not die out? Would you say that most animals in the animal kingdom when wanting to procreate they always choose a mate of the opposite sex? Would you agree to most or all of that? OK if you agree then read on.

Alright, here is where the hot topic comes in. I know many people out there who really believe that homosexuals are born gay. That they do not have a choice. That they were handed this gene and they have to live with it. I know many Christians who believe in the Bible as perfect truth, believe in God and also believe this sin. Well let me shed a little light on this subject from a different point of view.

Lets take a step into evolution (a whole subject on it own) and say we really were once cave men and monkeys etc and if us humans are truly part of the animal kingdom as the scientists say we are, then the drive to procreate would be extremely strong. Right?????So now lets say that this gay gene is a gene. How is it that since we agree that certain genes that are not useful die out of the animal kingdom and how come this gene did not die out of us. Would you agree that there really is no use for it. It does not help to repopulate our world, right?

If you have 1000 people and 1/4 have a gay gene and they do not have children and then another 1/4 were gay and did not have children and so on, wouldn't it be feasible to say that our current population would eventually cease to exist due to the fact that just by nature a gay couple are not physically able to have a baby? Yes I know currently they can adopt, but from the beginning of time there was no such thing as adoption as it is in the terms today.

OK lets step back into my world now. In the Bible God dislike a lot of stuff, but there are only 2 things that He detests. Homosexuality/Sodomy and Witch Craft/Magic. So if God is a loving God and cares for all His children so much then how could He makes something that He Himself DETESTS? How is it that a girl at age 17 decides she is gay, then a year later says she is not and has a baby, then decides to become gay again? How is it that our bodies by nature are not made to be man with man or woman with woman. Think about it. It just does not fit together, literally. (Lev 18:22 and 20:13)

Lets call it by its true name. SIN! I was not born FAT. I was born with sin. I chose to put the food in my mouth over the years. Absolutely I could say I was born with a gene to be fat. It is a battle I deal with on a daily basis almost my whole life. But the real name for it is... I am a gluten and a sinner! Absolutely there are people who may have a predisposition to this lifestyle due to lack of father figure or maybe they were raised in a home like that or who knows. I am not saying that all fatherless sons and gay parent children become gay. But the sex drive in us animals is strong at a very young age.

Think about baby boys. What is the first thing a new mom finds out when changing her baby boy for the first couple of times. His penis is hard all the time. This is also why big burly he men that would never in a million years touch another man turn to homosexuality in jail. Why, the drive to procreate or have sex. Do they continue this lifestyle when they get out of jail? I would have to say No!

Our world is Topsy turvy. In the 1500's when our country was founded, we would have never thought twice about imprisoning a person that would do such an act as homosexuality. We openly believed in God and taught it to our children in our homeschooling (no public schools then). When the public school came to be in the late 1800's we thought nothing of teaching our children to read, write and do math. We never would have added all this junk in the disguise of tolerance that has nothing to do with education. We said prayer before and after school.

Today we teach about sex (Molly had two dads is going to raise the ???) to 1st grader under the guise of tolerance to the homosexuals. We (in some schools) no longer say the pledge under the guise of tolerance to other religions. We learn about mayors because of their sexual preference not because they did anything extraordinary for our country. We vote for a president due to skin color, white or black. What is wrong here. Is it the end times as written in Revelation? I don't know. Unfortunately God did not decide to give me insight to that and I certainly am not one to run around preaching it the end times.

Well, with all that said. I hope I have given you some food for thought for those of you who just were on the fence of whether it is a gene or a decision. I am in no way trying to persuade you to change your mind, not to say I wouldn't mind. But one day the truth will prevail and one of us will be very disappointed in ourselves for letting the Devil deceive us all those years. All any of us can do is pray and ask God to open our eyes to the truth. He will if we just ask!

OK now I have stepped on some toes of somebody who may catch a glimpse of this site for the first time and really believes the opposite that I do, but I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and that His Word is the absolute truth and can be taken 100% literally! That sin is sin and by no other name can we call it. That sin comes from Satan the deceiver and that the one thing he wants to do is keep us from the truth. The more young children he can get into believing this story of a homosexual gene the better for Satan.

Oh, by the way. You may think by reading this that I hate gays or I am a homophobic. I am not! My very best friend, who is now dead of aids, was a homosexual. He got married in his homosexual church and I went to his wedding, even thought it was not a legal act at that time. I went to many of his parties where my husband and I were one of a few straight people there. At his funeral there was a gay pastor (don't understand that one. I guess she missed the whole sodomy thing in the bible) and I prayed with her over his ashes. So please do not tell me that I am homophobic. Homosexual or not, your true name is human and all humans should be treated with the utmost respect no matter what sex life they decide to choose!

So with all that said, Is it a gene or a choice? I know what God says!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gay Pledge Cards in Calif. Schools

Now I know allot of my friends are saying...Oh I am not worried about this homosexual thing coming to my school. I have Christian teachers. Or worst yet they are putting on the rose colored glasses and thinking it will never come to the schools here in the O.C. we are pretty conservative here in the Tustin, Orange etc. Unified School District. Well, I have news for you. It is coming down our way. It started in San Francisco (or there abouts) now it down past Sacramento and next will be LA and we are just 30 miles away from that. And this is all in less then a year!

I just read this article on Fox News.com regarding a kindergarten teacher who had her kindergarten class sign gay pledge cards. Yea, you read it right...gay pledge cards. What these kids are pledging to is to be an ally to the gay community. Now I ask you...how can you have a 5 year old sign a gay pledge card and not explain to them what being gay is or what a sexual preference is? So the next question is what on earth does a gay pledge card have to do with learning or school or how to read, write or do math?

Watch out..it's coming faster then you think. Check out the article at Fox News.com

Rime to Read Review

What is a Rimes you ask? They are words that sound and look alike. Such as Hat, Cat, Mat, Sat etc. So what is a Rhyme? Rhymes are words that sound alike but usually do not look alike.

Lynn Klaiman and Dr. Sara Hines, PhD, at Rime to Read developed an interactive, educational, DIGITAL reader that allow children to practice reading success on their own, and learn to use the computer all at the same time.

I did like the idea that you could try the first book before you buy it. However I did not like that you had to sign up with your information before you could try it. But at least you got to try it without buying it!

The drawings are adorable and very simple so they are not distracting like some books are. You could even print the books out if you are like me and my son and like the hard copy better then e-books AND your children can color the pictures as part of your reading/art projects.

Oh yes, and they just added sound. So if your child gets stuck on a word, they can have it read to them. The site is very easy to manoeuvre around and my 3 year old had no problem once I showed her how to do it.

The one major downfall I think is the fact that even though you could print the books out, you can only do it once. So if you forgot to save it to your hard drive like I did with book one…well, you are out of luck! These books are very similar to the Bob Books most of us know about. Over all I feel this product can be easily incorporated into you daily homeschool curriculum.

Now as far as the cost goes it is a little expensive for my pocket book, but for some this would be just right for them. Currently, Rime to Read has 20 books available to purchase. Each package of 4 books costs only $9.99 or you can choose to buy access to all 20 for $44.99. That is $2.25 - $2.50 a book that you can save on your computer and print out when ever you want.

Score 5 out of 10