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, June 17, 2009

Academics and Beyond

http://nutbugs.com/academics-and-beyond/

Friday, June 5, 2009

Word Press

Well, I have changed from Blogger to Wordpress. Nothing really has changed for you, my readers. My address is still... www.Nutbugs.com. But for those of you who might land here at the blogspot, just go directly to the www.nutbugs.com address. And for those of you who are signed up to get my posts, you will have to re-sign up over there. Sorry for any inconvenience, but this will end up being a lot better in the long run.

Thanks again for reading!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Teaching Our Children to Be Homemakers

You know as I grew up I was taught some of the basic things to do to be a homemaker. However, looking back today I really wished my mom would have taught me a bit more. Like how to bake bread. How to make a menu for a week etc. Who knows maybe she taught me all that she was taught in her home as a child. We tend to pass down to our kids what we know and if that is not much, well, the child-now adult can suffer from that. I am glad that my mom taught me all that I know, but as I grow older, I am teaching myself more and more so that I can make even a better homemaker out of my little girls and an independent man out of my son.

In today's society we are always going for the drive through and buying those cookies at the grocery store and eating out way too much. We buy bread instead of making it. Then we complain about all the preservatives that are in our foods, yet we are not willing to do anything about it. Heck, we even pop in a frozen entry in the microwave and call that dinner.
I found a website that is dedicated to helping us raise up Godly homemaking woman. Here is a snip-it from their website:

*We believe that a successful homemaker is a Godly woman equipped with the Biblical knowledge and practical skills to manage her home well. The Bible is God's word instructing us how to live now, and for eternity. A woman will find true joy and success in her life when she lives according to God's word.
*Along with Biblical knowledge, women need to know how to cook, sew, and keep their home. This instruction should begin at a young age in the home. Future Christian Homemakers seeks to provide materials to help girls learn these skills at home, or through groups in churches, homeschool co-ops, or other settings.
*Future Christian Homemakers encourages women to teach the younger women to love their husbands, love their children, and be "keepers at home." Titus 2:3-5 We have much to learn from each other, whatever our age! FCH helps women share their knowledge and skills with the next generation and build strong Christian families.

They are selling a book called Future Christian Homemakers Handbook. It is a wonderful collection of how to cook, clean and a few pages on sewing. I just loved this book. There are 12 lessons as well as some general homemaking lessons. The 12 lessons consist of ...
Lesson 1: All About Eggs, Kitchen Safety, French Toast, Different Ways to Cook Eggs
Lesson 2: Muffins: Introduction to Baking, Measuring Ingredients Correctly
Lesson 3: Baking Quick Breads, Science of Leavening: Baking Soda & Baking Powder, Creaming Butter, Recipe Abbreviations
Lesson 4: Yeast Bread, Understanding Yeast, Bread Sculptures
Lesson 5: Cake Baking and Cake Decorating
Lesson 6: Ground Beef Meals, Making Meals Efficiently
Lesson 7: Poultry, Herbs & Spices, Grocery Shopping
Lesson 8: Microwave Cooking
Lesson 9: Casseroles, Food Guide Pyramid, Table setting & Manners
Lesson 10: Fruit, Cooking with Cornstarch, Fruit Centerpieces
Lesson 11: Vegetables, Veggie Garnishes & Centerpieces, Ways to Cut Veggies
Lesson 12: Cookies & Congratulations!

Now my daughter is a bit too young to do this as a full study, but I am already incorporating some of the concepts with both my son and daughter. Yes you heard me son. I truly believe that it is important for a man to learn the basics of homemaking too. You know the ideal is that he will go off to college and afterward get a job and a wife. But the reality of it is that he may not. I want him to be able to fend for himself or even help his wife out a bit. The best thing about this study is the "How to be a homemaker" is taken directly from the Bible.

Oh, wait did I say that was the best thing. There are two best things. They have now made the book available online for FREE. Now if you rather not print out that many pages, then you can still buy the book at $29.95. But if you want to save some money then go to the Future Christian Homemakers website and download each lesson and the supplements for free. I truly believe that this book/unit study will help you teach your children to be helpful in the kitchen now and beautiful homemakers later on. Yes, and even your boys!

9 out of 10

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Oak Canyon Nature Center

I had the opportunity to go on a hike with my home school group this past week. We decided to try a different park and so we decided on Oak Canyon Nature Center. It is locate at 6700 Walnut Canyon Road in Anaheim. Now this is a 58-acre natural park nestled in Anaheim Hills. There are four miles of hiking trails and this park has one of the few remaining areas of oak woodland and coastal sage scrub in our region as well as many black walnut trees. Native wildlife makes the canyon their home and is just waiting to be discovered. Also located on site is the John J. Collier Interpretive Center, a small museum with live animal and regional natural history exhibits. And before I forget, it is free parking.


Our kids started out by the John J. Collier Interpretive Center which had a small man made creek flowing around the building. The kids thought this was an awesome place to play. So while they were playing there we sat on some benches by a small stage and talked while they had fun. We had no idea that as we traveled farther on our hike we would come across some of the most beautiful natural creeks and water falls I have seen living in So. California. As well as caves and some great birds and plants for our nature studies

As our hike started I realized that bringing the stroller for my 3 year old might have been a mistake. Yes we made it up the hill side to the caves, which I will come back to. But it was not exactly easy. Now there may be easier trails to take a stroller, but the one we took was a decent hike up the hill side. It took us about 30 minutes to get to the caves. Be careful, there are no hand rails so keep the kids away from the edge. It is quit a drop. But the kids with us ranged from 3 to 8 years old so we did not have a problem.

Once at the top by the caves, we had to stay and play for a good 30 minutes, so make sure to bring that sun block and water. There is no shade there waiting for you but this is a great time for mom and dad to have a seat and watch the kids have good old fashion fun. These caves are only about 6-8 feet deep, but boy oh boy did these kids enjoy playing around in them and making up stories of all the different animals that live in them.

Once we were done there we decided not to go any further up the hillside and to head on down. This is where we ran into the creeks, rivers and waterfalls running throughout the park. Now I have to give a big WARNING right here. Poison Oak is all over the place. Everywhere we looked there it was with it’s leaves of three and it’s colors of green and crimson. Because most of the kids with us were boys…says enough on it‘s own… and because of their young age, we had to constantly remind them to not touch or be careful. But this did not stop us or the kids in playing in the rivers and waterfalls. Was it worth all the worry about the poison Oak? Yup. My kids had the most fun they have had at a park in a while.


As of the writing of this review none of the moms or their kids got poison Oak. I thought for sure I had it, since my son fell in the creek and I had to sit down on a few leaves of poison oak to get him out. But my butt never started itching. YEA! Although by the time we got back to our original spot, one of the other moms and myself had imaginary itches all over. But, as soon as we all watched our hands we were good. It was all in our heads. So I would say, if your careful, stay on the path, keep your eyes peeled and know what to look for, you should be fine.

We spent about 3 ½ hours at the Oak Canyon Nature Center. There was not one of us who was not tired but invigorated by the experience we had. We, who live here in Orange County, California, do not get the same benefits as those who live more in the countryside. We loose touch with the world around us that was formed by the almighty. It is nice to know that we can step out of our busy, bustling life once in a while and go to a place like this to re-connect with this beautiful nature that was created for us.

I give this park a 8 out of 10. Why? Well I had to take a few points off for the stroller and the poison Oak. I loved the park, but I did not like the fact that I had to worry so much about the poison Oak. However, this is a natural park not a man preserved park and we have to keep that in consideration when we visit Oak Canyon Nature Center. Oh, and please remember, do not pick up rocks and plants to take home with you. Respect the natural habitat please. Bring your camera and take pictures of things you want to remember or look up as well as to freeze-frame those precious moments. Oh, and no pets are allowed.

Here is their site http://www.anaheim.net/ocnc/ to allow you to stroll around and look at all they have to offer, They have facility rentals, family programs, many special programs as well as special events and tours. Check it out.

Thanks to my dear friend Kathy for allowing me to post this video of her! You'll get a great laugh!!!

video

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hair Cut and a Shave

You know I use to color my hair and have highlights put in. Yea, that was well over $125 every 6 weeks. Yes, you guessed it, I am back to my natural color. I was always jealous that my husband could go and get a hair cut for $20.00.. Well, now I am even more jealous. We have found a barber that will cut men’s hair for even cheaper. And we are not talking about a designer 2 hour in the chair cut with a head massage etc. We are talking about a quick no frills cut that when you leave you look good, you still have money in your pocket and it is close to home.
Kay Mar Hair Cut is the place to go. They are located on Tustin Ave in Orange across the street from Home Depot. They have been there for 46 years. Can you believe that? Now a days it is hard to find companies that are able to withstand the test of time. Now here is the kicker. When they started their hair cuts were only a $1.00. So now you are asking yourself so how much would it be 46 years later? $5.75. I guess it only averages a $1.00 increase every 10 years. Not bad!

Can you believe it? I still can not. My husband and son have been going here for a haircut for about 7 haircuts now. Somehow we get the same guy for my husband, so he really knows us now.. When you walk in you will be greeted by a friendly smile from one of the barbers and a reminder to grab a number. Then sit and wait for a few minutes while they finish up a few other patrons. Every time we have gone there it has always been packed, but fear not, we have never waited more then about 15 minutes. One other thing you will be greeted with when you walk in is all the patches all over the walls. It started a few years back. The barber is one of the safest places because a lot of off duty officers come in to get their hair cut. The patches represent just some of the officer and firemen and even a few military people that have getting their hair cut at Kay Mar Barbers.


There is just one small draw backs with this place. The parking. Depending on when you go, it can be tough to get a spot to park. So far we have not really had too much problem, but if you do there is a parking lot directly across Taft street. All in all, I would love for you to take the boys in your life and give this place a try. It really is a great bargain and a great hair cut. SO remember it is on the corner of Tustin Ave and Taft in the city of Orange.

I give this a 8 out of 10

A Parent’s Right To Raise Their Children

A parent’s right to raise their children as they see fit is a time-honored American tradition, but today it is being threatened. The Supreme Court’s Troxel v. Granville decision in 2000 undermined a 75-year heritage of Constitutionally-protected, fundamental parental rights, which 8 of the 9 justices abandoned. At the same time, a growing body of international law fuels activist judges to legislate foreign standards from the American bench, while treaties such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child would subject parental decisions to government oversight and international review.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (MI-2) has proposed HJR-42, the Parental Rights Amendment, to stop the erosion of parental rights in American courts while simultaneously defending our laws from international invasion. Please, visit parentalrights.org to learn more about the Amendment, and to join their email network by signing the petition to protect parental rights.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I Wanna Be A Chef Unit Study

I found out one of my friends older kids who happens to be in public school was going to have a career day. So, I was thinking to myself…as a Homeschooler, how do I go about having a so called career day for my children later on as they get older. I want them to know about all the different careers and opportunities that are out there for them to choose from. Then, as good as God is, he plops this review in my lap. And what does it happen to be? A unit study on the Career of a Chef.

The answer to my question I was having about the career day for my children is the Wanna Be series from The Old Schoolhouse. In this case I received the When I Grow Up I Wanna Be A Chef unit study. And this is just one of many to come. Now this is not just a typical eBook of what a chef does for a living, but an actual full, complete unit study with math, history, science, penmanship, copy work, bible memory verses, coloring pages, activities, recipes and more.

You know my kids, 4 and 7, are constantly changing their minds about what they want to do when they grow up. This series gives your children a look into the life a chef. When I Grow Up I Wanna Be….. series gives you the opportunity to direct some of those wanna be careers into a great unit study. It gives your children an opportunity to take a look at the careers around us. Or even look at some of the so called behind the scenes careers. The ones you tend to rely on and love, but may not think about right away. Or better yet, if your child is showing a love for something like cooking, then this series will help your child to reflect on all the aspects of the career he may have chosen for himself.

This unit study is perfect for ages 5 up. The questions at the end of the unit were graduated questions. Some were perfect for my son, 7, while others might be more for a 10 or 12 year old. I just adapted some of the older questions for my son as well as you can adapt the younger questions for you older children. But here is the great thing. I learned a few new things form the I Wanna Be A Chef unit study myself. Then at the end of the information pages there were plenty of activities to do. My favorite one was the Importance of Hand Washing experiment. WOW, did that bring hand washing to a better light for my kids. And my 4 year old daughter loved to make that chefs hat. Moreover, there is plenty of resources, web sites, books etc., given to us for more information regarding the career of a chef. I like that because I really do not have the time to sit on the internet and waft through 1000’s of website to collect more information. But remember that this unit study is a complete unit study. Chef Katherine Afendoules-Emmenegger, the writer, has given you everything you need to complete this study without ever turning on your computer. But if you want more, just turn to page 67.

All in all this unit study is a great series for home schooling as well as all parents to invest in. Hey looking towards the future of our children and helping them to make a career choice that they are good at, can make money at, they love but also a career that God will direct them to is what we as parents want for our kids future. That’s what the Wanna Be Series is all about. Opening the eyes up to all that is available out there for them and helping to learn the basics of that career. “This could be the spark that ignites the fire of interest for your child—and who knows what path it may take!”

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Do Not Be Ashamed

I find it interesting that a high school principal can see the problem, but not our society.

This is a statement that was read over the PA system at the football game at Roane County High School, Kingston, Tennessee, by school Principal, Jody McLeod"It has always been the custom at Roane County High School football games, to say a prayer and play the National Anthem, to honor God and Country."

"Due to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, I am told that saying a Prayer is a violation of Federal Case Law. As I understand the law at this time, I can use this public facility to approve of sexual perversion and call it "an alternate lifestyle," and if someone is offended, that's OK."

"I can use it to condone sexual promiscuity, by dispensing condoms and calling it, "safe sex." If someone is offended, that's OK."

"I can even use this public facility to present the merits of killing an unborn baby as a "viable means of birth control." If someone is offended, no problem."

"I can designate a school day as "Earth Day" and involve students in activities to worship religiously and praise the goddess "Mother Earth" and call it "ecology."

"I can use literature, videos and presentations in the classroom that depicts people with strong, traditional Christian convictions as "simple minded" and "ignorant" and call it "enlightenment."

"However, if anyone uses this facility to honor GOD and to ask HIM to Bless this event with safety and good sportsmanship, then Federal Case Law is violated. This appears to be inconsistent at best, and at worst, diabolical."

"Apparently, we are to be tolerant of everything and anyone, except GOD and HIS Commandments. Nevertheless, as a school principal, I frequently ask staff and students to abide by rules with which they do not necessarily agree. For me to do otherwise would be inconsistent at best, and at worst, hypocritical. I suffer from that affliction enough unintentionally. I certainly do not need to add an intentional transgression."

"For this reason, I shall "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's," and refrain from praying at this time." However, if you feel inspired to honor, praise and thank GOD and ask HIM, in the name of JESUS, to Bless this event, please feel free to do so. As far as I know, that's not against the law----yet."

One by one, the people in the stands bowed their heads, held hands with one another and began to pray. They prayed in the stands. They prayed in the team huddles. They prayed at the concession stand and they prayed in the Announcer's Box! The only place they didn't pray was in the Supreme Court of the United States of America- the Seat of "Justice" in the "one nation, under GOD."Somehow, Kingston , Tennessee remembered what so many have forgotten. We are given the Freedom OF Religion, not the Freedom FROM Religion. Praise GOD that HIS remnant remains!

JESUS said, "If you are ashamed of ME before men, then I will be ashamed of you before MY FATHER."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ikea, The Lunch Spot?

You know as a mom who is on the go a lot, I am always looking for a place where I can have a good lunch that is somewhat affordable and that is better for the kids then a hamburger and french fries. One of my favorite places is Ikea.

OK so now you say...What? Ikea? That's a European Target. Your right, but they have a wonderful Cafeteria. Yes, cafeteria. But this is not your office building cafeteria. This is a wonderful yummy one. Our favorite meal is the meatballs. My mouth is drooling just thinking about it right now. For the kids they have a $.99 plate of meatballs. Each side dish is $.99. You can have french fries, veggies, potatoes etc. We usually do the 3 plate meal of meatballs, veggies and a drink for $2.49. Not too bad of a deal. Then my husband and I get the 20 meatballs and split it between us. It is more then plenty of food for us. And if meatballs are not your thing, there is plenty of other food to choose from.

Now a few of the draw backs of this is the fact you can not just pull up to a drive through window and get your food. You have to park and go up the elevator and move around the store. (By the way when you get off the elevator you go to your left immediately and you can bypass all the shopping.) You do actually have to sit down at a table and not have food dripping on your lap as you drive. And you do have to have a conversation face to face with the kids instead of them talking to the back of your head in the car. LOL! And, yes, there is always the temptation of the shopping. But if you maintain control of your shopping you can go directly to the cafeteria and then back down the elevator to the front door. One other stop you might want to make on the way out is at the small cafeteria downstairs. They have cinnamon rolls, six for $4.00, ice cream cones for a $1.00 and hot dogs for a buck too. All yummy!

All in all I would give Ikea a 8 out of 10. It is a yummy and healthier way to eat then fast food hamburgers. But it lacks the convenience. The Ikea we visited was off the 405 fwy and Harbor. Trust me you can not miss this shop. If you do, then you need your prescription in your glasses changed. Give it a try this week. See what you think and then write me back and let me know how it worked for you. And remember......Straight to the cafeteria and back down to the front door. No shopping!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Push to make Our Children Read

I just loved this short little article I read this morning and had to share it with all my friends....

A Late Bloomer Blossoms Into Something BigFamilies today feel a lot of pressure to have their children reading by age 6 or 7, or even age 5. Yet President Woodrow Wilson stands out as a great example of a "better late than early" learner.

Did you know that Wilson -- a scholar and 28th President of the United States, who also served as governor of New Jersey, president of Princeton University, and earned a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University -- was 12 years old before he learned to read? A sickly child, Wilson was tutored at home by his father, a Presbyterian minister. His early education included spending much time in "speech learning lab" listening to his father practice his sermons. In turn, Wilson's father helped his own practice and improved his own speeches and oratory skills.

Written by: www.Home-School-Inc.com

Monday, May 25, 2009

Homeschool Fair in the Newspaper

I thought this was a great way to finish off our day at the homeschool fair. I found this article written about the fair. Hey if you don;t mind if I can brag for a moment, My kids did great at the science and art fair. Six 1st place ribbons as well as two best in show. Take a look at the pictures...http://vincentshomeschooldays.blogspot.com/ . Anyway, read the article in the Inland Daily Bulletin.

Home School Fair is a hit in Ontario
Canan Tasci, Staff Writer
Created: 05/25/2009 06:02:00 PM PDT


ONTARIO - There seemed to be as many reasons to home-school a child as there were attendees at Monday's Home School Fair at Ontario Christian High School.
About 1,000 people from San Bernardino, Orange and Los Angeles counties as well as Northern California attended the fair in its 20th year.


The fair served children of the home-school community by providing them with a place to share their talents and abilities with friends, family members and other home-schooled students.
Home schooling consists of a parent or guardian taking on the responsibility of educating their child either directly or indirectly at home, instead of sending them to a public or charter school. Home schooling many times is religious based.


"The biggest benefit to home-schooling is that we can teach our kids our family values all while instilling our core beliefs," said Kerry Byers, High Desert regional advisory board member to the Christian Home Educators Association of California.
Christian Home Educators Association is a nonprofit ministry that provides information, support and training to the home-education community throughout the state. The nonprofit ministry was established in 1982.


The Home School Fair was similar to a county fair as it included art workshops, carnival games, historical re-enactments, arts and crafts as well as bake sales.
But the fair for home-schoolers also had spelling bees, bible-sword drills, vendor booths, history and science projects, used-curriculum sale and Olympic-type events.
Home schooling is a private educational practice that is very individualized, said Mike Gabriel, chairman of the Home School Fair.


"Your neighbor could be home-schooled and you not even know it," Gabriel said. "That's the reason why we host fairs like these to showcase what kids have done and to have fun at the same time."


Home schooling grew from nearly nonexistent in the 1970s to roughly 2 million students nation-wide in grades K-12 this year, according to a study done by National Home Education Research Institute. Home education receives no government money. Parents who home school their children pay taxes even though their kids are not enrolled in public schools.
"We don't live a lavish life, we live a simple life," said John Reilly of Moreno Valley. "I'd love to take a trip to Hawaii or have a vacation, but we would rather put our money into our kids education."



Reilly has four children who are home schooled. It costs him about $1,000 a year to teach each child. "Some of the financial challenges comes with buying your own curriculum, so finding used curriculum for sale cuts the costs," he said. "I do what ever it takes to make ends meet. God hasn't failed us yet and I don't believe he is going to."


Studies done by the National Home Education Research Institute also say that home-educated students generally score above average, regardless of whether either parent has ever held a state-issued teaching certificate.


The Home School Fair had a full schedule of events, beginning at 9 a.m. with a talent showcase and concluding after 3 p.m. with an ice cream and pie-eating contest. For Heather Reilly, 14, the thought of attending public school is not an option. "Sometimes I want to experience it, but then other times I say `Well, this is where God wants me to be and I'm pe in the rfectly fine with that,"' Heather said. The freshman is taught by her mother. "A lot of people think I don't have a social life because I'm home-schooled, but I'm involved in basketball, volleyball, cross country, track and field and I meet with a support group of friends twice a month."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sheltering our Children

You know, now a days when we hear people say that they shelter their children it is not intended to be a compliment. Why is that? Why is sheltering such a bad thing to do? So I was asking myself what exactly does it mean to shelter my kids? Do I shelter my kids? Is this a good thing? Is it Biblical? So I decided to do a bit a research on this matter. And no this is not some huge year long research, this is my very own ask a few questions and read some articles and some chapters in some parenting books.

So the first question was what is sheltering? I decided to go to the dictionary for a description of sheltering. The dictionary says.....

1. a dwelling place or home considered as a refuge from the elements:
Everyone's basic needs are food, clothing, and shelter.
2. to protect, as by shelter; take under one's protection, to protect from harm
3. protection from blame, incrimination, etc
Synonyms: retreat, asylum, sanctuary, shield, haven, harbor,
house, guard, safeguard, defend.
So now to my second question. Do I shelter my kids? I had to look at my everyday action towards my children and ask myself if I provide for their basic need of housing, clothing, food etc. Yes. I provide a dwelling place for my children that protects them from the elements. Their basic needs are met. Do I protect them from the things that I would think most parent would try to protect them from. Evil doers, excessive colds, making bad choices, how to hold a knife etc. You know the basic things in life to protect them. I do protect them from harm by teaching them and directing their path towards things I feel that may be better choices.

We ALL do it. We defend our children if needed, we protect them from other people, knives, too much TV etc, we watch over them to make sure they are making good choices and not eating candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we shield them from harms way when we are walking through the parking lot and a car come barreling down we will shove their little bodies behind ours and take the hit if needed. So why all this fuss about "SHELTERING" your kids is not the right thing to do?

Well somewhere, some sort of modern psychology came up with the idea that Parents should not try to shelter their children from normal childhood disappointments. But that sounds crazy to me. If I think about it if I am not sheltering my kids then I must be exposing them to the bitter cold. We are no longer defending them from dangers of life but allowing their little minds to make the choices that they know nothing about because we have endangered them physically and mentally to the disappointments of life!
So my next question was is sheltering a good thing. Well, if we look at the words described above and the meanings then yes! We need to shelter our children. Do we wrap them in a bubble and roll them around? NO! But there is nothing wrong with sheltering my 4 year old from profanity on TV. Or my 7 year old from sexual content. Or sheltering both my kids from the ignorance and life long hurt that can be caused by some child who decides today is the day they will pick a new child to be their punching bag.

My last question was is it Biblical to shelter? YES! Come on. Read your Bible people. Who is always there to protect us? He Protects us! He watches over our every move! He shields us from harms way. HE shelters us! Yes, God shelters us and we are told to protect and keep our children. I am proud to say I shelter my kids. I want my kids to grow up in a home that protected and loved them.
Oh I know what some of you may say. Oh, you kids will hate you for this and will go so far the opposite way when they grow up. Well, can't be any worst then allowing a 5 year old to play in the front yard by themselves and they get abducted or it can not be worst then the kid at age 13 comes home with the news that they are pregnant, or the kids who ends up in the hospital with Bulimia because the kids at school were so cruel that she end up throwing up 8 times a day just so the teasing will stop. All because we did not want to shelter the kid from the upsets of life????? These parents would probably ask themselves Was it really worth it to stop sheltering? There is no reason for me not to shelter them the best I can from the enemies out there that will take their innocent young minds from them. I want to keep them young. There is no reason for a 7 year old to act like a 12 year old and to have the same privileges just because I do not want to shelter. If my goal in life is to be more like God then…Shelter them like He shelters me! You bet I will!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mothers Day

It comes around one time a year. The day I can do absolutely nothing and have my family do it all for me. The day I do not have to be active in the taking care of the family and the house and have the family be actively taking care of the house and me. But somehow, I always end up doing something.

There are days that go by over the year that I wish the kids were all grown up. I get frustrated and angry and all bent out of shape over the silliest things. "Why", I ask my son all the time when he does things with out thinking them through. I repeat myself over and over again to my daughter either because she does not understand or she does not listen or maybe she forgot (yea right). These are the times I get the most frustrated and wish these days were over.

Then the evening comes. And we are all relaxing after dinner watching a little TV. 10 minutes into the movie my son comes over and caresses my hand and says "I Love You Mommy. Can I sit in your lap?” Of course I say yes, even though he is getting so big I cannot see past his head to watch the movie. But that’s ok, because he is growing up way too fast. He is 7 now.

Then 20 minutes into the movie, my daughter comes over and tries to share my lap with my son. Now I am sweating like there is no tomorrow and I can hardly breath but I cherish this discomfort because my daughter is growing up way too fast too. She is almost 4 now.

As I sit there trying to listen to the movie through the soft bickering of "You move". No you move", and I can't really see what is going on in the silent parts of the movie; my butt is so sweaty it feels as if I have peed my pants. I am now taken back by my harshness, anger, frustration and the thoughts I had all day of wanting them to grow up so I can get past this "tough part". I kiss both their tiny heads and apologize. "I'm sorry my babies! Mommy loves you so much!" My daughter says "OK! Love you too." My son replies, "Love you too. What ya sorry for?" "For any hurt I have caused you today." "That’s Ok mommy. You didn't hurt me. You loved me." At that very moment I realize I do not want them to grow up.

I have to constantly remind myself that each day and each situation is only a moment in this vast time we call life. Each frustration will pass so fast if I just let it fall off my back. Each moment of anger will pass if I just breathe a few extra breaths. And each year will pass before I even know they have passed. Seven years ago I never thought I would be here today. I thought it would be forever before my son could read and write. And here I am today. Just a moment in time.

I guess my whole point is that we need to savor each of those Mommy moments no matter how bad they may be or how good. Our children need a Mother everyday, even on Mothers Day. Because it will not be long before that Moment in Time comes and the kids are gone out of our house. Cherish these days and have a happy active Mother's day.

For some reason it would not let me download the actual video, so here is the link to a great Mothers Day Video produced by Anthony Nitz.
http://www.tangle.com/view_video.php?viewkey=a4b7e64ff4f58919f602&page=13&viewtype=&category=mvd


The sound in the beginning of a woman giving birth...that is me and my son being born 7 years ago. Sniff, sniff!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Latina Christiana: Memoria Press

I have wanted to start teaching a foreign language to my kids for some time now. I bought a Spanish set last year, but it was so detailed it was just TOOOOOOO much for him. So when I decided that I really wanted to start with Latin because of it’s help with learning all other foreign language I was a little taken back by all the Latin courses out there. I did not want to get another one that was way too much from the start to handle or that was boring and hard for me to teach. Guess what? The Old School House Review Team received Latina Christiana by Memoria Press to review. I was so thrilled because I had heard some really good things about Memoria Press.

The Latina Christiana was designed just for me. A person who has no experience in any foreign language especially Latin. Everything is all laid out for you and then adding the DVD’s is Perfect! The teacher, Cheryl Lowe, on the DVD is wonderful and explains things thoroughly. She reminds us that each persons dialect will be different so to relax a bit. Each of the lessons consists of grammar, vocabulary, a Latin saying, song, prayer and conjugation as well as derivatives. By the time we are finished with this book #1 we should know about 25 saying and 200 Latin words, songs, prayers and roman history. Cool!

I also received for review Famous Men of Rome curriculum that includes the Teacher Guide, Student Guide and the Roman History book with beautiful illustrations. This has 30 different stories of famous men of Rome. I have found in just a few lessons that this really helps lead us into our political history. There are several questions, map work, drawings for the children to do etc. This is suppose to be a yearlong study, but even if you do not want to make a yearlong study of it, the book is exquisite! Famous Men of Rome sells or $39.95 for the set and is geared for grade 3 (or so) and up. But like any other curriculum, it can be pared down for the younger ones like my daughter (3 ½).

What a fantastic way to end my review time with The Old School House. The Latina Christiana program comes with a teacher's book as well as the student workbook, DVD’s and CD. I am so exited and in awe with this curriculum and how skillfully put together it is as well as the ease in which Cheryl has made it for the teacher. I have been feeling pulled towards classical way of teaching in some respects and in some subjects, but I am such a “show me what to do” type of person that I thought for sure Latin was not going to be a subject I would be able to teach. This gives me the best of both worlds.

If you have been looking for a great, easy and effective Latin study, then stop looking and go to Memoria Press. They have what you are looking for, for only $97.90, which includes the Teacher Guide, Student Book, CD, DVD and flash cards. And, if you are interested, they also have other courses of study like french, cursive, copybooks, Christian Studies, etc. Visit their website for more information on Memoria Press as well as all the wonderful products they carry for classical education.

10 out of 10

Friday, April 24, 2009

Menu planning E-Book

I got the opportunity to review a great little e-book called Menu Planning: How to plan menus for a whole month and enjoy it. First I have to say that Sheri Graham, the author, must have been in my house and watched what I do for menu planning. As I was reading this delightful e-book, I realized this was almost exactly the way I do menu planning. So with that said, you can probably figure out that I loved this e-book. Let me give you some highlights form her insightful e-book. She will cover How to Plan for a Whole Month Worth of Meals, How to Collect All Those Favorite Recipes, Money Saving Tips From Her Family to Yours as well as Making Your Master Shopping List. And she even gives you some blank forms for you to fill out.

This is a very easy quick read, but packed full of terrific information for those of you who would like to stop going to the grocery store so often and start menu planning for your families. This would have been such a helpful book for me when I was trying to figure out how to put together menu plans years ago. Menu planning has worked very well for my budget as well as my family so I know that this little e-book will help tremendously to start you on that time saving aspect of homemaking...Menu Planning.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tapestry of Grace

You know I have found over the years that there is no right or wrong way to teach your children. In every homeschool there are many different methods used and many different curriculums out there that say they are the best or better then the next. What makes a curriculum work for me is the ease in which I, the teacher can understand how to teach and then whether or not my children like it. One of the methods of teaching is through unit studies. Now those of you who know me know that this type of curriculum is not my bag. However I was given the opportunity to review Tapestry of Grace Year 1 Unit 2 which is a immeasurable history unit study.

Now with this curriculum you would usually want to purchase the whole year and then take your summer to read through it and collect the information to get you started in the fall. With TOG I would highly recommend this so you can get a grasp on all the information that is in the introduction as well as get all your research done and ready.

As far as the Units, they are broken down into 9 weeks studies. Basically their thinking is that you will run through subjects about every four years. So for all intents and purposes your first grader will come back to this same study once again in about 4 years and will continue to do so all they way through High School. I have to admit I do love this idea. I was taught history in a mish mash order and I never understood how it all fit together until now as I am teaching it to my children.

The Tapestry of Grace unit study recommends excellent literature, reading books, worksheets, hands on activities like crafts etc, and of course they incorporate the Bible. This can be a great way of teaching if you have many ages to teach at the same time. The curriculum covers it for all ages, which is nice. You can be going over the information with all and then have the older one work on their own or help the younger ones. However I have to admit if I were to purchase all the books they want me to purchase I would have a small library here in my house. Some of the books I was able to find in the library other I had to forgo. However we did just fine without them.

TOG’s idea is great, and I think that their approach is wonderful. However there is a ton of teacher prep work and a lot of books to either purchase or get from the library (if you can find them) and expense because of the books, activities and the extra components that you would have to buy from them. So needles to say this just did not fit into our homeschooling. This program would be for someone who LOVES to teach using the Unit Study style of homeschooling and enjoys doing all the prep work and research a head of time. This is a huge undertaking, however they offer so much support. They have this area of their website that is called the Loom. This is for those who want a little help with project ideas recipes, etc. So there is plenty of support for you if you decide to try their program out.

I received the digital copy of Year 1 Unit 2. Well, first let me say I had no problem downloading their Lock Lizard but due to the size and complication of this study I think that having a hard copy would have made a huge difference in liability for me. Plus all the printing I had to do was very expensive. I also found going back and forth on the computer screen was a little confusing, and my eyes were getting tired, I could not take it to bed to read through the stuff and finding the pages I was reading and trying to reference back to them was getting a bit more complicated then I would have liked while I was trying to do the research. I would highly recommend that if you decide to purchase TOG you buy the hard copy instead.

Tapestry of Graces’ Download version is $45 each unit (4 per year)
The printed version may start being phased out so you may want to pick up the combination pack, which is the printed and Downloadable version. And I would just like to send you to their website for the prices because they vary depending on which one you get. Plus, they are offering a 3-week trial to sample. I highly recommended you do this to see if this colossal program works for you and your children.5 out of 10 The TOS Crew Homepage

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Molly's Money-Saving Digest for May 2009

TOS will be releasing a new E-book called "Molly's Money-Saving Digest for May 2009. I have this wonderful opportunity to review this book before it comes out to you. This is such an impressive little book. It is an easy read, but packed full of laughs, information, quotes, how –to’s, money saving ideas and just great articles from other families sharing how they homeschool, save money on home furnishings etc. This book is for everyone. Not just those of us who have young ones at home. It is for those who are just starting out in homeschooling, school aged children at home or those who have highschooler ready to take the leap into the real world. Best of all, it is digital, so it does not take up any room on those already packed bookshelves.

There were three chapters that really stuck out to me as interesting and captivated my personal interest of where I am in my homeschooling or family life. The first chapter was “The Mothers Day Celebration Ideas”. This chapter was chuck full of ideas for money saving tips for DAD to help the kids make a memorable Mothers Day for you us. Naturally I had my husband read that chapter. I asked him to review it for me and tell me what he thought. After he read it, he giggled at me and said how smart I was for getting him to read that. Well, hopefully it will work and I will get one of her wonderful free ideas for my Mothers Day gift this year.

The other chapter that was a favorite was the “Feature Topic: Learning for Life—Your Child’s Education”. Being that I have a pre-schooler at home right now and with my first child I fell prey to the idea that pre-school was so very important…thanks TV. This chapter was a great reminder to me to not push my second child to this so-called pre-school excellence. Times have changed and we are made to think that if our child does not attend pre-school they will flunk out of high school, and yes, even us homeschooler are starting to believe this! Hmmm, I never went to preschool and I graduated on honor roll. She reviews this myth and helps us realized there is a better way of so-called “schooling” your pre-schooler.

Lastly the chapter titled Homeschooling for Cs was FANTASTIC. We get caught up in the fact that we homeschoolers have to educate and make our children spelling Bee winners and straight "A" students that are smarter then every other child out there and are the so called brainiacs of the world. Talk about pressure! But as this chapter is so well put, we should educate for the “C’s”. Five wonderful attributes of our children that we should be more concerned with more so then the grade and the myth of homeschoolers equal brainiacs.

I highly recommend this e-book. Besides having all the tips and laughs, it also provides you with plenty of links to help you on this journey of homeschooling, frugality and just plain parenting. You can pick up you copy the end of this month at The Old School House.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Two Sides to Every Coin

Home educating is not without challenges. Let’s face it, there are days when it can just wear us down. How many times have you thought: Homeschooling is tough because…...

“There’s so much to do!”
The flip side: Homeschooling is great, because while our children are still at home, we get to re-prioritize our lives and let go of activities with lesser importance and lesser value....

“It’s so easy to feel inadequate when we look at what other homeschoolers are doing, and what their children are achieving.
”The flip side: Because we can spend a whole afternoon with another family, or go on a picnic or a camping trip together, we also have time to see the realities in each others’ lives. We see that we each have strengths and we each have struggles. Knowing this we can also help each other, affirm each other, and share with each other....

“We feel the weight of responsibility for our children’s education.
”The flip side: Ask any parent whose child slipped through the cracks at an institutional school, while we take on this large responsibility, we also gain the opportunity to find the most effective ways to teach our children.

The next time you find yourself focusing on the challenges of homeschooling rather than the benefits, remember, there are two sides to every coin. Take another look. Often times, the flip side is much more interesting!

Writen by homeschoolinc.com

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Peep, Peep!

It's that time of year again. Yes it is Easter Time! the aisle at the my grocery store have all those cute little Marshmallow Peeps. And now not are they only in the shape of a chick but bunnies and flowers and they come in pink, blue, green and more.

So I decided to find out what these thing were really made of. Corn syrup and sugar! Yup, thats it! Just another thing to make you go Hmmmm! And did you know that they have been around since 1953? I had no idea about that. I thought they were only about 20 years old. Anyway, I also found out they use to be made by hand and hand packed. Think about this. It takes them about 5 minutes or so to put out 1 packages of peeps. It use to take them over 25 hours. And today they sell over a Billion Peeps a year. But I never did find out how much they use to cost verses today. Does anyone know?

Just thought you might want to know!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Apologia Science

I have been longing to find a good science curriculum that would cover science from beginning to end and would be hands on and would also guide me, the non-science person, all the way through each subject. I have found that curriculum. I was given EXPLORING CREATION WITH ZOOLOGY 1: FLYING CREATURES OF THE FIFTH DAY by Apologia. Now I have heard of this company and heard great things from them, but I have to admit when I first saw the textbook, I thought it was going to be just like public school textbooks. Boy was I wrong!

In this book, your children will begin exploring the dynamics of flight and animal classification, understanding why the design we see in these incredible creatures points us to our Creator God. Then, get ready for the exciting adventure of learning about birds. Your children will learn how to attract various bird species to your yard and identify them by looking at their special physical characteristics, diverse nests, and interesting domestic practices. They will also learn the anatomy and the glorious design that enables birds to do remarkable things. After becoming amateur ornithologists, your children will explore the world of chiropterology, which is the study of bats.
Jeannie Fulbright has done it. She basically put down in one book everything I wanted. She gave me clear reading text, projects that do not consist of breaking my piggy bank, a list of all the supplies I will need for each project, note-booking and all this learning is fun and for those of you who love Charlotte Mason, this curriculum is built in that type of learning environment. But for those of us who are not Charlotte Mason teachers, it works wonderfully for us too.

Here is the best part. Her curriculum really focuses on GOD’S creation. I mean it really come alive. I’ll tell you a secret! I have learned sooooo much! Oh, and my kids have too! LOL! We look at birds in a totally different way now!

There are 14 lessons all together and each lesson should take about 2-3 weeks to do. We only have science two times a week sometime only once so we tend to go 3 weeks. So needless to say, it is very flexible.

I have found my science curriculum form Kindergarten all the way through High school. This is it. Apologia! I so very highly recommend this curriculum. At least give it a try. Oh, did I mention that Apologia elementary science is only $25.00 to 35.00 per curriculum? Depending on which book you buy. Yea, you read it right. I have look at some science curriculums that are hundreds of dollars. So you really do not have too much to loose and a whole lot to gain!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Easter Freebies

Easter is almost here and The Old School House has done it again. They are giving away a whole bunch of fun free activities for you and your kids to do for Easter. So here is the link you will need to download all those fun crafts!

Here's the link for the Freebies: http://www.thehomeschoolmagazine.com/Easter-Giveaway/Easter-Giveaway.html

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Schleich Action Figures

What a joy it was to open this box. My kids were overjoyed to see a box full of animals from Schleich to add to their collection. You know there are those that claim they are hand painted and then when you look at it the eyes are all crooked or something. Not Schleich! These toys are meticulously made and painted to look life like. And they DO! This company was founded in 1935, so you know they are doing something right. Their toys are of fantastic, lasting, detailed quality.

They have all sorts of animals; like farm animals, wild life, forest animals, and pets oh and trees, horse farms, knights American Frontier etc. I can see doing a unit study on American Frontier and using these figures to make your studies come to life! They even have a real cute elf series which you can view the chapter of the story of the elves. Oh, and for all of you out there in my age range (late 30’s early 40’s) they have the Smurfs. They are sooo cute!

Anyway, the prices range of course depending on the figurine from about $2.50 to $160.00. Most of the figurines though are between $3.00 and $9.00. Hey if you want some of those science studies or theme studies to come to life, add a few of these action figures to it. You really will not regret that you did!

Schleich is currently running a Hobby Farm Home Contest. Now until March 31, 2009, send in a photo of your farm diorama of course using Schleich animal figurines and accessories, and you could win a Schleich Red Barn valued at $159.99! Hey, what a great photography lesson, farm life theme study and I am sure for those of you out there more creative then me, can come up with even more things to study just for this contest! Have fun and good luck!

10 out of 10

Monday, March 23, 2009

Critical Thinking

Critical Thining is a company who has so many parent, teacher in addition to other educational awards as well as they should. First let me say that I actually have been using Critical Thinking Language Arts for my son for a year now and we love it. But then I got so lucky as to review 2 math books. One for my son, Level B: Mathematical reasoning and one for my daughter Beginning 1: Mathematical Reasoning. So I am going to review each product separately.

Level B: Mathematical Reasoning:
Now first I do have to say that I was given 1st grade math and my son is currently doing 2nd grade math. But I had him go through this math book skipping around to some things that I thought might be a great review or a bit more challenging for him. He loved it! He thought that this was a great math book. He loved the fact that the whole book is in color, which makes it more interesting and he love, the fact that the pages did not have too much stuff on them. You know how some math books can have 20 addition problems on a page. For some children, my son, that can be very overwhelming and way too busy. This math books is more then just drill, its concepts that are built upon. And we love that. You never just sit stagnant on the same subject for days and days, but a continual review of what has been learned my son give this a 10 out of 10 and said he would like to get the next grade level up for our next years math! We will be ordering soon!

But the only thing I did not like is the fact there are no suggestions on how to go about teaching. Like another math program I use it give you daily suggestions to help guide the parent on what to teach and review etc. But at this stage in math I think it is pretty easy to figure out. I give this one an 8 out of 10.

Beginning 1: mathematical Reasoning:
My daughter, 3 ½, loved this. The very first day we did 7 pages. The next day we did 8 and so on. Currently we have been just doing flash cards and some hands on things etc. So this is her first math workbook. Everyday she asks to do math now. With this book it seems to again just build and build upon what she has learned. The book is easy enough that it captures and retains her attention but hard enough that she is learning as we go I am so thankful for getting this math book. My daughter and I give a 10 out of 10 for this product.

So overall, I think you can see that we love Critical Thinking. We will be ordering more books from them for our next years' classes. Now the Beginning 1 is $29.99 and the Level B is $32.99. That’s not bad considering what I currently pay for my math program now. Check them out. Homeschool conventions are going to be starting soon. See if they are there and take a hand on look or even go to their site. They have plenty of sample pages for each of the curriculum so you can give it a try with your child. I don’t think you will be sorry you tried their products. There is always room for some Mathematical reasoning!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Alphabet Alley Magnet Playset

Ok, this has got to be one of the greatest little products my daughter (3) has received to review for me. When I got this in the mail I first thought of those peel and cling/stick things (can not remember the name) I had as a child. Oh, but no this is so much more durable. This is “Our New Baby Magnetic Playset” form Alphabet Alley. I got this product over 2 weeks ago and she has not had them put away more then one day since. And I think that was because we had a field trip that day.

Now do not laugh, but my son (7) has been playing with them too. Both my kids love to play together (which I praise God for) and he has been the Dad while she had been the boss, excuse me I mean Mom as well as the kids.

At $14.99 this is a great addition to your family or a great gift for a young girls birthday. I am actually going to order a couple of the other magnet sets because of the durability. I have had other magnetic sets from other companies, but they have since been destroyed with "el-destructo" daughter of mine. This one, however will last!

10 out of 10

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Homeschooling in the Woods

If you love to lapbook, you will LOVE this product.

Homeschool in the Woods sent to me the New Testament Lapbook. I already had purchased the Old Testament and loved it, but then to be so lucky as to get to review the New Testament one too. WOW! Lucky me!

Amy Pak is the creator of this wonderful product. She has impressed me with her knowledge of history, her customer service, and her products and how complete the materials are as well as all the information and resources she gives you on her site for free.

A few of the things that is included in the New Testament Lap books are:
The Lineage of David,
The Birth of Jesus
The Beatitudes
Fruits of the Spirit (my daughter favorite project)
Parables
And much, much more

Not only does she give you all the things you need to put this lapbook together, but also she then gives you extra projects to do. For only $19.95 for CD or $18.95 for download, you cannot go wrong! Now for my Old Testament I got the CD and for the New I go the downloadable version. Really depends on you and what you like, Personally CD for me, but with download you get it instantly!
Check out Homeschooling In The Woods site. I think you will be more then impressed in all that you get with ALL Homeschooling in the Woods products. They have many wonderful products to assist you in your history assignments to make HISTORY COME ALIVE!

10 out of 10

Friday, March 13, 2009

Savings of up to 80%

Do you like saving up to 80%? Get next year's shopping done early and for less money at the March Madness sale inthe Schoolhouse Store! Check out some of the unit studies and copy work to help round out this school year or for fun summer activities. Almost 200 items are on sale from vendors suchas Auralog, Trigger Memory, Draw and Write Through History, American Schoolhouse Readers, and MANY more. Start shopping and saving NOW!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Homeschool Moms Psalm

A friend of mine sent this to me. I am not sure if she came up with this or if she got it from somewhere else, but I thought it was a great and I wanted to post here in my blog. The bible verses were taken from Psalm 4.

Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God.Give me relief from my distress;Be merciful to me and hear my prayer.”

Lord, today has been a long day of homeschooling. I am not so sure that I am cut out for this job. Are you sure you called me to this?

How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call to him.”

Lord, I admit that I am guilty of seeking the false god of education. I strap it on my children’s backs and burden us all with my expectations and insecurities. I want to do a good job… but I worry that I am not. What if I mess up, Lord? This is too important to do it wrong. I know that I am part of a remnant of people that You have called to be set apart… to do things differently from the culture with an eye on the prize of raising warriors for You. Help me do that Lord—and help me keep academics in the proper perspective.

In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.”

Lord, sometimes at night I lie in bed and go over my day. I review all the things I did wrong and pray for You to erase all the bad stuff from my children’s minds. I know You have called me to sacrifice my sense of self, my time, and my agenda in the name of spending day in and day out teaching my children. I am learning that even on my worst days, I have to stay committed to this calling, continue making the sacrifices, and choose to trust You to bring out the best in all of us, no matter how badly I blow it.

Many are asking, ‘Who can show us any good?’ Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord. You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Lord, I hear people lament over the state of our country. They wonder about the youth of our nation and seem to just throw their hands up, resigned that there is no use trying to change the direction things are going. And yet, I look at these children you have given me and I see hope in spite of my many mistakes. I see them displaying character, learning to work and value money, to be kind, and to hunger and thirst for You. Lord, it is true that there is no greater joy than to see your children walking with You. I thank You for these little glimpses all along the way that fill my heart with joy and give me the strength I need to get up tomorrow morning and do it all again.

Monday, March 9, 2009

One 2 Believe - Noah's Ark

One 2 Believe has shipped to me once again. YEA!!!! So far we have NOT been disappointed by any of their products. They are of great quality and will withstand time and time again of play.

This time they shipped to us Noah's Ark. This was a great way for them to have pretend play while still learning more about Noah. The Noah's Ark play set is a great way to strengthen the Noah's Ark story with your kids. Kids remember better when they have something to play with in their hands. Oh and they can take this in the tub with them too. I actually was not going to do this until I read another of my co-TOS reviewers review that said that they tried this. This Ark is part of their Tales of Glory collection and you get of course a Noah, 7 pairs of animals, and a big ark that you can store all the figures in.

For $29.99 you have a great toy that will last for a very long, long time and withstand several children playing. It will help you to relive the Noah story with your children and who knows maybe you can build a curriculum around the animals too. Oh, and did I mention I belong to a playgroup that meets 2x a month. I brought this to the playgroup and it was an INSTANT SUCCESS!

10 out of 10

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Artistic Pursuits: the Art curriculum for Creativity

Artistic Pursuits: the Art curriculum for Creativity. That is their title. You know what? It fits perfectly. I received Grades K-3 Book One. An Introduction to Visual Arts. After just 2 lessons I realized that this was a wonderfully gentle introduction not only to art but famous art pieces and artists.

I have been trying to do art studies, but just have not been able to put my finger on how to go about doing it. In the K-3 Book One each lesson has a copy of a beautiful piece of artwork and asks the child a few questions about this piece of art as well as give a few tid-bits about the artwork and/or artist. The thing is that this helps me to ask a few more questions and sometimes I will look up the piece or artist and give even a little bit more info to my children, which in turns we are now doing a mini art history study. Then to add to it, we get create our own picture to go along with that artist/artwork we studied today.

The main three topics are:
What Artists Do
What Artists See
Where We Find Art

If you are looking for a gentle approach to art and want to add a little art appreciation into an art lesson, Artistic Pursuits is a great program. I was looking over some of their other title. You have to check them out for the older kids too. Looks like their workbooks for the older kids are really kid directed. Another words, each lesson is written so the student can complete the work without a parent directing every step. I like that. I will for sure be continuing on with their art books.

As far as price, well, it is a bit pricey at $42.95, but you do get 32 lessons with the book I received and if you consider the thought of classes this is pretty cheap. At any rate, if you are just not an artist and want to incorporate art into your homeschool, this is probably a really good fit for you. Go check them out and see for yourself. They have plenty of samples for you to look at.

8 out of 10

Monday, March 2, 2009

Five in a Row

Last year my son and I learned a little bit about Early American History. Just mainly the Indians. We used a well know literature based curriculum. To this day my son can recite the information he learned from those books. Now you may be asking why do I bring that up when I am reviewing Five In A Row (FIAR). Well, because that is basically what FIAR is. A literature based curriculum. Here is basically what you do. Each day for 5 days you read the same book. From that you will teach about Bible, Science, Literature, Geography, Social Studies, Math, Health, Art, and Language etc.

Jane Claire Lambert is a very talented lady to have put these books together. She has curriculum from Pr-K ($24.95), which was the book I received all the way to Beyond FIAR ($24.95). But I have to mention that I was also given, by a friend, FIAR volume 1 ($35.00) as well as FIAR Bible Study Supplement ($25.00).

Now, first let me say I am not a unit study type of person. I like curriculum that spells it all out for me and then if I want to research and add then I can. If you are like me then this curriculum might be a bit burdensome. There is prep work to do at the end of each week to prepare for the following week.

As for the Pre-K, it was really not that much prep work and my daughter (3) as well as my son (7) really enjoyed the books. We had a lot of fun going through the Pre-K FIAR.

I decided that since my friend was giving me her very used volume 1 of FIAR, I would give it a try too. Once again I did not expect the prep work involved so I was not prepared that first week. However, once I got the hang of it, I felt that this was a very gentle approach to school at home and by adding in a phonics program and a math program this would make a complete curriculum.

However, the Bible Study Supplement I LOVED! I found that reading all the stories and finding ways to incorporate the Bible into these stories was phenomenal. My kids enjoyed it and got a lot out of it.

I have very mixed feelings on the basic curriculum though. I liked it and I think this would work for those who want a more relaxed approach to school and for those parents who are willing to spend a little time researching the information that is needed to teach. I LOVE the idea a reading literature to teach!!!! Will I continue to use this curriculum? Yes, but as a supplement. Will I continue to use the Bible Study? Absolutely, with out a doubt!

Here is what I think you should do. Check out the site, check out their message boards, their price list and see for yourself. See what you think. Once again if you like unit studies then this would be great for you. If you like it all spelled out, then this might be a great supplement.

7 out of 10 and 9 out of 10 (Bible Study)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Choosing Your School Year Schedule

One of the most difficult tasks to accomplish with homeschooling is planning your schedule. We sit down a month or so before we are ready to begin school and we outline everything we want to accomplish. Then we plan out what we are going to accomplish each day of every week. We are going to get up and start school by 8 a.m. each day and finish by noon. Everything looks perfect. This is going to be the best year ever!

As the first week approaches 2 of my children come down with colds, church has asked me to substitute teach for the next month and I don’t have any lesson plans. My son decides he wants to join cub scouts, our local 4-H club starts up a new archery club that my kids want to join, and I find out that our co-op has 2 new classes in which we want to participate. I contemplate it for a moment, and determine that I will start our official school next week so I can begin to fit everything in and nurse my children back to health. Sometime during this week, I will sit down and adjust our schedule. This week delay turns into two. Before I know it, I am stressed and everything seems like drudgery.

Any of this ring true for you?

Believe it or not, you don’t have to let a setback such as the storyline above put the Kybosh on your schedule. Let’s start at the beginning. When you are making your schedule, you have to build in flexibility from the very start. You are going to have days and/or events that pop up unexpectedly. Build in some extra time by only planning lessons for 3-4 days per week, but stretching them over five days when possible. Another option is to build in an extra week into your over all schedule. If you work on a unit for five weeks, allow yourself six weeks so you have a few days to overcome some of life’s unexpected blunders.

Secondly, consider your overall plan. What are your goals? Do you want your children to know everything there is to know about simple machines? Perhaps you would like them to be detailed in their knowledge of the subject, but if life happens, you can refer to a list that will state your goals in order of priority. Consider yourself on the right path if you accomplish 3-5 of those goals with excellence. This does not mean you should strive for mediocrity, by any means. The more important focus is that your children are learning what is most important. Life happens and priorities need to be in place to allow for the ebb and flow of life. For example, if your child tires of simple machines, wrap up the study early and earmark the area to return to in small segments between other units. This is where your flexibility really comes in to play. If your child is not attending to the study well, breaking it up and placing it between other more interesting studies may be a key for you accomplishing all your goals, just in a different time frame than you originally planned.

You are not perfect. Say this out loud. Say it more audibly so everyone in the room can hear you. We all plan more than we will ever accomplish with our children. Do not let your focus on academics override other issues such as character, coping skills, and conflict resolution for example. If you ask any homeschool mom if she accomplishes every teaching assignment she originally planned with any given subject, the answer will be no. Many moms prefer to plan their entire year in advance, while others may plan by the quarter, month, or even semester. While planning the entire year does have its benefits, it can also put an undue stress on a mom when life gets her off track for a bit. Remember why you are homeschooling. If life hits you broadside, take a day or two to swallow and digest, before moving forward with the rest of your plan. Allow for check points throughout the year, so you can evaluate and adjust your schedule accordingly. No schedule is written in stone.

With anything you do, the number one best method to help with your scheduling issues is to take it to God in prayer. I often find myself asking Him to remind me of His desire for my life, the lives of my children, and my role as the primary educator. I often ask the silliest requests pertaining to schedule adjustment, but in addition I ask for correct motivation and proper attitude when I react to setbacks. This not only allows God to be in the driver’s seat, but it sets an excellent example to your children about scheduling in their own lives. Cutting back on activities outside of the home isn’t such a hardship when your children see that you are doing the same as well. Making scheduling a priority is important for all children to see. That may require you turning off all phones, screens, and other digital devices for a certain amount of time each day or it may require that one evening per week you will need to incorporate a music lesson, when you get behind for some reason. Isn’t this one of the reasons you chose to homeschool?

Lastly, I want to remind you to be honest with yourself about your family’s personality traits. Do not start an expensive time intensive science curriculum if your children are not overly interested in science and you aren’t either. You can spend the money more wisely by saving it, or choosing another curriculum that your family may enjoy. Try a less intense curriculum and supplement with easy and simple hands on activities. There are many tricks to scheduling, but if the method doesn’t fit your style, it will never be as effective as it could be.


If you enjoyed this article it was written by Leslie Valeska Her family operates Fresh Gear Solutions, LLC. She is the founder and director of Simple Journey Ministries which was established to encourage, inspire, and support women on their journey to Godly womanhood. Leslie is also employed as a vintage seamstress by Vintage Vixen.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Jonas Brothers band

The Jonas Brothers band is an incredibly popular trio of three homeschooled brothers: Paul (Kevin) Jonas, 21, Joseph (Joe) Jonas, 19, and Nicholas (Nick) Jonas, 16. The Jonas Brothers grew up in a home where music was a large part of everyday life.

Their father, Rev. Kevin Jonas, is co-founder of Christ for the Nations Music ministry, as well as a pastor in the family's hometown of Wyckoff, NJ. Their mother, Denise Jonas, is a church singer and sign language teacher. As music ministers, their parents travelled everywhere. Kevin was born in Teaneck NJ on November 5, 1987; Joe was born in Casa Grande AZ on August 15, 1989; and Nick was born in Dallas TX on September 16, 1992. A younger brother Franklin (Frankie), known as the "Bonus Jonas," was born on September 28, 2000.

The Jonas Brothers perform a mixture of pop, rock and punk music for which they write their own music and play their own instruments. Kevin plays lead guitar and does backing vocals. Joe performs lead vocals, percussion, and sometimes guitar. Nick does lead vocals, rhythm guitar, and piano. These brothers are powerful balladeers, upbeat and energetic in their approach. The Jonas Brothers are often compared to the Hanson brothers, another homeschool sibling singing group, and they have even been compared to The Beatles, although that may be a bit of a stretch. Like their 60's counterparts, the Jonas brothers elicit piercing shrieks from pre-teen girls wherever they go, and although some believe they are overrated, others think the Jonas Brothers may be the next big act that will explode.

The boys are starring as themselves in the new Disney Channel's "JONAS." This series was inspired by the Beatles films "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!" as well as the zany American made-for-TV group the Monkees. In "JONAS," the boys play members of a popular band trying to live normal lives at a regular school, despite being trailed by throngs of ardent fans. Described as a fusion of situation comedy and music video, the show also features previously unknown Frankie Jonas playing their younger brother. The three older brothers originally gained popularity on the Disney Channel when they made their film debut in the movie, "Camp Rock.

"While the chart-topping trio are obviously helped by Disney's marketing clout, the band's catchy tunes laced with muscular guitar riffs have moved beyond Radio Disney to Top 40 stations. Despite their Christian background, the Jonas Brothers decided not to go the Contemporary Christian Music route. Rev. Jonas explains, "I was called to preach. My kids are not called to preach," he said. "They are Christians who happen to be in a band." Nevertheless, one of the reasons for the genre direction was to reach more teenagers. The Jonas Brothers are aware of the positive impact they can have on millions of kids, and it's a responsibility they take seriously.

Despite their foray into the world of rock 'n' roll - long a refuge for teen angst and rebellion - the Jonas Brothers are known for their straight-laced, squeaky-clean image. "They don't hide their faith," said Rev. Jonas, who noted the challenge his sons face with their new found teen-idol status. The trio vows that they want to continue being a positive influence and will stick to the wholesome ideals they have set for themselves despite the trappings of fame that derailed other Disney alumnus like Britney Spears.The Christian faith is very important to the entire Jonas family. The brothers are all committed Evangelical Christians, and their father is an ordained minister with Assemblies of God. Before being homeschooled by their mother, all three Jonas brothers used to attend Eastern Christian High School. For a peek into their real lives, search for "A Day In the Life of The Jonas Brothers" by shineon-media on YouTube. In this video you can see the brothers using the Accelerated Christian Education homeschool curriculum (PACE workbooks) by ACE ministries. With such a busy schedule, they really have to focus on getting a certain amount of work done whenever they can. (Although the two older brothers have since graduated.)

The Jonas Brothers abstain from alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. In addition, they are committed to remaining chaste before marriage and they all wear purity rings on their left-hand ring finger. Kevin says it's to signify "a promise to ourselves and to God that we'll stay pure till marriage." Joe explains, "our parents asked us if we wanted to and we were like "yeah," saying "People are like 'no way, that's impossible.'" Besides being great conversation starters, Nick added: "We use it as a chance to witness. We want to be a Christian influence in the pop music world. It's definitely a mission field."

The brothers stay away from controversial subjects and politics in their lyrics, instead sticking to youth issues like teen love, heartbreak, forgiveness, peer pressure, and the trials of growing up. Other songs take a light-hearted look at the craziness of fame and fortune. While romantic songs may seem somewhat out of character considering their vow, Kevin says "It's more from the lack of our relationships [that we're able to write such great love songs]. We just dream about those situations." He adds, "We know the bloggers are watching, so we have to be careful and not do anything stupid." Time will tell if they maintain their morals in such an immoral industry, but so far they have been really good role models.

The Jonas Brothers donate 10% of their earnings to their non-profit Change for the Children Foundation "to support programs that motivate and inspire children to face adversity with confidence, determination, and a will to succeed." Nick Jonas had the idea to start this charity after seeing a homeless family on the streets of New York City. His heart was touched by a desire to see kids saving up their pocket change to help other less fortunate kids. The Change for the Children Foundation supports "Nothing But Nets" (mosquito nets), "American Diabetes Foundation," "St. Jude Children's Research Hospital," "Children's Hospital Los Angeles," and "Summer Stars: Camp for the Performing Arts." Since Nick was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 13, he also teamed up with Bayer Diabetes Care as a diabetes ambassador for young people.

Although Nick is the youngest brother in the band, he was the first to make his debut into show business. When Nick was six years old, he was discovered while singing at a barber shop and referred to a professional show business manager. At the age of 7, Nicholas began performing in Broadway musicals. In 2002 while appearing in "Beauty and the Beast," Nick wrote a song with his father called "Joy to the World (A Christmas Prayer)". With background vocals from the "Beauty and the Beast" cast, Nick performed the song on the album, "Broadway's Greatest Gifts: Carols for a Cure, Vol. 4." In November 2003, "Joy to the World (A Christmas Prayer)" was released to Christian radio, where it quickly became popular on the Adult Contemporary Chart.

Nick recorded the single "Dear God" when he was only 12 years old. It is described as "a powerful prayer sung from a child's heart concerning the many troubles happening in our world today with the hope that is found in bringing our concerns to God." Initially released for Christian radio, the song is now available for free on Rhapsody.com. Nick said, "I hope this record touches a lot of people and I've been praying that the Lord will use it in a big way." Kevin and Joe did some Broadway performances of their own, and the Jonas brothers also appeared in commercials for Burger King, LEGO, Battle Bots, and Clorox Bleach. But shortly after Nick's solo project, they decided to start a band. When he was 13, Kevin had read the book "Teach Yourself Guitar" and did just that with one of his parents' guitars. The trio learned to hone their rock band skills at home in the basement because their garage was too crowded. Nick, Kevin and Joe wrote several songs, some of them with their father. In early 2005, Columbia Records offered to sign the three as a group act. In today's age of pre-manufactured pop groups, the Jonas Brothers are a breath of fresh air since they lend their own "voice" to projects through their singing and songwriting.

The Jonas Brothers won a 2008 American Music Award for breakthrough artist and received a 2009 Grammy Award nomination for best new artist. The Jonas Brothers have released three albums: It's About Time (2006), Jonas Brothers (2007), and A Little Bit Longer (2008). On the credits for It's About Time they write: "We would like to thank our best friend in all the world-our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We see everyday the blessings you give us. We know you will always be there for us. There is no greater love than the one from above."

In the wake of their bestselling self-titled album, the Jonas Brothers set out on their first headlining tour a year ago. The group kicked off its national tour in Tucson, AZ on January 31, 2008. A Disney Digital 3-D production crew filmed two shows in Anaheim, California on July 13-14, 2008. The footage will be released in theatres on February 27, 2009 as a 3-D Concert Experience. The G-rated movie will include a behind-the-scenes look at the Jonas Brothers. Let's support these fellow homeschoolers by going to see their movie the first weekend it comes out. Be sure to tell all of your friends.

------Breaking News------

The Jonas Brothers want to give back to their homeschool fans. As homeschoolers themselves, they share a special connection. In spite of an increasingly busy schedule after a performance at the Grammy Awards and preparing for the release of their 3D movie on the weekend of February 27, they are giving a "shout out" to homeschoolers on an exclusive conference call scheduled for Thursday morning, February 19. For details about how you and your homeschool family can get on the call, contact Rebecca Kochenderfer at www.homeschool.com/registration who is hosting the family-to-family chat. The Jonas Brothers and their mom, Denise Jonas, will be on the call and want to connect with you and your family. Details for the conference call:Date: Thursday, February 19, 2009Time: 11:00am PSTRegistration:www.homeschool.com/registration

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