Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sufficiency of Scripture

All people will fear;
they will proclaim the works of God
and ponder what he has done.
The righteous will rejoice in the LORD
and take refuge in him;
all the upright in heart will glory in him!

Psalm 64:9-10

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sufficiency of Scripture

Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD
and delight in his salvation.
My whole being will exclaim,
“Who is like you, LORD?

Psalm 35:9-10a

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Heritage History

Heritage History
British Empire
$24.99 or the Complete Library for $99.99

I LOVE history and enjoy reading, so this product was really, made for me... Heritage History is an electronic library and has a collection of hundreds of books available to read at affordable prices.

Heritage History promotes traditional narrative history curriculum for homeschool. Our online library contains biographies, legends, adapted literature, and introductory histories. All were written for the general reader and are easy and enjoyable to read. We developed the Heritage website with the intention of helping to repopularize old-fashioned narrative history. We believe that the current trend of teaching Social Studies rather than history to young people is unfortunate, not so much because it is politicized, but because it is boring. Too many students leave school with a vague disinterest in history because it was never presented in an engaging manner.
At Heritage History, we seek to promote, not so much the study of history as the enjoyment of History. By making available old-fashioned history, as it was enjoyed as a pastime rather than studied as a subject, we hope to help reawaken the interest of a new generation.
You can find out more about Heritage History here and here...there is SO much information on the website...please take some time to look it over.

We received the British Empire CD to review. I had my children load them onto a Kindle for me, and then I forgot all about the disk for a while...but do not do that...there is SO much on these disks. The disks have maps, timelines, different reading resister sheets, geography terms, an electronic user guide (tells you how to get the books onto your reading devices...a MUST have for me!!!), a curriculum planning guide (shows how to plan your year) and a Study Guide (a 127 page guide for you to use...there is SO much in here content wise...a WONDERFUL resource!)

The books were very interesting to read and all of my readers were able to read something. We all enjoyed the books we read. Many of us found we wanted to know more, so that encouraged more reading in this time period.

I personally prefer reading LIVING BOOKS as opposed to the text book way of learning history. I think the retention of information is greater, and the material is certainly more interesting. History becomes about real people doing real things rather than just a bunch of facts to be memorized. We really LOVED Heritage History and look forward to adding other titles to our library at home. I LOVED how flexible this was to use in our home...use just the books or all the resources on the disk. One nice thing about the CD-Rom is that when it opens, it looks just like the a nice continuity to it.

Not sure if it is for you? Try a title here for $1.99

See what my fellow crew mates have to say about Heritage History here

Disclaimer: I received this item for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation. All the opinions expressed are my own.

Write Shop

Write Shop, Primary Book C
Teacher's Guide: $32.95
Activity Sheets: $ 4.95
E-book versions are available if you prefer

WriteShop Primary teaches the skills of the writing process at the very simplest level through activities, crafts, and picture books. It accommodates pre-writers as well as beginning and developing writers, so your youngster needs no previous reading or writing experience. Slowly and gently, the child is asked to help with the actual writing, first in simple words and later, through copywork. And by turning these stories into a little craft, he will have a project to proudly share with others.
When we were offered this review, I decided to try the Write Shop Primary Book C with the Principessa who is in 4th grade. I forget exactly WHY I did that now, but when I was looking at the placement chart, I think there were some holes in what she had previously done, so I thought it would be better to go down, rather than up. We received the print edition of the Teacher's Guide and an Activity Set Worksheet Pack (these are reproducible activity sheets that are a integral part of the curriculum).

The Teacher's Guide is CHOCK full of information. First, there are suggested schedule plans for completing each lesson in either 1, 2 or 3 weeks. We originally tried doing a lesson a week, but that seemed to be A LOT of writing assignments at this season of my life for our family, so we backed down to the 3 week schedule. In the 3 week schedule, you are doing writing 3 days a week for about 15-20 minutes a day. This seemed to be a good pace for us. The Principessa broke her wrist during this review and this pace did not seem to be too much for her, even with a cast on...I did do some of the writing for her as well.

Next, the Teacher's Guide suggested creating a writing center...I thought about that for about 15 minutes, but that really was not practical in our home. I loved the idea of it and it may become a possibility at another time, but I just couldn't do it right now. We do not have a lot of extra space, but that wasn't the issue as much as gathering the supplies to use in it...Different types of charts, tablets, easels, pocket charts and sentence strips, etc. I was not able to get these supplies, so we worked around that.

Then there is a section that explains how each lesson is set up and broken down into each activity. Quite a bit of time is devoted to talking about the Guided Writing Practice activities...this is a huge focus in Write Shop because they believe that the best way for children to learn to write well is to have good writing modeled for them. I agree with this, but in the actual practice, this time was hard to get uninterrupted. I did not find a solution to that yet, but knowing that writing is such a short time period in the school day, we just kept working around our interruptions.

Once aspect that I KNOW many writers do not enjoy is the Editing and Revising Stage. I really appreciated that this was in the program as a that from a young age, you are editing and revising, making your writing better...I HOPE that the Principessa will not have so many issues with this point in her writing as she gets older. My teen boys DO NOT like to go back and would seem that as my daughter gets older, she would just come to expect it as a part of the process rather than dread it as unnecessary busy work.

Another part of the Write Shop curriculum that I appreciate is a section called, "Want to do more?" If you have a student that is an exceptional or highly motivated writer, they can dig even deeper.

Look at samples of the Primary Lessons here and Scope and Sequence are here

So, what did we think?
I love the thinking behind this curriculum...I love that the teacher's guide is so scripted that all I have to do it open it up and read. Having said that, there is some prep work you need to do before many of the parts of each lesson. For instance, under lesson 2.2, you need to prepare a Super Speller before Guided Writing, for lesson 2.3, you need to prepare some sentence strips or index cards for the Brainstorming section and under lesson 2.8, you need to gather some things you will be using as if you were a spy. Now, there are Advance Prep notices in the book that give you a slight heads up, but for me, these were writing road blocks...they didn't stop my daughter from writing, but we had to stop and prepare the items or come back when we had everything we needed. While I loved how they enriched the lessons, it was a stumbling point for me. I am going to continue using this curriculum because I love how it teaches writing, but I am going to try to have a prep day, looking ahead and having everything ready to go beforehand.

Write Shop has also given us an extra bonus for those who would like to try one of their products for themselves...a coupon code for 15% off..Just enter CREW15 to get your discount....but hurry, this offer is good until June 15, 2012.
See what my fellow crew mates have to say about Write Shop here

Disclaimer: I received this item for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation. All the opinions expressed are my own.


Price: Download:$29.50, Disk: $35.90
Price is for a One Year License

I was SO excited when I saw this vendor on the review list...Math facts are SO VITAL for success in Math...and I KNOW that...but somewhere I lost that focus with the Principessa...and all of that came crashing in on us when she started having troubles in her math program. So we set the math book away for a time to gain mastery in her facts.

CapJaxMathFacts is a computer based drill program that builds mastery in all four basic applications and can be set around parameters set by you...This program is not a fancy, flashy entertaining game, but it is a highly effective method of building mastery in math facts with very little teacher involvement. I read somewhere that little teacher involvement is needed, but interest and encouragement are THAT is my kind of program...
Here is what CapJaxMathFacts does:
Uses a computer to provide drill and practice so that practice time is not limited by teacher availability.
Automatically generates exercises. Teachers don't prepare quizzes. They merely provide the parameters for them.
Builds exercises for any of the four math tables (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) or any combination of tables.
Guarantees student success by taking small steps through levels of
Can focus practice at a single level of difficulty or may review earlier levels.
Randomly generates problems without repetition.
Allows variable numbers of problems in an exercise.
Reduces learner stress by timing facts individually.
Provides immediate positive feedback for correct answers.
Provides extra reinforcement for fast, correct answers.
Displays an overall performance report at the conclusion of each exercise.
Prints reports for teacher review and for use as certificates of achievement.
Displays and prints item diagnostic details.
Uses a rating system that allows students to keep personal scores and
set goals.
Charts student rating progress graphically.
Maintains a database of student activity over time.

Want to look it over before deciding? Here is a free evaluation.

So what do I think? I LOVE CapJaxMathFacts...I love that each fact is it encourages a quick response, but if you struggle with one problem, it does not mess up an entire level. I love the encouragements along the way...I love that I can set parameters easily. I think my Principessa even enjoys her time on CapJaxMathFacts. It is hard for her right now, but there is a competitive aspect to it that makes it fun as well. I think the price is EXCELLENT for this product AND you can have up to 10 students on one license. I would highly recommend this for anyone looking for a great math drill program.

See what my fellow crew mates have to say about CapJaxMathFacts here
Disclaimer: I received this item for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation. All the opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Library & Educational Services and Go Science DVDs

Library and Educational Services
Go Science DVDs
Ben Roy
price: $8.97 each or the set for $47.95
ages: 5-11 OR 6-14...explanation below

I have LONG been a fan of Library and Educational Services. LES has proudly supplied churches, schools, and libraries with affordable, wholesome products for over 30 years! They continue to be dedicated to offering you quality materials at 30% to 70% or more off retail prices! They have great materials and the BEST prices and have introduced me to many things I have not previously known about. Go Science is one of those things.

Go Science DVDs are a set of 6 DVDs chock full of experiments on a variety of subjects. There are 6 DVDs in the series:
1. Motion and the Laws of Gravity
2. Simple Machines, Sound, Weather
3. Magnetism, Electricity, Engineering and Design
4. Chemistry, States of Matter Life Sciences
5. Air Flight
6. Water, Space, Solar System

LES allowed us to select two titles...we chose Volume 3 and 6.

The back of the video case says:
Even kids who claim an aversion to science will be engaged by the high-energy science demonstrations of Ben Roy! Ben teaches science methods at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is the former director of a science program on television. With this expertise, Ben captivates, motivates, and inspires students to be excited about science, while providing effective instruction based on science phenomena. Each spectacular demonstration of physical or chemical science has a spiritual application and points to our Creator!

Ben Roy is a high energy demonstrator! My younger children really enjoyed these videos. So, about the age range...Go Science says they are geared to children from about 6-14...and LES puts the age range between 5-11...I felt that these were much better for the younger age range because there is not a lot of talk about WHY or HOW this works...and I think older children really want more information than what is presented. Even my younger children asked often...How does he do that...and me, being the science student I am had to say...I have NO idea!!!

I do love that we have access, so to speak, to experiments that we could never do...for instance, in volume 3 he uses an item called a Jacob's ladder...which I don't think you can run down to the local store to buy one of those...and if you could, you might want to reconsider that purchase because of the DANGEROUS qualities associated with it...BUT, we get to see one, what it does and have that wrapped up with a spiritual lesson...See for yourself

After seeing that demonstration, I do not feel like I need to recreate it at home...I get the concepts just by viewing it.

Demonstrations from volume 3 include:
Monster Magnets
A/C Electromagnet
D/C Ellecromagnet
Making a Compass
Static Electricity
Light Bulb
Jacob's Ladder
Solar Energy
Tesla Coil
Cut Paper Halves
Heat Engine
Plastic Pre Forms

Demonstrations from volume 6 include:
Water Disappear
Boil Water in a Paper Cup
Properties of Water
Floating Balls
As Cold as Outer Space
Make a Rocket
Living in Space
Solar System
Centripetal Force

Each demonstration is 3-6 minutes you can watch one and go learn more about that topic, or you can watch the entire DVD in one sitting...Each segment has an introduction "title page" if you will, so it would be very easy to stop and start in any spot.
The thing I think I loved most about these DVDs was that it made my children want to know more about these science topics. I think that Ben Roy, in these videos, really shows his love of science topics and that is contagious...and then he does these experiments and children want to know more about those subjects and their Creator....God...

See what my fellow crew mates have to say about Library and Educational Services and Go Science DVDs here

Disclaimer: I received this item for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation. All the opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Meal Planning Monday

This is a QUICK and EASY dinner...the ones we ALL NEED TO HAVE in our lineup...I would have preferred using my own pulled pork...but there are days when time is of the essence and so, the packaged stuff is what I got...
I did substitute sliced mushrooms for the red pepper and also added some BBQ didn't look to me like the picture...and when eating it...I think it could have used more BBQ sauce...

From Simple & Delicious magazine...April/May 2012

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The best Mother's Day gift ever....

Happy Mother's Day to all my Momma friends...I hope you are all having a blessed day. I think that my children are my best Mother's Day Gifts ever, but I will tell you...this is a close second...

This was made for me by one of my boys...seriously...I got teary...It really meant A LOT!
Thank you son~

Sufficiency of Scripture

I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.

Psalm 31:7

Friday, May 11, 2012

He IS able

Many things are swirling around...making me think...bringing me before the throne in prayer...trying to cast all my cares on Him...heavy things that threaten to crush...

BUT God...aren't those some amazing words?

But God is ABLE...

And knowing THAT helps in hard times...
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did...and thank you Linny for posting it on your blog...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Judah Bible Curriculum

Judah Bible Curriculum
Download version: $44.00
Book version: $74.00

What is the Judah Bible Curriculum?
A Principle Approach curriculum for Bible class.
Develop a comprehensive knowledge of the Bible.
Build strong, Godly character in your children.
Study the Bible together.
Study the hand of God in the lives of individuals and nations.
For homeschool, Christian school, Sunday school.
Teach your children living Biblical principles to guide their lives.
Apply God’s word personally in every area of life.
The Bible is the textbook.

Sounds great doesn't it?

I want to explain one thing...
the Principle Approach refers to a philosophy of education whose content and methods are designed to build character in teacher and student capable of sustaining liberty. we received:

1) Judah Bible Curriculum K-12 Manual, e-book format to download;
2) Elementary Notebook Ideas booklet to view online or download;
3) Eight-lecture Teacher Training Seminar. listen online or download.
The manual is about 100 pgs and the elementary booklet is about 60 pages. The Audio lectures are about 8 hours of total material.

The purpose of the Judah Bible Curriculum is to make Bible Literacy the hallmark of the new generation of Christians. The Judah Bible Curriculum is designed to help you teach your student how to study and research the Bible, extract true understanding from it, and apply Biblical principles to his or her own life and character.

The Bible is the textbook and you have Key Sheets that help you extract information from the text within the framework of Key Individuals, Key Events, Key Documents and Key Institutions. The program is set up with five themes to be covered over the course of a year. The first three themes are from the Old Testament and are Creation (Genesis 1-11), The Plan of Redemption Begins (Genesis 12-1 Samuel 7) and Kingdom of Israel (1 Samuel 8-Awaiting the Messiah...the Bible reading on this one goes through some of Kings and Chronicles but then it looks like you summarize the rest) Then on into the New Testament you have the Kingdom of God (portions from the Gospels) and The Early Church (Mostly Acts and Revelation) The Key Sheets are not just busy work, but meant to be a lasting record of what you learn about God and yourself through reading the Bible. You can read more about the Notebooking Approach this curriculum uses.

This curriculum is designed to cycle through each theme every year and gives a different focus for each grade. For instance, everyone starts with these aspects of the theme of Creation:
God Creates Man
The Fall
The Flood
and you would review them again in Kindergarten, 1st Grade and 7th grade.

Then in Second and Eighth grades you would focus on:
Creation -The Heavens
God is Omnipresent
The Flood/Violence

and on down the will find this breakdown on the Scope and Sequence

Ok... so what we thought...

This was VERY TEACHER INTENSIVE in the beginning and I felt like I did not have enough time to grasp it before I had to try using it. There were 8 hours of audio to listen to and a 100 page manual to read. I am not familiar with the Principle Approach to Education and so teaching to that without fully understanding it and not having taught this way before was a challenge. As the teacher, you are expected to go through it first, really as the student and then teach it to your children afterward and prayer is encouraged all along the journey.

That said, I think there is much of value in this approach to going through the Bible and I am going to go back and review everything again over the summer and begin again in the fall. I like that the curriculum is the BIBLE...that my children really have to engage their brains and extract Causes and Purposes, Proponents and Adversaries, Principles of Government and Historical Significance when looking at the Key Events. I will say though...that these Key Sheets were a challenge for me...I think I would have liked more direction from the Curriculum or more hand holding to help guide me through the first few...what they might look like as I was trying to navigate my way through. I was only able to get through one of the Key Sheets in our studies...the Key Events one because I was unsure of some of the other terms or what it was asking for. You are not expected to get everything on one pass through though and I appreciated knowing...we can do this again next year and get even more. That did take off some of the pressure.

We did add some coloring pages and notebooking pages for my younger two who are 6 and 10. The Elementary Guide that comes with the curriculum gives LOTS of examples of what work in the younger grades can look like.

Judah Bible Curriculum's Statement of Faith is here, but they state:
The Judah Bible Curriculum is a Principle Approach Bible study program. The doctrinal emphasis is left to the teacher. The Judah Bible Curriculum contains teacher training materials to help the teacher, but then the teacher uses his own doctrinal grid to teach his students, and the students study the details from the Scriptures.

I really appreciate that aspect too!

I do recommend Judah Bible Curriculum to those who love the Principle Approach to education, for those who would like to delve deeply and like the look of the breakdown of the prepared to be the student for a bit though.

See what my fellow crew mates have to say about Judah Bible Curriculum here

Disclaimer: I received this item for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation. All the opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sufficiency of Scripture

I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.

Psalm 9:1-2

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Homeschool Library Builder

Many times throughout my time as a crew member, I have been made aware of a product or service that I did not know about previously. Homeschool Library Builder is one of those services. I mean...Homeschool and Library go together like peanut butter and jelly...and in all my talks with fellow homeschool families...I don't think I have met one that did NOT love books...oh to be cuddled up together with a good book...those ARE the days. But books have a downside...they cost money...and that is something that many homeschool families run low on. I think Homeschool Library Builder's motto says it best: Fill Your Bookshelves without Emptying Your Wallet!

Homeschool Library Builder is run by two homeschool moms who also love great books and irresistible bargains.
Homeschool Library Builder Offers:
New & Used books rated by condition of the book
items organized by category and age range to help you more easily find what you are looking for
Low Prices
And Members receive a few extra benefits...and it is offered at a homeschool mom's FAVORITE price...FREE!!!
Monthly newsletters highlighting sales and special events
A book rewards program
Marketplace with cottage industry goods

Homeschool Library Builder also believes that because they have been richly blessed, the can bless others. Sales of books purchased from the "Helping Hand" category go directly toward supporting HSLB's child adopted from Compassion International. You partner with us to show God's love and kindness to a child who may be living without basic necessities. I LOVE that!!!

One thing I really loved about the set up of the store was that you could search by age range, genre, vintage and curriculum...that made it easy to look at what books I wanted for a particular curriculum.

For the month of May, the Homeschool Library Builder special is 25% off everything in the can read the fine print for details. This discount automatically comes off of your total when checking out.

See what my Crew Mates think of Homeschool Library Builder here

Disclaimer: This is an informational review to introduce Homeschool Library Builder to you. I did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.