Friday, March 22, 2019

Apollo 11 in Theaters NOW

It is no secret that we are rather picky about the movies we watch, especially in theaters, but this one- this one I want to see!


It has now been 50 years since that historic event and you now have the opportunity to see never before shared footage.  How awesome is that?

Want a sneak peak?



I mean really, who doesn't get excited about space travel and history?  Yes, we are history nerds in this house and I can just see a book report coming our way.  We are homeschoolers, after all!


While Apollo 11 is in theaters now, I am not sure how long it will last so, quick, get the the movies and let me know what you think!!

Blessings,

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Drive Thru History Has Done It Again

Yet another review of Drive Thru History®, because, ya'll, my family loves this company, the man behind it, and the quality products he produces.  We have previously reviewed The Gospels CD set and The Drive Thru History Adventures site, but this time we are taking a look at Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation" CD set.


This 3 disk,18 episode set comes with a full color study guide included in the case.  It is the newest brain child of Dave Stotts, producer and star of the Drive Thru History®, franchise.  Acts to Revelation picks up where The Gospels left off, the time where Christianity got its start.   Nine hours of footage includes live video from all of over the middle east, maps, pictures, timelines, scripture, and of course, Dave's witty humor!


Dave begins in the Book of Acts with the first Christians in Disk 1 and ends with the 7 churches in Revalation by Disk 3.   In between you do a lot of traveling in the trusted Jeep they have affectionately named Steve McQueen, across vast lands where Jesus and the disciples once walked.
 

Part Bible lessons and part history lessons, you get to see places and details close up through Dave's eyes. Places visited include Cyprus, Galatia, Philippi, Jerusalem and Rome, learning about the disciples and their lives as well as the history of that time.




Our thoughts and how we used this-
I always have grand ideas of sitting somewhere quietly and watching these series, but alas, that never happens.  Why?  Because my family loves them as much as I do.  Since each episode is about 27 minutes long, we usually watch two at a time in the evenings during our devotion time.


The study guide that is included with this CD set has a summary of each episode and questions meant to spur your conversation and see how well you listened.  We read through those questions after watching each episode and discuss, but quite honestly, most of our conversations come from things we have seen in the show.  Often times there are things that will spark additional questions and we use google to go down a lot of bunny trails!  A lot!



There is a SIDE NOTE section for each episode in the study guide that gives additional information about something pertaining to that episode.  For example, for episode 4 about Damascus you learn that the road to Damascus, also know as the Decumanus Maximus, was a 50 foot wide street that ran for an entire Roman mile.  Beautiful, full color photos of historical landmarks grace every page.
 

Not all of the lessons are easy to hear.  This particular time in history was often a violent one, as shown in Episode 15 describing the Martyrdom of Paul and Peter.  If you have younger children watching, this is recommended for 6th grade and up. Please be aware that some of the subject matter is for mature audiences.

While we love the quality of these CDs and the beauty they contain, what I love the most are the conversations that follow.  Seeing the Bible come alive through pictures, both modern day and ancient, and hearing the excitement in Dave's voice makes the Bible even more exciting to us.  In fact, because of this series, we are hoping to send our 17 year old son on a tour of Israel next year for a graduation gift.

One of our favorite episodes is the story of the conversion of Saul to Paul on the road to Damascus. As he often does, Dave tells the story as close to or at the actual historical site.  Dave travels to the border of Syria, but of course, does not enter due to safety reasons.  (Instead he hangs out at a cafe that is now located there.)  It was a solemn reminder that the area is still one of unrest and danger; a good lesson to our homeschooled kiddos of how blessed we are to live where we do.


Once again,  Drive Thru History® has exceeded our expectations and have become another beloved CD set to watch over and over again!  I am confident it will bless you as well.

80, yes 80, other amazing reviewers have been enjoying this set!  Click on the banner below to see what they had to say as well!

Drive Thru History®
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, March 18, 2019

34 Weeks of Clean 2019! Week 11 - The Foyer

Welcome back!  We continue to be amazed at how many people are sticking with us and taking back their homes from dirt and clutter.  If you are new with us, welcome!  It is never too late to start.  Feel free to jump in where we are at, or, if you are really motivated, go back to previous weeks. (links are at the end of the post)

Also, a quick word about the de-cluttering part of each week's assignment.   Several have asked what they should do with it all.  Some stuff is just old and worn and needs to be trashed.  There is no shame in that.   Bless people when you can, but if it isn't fit for you to keep- ie. broken and falling apart, chances are someone else does not need it either.  For things that just need to find a new home, we take things to the local Goodwill.  So I do not have to make weekly runs, we keep a few bags in our garage waiting to be filled.  Once the bags are all full we load them in the car and off they go.  The advantages to keeping stuff to go out in the garage out of sight are that it doesn't clutter my living space, and it doesn't tempt little hands, or big ones, to reclaim the items.  The struggle is real folks! ;)


OK, so here we go-

This week's assignment- Entryways. 



Now, I know this means a little something different for each person, but let's work together here.  Regardless of what yours "looks like," everyone has an entryway of some sort.  Go out your front door and shut it.  Then walk back in.  There - that is your entryway!

Here is a picture of ours, looking towards the front door.



And standing at the door looking in.



Let's face it, for many people this is a problem area in their homes.  Usually not because they have too much decorative stuff there, but because it is the first place they hit when they come home each day, often making it a dumping ground for STUFF.  Because our family does not enter through the front door often, and I do not have a table in the entry to this house, it is a less of problem for us right now, but it IS still the first place people see when they walk in.  And those half walls make a great place to make a stack- usually for mail going out!

So here is your assignment- clear out and clean up!

  • As usual, clear your space first!

  •  You know the drill by now. Start at the top - yep, those lights are dirty, I am sure of it. 

  •  Wipe down any surfaces.  If you have scuff marks from shoes on the walls and doors, the best thing I have found to use is a Magic Eraser.  I do not want to know what is in those things, but they are truly magical.  Even my all natural girl will break down and use them in a pinch!   
          -Pay special attention to door handles, any glass in this area, and light switches.
          -Wax any furniture you may have in this area! My space is pretty small so we have no extra pieces here.  I keep threatening to add a plant but it hasn't happened yet.  You will only find two of my favorite pictures here but I did wipe them off!

Given to us by dear friends upon our retirement, made by another sweet, and talented friend.



  • Vacuum and wash any throw rugs. If you stop and think about how many shoes hit this area in one week alone, you might even decide to put this chore on a monthly rotation!  We currently haven't decided if we want a rug in this area, so for now I am enjoying the tile.

  • Wipe down the base boards.  Again, magic erasers are great for scuff marks, just saying.  A word of caution- baseboards get dirty!  After years of getting irritated every time I cleaned ours in the 34 Weeks process, I gave up and made it a part of my regular cleaning.  No, I do not wipe them down weekly, but I do wipe them down once a month, usually the first week of the month so it is easy to remember. 

  • Vacuum and/or mop the floors.

  • If you have windows in this area, clean those as well, remembering blinds and/or curtains!  Now is your chance to really clean!

  • Return do-dads to their spots.  OK, only return HALF of your do-dads.  Remember our goal of less clutter!

My one do-dad in this space, but I love welcoming guests with a candle!

DONE!  Not too bad, huh?  I hope this was a fairly easy week for you because, well, the next few weeks will be a challenge!  Enjoy your lighter project and be ready to hit it hard next week!

A few closing thoughts I read recently that struck a chord with me-

Nancy Twigg, "...clutter is anything that complicates your life and stands in the way of simplicity."  hmmmm.... over-commitment,  kids' activities, spending, emotions...you fill in the blank. 

Nancy continues, "Clutter does more than affect us physically and emotionally; it affects us spiritually because it keeps us from following Jesus fully.  We simply cannot make room for Him when so many other things are in the way."  Ouch!

Don't forget to share your progress on our Family, Faith and Fridays facebook page so we can cheer you on!

Blessings,

Intro Week
Week 1- Holiday Decorations
Week 2-The Pantry
Week 3-Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers   

Week 4- Fridge, Freezer and Floors
Week 5- Recipes 
Week 6- The Stove and Loose Ends 
Week 7- The Dining Room 
Week 8- The Living Room 
Week 9- Books 
Week 10- Bathrooms

Monday, March 11, 2019

34 Weeks of Clean 2019! Week 10- Bathrooms

Welcome back!  With the book organizing behind us, this week should be easier for most of you to tackle emotionally!

Yes, last week was about clearing out books and I KNOW that several of you whined through the project.  I will not name names to protect the guilty.  ;)  I am hoping you at least gave it a try.  I know it is hard, I love books too, be we cannot take them with us to heaven.  They are just things,  just like the rest of the "things" in our lives.  And while they can bring much happiness, we must not let them BE our happiness.  If you love them, keep them.  If someone else will love them more, share them!! I know that cleaning and purging are tough, but it can be done.   Mind over matter!  Let's don't let THINGS take over our lives!!  Find a friend to hold you accountable and jump in!

Get ready ladies, this week is not the most fun, but we can do it!  I am assuming you clean your bathrooms on a regular basis but today we are going to really deep clean and tackle any drawers and cabinets there as well.

This week's assignment- Bathrooms.

This is for ALL the bathrooms in your house, except the Master Bedroom bath.  We will get there, I promise!  Full disclosure, I am usually a few to several weeks ahead of you all in order to document the process.  This week, however, I have had a sick child and one who came home from college and one who turned 25 and I am behind.  So no pictures- instead you will get to see me add them throughout he week as I too clean with you!  Accountability is key!

Let's get started-

  •  Start by emptying all of your drawers and cabinets as well as clear off the counter tops.  Yes, all the stuff out and off.  This will help you get an idea of what you have, what you need and don't need, and maybe spark an idea of a better way to put it all back.  Hold on to your hats - it is ugly!

  •  Now, throw it all away.  Just kidding, though it is tempting, right?  DO take this time to DECLUTTER.  Remember, that is one of our goals in the 34 Weeks of Clean.  Expired medicine - throw it out.  Old makeup - throw it out.  Extra lotions that are not being used - throw it out.  Seeing a trend?  If it is not being used or will not be used in a timely manner - THROW IT OUT!  It is taking up valuable space.

   -A word about kid's tub toys.  Inspect and throw out the old ones.  I am sure you know what a mold holder those plastic ones can be.  GROSS!  If they have holes in them, chances are they are harboring mold.    Feel free to try to bleach them, but in my humble opinion, unless you are committed to keeping that up weekly, it is better to just toss them.  And if you are brave and looking for a science experiment, cut one open and see what you find.  Yuck!

  • Wipe out all of your drawers and cabinets before replacing your things!  Anyone else amazed at how gross these areas can get quickly?

  • Stick any and all rugs in the laundry!

  • Take down your shower curtain and wash it as well.  If you need to replace the liner, now is the time.  Yes, they can be washed up, but for about $4, you can replace them just as easily.  Hey, sometimes we just need to make it easier on ourselves.


  • Curtains or mini-blinds?  Do those as well!

  • Light fixtures need to be cleaned off.

  • Tub, countertops, and toilet are next.  Are you having fun yet? ;)

  • Walls are up next.  Why?  Because if you use hairspray I am willing to bet that the wall behind where you stand to do your hair has a layer of hairspray on it. ;)  Don't forget the light switches while you are there, as well as any pictures or such you have hanging.

  •  Door frames are next.  Again, why does every door have all those cute, but hard to clean decorative grooves? Design fail, I am sure!

  • Off to the baseboards we go and then lastly the floors!

  • More than one bathroom?  Repeat! ;)

  • You can now replace your rugs and shower curtain and then stand back and admire your hard work!


Are you tired yet?  Just so you know, we do not plan to do all three of our bathrooms in one day.  We are not gluttons for punishment, 'ya know!

Speaking of tired - we are almost three months into cleaning and organizing our homes and I know the tendency is to slack off and let things slide a bit. (Exercise New Years' Resolutions, anyone?) Can I just encourage you to get your second wind and keep plugging away?  We CAN do this!  And trust me, together is much more fun.

Don't forget to post those pictures on our FB page when you are done to inspire others  Be sure to check back here throughout the week to see what we have gotten done as well!


Ok friends, time to get cleaning!  Remember, we are taking our homes back, one room at a time.  You CAN do this!


Blessings,

Intro Week
Week 1- Holiday Decorations
Week 2-The Pantry
Week 3-Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers   

Week 4- Fridge, Freezer and Floors
Week 5- Recipes 
Week 6- The Stove and Loose Ends 
Week 7- The Dining Room 
Week 8- The Living Room 
Week 9- Books

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Teaching Them to Study

Studying may come naturally to some kids, but not the ones in my house.  This is the second time we have reviewed Victus Study Skills System, this time using the Level 3 student level (grades 5/6-10/11) and Level 4 (10/11-college) level.  We were also blessed with their amazing student planner!

Maybe it is just us, but it seems that homeschooling does not lend itself to learning how to study.  Yes, we do have our kids take tests, but it is often treated as simply the next lesson, and we do not have any additional prep for it.  Halfway into my second child's high school career I realized she was lacking in study skills, test taking skills, and quite possibly time management skills.  Sad, but true.  Thankfully we had the opportunity to review Victus Study Skills at that time, and saw huge benefits in the program.  How thankful I am that I have this opportunity again, just as my son is beginning to take college classes.  His younger brother working through the program at the same time has just been a bonus.


The Victus Study Skills System is a series of workbooks at four different levels.  Their goal is simple- to help children learn how to better study.  You choose which level to do based on your child's grade level.  The first two levels for younger children also include teacher guides to help you work through the material with them.  Levels 3 and 4, which we have been using, have a separate Teacher's Guide that can be used with both levels.


In the Teacher's Guide you will find a detailed explanation of the program philosophy, teacher instructions and then lesson overviews.  Each lesson (there are 10 total) states the purpose, preparation and procedure.  If you are being given instructions that correspond with the student workbook, pages are referenced.  Most of the preparation is explanation of instructions, the "whys" of what you are doing, and helping the students fill in some blanks in their workbook.


The Student Workbooks, about 60-70 pages each, are a mix of explanation, motivation, and lessons to be completed.  There are fill-in-the-blanks to be completed, questions to be answered, and charts to be filled out.  As they walk through the lessons, the three Foundational Cornerstones of the program are addressed-
  • Where Am I Now?
  • Where Do I Want to Be?
  • How Do I Get There?
The Where Am I Now? section gets the student to think about their current study habits and to identify their learning strengths.


Where Do I Want to Be? discusses mission by encouraging the student to develop a mission statement for themselves, as well as identify their values and goals.

How Do I Get There? This is the heart of the program, in my opinion.  Here they talk about time management and practice those skills with schedules and calendars.  They also learn about organization, study skills, note taking, and test taking.  There are exercises that teach on these subjects and then allow your child to practice the skill.  For example, they read a paragraph and then take notes on it.

The Appendix is filed with additional information and exercises, enough to make several additional teaching sessions!

How we used this program and what we think-
Because so much of the information presented in the different levels is the same or at least very similar, I decided to run through the lessons with both boys, ages 11 and 17, together.  Honestly that worked for about two lessons.  Then, because of frustration, mostly on the 17 year old's part, we split up and he worked through the Level 4 book on his own.


The frustration with that plan is that I did not get to talk through each lesson with him as he did them independently.  Instead, I had to be very deliberate to assign him a lesson and then engage him in a discussion afterwards.  Here is what I learned-
  • Yes!  He is an auditory learner!  No surprise there.
  • No, he is not good at taking notes.  But he said the practice here helped and he wished he had read it before he took his college English Comp class.
  • Filling out a weekly schedule is much better for him than a monthly calendar.
  • Time management is HARD for teens, but so beneficial.

I think that, despite his original hesitation in doing the program, Salem would admit that he picked up a few skills he was lacking.  He has taken ownership of the Student planner and intends to try using it with his next college class that starts next week!  Each week is a double page spread and can be used for six subjects.  It is not dated which allows you to begin using it whenever.


One fun feature is that at the bottom of every page is a "Who Said That?" quote or an "Odd But True" fact.


While the teacher's edition used with the Level 4 workbook offers a lot of good information and explanation, I do think that at upper high school and college levels, they are more than capable of doing the program on their own.

Colby (my 6th grader) did work through the program with me. We spent about 30 minutes on each lesson and covered one a week.  While I think the information is exceptional, he struggled with the "whys" of what we were doing.  When we talked about creating a mission statement, I got a deer-in-the-headlights looks.  It seems that asking my 11 year old where he sees himself in 10 years is more than he can wrap his head around right now.  I think very goal driven kids can benefit from Victus, but right now all my 11 year old wants to plan in advance for is his summer birthday.





The one section he got the most out of was actually one of the very first exercises about learning styles.  We were not surprised that, like his brother, is an auditory learner, but he did enjoy learning about what that actually meant to him in every day terms.  When asked what three things he could do to improve his habits based on that knowledge he was quickly able to choose.  I did find it funny that one of the things he chose was to ask his teacher (that would be me) of he could do a digital or oral report as an alternative assignment.


Since we wrote in pencil, I am going to try to revisit this program with my son in 8th grade.  By then, I hope his maturity level will have caught up with his academic level and he will benefit more from the skills taught.  Regardless, I highly recommend Victus Study Skills System as a way to help improve your child's study skills.

50 other amazing Crew reviewers had the opportunity to review the different levels of Victus Study Skills System.  You can see their reviews by clicking on the banner below.

K through College Study Skills {Victus Study Skills System Reviews} 
 
Crew Disclaimer