Friday, August 30, 2019

Let's Talk About... Christian Education

Another week- another subject!  This one may the most important one yet!  And one of the many reasons we chose to homeschool.  I love that we have the freedom to teach what we want and when we want!  Bible studies are usually the start and end of our day; bookending at its best!

While our family reads through the Bible each year together during our family devotions, we also make a point to study the Word as part of our curriculum.  We have done it several different ways through the years, but here are a few of our favorites-

(They are linked to reviews I have done, when applicable, so you can see further details.)

Abeka Bible- For a season, I needed to take a break from being teacher and just be mom.  ABeka saved the day and the Bible courses we used were our favorite part of the day!  This is a live recording of an actual class with students and a teacher.  She addresses the at home audience periodically and makes them feel included.  If you are not a traditional schooler, this is not for you, but my son LOVED it and learned so much historical context!

I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist- This book is a must have for me!  I have each child read it as a high school senior.  There is a workbook that can be used as well. It is higher level learning for sure, but a great way to get one last good read on Apologetic before sending them off to college or a job.

Sonlight Bible- Again, we have been using Sonlight for years and each year I am reminded of why I love it.  They offer a good list of non- fiction apologetics books for each level, as well as many auto-biographies of Christian saints.

Apologia's Who Am I? Series- If you asked my favorite from this list, this series would be it!  There are four books in the series and workbooks are available at two levels if you want to use them.  There are also coloring books if you choose to use these as a family and have littles participating with you.  I highly recommend using them 5-8th grade!


Bible Study Guide for All Ages- This is another one I like for younger kids, but you can use it at higher levels!  The BEST part of this program is different levels of the workbook pages can be used at the same time- perfect when you have multiple kids to school and need to do some things together!  This may look like it is "just fun," but I assure you it is packed with info!

YWAM  Christian Heroes Series- If you have not read any books from YWAM, do so!  Like, go order them now and get started!  Easy enough for a middle schooler to read alone, but good enough for a mom or dad to enjoy.  Great family read alouds!

30 Days to Understanding the Bible- This review product I received was a hit in our family.  We actually are just finishing up, as we decided to do it in 30 weeks as a family, rather than 30 days!  This is a "know your Bible" type book with dates, and facts, and timelines activities in it!


The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls- We try to incorporate Christian fiction into our library when we can find good books.  These were introduced to us about a year ago and I love them.  Yes, there is a lot of the author's imagination in here, it IS fiction, but lots of truth as well and just some fun reads!

Again, I am getting nothing from telling you about these products.  They are just a few of many we have used in the past and love.  Hope you will find a few new ones that you come to love as well!


 Let's Talk about...Science
Let's Talk About...Math
Let's Talk About...History
Let's Talk About...Grammar and Spelling
Let's Talk About Foreign Languages 
Let's Talk About...Christian Education

Monday, August 26, 2019

34 Weeks of Clean 2019! Week 33- Address Book and Deep Cleaning

After spending three weeks in the office area, we are almost done!  Hopefully last week you cleared out all of the junk on your computers.  I am pretty sure mine is lighter this week! ;) Today is for those of you that are actually blessed with a physical room for an office and have not cleaned them yet.  Go on, admit you still have some things to do!  If you are not one of those people, you can use this time to finish up your paperwork and filing systems!  ;)

We are also using this week to get our address books in order.  Yes, we ARE going there.

You know the drill, though this time you do not have to take everything out, so here we go-

First the deep cleaning of the office-

  •  Clear off all flat surfaces and dust and wax furniture.  Remember this is not your weekly cleaning- really hit the tough spots.

  •  Add back 1/2 of what you cleared off.  Yes, that IS a challenge! ;)

                   Remember: Is it needed, does it make you smile, would you buy it again?

  •  Clean off windows and blinds and ceiling fans, and wash any curtains.

  •  Wipe off baseboards and door frames- don't forget the light switches!

  •  Vacuum- moving furniture where needed!

Now on to the address book-

This may seem like a small project to some of you but for us, not so much!
We have moved over 16 times in the last 27 years.  Unfortunately, so have many of our friends.

I learned very quickly to not write in pen in our address book. What can I say, I am a slow learner! 

Now, I write in pencil.

Well, when I get around to actually writing in it.  My go to plan of action is just to stuff the address book with return address labels and emails with new addresses on them.  And no, not even under the right tab.

Hence this look-

Yep, I know it is not pretty!And in my defense, this is what it ends up looking like usually after each Christmas.

I need help- I hope you do too!

So this week your second assignment is to pull out those address books, clean them up, get rid of all the scraps of paper (oh, please tell me it is not just me!) and then put it neatly away!  I did buy a smaller, more portable version last year and I love it.  I also now travel with it in case I need a quick address.

This one is a pretty simple no-brainer, friends, so I do not have a step by step guide for you this week. You can do it, I am sure!

We are wrapping things up next week, so now is your chance to go back and complete a project or two you may have put off.  It is also your last week to  share any pictures you are particularly proud of!  Can't wait to see what you have done!


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  
Week 11- The Foyer
Week 12- The Family Room and DVDs 
Week 13- Pictures and Scrapbooks
Week 14- Arts, Crafts and Hobbies 
Week 15- The Master Bedroom  
Week 16- The Master Closet 

Friday, August 23, 2019

Let's Talk About... Literature

NOW we are getting somewhere!  In this Let's Talk About ...Series we have talked about some pretty serious subjects (complete list can be found at the bottom of this post) but today we are getting to the fun stuff!  BOOKS!  I know I heard several of you squeal, you can't hide it.  Plus, I have been in some of your homes and I know you have a book problem!

But the written word just calls many of our names.  It can teach you facts, stretch your imagination, take you to far away places and entertain you for hours.  Literature is a beautiful thing.  While the mechanics of reading and writing can take up a lot of time in our day, don't forget to take even more time to have your child read, or better yet, curl up with a good book along side of them.  You can help build a love for learning and create a special time for you and your kiddos.

There are a lot of great literature programs out there and I will mention just a few, but honestly, the BEST thing you can do for your child's literature program is just give them a pile of books and have them read.  Yes, at a younger age you do need to make sure their reading comprehension is spot on, but after that, in my opinion, devouring books of all kinds is the best!

I would challenge you to choose wisely and be familiar with the books they are reading.  I have been known to let my kiddos loose in a library and had to take back a book I found inappropriate!  And those were from the kids section!  Kid you not.  Not all books are created equal, don't assume they are.

And on that note, just because someone else deems them a classic does not mean they are worthwhile.  There are a lot of books out there that are required reading in the public schools that are a complete waste of time.  Seriously!  Just because we read them in high school does not mean our kids have to.  There are too many amazing books out there to waste our time on junk just because everyone else is reading it!

So a few programs I recommend?

BOB books- These silly little books are not only a great way to learn to read, but also make for fun reading for your kids at an early age.  There are so many fun books out there for very young readers, but these are cheap and easy to find!

Sonlight- One of the reasons we still use Sonlight after 20 plus years is because it is literary rich!  I mean, seriously, how many other programs out there read over 30 books in a school year?  My two college grads will tell you they did so well in writing, vocabulary, and even history in college because of Sonlight books.  They still have been known to grab one of our current readers off our shelf to re- read.

ABeka- We used ABeka readers early on in our schooling with much success.  The kids loved the "readers" and if you are more old school, you will like the looks of this as well.  It is definitely a less expensive option than Sonlight.

Hewitt Homeschooling- The Lightning Literature literature program stands out for several reasons.  First, it has multiple themes to choose from, not just your standard "these are the classics" track.  Secondly, the accompanying workbooks really dig deep into what is being read.

Progeny Press- We have had the privilege of using several of these literary guides and had a lot of fun with them.  If you like having questions for your child to answer about what they are reading, as well as writing prompts, projects, and more, you will enjoy these.  You can get them digitally and in hard copy.

Great middle school book if you have not read it !

The Library!- Of course, we have to remember the best place to find GREAT books for FREE is at the library!  Grab a librarian and ask what they recommend or just wander the rows, but either way allow your child to read and read some more!  There is NO better way to learn, and the possibilities are endless!


Let's Talk about...Science
Let's Talk About...Math
Let's Talk About...History
Let's Talk About...Grammar and Spelling
Let's Talk About Foreign Languages

Monday, August 19, 2019

Are You an Overcomer?

When I think of the word overcomer several things pop into my head.  Mainly, people in history that have had to climb HUGE mountains in their life and have endured to the end.  Moses, Horatio Spafford, Harriet Tubman, Nelson Mandela, Louis Zamperini.

But the reality is, in some small ways we are all overcomers.  We all have things in our lives or times in our lives that we have had to push through.  The human spirit compels us to just keep moving and not give up.  What a gift from the Lord that is!

So, YES, I am excited about the new Kendricks Brothers movie, OVERCOMER, that is set to be released in movie theaters August 23.  I am a sucker for feel good movies and love when we find one that is family friendly.  Not an easy task in this day and time, for sure.

OVERCOMER is about a high school basketball coach whose team faces some hurdles and leaves him without a job.  He agrees to fill in as the school's track coach, a sport is is unfamiliar and unimpressed with.  There he meets a young student facing trials of her own and in the end learns a lot about what we allow and should allow to define us as a person.

Cool bonus!  On the Overcomer website you can find a parent guide, family devotional and a sports team devotional as well!  You can also download posters and more!  Grab your family or a group of friends and make it a special outing and then time of good discussion.

"Kendrick Brothers Productions is the company of brothers Alex, Stephen and Shannon Kendrick that exists to honor God and share the truth and love of Jesus Christ through movies, books, curriculum and speaking. By blending engaging stories with doctrinal integrity, the Kendricks seek to encourage and inspire audiences with resources that positively impact their lives and strengthen their faith, families, and personal relationships."  (Facing the Giants, War Room, Courageous)
As people are walking out of the theater, we hope that they begin to ask questions about where their identity is found, because too often we find it in our circumstances, in our titles, in what other people are saying about us, in our jobs, in our positions or awards. Those things can be taken away,” said Stephen Kendrick.
“I hope moviegoers will realize their salvation is about much more than just having a ticket to eternity. They were actually given a brand-new identity.

Thanks to FlyBy and Provident Films,we are able to give away two FREE ticket codes to see Overcomer.  Just leave me a comment here on the blog of who you would take with you to see it.  A random winner will be chosen on Friday!

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.  No Canadian winners please, Fandango does not reach to our Canadian friends.


34 Weeks of Clean 2019! Week 32- The Computer

Technology- ugh!  I am just going to go on and admit to you that I am not a techie queen.  Cleaning queen, maybe, but NOT a techie queen.  That is one of the reasons I still beg my 21 year old to help me work on my blog.  It is a little more challenging now that she is working, but hey, we make it work.

And computers?  Well, they fall under the techie thing and therefore are not my friends.  In addition, with my hero husband pretty busy these days, I am at an even bigger disadvantage. I tease him that if ever something happens to him I am going to throw away all things techie, with the computers going first.  I. Am. Serious!

This week though, despite my hang ups, we are continuing with the office theme and hitting the computer, or computers in some cases!  Don't worry, this involves a lot of deleting (which I am good at) and some file rearranging, which my daughter is good at! Plus some general cleaning that I am sure we can all manage.

If this is an easy week for you, I do NOT want to know.  I prefer to think that everyone else is suffering right along side of me, thank you very much!

So here is the plan for cleaning up your computer!

  • First of all, wipe it down. This includes the screen, tower, mouse, and keyboard.  Dust settles in cracks and crevices quickly and can really mess things up.  I know some people that use the cans of pressurized air or a vacuum cleaner with brush attachments.  I also use a Norwex cloth meant for mirrors that I love!  No need for harsh chemicals.
  • Next, on to the techie stuff.  Ugh!  Your goal is to go through and cleanup or delete old, unused files, pictures, and downloads.  I am continually AMAZED at how much I find stored on my computer that has been there for years and that we do not need.  Apparently I download a lot of files I forget about and never use.  Who knew?  And pictures- well, let's just say I am not as organized in that area as I wish I was.  Luckily, a few years ago my 21 year old IT girl went on  a mission to rescue me from my crazy filing system.  Remember, folders are your friends.  Even if you have a ton of them, at least if they are clearly labeled you can retrieve things you need quickly.  Follow the same rule that we talked about from last week- EVERYTHING HAS A HOME!  Don't forget to clean out your trash bin at the end of your fun!

Simple!  OK, not really, but at least it is concentrated in one area.

And next week- well, it will be your last assignment!  I can hardly believe it.  Thank you to all who have been hanging with us- you rock.  And thanks to all who have sent me sweet notes.  So many of you have worked hard and should be so proud of yourselves!  Wish I could give each of you a hug and a high five!  You deserve it!

See 'ya next week- get to those computers and start cleaning and organizing!


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  
Week 11- The Foyer
Week 12- The Family Room and DVDs 
Week 13- Pictures and Scrapbooks
Week 14- Arts, Crafts and Hobbies 
Week 15- The Master Bedroom  
Week 16- The Master Closet 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Marble Circuit Fun

You know we love games and such around here, right?  There is just something about a game that brings people together and makes things fun.  We play a lot of different types, but for some reason we always seem to eventually drift back to problem solving type games.  It may because we have a wide range of ages under our roof currently, or maybe we are just such left brain dominant people we can't help ourselves.

Either way, I knew when I saw Marble Circuit being offered by Timberdoodle Co  I had several in our family that would love it.  Turns our everyone does and many competitions to see who is better and faster have been had!

Marble Circuit is a relatively easy game as far as instructions go.  Pick a card you want to try, there are 64 that vary in difficulty, and try to get your eight marbles to run a course to a final resting place that ends up matching the card you choose.  All answers are on the back of each card.

Sound easy?
Think again!

To direct your marbles to the appropriate final space you must arrange  ten different tiles that force the marbles one way or another.  By changing the direction of a tile, you can change the path of a marble.  But that same tile may direct the path of additional marbles to place you do not want them to go.

Once you think you finally have the solution, you slowly pull the stopper at the top and watch your marbles run the course you have set up.  When they all settle into their final places you then check to see if your marbles match the solution card.

Of course, our 12 year old was the first to try out Mable Circuit.  He is, after all, the master of puzzles.  After doing a few of the easier cards he conned his brother into trying and the competition was on!

As soon as dad came home he got into the fun and his older sister, who I think may be the fastest so far, got in on the fun!

I love this game for so many reasons!

  • Because it is on the smaller size, it is easy to take with you on the go and pull out when you need to fill some time.
  •  It is great way to build problem solving skills. 
  • It is great for team building or some friendly competition.
  •  It is good for fine motor skills. 
  • It is good for visual learners.
  • It's a fun quick break from school when tensions are running high.
  •  It is quiet! (hey, I AM a mom of four after all!) 
You can find Marble Circuit in the 5th Grade Curriculum Kit from Timberdoodle, but don't let that limit your thinking.  It is fun for all ages! One caution I have for you is the marbles are quite small and could pose a chocking hazard for small children.  Be careful where you store it is you have littles in your house!

Just make sure you keep it close enough to pull out frequently- it can be quite the addiction!