Archive for America


Day 101

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The Excellence of Wisdom

“Does not wisdom cry out,

And understanding lift up her voice?

She takes her stand on the top the the high hill,

Beside the way, where the paths meet,

She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city,

At the entrance of the doors:

‘To you, O men, I call,

And my voice is to the sons of men, 

O you simple ones, understand prudence,

And you fools, be of an understanding heart,

Listen, for I will speak of excellent things,

And from the opening of my lips will come right things;

For my mouth will speak truth;

Wickedness is an abomination to my lips,

All the words of my mouth are with righteousness;

Nothing crooked or perverse is in them.

They are all plain to him who understands,

And right to those who find knowledge,

Receive my instruction, and not silver,

And knowledge rather than choice gold;

For wisdom is better than rubies,

And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.'”

Proverbs 8:1-11


“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”

James 1:5 & 6


Heavenly Father, I praise You and thank You for this day.  A new day to seek You, and Your ways; to serve You, and those around me.  Help me to set aside me, and clearly see You.  Help me to be who You created me to be.  I ask You for wisdom, Lord, believing that You will bless me just as Your word says.  May I speak only Truth, and right things.  May my mouth represent You, and Your righteousness.  Be with me, this day, Lord, that even one life will be changed for You, and Your kingdom; and that together we will change our homes, our nation; and this world, by the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Blessed be Your Holy Name, for You are worthy to be praised!  In Jesus’ name, I ask these things. . . Amen.



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A Foundation for Thanksgiving

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Every Thanksgiving I am abundantly blessed to gather with my immediate family, extended family and friends in celebration of all God has done for us and our country.  This year my children and I will have a deeper more thorough understanding of one of the most important times in America’s history, thanks to Dayspring Christian Academy and The Pilgrim Story.



If you’ve already watched the short clip above or clicked on the links I included then you have an idea of what The Pilgrim Story is about and you know that the cost of the course is $99.  What you don’t know is that, if it is possible to fit this into your budget, it is well worth it!

This is a self-guided, self-paced, interactive online course.  This means that after you enroll you will have access within 48 hours, and then for the following 6 months you can view it whenever it’s convenient for you.  It doesn’t meet at a specified time.  This has been a huge bonus for my family!  Technically it is designed for grades 3 – 6, but the writer, Mary Stauffer, has led over 20 guided tours of Plymouth, Massachusetts using “the words of our country’s forefathers to teach the Pilgrim’s Story” and I personally believe students of all ages can gain insight from this study.  I’ve been able to use this course myself, ahead of my younger children, because I wanted to and not because it is a necessity.  I’ve only had to assign it to my older ones and nothing else is required from me.  They don’t even have to view it at the same time or at a designated time each day.  They have the freedom and flexibility to fit it in and around their individual schedule.



The heart of Dayspring Christian Academy is Psalm 78:1-8.  “It is important for children to learn about their history, so they do not forget the great things God has done.”

The Pilgrim Story teaches and preserves the truth of our nation’s past.  It highlights the Pilgrim’s dedication as Christians, well-grounded in The Word of God.  It clearly displays God’s hand of providence in their lives and the life of our country.  It reinforces the fact that “this nation has enjoyed freedom because it was founded on principles found in The Bible.

Because Dayspring Christian Academy teaches using The Principle Approach of Learning, there are Principles of Christian Character and Biblical Principles of self governance, hard work, perseverance and Christian Liberty throughout the presentation.  The course is organized in 5 Units of 3 or 4 Lessons each, with a Virtual Field Trip to Plymouth, MA at the end.  Each Lesson is 30 – 45 minutes long, plus an optional 60 – 90 minute Enrichment Activity.  

A Lesson consists of:

  • items needed for activities
  • documents to download
  • description of contents
  • review of previous lessons
  • vocabulary words
  • a student worksheet for notes
  • enrichment activities
  • lesson review and
  • suggestions for further reading


A Student Notebook is a key component of The Principle Approach and is a valuable record of their learning.  You’ll need a 1-inch binder and 5-tab dividers, one for each Unit.


Unit 1 – Introduction

Unit 2 – Preparation

Unit 3 – The Journey

Unit 4 – The First Winter

Unit 5 – 1621 – 1623


I copied the list of Recommended Books, chose which ones I wanted by grade level and then requested them from my library ahead of time.  Open Source Books, with free online access, are also listed.  Reasoning Questions for Writing Practice or Oral Presentation are included, along with Answer Keys, Grading Rubrics, and Activity Guides.  Review Questions provide a great Recall Assessment and there is a Unit Test at the end of each unit.  Dayspring Christian Academy will actually grade, record and maintain the Unit Test grade for one student, when the multiple-choice test is taken.

I do wish the video clips were closed-captioned, so my students would have the added benefit of reading along with the narrator, otherwise I am absolutely thrilled with The Pilgrim Story and the knowledge we’ve gained!



Comments or Questions?




Dayspring Christian Academy

120 College Avenue

Mountville, PA  17554

or Call – 717.285.2000


Also note that several of my Crew mates had the opportunity to review this course and you can read their opinions when you click the graphic below and follow the link provided.



I hope your Thanksgiving is especially blessed this year.



Disclaimer*   I received 6 months online access to The Pilgrim Story, in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.


Thank you for your comments.


Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.




Wow, What a Decade!

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Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying, “A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable.”  To understand where we are today, I believe we must know something of our yesterdays.  I think Family History, US History, and World History are vital to our survival and growth as individuals and as a nation.  We read and write about history, build time-lines; and visit battle fields, cemeteries, national monuments and re-enactments.  All of this enhances the learning of our history, and so does Marshall Publishing.

Marshall Publishing and Promotions, Inc. is a multifaceted media publishing organization whose management team has 30 years of experience, successfully producing and representing television and home video programs written for all ages.



You may already be familiar with their trademarked, AS SEEN ON TV “Lots and Lots of” brand DVD’s and books.  In 2011, I reviewed their  George Washington Carver DVD and was pleased with their reliability; so I was quite interested in adding the content of the  America in the 1880’s – A Decade of Progress DVD to our on-going study of US History this year.


Look at the cover of the DVD, how many people do you recognize?  Many are well-known today and several are actually famous over 100 years later.  This film is compiled of photographs, historical footage, and re-enactments; for 4th grade through adult.  We watched it as a family.  We easily recognized Buffalo Bill Cody on the front, but wasn’t sure if that was Geronimo beside him or not.  Susan B. Anthony and the Brooklyn Bridge was easy, too.  My older son recognized the outlaws because he previously studied their lives independently, and I tagged Sarah Bernhardt and Mark Twain.

After we watched the video we were surprised that there wasn’t a train on the front cover.  The 1880’s saw the height of railroad travel.  You could get from coast to coast in 7 days!  There are fascinating snippets packed into this DVD, and this caused two things to occur for us.  First, because the details are few we found ourselves wanting to research our own special interests; secondly, we seem to recall the people, places and events more readily than when we’re bogged down with extra information.  The 1880’s was a marvelous, often overlooked decade; with a vast array of remarkable people and major events.  The circus, theater troupes, and big music alongside life-changing inventions, gun-slinging outlaws, and outrageous clothing designs!  Four states joined the union and while that might have been significant in itself, the fact that the population increased to 63 million by 1890, largely because of the warm welcome given to European immigrants, from its humble 13 million souls in 1880, is astounding!

Using the Study Guide that’s included, our discussion led us to note that although there’s been major changes in technology in the same number of years, and advances in other areas during other time periods, the accomplishments of so many in different areas, all in the same time frame is unrivaled.  America in the 1880’s covers History, Geography and Culture through a decade of wonder.

From the website:  “What was life like in America in the 1880s?  Just like a time machine, this DVD will transport you back to discover the people and events that shaped this exciting decade: the Brooklyn Bridge …Washington Monument …Statue of Liberty …Gunfight at the O.K. Corral …Oklahoma Land Rush …Johnstown Flood …Thomas Edison …Mark Twain …Baby Doe …Sitting Bull …Sarah Bernhardt …John Philip Sousa …Buffalo Bill …Gilbert and Sullivan …Wyatt Earp…Jesse James and Billy the Kid ….Alexander Graham Bell ….John D. Rockefeller ….Andrew Carnegie ….Samuel Gompers ….Susan B. Anthony ….Lillian Russell ….and many others!  You will learn about fashion, politics, sports heroes, famous inventors, Wall Street financiers, railroad expansion, buffalo extinction, Indian resettlement, Civil Rights, union organization, urbanization, the music of the times, and much more!”

 There is also an archival documentary short film about the life of Alexander Graham Bell, his work with the deaf and the invention of the telephone, as a bonus feature of this DVD.  Approx. 60 total min.  This DVD, and the correlated Study Guide, is on sale now for $19.95, plus FREE shipping when you use coupon code TOS27 at checkout.


For more information, questions or comments – Contact:

Marshall Publishing & Promotions, Inc.
123 S. Hough St.
Barrington, IL 60010
(P) 224-238-3530
(F) 224-238-3531
CUSTOMER SERVICE: 888-300-3455 9AM – 7PM Central Time


 Marshall Publishing – the place to find “Lots & Lots of…” fun, entertainment, education, and amusement for the whole family!  Besides, America in the 1880’s – A Decade of Progress, my Crew mates reviewed the 2 DVD Set – Lots & Lots of Playful Penguins and their Toe-Tappin’ Happy Feet, and Lots & Lots of Penguins in the Wild!, The Historic Expedition of Lewis & Clark – We Proceed On!; and The History of The Oregon Trail & The Pony Express.  You can read each of their reviews when you click the banner below and follow the link to the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.





Disclaimer*   I received the DVD, America in the 1880’s – A Decade of Progress,  in exchange for my honest review; as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.



Thank you for your comments.



Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.





Study Geography Alongside History

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“It only makes sense to study geography alongside history.  In history, we learn about time, places, and people.  Geography covers the places part.”  I’d like to tell you that we’ve been studying this way throughout our homeschool journey, but I can not.  It’s more likely that we are just above the  “less than one-third of elementary and high school students showed proficiency in geography,”  as reported by the U.S. Education Department.

Children in America do not spend the time learning the lay of the land.  They do not recognize where a country is on a map, and certainly can’t identify the black outline of most countries.  Many do not know where the States of The Union are in relationship to one another.  If this isn’t sad enough, as cell phones and GPS systems become more available, students are not even developing map reading skills.

We like to travel by car.  We enjoy hiking and exploring nature, and kayaking on the lake; so, we’ve taught our children how to read a map.  They know how to follow directions, understand North, South, East and West; can calculate distance and recognize terrain, etc.  In our house, learning the names of our States, their black outlines, where they’re located, and the name of their capital city, is a common occurrence, along with the memorization of the names of the Presidents of the United States, and the recitation of the 66 Books of The Bible, among other things, but not in connection to our history.  This would be the reason we might fall outside the statistical average.

Our World Geography knowledge is poor, but I’m steadily working toward changing that, with the assistance of Knowledge Quest and their Map Trek collection of historical outline maps.





Map Trek maps are in chronological sequence; so, they can be used in conjunction with any chronological history program.  There is also specific curricula that is complimented by the use of Map TrekTruthQuest History, Tapestry of Grace, Sonlight Curriculum, Mystery of History, Living Books, and Ambleside Online, to name a few.  Free Curriculum Integration Guides are available.

Current volumes of Map Trrek include:

Map Trek – Ancient World

Map Trek – Medievel World

Map Trek – New World

Map Trek – Modern World

incorporating  the

Map Trek – U.S. Edition

There are full-color teacher maps, black outline maps, and reproducible student maps, available.  It is recommended that map study be added to a curriculum, once or twice a week.  Since we are just building our map-study-habit, we chose to use the maps just once a week.  The maps and activities are broken down into three categories; covering grades K – 12.  I chose the U.S. Edition; printing maps from our birth states and becoming familiar with their facts, even though our long term goal is to improve our World geography knowledge.  The best map work is fun and interactive, and that makes Map Trek one of the best!


Individual Map Trek Editions for The World are $14.95, with the U.S. Editions being $19.95 in e-book format.  The complete set of 6 e-books is $47.00, and the beautifully bound, over-sized, hard cover book, with a CD-Rom of reproducible student maps is $55.00.


I hope you will utilize the links I’ve provided to visit Knowledge Quest’s website for more information.  You can also read the opinions shared by my Crew mates, when you click on the banner below.



Comments or Questions?


Write ~

Knowledge Quest

P.O. Box 789

Boring, OR  97009

Email ~

Call ~ 877.697.8611

or Follow on Facebook






Disclaimer*  An e-book set of this product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange for my honest review, as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.


I appreciate your viewpoint and your comments.

Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.



It’s a Wrap!

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At our house, a school day might begin something like this…

A Younger Child:  “Hey, Momma, did you know that all of the Anderson’s have the flu?”

ME:  “I didn’t.  When you talk to Katie, find out if they need anything.”

Younger Child:  “Okay.”

An Older Sibling:  “Did you know that our great-great-grandmother died from the flu?  Nana was born in 1912, so she was only six when her mom and her little brother died in 1918.”

ME:  “The worst plague in America was the Influenza Epidemic of 1918.  More people died from the flu in that year than died in all of World War I.”

Younger Child:  “She was younger than me.”

ME:  “She was.  Then, her dad died when she was just 12.  She was your sister’s ages living through The Great Depression.”

Older Child:  “1929-1939 or 41, or something?”

Younger Child:  “What’s The Depression?”

ME:  “I’ll tell you what, after breakfast, I’ll show you some pictures of kids during The Great Depression.  I’ve got a book, someplace.  I’ll find it.  It’s called Children of the Great Depression.  Just the photographs will give you a good idea of what The Great Depression was, but we’ll talk about it, too.”

At this point, my brain is charging ahead with plans for today and tomorrow, and beyond.

THINKING:  “I’ll make breakfast a little hardier than I initially planned, so I can just give them bread & water for lunch.  Seriously, hunger was real during The Depression.  Maybe we’ll follow a bare-bones-potato-soup recipe for dinner and eat by the light of an oil lamp.”

I know my older ones read The Great Depression, America 1929-1941, by Robert S. McElvaine, but the mids haven’t, yet.

THINKING:  “I’ll pull that out and we can read excerpts from it, to everyone, but they can work on reading the whole thing, themselves, over the next week.  They’ll definitely need to start a vocabulary/spelling list.  I have some Penmanship/Copywork pages I can add for the younger ones and an essay assignment for the oldest.”

DANCING INSIDE MY HEAD:  I can download an instant e-Book from Zeezok Publishing!  One of their Z-Guides to the Movies for the Depression era.  I’m pretty sure they have one for Kit Kittredge, and since we already own the movie we could actually work on it this week.  They love that movie, but with the Z-Guide they’ll see it in a whole new light.”




Books, movies, the internet.  The library, Netflix, museums.  I use them all.  Anything and everything that I can get my hands on and afford, that will stimulate my children’s desire to learn and successfully educate them.

Zeezok Publishing has been providing materials for the homeschooling community since 1993.  They’ve published government and history texts, and sixteen classic biographies on the great composers.  In 2010 they introduced us to Z-Guides to the Movies.



Each Z-Guide is developed for a specific movie.  We’ve found many of the movies at our local library; most are available for rent on Netflix, Zeezok sells a few and some you may already own.  There are more than 30 Z-Guides available, now, and another 25 are due to be released in the spring.


$12.99 gives you access to an instant e-Book download, of your choice, or you can have a CD shipped.  Many topics and time-periods are covered –

 Ancient Civilizations

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Greece

Ancient Rome

Medieval Europe

16th, 17th, 18th & 19th Century Europe

American and French Revolution

Westward Expansion

War Between the States

The Roaring Twenties and The Great Depression

World Wars 1 & 2 and Post-WW2

and the Vietnam War

You’ll get a topic, time-period overview; a movie synopsis, giving you an understanding of the relationship between characters, events and situations.  A list of review questions to be discussed and answered as the movie is being watched, and additional activities prompting research and writing.  My favorite section of every Z-Guide is the Filmaker’s Art and Dramatic License Activity.  I do not have the ready knowledge that I find in this section.  Even as my children are learning, so am I.

“The Filmmaker’s Art activity helps the student recognize the tools being used to influence the viewer.”  Without the Z-Guide, I don’t always discern these as clearly.  “The various guides discuss how filming techniques, music, lighting, humor, character development, irony, foreshadowing, and even character names are used by the director and producer to influence the viewer to get their agenda across.”  Z-Guides to the Movies has changed the way we see a movie and that’s their goal.  They “want the student to be able to discern not only the agenda of the movie, but also how they are being influenced by it. The goal is that when the student goes to the theatre and watches a movie, he walks out not thinking it was an entertaining movie, but understanding the bigger message behind each film.”

My children are enhancing their critical thinking skills.  Besides movies, they now look at reading material differently, and also examine the influence and impact they may have on others with what they personally write or visually and musically produce.

I think  Z-Guides are impressively thorough.  In 2011, I used one with The Hiding PlaceClick the link to read my review.

Recently, we did, indeed, use the Z-Guide for Kit Kittredge.  Written for elementary and middle school, it was easily adaptable to include our K5 through high school and adult.

Topics and Activities covered ~

The Great Depression



Family Unity

and Hobo Life

It was a perfect wrap to an interesting study!

The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew has had the opportunity to review several different Z-GuidesClick on the banner below to read what my crew mates thought of each one.

Comments or Questions?

Contact Zeezok Publishing

email –

write –

P.O. Box 1960

Elyria, OH  44036

call –






The next time you study, tie everything together with a Z-Guide and a family movie night!




This product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.


I am not affiliated with Netflix and I receive no compensation for references.


*Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.



I appreciate your encouragement.  Thanks for your comments.  PK



Comments (2)

A Reliable Resource

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I don’t think there’s anything I’ve found that I won’t use to reinforce a lesson, subject or concept, if the content is acceptable and the source is reliable.  Some things are much easier to use than others and don’t require nearly the manipulation or contortions on my part.  Oh, the stories I could tell you…but, I’ll leave that for another time.

Marshall Publishing & Promotions, Inc. has Lots and Lots of DVD’s, Books and CD’s AS SEEN ON TV and not readily found in stores.  They have won numerous awards! They say that it is their goal to amaze, amuse, entertain and educate and we think they reach that goal.  They meet the criteria of acceptable and reliable, with the bonus of thorough and convenient, with little effort on my part.



Marshall Publishing is the exclusive distributor of Kaw Valley Films DVD programs, and Kaw Valley Films is the producer of a DVD, George Washington Carver – His Life and His Work, that is an excellent resource for a recent study in our history.

Suggested for ages 4th grade – Adult, we watched it as a family, including Kindergarten through High School.  It is a detailed, well written, 29-minute documentary of an extraordinary life.  We’ve previously studied Mr. Carver, yet we still discovered more about him!  Did you know that he personally never used the name “Washington?”  At the time, there was another George Carver in the school he was attending; so, to distinguish between the two of them, he added the middle initial W to his name.  George W. Carver.  Some time later, he was asked if the W. stood for Washington and his reply was along the lines of, “why not,” but he never included the name when he signed it or introduced himself.

“Born into slavery and reared during the Reconstruction years in the South, George Washington Carver struggled through poor health, poverty and prejudice…to become a great benefactor, not only to his people…but to his country as well. Carver is known in history books as the “peanut man” – for his research into and promotion of alternative crops to cotton. As one of the world’s foremost experts in agriculture and horticulture, Carver, through his research and teaching at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama practically reinvented land management in the South. He is said to have compiled a list of over 300 uses for and by-products of peanuts such as cosmetics, dyes and paints, plastics, gasoline and nitroglycerin.

But his work as a creative scientist stretches far beyond that endeavor. He marveled at the world around him and his ability to inspire those closely associated with him may well have been one of his greatest lifetime achievements. As a living example of the importance of hard work, a positive attitude and a good education, Carver was instrumental in changing the stereotype of the time that the black race was intellectually inferior to the white race.

Here then, is the story of Carver’s life…a life that should not be forgotten, for it is full of hope, meaning and inspiration.”

As quoted from the website at:

Study Guide available – click graphic for access

Among their Lots and Lots of DVD’s are several other Educational Historical Documentary DVD’s:

Lincoln at Gettysburg:  The Battle and The Address

The Complete History of America’s Railroads

The Historic Expedition of Lewis and Clark

and more.

Regular price is $24.95.  Web sale price is currently $19.95.  For a limited time, I have a 15% discount for my readers, making your cost just $16.96.  When purchasing item #KVFD-106 use code TOSC1 for savings.

To contact Marshall Publishing & Promotions, Inc. write to:

123 S. Hough St.

Barrington, IL  60010


telephone:  224.238.3530


customer service:  888.300.3455



Although we were impressed with the amount of content found in the George Washington Carver – His Life and His Work DVD, the format of the production seemed rather dated.  We did not think the photography was quite as stunning as suggested, because the whole film was shot in rather muted tones.  We appreciate the humble and brilliant life of the man and noting his love of horticulture and agriculture, we found it odd that there were so few “green” plants, and little floral beauty interspersed throughout this movie.  Mr. Carver loved his flowers and was known to wear a fresh one in his lapel every day!  Overall, though, this documentary was a nice addition to our studies.

My crew mates had the opportunity to review other products from Marshall Publishing.  I know that several of them enjoyed the educational fun of Lots and Lots of Fire Trucks and Firefighters Book and Safety Songs DVD SetClick the graphic below to find their reviews.



This product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

I appreciate your comments.  Thank you.

*Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.

Comments (1)

“Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

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“Congratulations!  Today is your day.  You’re off to Great Places!  You’re off and away!  You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.  And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go…”


Click to find more Seuss

Where to go?  Where to go?  How to get there – do you know?  Bright Ideas Press has WonderMaps that’ll get you there in a blink and two snaps!



The creative potential just boggles the mind.  There’s nearly a map for every thing-a-ma-kind!


This brand new program, available as a download or CD, is a “customizable collection of over 350 different maps.”


Click the graphic, to find everything under the WonderMaps category…



60+ maps of the world




60+ maps of the USA




125+ historical maps, including 25 Biblical maps






The complete map sets from The Mystery of History Vols. 1-3 and All American History Vols. 1 & 2




WonderMaps is teacher, parent and student friendly.


The video below will give you a better idea of all that WonderMaps has to offer –



Bright Ideas Press
P.O. Box 333
Cheswold, DE 19936

877.492.8081 or email –


Click to follow facebook page



We like it!  It’s true!  $49.95  – for me or for you.  I really must say, though I’d rather not, we found an error on a map, maybe two, maybe more.  Made corrections, changed directions, and didn’t keep score.   Saint Paul isn’t happy that Minneapolis would dare, to take the title of capital heir.  The mappers will fix it, of this I’m quite sure, too much confusion for Minnesotan’s to endure.


Reviews by The Crew, you can read them with ease.  Click the banner to see what they think, if you please.






This product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  I also have no affiliation with Dr. Seuss, Seussville, or the Dr. Seuss & Friends Book Club and receive no compensation for references to them. The opinions expressed are my own.


Thank you for your support and encouragement…  PK


Remember class field trips?

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I used to love going on class field trips, when I was in school.  I had no idea, though, all of the pre-planning and preparation that went into it before the permission slip was even sent home for my mother’s signature.

As a home educator, the organization and planning of field trips is now my responsibility.  Just to take this crew to the lake for a couple of hours, takes nearly 30 minutes to pack and then another half hour to unpack.  Beach towels, life jackets, sunscreen, water bottles, volleyball, frisbee, snack, shovels, pails, sifter, blanket or chairs, etc.  This is for swimming only; if there is any hiking or fishing planned, well… you can imagine.  A day at the zoo… wow!

* Smithsonian National Zoo, Washington, D.C.

My children and I recently visited the Blue Creek Rainforest Reserve of Belize, Central America; Cloud Lake bog in Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada and five deserts in the southwestern, USA.

* a waterbug

I didn’t pack a thing!  No bug spray, because there were no mosquitoes.  No sunscreen, because there was no overbearing sun or drenching humidity.  No umbrella; no rain.  No water bottles, because we didn’t get thirsty. No leeches or waterbugs to contend with; yet, we observed them up close and we watched a jaguar, without fear of being pounced upon!

*Blue Creek Rainforest Reserve


*Leafcutter ant

Thanks to Digital Frog International, and their Digital Field Trips on DVD, we were able to explore 3 eco-systems from the comfort and ease of our home.  Scientifically sound, virtual reality field trips to the rainforest, the wetlands, and the desert.

We walked the forest floor, climbed trees and sat atop the canopy.  We waded through swamps and suffocating mud.  We crossed the arid lands of the Sonoran Desert, the Painted Desert and Cattail Falls oasis in Big Bend National Park; the Black Rock Desert and even Death Valley.  On our way, we learned about the organisms; plants and animals that inhabit each eco-system.

While in the rainforest we participated in an in depth exploration of botany, in the wetlands the in depth exploration was of photosynthesis, and in the desert, homeostasis and adaptations.

Digital Field Trips is science at it’s best!

  • interactive software
  • animation
  • graphics
  • illustrations
  • stunning photographs
  • videos
  • detailed text
  • narration
  • integrated dictionary
  • 360^ panoramas
  • zoom
  • ambient sound
  • diagrams
  • games
  • worksheets

Home licensing for each, single disc is $60; the set of 3 is $125.  School licensing is available.  Visit the Digital Frog Shop online for products and pricing.

Try before you buy – download a free limited version at

Call ~ 1-800-621-3764 (international)

1-(519)-766-1097 (local)

Fax ~  1-(519)-767-9994

Each of my children found these field trips fascinating.  My elementary age and pre-reader needed some assistance to navigate the terrain, but my middle school through high school found the trek easy, but fully engaging.

I have no doubt, we will travel with Digital Frog International, time and again.

They also have The Digital Frog 2.5, virtual frog dissection, anatomy & ecology and Science Matrix:  Cell Structure & Function.

Many of my crew mates, from The Old Schoolhouse (R) Magazine Homeschool Review Crew, reviewed the 3 disc set, Digital Field Trips.  Click below to read their reviews.

This product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.


Categories : America, homeschool, reviews, TOS
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The road to the Restoring Honor Rally

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Sometimes, God may reward us for our good works, but most of the time, I think, He does things for us just because He loves us and He can.  August 2010 was a time of out-right, clearly-evident, blessing-upon-blessing, in my house, and not one of us did anything extraordinary to deserve it! We did not set a course to fast longer and pray more;  there was no uncommon repentance or life-rocking revival.

This is a testimony of God’s loving kindness and His constant faithfulness. “And they (the believers, saints) overcame him (the devil, satan) by the blood of The Lamb (Jesus Christ, sacrificed unto death, buried and raised from the dead) AND by the word of their (mine and yours) testimony…”  Revelation 12:11

There was a rally in Washington, D.C. on 8-28-2010 called Restoring Honor.  It was organized to bring people together from all over America, to thank our soldiers and restore honor to their gift of service.  We also saw it as a time to come together to ask God to restore our country, under His care.    From the moment we heard about it, my older children and I wanted to attend it.  We first heard about it on Glenn Beck’s program.  With 9 of us at home, I looked at our budget, juggled and jiggled;  attempted to manipulate it and then, in good conscience, decided it just wasn’t feasible.  I don’t even think I prayed about it, at that time, and I certainly wasn’t approaching my husband about it, when our ends barely ever meet anyway.   It was evident to me that going on such a trip was not a necessity and like most everyone I know, just meeting the needs of our large family was pushing it.

Not a lot of discussion was needed, to explain why we weren’t going.  My family lives firmly in reality and we all knew this wasn’t the type of thing that people like us actually do.   =)   Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy our life.  There are lots of free and inexpensive things to do together.  We live a few miles from Lake Lanier,  with free access to a little sandy beach, water and tons of Georgia clay!  Georgia is home to many, beautiful water falls and inexpensive state parks.  We love to hike and camp and picnic.  Amicalola Falls is stunning!

We look forward to the county fair every year (free admission day), Burt’s Pumpkin Farm (free fall photo op without purchasing even one pumpkin!) and walking down main street; drinking hot cider and listening to carolers in December.  Traveling, visiting museums and cultural centers, and such, tend to be more expensive and not something we have done much of over the years.  So, none of my children complained about not going to the Restoring Honor Rally, but…

Sometimes, when we would watch Glenn Beck and he would enthusiastically talk about the rally, I would notice the children speak a little wistfully, “Oh, that would be so cool!”, “I wonder who else is going to be there?”, “Can you imagine, actually seeing The Lincoln Memorial or The Washington Monument?”  They were just talking and I was just observing them.  I don’t think they even realized what I was seeing.  At some point, I started to speak, a little wistfully, to my Father God.  “It really would be so cool, God!”, “Just one time, Lord, I’d like them to experience the other possibilities of life.”  Sort of like, an occasional, brief, conversation-in-passing with a trusted friend.

You know how it is to have a thought race through your mind and you don’t really grasp it or think about it, it just flows across?  Toward the last week in July,  I remember a thought of asking for help to go to D.C.  It was a “flutter” of a thought.   Eventually, I grabbed it, examined it’s merit and unceremoniously set it aside.  First of all, I didn’t want to ask someone to help with something as frivolous as a “vacation” and second, I didn’t know anyone with that kind of money, that wasn’t already helping someone with their cost of living.  I can say that I felt prompted by God, in response to my heart-prayer, to ask for help and I flatly refused.  I said, “no” and then I didn’t speak of it again, wistfully or otherwise.  (How’s that for audacious behavior before the Creator of the Universe?  I do not recommend it!)

I have a facebook page (started so I could keep in touch with family.)  My sister has a website forum (Mama’s Coffee Shop) that I joined to boost her numbers and support her.  Because it is hers, I’ve actually left a couple of comments.   Recently, starting this blog was an uncomfortable necessity, if I wanted to review homeschool curriculum, for the first time, this year.  As a “techie”  (is that even a word?), my growth has been a bit stunted.   Anyway… The Restoring Honor Rally started a facebook page and I “liked” it.  I would visit it and read what everyone thought of the rally.  I’d look at the auctions  and general updates.  One evening,  I clicked on the discussions tab, that I had never really noticed before, and found so many people  “talking” about so many topics having to do with the rally.  I read through post after post.  I felt connected to strangers.  Then, before the thoughts or possible repercussions were even fully formed,  I began to type:

Topic: Sponsorship or Scholarship available from anyone?

I’ve never asked anything like this before, but…going with the “…you have not, because you ask not…” motto ~ would anyone like to sponsor (yes, pay for) my four teenage children and me to go to the rally? I have a small car and I’m willing to drive from Georgia to D.C., …the flesh and heart is willing, but the bank account is impossibly weak. We watch Glenn Beck every day as part of our history/government/economics class and we so want to participate “on the ground”. I HAVE a 14 y.o. son, 16 y.o. daughter, 18 y.o. son and 20 y.o. daughter that have a heart for God and America. What I do NOT HAVE is gas money and a place for us to stay. We have been praying about this since it was first announced and nothing has happened. I figured the worst that could happen with this plea is being told “no” and I can handle that. My example is one of pressing in and not giving up.

So, there you have it. Any one or more want to send us in your place?

God bless and keep each of you and may He bless America in answer to our cries.


This is the actual post copied from the Restoring Honor Rally discussion board.  It is still as embarrassing as it is bold, even though I know how God used it to accomplish His purpose.   I can say that three weeks of wrestling with God and wanting things my way, did me no good.  As I typed,  I felt compelled to get my children to Washington, D.C.  I was challenged to obey, let it go, and let God, be God. I was reminded that a little faith can move a mountain. I posted this note and then I told my husband and children what I had done.  I wasn’t sure what they would think of me.  As I re-read it, I discovered I was torn, believing no one would respond in any way and so hopeful that just one person, with-more-money-in-the bank-than-they-knew-what-to-do-with, would see it and make us their “charitable contribution”.  That wasn’t one of God’s ideas, either.

At this point, I began to pray, believing. After I “gave in” and asked for help, my idea was of a rich-uncle-with-a-soft-heart type benefactor with no sacrifice involved.  God’s idea was to move across the hearts of those with little and some with even less.   Within days we had notes of prayer and encouragement and calls of financial support.  The first woman that called me, asked what the needs were to get us to D.C., and then pledged to pay for our hotel room and gas.  She encouraged me to accept what God was doing and said maybe we were someone’s “Pay It Forward“.

Every comment to the board was not a positive one.  I was hurt and embarrassed by some comments that were made, especially in such a public forum, and where my children could read them, but the support that surrounded me, from people I’ve never met personally, was like nothing I’ve ever known.  They buoyed my spirit when it was weak.  My emotions were on the edge of my nerve endings.  I read nearly every comment, out loud to my family, through tears.  I could not fathom how God was using the “thread” on the rally board.  One man shared his personal testimony with me.  He had posted several comments of doubt and accusation.   In public forum he called me a “scammer”  and he believed it.  I felt broken and weary of  trying to explain or defend; so, I simply blessed him, in open forum, then I let it go, and let God, be God. He says God changed his heart and changed his mind.  He became one of my dearest champions.  There is no balm to soothe a wounded soul, like the love of God.

Another was reminded of her faith that had been buried under discouragement and disillusion in the state of our country.  She saw Faith, Hope and Charity alive in American hearts and her spirit was renewed!

Many small amounts came together to make one big difference.  God had provided a way, where there seemed to be no way, that would allow us to go to the Restoring Honor Rally in our nation’s capitol!  We had pledges and cash to cover Metro fares, hotel parking fees and gas.  One sent $10 and another sent $5.  Someone pledged to give $25 and then wrote the check for $28, in honor of Glenn Beck’s show on 8-16 about a donation of 8 cents and referencing the Biblical story of the widow’s mite.  God stirred hearts and every financial need was met, nothing more.  To the degree that, we had a $30 pledge to pick up in D.C. after we arrived.  Seemed simple enough in theory, but the rally was huge, everything was busy and we didn’t make the connection.  Never the less, I had enough money to fill the car at our last stop before home.  God knew I wouldn’t need an additional $30; so, I didn’t get it.  It was nice to let go, and let God, be God.

I can say that I saw God move a mountain.   I watched in awe, as He poured deposits of faithfulness in to my children’s lives.  I don’t know what is in their future, but I do know, that when they are pressed, they will remember this time.  They will know, that they know, that they know, that their God is able to do all things!  When doubt wants to creep in, they will be able to draw from a rich, personal history, of His faithfulness.

Last weekend, a friend said, “I think God just likes to hug and kiss and love on us.”

There is no god like Jehovah!  We are called to love one another, as He loves us.  My cup runs over…


Categories : America, blessings
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We Remember

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May God bless all those that lost/gave their lives for us, on 9/11/2001 and everyday.  May we never take our freedoms for granted.



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