Archive for books

Nov
09

Thoughtful Consideration

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As parents, we encourage our children to “court” their future mate, simply, seeking their affections, getting to know them, with the intention of marriage.  The “dating game,” sifting through humans and discarding them along the way, is not one we play.

I recently “met” author Gary Bower and his wife, Jan, when I read their book, The Person I Marry – Things I’ll Think About Long Before Saying I Do, and I recognize kindred spirits.  There’s a glimpse of their hearts on every page.  Gary’s is shared through the sweet rhythm of his poetry and Jan’s, through the expressive brush strokes of her oil paintings.  He is the author and she is the illustrator.  Just as they made 12 beautiful children together, they now make beautiful children’s books, together.

 

 

Gary writes, “It’s ‘who’, not ‘what’ that makes a great wedding.”  “What makes a princess?  What makes a prince?”  “Something that’s inside, something much deeper, will help me determine which one is a ‘keeper’.”

Each page prompts a thoughtful consideration, and possible discussion on what to look for in a potential spouse.

Kindness, Tenderness, Graciousness, Generosity, Friendship, Determination, Joyfulness, Tolerance, Respectfulness, Devotion, Commitment, Modesty, Moral Purity, Trustworthiness, Truthfulness, Contrition, True Love and more. 

“The vows I’ll say I mean to keep, so I’ll look hard before I leap,” reminds Gary.

 

The Person I Marry from Bower Books.

 

The Person I Marry won the 2010 Christian Small Publisher of the Year award.  It has an appeal to all ages.  It is a comfortable, snuggled-on-the-couch lap book, 32 pages, hard bound.  From educational tool, conversation starter to lovely gift idea – birthday, engagement, wedding and anniversary, it is worth the $11.99 retail and has the potential to become a family treasure.

 

You’ll find other wholesome books in the “Bright Future Book” collection, by the Bowers:

There’s a Party in Heaven – hope of a future; comfort for those who face the loss of a loved one.

The Jingle in My Pocket – practical ideas and healthy attitudes about money.

What Do Heroes Wear? – finding purpose by serving others.

And poster-size, stunning art prints of Jan’s illustrations with verses of Gary’s poetry, when you browse the Bower Family Books website(Please, follow the links I’ve included throughout this post.)


You can contact Gary and Jan Bower at:

Bower Books & Fine Art

7700 Timbers Trail

Traverse City, Michigan  49684

Call ~

888.898.3207 

or

231.941.0899

Email ~

garybower@charter.net

I’m grateful for the “introduction” to Gary & Jan, through The Person I Marry.  I look forward to getting to know them better.

Gary blogs @

“Daddy Says…”

Thoughts from the Heart of a Father of Twelve

and I can follow

on facebook

Many of my crew mates have known the Bower’s for years, while some have just met them, but you can read all of their reviews by clicking on the TOS graphic below.

I appreciate the Godly direction, inspiration and quiet affirmation of The Person I Marry.  It’s been a joy to read it to my children.  I hope you’ll enjoy it, too.

 

Blessings,

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.

 

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

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Nov
07

An Adventure to Ooka Island

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Technology has not changed at our house at the same rate that it has generally, but, we use more of it than many households do, I’m sure.

I remember a time when we didn’t own a camera.  One year, I wrote every detail I could think of to record our child’s 2nd birthday party.  We didn’t have a camera and I didn’t want her to think we hadn’t had a party for her, because there were no pictures; so, I described everything!  Eventually, we owned a Polaroid that developed instant pictures and a little 110 camera.  We had to send our 110 film off in an envelope to get it developed and then got our pictures in the mail.  Initially, 35mm disposable cameras were expensive, yet they cost less than investing in a real one.  The first 35mm camera we were able to buy was all manual.  You set the flash when you needed it, you advanced the film after a picture and rewound the film by hand and gave it to the developer.  It was certainly not an SLR, but I thought it was a wonder!  Over the years, we were able to upgrade to an automatic and I have some great pictures from those years.  The Christmas after our youngest child was born we were given our first digital camera.  You know how, usually, the first child in the family has the most pictures taken of them?  Well, that’s not the case here.  We have so many pictures of our youngest daughter!  Everything new she did was documented with the cool camera that had the itty-bitty screen on the back.  Now, a decent digital camera is reasonably priced and there are nearly half-a-dozen, owned by the teens and adults of our family.  My younger children think you look at every picture after you take it, they don’t know any different.

I used to write out every quiz and test, in duplicate, because I didn’t have a copy machine.  When our older children were our young students, they answered workbook questions on separate sheets of paper, so I could reuse the workbooks with their siblings.  For the last few years, we’ve had a do-it-all printer/scanner/copier.

In years past it wasn’t even a thought to own a personal computer.  It was way out of our budget.  Now, not only do we own a PC, but we have high-speed internet access.

Remember the Walkman that played a cassette tape?  One year, several of the children received personal CD players for Christmas.  Last year the three youngest were given MP3’s.

There are cell phones everywhere! And it wasn’t that many years ago that there were only three television stations and you actually had to leave your house to rent a VHS movie.  No HD, no DVD, no Blue-Ray and certainly not as many acronyms.

An older daughter has a Kindle and I recently bought a WebOS Touch Pad, for reading and school-on-the-go.

Our children know how to use each of these devices and more, usually before we do.  The last two school years have seen a dramatic difference in how I teach, because I’ve had access to online curricula.  I’m still working on finding a balance, but I don’t shy away from the use of technology, like I once might have done.

The fact is, some of my children are a generation apart.  Things have changed.  I have more options today than ever before, when it comes to their education.  By no means are we on the cutting edge of technology, but we are trying to keep a steady pace.

Recently, my youngest daughter and I set out on a new adventure.  Now, before I take a trip, I like to know something about my destination.  I do a little research before I book a flight or a cruise.  I read reviews, check out the best eateries and look for places that aren’t tourist traps.

I discovered an island that I hadn’t heard of before.  So, we went to the logical place to check it out – You TubeThere are dozens of videos about it!

 

This one got us excited about beginning our Ooka Island Adventure!


Click graphic to view the Official Trailer.

Ooka Island is a virtual online world.  A vibrant, energetic world created especially for ages 3 – 7 years, pre-K through 2nd grade.

Students style a personal avatar and set off on heroic quests.  Along the way, they develop skills essential to prereading, reading and spelling.  They learn to understand sounds, associate sounds with letters, blending and making words, all while mountain climbing, cave exploring, cake making and more.

This is an innovative program.  There are 24 levels of purposeful, crazy-fun 3D games, led by a robot named Zobot!  The players meet Auntie Kay, Ooka elves that need rescued and the mischievous Figgs.  20 minutes of school work, that they don’t have a clue they’re doing, and they earn 8 minutes of free time.  They’re successes are rewarded with the option to play games or buy stuff for their avatar.

Click graphic to read “the Ooka Adventure for Parents.”

The ten Ooka Island game areas, are designed to build on each other, getting more difficult with each one.  The entire system adapts to each individual child’s progress.  It is a complete curriculum, using 85 interactive e-books, on three levels:  Emergent, Beginning and Fluency.  My daughter is quite fond of the Ooka books, because they seem rather Dr. Seuss-ish and are written for the child.

Take your child on an adventure to Ooka Island, there is a Parent’s Page where you can track their progress and play along.  Together, you will motivate and teach him to be a fluent, lifelong reader.

There’s no risk with the 14-day Free Trial.

Click graphic for full pricing overview.

Use promo code:  LAUNCHSPECIAL30  and save 30% on a monthly subscription.

To read other Ooka Island Adventures reviews, click the TOS Homeschool Review Crew graphic below.

Stay up-to-date with everything on the island by following Ooka on facebook.  Browse the website:  http://www.ookaisland.com  and read Village Voices, the Ooka blog.

Blessings,


 

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.

 

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

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Nov
02

Striving for Excellence in Literature

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Just a little more than a week ago, I wrote a blog post, a review, and in it I said, “I don’t believe that I have all of the answers to my children’s educational needs, or that I’m even required to, but I can find the answers.”  You thought that I said this, thought it, or wrote it for YOU, didn’t you?  Well, I did; I want you to find encouragement here, but…you would not believe how many times in the course of one school year that I have to remind myself of this!  I still have much to learn.

I’ve told you in other posts, that I love reading, English, spelling and writing!  I even thought that I had a decent foundation in these areas.  Oh, woe am I, I recently sent myself back to school, with my students.  Our teacher?  Mrs. Janice Campbell, author of Excellence in Literature:  Reading and Writing Through the Classics, by Everyday Education.

 

 Photobucket

We began at the beginning, with EIL::  English 1:  Introduction to Literature.  The first of 5 college preparatory levels:

  1. Introduction to Literature
  2. Literature and Composition
  3. American Literature
  4. British Literature
  5. World Literature

(Note:  American and British Literature are co-published with the Institute for Excellence in Writing.)

 Introduction to Literature is written for grades 8 – 12 and has options for honors credit.  I find the reading and writing both stimulating and challenging, and we have not even properly used the honors options!

Photobucket

 Click graphic to follow unit sample link.

 

 The text is written to the student and is designed to be self-directed.  There are 9 units per level, optimally completed within 4 weeks each.  Each unit focuses on a specific piece of writing, or group of writings – novels, drama & poetry.  These are the focus texts.  Additionally, a study of the author is done, including research on the historical time period the author is writing from and the art, music and influences of the day.  These context texts provide an in-depth understanding of the literature, making the analysis easier and more informed.  The student is encouraged to read the honors texts as well, if they desire to take AP and/or CLEP exams.  Finally, a composition, in answer to a specific essay question, must be planned, drafted, revised, polished and presented for evaluation.

Initially, as I read through the course syllabus, I was overwhelmed.  Even though the author says, “reading is a conversation between a reader and an author,” and she successfully writes this way, I have neither taken a course, nor taught a course, with requirements such as these.  That’s why I decided we would do the first units together.  Reading aloud, researching together, pooling our thoughts and openly discussing the essay questions.  We have not written anything, yet, or used the Evaluation Rubric that’s provided, but we are learning.

My high school students are already past eighth grade and they don’t have 5 years left to complete this exceptional literature course; so, we’re being flexible and that actually has Janice Campbell’s blessing.  Yes, each level ideally builds on the previous one, but it is also designed to mix and match, across levels as needed, to allow for – the coordination of literature levels with history studies, time constraints, etc.  My thought is that it is better for a student to complete only two levels in three years, while becoming comprehensively literate and discovering a treasure of great stories, plays and poems, than to strictly follow the lesson plan but never quite “get it.”  Mrs. Campbell acknowledges that each family and student is unique.  She does have a goal for Excellence in Literature.

Her goal is to:

  • Introduce students to great literature from the western literacy tradition.
  • Teach students to read with discernment.
  • Train independent, self-motivated learners.
  • Provide tools that students can use to strengthen their writing skills.
  • Introduce students to sources for high-quality online and offline research.
  • Prepare students for college classes by expecting carefully-researched, well-thought-out material to be presented in standard format, with preliminary proofreading completed.

But even as we are striving to reach these goals, she gives us permission to suit the curriculum to our needs.  (“Thank you, Janice Campbell, I appreciate that freedom more than you may know.”)  I’m more comfortable with the set-up every day, including my adjustments.  I’ve completely cut out a couple of focus texts and substituted a couple of honors texts in place of the assigned texts.  I chose T.S. Eliot’s, Murder in the Cathedral (honor), over Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw (focus) and The Pilgrim’s Progress (honor), by John Bunyan, over Gulliver’s Travels (focus), by Jonathan Swift.  The Pilgrim’s Progress is our first essay.  I have big plans to quickly glean as much as possible of English 1, steadily move through English 2 and maybe scratch the surface of English 3, before the next graduation.

I love this curriculum and I’m looking forward to actually following the prescribed lesson plan with my younger children!

Excellence in Literature is available in print or e-book.  I like this particular product in e-book format.  I had instant access and copyright permission to print as many copies as needed for my immediate family.

~

1 year/level – $29.

All 5 levels, now available, at one time – $139.

~

You can contact Janice Campbell several ways, the woman is everywhere!  =)

email is best ~ jceved@comcast.net

or

write ~

Janice Campbell

Everyday Education,LLC

P.O. Box 549

Ashland, VA  23005  USA

subscribe to her blogs ~

Taking Time For Things That Matter

and

Do What Matters, Make It Pay

or

click logo to follow on facebook.

Read other reviews of Excellence in Literature:  English 1:  Introduction to Literature, on The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew Blog.

Blessings,

 

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.

 

 

Thanks 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.


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Oct
24

A Wholehearted Conversation

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Over the years, I have often been asked, “How can you homeschool your children,” usually quickly followed by,  “I just don’t think I’m smart enough to do that!”  Inevitably, I respond by assuring them that I don’t believe that I have all of the answers to my children’s educational needs, or that I’m even required to, but I can find the answers.  After early elementary school, academically, my job is one of teaching study skills, application and discipline, providing large doses of encouragement and support, and supplying necessary resources.  I am better equipped and empowered when I utilize resources for parents, too.

A recent conversation with my friend, we’ll call her Heidi, went like this:

ME:  “I have a TOS crew review to write on a huge book!  It’s 8 1/2″ X 11″ and more than 350 pages!  If I could own only one book for homeschooling (counting curriculum, but excluding The Bible, of course) it would be this one.”

[Her face looked a bit shocked.  I’ve been homeschooling for more than 25 years; so, I definitely had her attention.]

HEIDI:  “What!  What is it?  Above curriculum?  How?  Why?”

ME:  “Ultimately, I can pull teaching material from anywhere, but this book reminds me of why I homeschool.  Why I do it now, why I did it then and why I would do it all, again, but do it better!  The authors say that those reading it usually fall into 1 of 3 categories:

  1. Those that are already using a wholehearted approach to teaching and have followed their leadership for years.  This book was actually first published in 1994 and revised in 1996.  It is now (2011) in it’s third printing, with more than 100 new pages added and a large portion of the original pages rewritten.  Content and resources needed to be updated and they, like most of us, have learned a thing or two in fifteen years.  These readers will discover a new or forgotten morsel of truth in this edition.
  2. Those, like me, who have been homeschooling for cen-tu-ries (intended hyperbole) and are in need of affirmation, inspiration or even a little coaxing to continue on this path.  When I started reading this book, I wondered why I didn’t have it in 1994 or 1996.  I was homeschooling then, why now?  Because now is when I need to be reminded of my desire and my right to raise our children “in the fear and admonition of The Lord;”  to emulate and teach an I’m-all-in-(body, mind, heart, soul and strength)-devotion to God, consistently and constantly.  This book has been a transfusion to my life-battered being.  I remember why.
  3. Those who are fresh to the idea of homeschooling their children.  The young explorers that appreciate having good navigational tools at hand.  A compass, a map and a light for the way ahead.  This is a guide, written by those that scouted and traveled the road before you.  This book is a vision shared, one of “Wholehearted Learning – a Biblical, commonsense, discipleship-based lifestyle of home education using real books, real life, and real relationships.”

“It’s an apologia WholeHeart publication and it’s titled, Educating the WholeHearted Child, by Clay and Sally Clarkson.

 

It gives you a layout, a design, a plan…to make your home “a heart-filling, rich, and lively learning environment where your children will love to learn as naturally as they love to play.”

HEIDI:  “Are you a speed reader?  Did you read the whole thing?  Can I read it when you’re finished with it?”

ME:  “You know that I can read quickly, but you won’t believe it, I’ve actually written in the margins of this book.”

[Her brow furrowed and comprehension was a bit slow.  We do not write in books unless they are consumable workbooks.  It is a firmly established momma-law, taught from the time my children are knee-high to a grasshopper.]

HEIDI:  “YOU wrote in the book?”

ME:  “I did.  I’m an adult and it is my book!  It is a high gloss paperback, but it is clearly non-consumable.  I’ve found myself wanting to savor it and digest it.  I’ve highlighted sentences and paragraphs!  I haven’t read the whole book, yet.  I’ve never lost sight of the destination, but this book has renewed my joy in the journey of homeschooling!  I’m not in a rush to read it,  just for the sake of reading it, I want to sort of meander along and absorb my surroundings.  At the moment, my youngest child is only 7 years old, so I don’t foresee being finished with this book any time soon.  You’ll want your own clean copy, anyway.  Put it on your Christmas list and I’ll see what I can do.”

HEIDI:  “That’s a nice thought, but I don’t know if I want to wait until Christmas, that’s 60 days away.  How much is it?”

ME:  “Sixty days, are you kidding me?  (Between the heart palpitations I’m thinking, where has the year gone!)  It’s going to be here in no time!  (Think peace, I think.  Don’t freak out!  Enjoy Thanksgiving, first, my brain tries to reassure me.)  Educating the WholeAHearted Child is $22.00.  It would be the best gift to get if you’re even considering homeschooling.

It has chapters pertaining to:  HOME, LEARNING, METHODS for Discipleship Studies, Disciplined Studies, The Study of Ideas, Discovery Studies and The Study of Living with an eye on your child’s Divine design and natural bent, and LIVING.

You can look up *https://apologia.securesites.net/pdfs/TOC/297.pdf to see the Table of Contents in detail,  and if you go to *https://apologia.secutesites.net/pdfs/sample/297.pdf you can view a sample of the entire 1st chapter.  You’ll notice there is additional information along the margins of the main text, Scripture references and notable quotes.  There’s even more in other chapters, throughout the book.  You’ll find answers to questions, like What about Socialization?  Information and statistics.  “…nearly 4 percent of the school-age population are homeschoolers.”  That’s  more than 2 million K-12 children in the U.S. that are homeschooled, which is considerably more than the estimated 30,000 when I began to homeschool.  There are recommended resources and suggested math tools, lists of good books and field trip tips and rules.

Starting in chapter two there are italicized notes, under the heading of IN OUR HOME.  Located at the bottom of a page, these snippets offer a glimpse into the Clarkson’s own home.  This is what you’ll read on page 217, “With all the baskets lying around our house, someone might think we like to shop at the local Farmers’ Market.  Except for one thing – they are all filled with books!  Next to just about every comfortable couch or overstuffed chair, there is a big can or wicker basket of fruits and vegetables for the mind.  The baskets were originally filled with random or topical selections of books (holiday, illustrated stories, heroes, preschool, etc.).  Later we turned them into personal reading – one for each child and one for library books.  We change the selection periodically with input from the children.  It’s so fulfilling to see our children grab books to read alone or together stretched out on the couch or stuffed into the overstuffed chair.  Now if we can just find a good Farmers’ Market for books.”  With all of their years of personal education, experience and accomplishments, Clay and Sally Clarkson seem very humble.  I didn’t find judgment or absolutes in this book.  I encountered an undeniable love of Christ, family, life and learning, and the desire to pass that on to anyone and everyone that will listen.

Oh, I almost forgot, there are also more than 15 essential, time-saving, record-keeping, organizational forms at the end of the book.  One of my favorites is the “My 24 Family ‘Ways to Be” – Godly Character” form.  The “Ways to Be” are from Our 24 Family Ways:  A Family Devotional Guide by Clay Clarkson from Whole Heart Press.  24 Character traits and their descriptions are listed and memorized.  They are all simply and clearly written, but we’ve been concentrating on three for the past few weeks.   #8  Forgiveness – Treating someone who has offended me as though I had never been hurt.  #18  Peacemaker – Finding a way to avoid or end a disagreement rather than to begin or win it.   #21  Integrity – Knowing what is right and living that way.

HEIDI:  “I don’t think you have to convince me.  I think it’s more of a decision of when, not if; so, if I decide that I can’t wait until Christmas for this book, or if I decide to give it to myself for Christmas, but at an earlier date, where can I find it?”

ME:  “Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. has a website at *https://apologia.securesites.net/ and you can find it there under apologia Press, Resources for Parents, along with Read for the Heart, another apologia book, by the Clarkson’s daughter, Sarah, that I reviewed this past May.”


or Contact:

Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc.

1106 Meridian Plaza Suite 220

Anderson, IN  46016  US

telephone – 888.524.4724

and

Questions or Comments for the Clarkson’s can be addressed to:

Whole Heart Ministries

P.O. Box 3445

Monument, CO  80132

email – www.wholeheart.org

telephone – 888.488.4466

ME:  “I’ll let you know, Heidi,  when I get my review posted and you can read my final thoughts about it then.  But, honestly, I suspect it’ll sound a lot like this conversation, shared straight from the heart.  I’ll attach a link to my crew mates reviews, too; so, you can read some other opinions.”

And so it is…

There’s little more to write for this review.  I think Educating the WholeHearted Child is a treasure chest full of God’s goodness, and every time I dip my hand into it, turn the page, I pull out another priceless gem.  I find it remarkable that this book has made such a defining impact on my life.  I trust God that His timing is perfect and this is the exact place of weariness that I needed it’s restorative power.  I am ever in awe of Him and His great love for me and the family that I adore.

Blessings,

 

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.

Your comments are most welcome.  Thanks. 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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May
27

A Beautiful Voice

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I’ve always been one to believe (or at least wish) that I could learn from others mistakes or that I might be blessed by embracing the how’s and why’s of another’s success.  As a parent of many children, multiple ages, I look at the lives of my finished  (using this word lightly, knowing we’re not done until we die) older ones; note their struggles or difficulties and wonder what I can do differently to help the younger ones avoid the same pitfalls.  I find extra strength in Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him (the devil) because of the blood of The Lamb (Jesus Christ) and because of the word of their testimony…”

 


Sarah Clarkson, is a former homeschool student.  She is now an adult author and blogger.   She has written Read for the Heart, published by Apologia Press; found under Resources for Parents.  It is a wonderful resource for every home school.  An outstanding book about – books.  But, more importantly to me, it is a resounding testimony; the how’s and why’s of another’s success, because Sarah is, in part, her parent’s success.  They raised her on good, whole, living books.  She shares vibrant memories of times spent together, reading aloud.  She has a passion for reading and for sharing the wonder of
“whole books for wholehearted families
,” through her writing.  She has a beautiful voice and I hope it will be heard by countless hearts.

 

 

 

 

384 pages – cover to cover.  Read for the Heart answers the questions:  What should my children read? and at what age?  It is a book I will refer to, time and again, which makes it, in my opinion, a valuable $17.00 investment.

 

Click cover for PDF Sample of Chapter 6 – The Golden Age Classics

 

 

Sarah coaxes, teaches, prompts and suggests ways to begin, to have a “Life by Books.” She gives a clear “Roadmap for Using This Book.” Then, she entices with Titles, Authors, Illustrators, Descriptions and more…

  • Picture Books
  • The Golden Age of Classics
  • Children’s Fiction
  • Fairy Tales and Fantasy
  • History and Biography
  • Spiritual Reading for Children
  • Poetry
  • Music, Art and Nature

 

There are more than 25 pages of Appendices:  Caldecott Medalists, Newbery Medalists, Historical Fiction by G.A. Henty, Landmark History Books, The Trailblazer Series, and A Few of My Favorite Things, such as:

 

Favorite Read-Alouds for the Whole Family

The Gold Thread by Norman Macleod

The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

and…

Favorites for Girls

Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

and…

Favorites for Boys

The Little Britches series by Ralph Moody

The Story of King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle

and…

Favorite Audiobooks

Rainbow Valley by Lucy Maud Montgomery (read by Nadia May)

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (Focus on the Family Radio Theatre)

 

Sarah Clarkson writes, “As I have considered the many wonderful reasons to read, a steady progression of scenes from my childhood has come to my mind, each one a poignant portrait of a reading life. One by one, these scenes remind me of the reasons I read:  for a wakened heart, a strong mind, and a steadfast soul. This book will help you discover how great stories can form the lives of your children – how books can be powerful companions and teachers that will spur your children’s hearts and minds to life.”

 

Contact Sarah – email – storyformed@gmail.com

or her blogThoroughlyalive.com

 


Click logo for website

 

Contact Apologia:

phone 888.524.4724

or writeApologia Educational Ministries

1106 Meridian Plaza Suite 220

Anderson, IN  46016  US

 

Click The Crew header and read additional reviews of Read for the Heart.

 

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

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.

 

Thank you…

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Comments (6)
May
23

All Together

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When I began schooling my children at home, over 25 years ago, there weren’t many, if any, school materials geared toward home use.  Public and private school text books were adapted, by parents/teachers to meet individual needs. We did a lot of that. It took extra time, but it was possible.  We also taught from every-day-living.  We still do a lot of that. A general, life-is-school and school-is-life; there’s-a-lesson-in-every-thing, approach.  I would find a scope and sequence for a specific grade level and then pull-in and organize various resources to build our curriculum each year.  I clearly remember using books published by Houghton Mifflin, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, Macmillan and Evan-Moor.  Eventually, we used Abeka Book and Bob Jones Press, but even those were originally written for private christian school use, and not homeschool.  There was so much busy-seat-work, because they were intended to keep a full classroom of student’s occupied.  Teacher’s editions weren’t available to the individual, either.  Everything had to be studied and done ahead of time, so answer keys could be written.  I am amazed and delighted at how far home education has come in the last 25 years!

Pearson Education is now the “world’s leading educational and professional publisher.”  You may recognize some of their brands:  Scott Foresman, Addison-Wesley, Prentice Hall, Longman, and many others.

 

Click logo to read history

 

Pearson is trusted and respected, drawing on a heritage that stretches back to 1725, when Thomas Longman published the first book, typeset by Benjamin Franklin.  They provide products, programs and services, in every subject, for PreK-20.

 

Click cover for pricing guide

 

I received the Scott Foresman, Social Studies – All Together, 1st Grade text book, for review.  It is high-gloss, hard-bound, with bold, brilliant, color pictures on every page!  It is not written for homeschool use, but it is a great supplement to any social studies curriculum.  Interestingly enough, I was not given a teacher’s edition or any of the additional teaching aids/tools that are available; so, it was just like the good-ole-days.  I had to pay attention to the text, as we read it, so that I, too, could correctly answer the review questions at the end of each unit.  My 6 year old thought it was so funny that I had to do the same work that she had to do!

All-Together teaches students “what it means to be citizens of this nation – that respect, caring, responsibility, fairness, courage, and honesty are the pillars that make us strong.”  In each unit, there are pages dedicated to Citizen Heroes, and on the upper right corner of the page, one of the six pillars is highlighted.  Because of the consistency of the layout, my daughter would go to that area of the page, first, to see which pillar we were about to read.

 

Citizen Heroes

 

The following companies, and others, are partners-in-education with Pearson:

 

 

 

Their contribution is evident in the content and format of the book –

 

Dorling Kindersley

 

 

 

 

 

You open the over-size book to find a full-color Social Studies Handbook.  My young student was drawn-in completely and couldn’t wait to discover what was on the next page and the next page and…

 

 

We did put a home spin on the units.  Most of them had a reference to school or the bus or the cafeteria, etc.  “Your cafeteria is too noisy.  Tell steps you would take to solve the problem.”  We talked about the noise of living in a big family; what noises we liked, which ones we’d rather not hear and how to get more of one and less of the other.  We also discussed what it might feel like to eat lunch with others that you might not know very well.  Everything was adaptable and useful as a teaching element, even if it wasn’t used exactly as the authors expected.  That is the beauty and flexibility of schooling at home, though, isn’t it.

 

 

Unit 1 – Time for School
Unit 2 – In My Community
Unit 3 – Work! Work! Work!
Unit 4 – Our Earth, Our Resources
Unit 5 – This is Our Country

 

 

 

Map and Globe Skills
Biographies
Songs and Poems
Chart and Graph Skills
Vocabulary
Atlas
Picture Glossary
History and more

 

 

 

“…God shed His grace on thee…”

“…one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

“Our country’s motto is ‘In God We Trust.”

 

This was actually the first thing I looked for – does Pearson Education keep God where our Founding Fathers placed Him, over our Nation?  I’m pleased to say that in Social Studies – All Together they certainly do.

 

The student edition of this book is $43.47.  There is also a teacher’s edition, workbook and answer key, planning guide, resource package, readers, map tools, video field trips and more. Please note that some items can only be purchased with PO or school credit card, which is not homeschool friendly.

 

Click graphic for companion site!

 

There is free access to a companion site:  with a Social Studies library (dictionary, encyclopedia, and almanac), Current Events (In the News and Time for Kids), an Atlas (world & U.S. geography, facts and tools); “This Day In History” (attaches a when to a what or who), “Meet the People” (people & biographies), and Activities (by state, grade level/book and unit).  This site is full of information, plus it’s fun and easy to navigate.  Free downloads at Symbols of America, too!

 

 

 

Contact:

phone:  1.800.848.9500

Pearson

K12 Customer Service

P.O. Box 2500

Lebanon, IN  46052

 

My mates at TOS reviewed Social Studies – All Altogether – 1st Grade, enVision Math – 1st Grade; Reading Street – 2nd Grade.  Click the banner below to read all about it!

 

 

Blessings,

 

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.

Thank you for your comments.  I appreciate YOU!


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May
16

“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

 

 

 

 

plus

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 –

 

 


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

877.492.8081 or email – contact@BrightIdeasPress.com

 

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.

 


 

Blessings,

 

 

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



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May
09

Mirror Images

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Monkey see, monkey do – with as many children as I’ve raised, and more that I’ve cared for, over the years – I know this is a fact.  Children, especially young ones, mirror the images and examples they see.  You do something often enough and your child will pick it up.  Children mimic what they hear.  Repeating the words and often even the tone.

It is also a fact that children that are read to, learn to read and have better comprehension than those that are not.  Did you know that “a one year old learns twice as fast as a three year old, and a three year old learns twice as fast as a five year old?”  Did you know that your baby can learn to read?

 

Intellectual Baby believes that “these early years represent a critical time in your baby’s life.  This is the absolutely best time to teach babies to read, introduce music, art, foreign languages, etc…”

Their top product line is the MonkiSee Program, developed by homeschooling mother of 6, Krista Guerrero.  It includes 30 minutes each, interactive, educational DVD’s, accompanied by books and flashcards that will help you teach your baby to read.

 

Click on the logo for a quick quiz to see if MonkiSee is right for you and your child.

 

MonkiSee DVD’s increase brain stimulation, boost IQ and strengthen the bond between you and your child as you participate in his/her learning.  They are easy and fun for children ages 3 months to 4 years old.  It is my experience that the Monki See Monki Doo theme song will stick in your head for days and become one of your child’s favorites.

Featuring two silly, brother monkeys, Howie and Skip, and utilizing catchy songs, poetry, puppets, real life children and animals, sound effects, written words (vocabulary) and spoken language (rhyming) – your child will be captivated by MonkiSee.  Krista, the author, recommends that “in order for babies and young children to get the most from these products, the video should be played daily, about 5 days a week, for a month or so.” 

I was given MonkiSee – Baby’s First Words DVD for this review.  After the third viewing I no longer had to prompt watching the DVD, my granddaughter asks for “monkey” everyday.  Her 4 month old brother hasn’t had much to say about it…yet  =) but after reading several testimonials I’m excited to see the results in the next year.

 

Baby’s First Words is generally for ages 3 months to 2 years.  Common, often used words are introduced, like mommy and daddy and my favorite, kiss, as well as describing body parts – head, arm, leg; nose… It helps a child to see and hear; identify and read their first 40 words.

 

 

Individual DVD’s are regularly $24.95, but they are on sale now for $19.95. Click the graphic above for Baby’s First Words.

 

 

You can purchase Know Your Monkey, paper cover book, for $9.95.  Click the graphic above to see books in the MonkiSee Program.

 


Baby Reading Kit 4 is the best value!  It includes: 

3 MonkiSee DVD’s

5 sets of MonkiSee oversize flashcards

1 guide to teaching babies to read

2 MemoFlix Video FlashCards DVD’s

with 80 categories and over 800 words

2 MonkiSee books

 

On sale now for $139.95, you save 45% – Click the graphic to read all about it. They guarantee complete satisfaction of products and will refund the full purchase price less the cost of shipping.

Contact:

877.505.5079 or 407.574.2886

 

Click Howie to review Frequently Asked Questions

 

Skip can take you to the Teaching Baby to Read Blog

 

My Crew Mates have posted their own MonkiSee reviews, and you can find them when you click on the graphic below.

 

 

Blessings,

 

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.

 


 


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Apr
20

10 Strawberries!

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I was born in the city, but while I was still in elementary school, just the thought of me in the local middle school had my mother moving our family to the country.  My birth certificate may say city, but my heart is pure country.

We got most of our vegetables from our own garden and often raised our own beef.  I know for a fact that we were poor, but I didn’t know it then.  I don’t ever remember being hungry.  We were well fed and well loved.

I should clarify though, that my mother’s version of well fed and mine are… different.

For instance, Ma didn’t like broccoli; so, we didn’t grow it and we didn’t eat it.  I seem to recall that we tried brussel sprouts one year – one time and not again.  Did you know, that based on research, if a food is served/eaten 10 times in a row – not just once – a child is more likely to develop a taste for it?  For dinner we ate a lot of home canned green beans, potatoes, tomatoes and corn, single or combo, beside a meat entree, with bread & butter as a filler.  Ma was a good cook.  The general thought was to make sure we had a decent start to our day, for school, and that we did not go to bed hungry.  I honestly don’t think she gave much consideration to balance, variety, color or even what our bodies might actually need to grow.

I, on the other hand, really like broccoli, and so do most of my children.  I remember reading a book by Raymond and Dorothy Moore, more than 15 years ago, that taught me, and therefore my family, that the largest meal of the day should be breakfast, followed by a medium lunch and a light dinner, giving everything plenty of time to digest over night.  My older children still remember getting up r.e.a.l.l.y. early, every day,  to eat a humongous breakfast, that took me hours to prepare.  Since we didn’t maintain it all of these years, my younger children have only heard stories, and occasionally seen hints of what I actually think is the best way to eat.  Over the years, I have researched and read many books looking for the best for my family.  Especially since my mother died nearly eight years ago from colon cancer.  I’ve learned much, consistently implemented some and passed on everything I could to my children, hoping they’ll do even better for theirs.  Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

I have not found anything like  Growing Healthy Homes – Nutrition 101:  Choose Life!

448 pages, 6 units of study divided into 4 chapters each and thoroughly covering anatomy & physiology, nutritional health and home economics.

  1. The Brain and Nervous System
  2. Digestion and Elimination
  3. Respiration and Olfactory
  4. Muscular and Skeletal Systems
  5. Cardiovascular and Immune Systems
  6. Endocrine System and Emotions

 

This is a Biblically based curriculum that explains the systems of our God-created bodies and the foods that are needed to assist them in their jobs.  The fact is:  our body is affected by what we eat. The authors remind us of a verse from III John, chapter 2, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”  It is their desire “to honor God by creating and distributing products that educate and empower His children to establish healthy, Christ-centered homes.”  Apart from creating and distributing products, their mission clearly mirrors mine for my family.

The amount of information that has been compiled in this book is unbelievable!  It can easily be used for the entire family, youngest child to adult; including high school credit.  There are activities, science projects, art projects, vocabulary, fun facts and at least 75 recipes.  Additional book suggestions, resources and discussion questions are listed at the end of each chapter and you’ll find 100 pages of charts, checklists and more.  The authors, homeschool mother Debra Raybern, N.D., M.H., C.N.C., I.C.A.; homeschool mother and researcher Sera Johnson, B.MU; mother and writer/editor Laura Hopkins, B.S.; and mother, grandmother and former Home Economics teacher Karen Hopkins, B.S., are gracious, wise and encouraging.

 

Click on the veggie picture to view a pdf Sample of Nutrition 101


The over-size, hard-bound, vibrantly colored book is beautiful!  (Yes, I love books, but, seriously, this one makes me feel rich just holding it in my hands.  And it takes both hands to hold it because it is big!)  It is $99.95.  There is a CD-Rom available for $79.95, but my favorite option is also the best value, the combo of both for $129.95.  I like having the book in my hands, and the flexibility to print the recipes and activities, with ease, from the download.  And… I get to offer you, my reader, a 15 % discount when you use coupon code TOScrew11 at checkout.

Growing Healthy Homes has other products you may be interested in:

Gentle Babies:  Essential Oils and Natural Remedies

Is There a Dr. Mom in Your House

The Raw Food Feast:  7 Days Through the Rainbow

 

Click Growing Healthy Homes logo, below, to follow their facebook page


Contact:

Address –

P.O. Box 3154

Bartlesville, OK  74006

Telephone –

918.841.2934

903.466.1564 (E. Texas)

832.298.1242 (S. Texas)

 

Growing  Healthy Homes – Nutrition 101:  Choosing Life! earns a 10 out of 10 Strawberries from our family.  We received the download and we have not completed it, yet.  Instead of printing and putting it into a large, cumbersome notebook, I am printing one unit at a time and putting each in a small, titled notebook.  I like it! and I have no doubt we will use it for years.

 

As always, you can find additional reviews, by my crew members, when you click on the TOS banner below.


Blessings,

 

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.

 


 

 

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Feb
18

Creating an Eager Reader

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*Reluctant – not eager; unwilling; disinclined

*Reader – one that reads

*Solution – the answer to or disposition of a problem

There are nearly 400,000 books published each year in the United States and the United Kingdom, combined.  I love to read.  I want my children to want to read.  I want them to wonder what is written between the covers of some of those books; I want them to pick one up themselves and discover, on their own, whether or not it is something they’re interested in reading.  Kid Scoop is the answer for the disinclined, less than eager and occasionally, downright unwilling reader.

Kid Scoop:  Reluctant Reader Solution is designed to “spark your child’s own interest in reading.”  There are two parts to the Solution:

  1. 12 full-color issues of Kid Scoop News online magazine and
  2. 365 PDF formatted worksheets

Online correlates with the printed pages and keeps the child interested.  Simply, the more a child practices reading, the better they get at it and the more they want to do it.  Vicki Whiting, the creator of Kid Scoop has put together text and activities that have kid-appeal!

Each issue of Kid Scoop News has:

  • games
  • puzzles
  • experiments
  • pictures
  • news-worthy kid profiles
  • relating to –
  • current events
  • the natural world and
  • holiday observances

Then, print a page-a-day, every-day, worksheet that corresponds and reinforces the content.  Topics include:

  • Valentine Fitness
  • Bigfoot
  • Easter
  • Wangari Maathai
  • Orcas
  • Memorial Day
  • Constitution Day
  • Bubble Gum
  • Kitchen Creativity and
  • Clay Play

These were great car activities.  I knew we were still on task, and they just enjoyed having something fun to occupy their time.

Reluctant Reader Solution is “guaranteed to improve your child’s reading ability.”  It has been proven time and again and Kid Scoop stands behind it with a risk-free, 365-day Unconditional Money-Back Guarantee. Less than 40 cents a day.  $97 for one year.

Kid Scoop also has an engaging website for kids and an email newsletter for parents.   Sign up for the newsletter and in the first 30 days you’ll get 30 whiz-bang exercises and ideas to make reading and learning a blast!

[1 of 30 Days] Pack Up For Adventure

Pretend you have been asked to go on an adventure.  Your mission is to explore a new place and you will be away for a month.  Look through the newspaper for things you would like to take with you.  Make a list of the things you will pack – they must all be found in the newspaper!


Check in with my TOS Crew Mates for additional reviews of Kid Scoop:  Reluctant Reader Solution.

Contact Kid Scoop~

email:  thescoop@kidscoop.com

telephone:  707.996.6077

Kid Scoop

P.O. Box 1802

Sonoma, CA  95476

Facebook Page

I was given Reluctant Reader Solution to use and review.  In a short time, my child has gone from reluctant reader to eager reader, and I’m betting we’ll reach enthusiastic before the year is over!

Blessings,

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 value the gift of your comment.  Thank you.

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