Archive for reading

Oct
21

Reformation Day Giveaway

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For many, October 31st is known as “Reformation Day,” and Martin Luther, with his shaking of the church of his time, as the “Father of the Reformation.” The date acknowledges Luther’s nailing his ninety-five theses to a church door on October 31, 1517 in Wittenburg, Germany; and becoming a major catalyst in what we now historically call the Protestant Reformation.

We would do well to recall The Five Solas (Latin phrases) that emerged during the Reformation. These should essentially underlay Christianity:

  1. Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
  2. Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
  3. Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
  4. Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
  5. Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.

Giving our children a firm foundation in their faith is vitally important. Danika Cooley has been lauded as “an engaging writer of children’s literature, she is a careful and winsome theologian.” I am excited to be reading her latest book, When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther, and it will soon be available to you. (You can actually pre-order it now from Amazon at a sweet discount.) To celebrate Reformation Day and the release of When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther, I’ve joined together with a team of blogger friends to host a fantastic giveaway, valued at over $500!

 

Reformation Day Giveaway

One person will win ALL of the following:

$100 Amazon Gift Card

Fire 7-inch Tablet, WiFi 8GB ($49.99)

When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther (hardcover $16.99)

From WiseDecor.com, a $50 Gift Certificate

From Nuremberg Tourist Board, a Playmobil Martin Luther figure ($9.99)

From Thinking Kids Press, a curriculum bundle from When Lightning Struck! author, Danika Cooley:

From Fortress Press, a book bundle by author, Tim Dowley:

  1. Christian Music: A Global History  ($35)
  2. Introduction to the History of Christianity: Second Edition ($55)
  3. The Student Bible Atlas: Revised Edition  ($12.99)
  4. Atlas of the European Reformations ($24)

From Home School Adventure Co.:

  1. Philosophy Adventure: Pre-Socratics (digital $39.95)
  2. Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal (digital $18.95)

 

*To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter below.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:
This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winners will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prizes or another winner will be drawn. Entry into this giveaway will subscribe you to the Thinking Kids Press email list.

Blessings,

Penny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aug
02

The Homegrown Preschooler ~ A TOS Review

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Gryphon House is an exceptional publisher of educational resource books for teachers and parents, public school and homeschool, young children; and administrators.  Their website is easy to navigate and stimulating.  There are hundreds of free activities available for you and your child!

 

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As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I recently had the opportunity to read The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live.  The title might be used to describe how I raised my own children; but with my youngest firmly in elementary school now, I was looking for encouragement and direction as I consider teaching other preschoolers from the same homegrown bent.  This book is just what I was looking for!

 

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The authors, Kathy Lee and Leslie Richards, are mothers of several children, birthed and adopted; including gifted and special needs.  They have years of education and hands-on experience between the two of them, and their book is beautifully compiled.  A large, 81/2″x 11″, high gloss paperback, it is bold, colorful, inviting; and full of life.  With the family pictures and personal anecdotes generously scattered throughout the book, by the end of it, I felt like I had shared conversations and special moments with wonderful, trusted friends.

From their intros, they had my attention. Kathy Lee says, “Children who experience their preschool years discovering and experiencing are more willing to take risks later in their education journey.”  I didn’t previously know this, so within the first few pages I gained valuable information.  Then, Leslie said, “. . . much of learning can be done within the everyday rhythm of life — measuring flour, skip counting on the trampoline, bringing a meal to a shut-in, writing letters to friends, participating in interesting conversations about big ideas,” and I was reminded of what I do know; and I found encouragement.

The Homegrown Preschooler is divided into 2 sections:

Chapters 1 – 9 help you understand why and how to educate your child/ren at home, giving them a foundation for life-long learning.

Homeschooling – Harvesting a Bountiful Life

Learning through Play

Sowing the Seeds – Preschool Learning

Setting the Stage

Home Life = Learning — Slow Down and Teach

Who Has Time for This?

Organizing It All

Days and Seasons That Don’t Fit in the Box

and

Special Circumstances.

The second section is nearly 100 pages, with at least 200 “easy-to-pull-together”, age appropriate Activities to prepare your child for kindergarten and beyond.  Promoting a healthy educational balance for –

Home Life

Science

Gross Motor

Fine Motor

Math

Language & Emergent Literacy

Art

and Social – Emotional skills.

An Appendix includes an Activity Checklist, Getting Started Checklist; and pages of Resources, with web sites, books, blogs and apps to lend a hand, instruct and encourage you along the way.  They share all their favorites!

I tried recipes, for food and play.  There are dozens of them throughout the book.  I’ve made ordinary finger paints and play dough before, but I’d never made clean mud or puffy paint!  The make-ahead Turkey Taco Pie is easy.  The recipe makes a lot, so it can be divided and frozen for extra pies, but it is actually perfect for my large family.  It tastes good, too!  I hone in on housekeeping and organizational tips, because the Lord knows I can use as much help in that department as I can get.  There are so many good ideas here — some I’ve had myself, implemented and forgotten, or simply slacked off on, and I’ve read them as gentle reminders; others are brand new, and more than once I’ve thought, “Duh, why didn’t I think of that!”  For example, we have wood floors and I taught my children how to sweep and mop them.  How much more fun is it to have “The Clean Floor Dance Party: This often dreaded chore will become one of your favorites! Provide your child with a pair of white tube socks and a spray bottle of white vinegar and water. Encourage your child to squirt the hard floor with the vinegar solution. Put on your favorite dance music. Dance and skate around on the floor until it is shiny!”   Clean floor, lots of fun and laughter, plus, with the amount of floor we have, this gets everyone’s heart rate up and counts as cardiovascular exercise, or PE, too!

I have no doubt, I will continue to use this book, digging into its riches.  At $29.95, it’s a treasure I can share with my daughters who are just beginning to teach my preschool grandchildren.  The Homegrown Preschooler is much more articulate than I am and I think it will be one of the best tools I can offer them for their journey.

My Crew mates had the choice of reviewing this same book or one titled, Global Art.  You can read their reviews when you click the graphic below and follow the link.

 

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Blessings,

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Disclaimer*   I received The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live, 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.

 

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Thank you for your comments.  I enjoy hearing from you!

 

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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Jul
22

25 Truths: Life Principles. . . A TOS Review

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25 Truths: Life Principles of the Happiest and Most Successful Among Usby Ed Douglasfrom Ed Douglas Publicationshas the potential to be a powerful tool in anyone’s life, when it is read and consistently applied.

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It is a small, paperback book, just 5″X7″ and 150 pages.  It contains more than ideas, theories or mere possibilities, though. Written on these pages are proven life experiences, and principles of successful living.

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Each chapter title is a truth, life principle; followed by a famous, relative quote or scripture reference.  Mr. Douglas then shares a story of life experience, from his own life, the life of someone he’s known; or an historical account, to expound on and reinforce the importance of each of the 25 Truths.  There is a brief Summary and Workshop of discussion questions included at the end of every chapter. The chapters are a clear and concise 3 – 5 pages max, teaching on character & values, interaction with others, faith, family, health & happiness; and more.

Basically written for 6th – 12th graders, I chose to use it with my children and grandchildren, ages 8 – 14. When I knew my grandchildren were going to be spending their summer vacation camping with us, I decided I would use 25 Truths:  Life Principles of the Happiest and Most Successful Among Us, as our daily devotional.  I read it to them in the morning, at lunchtime, or winding down before bed.  I would read one of the Truths and the discussion questions that accompany it, to myself, ahead of time.  That took a whole 3 – 4 minutes!  Then, we’d gather around the camp fire, start with prayer; and I’d read aloud.  I used the discussion questions to help guide me and ensure I covered all the key points, but I chose to stop reading at different places throughout the text, and ask questions that would prompt sharing; instead of using them exclusively at the end of the chapter.  We “chased a few rabbits,” as they say, and “got off on a tangent or two,” because of this decision, but the book definitely facilitated a good, open discussion between us.  After we wrapped up our lesson, we’d close in prayer, asking God to bring the Truth to mind and help us live it out.  It was a focused 15 – 20 minutes, once a day, using it this way.  I think we all enjoyed the time and I expect it will have long lasting rewards.  More than once during our days together, one or another would reference one of the Truths we had studied, as a way of accountability, in casual conversation, when they thought of another personal story that connected to something they remembered; or with pop quizzes to see who could name the most Truths. It was apparent they were thinking about the 25 Truths, even when we weren’t studying them.

I’m going to assign this little gem of a book to my high school age children this coming year.  Because it’s based on a sound, Christian world view, I believe it will make a great study of character values.  They can read it themselves, and answer the discussion questions in writing.

I think the positive reinforcements and benefits of Ed Douglas’ 25 Truths is worth more than $12.50, but I appreciate the price, because it’s affordable to purchase as a gift, also.

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

Ed Douglas Publications

2109 Oaklawn

Chillicothe, MO  64601

In addition, several of my Crew mates have written reviews of 25 Truths: Life Principles of the Happiest and Most Successful Among Us, and you can find them when you click the banner below and follow the link.

 

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“It is my belief,” writes Ed Douglas, “that understanding and practicing these truths can help put the “man” together one person at a time so that, together, we can help the world fall into place.”  I’m willing to do my part. . .

Blessings,

pk_siggy-red1

 

Disclaimer*   I received the book, 25 Truths, 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.

 

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Thank you for your comments.  I enjoy hearing from you!

 

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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Apr
28

A Top Ten List – What I Like To Do

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Puddle Jumping - KneeDeep

Here’s a little something about me.

A list of ten things I like to do, in no particular order:

 

  • Write.  That’s why I’m here on this page.  I like to write stories, poems, songs; and random blog posts!  Writing down characters, plots, and lyrics; that often weave their way through my brain, helps me focus my thoughts and make room for other things.
  • Draw.  I have been doing this for as long as I can remember.  Holding a pencil in my hand feels as natural as breathing.  I like drawing from my imagination — abstract ideas and cartoons; and I like drawing things that I see around me — people, landscapes, and still life.
  • Paint.  Watercolor is one of my favorite mediums.  I find it relaxing and challenging at the same time.  I was a color-inside-the-lines kind of kid, and painting with watercolors coaxes me outside of the box; and sort of forces me to go with the flow.

 

Watercolor by S.E.Koshiol

  • Read.  I can’t think of a genre I don’t like.  I like both fiction and non-fiction — historical, fantasy, Christian romance, mystery and thriller, short stories; and poetry.  I also like reading The Bible.  I read nearly anytime and anywhere I can!  I’m afraid I may never be able to express the endless happiness that reading gives me.
  • Spend time with my family.  I couldn’t ask for better people in my life.  My family is so much fun!  Whether we are on a Sunday drive, hiking, looking for adventure; or just hanging out, talking, laughing, and playing games — we enjoy each others company.
  • Camp.  This is another great family activity!  We generally pitch tents and sleep on the ground in sleeping bags.  We’ve camped in the summer heat and the frozen cold of a spring day that was still too close to winter’s breath.  I like the great outdoors, camp fires and s’mores, lying under the stars at night; and soaking up every wonder of God’s creation.
  • Sing.  I like to sing, but I don’t like to perform.  I like to sing spontaneously, around the house and in the car.  I like the sound of blending my voice with my mom’s and dad’s, and/or sibling’s voices, whether we’re praising God; or goofing off with our favorite tunes. 

 

As I read over this list, seeing my favorite likes in one place, I realize how thankful I am that God has allowed me to do so many things.  My family has never had a lot of money, but clearly The Lord has blessed me abundantly.

I’d love to hear what you like to do.  If you share your list in the comments below,  I’ll be sure to read them!  Thanks.

 

Warmly,

Sarah E.

 

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

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Apr
01

40 Days Without TV

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Today is the first of 40 days without TV in my house.  It’s been years since we’ve not had TV.  I used to be able to say that  it had been years since we watched TV.  At one point, we had been without TV, by choice, for more years than we had had one.  We decided to get Basic Cable connected to keep up with the Presidential election, for Government & Economics class, at the beginning of 2008; and we’ve had it since then.  Ugh!  It’s not that our program choices are bad, poor, or even questionable, usually.  It just seems to be a robber of time, imagination, and interaction.

Presently, this is an experiment.  We are observing each other and asking the questions of ourselves, “How is my life affected, negatively or positively, without TV?” and “What changes do I see, in myself or others?”  I’ve noticed a few bad habits that have taken up residence over the years, but I have every expectation that they’ll be so malnourished during this time that they’ll slip away into non-existence.  “May I finish this show while I’m eating? It’s educational.”  “Instead of a story tonight, maybe we could watch a short movie?”  “I started watching this with everyone and it’ll be over in half an hour, do I have to go to bed on time?”  “It’s too cold, too wet or too hot; and it takes too much energy to be outside.  I’d rather watch TV for a few minutes.”  I want to re-establish good habits, and the desire for them.

Not nearly enough reading, drawing, and creativity has been going on around here lately.  My aim is to bring attention, once again, to what we’re missing when we spend more time watching how something is made, instead of making something ourselves; or watching someone else sing, praise, pray, or dig into The Word, instead of purposefully hiding God’s Word in our own heart.  We watch someone prepare a gourmet meal on The Cooking Channel, but end up with take-out pizza because we were sitting, watching TV instead of grocery shopping.  Ugh!  It’s my intention to see this thief eradicated, and balance restored.  I want my family engaged in living their own life, instead of watching others live theirs.  I want to re-establish good habits, and the desire for them.

 

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How do you maintain balance in your home?  I’ll let you know how this works for us.

Blessings,

pk_siggy-orange

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

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Mar
24

First Steps In the Write Direction

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Puddle Jumping - KneeDeep

 

The library is one of my favorite places in the world!  Just thinking about the endless stories, and the amount of knowledge that can be obtained there, makes me smile like a little kid who gets her ice cream before dinner.  Sometimes, when I hear we’re going to the library, I have to stop myself from jumping up and down in excitement and anticipation.  Technology today allows us to read digitally, almost anywhere.  I have a Kindle and it’s wonderful, but it’s not like holding a real book in your hands, flipping through the pages; and smelling the paper.  If imagination had a smell, it would smell like books!

 

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When I walk by the shelves of beautifully organized words, I can nearly hear them scream, “Read me!”  I can pick up a book, open its cover; and be transported to another time and place.  I can explore someone else’s mind, view life through their eyes, live their adventures; or follow their dreams with them.  I have a passion for reading and it has been poured into me, drop by drop, word by word by my mother.

I have sweet memories of being younger, sitting with my mom and listening to her read aloud.  Evenings were spent with Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, the classic Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, the compelling Orphan Train Adventures as told by Joan Lowery Nixon; and many other stories.  I would snuggle close to the nearest sibling, close my eyes; and let the words make pictures in my mind.

My cultivated zeal for words and reading has blossomed into an aspiration for writing.  The pleasure I got from reading books as a child, like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, or Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham, induces me to write children’s stories now that I hope will ignite similar feelings in a young one.  I am inspired by the writings of Francine Rivers, Terri Blackstock, and Frank Peretti.  I might contemplate writing for adults, but it will take some coaxing.  I am sure of two things: I will be an author, and I’ll  share the truth of God’s love with others; glorifying Him.

I want the words that I put down on paper to draw people to God  I don’t want them to be wasted.  When I was little, my dad would come into our room at night, pray with us and tell us a bedtime story.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him weave his tales of faith, humor, adventure, fantasy; or every day life.  I wanted to grow up to do that, too; and my parents have encouraged me all along the way.  I am a story teller at heart.

I believe I know the direction God would have me go, so I am setting aside the fears of failure and rejection that I have let hold me back.  I am stepping out of my comfort zone and writing a guest post, every Sunday, on this blogNo doubt, I’ll be Puddle Jumping, because I have crazy, random thoughts sometimes; but I hope you’ll follow me as I take my first steps in the write direction.

Warmly,
 
Sarah E.

 

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Oct
22

Going BACK to School

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No doubt, I am one of thousands of stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs) that have looked into various ways to add income into their household, while staying at home on a daily basis raising my young children.  No doubt, the state of our U.S. economy and the current rate of unemployment has encouraged many people to go back to school for training that might make them more employable upon graduation.

National Tax Training School is “the nation’s only nationally accredited correspondence school specializing in tax training…”  It is “a comprehensive tax course – especially developed for home study.”

 

 

I am currently enrolled in the Federal Income Tax Course. The “objectives of this course are that on its completion, the student will be:

– Able to define and show an understanding for the tax terminology used on federal tax returns and be

– Familiar with the tax laws required to successfully gather the documentation and information necessary to prepare individual tax returns.”

After I complete this course with a passing grade, I should have the knowledge I need to take the IRS Registered Tax Preparer (RTRP) Exam.  Once I pass that exam, I can more easily do my own tax returns, work for a company preparing tax returns for other individuals or small businesses; or even start my own tax practice!  I am on schedule to complete this course the beginning of 2013, so I probably won’t be established on time to work through the upcoming tax season and that’s a disappointment; but I’m excited about my future possibilities.

It has been many years since I was in school and my greatest challenge with the Federal Income Tax Course has been setting and maintaining a consistent time for my personal study.  I teach and I study to prepare to teach, but I haven’t been back to school for 30 years.  In my enthusiasm, I had hoped to earn my Certificate of Graduation in the 8 – 10 week time frame that many students follow; but I quickly realized it wasn’t feasible for me.  Although the material is written in non-technical language, making it fairly easy to understand, it still takes me 2 – 3 readings sometimes to feel like it’s clear.  I don’t want to miss a thing!  Needless to say, this has extended the suggested 8 hours of study time per lesson to an intensive 12 hours on occasion.  I do appreciate the fact though, that any “subject material that is irrelevant or of rare application has been omitted,” giving me the core of what I need to succeed in the least amount of time.  I’m grateful that ultimately students are given a whole year to complete the course, if necessary.

Shortly after I enrolled in the Federal Income Tax Course, everything I needed to begin was delivered to my home in a big, heavy box.  They are working toward having the entire course available online, and actually have the first 17 lesson modules, self-assessments and Unit Exams complete.  I haven’t used the online version, yet, but I have browsed it enough to see that it mirrors the contents of the physical course I have.  I think I’ll definitely use it to submit my Exams.

Your Enrollment Fee covers and includes:

– The Complete Text Material, in an overwhelming 3 inch binder.  It is a clearly written, step-by-step text with practical examples, real-life illustrations and sample computations over 20 in-depth lessons.

Self-Check Practice Problems allow you to pre-test yourself before your Unit Exam.

Examination Problems are open-book check-ups of the knowledge gained.

Instruction & Grading Service.  Completed Exams are mailed to NTTS where they are reviewed and graded, corrected and commented on by an instructor if needed.

Practical Case Studies.  You can practice and test what you’re learning using real-life case studies.

Building and Operating a Successful Tax Practice Book is nearly 300 pages of How-To set-up and efficiently run a profitable, professional tax practice.

Reference Book – The RIA Federal Tax Handbook, more than 800 pages, divided into 5059 numbered paragraphs; that answer tax questions and resolve tax problems that may arise when preparing federal tax returns.

A Graduation Certificate marking successful completion of the course.

And Postgraduate Services.  You are assigned an experienced expert in accounting and tax preparation procedures throughout your course and after completion for a period time designated by your choice of enrollment options.

No previous accounting, bookkeeping or tax knowledge is needed to take this course.  It “has been designed to give the student a clear picture of the over-all tax structure” and working knowledge of tax laws and procedures, not just the mechanics of filling-in-the-lines of a tax form.  The student is taught the reason-why behind the regulations, etc.  Because of this, I definitely feel like I have a better understanding and retention of the material.

National Tax Training School has been teaching and exclusively training tax preparers since 1952.  I have the utmost confidence in them and I’m actually looking forward to tax season!  I think the $495 enrollment fee is a good value and investment for my future.

If you have questions or comments you can contact  National Tax Training School through their informative, easy-to-navigate website.

Several of my Crew mates have had the opportunity to use the Federal Income Tax Course and you can read their reviews when you click on the banner below.

I’m hoping this course will be the answer to some of our financial needs.  I’ll let you know how it’s going as I continue to study.

Blessings,

Disclaimer*   I received a copy of this course 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.

 

 

 

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Oct
10

What’s Black and White, and…

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What’s black and white and red all over?  Remember this one?  Okay, so it’s really what’s black and white and read all over?  A newspaper, of course!

What’s blue and red and eats rocks?  That’s simple.  A blue-and-red-rock-eater!  Now, what’s pink and green and eats rocks?  A pink-and-green-rock-eater, you say.  No way, I say, they only come in blue and red!

What’s fun, educational, motivating, interactive; and affordable?  No riddle here, it’s ZooWhiz!   The “online, curriculum based motivational learning system” with more than 17,000 educational activities for children ages 5 to 15.  Affordable?  Yes!  It’s Free, with a limited Keeper Account!

 

 

Want a Free Keeper Account?  Follow the Keeper Account link above, click Create a Free Keeper on the bottom left; and let your child choose a [Zoo] Keeper from a variety of pre-designed avatars.  These are all they have to choose from, at the moment, but my kids are hoping they’ll have a little more freedom in the future to design their own avatar Keeper.

 

Choose a Keeper

 

Once they’ve chosen their Keeper they sign in with their first name, or a code name if they’re anything like my son, and a parent’s email address to get permission to use ZooWhiz.  You can then use that same email to create a Free Parent Management Account, which will be connected to your child’s account; giving you the ability to keep up with his progress.

ZooWhiz is lively and engaging, with graphics that are bright, crisp; and bursting with energy!

Learn and Earn generates activities that move your child to practice math, reading, grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, spelling; and phonics according to the Age Floor you select for him, and earning coins for every correct answer given.  Two chances.  Answer the question correctly on the first try and you earn 20 coins.  If you miss it and try again you’ll still earn 10 coins with a correct answer.  Miss the answer and 10 coins are taken away and the correct answer is supplied.

The coins can then be spent in the Arcade, on games, or in the Biodome at the Zoo Animal Shop.  Keepers can choose from and collect many different animals, viewing them and learning more about them from a detailed flash-card-type graphic My children choose animal collecting 9 times out of 10, over playing games in the Arcade, and it is the highlight of the ZooWhiz online program!  It should be noted though, that the website says, “Create a Free Keeper Account and start building your very own zoo.”  This idea is compounded when you select the Biodome tab under Information for Kids, the opening tagline reads, “Enter the Biodome to choose your animals and build your very own zoo.”  As Keepers students build collections of animals, but there is no Zoo to build.  There is no place to organize or view the animals in a zoo-like setting, and there is no visiting or care giving.  My students, ages 8, 11, and 14, were all truly disappointed in this aspect of the program.  Milestones keeps track of student progress, and seeing progress is something we all need!

 

Click the graphic to see a full Animal List

~

  ZooWhiz is all about “reinforcing learning and rewarding effort!”

My 8-year-old says it is all about “fun, fun, fun!”

 

 

When you discover, as I did, that ZooWhiz is an outstanding supplement to your current curriculum, you can choose to upgrade to a Premium Zoologist AccountCurrently, a 1-year subscription is just $14.95.  Seriously.  I don’t know how long this dramatic savings will be available, but what-a-deal compared to the regular price of $59.95!  The Premium Zoologist Account entitles you, as the parent, to more management, anytime access; and detailed customization to your child’s age or learning pace.  The Premium Kid’s Account opens more games and an exciting choice of animals to collect, including rare, endangered, dinosaurs and mythological creatures.  My son earned and saved 5000 coins to add a Sasquatch to his collection!  That’s a lot of learning and this seems like an ideal place to slip in a “well done, Son!”

~

ZooWhiz has a website full of information.

I included several links to it throughout this post and I hope you’ll make use of them.

You can email your Questions and Comments through the Contact link,

or if you’re in the United States call – 1.866.215.4620.

You can also write to:  P.O. Box 658, Armidale, NSW, 2350, Australia;

or instantly connect on facebook.


My Crew mates are eager to share their ZooWhiz experiences with you, too.

You can read their reviews when you click the banner below and follow the link to the

Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   I received 1 year access to a ZooWhiz Premium Zoologist Account, for three of my children, 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.

 

 

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Oct
05

A Box of Ideas

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You might remember that I have an affection for Unit Studies.  The Unit Study Method of teaching allows me to incorporate every aspect of my focus topic, covering many subjects.  This method usually allows for a lot of hands-on learning, and often improves my child’s ability to transfer skills they learn during school to real-life situations.  Where do you get the ideas for activities that will enhance your student’s learning?  I might talk to another parent/teacher that has experience or an expressed interest in the theme of our study.  I have several home resources, an exceptional local library; and access to an array of online resources.  I have a standard bag-of-tricks, but my latest discovery is Box of IDEAs

 

 

 

There are not many boxes available, yet; but the future potential is great!  Designed for ages 9 – 16, with the flexibility for use with even younger or older students, each Box of I.D.E.As. is filled with topic-focused activities and information.  There are at least 10 modules per box that might include games, puzzles, portfolio pages, experiments and explorations, well researched web-links; and more.  All of the activities in the box are complete, but if any additional supplies are needed, like a pencil, they are listed on the module label and can be acquired before the module is even opened.

Presently, there is a Box of I.D.E.As. for World War Two, SALT, Laundry, Quilting; and the number Eleven, with Olives, Pine, and Cemeteries coming soon.  Supplementing our current study of Early America, the SALT Box of IDEAs fit well into our schedule.  The branch of interest I pursued was early means of food preservation, and there’s a module for that – Preserving with SaltAfter introducing the topic into our curriculum, I let the box of modules lead the way.  The “SALT Box of I.D.E.As. is a comprehensive look at salt and how it has helped shape history, nourish our bodies; and even build and destroy empires.”  We were prompted to dig into History, Geography, Science, Language, and Political Systems; while using math, reading, writing, and critical thinking skills among others.

Contents of the SALT Box of I.D.E.As.

The single most difficult thing about using Box of IDEAs was choosing which module to start with first!  So, I read the label on each module bag: Title, Contents, Materials Needed, and Related Quote; and pulled out the one that “struck my fancy.”

The Wall That Salt Built – “While most people know of the Great Wall of China, most people don’t realize that it was essentially paid for by salt.”

Salt of the Earth – “Although, most of the world’s salt comes from the US and China, there are salt producers in many countries around the world.”

Very Salty – “A plethora of hypersaline lakes exist all over the world.”

Need for Salt – “For human and non-human alike, if we didn’t have salt, we would cease to live.”

Nelson Mandela quote ~ “Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.”

Producing Salt – “Finding Salt – It is something we see and possibly use every single day, but where does it come from?”

Science of Salt – “Salt is the combination of two elements – both somewhat volatile.”

Preserving with Salt – “Pre-dating the birth of Christ, salt has been utilized to make food safe for future use through preservation.”

The Game of Preservation by Salt

Salt Peppers Our Words – “Salt provides the root for many commonly used words that proliferate still today.” The Salt March – “In March of 1930, Mahatma Ghandi chose to protest, peacefully, the salt tax.”

The History of Salt – “Salt has had a profound influence on human civilization from the beginning and in all parts of the world.”

(45) 2″X3″ Salt Timeline Cards, initially used with the Salt Chronology Game

This is one of the simplest systems I’ve ever used!  I could easily assign a module to one of my middle school or high school students for independent work.  Just take the module bag out of the box and begin.  I gather pencils and make copies of the portfolio page for each of my children participating in the activity.  I also have notebook paper available for copywork and expository writing.  I read the printed material out loud and we discuss the content.  Portfolio pages record lab results, ask fill-in-the-blank questions; and prompt essay writing, etc.  Each module includes a list of 3-4 Extensions that encourage delving deeper into the topic.  The Extension activities are varied and I tend to choose two out of a list.

Here are five of over 30 Extensions suggested:

  • Find references in The Bible to salt.  It is mentioned approximately 30 times, see how many you can find and make a list.
  • Watch the 1982 movie “Ghandi” which chronicles Ghandi’s life and fight for Indian independence.
  • Make your own solar evaporator using household items…
  • What happens if a person eats too much salt?  Set up an appointment with a nutritionist or dietician to talk about salt in your diet.
  • Pick one of the top salt producers and find out how much revenue salt production brings to that country.

 

As time allows, I have the older students follow selected Web-Links for additional reading and oral presentation.  I make age appropriate writing assignments to be done after we close the module.  We normally wrap-up with one of the games or card activities included in the Box of IDEAs.

~

Box of I.D.E.As. and their complete learning modules are an outstanding benefit to our homeschool, aiding in the retention and recollection of the topic matter covered.  I think it is a good value in the combination of physical materials supplied and the time saved with immediate access to the thorough research that’s already been done.  A physical Box of I.D.E.As. is $79 and printable PDF format is $49.

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

Call – 333.506.9411

or

Write –

Box of IDEAs  LLC

7115 West Calla Road

Canfield, OH  44406

and

follow on facebook

 

 

My Crew mates have written reviews of two of the current boxes that are available from Box of I.D.E.As.SALT and World War Two – Pearl Harbor.   Click the banner below to read their well expressed opinions.

 

 

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   I received the physical SALT Box of I.D.E.As., 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.

 

 

 

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Sep
24

Let Me Introduce You to Hope

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Ahhh…reading!  Just the thought of a good book makes me smile.  It has been some time since I’ve been able to stow away and read a book just for the pleasure of reading a book.  My favorite type of story is one that carries me away to another place and time, a period piece, with golden threads of history woven through it.  These are not easy books to write.  An author will often spend a lot of time reading and researching their subject before they can even begin to put pen to paper, because most readers expect the historical account to be accurate; especially if it is a time or place that is familiar to them.

I recently found Hope.  She is a promising young author, published by Great Waters Press

 

 

The chief publishers of Great Waters Press are Hal & Melanie Young, the authors of a 2011 Book of the Year – Raising Real Men.  Hope’s first book, Book One of The Promised Land, is titled A Cry From Egypt.  It is written for ages 8 and up, and it is a superlative first effort!

Hope has researched Ancient Egypt for several years.  Her interest was kindled when she was 13 years old and her family was studying it.  Have you ever wondered how it would have been to live in Egypt during the time of the devastating plagues and the Hebrew slaves being set free?  What it would have been like to experience The Promised Land, first-hand?  Author Hope Auer has brought a cast of characters to life from this time, using her knowledge of Ancient Egypt, the few facts that are recorded about this period; and the Biblical account.  She takes no liberties with Scripture and maintains historical accuracy, while telling a fascinating story as it is lived by a 12 year old slave girl, Jarah, her family and friends.

 

 

A Cry From Egypt is set around the time of events beginning in the seventh chapter of the book of Exodus, through the 10 plagues on Egypt; and culminating with chapter 12 –

 

“…I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood.”

“…I will plague your whole country with frogs.”

“…and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.”

“…I will send swarms of flies on you…”

“…the Lord will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field…”

“…festering boils will break out on men and animals throughout the land.”

“…I will send the worst hail storm that has ever fallen on Egypt…”

“…I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow.  They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen.”

“…and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days.”

“Every firstborn son in Egypt will die…”

 

These verses are foundational to the story, yet they are never directly referenced.  Hope has interlaced a believable story of possibilities with the Truth.  We see compassion, hatred, fear, forgiveness, unbelief, faith; and more, but it is clearly a story, not a sermon.  Through the characters, we have the freedom to question and explore, Who is Yahweh?  Can we know Him?  Does He hear our pleas for deliverance, help or salvation?  We’re reminded of God’s perfect timing and His great love for us.  We connected with Jarah and could openly discuss what it means to trust Yahweh.  Will she be willing to trust Him to lead her to the promised land?  Would we?

I chose to read this aloud to my older teens and down.  I read a few chapters at a time and then we would discuss it, not because we were having “school” but because it genuinely prompted stimulating conversation.  One evening we spent a chunk of time on, “How do you determine whether or not someone is being punished justly or abused before you step-in?  Is it ever okay to step-in?  What is the Biblical basis for your answer?  Where do we stand as a family?”

I finished the book first by myself, because I couldn’t put it down.  I wanted to know how Hope was going to write this, whether she’d mention that; and what happened to them?  I wasn’t disappointed.  The only issue I had was in finishing the chapter tease for Book Two, found at the end of A Cry From Egypt, and realizing it’s not yet written and I can’t purchase it!  Oh my, can I wait patiently or not?  That is the question.

~

You can purchase an advanced copy of A Cry From Egypt, for $12.50.  Scroll to the bottom of the Raising Real Men Web Page, right-hand side; and see Contact Us to email Hal and Melanie Young or find them on facebook – Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys  and  Great Waters Press.

If you have questions or comments for Hope Auer, she has a first-rate blog @ http://acryfromegypt.com/  and she also has a facebook page.  I know she’d love to hear from you!

~

My Crew mates had the opportunity to read  A Cry From Egypt or another new book published by Great Works PressChildren in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship.  You can read their reviews when you click the banner below.

 

 

Hope is a homeschool graduate, and so is her illustrator, Mike Slaton.  This knowledge was an encouragement to me as I teach my own artists, musicians and writers.  It also spoke volumes to my children because it is a positive, hopeful, published writing by one-like-them.  On a more basic level, my 8 year old daughter liked the action of the story and enjoyed the fact that Jarah has an 8 year old little sister and older brothers just like she has.  It is simply a good book and that makes me smile.

 

 Blessings,

Disclaimer*   I received a pre-publication copy of A Cry From Egypt, 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.

 

 

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