Mar 11, 2019

Spring Break

The Fabulous Four are spending their free week on a mission trip. Whatever happened to my toddlers and babies???

Mar 4, 2019

The Perks of Homeschooling - A is for Atmosphere

To start with a little disclaimer... I have never been to public school and spent only a few years in a tiny little private school that was taught by my mom and my oldest brother. My kids have never gone to public or private school at all. So we have zero experience to draw from and know only what we have seen on tv or heard from others. All that to say, we are in no way bashing other forms of education. We are discussing the perks of homeschooling because homeschooling is what we know and perks are what we choose to focus on.

With that said, we start with A is for Atmosphere. Because we homeschool, we get to choose the atmosphere that the kids spend most of their time in.

Respect and Religion
We have rules about speaking respectfully. We try to keep emotions and attitudes (including mine!) in check and to keep the atmosphere positive. We are also free to discuss theology, politics, current events, or the drama of the fighting robins in our yard. I can teach my kids my worldview and explore others' without having to worry about permission slips or showing up on the nightly news.

Books, Microscopes and Paintbrushes
We are a literary but scientific family. Our atmosphere is one of books, science experiments, and lots of exploration. Oh, and with plenty of art thrown in from the artists among us.

We are free to stop work at any time to discuss a matter of interest. We are free to watch a sibling's science video. We are free to help out with someone else's project. We are free to stop in our work and explore more deeply when we find a topic that interests us. We are free to skip math problems or review sheets or redundant sections in our books or whatever else doesn't apply to us. And, if we realize, in the future that, oh! that DID apply to us, we are free to circle back around and add it back into our days.

No one has to raise their hands to answer a question, although not interrupting is encouraged. They don't have to ask to go to the bathroom, although it's probably a good idea if you mention that you are going so I don't miss you and start hurling accusations about your sloth and malingering. (It's been known to happen) All questions are welcome (except the ones regarding Pokemon, please save those for siblings after school, please!) and anyone can answer.

There is a lot of laughing in our homeschool atmosphere. If you know us in real life you know we are a quirky, goofy bunch with an overabundance of sarcasm and wit. We laugh a lot around here.

That's the atmosphere in our school! What's yours?

Feb 26, 2019

Homeschool Review Crew: The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls 3 and 4

Abbie was pleased when we were asked to review two books from The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series. These books are published by Worthy Kids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group. A few years ago we had the pleasure of reading and reviewing the first two books in the series and now we got to read books three and four.

The books we were sent were:

This series features siblings Mary and Peter, who are aged 10 and 9 respectively. The kids, along with their dog, Hank, are spending a month with their Great-Uncle Solomon. Solomon is an archaeologist with a house packed full of fascinating curios! One of those items is a pot of scrolls that transport the kids back in time into an adventure from the Bible.  

You can read our review of the first two books in the series, The Beginning and Race to the Ark.

In The Great Escape, Peter and Mary travel to Ancient Egypt where they find a mummy and a panther! They meet a girl named Shephara who offers them hospitality and then turns out to be a Princess. They meet the Pharaoh and a slave named Joseph. As is to be expected, Moses shows up as does the angel Michael. This time, the kids are given 14 days to solve the scroll because Michael already knows that Pharaoh is going to be stubborn. 

The kids get to experience the plagues and the power of God and are able to solve the scroll just at the right time.

In Journey to Jericho, the kids are taken to the desert outside of Jericho where the Israelites are  camping. Once again they are tasked to solve the scroll with the same three rules applying. They have fourteen days, they can't tell anyone they are from the future and they can't try to change the past. They wind up as spies in Jericho with the real spies from the Bible and are rescued by Rahab. They marched around the city with the rest of the Israelites. And they were there when Satan was defeated by the crumbling of the walls. 

My twelve year old daughter, who read the first books also read these. She liked them, although they were kind of young for her now. At twelve, they were a little predictable but she did say that if she were in the age range she would have loved them. She highly recommends them. She related well to Mary because they both like to read. She liked the part in The Great Escape when they found the panther because it was scary and intense. She thought his name was quite appropriate.

I think these are great stories for young readers. They are aimed at kids ages 6 to 9 which I think is right on. These books are perfect for new readers that are ready for chapter books. I think they are a great way to introduce Biblical fiction to young readers. I appreciate that they are full of truth about the character of God. God always keeps His promises. God is powerful and will set you free. 

We both recommend this entire series, but you don't have to take our word for it, click on the banner below and see what other reviewers have to say!

The Great Escape & Journey To Jericho {WorthyKids Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Feb 14, 2019

Homeschool Review Crew: For The Temple

I'm sure I have said it before, but one of my family's favorite products to review are audio theater productions by Heirloom Audio. We are always excited to get to listen to a new story! This time we got to experience their brand new story, For The Temple.

First, let me explain that Heirloom Audio does not create audio books. Not just a pleasant voice reading the story aloud, no, these are full-on theater presentations. Heirloom Audio takes a G. A. Henty story and turns it into a creative adventure. There are actors voicing different characters. There are sound effects. There is an actual sound track with background music setting all the different moods in the tale. Not just a story, it is a show!

The characters are played by real actors: Brian Blessed (Star Wars, Tarzan); Chris Larkin (Valkyrie); Cathy Sara (Downton Abbey); George Gladden (Les Miserables).

The story always opens with "Mr. George" (G. A. Henty himself) meeting up with youngsters and telling them a tale of adventure. This adventure is always rich with history and full of inspiration and character-building world view. I love that these stories, while fun and exciting, show my kids how to live with bravery, integrity and selflessness.

For The Temple begins in Roman-occupied Palestine in the year AD 67 with John and his betrothed. We follow John through many adventures: meeting Josephus; fighting battles against the Romans; capture and enslavement; and eventually, marriage to his Mary and a happy ending. Along the way, John makes friends with  a boy named Jonas, is introduced to the story and message of Yeshua (Jesus), and learns some valuable life lessons.

We were sent a physical copy of the CDs to listen to. We also received a PDF to download of the Study Guide. My kids love the audio production/ story. I love the Study Guide!

I don't print it, but keep it open on my computer as we listen so that we can periodically go over it together. It is divided into the sections of the story, so we can pause and discuss.

The Study Guide is full of comprehension questions, discussion questions, illustrations from the time-period, vocabulary words, background information, and applicable Bible verses.

It is perfect for exploring deeper into the story with your kids. I love to pause the story, ask a question or two, let the kids weigh in, ponder, and then discuss some more. Then we listen to more of the story.

My intention with For The Temple was to listen to it during our Morning Meeting time, but that didn't happen for several different reasons. Instead, we listened to it piecemeal across several afternoons. We usually listen to it in one or two sittings, but this time we needed to draw it out with shorter listening sessions. Either way works.

We really love Heirloom Audio and highly recommend it. We love getting to listen to each new story and truly believe that you will, too! Don't just take our word for it, though, click on the banner below and see what other reviewers have to say.

For The Temple {Heirloom Audio Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Feb 11, 2019

What I'm Reading

Do you read more than one book at a time? I seem to almost always have several things going and if I have a read a book enough times, (more than once, honestly) I can pick it up, read a bit here and there, and then put it down in favor of something else. So these four books (plus a couple books on Kindle that I'm checking out for stuff for school next year) are what I am currently reading "for real". As in, start to end, all the way through in chronological order.

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, I am reading aloud to everybody for school. It is a truly wonderful book and we all love it. 

Beauty is the little kids' book club selection this month and I am reading it aloud to them because it is a difficult book for kids of their reading prowess to manage with a deadline.

Percy Jackson, Book Two, I am reading because Nate recently discovered Percy and wants me to read it with him.

And finally, My Brother Michael I am reading just for me. I love Mary Stewart. She is my favorite "for fun and pleasure" author. I wish there were more of her books. I have read them all, I think. But this one is newly acquired and I am enjoying re-reading it. 


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