Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mother Daughter Bible Study

Meet A10.  A10 is my second-born and eldest daughter.  She is a huge help to me and I'm blessed to be her Mama.

 Meet Amy Puetz.  She is a homeschool graduate, servant of Christ, lover of history, and owner of Golden Prairie Press.  Golden Prairie Press is an online store offering historical books and more.  

Recently, I received Heroines of the Past Bible Study by Amy Puetz. This 263 page book includes short historical biographies of 32 courageous women of faith.  Their stories are meant to be read along with Amy's bible study readings, questions, and activities in this 13 week study.  The age suggestion for this book is age 8 and up.
I decided that this bible study would be perfect as a mother/daughter study with A10.  I could have easily included her other siblings (even the boys would enjoy these not-so-girly tales...I'm telling you, these heroines are brave!), but I thought the one-on-one time would make this bible study even more special. 
Now to give you a little more background....A10 has not yet become a "book lover".  I say yet because like their mother, her older brother and two younger siblings (the only ones of a reading age) are avid readers.  We devour books around here like we devour good Southern home-cookin'.  But A10 is not quite as interested.  I'm convinced that with a little more practice and the right book, she'll eventually be hooked.  So instead of expecting her to read Heroines of the Past on her own, we have been reading it out loud to each other.  This has worked out wonderfully, since A10 is such a social butterfly that she loves the interaction.
Each week's lessons are spread over five daily readings (chapters).  Once we read the chapter, A10 and I would discuss the follow up questions and read the corresponding bible passage (usually about a chapter long).  Despite her hesitancy with reading, A10 and I both have thoroughly enjoyed Heroines of the Past.  She has also enjoyed the suggestion of making a "Box of Visual Reminders".  My crafty girl jumped right on the idea of decorating her box with pretty pictures... 
Inside we keep 'reminders' of some of the lessons we have learned, such as a glove to remind us that "Christ is our champion", and an American flag as a reminder that like one of the heroines we read about, we should be "prepared and discreet".

A10 and I have not yet finished the bible study, but I have skimmed through most of the chapters myself.  I am excited to continue reading with her and to go through the study again with my younger daughters when they are ready.  I had not heard of many of the heroines that are discussed, but you may recognize Florence Nightingale, Joan of Arc, Pocahontas, and Sacagawea among many others. 

I received Heroines of the Past Bible Study as an ebook.  I had no problems reading this on my Kindle iPad app. 

You may be interested to know that Golden Prairie Press is having a sale this week.
Heroines of the Past (regularly $27) and other books are 20% off.  You can read reviews of this book and others by Amy Puetz including Ten Girls from History, Costumes with Character, and Uncover Exciting History at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.
Disclaimer: I have been given the wonderful opportunity to review many homeschool products over the last few years. The only compensation that I receive for my review is the free product. I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in review groups and I have enjoyed trying out these products and giving you my honest opinion.
Pin It Now!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers

For a quarter of a century now, Christian Liberty Press has been the publishing division of Christian Liberty Academy School System.  They provide educational materials to homeschools and Christian schools worldwide. 
Christian Liberty Press sent me the PDF version of Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers written by Douglas Bond.  This beautiful little book is so much more than I expected.  The suggested age is for 7th through 10th grade, so I used it as a read-aloud for my kids.  My 2nd grade through 6th graders loved it!
Annie and Drew are two American children who are visiting a small English town for the summer.  Drew especially is certain that his sister and he are doomed for an miserably boring summer...that is until they meet Mr. Pipes.  Mr. Pipes was affectionately dubbed by his fellow parishioners because he plays the pipe organ.  We could not help to be endeared by this sweet grandfather type who begins to teach the children about true worship of God.  While on summer adventures such as fishing, rowing, having English tea, Mr. Pipes tells the stories of British hymn writers and shares their songs with Annie and Drew.
Each chapter is devoted to a different hymn writer and includes details about their lives, their music, and their devotion to God.  The following hymn writers are covered in Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers:
Thomas Ken
Isaac Watts
Charles Wesley
William Williams
John Newton
William Cowper
Augustus Toplady and Thomas Kelly
a chapter for Scottish Hymn Writers, Anglican Hymn Writers, and Women Hymn Writers
and John Bunyan
Also included in each chapter are actual hymn lyrics, beautiful black and white illustrations, and sheet music at the end of each chapter.
Our children were especially interested in the chapter where the children learned about Isaac Watts.  Isaac Watts began writing poetry before the age of seven.  This child prodigy wrote a beautiful poem, rich with spiritual depth, but to be sure no one claimed he plagiarized it, he cleverly hid his name in the poem!
We received the PDF version of this book, which opened up beautifully on my iPad Kindle app.  I had no problem reading and enjoying the book this way.
Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers is the first in a four book series.  Also included are
My kids keep asking for more of Mr. Pipes, so I'm sure we will be purchasing them all!
You can read a sample of Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers and purchase the ebook for $8.79.  The print version is $9.89 and the four book set is $38.99.  Read more reviews on the Schoolhouse Review Blog.
Disclaimer: I have been given the wonderful opportunity to review many homeschool products over the last few years. The only compensation that I receive for my review is the free product. I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in review groups and I have enjoyed trying out these products and giving you my honest opinion.
Pin It Now!

Monday, August 20, 2012

I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that if you are reading my blog, you are most likely already familiar with Apologia Educational Ministries.  One of the big dogs when it comes to homeschool curricula, we have used a boatload of Apologia materials over the course of our 8 years of homeschooling.  From their Exploring Creation Science series to their What We Believe series, Apologia has never let us down.

Apologia recently sent me I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek to review.  And let me just say, that by the time I had read through the introduction I had already posted three quotes from the book on Facebook and was concerned that perhaps I didn't have enough highlighters in the house to make it through the entire book.

Oh yes, it is that good.

The authors begin by describing the "Three Major Religious Worldviews" above.  Regardless of where a person falls, each of these worldviews require faith from the individual.  No one can know for certain, based solely on scientific knowledge which of these worldviews are true.  So one might raise the question, which worldview requires a bigger leap of faith?  I would venture to guess that most of our modern society would claim that a theistic belief would require the biggest leap of faith...but they haven't yet read this book.

Above you will see the chapter headings, but really the contents of this book is based around the following 12 ideas:

1. Truth about reality is knowable.
2. The opposite of true is false.
3. It is true that a theistic God exists.  This is evidenced by the:
a. Beginning of the universe (Cosmological Argument)
b. Design of the universe (Teleological Argument/Anthropic Principle)
c. Design of Life (Teleological Argument)
d. Moral Law (Moral Argument)
4. If God exists, then miracles are possible.
5. Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God.
6. The New Testament is historically reliable.  This is evidenced by:
a. Early testimony
b. Eyewitness testimony
c. Uninvented (authentic) testimony
d. Eyewitnesses who were not deceived
7. The New Testament says Jesus claimed to be God.
8. Jesus' claim to be God was miraculously confirmed by:
a. His fulfillment of many prophecies about himself;
b. His sinless life and miraculous deeds;
c. His prediction and accomplishment of his resurrection.
9. Therefore, Jesus is God.
10. Whatever Jesus (who is God) teaches is true.
11. Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God.
12. Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God (and anything opposed to it is false).

As you can see, each argument steps logically into the next.  And each argument is thoroughly examined and explained often taking a chapter or more of this 430+ page text.  I'm not going to lie...this is meaty stuff.  But it's not boring stuff.  The authors often include personal stories of defending their faith and they also point out common arguments that are made against the Christian worldview and answer them.
So who is this book for?  I would say it is absolutely for the seeker and the critic.  But perhaps most importantly, it is for every believer.  1 Peter 3:15 tells us,  "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."

Geisler and Turek put it this way... 
"Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, Christians are not supposed to "just have faith". Christians are commanded to know what they believe and why they believe it. They are commanded to give answers to those who ask (1Peter3:15), and to demolish arguments against the Christian faith (2Cor.10:4-5). Since God is reasonable(Isa.1:18) and wants us to use our reason, Christians don't get brownie points for being stupid. In fact, using reason is part of the greatest commandment, which according to Jesus, is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matt.22:37)"

I also received a copy of the I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist Curriculum Workbook.  As a mother, I am so excited about this gem.  Not only is this workbook perfect for any adult who is wanting to really delve into the meaty material of the book, but the supplemental material, study questions, and additional activities are the perfect companion to make this a wonderful high school study course.  As a matter of fact, I can't think of a more important topic of study for my high school age students than this when the time comes. "I have no greater joy than to hear my children walk in the truth." ~ 3 John:1:4
The recommendation is for students to take approximately 2-3 weeks to read each chapter of the book and complete the curriculum assignments.  At that pace, students will finish the course in about 9 months.  The study questions are designed to make the student truly think about the material they read and how it relates to their life.  Take a look at the very first study questions for just the introduction:

1. Based on the information you've read and seen so far, how would you define the meaning of life?
2. Without God, does life have any ultimate meaning? Why or why not?

Wow.  These are serious questions that deserve serious contemplation.   But I think there are many people who don't contemplate them and that is not only a shame, but it will have everlasting consequences on their eternity if they don't.  I want my high school students to be thinking through these things.

Also, included in the Curriculum Workbook are fascinating page-long biographies of historical people giving insight into the beliefs of many of them who are quoted and discussed in the book.  These include Carl Sagan, C. S. Lewis, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, and so many more.

My oldest is just now in 6th grade, so I haven't handed this off to him yet.  Not wanting to to mark up the curriculum, as I will absolutely be using this with our children in the future, I have been reading about 3 chapters a week along with the corresponding material in the workbook.  I wanted to get a good feel for the book before writing the review, but I have not wanted to rush through the material.   Each chapter is rich with information that every Christian...no, every person should be armed with.  I appreciate having this resource for my children to use in the future, but also I am thrilled to have the material for myself now.  I know that is is stengthening my own faith and is a great tool to help make me bolder in defending it.

I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist is $16 and the workbook is $33.  You can read more reviews of these products at the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.

Disclaimer: I have been given the wonderful opportunity to review many homeschool products over the last few years. The only compensation that I receive for my review is the free product. I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in review groups and I have enjoyed trying out these products and giving you my honest opinion.
Pin It Now!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Vocabulary Spelling City

 We try to limit the amount of time our children spend watching t.v., playing video games, and playing online.  When they do get online, we generally make them stick to educational websites. Vocabulary Spelling City has long been one of the approved websites of the house. This cool website allows me to enter in our children's spelling list for the week and then the children can play games to help them review and practice their spelling words.

Recently, we got the opportunity to review the premium site version of Vocabulary Spelling City and I jumped at the chance.  With the premium version, I can manage up to five students entering separate lists and assignments for each.  Both spelling tests and vocabulary tests can be given and online records are kept for each child.  There are also additional games that are not included with the basic package.

You may remember that we started school back in July.  We had been struggling through some our new Language Arts choices and I finally decided that the curricula I had chosen was just not for us.  While trying to decide what we were going to do, I seriously considered using Vocabulary Spelling City as the core of our Language Arts program, simply adding readers and a grammar course.  This could easily be done.  Not only does Vocabulary Spelling City allow you to enter in spelling and vocab lists, but they also have lists that you can use.  I chose several lists for each of my kids and saved them to our account.  Each week, I can simply click which list I want each child to use and then click on the assignments I want them to complete each day.

At the end of the week, they take a test and all of their grades are recorded for me.

The only frustration that we received with this site is that some of the games would freeze up on our kids computers.  I don't know much about the way computers operate, but even though the two classroom computers we own are only a year own, we did purchase the "no frills" versions.  We had no problem playing all of the Vocabulary Spelling City games on my nicer laptop...well, no problem other than the fact that Mama wanted her computer back and the kids wanted to keep playing.

We did wind up finding a Language Arts program that we are very happy with and it includes spelling lists.  However, we will still be using Vocabulary Spelling City for additional practice and study.  A One-year Premium Subscription to the site is $29.99 for up to five children.  A basic membership is free.

Check out other reviews of this product at the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.
Disclaimer: I have been given the wonderful opportunity to review many homeschool products over the last few years. The only compensation that I receive for my review is the free product. I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in review groups and I have enjoyed trying out these products and giving you my honest opinion.
Pin It Now!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Toddler Diaries - Paint Bags

It's easy to fill my days with devotionals, math lessons, writing prompts, science experiments, read alouds...all geared towards my older kids.  After all, my oldest is in middle school now and there are lots of lessons still to be learned.  My little ones are often along for the ride, absorbing information at an amazing rate from their big siblings' lessons.

However, my toddlers still need activities that are just for them.  They need their own "Mama time" and they are always desperate for "their turn" to "do school".  And honestly, sometimes I just need them to be occupied.  Perhaps, you have little ones like me and are on the lookout for said activities?

May I introduce to you The Toddler Diaries.

Here are the players...

J1.  Endlessly curious.  Full of energy.  Demanding my attention.

L2.  Talkative and bright.  Fun, loving, and all smiles.

L4.  Independent, but cautious.  Quiet, but strong-willed.

E5.  Not quite a toddler anymore, but still close enough to enjoy playing with his younger siblings.  E5 is artistic, charming, and loves to have fun.

We'll be trying out toddler activities and letting you know how they go...if they work and if they're worth the time invested.

First up...  Paint Bags!

Paint (I used acrylic)
Gallon Ziplock Bags
White Paper
Gorilla Tape or Duct Tape

First, I filled our bags with lotion.  Actually, I didn't fill them.  And I figured out quickly that less is more.  Just fill them enough that it just covers the bag when its laid out flat.

Next, add a few squirts of paint.

Remove as much air as possible and zip closed securely.  Then work the paint around the bag until it is thoroughly mixed.

Attach a white piece of paper to the back of the bag with tape.
Wrap the tape around all four edges for extra security.

Now, hand your paint bags to the kids!  Let them practice letters and draw with their fingers...without the mess!

Rating: Fun tool to use to reinforce writing skills.
Suggested Age: 2-5.
Time Commitment For Me: It took me about an hour to prepare six paint bags.  Plus, it had the potential to get rather messy and since I didn't have washable paint on hand, I opted make these sans toddlers. 
Toddler Time: About 5-10 minutes.  The kids are always excited to see me pull these out but unfortunately, the kids don't seem to stay interested in these for very long.  However, I use them so frequently when practicing writing letters and numbers that I still think they are worth making.
Final Comments: You could, just use paint without the lotion but I was concerned that the paint would dry out and I wanted the paint to go a little further.  You could also use hair gel instead of lotion, which I think would probably work a little better.  We've been using our paint bags for over a month and they haven't dried out at all.  However, we did have one spring a leak...so I would advise only letting your little ones use these with supervision.

Pin It Now!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Vocab Videos

Vocab Videos is an online educational tool designed to help students earn a higher SAT score by increasing their vocabulary knowledge.  And I have to say, I never would have imagined studying for the SAT could be quite so entertaining!

Vocab Videos have designed a series of short videos that teach the meanings of 500 essential SAT and high school level vocabulary words.  Yes, that's right ... 500!  Each video is approximately 20 seconds long and illustrate one vocabulary word each.  About 20 videos are grouped together to create a series of short skits.  Once your student has watched all 20 videos, they can take an online quiz reviewing the words.

You can see from the Student Dashboard pic above, that along with the videos students can access online worksheets and flashcards as well.  Educators have the ability to add students and monitor their progress and quiz scores. 
These videos are professionally made and are definitely entertaining.  Many of them are spoofs of popular nighttime t.v. shows like The Office, Gossip Girl, and Lost.  The engaging videos absolutely make the vocabulary more memorable.  I easily passed the quizzes after viewing the videos just once even though many of the words were not familiar to me.

I do not have high school age students, but did allow my 11 year old to watch a few of the first episodes.  However, I quickly realized that many of the videos contained content that we do not normally allow our children to watch or condone.  For example, "Oh my God" was used frequently.  The first episodes were centered around an office dating relationship and included rather sarcastic humor.  I actually found it quite funny (and so did my 11 year old), but some of it was simply not age appropriate for him.  He did retain more than half of the vocabulary knowledge when he completed the quiz, which I thought was pretty good considering his age and the fact that he had never before heard the words.

I was certainly glad that I previewed the next set of videos without him by my side as they were all set like a scary (somewhat gory) movie.  We don't allow our kids to watch scary movies at all, so some of these scenes would have been a little shocking to them.  In other videos I watched, there was mild cursing as well.

Overall, I have to say I love the idea of this product.  I love how well made the product is.  I'm just so disappointed with the some of the content.  And because my kids are not yet high school age, I'm just not sure if we would ever use it.  The content in these videos are really comparable to the sitcoms you see on night time television, though not as bad as many of the them.  It's just hard for me to say whether or not I will feel the crass content will be worth the educational benefit when the time comes.

I was given a one-year small educator subscription, which costs $74.99 to Vocab Videos.  This is a teacher's account and gave me the ability to add up to 20 students and view all student reports.  Vocab Videos also offers a single student account for $39.99 for a one-year subscription. I'm not the only one with an opinion.  Check out the Schoolhouse Review Blog for more reviews of this product. 

Disclaimer: I have been given the wonderful opportunity to review many homeschool products over the last few years. The only compensation that I receive for my review is the free product. I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in review groups and I have enjoyed trying out these products and giving you my honest opinion.
Pin It Now!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up - Week 5

It seems I can only manage to post a Weekly Wrap Up every other week.  But, hey...at least I'm consistent. 

I don't always capture the nitty gritty on the camera, so you'll just get a glimpse of the highlights.  Above, the kiddos were playing with a new review product.  A game from playPlay.  More to come on that later!

Hubby let me take a much needed, mom's night out to Uptown Art.  A great friend and I took a painting class.  I can't wait to go again!

Our dog, Gideon, is now in dog training.  In case you weren't aware, "dog training" would be more aptly named "dog owner training".  We have a trainer coming to the house to teach the kids and us about every other week.  This huge dog was born just this past Christmas and we are looking forward to curing some bad puppy habits.

E5 is our puzzle man and spent an afternoon working on this puzzle.  It was actually rather difficult as it was one of those pictures that changes as you move it side to side. 

More puzzle mania continued throughout the week.

This little one...the little one on the right...decided to do some furniture acrobatics this week.  Yes, they are sitting on a hospital bed.  He received four staples on a gash on the side of the head.  This picture was taken after the staples, while slurping the blue slushies our children's hospital gives to all patients.  He also got to watch Disney's Cars 2 at the hospital.  Despite the staples, he still declared when we got back home, "This has been SUCH a fun day!" *sigh*

This little one discovered the flash on the camera...

...and then he got a hair cut.  It's a little shorter than this Mama wanted.  But it will grow back.  It will grow back, right?

She fell asleep mid-lesson.  I certainly can't blame her.  Homeschool can be exhausting!
Pin It Now!


Related Posts with Thumbnails