Our Family

Our Family

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blogging Break

I will be taking a short blogging break.  My mother in law went to be with Jesus and Art and the baby and I have flown to New York for the funeral.  The rest of the children are at mom and dad's.  I will be back online sometime next week.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Math Essentials


Algebra. The word may bring back horrible memories of High School and dread about the idea of teaching it. Or maybe you love Algebra but it's like pulling teeth to get your child to do it. No Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials is just what you have been looking for.


 Before I get into how much I love No Nonsense Algebra, I wanted to tell you a little about Math Essentials.  Rick Fisher. the author, has developed a highly functional mathematics teaching system that produces amazing results in only 20 minutes a day.   He has developed books for elementary, middle school, and high school students to bring them to algebra readiness in one year using an easy to follow step by step method.  Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed a variety of Math Essentials products.  We had the opportunity to use and review No Nonsense Algebra and Mastering Essential Math Skills Geometry.

Now I am simply going to rave about No Nonsense Algebra.  My 15 year old HATES math.  She would rather do just about anything.  Honestly, when I found out that I was reviewing No Nonsense Algebra I thought it would be a great supplement to get her more ready to do Algebra.  But I was wrong.  It is not a supplement.  It is a complete course!

No Nonsense is the perfect name for this course because that is exactly what it is.  Straight to the point without any distractions or busy work.  Lessons are short and concise.  Concepts are taught and easily understandable.  There are many examples and plenty of review built in to ensure mastery.  There are also chapter tests and a final exam.  The best part is not only do you get the book, with purchase of the book you also have access to free step by step online video instruction for each lesson!  

Table of Contents

  Chapter  1            Necessary Tools for  Algebra
  Chapter  2            Solving Equations
  Chapter  3            Graphing and Analyzing Linear Equations
  Chapter  4            Solving and Graphing Inequalities
  Chapter  5            Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities
  Chapter  6            Polynomials
  Chapter  7            Rational Expressions (Algebraic Fractions)
  Chapter  8            Radical Expressions and Geometry
  Chapter  9            Quadratic Equations
  Chapter 10          Algebra Word Problems

Also included:
                             *A “How to Use This Book” Section
                                  *Chapter reviews
                                  *Final Exam
                                  *Solutions for all Problems
                                  *Resource Center
There is an unconditional guarantee  ; From the website: Use Rick Fisher's Mastering Essential Math Skills for 20 minutes a day as directed. If you don't see what you feel are dramatically improved math test scores, send us a note saying so. You'll receive a prompt, complete refund - no questions asked!"

The cost? $27.95 for the entire program.  Click here to order.


We also have had a chance to review the Mastering Essential Math Skills Geometry book $11.95.  While this book is not a complete course, it is a great supplement or review to get ready for test taking.  From the website"  his book will provide students with all the essential geometry skills. Vocabulary, points, lines, planes, perimeter, area, volume, and the Pythagorean theorem are just some of the topics that are covered. There is plenty of practical, real-life problem solving that shows students the importance of geometry in the real world."

See a sample table of contents here.
Sample pages here.

Math Essentials has changed the way we do math in our house.  There is no more pulling teeth or frustration because of a concept she just couldn't "get."

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of No Nonsense Algebra and Mastering Math Skills Geometry for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.


Monday, July 23, 2012

People's Perception of Homeschooling

Does other people's perception of homeschoolers/homeschooling ever start to bug you?  I can say for the most part that what other people think doesn't matter a bit to me.  I am 100 percent convicted that homeschooling is what God wants me to do and His perspective is truly the only that matters.  There is nothing anyone can say that would make me change my mind about that.  But there are some situations where I kind of stand back and wonder where people get the ideas they do about homeschooling. 

Dealing with the stereotype of homeschoolers being locked up in the house their whole lives and never having the opportunity to go anywhere or do anything is one thing.  I think that most people are starting to see that that is in fact not true and homeschoolers get plenty of social activities and access to the "outside world."  But the idea that people think that our children are getting a poor education (or no education) really does bother me.  While homeschooling is nothing like the "educating" that goes on in the Public School System (which I am not going to turn this post into a novel about what I think about that)  that does not mean my children are being deprived of a great education because we homeschool. 

A Public School teacher (an art teacher) that I know questions me every week when he sees me about my High Schooler.  I don't think he means it at all in a rude way, but it really comes across that way at times.  I try to just always answer his questions politely, but sometimes his questions and responses after I answer make me think he thinks I am some kind of idiot and depriving my children by keeping them home.  He always asks me what she likes and is interested in.  I explain over and over that she likes to read, cook, sew, make crafts,write,  listen to music, and her favorite school subject is history.  So this week after I answered the questions about her interests again he told me that  I should look into getting her supplies.  I could get online and check Hobby Lobby's website out and see what was on sale and order stuff online.  They carry all kinds of hobby supplies and even art supplies so she could learn art.  I was a little confused.  Does he really think that I don't do art or have never gone to Hobby Lobby? (we love Hobby Lobby btw and have for a long time!)  I said , "Oh we love Hobby Lobby, but when I am ordering art supplies I usually order from Blick Art Supplies because they carry quality products at a reasonable price and I can get everything I need for the curriculum we use from them,"  He was totally stunned!  So then he offered to let me look at some of his supply catalogs if I ever want to order anything.  I just thanked him and moved on.

I am not going to pretend that  I have an amazing artistic talent.  Quite honestly, my 5 and 7 year olds draw better than I do.  But, that doesn't stop me from teaching this skill to my children.  We have several drawing and arts and crafts books.  We also have used different art curricula that not only teaches technique, but art history and appreciation also.  Last year we also had an opportunity to take weekly art classes. 

The amazing thing about homeschooling is that you have the capability to expose your children to a wealth of different areas and topics even if you are not skilled in them yourself.  You have the opportunity to explore their areas of interest and learn much more than students in a traditional classroom.  We have the ability to do more than learn from textbooks, but to go out and do what we have learned.  We have studied a wide variety of subjects over the last 8 years of homeschooling and will continue to learn and grow through the next 18 years of homeschooling.  I believe that not only are my children receiving a wonderful education, homeschooling prepares them much better for life "in the real world."  Perhaps those that are so concerned about homeschoolers missing out on a "quality" education should turn their focus where it needs to be at the government run school system and its problems. 


Menu Plan Monday 7/23/12

We didn't make it to the store on Friday.  After two weeks without a dishwasher the repairman was scheduled to come on Friday between 8-5.  He finally got here about 3:30 and left a little after 4.  I had enough groceries to get through the weekend except for pizza and a movie so daddy brought home Pizza Hut.  We put off our shopping until after church yesterday and only got enough to last until next Friday. 

Fri 7/20-pizza
Sat 7/21- BBQ chicken ka-bobs, cheesy mashed potatoes, bread
Sun 7/22- steak, mushrooms, corn on cob, noodles
Mon 7/23- chicken patties, tator tots
Tues 7/24- lasagna
Wed 7/25- homemade pizza (the birthday boy got to choose supper that night)
Thurs 7/26- burgers, fruit

For menu planning inspiration visit www.orgjunkie.com.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Jeepers Peepers

Since 1986, Super Duper Publications has been making creative, colorful educational and therapy materials that both parents and children will love.  They publish materials for speech language pathologists, special education teaches, general education teachers, occupational therapists, and parents to help improve skills such as listening, paying attention, communicating, reading, and social interaction.  We have recently had an opportunity to use and review their Jeepers Peepers Game.

Game Contents Include:

  • 6 pairs of Jeepers Peepers glasses
  • "My Cue Cards"
  • 101 photo cards (4" x 5")
  • Spinner and bingo chips
  • Instruction booklet

Jeepers Peepers is an ask and answer game for grades K and up that builds questioning skills, describing skills, categorizing skills, problem solving skills and more.  To play, one student puts on the glasses and a photo card is placed in the slot without showing it to the student.  The students asks yes/no questions to find out what he or she is.  The student spin the spinner every time they guess correctly to win tokens.  The student with the most tokens at the end of the game wins.  There are other variations to playing.  See the instructions here.

The Jeepers Peepers Game is $29.95.  You can order extra glasses in sets of 6 for $11.95.  They also have a set of 101 add on cards for $15.95.  To order click here.

Super Duper Publications has generously offered a 30 % off coupon code for Jeepers Peepers use  BLGJP30 until 8/31/12 to receive your discount.  Also until 8/31/12 you can get 30% off HearBuilder Following Directions Home Edition with code BLGFD30 and 30 % off HearBuilder Auditory Memory Home Edition using code BLGAM30.

The day we received Jeepers Peepers in the mail in was over 100 degrees outside in the shade.  When it's that hot we have to find things to keep us busy inside.  The children (3,5,6, 8, and 10) saw the game and were so excited!  They opened it up and disappeared upstairs for several hours.  Jeepers Peepers is a game that can be enjoyed by a variety of ages, and parents too.  The children LOVE wearing the glasses.  It is the kind of game that you can just open up and go.  Game play can be as long or as short as you want it to be.  The best kind of games are fun and educational and Jeepers Peepers definitely fits into both of those categories.  I love that even 3 of my youngest will get the game out on their own and play (although play is a bit more structured when we all play together ;).

It's not listen in the game contents, but a tiny screw driver came with the game to unscrew the battery compartment of the spinner to change the batteries.  I mention this just so you are aware and may want to remove it from the box if younger children are going to have free access to the game or just because you don't want it to get lost.

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received a complimentary Jeepers Peepers game for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Elementary Curriculum Choices for 2012-2013 School Year

Wow!  July is more than half over already!  Even though we have been doing a little school work here and there due to review items, our main school curricula were completed at the end of May.  If all goes well, I would like to start easing back into our school starting August 13th.  This year I will have a toddler. pre-k, kindergarten, 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 11th grade students.  I do not use a "curriculum" for pre-k or kindergarten.  Children in those grades do a little bit of letters and numbers, start reading if they are ready, and tag along as they wish for the rest of the subjects.  These are the main items we will be using for Elementary Grades this year along with whatever review items come our way.

All About Reading Pre Level One - We have great success using the All About Reading Level One Program and am planning on ordering and using Pre One for my 5 and possibly my 3 1/2 year old who always wants to do what her big brother is doing.  I also purchased the readers to go along with All About Spelling Level 2 for my 8 eight old.  My 7 year old will be finishing up AAR Level One Readers.

Spelling:  We don't wok on Spelling until they are confidently reading. 

Spelling City- We are reviewing the Premium Membership and am planning on continuing with my 5th grader
All About Spelling- 3rd grade


Handwriting Without Tears for K, 1st, and 3rd

Essentials In Writing- 5th grade- I discovered this program at our local Homeschool Convention.  It is a writing program similar to Math U See.  I have high hopes that it is going to be the perfect Writing Curriculum for Nick!

Math-Everyone 1st grade and up will be using Math U See.

History-  We absolutely loved  Mystery of History Vol 1 and completed it last year.  This year we will be moving on to Mystery of History Vol 2.  Our whole family works on this together.

Science- Last year we completed Apologia's Flying Creatures so this year we are moving on to Swimming Creatures!  One of our favorite things about this curriculum is the hands on projects and the boys can't wait to see what we will be doing this year. 


Nick (5th grade) will continue working on Visual Latin.  He really enjoys the Visual Latin Dvds and the younger children watch them too although they don't do the worksheets they have learned some Latin too.  


We recently had an opportunity to review Apologia's 3rd book in their What We Believe Series, Who Is My Neighbor and Why Does He Need Me?  We have completed the other 2 books and will be finishing it this year.

I am hoping to have time for this study on artists that I downloaded free (for July) from Confessions of a Homeschooler and would like to do something similar for Composers.

I am really excited about our curriculum for this year and looking forward to whatever else comes our way!

*Links to All About Learning, Bright Ideas Press, and Visual Latin are my affiliate links and I do make a small commission off sales through those links.  I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I use and believe in!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fishing Fun

Monday morning I headed outside with the baby and Anthony was all excited because he had been playing in the dirt and had dug up a bunch of worms.  That is exciting when you are a six year old boy, but even more so at our house because it has been so dry here it's been forever since they had seen worms (so thankful for the rain!)  Anthony asked if I could please, please get on my phone and ask daddy if we could go fishing after work.  We couldn't go on Monday, but daddy said we could go Tuesday right after work.  The worms did not make it after the boys played with them for a few hours, but they spent hours catching crickets and grasshoppers to use as bait.

It was 97 degrees on yesterday!  We ate supper and drove over to the lake.  By 5:40 we were out there and the children were casting their poles in the water.  I have the easy job of keeping Emelia out of trouble.  My wonderful husband has the toughest job of getting all of their poles ready and in the water and dodging hooks.  It was hot but there was a little breeze.  The children fished for about 40 min (except for Lily who lasted almost 20) and then we went over to the swimming area for about 45 minutes.  No fish were caught but a good time was had by all, although we did come back minus a pair of shoes.  In case you are wondering where Chelsea is, she is in Dallas at Six Flags and missed out on fishing, but I'm sure she is having a great time!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Knowledge Quest

Have you ever been studying a certain region or time period and wished that there was a way to show your children how the area had changed over time?  Last year we were learning about the rise of the Roman Empire  and I wished I had a better way to show the children exactly how the empire grew and spread.  Knowledge Quest has created a computer software called TimeMaps that does just that and more.

From the website:"The goal of TimeMaps is to communicate history in a truly engaging way. To do this,we use a combination of timelines, historical maps and encyclopedic entries merged together to deliver authoritative content that can be digested in an enjoyable way."

Maps are shown in chronological order and by a click of the mouse you can show how civilizations, countries, and continents have changed over time.  You have the option to turn on or off encyclopedic entries or quizz questions.  Each TimeMap topic comes with coordinating Teacher Notes that contain a copy of the worksheet questions (also contained in the TimeMaps program)  a commentary on the maps for you to use if you choose, timeline sheets, a student map to color, and teacher map.  TimeMaps is a work in progress with maps of ancient civilizations completed and more historical topics coming soon.

This video shows how TimeMaps works.

TimeMaps uses Flash to run which is a free software from Adobe.  TimeMaps is available for both Windows and Mac.  You can purchase available maps separately or as a collection.  Available maps include:

TimeMap: Ancient China : 11 animated maps with quizzes and encyclopedic information and complete Teacher's Notes.  Purchase as download for individual use $9.95.

TimeMap: Rise of Rome: 12 animated maps with quizzes and encyclopedic information and complete Teachers Notes.  Purchase as a download for individual use $9.95.
TimeMap: Fall of Rome: 9 animated maps with quizzes and encyclopedic information and complete Teachers Notes.  Purchase as a download for individual use $9.95.
TimeMap: Rise of Islam: 9 animated maps with quizzes and encyclopedic information and complete Teachers Notes.  Purchase as a download for individual use $9.95.
TimeMap: The Black Death: 9 animated maps with quizzes and encyclopedic information and complete Teachers Notes.  Purchase as a download for individual use $9.95.
TimeMap: European Explorers: 9 animated maps with quizzes and encyclopedic information and complete Teachers Notes.  Purchase as a download for individual use $9.95.
TimeMap: Atlantic Slave Trade:  12 animated maps with quizzes and encyclopedic information and complete Teachers Notes.  Purchase as a download for individual use $9.95.

Or you can order all seven sets together.  The TimeMaps Collection can be purchased as a download for  $44.95 or as an a CD Rom for $49.95.

There are additional bundle options and pricing to use TimeMaps in a school or co-op setting.  Click the link on the TimeMaps you are interested in for those pricing options.

Knowledge Quest also carries many other products including historical outline maps, timelines, geography curriculum such as A Child's Geography and Expedition Earth, historical biographies your whole family will love, engaging mobile apps plus much more.  Click here to see all of their products.

"These maps are really cool!"  That was the general consensus from my boys 5,6,8,and 10.  They really liked the animated features like watching the ships sailing, the chariots and horsemen moving across the country, and literally seeing the Black Death spread right before their eyes.  TimeMaps takes what can be an abstract idea especially for the younger children and gives them a visual that shows exactly what happened.  TimeMaps is more than just an animated map.  It provides a wealth of information on each area that you are studying.  You can choose to have the information show up and have your students read through it, or you can leave it off.  You can reinforce what you have just talked about by asking the quiz questions or completing the "worksheet" activities.   It is completely up to you how much or little you would like to do.  TimeMaps can compliment any history program you are currently using.

The "work sheets" are not printable work sheets, but questions, essays, or activities to do a more in depth study.  Most of these were over the heads of the children I was using TimeMaps with.  I would liked to have seen some printable work sheets or activity suggestions for younger elementary children in addition to the printable map in the Teacher's Notes.

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a complimentary copy of TimeMaps for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 7/16/2012

Friday is our grocery day.  This summer we have been going to the library as soon as they open and running any other errands before heading to Walmart.  Friday morning are usually not too busy, but lately it has been so crazy in there!  Friday we were there by 10:30 and didn't get out of there until 12:15.  Everyone was of course hungry by then and we still had a 20 min drive home and had to unload and put away all the groceries before we could make lunch.  Usually we just have a snack in the van on the way home, but I decided we would have a treat and drive thru McDonalds.  I am happy to say that I fed all 8 of us for $16.45!

This week's menu:

Fri 7/13- pizza
Sat 7/14- burgers, beans, potato salad
Sun 7/15 turkey dogs, mac n cheese left over beans and potato salad
Mon 7/16- chicken enchiladas, rice
Tues 7/17- tuna salad sandwiches, cantaloupe, chips
Wed 7/18- ham steaks, potatoes, green beans
Thurs 7/19-homemade mac n cheese, bread

Go to www.orgjunkie.com for some great menu inspiration!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Favorite Recipes: Pudding Pops

We love popsicles in the summer!  We also love pudding.  Pudding pops are a yummy, inexpensive frozen treat that the children can make on their own.

1 box instant pudding any flavor
2 cups cold milk
1/2 cup cool whip
any toppings you would like to add in (we like crushed oreos)
popsicle sticks
small plastic cups

Add milk to pudding mix and beat two minutes.  Stir in cool whip and crushed cookies.  Spoon into cups and add popsicle stick.  Freeze 6 hours or until firm.  To serve run side of cup under hot water for 15 sec to loosen pop from cup.  Enjoy!!

Note: We always make a double batch!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Keyboarding For the Christian School

A very helpful skill for children to learn especially since so much is done on computers these days, is keyboarding.  This is not a skill that has to wait until the high school years.  Younger children can learn successfully and have fun too.  For the last several weeks, Alex, my eight year old son has been learning keyboarding with Keyboarding For The Christian School Elementary Version.

The Elementary Version of Keyboarding For the Christian School was written for students in grades K-5.  This version offers the basics of learning the keyboard with Miss Mabel the ladybug.  After a short introduction and a section on touch typing technique, students jump right into the lessons.  Lessons 1-20 teach the alphabetic keys, 21-25 numbers and symbol keys, 26-29 number pad, 30 centering, 31 enumerated lists, and 32 timed writings.  Once all of the letter, number, and symbol keys are learned, students practice centering, lists, and timed typing by typing Scripture verses.

Keyboarding For the Christian School Elementary Version is the Christian Small Publisher's Exclusive E-Book winner for 2012.  You can purchase the regular or large print e book version for $12.95, or $45 for a full color printed book with shipping and handling included.  Click here to purchase.

Also available to purchase is Keyboarding for the Christian School for grades 6 and up $15.95, Columns 2003 or 2007 $3.95, Tables 2003 or 2007$5.95, and Teacher Tools $14.95.  There are also packages available at a discount for purchasing more than one product. 

The vendor has generously offered a 20 percent off coupon code good until 8-29-12.  Use coupon code SUMMER2012 to get 20 % off of your purchase!

We received the e book version for our review.  For the first few lessons, I printed out the lesson for Alex.  But, the pages do have a lot of color in them and I am very stingy with my printer ink.  So, we loaded the e book onto the Nook Color.  It looked great and saved the time and cost of printing out the lessons.  With the EzPDF Reader Ap, you also can zoom in and make the font as big as you need it.

Alex loves doing his keyboarding lessons and asks everyday when he can work on it.  The lessons are very short.  It usually takes him about 10 minutes to complete a lesson.  After he finishes one lesson he spends a few minutes practicing and then goes on to the next lesson.  The program is flexible and you are able to do as much or as little as you would like everyday.  There are no extra bells and whistles, games, or other distractions with this program.  Children are simply taught the skills they need in order to learn how to type well on the keyboard.  The lessons are simple enough that young children can complete them successfully as long as they can read and recognize letters and reach the keys on the keyboard.  I did not have to do any advance preparation, just opened the ebook on my Nook and set up the word processor on the computer as soon as he was ready to start.

The cost of printing the ebook out may be a factor for some people if you do not have an ereader, tablet, or other device to read off of, but will vary depending on your printer.  The book uses 12 point Times New Roman font and the size of the print may make it hard to read.  Alex did much better when we put it on the Nook and I could zoom it in to make it bigger.  The large print e book is the same price as the regular print so that may be something you want to consider when ordering.

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received a complimentary e book copy of Keyboarding For the Christian School the Elementary Version for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.



Friday, July 13, 2012

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Who Is My Neighbor and Why Does He Need Me?

Who Is My Neighbor and Why Does He Need Me? is the third book in Apologia's What We Believe Series.  Children are bombarded daily with all kinds of different messages about truth, morality, beauty, identity, faith and much more.  It is important that we equip our children to be able to discern between competing ideas and stand in the truth.  The "What We Believe" series was designed to teach children ages 6-14 essential truths of the Christian faith and to use scripture as a lens to view the world around them -to see things as God sees them and to know the truth.

There are 4 books in the series: Who Is God and Can I Really Know Him?, Who Am I and What Am I Doing Here?, Who Is My Neighbor and Why Does He Need Me, and What On Earth Can I Do?  Each volume is a complete study and can stand on their own.  You do not have to complete all of the books in order for it to make sense.  There is not a separate Teacher's Guide.  Everything needed to teach the course is contained in the hardcover text.  With purchase of the book you do have access to Apologia's online extras including teacher helps, blank notebooking pages, and printable graphics for the House of Truth.

 I have had the opportunity to review both Who Is God?  and Who Am I? in the past (links go to my reviews) so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review Who Is My Neighbor and Why Does He Need Me?  We received the text, notebooking journal, and coloring book to use and review.


 Description from the website: The third book in the award-winning What We Believe series helps children understand what it means to be salt and light to the world (Matthew 5:13-14). This study will encourage kids to develop a Christlike servant attitude based on these biblical truths: God created me to be a blessing to the world; God chooses to work through me; I can make a difference at home, in my community, and at church; the church is God's family; the church is one body with many gifts; and I am an important member of Jesus' body.

Table of Contents

Sample Lesson


Description from the website: Your children can capture what they learn in a beautiful keepsake they will want to revisit as they grow in Christ. This spiral-bound notebooking journal includes lesson plans for Who Is My Neighbor?, artful graphics, imaginative writing prompts, puzzles, activities, and eight full-color mini books. There’s even a place on the cover for the child to write his or her name as the author of the journal. Your child can personalize the journal with the “About the Author” page and a section for “endorsements” by friends and family!

Table of Contents

Sample Pages


Description from the website: or younger students and those who learn best while their hands are busy! This 64-page coloring book is lovingly illustrated by award-winning artist Alice Ratterree. Every drawing depicts a story or teaching from the Who Is My Neighbor? textbook to reinforce the lessons.

Sample Page 

Click here to order.

Their are 8 lessons in the book including: Does Anyone Really Need Me?, How Can I Make a Difference, Who Is My Neighbor?, Why Did God Make Families?, What Can I Do For My Country?, Why Can't We All Just Get Along?, Who Is God's Family?, and Why Does The Church Need Me?  The structure of each lesson is similar to the other two books in the series and contains several key components:

The Big Idea-Main topic of each lesson and brief overview of what has been learned so far
What You Will Do- states learning objectives of the lesson
Short Story-Short story with characters in the age range of the children studying the lesson that give a glimpse into their lives with differing worldview and shows concepts taught in the lesson.
Think About It-thought provoking questions digging deeper into the story
Words You Need to Know-vocabulary words and definitions
Hide It In Your Heart-2 specific memory verses for your children to memorize.  The first expresses the main theme of the lesson the second pertains to a character trait.
Integrated Learning-interesting articles designed to help the children pursue the books concepts across the fields of art, math, science, history, and more.
What Should I Do-tools to show the children how to apply the lesson to real life
Prayer-prayer to acknowledge the gifts of God and thank him for what He has done
Encounters with Jesus-story adapted from Scripture but fictional to help students explore how Jesus showed God's love in their time of need providing them with examples to follow.
Take A Closer Look-discussion questions to help children think about how Jesus' deeds impacted those He met
House of Truth-4 lessons end with a new part of the House of Truth being added on.  House of Truth is a visual aid that has been built over the course of all three books.  Students can draw it or build with items around their house.

Who Is My Neighbor will take anywhere from 4 to nine months to complete and is very flexible so you can do as little or as much as you would like in one day.  The book contains a suggested lesson plan of 2 days per week with each lesson taking 3 weeks to complete.

I am a big fan of the What We Believe series.  It is so much more than just a Bible study.  Knowing what we believe and why is something that we must teach our children so they will know the truth and be able to stand on it when they are out in the world, using the iPods, or even reading or watching TV.  If we don't make it a priority to teach them, then the world surely will.  It can be especially challenging for me to find curriculum that I can teach all of my children together, but Apologia has answered that need with this series.  The text is written at a 5th-6th grade reading level so children that age could complete it on their own.  But, I think it is wonderful as a study that the whole family does together.  The younger children can listen as I read aloud and color the pages in the coloring book, or draw some of their own.  The older children and I have had some wonderful discussions from the questions in the text.  The notebooking journal is a wonderful, absolutely beautiful companion to this book!  Take a peek at the samples.  It is gorgeous!  I also love the art work and photographs that are throughout the book.  It makes it more than just a great study but very appealing to visual learners.

The one main difference between this book and the others is the Encounters With Jesus section.  These "stories" are based on Scripture, BUT they are fictional.  I really make sure to stress that with my children.  I want them to understand that and not think that this is the way it actually happened (especially the younger children.)  It is recommended in the discussion questions that you go back and read the actual Biblical account and compare the two.  The discussion questions are very good for middle to older children but may need to be adapted for the younger ones.

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received a complimentary copy of Who Is My Neighbor book, coloring book, and notebooking journal for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

4 H Healthy Snacks Workshop

Today was the 2 hour 4 H Healthy Snacks workshop for children ages 5-12.  There was supposed to be a $5 charge per child, but because of some donations it was free!  To start out the workshop, the children played some games while talking about the different food groups and how many servings of each group was appropriate for their ages.  They used the My Plate visuals and learned about what makes a healthy meal.  Then they got ready to make the snacks.  They also talked about exercise.  The children were divided into 4 different groups and each group was sent to a different station and as they finished they got to eat what they made and move on to another station.  The 4 snacks we made were: Fun in the Sun Banana Split, Lemon Berry Smoothie, Very Veggie Snack Pizza, and Cool Quesa.  There definitely was a great variety of Healthy Snacks and something for everyone.  Even Anthony who was not that excited about a Healthy Snacks workshop and did not think he wanted to participate managed just fine with the banana split and a Cheese Quesadilla. There were teen helpers at each station that did the food prep and helped the children, but each child got to do most of the work and made their own snacks.  Even Lily who is not even old enough for 4 H yet but has to tag along to all of the activities got to participate and make her snacks  (she really doesn't know that she is not old enough for 4 H.)   Chelsea was one of the teen helpers and liked the pizza the best.  Nick, Lily, and Christian liked the banana splits the best.  Anthony liked the Quesadilla and Alex just could not decide.

Each of the children also got two bags to take home with them.  One of the bags contained the recipes we made today, information on My Plate, two magazines with healthy kid friendly recipes, information for packing healthy lunches on the go, stickers, a pencil and notebook, bookmark and a bracelet.  The other bag had a water bottle and a pedometer.  My children loved getting the bags of stuff as much as making and eating the food.  A big bonus for mom was that I did not have to make lunch today!  Fun educational, free, we got goodies to take home, and we got fed!  Yay for 4 H!

Fun in the Sun Banana Split

1/4 cup fat free vanilla ice cream or non fat plain or flavored yogurt
1/2 medium banana
1/4 cup crushed pineapple
1/4 cup strawberries
2 TBSP sweetened whole grain cereal
1/2 tsp shredded coconut

Slice banana lengthwise and place in bowl.  Scoop ice cream and put in the middle and add toppings.  Serves 1.