Our Family

Our Family

Friday, April 29, 2016

Four Reasons I Love The Mystery of History

*this post contains affiliate links
The Mystery of History Series

We have been on an exciting 4 year adventure through history with The Mystery of History.  I can't believe that we have finished all 360 lessons!  It seems like we just started.  Today I am sharing with you 4 Reasons I Love The Mystery of History and I also have an exciting giveaway for you from Bright Ideas Press!

The Mystery of History is made up of 4 Volumes:

Vol I Creation to the Resurrection

Vol II The Early Church and the Middle Ages

Vol III The Renaissance, Reformation, and The Growth of Nations

Vol IV Wars of Independence to Modern Times

Vol I Nick, Al, Lily making cuneiform tablets. They were so little!

Alex adding Vol IV timeline figures 

4 Reasons I Love The Mystery of History:

It is creation based and chronological. I love studying history based on the Bible but very few history courses start here. The Mystery of History starts with the creation of the world and rather than focusing on one area of the world at a time, it focuses on what is going on all of the world during a particular time period.

It is complete.  Everything you "need" to teach the curriculum such as the reading lesson, activities, mapping and timeline assignments, tests and quizzes are included.  There are a lot of supplemental resources such as challenge cards, notebooking pages, and coloring pages that you can add if you want to (I especially like the notebooking pages,) but if your budget is tight or you do not want to add the extras you do not have to.  You can read this post that I wrote on the different types of worksheets.

It can be used with a wide range of age ranges from K-12th grade.  One of the biggest things that drew me to The Mystery of History was that I could use it with all of my children at once.  There are age appropriate  activities listed for the different groups younger, middle, and high school grades. The lessons are written in a very conversational way and are fun and interesting for the teacher and the student. For those with high schoolers, there is more than enough work at the high school level to earn a full credit.  For those with younger children the lessons are short enough to hold their interest.

There are plenty of activities to pick and choose from. The main parts of the course is to read the lesson, complete memory cards, do a mapping assignment, and make a timeline.  There are also hands on activities for each of the age levels that you can pick and choose from. You don't have to do any or all of them but it is a great way to make history come alive.

the children made this "map" of Ancient Egypt

Just a note about the timeline.  We loved making the timeline for all 4 volumes.  We chose to use the timeline figures from Amy Pak. These are beautiful figures and made it so easy for me to do this with the children!

Vol I

Vol II

Vol III and part of Vol IV

The rest of Vol IV

First figures of Vol I

last figures of Vol IV

Not only did my children enjoy our study of history, I learned a lot too!  I love being able to learn alongside my children.  Linda Lacour Hobar has a wonderful gift for teaching history and I am so glad we were able to complete this study!

Giveaway!!!!  Giveaway is now closed.  Thanks to all who entered!

Bright Ideas Press has generously offered to allow me to host a giveaway!  One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The Mystery of History Vol IV.  This giveaway is for U.S. residents only.  To enter please leave me a comment answering this question: What is your favorite part of history to study?Please make sure when commenting that you leave me a way to get in touch with you if you are the winner!

Giveaway will close on May 6th at 11:59 pm.  Winner will be chosen at random. Thanks for entering and good luck!!

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*links in this post are my affiliate links.  I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually use and can recommend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review: Applied Engineering Studies of God's Design in Nature Curriculum Pack

The main reason I love  Master Books is that they offer creation based curriculum.  That is very important to me.  One of the other big reasons that I love Master Books is that they offer many curriculum options that you will not find anywhere else.  Usually for High School science curriculum you find things like General Science, Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.  Master Books has several different options including: Advanced Pre-Med, Survey of Astronomy, Life Science, and my latest review, Applied Engineering: Studies of God's Design in Nature. Curriculum Pack.

Studies of God's Design in Nature is a 4 book set that includes:

Made in Heaven- This book is a hard cover, 79 page book with full color illustrations.  It has 32 examples of different inventions that have been created based on something that God designed first and we can see in nature.  Students will learn about the inspiration for things like road reflectors, Velcro, body armor, jet propulsion, solar panels, and more.

Champions of Invention- This 68 page paperback book has nine different chapters containing biographies of some of the world's most gifted thinkers, giving an account of their lives and what they believed about the world around them.

Discovery of Design- This 233 page paperback book has 8 different chapters how many items in our every day life that benefit our health, quality of life, communication ability, and help us work more efficiently have links back to natural designs.

Parent Lesson Planner- This 262 page paperback book contains the weekly lesson schedule, student worksheets, quizzes, and tests, answer key, and lab assignments.

This curriculum is designed for use in grades 7 and up ,is worth 1 credit, and has 36 weeks of lesson plans. You can purchase the curriculum pack for $39.93 to use with any of these grades, or you can find Studies of God's Design in Nature as part of the 11th Grade Curriculum Bundle that also includes World Literature, World History, History of Religious Liberty, Apologetics in Action, and Intro to Economics for $247.02.

The Applied Engineering Studies of God's Design in Nature Set is very interesting! I have never seen anything like it before.  I love that it is creation based. So many fascinating man made designs are based on something that God designed first.   All three of the books contain fascinating information, but Made in Heaven is my favorite because of the beautiful illustrations.  There are several interesting hands on activities (labs) that are included in the PLP and I was very happy to see that they used ordinary supplies that you probably already have around the house or can easily obtain.  The copyright allows you to make copies of the student worksheets for your family which is very helpful for those who have multiple students.  The schedule included in the PLP schedules the course 4 days per week which is great for my family because we have a 4 day homeschool week, but it is flexible and can be adjusted easily to suit your family's needs.

This course is intended to be used as a 1 credit science course, but for students who are already following a more traditional path of high school science courses, it could also be used for elective credits.  I have a son who is getting ready to start high school and I have had a hard time thinking of electives that would be interesting to him.  Studies of God's Design in Nature will work great for him as an elective.

Stop by Master Books to see their affordable, creation based subject sets and complete curriculum choices for toddlers, preschool, kindergarten, and 4th-12th grade.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this curriculum from Master Books for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC regulations.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Schoolhouse Review Crew: YWAM Publishing Heroes of History Thomas Edison

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}
YWAM Publishing commits themselves to producing and distributing books that encourage Christians and help make a difference in the world.  We love their books and use them regularly as read alouds in our homeschool.  Recently we were able to use and review the Heroes of History Thomas Edison: Inspiration and Hard Work book and Digital Unit Study.
Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

Heroes of History is a biography series that tells interesting stories of men and women who shaped the course of history.  There are currently 27 books in the Heroes of History series. The series contains books on presidents, authors, inventors, explorers, scientists, and so much more.  The books are suggested for ages 10 and up if they are reading independently, but can be used with younger students if you are reading aloud. 

Heroes of History Thomas Edison is a 201 page paperback book that has 15 chapters.  It tells about the fascinating life of Thomas Edison.  Did you know that Thomas Edison only attended 3 months of formal education and his teacher believed he was addled? Or that his curiosity caused him to set fire to a barn at the age of six and was let go of many of his jobs as a young man?  Thomas Edison worked hard to overcome many obstacles in his life to become the famous inventor that held over 1300 patents.  His inventions and methods shaped the future and still influence us today.

There is a corresponding Digital Study Guide to go along with the Heroes of History Thomas Edison book.  In it you will find:

Key Quotes- 8 quotes that can be memorized, used as conversation starters, or copied for display.

Display Corner- ideas for collecting and displaying objects that relate to the time or place that Thomas Edison lived.

Chapter Questions- Each chapter has a vocabulary question, a factual question, two comprehension questions, and two open ended questions.

Student Explorations- This section contains essay questions, creative writing, hands on projects, audio visual projects and arts and crafts.  

Community Links- Suggestions of places students can visit and people students can talk to that relate to Thomas Edison.

Social Studies- This section has five different categories: Places related to the story, Terms/Vocabulary used in this book, Geographical Characteristics for mapping New Jersey and other areas Edison visited, Timeline for plotting historical events, and Conceptual Questions students can research related to the book.

Related Themes to Explore- Gives suggested topics related to Thomas Edison  in the areas of current events, geography, literature, math, science, and history that students can do further research on.

Culminating Event- Ideas for an event to mark the end of the study. 

It also has a list of other books and resources, answers to the chapter questions, and reproducibles. The reproducible pages include a fact sheet for students to fill out on Thomas Edison, a map of the Eastern United States, a map of New York/New Jersey, and a timeline for students to fill out. 

I have been using Heroes of History Thomas Edison with my 5,7,9,10,12 and 14 year olds  as our morning read aloud.  We read one chapter per day 4 days a week.  After finishing each chapter, we go over the chapter questions from the digital study guide orally.  

Thomas Edison was a very fascinating person.  The children and I have learned so much about him and what life was like during his time from reading through this book.  It also helped us appreciate all of the hard work that goes into many inventions that we don't think about as we go about our day to day lives. As I mentioned above the suggested age range for independent reading is 10 and up but even my youngest daughter (5) sat and listened to me reading aloud. I love the variety of activities that are included in the Digital Study Guide. Families can pick and choose which activities appeal to their students and do as much or as little as they would like.  You can choose to simply go over the chapter questions like we did or turn the book into a full unit study.  

I highly recommend the Heroes of History and Christian Heroes Then and Now series from YWAM Publishing.  We have read and enjoyed several books last year and this year from YWAM and have already purchased more to read next year.  

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 30

Can you believe that this week is the last week of April?  The year sure has flown by!  I can't believe we are finishing up some of our main curriculum for the year even as we start new things for review.  It definitely keeps things interesting!

Week 30 in Our Homeschool

P.E. 2 days of Family Time Fitness and one day of Yoga.  I skipped one day of P.E.  I really need to look at some new exercise videos.  The children are getting bored with the same things all the time.

Bible: We finished our Grapevine Resurrection study.

Read Aloud: We read 4 chapters on YWAM Heroes of History Thomas Edison.

History: We finished The Mystery of History Vol IV!  Our lessons this week 82-84 were on 9/11 and Osama bin Laden, The Global War on Terror, and The Revelation of Jesus Christ and the Hope of Mankind.  We finished our memory cards, worksheets, and timeline figures.  I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed our journey through the four volumes of The Mystery of History.  From the first lesson about Creation in Vol 1 through the last lesson on the Revelation of Jesus and the Hope of Mankind in Vol IV, I have learned so much right along with my children.  The Mystery of History remains one of my favorites and I look forward to going through it again in a few years with the younger children.

1st and last memory cards

 360 memory cards from all 4 volumes

We used the timeline figures from Home School in the Woods.  She has figures to go along with all 4 volumes of The Mystery of History.  Amy Pak's drawings are beautiful and it made my life much easier to not have to make our own!

all of our Time Line boards laid end to end

Vol 1

Vol II

VOL III and part of Vol IV

The rest of Vol IV

First timeline figures of Vol I

last timeline figures of Vol IV

Science: We finished the Archaeology Book from Master Books.  We will be starting the Geology Book next week.  Anthony is using The Book of Astronomy from Memoria Press (upcoming review) Lily started using Introductory Science from Science Shepherd (upcoming review) this week and finished week one.

My Father's World Adventures: In Exploring American History we finished Abraham Lincoln.  In our state study we did West Virginia and Kansas.  We started reading Mountain Born.  The science activities are on magnets.  The magnet kit has been sitting in the box since last summer so the children are very glad to finally be able to use it!

Music: We completed the last week of Handel in our Music Appreciation Book One.  We read the last chapter of the biography, listened to several tracks on the music CD, did workbook exercises, and finished up the lapbook on Handel.

Math: Boy Math has been rough lately!  I think this has been the hardest math has ever been for all of us!  There is nothing like having 3 children all needing help at the same time on three different topics and levels!  Nick and Alex completed lesson 28 in their books.  Lily completed lesson 27. Anthony and Christian started working on lesson 26 but are not ready to move on to the next lesson.

Grammar/Writing/Literature/Poetry: So far we have memorized 4 poems from IEW Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization.  They really are enjoying this!  In Fix It! Grammar we completed lesson 32.  Alex completed 4 lessons in Writers in Residence.  Nick is still plugging along with Treasure Island.  Anthony and Christian wrote their paragraph on horses from PAL Writing.

Reading/Spelling: Anthony and Christian completed lessons 40 in AAR Level 3.  Lily completed lesson 16 in AAR Level 2.  She also earned another certificate in Talking Fingers.  In All About Spelling Level 2 we completed step 14.  Alex completed lesson 24 in The Phonetic Zoo.

Preschool: What has happened in the Horizon's Preschool curriculum that we have been using is that it has gone beyond what I think we need to cover for preschool.  Rather than try and follow the curriculum I am choosing some of the worksheets that Emmie wants to do and letting her do them.

Other Activities This Week:

Soccer has just gotten ridiculous.  I don't know how else to describe it.  We used to only not play when there was lightning or dangerous weather (tornado warnings.)  Now every time there is a threat of rain or the grass is wet, they cancel.  Out of the 9 regular season games we were supposed to have, they have gotten to play 5.  They are not rescheduling those games either but going ahead and having the tournament.  The mom in me that's tired and ready to see the end of some of our activities is kind of happy about it, but really it is not fair to the kids to only play half a season and I'm sure we won't be getting half our money back!!  Ok, I'm done complaining about that now!

Monday: Soccer was cancelled.  We had the Dairy Foods Contest for 4 H.

Tuesday: We had our April 4 H meeting at the park.  Soccer was cancelled.

Wednesday: Kid's Club.

Thursday: Soccer games were cancelled again.  It was a beautiful day!  Alex's coach had a practice so Christian and Nick went along to the soccer fields.  Lily, Emmie, Anthony, and I had to go to Biosecurity Training for Poultry.  It is mandatory for 4hers getting poultry chain chickens this year.

Friday: We had to run some errands.  It was such a beautiful day we went to the park and had lunch and played for an hour.  Then we had to get home and do some yard work.

I was excited to see my roses blooming!

The girls wanted me to take their picture.  They were having a stuffed animal birthday party.

I hope you had a great week in your homeschool!

April Nature Seekers 4 H Meeting

This month for our 4 h meeting, I decided to do something on photography.  We have never done a meeting on that topic before although some of my children had an opportunity to attend a photography workshop last summer.

I am trying to do as many meetings as possible outdoors so I planned to have this meeting at the park. The weather did not cooperate, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. We were supposed to have thunderstorms and I thought we were going to have to cancel.  It did rain a little bit in the morning but then it quit and stayed over cast the rest of the day so we were able to go ahead and have the meeting.  I had 9 children attend this meeting.

I did some research online for tips on taking the best pictures with things like iPods, phones, and tablets because that is what most of the children are using to take pictures today.  We talked about good lighting, not zooming in, keeping the tablet stable, and taking different types of pictures.  We also talked about the Ross Photography contest that 4 H holds every year and the rules for entering.

Then we talked about other things you can do with photographs like making Stop Motion Films.  Anthony and Christian did a demonstration on taking photos and turning them into a stop motion film.  They did a LEGO man walking.

They also showed a couple of the Stop Motion films like LEGO Pizza Making and LEGO Captain America.

Then the children had an opportunity to go around the park and take some photos.  The boys were trying to get photos of a squirrel.  They even climbed a tree trying to get close to one.  Christian did end up getting a picture of a squirrel. They spent around 30 minutes taking pictures.

Here are a couple of Anthony's pictures.

I had a picture frame craft for them to do, but the older boys wanted to continue taking pictures and were not interested in making the craft.

Next month we are planning a Mini Golf outing.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Schoolhouse Crew Review: Writers in Residence

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

Apologia Educational Ministries is well known in the homeschool community for its science and Bible curriculum.  But they have many other options as well.  We recently had an opportunity to use and review their newest curriculum Writers in Residence.
Apologia: Writers in Residence Review
Debra Bell, the best selling author of The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling teens, and The Ultimate Planners has taught literature and composition for over 30 years.  Her newest product, Writers in Residence, is a complete language arts curriculum for students in grades 4-8.  We received Volume I, The Apprentice. It has two components: 

The Writers in Residence All-in-One Student Text and Workbook- This book is 576 pages long and spiral bound.  It starts with an introduction about how to use the course, the six traits writing model (ideas, organization, sentence structure, word choice, voice, conventions), Introduction to the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing, polishing), and a 4 day a week suggested schedule. The lesson instructions are in this book as well and written to the student.  Workbook pages for the student to complete are included for each exercise. 

The Writers in Residence Answer Key- The answer key is a 144 page paperback book.  It contains all of the answers to the workbook assignments plus information on the grading rubics, checklists, and guidelines for evaluation.

In the Writers in Residence curriculum, students will learn about sentence structure, parts of speech, punctuation, capitalization, and word usage while completing different writing assignments. There are 6 different units and each unit features expert models from  professional writers.

Unit 1: When I Was Young  teaches action verbs, nouns, conjunctions, subjects and predicates, and focuses on writing sentences.

Unit 2: Very Truly Yours  teaches adjectives, proper nouns, personal letter, capitalization, commas, simple sentence, linking verbs, and complements and has a creative writing assignment.

Unit 3: My Family Hall of Fame teaches paragraphs, modifiers, descriptive adjectives, determiners, and sensory words and has a research writing assignment.  

Unit 4: My Favorite Author focuses on paragraphs, adverbs, and transitions and has an opinion essay for the writing assignment.

Unit 5: The History of Me teaches first person, phrases, prepositions, prepositional phrases, and object of the preposition and has an autobiography writing assignment,

Unit 6: Zap! Pow! Kazam! teaches quotation marks, punctuating and forming dialogue, commas, interjections, question marks, exclamation marks and has a short story for a writing assignment.

There are four different types of writing tasks that Writers In Residence cycles through:

I Remember assignments help students master personal narratives.

I Imagine assignments teach creative writing.

I Investigate teaches research skills.

I Think teaches argument writing.

There are also 6 spotlights on Christian writers featuring: Bill Myers, Amy Green, Irene Howat, Jason Lethcoe, Amy Parker, and Phil Vischer.  Review of concepts is built in throughout the curriculum.  There are review your progress sections, mastery tests, unit reviews, and a final review.  

I have been using Writer's In Residence with my 12 year old sixth grade son.  I have really struggled to find a language arts program that is a good fit for him this year.  I love the 4 day a week schedule because we our school week runs Mon-Thurs, and the boxes provided in the schedule that he can check off after completing the assignments are wonderful.  I like the look and the layout of the course.  It is colorful and very visually appealing.  It has a very conversational tone and is written to the student, requiring little teacher preparation or actual teaching.  The included models give students great samples of writing and gives them examples of what the lesson is teaching them.  The grammar is taught in a very practical way within the context of writing which makes it more interesting for the student.  The daily lessons are short which was a big selling point for my son.

While I like that all of the instruction and assignment sheets are contained in the All-In-One Student Text and Workbook, the book is huge! My son was quite intimidated the first time he saw it, but felt better after he saw the length of the lessons.  I'm glad it is spiral bound and can lay flat but I worry that over time the pages will start to come loose from the binding.  The teaching style is different from what we have used in the past and so is taking some getting used to.   Alex does not mind to complete the grammar parts of the assignments, but he has been struggling with the writing exercises because we have done very little creative writing. Sitting with him and helping him come up with ideas has helped a great deal and he will continue working through this curriculum for the school year.  

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!