Our Family

Our Family

Friday, September 30, 2016

September Nature Seekers 4 H Meeting

For our September meeting, I thought it would be fun to do something a little different.  One of the H's in 4 H is for Health, so I planned a meeting talking about some of the things we need to do to keep our body healthy with an emphasis on exercise.  For our activity I had 6 games for us to play.  I tried to come up with some that we had never tried before, while also not spending a lot of money.

We did a sponge toss.  I drew a target on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk and wet some sponges, The idea was to aim for the target.

We did a water balloon toss using towels.  The water balloon was placed on one towel.  They threw it up and the other side was supposed to catch it in their towel and throw it back.  We did not actually catch any of the balloons.

We also did a regular water balloon toss.

We played a field hockey game using clothes baskets for the goals, balloons for the balls and pool noodles for the sticks.  The idea was to get all the balloons into the baskets.  The grass was really dry and several of our balloons popped, but they still had fun.

We did a hula hoop race where the children had to jump the hula hoops like you would a jump rope and get from one side of the field to the other.

And we had a hula hoop contest to see who could hula hoop the longest.  You could hula hoop around any part of your body (waist, arm, neck, finger), you just had to keep the hoop from hitting the ground.  Christian kept his going for over 1.5 minutes,

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Homeschool Review Crew: The Cat of Bubastes

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes
We have had an opportunity to review several audio dramas from Heirloom Audio Productions over the last few years.  Heirloom Audio Productions is passionate about bringing history to life.  Their fast paced audio dramas use music and sound effects to draw the listener into the story and transport them back in time.  I was excited to have a chance to review their latest release, The Cat of Bubastes.

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

The Cat of Bubastes is based on the story The Cat of Bubastes by G.A. Henty.  In this story, Prince Amuba and Jethro are captured as slaves and sent to the city of Thebes.  Amuba and Jethro end up in the household of Ameres.  Amuba becomes the companion of Chebron.  One night the boys stumble upon some men plotting a murder.  Shortly after this Ameres's older son is found dead.  Then the death of a cat could have disastrous consequences for both of the boys and the entire household. Their character and loyalty will be tested as will their faith in the one true God.

The Cat of Bubastes is recommended for ages 6 and up and contains a little over 2 hours of listening adventure.  There are some intense moments in the story, but it is not bloody or gory and some children under the age of 6 may enjoy it.  It is narrated by Brian Blessed (Star Wars, Tarzan, Robin Hood) and also stars  Anthony Daniels (Star Wars), Sylvester McCoy (Dr. Who, The Hobbit), Elizabeth Counsel (The Chronicles of Narnia), Russel Boulter (Ben Hur), and John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones.)

There are many different options for purchase.  The MP3 version is $19.97 and includes a 47 page downloadable study guide and a downloadable print of the verse found in 1 Chronicles 17:20.  The 2 CD set can be purchased for $29.97 and includes the downloadable study guide, the printable verse, and the soundtrack MP3 download.  Or you can purchase the Family Four Pack for $99.97 which includes 4 2 CD sets, downloadable study guide, printable verse, MP3 soundtrack, access to Live the Adventure newsletter, The Cat of Bubastes ebook, and behind the scenes documentary.

The downloadable estudy guide is a wonderful way to expand on what you have learned while listening to the audio adventure.  There are 3 different sections in the guide for each track on the CD:

Listening Well: This section contains questions about what you have heard on the CD.

Thinking Further: These questions are a little deeper then basic comprehension questions. You may have to look something up, draw conclusions, or speculate about what the characters may have been thinking.

Defining Words: This section gives her child an opportunity to enhance your child's understanding of the story by defining words that were used.

There are also expand your learning sections that contain further information about the Egyptian culture such as mummification, hieroglyphics, crocodiles, diet, and more.  The guide also contains information about G.A. Henty, Moses, and the background on the Cat of Bubastes,  There are also three different Bible studies: God Meant if for Good, The Knowledge of God, and Idolatry and Tyranny.  You will also find a list of book suggestions for more on Ancient Egypt.

The Cat of Bubastes will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.  It is a very interesting story brought to life by the music and sound effects, making the listener feel as though they are part of the story.  Brian Blessed is an amazing narrator.  I just love to listen to his voice.  The other actors are wonderful as well. The Cat of Bubastes would be a great addition to any curriculum about Ancient Egypt.  It also is a great story for any family to listen to together interested in listening to a story full of action and adventure with virtuous characters.

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Homeschool Review Crew: Ultimate Phonics Reading Program

Spencer Learning gave us an opportunity to use and review the Ultimate Phonics Reading Program 

Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}
The Ultimate Phonics Reading Program is a software that you download to your computer.  It is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10, and Macintosh OSX 10.5 and higher.  The software purchase gives you access to the program forever with free updates.   Ultimate Phonics Reading program is for users of all ages.  The program can be used as a stand alone phonics program for new readers, a supplement to any phonics program you are using,  a supplement to help struggling readers of any age, or as a teaching tool for ESL.

The software contains 262 lessons containing 4,474 different words and 2,130 sentences.  113 Sight Words such as the, where, and says are included in the lessons. Each of the lessons focus on a specific letter sound or pattern, starting with very basic sounds and gradually becoming more advanced.  Each of the lessons build on the one before it.  Lesson 1 is a basic introduction and after that all of the lessons are patterned the same way with four different parts.  The first part tells you what the lesson will be about.  The second part is the lists of words using the sound pattern shown on the first page.  After the word list page, the words are shown one at a time, broken down by their sounds.  The last part is the sentence pages which give the students sentences to read using the word pattern learned in the lesson. 

If students need help, they can press the speaker button and the sentence will be read to them.  They can click on words to hear them read and click on the boxes with the separate sounds to hear each individual sound.  Words that have more then one syllable have red bars above the words on the word pages that  students can click on to hear each syllable.

Each lesson is short, taking only 10-15 minutes to complete.  You can work systematically through each lesson, or if you are using the program as a supplement, you can use the "find" feature to search for word patterns or words that you need to work on.

My son Anthony is a struggling reader.  He has come a very long way but needs a lot of review and reinforcement.  We have been completing one lesson per day.

I really like that the program is a one time purchase, not a subscription that you have to continue to pay for.  The download did take me quite awhile as my internet is incredibly slow.  The software is very easy to use.  All you need to do to navigate through the lessons is use the arrow keys.  

The Ultimate Phonics Reading Program is very straight forward.  There are no bells, whistles, or distractions. I like that there are no distractions but students that are used to more game like teaching will find it boring.   Lessons are short and easy to navigate and students can use the program independently.  The ability to have the sentences read to the student and words sounded it out is a good feature, but the voice is very monotone and sounds almost robotic.  This was very hard for us to listen to. 

The Ultimate Phonics Reading Program offers a free trial.  To try the program for yourself, click here.

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

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 4

Week 4 in our Homeschool

P.E.: Dropped the ball a little on P.E. this week.  Monday morning I found out we had NO chicken feed (no one mentioned that to me Friday when I was in town) and had to run into town to get some.  By the time I got back it was past P.E. time.  Another day I had an important phone call that I had to take.  So we did one day Family Time Fitness and one day of Yoga.

Bible: We read a section on Dwight L. Moody and Harriet Tubman in Hero Tales.  We also read about the Navajo in Windows on the World. We started reading the book of Matthew (1:1-17) and our memory verse is Matthew 1:23.

Read Aloud: We read four different stories in Kingdom Tales.  For our afternoon rad aloud we finished The Bears on Hemlock Mountain.

Poetry: We memorized out tenth poem from IEW poetry, There Was an Old Person Whose Habits by Edward Lear.

E.C.C: We are reading about North America, the United States in Children's Atlas of God's World and a Trip Around the World.  We did a small crossword puzzle and a color the states activity.  In science we read about Deciduous Forests in Living World Encyclopedia. Temperate Forests in Properties of Ecosystems and Up in the Canopy of Living World Encyclopedia.

Science: We finished reading about Venus in Apologia Astronomy.

Art: We did a chalk pastel of Venus using Chalk Pastels: Art in Space.

Language Arts: I completely forgot about Fix It! Grammar this week.  Lily started a new lesson in Jolly Grammar.  We did one day of "qu" words and one day of dictation.  In Language Lessons for Today we talked about the parts of a book and possessive's.  Alex is working on punctuation in All in One English.

Spelling/Reading In AAS Level 3 they completed steps 4 and 5. In  AAR Level 4 Anthony and Christian completed 8,9, and 10. In  AAR Level 2 Lily completed lesson 33 and 34.

Math:  Nick completed lesson 3 in MUS Geometry.  Alex completed four lessons in Teaching Textbooks 7.  Lily, Christian, and Anthony completed 4 lessons in Math Lessons for a Living Education.

MFW Creation from A to Z: Emmie finished up her unit on Apples.  We made our apple badge, talked about the life cycle of an apple, and made a Fruits of the Spirit apple tree.  We were going to make a recipe using the apples I bought, but she wanted to just eat them.  Maybe next week we will get more and make an apple pie.  She started the next unit "N" for "Nest."  She did the picture card page, handwriting, page and sound discrimination page.

All American History: Nick is still reading through Under Drake's Flag and completed lessons 11-14.

Discovering God's Design in Nature: Nick read the assignments and completed the worksheets for days 15-18.

Other Activities this Week:

Monday night I had a meeting.

Tuesday Nick had youth and Christian and Alex had soccer practice.

Wednesday we had Kid's Club.

Thursday Christian and Alex had soccer and I took the other children grocery shopping.

Friday we met some friends for lunch.  When Art got home from work we headed to the lake for the week-end.  We had a great time.  There were not a lot of people there.  We spent most of our time fishing and swimming.

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Homeschool Review Crew: KidsEmail.org

KidsEmail.org Annual Subscription
Over the last several weeks, we have had an opportunity to review the Annual Subscription to KidsEmail.org.
KidsEmail.org Annual Subscription
KidsEmail.org allows your children to be in contact with friends and family using their own email address while keeping them protected from spam, viruses, and ads.  Parents can set up a variety of safety settings including: only allowing children to send and receive emails from contacts on their list, sending copies of incoming and outgoing messages to parent email, blocking images in the emails, not allowing attachments in the emails, and blocking foul language.  The parent also has the ability to set time restrictions, ground children from using the email, and block senders.  Parents can easily monitor all of their children from their dashboard.
The parent chooses the email for each child.  Younger children's email ends in "@kidsemail.org." You have the option to modify accounts for older children and have their email end in "@kmail.org" You can personalize the look of each child's email dashboard.  There are several different choices for your children to choose from such as princess, puppy, race car, kitten, unicorn, horses, flowers, wolves, colors, and many more.  Other features include a drawing board, and a read to me icon that reads the email to the child.
KidsEmail.org can be accessed on any computer.  They also have apps to use on mobile devices such as iPods, iPads, or Kindles.  
I set up email accounts for all 6 f my children.  I thought that my mom and dad would enjoy getting emails from the children and our homeschool curriculum has some letter writing exercises coming up.  I almost never buy stamps and thought that the children could practice their letter writing using their new email accounts.  
I have never allowed the children to have their own emails because I was worried about the safety issues.  I did not want them to receive spam emails or have strangers be able to contact them.  KidsEmail.org takes away all the parent worry.  I love the safety features.  My children cannot email or receive email from anyone that is not listed in their contacts.  They do not have the ability to change their contacts, only I can do that.  I like the option to be able to keep the settings the same for all children or to make changes to each individual child if you need to.
I thought that the dashboard options were really cute!  My girls love the princess and the boys liked the race car and dog.  I like that there are older looking options as well so that the older children don't think it looks "babyish."  I also think the read to me option is great for younger children though it does sound a bit robotic.
KidsEmail.org Annual Subscription
We have used KidsEmail,org on my laptop and we have also used the app on my iPhone and the children's Kindles.  We like the drawing feature that is on the app.   I wish that app allowed an individual log in so I could have each child be able to log in on their own device.  The way it's set up, it uses the parent log in.  Then you can access each of the children by clicking on their icon.  I wanted to be able to log in just one child and give them the ability to see if they have new mail from the homepage on their Kindles. 
ETA The company contacted me to tell me there is a way for the children to use the app on their individual Kindles without having all the other children showing.  I am excited about that and going to try it out!
To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Homeschool Review Crew: The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles

My latest review,  The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles written by Mark S. Mizra and published by CTM Publishing Atlanta, is the first book a brand new Christian historical fiction series.

The author of the book, Mark S Mizra is the founder of Common Thread Ministries which focuses on helping people, churches, and ministries develop their prayer lives.  He teaches that the Word of God should be our focus on why we pray what we pray.

The Pray-ers Book 1 Troubles, is a 372 page paperback book.  It is also available as an ebook. The story focuses on the lives of three main prayer heroes in three different periods of time in history.  In the first century we have Thales who is the nephew of Epraphus.  In the 19th Century we meet Alexander Rich, an itinerant preacher and  friend of D.L. Moody, and in the present time we have Dr. Dale Riley, a track coach and men's prayer ministry leader.  The story shows different struggles in each of the three heroes lives and the loves of some surrounding characters.  The story models how each of the heroes pray and how those prayers affect their lives and the lives of those around them.

In addition to these characters, there are also several characters from the spiritual world.  Hael is a guardian angel who has been assigned to Dr. Dale and instructed to make contact with him.  He also guarded Alexander Rich and Thales.  Tephillah is another guardian angel in the story.  There are also demons in the story named djaod, haodtie, joln, and katepa.  Throughout the book you read about the demons attempts to deceive or cast doubts in the lives of the heroes and how they use people around them to cause troubles. We also see how the prayers of the heroes affect both the demons and the angels.

I have been reviewing this book myself.  I thought that it may be of interest to my older boys, but after reading it decided this book is really for adults, and maybe older teens (think college aged) as it deals with mature issues (abortion, and an alleged rape) and does not have much subject matter that younger teens would be able to relate to.  I thought the book started out pretty slow and it took me awhile to get into it.  I think that part of that was the transition through the different time periods. Just when I felt like it was getting interesting for one of the heroes, it would switch time periods and move on to someone else's story.  Also, within each time period the story often switches from the main characters to the characters from the spiritual world and back again, and that is rather hard to follow unless you are reading very carefully. The author chose not to captitalize the names of the demons in the story.  He talks about why he did this in the preface but it is hard to get used to reading it that way. About half way through the book it really started getting interesting and I couldn't wait to see how it would end.  But, nothing was resolved in this book, you have to wait for Book 2 to find out what happens next.

The Pray-ers does have a lot to say about prayer and teaching how we should pray.  Several times during the course of my reading the book, I had to stop and think about my life and how to improve my own prayer life.  Scripture references are included throughout the book so you are able to look up the referenced verses as you are reading and read for yourself what the Bible has to say. I am very interested in reading the next book to see how everything ends up!

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

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 3

Since we did not have a full week of school last week, we had to play a little bit of catch up this week.  We also added in a few things this week.

Bible: We are all doing the Bible assignments from ECC together.  I am not sure what I think about it so far.  I really don't feel like it is enough Bible study.  I am going to give it a bit longer before I decide for sure.  We read Revelation 7:9-17, read about Judaism in Windows on the World, Read about Missionary Kids, did an overview on the Bible , and read about Dwight L. Moody in Hero Tales.

P.E.: We are using Family Time Fitness Core 2.  We did 4 lessons this week in FTF.

Read Aloud: We have 3 different read alouds every day.  In our morning school time we are doing the assigned read aloud from ECC which is Kingdom Tales.  This is another book I am not entirely sure what I think.  The children think it is strange and interesting and I have to say I agree.  I had chosen some books from the ECC Book Basket list to do as afternoon read alouds, but I set those aside so we could read our book club selection, The Bears on Hemlock Mountain (Alex and I read this together a few years ago but the rest of the children had never heard it.)  Our before bed chapter book read aloud is The Tale of Despereaux.

Poetry: We have been working on memorizing My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson.

ECC: In geography we finished learning about map basics like the differences between a physocal and political map, and talked about local maps.  We made a map of our town.

Then we moved on to learning about our first continent, North America.  We mapped the U.S., Canada, and Mexico on our North America, along with the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.  We also added in the Mississippi River, Rocky Mountains, Great Lakes, and Gulf of Mexico.  We started labeling some states: California, Florida, Washington, Maine, our state and bordering states on the U.S. map.

In the science portion we learned about oxygen and the water cycle, and the different types of forests. We did a worksheet shading in the different types of forests around the world.

ECC uses Global Art for it's art lessons.  I am not sure how many of these we are going to end up doing.  Many of the projects are pretty involved.  We did some sand art this week.  I even bought colored sand instead of dying our own like the book suggested and it took forever.  The children did not have much patience waiting for the glue to dry between colors.  Lily worked on hers most of the afternoon, Anthony never went back and finished and Emmie and Christian only used two colors so did finish theirs though Christian was not pleased with his.

Science: In Exploring Creation with Astronomy we finished Mercury.  I picked up an ebook called Chalk Pastels: Art in Space.  We did the project on Mercury.  We had to use oil pastels because we must've used all of chalks and Walmart did not have any, but they turned out ok anyway.

Language Arts: Lily completed her lesson in .  Alex finished his section on capitals in All in One English and started on punctuation.  We completed Lesson 2 of Fix it! Grammar 2 and 3.  In Language Lessons for Today we did a picture study and spent two days copying a poem, Blind but Happy,  by Franny Crosby.

Spelling/Reading: Christian and Anthony completed lesson 3 in AAS Level 3.  In AAR Level 4 they completed lessons 5,6, and 7.  Lily completed lessons 31 and 32 in AAR Level 2.

Math: Everyone is on something different in Math!  Nick completed lesson 2 in Geometry.  Alex did 4 lessons in TT 7.  The others did four lessons in Math Lessons for a Living Education, except Lily who got a head one day and kept going.... I was a bit dismayed at how my boys had forgotten how to borrow while subtracting.  We also started drilling basic facts this week 2 days of the week. I forgot the other two.

MFW Creation from A to Z: Emmie started the "a" "apple" unit.  She did her picture card page, handwriting page, sound discrimination page, and a cut and paste page.

She also managed to entertain herself quietly every morning this week while we were working and did not interrupt one time!

All American History: Nick completed lessons 7-10.  This are pretty straight forward.  He is reading the chapters and answering the questions in the activity book.  He also started reading Under Drake's Flag by G.A. Henty.

Discovering God's Design in Nature: Nick completed Week 3's assignments.  This is very straight forward too.  Read and answer questions.

Other Activities this Week:

Tuesday nights Nick has youth.  We just have to drive him to town and drop him off and Art picks him up.

Wednesday we had Kid's Club.

Friday we met up with some homeschool friends and played some Pioneer Games.  They enjoyed it!

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!