Our Family

Our Family

Friday, March 22, 2019

Homeschool Crew Review: Tied 2 Teaching

I never liked science when I was in school, but when I started homeschooling my children I learned how fun and interesting learning about the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics can be.  My children love to do STEM activities and we were very excited to be chosen to use and review STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading from Tied 2 Teaching



Tied 2 Teaching's products have been created by a teacher who believes that learning should be fun.  STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading combines hands on activities with close reading passages to make learning about the particular topic of study fun and interesting for children. 

The activities are geared for children in the 3rd-6th grade age range but they can be modified to be used with children who are a bit older or younger.  This downloadable full year bundle contains over 65 STEM challenges.  Each challenge comes in a 21 page PDF download and contains: a page with a link to a close reading page, a question page about the paragraph, a challenge page describing what the challenge will be, a page showing examples of the kinds of ideas other students have come up with, a page describing design criteria and suggested materials, a couple of pages with the Engineering Process (Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve) with empty space for children to draw and explain their ideas, a page with spaces for children to draw or explain what they did first, second, next, and last, a page where children can explain what they tried, noticed, improved, and whether or not it was successful, a page where they can describe what went well and what can be improved, a STEM page where they can describe the science behind the project, do additional research, explain their design, and explain what can of data they can learn and use from the project, and a parent letter to send home about the project if you are using it in a classroom or co-op.

To complete the close reading assignment you will have to have access to the internet.  Supplies needed to complete each project will vary depending on the project but the supplies used are ones that are found around the house or easy to obtain.  There are themed challenges that go along with certain holidays or seasons and challenges that can be done at any time.  A few of the challenges include:

Civil Rights Monument Design Challenge
Sled Design Challenge
Cupid's Box Design
Groundhog Burrow Design
Build a Leprechaun Trap
Basketball Tower STEM Challenge
Design a Carrot Carriage
Upcycled Birdhouse
Design a New Driod
House of Cards Challenge
Index Card Skyscraper Challenge
Apple Boat Challenge
Bone Bridge Challenge
Cranberry Tower Challenge
Cardboard Reindeer Challenge
Airplane Design Challenge



I have been using STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading with my 11 and 13 year old boys and my 8 and 10 year old girls have joined in on a few projects.  I chose activities that they thought were interesting and we have been completing one challenge per week.  My boys especially are very involved in STEM.  In fact,STEM is 4 of my boys' main 4 H project and we just recently entered a 4 H Regional STEM Under Water Robotics competition where they had to design and engineer their robot and complete under water courses, and they won and are heading to an International Competition in June.  They love STEM and are very familiar with the Engineering Process. 

The first activity we chose was the airplane design challenge.  To complete this challenge, they had to design an airplane made mostly out of wood using clothes pins, toothpicks, and popsicle sticks.  They could use other material such as hot glue, duct tape, and masking tape.  To start out, I printed the pages out for the children and read the close reading paragraph aloud so they could complete the worksheet on it. This did not work out. For one of the questions, "What was the main idea of the 4th section of the text" ,   they needed the paragraph in front of them, so I gave them the computer.  Then they started planning their designs and building them.  They had a great time with it!






Next they did the bone bridge challenge.  They had to design a bone bridge that could stretch across a pit of "lava" using q tips as the main product.  For this challenge and the rest of them, I printed out the close reading.





Christian added some LEGO men to his bridge

Then they did the House of Cards Challenge.  For this challenge they could only use cards and it had to be at least two floors.



They did the droid challenge as well but I seem to have deleted the images.

We have really enjoyed our STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading activities.  I love the range of projects in the bundle including the themed activities.  I love that the materials that are used for the projects are easy to find or are things you already have.  I did not buy anything for the challenges we completed.  I love that there are included photos of designs.  We have had design challenges before that we had absolutely no idea how to go about completing.  The photos will give children ideas if they are stuck.  Theses projects are fun and make children think.  If there was one thing that I wish was different, I would like the reading passages to be included in the download instead of having to go to the website.  It was easy enough to print them out but it would make it simpler if they were included in the download.

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


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Homeschool Crew Review: Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation"

We were introduced to Drive Thru History® back in 2017 when we had an opportunity to review Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”.  We LOVED it! So much so that we purchased other
Drive Thru History® series to watch for fun.  When I heard that there was a sequel to "The Gospels" I could not wait for it to be released and we were very excited to be chosen to review Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation."



What is it that makes Drive Thru History® so special? It is a video series that brings history to life.  We may never get to see in person the places that Dave Stotts tells us about in the videos, but with amazing cinematography, factual information on the history, geography, culture, and art of the locations, and a fun and quirky host it is like you are really on a road trip experiencing history.  Dave uses the Bible as his main source text but also uses other historical sources and artifacts. We have learned so much through watching Drive Thru History®.

For our review  we received:

3 DVDs  and a Study Guide in a Hardcover Case.  The study guide is attached to the case keeping everything where it belongs!




 Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation" picks up where "The Gospels" left off. Dave uses the book of Acts as his roadmap while following the lives of the disciples and tracing the paths of the missionary routes of Paul and his companions.  The series finishes off with John on the island of Patmos and a drive through the seven churches of Asia Minor.

There are 18 episodes in the series with each episode lasting just under 30 minutes long for a total of about 9 hours of content. The suggested age range is 6th grade and up, but it absolutely can be enjoyed by children younger then 6th grade.  Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation" contains the following episodes:


Episode 1 - The Gospel Shared at Pentecost- At Pentecost the apostles were empowered with the Holy Spirit and the church was started after Peter's first sermon and they went to the temple grounds to preach each day.

Episode 2 - The Church Grows in Jerusalem - The church continues to grow, Peter and John heal a crippled man and Stephen is martyred for his faith.

Episode 3 - The Gospel Spreads to the Gentiles- Dave travels outside of Jerusalem to the Samaritan city of Sebaste, the Roman Road to Gaza, the Judean of Lydda, the port city of Joppa, and Caesarea,.

Episode 4: Saul of Tarsus and the Road to Damascus - Dave visits Saul's hometown of Tarsus, travel part of the road to Damascus, climb Mt. Bental, and end in Caesarea,to explore the life of Herod Agrippa.

Episode 5 - Paul’s First Missionary Journey: The Island of Cyprus -Dave travels to modern-day Antakya, Turkey, and the ancient church known as “St. Peter’s Cave,” and visits the island of Cyprus.

Episode 6 - The Journey Continues: Pamphylia, Galatia and Asia Minor - Dave continues on Paul's first missionary journey sailing north from Cyprus to the coast of Asia Minor visits Perga, Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe and other ancient sites in Turkey.


Episode 7 - The Jerusalem Council and Paul’s Second Missionary Journey- Paul and Barnabas returned to Syrian Antioch then return to Jerusalem for a meeting where it is decided that the Gentiles do not need to follow Mosaic Law. After returning to Antioch, Paul and Silas left on a second missionary journey that lasts about 3 years revisiting the churches in Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch.

Episode 8 - The Second Journey Continues: Philippi and Thessalonica- Dave visits the ancient ruins of Philippi then takes a road trip to ancient Thessalonica.

Episode 9 - A Road Trip to Athens- Dave takes a trip from Berea to Athens in present-day Greece, visiting ancient sites such as Mount Olympus and Thermopylae.

Episode 10 - Ancient Corinth- Dave explores the accounts of Paul working and teaching in Corinth and  investigates artifacts that support the Biblical record.

Episode 11 - Paul’s Third Missionary Journey: Ephesus- Dave travels to Ephesus in present-day Turkey.

Episode 12 - Paul’s Final Trip to Jerusalem and Caesarea- Dave makes the trip from Jerusalem to Caesarea, investigating  the  harbor, ruins, and artifacts.

Episode 13 - Adventures at Sea: the Island of Malta- Dave explores Ancient Malta.

Episode 14 - A Final Journey to Rome- Dave travels the Appian Way to the Eternal City, explores  Pantheon and the Roman Forum, and Trastevere section of Rome.  

Episode 15 - The Martyrdom of Paul and Peter- Dave investigates the burning of Rome and visits some of the most famous churches in Rome that honor Paul and Peter.

Episode 16 - John and the Island of Patmos- Dave travels by Sea to the Island of Patmos visits the Cave of the Apocalypse and explore the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian.

Episode 17 - The Seven Churches of Revelation- Dave travels to the ancient province of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) and takes a road trip to the 7 churches talked about in Revelation.

Episode 18 - The Book Closes on the New Testament Period- Dave ends his road trip through Asia Minor at Laodicea and Colossae,and then returns to the Island of Malta.

The included Study Guide has a section for each of the episodes that includes: a summary of the episode, quotes, discussion questions, reading assignment, and side road information. The illustrations and photographs in the study guide are beautiful!  The side road information gives interesting information on a topic related to what is covered. For example in the third episode we learn about Joppa and in the side road there is information about the Harbor at Joppa and that today it is known as Joffa and is known for its restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions. In the back of the guide you will find the answers to the discussion questions.





I have been watching Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation" with my 7,9,11,13, and 15 years.  We have been watching 2 episodes per week and answering the discussion questions in the study guide.  I think that Drive Thru History® is wonderful just to watch and you do not have to follow a certain schedule to study it or fit it in to your course of study.  Interestingly, even though I didn't plan it that way, the episodes we have watched have lined up with what we have been studying in our once a week after school Bible study program at our church.  The day that we watched Episode 2 which talks about Stephen being stoned, we had that exact lesson at church.  Many of the children at church don't think about the Bible lessons taking place in "real" places.  By watching the Drive Thru History® episodes my children have been able to put a place in their minds to go along with what they have read in the Bible and I think that makes it more real to them (and for me too!)  It is absolutely amazing to see the places mentioned in the Bible come to life!  And some of the sad realities as well.  We know of the troubles going on in that area of the world, but that was made more real to us in Episode 4 when Dave was unable to travel the entire road to Damascus because of ISIS.

My children love Dave.  They are fascinated by his interesting rides, obsession with food, and quirky sense of humor.  Each episode is packed full of information but it is presented in a fun and interesting way. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking!  Watching these episodes and following the travels of the apostles including Paul and his companions on their missionary journeys have given us a greater appreciation of what the travels were like for them.  Dave uses modern forms of transportation that they did not have. Also while you read in the Bible about the dangers of being robbed while traveling we had not thought about dangers faced by wild animals.  We have learned so much history and the life and times of the early Christians by watching this series.

I highly recommend  Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation"and other series from Drive Thru History® not just to homeschool families but anyone interested in taking a road trip through history.

Other members of the Crew also reviewed Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation".
To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 28

The time change had me feeling like I was running an hour behind all week. 



Week 28 in Our Homeschool

Bible: We completed 4 lessons in the 10 Minute Bible Journey.
Liam coloring while I read

Read Aloud: We read 5 chapters in the YWAM Laura Ingalls Wilder Biography, 4 chapters in The Silver Chair, and 5 chapters in DragonKnight.

History: We watched 3 episodes of Drive Thru History Acts to Revelation and read lessons 25-27 in MOH Vol1.

Science: We started Lesson 13 in Apologia Human Anatomy on the Lymphatic System.  We also did a STEM exercise, building a bone bridge.



Poetry: We are working on The Pleiades in Memoria Press Poetry.

Art: We completed lesson 5 in ARTistic Pursuits Art of the Ancients, copying an animal drawing from a photo using soft pastels.




Individual School 2-7th

Emmie completed 4 lessons in Singapore Math Dimensions.  We started the unit on Colonization in Homeschool Complete.  She also completed lesson 35 in AAR Level 2.

Lily completed 4 lessons in MLFLE.  She finished her worksheets from Little House in the Big Woods chapter 8.  She could not use IXL this week because the computer was being used by her brothers.

Christian and Anthony completed 4 lessons in Rod and Staff Math.  They also completed Step 14 in AAS Level 6.  They watched the video for SWI A lesson 12 and started writing their papers.  Christian (and Alex too) finished  all of the required work from Hunters Ed.

Monday was the 4 H Bread and Cookie contest.  We started baking on Sunday afternoon and still barely finished by the time we had to go out the door Monday afternoon.  Somehow I did not get photos of Christian and Alex.

Lily made Corn Bread (1st place) and Yeast Rolls (2nd place)

Emmie made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (1st place) and Snickerdoodles (2nd place)

Christian made Peanut Butter Blossom Bars (1st place)

Anthony made Yeast Bread (1st place)

Alex made Brownie Cookies (2nd place)

Nick made Candy Bar Brownies (1st place)

After we finished baking the girls had gymnastics.

Then we ate supper at the park and dropped off our entries.  We had to kill time for an hour while they were being judged so we went to the library which is open late on Mondays.  Then headed back for our ribbons.



Tuesday the boys had Trap Practice.

Wednesday We had Kid's Club and Children's Choir.

After we went to have Christian and Alex take the Hunter's Ed exam.  They both passed.  It was the first official test Christian has ever taken so he was nervous but he did fine. 

Thursday Emmie had dance.  While she was there I had to run to the co-op, run through Walmart, and go to Nick's Parent Teacher conference at the school.  She had no idea he was homeschooled and only came for her class (very surprising to me because just about everyone knows, small town) she had good things to say which is always nice. 

Friday was Lily's birthday!

We had music lessons.  Emmie has been asking about playing the mandolin.  Where did she get the idea from? An episode of Arthur.  Ms. Becky took hers out and showed it to Emmie.  She let her borrow it and if she practices on it everyday this week will give her an official lesson next Friday when Lily goes to piano.

We had a 4 H meeting.  We were practicing doing talks/talent/ and demonstrations for an upcoming County Competition. 





Then we went out to eat for a birthday celebration.



Saturday Christian and Alex had their first Trap Tournament.  It was 33 degrees when I got up that morning!  When Alex shot it was about 40.  When Christian shot at 12 it had warmed up to 56.  I was really glad the sun was shining and it was not raining.  It is always colder at Grandview and I have learned to dress in layers when we go there and to bring a blanket.  Alex did not shoot as well as he wanted to but Christian was happy with how he did. 




I have no idea why the girls took this picture but they must have been impressed to see one maybe it's a sign of spring?

Next week is spring break for the local schools so we are taking a week (mostly we have a few little things to do) off too!

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!