Saturday, September 24, 2016

Family Learning: Bible Time

Bible Time is the only thing my family has done consistently since starting homeschooling, back when my oldest {who is almost 14 now} was 4! Bible Time {such a simple thing to call it, but it's what we've always called it} is a non-negotiable in our day for several reasons. First of all, giving my children a firm foundation and teaching them what they need to build on that foundation is my main goal in homeschooling. Secondly, Bible Time is such a precious time with my family. It blesses me each and every day. And last of all, I have learned so much from our Bible Time!

We actually have two Bible Times in our house. Overkill, you think? Never! My kids and I look forward to Bible Time each day. If they think I'm going to forget, they remind me. If we don't have it for some reason, they miss it.

In the morning, we are using Foundations 2: Christ our Messiah for our Bible Time. We start each morning with prayer and Bible Time. I really like Foundations 2, which goes through the Gospels and Acts, as it has a weekly schedule with daily readings, scripture memory, questions and activities all planned out for me. Each of the kids has a 1/2 inch binder for Foundations. We write and illustrate our memory verse each week as well as illustrating each new book we start with facts and information about the book and author.

We practice our memory verse each morning, go through the books of the Bible, and read our chapter for the day. I stop every few verses to explain things or ask {or answer} questions. We have read through Matthew, and now we are in Mark. When we come to a passage of scripture that was recorded in Matthew, we remember and state the similarities and any differences in the stories. We talk about why the stories might be different, and my 11 year old had the best answer - everyone is telling the story from their point of view or from their memory, so there will be slight differences. {This is why I love discussion of the Bible with my children! Such insight.}

In the evening, we were picking a book {at random!} and reading through the book several chapters a night. Before we read, I pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give wisdom, insight and understanding to each of us, even my preschooler. His Word tells us that when we ask for wisdom, He will give it to us. Again, I stop every few verses to explain things, and we have a lot of discussion among ourselves. We just decided to read straight through the Bible as a family, so we are still in Genesis. After we read, we each pick a song to sing. As my kids range in ages from 4-almost 14, our songs range from "This Little Light of Mine" to "Our God is an Awesome God" to "Amazing Grace". It is such a sweet time together! We finish off with prayer, sometimes I pray, sometimes my husband prays, and sometimes we all take turns praying.

*A final tip*: I do read a children's Bible to my younger children throughout the day, but they retain so much from listening to the Word of God! And they can memorize scripture just as well as the older kids, without even trying! Always include your little ones in family Bible Time, and don't underestimate their ability to understand or remember things. Remember to ask the Holy Spirit to give your children to wisdom and insight to understand the Word.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Weekly Recap

We have been home for nearly two weeks now. I don't know how the time has passed by so quickly, but it has! I haven't been very active on the blog, but we have had so much to do since we've been home. Besides unpacking the trailer and getting the house back in order {which is so time consuming in itself}, we have been visiting with family and friends, homeschooling, organizing, and going through closets and rooms donating clothes and toys.

I also got a new {to me} dining room table. It is an antique table that my husband's grandmother had stored in their barn. I sanded and painted it a distressed blue, and we bought six more chairs to go around it {we already had four}. It is such a huge table, it can easily seat ten people with room for more. It has been such a blessing for homeschooling, as we can all fit around the table, spread out our books and supplies, and not be crowded. We can also have nice family dinners and invite people over. How we survived with four chairs and a small table for so long is a mystery.

Here is our weekly recap for homeschool. I didn't get to post any pictures this week, as my internet has been giving me fits today.

Titus - Preschool

Titus learned the letter C, the number 3, the color green and the shape triangle this week. He made a caterpillar C with scrapbook circles, put three bug stickers into his bug jar, cut out green pictures from magazines to make a green collage, sorted triangles, circles, and squares, and worked in his Leap Frog Skills activity book. He is learning so much, and I am so proud of him! He can sing his alphabet and the days of the week. He can also count into the teens.

Silas - Kindergarten

Silas learned the -am word family this week, along with the sight words "I", "a", and "am". He had a blast with all of the fun activities this week. He played some games, had handwriting practice while writing his -am word family words, and he really enjoyed all of his worksheets. He is also learning about nouns. I think he is too young for formal grammar, but the curriculum we are using has two days a week for an interactive language arts notebook. He did very well with sorting nouns into categories by person, place or thing.

In math, he reviewed his numbers 0-9, rectangles and circles, and patterns. He is bored with this now, ready to move on to something challenging. As I look forward in his math book {Math Lessons for a Living Education, 1}, I can see that in a few weeks, he will have some harder work. For now, we have been doing 2 or 3 days worth of lessons in 1 day. We are working on counting past 20, and although he can count by 10's to 100, counting by 1's to 100 is not easy for him. I also started an interactive math notebook with him, which he loves. He does fun things like rolling two die and making an addition sentence with them.

Mercie - 3rd grade

Mercie finished lesson 17 in Learning Language Arts Through Literature this week. She worked on pronouns, adding -er to words, reading graphs, and cursive. She also had a review and assessment this week.

She also completed Lesson 5 in Math Lessons for a Living Education. She worked on reading and recording temperatures, graphing, measurements, fractions, and calendars. That sounds like a lot of concepts, but her math takes her about 10-15 minutes to complete each day. I had her make a cup, pint, quart, and gallon robot to help her remember the measurements.

She wrote in her journal four times this week and starting a writing workshop with Mikaela and Eli. She also read several books on her own, which makes me happy!

Social Studies - We learned about towns, states, countries, continents, and our world this week. We made a little flip book to help Mercie remember which is which! We also talked about the layers of the earth and made a flip book with the layers labeled.

Eli - 6th grade

Eli completed five lessons in Principals of Mathematics this week. He worked on properties, order of operation, multi-digit multiplication, and the distributive property.

He also completed Lesson 11 in Learning Language Arts Through Literature. He worked on writing plural nouns that end in sh, ch, x, s, z, y and i. He also learned how to write quotation marks and how to punctuate them and about the different kinds of sentences.  He had a review and assessment this week.

In America the Beautiful he completed Unit 8. He read about the Gateway Arch, North American Indians, Lewis and Clark, the Louisiana Purchase, and Noah Webster.

In science, he learned about fog and lightening thunderstorms.

He read several books, completed a few art lessons, and started the writing workshop with Mikaela and Mercie.

Mikaela - 8th grade

Mikaela completed five lessons in Principals of Mathematics. She learned about metric conversions, multi-step conversions, conversions between US and Metric, and time conversions.

She completed Lesson 17 in Learning Language Arts through Literature. She worked on linking verbs, predicate adjectives, predicate nominatives, dependent clauses and how to diagram them.

In America the Beautiful, she completed Unit 23. She read about World War II, Eleanor Roosevelt, Hawaii and New York.

In science, she learned about hurricanes, storm surges, El Nino and La Nina.

She read several books and started the writing workshop with Mercie and Eli.

Writing Workshop - The kids were getting tired of using Writer's in Residence, and their writing was not improving like I wanted it to. I decided to pause it for a few weeks and complete a writing workshop with them. Mercie wanted to participate, and I gladly allowed her to. We learned about the writing process and our purposes for writing - narratives, expository, descriptive, and persuasive writing. We have fun while learning and they will get their first assignment next week.

I'm still trying to decide if we will go back to BiblioPlan or not. Mikaela has completed 23 weeks out of 30 in America the Beautiful, and I want her to finish it. I think she will feel a real sense of accomplishment when she does.

Mikaela and Eli really enjoy doing some subjects together, though. I am thinking of combining them for science using their MasterBooks science books. I'm still trying to decide. My goal this year is not to change curriculum! I've already had to tweak a few things, like Silas's reading program. I also bought Math Lessons for a Living Education for Mercie and Silas, which I do not regret! There are also a few things I want to implement with Mikaela and Eli, like a 'Word of the Day'. I will write a word on the board, they will copy it in their notebook with the definition and write a sentence and/or illustrate the word. Once a week, I'll give them a spelling and vocabulary test on their words. This will start next week!

How was your week? Have you changed any curriculum so far?



Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Pray-ers / Book 1- Troubles {TOS Review}

God has recently been speaking to me about spiritual warfare. He has used several different people and resources to teach me how to combat the warfare that is constantly going on around us. One of the things He has brought into my life is this book - The Pray-ers / Book 1- Troubles by Mark S. Mirza.
The Pray-ers is a book that teaches the importance of prayer in everyday life. This book is told through the eyes of demons, angels, and humans. The story flip-flops between three time periods - 1st century, 18th century, and the current era, each with their own storyline.

The demons try to thwart the Christian's prayer life, casting doubt into their minds and hearts. The demons work through the lives of other people in the main character's lives, bringing trouble into their lives and trying to keep them from trusting in, and especially praying to, God. The angels are involved in the main character's lives, as well. They help protect, encourage, and try to stop the demon's attacks on the Christians.

What did this book teach me?

This book taught me the importance of prayer. Spiritual warfare is all around me, and prayer is the best way to fight against it. The Bible says to "Pray without ceasing", and this book showed me exactly what that means. Having a prayerful attitude about everything that happens in my life is important. I need to pray about everything - EVERYTHING! Prayer truly thwarts the devil's plans and schemes. This book really teaches you how to pray, especially how to pray scripture.

What was my favorite storyline in the book?

At first, I really enjoyed reading the current era's storyline, which was about a husband and wife. But the more I read through the book, I found the 18th century storyline to be my favorite part. It told the story of a man named Alexander Rich, a boyhood friend of Dwight L. Moody. He was a traveling preacher who had to deal with the effects of a rumor that got started about him and a young lady. He really used the power of prayer to get through this situation and his faith in God never wavered. It really inspired me and encouraged me.

Who should read this book?

This book would be a great book for any teen or adult to read. It teaches how to pray and shows you why you should pray. It helps you to see that prayer does work and is very effective. It does talk about demons and tells a storyline through them. They are presented in a very disgusting way and are not glamorized in the least. {Some books geared toward teens glamorize the occult - vampires, witches, and monsters. This book does just the opposite. The demons are in no way desirable or interesting.} I would not recommend this book to any pre-teen or teen that is sensitive to these topics.

Am I planning to let your kids read it?

I do plan to read through this book with my three older kids, as it is a longer book with some difficult content and themes. Mercie is 8, Eli is 11, and Mikaela is 13. I plan to read a few chapters a week, having my kids look up the scripture that is included in the footnotes {which is something I love!}. I really want my kids to learn how to pray effectively at a young age. I also want them to be aware of the spiritual warfare happening.

Is there anything I didn't like about it?

The book was a little hard to follow at first. I was a little confused for a while. It opens with the demons and their storyline, and I was a little skeptical. However, it quickly became an easy read and I couldn't put the book down. It truly blessed me and has given my prayer life the energy boost it needed.

Check out The Pray-ers and CTM Publishing Atlanta!

 
The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles
 
 
Crew Disclaimer
 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

HelpTeaching.com {TOS Review}

http://www.helpteaching.com/

Mercie, my 3rd grader, has been using HelpTeaching.com for the past month or so as an addition to her daily homeschool work. We received the Help Teaching Pro Subscription in exchange for our review.

What is HelpTeaching.com?

HelpTeaching.com is a website that not only has thousands of free worksheets available, but allows you to create your own tests and worksheets. There are three main parts to this website, which I'll briefly explain below.

Tests and Worksheets: Over 3,000 tests and worksheets are available for Kindergarten through 12th grade covering all subjects. Common Core Aligned worksheets are also available. The worksheets are organized by grade and by subject, making it easy to find what you need.

Test Maker: The Test Maker is a really neat tool on this website. You can write your own questions, making them multiple choice, fill in the blank, true and false, or open-ended. There are over 1,000 images you can use or you can upload your own. There are also questions that other educators have used for their tests. You can browse these questions and use them on the tests you create.

Test Room: The Test Room can be used to administer online tests and manage student performance. Your student must have their own email address so you can mail them a link to the test.

There is a huge variety of worksheets and tests available on HelpTeaching.com. Some of the categories include:
  • Arts
  • Early Education
  • English Language Arts
  • Life Skills
  • Math
  • Physical Education
  • Science
  • Seasonal and Holidays
  • Social Studies
  • Study Skills/ Strategies
  • Math Worksheet Generators
  • Printable Game Generators
Within these categories, there are many different subcategories for the different grades. There are also lessons your child can watch. These lessons are linked to outside websites that offer free content. These lessons include an embedded video, questions and answers, and tests. There are lessons for Pre-K - 12th grade in the topics of Language Arts, Math, and Science.

For only $24.95 a year, you can have access to all of these worksheets, tests, the test maker, and the test room. This is such a great deal! Having all of these worksheets at your fingertips is so helpful for a busy homeschool mom. It's also a wonderful thing to have the test maker available.

How did we use HelpTeaching.com?

I chose to use HelpTeaching.com for my 3rd grade for the review period; however, I will be using it for all of my children in the future!
Mercie loved taking the "tests" online. There is such a variety of tests available, and I chose to have her take some on the topics she needs a little extra help with. She took some tests on counting money, having multiple choice and fill in the blank answers. She also read some informational stories and answered the questions online. She enjoyed being able to see immediately how many she got correct {only when she didn't miss any, ha!}.

I also printed off some of the informational stories to put in her reading notebook, so she has one or two a week to read and answer the questions for.

I plan to use this website with my older kids, as well. I think I will assign them each a test or worksheet to complete online once a week. I have also been looking over the lessons, and I may assign them a few lessons online to complete each week. There are so many possibilities for using this website.

Check out HelpTeaching.com on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

 
 
http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/help-teaching-pro-subscription-helpteaching-com-2/
 
 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Weekly Recap: The Elementary Kids

This week went by fast, just like all of the others! We took of Monday for Labor Day since Rod didn't have to work. The kids still did 5 days of school, though. Some worked today, Saturday, and Eli did a little extra each day and did 5 days of school in 4 days. I am going to make this post for the Elementary Kids - Titus, Silas and Mercie. I will do Mikaela and Eli's weekly recap separately.

Titus: Preschool

We are still using the Leap Frog Skills workbook as a guide. We worked on the letter B, squares, the color blue, and the number 2. Here are a few things we did:
  • made a Butterfly "B"
  • put 2 bug stickers in his 2 bug jar
  • put stickers around the 4 sides of a square
  • cut blue pictures from magazines and glued them in his notebook
  • cut "B"s from magazines and glued them in his notebook
  • stamped squares with blue paint
  • worked several pages in his workbook

Silas: Kindergarten

Silas learned the -at word family this week and the sight words 'the' and 'a'. We read words ending in -at and sentences using -at words and his sight words. He wrote the word family words and sight words and learned how to write sentences using capital letters and periods. He found the letters for "the" and the word "the" and "a" from magazines and glued them into his notebook.

In math, he reviewed rectangles and circles. He practiced writing his numbers 0-9 almost daily and did a chapter in "Math Lessons for a Living Education." This math book has been wonderful, and even though I feel like it's too slow at times, it proves to be a good pace for Silas. He is getting practice writing his numbers, and finally knows 6, 7, 8, and 9 without trouble!

Mercie: 3rd Grade

Mercie completed a chapter in Math Lessons for a Living Education." She reviewed adding and subtracting with borrowing and carrying, reading clocks and writing time, reading thermometers, and simple addition and subtraction facts.

She completed Lesson 16 in Learning Language Arts Through Literature, which was on reading maps. She had a blast with this, and even drew her own map of a made-up town! She did a few pages in her Scholastic Third Grade workbook for language arts - a reading comprehension story on Alexander Graham Bell, a page on palindromes, a cursive page on the letter "A", and a sentence/fragment page. She wrote in her journal several times this week.

We did not do history or science this week, but will start up again after a week off of school when we get home {next week, yay!}.

I love these weekly recaps. They take a little time to write, but it helps me to see how much we do each week, even if school for the little ones is an hour or two daily. They are learning so much!

A few pictures of the kids from my phone this week:
 

 
 
 



How was your week?



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Christian HomeSchool Hub {TOS Review}

As a homeschooling mom of five kids {ranging in ages from 4-13}, I am always on the lookout for curriculum or resources that will make my life easier and my homeschool planning quicker. Enter: Christian HomeSchool Hub {CHSH-Teach}! I received an annual subscription to the CHSH Download Club in exchange for my honest review.
What is the CHSH Download Club? This is a membership to a website that has over 50,000 downloadable pages of educational material. Yes - FIFTY THOUSAND. Most of these are created by Lynda Ackret, who also sells these materials on other sites. Some of these materials are created and shared by subscribers.

What types of materials are available? There is such a variety of resources available on this website! They are organized extremely well - by subjects, by grade levels, and by months. Here is a sample of some of the categories:
  • Bible-related Resources - including Bible Memorization, People of the Bible Notebooking, Bold Believers Around the World, and Sermon Notes for Kids
  • Languages - Spanish, French, Italian, American Sign Language
  • Arts, Music, and Crafts - including Art and Drawing Instruction, Music Instruction, and Knitting
  • Language Arts - Writing, Reading and Literature, and Spelling
  • Math - broken into grade levels, including Resources and Posters, Fractions, and Roman Numerals, as well as high school level math
  • Science - broken into grade levels, including Human Anatomy, Biology and Marine Science
  • Social Studies - including Geography, History, and Economics
  • Electives - Architecture, Character Studies, and Social Issues
  • Health - including General Health and Dental Health
I feel like I haven't even touched on many of the subject areas included. I only gave a brief sampling. If there is something you are looking for, I can almost guarantee it would be  on CHSH-Teach!

What are we using? Mercie, my 3rd grader, needs improvement in her reading and listening comprehension. I was super excited to find book units under the Reading category! I printed off the "Muggie Maggie" unit, ordered the book from Amazon, and she completed the book unit. She loved it! There were comprehension questions, vocabulary, and creative writing activities.

I also printed off some writing prompts for her. I cut them out and glued them into a spiral notebook. Each day, she opens up to the next page and writes what she is prompted. She has loved doing this, and the writing prompts are very creative. A few examples are "What would you do if you found bugs in your salad?" and "What would you do if you woke up in a foreign country and couldn't talk to anybody?" Her writing has improved so much since we've been using the writing prompts! And I love the pictures she draws to go along with the journal entry.

The printables are excellent quality, and I had no trouble at all downloading and printing any of the resources I chose to use. Some of these are full-color with adorable graphics, but they are all very professionally done.The printables are organized very well, and it's extremely easy to find what you are looking for. There are so many different printables that I plan to use this school year! There is a health curriculum I have been looking to use with all of my children together, as well as some Bible Notebooking pages that I think they would enjoy. I plan to use some of the United States maps and pages for my two older children since they are studying American history this year.

There is also a community forum where you can interact with other members, as well as the option to share your own resources.

You can purchase a membership to CHSH-Teach as annual membership for $25 or a lifetime membership for $99. Trust me, it is totally worth it! Check out Christian HomeSchool Hub on Facebook and Pinterest.




Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}
 
 
 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Apologia: Exploring Creation With Astronomy {TOS Review}

Mercie and Silas have had so much fun learning about astronomy the past month with Apologia Educational Ministries' Exploring Creation With Astronomy, 2nd Edition.

WHAT WE RECEIVED:
Apologia sent us the student textbook, a notebooking journal, a junior notebooking journal, and an audio CD of the textbook.

The textbook is a beautiful book, with thick, glossy pages and full-color pictures. Some of the features of the chapters {or lessons} are:
  • "Think About It" - A Bible verse with a short paragraph that gives you something interesting to think about.
  • "Wisdom From Above" - Scripture that relates to the lesson.
  • Activities - Experiments and demonstrations that relate to the lesson and give your child a fuller understanding of the concepts being taught.
  • "What Do You Remember?" - Also included in the notebooking journal {along with lines for writing the answers}, these questions will allow your child to recall what he has learned from the chapter.
The notebooking journals are also beautiful! They also have thick pages and plenty of color. Here are the features of the notebooking journals:
  • Suggested Daily Schedule - Color-coded to designate certain components, the suggested daily schedule helps break down the chapters into 4-7 lessons each. You are free to use the book however you wish, but the daily schedule is very helpful in planning your child's lessons.
  •  Fascinating Facts - These pages are to be used by your child to write some interesting facts they have learned, along with space to draw a picture or diagram. 
  • Scripture Copywork - There are two options for copywork - manuscript and cursive. The copywork is a Bible verse that corresponds with the lesson.
  • Activity Documentation - These pages are used to document the activities your child completes. There is room to write "what I did" and "what I learned".
  • Miniature Books - These pull-out pages are a lot of fun! Your child will cut out, write information, and glue these books into their journals. 
  • Vocabulary Review - Using crossword puzzles and other fun pages, your child will review the vocabulary learned in the lesson.
  • Taking It Further - These pages are for children who do extra research, read more books, or do more experiments with the lessons. There is room to record your information and draw pictures.
  • What Do You Remember? or Coloring Pages - In the notebooking journal, there are questions that will let you see how much your child learned and remembered from the lesson, with lines to write the answers on. In the junior notebooking journal, there are coloring pages for the child to color. These coloring pages are very detailed and fun to color.

 HOW WE USED IT:

The suggested pace is to complete two lessons a week. However, Mercie often wanted to do three or four lessons a week, and that was just fine with me! We finished Chapter 3, which was about the planet Mercury.

We had a lot of fun with this science! I would read the lesson for the day, ask the kids to narrate back what I read, and then we would complete the fun activities. Some days, we had an experiment to do, while others we would work in the journal. Mercie, my 3rd grader, used the notebooking journal, while Silas, my 1st grader, used the junior notebooking journal. He is not a reader or a writer yet, so he had some trouble using the journal. He enjoyed the coloring pages and putting together the minibooks! I would write the information for him, and I would have him narrate what he wanted me to write down.

Some of the activities we did include making a model solar system with balloons and showing how craters are formed on Mercury by dropping pebbles into a pan of flour.

I love the way this book is set up! The suggested daily schedule is great, the lessons are interesting and fun to read {and listen to}, the journals are a wonderful way to record your child's learning, and the science activities are very mom-friendly, using supplies found around the house or that are easily accessible.

Check out Apologia Educational Ministries on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Instagram!

Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Review