Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Normal Days. Normal Life. Extraordinary Kids.

Best Friends and Cousins

He just stared at it...

... and stared at it...

Friday, March 17, 2017

Bath Time and the Rapture

The boys stank.
I don't remember the last time I bathed them (busy mom confession)... but we HAD to be pushing over a week by now... (don't judge me! ;) )

The girls were doing their devotions on the couch, breakfast was dished up, schoolwork laid out, boys were fed... now was the opportune time!

"Girls! Finish up your devotions, eat breakfast, clean up and then start your math worksheets. I'll come down when I'm done and I expect to see you doing what I asked you to do."

I head upstairs and as I'm scrubbing these boys down the Lord is ministering to my heart,

They don't know when you're coming back down. Could be 10 minutes, could be 1 hour. Are they going to be found faithful doing what you asked them to do? They know you would be proud of them if you came down and they were found working diligently at the task you left them with. Tell them about Me. Tell the I am returning at any moment and that I want them to be found faithful in their walks with me. Tell them about my unfailing love for them.

I got to explain all this to them and Alex pulled out his Bible as I was talking and went through Matthew 24 with them. It was an awesome lesson!

Thanks Holy Spirit!!
How would we parent without the Holy Spirit?!?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wholesome Chapter Books That Grow With Your Child

I have blogged many times about the benefit of reading and am SUCH an advocate of teaching your kids to read even if you don't do anything else. We had the opportunity to review two new books by Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow from their Circle C Stepping Stones Book Series called Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top!

The Circle C Book Series are following the life of a young girl/woman named Andi. She lives on a horse ranch with her mother and siblings (her father passed away). These books are geared to "grow with your child" as each "level" of books is targeted at a different age range. Each level is progressively advancing as your child advances in their reading comprehension, endurance, fluency and vocabulary. Each book also introduces new vocabulary words in the beginning of the book giving the reader tools to connect with as they explore the life of Andi!

There are 4 "levels" of books series for girls and one set of books for boys. Click here for more information. 

The girls book sets breakdown like this:

(1) Circle C Beginnings which targets kids ages 6-9
(2) Circle C Stepping Stones for ages 7-10, which are the books I am going to be reviewing
(3) Circle C Adventures for ages 9-13
(4) Circle C Milestones for ages 11 +

I love how these books take you into the life, mind and heart of a girl the same age of your children. Your kids get to experience how Andi thinks and reacts to events that happen in her life. They get to experience her conversing with God about the things that trouble her heart or bring joy to her life. They get to learn from her interactions with her family and friends. And Andi is perfect for your kids to relate to since she goes through situations that are similar to what your kids are going through at that age. 

The pictures in the book are SO CUTE and SO WELL DONE!

We had a BLAST reading through these books and discussing topics such as telling the truth, obedience, peer pressure, temptation, repentance, thankfulness, and responsibility to name a few. There are activity books, coloring pages, and lap booking curriculum also available to go along side these chapter books.

One thing we want to do after finishing these books are book projects where the girls each pick a character trait they saw in Andi and make a board explaining how this character trait was built in her, what trail she faced that allowed the Lord to work it in her, and then how this character trait helped her in the end. 

These books can be used as a reading curriculum in your homeschool or they can just be a fun series that your children get to dive into during their daily free reading time!

We loved these books and the girls fight over who gets to read them during our daily reading hour. 

I hope to order each set of these chapter books as my kids get older so they can grow with this series. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Trying to Get That Cute Photo of Your Kids

For that moment when you want to get a cute picture of your kids....

...But someone's picking their nose... so you try again...

...Then TWO are picking their nose... 
... and when you're just about to give up...

You get it!


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Eclectic Foundations Review - Language Arts Review

I know, I'm a nerd like that. Verbs, nouns, prepositions get me excited! Language just makes sense to me, and I never knew how much I would ENJOY teaching language arts! Do you crave the way things used to be? Before our American school system was dumbed down and the Bible and McGuffey's reader were the textbooks that all students learned out of? PLEASE CHECK THIS CURRICULUM OUT!!!

Seriously though! Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level B has been an incredible experience for my kids to put some skills and new understanding behind their reading skills. This curriculum is exactly, EXACTLY what I would want out of a language arts program!! 

It's so thorough yet uncomplicated
Its advanced, but at a slow pace

It includes poetry, grammar, handwriting, spelling, phonics, reading comprehension, vocabulary, art projects... *gasp for air* ... so much! 

AND it only takes 30minutes - 60 minutes a day and is intended to be used 4 days a week, which how how many days I like to do schooling during the week. PERFECT!!!

It introduces difficult concepts, but doesn't stress that the child masters the concept before moving on since the curriculum continues to touch on the previous learned ideas while adding more and more understanding along the way. It also gets progressively harder right under your nose! You don't even realize it really.

So let me break down the details:

You need to download or find a copy of McGuffey's Reader to work with while using this program. 

We read through the section of McGuffey's reader that was recommended each day. There is either questions (reading comprehension) regarding what you've read, or there are flash cards with words from the story that we cut out and color according to what part they play in the sentence. There are also options for the kids to get creative in drawing what else they think is going on in the story. What is the man writing? Is it a letter? A story? About what? To whom?

We have been having LOADS of fun breaking down the different components of a sentence and color coding everything! As you can see on our white board :)

Cursive writing is implemented which my husband and I LOVE LOVE LOVE! I could give the author of this program kisses

This is seriously an all-encompassing curriculum. 

The creator of this curriculum included a copy of McGuffey's Reader for me which is not typically included in what you purchase from Eclectic Foundation Language Arts, but it can be downloaded and printed for free right off their website or ordered off Amazon. 

The poetry changes every 4 days - i.e. every week. This increases the children's vocabulary and understanding of abstract thinking. My kids are now able to decode what the author was meaning by not taking him literally, but learning to think figuratively as well as looking at the piece of poetry as a whole to get a better understanding. 

My kids loved the poetry so much they have memorized almost every poem so far and recite them as they play with thier Barbies. 

There's copy work that consists of quotes from authors, historical figures or philosophers

It's not just empty things they're copying, but meaningful things that will be stored in their minds. 

 Here are a few other sample pages:

Guys, this method of teaching that is used in this program has been used since 1836. It's historically the best! 

Not to mention this program is SO economical! With everything it encompasses for 1 year! Well worth the money. 

Obviously, I can't say enough about Eclectic Foundations Language Arts.

Here's how the levels break down:

Eclectic Foundations Level A uses Eclectic Primer: 1st grade
Eclectic Foundations Level B uses 1st Eclectic Reader: 1st–2nd grades
Eclectic Foundations Level C uses 2nd Eclectic Reader: 3rd–4th grades
Eclectic Foundations Level D uses 3rd Eclectic Reader: 5th–6th grades
Eclectic Foundations Level E uses 4th Eclectic Reader: 6th–8th grades
Eclectic Foundations Level F uses 5th Eclectic Reader: 7th grade–college sophomore
Eclectic Foundations Level G uses 5th Eclectic Reader: 7th grade–college sophomore
Eclectic Foundations Level H uses 6th Eclectic Reader: 9th grade–college senior
Eclectic Foundations Level I uses 6th Eclectic Reader: 9th grade–college senior

They only offer levels A-C with level D coming out in April.
PLEASE support this program! 
At the very least, like them on Facebook.https://www.facebook.com/eclecticstudent 

Cons: The only con I have with this program was the quality of the papers inside of the books I received. They were clearly photocopies that had dark black lines across the pages. This was a bit distracting and I would want and expect something that was clear and cleaned up.

This is a close of of a page in the book.

Can you imagine after only 6 years of using this program your child will be at a college level in language arts!?

You can find where your child places by checking out this page

Iron Man and Jesus

Hayven can sometimes get stuck on something.
She'll mull it over and over and over in her head until she's an emotional wreck  because she's completely void of understanding and life can simply NOT GO ON... 

She was stuck on the concept that if our body dies and "get's put in the dirt and eaten by worms" (as she put it), then how do we see Jesus?!?!

3 L.O.N.G. days of the same conversation on the difference between the body, soul & spirit and how our body dies, but our soul and spirit go to be with Jesus. 

She's a very emotional being... 

Finally, I resorted to her asking her dad about it. 

Alex said the same things I did, but she still didn't understand. 

So he pulled out his iPad and they watched a short video of Iron Man getting in and out of his suit. He paused the movie and explained that the REAL Iron Man (the person behind the suit) was INSIDE. The suit was just that... a suit. It could be taken off and left in the basement. 

"I GET IT!!!!" 


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"Smokey Mountains" By the Way Review

That sums up my review... 
Just Wow!

Want something that is a fun read, includes science, history, and talks all about God's character?! Search NO MORE!

My girls and I snuggled up every afternoon following nap time and slowly worked our way though Smokey Mountains ~ Here We Come! from By the Way Book Series

I am so impressed with this book, I wish I could hand every one of my readers one!!!! 

**Don't be fooled by the thin shape of this book! It's SO PACKED with fun and educational aspects that one could spend a week reading through it, or a few months studying it. 

We happened to get this book as we were learning about Daniel Boone exploring a trail through the mountains to get moving West through America. So we took a break from our "normal" history study and dove into this book!

This book integrated so many different faucets that I just LOVED!

~ A story book following the adventure of Lexi and Alex
~ Scriptures, Hymns and practical applications of these
~ Science facts about plants, animals, and nature
~ Geographical locations and amazing photos and artwork of these places
~ Appreciation for creation and how to take care of it
~ Historical facts and stories

One of my kid's FAVORITE parts of this book was the hidden pictures that we were to find as we paged through the book. 

This was so fun!!

It kept even the wandering mind focused on the page we were on. Some of the hidden objects were obvious and some were pretty tricky to find, but we found them all! Once we finished the book the kids kept going back through the book to find the hidden pictures again and again. 

There were several hymns included in the text which were fun to YOUTUBE and listen to. We sang "As A Deer" for days after we ran into it in the book. :)

The Science aspects of this book were a BLAST! We learned about Bobcats, Butterflies, Fireflies, Bears, certain flowers, trees, and other plants, as well as things like lightning and thunder. 

This book is also rich in History! We learned about the people who used to live in the Smokey mountains and why they had to evacuate. We learned why there were three churches in the town and only a population of a few hundred people. We read about a woman who raised a large family, ran the family farm, and a few buildings/business in town! We discussed what it means to be diligent and hardworking. 

This book is just flooded with scripture! The uncle, who takes them on this journey through the Smokey Mountains, brings everything they talk about back to the Bible and to God's character giving insight and application. 

I also loved the mixture of animated pictures with real life photographs. 

We learn about geocaching and REALLY want to go now! It's like a modern treasure hunt! 
Hopefully one of these family nights....!!!!

ONLY CON: I think the only thing I didn't like about this book is that there isn't a map of where the children traveled and where each place they visited was. We tried to follow along using google maps, but we had a hard time. A map in the book would add a cool geography aspect and be VERY helpful while reading it. Maybe one can print off a map and chart where each location in the book was. Even as my husband was paging through the book he asked, "Where are the Smokey Mountains again?" as he flipped to the front and back of the book trying to find a map or picture of their location.

They have 6 books available right now including:

And there are more in the making!!

Their goal is to make 100 books!
And I support them 100%!
This company has such a unique product to offer that includes so many facets of learning!