Home Education~Ministry Moments~Hearth and Home

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Preach LOUDLY!

     Today we were reading about the Byzantine Empire and Justinian the Emperor.  My PK's and I thought one of his laws was particularly hilarious:


Monday, August 27, 2012

Sunday Morning with my 4's and 5's

Our lesson yesterday was on the Special Supper Jesus had with his disciples.  (In adult terms: The Last Supper)

One of our centers was to trace the Bible Verse and glue it on a plate.  Preschoolers could decorate the plate if they liked.  Children also worked puzzles depicting scenes from Jesus' ministry.  They prepared a table with a meal in the Homeliving Center. 

We enjoyed group time by looking at the previous 3 Bible story pictures from earlier in the month/unit.  Boys and girls did a great job remembering all the stories.  I told the story from the Bible about the Special Supper Jesus had with his disciples.

I think the highlight of the morning was snack time.  We served pita bread (much like the bread Jesus would have eaten.) with butter and water.  I think everyone had 2-3 servings.  (More than I usually allow...but it was part of the lesson...so, hey!)

 They really enjoyed spreading the butter themselves!
We prayed: "Dear God, help us to remember all the things Jesus taught and did. AMEN."

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Find of the Day: Creation Illustrated Giveaway

     The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is having a giveaway contest for Creation Illustrated magazine.  I wanted to pass on this great opportunity to my readers.  Enter here for a chance to win 4 copies of this magazine.  (One for each season) 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Laundry Room/Mudroom Quick-fix

There was a spot in my laundry room/mudroom that has been bugging me.  We have this great bench for hiding diry shoes, etc. and hanging up jackets---but it was just lacking something.  The big open area at the top (and the peeling paint/nail holes) were just begging for SOMETHING. 

Blah, right?
I had a shelf up in the attic my dad had made.  It was in my son's room at one time, but no longer worked.  I thought I'd paint it--but once I held it up to the wall to see how it looked I decided to leave it the color it was.  (My momma has always told me you need a spot of red in your home.)

My great husband hung it securely for me.  I decided to take the sports trophies from an overcrowded shelf in the hallway and add them here.  I added some crates for gloves, hats, etc.  (One for each boy.)  I put the soccer ball in the center.  It is both decorative and practical, since they use it often.
I think my boys really like it.  I know I do--and that empty spot no longer cries out to me everytime I do laundry.  (And I just LOVE when I re-decorate for free!!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

TOS Review: I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist

     "Apologia" is a company that is familiar to many homeschoolers.  (This is our first time using one of their products.)  Their mission statment is, "...to provide products, resources, and services that help homeschool students and families learn, live, and defend the Christian Faith." 
     Apologia Educational Ministries has recently published a curriculum to accompany the best-selling book, I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. I am thrilled for my child to be reading the book/workbook because having a Christian Worldview (and understanding what that is all about) is of utmost importance to me and my husband.  My oldest son (age 14) is excited to get the opportunity to use it, since his interest in apologetics has been growing over the last few years.  I thought reading the book and working through the workbook would be a rewarding challenge for him.  (The cost of the book is $16)

     The book, I Don't have Enough Faith to be an Atheist is co-authored by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek.  The book itself is 447 pages...and not exactly "light" reading.  There a very few pictures/diagrams.  (The diagram above is from the introduction.) The curriculum is meant for highschoolers or adults.  My very determined and very interested 8th grader has been able to hang with the book so far.  He is on Ch. 5 in the book and nearly done with the first section of the curriculum. I've heard nothing but good things from him.  In fact, he often reads it at night before bed...a time when he can choose to read whatever he wants.  I know he has been understanding what he reads...just a few days after beginning the book, I heard him comment to someone speaking on the morning news: "Well, that was a self-defeating statement!"

     The I Don't have Enough Faith to be an Atheist Workbook was written by Frank Turek (who also co-authored the original book) and Chuck Winter.  This workbook is also rather large.  It is a spiral bound book about 275 pages long.  (I'm going to give my son at least a full year to complete it---especially since he is not even in high school yet.)  The workbook contains several pictures and diagrams.  It gives general comprehension type questions as well as thought-provoking ones.  Plenty of room is left to write the answers.  Fairly lengthy assignments are given near the end of each chapter.  Never once has my 14-year-old had to ask for help in answering any of the questions.  I appreciate this well thought out and organized curriculum.  My son particularly likes the biographies given in each chapter.  He shared with me that these people are mentioned in the book, and you learn more about them in the workbook.  (The cost of the workbook is $33.)
One of his heros!  I know he was thrilled this was in his workbook.

I'm so excited about what my son is learning!!

To learn what other TOS Crewmembers thought about Apologia's I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist Workbooks go here.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Science Lab: Capillary Pathways


This is the book we have been using for our science labs/experiments.  We are now on lesson 12.  There are 24 in all, so that means we are halfway there!  My boys always love science experiment time.  Mom does, too---after I finish getting together all we need.  ;)


We have done many experiments on cohesion and/or adhesion.  This is our 4th experiment involving capillary action.  (Capillary action is driven by cohesion and adhesion.)
My boys took turns testing 3 different "pathways".  A glass dropper, a paper towel and paper.  The glass dropper shows capillary action.   Do you see the water inside the tube?

Testing the capillary pathway of a paper towel.

And the paper...

Here's my youngest using my hand lens (from my college Botany class!).  He is trying to discover why a paper towel has more capillary action.  (It has more open space for the water to travel to.)
Here's a closer look at the paper towel/paper before they were dipped into the drop of water.
And a closer look at my old hand lens.  It even still has the braided "bracelet" I made from college days on it.
How very granola of me (hehe!). 

Recording answers and observations in the Science Notebook.
(Along with an additional, "extra" experiment involving a paper towel and blue food coloring.)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

One of Our More Popular Elective Courses...


Although not an "official" subject in our homeschool...it is a very important part!  What better way to be creative and use thinking skills?  (I overheard my son doing mulitiplication to figure out how many bricks he needed for his wall.) 

These are pictures of a huge building project my oldest son just completed for a "Star Wars Building Challenge" Lego Contest:

The contest was to come up with an addition to "Jabba's Palace".  My 14-yr.-old created a hangar.

This is the place out back where everyone hangs out until their aircraft is ready.

Check out the girl with the purple hair!

Look through the door and you can see the waiting area.

Now to wait and see who wins the prize!

TOS Crew Review: Spelling/Vocabulary City

     Vocabulary Spelling City is an interactive website for all ages which includes vocabulary, spelling and writing activities.   There are a wide range of games and activities from beginning spelling to vocabulary practice for the SAT.  Teaching and Testing options are also available.  The mission of Vocabulary Spelling City is to provide an "efficient game-based study of literacy skills using any word list." 
     A user can choose to use only the free options on the website, or to purchase the premium package.  Listed below are the activities included in each:

Free Activities:

  • Spelling Test Me
  • Spelling Teach Me
  • Match it Sentences
  • Which Word? Sentences
  • Sentence Scramble
  • Sentence Writing
  • Paragraph Writing
  • Word Search
  • Hang Mouse
  • Unscramble
  • Audio Word Match
  • Missing Letter
  • Alphabetize
  • Handwriting
  • Vocab Test Me
  • Flash Cards 
  • Match It Definitions
  • Which Word? Definitions
  • Word-O-Rama
  • Sentence Writing
  • Paragraph Writing
  • Word Find
  • Letter Fall
  • Speedy Speller
  • Parts of Speech
  • Premium Crossword
  • More coming soon...
* A few other features of the premium package also include: No advertisements and individual student logins.
*The cost of the premium package is $29.99/year for a family with 5 or less students using the program.  Spelling Vocabulary City is also set up to use in a classroom setting and can be purchased for $49.99/year for a class size of 25 or less.  School options are also available.

Contact information for Spelling City:
(954) 357-1150

Our Homeschool's Experience:

     Our family used both free options and the premium package.  My 11-year-old son has really enjoyed Spelling city.  ( I enjoyed several of the games, too!)  The feature that attracted me most to Spelling City was the vocabulary activities. 
     One of the best things about  this online program is the fact that you can enter in your own list of words.  (You may also use any of their ready-made lists.)  Our homeschool curriculum gives plenty of vocabulary words to go along with our readers/read-alouds.  In the past, my children have simply looked up the words in the dictionary and written the word/definition in their vocabulary notebooks.  We many times talked about the word as we came across it in the reading.  I always felt the need to do more--to give them more practice and interaction with the words.  Spelling City has worked out perfectly for our need in this area.
     Once you establish your password/set up your homepage, etc., you can start making lists.  I created a list this week for a book my sons are reading, Black Horses for the King.  There were 26 vocabulary words.  After I entered all the words, the program showed me what definitions and sample sentences Spelling City has in their database.  I can go with what they have or I can change the definition and/or sample sentences as needed.  I REALLY like this feature.  I was able to use sentences from the reader for the sample sentences.   The only disappointment I had was that several of the words I thought should be in their database were not. I had to add lots of definitions myself.  (I have to say, though--that by the end, I had my vocabulary lesson!)
     My son looked up all 26 of his vocabulary words for the first section of the book.  He wrote them in his vocabulary notebook.  (It's like a mini-dictionary...my sons have used the same notebook for three years. There are "A" pages, "B" pages, etc.)  He then played 3 different vocabulary games from the premium package.  During the first game, he made a lot of mistakes.  On the second game, he used his vocabulary notebook for a reference if he got stuck.  By the third game, he did not use the vocabulary notebook, and was able to complete the game quickly with just 2 mistakes.  I was so proud and excited for how quickly he learned!!
     My 11-year-old had also enjoyed playing "Hang Mouse", "Letter Fall" (a clever spelling game), "Alphabetize" and "Word Find".  I found these to all be great teaching games, the graphics and sound were well done.  In his words, "Spelling City is fun."
     Our family's homeschool will be using Spelling City for the next year.  I'm so grateful to find a program that is custom-made for our vocabulary needs. 

Go to the  Schoolhouse Review to check out what other reviewers thought of Spelling City and how it worked in their homeschool! 

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

GratiTuesday~~~The Blue Spaceship in Our Garage

     10 years ago my husband and I purchased a minivan. My then four-year-old had just started playing soccer...so I wanted the whole I'm-a-soccer-mom package.  Okay, maybe we got it for more practical reasons.  I was so excited after we got that van.  I would just go out in the garage and stare at it. 
    Since that purchase, my boys have grown several feet and car seats no longer occupy the middle row.  Soccer cleats and balls still fill the seats come spring, but we figured it was time to move out of the minvan stage. 
     It was a very tiring 3 days of trying to find a vehicle for our family.  We had even done our homework in the days prior to actually going out to car lots.  We don't have (as my dad calls it) "no tag shopping".   So...after the sticker shock wore off....we were just trying to find a dependable vehicle in our price range.  This was quite a challenge.  After a day 1/2 of vehicle shopping, those minivans were looking a lot more do-able. 
     About halfway through our 3 days of shopping, we stopped at a friendly local car dealer.  This was fun for the boys because we got to ride around the car lot in a golf cart.  We told the gentleman what we were looking for, along with our price range.  He told us there was one minivan on his lot that fit that description...and that it would be perfect for us.  After circling the lot, he realized it had been sold.   I got a bit deflated at this point.  Car shopping had never been this difficult for us in the past.  I was  feeling a little sorry for myself...that we would just have to settle for something or maybe just nothing.
     As were were leaving, the salesman asked my husband what he did for a living.  My husband shared that he was a pastor and that I homeschooled our boys.  The car salesman looked at my husband and said, "What you do everyday is worth a whole lot more than money."  As I shook the gentleman's hand and said, "Thank you", I was glad I was wearing sunglasses.  What he said really touched me.  It was one of those "God Moments" when you realize that the Lord placed a particular person in your life just at the moment you needed it.  When we got in the car the boys asked my preacher-husband why I was crying.  He said what he usually does, "Because she's Mama, and she's allowed."
     I don't know if car-shopping/buying is supposed to be a spiritual experience--but for me, it many times is.  (At least the 4 out of the 5 times I've actually purchased one!  The "1" was just us being stupid.)  I think car buying can be spiritual, because it has a whole lot to do with prayer and provision.
     A few car lots later.....It was nearing the end of the day, but we decided to re-visit some car lots since we were now way more open to minivans.  At our last stop, the car salesman invited us in so he could look for a minivan on his computer.  We sat there for a LONG time.  He just kept click, click, clicking on his computer.  My husband and I were both thinking we could do this at home. We later shared with each other on the way home how we both wanted to say something, but just decided to be patient.  He was clicking through EVERY car in the inventory.  Then he stopped.  He said, "I found one."  He immediately got up and went next door to bring us the minivan.  Long story short...that was our minivan!    (Can you say, "Thank you Lord for stains on the carpet, a bit of high mileage and sitting on the lot for more than 2 months?") 
     And...Guess what our car salesman does when he's not selling cars?  Yep, he's a bi-vocational pastor! 

***I call it our "blue spaceship", because of the control console up front, and the fact that it is just so funny how the back and side door open with just a touch of a button.  We're a big Star Wars family, so it works!*** 

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sunday Morning with my 4's and 5's~The Kind Man

You'll notice that my 3's and 4's are now 4's and 5's!  This is my 3rd year with this great bunch of preschoolers.  We've moved into a much bigger room.  We love it!

Sunday we learned about the kind man who stopped to help the hurt man along the sandy road.  (i.e. "The Good Samaritan")

We did sandpaper rubbings. 

My great co-teacher is telling the story to a little girl as she draws the pictures.

This was one of the favorite centers during Sunday School.  Preschoolers used colorful yarn to create pictures on sandpaper.

Can you see the hurt man and the donkey? 

 (This also makes a GREAT quiet activity for preschoolers for church services, etc!)

Sweet picture...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Free August Issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

     I had a chance this morning to read a few articles in the latest issue of The Old Schoolhouse magazine.  After a great quiet time earlier, and reading encouraging words from other homeschoolers,  I'm ready to go for our 3rd official homeschool day of 2012-2013!
     One article I thought was particularly moving was, "What are Parents for?" by Deborah Wuehler. You can read it  here, along with all the others.  I hope it brings insight and encouragement your way! (There are lots of articles this month about grammar, eating healthy and homeschooling on a budget.)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

TOS Review: Schoolhouse Teachers.com

     What can you buy for a $1 these days?  French fries.  Something from the "dollar" store.  Maybe a pack of notebook paper.  A full month of learning, creativity and discovery for you and your child.  Gotcha on that fourth one, I bet!  Crazy, but it's true: for just a buck you can give SchoolhouseTeachers.com  a try. (And for only $5.95 a month after that if you like it and decide to stick around!)
     My children and I have been using this site for about a month.  I'd like to share with you our experience, as well as give a brief overview of this online program. 

    A Brief Overview of Schoolhouse Teachers.com:
  • This is an online homeschooling resource for ages preschool-12th grade students (and their parents).
  • Includes everything from basic school subjects, great "elective" type studies, e-books, planners, homeschooling articles and SO MUCH more.
  • One of the latest innovations by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.
  • Follows the concept of "Blended Learning": Basically, a mix of face-to-face and computer based education. 
  • Lessons developed and taught by homeschooling parents.  There is an impressive list of well-known and respected home-educators. 
  • Watch a site tour to get a better understanding on how to use the program.
  • Check out sample pages to give you a better idea of what to expect.
  • Warning: If you are like me, and just love new and fun ideas for your homeschool, you may get addicted to this site.
  • It will take a while to take it all in--there is so much available.  Just take your time and try a few things at a time.  You'll find the pieces that best benefit your homeschooling needs.
  • A quote from their website sums it up: "Seeking to fill in the remaining holes in your curriculum--or looking for a full-service curriculum to meet your needs?"  Check them out to find if this resource is the answer you've been looking for.

Our Homeschool's Experience:

     Under the tab "Schoolhouse Extras" you'll find the Schoolhouse Planners.  This is a very exciting addition to the website!  There are planners for every age group--designed just for their needs.  Don't worry, moms, there's one for us, too!  There are well over a hundred pages in theses planners.  It's so much more than a planner.  Also included are Bible readings, chore charts, important lists, etc.
     I had the most fun just looking through these planners. They were so inspiring.  Oh, to be that organized.  It led me to make a small change in my homeschool planning.  This year, with the help of the Schoolhouse Planner, I want to plan our home education one week at a time instead of one day at a time.  I think this will help us to better reach our educational goals.
     My boys both fall in the "intermediate" age group.  Below is a page from the Intermediate Schoolhouse Planner.  There were a couple of options to choose from as far as planning for the homeschool day.  I choose the weekly planner.  I was able to type in my sons' assignments that they will have that are identical.  I then printed out two copies, and I'll simply fill in their individual assignments in the blank areas.  A few things I really like about this particular planner: as you type more and more words, the type gradually gets smaller so that you can fit quite a lot into that little square; the area below for extracurricular activities, special notes, etc.; and the way that I can fill in the date and the day we are on.  With the Schoolhouse Planner, you can print out just one page, 10 pages or all of them.  Go here to see some sample pages of the Schoolhouse Planner.

     My 11-year-old son tried out some of  "Everyday Easels" lessons under the "Schoolhouse Dailies" tab.  I was so excited to have access to art lessons for my children.  This is definitely helping to fill a "hole" in our curriculum.  There are  five daily art lessons given on one topic.  One of the lessons we did was on Henri Matisse.  We studied his paper cut-out, Spray of Leaves.  The last lesson included making your own leaf art. 
     My son really is enjoying these lessons.  Even though they are on the computer, it is something we read and do together.  The other day we started the lesson which studies the photograph, "Lunch atop a Skyscraper" taken by Charles C. Ebbets.  The lesson led us into a great discussion--not just about the art form, but about The Great Depression, immigrants and fear. 
     Many times there are two different options given for varying ages for the art projects.  History, writing and other subjects are woven into many of the lessons.  New lessons are added each day/week.  You are still able to read/study older ones, though.  The lessons give links pictures of the art work found elsewhere on the web.  I have "tweaked" a few of the ideas given to go along with the art lessons to make them do-able for our homeschool--this was easy since  "Everyday Easels" gives so many creative ideas.
Painting a leaf...

Pressing it onto the paper...

Added a few finishing touches...

     My oldest has probably used Schoolhouse Teachers.com more that the rest of us.  My George Lucas-in-the-making son was beyond excited when I told him he would be able to take a course in Filmmaking.  (This course can be found under the "Schoolhouse Teachers" tab.)  He often asks when the next portion of the course will be added; he can't wait to get to the next one.  George Escobar teaches the course.  You actually hear his voice.   Class notes, pictures and diagrams are shown on the screen.  There are also links given to other information on the internet.  Below, you will see the notes my son has taken of his own volition.  Who would have thought my son could ever have taken a course on Christian Filmmaking?  Wonderful!!

     Interested in what others on the TOS Crew thought about Schoolhouse Teachers.com?
Check it out HERE.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.