Wednesday, March 16, 2011

$25 CSN Stores gift card WINNER!!

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The winner is Mrs. White!! Congratulations!!

Thank you all so much for stopping by and for entering my very first giveaway!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

TOS Review: Who Is God?

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In the grand scheme of things, I am a relatively new Christian. Although I’m pretty firm in my faith I am by no means a finished work. While I believe it is my most important job as a mother to raise my children up in the Lord; to have them know Him and love Him and have a relationship of their own with Him, sometimes I’m not always sure how I should be teaching them. Obviously as a homeschooling mom I have the advantage of being able to incorporate bible lessons into our daily activities. And although I use a good bible curriculum with the little girls and Sam uses a great one on her own, I still feel like I’m lacking because we weren’t learning together as a family.

As a member of the TOS homeschool crew I received Who is God? And Can I Really Know Him? to review and all that changed.

“Our children are bombarded on a daily basis with competing messages. Every song, movie, book, TV show, blog, and game is full of ideas—ideas about truth, morality, beauty, identity, faith, and more. Not all of these ideas are true. Some are wrong, some are deceptive, and some are outright destructive. It is more important than ever that young children be equipped to discern among competing ideas and stand in the truth. This is why Apologia has teamed with Summit Ministries to bring you the "What We Believe" Series. The "What We Believe" Series is an outstanding way to teach your child the essential beliefs of the Christian faith, but it’s so much more! With this student-directed, Bible-based curriculum, your children will learn how to use Scripture as a lens through which to view the world around them—to see everything the way God sees it—and know the truth.”                                             - -from the Apologia website

Who is God? And Can I Really Know Him? is the first book in the “What We Believe” series. This family-inclusive study of biblical worldview introduces young people 6-14 to the basic truths of the Christian faith. This beautiful 252 page hardcover book is broken up into ten lessons. Although there is a suggested schedule that has you completing each lesson over a two week span, it is set up so that you can easily go at your own pace. We’ve found that there is so much to talk about that we’re going slower than suggested. The topics covered are:

  • Lesson 1:Where am I building my life?
  • Lesson 2: How can I know what’s true?
  • Lesson 3: What is God like? (Part 1)
  • Lesson 4: What is God like? (Part 2)
  • Lesson 5: Who are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?
  • Lesson 6: If God created the world, why isn’t it perfect?
  • Lesson 7: Why did God create me?
  • Lesson 8: Will God meet all my needs?
  • Lesson 9: Why does sin keep me from knowing God?
  • Lesson 10: Is Jesus the only way to God?

Each lesson contains several key components:

  • The Big Idea- Each lesson starts with an introduction to the main topic.
  • What You Will Do- tells you the learning objectives for the lesson
  • Short Story-several of the lessons contain a short story with characters that have differing worldviews. These stories give your kids something they can relate to, while integrating and reinforcing the concepts taught in the lesson.

This component has been the most successful in helping my girls understand and retain the lessons taught. In the second lesson the story is about two young boys, one who was taught in school that the earth evolved from a big accidental explosion and one who believes that God created everything. The story did a great job of illustrating the point that something can’t just appear out of nothing. It has to be created. Using humor and a story written to clearly speak to kids their age, this book did a great job of teaching an important concept in a way my young girls could understand and remember it.

  • Think About It-Questions to help you dig deeper and make sure your kids are understanding the lesson.
  • Words You Need to Know-Important vocabulary words that will help your kids not only with the lessons, but also out in the world.
  • Hide It in Your Heart-Bible verses to memorize

While the memory verses have been a great tool, there is also great scripture referenced throughout the book. It seems like every verse has spoken to me:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us". –1 John 3:16

  • Integrated learning-Interesting articles related to either the short story or the lesson. These are designed to help you explore the topics as they relate to other subjects like math, science, history and more.
  • What Should I Do?-Highlights a specific godly character trait related to the lesson just learned. This is a good tool to help your child put what they’ve learned into action.
  • and more!!

Additional resources are also available online including teacher’s helps and more. This book is available from Apologia for $39. You can see a sample lesson and the table of contents here. I was also excited to read in their catalog that coming soon are an Audio MP3 CD, Notebooking Journal, and Coloring book to go with the book!!

The next book in the series, Who Am I? (And What Am I Doing Here?), is available now for $39. Visit the Apologia website to see the rest of the books in the series.

What we thought:

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I love books. Seriously, they are one of the few addictions I have left. Because of this love, sometimes I buy books that look really nice and sound really good, but end up not being a good fit for our family. This book ended up being everything I hoped it would be and exactly what we needed. My kids are learning, together, truths that they need to build their foundation on. It is well written, thought provoking, and speaks perfectly to each of my girls. Even my 4 year old actively participates in all of the discussion this wonderful book facilitates. I am super excited for the accompanying products to come out, and can’t wait to buy them!! I think they will make this flawless study even better.

Perhaps the best way I can share with you the profound effect this book has had on my family is to share a testimony with you. One of the lessons talks about seven ways to build your life on the Rock of God. To know truth, speak truth, and follow truth is one of those ways. A very long, very in-depth conversation about hearing lies, believing lies, and even telling lies led into an even deeper discussion of Salvation. That day, January 31, 2010, after that discussion, my daughter Katie asked Jesus to be her Savior. That is the day I fell in love with this book. Katie knew about Jesus and the Salvation he offers us before that conversation. She’s loved Jesus since she was old enough to know about Him. But this book is just great like that. It takes topics we may have already talked about dozens of times and presents them in a way that provokes new thought, new discussions, new insight.

So go. Check it out. Look at the sample. If you’re a family with children, homeschooling or not, this may be exactly what you never realized you needed!

To see what my fellow crew members thought, visit the Homeschool Crew blog.

*As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions stated are my own, and are not influenced in any way by the free product.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Samantha and Katie!!

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Two of my girls have birthdays six days (and eight years!) apart. This year their birthdays fall in the same week.

Happy, Happy Birthday      

to two beautiful, intelligent, funny, kind-hearted, amazing daughters!! Having the privilege of being your mom fills me with more joy than one person should be allowed in a lifetime. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

My very first giveaway!!

In honor of reaching 100 followers I’m doing a giveaway! I’ve been wanting to do a giveaway for a while now, so when I was contacted by CSN stores with a giveaway offer I was super excited!!

I went and checked them out before agreeing, and couldn’t believe the variety of products they sell!! After browsing for more time than I care to admit, I’ve decided that an L shaped desk is what I’ve been missing! Since I usually do all my work on the dining room table, it’s kind of a pain having to pack up and put all my supplies away every time it’s time for a  meal. Having my own space is a much more practical solution!

Now for the giveaway! I get to offer one of you a $25 gift certificate to CSN stores!

To enter:

  • Do you have a space of your own to work? Or do you park at the table with your laptop like me? Leave me a comment and let me know!

For additional entries:

  • Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect
  • Like CSN Stores on Facebook
  • I’m tired of winter. Leave me a comment telling me what you’re looking forward to most about spring. (if it ever gets here!)

The winner will be chosen Monday, March 14th. I will announce the winner Wednesday, March 16th. I will email the winner a prize code, so be sure I can get ahold of you! Now go ahead, do your thing!

The Lord has called my husband…to Ecuador.

A few months ago it was announced in my church that a mission team was being put together to travel to Ecuador this summer. As we sat there listening my husband’s response was immediate and intense: he had to be on that trip. He knew absolutely without a doubt that the Lord was telling him to go.
Now, for those of you who don’t know my husband-let me tell you what a testimony to his faith this commitment is. The furthest he’s ever been outside of New England is New York, and that was for work. He doesn’t travel. He’s a creature of habit, and he’s most comfortable and happy close to home. He likes his routine. Anything out of the ordinary stresses him. And perhaps most telling of all, he doesn’t fly. For as long as I’ve known him he has adamantly refused to fly anywhere. Ever. For any reason. Joining this team has been, hands down, the biggest leap of faith I’ve ever seen him take. It has been amazing to watch the transformation in his attitude. He is committed to doing what he’s been called to do, and he’s trusting in God to see him through it.  No fear, no jitters. It’s truly remarkable. 
The team (made up of 16-17 members, the biggest group our church has sent!) will leave for Quito, Ecuador on July 30, 2011. They will stay overnight and then travel all day to Pichiyacu, where they will stay while in Ecuador. The team will split and serve two purposes while there. The Building team will travel an hour daily by boat to get to the small jungle village of Santa Maria where they will help build a church. This is where my husband will serve. The other half of the team, the Ministry team, will travel to various villages bringing supplies, ministering to the people, and sharing the good news of Jesus. My husband will fly home August 7, some will stay on a week longer.
I’m sharing this story because we need prayer. Prayer for strength through the spiritual warfare we’ve experienced already and will continue to face in the months ahead. Prayer for my husband that he can continue to stand firm in his faith without fear of the unknown. Prayer for wisdom and strength for the team in the months ahead. Prayer for protection while they’re away. Prayer for the people they are going to minister to. And most importantly, prayer that in all this the Lord will be glorified.



TOS Review: Reading Kingdom

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Reading Kingdom is an online program that teaches children 4-10 years old how to read and write to a third grade level. We recently had the opportunity to try out Reading Kingdom for review.

Created by Dr. Marion Blank, one of the world’s top experts in literacy, it’s the only system that teaches the six skills needed for reading and writing success.

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To learn more about how the Reading Kingdom is fundamentally different from other reading programs read this.

Subscriptions are $19.99/month (cancel anytime) or $199.99/year. They also start you with a free 30 day trial. What really blew me away about this company is that they’re so passionate about promoting literacy that they offer a scholarship program. That’s dedication.

How it works:

The very first step in the program is keyboard and mouse training. In order to successfully use this program, it’s important that the child is comfortable using a mouse and knows where to find the letters on the keyboard. My four year old, Francesca, hadn’t had much practice on a computer so she started here.

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She enjoyed working in this part of the program. Clicking on the picture it named greatly improved her control over the mouse.

My six year old, Katie, navigates around a computer with ease so she began with the skills survey. (This is important because the program is tailored to your child. In the beginning it stressed the importance of not assisting the child so that the program can accurately gauge your child’s knowledge.) She was placed in Level 1, and has been working her way through it. There are five levels in all.

          

After about a week in the Keyboard and Mouse Training, Francesca took the first Skills Survey and was placed in the Pre-Reading level to work on mastery of visual sequencing and letters on the keyboard. 

 

 

 What we thought:

This program was  frustrating for Francesca to use in the beginning. As a new computer user, the mechanics took some getting used to. However, she quickly caught on and is liking it much, much more now. I think that she will benefit the most from it, and we will continue using it indefinitely!!

The length of the lessons are just right. Also, I loved this program because the approach just makes sense to me. I’ve used only phonics based programs in the past, and it was really interesting to read about Dr. Blank’s philosophy. I’m excited to incorporate my newfound knowledge into our reading program!

To see what my fellow crewmembers thought, visit the Homeschool Crew Blog.

*As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received an extremely generous one year subscription to Reading Kingdom in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are stated are my own, and are not influenced in any way by the free product or the extremely generous company.

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