Hands-on History

How many times have you studied history with your children and just wished you could dig a little deeper?  Maybe history is one of those “boring” subjects for your kids and you need a way to bring the subject alive. 

If either of these thoughts have crossed your mind…. let me take a moment to introduce you to a solution that will take care of both issues.

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Home School in the Woods has compiled everything you need to dig deeper and incorporate hands on fun into your studies.

Hunter and I had the chance to explore one of their great elementary school offerings; The Great Empires.

This year we have been studying World History and The Great Empires completely expanded and enhanced our regular textbook study.

When it arrived we were just beginning to study Ancient Greece, so, that is where we began with The Great EmpiresHome School in the Woods provides informative supplemental text that went deeper than what our textbook provided.  It was easy to read and kept Hunter engaged. After reading about Greece we used the map and key to plot and record the placement of the ancient cities.

Our next activity was decorating Greek pottery.  This way by far Hunter’s favorite activity.  We researched different styles of pottery on the internet and printed out a few examples to use as reference.

 

Hunter then drew his design and painted his very own piece of pottery

Our study continued, with designing our own shield, and making hummus, a yummy Greek treat.  We also read seven books ( all provided in each empire’s project list) to better understand the culture. The books were very easy to locate either electronically and free for my Kindle, or at our local library.

With all the in-depth study, visiting the provided links and reading the books,  our study of Ancient Greece lasted a little over three weeks.  

Our next  stop in our study of The Great Empires has been Ancient Rome. We followed the same path as our study of Greece and read the provided material and mapping the ancient cities. We are just wrapping up all of our reading choices, and as soon as I can gather the materials, we are going to paint our own fresco!

We really can’t wait to start our next ancient adventure.  Hunter has so enjoyed our extra study time that he want to invite the neighbor kids over to study with us this summer!  He is looking forward to learning more about Viking Coins, I am excited for Koi Fish. :)

We chose to use The Great Empires as an in-depth study.  We used all the resources they provided to help us learn more about the subject. If you wanted to just use the activities, you could do that as well.  There are no set rules on how to use the study.

The Great Empires will help you and your children learn more about 14 of the great empires of history.  For a detailed list of the empires that are covered go here. The cost is $18.95 for a downloadable version, and $19.95 if you would like a CD.  We used the downloadable version and it was easy to unzip and use.

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My prep time for each study was about an hour and that was mostly to locate the books we would be reading.  The projects have been easy to gather materials for in my local hometown.  I would recommend this curriculum to any homeschooling family, I do not feel that it would conflict with any particular curriculum or learning style, it would only enhance it.

 

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Doesn’t this look fun??

Hunter and I just found out today that we will be reviewing:

Great Empires  by Homeschool in the Woods.

We can’t wait to explore these Great Empires!

Ancient Egypt
Ancient Greece
Ancient Rome
Ancient China
Arab-Muslim Empire
Mongolian Empire
Viking Empire
Spanish Empire
French Empire
English Empire
German Empire
Japanese Empire
Russian Empire
The United States of America

Check back often to see some of our projects and find out how much fun we had!  Final review on this product will post between April 29, 2013 and May 6, 2013

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Visual Spelling Help

I love it when things fall into place.  I love it even more when I find that “thing” that makes something click into place for my kids.  I happen to have a young man who is a very right-brained speller. Learning to spell has been a struggle for him.  He needs to “see” his spelling words in order for them to ever have the hope of remaining in his brain. We draw our words, we color them, we make flashcards with them….. you name it, we do what it takes to get those words locked in long-term memory.

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When I was introduced to Lone Star Learning’s Greek and Latin Roots Vocabulary Cards…..  I nearly flipped with joy!  These cards are created for long-term memory retention for those right-brained learners!  These have helped spelling words “click” for my son.

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They are bright, colorful and easy to use.  Their silliness ensures that they will be remembered.

The cards are designed to be a vocabulary builder and the directions that came with them suggested a few ways to use them.  Read a card a day and discuss the meaning, use the root words to create acrostic poetry, make simple songs about the root words; were just a few of the suggested ideas.

How it worked in our house:

The cards came out of the package and were never left alone again.  They were so colorful and fun looking, Hunter (age 10) had a hard time leaving them alone.  He also didn’t like to do just one word a day, that didn’t satisfy his curiosity enough.  Often we would go through the whole stack, either all the Greek cards or all the Latin cards in one day.

The most used application of the cards was to reinforce his weekly spelling list.  We would find all the root words (that we had cards for) hiding within his spelling list and underline them in the word,  we would use the card to help us remember how to spell that portion of the word.  The root words that were found in our spelling list went to the front of our pile for that week so we would be sure to see them often.

We also had fun trying to think up all the different words we knew that contained our root word.  Some of the words that he “made up” with the root words were downright hilarious.

Overall thoughts on the product:

Mom:  Having the cards has made spelling time more enjoyable and more visual.  He has had an easier time listening and looking for parts of words to remember that help him spell larger words.  I noticed that right off the bat he was able to infer the meaning of the root word from the picture on the card.  Learning the short quick word parts has helped build a confidence with spelling that he has not had before.

Hunter:   I like that they are short and easy to memorize.  They have fun pictures that help me to remember the words.  I like the way they write the words, each card looks different.  It is fun to see how many of my cards are in my spelling words.

More by Lone Star Learning:

The Greek and Latin Roots Cards are only a portion of what Lone Star Learning has to offer.  They have much more to help your child learn in their Get the Picture Vocabulary Cards.  If you have a visual learner like mine, I suggest you check them out.

Greek and Latin Root Cards retail for $39.99 and contain 60 full color cards; 30 Greek Roots, 30 Latin Roots. The cards would work with a variety of ages, but would likely benefit those in grades 3-8.  We used it with our 5th grader.

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navigating the teen years with grace and truth

Growing up, I dated.  Not only did I date, I dated badly.  It was a time of life fraught with poor decisions, several of which had a life-long impact.

So naturally as my own children grew, I wanted something different  for them.  I hoped and prayed, and attempted to parent in a way that would hopefully lead to a different dating situation for them.

I remember when the kids were about 8 and 9 I heard about and alternative to dating that sounded very different.  I heard the word Courtship.  The sound of the word evoked visions of sunset buggy rides, over open fields, to church socials; during a period of time when life moved at a manageable level of speed. This word was everything the genteel novels of Little Women, Emma and Ann of Avonlea could ever hope to describe.  When I asked people how to “do” this Courtship thing, I would receive a bit of a blank stare and an answer that told me it was something that each family had to define for themselves.

After fighting back the urge to scream “GEE!  Thanks a lot for nothing!”  I would resume our normal path of teaching intentional choices and trying to facilitate lots of honest, open communication.

So, when the opportunity came to read a real live book on the subject of Courtship and Dating came along, I jumped at the chance to actually understand this idea that currently only seemed to be a vaporous fantasy from the past.

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The book Courtship & Dating:so what’s the difference?  is a book written by Dennis Gundersen, and available for purchase at Grace and Truth Books. If you happen to be like me, desiring a different path for your children than the mine-field of dating you may have experienced, this book is the perfect tool to help you  understand courtship.  It is a quick and easy read that I am quite sure you will find yourself underlining, highlighting and sticky noting for future reference.

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The book includes valuable explanations on courtship and dating, it has bonus articles that discuss the importance of modesty, marriage with out the consent of parents, and advice from Martin Luther on parents role in their Children’s Marriage.

All that information priced at $5.75, you really can’t afford to NOT have it in your parenting tool box.

I felt completely encouraged as I read this book.  As I read it, I found that we had always been on the parenting track of courtship, we just didn’t call it that.  We had been striving to create a trust filled relationship with our children where it was safe to discuss their potential thoughts and feelings about those of the opposite gender. A relationship where our parental input would not be viewed as threatening and judgmental but as loving advice. That friends IS Courtship.

If you have children, no matter the age now, they will eventually come to an age where they will want to share their time with someone of the opposite gender.  Don’t wait until then to have a game plan.  It is never to early to start teaching them how to avoid the land mines.

To see what others have to say about the other great books available from Grace and Truth Books, follow the link below.

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***** Disclaimer*****

I was send a copy of Courtship & Dating: so what’s the difference?by Dennis Gundersen via Grace and Truth Books, free of charge, solely for the purpose of this review. No other compensation has been received.

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Build Reading Skills with Samson’s Classroom

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I was very excited to try Samson’s Classroom with Jeremiah, my 5 year old.  He is in Kindergarten and an eager student. As I previewed the site and signed him up, it looked colorful and fun, with interesting characters to lead you through the games.  I thought for sure he was going to jump at the chance to better develop his reading skills with this educational site.

As much as I tried, this site never seemed to really pull him in. ……….But, it doesn’t mean that I don’t think the website isn’t great, it just means that my kid didn’t love it to pieces like I thought he would. He used it but he never seemed eager.  He never pestered me to let him play it.  Over the years I have learned that when the boys seem to disconnect from a curriculum or website, it probably just isn’t a fit for our family.

Jeremiah seemed to gravitate to the sight word games the most.  I have a feeling that is because the boy is a lover of any sort of matching game, and the sight word games were full of matching.  The Spelling Games he wasn’t really ready for in Kindergarten; perhaps as we progress through Kindergarten that portion will interest him more.

I really enjoyed the fact that I could access it through my Android Phone.  Not with an app, but I was able to access the website through my browser and the games were fully functional, making waiting for piano lessons to be over, a much more pleasant experience!

Let me share with you what the site offers so you can see if it might be a better fit for your family. 

Samson’s Classroom is a reading software program designed for those in grades K-5.  It uses sight words to build reading skills and games to help with sight word recognition, spelling, and reading.Photobucket

The Sight Words games use the 224 most common words in the English language to build reading fluency for beginners.  It is also helpful to older readers who need a bit more encouragement and practice. The games are quick and not too difficulut for even the youngest student. ( I still use sight word training with my 5th grader!)

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Spelling Games is a customizable spot for parents.  You can enter in your own spelling lists and you child can practice them with four different games OR you can use their pre-set lists to build spelling skills.Photobucket

The Reading Area works on comprehension, comprehension, comprehension. We all know how important it is to actually understand what the words we read are saying!  For the youngest of students this section could be used as a listening comprehension section until they are better able to read each selection on their own.Photobucket

Pricing is very resonable for those of you who are looking for a very inclusive software to help with fluency, comprehension and spelling skills.
 

I hope you will watch the video on the Samson’s Classroom home page. Please take the time to read a few of the other reviews my crew mates wrote on this product.  Many other families used this product in their homeschools and maybe there is a family out there just like yours and their kids LOVED IT! 

*****Disclaimer*****

I received access to Samson’s Classroom free of charge expressly for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received.

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Vocational Training at Home

If you know my family history, I am sure that the thought of ME taking a course to become a Registered Tax Professional is downright comical…..  borderline hysterical.

Yet, when this product came up for review, I was INTRIGUIED!  My husband and I had just decided to start a business, and with our finances the way that they are right now, I figured that maybe if I complete this course, it could be an avenue to bring in a bit more income from home.

So I said yes, and started back to school….. Tax School.

This distance education program is offered by National Tax Training School It is an institution that has been around since 1952.  They offer a variety of courses, The Federal Tax Course, The higher Federal Tax Course, The California Preparers Test, and courses for continuing education. 
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Reviewers were given the choice on which class we wanted to work from.  I chose the Federal Tax Course because it would teach me more about personal Federal Income Taxes as well as Small Business taxes.

I won’t lie, I was nervous when the big box arrived with my name on it.  I took a deep breath, got to work.

The lessons move topic by topic through all you need to know to properly fill out Federal Income Tax Forms.  If forms are discussed in the lessons, copies are included for you to look over.  Many scenarios are given to try to simulate some of the real life situations that you may come across when people need their taxes prepared.

I would read the lesson, sometimes twice and then read through it a third time taking the self test as I went.  I would write notes to myself on the self test explaining what I may have gotten wrong.  Sometimes it felt like the scenarios they gave were weird, and convoluted….. but over time as I worked through them, reading  them to myself out loud; then re-reading the material,  I got the gist of what I was supposed to be looking for and the questions became easier to answer.
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Here are a few topics that the Federal Income Tax course covers.
Bad Debt
Tax Consequences of the Sale of Taxpayers’ Residence
Self-Employment Tax
Tax Credits (EIC, Business, Child Credit, Education etc.)
IRAs and Self Employed Pension Plans
Depreciation and Depletion
Income Tax Withholding Payroll Taxes (FICA & FUTA)
Estimated Tax
Alternative Minimum Tax
Sale of Taxpayer’s Residence

After taking the self test, you move to the graded test.  This test you take, and send off to the teacher for grading.  (GULP)  I was a nervous wreck waiting for them to be mailed back….  I felt like I was waiting for my finals grades in college!  When they arrived, I was pleased to see I didn’t tank…. So far all A’s and B’s.  (I may get the hang of this back to school stuff after all.) The instructors sometime write helpful comments on your tests to let you know where you may have missed the question.

The company normally sends you the second half of the course when you complete Lesson 17.  However, for the purpose of this review, they sent it early.  Now I have TWO ginormous binders to work through, and much to my surprise I am looking forward to finishing it all.

National Tax Training School has also created a way for their course to be completed online.  The benefit would be instant grading feedback, and the ability to have discussion on the course.  The online structure, that I have seen, is easy to use.  Though, I think I prefer having the actual pages to flip through to help me find the answers.  I might have a panic attack if my Internet froze in the middle of a test.

The course is available at several different enrollment options,  Each with varying degrees of post graduate support.  Yes, that’s right; they work with you after you have completed the course to keep you up to date on the current tax codes.  You can begin your tax training education with a starting payment of $159.00, and scheduled payments to follow, or you may pay in full.  The complete program with 4 years of post grad support is $795, the full course with 2 years of post graduate support is $495. 

If you are looking for a distance course for yourself, to help your family income, I recommend this course.  Don’t kid yourself, it is work!  You will feel confused at times, but keep reading and stick with it, and you will have success.  If I can get A’s and B’s, anyone can! Maybe you are looking for an at home trade school option for your high school student or graduated high schooler. I think that this is a great course for those that want to earn an income before college or maybe instead of college.  At the completion of the course a person should be ready to take the IRS Registered Tax Preparers Exam.  Passing that test would be the key to earning money as a tax preparer.

To read what others had to say about their experience with this product, please click on the button below.

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******disclaimer*******

I was given access to the Federal Income Tax Course by National Tax Training School free of charge for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received.

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Teach your kids about the “M” word

The majority of this review was completed by my 17 year old daughter. She is a VERY busy girl and I am very grateful to her for taking the time to use and write about her experience with Wealthquest for Teens.

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Photobucket I am not really the most normal of teenagers. I have never been one of those kids who sit around and wait for things to happen. I have goals, and I know I need money to help me accomplish those goals. One of the problems I have is getting the money. I am only 17 and I attend community college pretty much full time. I also have responsibilities at church and at home, so my ability to have a “normal” part time job doesn’t really work out for me. That doesn’t mean that I never have any money. I do work all summer long at a farmers market, I clean house for a woman at church and I babysit. While my jobs aren’t at a fast food restaurant or a coffee shop, God always provides the work, so that I can pay for the things I need.

This summer I had asked my parents if I could read some of their books on money and budgeting, and not long after that my mom told me we were selected to review Wealthquest for Teens. I was excited to start the program and see if there was information that I could learn to help make my money work for me. I really liked having video lessons. Each lesson was interactive ( they used teens to teach introduce new concepts) and easy to relate to. I had a bit of trouble understanding that the e-book pdf WAS the workbook at first, but after that initial confusion it was very easy to do. It was nice that the lessons gave me time to fill out the worksheets as we went along. Photobucket Wealthquest did give me new information on how to organize my money. I have a different attitude about money from watching these lessons. Because my income is not that regular, I am often concerned about money and how I can make money that I need. These lessons showed me that I don’t really need to worry, I just need to remain diligent and determined to make my financial goals a reality. I was reminded that finding creative ways to make to make money is a good thing. Money never just drops into peoples laps!

The lessons talked about needing a really good reason to save money. This is the lesson where I was really able to identify my goal of attending and graduating from college debt free. This goal is very important to me and it is the main reason that I work right now. Even now I pay my way through school.

The program teaches a method called the silo system to organize your income. With my above stated goals, I found using the silo system as recommended, difficult. The program recommends the following categories: Future Financial Freedom, Big Ticket Items ( like cars, vacations), Heal The World ( Charitable giving), Necessities ( Clothes, fuel, food….ect.), Learning ( education and growth ), Fun and Fun Money. They recommend 10 percent to be placed in every category but Necessities, and that category will receive 50 % of your income.

If I were to use those recommendations, I would only be able to use 20% of my earnings on my education. Since my main needs are met through my family’s household budget, I decided I needed to have three silos. Learning, Necessities, and Big Ticket items. My percentage breakdown was 70% to learning, 10 percent to saving for my car, and 20 percent to my away from home food and incidental needs. I found it much easier to use the silo system as a mid-long term savings program. I need to be able to work, set the money in a easy to access saving location so it is free to be used for each quarter’s tuition and books. I did find the link to the money management site helpful. I could hypothetically move larger sums of money around and see how the cause and dream a little about what the future could look like. As I move into a 4 year college, I see myself better able to apply the system in its entirety as my income increases.

Jill Suskind, creator of the program, lists the following as a course goal: The intention of the program is to empower teenagers with habits and attitudes about money that lead to wealth. Wealth and being rich, in WealthQuest for Teens terms, means “the amount of money you need to have the life you want and to make a difference in ways that matter to you.” Taking this course helped me identify the amount of money I need to achieve my goal of attending college debt free. That is what I want for my life, that is what matters to me. This will help me make a difference in other people’s lives because I will not have a ton of debt when I am finished with school.

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When I asked her if she would recommend this product, she stated “Yes, I would, especially for those who really have little or no experience with controlling their own their own money… I think if a high schooler is going to have a part time job, and not going to be enrolled in college at the same time this system would be a good way for them to organize and save their money for college and beyond.”

As a parent, I was glad that the course was fairly self sufficient. The parent book that was provided was easy to read and helped me to set the tone of the lessons. She worked at her own pace, and completed the lessons. As she completed the lessons we would discuss the topics and she would run ideas past me to see if they were logical as well as practical. It was then that i could drop in some of the nuggets of wisdom from the parent guide. We have an open money discussion policy in our home. We do not live on any sort of credit, and save for the things we purchase. Reading through the guide helped to reassure me that we were on the right track as parents, in openly communicating about our household finances.

 Wealthquest for Teens is available for $39.95, a very affordable option for use with your 14-19 year old(s). The course is comprised of a Video Seminar, Student Workbook, a link to an online money management program, and Free Parent Guide. The product is downloadable and easy to print and use with more than one student.

To read more reviews about Wealthquest for Teens follow the link below.

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*******Disclaimer********

We were given access to Wealthquest for Teens Video Seminar, online money management site, Student Workbook, and Parent Guide, free of charge and for the sole purpose of writing a review.

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Meet the Pilgrims

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I love history. I love how cultures and time periods weave together and tell the story of individuals who lived in the past. One of the most interesting time periods for me happens to be the Reformation, and the birth of our modern day churches.  In the Bible we read about the birth of the church in Acts, through late Roman civilizations we can learn about the church as it spread to Europe. The Reformation is where the excitement begins, the Gospel is in the hands of the people! Lives lived for Christ were radically transformed.

It is the midst of this time period that a group of people banded together. They didn’t want to hide their bibles and listen only to the priests of the Church of England.  They separated from that way of thinking. As they read God’s Word they found Key Principles and began to apply them to their lives. These people, in their quest to honor God, looked for a place where they could worship and live in the way that they felt the Bible was telling them to.  These Sepratists would travel to a new land; eventually, they would come to be called “The Pilgrims”

Now, when I was in school, Pilgrims were these cute little iconic people that wore black and white, and had over-sized buckles on their shoes.  They also seemed to be hopelessly linked to cornucopia spilling forth with maize, pumpkins and warty gourds.  …. And the Turkey…. you can’t forget how they were linked to the TURKEY!  We were taught that they came on the Mayflower, had a bad time, Indians saved them, and now we have Thanksgiving.  While it is a concise version, it leaves much to be desired…..Their story is so much deeper, richer, and such an evidence of God’s Grace! It should be studied, and learned from.  The principles that they ordered their lives upon still hold true today. 

I encourage you to teach your children about the Pilgrims as they are presented by Dayspring Christian Academy’s Online School in “The Pilgrim Story”.

This 17 lesson self paced  program goes far above and beyond the iconic and mundane retelling of the pilgrims that we are accustomed to.

At the core of Dayspring Christian Academy is something called the Principle Approach. I believe this is what sets this study above others on this subject.  As you read the distinctives of the Principal Approach you see that the Bible is the central resource that governs what they teach.  As they teach about the historical movements of the pilgrims, they also teach the key Biblical principles that motivated the pilgrims to behave as they did.  Terms like Christian Liberty, Liberty of Conscience,  and Christian Unity will become more real as you see them LIVED in the lives of the Pilgrims.  They become easier to apply in your life and help you children apply in theirs.

My husband, my two sons and I have so enjoyed going through these lessons.  The lessons are geared to those in the 3rd through 6th grades, but even Jeremiah at 5, and the adults at (ahem … cough…. 40 something) are learning with each lesson.

Each lesson is about 30-40 minutes and starts with Mom (me) printing out the resource list that accompanies each of the PowerPoint presentations.  Hunter fills out the questions as we go along and completes the other activities that go along with the lessons.  We read through the vocabulary words, and Daddy reads any of the famous quotes from the Pilgrim leaders.  The extra activites are included with the presentations and they are not overly time consuming.  They do however, drive home concepts in a practical way.  Students are asked to reason through the concepts presented and apply them to a situation that they may personally experience. For example, in Unit 2, while discussing what the Pilgrims had to take for supplies on their journey, Hunter was asked to decide what things he would want to take with him if he had to make a similar journey.  This was an opportunity for my husband and I to talk with the boys about needs and wants, and how in our current family financial situation, we the parents have to make decisions about things that are needs and wants.  This even rabbit trailed into a discussion on budgeting for our wants and budgeting things like food, so we don’t eat it all the day in comes home from the store.
 

Many lessons come with additional reading resources.  ( Especially the virtual field trip at the end of the study) We have a few of the recommended books on order with our library and we are looking forward to reading through them and supplementing our studies even and going back through the presentations.  That is the beauty of the self paced lessons, there is time to take the rabbit trail and learn from living books and original source documents.

For our family, Unit 2 spawned the most discussion.  Our family is in the midst of times that from the outside look like great reasons to despair.  As we learned about how the Seperatists were stranded, captured, jailed, as they tried to leave England.  We discussed how hard that must have been and how they may have wanted to give up.  Through the lens of history we can now see how those situations were ordained by God to build Christian Character in the lives of the Pilgrims….  In some cases, those hardships protected them from even more hardship that they could not forsee. 

We were able to take these lessons as we watched The Pilgrim Story and draw parallels to our lives today.  We looked back at our lives for the last year and made a list of  how God has provided for us using the principle of Christian Unity and our local church body. We could clearly see how He has strengthened our faith and Christian Character, and how He is in control still. We have hope that as we look back through this time as a family that we will see even more ways God’s grace will be revealed.

If you are interested in purchasing The Pilgrim story to use in your home, the cost of the Self Paced Course is $99.00.  It will be available for your learning at a time that fits into your family’s schedule.  Dayspring also offers two other self paced courses, both at the High School level, Literature and AP Statistics.  The Pilgrim Story is their only self paced elementary option at this point.  I hope this does not remain the case for long….

Please don’t think of this curriculum as just another American History course. I challenge you to view it as an opportunity to study the motivating foundations and principles of men and women who founded their lives on Christ, and by God’s grace, they landed on a rock in Plymouth and founded a nation.

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*****disclaimer*****

I was given access to “The Pilgrim Story” by Dayspring Christian Academy, free of charge, expressly for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received.

 

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Faith, what do you use it for?

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Whatever worldview you ascribe to, and I know that for some of my readers that means that you do not believe there is a God, takes faith. Maybe not faith in the religious conotation of the word, but a faith that takes the things understood about a subject and forms them into an opinion that you are willing to live your life according to. That is faith. Faith is a belief in things that you can not see.  We all use faith everyday.  The questions is, what do we use it for?

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In their book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, Norman L. Giesler and Frank Turek, explore an issue of faith.  They ask you to consider if you have enough Faith to be an Atheist.  Their conclusion after much study is announced in the title of their book. But, how did they get there?  What did they study?  There must have been a process by which they came to this conclusion.

Geisler and Turek do not shy away from explaining other worldviews.  They address what it takes to be an agnostic, a skeptic, the difference between eastern logic and western logic, and importantly; how we can know what truth is. 

This willingness to tackle and explain what other beliefs are out there was a big selling point to me.  I don’t want a book that explores the issue of faith; to just tell me to have faith and be done.  I don’t want it to tell me that everything but this one thing is bad….  believe what I say and move on.  That isn’t a book I would read.  One of the biggest reasons this book was so interesting to me was that it took the time to present opposing views, present a counter argument, and trust that I will think critically to reach a logical conclusion.

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Meant to be much more than just a great book to read, but a catalyst to help you better understand the how and why of what you believe; I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist comes with a 279 page workbook that turns a great read, into a curriculum.  This workbook creates an in-depth learning experience for your High School aged student, or perhaps as a great adult small group study. The workbook presents you with supplemental material, study questions and activities that will encourage personal reflection, discussion and build writing skills.

I found myself pondering before answering the workbook questions.  They weren’t the standard regurgitating comprehension questions that we are so easily pacified with in bible studies.  This workbook is WORK!  You must engage your mind to reap the full benefit of it.  The answers are not yes or no, true or false….  They are questions like:  Why is it important to understand the origin of life?  ( pg. 90) or C.S Lewis wrote, ” Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance.  The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”  Do you agree or disagree with that statement? Why? (pg. 209)

The supplemental reading in the workbook is very informative!  I never knew a David Hume. ( I thought Hume was a lake in Fresno, Ca.!) or what in the world empiricism was.  Let alone pronounce it…. But I have learned, and understood and I feel more informed and better able to defend what I believe because I have read this book.

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Above you can view the table of contents and see that the topics are presented and discussed in a very engaging way.  It is not the intent of the authors to lose you or your child in  technical terms and hard to understand jargon.  They clearly define the terms discussed in each chapter and walk you through the arguments step by step.  This isn’t a book that you or your student will read without reflection.  It is meaty and I have found myself chewing on the morsels through out the day.

Whether you are looking for an in-depth Bible Curriculum for your High Schooler or a personal study for your own quiet time, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist will keep you busy for a nine month study.  I have enjoyed my weeks with this book and I look forward to more hours with it in the months to come. 

The book is priced at $16.00*, the Workbook at $33.00.  I enjoyed reading the book and using the work-text.  I feel that both items are very worth the investment.  The folks at Apologia.com have hit it out of the park with the debut of an Apologetics Curriculum for High Schoolers.  Having used this curriculum in my personal study time, I feel that any students would be well prepared for the variety of worldviews that will be discussed during their college years and beyond. 

*At the writing of this review Apologia is currently out of stock on the BOOK.  They have stated that their inventory will return in September for those of you who wish to use this curriculum in the 2012-2013 Academic Year.

As with all curriculum advice I share on this, my little corner of cyberspace, don’t just take my word for it.  Over a hundred families reviewed this product.  Visit the link below to see how other families enjoyed it ( or not ) in their homeschool environments.

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*****Disclaimer*****
I was sent a copy of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, and the corresponding Workbook by Apologia.com, solely for the purpose of this review.  No other compenstation has been received.  All the above opinions were formulated by actually reading the book, and using the workbook in my personal study time.

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This Week in History with A Thomas Jefferson Education

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 “For great education to occur, students must choose to study long, hard and effectively because they genuinely love it! It must be their passion and their delight. When students are deeply in love with studying, they learn in “the flow” and they absorb massive amounts of information, knowledge, understanding, connections and wisdom in a very short time.”  ~ Thomas Jefferson Education website.

That is a statement that I would wholeheartedly agree with.  My children learn the most when they LOVE what they are learning.   If they don’t love it; I might as well be telling them to chew off their own arm: for that is how pleasurable their learning will be.

A Thomas Jefferson Education want you the parent to experience the joy of helping each of your children to discover, develop and polish his/her genius. This is the essence and very definition of great education.

A Thomas Jefferson Education encourages parents to apply the 7 keys of Teaching:
1.Classics, Not Textbooks
2.Mentors, Not Professors
3.Inspire, Not Require
4.Structure Time, Not Content
5.Simplicity, Not Complexity
6.Quality, Not Conformity
7.You, Not Them

to help them educate their children to their full potential. To read more about the 7 Keys to Great Teaching, click here.

This Week In History; the Thomas Jefferson Education’s subscription program, delivers new lessons to your email inbox each week.  Each week full of pictures, links and videos to help you educate your children to their full potential. The program costs $9.99 a month; can satisfy the learning levels of grades K-12 and delivers the following benefits to you the homeschooling parent:

relieves fear, stress and burnout
fills in the gaps
cultivates cultural literacy
facilitates state or provincial compliance
correlates resources for co-ops, classrooms and family learning
harnesses the power of technology in a classical leadership education
harmonizes with Unschooling, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Trivium/Quadrivium, IEW, eclectic, etc.
delivers new ideas and areas of learning to you and your child
instigates discussions and projects that expand wisdom and understanding
connects the subject areas–from music to math, from geography to world religions, from hobbies to science  projects, etc.
motivates you and your students to greater excellence

What we enjoyed about the This Week In History:

You can use it as little or as much as you choose.  There is no requirement to do ALL the activites or lessons for the week.  As we lazily wound our way through summer, this student led method of learning was enjoyable for us.  I let Hunter read through the Week of History and we dug deeper where we wanted to.  I see us using it weekly if not daily as the school year begins in a few weeks. 

Each week appears as a blog post when you log in to the site.  It makes it easy to read and easy to focus on.  You weren’t distracted by weeks and weeks of archives to scroll through, you get the week you need to currently explore. 

We enjoyed how each daily fact has pictures and additional links and resources to help you better understand each fact. I liked how there were suggestions for discussion, writing or hands on activites.  This week, there is a link to make your own silly putty.  Who can resist hands- on learning like that?

We have always been a more of a Charlotte Mason styled homeschool…. or maybe we are a little unschooled, and this year we will change our educational game plan completely, so I would most assuredly call us an Eclectic Homeschool…. and This Week in History certianly delivers many opportunities for learning that blends with our style of learning.  I recommend it highly, both as a supplement and a stand alone history source. The price for the quality of information is well worth it.

If you would like to view a sample week Click here.  Follow the link below to see how Schoolhouse Review Crew Members used This Week in History by Thomas Jefferson Education, in their homeschool environments.

 

Click to read Crew Reviews
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Disclaimer

The creators of This Week in History a subscription program from A Thomas Jefferson Education supplied Schoolhouse Review Crew Members with a on year subscription, for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been recieved.  All opinions were formulated by our use of the program in our homeschool environment.

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