Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week In Review: Christmas Lapbooks, Baking, and Presents, Oh My

We are all pretty ready for a Christmas break around here. Ashlyne, Rachel, Charles, and I finished up a Christmas Around the World lapbook this week, and Kathryne finished up her school work. So we are all ready for a two week break.

We had an easier school week, so there was more time for playing. The girls both got the Life game app for their devices, but then they remembered that we had the actual board game. And, wouldn't you know it, the physical game is even more fun than the digital version.

 I have to say that I loved having Charles work with us on the lapbook this week. I have really missed all four kids doing unit studies together. Kathryne couldn't join us because she had too much to finish before break, but I was glad to have Charles back in the mix.

 The lapbook we used was Christmas Around the World from Hands of a Child. We've used the free Christmas Around the World lapbook from Homeschool Share. But this one was a little different, and with Hands of a Child, all of the information is contained right there in the planning pack.

We covered the entire book in one week, although it's written to cover nine days. Because we weren't doing other school work, we doubled up some days, and we didn't do the vocabulary words or the baking from the included recipes. If you used some additional reading and chose to do some baking, this could easily take two weeks.

We also did some holiday baking and candy making this week. The kids made cut out cookies to decorate. This has been a tradition since before I had kids. My kids are the last of the cousins who still make cookies each year. We occasionally have friends over to join us, but this year it was just us. The kids weren't into it as much either, and we had some very interesting Christmas cookies.

Kathryne's masterpiece was this McDonalds set with fries and a soft drink.

This is the cute puppy picture of the week. It's hard to believe we've had Blondie almost a year now. We love this puppy!

Tonight was the first of several "Christmases." My family came over for dinner and presents. The holiday has officially started.

I'm looking forward to some school break and family time this week.

I'm linking up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers and Home to 4 Kiddos.

Weekly Wrap-Up

Friday, December 19, 2014

Schoolhouse : An Excellent Resource for Homeschoolers

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase from these links, I may receive compensation which will support my voracious curriculum purchasing habit. Thank you!

As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I thoroughly enjoy having access to Schoolhouse If you've never checked out Schoolhouse Teachers, now is a great time because now through Christmas Day, you can have access to all of the great resources at Schoolhouse Teachers for $7.77 per month (40% off) or $64.26 for the year (50% off). And if you join at this rate, you'll keep this rate for your whole membership. So why do you need Schoolhouse Teachers?

Schoolhouse Teachers is an awesome membership site. Your one monthly or yearly fee covers your entire family and opens up all of the great classes offered as well as other special resources.

Schoolhouse Teachers has classes for all grades and subjects. Right now for PreK-Elementary, you can find classes like guitar, art techniques, lapbooking, geography, chemistry and much more. There are also resources for parents of kids in these grades. These resources include animated books, reward certificates, Charlotte Mason preschool information, and more.

For middle school and high school you can find classes such as animal science, studio art for teens, mock trial, French, and much more. There are also parent resources for this grade level including reading lessons, information about high school level writing, and transcript information.

The classes are "taught" by a variety of teachers. When you choose a class, you can find material that is currently being added and material that is archived. So whenever you choose to join a class, you can go back to the beginning and start with the archived information.

When you find a class to begin, you can click on each lesson. You can read the lesson on the computer screen or you can download the lesson as a PDF. This way you can print it or send it to your student's ereader (which I enjoy doing).

I love that there is a course checklist provided for you to keep track of all of the courses your student is taking. This way you could truly use Schoolhouse Teachers as a complete curriculum.

Besides all of the incredible classes offered, members of Schoolhouse Teachers have access to menu plans, digital issues of The Old Schoolhouse, The Old Schoolhouse planners, and much more.

The new members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew have been reviewing Schoolhouse Teachers, and you can find out what they thought about this resource here.

Check out Schoolhouse Teachers and the amazing sale today! 

Who Am I?

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase from these links, I may receive compensation which will support my voracious curriculum purchasing habit. Thank you!

This year all of the Hearts at Home Third Thursday Thoughts posts have been along the "Love Your..." theme. We've talked about loving our purposes, loving our failures, loving our successes and more. This month, the theme is Love Your Identity. And so, I found myself pondering the question- "What is my identity?" In other words "Who am I?"

I'm a wife. I celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary this past week. I've been blessed to have a marriage to my best friend. It's not without any difficulty, as with any marriage, but I have someone I know is always on my side, who always loves me. I love being a wife.

I'm a mom. I have four great kids. My oldest is 15 now, and it's hard to believe. My baby is 9! I can't believe that I soon won't have any elementary aged kids. I love being a mom. I love taking care of my kids. I always wanted to be a mom, so, as Jason often says- "I'm livin' my dream."

I'm a homeschool teacher. I was a teacher in a traditional school before I had kids, but teaching my own kids has been totally different. I've had to "unlearn" some of the things I learned about teaching because they just don't work in homeschooling. I absolutely love homeschooling. I enjoy spending time with my kids. I love it that we have a flexible schedule. I love the one on one time. I love being a homeschool teacher.

But as much as I love all of these roles, I cannot find my identity in them. My husband might let me down. He gets frustrated with me and hurts my feelings. He makes decisions I don't agree with. My kid might let me down. They disobey. They make mistakes. They do things I don't like. Homeschooling will end one day. My kids will graduate one day. I won't be a homeschool teacher any more. If my identity is found in these things, I'll be crushed. I'll be depressed. I'll be miserable.

My identity is not in these things even though I love them. My identity is found in God. I am a child of God, beloved, cherished. He loves me so much that He sent His Son to die and pay for my sins so that I could live with Him forever some day. I am created to glorify Him and to rejoice in Him.

And that's who I am.

I'm linking up with Third Thursday Thoughts at Hearts at Home.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Blogging Through the Alphabet: G is for Games (Our Favorite Family Board Games)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase from these links, I may receive compensation which will support my voracious curriculum purchasing habit. Thank you!

Most of our family members love board games. There are two of us- whose names I won't mention- who aren't always such big fans. But, even they will join in an all family game every now and then. And Charles- the 13 year old, Rachel- the 9 year old, and myself are always "game" for a board game.

Over the years we've developed some family favorites. Here are a few of our favorites.

Ticket To Ride
Ticket To Ride There are several versions of this game. We only have the original US version, but we've played the Europe version with friends. In this game, you have to claim routes between various locations by laying down train cars along the routes. You'll learn a little geography in the process, and you can play the game nicely or become a little cutthroat stealing routes from other players.

Rummikub 8 Round Rummy Card GameRummikub 8 Round Rummy Card Game There is a Rummikub game that involves tiles. This is a version of that game but is played with a card deck. Charles and I especially like this one because we are both a fan of card games. In the card game version, there are eight rounds with a different goal for each round. Each round is worth a different number of points, so the player who wins that round takes the points.

The Greatest Day Ever Game This one is one of Ashlyne's (age 10) favorites. It's mostly a matching game with more luck than skill, but there is a little thought involved when it comes to making choices about what cards to keep and what cards to pass on. The object is to match up playing cards with the characters and toys on your game boards to make a perfect match. Then you have "The Greatest Day Ever" and you win the game.

Clue The Classic Edition Okay it makes me sad that a game I've loved for years is now considered the "classic edition" but there it is. I'm old. I still love Clue. And, yes, I prefer the "classic edition." Nothing beats the old Colonel Mustard did it in the drawing room with the rope. There are other versions, including a junior version that we own; but I still love to get out the old version.

Apples to Apples Junior - The Game of Crazy Combinations! This has got to be one of the silliest games of all time. I'm not sure there's much point to it except to laugh at each other. The idea is to pair up words to make silly combinations. We have the junior version because the words are easier to understand for the younger set.

Hasbro Games Monopoly Deal Card GameHasbro Games Monopoly Deal Card Game This is another board game turned card game that we enjoy. Original Monopoly takes forever to play, but we can finish a game of Monopoly Deal much more quickly. In the card game, players still work to collect property sets, but there are some interesting twists that involve stealing properties as well as creative ways to make players pay.

Scene It? Disney Edition DVD GameScene It? Disney Edition DVD Game Although we love this Scene It version, I have to admit that I wouldn't buy it for $120! I actually bought the card/DVD set at a yard sale for a couple of bucks and we play it with the Scene It board from an original game that I also think I got at a yard sale (or someone gave us). Anyway, we love the game. It's a definite favorite. It has questions based on movie clips and sound bites from original Disney movies. It's fun to play with the kids because some of the original movies are so old that they haven't seen them, and they learn about the old movies which often leads to watching them.

Timeline - AmericanaTimeline - Americana This is actually a new game for us that I reviewed for Amazon recently. But we really liked it, and I think it's quickly going to make the favorites list. It's a trivia game, and it's especially fun for a nut like me who loves all things history and timelines. But it's fun for the kids because it features events in American culture, including pop culture. So we'll get to share stories about events that we remember and sometimes look up events that we didn't know about. The game involves putting cards in chronological order- in a timeline. But you don't have to have a precise knowledge of the timing of events, and even the younger set can guess pretty well about most of the events.

Those are a few of our favorites. Does your family have any favorite board games?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review of Wisdomantics: An Interactive Board Game Based on the Book of Proverbs *** And a Giveaway***

Our family loves board games. We jump at the chance to try a new board game. So I was very interested in trying the new Wisdomantics game- an interactive board game based on the book of Proverbs. Keep reading to see what we thought, and then you can enter to win your own game.

About the new Wisdomantics game:
Wisdomantics–New King James Version (NKJV) is an interactive DVD board game for players of various faiths who desire to gain the vast wisdom of King Solomon. Wisdomantics-NKJV utilizes the proverbs of Solomon and blends chance, knowledge and strategy to create a fun experience while you learn! The game’s intent is to bring individuals together to learn how to cope with numerous situations in a fun and relaxed environment. Inside the box you’ll find 2 interactive DVDs with 400 questions, score cards, blessing cards, and more!

Who is it for?
The game is intended for ages 12+. I am assuming that it's because the questions might be too difficult for younger kids. We played with the younger set as "helpers." I found that Rachel, age 9, on my team was able to come up with some of the answers. (I'll tell why we thought that was later on.)

What is it like?
Think of Monopoly, Trivia Pursuit, and Scene It all rolled into one. The game involves answering questions which are presented on a DVD and moving around a board that is set up just like Monopoly. There are cards that are drawn when questions are answered correctly, and players collect pieces to build a "temple" on their scorecards as they move around the board. 

Where can you learn more?
You can visit the Wisdomantics website for more information or to purchase the game for $29.95. You can also watch the video below to see the game in play.

What did we like?
  • It is great to get to read the actual verses from the book of Proverbs in the game.
  • There are plenty of questions so that you aren't going to get repeats very often. There is a link for a downloadable question tracker so you can keep up with the questions you've covered.
  • I like a game that is based on Bible knowledge and that includes elements of spiritual growth such as sharing prayer and praise requests. 
  • The complete references are given after the questions are answered so that you can look up the verses if you want to.This can help with Bible memorization if you're working on the book of Proverbs.

What wasn't so great?
  • We had a difficult time getting started as I found the instructions a little confusing. Even after we jumped in- after seeing a very abbreviated form of directions on the DVD- we learned later that there were some things we were doing wrong. I did receive a new version of the instructions that is more succinct and easier to understand, so I hope this will be easier for new players.
  • Although it's cool that the questions are about the book of Proverbs, the style is exactly the same with each of the 200+ questions. A verse of Proverbs is given with two blanks. There are four choices, with two words in each choice. To answer, you use the remote to choose the combination of words you think goes in the blank. So, if you are a good reader, it really doesn't matter if you know Proverbs. That's why Rachel- who hasn't really memorized Proverbs at all- was able to figure out the answers. She just picked what made sense.

    All in all, it's a fun trivia game. I think the best use of the game for us will be to use the Proverbs verses for discussion. We love to discuss. And (here's a secret parenting strategy) if everyone can be involved in something fun where they're having a good time and even being silly, it opens the door for great discussions. So we can talk about the verses as we read the questions and answers. I think it will provide some great discussion points! Keep reading to win your own copy of Wisdomantics.

    Disclosure: I received a free copy of this game from the producer in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.


    So, are you ready to win your own copy of the Wisdomantics game? Read the disclosure and enter using the Giveaway Tools below.

    "Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
     Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

    Family Christmas Tradition: The Advent Wreath

    One of our favorite, long standing family traditions for Christmas is the Advent Wreath. The Advent Wreath, also done by our church throughout the Christmas season, is a wonderful tool to bring our focus to Christ and what His coming to earth means for us.

     The Advent Wreath is made of a circular wreath of greenery with three purple candles and one pink candle on the outside and a single white candle in the center. All of the parts of the wreath are symbolic. Each week of Advent, one candle is lit on Sunday. The white candle in the center is lit on Christmas Eve.

    Here is a look at the symbolism of the wreath.

    Circular greenery

    The circle shape reminds us of God Who is everlasting and has no end. The greenery reminds us of new life, which is what we have in Christ.

    Outer candles

    Week one- The Prophets candle- The prophets foretold of the Christ Who was to come.

    Week two- The Bethlehem candle- The baby was to be born in the city of Bethlehem.

    Week three- The Shepherds candle- This candle is pink because it represents joy. The angels brought good news of great joy to the shepherds in Bethlehem.

    Week four- The Angels candle- The angels announced a message of love that has come to earth.

    Inner Candle

    The inner candle is white. This is the Christ candle. The white stands for purity because Christ was wholly God as well as wholly man, and he is perfect.

    This article has a good explanation of the symbolism of the wreath, and it has a short history of the Advent Wreath.

    When we light the wreath's candles each week, we read an appropriate Scripture and sing a Christmas carol that goes along with that week's reading. We usually sing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel on week one, O Little Town of Bethlehem on week two, Angels We Have Heard on High on week three, and Hark, the Herald Angels Sing for week four. On Christmas Eve, our church uses the song Silent Night when all is dark to symbolize the world without Christ. Then the Christ candle is lit, and we sing Joy to the World. It is fun to include these Christmas carols because some of the traditional carols aren't as well-known now.

    Focus on the Family has some readings for every week of Advent and has some fun activities that you can do as a family throughout the Advent season.

    Using the Advent Wreath is a family tradition that we look forward to each year. It gives us time to share God's love and His plan for us as a family.

    Monday, December 15, 2014

    Giveaway From Chestnut Grove Academy: Great Prizes!

    I'm happy to be celebrating the 1000th post of my friend Jen, blogging at Chestnut Grove Academy. She's got some great prizes to win, so make sure that you enter using the Rafflecopter below by December 20.

    So I recently hit my 1000th blog post and my 150th Field Trip Friday Blog Hop Post!   That’s A LOT of homeschool blogging and field trips!!  I wanted to celebrate in a BIG way and to Thank ALL of you (my readers) for, well, reading!
    I have over $500 in prizes set up for you guys!  There will be 3 winners!  So the odds of winning are even greater! 
    I want to thank all of my amazing donors and tell you a little bit about what you can win!  Then use the Rafflecopter form to enter!  There are over 45 ways to enter, with some daily entries, so make sure you come back!!

    Giveaway Extravaganza

    A HUGE Thank you to our sponsors:

    A+ Interactive Math, Veritas Press,, Building Brilliant Minds Online, Skrafy Minecraft, Classical Composers Monthly, Educents, Classroom Friendly Supplies, Our Time to Learn, and A Virtuous Woman
    Now for the Prizes:

    A+ Interactive Math – 1 year family math package for 2 students ($199.99 value)


    You can see my reviews off A+ Interactive Math HERE and HERE (CD versions).  You can try a MONTH of their ONLINE program for FREE!!

    Veritas Press
    Self-paced Bible course for grades 2nd-6th ($179 value)

    You can see my review on the Self-Paced History course by Veritas Press HERE

    Building Brilliant Minds Online
    Introduction to Architecture course for ages 11+ ($150 value).  We are looking forward to taking a course with Building Brilliant Minds Online this Winter! - 3 Full year subscriptions ($139 value each)


    You can see my review of HERE

    Educents – $30 Gift Card

    educents (1)

    Educents is a online DISCOUNT place for all things educational!  It’s a great place to find amazing deals on homeschool curriculum and supplemental materials.  They often even have FREE items!  Check them out!

    Classroom Friendly Supplies – The Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener ($24.95 value)


    You can see my review HERE

    Classical Composers Monthly – Fine Art Pages – Christmas Set, Winter Set and Corrier & Ives Set ($14 value)


    You can see my review of their products HERE, be sure to check out their entry – Register for FREE units!

    Skrafy Minecraft – Any Skrafty Homeschool Class

    skrafty-logo (1)

    You can see my review for the Astronomy class HERE, These are a MUST for Minecraft fans!

    Our Time to Learn – About Me Curriculum Book ($15.99 value)

    about me book

    You can my review on this book HERE

    A Virtuous Woman – Planner of your choice


    Stay tuned for my review coming on the 18th!

    I am so excited to be able to bless the lives of my readers with some of these amazing prizes.  They have been divided into 3 packages!  They are listed on the Rafflecopter form in their groups. 
    Please pay attention to the Terms & Conditions at the bottom of the Rafflecopter form!
    Good Luck!
    a Rafflecopter giveaway