Heroes of the Bible Treasury, Illustrated by David Miles

Looking for a great Bible storybook for your children? Look no further!

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If your children are anything like mine, they can be a bit restless when it comes to reading Bible stories. Enter Zondervan’s Heroes of the Bible Treasury. This compilation of six “I Can Read” books in one is a must-have for any family with younger children. Written at a Level 2, this book is geared for children who are beginning to read more difficult sentences with help, but it is also a great choice for a family read-aloud.

Every day our family begins our homeschool routine by spending some time in God’s Word. I’m going to admit that it’s been a bit of a struggle to find something that would keep the attention of my wiggly-worms.  Every time I would think I found something that might work, I would quickly discover I was mistaken because my kids just couldn’t pay enough attention to even participate in a short discussion after we were through.

This book was a breath of fresh air for us. It is written in a child-friendly format and the illustrations are colorful and engaging. The children who could never sit still for Bible time began to ask questions, make connections with lessons they learned in Sunday School, and they would ask me to read more.

Now that’s the sign of a keeper.

I received a complimentary book from BookLook Bloggers for an honest review. All opinions are completely my own.

Lazy Day Links- 5/14/16

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The time has come for another installment of “Lazy Day Links.” This was my younger children’s last week of homeschool activities, and I.am.exhausted. So, yeah. I’m guessing this weekend will be very lazy for me. 😛

Favorite Blog Posts:

Body Positivity Week??– Beauty Beyond Bones

Why Your Children Annoy You and Homemaking Is Boring– Generation Cedar

10 Homeschooling Non-Essentials– iHomeschool Network

Suddenly, Unexpectedly Homeschooling (You’re Gonna What?!)– My Little Poppies

Am I Doing Too Much? (Ask These 3 Questions to Find Out for Sure.)– More Than a Homeschool Mom

 

My Older Posts:

Why Should We Homeschool?

Why Should We Homeschool?- Part 1- Safety

Why Should We Homeschool?- Part 2- Personalized Learning

Why Should We Homeschool?- Part 3- Values

Why Should We Homeschool?- Part 4- Freedom of Choice

 

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Books Worth Reading:

Angels– Billy Graham

A Clear Guide to Revelation– Ross Lyon

This Is My Home, This Is My School– Jonathan Bean (Note: This is a children’s book but definitely worth a mention because it is the only picture book I’ve ever seen written in a realistic way about the life of a homeschooler. I highly recommend this book.)

A Place for Truth– Dallas Willard

Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning– Nancy Pearcey

 

Well, that’s about it. Enjoy your weekend!

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A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers- Our Last Week!! (Sort of)

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Well…the time has come. Our last week of school before an 8-week summer break. (Sort of.) Technically, it’s not my last week because my teens actually have two weeks of school to go, but since I spend the most time on my younger kids’ activities, and they are finished, it seems like my last week, too.

I don’t really know how I feel about this. I know the title of this post gives the impression of excitement, but eight weeks is a loooong time. I know that many homeschooling parents are usually jumping for joy by this point, but I honestly look forward to doing school with my kids everyday. I really do.

One thing that will help with this at least a little bit is that I will still be doing about 5-10 minutes of math everyday with my non-teenagers because their new workbooks for next year are a little harder than they’re used to, so we’ve got some ground to cover. They did some complaining about it at first, but after I explained my reasoning, they were okay with it, and, honestly, how much is ten minutes out of an entire day?

Believe it or not, this week, I had one child at the dentist again- this time for a filling. Thankfully, we are now done until November, unless you count a July appointment at the orthodontist. Sigh.

This week has been a little more exciting than the last few, with various appointments and attending our very first homeschool group. 🙂 Seven years of homeschooling, and this is the first time I’ve ever gotten together with other homeschooling moms. Ever.

It was so exciting to actually talk about something I’m so passionate about with other people who feel the same way. The only time I get to “talk shop” any other time is here on this blog, so you can probably blame the abundance of posts in your emails or newsfeed on the fact that you’ve been my “online homeschool group” all this time. So thank you for reading and interacting with me. It means more than you know. 😀

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Oh, I almost forgot…one really cool thing that happened this week was that the author of a book that I just reviewed mentioned me in a tweet.

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As you can see, I took a screenshot of it…and I may have told my kids that I was famous…

I do highly recommend this book to anyone who needs a good laugh. It truly was the funniest book I’ve ever read. Enough about me. Now, on with the show!

The Littles

We spent some more time on Madeline and used the illustrations to learn about symmetry. We also used our Shopkins as stand-ins for the “twelve little girls in two straight lines” and explored all of the different groupings of twelve. Whenever I involve my kids’ Shopkins, I know they’ll be paying attention! We also discussed personal hygiene  and eating right, and how they can prevent illnesses like colds and the flu.

Other than Madeline, the biggest hit with my littles this week was a picture book called Except if…. For such a short, simple book, it had my kids cracking up almost the entire time I was reading it. Anything that can get my wiggly worms to sit still for story time is worth a mention on my blog!

 

The Big Kids

This week we finished up both Harry Potter and our research/reference unit. The kids alphabetized, typed up, and assembled their dictionaries, and we practiced using dictionary headings some more.

A friend who used to be a teacher at a Christian school and is now a homeschool evaluator stopped by at our house on Wednesday with two boxes filled with art supplies from her teaching days. My kids were absolutely thrilled and have spent the past two days crafting up all sorts of fun stuff. Now if only I knew where to put all this stuff…

The Teens

This week has been more of the same for the older kids. Dillon has still been spending a lot of time at the creek, and Arianna and Devin have still been spending the better part of their days in their room reading and watching Netflix.

Devin spent the day with Brendan, our oldest, again- this time browsing comic book stores. I love that they have so much in common and still spend so much time together.

Although my post reads “ten” homeschoolers, I do have eleven kids, but since Brendan is not homeschooling, I didn’t include him in the title. I would like to mention, though, that he had his college exams this week and scored a 96% on his sociology exam, so, yay for Brendan! 🙂

Arianna had the ‘privilege’ of attending the homeschool group with me to help watch the children who were there. I gave her the day off of school for helping. Wasn’t that nice of me?? (For those of you who are new to my blog, you can read a detailed description of our daily routine right here.)

Well, that’s about it. I’m anxious to see what next week brings without the structure of our normal school routine. We shall see…

What have you been up to this week? Is your school year almost through?

 

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Lazy Day Links- 5/7/16

It’s that time again! Here are this week’s recommended links and books. Enjoy!

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Image courtesy of porbital at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

(Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links.)

Wow, this week went quickly! One of the books I’ll be featuring today, The Deleted E-Mails of Hillary Clinton- A Parodycomes highly recommended by Yours Truly :). I just got this book yesterday and already finished it a few hours ago, despite the fact that I have ten kids at home. It is, by far, the funniest book I’ve ever read. Ever. Look for a review of it in the next few days. I promise you, you won’t be sorry if you buy it. Now on to my links!

Favorite Blog Posts:

5 Advantages to Creating Your Own Homeschool Unit Study– Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus!

Why the Gender Identity Debate Is Symptomatic of a Much Bigger Issue for Christians– Natasha Crain

5 Ideas for Better Read-Aloud Time– BookShark

Simple Steps to Teaching Reading– Classically Homeschooling

Hope When Mother’s Day Is Hard– Holley Gerth

 

My Older Posts:

My Hands-Off Approach to Teaching Reading

Considering Homeschooling? Ten Things You Need to Know

Welcome to Strewing Central!

When God Answers…Make Sure You’re Listening

Navigating the Red Tape- Part 2: How Do I Comply?

 

Books Worth Reading:

The Deleted E-Mails of Hillary Clinton- A Parody– John Moe

The Oath– Frank Peretti

Deadline– Randy Alcorn

Infernal Devices Series– Cassandra Clare

23 Minutes in Hell– Bill Wiese

 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Enjoy!

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A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers- Spiders and Squirrels and Snakes, Oh My!

The end of the school year is in sight, and the great outdoors are calling! (If the rain ever stops ;P) Join me for another week of highlights from There’s No Place Like Home!

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Well, we’ve now just completed the second last week of school for the Littles and the Big Kids. The Teens have another three weeks to go because they follow a more traditional school schedule. The end of the school year is a bit bittersweet for me because, while I love the summer, I do not enjoy the lack of structure from not doing our school routine everyday. Besides that, I really do enjoy our school routine, so I know that I’m going to be bored out of my mind without the hustle and bustle of the school day. Oh, well. Just plan on me posting lots of new unit studies because that’s what I usually spend my time doing when boredom sets in. I will admit, however that I am looking forward to the deep cleaning we always do the first few days of summer break because this house is a wreck.

This week was very similar to last week in that it’s been cold and, once again, I had to take five children to the dentist. Fun. No cavities this week, but one does need to see an orthodontist. Joy. Other than that, it’s been a pretty laid back week- as far as a household of twelve people can be laid back. 🙂 Now on to our week:

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy.)

The Littles

This week we started reading Madeline, which the kids have enjoyed so far. We found France, where the story takes place, on our world map and each child got their own map to place a story disk on. They also colored their own French flags, and we discussed so many different topics while reading, such as appendixes, hospital visits, steamboats, land line telephones (who would’ve thought they would be considered history in our lifetime!?), and the Eiffel Tower.

I’m going to confess that we spent a lot of time vegging out in front of the TV because it’s just been a cold, rainy week, and we really didn’t feel like venturing outside.

The Big Kids

The older kids are still working on their research/reference unit and will probably do so until the end of next week when they finish school. We read about Noah Webster and each child has been busy compiling a list of words they don’t know from our read-alouds and their silent reading selections (which, incidentally, are all the same as last week) to author their own dictionaries. Today they got to decorate the covers.

Caollin (11) did get to spend some time at the creek with Dillon (16), and she had a blast finding salamanders, crayfish, and a newt. Otherwise, they, too, have just been relaxing in the house, waiting for the sun to finally come out again.

The Teens

Schoolwork-wise, it’s really just been business as usual with these three.

Arianna (14) has been busy reading and helping with the younger kids during school time this week. On Sunday she went to see a local theater group’s performance of “Mary Poppins” with my mother. She really enjoyed it and hopes to see some more shows like it. (She recently saw “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” as well).

Dillon is still having the time of his life taking photographs and has even ventured out in this dreary weather to hone his photography skills. Here’s a sampling of what he did this week:

A few days ago he created a Facebook page for his photography, and he’s really been working hard at perfecting his skills.

Devin (17) has, once again, spent a lot of time with our oldest son this week. She’s looking forward to next month’s anime convention in Atlantic City and is busying herself with the details of what characters she’s going to cosplay. She also wants a job in the worst way, but I just haven’t gotten around to getting her a photo ID just yet.

Unfortunately, our school district does not issue school IDs to homeschoolers, which makes everything from getting a job to attending after-school events to taking SATs that much harder. I honestly believe they should begin issuing them to homeschoolers, since we do have to report to them yearly, so our kids are, technically, still students in the district, but what are you gonna do?

Anyway, this has been our week! What’s yours looked like?

 

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Lazy Day Links- 4/30/16

Happy weekend! I hope you enjoy this week’s links and book recommendations. 🙂

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As promised last week, here are this week’s lazy day links!

(Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy.)

Favorite Blog Posts:

Five Simple Ways to Ruin Your Homeschool {And What to Do Instead}– The Unlikely Homeschool

Dear Beyonce,– Beauty Beyond Bones

The Truth about Hospitality– The Art of Simple

Take Me to Your Dungeon Master– FIMBY

Simple Homeschooling: What My Kids Need to Learn– Generation Cedar

 

My Older Posts:

Translating Board Games into Educationese

Unlimited Gaming? Not These Unschoolers!

Small Steps Are a Big Deal

Going on a Road Trip? Ditch the Textbooks and Live Life!

Navigating the Red Tape- Part 1: How Do I Know What My Kids Are Learning?

 

Books Worth Reading:

Man, Myth, Messiah– Rice Broocks

On the Trail of the Nephilim, Vol. 2– L.A. Marzulli

Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling– John Holt

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling– John Taylor Gatto

Angelopolis– Danielle Trussoni

 

I hope you enjoy. Have a great weekend!

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A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers- Art and Election Day

It’s that time again for our end of the week review. Join me as I write again about another crazy homeschool week with ten kids!

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Image courtesy of atibodyphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

(Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.)

(If you’re interested in a more detailed example of our homeschooling days, click here.)

I can’t believe another week has gone by! Time flies when you’re having fun, right?? While last week my kids were enjoying the warm weather all week, as I write this post, I’m sitting in my dining room in a sweatshirt, next to a space heater, shivering. Gotta love this fickle weather.

Anyway…this week my kids got much more book work done than last week, but we also accomplished quite a few other things, as well.

On Monday, I accidentally stumbled upon a new snack idea for the kids. Since I have to make so many waffles for breakfast at one time, I usually put them in the oven instead of the toaster. I happened to get…umm…sidetracked and forgot they were in the oven, and if there’s anything my kids hate, it’s crunchy waffles. Desperate to save some time and avoid making something else, I came upon the idea of waffles and ice cream in a chip and dip platter. (Okay, two things- I know ice cream is a horrible breakfast idea, but, hey, it was Monday :P, and the reason I thought of using the ice cream was to make my hard waffles softer. Phew! I feel much better confessing, so now I can move on…)

A desperate mom's breakfast hack!

The kids ended up really enjoying it, and I promise I will only use this idea for snacks from here on in!

On Tuesday, five of my kids had dentist appointments, so on the way home from there, I stopped by the local polling place to vote in the primary election. Since the 2-yr.-old threw up in the van (my kids always get sick after the dentist, do yours?), my oldest daughter sat with her and the 4-yr.-old while I took two of my other daughters in with me while I voted. This is an actual conversation with my 11-yr.-old as we walked through the parking lot:

Daughter: Mom, who are you going to vote for?

Me: Ted Cruz.

Daughter: Isn’t he an actor?

Me: (Cracking up) No, that’s Tom Cruise.

One hour later…

Older daughter: So who did you vote for?

Me: Tom…I mean Ted Cruz.

{Sigh}

And now on to the fun stuff:

The Littles:

The younger children finished up Lentil this week by learning about acoustics by singing in the bathroom, testing taste buds by eating sour candy, singing Fifty Nifty United States, and learning how to use shading when drawing.

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Here, my youngest decided to showcase her artistic prowess by decorating our bathroom wall.

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The Big Kids:

We’ve still been reading through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone together, although all three kids have started new books for their silent reading. The 8-yr.-old is reading Mummies in the Morning (Magic Tree House), the 10-yr.-old is reading Dork Diaries No. 10, and the 11-yr.-old is reading Horns and Wrinkles. They’ve spent most of this week preparing for a report they’re going to be writing tomorrow and next week. We’ve also been doing lots of fun activities which emphasize how books are categorized at the library. They really seem to enjoy these and are excited for the scavenger hunt we have planned tomorrow which goes along with this theme. Besides that, they’ve been doing all kinds of art projects on their own (as they always are).

 

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Drawn by the 11-yr.-old during our Harry Potter read-aloud. This is Harry and Ron eating the candy on the train to Hogwarts.
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This was by the 10-yr.-old. All of the kids made several variations of fish and sharks and later used ribbons to tie them to long branches to look like fishing rods.

The Teens:

My 14- and 16-yr.-olds spent quite a bit of time at the creek this week looking for snakes and other critters. My son actually went there for several hours almost every single day, and this experience has motivated him to become an amateur wildlife photographer.

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One of the many photos he took.

My oldest daughter, who is turning 17 on Sunday, spent a lot of time with our oldest son, who is 22, this week. Although he is over five years older than her, they get along wonderfully, and they share many of the same friends. Tonight she went to an alternative gallery with some of her friends. She visits there several times a month and is planning on showing some of her work there in the near future. This was one of her favorite pieces she saw there today:

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Book-wise, my son is still working through several WWII books, while the 17-yr.-old is still reading Dante’s Inferno and the 14-yr.-old has started The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler. Believe it or not, neither of these books were assigned to them. They chose them on their own. 🙂

So that’s where we’re at in our homeschool right now. What have you been up to?

 

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Lazy Day Links- 4/23/16

Having a lazy day? I’ve got some links and books you just might be interested in!

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(This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.)

If you’re anything like I am, there are some days that you just can’t seem to get yourself moving. These are the days you spend lazily browsing blog after blog and website after website, trying to find something that will interest you for at least a little while. Since these days are usually on the weekends for me, I’ve decided to share links with you each Saturday. These will include 5 of my favorite blog posts from other bloggers, 5 of my own that you may not have seen, and 5 books I think are worth reading. I hope you enjoy!

Favorite Blog Posts:

10 Guarantees I Wish Homeschooling Offered {But It Doesn’t}– Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

5 Things That Really Matter in Your Child’s Education (Homeschooling Moms, Read This.)– Generation Cedar

My Biggest Homeschooling Mistake: Over-Thinking Methods and Philosophies– Amongst Lovely Things

Education and Doll Making– FIMBY

10 ways you’re making your homeschool day harder than it needs to be– Simple Homeschool

My Older Posts:

Maybe ”Educational” Should Be a Bad Word

Sometimes Simple Is Hard

What Exactly Is an Unschooler?

Just Let Your Kids Play, Already!

The Top Ten Reasons I Homeschool

Books Worth Reading:

Learning All the Time– John Holt

As It Was in the Days of Noah– Jeff Kinley

On the Trail of the Nephilim- Volume 1– LA Marzulli

Monster– Frank Peretti

Angelology: A Novel (Angelology Series)– Danielle Trussoni

 

Do you have any suggestions? Have a great weekend!

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What Exactly Is an Unschooler?

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[Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy.]

Ah…that good old question seems to be popping up again and again lately. What exactly is an unschooler? I realize that I just posted yesterday about the pros and cons of labeling, but today I’m going to delve into this topic a little more, as a reader posed an easier question to answer…”What is your general definition of an unschooler?”

I like that word “general” because I’m certainly no expert on the subject, and I think that when you start getting into specifics, it can get a little murky because you would probably get a different answer from each unschooling family because we all do it differently. So, yeah. General I can probably do.

My understanding of this method comes directly from John Holt, author of Learning All The Time. He is the man who initially coined the phrase “unschooling” when he referred to the process of natural learning.

You will hear from many unschoolers today that this means no curriculum is to be used; the definition has evolved a bit from the initial meaning. Unschooling is letting a child pursue what they want, when they want, and how they want. So, if a child chooses to study a particular subject with a textbook, they are no less an unschooler than they were the day before because it is still their choice. This principle was actually perfectly stated on “John Holt and Growing without Schooling“:

“Unschooling, for lack of a better term (until people start to accept living as part and parcel of learning), is the natural way to learn. However, this does not mean unschoolers do not take traditional classes or use curricular materials when the student, or parents and children together, decide that this is how they want to do it. Learning to read or do quadratic equations are not “natural” processes, but unschoolers nonetheless learn them when it makes sense to them to do so, not because they have reached a certain age or are compelled to do so by arbitrary authority.”

I’ve gotten quite a few comments about how my daughter’s Sherlock curriculum does not fit in with the unschooling method because it has structure and, yes, books. This quote says exactly what I’ve been trying to explain in terms of my daughter’s approach to learning, but I think it is so hard for people to comprehend that sometimes unschoolers use textbooks because there are those who completely discredit anything that might look schoolish. But if you look at the original definition of the word, it is obvious that the use of any curriculum can, indeed, be a part of natural learning if it is initiated by the child.

I honestly have a hard time with people even questioning the fact that structure and textbooks can have a place in an interest-led learning environment. Think about it. What if when Devin requested to use a curriculum for some of her interests, I would have said, “Oh no! You can’t do that. We’re unschoolers. Textbooks are the devil!” (Yes, I’m prone to exaggeration.) I’ll tell you what would have happened: I would have hindered the opportunity for her to learn what she wanted to and how she wanted to. Now that’s something that doesn’t fit in with unschooling!

As parents of natural learners, we are there to facilitate our children’s learning. We help them find ways to pursue their passions. We tap into resources and try to find materials that will fit with their learning styles, whatever those resources may be- books, or not. And that, my friends, is unschooling.

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