Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Imagine the Great Flood (A Review)

Barbour Publishing

I had the opportunity to review this book Imagine...The Great Flood by Matt Koceich from Barbour Publishing. It's a children's chapter book with an intriguing cover, 110 pages long, and about the size of an average paperback (which is what we received).

IMAGINE... The Great Flood

The story is about a 10 year-old boy who is struggling with a life challenge, somehow goes back in time to the time when Noah is building the ark, and learns some great lessons that help him to be appreciative of how his life isn't all that hard after all.

I started out by reading this to my boys as a read aloud, but they both said they weren't interested anymore about halfway through. So, I ended up reading the rest of it on my own. I really wish they wanted to hear the rest. I think they didn't quite get to the most interesting parts, and the integrated lessons. I found it to be an easy read, and good for any young reader up to teens. There were some intense parts for sure, but nothing that I found to be too much for even my 6 year-old.

I really loved how engaged Corey (the main character) was with the animals. I have never actually thought about how Noah's family might have interacted with the animals. Were they fierce? Could they really be in the same boat with a lion? Or a rhinoceros? Which by the way, Corey rides one at the end of this book. Who knows if anyone really rode a rhinoceros back when Noah's family was getting ready for the flood, but it was neat to think of the animals as tame creatures that actually helped Noah's family in a way only animals could do to get ready for the great flood.

Another interesting thing brought to my attention from this book is about the people that were on the earth at the time, they were called the "giants." In the book they are referred to as the Nephilim which is the Hebrew name for giant. They made for some pretty fierce enemies in the book, and helped me to visualize how hard it must have been for Noah and his family building a boat, and dealing with all kinds of problems from the people around them. I am sure it wasn't easy back in Noah's time, and this story about the Great Flood really shows how things might have been difficult in getting the animals rounded up and getting on the boat itself. Not to mention the fact that as the giants and others saw that the flood was really happening they were trying to get onto the boat too. I imagine there were a lot of people trying to make their way on when they realized they should have repented and listened!

This book is a nice easy read, and great for kids. What a great way for them to learn a little bit of facts about a well known Bible story. I love that it's not too preachy, and the lessons are left to be learned and understood by the reader. The overall moral is to trust God as Noah did. This is the first book of a series to be written with the next book coming in Spring of 2018 called Imagine..The Ten Plagues.

If you'd like to read other reviews you can click on the banner below.

Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich {Barbour Publishing}
Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, September 9, 2017

My Homeschool Mother's Journal: random happenings

Life this week...

We spent last Saturday getting some much needed clothes shopping done for the kids (and us). Mostly church clothes shopping, but we shopped for some regular things too. It was labor day weekend so we were hoping to hit up a few sales. We found a lot of great stuff on clearance mostly, and a few sales. I think Dad ended up with 6 pairs of new pants for work all for $30. Did I mention we love the clearance rack?
My arms full of everyone's findings while waiting at the dressing room for someone.

We hit up Burlington coat factory too. That's a great place to find good quality cheaper clothes too. Alex found this shirt, and guess what? We came home with that one. It was too cute. As you can see he's already wearing it in the picture above (at JCPenney).


Guess what else we found on clearance that came home with us that day? A new washer. We couldn't pass up a screamin' deal on this washer that was behind the checkout with a clearance tag on it as we were buying all our clothes. Our current set is 17 years old. They both have been fixed quite a few times, and we had talked about replacing them sometime in the near future. It was time to start. Besides this thing was NICE. It even sings a beautiful little song when it's done washing, as if it's happy to be done. No more annoying loud buzzer. It makes us all smile.

Salem thoroughly inspecting the new washer in town.
It took a day to get it out of the living room, but finally we got it installed. Can you see in the picture below how the handle is taped on our old dryer? Yep, the dryer's next! This washer is amazing, and can do double what my last washer could. Now to get a dryer that can dry that huge load.

new washer, old dryer

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

At the Dr. office on Tuesday afternoon. I had to take all the kids, so they waited in the waiting room for close to an hour. Usually I leave them at home, but we had other errands to run that they needed to come for, so we made life work for us that day.


Ice Skating lessons started up again. This time Aric and Alex are doing them. They had a good time, and I think they will learn a lot.


They didn't want me to take their picture...


My favorite thing this week was...
My kids' favorite thing this week was...

Buying oversize freeze pops from Cash 'n carry. Our local pool had a "free freeze pop Friday" over the summer. We only realized this the last few weeks of the summer, so we went for the last Friday, and by the time we got out of the pool they had run out since it was the last one. I asked the guy where they got them from because they were huge and we had never seen them before. He said Cash 'n carry, so I promised the kids we would pick up a box since we missed it that day. They loved having our own box.


Things I'm working on...

Until today I was working on this Christmas puzzle. It was fun to cheat a little and do this one even though Christmas is several months away. I finished it today, and will now pass it along to someone else.


What's working/not working for us...
Questions/thoughts I have...
I'm grateful for...

Being able to rescue our cat from off the roof this week without any broken bones, us or him. Aaron was able to get up on the ladder and grab him. He looks calm and relaxed in this picture, but he was not. I think he was starting to get worried about how he would get down.


He walked around on the roof like this for quite a while looking for a place to get down. There was no way. I think he used a fence to get up there, and I don't think he could quite land on the fence the same way he got off. I have a great appreciation for cat rescues now.


Mom's Favorite...

A sweet moment at church. Alex was the reverence child in primary. Basically he helps the children come in and sit down quietly while waiting for everyone to come in.


That about wraps up our week! I should have more homeschool and learning happenings soon as we get more into the swing of things.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Apologia Marine Biology (A REVIEW)

Apologia Educational Ministries

I absolutely love the ocean. In fact, when I was a kid I went to Sea World, and thought that would be a pretty awesome job to have. With that said, since I don't currently have a high schooler interested in anything marine related, I was happy to get to do this review of a homeschool marine biology course myself! I also have almost every elementary science book from Apologia Educational Ministries, so I was more than happy to see what this course has to offer.


I have to admit I was really excited to get this box of curriculum. I was hoping we'd be getting a lot of awesome stuff including the Student Notebook and the Audio CD, and we did! We received all of that along with the test-and-solutions manual. The CD doesn't come with the set, it has to be purchased separately, but I have purchased them for our other Apologia Science books, and have found them very nice to have. I will talk about each component individually for this review.

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set
Exploring Creation with Marine Biology Textbook

First off, the textbook. This thing is packed with information, and that is why it is so very thick. I'd say about 1.5 inches or so (I didn't officially measure). I love the flow of Apologia science books, and this one is just as great. It has engaging text with experiments and questions all throughout each module, and even though it's high school there are still many colorful pictures and figures to help in the learning process. There are several experiments in each module, and in Module 6 there is even a dissection experiment of a shark. This course certainly counts as a full credit high school biology lab course!

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set
Exploring Creation with Marine Biology Student Notebook

Next we have the Student Notebook. This notebook is almost as thick as the textbook, but it's got a place for everything! It has a place for notes for each module, all of the on your own questions with spaces to write answers, and a section for writing down results for all the experiments. Along with that, in the front section, there is a nice little schedule with a good amount of work for each day that you can check off as you go. It's a nice little feature of the Student Notebook.
A page layout from the Student Notebook of the experiment 1.1 in module 1. I did the experiment with my younger boys, so they wanted to help me with my notes too!

Our supplies for the above experiment. All the supplies are listed in the student notebook as well!

Little hands helping me with my experiment.

An example of the note page for a module. There are several pages like this for each module. Please pardon my note taking, this is the first time I've used this style of note page. I wasn't even sure why it was broke up into 3 sections, I had to look it up.

Finally we have the audio CD. The CD is nice to have if you have a learner that has trouble with the reading, or likes to have things read aloud. It would be hard to listen without the book though, as there are many figures and pictures that you just can't see with listening. I found the listening to be a little slow for my pace, and can at times feel like it drags on. But, the beautiful thing about the CD is that it is split up by sections, so you can quickly and easily find the section you want to listen to if you don't want to listen to the whole module, or if you just wanted to hear a section repeated so you can understand better.

Marine Biology 2nd Ed Audio CD
Audio Book MP3--Can only be used on a CD player that can read MP3's. I listened to it on my computer, I didn't try it on any CD players.
Overall, I am very excited about this Marine Biology course. I wish I had a high schooler that could use it in our home this year, and that I could do it with so we could take some field trips to the coast. I learned a lot in just the short time I studied during this review, so this course covers a lot of material, and it's very thorough.

If you'd like to see what others had to say, you can click on the banner below.

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set {Apologia Educational Ministries Review}
Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, September 2, 2017

My weekly Homeschool Mother's Journal: Last bits of summer

Life this week...

Figuring out April's schooling this year has been quite the roller coaster ride. She started out the summer just wanting to do a few classes at the local high school (theater, and possibly math and science), so we signed her up not even knowing what they'd let her take as a homeschooler. As we looked for classes that she would take on her own, nothing was working out, and the high school never contacted us about the classes she COULD take there.

Time went by, too much time for her to think about it too much and get worried, and she decided she wanted to just go to school full time, but at a different high school. We tried Wilsonville first since her Dad works up there. Found out that they were no longer accepting transfers and that the cutoff date was back in June before school had ended. What?!

Then we find out that she was still enrolled at the charter school from last year, but I had told them through their little form that she wouldn't be coming back. Since she was still enrolled we decided to look into the early college program. She decides she wants to do that since she can't get into a high school with an orchestra, and was really against going to the school in town because they don't have one. She goes in for placement testing, and doesn't test into the level of math she needs to test into. We are both discouraged at this point, and didn't see that coming. We thought she had this early college thing in the bag, but all the time we are doing this I am feeling slightly unsure about the whole thing. It just didn't feel right, you know? Well, she goes back into re-test after a practice test math session with her Dad. During her re-test I was worried she still wouldn't test high enough, and not make it into the program so I had the thought that I should try another school, so I call McNary (in Keizer about 20 min. drive). I call them, and they say she can come on over and register. Little did I know that the gal I talked to was new. She couldn't just register, I had to go submit a form at our school district (which I wish I would have known from the beginning), and then we had to wait to be approved. Meanwhile she scored high enough on the math test to make it into the program, but at this point she was super excited about going to McNary, and really truly doesn't want to do the college program. She really wants to go to high school.

Now school starts in 3 days, and we still haven't heard back from anyone about whether she was approved or not. Meanwhile I am thinking, this is crazy. She needs to be starting if she wants to be in school. I talk to April about it, and explain it would probably be better for her to just start here in Woodburn, and then transfer if she still wants to if it comes through. Because if she waits, and then doesn't get in she will start late, and be behind. So, we are going back in to register her on Tuesday at the local high school. Sigh! What an exhausting summer! I am feeling better about the whole thing too. I wish we had just stuck with her going to Woodburn like she had planned at the beginning of the summer, and not had that whole run around. Then she could really start on time this Wednesday. But, I do think we learned a lot, and I think it needed to happen that way for some odd reason. I think she realized more what she wanted most through the process.

Homeschool this week...

We got 3 days of math done this week. We are really only doing math and review stuff right now until we get the rest of our curriculum. I plan to build up over the next few weeks, adding subjects in as we go along. So, not much more to report here.

Reviews we are working on...

Right now we are working on Let's Go Geography, and Super Teacher worksheets. We also have a new Heirloom Audio to listen to.

Places we're going and people we're seeing..

Our Cub Scout pack had a "recycle" rain gutter regatta. Alex and Aric made boats out of a foam pipe we had from another project. They worked pretty well.




We had fun going on a little hike with some friends from our co-op. They have an exchange student from China, so it was fun to get to know her a little too.

Sword fights with cattails

Our favorite thing this week was...

We went to an open skate session to use up April's last free guest for the month of August. It has been fun to see them get really good on the ice this summer, especially April who is taking lessons. Here are some videos I shot during the open skate.

Something I'm reading...

I have been working on reading this book Holly Lane by J.B. Morgan. It's a sweet little love story, and very clean! I have really been enjoying it. What's even better? The author is a very close friend that lives right here in our town of Woodburn. I have been very excited for her new adventures as an author. If you want a clean romantic story, she's you're author! I've heard that this book is popping into some libraries too.

That's all for this week! How was yours?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Family Chore system (a REVIEW)

Everyday Homemaking

I have thought about implementing a chore system for years, but never really got around to figuring it out. I always just end up assigning random chores, or find other random methods I read about and hope to start implementing, but they're too complicated. I've really just needed a simple way to communicate what I need done each day to my children. That's where The Everyday Family Chore System by Vicki Bentley from Everyday Homemaking comes in. When this review came up I happened to already own a copy of her old version cookbook (the new version is being reviewed by the crew right now too), and loved how simple it was, so I thought I should definitely see what her chore system is about too. I was excited to learn that it is just as simple and straightforward as her cookbook.

The Everyday FAMILY Chore System

I received an e-book version of the Chore System, and chose to print it up, so I could have a hard copy. I quickly read through it in just a day to get the full idea of what she was talking about, but will probably go back through to highlight things I need to remember. It is super easy to follow. Basically there are three parts to this book: Part one--laying the foundation, Part two--Implementing the plan, and Part three--the actual chore system. It really is short and sweet and to the point.

Part One: Talks about the why's. Why is training children so important? Why should we bother when we can get it done faster? What can we expect of our children? What are the age appropriate expectations?


Part Two: This is where I started really getting some great ideas. She talks specifically about ways to delegate/assign specific chores including daily and weekly tasks. She provides a very nice checklist of life skills and the ages they should be learned. This is also where the suggestions for the actual "set-up" of the chore system are laid out. I chose to follow her first suggestion pretty closely and made a pretty little board for the clips.

Part Three: This is where the printables are. This is where the actual "system" is laid out ready to print, cut, and use in your way. Included in this section are How-To-Do-It cards, and Job labels. The how cards contain specific instructions for many common household jobs so that the children can know exactly what needs to be done.

As I was reading I realized how simple it could be to just make a board for our chore assignments. I originally set out to make it with a matboard (as Vicki suggested), but I couldn't find anything that would be sturdy enough at a local store, so I picked up this black chalkboard sign instead.


In the book she suggests writing the names on the board so that chores can be clipped next to each name. I wrote the names on my board with a paint pen because the chalk didn't show up on this board real well. I also cut and laminated all the job cards.


The end result.. A nice board with our family chores. This turned out to be a fun little project. I have it hanging in the kitchen where it is easy to see, and remind us all what the children are supposed to be doing. I haven't decided how often I want to rotate these chores. I really like the idea of keeping certain jobs for a month. I still have some tweaking to do with this system, but that's the beauty and simplicity of this book. You can follow her suggestions, but still do your own thing. She has so many great ideas and jumping off points to get you going. I found it very inspiring.


Want to give this book a try with a little discount? Now through labor day (September 5, 2017) you can receive 10% off. Just use the code TOS10books after you have added your book(s) to the cart.

I really found this book to be useful and inspiring. The cookbook is great too. If you want to go read some reviews of the cookbook as well as more reviews about the chore system you can click on the banner below.

Everyday Cooking and Chores Systems for your Family {Everyday Homemaking Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Veritas Press: Phonics Museum (A reveiw)

Veritas Press

I've tried a lot of reading/phonics programs through teaching four kids to read. The ones that always stick the best are the ones with videos or games. When I was given the opportunity to try the Phonics Museum App from Veritas Press I wasn't sure my 6 year-old really needed it because he's already reading most words, but what I realized is that he needed more of the actual phonics practice because he isn't sounding things out real well. This program helped him to listen to the sounds better.

Veritas Press Phonics Museum

What is this?

It's an app available from itunes App store. It is designed to work on both iphone or ipad. I was able to put it on both, and it would keep it updated where he left off, but we had to log out and log back in to find his place.

Veritas Press Phonics Museum

How does it work?

After you download the app to an i-device it's time to add the child, and create a login. After that is done the child is ready to start playing. All the characters are introduced, and there are games to play, lessons to learn, little video clips to watch, and books to read. There is a clear path that the child will take throughout the app. After they finish one activity or clip the next one unlocks, and there is an icon to tell them if it is a game or video. There is also an area for free play where there are games and songs to play freely, though some are locked there are many to play including tracing and practicing the sounds they've already learned.

Veritas Press Phonics Museum

How did we use this?

I have to admit my 6 year-old son didn't love it at first. It took some pushing on my part to get him to play it a few times until he eventually did love it. He was not big on the songs or games because he is on the older end of the range for this app. Like I said he's already reading mostly, so he might have thought this too easy at first. But, after he played it a few times he started enjoying the songs and games, and it got more interesting for him. The lessons are engaging, the colors and images are fun, and the characters are interesting including Percival the talking suit of armor.

Veritas Press Phonics Museum

What did I think?

I really love this method of teaching reading. The idea that children are learning letters AND sounds through fun and engaging lessons and games is a benefit, especially for my busy boys who don't always love learning to read. The quality of this app is impressive. I didn't really have any issues with the app itself, and it all ran very smoothly. The voices are clear, and that's so important with the forming of the letter sounds. So far there hasn't been any questions as to what sound the narrator was making when matching letters to sounds. Unfortunately, I won't have any more little ones that can use this after my 6 year-old is done. I would have loved to have this years ago when my older boys were learning to read. They would have loved it too.

Veritas Press Phonics Museum

You can try this app out for 2 weeks free to see if you like it first! I always love having the opportunity to try something. After that you will have to purchase a membership of $9.99/month, with the ability to cancel anytime. Or, you can purchase a whole year for $98.99. The app will be good for up to 3 children.

If you'd like to see what others had to say about this app, click on the banner below!

Phonics Museum App {Veritas Press Reviews}

Veritas Press can also be found here:

Twitter:  @VeritasPress

Crew Disclaimer

Friday, August 18, 2017

5 days of... Homeschool outside the home

The world is our classroom.

I love that thought because I really feel like it is. We have had some amazing experiences learning together as a family outside of our home. We've gone on boat adventures, taken a train to Seattle, watched police dogs in action, toured chip factories, and much more.

Here are just a few shots of the things we have done over the summer...

Ocean boat tour. We learned all about crabs, and the kids even got to hold one!


Music in the park during the summer...


Exploring caves...


Tennis camp.


Lots and lots of swimming at the local pool


Volunteering at the local foodshare...


This is just the summer, and I didn't share a picture of everything we did!

So, what do we do the rest of the school year? Much of the same, except there is even more.

We could easily spend more days outside of our home doing great activities than at home. There are so many great opportunities that it's easy to find at the end of the week that we've had hardly any time at home to do actual school work! This happens a lot for us. I find so many great opportunities to do classes, field trips, and outdoor adventures that I want to do them all.

I will list some of the regular things we do during the school year including co-ops and classes.

Homeschool days:

We take advantage of many local businesses and museums homeschool discount days. Some that we love to take part in every year include homeschool skates, Oregon Garden homeschool day, and Get Air homeschool jump time. There are too many to list, but I usually keep my eyes and ears open for these. Facebook has been a tremendous help in getting the word out for these times and days. I remember when we first started this homeschool journey, I really had to search high and low for these events because they are often just by word of mouth, and not always advertised.

Homeschool Skate during the day in Salem


We have the wonderful flexibility to just decide to head to a park during the day if the weather is nice (or sometimes when it's not!). When we need a break or want to get some wiggles out you might find us at a park or on a walk. The kids love having the park all to themselves sometimes.

The boys playing at the new nature play area at Champoeg last Fall (2016)
Enjoying the local skate park during the school hours


We can be found at the library 2-3 times a week. We have 2 different libraries that we frequent. Sometimes it's just a resting place for us during lessons, sometimes it's for specific reasons (storytime, homeschool group activities, finding certain books), and often it's just a different place other than home.

Me reading Angus Lost to Alex at the Wilsonville library

Homeschool classes (not co-op):

The kind of classes that I am talking about here are ones that we pay for or that are offered by our charter. We attend our charter enrichment classes once a week, and those include PE, computer, science, writing, and math. We also like to take classes at local places like Village Home, the local art studio, or science museum.

PE class at Summit Learning Charter enrichment
Art History lesson and painting class at Young at Art studio in Salem
Co-op classes:

We attend a co-op where the classes are taught by the moms, and therefore we don't have to pay a lot except for a few small fees (registration, small class fee under $10 usually). We also get a great support system, and make some close friends here. The one we attend meets on Wednesdays for a good portion of the day, so it's an all day out of the house kind of day. Add onto that a drive of 30 minutes one way, and we are usually beat by the end of it, but we have a lot of fun things happen there for Mom and kids.

I taught a class of 6 and 7 year-olds last year, we made a counting rainbow cereal game that all the kids loved.
Church and Cub Scout activities:

My boys are all involved in Cub Scouts and Scouts through our church. They also have other regular church activities including youth group activities, and primary children activities. We also have ward and church wide events like halloween parties, Christmas parties, campouts, talent shows, etc. These always provide great learning experiences, and socializing opportunities.

The Pinewood derby is always a fun one!
Our church/ward Christmas party, and guess who Santa was? Daddy! The big kids figured it out right away. Thankfully the little guy never did.
Field trips:

We have some pretty amazing field trips with homeschoolers all over our area. Sometimes it's with the local or co-op group like to the pumpkin patch, and sometimes it's with a group of families that we don't even know. That happens quite a bit more often (the field trips with people we don't know) just because there is usually a need for a certain number of attendees to make the field trip happen, so a Mom will just organize something and post it on one of the many groups we are a part of. I jump right in if it is something we are interested in. Last year my son's class at co-op ended up turning into a field trip class. He went on some amazing field trips from about January through May including things like the Kettle chip factory, a shirt printing business, and an aviary.

Kiddos at the pumpkin patch last Fall (2016)
I think that about wraps up our "outside the home" homeschool time. I'd say this is where at least half our week is spent. I am working on trying to lower that, but there are just so many good things to do! I can't resist. I haven't figured out our full schedule for the school year yet, but it looks like it will be Wednesday's, Thursdays, and Fridays will probably be main outside activity days. Thanks for visiting the blog hop today (even if I was late :)

Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...