Friday, July 25, 2014

Things That Make Me Smile 7/25/14

 Jake (8½), Alyssa (6), Zac (4½), Tyler (2)


Happy Friday! It's been a pretty relaxing week at our house. I'm feeling the baby move more and more--my favorite part of being pregnant! Did something make you Smile this week? Feel free to share it in the comments.


1. Jake, dejected, looking at his arms: "How long is it going to take before these tiny, little muscles get bigger?"

2. Zac, fake burping in the morning: "That was all from dinner tomorrow."

3. Me: "Did everyone thank Daddy for breakfast?"
Kids: "Thank you, Daddy!!!"
Tyler: "Gank gou, Daddy! Awesome!!!" 

4. 

5. Jake: "There are 2 definitions for clone: doubling something and like perfume."
Me: "That's cologne."

6. Zac: "You know, the guys with 2 eyes."

7. Jake: "This is going to be a really small baby, smaller than all the rest of us."
Me: "Why do you say that?"
Jake: "Because your stomach hasn't gotten any bigger at all."

8. Me: "Only 3 days until Maker Faire."
Tyler: "Make Faire, awesome! Woo hoo!" 

9. Jake, giving me a demonstration: "It's hard to walk with your arms tied around your legs."

10. Alyssa learned to cook eggs (both fried and scrambled) all by herself. 


11. Jake: "Pterodactyls are extinct, so how did your guy get one?"
Zac: "Because he washed it."
Jake: "Haha, not ex-stinked! Extinct means they're all dead."

12. Zac: "What's that?"
My Mom: "Lotion."
Zac: "What's it for?"
My Mom: "To make my skin soft."
Zac: "Why was your skin hard?"


What made you Smile this week?



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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms


I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I love everything I've received from Apologia Educational Ministries. From science curriculum to Biblical worldview studies to heart-convicting books, each product has been a blessing. My latest review, Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms, is no exception.

Flourish is a book written to help homeschool moms find balance in their daily activities and to truly flourish in everything they do. Mary Jo Tate, the author of multiple books, is a seasoned homeschooler of 4 boys, single mom, international editor and book coach, host of the "Flourish at Home" radio show, and teacher of English literature for  homeschool co-op. She is one busy lady! Yet, she's found a way to balance her responsibilities with her desires. She used that knowledge and experience to write a book to help the rest of us who are struggling, exhausted, overloaded. To me the purpose of the book was beautifully summed up in an analogy about a plant:

"When we get bogged down in the difficulties and challenges of our busy lives, we start dropping like a wilted plant that hasn't been watered in a long time. But it's the flourishing plant--one that has been well-tended, with the right balance of good soil water, and light--that grows and offers beauty or nourishment.When you are flourishing, you can take better care of your family so that they too will flourish."  



Right from the beginning, my heart was convicted. The day I read that was the same day that I had noticed our poor tomato plants. They had been beautiful, thriving. Flourishing. But we had gotten a lot of rain, and come to find out, there was no drain hole in the pot. The water that filled the pot was drowning my plants. While water is very necessary for the good of the plant, too much will kill it. I knew right away that it applied to me. I tend to take on too much, try to do everything. All those responsibilities are like water. I don't stop to think about how too much "water" will wear me down. Without taking time for myself, I, too, will become wilted like my plants.

Mary Jo points out on page 17, "True balance doesn't mean spending an equal amount of time and attention on each area of your life. It means spending an appropriate amount of time and attention on each area." I'm never going to start relaxing as much as I'm doing--my go-go-go personality can't handle it and it's not even appropriate--but I do need to take time for myself at times. It's a hard lesson I'm learning, especially now with this pregnancy. I've been so sick and have had to sit and not do. I don't think that it's a coincidence that I was given this book to read during this time.    




It would take too long for me to relate every profound statemenet in this book, probably about 282 pages, ha. I'll list the chapter titles to give an idea of what it includes.



  • An Invitation to Flourish
  • Change Your Mind to Change Your Time
  • The FREEDOM Toolbox
  • Where Did My Time Go?
  • Aim High: Setting Goals
  • What Do I Do Next? Seven Essential Planning Tools
  • We Interrupt This Program
  • It’s Time for an Attitude Adjustment
  • Oxygen Masks and Monkey Bread Days
  • Training Your Children
  • Making Memories
  • Managing Your Home
  • All of Life is Learning
  • Solo Act: Flourishing as a Single Mom
  • Home Business
  • Moving Ahead
  • - See more at: http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/flourish-book-review/#sthash.sIdBX6ZZ.dpuf


  • An Invitation to Flourish
  • Change Your Mind to Change Your Time
  • The FREEDOM Toolbox
  • Where Did My Time Go?
  • Aim High: Setting Goals
  • What Do I Do Next? Seven Essential Planning Tools
  • We Interrupt This Program
  • It’s Time for an Attitude Adjustment
  • Oxygen Masks and Monkey Bread Days
  • Training Your Children
  • Making Memories
  • Managing Your Home
  • All of Life is Learning
  • Solo Act: Flourishing as a Single Mom
  • Home Business
  • Moving Ahead
  • - See more at: http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/flourish-book-review/#sthash.sIdBX6ZZ.dpuf


  • An Invitation to Flourish
  • Change Your Mind to Change Your Time
  • The FREEDOM Toolbox
  • Where Did My Time Go?
  • Aim High: Setting Goals
  • What Do I Do Next? Seven Essential Planning Tools
  • We Interrupt This Program
  • It’s Time for an Attitude Adjustment
  • Oxygen Masks and Monkey Bread Days
  • Training Your Children
  • Making Memories
  • Managing Your Home
  • All of Life is Learning
  • Solo Act: Flourishing as a Single Mom
  • Home Business
  • Moving Ahead
  • - See more at: http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/flourish-book-review/#sthash.sIdBX6ZZ.dpuf
    1.  An Invitation to Flourish
    2.  Change Your Mind to Change Your Time
    3.  The FREEDOM Toolbox
    4.  Where Did My Time Go?
    5.  Aim High: Setting Goals
    6.  What Do I Do Next? Seven Essential Planning Tools
    7.  We Interrupt This Program
    9.  Oxygen Masks and Monkey Bread Days
    10. Training Your Children
    11. Making Memories
    12. Managing Your Home
    13. All of Life is Learning
    14. Solo Act: Flourishing as a Single Mom
    15. Home Business
    16. Moving Ahead
    At the end of each chapter, Mary Jo challenges you to take action by asking some tough questions and encouraging you to apply what you learned. Some of the questions were difficult. What activities do I need to stop? What can I delegate? What's currently missing in my life that I'd like to make time for? How will I teach my children to take initiative? Not only are the words throughout the chapters convicting, the end review truly makes you reflect on where your stuggling and succeeding.

    One chapter that I didn't really expect to have much of an impact was chapter 14: "Solo Act: Flourishing as a Single Mom," after all, I am very much not single. But this chapter surprised me. It's not just about how you yourself can flourish as a single mom, but how you as a married woman can help those moms flourish, as well. I realized that I should be reaching out to those moms more. It's not that I'm indifferent to their situation or just don't care, but that I get too caught up in my own family, rushing around taking care of my little ones. Mary Jo has shown me ways that I can be a blessing to other women in need, while caring for my own family.

     
    I have not marked in my book at all. I'm a little silly about that. One, notes, to me, are a bit personal. If I loan the book to someone else, I don't necessarily want them reading my notes. Two, if I were to loan the book, I wouldn't want my notes of what I felt was most important to hinder other parts from speaking to the new reader. Does that make sense? That doesn't mean that I haven't taken notes though! I have a notebook where I've written down page numbers and quotes and all sorts of things that have spoken to me as I've read this book. I've already flipped back through them and reread portions of the book that were exceptionally powerful. I know that I will appreciate having this resource for many years to come.


    Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms costs $15.00 and is perfect for any mom that wants to take control of her life. Even in areas that I thought I was doing ok, I realize there is always room for improvement. This book would make a lovely gift to help someone you know.
     

    Would you like to see how this book blessed other homeschool moms? Head over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew to read more reviews.



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    Friday, July 18, 2014

    Things That Make Me Smile 7/18/14

     Jake (8½), Alyssa (6), Zac (4½), Tyler (2)


    Happy Friday! I had a checkup with my midwife this week and got to hear the baby's heartbeat. It's one of the most precious sounds and always makes me tear up. I'm now into my second trimester. Most days, I'm feeling a little bit better and having more energy. I'm sure my family appreciates that! Lots of reasons to smile all around.



    1. Alyssa: "Tyler is a trouble baby."
    Me: "Sometimes he's a good boy."
    Alyssa: "Yeah, sometimes. Sometimes he's sweet."
    Jake: "Sometimes he's so sweet he's like a baby flower."

    2. Tyler, about Jake's Lego car creation: "Awesome, Mommy! Awesome!"

    3. Jake: "Tyler Joseph! Don't you dare eat my goblin!"

    4. Alyssa asked Jake to read her a book. 

    5. Alyssa noticed that I had goosebumps on my arm. She ran off and came back with a super hero cape. "Here, this will help you get warm." 

    6. Me; after Tyler went potty one morning: "Should we get you some undies?"
    Tyler, running away laughing: "No! Nakey butt!"  


    7. Tyler bathed himself (and the table and the floor) in his yogurt. As I was washing him up, he smiled sweetly and said, "Gank gou, Mama." 

    8. I had to change Ty's underwear since he had an accident. I showed him the new undies with a dino on the the back and jokingly told him, "The dinosaur's going to bite your butt if you pee on him." That may not have been the best idea. It took a bit of encouragement before he'd put them on. Haha, oops. The look on his face was pretty funny though.

    9. I found Tyler in the kitchen eating suckers and working on opening 5 more.


    10. Alyssa, reluctantly: "If God can wait a whole year, then I can wait for 10 minutes."

    11. Zac, showing me his red arm: "This was an accident."
    Me: "What happened?"
    Zac: "Ty bit me."
    Me: "How was that an accident?"
    Zac: "When I started crying, he stopped."
     

    12. Alyssa: "Mom, have you ever robbed a bank? I'm guessing no."


    What made you Smile this week?

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    Friday, July 11, 2014

    Things That Make Me Smile 7/11/14

     Jake (8½), Alyssa (6), Zac (4½), Tyler (2)


    Happy Friday! Tyler had a check-up appointment with his ENT doctor this week. Everything is perfect. The tubes are in place, his hearing is great, and he even sat still (!) and let the doctors look in his ears and preform the tests. He's come so far over the last year. He still has at least one more appointment before the whole ordeal is behind us, but we are thanking God for His grace and protection in his life.


    1. Jake, eating a nectarine: "We should call these nectar-dreams, because they're so good, it's like  dream."

    2. Me, looking at a mess: "What happened to this house?"
    Zac: "Ty."

    3. Tyler, with his hands raised: "Mommy, hold you."

    4. Alyssa: "The new baby is going to be a girl. It has to be a girl--I feel it in my bones."

    5.

    6. Jake: "Mom, do you think cooked goblin guts would taste good?" 

    7. Alyssa, after seeing a picture of how peanuts grow: "That's weird man, that's weird." 

    8. Jake: "I just did a hand-sault!"
    Me: "A hand-sault?"
    Jake: "Yeah, I just made it up. I started with a handstand and ended in a somersault!"

    9. Jake: "Mom, you wouldn't believe how fast the week goes by." 

    10. This

    11. Listening to Alyssa sing, instead of read, an entire book.

    12. Zac: "Who's Jake playing checkers with now?"
    Me: "The computer."
    Zac: "How's the computer playing? It doesn't even have any hands."


    What made you Smile this week?

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    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

    Moving Beyond The Page




    Moving Beyond the Page is one of our favorite companies. Naturally, we were thrilled to be chosen to work with them again to review the Language Arts Package - Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

    Everyone's homeschooling style is different. Being a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we are blessed with many products and incorporate different types of curriculum into our day. In that sense, our homeschool could be considered eclectic. Overall though, the area of study that is close to my heart is literature-based. I believe it's important to both read and study quality literature to get a thorough education. Another type of learning that I have come to love is unit studies. Taking one topic and immersing ourselves in it has proved very rewarding and engaging.

    Moving Beyond the Page is a literature-rich curriculum based on unit studies. They offer topics for preschool through middle school and leave no gaps in education as they meet state and national standards at each level. The units integrates science, social studies, and language arts through critical and creative thinking, projects, and concepts. The offer full-year curriculum and individual subjects. Each unit can be used independently, but is designed to be used concurrently with the other subjects. They can be completed in about 15 days.


    The Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH unit is geared for kids ages 8-10 at the 4th-5th grade reading level. It uses the book of the same name, written by the author Robert C. O'Brien. We had never heard of the book or the author before starting this unit, but we are so glad to be introduced to them. The material is written for the student to read the book himself, but I used it instead as a family-read-aloud with my 8, 6, and 4-year-old. We love to cuddle up on the couch and read together.  

    Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is about a widowed mother mouse with 4 children. One young mouse, Timothy, becomes very ill right at the beginning of the spring thaw. Since the mice live in a field on a farm in the winter, Mrs. Frisby is left to worry about her son and how she can move him to their summer home, and once there, how she can keep him warm enough not to relapse back to sickness. She follows a surprising path to get help, meeting new animals along the way: a bird, an owl, and eventually, the rats of NIMH. Over time, she learns who the rats really are, why they're willing to help her, and what happened to her husband.

    The kids enjoyed the book from the very beginning, but once we got to the part where NIMH is explained and why the rats depend on machines and technology, they begged me to read more each time. I admit, even I found myself wanting to know what happened next in the story. The study divides the book to be read 2 chapters a day, but we easily could have sat and read the entire thing in a day or two.

    After the daily reading, there are activities that further the study. Things like journaling, plot flow chart, writing exercises, word study, character development, and discussions kept my kids busy.


    Many skills are strengthen in this study:
    • Analyze, compare, and contrast printed and visual information.
    • Apply structural analysis to words.
    • Conduct research on assigned topics using books and technology..
    • Consider a character's point of view.
    • Demonstrate learning and ideas through productions and displays such as reports and murals.
    • Determine the plot, conflict, sequence of events, and resolution of a story.  
    • Draw conclusions, make generalizations, and gather support by referencing the text.
    • Identify and use the correct spelling of homonyms.
    • Use text and personal experiences to verify facts, concepts, and ideas.
    • . . . and many more!

    We used the online version of the curriculum ($19.92), but there is also a physical option ($23.98). Both choices include a paperback copy of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. I've admitted before that I prefer to have a paper copy in my hands, but I am quite pleased with the digital curriculum. Each day, I would pull up the study on the iPad before we'd start reading. It was very easy to follow and easy to understand. It would also keep track of the portions we had accomplished. There are worksheet that we printed to use to accompany the lessons. I truly enjoyed the convenience of the online curriculum.



    After finishing the literature portion each day, we'd move on to the Work, Tools, and Simple Machines study. The science program is designed to encourage the love of learning through a hands-on inquiry-based approach. Instead of focusing on one subject for the year, they approach science in a spiraling matter and cover many aspects each year at an age-appropriate level.

    In this unit, the student learns about the 6 simple machines--pulley, lever, wedge, wheel, inclined plane, and screw--and discovers how they are used in daily life. He will learn how they can be combined to form complex machines and inventions. This study is also best for ages 8-10 at the 4th-5th grade reading level.

    Again, there are both online ($57.93) and physical ($61.99) options of the curriculum. Both packages an Exploration and Survival Science Kit, filled with all sorts of goodies needed to create simple machines and put them to use. We used the spiral-bound copy of the curriculum.


    My kids loved learning about the simple machines, primarily because there are many hands-on activities included in the study. They are very hands-on, science-loving kids. When they get to do and see, they learn much better. They enjoyed hammering nails, disassembling cars, making screws, constructing pulleys, racing jumping beans, and discussing ancient tools. They now have a better understanding how how tools work, what can be accomplished with them, and where to find them un use all around us.  
     
    Some of the skills included are as follows:
    • Analyze information to construct reasonable explanations from direct and indirect evidence.  
    • Build and use a model to solve a mechanical design problem.
    • Construct simple graphs, tables, maps, and charts using tools, including computers, to organize, examine, and evaluate information.
    • Plan and implement descriptive and simple investigations which include a well-defined question, a testable hypothesis, and proper equipment.
    • Compare how people in different communities adapt to or modify the physical environment to meet their needs.
    • . . . and more


    The level of difficulty for these units was perfect for my 8-year-old. Some of the material was fun, and other parts were demanding enough to challenge him. My 6 and 4-year-old were able to participate in quite a lot of the activities, as well. I didn't have them do the most difficult writing assignments, but they did just about everything else with my help. When the materials was a bit advanced for them, I'd change it to a discussion and complete the work verbally. Not only do they learn with this curriculum, they have fun doing it.

    Moving Beyond the Page has been a joy to use. It is thorough, challenging, and engaging. We will be ordering other units for sure!



    Make sure to like Moving Beyond the Page on Facebook to follow along with their latest news.


    Many of the other unit studies were chosen by my Crew members. Make sure to check out some of their reviews on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

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    Wordless Wednesday 7/9/14


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