Friday, July 31, 2015

Using the Bible as our Core for Home School

I am running late in home school planning this year, which is fine since God had me do a 180 in our studies for the upcoming year. I always pray about what He will have us do with our schooling for the year. Reviewing wonderful curriculum and books gives me such a vast amount of resources to use, and there is no way I can get through all of them to completion. I definitely want to share with you the ones that we are working with this coming year so you know that they were ones we really clicked with enough to keep going!

By doing a 180, God is having us use the Bible as our core this year. Typically we have the 6 subjects, and we still will.. but the Bible will infiltrate all of them. We are starting Old Testament and will be reading together each morning. I was so blessed to find a curriculum Bible Road Trip that is FREE.. yes, you read that right FREE. Now I loved it so incredibly much, and couldn't believe she would do all that work for free, so I chose the option to purchase the instant download for $20. Still an awesome deal. I don't feel versed enough in Old Testament History and this is going to be the spine for our studies.

It has an excellent set up and works for all ages. We will be using the Upper Grammar for the most part with my 2nd, 5th and 8th grader. Easing up on the 2nd grader with some of the writing projects. With my 11th grader we will use the Dialectic group as he that seemed to fit in better with our needs. I am printing out the notebooking pages as we go, which again are offered FREE!

Additional Books we got for supplementing the reading material

What the Bible Is All About Handbook for Kids: Bible Handbook for Kids
Reproducible Maps, Charts, Timelines and Illustrations

There is a heavy focus on missions in Bible Road Trip, which is one reason we loved it. We will be focusing on specific missionaries also as they may relate to the area of the world that we are studying. So the Bible is having us read the word, and understand how there are so many people groups who still need to hear about Jesus Christ. Our mission emphasis will try to go along with what is suggested in Bible Road Trip as well as adding other missionaries we have been wanting to learn about.Some excellent books we bought for Missions study were

Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation (Operation World Set)
Window on the World: When We Pray God Works
(affiliate links)

I already had a few books in my collection that will fit in great as well. I am sure as I continue to browse my shelves there will be more, but for today.. here are the ones I found.

Prayers That Changed History: From Christopher Columbus to Helen Keller, how God used 25 people to change the world

Missionary Stories With the Millers (Miller Family)

Tales of the Not Forgotten (Storyweaver)

Tales of the Defended Ones (Storyweaver)

(affiliate links)

We are going to be utilizing the missions emphasis and dive into some more Geography and country studies this year. Another program we used last year that I downloaded was Expedition Earth.

We will continue to use that for lapbooking some of the countries. And some of our other lapbook supplies will come from Homeschool Share. You must check out this site and search for a huge selection of FREE lapbooking supplies and other great studies. We use it every single year. I also have several books on maps both Bible times and now that will help us in both the Geography and History components.

To add to our History component of the Old Testament I bought Homeschool in the Woods Old Testament Activity Pak. This will give the younger kids some more hands on activities to reinforce what we are learning in the Word.

My older son, 11th grade needs something a bit more 'meaty' for history so we are going to be using Ancient Civilizations & The Bible along with the CD set. My second son used this series for one of his classes and really loved it. It is a great way to dig in a little deeper to Ancient History.

So there we have Bible, Geography, Mission Studies and History. Of course other of our basics will flow from this as well like Reading, Creative Writing, and Spelling.
It is so awesome to have the Bible as our core and to bring all of our other school from that. I am really excited about getting my plan all done. I love Homeschool Planet that I review earlier this year, and am feeling totally on the ball organized for the first time in like forever!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

UnLock Math *Review #homeschool

Unlock Math Review

UnLock Math is like bringing the math teacher right into your own home. No need for Mom or Dad to go through the lesson and try to stay one step ahead of the student. With UnLock Math Alesia Blackwood gets your kids excited about math again!
My 8th grader isn't a huge fan of math. He will do it, but typically with my sitting right by his side and going through it with him. With younger kids to teach, that was really difficult last year. We started UnLock Pre-Algebra this summer for review and I was able to get him set up and leave! I let Alesia do her thing and I was just there to tell him how many sections I wanted him to do.

Alesia is an excellent teacher. We do have some math programs that come with a supplemental CD you can purchase, and those math teachers are so dull. I am not kidding, they went out and purposely found stereotypical math teachers. Alesia is anything but that! Young, fun and excited about  Math she takes each section and goes through each part systematically and thoroughly.

Unlock Math Review
You go to the Dashboard and click on the section you want to use, then go and click on the rocket. It then takes you to the smallest inset screen above where the student starts with a warm up, then watches the video. After the video is practice problems, a review, and a challenge.
Canyon did have me help him with the challenge portion, and that was probably his least favorite part. Once he got to that point he wasn't overly interested in learning about critical thinking in math. I however always loved those type of problems as a kid!

You do not have to finish a section before going on to the next. That was great for us, as sometimes Canyon didn't want to do the Challenge question and I still wanted him to move on. It doesn't show that all the sections are complete unless you do them all, but you can work out of sequence if you choose.

Unlock Math Review

The also have Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 in the same style. What an excellent way to have the kids learn Algebra without Mom having to be stressed out!

Canyon loved the huge white board that Alesia used and wanted to figure out how she did that! She was able to write and erase and it all looked so crisp and clear. His little engineer mind was curious about the technology.

If you have questions or need help, UnLock Math is very easy to get ahold of. They sent me a couple emails during the review time to check in and that was really helpful.

The pacing guide was very helpful in knowing how much Canyon should do each day. It was easy to add more on in the beginning of the lessons as they were more of a review for him. I didn't want to do too much and overwhelm him. The pacing guide helps give you an idea of how long each unit should take to get through. I am using this guide to preschedule what he will be doing when we start back up with school in a couple of weeks.

We will be finishing UnLock Math Pre Algebra with Canyon for this school year. I find that it really is the best fit for him to have a teacher, and have the opportunity to move through the sections at his ease.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson *Review

About the Book
When Heather Toulson returns to her parents’ cottage in the English countryside, she uncovers long-hidden secrets about her family history and stumbles onto the truth about a sixty-year-old murder.

Libby, a free spirit who can’t be tamed by her parents, finds solace with her neighbor Oliver, the son of Lord Croft of Ladenbrooke Manor. Libby finds herself pregnant and alone when her father kicks her out and Oliver mysteriously drowns in a nearby river. Though theories spread across the English countryside, no one is ever held responsible for Oliver’s death.

Sixty years later, Heather Toulson, returning to her family’s cottage in the shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, is filled with mixed emotions. She’s mourning her father’s passing but can’t let go of the anger and resentment over their strained relationship. Adding to her confusion, Heather has an uneasy reunion with her first love, all while sorting through her family’s belongings left behind in the cottage. What she uncovers will change everything she thought she knew about her family’s history.

Award-winning author Melanie Dobson seamlessly weaves the past and present together, fluidly unraveling the decades-old mystery and reveals how the characters are connected in shocking ways.
Set in a charming world of thatched cottages, lush gardens, and lovely summer evenings, this romantic and historical mystery brings to light the secrets and heartaches that have divided a family for generations.

 My Thoughts

I LOVED this book! I just love when an author can weave history and contemporary stories together and have that fine link between the two that we are trying to discover. I love the intrigue and mystery behind it. I love historical fiction to help me be zipped back in time. They have always been a favorite of mine. The setting of the English countryside made me want to go and visit.
 I really liked that Heather was 'older' as the main character. She had been divorced and her daughter recently married. I loved that she returned and there was her 'first love', who just happened to be widowed. Can't beat a great love story, mystery and fantastic pictures of a small town to make for a splendid read! I actually plan to read it again, as I read it almost too quickly the first time and didn't want it to end!

About the Author

Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of 14 historical romance, suspense and contemporary novels. Two of her novels won Carol Awards in 2011, and Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana won Best Novel of Indiana in 2010.
Dobson received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master’s degree in communication from Regent University. She worked in publicity and journalism for more than 15 years, including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel. Prior to launching her own public relations company in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family.
Dobson and her husband, Jon, enjoy living in the Pacific Northwest with their two daughters. When she isn’t writing or playing with her family, Dobson enjoys exploring ghost towns, line dancing and reading historical fiction.
To keep up with Melanie Dobson, visit, become a fan on Facebook (Melanie-Dobson) or follow her on Twitter (@MelBDobson).

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