Friday, May 24, 2013

First Stop -- Creation Museum

On our trip down to Tennessee we didn't want to drive the whole way to Gatlinburg so decided to break up the trip and stopped at the Creation Museum outside of Cincinnati first. Mind you, that was a long trip regardless especially with all of the crazy bathroom stops we ended up making. It was our first trip without our motorhome and let me tell you, driving in a 15 passenger van wouldn't be considered in my top choices for modes of travel. We had a couple of sick kids, some from being carsick and some from coughing so hard they gagged stuff up. I had gotten seabands for Pete so he gave one to Tank and we also traded seats so that I sat in back with Missy and Seppy instead since I felt fine.  What a comfy ride! Ha! We left home dark and early at 5:30 a.m. and made it to the Creation Museum by early afternoon. What a relief!

This is in the main lobby and Zippy didn't want to cooperate but the rest did!

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We took a walk through history beginning at creation. We especially liked seeing the penguin mixed in with all of the animals surrounding Adam in the perfect world. (Didn't get a decent picture of that).

Here is Noah instructing his crew on building the ark.

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The kids really were hoping to see a life-size ark but that is in the works with Ark Encounter. What an amazing theme park that will be! You could see what areas of  the ark might have looked like and how it was built and there were models to give a better idea.

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And the inside.

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After seeing many displays on God's creation and about dinosaurs and learning how sin and corruption changed the world we headed outside to the beautiful botanical gardens and petting zoo.

Here is a Zorse and Zonkey. Their father was a zebra but one had a horse mother and the other a donkey mother. It was showing how all of these animals were in the same kind or family and the variations they could have.

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The botanical gardens were lovely, although we came just as the spring flowers were at their end. Everyone had fun walking the paths and especially on the bridges trying to make them sway for me and Grandma.

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Another bridge

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With all of his siblings walking Zippy does not want to ride in a stroller. But he keeps up with us when he doesn't decide to wander off and doesn't ever seem to tire out (not always a good thing!). He enjoyed splashing in puddles and running around outside.

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New things such as a Dragon exhibit and new shows to the planetarium are being added to the Creation Museum in addition to a large zipline course and are set to open soon. Lots of fun and leaning all about God's creation.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

TOS Crew - Luke's List Review

You may have figured this out from previous posts of mine as I feel like I say it often but organization is not a skill I flourish in but rather something that takes a lot of work. Too bad as this Mom could really use it as a natural ability! I don't know about other homeschool Moms but keeping records has always been a struggle for me and with high school on the horizon I have to have records. I read about Luke's List from Joyce Herzog and knew I needed this!

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I received both Luke's Life List and Luke's School List. The title is based on the scripture Luke 2:52 - And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (NIV). Both are spiral bound 8 1/2 X 11 books. I wasn't drawn in by the appearance but when I opened Luke's School List up -- Wow! Very overwhelming! There were lists and charts and seemingly everything that my child will learn over a lifetime.

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Now, thankfully the introduction explained just how to use the book and to take it little by little. It is arranged in such a way that takes each subject and breaks it down into individual skills and goals which are listed in table form. So for example Math Skills was broken down like this:

  • Counting
  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Money
  • Time
  • Fractions
  • Measurement
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Decimals
  • Geometry
  • Charts, Graphs, Tables
  • Problem Solving
  • Ordinal Numbers
  • Calculator
  • Percent
  • Ratios
Then it was further divided by goal with anywhere from 15 - 40 for each. Two goals that fell under Time were:

Knows 7 days equal one week which was listed as grade 2.

Find elapsed time between two events which was listed as above grade 4.

Now the idea is you go though each subject for each child and pick out a few skills they need to work on and input them into an Individual Progress Chart which is developing a plan to make the most of your time. It is creates a "guide of where you are coming from and where you are going, a record of when you get there, and the proof that you have been moving." In looking at the subjects I wondered just where to begin. After all, there were so many goals that I have not even learned listed here. But then I read the intro again and remembered this is a LIFE list and not something to be accomplished just during the young years of learning. We all need goals and this has helped me to better visualize just where I need to begin (or continue) for each child.

Here is an idea of what the pages and tables look like. This is a portion from the history section. There are three columns 1 for introduced, 2 for becoming familiar, and 3 for knows in-depth.

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Luke's Life List was very similar in presentation except that the subjects come from the verse I listed above. They are:

  • Early Childhood -- Basic Growth
  • Wisdom -- Growth of Discernment
  • Stature -- Physical Growth (Health & Hygeniene, Physical Skills)
  • Favor with God -- Spiritual Growth
  • Favor with Man -- Social Growth (Social Skills, Household Skills, Leisure Skills)
  • Life Skills -- Maturation (Adult Life Skills, Independent Living and Vocation Skills, Government and Economics Knowledge)
  • Academics -- Mental Growth (found in Luke's School List)

An example of a goal listed under the Wisdom category is:

Knows Who God is or what He is like and then lists attributes such as: Gracious, Redeemer, Strength, along with scripture references to look up.

A goal from the Life Skills catagory is:

Knows the items of a household budget.

There are so many goals I could list but the lists are so in-depth I can't get over it. This book is such a wonderful tool! There are various key scripture verses to memorize in regards to each category, specific ways to study and learn an in-depth knowledge of God's Word. It has character skills and just everyday type learning skills.

Luke's List books are for all ages. There are goals from infant stage (finger feeds self) all the way up to an adult. They are a great way to know where you are headed with each child without guessing along the way. It will take time to go through and plan but well worth it. And as your child gets older as suggested at junior high age they can look for the information and learn on their own and check items off the list or initial the columns. There are many ways of using this book and you would need to find what works for your family. I will be making a progress chart for each child but also this summer hope to go through and put their initial next to each item they have mastered.

You can purchase Luke's School List for $30 and Luke's Life List also for $30.

To read reviews of other Joyce Herzog products click here.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Teach Them Diligently Convention

Did you miss me? I know I don't have many readers anymore. I could work at that and post more often I suppose and I often intend to. But guess what? Life continues to move on and some things have to give a bit. But anyway, for those of you who did notice we took a nice long vacation and I didn't get on the computer. I had my previous post all ready to go but never did get it posted until we returned.

We had a great time in Tennessee first in the mountains and then over to Nashville for the Teach Them Diligently Convention which was amazing! I have never been to a convention this encouraging before. The theme from most all of the speakers I heard was the reminder that we are raising arrows (Psalm 127:4). As Heidi St. John said, "Education is discipleship". Academics is not the goal of homeschooling. The goal is reaching the heart of our children, training them to walk with the Lord, and raising them to go out into the world and make a difference. So refreshing!

Of course they all gave practical and fresh ideas to try as well and the vendor halls were full of wonderful products. There were so many options for speakers that John and I ended up splitting up most of the time to make the most of it. My parents came along and entertained the children at the time share we rented whenever we weren't around. (We didn't attend intensely seeing as we were on vacation too).

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At the Convention which was held at the Gaylord Opryland! Quite an amazing place!

I highly encourage you to look into attending next years convention! They will be offering 4 locations in 2014, unfortunately again nothing close to us. But John already asked which one I want to go to. :)

More pictures to come documenting our days... well, I didn't take as many pictures as I had planned. I was too busy enjoying myself. :)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

10 weeks

You may have wondered by the title what this post would be about. Well -- surprise! I am expecting! I went back and read my other posts on announcing a pregnancy and it was as if I was reading my thoughts this time around.

With the evolution of pinterest I have found loads of ideas and one of them was a blog pregnancy journal. I forwarded that idea to friends who were expecting and in the back of my mind kept thinking maybe I would have another chance to document my journey in that way. I find most of my pregnancies the same but I never did start writing about it until later on. And so begins our journey...

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How far along? 10 weeks! (note -- I meant to post this two weeks ago so an update will be soon)

Due Date: According to my pregnancy calendar wheel I am due December 4th give or take a day or two.

Weight gain: Unfortunately over this long winter, or maybe because I am inching ever nearer to 40, I gained 10 pounds before getting pregnant which means I am starting off the heaviest I have ever been. Yes, I know, I am still small. I haven't weighed myself since pregnant.

Maternity clothes? Not yet but getting closer. Wearing one size up at this point. And only a select few shirts fit.

Symptoms: Nauseous all day. Most intense the first few weeks after we found out. I never throw-up though and eating small amounts helps. Although, I feel like I am constantly eating. I also feel SO hungry all the time and my stomach has even been growling before bed. I like food, but having to eat before bed is too much. I did find a great website that gave me ideas on how to curb the nausea and have been using magnesium oil which is quite amazing at making me feel good and with energy again. It also should take stop any leg cramping.

Movement: None yet, too soon!

Food cravings: Beets and the yummy refrigerated kosher dill pickles. I also really like the cereal called Product 19. It tastes like iron I guess but my sister and I have always enjoyed it as a snack. I especially like it when pregnant but I can't find it anywhere. Usually it is McDonalds hamburgers (bad!) so I am thankful that isn't the case this time!

Food aversions:  The smell of onions and surprisingly chocolate chips, which is probably a good thing.

Have you started to show yet: Yes, although I had a bump before I was pregnant. Just can't suck it in now. The questions have started on when I am due and at the answer the questioning eyes. Yes, I pop out early.

Belly Button in or out? I actually have my normal one again! Typically my sagging skin makes it disappear into a crater. :)-

Wedding Rings On or Off?  On

Medical Information:  I haven't been to the doctor yet. I try to go as late as I possibly can. So maybe in a few weeks.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


After an extremely long winter it seemed that spring would never arrive. But it did! Albeit behind by a few weeks judging by my Forsythia first blooming now but oh the sight of green grass and budding trees. The sound of the spring peepers in the water alongside roads and daffodils poking out in our fields. And the intoxicating fresh smell filling my nostrils. Simply amazing! And how much more we appreciate the beauty when it was gone for so long.

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TOS Crew - Literacy Soft App Review

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The hard thing about reviewing an app is that I download it and let the kids run with it. That is the case with LiteracySoft'sPhonics and Reading with McGuffey. The nice thing about this app is that there is an instructor that explains exactly what to do.

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How The Program Works

I had Missy Blue Eyes walk me through how she uses this Phonics and Reading App.

She began by opening the program on my iPhone and we also have it on our iPod so that Seppy could use it at the same time. You can have up to 10 users on the app. Right from the start it tells them to select their name from the box (that they originally setup) and then what button to begin the program.

There are various portions to each lesson. Here are some of them:

You read a sentence such as "See the frog on a log?" You can move your finger along the words and it reads them as you say them. But leading up to it it began with a word or two that the sentence contains until she knew them and then it went on to the complete sentence. There was also a picture to correlate with what was being read.

Another part of the lesson is spelling a word. About 6 -8 letters come up and it asked you to spell a word such as "dog". Missy then dragged the letters down to the spaces provided which in this lesson were in a semi truck. When the word was complete the truck drove away. Missy said there are all different vehicles to carry the letters away.

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There was another portion that gave a list of three words out of maybe 8 that continued to rotate through and Missy chose the one that was spoken.

In another lesson when introducing the long letter e (with line over) there was a picture to represent it as the sound was pronounced. It was e is for eagle. The instructor then explained that the e was always long and gave words such as see.

Missy took a quiz where it tested if they knew what letter made a certain sound. It asked to touch the letter that "makes this sound -- lll" and she pressed l. It then congratulates them on a job well done.

There are 53 lessons and the child works at their own pace and my children like to repeat lessons they have completed.

What I Liked

From watching Missy go through portions of various lessons I liked the instructor. It was clearly explained what to do which is why she never had to come and ask me for help. Other apps they use someone has to read the instructions for them so with this they really enjoyed being able to do something on their own. This program is very encouraging always saying things like "You got it!" or "Excellent!" or "Looks like you know your letter sounds". It was fun and kept their attention. The graphics were not overwhelming, just simple and well-done. Seppy was especially excited after he was able to put letters together to spell his own words. I love to see that excitement in learning!


You can try Phonics and Reading With McGuffey on your PC for an unlimited time. The first 10 lessons are free and if you like the program, register for $19.99 to unlock the complete collection of lessons.

We used the app which you can purchase for $19.99 from the iTunes store

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Monday, May 6, 2013

TOS Crew - Homeschool in the Woods Review

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I really enjoy crafts and would do so much more if I had the time. Lapbooks have always appealed to me as they seem similar to scrapbooking and I like how they document in a fun way what you have been studying. And while I thought we might enjoy it I always thought it seemed too time consuming. Homeschool In the Woods creates kits to make lapbooks and I had the chance to try one.

You may be familiar with Homeschool in the Woods, especially if you have ever created a history timeline as they have beautiful drawings of figures to use. We reviewed the Hands-On History Lap-Pak: The 20th Century in America in a downloadable format that contained everything we needed to make a complete Lap Book

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How It Worked for Our Family

I was excited to try something we had never done before and learning about our own country is probably one of our favorite things in history. And while I typically like to expand on a program by adding in more books this time we used the program as is and it was meaty enough on it's own. Although for reading time I did have the kids select books from American history.

There are 22 projects giving a brief overview of American during this time in history. You can either print everything out at one time, and that might be a good idea for an organized family but for me it worked better to print as needed. I did print out the entire history text which is either in a booklet form to keep with your lapbook, which looks really nice, or in full size pages to put in a binder. Then I went project by project printing as needed. That way I knew I wouldn't loose them. And that is the beauty of a downloadable file, you always have the pages you need right at your fingertips.

And while I had planned on using this intensively day by day to get through it life circumstances changed that. And in the end it became more of a once a week project. We read through the lesson text and then the kids could easily work on coloring and putting together the corresponding project pieces. The suggestion is then to put the finished piece in a plastic bag until the end when you assemble the lapbook. This is a fun way to learn and will be something we can continue to do once a week. And having everything basically done for you it isn't near as time-consuming as I had originally thought.

The recommended ages for this is grades 3 - 8. And while you can incorporate your younger children the text might be a little more than they are interested in.

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Assembly of the timeline of Disasters.

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Completed project

My Opinion

Upon opening the file I was immediately impressed with how well put together this program was. It was clearly laid out with instructions detailing exactly what needed to be printed out and on what color paper or cardstock. It had buttons to click on for each file so you didn't have to search for them. The files that needed to be printed on a backside of a page were already flipped upside down for you and ready to print. And while I typically do not like having to print everything out this was not bad and you can do it a project at a time as I did. It also had pictures to reference to see that you were completing the project as instructed.

There are supplies like a colored folder, glitter, colored printer paper, etc. to purchase to create the lapbook and I suggest you gather those right away so you have them as needed.

I love the high-quality artwork of each project. And they all have dimension to make them more appealing to the eye.


The 20th Century in America lap-pak (recommended for grades 3 - 8)  is available in:
- Download Version - $21.95 or
- CD Version - $22.95

Click to read more reviews of this and other lap-paks from Homeschool In the Woods.

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