Saturday, October 31, 2009

Weekly Wrap Up for the week of October 26

This was a productive week. After the week we had busy with my Mother and volunteering at NGA the week of the 12th (see my Blast from the Past this coming Tuesday to see what that is) I was anxious to get back to a regular schedule on the 19th. That did not happen due to the events of early Monday morning to see about that, if you have not read it, go to my post: A Rude Awakening. Thank goodness this week had no new surprises.

We made progress in Bible using our Grapevine O.T. Overview Level 4 books - finishing lesson 13 on Moses and doing lesson 14 on The Deliverance.

In History we have been working on lessons from American Heritage Education Foundation (a TOS Homeschool Review Crew product). We did The Declaration of Independence, and the United States Flag.

We finished our Historical Fiction Sarah's Wish: see the review here if you missed it TOS Homeschool Crew Review - Sarah's  Wish ... it was a great book!

In Science we did not accomplish as much as in some other subjects, but we read a library book called Elements, Compounds & Mixtures by Jim Patten and we did lesson 5 and the unit one wrap-up in Christian Kids Explore Chemistry

Four of 5 days we did Young Scholar's Guide to Composers. We are doing the Baroque Composers and we covered Handel and Bach this week. We like this product (another review product for TOS). This is one we will be doing all year, the boys are enjoying it so much they requested we do the whole curriculum. Watch for the review of the Bright Ideas Press items (due by next Friday).

On Monday we always do Art Appreciation and this week we did a page from the HOAC Art Appreciation - Activity 7 - Elements of Art shutterbook. For this lapbook mini you choose one work of art, Fra Angelico this time since we are finishing our study on him, and describe the work of art using the 7 elements of art used in the lapbook.

We also did Writers Workshop (also from Bright Ideas Press and also a TOS review product) two days last week. We did lesson 2 on Caldecott and Newberry award winning books and lesson 3 on Webbing.

Then the boys had their individual tasks - which I put in their workboxes each day:
Christopher has started his Saxon Algebra 1/2. He worked on his Daily Grams, and did his Wordsmith Apprentice on the days we did not do Writer's Workshop. He also did some pages from ABC Teach including: some pages on capitalization and Nursery News (yes, another TOS review product). Christopher also worked on a story he is writing.

Nathan was working on finishing his Geometry from last year but has now moved on to this year's math: Teaching Textbooks Alegbra II, which we are thankful to be able to borrow from a friend. He is using Easy Grammar and did that this week, he is doing Wordsmith and completed some lessons in that when we were not doing Writer's Workshop. He worked some on his website and he read some of a courtship book Old-fashioned courtship & how it works today by Jeff and Marge Barth, for the course we require in High School which we call Building Life Relationships. He also did a couple of day of Typing Tutor 10. Also Nathan worked on some pages for a TOS review product we are doing called DISCOVER: ACT's Career Planning Program there are worksheets and a web based inventory program (again, watch for the upcoming review).

I hope you enjoyed our Weekly Wrap-up - to join us and do your own or read about others homeschool weeks go here.


Free Holiday Idea Book from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

2009 Holiday Digital Supplement/Idea Book

Just click on the picture to get your copy.
It is 181 pages.
It is FREE (in case you missed that)
Get your copy today!

Stuff for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Freezer meals (great for the busy holiday season), puzzles, games and much more.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Homeschool Freebie of the Day

When was the last time you checked out Homeschool Freebie of the Day. I have them in my morning coffee add-on on Firefox so I download the new freebie each day. I also have signed up for their newsletter which gives you an extra freebie each week, and is another reminder to download the freebies.

Their freebie today is Homeschool for the Holidays. Here is the quote from the Erskine's:
"Best of all, this is a free ebook... get a copy for yourself, and then feel free to forward it on to a friend or two or three... or you can just send them right here to to get their own copy! (Tip: Share this link with your local homeschool support group, they'll appreciate it!)
Take your time to glean, learn and enjoy... and have a wonderful, blessed Holiday Season!
- The Erskine Family"

I hope you enjoy this freebie and get signed up for the Homeschool Freebie of the day ... oh they sometimes leave the freebies up for a day or two so you can download yesterday's freebie still and sometimes even further back... but don't count on that.. download the freebies daily. Actually right now they have the freebies from Oct. 21st through today's still available for download... so go and get your freebies!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

TOS Homeschool Review Crew - Amazing Bible Timeline with World History

When our 38 X 46 inch Timeline arrived from Bible Charts and Maps, LLC I was thrilled and immediately wanted to laminate it. It arrived in a 48 inch triangular shaped cardboard shipping package. I was impressed with the detail the map contained and was surprised to see the history timeline was displayed as a circular style map radiating from the center in a "spoke" type "wagon-wheel" layout. The detail of the Amazing Bible Timeline with World History is wonderful and clear. Bill Agard who designed the map, is a retired lithographer, and the map certainly shows his expertise.

I love history but admit I am no history expert, but compared to other history timelines we own, everything appears to be accurate. I like the map but am a little unaccustomed to a circular map and this takes some getting used to. I prefer a linear timeline but this one highlights the most important events and lets you see who was alive, for instance, when David was King of Israel. My husband actually thought of mounting it to a board and using a nail in the middle so we could rotate it. Free Avatars

I would recommend the timeline for anyone, but, here's the downside for some, and I hope this will help you decide if this is a downside for you. Bill and Margaret, the makers of the map are Mormons. Also, some of the materials used to document the history of the timeline were materials others would deem not useful for religious reasons in spite of their proposed accuracy. A list of these materials are found at this link, When viewing the timeline map these facts were brought to our attention and may be disagreeable to others. To the merit  of Bill and Margaret, they have made separate copies available with and without timeline references to Mormon history and materials. This was an honest effort by them to make a timeline that was non-offensive to others who did not agree with their views. There is nothing on the Mormon version in reference to any doctrine that we could see, only a few points of their history, and then only a very small portion. We found nothing offensive in it and this is the conclusion my husband and I came to:
  1. All timelines have history of other religions we do not agree with. We can either choose to teach our children about those religions and our beliefs regarding them or not. We chose to use the timeline and teach how we disagree. One could make the same statements about Catholicism, Hinduism, Greek or Egyptian history. I honestly know several people who use timelines. I don't know anyone who threw theirs out because they disagreed with any other religious history shown on them from other cultures. 
  2. As a historical source I believe it is accurate and well done, whatever the source. 
  3. They make no pretense to be anything than who they are. They seem to be upstanding people and fine citizens who have made a product that they believe in. We do not agree with the Mormon historical and religious views but do not see their views directly reflected in the timeline and do not feel it is offensive for that reason. They have made an honest effort to provide both a universal product out of respect and toleration for those who do not believe as they do as well as one for those who do. 
  4. They provide a 30 day money back guarantee, so you can decide for yourself. As their site says,
"Iron Clad Money Back Guarantee. Use the Amazing Bible Timeline with World History for thirty days. If you are not satisfied for any reason, return it. And we'll refund the cost of the Timeline right away."
Out of five stars we give The Amazing Bible Timeline with World History:

Cost of the Timeline: $29.97 
  • Free Bonus - Order now and get Interactive Maps of the Holy Land (a $14.97 value)
  • Second Free Bonus Digital Amazing Bible Timeline (also a $14.97 value)
Limited time offer - Buy Two Timelines for just $59.94 $49.97
Learn more about the owners of Bible Maps and Charts


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

TOS Homeschool Crew Review - Sue Patrick's Workbox System

You can click on most of the pictures to see them better. You may especially want to take advantage of it for the scans of my school logs further down the page.

Have you noticed, read about, tried the newest rage in homeschool organizing? Before I received this to review this year I had seen a number of homeschool blogs using this system and was interested. I decided that since it was fairly early on in the year that we would be reviewing this, that I would wait until I got the original e-book and could read it before trying the system out.

I like to support the small homeschoolers doing a good job and Sue has set up a system that has breathed new life into our homeschool. Since my daughters have graduated things in our home have deteriorated homeschool wise. I became more and more irresponsible, especially in the area of keeping up with the school log, writing down what we did each day for school. I am one of the many that have tried The Workbox System and found that it not only helped us get a lot more done each day but it helps me be more responsible to be prepared for each day of school and grade, correct, check their work to make sure it is all completed and then to write it in my log.

The system basically works like this. You put the curriculum/books you are using for homeschool into plastic tubs. As you can see from the picture of our workboxes and shelves I could not afford at this time to get the system set up like I would want. I would really prefer see-through drawers that will hold our books without bending them. but, I had to use what I had and so we have a mishmash of boxes from popcorn and Ziploc bags. I then put paper over the fronts so the boys could see their number/picture tags and the work with mom tags better. To make sure the paper did not rip from taking the tags off and on I put a strip of packing tape over the paper. I also used the packing tape to "laminate" the workbox numbers, pictures and other things to put in and on the boxes.  

These are the drawers I want: Sterilite 3 Drawer Wide Organizer You can get them at Walmart and maybe other places.

I also use note cards that I covered with packing tape so I can use a write on wipe off marker to leave the boys notes instead of using sticky notes. They are then reusable. I used note cards from ABCTeach (another TOS review item was a one month subscription), there are a few free ones to try such as:
Sorry to say the best ones are in the members only section. I like the ones I got with lines for writing on them and 4 on a page instead of only 2. Maybe you could find something like this on the internet for free. If I find any I will post about them in a new post later. I might ask my dh for a year's membership. The month was over way to fast to see all the things on there. I did download a bunch, but I missed a whole bunch more.

One thing to note: this system works with kids of all ages. My boys are 12 and 15 and it works great with them. If you go to the link at the bottom of the page and read some of the other TOS Crew reviews on this product you will see how they use it for their elementary and even pre-school children, but finish reading my review first. Winking Smileys Also, this can work with any curriculum. We use quite a variety of things, textbooks for math, worksheets, workbooks, reading materials, games, and it works great with it all. It will really keep you organized and it will help you run around less each day looking for things if you have the workboxes all planned out ahead of time.

You can see, on the top shelf, a box for Nathan. This box is for papers that are completed, checked and need to be filed in his notebooks. Christopher has one too but he keeps his over by his school spot. They file their papers once a week on Friday's after school.

The use of the boxes makes it so that you cannot add things to their day and drag school time on and on and it makes it so the children can "see" what has to be done for the day. One of the other features I have found so useful and wonderful is the addition of "fun boxes". I can now use all those resources that I keep forgetting to use! I have a place for them in their workboxes and we are using the resources we already have on the shelves that have been sitting there for years.

When the boys are ready to start school they check in by moving their picture card with their name to the Homeschool 'Begin' envelope and when they are finished everything, they check out by moving it to the 'Finished' envelope. The boys like this and it helps them get mentally prepared for "school time." Time to settle down and learn and stop fooling around.

I used the "Clocking In Template", free when you purchase the e-book, from Sue's website... see the Extra Resources below. I printed the template on card stock and then glued the pictures of the houses to a pocket meant for lapbooks from Homeschool Share. You will need two pockets so I used this link: Library Pockets (2 on one page)

We do not have a white board yet. I had one years ago but it got lost in the move??? Thrown out?? I am not quite sure. I have some Staples reward $$ coming and I am going to spend that on a new white board for us. Until then we have a print out on the wall inside a plastic sleeve... it works!! This is for listing those things we do together before they start on their workboxes.

So they have their numbers on their boxes as they start their day and as they complete each box they remove the number and replace it with a picture. They put the number on the spaces in order on their wall chart which is "laminated." The boys each chose their own pictures. Nathan's is a ship he built with Lego Digital Designer online and Christopher's is a picture of Lego Indiana Jones.

The boys take one box at a time off the shelf and take it to their spot at the table. They work on the stuff in that box and complete it before moving on to the next box.

When they are done with each box they put it on the floor next to my chair. I then grade, correct or at least check and make sure the work is completed correctly. I do this while the boys are doing their other boxes. If something is incomplete I hand it back to them. I take this time to also write the work done onto our school log. Then I load the box for the next day...putting new fun things in the boxes...writing notes on the "laminated" cards if needed and then I slide them over toward the bookcase. When the boys are done all I/we/they have to do is put the numbers back on their boxes and the pictures back on the chart on the wall. We are ready for the next day of school.

This is a typical day of work recorded in my school log before we started The Workbox System. Pretty Sad, yes! I should hide my head under a bag!! Free Avatars I had become complacent after 18 years of homeschooling. Note: Christopher was doing both ALEKS Math online and Quarter Mile math. Both were TOS Review items. If you want to read my reviews on them you will find them here:
This was all the stuff we accomplished yesterday. Oh and this does not include History and Science. I log those on a separate page since we do it together each day... I only write it once for both boys. I never had much trouble keeping track of History and Science, it was the other areas that were lacking.

When they are all done for the day, all their numbers are on their chart on the wall...
and all their boxes have the pictures on them. Then they can check out.
Further information from Sue's website and elsewhere.
You can get more information regarding this system if you View the Video on Sue Patrick's Workbox System.

Purchase Sue Patrick's Workbox System User's Guide Ebook  
The e-book alone costs $19.

Click here to download a pdf of some sample pages from Sue's e-book on the workbox system. You get a 14 page document including the Table of Contents and part of chapter 1 and 2.

I highly recommend getting the e-book. You need to read about the system from it's original source as well as support small homeschooling companies that are developing new things to make our jobs as homeschool mom's more effective.

Extra Resources
When you buy the e-book, and register your copy online, you also get a bunch of extra resources you can download from Sue, including but not limited to:
  • Schedule Strip Template  
  • Workbox Numbers Template     
  • Work with Mom Cards-white skin and brown skin 
  • Clocking In Template  
  • Curriculum Grid Template  
  • Sample Log Grid (filled out) it was very helpful to see it all filled out  
  • Log Grid Template  
  • Typing Program Downloads
    • Pages for Typing Program
    • Typing Hands for Keyboard Visual  
  • Running Goals Sample for Young/New Runners
Some of these resources can also be purchased as a kit already printed and laminated for you... see the packages she sells here these include the e-book. The prices vary depending on what you want included with the book. They run from $55 - $110.

If you already have the e-book you can buy the starter kits here and there are a few other things on this page as well. The extra suff and starter kits run from
$3.50 - $26

She has answered some FAQ's on this page. 

You can get some information from Sue herself in this recent Sue Patrick Interview. In the interview you can get some information about why Sue set up the workboxes in the first place and what her thoughts are on a few things concerning how to use workboxes

Out of five stars we give The Workbox System:

*** Sue Patrick provided me with the Workbox System pdf and other resources on her website so that I could do my review. Though I received this product for free I have given an honest review of it here in this post.

If you have any questions about the e-book or the extra resources just leave a comment. Since we will be continuing to use this system I will be posting weekly workbox updates with the things I put in my boys boxes.

Also, read the other post my my crew mates here and get some other opinions on this great system.


Monday, October 26, 2009

TOS Homeschool Crew Review - Sarah's Wish

Do you like historical fiction. We just love reading historical fiction. There is nothing like a really good book in this genre. You get some of the history of the time period and a great story to go along with it.

We were so excited to be getting Sarah's Wish. My fellow crew members had their copies and were reading and saying how good it was but our book was no where to be found. Well, we finally figured out that somehow my name and address appeared in two places in the TOS Crew database and that in one of the places my zip code was wrong. I somehow put down the zip code of the area where I was born and grew up... I lived in that house until I graduated from college. I wonder why I did that??? I have not done that in a long time. Well, it finally arrived after the post office corrected the zip code and got it sent to the right place. Jim was a great help and was ready to send me another copy if mine had not made it to me. Great customer service. Now, back to the book....

I do not want to spoil the story for you but I do want to tell you that this book, written by Jim Baumgardner, a grandfather who's grandchildren are homeschooled (isn't that cool Cool Smileys ) is a quality book. Jim autograph's each book and puts a butterfly sticker in each one. That makes them so special. He autographed all the ones he sent to the crew... over 100 books! You will find out about the butterfly in chapter one of Sarah's Wish.

Sarah's Wish is about a young girl, her struggles, the underground railroad and slavery. I did not find anything objectionable in it. It is appropriate for 3rd and up as a read aloud and maybe a little bit older than that if they are reading it by themselves. Of course each family can make those determinations. The book is very well written and the characters and the plot pull you into the book in the very first chapter. Jim has a great writing style and the dialogue is great too.  You will hear your kids say, "Read another chapter mom." I know I did on several occasions.

Now with a title like Sarah's Wish you might think this is only a book for girls. My boys do not typically like books with girls as main characters but for this book they made an exception. As I said we were all caught from chapter one right through the end and are looking forward to getting the next two and any others he writes down the road. I was surprised to find out from a blurb on his sidebar that Sarah was a real girl. Here is what Jim said on his sidebar in case you miss it.
"Q:  "Was Sarah a real girl?"
A:  "Yes. She lived with my great, great grandparents, John and Elizabeth Baumgardner in Wapakoneta, Ohio."
On the website... Sarah's Books... you can find out more about the author and order the books but make sure you check out the special offer below... don't order online! You can read an excerpt from each of the books at this link.

Sarah's Wish is 126 page long. The book comes with a free eLive audio download.  So you don't even have to read the book if you don't want to, you can listen to someone else read while you knit or cook or draw or drive or ... whatever. Or you can read it the first time and then the kids can listen to it over and over. My boys like to listen to things before bed. This will be a great addition to their audios for bedtime and it comes free with your order of Sarah's Wish. I read the book aloud to the boys a chapter or two a day. I like to spread it out, build up the suspense, and we have a lot to do for school each day so spreading it out is better for us.

The books do go up in price for the second and third book but also the number of pages greatly increases with each book. Also, on the bottom of some of the pages on his website you can sign up for his newsletter. Get updates and information about Sarah and the Underground Railroad and the new books coming out. His newsletter is an education in itself.

Jim Baumgardner is offering a deal to all the readers of the Crew blogs. You can see the deal here at my page at Google docs:  You must print out the order form and send it by mail, you will not find this offer on his website. I have already put my blog down in the "heard this offer here" space, so that part will be easy for you. Jim already has book two and three in print: Sarah's Promise and Sarah's Escape. You can order one book, two books or all three. But, if two of my blog readers order all three books then I get an extra free book from Jim. Support the Phillips family book fund... buy, buy, buy!!! Sign Smileys I hope you know I am just kidding Sign Smileys They would make great Christmas presents though... maybe Grandma will buy them for the family?

If we don't get another free one because of my blog readers buying, that is ok. I plan to put book #2 and #3 on our Christmas list and buy them for the family in that case.

Out of five stars we give Sarah's Wish a hearty

***Sarah's Books provided me with the book Sarah's Wish so that I could do my review. Though I received this product for free I have given an honest review of it here in this post. I do need to make a disclaimer and note that if you take advantage of the special deal, above, it is possible that I may receive another book for free and/or at a discount myself, but again that had no impact on my review. Thank you!

If you have any questions about the book or the special offer just leave a comment.

Also, read the other post my my crew mates here and get some other opinions on this great book... but buy from my linked page!!!


Monday, October 19, 2009

A Rude Awakening

I wanted to start off the week by rising early this morning and getting back to a regular schedule for school. Last week was crazy!! But this week started off more CRAZY! At 3:50 AM (that was not the time I planned to get up) this morning we were awoken by a mighty crash. Scared Smileys I thought I would look out the window and find a 5 or 6 car pile up... but nooo! I first saw one car, across the street from our house upside down in our neighbor's yard. Then we saw someone crawling out from under the car. Then about 10 police men with guns drawn, pointed at what I thought was a woman. Later we found out she was a passenger. The driver got out of the car also and was trying to escape and was found not to far from the scene, by a canine unit.

Then my husband said, "I think they came across our yard and hit our car. Oh boy, did they! Driver side totally crushed, windows broken. Then after the first shock wore off we realized there was a lot more damage. Both sides of the car dented.  Pieces of the insides laying across the front seat. Not only that but they hit our car so hard it pushed the passenger side into the corner of the house and crumpled it there also. Back hatch window broken too. Our car is, most likely, totaled. Sad Smileys We have to wait for the insurance company to let us know for sure but it is definitely not drivable. I loved that van. Love Smileys

On their way to their resting place, upside down in the neighbor's yard they ripped and dragged our fence, twirled it, and threw it over the car so that part of the fence wrapped around to the front of the house and smashed our front windows. It then landed between the car and the house and on our front sidewalk. The four long poles that go across the top of the chain link fence were twisted and thrown all over the yard and one partway down the street!!! They pushed the passenger side of the car completely off the ground and into the brick corner of the house. They dug deep gouges in our yard and even took a chunk out of our driveway. Destruction and mayhem everywhere.

We later found out the car was a stolen vehicle that was being chased by the police and they must have been going 100 miles an hour to have caused all the damage they did and it is a wonder they got out alive. At one point this morning Jessica counted 11 police vehicles in front of our house. They completely shut down the both south bound lanes of the main road near our house for a couple of hours, and sent the traffic on a detour.

As the sun started rising the destruction seemed more immense and more people stopped to ask questions and stare at the carnage. I am still having trouble sorting it all out. Confused Smileys Believing the truth that our car is demolished and not drivable and we will get the price of the current worth of the car and than we will have to find other transportation for our family. Our wonderful van loaded with all kinds of great features that we bought with the insurance money from when my husband injured his back. Now what will we drive??? I am struggling to not live in fear but to trust the Lord to provide all our needs, even a suitable van to fit our whole family so we can travel to church each week and so that we can get around to other events as a family.

Philippians 4:19  "But my God shall supply all your (our) need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (part in parenthesis mine)

My husband said I could post a few pictures so... here you go... check this out!!! Oh, by the way, you can click on each picture to see them larger.

Our Car
driver side

closeup... just missed the gas tank!!!

 Our Car, rear passenger side; my planter, our fence

Our car passenger front door and our fence

another view
if you click on this picture you can see the broken windows


another view of the car and house and everything...
notice the glass from the house windows on the ledge at the right


the stolen vehicle
just centimeters from that house


The tire tracks across our lawn and some of the leaning posts from the fence that did not get knocked completely down.

Well, that was our Monday... Still dealing with things and probably will be for weeks!!

Please Pray for us as we have many things to work out including a way for my hubby to get to work while we settle the stuff with the insurance company.



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