Sunday, August 30, 2015

Whatever {Scripture & a Snapshot}





An EXCELLENT day with T.R.E.K.kers . . .









Celebrating all of the "whatevers" together with my friends,


I'm joining with my friend Jennifer over at a glimpse of our life as we give glory to GOD through our photos.

Scripture and Snapshot
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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Chasing Katrina

Ten years ago Katrina came roaring in like a rabid lion.  Today there's not a cloud in the sky.  She wreaked havoc on much of this part of the country and in places healing is still underway.  Many things changed in the aftermath of that storm.  Trust dissipated, hearts were shattered, the world as we knew it disappeared.  The one constant is that HIS love never failed, it never gave up, it never ran out on us.  And we learned to praise HIM in the storm.

I am still a believer in the promise that the rainbow bestows.  Every single storm brings one out.  I will never quit chasing them.

Today the sky is blue, the wind is calm, the trees of life are standing.  I choose this peace.
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Friday, August 28, 2015

Schoolhouse Review: Illuminating Literature #hsreviews



I mentioned to you a few weeks ago that I have been a huge fan of Sharon Watson ever since we had the privilege of reviewing Writing Fiction [in High School] way back in 2013.  It was a game-changer in our family and Sharon's passion carried over to all of us as we learned together.  Even more, we were able to share that passion with others in our homeschooling group through a writing club that I facilitated based off of her book.  The students enjoyed the writing prompts and ideas and were delighted to share the words they penned with one another.

Writing with Sharon Watson Review
I was so impressed with Writing with Sharon Watson that I couldn't wait to review her newest curriculum with my youngest two children.  As wonderful as Sharon's writing courses are, I just knew that her literature course would be a great fit for my family.   I had absolutely no idea HOW perfect it would be though.  Illuminating Literature:  When Worlds Collide is exciting for both the Princess and the Eagle Scout -- and that makes life easy for this homeschooling momma.  A CHRISTIAN curriculum for high schools and homeschools, we are enjoying reading and discussing our thoughts together and are challenged to look at new literary options with fresh eyes.  It is important to me that my children cultivate the ability to read contemporary works of literature through the standard of a biblical worldview.  I do not want them to merely walk around with blinders on the world -- I prefer that they see it through the eyes of JESUS.  As a result, they are developing a passion for reading that is unbridled -- and they are able to separate lies from TRUTH.  I LOVE that.

Writing with Sharon Watson Review

Illuminating Literature:  When Worlds Collide is a complete set of literary genius that speaks directly to high school students as they tackle some really phenomenal reads.  This set includes a Student Textbook, Teacher's Guide, Quiz and Answer Manual, and a free downloadable PDF of the Novel Notebook.  [Confession time:  I'm that mom who immediately prints out the entire PDF for both kids, 3-hole punches it, and places it in a binder.  I like the easy delivery of download, but I sure do like paper for everyday work.  My kids are enjoying creating literary keepsakes as they read and answer questions.]  For purposes of this review, we also received physical copies of both Pudd'nhead Wilson  by Mark Twain and The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.  All other novels studied are available to purchase.  Although it is not required that you purchase the 8 novels directly from Sharon Watson (any copy will do), it certainly will make your life easier as page numbers are often included for students to quickly find the next passage for discussion.

The Teacher's Guide (182-pages) makes easy work of planning as all of the "work" is done for me.  There are suggestions for how to use Illuminating Literature in a book club setting, plans for breaking each lesson (or book) down into a month-long study, additional activity suggestions, and Facebook prompts for a Facebook study group.  The Quiz and Answer Manual (101-pages) offers a paper-and-pen alternative for students who prefer not to take online quizzes.  Permission is given to copy these pages for personal use, but teachers will have to grade these and students do not receive a follow-up email explaining their grades.  These are nice resources to have, but the real jewels for me are the Student Textbook and Novel Notebook.

The Novel Notebook (102-pages) makes it real for students.  My kids will tell you, they are having FUN as they explore great works by Mark Twain and H.G. Wells -- and they are looking forward to further exploration of authors James Barrie, Charles Dickens, Ray Bradbury, C.S. Lewis, and more.  I like that they are being encouraged to think and challenge societal norms as they examine prejudice, reaction, conflict, and resolution -- all while learning literary terms like alliteration, allusion, simile, metaphor, and foreshadowing.  Being given permission to share what they like and don't like about what they read and then having the opportunity to explain how they would change it in a "perfect world" is offering "Ah-Ha!" revelations that excite passion and fuel learning.  My kids truly feel like their opinions matter -- and it has them reading with a brand new passion.  True story.

And I even color-coded the binders so my kids could easily grab them off of the bookshelf.

Illuminating Literature is a field-tested, mother-approved curriculum, but even more important than that, it is kid-tested and kid-approved.  My 9th and 11th graders will testify to that.  In order to make it most successful, each student needs their very own Student Textbook (285-pages).  I ordered an extra one anticipating that we would be using this curriculum FAR past our review period.  I am thankful that I did.  The Student Textbook is highly interactive and enjoyable to use.  Students begin by reading an overview of the novel choices for the year and an explanation of what exactly literature IS and why it is important to them.  This eases the groans that typically accompany required reading at my house and welcomes the students as partners in learning.  Sharon has students anticipating what they are going to read BEFORE they ever open the book.  She previews what is to come and prepares them for what they will see and feel and learn in such a way that they can't wait to begin.  She shares fun facts and stuff they might want to know and THEN has them read and explore the pages of the novels assigned.  Quizzes help students determine what they currently understand and feeds their desire to understand more at the completion of their reading.  All of this.  THIS is why we LOVE Illuminating Literature and will complete this entire course this school year.

So, what is it about Illuminating Literature that makes it different from all the other literature studies out there?  Honestly, the entire approach is completely unique.  I've been homeschooling for 17 years and this one is by far the best I've seen.  I like the conversational tone used by Sharon to speak directly to students.  I like that my kids don't need me to get started -- they can simply sit down, open the book, and begin.  I like that when they do that, they aren't easily distracted or prone to rush through to "finish" (surely mine aren't the only ones that do that?), but that instead they are drawn in and choose to visit a while.  I like that although they are at different places in their education they can coordinate their studies and talk and laugh and discuss together.  Just like the novels have been chosen because the worlds in each book collide together, my children can use this opportunity to allow their worlds to collide -- and they can reconnect with one another through the pages of books in a way that strengthens the bonds of friendship. These things matter to me more now than I ever realized before.

Sharon makes is super easy for you to determine just how beneficial this literature course will be for your high schoolers by offering you a free download of the first two chapters.  Please check this out -- your kids will thank you.  For even more information about Sharon Watson's WONDERFUL writing and literary options, please visit the following Social Media pages:





Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Illuminating Literature:  When Worlds Collide as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Writing with Sharon Watson Review
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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Generational Joy {Scripture & a Snapshot}

Three Generations



I really like this generational picture that was taken at my daughter's bridal shower today at church.   It's all three of my girls, my mom, and me.   Such JOY in our faces and LOVE in our hearts.  Don't blink friends -- it happens all too quickly.



I'm joining with my friend Jennifer over at a glimpse of our life as we give glory to GOD through our photos.

Scripture and Snapshot
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Monday, August 17, 2015

Illuminating Literature iPad Giveaway from Writing with Sharon Watson!

I have been a huge fan of Sharon Watson ever since we had the privilege of reviewing Writing Fiction [in High School] in 2013.  It was a game-changer in our family and Sharon's passion carried over to us as we learned together.

I'm currently reviewing Sharon's newest literature curriculum with my youngest two children and will be sharing about it next week right here on the blog.  Illuminating Literature:  When Worlds Collide is exciting for both the Princess and the Eagle Scout -- and that makes life easy for this homeschooling momma.  We are enjoying reading and discussing our thoughts together.

In anticipation of the release, I've been invited to share this super cool giveaway with you.  You are definitely going to want to join the Facebook party AND register to win.  

Writing with Sharon Watson Illuminating Literature iPad Mini Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide, we are joining with Writing with Sharon Watson to bring you an incredible giveaway!

One of you may win ALL of the following prizes, a value of nearly $450:

Apple iPad Mini 16GB, WiFi Only ($329 value)

  • 7.9-inch LED-backlit Multi-Touch Display; 1024-by-768 Resolution
  • Apple iOS 6; Dual-Core A5 Chip 1GHZ
  • 5 MP iSight Camera; 1080p HD Video Recording
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n); 16 GB Capacity
  • Up to 10 Hours of Battery Life; 0.68 lbs

Illuminating Literature Curriculum Set ($64.47 value)

Literature in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere . . .

Your teens will appreciate the unstuffy way Sharon Watson teaches literature. They’ll read some great novels, encounter the hero’s journey, learn literary terms and elements, and gain an appreciation for fine literature.

More important, eager and reluctant readers will become more discerning as they learn the secret craft of the writer.

Prepare your teens for college literature courses and for the rest of their reading life.
  • Written for Christian high schools, homeschools, and co-ops.
  • Two-semester course earning one credit for language arts or English.
  • 70 lessons.
  • Student-directed, with clear lessons and reading schedules.

Illuminating Literature 8-Book Bundle ($52.84 value)

This book bundle includes the following books used in Illuminating Literature:
  • Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain
  • The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
  • The Friendly Persuasion by Jessamyn West
  • Peter Pan by Sir James Barrie
  • Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis


Writing with Sharon Watson Illuminating Literature Facebook Party

To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter below, then  join us for a Facebook Release Party on Thursday, August 27 at 9pm ET when the winner will be announced.

RSVP for the Facebook Party

Enter the Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Terms and Conditions:

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn. Entry into this giveaway will subscribe you to the Writing with Sharon Watson email list.


See you at the Facebook Release Party!  I can't wait!

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Proclaim HIS Glory {Scripture & a Snapshot}




I'm pretty sure I've used this verse before, but it just fits the beautiful day so perfectly.  All of Heaven proclaims HIS glory.  Amen and Amen.




I'm joining with my friend Jennifer over at a glimpse of our life as we give glory to GOD through our photos.

Scripture and Snapshot

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Friday, August 14, 2015

The Apologetics Study Bible for Students {a review & giveaway} #flyby



I was super excited to review the Apologetics Study Bible for Students HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) with both my 9th and 11th grade kids at home AND with my middle school students at church.  I've been looking for a new Bible to use as our ministry Bible and was thrilled to have the opportunity to see this one up close and personal.  Having spent a few weeks searching through it and reading through its pages, I have to tell you, I really like this Bible.

I know that it is super important for students to own Scripture for themselves and I have spent a good deal of time making sure that my children know what they know and understand how to search out GOD's Word for answers to all of life's questions.  In Middle School Ministry, we work to help anchor the 6th - 8th graders in scriptural truth and make it our goal to help them form thoughtful and practical responses for times in life that their faith may be challenged.  It is my heartfelt desire that students understand WHOSE they are and that they know how to share their beliefs with others.  I pray that they will have a Confident Faith to see them through life.

One of my favorite things about this Apologetics Study Bible are the many features found in it.  The color-coded tabs (black for Old Testament, Red for New Testament) make it easy for students to find Scripture.  I LOVE that.


The Plan of Salvation is presented at the front of the Bible and it is perfect for sharing the love of JESUS with others.  It is not the traditional Roman Road, but presents an easily understood response to GOD.



Other Features included in the Apologetics Study Bible for Students HCSB are 
- Book Introductions for each of the sixty-six books of the Bible (Matthew is pictured below)
- Study Notes found at the bottom of each page that provide evidence of the reliability and truthfulness of Scripture.  These notes explain nuances in Scripture in language that students can understand.
- 120 Articles written by today's leading Christian thinkers deal with life's ultimate questions.  The good, the bad, and the ugly are all addressed and leave students with a clear understanding of exactly what the Bible has to say about hot topics of the day.

Quotes and Personal Stories are found throughout the Bible that offer a personal touch for the reader.  These are good for students as they present an inviting conversational tone that removes some of the intimidation felt when reading the Bible.  This is a translation that students can own.


Two of my very favorite features are the Twisted Scripture and the Bones & Dirt sections of the Bible.  Twisted Scripture takes specific verses throughout the Bible and explains how they are often misinterpreted (twisted around) by people and religious groups.  Bones & Dirt shows actual photos of history and offers evidence to support Biblical truths.


All of these features help make this a Bible that is relevant and real.  Students are able to dig deep into GOD's Word and find straight answers to their questions.  As a result, they develop a strong, confident faith.


As an added bonus, the gift of Confident Faith is being celebrated this summer with 16 energetic teaching videos featuring Sean McDowell.  These Bible studies and articles are FREE resources that serve to inspire, educate, and train up the next generation of Christian leaders.  These short videos (less than 4 minutes) are invaluable.  They are energetic and fun to watch and offer students the chance to find answers to questions about their faith.  

The hardcover Bible is sturdy and inviting.  It draws the reader in with clear graphics and easy-to-read print.  The pages are thick enough so that notes and highlights do not bleed through.  It beckons students to step closer and be involved.

In addition to all of that, a Confident Faith Sweepstakes is offering a chance to win Bibles, free mini libraries of B&H's best apologetics resources, and even a trip for two to the National Conference on Christian Apologetics (NCCA) being held October 16-17, 2015 in Charlotte, NC where some of the world's leading thinkers will offer insights and teaching.   Make sure to enter for your very own chance to win.


You can find out more about the Apologetics Study Bible for Students and Confident Faith by visiting the following SOCIAL MEDIA sites:



This is a wonderful Bible for students and adults alike.  I am so glad we've had the chance to study it and look forward to many years of using it for family study.



 Enter to win a copy of the Apologetics Study Bible for Students.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway


"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.



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