Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Flood -- Welcome to the New Year {Wordless Wednesday}

I've been saying I wanted to rearrange my office and clean up the resource room.  Who knew I'd start the year like this?
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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Passion 2018 {Wordless Wednesday}

The perfect way to start off a new year?  Worship with 30,000 friends at Passion.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Great Fun for Your Stockings

Y’all are going to love this.

You know how much fun we’ve had with all the paint Stix from The Pencil Grip?  Now they have bright, colorful WASHABLE markers that WON’T DRY OUT for SEVEN days if your loves accidentally leave the caps off — GUARANTEED.  How’s that for great Christmas magic?

And the best part?  Order today and you’ll have them here in time for stuffing in the stockings that are hanging with care.  

This is pure magic.

Grab your Magic Stix today.

They are non-toxic and odorless and you can get them in 12- or 24-packs.

Your kids are going to LOVE this.

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Gospel Tracts by Let the Little Children Come {Review} #gospeltracts #FlyBy

I have been excited to share some really neat gospel resources with you this semester and you might even remember that I told you that the Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack from Let the Little Children Come offers some of the coolest resources I've ever seen.  I love sharing with children the TRUTH that JESUS loves us all uniquely and I really like it when I have tools that children can understand completely.   Let the Little Children Come makes it easy to share the gospel in love and obedience and they remind me to do just that and then leave the results to GOD.   What makes using their resources so easy is that they offer detailed instructions on how to present the gospel with each of the tools they offer.

Each and every one of the resources found inside the Sampler Pack is designed to capture and hold the attention of children, while not distracting them from the core message of SALVATION through JESUS CHRIST.  What that means to me is that children are intrigued with the resources and will actually sit and listen to a gospel presentation.  Not only will they listen intently, but they are interested in what we are sharing and they begin to understand just how far and how wide GOD's LOVE for them is.  Isn't that what we all want to be about?

The Sampler Pack is a great place to start because it contains 10 different resources that you can use to get children excited about JESUS.  Each of the different types of tracts are provided in the Sampler Pack so that you can see first-hand how all of the resources work.  From "animated" tracts that make picture seemingly come to life as they move across the page with the use of a clear plastic film to FlipAbouts that reveal different pictures that tell the facts about GOD's love, each evangelism tool aids you in sharing the gospel with children in a powerful way.

Any of these evangelism tools can be used in a variety of ways.  They are perfect for small group settings (think Sunday School and one-on-one discipleship) and large group settings (think VBS, mission trips, backyard clubs, and children's worship).  They clearly present the gospel of JESUS in a way that is easy for children to understand AND easy to share with their friends.  These resources can be used with children of all ages and with all learning styles.  For example, the Pop-Up books will intrigue early readers and the wordless resources will be helpful for non-readers and in language-barrier ministry situations.  I think you are going to love these just as much as I do. 

You can connect with Let the Little Children Come and find out more about their other child evangelism tools by visiting the following Social Media sites:

"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.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

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Friday, November 17, 2017

ESV Illuminated Bible {Review & Giveaway} #ESVIlluminatedBible #FlyBy

I have been enamored with the journaling Bibles for quite a while now and have wanted to own one for myself for over a year.  I love the idea of creatively journaling through the pages of GOD's Word, but if I'm honest, I've been a little afraid to get started.  I know that true journaling would personalize my Quiet Time in a special way, but I've been nervous that I would "mess up" the pages of my Bible.  Does that make sense?  Have you ever felt that way and been reluctant to begin?  I thought that if I could find the "perfect" journaling Bible, it would make it a bit easier to begin my quest.  That's why I have been so very excited about the new ESV Illuminated Bible, Art Journaling Edition.  It is stunning and elegant and everything I've always dreamed of.  Not only is this Illuminated Bible absolutely gorgeous, but it offers the perfect place to begin journaling with illustrated verses throughout and ample column space for creating your own original works of art or study notes.

The text of the Bible is printed in black on a heavy cream paper.  Special designs are found at the beginning of each new book of the Bible and there are verses illustrated throughout the pages of the Bible that you can color, paint, or just enjoy.  All of the designs and illustrations are printed in gold to match the lovely gilded edges of the Bible's pages.  The navy cover is a sturdy cloth over board and is beautifully decorated with a golden floral pattern.  Seriously, this may be the prettiest Bible I've ever owned.  It's larger size offers plenty of room to write and create and the weight of the paper allows for easy art journaling without the worry that your designs will bleed through to the pages underneath.  But the best part?  This is GOD's love letter to us --  to be read and studied and enjoyed whether you want to journal and draw or just read and hear.

Isn't this lovely?

The ESV Illuminated Bible places the full ESV (English Standard Version) text alongside over 500 elegantly hand-lettered gold ink illustrations by renowned artist Dana Tanamachi.  Printed on thick cream-colored paper, the Bible's single-column text setting and wide margins provide generous space for additional notes, prayers, and designs—inviting readers to creatively engage with and reflect on the beauty of GOD's Word.

Special Features include the following:
  • 9-point, Lexicon
  • Black letter text
  • 2-color printing
  • 64 full-page, custom book opener illustrations
  • 50 full-page verse illustrations
  • 250+ hand-lettered margin verses  (These are absolutely gorgeous.)
  • 100+ other illustrations throughout
  • Illustrated by Dana Tanamachi, an American lettering artist, graphic designer, and illustrator whose exquisite typographic murals ignited the worldwide chalk-lettering trend.  She has been commissioned by clients such as Instagram, Target, Google, Time Magazine, Nike, and West Elm and her work has been featured by Google, The Wall Street Journal, Random House, USPS, and Target.
  • Thick, cream-colored paper
  • Wide margins
  • Single-column, paragraph format
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Permanent Slipcase Packaging

You can even find more information about the ESV Illuminated Bible by visiting the following Social Media sites:

And guess what?  I have one copy that I can giveaway.  How cool is that?  I am excited to offer one ESV Illuminated Bible, Art Journaling Edition as a giveaway to one of you sweet friends.  Simply comment below and tell me who you would give this beautiful Bible to -- and feel free to tell me it would be for you.  I completely understand.  If you'd like an extra entry, share this post and come back and let me know that you did so.  The winner will be chosen randomly on Friday, November 24.  This just might be the perfect way to start your Christmas holiday, don't you think?

"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.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Homeschool Review: Characters in Crisis #hsreviews #highschoolwriting #writingcurriculum

You might remember that we were first introduced to Writing with Sharon Watson a few years ago and we have since loved everything of hers that we have used.  From writing to literature courses, Sharon Watson has become one of our very favorite resources for high school study.  Just like Sharon makes writing fun for even the most reluctant writer, she makes jumping into a good book most delightful for readers of all types.  Her literary guides are simply phenomenal -- we absolutely fell in love with the first one, Illuminating Literature:  When Worlds Collide,  -- and I was as pleased as can be to have the opportunity to share the second one, Illuminating Literature:  Characters in Crisis, with my daughter.  The Princess is a Junior now (I know!  I can't believe it either.  It seems like just yesterday that she was struggling to learn to read.) and she's the last student at Long Leaf Academy.  We really have tried a little bit of everything, so when we find a curriculum that she takes outside of the home and into her daily world, I know we have a winner.

I also know we have a winner when my girl is not only looking at literary works, but is heart-filtering them through what she knows and is learning about GOD.  Characters in Crisis is written from a Biblical worldview which means that as she reads and answers questions related to the readings of classics, my daughter is also being reminded what GOD says about how to handle circumstances and crises that come our way.  Sharon offers Scriptural background as a basis for how to tackle life and she challenges students to look through a moral and ethical lens when making all decisions.  For example, in reading Frankenstein, students discuss modern-day scientific advances and whether or not they believe babies born in a lab would be soulless.  Students don't just "read" through a story or play or poem or book.  They "read-to-understand" the characters and the how and why they make the decisions that they do.  Sharon takes it once step further and offers suggestions for further reading at the end of each literary work study -- and these suggested readings include books and articles by Christian authors.  That's what I'm talking about.  Yes and Yes!

Each of the Illuminating Literature courses (When Worlds Collide and Characters in Crisis) are written to 9th - 12th graders and can be used in any order as they are not written sequentially.  (You can even choose to work between the two courses if you would like which makes this extremely friendly.)  Each chapter is designed to take your student about a month to complete and focuses on one major literary work or a collection of smaller works.  They are intended to be used for a year-long literature course and there is ample work provided for one high school credit.

All of the works read and studied in Characters in Crisis include characters who find themselves facing a crisis of some kind.  Students read "A Jury of Her Peers", Frankenstein, Silas Marner, Much Ado About Nothing, "A White Heron", "The Garden of Forking Paths", "Haircut", "The Lady, or the Tiger?", "Of the Passing of the First-Born", "A Child's Christmas in Wales", Sense and Sensibility, The Hobbit, and a biography or autobiography of the student's choosing. These selections can be covered in any order within the course.  My daughter first read "A Jury of Her Peers" (Chapter 1 of the textbook) and then moved to Frankenstein (Chapter 2 of the textbook), but has chosen to skip over to The Hobbit (Chapter 8 of the textbook) in order to be ready for our Christmas holiday-traditional movie marathon of The Lord of the Rings.  This works perfectly -- and gives her ownership of her literature course which makes for a happy student and a happy momma.   

For the smaller titles (poems, articles, essays), the literary work is included right in the textbook.  For others (short stories), links are provided in the textbook so that students can access them online.  For the major literary works, Sharon offers publisher guidelines so that students can study from the specific version of each book that has been coordinated to the textbook.  You can purchase these titles and make life a little easier on your student as the textbook is keyed to the specific page numbers OR you might choose to use books that you already own.  The curriculum is usable with any version of the book being studied -- it may just take a few more minutes for your child to find what they are directed to find.  We have used both the recommended version of books and what we had at home (when my girl was anxious to begin before I could get the recommended version here) successfully.

We are using the entire Characters in Crisis literature curriculum which includes a Student Textbook, Teacher's Guide, Quiz and Answer Manual, and a Novel Notebook.  There is also an online Quiz component that can be used in lieu of the Quiz and Answers Manual.  Both the online and the hard copy manual contain the same information so it is strictly a matter of personal preference.  Students take "yes, I read it" quizzes to make sure that they read and comprehend and "literary term" quizzes that make sure they are learning terms and vocabulary as they read.  "Opinion surveys" are also included that help students go one step further as they are asked to identify with specific characters and really think about the choices made by them.  My girl has been using the online quizzes, but I like having the paper copy so that I can verbally "quiz" her myself on what she is reading.  As you know, high school is a totally different machine and often the work is completed away from mom's watchful eye.  She does receive an emailed report of her grades on the quizzes, but I am able to have a shared knowledge of what she's learning with my copy of the Manual.  The Quiz and Answer Manual helps me keep her accountable.

The Teacher's Guide (173-pages, softcover) is written to the teacher and explains what students will be learning throughout the course.  I know that my daughter is becoming familiar with literature terms and devices as evidenced from the Quiz and Answer Manual, but the Teacher's Guide also tells me that she is being introduced to fine literature in such a way that she will WANT to read more.  She is learning to become a discerning reader and a powerful writer.  It also tells me how long each component of her studies should take and tells me what she is being asked in her textbook and how I can discuss that with her more effectively.  Sharon Watson offers warnings of things that parents might need to know (a nude scene in a Shakespeare movie, for example) and offers helps for creating a "book club" or co-op class with the materials presented.  Even more, she explains how to grade my daughter's writing and tells me special things to look for as I grade.  She's made it easy for me and I appreciate that.  I know you will, too.

Now the meat of the course comes in the Student Textbook (293-pages, softcover) and the Novel Notebook (86-pages, downloadable PDF).  The Student Textbook is written to the student and welcomes them into the exciting world of literature.  It explains literary terms, acts as the course syllabus, offers activities and writing assignments to personalize the learning experience, and really makes reading fun.  GOD's Word is shared throughout and students become captivated by reading along.  Frankenstein and the Bible?  Yep!  Perfection.

You are going to want to print out the Novel Notebook and put it in a 3-ring binder as soon as you are ready for your child to begin.  It is a full-color notebook that acts as a personal journal and adventure manual all in one.  The Novel Notebook contains Venn diagrams and mapping exercises and really brings the literary works to life.  It makes it all personal as students write down their favorite passages from the works they are studying and answer even more questions that are designed as food for thought.  This is a must-have element of the course -- and it's FREE. 

Remember that I mentioned at the beginning of this review that I knew we had a winner when my daughter was not only using the curriculum at home but was taking it into her daily world?  My girl has a standing date with a group of friends every Wednesday night after Bible Study and they head to a local sandwich shop for "quality time" together.  Now you can surely understand my excitement when she came home a few weeks ago and shared with me that she had been discussing the "law vs. mercy" argument from "A Jury of Her Peers" with her friends and that she was going to need to take her book with her the next week so that they could discuss it further.  That's a HUGE WIN in my book, y'all!  She says the discussion questions are just so interesting and they really help you understand the book and look at each character in a special way.  I love it.

For even more information about Sharon Watson's WONDERFUL literary and writing options and how to bring them home to your family, please visit the following Social Media pages:

And as always, I just love, love, love that Sharon helps you decide how you can best put her resources to use in your home by offering free sample chapters, grading grids, and quizzes for you to download and check out for yourself.  Isn't it great when folks go the extra mile to help us succeed?  We really are all in this together.

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Illuminating Literature:  Characters in Crisis from Writing with Sharon Watson as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this most excellent literature course (or just click on the banner below.)

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis {Writing with Sharon Watson Reviews}
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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Homeschool Review: Innovators Tribe -- Thinking Like an Architect #hsreviews #Engineering #STEM #Architect

September was a just a little crazy in our world and life got turned upside-down for a bit.  One of the highlights of that time was finding out that we had been chosen to review Thinking Like an Architect from Innovators Tribe.  When medical uncertainty grabbed hold of us and threatened to test everything we knew, Thinking Like an Architect was the perfect tool to keep my daughter on track as she developed problem-solving skills by using math and science in an "out of the box" way.  It also offered her a creative outlet to channel her frustration as we walked through the unknown.   Can I just be honest and say that it has been a bright spot during a dark time?  Thinking Like an Architect has helped to keep us sane and has provided an outlet for innovation.

Thinking Like an Architect

So what is this miracle and how has it worked for us? Designed for students in 6th-12th grades, Thinking Like an Architect is an online course with hands-on challenges and activities that teaches the basics of architecture (what it is, what tools are used by its masters, how to read a blueprint, and how to design your dream home), the history of architecture (who designed what and how did it the science come about), and how to be innovative in all things by examining problems, solutions, and those who go before us to mark the path.  When we first looked over the Innovators Tribe website, my 11th grader was super excited.  Already a designer of sorts through computer games, she couldn't wait to dive in and begin real-life design.  With the engineering basics that she learned through her years of robotics, architect has been an easy transition for her.

Thinking Like an Architect is divided into three sections of coursework:  Thinking Like an Architect, Introduction to Architecture, and Thinking Like an Innovator. It is a self-paced program that contains about 30 hours of interactive lessons and coursework, perfect for students who are ready to be challenged.  On its own, this would work for a 1/4 of a high school technology credit.  This could easily be extended through additional work with the CAD software included with the program.  (For example, we used CAD in robotics to try out different design components so the learning curve to room design has been fairly simple.  I will have no problem awarding a 1/2 credit on her transcript.)

Lessons combine both video and PowerPoint presentations.  The video is live-action and each one of the runtimes vary.  Some lessons are super short (lasting 5 minutes or less) while others are up to 3 hours long.  Each lesson has a hands-on activity that corresponds to it which must be completed before moving on to the next lesson.  

Here's what my girl had to say about Thinking Like an Architect:

Let me start with Thinking Like an Architect is very entertaining.  It's easy to follow along with the online power points and understand what is being taught and it's fun to do the activities.   The different activities help get you out of your comfort zone and help you to explore your talents -- it actually helps introduce you to talents you didn't know you had.  For example, I am learning how to take proper measurements and how important it is to really know your surroundings.  I made my very own architect scale and T-square to use in design -- and I had never heard of either one prior to the course.  

One of the activities that we had to do as part of this course was to measure the height and width of our own house.  I liked doing that because it helped me to really look at this place I call home.  I've never really paid attention to the size of the rooms and where the windows and doors are placed, but now I am much more aware of how the different elements are spatially put together.  The neat thing about that is that I'm beginning to notice the whys and hows of design.  I will be able to use all of this for other activities like designing my dream home and I am able to offer informed ideas about the remodel of our home.

Innovators Tribe

You will find more information about the "Thinking Like" courses by visiting the Innovators Tribe website.  They currently offer Thinking Like an Engineer and Thinking Like an ArchitectThinking Like a Carpenter will soon be introduced.

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Thinking Like an Architect from Innovators Tribe as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of both the Thinking Like an Architect and the Thinking Like an Engineer courses (or just click on the banner below.)

Thinking Like an Architect or Engineer {Innovators Tribe Reviews}
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