Thursday, May 26, 2016

Not Worrying About What Others Think


The criticisms. The analytical questions. If you have chosen to homeschool then it is inevitable that you will be faced with opposition. Read More at Our Homeschool Forum

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Heroes, Heroines and Tales of Ancient History {Review}


For the past few weeks, we have been experimenting with the most diverse, activity-filled, exciting and educational history course in our homeschool! We have been thoroughly enjoying the stimulating and thought provoking presentation that Amy Puetz gives us in her  history curriculum, Heroes, Heroines and Tales of Ancient History. 

I received this curriculum in digital format ($98 ARV) which included the five following downloads. (A printed version is available also for the same price).

Heroes, Heroines and Tales of Ancient History Part 1
Heroes, Heroines and Tales of Ancient History Part 2
Ancient History Skits (E-book)
Listen To Some Ancient History (MP3-Download)
Sing Some Ancient History (MP3-Download)
   
This is a complete, year-long, history curriculum geared towards children in grades one through six.  Part one includes 75 lessons for the first half of the year, covering Creation to Alexander the Great. Part two has 75 lessons for the second part of the year, covering 300 BC to 500 AD.

WHAT I LOVE


Variety 

This is not your average, daunting, textbook filled with facts, dates and names that your children memorize to simply spew back to you on a test at the end of the week. Although some kids do well in those areas, history can be presented in so many different ways, so why not embrace it? This is exactly what Amy Puetz does in her curriculum. She uses a variety of methods to present the material in a way that is challenging for the older child but can also be understood by younger homeschoolers. I have been using this with my eight year old and nine year old but my six year old sits in and absorbs the information as well.

Different activities are distributed throughout the lessons and my kids are always excited when it is an activity day. Some of the lessons are more structured, which I like too. These lessons usually include a lesson and/or story followed by some questions or a writing prompt. My kids generally enjoy the lesson part of it but answering the questions, on paper, is not their favorite. 

So....when the days come that we might be doing some cooking, or playing a game or doing a craft after the lesson, they think they are getting out of "doing" their work since they don't have to write anything. Little do they know how much they are actually gaining! 

The extra activities include:

Examining Historical Art 

Games of the Past
 

Cooking Up History
 

Singing Ancient History
 
Listening to Ancient History
 
Crafts
 
 
Experiments





Creationism Teaching

Even though more and more creationist curriculum companies are rising out of the woodwork, what makes this one stand out is it's consistency, drive and passion to portray history from this perspective. Even though I've already been converted from the religious lies of evolution, there are still pieces of information and thought processes that still linger about that I don't generally pay attention to. The author fills her pages with bits of revelatory information that has sparked many conversations with me and my children about why, as Christians, we believe what we believe. It's been a great experience thus far and I'm thrilled to share this history with my children. For example, people's intelligence in ancient times. Evolution wants you to view our ancestors as cavemen, primates, trying to survive. I appreciate the constant evidence of a highly civilized people within these pages.

Be sure to note: this is not a Bible study, rather, it is studying history, while using the Bible as one of the textbooks.  You are learning ancient history, alongside the Bible. The kids have loved this! They love being able to place Adam, Noah and others on a timeline and see how they fit into history. One day your child might be learning about Abraham and the next day about the Sumerians and how the two were connected. When learning about the flood, not only do you go over the actual account but several flood legends found throughout the world that surprisingly carry similar details to the biblical account. 


Using Stories To Learn History

From Pandora's Box to Confucius, your children will be exposed to more information than you might think their little minds can contain! When presented in story form though, they tend to absorb it much deeper. This has been effective in keeping the attention of all three of my school-aged children. Usually the lesson is separated and includes one section for grades one and two and a separate section for grades three through six. I usually just read the higher level but for the stories there is only one section needed. I should mention here that some of the stories might not be suitable for young ones and in this case the author has noted this.  

Since at first, my older children were having a hard time sitting down and doing the writing assignments, on those days I set an incentive in place. I got them each a composition notebook. I then set out a basket of reward stickers. Each day that there is a writing assignment in history, when they finish their work, they can pick out a sticker and place it in their book. It's the simple things.




I plan on continuing with this curriculum since it has been working out so well for us! If you are interested in picking up a hard copy for yourself, use the code ANCIENT at checkout!

Disclaimer: I received this product in exchange for this review. All thoughts expressed here are my own. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

5 Reasons to Attend a Homeschool Convention


There are five excellent reasons any homeschooling parent should go to a convention. Here they are! Read More at Our Homeschool Forum

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Heroes of the Bible Treasury {Review}


Five shining stars! Heroes of the Bible Treasury is by far my favorite book that I have personally read by The Adventure Bible company. I have yet to be disappointed with their, "I Can Read!" series and was looking forward to this book since it includes six in one. 

The stories are a good length. This book is only a few pages short of two hundred, each story about thirty pages long. Even though it might seem quite lengthy for a child who is learning to read, it isn't, each story is the perfect and the child feels quite accomplished when they complete each story. 

My second grader was thrilled when this book arrived in the mail and immediately began thumbing through the pages, enjoying the pictures and looking to see which Bible stories it contained. 

He was most excited about Noah's Voyage, and read that first. He also couldn't wait to begin Paul Meets Jesus because he is learning about Paul in our family Bible study. 

The six stories included in this hardcover are:

Paul Meets Jesus

Brave Queen Esther

Joseph The Dreamer

Noah's Voyage

Elijah, God's Mighty Prophet

Moses Leads The People 

What I appreciate about these stories is the author's attention to detail. Generally children's books skip a lot of detail because they are teaching the basics and just trying to get the main idea across. This is understandable for toddler books, maybe, but we often don't give children credit for what they can understand. If we present them with the facts, then at least they are exposed to it. They may not remember every, single, detail but at they oftentimes absorb so much more than we realize. 

For example, the story of Noah includes how old Noah was when he built the ark, how many days the ark rested before they left the ark and the fact that the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat. It is very close to the actual biblical account but written in a way that a beginning reader can read it.

Of course not every little detail can be included and my son picked up on this. In the story of Esther, my son noticed that only one feast that Esther held for the king was mentioned, not two. He also picked up on the fact that in the actual biblical account, the last dove that Noah sent out never returned but the last bird mentioned in this book was the dove with the olive branch. 

Overall, I highly recommend this book for beginning readers. My son felt confident reading these beloved stories and looks forward to more opportunities to do so. 


Disclaimer: Thanks to the Book Look Blogging Program for providing me with a free copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All opinions stated here are my own.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

3 Practical Pets For Kids


“Can I have a horse?” Most young girls have asked their parents this question with hopes held high. I’d love to surprise my little girl with a horse one day. One she can ride in our woods. A horse that she can train to jump, trot, canter and gallop. One that she can show in local competitions. Of course, every time I even slightly consider the idea, I am reminded by my husband who grew up with horses, of the continual cost of vet bills, feed, and upkeep... Read More at Our Homeschool Forum

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Seeing Idols Broken



In the Bible, we see more than one occasion where false Gods are proven to be powerless. Elijah, on Mount Caramel, proved to the people that Baal had no power, (1 Kings 18). The people called out to their god, with a loud voice. They were determined that their god would answer them, so much so, that they cut themselves and performed rituals associated with worshiping their god. Baal did not answer them, instead, the God of Israel answered Elijah's prayer by fire.  

 "When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God," (1 Kings 18:39). 

In 1 Samuel, we read about Dagon, a god worshiped by the Philistines. When the Philistines had captured the Ark of the Covenant, they had placed it near their god, Dagon. The next morning, they found their god on the ground bowing before it. The Philistines then picked it up and put it in its place. The next morning, not only had it fallen but it was broken into pieces, 

And when they arose early in the morning, behold Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the Ark of the Lord; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him. 1 Samuel 5:4

When I think of the Ark of the Covenant, I think of the presence of God. In the Old Testament, this was his dwelling place. While the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, they would carry the Ark and when they would stop and set up camp it was placed in the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle. This is where the priests would meet with God. When the Philistine god was confronted with the presence of God, it could not stand.

Fast forward to the New Testament. Hebrews says that Jesus does not dwell in holy places made with hands, as the Ark and tabernacle were, but now in heaven itself, to appear in the presence of God for us, (Hebrews 9:24).

Those of us who have received the blood of Jesus for, the remission of our sins, are God's dwelling place.(Ephesians 2:22). He no longer inhabits a place but a people. You can travel to the best churches, conferences or even Israel itself but it doesn't matter where you are, God can and will meet you anywhere, (Psalm 139:8). 

If we as Christians, carry the presence of God, then we need to realize the power in us. There truly is power that will shut up the mouths of the false gods that surround us everyday. 

I mentioned how, in the Elijah account, the people shouted using loud voices yet to no avail. Their god did not hear nor answer. We hear loud voices shouting out to the gods of this day all the time. The loud secular music blasting in the car next to us at the intersection, for example. The poor soul listening to it is simply crying out in desperation hoping that this music, that they can relate to, will help them in their time of need. It won't.

The gods that the world are trusting in are seemingly endless as are the ones infiltrating the church. I don't think I need to list them here as they are quite obvious. I'm sure that like me, you see certain gods elevated higher in this world than the Lord Jesus and it tears you up. 

...When you see the gods of this age prevailing...


DON'T ACT RASHLY: When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he was prepared to share with the Israelities the commandments that God himself had written on tablets of stone. When he came down, he was disappointed to find that the people were not worshiping the Lord, but a golden calf. Moses was angry and threw the tablets of stone down so that they broke. He then had to go up and and receive the commandments again, on new stones. 

When you see others serving false gods, even those who once followed the Lord wholeheartedly, don't act rashly. Yes, what they are doing is wrong but don't get so mad that you yourself break the commandments of God. Sometimes we can get so frustrated that we find ourselves sinning because of our anger. Then, like Moses, we will need to go back up the mountain and spend time going over the basic commandments of God, again. 

"Be ye angry and sin not," (Ephesians 4:26).

PRAY: Be like Elijah and pray. Pray and trust that God will show himself powerful. Yet don't sell yourself short. God may use you, as he did Elijah. Elijah was a vessel. He was the one that poured water on the alter and he was the one that called out to God to make himself real in front of the people. Pray for opportunities such as these in our society where you can cast down the lies of the enemies and be a vessel where others can see the power of God. 


BELIEVE GOD WILL DO IT: In the days of Dagon, I'm sure it seemed impossible for this idol to be destroyed, yet when confronted with the Ark of the Covenant, it could not stand by it's own power, anymore. False gods only have as much power as people give it. When God comes on the scene, they become rendered useless. Stay in the Word of God and obey his word. Stay humble and of a contrite spirit. Pray without ceasing and be confident in God. Be steadfast and unmovable and you will see the gods of this world break before you as Dagon did. They cannot stand forever. They will fail and they will fall.