This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 15th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Literature based approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

TOS Review ~ Aletheia Writing Magazine

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I received the Aletheia Writing Magazine in the mail.  Aletheia is Greek for TRUTH and is a quarterly published magazine for Creativity in Christian Teens aged 13-19.


Aletheia Magazine was created as a platform for teenagers to express themselves. Each issue features stories, poems, and book reviews written by fellow teens.  There is also a photography selection that I have to say was really impressive.

Submissions to the magazine are accepted for genres such as  Fiction, Non-Fiction, Artwork, Photography, and Book Reviews. Every month there is a  writer's challenge with a deadline date for submissions. October’s Challenge can be viewed by clicking, HERE.

While I thought Aletheia is a well thought out magazine, I am just not sure it is right for our family.  I have a 14 year old that does enjoy writing but just not the particular genre featured in the magazine.  I think it would be a great opportunity if your child enjoyed fantasy etc., but it is just not for us.  Check out what my fellow Crewmates had to say by clicking HERE.

Company ~Aletheia Writing Magazine

Product ~ Aletheia Magazine

Price ~ $26.00 for 4 issues per year, $29.00 Canadian pricing *Price includes shipping and handling* 

Ages ~ 13-19

Available to Purchase~ To purchase a subscription visit, HERE.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~    I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2011-2012 Crew and as such received a copy of Solve It! 3rd: Problem-Solving Strategies + CD from AIMS, in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up, week 5 ~ character training

Week 5…WHEW!  We had another long week, but we made it through with God’s grace.  Without airing everything, but in the spirit of keeping it “real” we had some character issues with a few members of this household.  So we spent a few days really dealing with and getting things lined up the way they are supposed to be.  I was lovingly reminded by my Aunt Janice not to try to be a Super Mom by rather an Abiding Mom.

But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace.  It is being patient, kind and good.  It is being faithful and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their sinful nature to his cross. They don’t want what their sinful nature loves and longs for. Since we live by the Sprit, let us march in step with the Spirit. Let us not become proud. Let us not make each other angry. Let us not want what belongs to others.   ~Galatians 5:22-26 (NIrV)

As far as schooling goes, I have lowered my expectations of what the girls need to get done without sacrificing the quality of their education. I recognized I was expecting too much, trying to plug in too many classes so we dropped a few classes and it is going well. I had to really examine myself and what I really wanted the girls to accomplish this year and just focus on that.

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We started Science for Madison & Mikayla and learned all about cells.  We looked at onion and celery cells under the microscope.  We didn’t get to make the edible Jell-o cell…but you know what?  THAT’S O.K.! 

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Madison got a lesson on writing paragraphs and wrote about a personal experience as part of her Rod  & Staff composition assignment.  She chose to write about when we moved from WA State to our current location in 2009.  I have to say she wrote a very well detailed paragraph and included highlights of our trip, including when Montana’s car seat got stuff in the airplane seat.


Wednesday the girls had their dental cleaning. Out of the four girls that got their teeth cleaned we only had one cavity.  Next cleaning  in March I am hoping for NO cavities.  Madison will be getting her braces in the beginning of the year, and she is really excited. We also made it to the library after the dentist.  McKenzie kept her shoes on so we didn’t get the evil eye from the librarian :-)  She is starting to enjoy looking for books and sitting at the little toddler tables reading her books.

Thursday brought co-op and much needed encouragement.  It is a long day because Marie’s class is not over until 4P.M. and Madison’s starts at 1030A.M. Because we live so far out we have to leave our house by 945A.M. to get there with a little cushion time to get settled, but it is worth it.  I just need to be better prepared on my part Wednesday nights so that things can run more smoothly and so I can make it to Group night at church.

That was our week, how was yours?  Check out how other homeschoolers weeks went over at WUHS.

Friday, September 23, 2011

TOS Review ~ AIMS- Solve It! 3rd Problem-Solving Strategies

Have you ever heard of AIMS? I hadn’t until this review opportunity came up.  AIMS is an acronym for Activities Integrating Math and Science.  The company was founded on the principles that children need hands on opportunities to develop problem solving skills.

About the Book
“A Collection of activities designed to introduce students to nine problem-solving strategies.  The tasks included will engage students in active, hands-on investigations that allow them to apply their number, measurement, computation, geometry, data organization, and algebra skills in problem-solving settings.
The strategies addressed are: use manipulatives, write a number sentence, draw out the problem, guess and check, organized the information, look for patterns, use logical thinking, work backwards, and wish for an easier problem.  Also included are practice problems that can be used for assessment.
These activities give students the opportunity to develop a toolbox of problem-solving tools that they can draw from when approaching problems.  These skill will serve them well not only in mathematics, but in other academic subjects and their everyday lives.” (from the cover)
This book provided some much needed problem-solving skills for my 5th and 3rd graders to work on.  While some of the activities are geared for bigger groups we still managed to get the most out of the activities.  I especially found it helpful to have the included CD for easy printing of activity sheets. Overall we would recommend this product to anyone looking  for help in problem solving skills.  It is a great find with many activities to keep you  busy learning throughout the year!
Check out what my Crewmates had to say about this and other books we reviewed from AIMS Education Foundation, HERE.

Price: $24.95
Ages: Grades 3-5
Available to Purchase: AIMS
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I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2011-2012 Crew and as such received a copy of Solve It! 3rd: Problem-Solving Strategies + CD from AIMS, in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

THEO winner!


image_thumb Congratulations Monique, you are the winner of the THEO giveaway.  Thanks to all who entered!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

TOS Review ~ Before Five in a Row

Do you have a preschooler wanting to “do” school like there older siblings?  I definitely do!  I jumped at the offer to review Before Five in a Row because I thought it would be a perfect fit for Montana and McKenzie.  Let me tell you we were not disappointed!


Jane Claire Lambert designed Before Five in a Row for preschoolers roughly two to four years old.  Instead of formal academics for this age group, Before Five in a Row helps to build special memories with your child by introducing important pre-learning skills needed  later in academics.

 The vision statement for Before Five in a Row is this:

"Dedicated to protecting and nurturing the early years of childhood, Before Five in a Row opens up the world of learning through great books and creative play, and builds a solid foundation for more formal education to come."

This Volume, and all volumes, are divided into two parts.  The first part of the Before Five in a Row book includes twenty-three mini-units based on beloved picture books.  Some of the great books include Corduroy, Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?, Caps for Sale, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Blueberries for Sal (one of our favorites), and many more treasures.

The second half of this book is subtitled, “Parents Treasury of Creative Ideas for Learning Readiness.” This awesome section contains activities for building reading readiness and for developing both fine and gross motor skills. The activities listed include fun play activities that can be used anytime.  Play is a very important part of a child's development and  ideas are included for for in the kitchen, things to do at the store or while out and about town, and even bath time suggestions.

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         Before Five in a Row met all of my expectations and then some!!!  Like many young children my girls love to be read to.  We spent many days cuddled on the couch or on the floor reading great classic stories over and over again.  I think we read Blueberries for Sal over 15 times in one week.  But you know what, my little girls loved it and Montana and McKenzie were able to and act out some of the scenes in their playtime and Montana is able to narrate the story to me.   I would most definitely recommend Before Five in a Row and any of the Five in a Row products to anyone with young children.  We give this product 6 thumbs up!  I look forward to heading into Volume 1 next year and digging a little deeper into the stories and activities.

Check out what my Crewmates thought about Before Five in a Row.  FIAR-Logo

Product: Before Five in a Row

Price: The parent's guide is reasonably priced at $35.00.  The corresponding books are sold separately or available at your local library (but check your bookshelves you may already own some).

Company: Five in a Row

Ages: 2-4 year olds

Available to purchase: Rainbow Resource and Amazon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2011-2012 Crew and as such received a copy of Before Five in a Row from Five in a Row, in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up, Week 3 ~ Birthdays and set backs

Whew!  We had 2 birthdays to celebrate this week, one on the 13th for Montana, 5th and one on the 17th for the Lt. With McKenzie’s birthday just two weeks ago I have had enough cake to last me until November (when it’s Madison’s birthday)! 

We spent Tuesday at Chuck E. Cheese and had the whole facility to ourselves, love that!  Montana had a great day and was spoiled with all of her gifts she received.  Madison won 125 tickets from the Wheel of Fortune machine, she was screaming and jumping around so excited. The Lt.’s birthday was low key since he was out with an engagement Friday night and most of Saturday.  We had an ice cream cake from Cold Stone and Chinese food for dinner.  CADIE 5TH birthday 145CADIE 5TH birthday 110Mike's 37th bday 021 

McKenzie has decided that she is going to potty train this CADIE 5TH birthday 010week.  She has been doing quite fabulous and she is nearly day trained.  She is so cute wearing her 5-ply training panties.  You know how most toddlers have no hips, well she really has no hips whatsoever!





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School wise things are going well. We started co-op on Thursday and on Wednesday the girls were so excited for it to start.  That is all they talked about at “recess” with our neighborhood homeschool friends.  It was really great to see so many old and make new friends too.  What a great encouragement booster just to be surrounded by so many seasoned homeschool moms.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up  ~ Galatians 6:9

I do wonder some days if I am expecting too much or if I have assigned too much… but things are going along.  We had a bit of a set back early in the week with Marie in Biology but we got back on track by Friday and she scored a “B” on her science test.  After our week, I will take that!  She is wanting to be totally independent in her studies and be hulled up in her room all day.  I don’t feel she is quite yet ready for complete independence.  I don’t want our High School studies to be so secluded and independent as a Freshman. 

How do you handle High School in your house?


weekly-wrap-up_thumb2 I am linking this post up with the Weekly Wrap Up @WUHS. Head on over and see how everyone week went.


Friday, September 16, 2011

THEO ~ Teaching Children God’s Word (& giveaway)


What a great little gem this is!  I was recently given the opportunity to review THEO: Teaching Children God’s Word from Whitestone Media.  The short 9 minute episodes are just the perfect length to grabbing little ones attentions.  

About THEO

“Theo Presents is centered around the adventures and teachings of the main character, Theo, a student of Godʼs Word. Theo lives in a cozy corner of a quaint English village, in the heart of the Cotswolds, and entertains many guests, including two mice, Belfry and Luther.

The animation series of Theo guides children and adults through a careful study of systematic theology. Theo discusses doctrines about sin, Godʼs character, the Bible, salvation and godly living with easy-to-understand illustrations that make children want to learn more about the Christian faith.

Theo Presents recognizes a universal fact: children and adults alike love cartoons. Theo captures the attention of young minds with liberal amounts of humor and high quality animation to present the Gospel of the Christian faith through the teachings of Theo and with the use of his two object lessons, Belfry and Luther.

Theo Presents is designed to serve as a multi-media resource tool that will help men, women and children fulfill the Great Commission of Christ, to go into all the world and make disciples and to teach those disciples God's Word. The multi-media outlets include a DVD series, curriculum, books and iPhone/iPad app. Each of these facets are designed to work with one another or individually.” (From the website)

We really enjoyed this little DVD program and we recommend it for everyone!  Want to hear the best part? feature_buy1give1 Well, For every “Theo: God’s Love” DVD purchased, Whitestone Media and Child Evangelism Fellowship® will send a child in need their very own DVD!  How awesome is that!  And you even get to choose what part of the world you would like your DVD sent.

Check out the Bonus Episode “Good News” HERE (because I am having issues embedding it) and tell me what you think to be entered into a giveaway for you very own copy of THEO.  That’s the mandatory entry and you are entered to win.  The drawing will close Wednesday, September 21 @ 8PM and the winner will be selected by random drawing and announced Thursday morning. Anyone can enter so hop to it!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I received a free copy of THEO ~ Teaching Children God’s Word, in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

TOS Review ~ Wise Alec ~ Nature Nut

We are games nuts around here so this was right up our alley when this review was offered.  It was a fun game to play during our 6 day power outage due to Hurricane Irene  when there was not much else to do.



"Explore the marvels of nature with the trivia game based on the award-winning Wise Alec Family Trivia Game! There are 300 questions to test your knowledge of animals, plants, and the Earth. Two levels of questions, on each card, let everyone from the nature novice to the eco-expert play together. Plus, Wise Alec cards will get you going with clever challenges and fun activities!"

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Wise Alec Nature Nuts Travel Game & Expansion Set by Griddly Games is geared towards children 8 and up, but my 4 year old enjoyed the game too by being on a team with Daddy.  She had fun guessing at some of the questions and especially loved the Purple Wise Alec cards.  We had to fight to keep the die away from McKenzie.  At one point she had swiped it and in the low light we could not find it for a bit.  Gotta love 2 year olds!

This trivia game is geared towards two to six players and to be played either in points value or time increments.  All you need to get started is a piece of paper and pen or pencil and then your off to test your skills in three different categories  including, Earth (yellow), Animals (red), Plants (green), and the wild card Wise Alec (purple).  Taking turns rolling a die determines which card/category your question comes from.  Each card includes two questions, a 3 point one for the younger crowd and 7 point option for the older group.  The purple Wise Alec cards were the best hands down.  Some of the fun activities on these cards include making a fish face, acting like a monkey, doing Yoga tree pose, or saying a twisty tongue twister like “One hedgehog hedged up the hedge, whilst another hedgehog hedged down.”.

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We thoroughly enjoyed playing this game and learning new things at the same time.  We chose to stagger the points, with the older players having to score 50 points to win while the younger players only needed 35 to win.  Because of our low light we also chose to make each question worth 5 points each instead of the 3 or 7 points like the game was written.  A good time was had by all and the girls have requested we play more rounds and to purchase the Wise Alec Trivia game set.  We recommend this game with two thumbs up for great family fun!

Find out what my crewmates had to say about this game by clicking HERE.


Product: Wise Alec Nature Nuts

Price: $14.99

Company: Griddly Games

Ages: 8 and up

Available to Purchase: Amazon and local game shops

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2011-2012 Crew and as such received a copy of Wise Alec ~ Nature Nuts from Griddly Games, in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

TOS Review ~ How to Have a H.E.A.R.T for your Kids

I am happy to say that I am starting off my 2nd year on TOS Review Crew with a bang!  Now that we have power back from Hurricane Irene and things are starting to get back to normal I am excited to share my first review with you from Apologia.  I was given a little gem called How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for your Kids by Rachael Carmen. This little 5x7 gem of a book came into my life just in the nick of time as we where just about to start our new school year.  It's compact size makes it easy to to transport for those on the go life moments.  The primary message is summed up on the back cover. 

How well do you really know your kids? What has God shown you about who they are and who they will become? He has sent these children into your home at this specific time for His glorious purposes. Indeed, you have been invited on the adventure of a lifetime, God and hold tight to His mighty hand! As with so many things, the first step to having a journey on which you will see walls fall, seas parted, and giants slain. You don’t need special skills or training for this journey—you need only to seek  heart for your children is knowing your heavenly Father. As you seek daily to share His heart for your children, keep this inspirational book close at hand.

It is a great read and I was impressed right from the get go with the introduction.  I especially loved the way Rachael used an acrostic to get the H.E.A.R.T. message across.  Each letter has its own chapter and without it the book would be lacking. 

H ~ Have a Heart for the Things of God
E ~ Enrich your Marriage
A ~ Accept your Kids
R ~ Release Them to God
T ~ Teach them the Truth

With a highlighter in hand I marked up my book and made notes in the margins on all the little insights that Rachael Carmen packed into the book.  One of my favorite passages from the book was on page 32 and goes like this:

“‘Intentional parenting"means that we are thoughful and purposeful in our actions and words.  As intentional parents we do not react, but we respond.  We do not panic; we pray.  We do not give sermons; we give scripture. And we are prepared to do so through our own pursuit of God, for His glory and by His grace.  By seeking God first, we are going before our families, paving the way for our kids.  We are clearing a path through the undergrowth that is everyday life and showing our children how to put Him first in all things.”

Wow, Amazing!!!  What a great quote to strive for as we go about our daily lives and raising our children.  It definitely gives me something to think about each and every day.

I highly recommend this book, hands down.  You don't have to be a homeschool mom to benefit from the insights in this book.  I recommend you order this book for yourself and one for your best friend, yeah, it's that good!!!

Product: How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids by Rachael Carmen

Price: $13.00

Company: Published by Apologia Press

Ages: Written for parents for encouragement

Available for Purchase: Apologia Online Store

Check out my other reviews of Apologia products, Who is God? , Good Morning, God, and Read for the Heart.

I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2011-2012 Crew and as such received a copy of How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids from Apologia, in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Weekly Wrap Up, Week 2 ~Hurricane Irene & no power

This post will have no pictures, as I do not have my camera cord with me.  First let me just say it is good to be back to "normal" around here, well as normal gets that is.  Hurricane Irene barreled her way off the coast of VA last weekend and took out our power on Saturday around 5P.M.  We did not get power back until Thursday, September 1st!!!  While it wasn't so bad, there were days when not having electricity was almost unbearable.  But we survived and had some very nice undistracted/uninterupted family time.

.We did manage to get some school work done.  Week 2 has been going good with our core curriculum, although I feel like we are just skimming the surface.  I have already decided that changes need to be made in our TOG studies for Marie and Madison.  Currently, I have Marie doing all Rhetoric level work, but honestly it is not working on the literature level.  I read the reviews about how year 1 is like taking a college class for literature,  but being the stubborn girl I am decided to give it a whirl.  Well, it is NOT working, she is just not quite ready for that level of thinking, no fault of her own.  Madison, is having a hard time focusing and staying on task.  I am moving her to strictly Upper Grammar work in History and Literature.  

Mikayla has been having those lightbulb moments when things are starting to click in History, her least favorite subject.  We have yet to get to our salt map or our pyramid replica, but it is on my list of things to accomplish in week 3.  Montana is speeding along in her phonics studies.  She recited the complete Vowel Poem, from the Ordinary Parents guide to Reading.  I am thinking of skipping ahead a bit and just reviewing the consonant sounds.  She sounded out and wrote "C-a-t" and drew a picture all by herself while I was working with one of the other girls.  It is like night and day with McKenzie and her communication now that she has her ear tubes in!  She is talking in sentences and trying new words each and every day, Amazing what a little tube can do.

The Lt. worked very hard preceeding the hurricane to get his Helo's out of the area.  For two straight days last week he did not get home until after 9P.M. and then had to turn around and leave in the morning at 530A.M.  Because of the Hurricane his conversion package was delayed in getting back to him and we had to make a mad scramble to get it postmarked and overnighted before September 1st.  With God's provision we made the deadline and should know whether he will convert sometime later this year.  The conversion will provide greater growth and job opportunities for him.

Next week we start at our new gymnastics gym and we are all excited for what's to come.  I am linking this post up to the Weekly Wrap Up over at Weird Unsocialized Homescholer, head on over and check out how others weeks went.