This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 8th year of homeschooling using a Classical approach.

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



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

YWAM Publishing: Heroes of History - Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Storybook Life ~ a TOS review

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

History is a favorite subject of mine right after science that is and since we use a mostly Classical, literature based curriculum we get to read a lot. I know you probably already know that our family likes to read, but I am going to tell you again SmileRecently, I have been reading aloud to the girls from the book Heroes of History: Laura Ingalls Wilder ~ A Storybook Life  and the corresponding Digital Unit Study Guide from YWAM Publishing as we have been studying all about her fascinating life growing up.

YWAM, who?  I know that’s probably what you're thinking because I know I was when I first heard of the company. However, when I read the titles that were offered for review, I quickly realized that I was already familiar with the YWAM Publishing company since our history curriculum uses several of the books.

YWAM Publishing is the publishing division to the Youth With A Mission organization and is headquartered in Seattle, WA. There mission is to provide quality Christian materials to help fund children and adults around the world through vital missions programs. We received a physical copy of the book and a PDF copy of the study guide for the purpose of this review. I should note the book is available in either paperback, Kindle or Nook version, eBook, or audio book in MP3 or CD formats for just $7.50. 


The study guide that correlates with the book is a gem and retails for just $5.49! It is choke full of activities and projects including:
  • Student Explorations ~ essay writing, creative writing, hands-on projects, audio/visual projects, arts/crafts
  • Social Studies ~ reproducible maps, geography, terms/vocabulary, journey tracking, critical thinking
  • Bible Study ~ scripture memorization, devotional application, spiritual concepts
  • Community Links ~ meaningful field trips, guest speaker ideas, service projects
  • Related Themes to Explore ~ missions, current events, life skills, math, government, science
  • Bibliography or Related Resources ~ books, movies, documentaries, magazine articles, websites
  • Culminating Event ~ project displays, cultural food, music, and activities, oral presentations
Designed for both individual or group learning this study guide is suitable for many grade/age levels and a wide variety of learning styles because of the many different types of projects and activities offered. It includes many projects and writing assignments to keep you busy and engaged with what you are learning. There is so much in this guide for all ages including:
~ Creative writing prompts
~ Dramas
~ Reading comprehension questions
~ Essay writing assignments
~Geography
~ Timeline project
~ Movie critiquing
~ Hands on projects, audio visual projects, arts & crafts projects
~ Games
~ Many additional resource ideas

We used both of these products in our family for group learning during our Morning Time Recitations. I found it easier to print the chapters individually and read aloud to the girls. We would then go over the discussion questions out loud for what we had just read. While the story is recommended for ages 10 and up I still feel like my 6 year old learned something along with her older sisters. 

We are right in the midst of completing our Westward Expansion unit and this unit study fit right in perfectly. The adventures of Laura and her family are timeless and have been enjoyed for many years. I wholeheartedly recommend this book from YWAM Publishing! Be sure to get your hands on this book and some of the others in the series they produce. You will be glad you did! 

Also be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of this book and the other book / study guide combinations,
  being offered for review by clicking the banner below.

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

Company ~ YWAM Publishing 
Price ~ $7.50
Ages ~ 10 and up

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

Website: www.ywampublishing.com

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The YWAM Publishing Blog: www.ywampublishingblog.com

Hashtags:  #christianheroes #heroesthenandnow #christianbiographies #herobiographies #homeschoolcurriculum #homeschooling #americanhistory #americanhistorycurriculum  #ywampublishing #truebiographies


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©2008 - 2016 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

*Almost* edible 10 Plagues study ~ The Plague of Darkness

Can you imagine living in total darkness for three days? Well, I guess if you are from Alaska or somewhere in northern Canada it would be no big deal because you are used to it. But complete darkness? Personally, I think that would be just a bit scary. Especially since it says that the darkness was so thick that you could not see anyone else else or move about. That’s what happened to the Egyptians when Pharaoh once again decided he would not let the Israelites go to worship the Lord.

We had a sweet treat this morning of Oreo cookies. I used these cookies and decorated them with little tiny eyes. To make the eyes I used a dab of white frosting and mini chocolate chips. A friend suggested on my Instagram account that chocolate cupcakes would work for this plague too. I will keep that in mind for when I go back through these plagues with Micah when he is older. The children loved the cookies and Madison even joined us for a sweet treat.


The reading for today came from Exodus 10:21-29 New International Version (NIV)

The Plague of Darkness
21 “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. 

23 No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.
24 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, “Go, worship the Lord. Even your women and children may go with you; only leave your flocks and herds behind.”
25 But Moses said, “You must allow us to have sacrifices and burnt offerings to present to the Lord our God. 26 Our livestock too must go with us; not a hoof is to be left behind. We have to use some of them in worshiping the Lord our God, and until we get there we will not know what we are to use to worship the Lord.”
27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go. 28 Pharaoh said to Moses, “Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die.”
29 “Just as you say,” Moses replied. “I will never appear before you again.””

After I read to the children I always ask them questions to check for comprehension or have them narrate the story back to me. When someone misses a detail someone else is always quick to jump in and tell the fact. I have said it before but I love that they are making the connections to the Bible stories and remembering so much.

Our craft for the day was so much fun! We made these fun plague of darkness sunglass eyes. This was a simple craft to complete just like many of the ones we have previously done. It didn’t have any coloring to it, just printing and cutting and pasting. The final products turned out so cute!



I can’t believe that tomorrow is the last installment of our 10 Plagues study and we will learn about the ultimate plague for the Egyptians. The Lord had a plan when he started all of these plagues and it is fulfilling to see Him carry them out in His word.

Tomorrow at sundown also marks the beginning of Passover. It is a celebration of freedom from when the Lord freed his people from the Egyptian slavery to their Exodus to the land that he promised them. I pray you have a blessed Passover celebration!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
*Almost* Edible Plagues
 River to blood ~Nile River {bottled} water and Hawaiian punch packet
Frogs ~ gummy green and white frogs
Lice ~ black jelly beans
Flies ~ toy flies
Livestock ~ Mother’s pink and white animal cookies
Boils ~ Capt'n Crunch Berries {just the red berries}
Hail and Fire ~ Hot Tamales encased in big marshmallows
Locusts ~ toy grasshoppers


©2008 - 2016 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Writers in Residence from Apologia Educational Ministries ~ a TOS Review

Writing is a thorn in my side some days. I strive to teach my girls to be great writers but sometimes I will admit to coming up short in this department. So, imagine my surprise when I found out I was on the review list for the new homeschool writing curriculum, Writers in Residence from Apologia Educational Ministries  .
Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

I am sure you have heard of Apologia Educational Ministries if you are a homeschooler. If you are not, let me tell you a little about them. Apologia is one of those companies that everybody talks about and for good reason too!
When most people hear Apologia’s name mentioned they immediately think of their award winning science programs for elementary through high school.  But did you know that they now offer a homeschool writing curriculum too?

For my review I received the Writers in Residence Volume 1 Full Set that was written by Debra Bell that is geared towards students in the 4th – 8th grade. The complete set includes a big spiral-bound all-in-one Student Text and Workbook. A helpful answer key is also included. It is intended for grades 4-8. 
Writers In Residence {WIR} is the first of three volumes in the new series and is a writing-focused language arts program. The Student Text and Workbook is a huge book like I said. Okay, huge might be an overstatement, but it is a spiral bound book with over 500 pages. Inside there are 6 units in this program that integrates grammar and writing all at once. The units include:
~ Unit 1: I Remember
Writing Assignment: “When I Was Young”
~ Unit 2: I Imagine
Writing Assignment: “Very Truly Yours”
~ Unit 3: I Investigate
Writing Assignment: “My Family Hall of Fame”
~ Unit 4: I Think
Writing Assignment: “My Favorite Author”
~ Unit 5: I Remember
Writing Assignment: “The History of Me”
~ Unit 6: I Imagine
Writing Assignment: “Zap! Pow! Kazam!”

Each of the units in the student book are color-coded for ease. A helpful suggested daily schedule for 32 weeks is included. The fine details it provides is really helpful for pacing and getting things done on our end.

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review
I used this program with Mikayla who is my reluctant writer. I love how the program is written directly to her and it provides clear checklists and instructions so she knows what to expect each day. This program is set up so that Mikayla can work independently, which is a huge plus. I can send her with her assignment on Mondays and Fridays, her gym double days, and know that the instructions are clear and precise for her. I do double check her work on the weekends to make sure things are getting done. So far, so good, we will stick with this program for the rest of this school year.

One of the features of this curriculum that I like the best is the spotlight on several Christian writers like Phil Vischer and Bill Myers to name a few. I had fun browsing through the whole book reading the bios of the authors.

I am sure you know Apologia also publishes K-12 Creation-based science and worldview curriculum for children K-12, inspirational books about homeschooling, and hosts online classes through Apologia Academy, but if not definitely check out the website and explore all their offerings. And be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of this product by clicking the banner below.
Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

Price ~ $89.00
Ages ~ 4th – 8th grade

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review
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Hashtags: #hsreviews #DebraBell #middleschoollanguagearts #middleschoolwriting



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©2008 - 2016 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

*Almost* edible 10 Plagues study ~ The Plague of Locusts

Today we ventured through the 8th plague, the Plague of Locusts. I don’t know about you but that just gives me the heebee jeebees thinking about grasshopper covering the land so that it was black. I am not a huge bug/insect fan, but I am working on it. But still, I would be no good with this Plague of Locusts.

Micah was a bit disappointed that there was no edible part for today. So much so that he tried to eat our toy grasshopper! Yes, yes he did. He proceeded to cry afterwards because it was not edible. Ah, such is the life with a toddler. Lucky for him tomorrow I have a sweet treat planned.

Our craft for the day, a clothespin grasshopper, was a bit complex in the fact that it had so many parts. I chose to laminate the bodies after the girls colored them instead of mounting them on construction paper. It made them a little more durable especially in the hands of the aforementioned toddler. Once again, I read from the Bible as the girls worked on their grasshoppers.

Exodus 10:1-20 New International Version (NIV)
The Plague of Locusts
10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”
So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields. They will fill your houses and those of all your officials and all the Egyptians—something neither your parents nor your ancestors have ever seen from the day they settled in this land till now.’” Then Moses turned and left Pharaoh.
Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the Lord their God. Do you not yet realize that Egypt is ruined?”
Then Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “Go, worship the Lord your God,” he said. “But tell me who will be going.”
Moses answered, “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the Lord.”
10 Pharaoh said, “The Lord be with you—if I let you go, along with your women and children! Clearly you are bent on evil.[a] 11 No! Have only the men go and worship the Lord, since that’s what you have been asking for.” Then Moses and Aaron were driven out of Pharaoh’s presence.
12 And the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over Egypt so that locusts swarm over the land and devour everything growing in the fields, everything left by the hail.”



13 So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the Lord made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts; 14 they invaded all Egypt and settled down in every area of the country in great numbers. Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again. 15 They covered all the ground until it was black. They devoured all that was left after the hail—everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on tree or plant in all the land of Egypt.
16 Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. 17 Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the Lord your God to take this deadly plague away from me.”
18 Moses then left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord19 And the Lord changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up the locusts and carried them into the Red Sea.[b] Not a locust was left anywhere in Egypt. 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about our adventures through the 10 Plagues so far and the crafts that we have done. The next two plagues will be so great as the Lord shows his hand and mocks the Egyptians as He prepares to bring the final, ultimate plague. 
I hope to see you back here tomorrow!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
*Almost* Edible Plagues
 River to blood ~Nile River {bottled} water and Hawaiian punch packet
Frogs ~ gummy green and white frogs
Lice ~ black jelly beans
Flies ~ toy flies
Livestock ~ Mother’s pink and white animal cookies
Boils ~ Capt'n Crunch Berries {just the red berries}
Hail and Fire ~ Hot Tamales encased in big marshmallows



©2008 - 2016 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.