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 9th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Charlotte Mason approach.

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



Friday, April 28, 2017

Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” ~ a TOS review

Drive Thru History The Gospels

Have you ever wanted to go to Isreal and walk in the footstep of Jesus? I know I have! If you are like me, this trip is just not going to happen anytime soon. However, what if I told you it is possible to walk in Jesus’s footsteps without even having to leave your home? It’s possible when you watch the awesome new 18-part miniseries from Drive Thru History® called Drive Thru History® - “The Gospels”.

Drive Thru History The Gospels

Drive Thru History is a fast-paced, content-rich history experience that takes you on a fun adventure through ancient civilizations and the Holy Land, all the while experiencing you are plugged right into the events that shaped the world and the Christian faith. From the people, places, and events, our host, Dave Stotts, helps make you feel as if you are right there as it happened.


For this review we received the newest series of episodes that tell the story of Jesus form the locations as recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Over the course of the 18 episodes, Dave travels to over 50 historical sites in Israel showing us all of its beauty and evidence from history, archaeology, and geography detailing the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Drive Thru History The Gospels
The Drive Thru History - The Gospels comes packaged in a hard cover book-like case. Inside you will find the three DVDs, two in the front cover and the third disk set inside the back cover. The hard cover book contains a full color study guide book that includes scripture readings and discussions questions. The full color photographs are amazing! Some photographs are two page spreads while others are just on one page.

Drive Thru History The Gospels

Episode titles include the following on each disc.



Disc 1 includes: 
1. The Historical Landscape 2. The Announcements 3. Jesus is Born 4. Jesus Grows Up 5. Jesus Starts His Ministry 6. Jesus Returns to Galilee 

Disc 2 includes: 
7. Jesus Begins His Miracles 8. Jesus Teaches with Authority 9. The Sermon on the Mount 10. Jesus Travels the Sea of Galilee 11. Jesus Travels North with His Apostles 12. A Final Trip to Jerusalem

Disc 3 includes: 
13. Jesus Arrives in Jerusalem 14. The Last Supper 15. The Trail of Jesus 16. The Crucifixion of Jesus 17. The Resurrection of Jesus 18. Who is Jesus?

Drive Thru History The Gospels

I love that these DVD’s arrived at my doorstep right before Easter. One weeknight I sat and watched the complete first DVD, episodes 1-6. Each episodes is about 1/2 hour long but after watching the first one I was hooked and wanted to watch more and more! Over the course of the next week and a half I rewatched the first disc with my children aged 16, 14, 10, 7, and 2. I love that I was able to pop the disc in the player and we could use the study guide to discuss what we had seen and learned with the discussion questions.

Drive Thru History The Gospels

I have had the chance to watch all the episodes of this series and go through the discussion questions on my own and I can tell you that I LOVE it! Being able to see where Jesus walked and taught is fascinating! I may not make it to Israel in the next few years but being able to watch this captivating series helps me experience the actual places where Jesus lived and breathed without leaving the comfort of my home. Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of Drive Thru History by clicking the banner below.

The Gospels {Drive Thru History® Reviews}

Company ~ Drive Thru History®
 Product ~ Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”
 Format ~ DVD
 Price ~ $89.95
 Ages ~ family centered
Drive Thru History
Social Media Links: 


  Hashtags:  #hsreviews #drivethruhistory #thegospels


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©2008 - 2017 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 27, 2017

Planet 316: Daily Bible Jigsaw ~ a TOS review

 Daily Bible Jigsaw by Planet 316
Sometimes I find myself getting overwhelmed with all the daily tasks that I need to accomplish each day. Not all the time, but just when things are go, go, go and I can't seem to catch my breath and get a tiny break. But you know what I have found to be a great sanity saver, the Daily Bible Jigsaw from Planet 316. I have really enjoyed playing it, so let me tell you a little more about it.

Daily Bible Jigsaw by Planet 316
Planet 316 seeks to connect people throughout the generations to bring them closer to God. Their goal is for the puzzle games to spark conversations about God and bring people closer together through the message of the gospel in a fun an exciting way.



There are several different playing options including: 
Google Play (Android devices) 
Apple App Store (iOS devices)
 Facebook ( PC or MAC computer web browsers)

 Daily Bible Jigsaw by Planet 316

Getting started with the app is quick and easy. I simply downloaded the app and went through the quick and easy registration process, then I was on my way to playing. We were gifted 500 puzzle coins for the purpose of this review and they came in so handy. You don't need puzzle coins but you can play more puzzles each day if you have them.

 Daily Bible Jigsaw by Planet 316

Since the puzzles were conveniently on my phone, I would literally play the puzzles when I was at the ball field waiting for my older daughter or while at the gymnastics gym waiting for my other three daughters to be done. It was my way to relax and unwind for a few minutes especially when I knew I would have a beautiful picture like this with scripture at the completion of the puzzle.


Daily Bible Jigsaw is a delightfully, relaxing puzzle app that can be played through the app or on Facebook. Each day there is a free new puzzle to complete. Or you can purchase puzzle coins so that you can go back through the archives and play more puzzle games. Trust me, you will want to go back through the archives to play more puzzles because it is just so much fun! I especially enjoyed this app and working through the puzzles each day.


I am competitive by nature and found it a fun challenge to make my way up the ranking ladder to the 2nd place spot in the weekly challenge by completing 111 puzzles. It didn’t seem like work doing the puzzles but more fun seeing my name rise up and up the ladder.


Overall, I would recommend this puzzle app for you, especially if you are looking for fun and relaxing at the same time! My kids always tried to play too so they spent a few of my coins when I wasn’t looking. But I didn’t fret because the app is family friendly and I didn’t have to worry about any questionable “stuff” popping up while they played. Be sure to check out what my CrewMates by clicking the banner below to read there reviews.

 Company ~ Planet 316
 Product ~ Daily Bible Jigsaw
Format ~ App
Price ~ FREE, game coins can be purchased
Ages ~ preschool through adults
Planet 316

Social Media Links:

Facebook   ~ Twitter @planet_316 

#hsreviews #dailybiblejigsaw

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©2008 - 2017 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 26, 2017

Wordless Wednesday ~ Traveling to #EASTERNS



©2008 - 2017 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 20, 2017

Apologia Educational Ministries: Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth), full set ~ a TOS review



If you are like me, getting a package of new curriculum is like Christmas! Imagine my surprise when I came home and found a box from Apologia Educational Ministries on my front porch. Yes, I knew it was coming, but still, it's always exciting to get a box of new curriculum to try out! Inside was the brand new homeschool reading curriculum called Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) full set.

Apologia Educational Ministries Readers in Residence

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 reading curriculum too?

Apologia Educational Ministries Readers in Residence
For my review I received the Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) Full Set that was written by Debra Bell. This full set is geared towards students in the 4th-6th grades or for students who are behind in reading. Some students with special needs may also find this curriculum beneficial as well. This homeschool readers set teaches the student to learn how to comprehend what they read all the while appreciating the beauty of the novel itself.

Apologia Educational Ministries Readers in Residence

Readers in Residence can be used to complete your language arts curriculum as it includes instruction in reading comprehension, literature, and vocabulary. The complete set includes a big spiral-bound all-in-one Student Text and Workbook. I love that the spiral is a bright green color. It makes it very easy to find, especially when the books somehow get up and walk away. A helpful softbound answer key is also included. This answer key book contains complete answers to student activities from the Student All-In-One Text and Workbook.


Over the course of the reading curriculum your student will cover three genres of fiction: historical fiction, animal fantasy, and contemporary realistic fiction using the novels Sarah, Plain and Tall, Charlotte’s Web, and Because of Winn-Dixie. To round out the school year, you will also select three other novels, one from each of the same genres listed.


The Student Text and Workbook is a huge book like I stated earlier with over 550 pages. Inside there are 14 modules over 6 units in this program. Each of the units in the student book are color-coded for ease of use and a helpful suggested daily schedule for 32 weeks is included. I found the fine details the schedule provides to be especially helpful for pacing and getting things done on our end.


I used this program with my current 4th grader, Montana. She is an avid reader now after initially struggling to learn to read. We worked through the program at a slower pace than the suggested schedule and used the program 3 days a week instead of the four days as suggested.


I love that the directions are crystal clear for each section of the assignment. I was able to go over the assignment with Montana and then turn her loose so to speak to complete the pages for the day. I especially liked that novel suggestions were given for the three books that we were to pick on our own. It made my job easier to not have to narrow down the many great novels out there. Read more about this product and download a sample or check out the FAQ’s.


Overall, we have truly enjoyed using this new homeschool reading curriculum from Apologia and will be using it the rest of our school year. 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 other 49 CrewMates thought of this product, Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth), by clicking the banner below.

Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) {Apologia Educational Ministries Review}


Format ~ spiral bound books 

 Price ~ $89.00 full set 

 Ages ~ 4th-6th graders, students who are behind in reading, or some students with special needs

Apologia Educational Ministries
Social Media Links:

Facebook ~ Instagram @apologiaworld ~Twitter @apologiaworld ~ Pinterest 


Hashtags:  #hsreviews #readersinresidence #homeschoolreading


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©2008 - 2017 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. 
 http://astablebeginning.com

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

CompuScholar, Inc.: Digital Savvy ~ a TOS review

CompuScholar, Inc. Digital Savvy

My oldest daughter at home this year is Madison. She is 16 years old and has dreams of going to the Air Force Academy. Upon researching admission requirements I found that she needed a year long computer class. But what exactly does that mean? After many hours of stressing out  praying and talking with a friend whose son has just be admitted to the Academy I figured out what she needed and began my search for a class. I kid you not, a few days into my research we were offered to review a new computer program called Digital Savvy from CompuScholar, Inc.! It has been the answer to my prayers!
CompuScholar, Inc.
CompuScholar, Inc. is also the company formerly known as Homeschool Programming and was founded in 2008 by Chris and Andrea Yust, so you may already be familiar with them. Chris and Andrea know that a love of computers begins at an early age so they set out to equip and inspire a new generation of students by creating courses that teach professional programming in a fun and exciting way. At the same time, they realize that most parents and teachers are not fluent in the technical aspects of computer programming so they made Computer Science education easy and approachable for all involved.

The Digital Savvy course we received is a two-semester course that is equivalent to an introductory information technology course. Basic computer knowledge like knowing how to log into the computer and launch a program as well as how to use the mouse and keyboard are all that are needed to start. This may sound trivial in this digital age, but some students and older adults do not know these basic skills.
CompuScholar, Inc.
The Digital Savvy course has enough material to cover 36 weeks of learning. You, the parent need to decide with your student if you will take the course as a self-study course or teacher-led course. Pricing for each option is a bit different yet cost effective for your budget.

 Self-study ~ $15.00/month or $120.00/year 
Teacher-led ~ $35.00/month or $300/year 

*** Choosing the 1-year option allows you to add an additional sibling to the same class for $40 (self-study) or $220 (teacher-led). ***

This course requires a computer running on a Windows or Mac operating systems. Course materials and interactive online systems can be accessed from any HTML5-compliant web browser on standard computers, laptops, or tablets with a solid internet connection. However, to complete the hands-on projects within the course, students will need to use a computer with one of the following operating systems:

 • Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 
 • Mac OS version 10.7 or higher 

The course covers the fundamental computing topics and skills students need such as:

 • Hardware, software, and operating systems 
 • Managing files and folders 
 • Basic networking 
 • Online safety and computer security
 • Using Word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation programs
 • Creating simple databases 
 • Image editing 
 • Using social media and email communications
 • Introductory website design 
 • Simple computer programming concepts 
 • Exploration of computing careers 

A detailed course syllabus for all 25 chapters is included online. Each chapter has topics divided into multiple lessons and gives an estimated number of days to complete. Lessons are presented in a similar fashion throughout and contain:

 • Video instruction ~ clearly taught video instruction that includes demonstrations of the computer concepts being taught. Perfect for auditory learners.  
 • Text ~ detailed written texts of the video lesson.
 • Quizzes/Tests ~ an automatically graded multiple choice quiz covering the written text material. Chapter tests are also graded automatically at the end of every chapter.
 • Projects ~ hands-on learning to help students practice what they have learned.

Teachers/parents are given access to their own administrative login account to track the students progress. A Teachers Guide includes a summary of the lesson, teaching objectives, copy of the student text, suggested order of lesson activities, and class discussion questions. There is also a Quiz Answer Key provided in this account feature.

The only difficulty of using this program in our household was actually getting my duaghter started. But that is at no fault of the actual program because it is easy to set up and get started within a matter of minutes. Madison was (and still is) super excited to take this class and get started, however, it was a busy season when we received the log-in info. I thought she was capable of logging in and starting on the material for the class on her own without any handholding from me, so I let her go at it. Big mistake on my part and lesson learned. She is still a young adult and needs my guidance and double checking.

While Madison has not made as much progress as I had hoped she would have, she is making strides now through the program and truly enjoying the class. I am confident that she will be finished with the first semester of the course over the summer so that we may begin the second semester when our school year starts up again at the end of July.

Having access to this course has been a lifesaver for me. Not only does my daughter get to satisfy the “computer class” requirement for the Academy, she gets to have fun in a hands-on online class. I am confident that this Digital Savvy class exceeds the “computer class” requirement and look forward to Madison's successful completion of Principles of Information Technology in January 2018.

Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of this program, Digital Savvy, and the other two programs offered for review, Web Design and Java Programming, by clicking the banner below.

Digital Savvy, Web Design & Java Programming {CompuScholar,Inc Reviews}

Product ~ Digital Savvy 
 Format ~ Online course with student-led or teacher-led options. Requires Windows or MAC operating system 
Price ~ Self-study: $15.00/month or $120.00/year OR Teacher-led: $35.00/month or $300/year 
Ages ~ 6th-12th graders
CompuScholar, Inc.
Social Media Links 
 Homeschool Programming:
 Facebook ~ Twitter  @hsprogramming 

 CompuScholar, Inc.:
Facebook ~ Twitter  @compuscholar 

 #hsreviews  #computerprogrammingforkids #codingforkids #computerskills

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©2008- 2017 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.    
http://astablebeginning.com

Monday, April 10, 2017

Watch out!


Madison jumped out of the way to avoid getting hit by a pitch in todays double header.


©2008- 2017 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.    

Saturday, April 8, 2017

See you in Michigan!


Mikayla qualified to compete at the 2017 Eastern Championships this year! She is also the Region 7 FLOOR CHAMPION with a score of 9.575 and she came in 2nd place on the Vault with a 9.750. She had a personal best AA score of 37.825. Way to go!


©2008- 2017 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 6, 2017

Homeschool 365 ~ 95/365

She beat me in our game of "Making 10"! {95/365} 




{95/365}  #astablebeginning #365homeschool #brownhomeschool365 #hiphomeschoolmoms #saxonmath #grade2math #handsonlearning #mathgenuis #mathisfun 



©2008- 2017 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 5, 2017

Memoria Press: The Story of The Thirteen Colonies & The Great Republic AND 200 Questions About American History Sets ~ a TOS review

History is an important subject in our house. After all, you learn not to repeat past mistakes from the history that is already complete. Well, in theory you do. We are studying the later half of American history this year in our homeschool but I wanted to give my 8th and 4th graders a refresher on early American History as well as we wrap up our school year. I was so pleased when I found out we were on the review for the The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set and  200 Questions About American History Set from Memoria Press! We are Classical homeschoolers who lean to the Charlotte Mason side and use quite a bit of Memoria Press curriculum in our yearly studies. If you are new to the homeschool area a let me tell you a little about Memoria Press.

Memoria Press

Memoria Press (MP) is a family-run publishing company founded by Cheryl Lowe in 1994. The company creates simple, easy-to-use classical Christian education curriculum for home and private schools all over the world. Memoria Press's produces many popular Latin, logic, literature, and classical studies courses for children in PreK-12th grade. There products are written and field-tested with the students who attend the highly acclaimed Highlands Latin School. We were blessed to receive both of these sets from MP, let me tell you more about them.

The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set

The Story of The Thirteen Colonies & The Great Republic set comes with a reader, a student guide, and a teacher guide. With 32 weekly lessons you will find a comprehensive study on American history from Native Americans through The Spanish-American War. Each lesson in the student guide is set up with the same four part format that includes:

 I. Facts to know
 II. Vocabulary
III. Comprehension questions
IV. Enrichment

The reader is a historical reader that can serve as an elementary textbook or supplemental book added to any history program. The chapters are short and sweet but don't leave out what is truly important in the events. All of the chapters include a picture or two about the chapter topic also.

200 Questions About American History Set
Grades 5-8

The 200 Questions About American History Set includes of a set of flash cards, a Student Book and a Teacher Guide. This set works well with the The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & The Great Republic set I talked about above,  however, it is meant to be used along with The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer and Everything You Need to Know About American History Homework by Kate Kelly and Anne Zeman. The student book also includes memorization practice in the form of famous poems and speeches. The flashcard set is a thick deck of heavyweight cards and includes four different categories of questioning including:

~ 150 drill questions
~ timeline dates 
~ 44 U.S. Presidents
~ notable quotes

To help my children learn and remember the  American history questions, we played in a Jeopardy style game on Thursday and Sunday nights. My girls loved the fast pace of the game and trying to gain points. Most importantly they were learning and retaining the information, a big plus in my book! We loved everything about both of these sets. It is through and gets the job done! Definitely take a peek at this set from Memoria Press and the other sets offered for review, First Form Greek Complete Set, and the Iliad & the Odyssey Complete Set by clicking the banner below.

First Form Greek, Iliad/Odyssey and American History {Memoria Press Reviews}

Company ~ Memoria Press (MP)





Format ~ physical book sets

Price ~ $48 and $27.90 respectively

Ages ~ grades 4-8

Memoria Press

Social Media Links:  
 #hsreviews #memoriapress #classicalchristianeducation #classicalyhomeschooling #Memoriapress #classicalchristianhomeschooling


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©2008- 2017 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.