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.



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wordless Wednesday




© 2008 - 2018 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.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Homeschool Spanish Academy Spring Sale



Have you started thinking about next school year? I know I have, just a little bit. Honestly my plans are in my head at this time. I won't actually start writing them down until early May. One thing that is for sure is that we will continue with Homeschool Spanish Academy for part of our Foreign language component.

Get 5% OFF your first HSA class package!

The flexibility that HSA provides for my busy gymnast is second to none. I can schedule her classes when it is convenient during her training schedule. During competition season we can tailor her learning time that best fits our schedule and all the while she is receiving world class Spanish instruction. Right now you can get 5% off your first order so it is the perfect time to give Homeschool Spanish Academy a try! Just click HERE to sign up.


*post contains affiliate links*

© 2008 - 2018 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.  

Friday, April 13, 2018

Princess Cut ~ a TOS review

Finding quality movies that highlight the type of morals and character we wish to instill in our children are few and far between these days. Recently, we were given a movie, Princess Cut by Watchman Pictures to preview. My four older daughters and I spent Easter Saturday watching and discussing the new movie so let me tell you a little more about it.

Princess Cut The Movie

Princess Cut tells the story of Grace, a Carolina farm girl, that has always dreamed of the fairy tale moment when “Mr. Right” slips a Princess Cut diamond onto her finger and asks for her hand in marriage. After a 15 month relationship with Stewart, Grace thinks her night to love someone forever has finally come. However, things go horribly wrong as Stewart announces his engagement to another young lady. Grace, rightfully so, is devastated! She reaches out to her mother and father for advice and her father shows her through soybeans a key to her finding her true love. Her father tells her that God will send the right man for her, she just needs to exercise some patience.

Throughout the movie we are shown that when God is the focus of your life, the rest of the details just fall into place. I loved being able to watch this with my girls, especially my oldest who is newly 21. In a world where our culture screams that dating at a young age is okay, this movie was refreshing to me to show my girls that it’s okay to wait on God to send you “Mr. Right”.

Princess Cut has received many accolades since being released. The Dove Foundation proclaimed that the movie was “A cut above the rest”, while Larry Elie of Friends Family Theatre say that it is “The Best Romance in Years”. This movie is a great movie to curl up to on the couch to watch as a family and open up open lines of communication about dating etc. I recommend everyone getting their hands on a copy.

Check out what my CrewMates thought of this movie by clicking the banner below!

Princess Cut {Watchman Pictures Reviews}

Company ~ Watchman Pictures 
 Product ~ Princess Cut 
 Format ~ DVD 
 Ages ~ 12+, family friendly

Watchman Pictures

Social Media Links: 

 • Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/PrincessCutMovie  • Twitter:  https://twitter.com/PrincessCutFilm      Tag:   @PrincessCutFilm      • Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/princesscutfilm/pins/ • Instagram:  http://instagram.com/paulmungernc          Tag:   @paulmungernc    • Google+:  https://plus.google.com/+Princesscutmovie    • YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/PrincessCutMovie/videos  
 
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© 2008 - 2018 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.  
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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Madison's Homeschool Diploma ~ a TOS review

Welcome back friends! Today I have an exciting review to share with you so let’s get started! 


Three years ago we graduated our first graduate, Marie, and now time has flown by and it is Madison’s turn. How can that be!? Well, she does have one more year because she graduates in 2019 but time flies guys so enjoy every moment for sure. I am so excited to share about our Personalized Diploma for Madison from Homeschool Diploma I could have gone with the Standard Diploma they offered but Madison wanted hers to be like Marie’s with a few modifications so we went with the Personalized High School Diploma.


Madison has been homeschooled since the 3rd grade when we moved across country. I tell you bringing the girls (at the time) home has been the best decision for our family. As she heads into her Senior year I love reminiscing about the highs and lows of educating her at home. Next year she will participate in our state’s big Homeschool Graduation ceremony held at the State Homeschool Convention in June, but I am so glad to have the opportunity to have this personalized diploma to showcase all of her hard work.

Homeschool Diploma

Ordering the diploma was so easy and with three different diploma styles to choose from you are sure to find one that suits your family and child! There are many different add-ons available too, like four different seals and awards. You can also personalize the diploma with a favorite scripture verse or saying. They also have “stock” sayings too, so it is not too hard to come up with something special. The ordering system guides you through the whole process and it even has pictures of options for those visual people like myself. So, what exactly did I order?


Here is the info below:
~ Personalized High School Diploma with 8.5” x 11” Deluxe Cover 
~ Seal Design: "Christian Education" Engraved Seal 
 ~ Name of Graduate: XXXX Madison Caffey 
 ~ Gender of Graduate: Female 
 ~ Name of School: A Stable Beginning Christian Academy 
~ Optional City and State of School: XXXXX, VA 
~ School Administrator: Jacquelin Caffey 
 ~ Wording of Diploma: 2B Honors {Honors Course of Study} 
 ~ Verse or Motto: The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr ~ Select the Month: May Day: 31 Year: 2019 
 ~ Left Signature Line: Signature of Mother 
 ~ Right Signature Line: Signature of Father 
 ~ Diploma Paper: Ivory Parchment 
~ Lettering Style: Hand Calligraphy 
 ~ Optional Honors Seal: Summa Cum Laude 
 ~ Diploma Cover: Black with “Classical Education” Crest and School and name stamped on front


After selecting all the options available the final step is to choose your padded cover color and design. Do you want a Seal on it? How about your child’s name? Or your school name? All of these features come exclusive with the Personalized High School Diploma. So, there you have it. Ordering a diploma is as simple as choosing your options and then pushing the order button and waiting for your diploma to arrive. Shipping is super quick, we had our diploma within a week.


We are so pleased with our diploma, I love it! Madison has not actually seen the finished product but she did choose all her selections above. I tell everyone I know with a high schooler to check out HomeschoolDiploma.com for all of their diploma and graduation needs. This is a special time of the year. You have poured everything into your child during their education so reward them and yourself with a beautiful treasure that will last.

I love everything about Homeschool Diploma and the products they provide! And you know what!? They even offer Kindergarten and 8th grade graduation diplomas along with cap and gowns too! I’ll have my last graduating Kindergartener in two years and we will commemorate that special time with his very own Kindergarten diploma.



Also be sure to check out the other special add-ons available, like class rings, apparel, and announcements and envelopes and more! Check out what my CrewMates thought of Homeschool Diploma and the other products being reviewed, 8th Grade Diploma and the Cap, Gown, Tassel and Diploma by clicking the banner below.

Kindergarten Graduation and Junior High Diploma for your Homeschool  {Homeschool Diploma Reviews}

Company ~ Homeschool Diploma 
 Price ~ Starting at $29.99 
 Ages ~ all ages

Homeschool Diploma

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© 2008 - 2018 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 4, 2018

Wordless Wednesday





© 2008 - 2018 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. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Creation Illustrated: Snow and Pine Trees Unit Studies ~ a TOS review

Somedays I spend a lot of time on the go and waiting. Waiting at the gym, waiting at the ball field, waiting at various appointments. I like to use my waiting periods productively when I can so I was really excited when I received two copies of the Creation Illustrated unit studies, Snow Unit Study and Pine Trees, as well access to the digital magazines, Winter '18 Digital Edition and Fall '17 Digital Edition that go with those studies for us to review.


I always have a magazine or book tucked away in my tote bag for those times when I spend waiting. Have you heard of Creation Illustrated? If not, let me tell you a little more about the company. Creation Illustrated is an amazing magazine showcasing God’s creation through pictures and story. For over 25 years  the Ish family has created and put together this wonderful magazine. 

Their purpose is to share the wonders of God’s creation. By revealing fresh insights of His infinite wisdom, gentle touch, undeniable justice, redeeming love, and flawless design, pure truth shall bring renewed peace. Each part of this publication is offered as a reprieve from the daily rigor’s of life so that all can look to the future with unbridled gratitude and hope.

Creation Illustrated Unit Study Pine TreesCreation Illustrated Unit Study Snow

We were given digital copies of two unit studies, the Snow Unit Study and the Pine Trees study along with there corresponding digital magazines to use. 




Each unit study is designed for students in 3rd - 8th grade and are approximately 16-17 pages in length. The file comes as a PDF download and your student will spend quality time learning all about snow and pine trees. 

The Snow unit study came at the perfect time for us. We had another snow storm and my 9th grader had inquired why it was snowing so much and she wanted to know how it was actually formed. While my 9th grader was learning about snow, my 5th grader was learning all about Pine Trees. We have a lot of pine trees in the area surrounding our house. 



Being able to work through this unit study allowed both girls to gain knowledge while completing fun activities. I love when a curriculum provides learning in disguise. Don't feel like you have to know all there is about snow or pine trees to teach your child these lessons. A helpful answer key is included for each question within the study!



The photography in the pages of the magazines are amazing and the content of the articles are just as impressive!  It is no wonder that readers call it “The Christian answer to National Geographic!”. My favorite pictures came from the Fall edition showcasing The Grand Canyon. I have never been to The Grand Canyon but the real life photography made it seem as if I were right there. Each edition is subdivided into 3 sections Creation Illustrated in Nature, in Scripture, and in Living. Each section provides the Spiritual, Mental, and Physical enrichment we all need.  Uplifting spiritual and character building lesson are also included and teach the eternal truths through the things He made.



In the back of each edition includes an instructional guide to help you glean facts or spiritual lessons from the articles with. However, they are just a guide. You can choose to just let Creation Illustrated be for enjoyment and/or informal discussion.



Creation Illustrated is published quarterly in the United States. Subscription are for the following lengths/rate:
  • 1 year $ 14.95  print subscription, 1 year $9.95/yr digital subscription
Want to try a copy before you buy? You are in luck! Request a sample issue of Creation Illustrated before committing to a subscription. I know these magazines and unit studies have been a great addition to our family so be sure to check out what my Crewmates thought by clicking on the button below.


Creation Illustrated Unit Studies {Creation Illustrated Reviews}


Company ~ Creation Illustrated  
 Format ~ digital
 Price ~ 1 year $ 14.95  print subscription, 1 year $9.95/yr digital subscription
 Ages ~ 3rd - 8th graders

Creation Illustrated
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© 2008 - 2018 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, March 28, 2018

Wordless Wednesday




© 2008 - 2018 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, March 21, 2018

Wordless Wednesday





© 2008 - 2018 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. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Home School in the Woods : Á La Carte ~ a TOS review

Way back in 2011 I attended my very first homeschool convention. We battled the summer storm weather and made the nearly 2 hour drive to the Convention center. I tell you it was glorious! While there I stumbled upon a company called Home School in the Woods as I browsed the Vendor Hall. I hit the jackpot that day with this company and We have been making history fun ever since.

Homeschool in the Woods has transformed the way we tackle hands-on history learning ever since. Did you know the company now offers many of their hands-on history projects Á La Carte? We were blessed to receive three Á La Carte items for this review including:


The Á La Carte products are smaller projects from within the bigger complete history products sold on the site. Everything from the Project Passports, Time Line series, Activity-Paks, and Time Travelers U.S. History Studies is available to choose from. Each individual product is available as a PDF download straight to your inbox. With the sheer variety of categories, games, newspapers, and lapbooks, on several topics you are sure to be able to find a project to suit your current needs.

 Greek Life!
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte productsThis file folder game puts you, the player, right into the everyday realities of ancient Greece! Be prepared to experience the blessings and perils of what an average Greece citizen would have faced during this time period. Whether you are rich or poor, this game incorporates famines, debts, and natural disasters that can throw a wrench into even the happiest of lives. 

To begin playing, quick and easy set-up of the game board is required. Detailed instructions are provided for printing. To play simply choose a player piece, who happen to be all men because that was the custom of the time, and randomly pick career card. Women were not able to pursue careers and stayed at home. The career cards are divided into upper and lower classes and the class you belong to affects your game play. Jobs available to each class are as follows:

 Lower Class: ~ Farmer
                            ~ Craftsman 
                        ~ Teacher  

Upper Class: ~ Aristocrat
                      ~ Politician
                      ~ Merchant
                                       ~ Professional Soldier 

Each player takes a turn by answering a question from the question card pile. Record your correct or incorrect answers on the tally sheet. The questions all pertain to Greece life. As you make your way around the game board you will collect wages based off your career or you may have to pay money for your family to eat.


Real life situations like marriages, debts, famine, earthquake, and war are all intertwined with game play. Running out of money during game play is a real life problem to have so be sure to watch your money supply or you will pay for it at the end of the game when questions are tallied.

To win the game, simply add up the points you received for correct questions, points for cash and the points you have for your children. Point spread can be all over the place so don’t worry too much about that because each time you play the game the scenarios will be different. The person with the highest final total is the winner!

 New Figures of the 20th and 21st Century
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products
This set includes 24 newly created modern timeline figures from the 20th and 21st centuries. The figures in this set are the same quality you can expect from the orgianal set, HISTORY Through the Ages Complete Collection of Timeline Figures on CD. With the purchase of this set you get figures in both wall and notebook size, with the option to have text descriptions or not. Figures included in this set are:

Tunguska Event - June 30, 1908 A.D.
 
Pope John Paul II - 1920-2005 A.D.
 
Margaret Thatcher - October 13, 1925 - April 8, 2013 A.D. 
Queen Elizabeth II - 1926- A.D.
 
Desmond Mpilo Tutu - 1931- A.D.
 
Norwegian Heavy Water Sabotage - February 28, 1943
 
The Invention of the Laser - May 16, 1960 A.D.
 
Barack Obama - 1961- A.D.
 
Mars Exploration - Began c. 1965 A.D. 
Computer Data Storage Grows Exponentially - Data storage on floppy disk begins c. 1970 A.D.
 
The 24-Hour (24/7) News Cycle - Began June 1, 1980 A.D. 
Operation Restore Hope - Began December 1992 A.D. 
Britain Transfers Hong Kong to China “The Handover” - July 1, 1997 A.D. 
The Growth of Social Media - 2000s A.D.
 
Hurricane Katrina - August 29, 2005 A.D.
 
The Tsunami of 2004 - December 26, 2004 A.D. 
The World’s First Space Tourist - April 28, 2001 A.D.
 
Chilean Miners Rescued - August 5 – October 13, 2010 A.D.
 
The Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011 - March 11, 2011 A.D. 
Gravitational Waves Detected for the First Time (Two Black Holes Collide) - September 14, 2015 A.D.
 
Earthquake in Haiti - January 12, 2010 A.D.
 
Pluto is Demoted to Dwarf Planet Status - August 2006 A.D.
 
The Great Recession of 2008 - 2008 A.D.
 
The World Population Reaches 7 Billion - c. October 31, 2011 / March 12, 2012 A.D. 

 The Art of Quilling
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products
Have you ever heard of Quilling? I hadn’t until I was searching through the Á La Carte items and discovered that it is the art of “paper rolling” that dates back to Ancient Egypt! This elegant craft was widely used during the 16th and 17th centuries in the Stuart, Georgian, and Regency periods and brought to the New World by settlers.


The act of “Quilling” involves cutting thin strips of paper and winding it into a form and shaping that form. There are many different types of shapes you can accomplish with like the ones shown above. A special quilling tool is available at most craft stores or you can make your own tool out of a toothpick. You’ll need a dab of clear glue to hold your quilled paper into place.

This set includes all the directions and necessary steps to create your masterpiece including a pattern, minus the colored paper strips and quilling tool. Detailed instructions are given with picture examples so you can be sure you are doing each step correctly.

I have used each of these three Á La Carte items with my children over the last few weeks. My oldest daughter at home just wrote an essay of the Earthquake in Haiti and used the text information from the timeline figure to help her during her research. The file folder game was played by my 9th and 5th graders. We are just finishing up our Greek studies in our history program and this hands-on game really tested their knowledge and they had fun playing and trying to be the winner in the end. My 5th grader also took a shot at Quilling. She thought it was tedious and time consuming rolling the strips of paper but overall had fun completing the project.


If you have hands-on learners, I wholeheartedly recommend you check out the Á La Carte items that Home School in the Woods offers. They have many great products that we use for hands-on learning along with our regular History curriculum. Again I can’t say enough about Home School in the Woods or these products! But don’t just take my word for it, see what my CrewMates thought about the different products being offered by clicking the banner below!

À La Carte Projects - Individual projects designed to enhance your studies! {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

Company ~ Home School in the Woods 
Product ~ Á La Carte items: Greek Life!, The Art of Quilling, New Figures of the 20th and 21st Century 
Format ~ PDF download 
Price ~ Greek Life! $5, The Art of Quilling $2, New Figures of the 20th and 21st Century $3 
Ages ~ elementary and up

Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products
Social Media Links: 


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© 2008 - 2018 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, March 14, 2018

Wordless Wednesday




© 2008 - 2018 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. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

What Every Child Should Know Along the Way: Parenting Made Practical ~ a TOS review

Being a parent takes work. If you put in the time and effort now while the children are young you will reap the benefits when they are older. But have you ever had a moment of panic when you thought to yourself “have I taught them everything they should know”? I have! Once when we were getting my oldest, Marie, ready to leave for University and now a second time as we prepare to send Madison to University next year. That’s why I was so glad to get a copy of the book What Every Child Should Know Along the Way from Parenting Made Practical.


Parenting Made Practical is a family owned company based out of Washington state. The author of the book, Gail Martin, and her husband, Jim, produce quality, Christian educational materials to equip and encourage moms and dads to raise respectful, obedient, and responsible children in today’s overcomplicated world. For this review we were blessed to receive a paperback copy of the book What Every Child Should Know Along the Way and a copy of the DVD Navigating the Rapids.

What Every Child Should Know Along the Way

What Every Child Should Know Along the Way is a great little book jam-paced with information on how parents can learn what to except from their children at different ages and stages of life. Several different areas are focused on including manners, chores, and responsibilities. Through hands-on, practical advice, you the parent, will learn just how to teach the necessary practical life skills to your children as well as encourage them along the way in habits of godly christian living.

This paperback book is 151 pages in length and addresses biblical parenting tips. With seven chapters the book goes into many different facets of raising godly children. The chapters include topics on:

 ~ Dynamic Devotional Living 
~ Cultivating Family Unity 
~ Gifts and Talents 
~ Biblical Character Traits 
~ Manners 
~ Practical Living Skills 
~ Personal Safety 

He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young. 
~ Isaiah 40:11 

I really enjoyed reading the “Twelve rules for Raising Delinquent Children” in the introduction. It is eye opening. When reading it I couldn’t help but see where parents are going wrong in our society right now. It also gave me an opportunity to see that I am in fact aiming my children correctly according to this list.

 ‘if you fail to aim, you aim to fail’ 
{pg. 13} 

I have found that this book came to us just in the nick of time. You see we are in a season of life right now where my husband is essentially deployed and working in another state. That means I have to be “everything” for our children. Realizing that I can’t do it all, this book has shown me the areas where I still need to instill the godly training my children. I have started focusing on raising “diligent kids” while using the included chart found within the book. When the children reach their achievement goals on the chart we can either participate in a fun activity or have a special treat.


The Practical Living Skills chart was extremely helpful for me to see just what exactly my children are capable of doing at each age. At first I was a bit hesitant to let my 8 year old vacuum, because it is bigger and heavier than her, but she was a willing participate and thought it was a fun task! I have since revamped our chore chart to include more age appropriate chores for each of my children because I was failing trying to do it all. In our house that means my 11 year old is learning to bake the muffins and biscuits the children eat each week. Yes, it is a learning process, but once she is proficient at it, it means I can use my time doing another task. My soon to be 4-year old son is learning how to empty the trash cans every other night. While it is not his favorite task, we make it fun. The list is divided by age group and builds upon the previous listing of chores. Overall, this is a go to book for me to make sure I am on track.

Navigating the Rapids of Parenting DVD

Also inside our package was a surprise DVD called Navigating the Rapids of Parenting. This video has some really great advice on how to steer your children from birth to college. The video is divided into two sessions, Session 1 is from Birth - Middle School, while Session 2 is from Middle School - College. Each session is filmed in a seminar type of setting like at a conference. The video quality is good and visuals and handouts are included too. Each session is approximately 40-45 minutes long as Joey and Carla Link detail the phases that a child goes through along with what to expect during certain phases of childhood. Examples of how to handle specific issues that arise are also given. Overall, these two items have been a helping hand in our home.

Some of my CrewMates reviewed different items including: 

Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think - (book for parents of kids ages 8-high school) 

Why Can't I Get My Kids to Behave - (book for parents of kids ages 2-12)

Navigating the Rapids of Parenting - (Video for parents of kids from age 2 through college) 

Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think - (Video for parents of kids ages 8-college)

Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate... What Works? - (Video for parents of kids ages 9-college)

Click on the banner below to read their reviews, you’ll be glad you did!

Parenting Made Practical {Reviews}

Format ~ paperback book and DVD video 
Price ~ $9.95 book and $12.95 DVD video 
Ages ~ birth through college for both products


parenting made practical

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© 2008 - 2018 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.