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.

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
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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 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. 

Wednesday, March 7, 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 6, 2018

7 Days with NO cap: Magic Stix Washable Markers ~ a TOS review

I have a daughter who loves to doodle and draw. In fact all of my kids love to color. Being able to express yourself through art is therapeutic for the soul! Sometimes finding high quality, safe, and most importantly washable art supplies can be quite a challenge. I want my kids to get creative and messy, but I don't always want the mess that goes along with it. That's why my craft loving kids have enjoyed using Magic Stix Washable Markers from The Pencil Grip, Inc.!

If you are not familiar with The Pencil Grip company, it was founded in 1992 by Dr. Lois Provda, a prominent educational therapist. Since inventing the first grips way back in the early 90's, the company has grown to offer many unique and innovative products for the home, school, and office. The newest item for The Pencil Grip, Inc. is the Magic Stix marker. We received the 24 pack and have been using them in some fashion every week!

So, just what is so special about these particular markers? Let me tell you all about their greatness!

Washable ~ marker on your hands, face and/or body, clothes? What about the walls and carpet? No problem, it comes out! 

Unscented ~ no smelly fumes to cause headaches here. 

Assorted colors ~ bright, vibrate colors. Available in packs of 12 or 24. 

No-cap guarantee ~ long lasting colors that won't dry out even when the cap is left off for 7 days!

These markers arrived just in time for us to travel to Atlanta and they were a life saver on the long trip. Not only did I not have to worry about them drying out because they were left uncapped in the van, but they were the perfect activity for my kids to do as I plugged along down the highway.

The plastic carrying case is the perfect size for our on the go bag! It is made from durable plastic and not too clunky. Inside each marker snaps into place and the case has two latches to keep it closed on the outside. I love that the case keeps the markers neat and tidy. With 24 different colors you are sure to find just the right shade you are looking for. The tip of the marker is not too fat or too skinny so you won't have any problems doing detail work.

Overall, we love these markers and they go everywhere with us in our travel bag! The fact that the cap can stay off for 7 plus days is HUGE in my book, especially since I have a three year old who frequently forgets to recap the markers. Each of our makers has been going strong since the day we got them, cap or no cap. The fact that these markers are non-toxic, odorless, and come in a variety of colors hues you need to get your hands on a set of the these. You marker budget will thank you! I would love to see The Pencil Grip release a dry erase set of markers like these!

Magic Stix Washable Markers

Check out what my CrewMates thought of these markers by clicking the banner below!

Magic Stix Washable Markers {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}

 Price ~ $18.71 
 Ages ~ 3 and up
The Pencil Grip, Inc.
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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. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Drive Thru History Adventures ~ a TOS review

I'll be the first one to tell you that history does not have to be boring! In fact, if you are looking for a fun way to learn all about history look no further than the Drive Thru History Adventures from Drive Thru History. We have had access to this new curriculum for the past six weeks and it has changed our homeschool history studies for the better!

Drive Thru History Adventures
It's about that time when homeschoolers start looking for new curriculum. If history is on your list of curriculum needs for American History, Bible History, or Ancient History you are going to want to check out Drive Thru History Adventures.

Drive Thru History Adventures

Drive Thru History is a fast-paced, content-rich history experience that takes you on a fun adventure through ancient civilizations, American history, 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. Last year we had the chance to review The Gospels and this new curriculum program is just as great!
Drive Thru History Adventures
I can't tell you how excited we were to receive access to all these great homeschool videos from Drive Thru History Adventures and what is even better is we also gained access to three wonderful courses to go with these videos!

 Bible History ~ walk where Jesus walked during this 18 week course and experience Ancient Israel as you travel through the Gospels during the time of Jesus Christ.

 American History ~ spend 12 weeks digging into early American history from Columbus to the Constitution.

 Ancient History ~ find out just how the ancient empires fit in with the rise of Christianity and the Western Civilization as you explore early Greece, Rome, and Asia minor for 12 weeks.

Drive Thru History Adventures
With our one year subscription access to the Drive Thru History Adventures curriculum is good for the entire family on multiple devices. While we received access to the entire site we mainly focused on the Bible History and Ancient History parts for my three younger girls. With 12 lessons in Ancient History and 18 lessons in the Bible History our approach was to watch the videos on Mondays and Tuesdays. The video's are not overly long, approximately 45 minutes. Then we would discuss them throughout the week or I would have my older girls write me a summary of what they learned.

My 9th grader, Mikayla, gained the most from using this interactive Homeschool Video Curriculum because she is such a visual learner and not a strong reader. She is making strides, but still struggles with comprehension from time to time. The videos are a great fit for her because she remembers so much more information after seeing it. Another bonus that I find incredibly helpful, is the fact that the course material lines up with the current time period we are studying in our main history program! In using the Drive Thru History, I have been teaching Mikayla to take notes using the audio/video lecture. An important skill to have in my book, especially since college is quickly approaching for her.
Drive Thru History Adventures
My 5th grader, Montana, has used the course similarly to my high schooler, but tailored to her ability. I was able to present the class to her as another online class, thus making her feel more grown up like her older sister who take several online classes. While she is fully capable of doing the work, I did have to remember at times that she is only in 5th grade and adjust my expectations.

While this curriculum is intended for ages 12 and up, younger children are able to enjoy the videos. My youngest daughter McKenzie, my 2nd grader, really just enjoyed the videos. I asked her discussion questions throughout the video on her level to check for comprehension but she was really just along for the ride so to speak. Each lesson includes recommendations and extra resources available such as discussion questions, expert articles, additional reading, worksheets. There is so much to this program that you will find students going down several different rabbit trails in your quest to know more!

In addition to the awesome curriculum we were given access to the Adventures TV with our subscription. These are where Dave Stotts shines the most with the funny add-ons. Not only are they funny, they are historically informative tidbits of useful information about history and current events too. These are provided in the weekly update on the site.

So, what's the bottom line about this curriculum? Make room in your budget to get this subscription! Hands-down the best out there! We love Dave and most of all my children are learning and having fun watching him! We hope to make it to the Bible museum in DC this summer and can't wait to check out his exhibit. Want to know what my CrewMates thought of this curriculum? Click the banner below to find out!

Drive Thru History Adventures - Subscription {Drive Thru History Adventures Reviews}

 Format ~ online videos 
 Price ~ $124.99 per year 
 Ages ~ 12 and up

Drive Thru History Adventures

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Crew Disclaimer
© 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.