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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

WriteBonnieRose: Learning About Science Collection, Level 3 (Cursive) ~ a TOS review

Just because it's still summer doesn’t mean the learning stops happening in our house. In fact we like to add fun subjects like science to our summer studies so I was excited to receive Learning About Science Collection, Level 3 (Cursive) from WriteBonnieRose to use with McKenzie, my 3rd grader.

For this review we received downloadable PDF files by email for all seven topics in the level 3 cursive set. This fun set will take your elementary aged student on an exciting exploration of earth, life, and physical science. Through the course of the collection your child will learn all about different types of animals, plants, ocean zones, volcanoes, photosynthesis, rocks, energy, and weather to name a few.

Learning about Science Collection Level 3 Cursive

Learning takes place in disguise as your child colors simple drawings and traces key words. I short, informative paragraph written to an elementary child about each topic is included. At the end of each book is a short review section to test knowledge on the topics covered. Once again, this section includes simple, yet cute drawings that can be X’d out or circled.

The topics studied in this set are:

Kinds of Animals and How They Live ~ 18 pages of life science material covering nine different types of animals and 32 specific animals.

What’s Going on Inside Plants? ~ 16 pages of life science material covering photosynthesis and transpiration.

Life in the Ocean’s Hidden Zones ~ 21 pages of life science discovering the five ocean zones and exploring 37 different plants and animals that live there.

Forecasting and Understanding the Weather ~ 18 pages of physical science showcasing the tools weather forecasters use as well as the three elements of weather.

Discovering Rocks, Minerals, and Crystals ~ 18 pages of earth science materials all about the types of rocks that make up our planet.

Exploring the Earth’s Landforms ~ 18 pages of earth science discovering what makes up the earth.

Energy and Its Many Forms ~ 26 pages of physical science that explore the five main types of energy and explore the role of chemical energy in our daily lives.

We received the cursive set, but it also comes in a print edition as well. Getting started was as easy as me printing off the pages and binding them together. The title page and the preceding copywriter page are the only color of the eBook, the rest is black and white. I printed these two pages back to back on a heavier presentation paper in color. The rest of the eBook I printed back to back also.

My soon to be 3rd grader is learning cursive so this is the perfect set for her. She found the tracing to be easy for her to do without too much struggle. She is just beginning to like to color and pay attention to detail in her work. She chose to use a combination of colored pencils and markers in her coloring.

Overall, we have throughly enjoyed this set for WriteBonnieRose. The format of writing and coloring is a good combination for McKenzie and we are both excited to continue working through the remaining learning topics over the course of our school year. I know they will come in handy when we start traveling and she wants something to do in the van. Be sure to check out the resources offered on WriteBonnieRose. She has a plethora of material on all topics and some of it is free.

Learning About Science collections {WriteBonnieRose Reviews}
Click the banner below and check out what my CrewMates thought of the set we reviewed and the other levels also. Learning About Science Collection, Level 1, Learning About Science Collection, Level 2, Learning About Science Collection, Level 3 (Print) .

Learning About Science collections {WriteBonnieRose Reviews}
 Format ~ PDF download 
Price ~ $12.00 
Ages ~ elementary students

Write Bonnie Rose
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Friday, July 27, 2018

Smart Kidz Radio ~ a TOS review

Today I want to tell you about a brand new program from Smart Kidz Media called Smart Kidz Radio. For the last few weeks my kids and I have had the opportunity to review this free online radio station just for kids.
Smart Kidz Radio
In our house we listen to the radio when we do chores. So each night while the dishes are being done and the house is being tidied up you will find the radio on. With Smart Kidz Radio I don’t have to worry about what is going to come on and if it is appropriate for my kids.

Smart Kidz Radio

Smart Kidz Media's newest offering, Smart Kidz Radio, can be described as edutainment with hundreds of songs and stories for kids. Accessing this program is as easy as using an internet browser or by using the Smart Kidz Radio App. The App will be available very soon in the Apple Store or the Google Play Store.

This new music stream includes original songs to help kids learn valuable life skills. Everything from early learning to good behavior, or general survival skills. You’ll also find a wide assortment of classic fairy tales, everything from Cinderella to Treasure Island, to listen to in the podcast section. The fairy tales are super fun and include sound effects and music in addition to the character voices that read the story.

Smart Kidz Radio

The new music stream is also available with an On-Demand membership which will include access to over 1,000 original songs and stores. A small fee will be charged for this section but it will not affect you from enjoying the free sections.

Smart Kidz Radio Homeschool Reviews
I love that this kids radio is ad-free. That makes it easy to turn on and know that nothing questionable will come up if I step out of the room. All of this goodness is available right from your computer or the App (when available). You can sign up for a free 14-day trial membership to the On-Demand section and see if it is a good fit for your family.

See what my CrewMates think by clicking the banner below!

Online Geology Classes{Northwest Treasures Reviews}

Product ~ Smart Kidz Radio 
 Format ~ online streaming 
 Ages ~ 2 years-old and up

Smart Kidz Radio

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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, July 26, 2018

Northwest Treasures: Dinosaurs and the Bible and Taking the Mystery Out of Geology ~ a TOS review

Since my children all like science, we were excited to dive into a few Geology courses and have the opportunity to watch the introductory video Taking the Mystery Out of Geology. We also had the chance to have my dinosaur loving daughter to take the Dinosaurs and the Bible from Northwest Treasures.

Northwest Treasures

If you haven’t heard, Northwest Treasures is a company that teaches science through a Christian perspective. They have several geology courses including this one about dinosaurs and courses from the PreK-3rd grade Geology for "Little Eyes" through the high school level Northwest Treasures Curriculum Project. They also have physical courses and trips so be sure to check them out too.

Dinosaurs and the Bible Online Course

Our Dinosaur adventures began when we were given 6 months rental access to this video on demand series on Vimeo. With six lessons the whole instructional time is just 1 hour 49 minutes for the total course. Each of the six videos is approximately 16 to 21 minutes long so they are perfect for summer learning or during a school break. The best part is you can re-watch the videos over and over during your rental period.

In this course you will learn about: 
Lesson 1 ~ How We Got Our Modern View of Dinosaurs 
 Lesson 2 ~ The Classification of Dinosaurs: discusses the taxonomy 

Lesson 3 ~ Dinosaurs and the Bible, The Great Dinosaur Rush: finding and naming the dinosaurs from bones 
Lesson 4 ~ The Extinction of the Dinosaurs: just how did the dinosaurs really die 
 Lesson 5 ~ Dinosaurs and the Ice Age: dinosaurs during the Ice Age 
 Lesson 6 ~ Fossils, Age and Soft Tissue: fossils are time-making indicators. Just how old are they?

Because the videos are short they held my 11-year old daughters attention with no problem. The high quality photos and graphics in the presentation are very well done. The narrator, Patrick Nurre, has a soothing voice in the background. Lesson worksheets are provided too. They are simple worksheets that test comprehension of the material covered in the video. We were able to use these as a quick question and answer session.

Take the Mystery out of Geology Online Course

We also had the chance to watch a single episode about Taking the Mystery Out of Geology. It is only 20 minutes long and shows you why it is so important to approach your study of science from a Christian worldview. This video is also intended for the 5th grade and up crowd as it explores different philosophies like evolutionism, creationism, and uniformitarianism to name a few.

Online Geology Classes{Northwest Treasures Reviews}
We have all enjoyed this video series tremendously! Montana loves dinosaurs and this series just fueled her love even more. She would love to have her own dinosaur fossils so we are going to surprise her with some for her birthday. My older daughter, Madison, is currently away at her pre-college program in Michigan taking a course on Geology. Madison dreams of being a Space Physicist and Montana loves chemistry. I can’t wait to share this video series with Madison when she returns next week so we can compare what she learned at school and what’s in the video. I know we will have some amazing dinner discussion! What I love most about this series is that emphasis is put on scripture and proves that you can be a scientist and be a Bible believing Christian too!

Overall this is a great course and we have enjoyed it tremendously! Our subscription lasts until the end of December so I know we will get a few more viewings of the videos in before our access ends. Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of both of these courses and the other course offered, Geology and Apologetics by clicking the banner below.

Online Geology Classes{Northwest Treasures Reviews}

Company ~ Northwest Treasures 
Format ~ online, Vimeo video
 Price ~ $39.99, on sale for $19.99 
 Ages ~ 5th grade through adult

Northwest Treasures
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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, July 25, 2018

Wordless Wednesday ~ Wrapping up Standardized Testing

© 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, July 24, 2018

Great Waters Press: No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope ~ a TOS review

Ah, the tween years… You know that time between 8-14 years-old when your seemingly lovable, snuggly child jumps aboard the emotional rollercoaster called puberty and you get a one way ticket. There’s not much you can do about it but hold on for the ride. Well, that was before Hal & Melanie Young, the authors of Raising Real Men, released their newest book called No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope from Great Waters Press.
No Longer Little by Hal and Melanie Young
Hal and Melanie Young wrote this 203 page to help you navigate the sometimes rough waters of the tween years. Inside the pages they halep you see what might be going on not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually with your child. The tone of the book is gentle and doesn’t make you feel like a failure but rather guides you along with a helping hand with encouragement, strategies and tips to deal with the ever changing emotions of your child during this time.

The Youngs have raised eight children, six boys and two girls, so they have first-hand perspective to raising children through the teen years. The book includes twelve chapters, an introduction, references, scripture references, an index, as well as a Colophon page which describes the fonts used. Speaking of fonts, I really like the 14-point Neuton font used throughout this book. It’s nice and easy on the eyes and makes the book easily readable.

The topics discussed within the pages of this book include: 

Chapter 1: Getting Bigger ~ Hormones and Body Changes 
Chapter 2: The Rollercoaster ~ Emotional Upheaval 
Chapter 3: Brains Turn to Mush ~ Why School Goes Awry 
Chapter 4: Many A Conflict, Many a Doubt ~ Spiritual Questioning 
Chapter 5: The Awakening ~ Sexuality and Virtue 
Chapter 6: Social Struggles ~ Overcoming Awkwardness 
Chapter 7: Media, Gaming, and Discernment ~ More than Amusement 
Chapter 8: Conflict At Home ~ Family Relationships 
Chapter 9: Transitioning: Youth in the Bible 
Chapter 10: Celebrating Growth ~ Coming of Age Ceremonies 
Chapter 11: Producers, Not Consumers ~ Work and Stewardship 
Chapter 12: The Next Big Thing ~ High School and Beyond 

This book arrived just as I was about to take a trip to Michigan so I popped it in my carryon bag to read on the plane. Since I was traveling all day long between Michigan and home I was able to get through Chapter 5 that first day. I was able to finish the book the following week and then I went back to the sections I had marked to dig in a bit more. As you know I have five girls and 1 boy so I have been through this stage three times already yet I felt unprepared each of those times. Before I was literally gob smacked when my child emerged from her room and her brain was literally mush and she couldn’t even do simple multiplication problems. Like how does that even happen!?

Being able to read this book has helped me prepare for the little changes that lead to the bigger changes that are still to come. My youngest two daughters are in the “tween” stage at 8 and 11 years-old. Thankfully, my 11 year old seems to be somewhat coming out of the fog, so to speak, but I am just entering it full swing with my soon to be 9 year-old. And let me tell you guys, she is a little spitfire. She may be little, but oh she is fierce and has an opinion of her own. Having your own opinion is not a bad thing, but I don’t need to argue and fuss with little people over every.single.thing. Why? Because I’m the Mama!

Yes, the tween years of 8-14 years-old can be a difficult time for both parent and child, so I am glad I had some new helpful advice with their newest title to arm myself for this upcoming stage. One of the tips I have been implementing is a reward system. Each of my children have a focus area where they need to dedicate more time to learning or mastering. Whether it be math facts or fluency in reading. So, we have set up a reward system. Do your job and master your goal and you will be rewarded for your effort.

This works well for my children who are naturally competitive and love to play games. A few weeks ago we had an arm wrestling contest, which I won the grand championship , guess I’m a bit competitive too. We made it so whoever was challenging had to recite a math fact family, by skip counting while doing push ups. We would pick a fact family by rolling our die and each child would have the chance to recite the facts up to 12. If a mistake was made, that person would do push ups for the number they missed. If it was too high of a number, we would half or quarter it, or the person would do jumping jacks instead. While my middle schooler doesn’t have all her multiplication facts mastered she is getting closer and quicker at remembering them more easily just as my 8 year old is learning her basics 3’s and 4 facts.

Love, Honor, and Virtue  AND No Longer Little {Great Waters Press Reviews}
Another chapter I found helpful was Chapter 7 on Media, Gaming, and Discernment. We are on the brink of a media ban which includes all Ipads, phones, laptops, etc. to start August 6th, the week before we head back to school. However, I may just need to instill a two week ban because attitudes and tones have become an issue over the last few days. I am a firm believer that starring at a screen too long causes attitudes to become skewed. I also found that when my children play a certain pixelated game they become more aggressive towards each other in tone and speech. Something that I have nipped in the bud immediately by banning the playing of the game. I even refunded my daughter the price of the game because she is no longer able to play. While we do not have cable TV anymore the lure of Netflix and other online streaming can become overwhelming too. So, it’s all about learning to balance everything.

Overall, I have found No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope to be a breath of fresh air. It has given me the framework and guidance that I need to help guide my Tweens through this emotional time all the while protecting our relationship through newfound moods and growing minds and bodies. I recommend you get your hands on a copy of this book, you’ll be glad you did. Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of this book as well as the other title being reviewed, Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality by clicking the banner below too.

Love, Honor, and Virtue  AND No Longer Little {Great Waters Press Reviews}

 Format ~ paperback book, ISBN #9781938554216 
 Price ~ $19.97 sale
 Ages ~ for parents of Tweens, 8-14 years-old

Raising Real Men
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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, July 19, 2018

Progeny Press: The Josefina Story Quilt - eGuide ~ a TOS review

Have you been gearing up for the new school year? Have you been looking for quality literature guides? Our family has always enjoyed the literature guides we have used from Progeny Press and today I am excited to tell you about our newest guide called, The Josefina Story Quilt - eGuide.

Our family has a fond affection towards good books and let me tell you literature guides make reading even more enjoyable! Progeny Press has been a family owned and operated company since 1992. They produce high quality literature guides from a Christian worldview ranging from lower elementary years through high school. They literally have 100+L guides and add 3-6 new titles each year ranging from lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and high school. They have got you covered!

The Josefina Story Quilt tells the story of Faith as her family packs up theirs covered wagon as they prepare for the long journey to California. Faith’s beloved pet hen, Josefina, is nearly left behind because she is deemed too old to lay eggs and her meat meat is too tough to eat and there is no room on the wagon. 

At the last minute, Faith’s father allows her to bring Josefina along as long as she does not make trouble. Along the way on the journey to CA, Faith starts to make a patchwork quilt to tell the story of her family’s trip west. She has many memories to quilt as Josefina nearly causes a stampede and falls into the river.

My daughter, McKenzie, really enjoyed reading the story and completing some of the activities within this guide. One of her favorite activities was choosing 5 things to pack for the journey. Here are her choices:





(Lol, an iPad!)

McKenzie was able to read the story aloud to me over the course of two days. She especially loved that the main character shared her name. 

    Josefina Story Quilt

The E-Guide is set up in an easy to follow style. It gives a Synopsis, tells about the author and illustrator, and includes a pre-reading activities. There is also an Overview of the complete story line as well as Post-Reading activities to complete. If your student enjoys this book, additional resources are provided towards the back with other novel suggestions.

Each chapter of the book is broken down in the E-Guide and the student’s knowledge is tested by several different types of learning exercises including:

Vocabulary ~ multi types of exercises including multiple choice, context clues, fill-in-the-blank, and dictionary definitions.

Comprehension questions ~ testing the students’ knowledge of what was read.

Thinking about the story ~ thinking questions and making story connections.

Descriptive writing ~ these fun exercises get kids thinking all the while encouraging writing skills.

Literary devices ~ presented at grade level.

Digging deeper ~ scripture and life lessons are presented in a Christian worldview.

I love that each guide takes care to draw the student back to the Bible.

As you can see each guide includes a variety of elements, depending on the level of the study. Check out the sample of the types of questions and information contained in the guides at the website. To make navigation on the website easier, literature guides are categorized by both genre and grade-level. The guides are extremely user-friendly and are currently available as a print version, CD in PDF format, and email as a PDF attachment.

I also love that there is no limit on copying pages for use within our home/school.  Progeny Press Guides are economically priced from $10.99 to $27.99.

New Study Guides for Literature From a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Reviews}

Check out the online catalog for individual pricing on all the available guides.
We enjoyed our literature guide and will be purchasing more in the next few months for next school year.  

Check out what my Crewmates thought of the other guides being reviewed, The Green Book - eGuide , The Scavengers - eGuide , and Perelandra - eGuide by clicking  the banner below.

New Study Guides for Literature From a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Reviews}

Company ~ Progeny Press
Format ~ online PDF
Price ~ $11.99
Ages ~ 1st - 3rd grade

Progeny Press
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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.