Saturday, September 1, 2018

A New Homeschool Year- The Plan




Well, we are almost to the beginning of the school year again and unlike in years past I am not really prepared.  I was a teacher for 12 years and I spent most of my time preparing for the school year the last week before it started and with homeschool it seems like I was always planning.  But our life took a turn this year and we actually had a very tough year from October 2017 to the present.  Many different things affected our family including death of 2 loved ones, a fire and a possible big change.  These kids have been resilient, but I feel like we fell off the wagon so many times and I never really got back up.  Needless to say, we just abruptly ended the school year and I took a lot of time off this summer working on projects around the house and praying!




I really did love Heart of Dakota which is what we used last year.  But it seemed like too much for my kids.  I thought when I initially started homeschooling I planned everything out from K-12.  Well, almost.  But each year it has been different and I don't know why.  This year is even more different.  We thought we might try a different school route with the kids, but it didn't happen right at the time we thought.  I ended up not even really thinking of what I wanted to use for homeschool.  But we didn't finish some things like math and there were many things I wanted to do, but never got around to them.



So this year it will be very simple.

Here is The Plan:

My son is 9-
*Language Arts 3 from Easy Peasy (free)
*Reading- I will choose 4-5 chapter books for reading and discussion.  See Read Aloud Revival PDF.  We will also be doing vocabulary with these books.
*Math- Finish Math Mammoth 3, Xtra Math (free) (Drill) and Math Playground (free) (play games a few times a week for 30 min)
*Introduction to the Bible from Heart of Dakota- under self study
*Read through John
*Cursive- finish our book from Intoxicated on Life
*Science- Thunderbolt Kids (free)
*History- Portraits of Integrity from Character Concepts
*Typing- Dance Mat Typing (free)
*Keys for Kids- daily devotion as a family
*Memorizing- I chose a few things for him to memorize this year: the Preamble to the Constitution, States and Capitals, Prepositions and the Gettysburg Address.



My daughter is 7:
*Reading/Language Arts-  I just discovered Reading Eggs works really well for her and it includes spelling, vocabulary and comprehension.  It's a subscription service, but you can have a free 4 week trial (they do not collect your credit card unless you order).
*Writing-  We are finishing a handwriting book and will work on handwriting by writing spelling words or copying sentences.  We will use Activity Mom's Drawing Through the Alphabet (free) to create a picture and write about it. 
*Math- Finish Math Mammoth Grade 1, Xtra Math, and Math Playground (so many fun game possibilities).
*Science- books at library, Netflix videos
*History- Portraits of Integrity from Character Concepts
*Keys for Kids- daily family devotional (free)
*Piano- Pianimals (I bought this set awhile back but she really wants to learn so we are going to try to make it work this year.)
*Typing- Dance Mat Typing (free)  She tried it this summer and did really well and it will help with Reading Eggs as she needs to type a lot.


We will be doing a variety of these everyday.  We also have Awana on Tuesday nights, library days, biking, park days (meeting up with other homeschoolers) and cooking. We will also have daily chores and other skills that include getting a basic routine. 

I will be writing out their assignments in a notebook inspired by Sarah at Read Aloud Revival.   I have actually been using this method, but I also used another book as well.  We'll just keep it simple with this and see how it works.  I also have a binder for each child for things I've copied off that they need. 

I will also be reading through the Christian Heroes series from YWAM  (I have about 40 of them) during lunch time and various other books that strike my fancy. 


Here's to a new school year and whatever may come!!  






Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Lifegiving Parent by Clay and Sally Clarkson Book Review


The Lifegiving Parent by Clay and Sally Clarkson is a much anticipated addition to round out the trio of books by Sally and her daughter Sarah in The Lifegiving Home and The Lifegiving Table.  The Lifegiving Parent is the long awaited book that Clay had been working on since before their ministry for parents began.  There is one main thread through this book and it is that lifegiving parenting starts with the parents sharing the life of Christ in their home and to their children.  The bulk of the book are the eight Heartbeats for Parental Lifegiving.  Clay begins each chapter with a mixture of family stories and Bible truths.  He then breaks down the heartbeat into practical ways to live out in the family.  Sally rounds out the chapter with one of her lifegiving "momoirs."  And the Lifegiving ParenTips reviews the lessons shared in the chapter with an action step.  



This book was full of excellent parenting principles that I hope to live in my home so I can be a life giving parent.  They said that they only scratched the surface in sharing the eight "heartbeats" but I feel they encompass a lot of what God wants parents to develop in their hearts and homes.  One of my favorite chapters was Strengthening Your Child's Faith.  I know that walking my faith journey is helping my children learn about their faith journey.  That is the key to strengthening their faith which is broken down by Clay into belief, trust, assurance, allegiance and life.  But one of my favorite quotes that I want to share with my children is "You are God's...You are loved...You are good."  Being a life giving parent is lot of work, but with God I know He will lead and guide me.  I underlined about half of this book, but this quote defines what I think life giving parenting is for me:  "It's all about helping them find and follow the life of God."  

Be sure to check out the podcast series when Sally interviews several moms and some dads about their life giving ideas.  Also, Clay and Sally do unpack all of the eight heartbeats of parenting in special podcasts they do together.  Links are shared below.  








Find The Lifegiving Parent by Clay and Sally Clarkson at any major book retailer.  

*FTC: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers.*

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Parents Rising by Arlene Pellicane Book Review AND Giveaway!


Parents Rising is Arlene Pellicane's newest release.  This book breaks down eight strategies for raising kids who love God, respect authority and value what's right.  Arlene's honest and sometimes amusing family stories give a glimpse of how to apply these strategies to everyday life.  Each chapter begins with a Bible verse and a short story.  From there Arlene uses her research to share some startling statistics for the breakdown of the strategies in modern day culture.  She weaves other author quotes and solid suggestions for implementing these ideas into the family.  At the end of each chapter there is a question, a prayer and an action point.  And interwoven in her writing she continually encourages parents to rise up.  She also gives tips for single moms and blended families. There are also discussion questions at the end of the book for group meetings.  Some of the topics covered are entertainment, boundaries, the role of the parent, daily Bible time and prayer, the priority of marriage, spending time with kids and getting them ready for life beyond the family home.  

Arlene's latest book is another one to read and devour.  She directly addresses the needs of today's family with love, encouragement and plenty of Biblical wisdom.  Arlene is candid and witty with a generous dose of common sense and a purposeful edict for parents to subscribe to God's values for raising kids today.  The best part is the Parents Rising Manifesto at the end of the book which challenges parents to read it weekly and includes all the strategies from the book to keep in mind through daily life.  I plan to read through each chapter again and evaluate where I need to rise up and read the manifesto in my morning devotions.  I love this book and I hope you will too.  


*I was given a complimentary copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for a review.  All opinions are my own.*



Giveaway!

A copy of Parents Rising to one of my readers.
US entries only
Giveaway ends Tuesday, Apr 17.
Winner will be notified by email.

To enter: 
Fill out the Google form below.

Extra entry points:








Monday, October 2, 2017

Laurie Berkner: The Dance Remixes CD Review

 
 
Laurie Berkner has just released "The Dance Remixes" of 14 of her most beloved songs for kids.  Laurie realized that many of her fans had now grown into teens and she wanted to update her songs to reflect the new sounds of her award winning favorites.  She remixes her songs into Electronic Dance Music (EDM).  Kids will enjoy the upbeat sounds including Latin-flavored and some old time fiddle music.  Laurie shines in this new album because of her timeless appeal. 
 
 
My kids and I first heard Laurie Berkner on CD at a library story time singing "We Are the Dinosaurs."  It has been so fun to see her develop her songs into great dance music.  She is funny, talented and has her own style.  We recommend this new CD for your dance parties.
 
*I was given a complimentary CD for this review.  All opinions are my own.*
 
 
 
LAURIE BERKNER: THE DANCE REMIXES
TO BE RELEASED SEPTEMBER 22
 
"The queen of children's music."
-- People Magazine


"The Adele of the preschool crowd."
-- The New York Times

 
NEW YORK -- Take 14 of The Laurie Berkner Band's most beloved songs for kids, give them a modern-day twist, and remix them into electronic dance songs that all ages will adore.  That's the recipe for legendary children's musician Laurie Berkner's new album, Laurie Berkner: The Dance Remixes, set for release on September 22.

Says Laurie Berkner, "I first thought of making an Electronic Dance Music album of my songs when I realized I was getting a lot of YouTube and Twitter followers who were teenagers. They had grown up on my music and were writing comments like 'You were my whole childhood!' or 'I've always loved your songs and still do.  I'm so glad I found you on here!'  So, I started to think about ways that I could connect more with those kids.

"I had also noticed how popular EDM was with toddlers and preschoolers, as well as their parents. EDM is so infectious, it almost dares you to TRY not dancing to it!  Suddenly the idea of making EDM remixes of my classic songs emerged as the perfect way to combine new music for young kids and their parents with a nostalgic gift to teens who were still fans."

Engineered by three-time GRAMMY winner, Dave Darlington, Laurie Berkner: The Dance Remixes presents an exciting new take on songs that have become early childhood cornerstones for an entire generation, now remixed as great dancing tunes for toddlers, tweens, teens, and beyond.  Older kids will fondly recognize the catchy songs they grew up with, like "Victor Vito," "Bumblebee (Buzz Buzz)," and "My Family," while preschoolers new to Laurie's music will have great fun boogieing to all the infectious beats.

The album features a variety of EDM styles in remixes, from the foot-stomping fun of "We Are The Dinosaurs" to the Latin-flavored "I'm Gonna Catch You," which showcases not only Laurie's delightful vocals but also some timely barking from Winston, Laurie's cocker spaniel. Certified kid favorite "The Cat Came Back" even gets an irrepresssible EDM makeover, topping the chart for artful creativity with the various layers of the song melting into each other and "meows" aplenty.

Super popular Laurie Berkner classic songs, like "BOOTS," "Rocketship Run," "Drive My Car," and "Shake Your Body Down" are also included, bringing instant nostalgia to older listeners and introducing the inimitable Berkner sweetness and radiant good humor to babies and toddlers of a new generation. This is Laurie Berkner music like it's never been heard before!

A former preschool music teacher by day and indie rocker by night, Laurie Berkner started marketing her music twenty years ago from her living room on her own label, Two Tomatoes Records.  She is now widely recognized as a pioneer in the "kindie" music genre and was crowned "the undisputed queen of kindie rock" by USA TodayThe Wall Street Journal noted, "Her music is distinctive because it speaks to kids without talking down to them, charming youngsters without boring grown-ups."

Visit www.laurieberkner.com for more about The Laurie Berkher Band, including press photos and tour dates.  Media assets and press photos are also available on the website of Laurie's distributor, Razor & Tie, at www.razorandtiepublicity.com.

Laurie Berkner: The Dance Remixes will be available for download at all digital retailers, including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and more. Physical CDs will be available at all Laurie Berkner concerts and at www.laurieberkner.com.
  
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, August 28, 2017

{Why} Motherhood Matters by September McCarthy Book Review


{Why} Motherhood Matters by September McCarthy

I am so glad I was chosen to review this book by September McCarthy about motherhood. I have felt so often that I'm a failure and what I do is so mundane and it doesn't really matter.  I can't believe that I think and feel these things because I love God so much and I want to follow and obey Him.  But I get overwhelmed and frustrated and I begin to go down the wrong path.  This book was a compilation of many different thoughts for moms who feel these things.  

September takes her experience as a mom of 10 and her passion to encourage moms and wrote {Why}Motherhood Matters because it does, much more than we can ever think or imagine.  I felt like I was sitting across the table from this sweet mom as she told me many stories of her motherhood, lessons she learned, ideas to inspire my motherhood, ways to love to my kids and husband and myself.  But most of all, to keep my mind and heart focused on Jesus who gives me the strength and grace to be the mom He created me to be.  

Throughout the book September inserts specific Bible verses that pertain to the topic in the chapter, practical steps to take toward the the topic, questions to think about, her own parenting principle and a special prayer.  Each chapter had a different theme.  My favorites were: Why Overwhelmed Does Not Have to be Your Middle Name, Why Most of Motherhood Will be Spent on our Knees, Why a Tired Mom Can be the Most Influential Mom and Why It's OK to Say No to Your Children.  But one of my favorites is shared in the video below read by another author (Wendy Speake who wrote Triggers) who shares Why The Yelling Mom Can Find Hope and Help.  Click HERE to see video.






This is a book I will pick up and read a chapter from when I need encouragement or wisdom.  Motherhood is much harder and more emotionally, physically and spiritually draining than I ever thought.  But it is the sacrifice that God has called me to.  As September says, "Motherhood is an incredible labor of love- and in the scope of eternity, it matters more than you know."  I will not give up and I will stay strong in the Lord because I know it matters for eternity.  






Find more information at: http://whymotherhoodmatters.com/




*I was given a complimentary copy of this book for a launch team review.  All opinions are my own.*

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Lesson Planning! (another video!)

Hi Friends, I had some questions about how I do lesson planning.  I hope this short video will show you how quick and easy it is and how I can make weekly notes to remember everything that happens or what needs to be done.




Student Planner that I use from Queen Homeschool.  


*Affiliate links*

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Heart of Dakota 1st Grade: Little Hearts for His Glory (videos)

Hi Friends, I shared a bit ago that we are using Heart of Dakota this year for our curriculum.  I was getting a bit exhausted piecing together different curriculum especially for science and history.  I was a teacher and I really like to include these as subjects even though we experience nature and visit museums, it's just fun to explore more with books too.

So, my daughter will be in 1st grade and I made a special notebook for her to use with Little Hearts for His Glory.







So, there you have it!  I'm excited to start planning and preparing and experiencing Heart of Dakota with my daughter.  The lesson guide looks amazing and I know we will have a fun year together.




Extra curriculum we use: 


*Queen Homeschool:  Language Lessons for Little Ones Volume 2 and the Student Planner

*Math Mammoth 1st Grade (we will probably only do Book A this year)



I look forward to sharing more of what we will be doing this year in our homeschool.  Have a great day!

*Some Affiliate links*