Thursday, June 22, 2017

Real Life Lessons

I know that I have been absent for a few weeks now, but I have learned a whole new meaning of the word busy with the addition of 2 beautiful children to our home. Sweet Pea is a 4-year-old little girl and her little brother Roo who is 8-weeks-old have joined our clan and have reminded this momma the true meaning of busy! 😊 There obviously isn't much I can share with you regarding these sweet babies that we are privileged to get the opportunity to love on. However, I have learned a thing or two this past month that I would like to share with you.

1. That first week was tough. I knew it would be, but I severely underestimated it! As I was whining to God about how hard this was one morning, I was reminded that this was a mission field and that it wasn't meant to be easy.  I thought about all the support that lived within a 5 mile radius of us. I then thought about all the foreign missionaries that live thousands of miles from anyone they know, in a country that is very different from their home. My prayers for missions changed that day. I gained a new respect for people who leave everything familiar behind to share the gospel!

2. I don't like grace, unless it is for me! I love to quote that I am saved by grace. When I fail, I love to remind myself and others of the grace found in Christ. However, when a bio parent fails again and again, I get impatient with a 'lax system.' I call it broken and begin to pass all sorts of judgement that is simply not mine to pass. God once again reminded me of that He sent Jesus to die for them too, and that He sent me to share that with these parents and children. PS there is no way that I can share Him if I am judging them! 
Now, I pray for them, that they could come to know that grace that is so sweet and amazing!

3. My babies were a cake walk! To all you mommas out there who have battled colic, I apologize! From the bottom of my heart, you sweet ladies, with the patience of Job, deserve a reward! I know there has to be a special crown in Heaven for you! Colic is AWFUL!!! Daddy T decided last night that a baby crying on an endless repeat is how we should interrogate criminal. He swears they would fess up every single time! (I think he's probably right!) 

4. People are RUDE! I now have 7 beautiful children that God has given me to raise and teach about Him and I love it! However people think that it is their business of how many children I have and if I know what causes them! I am appalled by the rude remarks that have been directed at us over the last 2 weeks. When did we as a nation forget that children are a precious gift from above? 

5. That I covet prayers more now than I ever have. I need His strength every single second of every day. I need to lean on Him in the wee hours of the morning when I am running on no sleep and holding this sweet baby boy. I need to remember why I am doing this when there is milk spilled, a baby crying, the phone ringing and 4 hungry children waiting on me. 

This is not an easy path, but I knew that it wouldn't be. I am not sharing all this for sympathy, but for perspective. Sometimes this road can seem lonely, like I am the only one walking here. I know that there are more of us out there, more called to loving someone else's child for today (because tomorrow is not promised). I want you to know, if that is you, that you are not alone. I cherish you my fellow foster parents! I pray for you too. That the Lord would help you to rely on His strength that is so perfect in your weakness! This verse is for you:

Galatians 6:9 (NIV) 
"And let us not become weary in doing good,
 for at the proper time we will reap a harvest 
if you do not give up."

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Adventures of Rush Revere- A Review

I must have been living under a rock, but I have just recently learned about a series of books that teach about American history: Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh. After learning about this series, I was so excited to find our that we had been chosen to review all 5 books in the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series

On box day I was impressed with how beautiful these books are! The came just like you see above, wrapped together and tied with a blue satin ribbon! The beauty didn't stop there: the pages of these book are full color! Seriously! The pictures are both fun and historical. I knew that these would be a winner in the Crunchy Household! 

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh and his wife Kathryn Adams Limbaugh wrote this fantastic series of books about a substitute history teacher named Rush Revere and his talking horse, Liberty. Together they use time-travel to teach the classroom full of students about American History.  There are 5 books in all that each cover a different part of history.

Book 1: "Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrim" Here we join Rush, Liberty and their student, Tommy as they travel back in history to learn more about the pilgrims aboard the Mayflower. I was impressed to see an actual copy of the Mayflower Compact in the book! As we were reading this fun fictional book we were actually learning about key parts of American History. 

Book 2: "Rush Revere and the First Patriots"  Rush and Liberty take more students along as they rush, rush into history and learn about key people like Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere (Rush's favorite) and Samuel Adams. We see the beginnings of the revolt against England as the colonists get tired of all the unfair taxing by King George. Posters from The Sons of Liberty and newspapers of the day are used to bring history to life. 

Book 3: "Rush Revere and the American Revolution" The rebellion is getting intense as Rush and Liberty along with students, Tommy, Freedom, and Cam visit soldiers during the American Revolution. 
There is a special moment with Cam's dad in present day. He is a American soldier fighting in Afghanistan. I thought this was a great way to tie history to present for the kiddos!

Book 4: "Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner" 1787-1814 are years filled with key people in our history. In this great book we learn about the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the people who helped form the basis of our democracy. 

Book 5: "Rush Revere and the Presidency"  One of the students decides to run for student president. What better way to learn about presidents than time-traveling to meet the first 3 presidents of the newly free America?! In this great adventure we learn how hard those first few years as a new nation were. 

Each night before bed Daddy T read a chapter to the kiddos. It became a highlight of our day. The kiddos loved hearing all the crazy situations that the time-traveling crew got into. Their favorite was Liberty and his constant eating! With us starting cycle 3 of Classical Conversations this fall, this was a perfect read aloud to help us prepare to learn more about early American history!

I also discovered that there is a Homeschool Depot on their website compete with study guides and fun activities to go along with each book. 

These books are a great resource for any family to introduce American History to their kids in a laid back, fun way!

Adventures of Rush Revere

Adventures of Rush Revere
You can connect with Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh online on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew received copies of the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series too. You can read their thoughts by clicking the link below:
Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series {Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Whistlefritz- A Review

The Crunchy Kiddos have always loved learning Spanish. Most of the programs that I have found tend to be for upper elementary kids and leave my younger two out. You can imagine their excitement when I found out we were chosen to review Whistlefritz's Educator's Spanish Collection. This program is geared specifically towards children 1-7 years old!
Whistlefritz Spanish

We received the Educator's Spanish Collection which includes 5 DVDs, 3 music CDs, Spanish Matching Cards, and Spanish Lesson Plans For Kids book. The lesson plans are broken into 40 lessons that include activities and conversation dialogue for practicing. The lesson book tells you when to incorporate the DVDs, CDs, and cards to help reinforce learning. 

The kiddos were excited when we got our box in the mail. They didn't want to wait to watch the videos. So of course, I allowed them to watch one right away. Brother Bear was mesmerized. He sat staring and trying to repeat the words he was hearing. Sister was not a fan. She didn't understand and therefore was not interested in watching anymore. 

I set out to plan our week using the lesson plan book provided. 

First off, I want to say I took 2 years of Spanish in high school and also went on a mission trip to Mexico where we ran a Vacation Bible School for the local children. So, I have some basic conversational Spanish knowledge. That being said, I was completely lost when I started reading the Teacher Input on Lesson 1. It sounded and looked so different than anything I had ever seen or heard. As I researched I found out that it is a very formal version of Spanish. I adjusted some parts to make it more conversational and less formal when teaching my kiddos because I want them to be able to communicate naturally.

We started Lesson 1 making puppets to use in our Independent Practice. The kiddos loved this part! Anything crafty makes them happy, but getting to use the craft as part of school is a definite win!

I found out that there are free printable homeschool lesson plans on their website that are not as complete as the book, but differ slightly. I printed those off to try as well. I have to say, the book is a more complete educational experience, but the free printable ones were more the style of learning that I was expecting. 

I felt that the printable plans used the DVDs and CDs in a more user friendly way. We were able to follow along better with how things were supposed to work. They also required less prep time for me. 

The overall idea of this program is perfect. I think there are a few things that could make it more user friendly. I wish the DVDs were able to skip to scenes or chapters to find the corresponding scenes for each lesson. The way that the lesson plan book uses the DVDs, it made it difficult to find what we were supposed to watch at times. I also wish the book was more like the printable plans. They were much easier to follow, in my opinion. 

Whistlefritz Spanish

The kiddos enjoyed the fun music and colorful videos. It helped keep them engaged more as they began to learn vocabulary. Even Sister began to enjoy the videos once she understood what was being talked about. 

Whistlefritz Spanish

This would be a perfect fit for a family of younger learners who would like to have a bilingual approach to teaching. The Lesson Plan book is a cross-curricular style lessons and therefore tended to be almost too much for our family. However, if you were looking for more of an all inclusive style Spanish curriculum, this would be a great fit for you. 


You can connect with Whistlefritz online:

Other members of the Crew were given the chance to review both the Spanish and French Collections. You can read about their experiences by clicking on the link below:

Spanish and French {Whistlefritz Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Memoria Press: Prima Latina- A Review

Memoria Press
Recently we were chosen to review Prima Latina Complete Set by Memoria Press. I thought this would be a great way to help Popper get a head start on Latin before he began Classical Conversations in the fall. He was excited to learn it too.

Prima Latina Complete Set

We received the Complete Set of Prima Latina which includes a DVD with instructions for each lesson by a Latin teacher, a CD which includes a pronunciation guide, songs, and prayers used in the lessons, flashcards, a Teacher's Manual and a Student's book. Prima Latina is the first level in the Latin studies by Memoria Press and is for first through third graders.  Even though Popper will be in fourth grade in August, I decided to start with Prima Latina as his foundation. Their Latin programs all build on one another so he will be able to move to Latina Christiana with confidence when he is finished.

There are 26 lessons included in Prima Latina. We worked one lesson per week. On Mondays Popper watched the instruction video on the laptop. This was so valuable to me. I have never learned Latin and therefore did not have the first clue as to how to teach him. No problem! The DVD has all the lessons taught by a teacher, Leigh Lowe. In the student workbook there is a page that correlates with each lesson so that Popper could have a visual of what was being taught.  Each week covers 5 areas: Practical Latin, the actual lesson (this is where the grammar to taught), Vocabulary, Latin Prayers, and Derivatives. 

On Wednesday Popper worked on half his workbook pages that went with that weeks lessons. Each week has review questions about the previous weeks to help with mastery, questions about the current lesson, a section to translate the week's vocabulary words, Speaking Latin (which is where the pronunciation CD comes in), Write and Learn, and fun practice.  Though it looks like a lot, it wasn't overwhelming. Popper actually enjoyed his workbook time. There were a few times when he couldn't remember the answer to a specific question. It was so nice that he was able to go back and watched the video to remind him. 

Fridays were spent completing the Speaking Latin portion of the workbook while listening to the pronunciation CD and working with flashcards. We used this day to make sure that we both knew the vocabulary words and how they were pronounced before we moved on the the next lesson the following Monday. 

I was so shocked to see how much Latin really did help with English grammar. I am learning just as much as Popper as we work through the lessons. I appreciate that this is a gentler approach to learning Latin. I think it is a great way to ease into the language. Memoria Press' website said that this is perfect for children who are reading comfortably. Popper is 8 and reading on a third grade level, but I think this was a perfect fit for him. 

You can connect with Memoria Press online:

Other members of the Crew reviewed this and other great products from Memoria Press both Latin and Science. You can learn more about these by clicking the links below:

Latina Christiana Complete Set
First Form Latin Complete Set
Second Form Latin Complete Set
Third Form Latin Complete Set
Fourth Form Latin Complete Set

The Book of Trees
Nature's Beautiful Order

 Also you can read about the Crew's experiences using each one of these products by clicking the link below:

Latin, Nature and Trees {Memoria Press Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer