Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Teach By Example: Challenge Accepted!

My friend Linda over at Homeschooling 6 issued a challenge for moms, to Teach by Example. For the next 6 weeks she has challenged us to learn along side our children! She explains the challenge more in depth here.

Here is my versions and what I will be doing for the next 6 weeks:

I usually use The Thinking Tree's Busy Mom's Homeschooling Handbook. I love my journal. However, some of the fun of this challenge is using a child's journal. 
I have a PDF journal and decided to print a copy for myself!

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure page.

You can order a PDF version, get a sample, or order your favorite on Amazon!

Next, Pick books. You can use any books that you want. I am going to pick some for myself and a couple with my children so that we learn together. 
Here are the books that I chose for personal learning:

I am choosing to do the missionary study with my kiddos, work through some Dyslexia Games worksheets, and we are going to watch our documentaries together. I am sure throughout the weeks there will be other subjects that we tackle together. In fact, I am hoping so!

Since our method is fun-schooling, that is exactly what I will be doing to join them! Cooking, science experiments, hands-on math, gardening, Legos, board games, the list is really endless.

I am so excited about this journey. You can join us too! You don't have to use The Thinking Tree. Just join your kids whatever your school style. Jump in! Learn beside them! My kids are getting quite a kick out of me saying that I have to do my school too! They love me sitting beside them with my journal and coloring with them.

Of course, I will be linking up with Linda every Monday! You can join us too. I would love to read how you choose to learn along side your kids.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Freedbie From Grapevine Studies!

That's right, Grapevine is offering a free eLesson on The Last Supper! Just click on the picture below and download it for free!

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure page for more information.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Here to Help Learning- A TOS Review

Here to Help Learning Review

Writing programs are everywhere. Finding one that fits your child can sometimes be difficult. For the Past 6 weeks Popper has been using Flight 1 Paragraph writing from Here to Help Learning. We used the online program. However, there is a physical product available for purchase.

There are 6 levels of content available to chose from:
Flight 1 Paragraph (Popper's level)
Flight 2 Paragraph
Flight 3 Paragraph 
Flight 1 Essay
Flight 2 Essay
Flight 3 Essay

I was really excited to try this program. Not only is Here to Help Biblically based, it also has great success stories for people with dyslexia along with other special needs. I was beyond hopeful that this would help Popper learn about the writing process and really enjoy it.

The creators, Forrest and Beth Mora, have been married 18 years. With 8 children between the 2 of them they have been homeschooling for 20 years. They created this program when their youngest child was the only one left at home and Beth was finding it difficult to homeschool just one student. Here to Help was originally created to help supplement homeschool education in a co-op style of learning. As a mom and wife of right-brained husband and boys, it was encouraging to read that Beth was deemed 'The teacher with the "Right" Brain.'  

Before you begin the program there are books that need to be printed, both a teacher's book and a student book. Also, before each 'flight' there are worksheets for both the teacher and student that you will need to print. The teacher sheet really walk you through the instruction process. The students sheets include a memory verse, Take-off Game, Writing Warm-up, The Writing Process, and Full-Throttle.
We chose to not participate in the memory verse because we had a memory verse for church that we were working on together. The game and warm-up were to be done together and the full-throttle is for the student to work on alone. 
 My main advice is to watch at least the 1st video before you show your child. It can be confusing. There are times when you have to pause the video and work through something, play a game, or have a discussion with your child.  Watching it first can remove the confusion and help you become more familiar with the way the program works.

Here to Help Learning suggests using the program 2 days a week. Day 1 is to watch videos and work through activities, games, and discussions together. Day 2 is for the students complete the "Flying Solo" assignment. We tried it this way at first. However, we found that completing it all in one day worked better for our learning style. With the information fresh, Popper was able to better complete the assignment. 

All 3 kiddos really enjoyed the videos and playing 'Sentence, No Sentence."  We used this game to help us really understand what parts are needed to make a complete sentence. It was a great refresher for Popper and learning time for Brother Bear and Sister. They loved that the host, Ms. Beth, dressed up in costumes and really acted the part of each lesson. She brought the lessons to life in a fun interactive way. It made the instructions more memorable. It placed this program right into our fun-schooling category! 

Each lesson has a 'Writing Warm-up.' There is a worksheet to print out that has a picture, a word box, and a space to write your story. The pictures are always very random and funny. In the one above it is a picture of a penguin with pom poms on a killer whale. The giggles that followed the picture reveal were priceless! The kiddos couldn't wait to see the new picture each week!

Some days Popper had a harder time with writing than others. On those days we would work through the process together. I would put the word box on the white board as the kiddos called out words that described the picture. With the fun pictures there were always more words than box. Then we would work together taking those words and creating a story about the picture. I really tried to focus on complete thoughts and sentences.

I believe that practice was important even on those harder days. I would have Popper copy 6 of the words onto the actual worksheet and copy one sentence from the story. It worked much better this way. Not only did we avoid major meltdowns and tears, but the littles got to be involved more in the learning process. I believe that they were better able to process the information in the a fun playful way through this program.

You can find Here to Help on the following social media sites:

YouTube Channel
Their Blog

You can read more of the Crew's reviews by clicking the link below:

Here to Help Learning Review

Grapevine Studies- A TOS Review

Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry {Grapevine Studies Review}
When I first heard of Grapevine Studies, I was intrigued. I had been looking for a children's Bible study to use. Seeing the timeline layout made me want to look at it further. I like the timeline teaching method. I want my kids to be able to understand the series of events in the order that they happened in conjunction with the people and places where they happened. Then I saw the stick figures! This was right up my alley. Stick people are perfect for this artistically challenged momma!

homeschool bible, children's bible study, kid's bible time
This page contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure page for more details.

We were given the opportunity to review the New Testament Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry PDF version. There are physical copies available, but since I wanted to use them for multiple students, the PDF was a better fit. You can print them off as many times as needed for the children in your home. Whereas the physical books are not allowed to be copied.

Grapevine seems to fit across a variety of different demonimations. 
You can read their Statement of Faith to make sure that this is right for you and your family.

Bible time, Children's Bible study, Charlotte Mason Bible Study

There are 13 different topics available for study. Each study has 4 different levels. The topics cover both New and Old Testament events and characters. There is even a Biblical Calendar available that has events from the Bible as they happened in each month! 

Grapevine's website states that this program can be used for ages 3 to adult. The traceables are perfect for the younger ages that are not yet writing on their own. 
I wanted to use the Level 1 for Popper and the traceables for Brother Bear and Sister. I wanted to use this as our Bible time each morning. I had been looking for something that fit our needs. With 3 different levels of learning going on, sometimes a one-size-fits-all is difficult to find. The different levels offered really helped bridge the gaps in our learning levels!

I printed off the different books for each child and 3-whole-punched them for their folders. The teachers guide is in color, and since I cannot print in color, I simply downloaded it to my iPad. It saved ink and made it very convenient to teach.

bible curriculum, Bible time, Children's Bible

The first thing that we learned was an overview of the lineage of Jesus and an overview of the materials that we would be covering. I printed and extra timeline to post in our room for a visual reference. I used this time to teach the younger 2 what a timeline was. We also discussed what all we would be learning about throughout the study. 

Classical Conversations Bible Study, children's Bible

It worked out for us to one page Monday- Friday. This made the lessons bite sized for the kiddos. It also made it where Popper was able to read each days Bible reading. I loved being able to hear him read from God's word. 
Each week has a specific Bible verse. However, at children's church this past month, our kiddos were learning the Lord's Prayer. Since that is where the study ultimately ends up, I just used that as our memory work for the entire study. I did read through the assigned memory work each week so that the kiddos were able to hear those verses.
co-op Bible Study, Children's Bible, Kid's Bible Time

We are still working to complete the study. Popper has already begun asking when we get to learn about the disciples. He is looking forward to knowing more about them and who they were. I love seeing them get excited about the Bible. I know that this is the most important time of our school day. 
I am so thankful that I have found a study that fits for us. I also love that Grapevine grows with them. In a few years, we can come back to this study and do a higher level. With each level something more is added. 

kids ministry, homeschool bible

This was a perfect excuse for me to purchase a white board for our classroom. It definitely made teaching much easier! I am excited that the kiddos are so attentive to this study. They are really enjoying the learning style. We have already started talking about which study we are going to do next! Grapevine Studies is an exciting way to learn about God's word! 

Grapevine Studies can be found on the following social media sites:


You can read more of the Crew's reviews by clicking the link below:

Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry {Grapevine Studies Review}

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Family Time

We have been enjoying beautiful weather lately. This past Saturday Thomas and I decided it would be a perfect time for us to get some much needed yard work done. 
It was an amazing time of family togetherness. The kids were excited to be involved with making our front yard beautiful again for spring!

Thomas was the first to find an animal that had made its home in our overgrown flower beds. A giant toad that was woken up by the squeals of delight from Sister. The kiddos love animals of all shapes and sizes. Mr Toad was one of many on this beautiful Saturday to captivate their attention. There were several worms, garden snakes, and crickets that entertained them throughout our work day. 

The boys were busy raking leaves and helping Thomas remove some bushes that were in the way of the new flower bed. They worked hard side-by-side. I love seeing them working together learning to help each other. They are getting so big. They were able to dig up both of this bushes by themselves and move them around back.

Of course there cannot be all work and no play! Popper enjoyed running and crashing into the big pile of leaves that he and B raked up together. 

B gave Brother Bear a ride in the wheel barrow as they moved the bagged up leaves around the yard. The giggles were so precious. They made the work load lighter and the day so enjoyable. I love seeing my kiddos enjoying working and playing together. 
I cherish these moments knowing how few we have left together as a family of 6. It won't be too many years before B is off to college and not available for Saturday work days. 

I have to say the highlight of the kiddo's day was the new baby chicks that have made their way to us.  Spring chicks offer so much joy and curiosity for them. They are learning responsibility in feeding, watering, and caring for these young ones. We are looking forward to last falls chicks starting to lay eggs any day now. I can't wait for them to get to experience gathering fresh eggs for breakfast! 

I love days like this. Moments that are so fleeting. I want to stop time during these sweet minutes and memorize every word, every smile, and the sound of every giggle. My babies are no longer babies. The years are short. I am learning to relish these moments that much more. I am grateful for cameras to help capture the moment. I pray that they remember these and many more when they are older. I know that I will!