Monday, September 18, 2017

Imagine...The Great Flood by Matt Koceich (Review)

Today I'll be sharing our review of Imagine...The Great Flood by Matt Koceich printed by Barbour Publishing.  This 110 page softback book is perfect for read aloud time with younger students, or personal reading for the upper elementary - middle school student.   I read the entire book in just a smidge over 1-hour, it probably would have been less than an hour had I not been interrupted a couple of times.

As you may have guessed, this story is based on the Biblical Great Flood, where Noah built the ark and saved all the animals.  The story is a little different though, as it takes the opportunity to combine the Biblical truth with real life scenarios, some fictional interpretation and a bit of time travel thrown in for good measure.

The storyline in Imagine...The Great Flood does not alter the ending of Noah's Ark, but teaches young Corey about trusting God through the events leading up to the flood.  Corey then applies what he learns as he returns to normal life, facing what he thought was a giant in his life, and finding the blessings God has waiting for him on the other side of obedience.

This would be a great read for kids who may be facing big changes, bullying or other fears that they are dealing with, bringing the truth of God's love and protection to life in a way they can visualize and grasp on a personal basis.

To read other Review Crew members thoughts on this product,  click here.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up - Week Three

Our second week of co-op went fairly well last Friday.   We're starting to get into our grove as a group and trying to get used to everyone's learning and teaching styles.   I'm teaching botany this year (science is sooooo not my subject of choice).   We spent our class time this wee learning about plant cells, the organelles and their jobs.  Once we finished the tedious part of note taking and diagram labeling we moved into making edible plant cell models.   With the exception of one kid whose parent didn't tell me she is allergic to milk products, it went well.  
We used Rice Krispy treats for the body of the cell, vanilla frosting for the cytoplasm, green tree shaped sprinkles for chloroplast, red tree sprinkles for mitochondria and some Airhead sours for the cell wall and also for the golgi apparatus and a gummy fruit snack for the nucleus.   Even high school kids like food projects!  And before you say it, yes I know there are more organelles than this, but when you start buying all those candies it gets kind of expensive, so go with it.

Both girls are finding their own rhythm with their school work.  Lindsey of course is getting done earlier because she's not doing high school level classes.  She spends her extra time reading and working on three (yes 3) 1000 piece puzzles that are in different rooms of the house.

By far, Olivia's favorite class this year is art.  I'm really glad I picked Artistic Pursuits for her this year.  I can really see a big improvement in her skill level already.

Lastly, don't miss my article Finishing the Race over at Homeschooling With Heart.   This was my first guest post over there and I'm really excited about it.

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up - Birthday Week

On Saturday our volleyball team (the one I coach and Lindsey plays on) had our first game of the year.   It was a really good match, and we won all three games, so I was thrilled.   It's amazing what happens when you have a group of girls who are coachable and will do what you tell them on the court.   It's going to be an exciting year!

We came home from volleyball and prepared for Lindsey's 12th birthday party.  Her birthday is actually September 4, but we have the family over the weekend closest to the actual day.   Our plan was to have a cookout, however Lindsey's annual rain/hurricane event put a halt to that.   She was born during Hurricane Katrina and almost every year has had some sort of major weather event on her birthday, and we had heavy rains this year.    Here she is blowing out the candle on her cupcake.  She wanted to decorate her own cupcakes instead of a big cake so I let her have at it.
Monday was of course a holiday and birthday so there was no school.   We went to a bigger city near us and took the girls shopping.   We had some amazing pizza for lunch.  Aren't these slices enormous?
When everyone reached their maximum capacity for shopping (I loathe shopping) we headed back towards home in time for Lindsey to attend her 4-H sewing class.  I really thought they'd not have it on a holiday, but I was wrong.   She made her first project, a new pillow, isn't it lovely?
Tuesday I had to take a family member to a doctor appointment.   This tied me up from 7am-noon.  The girls worked on their school work independently and then we finally got everything wrapped up in time to go to my volleyball practice at 7pm.

Wednesday Lindsey had her final birthday celebration for the year, a lunch date with my brother.   She worked on her lessons before and after her outing and Olivia plugged along with hers all day, and I do mean ALL.DAY.   I'm not sure what took her so long.  She also had her first Algebra 2 test.  She'll be redoing this entire chapter starting can figure it out from there.  It has GOT to be test anxiety, as she is doing great during the lessons but then falls apart on the test.

Thursday  started off with an early morning chiropractor appointment for Olivia and I.   Then I had a luncheon with a gal pal to celebrate her birthday.   The girls stayed home and worked on lessons.  Olivia had volleyball practice from 3:15-4pm, then Lindsey and I had practice from 7-8:15pm.

Friday (today) is week 2 of co-op.   I'm already seeing that losing that full day each week is not going to work for us.   Co-op runs from 9-noon, so we'll come home, have lunch and then work on math and co-op homework each Friday afternoon.

This was not a typical week for us, lots of interruptions and time suckers.   I see that I'm going to have to make a more conscious effort to limit the amount of things going on during school time each day during the week.   Evenings are ok, but too many interruptions during the day make for bad progress and stress.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Box-Tracts (Review)

If you're looking for some quick, easy child friendly ways to spread the gospel, then check out these cute little Halloween tracts called Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Box-Tracts from Let the Little Children Come.  In today's review I'll be showing you these cute products, and how quickly they can turn evangelism into a family event.

Here is a photo of the front and backs of the little candy box tract, side by side, prior to assembly. The orange side is the outside and the multicolored is the inside.  The colored side shares a brief, easy to understand introduction to the Gospel.   Assembly take less than a minute for each.  You poke the cutout out, put candy in the middle and then start folding the sides up and attaching over the stem area.

A few seconds later, and tada!!   Isn't this the cutest little treat box to hand out at Halloween or fall festivals?  Such a fun way to share the gospel with children, and to get your children involved too!  These come in packs of 20, so it's always easy to plan and buy accordingly.
The treat boxes are made out of card stock and should hold together well, even when chucked in a trick-or-treat bag.  There's enough room inside to fit several pieces of candy.  I'd estimate you could fit a good 1/4 cup into each one!  That doesn't mean you have to go overboard, but you do have room to be generous.

We will be handing these out these cute little ministry opportunities to the trick-or-treater's who come to our house this year.

To read more Crew member reviews, click here.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up - School Is Now In Session

This was our first official week of the 2017-2018 academic year.  (On a side note, anytime I write out the year I flash back to all the Y2K craziness and realize how long ago that was.)  We had a oh-so-busy, but productive first week.

On Monday we hit the gym early, ran by the bank then came home to hit the books.  The day sounds so violent with all this "hitting", grins.   We went over our plans and the way I have each girls' lessons laid out in my planner so they'd know what to copy into theirs.  We're focusing on more independence this year.  Midday I made homemade Belgian waffles with Nutella and whipped cream for a back to school brunch, yum!
Olivia had her first away volleyball match in the evening.   I had to drop her off at her school at 2:50, they travelled by bus as a group (JV, Varsity, Middle School volleyball and varsity soccer) with the first games starting at 5 and the last starting at 7pm.   We traveled to watch the game, it was bad, enough said.  We grabbed something for dinner on the way home and finally got back home a little after 10pm, I kid you not.

Tuesday I'd planned to again go to the gym early, however after getting home so late on Monday, I knew waking Olivia up early would be a bad plan.   I let her sleep until 10am.  Lindsey and I worked on her lessons and she was mostly done with our together work by the time Olivia got up.  I fixed an early supper and we wolfed it down as we ran out the door to Olivia's volleyball practice (it was from 4:30-6pm), I sat in the parking lot and read while she was there, then I took her home and Lindsey and I left for our volleyball practice that started at 7pm and lasted until 8:15pm.   Busy, hectic schedule today!

Wednesday we went to the gym then started on schoolwork.  There was absolutely nothing on the calendar, so I made a nice big family dinner of baked chicken, mashed potatoes, fried squash and hot rolls.  Family dinner time is a big deal in our hose and none of us like it when we don't get to sit down together and eat, unfortunately for the next 6 weeks it's going to be happening less frequently.

Thursday we went to the gym, then we came home and I started laundry while the kids started their school work.  Olivia is starting is still trying to find a routine that works for her with her heavy academic load.   She's making progress, but it's taking a bit of time to figure out.  We were off to Olivia's 2nd away game for 5:30 game time. The third game in the set was a real nail biter, it was supposed to end at 15, (you have to win by 2) so they kept tying it up until 22. It was a much better game than Monday, but they did lose in the end.  At 6:50 Lindsey and I had to leave to get to our 7pm practice across town.

Friday morning (today) we have our first day of co-op.  We ended up with 9 kids, grades 6-10, with classes in ASL, botany and language arts/literature.  This is a pretty interesting blend of kids, and I think the year is gong to be fun!

In other news, I'm now a contributing writer over at the Homeschooling With Heart blog. My first article goes live on September 8.

How has your week been?

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