Friday, August 17, 2018

God Schooling BOOK REVIEW

God Schooling book
Homeschooling has its challenges but I feel the benefits far outweigh the negatives.  When given the opportunity to review the book God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco I was definitely intrigued.  I am always open to ideas and opinions on different methods of homeschooling and had dabbled in a little of the "unschooling" method mixed with Charlotte Mason myself.  I received a softcover version of this book to review.

This book was a simple read at 163 pages.  The book is organized in 2 parts.  Part 1 is "Dispelling the Myths," and Part 2 is "Practice."
Part 1 Chapters
1 - Biblical Support for Natural Learning
2 - Motivation & Excellence

Part 2 Chapters
3 - Thoughts on Teaching Children Under Age Eight
4 - Thoughts on Teaching Children Aged Eight to Twelve
5 - Giving Teens the Wings to Fly
6 - Spreading the Banquet
7 - Getting Started
8 - Some Q & A
9 - Record-Keeping and Structure
Concluding Remarks

Julie is mom to 4 blessings whom she names Tiger (oldest daughter), Hawk (oldest son), Butterfly (daughter) and Mouse (son).  She provides wonderful real-life experiences and examples with each of them as they journeyed on their unschooling adventure.  Yes, this book is basically a real-life, practical guide to the idea of Christian unschooling.  She provides a plethora of scripture and book resources for you to explore on your own. She talks about the freedom to homeschool and how freeing it really is.  I like when she says: 
Walking with God is freeing. In II Corinthians 3:17, Paul says, "Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  He didn't set us free to do whatever we want.  He set us free so that we would be unencumbered by our past; by the mistakes of our parents, teachers, and community; and by our current hang-ups, fears and sinful nature so that we could follow Him and become like Him. He set us free from all that would keep us from discovering and doing His Will, and that includes setting us free from teh world's standards of what education looks like. (pp. 10-11)
I think that pretty much sums it up.  We have such preconceived notions of what school should be and so many of us feel like we must match what is going on in our public schools.  If that model is so great why are there still so many kids that either drop out of school or end up feeling like complete failures?  I must admit that as a public schooler myself when I started my homeschool journey with my kids I definitely tried to mimic that model.  That is until I learned that my struggling learner son just didn't learn that way.  It has been a long journey for me as well, and I am still learning.

I myself have not embraced the full method of unschooling and after reading this book I am not sure I can completely school that way, but then again, that is why we homeschool right?  We each have our own personal ways of doing things that work for our kids and get them to the ultimate goal of education and hopefully, a love for learning that will continue for them throughout their lifetime.  Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of unschooling, just not sure I could pull it off totally.

I love all the examples that Julie gives throughout the book and her research is absolutely wonderful.  There are so many wonderful references that she gives throughout the book. She sites studies and facts from doctors to back up her methodology.  Her two youngest children have Aspbergers and her oldest son Hawk reminds me of my son a lot in their learning challenges.  In chapter 1 she goes into detail about how God created us with natural abilities and yearnings to learn.  If we, as parents, would open our spirits to what God would have us do with our kids things would go much smoother.  She gives examples of the successes when she listened to His still small voice about what paths she should take with her children.  When we introduce formal learning too early it is a proven fact that it can cause more learning challenges in the future. Each child is different and individual. That is one reason a lot of us homeschool is so that our children can be taught in the best way that they learn.

I also found chapter 2 about what motivates children to be very interesting.  She explains why rewards and punishments are just not effective in motivating our children.  Rewards can actually teach our children to be manipulative into getting things they want in the future.  Instead, she suggests intrinsic motivation.  Motivation that comes from within a child that they get from personal satisfaction from doing something well.  She sites Mary Hood's book The Relaxed Home School and the three ways to tap into a child's intrinsic motivation.

  • child is internally motivated to learn (wants to know about the subject)
  • person has an intense love of the subject and transfers that to the child
  • when goals are set and the child is willing to do things to attain that goal
In Part 2 of the book, she breaks down the different categories of learners.  Basically, the idea is that most kids are just not ready for formal learning until age 8.  It has to do with their brain development and what they are capable of.  The next level is age 8 to age 12 where another break is found.  After age 13 most children are able to grasp abstract learning better and can move forward into more difficult subjects.  I cannot stress how well Julie lays things out.  She really has done her research and gives you all the tools you need to do your own.  She has scientific facts to back up her methodology and gives you the resources you need to follow up on it.  The later parts of the book give yet more ideas of how you can implement the unschooling method into your household and what it looks like when preparing for high school and college.  She talks about high school requirements and some ideas for college prep and affordability.  Chapter 9 even discusses record keeping and how you would do that for unschooling.  She gives several examples to choose from depending on how you prefer to do it.


Julie Polanco Books

I really liked this book and wish I had had access to it many years ago.  It is a true breath of fresh air and if you find yourself burning out or struggling through you homeschool days I highly suggest you give it a read.  God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn is a definite double thumbs up for me!  She currently has a half price e-book sale going on right now through August 22, 2018 and you can get the Kindle version for only $4.99 right now!


Julie Polanco Books

You can connect with Julie Polanco on FACEBOOK and PINTEREST.  Please be sure to check out the other review on this book by selecting the graphic below.



God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn {Julie Polanco Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What I Didn't Know About Chickens


If I had known then what I know now, would I have still started raising chickens?  Probably.  I've always kinda been a farm girl at heart.  Never grew up on a farm.  Never owned anything more than a dog, cat, mice, and fish. But visits to my aunt's farm when I was young sparked a deep love of farm life for me.  I always loved horses.  I rode them, showed them, but never owned one.  My degree has a specialty in equine science.  My heart is on the farm.

Enter the day we were able to purchase some land.  A small 5-acre tract.  Oh, the dreams I had.  Here we are 11 years later and still just chickens and a nice sized garden.  But, again, the dream continues.  I so would love to have goats and probably rabbits in addition to our chickens.  I keep reminding myself it was 7 years before I was able to start with the chickens, so in time, maybe.

They say chickens are the gateway drug to farming and I can believe it.  They are so addicting.  I never knew how attached you could get to the feathered beasts.  We definitely have our favorites and there are a few of our originals that will always be with our flock until they pass of old age.  But for the most part, I still want to raise them for eggs and meat.

If I had known how addicting it would be to raise them I still think I would be raising them.  There is a funny thing in the chicken world called "chicken math."  It's when you can't stop adding to your flock.  We all get the bug.  It's kinda funny, but not when you realize you need to diminish your flock a little when it has gotten a little bigger than you planned!  It's just so fun to raise those cute babies and seeing what cute mixes you can come up with.  I learn about a new breed and then wish I had one.  Hmmm.

But I have learned a lot and have much more to learn.  They are fun and funny to be around and they really do make great pets.  I will explain more in another post. The enjoyment and peace I get from being around them more than make it worth raising them.  And you get eggs and meat to boot!  Do you raise chickens?  Ever thought about it if you don't?  

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Girls



Some of the girls in the 4H pen were enjoying the cooler weather the other day (it got really not again though!).  The white one is my olive egger, Snow White.  The 3 Silver-Laced Wyandottes are a funny trio.  They really do tend to hang together (birds of a feather. . . flock together).  The 2 Marans mix babies in this pen are growing.  Still hoping they are both pullets.  I'm actually thinking now that they very well may be.  All the other babies are growing like crazy too.


I didn't name the Wyandottes, but they sure are pretty.

What's new in your chicken yard or homestead?  Feel free to share with pictures too!


Sunday, July 29, 2018

Melons


Oh Yum!!  I was so excited to be able to harvest some cantaloupe and honeydew melon from the garden last week.  Also got a watermelon!  The cantaloupe was a little overripe and wasn't as sweet as they have been in the past but the honeydew. . . oh my . . . it was sooooo sweet!  Love being able to harvest some nice fresh garden produce and know where it came from and how it was treated.

I need to do a full garden update.  Hopefully later this week.  I also picked eggplant and a 5 gal bucket full of tomatoes!!  How is your garden coming along? May your day be blessed.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Geology and Apologetics REVIEW

Geology and Apologetics Course
In our current times and with what our kids are bombarded with daily I do not think they can ever have enough of apologetics.  The timing was perfect for us to review the Geology and Apologetics six-part class from Northwest Treasures.  We just finished apologetics and earth science classes last semester.  This was a perfect follow up to both of those.  This is a digital product and I received Vimeo access to the course for 6 months.  I also received complimentary access to their 20-minute Taking the Mystery Out of Geology course for 3 months.  Because you access this through Vimeo you can watch it on anything that can play Vimeo (phone, laptop, tablets, smartTVs).  I was happy that I was able to download the Vimeo app on our Roku and watch it that way on our TV.


Take the Mystery out of Geology Online Course
What exactly is apologetics?  According to Wikipedia "it is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. Early Christian writers (c. 120–220) who defended their beliefs against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called Christian apologists."

Taking the Mystery Out of Geology is a nice short 20-minute basic lesson on how geology is the foundation of biology (In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth Gen 1:1) and the instructor, Patrick, reviews the 13 terms he feels are necessary for understanding geology.  It is recommended for grade 5 and up.  It really was very informative and really does help clarify some of the "fuzzy" thinking we get into if we have ever learned or believed in the traditional secular geological timelines. 

Biblical creation timeline as opposed to traditional geological (deep time) timeline

Patrick Nurre states that there are two important pieces for giving our kids a biblical foundation in life and their studies of science.  We must stand on the Word of God (the Bible) and make sure that we teach Geology and Earth Science from a biblical standpoint (and not just once but throughout their studies).  He explains the time differences between secular and biblical timelines as he reviews the 13 important terms.  If you are an old earth believer then this will challenge your beliefs.  We believe in a  young earth so this was just perfect for our studies.  At just $5 for a 3-month subscription, I think this is a great buy for some foundational information for your homeschool.  There were discussion questions at the end of the video that reinforced what was learned and opened up opportunities for further discussion.

The Geology and Apologetics 6-part course consists of 6 video lessons accessible through Vimeo that last a total of 1 hour and 36 minutes.  The lessons range from about 11 to 22 minutes each.  There are wonderful discussion questions to cover at the end of each video.  There is no answer key for this study since the answers to the questions are either in the text of the video or simply questions to discuss with no right or wrong answers.  This study can be used in your homeschool, personal study or even a group study. You can do a quick overview of the study and complete it within 6 days (6 lessons) or use it more like a unit study and complete a lesson a week with additional assignments to support the lesson for the week.  My goal was to cover 1 lesson per week and really take time to discuss the topic for the week.  The 6 lessons include:
  1. Knowing the Scriptures in the Secular Geological Age (13:24 min)
  2. Clarifying the Conflict between Science and the Bible (10:59)
  3. The Genealogies and Chronologies of Genesis, Are They Accurate and Reliable? (17:31 min)
  4. Evolutionary Gaps in the Fossil Record, How Serious Are They? (16:57)
  5. Dinosaur-to-Bird-Evolution, The Story That Never Seems to Die (21:25)
  6. Time and Chronology in the Secular Geological Age (15:34)
I really liked his statement in the first lesson about not just needing to learn the facts but also to be able to share our faith and hope in Jesus.  It is important to not just know the facts but be able to defend against false beliefs and teachings that are contradictory to the Word of God.

What happens when we take God out of the picture

Patrick reminds us that apologetics is NOT about winning the argument but more importantly about clarifying the issues and setting the record straight by sharing the truth about our biblical foundations.  He continues to reference scripture throughout all the video lessons that our kids can put in their toolbox to help them in defending their faith.  I like his statements in lesson 2 that "the origin of the earth is not a matter of science" and "genuine science will NOT contradict the scripture."  Throughout each of the 6 lessons he continues to go into more depth to define the 13 original terms that he stressed were necessary as a foundation in being able to defend the faith against false ideas and facts.

Lesson 3 begins with Patrick stating that we can indeed see an accurate chronology in the scripture.  He challenges us to read through Genesis Chap 5 and then he goes on to explain and walk through the scriptures to show the biblical timeline.  I have never taken the time or seen yet in our studies the timeline below.  Look and see what you think.

Biblical timeline from Adam to Noah and the flood.

In lesson 4 Patrick reminds us that most of modern geology has not been observed or tested but rather is based on interpretation of data.  This, of course, allows for error.  Uniformitarianism is the foundation for all modern geology and it is flawed.  There are many errors and discrepancies in the fossil record that Patrick reviews in the lesson.  Lesson 5 was my favorite about the dinosaurs probably because they have always been a favorite of my son and we have done a lot of studies on them over the years.  Patrick takes time to go over the history of the controversial Archaeopteryx and its supposed evolvement into a modern bird.

Picture showing errors in the timeline of the supposed evolvement of dinosaurs

Finally, in lesson 6 he introduces James Hutton, the father of Modern Geology and the introduction of Geochronology (old Earth).  It was the foundation that did away with any biblical chronologies and chalked them up to a myth of ancient man.

If you are looking for a good foundational apologetics course or are studying geology or even biology, I would highly recommend you take the time to check out both Taking the Mystery Out of Geology and Geology and Apologetics (on sale right now for $19.99 for 6-month access).  Northwest Treasures has so many more interesting courses to study including the high school level Northwest Treasures Curriculum Project and the Pre-K to 3rd-grade Geology for "Little Eyes."  I think we might check out Geology and the Hawaiian Islands next.


Northwest Treasures


You can connect with Northwest Treasures on FACEBOOK and PINTEREST.

Be sure to click the link below to see what others have to say about this, Dinosaurs of the Bible and other courses available.


Online Geology Classes{Northwest Treasures Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

No Longer Little Book REVIEW

No Longer Little by Hal and Melanie Young
Working through the tween (preteen) years has been rough to say the least.  When my sweet, innocent son began to mature into his tweens I wondered what had happened to him.  Now at age 14, we are still going through some rough waters.  When I had the chance to review No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope from Great Waters Press I jumped at it.  I really could have used this book several years back in our homeschooling, but it is still relevant for me today too.  I received a softcover copy of this 200-page book.

This book was a breath of fresh air for me as it really did explain more of what I had experienced with my preteen.  It even addresses some of the challenges that we are still going through to this day.  They talk about the whys and physically and emotionally why our kids tend to behave the way they do.  Neurologists confirm that during early adolescence their brains really do turn to mush as neurons in their brains are reassembling (p. 31)!  I, of course, really appreciate that this comes from a Christian perspective and includes biblical examples and scripture.  It is a quick, simple read with lots of information. I did a LOT of highlighting and will be referring back to many pages again in the future.

There 12 chapters that include:
  • Getting Bigger: Hormones and Body Changes
  • The Rollercoaster: Emotional Upheaval
  • Brains Turn to Mush: Why School Goes Awry
  • Many A Conflict, Many A Doubt: Spiritual Questioning
  • The Awakening: Sexuality and Virtue
  • Social Struggles: Overcoming Awkwardness
  • Media, Gaming, and Discernment: More Than Amusement
  • Conflict At Home: Family Relationships
  • Transitioning: Youth in the Bible
  • Celebrating Growth: Coming of Age Ceremonies
  • Producers, Not Consumers: Work and Stewardship
  • The Next Big Thing: High School and Beyond

I love how Hal and Melanie (the authors) take the time to walk you through the why, but also open up and plant hope in you that you WILL get through this!  Their stories and anecdotes are so helpful throughout the book.  I was able to “live out” much of what they talked about since my husband and I have dealt with much of what they spoke about with our now 14-year-old son.  They address changes in both boys and girls and what to expect at different stages of their lives as they grow into adulthood.

If you have an 8-year-old boy or girl it is NOT too early to get this book.  It is recommended for parents of boys and girls aged 8-14.  Get it now so you can be better prepared for the possible challenges in the future.  I love how they stress to be sure to keep your child’s heart.  Along with radical discipline, our children also need radical love and nurturing.  We need our kids to be able to trust us and feel like they can come to us with any and all questions and problems.  Hal and Melanie continue to foster an atmosphere of family and trust throughout the entire book.

In Getting Bigger the authors warn you about what to expect as your sons and daughters are maturing. They briefly discuss physical and emotional changes occurring.  They warn you to be wise and not partake of the “roller coaster ride” of emotions that your tweens will be going through. They remind us of the enemy who would love to destroy our relationships with our children.  Remember who the enemy is.  It is NOT your child (even though it feels like it!!). I honestly found their explanations very helpful and realized that I really do have a hard time at times to disassociate my child’s behaviors with just a stage and not some personal attack he is avenging on me.

The chapters are pretty self-explanatory but there is a lot of meat in these pages.  The chapter on Spiritual Questioning was very informative and helps to open your eyes to see how the enemy works in our kids from a young age to try to draw them away from the truth.  The more seeds of doubt planted the easier it is to lure them away when they are at the vulnerable stage of being a teenager when reality often seems upside down to them.  As with each chapter in this book, Hal and Melanie give you practical examples of how you can work on this.  If we don’t plant the Word into their hearts and work on apologetics with them (Why do they believe what they do?  What is truth? Who says the Bible is real?) then the enemy has a head start in convincing them what his truth is.  We need our kids to “own” their faith for it to stick for them.  Not just because mom and dad said so or because they believe.

Another chapter that hit home for us was the one on media and gaming.  I have warned my son of the dangers of all of this and how easy it is for predators to get to him.  At one point he had been playing a game on his Nintendo DS where he was “chatting” with someone in the game and he shared some of the conversation with me one day and I was shocked that he was able to do this.  I thought I had turned that feature off on our net nanny and immediately remedied the situation and had another good long talk with him as to why he has no idea who this person is or what their true agenda might be.

From preparing you for potential upcoming conflict to explaining why your child does what they do at the different stages they go through while becoming an adult, I can’t say enough good about No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope.  Hal and Melanie walk you through the stages and give practical examples and solutions for what you might be facing.  This, of course, is not an all-encompassing book that covers EVERYTHING, but it sure does help to calm your worries and gives you a sense that you will get through it!


Raising Real Men


Please take the time to check out the other reviews on this book by clicking on the graphic below.  Be sure to also check out my review on their other book, Love, Honor, and Virtue which is written for tween (preteen) boys age 12 to 20 or more.  WARNING: it contains some very explicit mature content that you would want to review first before letting your younger ones read it without you.


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

Love, Honor, and Virtue Book REVIEW

Love Honor and Virtue by Hal and Melanie Young

If you have ever heard of Hal and Melanie Young who authored Raising Real Men then you know this book has sound advice with no beating around the bush.  Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality is a no holds barred Christian sex ed book on training your young men to be Godly young men of virtue and honor. When I had a chance to review this book and their other book, No Longer Little, from Great Waters Press I happily said Yes!  I received a copy of this 95-page softcover book.  It is a fairly quick read and is loaded with good information.

This book is written to be read by your tween (preteen), and young adult sons aged 12 to 20+.  That being said I must WARN you that there are some very explicit topics discussed and you will definitely want to review the book and decide how you might want to proceed with it with your younger sons.  Hal and Melanie get right to the point and want your son(s) to be prepared for the battle waged against him(them).  Their belief is that anyone over the age of 13 is considered a young man and no longer a boy. Biblically they share examples of the difference between children and men (young men, youth, included).

There is an introduction (To the Young Men on the Battlefield) and 7 chapters in this book that inlcude:
  • Sex Was God's Idea
  • It's All Connected
  • The Enemy Perverts God's Design
  • How Can  Young Man Keep His Way Pure?
  • Recovering from a Fall
  • Guys and Girls
  • The Road Ahead
In the introduction, Hal and Melanie remind us that our young men need to "fight the war you have, not the war you want to have." (p.1) Circumstances change and people are individuals.  Each person's individual battles will likely look different based on their personalities, weaknesses, and circumstances. They also remind us that this book is a good tool, not the answer to everything.  I really like that there is a summary at the end of every chapter of the key topics covered.

Chapter 1 jumps right in to discuss Sex and God's design for marriage and sex.  I agree with them that "When we do marriage right, we're living pictures of Jesus and His bride." (p.11) They discuss and show examples from the Bible about God's design for sex and marriage.  In Chapter 2, it is refreshing to see how they show biblical references on the fact that there is male and female and that they are distinct and exactly who God created them to be.  The key theme throughout the book is for young men to strive to be pure and virtuous until the time they find their spouse.

Another common practice throughout the book is that Hal and Melanie not only share real-life and biblical examples but go on to explain the how and why. Why do young men think/behave the way they do and how can they walk in the ways the Lord asks them to in order to honor their future wife and marriage.

This book gets real and discusses body parts and what those body parts are designed to do.  It goes into some depth about what battles men face personally in their sexual life and how they might walk the high road God asks them to walk.  There is discussion about how an egg is fertilized and how changes occur in a woman's body as she matures.  Chapter 3 covers sin including pornography.  "Over 90% of young men have been exposed to pornography by the age of 18, and nearly 75% are sexually active by the age of 19." (p. 28)They explain what lust is and what it isn't.  It also covers sexting and other sexual sins that plague our young men.

Chapter 4 is great with its examples of how our young men can stay pure and fight temptation.  God doesn't say it will be easy, but He does give us a way of escape and He is FOR us, not against us.  Hal and Melanie's practical suggestions are very doable.  I really like that they include everyone in Chapter 5, Recovering From a Fall.  We have all sinned and for those who learn the information from this book too late and have already fallen to temptation and/or sin in their sexuality then this chapter shows that there is redemption!  Our God is a redeeming God and His love and grace know no end. It is a very encouraging chapter for those who think they have lost the possibility of another chance at doing things right.

The final chapter digs into relationships specifically and how to go about nurturing a relationship God's way that leads to biblical marriage.  It reminds our young men to not be unequally yoked and what that means. They give practical examples of moving forward as the relationship progresses.  The conclusion reminds us that times are changing quickly and we must be sober.  Yet, if failure occurs, simply get back up and dive right back in!

I'm not sure yet how I am going to approach this book with my son.  I think we will dig in and cover most of the chapters and I might reserve some of the more in-depth sexual ones for next year.  We shall see.  I do wholeheartedly recommend Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality for its realness and practicality in teaching our young men to maneuver the dangerous waters they find themselves in our current culture.

Raising Real Men

Check out my review of Hal and Melanie's other book, No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens With Grace and Hope and also be sure to look at the other reviews by clicking on the link below.


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

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

MORE Broody Momma Drama!


Oh, my goodness.  In the 4 1/2 years of chicken keeping, I have never had as much trouble as now with my broody mommas.  From leaving the nest to attacking babies.  I am done.  So grateful for my two steady mommas, Sassy and Gertrude.  Gertrude was a mom once before but it's been a couple years.  Sassy is my super mom.  She has now raised at least 5 broods over the past two years.  When she goes broody, I know I can count on her to hatch and/or take care of chicks for me.

I had one final order of chicks for a broody mom that wouldn't get off the nest.  She was a new mom and I suspected she may not make the cut.  She is the one I suspected of injuring our first hatchling but I chalked it off to a failed hatch.  I tried introducing chicks to her twice and she didn't seem to go for it so I gave them to other moms.  When my final order of pullets came in I tried for the last time to give them to her.  She attacked.  We're done.  I have her tagged and she will forever be forbidden to hatch eggs or sit in the future.  It is what it is.  Like I said, I'm just grateful for my trusty mommas.

I thought I had it all figured out.  Based on the ages and stages of the babies I had a plan to split them fairly evenly between my two mommas.  We did the changes and introductions at night.  All seemed well until . . . I went to release Sassy in the morning into her pen with her babies and she began attacking the new babies as they approached the feed with her current brood.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  This was my adoptive mom who graciously took Pip in when her mom rejected her.  The new babies were almost the same age as her current brood so I thought it would be ok.

I have learned that at a certain age, the moms just don't seem to consider them babies anymore and chalk them off as the enemy.  Poor babies.  We had to rescue them and give them back to Gertrude who was originally raising them.  I had taken them from Gertrude so she could raise the new babies with a few of her smaller ones from her original brood.  End result . . . Sassy kept her original 3 plus Pip, Gertrude now has her original 7 plus the 6 new babies!  Poor Gertie is now in charge of 13 babies ranging from 1- 4 weeks old!  She is such a trooper and great momma.  She took them all in without a fuss and her current brood seem to be getting along with them just fine with no fighting or pecking.  Never a dull moment in the chicken yard.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Code for Teens REVIEW



Coding seems to be the thing to do these days.  They say if you have coding experience you will have a leg up in the computer programming field.  We were glad to say "Yes" to have a chance to review Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming (Volume1) from Code for Teens. What makes this book different than any other code book is that it is specifically written for your teens to complete on their own without any adult intervention.  It is written for grades 6 and up.

The author, Jeremy Moritz, wrote this after he had worked and practiced the lessons with his own kids.  He found a way to reach out to teens on their level with step by step instructions and a little humor along the way.  I received a physical copy of this book.  It is a very nice softcover book with heavy-duty glossy pages.  Included in its 219 pages are an intro, parent note, 10 chapters, answer key, and a fairly extensive glossary at the end.  You will need a computer or laptop to complete the lessons.  Tablets will not work for this.  You need to be able to download Google Chrome (free download) to complete the coding instructions.



Code for Teens


I will preface the rest of this review with a note that this is NOT a book to teach you how to build a web page or app.  It is an introduction to JavaScript which is another computer language that is very important to have.  A huge percentage of coding these days is based on JavaScript.  To learn about HTML and CSS in order to produce web pages, apps, and other fun stuff you would need to watch for his next book, Volume 2, which will cover these. JavaScript is a little more complex than HTML or CSS, but having it as a foundation will go far in what you can do once you also master HTML and CSS.


Sample from the first lesson, just learning some syntax

Why then you say, would you want this book?  Because it really is written for your teen.  If for some reason you do get stumped there is a forum available where the author or someone from his team will be able to help you out.  The link to the forum is available on the Code for Teens website.  It's easy for our teens, especially our boys, to get distracted from the lessons at hand.  This book is written to keep them engaged and entertained while they learn at their own pace without stress of a strict timeline or deadlines.


Comments with sample error and correction

At the end of each chapter is a Quiz (remember there is an answer key in the back of the book), Key Concepts (quick chapter review), and Drills (more practice and includes a DIY section for even more practice).  Basically, there is review, review, and more review so your teen can get the concepts down and feel confident moving forward.  The concept of constant review follows throughout the entire book so they don't lose what they have previously learned.

You can proceed through the book at any pace you or your teen chooses.  Our goal is to complete a chapter per week if time allows in our schedule.  This seems to work to not get him too overwhelmed or feeling pressured, especially since it is still technically summer!  This book definitely seems to be more up my teen's alley in the sense that he can actually accomplish something and not feel as if he is failing.  If you have a teen that doesn't generally struggle through their lessons then they will probably be able to complete the book fairly quickly.  It is such a wonderful tool to teach them skills that they can use going forward. I think the one thing we would change that would make it easier to use is for it to be spiral bound so you can lay the pages flat as you are trying to type the code out.

If you are thinking about or interested in learning to code at all then we definitely recommend Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming (Volume1).  You can also connect with Code for Teens on FACEBOOK.


Code for Teens

If you still aren't quite sure then take a moment to go to the Code for Teens website and download the introduction and first chapter for FREE!

Also be sure to check out what the other reviewers have to say about this wonderful resource by clicking on the graphic below.



Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming {Code for Teens Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Hidden Egg Stash


Our temperatures of late have been miserable.  Most days our heat index has been over 100 degrees and often around 105 degrees.  To say the chickens are "NOT HAPPY" is an understatement!  I do everything I can to try to keep them cool from ice water to electrolytes to insulated waterers to even misting systems.  So far I have not had any losses and I am very grateful for that.  However, egg production has been another story!  I've gone from over 2 dozen per day to only about 15 if I am lucky.

Part of the drop has been due to all of my broody hens.  I currently have 5 out of commission either raising chicks or still trying to sit eggs.  That still leaves me with 30 laying hens!  Only 15 eggs from 30 layers are not good in my opinion.  I do have some older hens that aren't laying great and one coop where 3 of the 4 layers are up for culling this fall due to no or little egg production.

One day recently we had an EXTREMELY low egg count and I just knew there had to be some missing eggs.  Well, I found them in a temporary shelter I had opened up behind one of the coops.  Little stinkers.  I didn't think they would try to lay in there!!

How is your egg production going?  How are your temperatures where you are?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Bible Study Guide REVIEW

Bible Study Guide for All Ages
Little Bug loves all things Bible so when we had the chance to review the Beginner (3-K) Bible study curriculum by Bible Study Guide For All Ages we said, "Yes!"  Mention just about any character in the Bible and Little Bug can probably spout off a story for you.  Even though she is pretty well versed on her stories I wanted a little more formal teaching and a better handle for her on the timeline of actual events.  I received physical copies of the Beginner Level pages for lessons 1-26 and the Beginner Level Timeline.  I was even more excited when I realized that this is the same program that was used in our co-op but neither of my kids was the right age for the class they had at the time.  I really liked the program.

Bible Study Guide for All Ages


One item that is optional and was not included was the 2-disc CD set of children's songs.  I was pretty sure I wanted to order this but waited until we finished our review in case I wanted to order other items.  The CD set includes 90 songs that cover drills, stories, character qualities, and more.

Bible Study Guide for All Ages
Sample Beginner Level Timeline card

The program is structured to be covered over a 4 year period.  Each set of lessons (26 lessons each) is geared to be covered over a quarter for a total of 4 sets per year.  At that pace, you are covering 3-4 lessons per week.  With it being summer our goal was to cover at least 2 lessons per week.

Working on the backside of the workbook page

Bugs completed coloring page from Apply It! section

Little Bug really likes the format of these lessons.  I read, we cover scripture, she gets to work on the workbook pages, answer questions, and color.  The lessons are on 11" X 14" (legal size) paper and printed on front and back.  They are lightly glued on the spine to form a simple workbook that allows the pages to be easily removed for placement into a binder if you choose.  I am going to bind her pages with our binding machine once she completes her year.  Even though we only received the first quarter of lessons I have already ordered the rest of the year as well as some additional resources including the 2-disc CD set!  The Timeline pages are printed in color on nice semigloss cardstock.  I paper hole punched them and placed them into a binder for easy access and safekeeping. 

Getting through our lesson.  She LOVES to color!

Each lesson walks you through what to do step by step.  The lesson begins with the basics and reviewing the Timeline page for the day. Next, you cover sing and remember where you begin to learn the books of the Bible and if you have the CD you play the suggested song.  There are also general Bible questions in this section.  Following this is the Get Active section where you have an interactive short lesson.  The page then instructs you to flip the page over to the Discover the Bible section on the back.  There is scripture you can reference and/or read (I chose to read the scriptures out of my bible as she was going through each step of this section).  In this section, your child follows directions given like circling or coloring things in.  It is all based on the referenced scripture and helps to make the scriptures come alive.  When you are done with this section the page instructs you to flip the page back over to the Apply It section on the front. There is scripture reference here too and this in the section where the questions relate to the topic at hand and reference the picture on the page.  It presents real-life situations where your child can practice "doing" God's word.  The lessons only take us about 20-30 minutes to complete.  They are short and she really enjoys them.  Especially since we end the lesson with her being able to color the picture from the last section.


What is covered in the first year
Sample of front page of lesson

I love the interactive aspect of this kids Bible study and I like that she enjoys it.  Reviewing scripture, character building and getting to see the "big picture" are all pluses to this program.  Another HUGE plus that is SO IMPORTANT is that the lessons transfer across ages.  What I mean is that if you finish lesson 104 and for some reason want to move up to a higher age level you can just start at lesson 105 at that higher age level and never skip a beat.  I know this because I called customer service about this.  I was able to personally speak with Brian and expressed to him how much we love this program.  He assured me that the lessons work as I just explained.  I think this is excellent that as she progresses through the lessons we will not have to "start over" or go over material we already covered.  She will just continue learning new things at her appropriate age level.  This definitely convinced me to purchase the lessons for the rest of the year and to also add some tools for my teen.


Bible Study Guide for All Ages
I ordered these for my teen for review purposes

We highly recommend you check out the Beginner (3-K) Bible study curriculum by Bible Study Guide For All Ages.  You can connect with them on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

Bible Study Guide for All Ages
Bible Study Guide for All Ages
Wall Maps and Timeline Set
Please also check out the other reviews (click on the graphic below) that include the other age groups and the awesome Wall Maps and Timeline Set.



Bible Study Guide For All Ages {Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

One Apple




Can you see it?  There is ONE, yes, ONE and ONLY ONE apple in our apple tree.  I have waited years for this tree to produce and it finally produced ONE apple.  Oh my goodness.  I can do gardens but apparently, fruit trees are NOT my forte.  

Actually, the company from whom we bought our trees is to blame.  I just found out after 10, yes TEN YEARS, that our Walnut trees are actually Sawtooth Oak Trees!!!!!  I am so livid.  We have purchased 5 in 1 trees from this company and they both turned into Bradford Pear trees!

We have spent a LOT of money with this company over the years and I must say I finally learned my lesson.  We have purchased good stuff from them too, but I don't know what is up with the fruit and nut trees.  Epic failures!  We still have yet to find out if our Chestnut trees are chestnuts and if our Pecan trees are actually Pecan trees.  It's a waiting game.
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