Thursday, March 30, 2017

Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio REVIEW

The boys are working on Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio's Six-week discipleship program called Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit.  The program is recommended for boys age 8 - 17.  The module they are working on is called Embarking.  My review will be based on the feedback I received from them as they have embarked on this journey.  We received this kit in the mail and the Father's Starter Kit includes:

  • FREE copy of the book Wise Guys: Unlocking Hidden Wisdom from the Men Around You
  • Group Discussion Guide
  • 1 on 1 Discussion Guide
  • DVD of the introductory videos for all six modules
  • 10 Map Brochures

Father's Starter Kit | Manhood Journey
I must say that I kind of agreed with the guys that upon opening the kit, we found it a bit confusing.  It is marketed as a Father's Starter Kit but there are items that are more geared and made for group study where you would disciple a group of boys.  This is good from a more bang for you buck standpoint but also meant it took a little bit of brain work to figure out what they really needed to do the study for just the two of them.  Basically what is needed for the two of them was the 1 on 1 Discussion Guide.
Father's Starter Kit | Manhood Journey
There is additional material and more discussion questions in the Group Discussion Guide that I suggested they at least look at.  You also need to realize that if you are not using the Group study you will skip over the "Group Session Review" in the 1 on 1 Discussion Guide. This kind of threw my husband off track at first until we put our heads together and figured out that it should be skipped (it is mentioned in the book, you just need to read it).  The six week topics include:
  • Preparing for the Journey
  • Setting Out on the Journey
  • Relying on the Compass
  • Seeking Guidance Along the Way
  • Encountering Others Along the Journey
  • We Have Embarked
The boys have not completed that study yet and are a little farther behind than they should be because of schedules and nighttime obligations (dad had to work late several nights, 4H, Youth Group, Bible Study, oh my!).  It has been a challenge for them to find the time for just the two of them. Things flowed smoother once my husband figured out the structure of the program and how he was supposed to work with our son on it.

The guide is designed to give you a structure for working with you son or group.  The instructions remind you that there is more material than you will probably need just so you can tailor the program and questions to your situation and personality of your child. The sessions begin with "A Word to Dad" that helps prepare for the discussion with your son.  The sessions are geared to last about 45-60 minutes.  The sessions are divided into four main sections:
  • Building our Relationship
  • Knowing God's Word
  • Serving Others
  • Talking with God
I think that if my husband were leading a group of boys in the study that the 45-60 minute window would be good.  However, with it just being him and my son he found it better to keep their sessions closer to 30 minutes or so when possible.  Shorter sessions keep my son focused better.  I like how there are parts in each session that are "scripted."  It helped my husband feel more comfortable in the direction the discussion flowed.  They are certainly digging into the word of God more together and it is allowing for more open discussion between the two of them.  Just spending the one on one time with my husband makes our son happy.

The boys are enjoying the study and would recommend it as a great tool for connection between fathers and sons as well as digging deeper into the word of God.  My husband appreciates learning tools that will help our son grow and mature into a responsible, God honoring adult. We're not sure at this point if they will continue the study on with another module but they are enjoying working through this one called Embarking. The other 5 modules are:
  • Manhood Myths
  • Working Well
  • Standing Strong
  • Clean Hearts
  • Leading Lessons
Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio

You can connect with City on a Hill Studio on FACEBOOK or TWITTER. You can also connect directly with Manhood Journey on FACEBOOK or TWITTER.

Check out reviews from other crew members.

Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit {Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio Reviews}
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Pretzel Frenzy

I love the fact that my son is learning a wide variety of skills through his local 4H group.  They have done so many awesome projects over the years.  I really appreciate his leaders and everything they do for the kids.  I have loved the opportunity that 4H has provided my son and am looking forward to when my daughter will be old enough to also participate.  This year their group project is cooking!  My son has always loved to cook and he is really enjoying it.  They recently made pretzels and my son insisted on bringing his recipe home to make some more.

He did a really good job and they were really yummy!  The scary part is that every time I let him into the kitchen he never ceases to use every bowl, utensil, measuring cup, spoon, you name it.  The kitchen was a disaster area when he was done.  He really needs to work on his clean up skills because this mama is the one who ended up putting the kitchen back in order.  I like that he is excited to cook so for now, I endure. :)  What types of skills do your kids enjoy?  I say let them explore away.  You never know what a certain project might spark in their minds and give them a chance to explore so many new things.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Adoption Update

We are so excited!  It is just too surreal!  After 1,389 days in care, our little princess is going to be forever ours and a permanent part of our family. Her story is a very long and complicated one.  In her case, it is in her best interest to become a member of our family.  She deserves to have a life that is safe and nurturing.  She came to us as an infant and we are the only mom and dad she has really ever known.  There were of course the general visits that happen when a child is in foster care, but at her young age the reality of everything never real sank in and as far as she knows we are home and we are her family.  

Perhaps the most exciting part is that she now gets to be homeschooled along with big brother and they are both pretty excited about that.  At least until the novelty of that wears off.  Hahaha!  Seriously though, we are all pretty happy about it all.  Just wanted to share some of our happy news. Hope your day is blessed and you have some bright spots in your day!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bessie's Pillow Review

Bessie's Pillow
I had the awesome privilege of reviewing Bessie's Pillow.  It is historical fiction based on a true story written by the granddaughter, Linda Bress Silbert, of the main character "Bessie." Both Linda and her husband Al are the owners of Strong Learning, Inc., a tutoring company in New York.  This book is a treasure trove of goodies.  It is an engaging story written in the first person and you quickly become attached to the characters and their journeys.
Strong Learning, Inc.
Based on a true story, Bessie's Pillow walks you through the life and struggles of the author's grandmother, Boshka (Elizabeth - "Bessie") Markman Dreizen.  In 1906, at the young age of 18, Boshka and her family have decided to send her to America for a better life.  There is much turmoil and persecution in her hometown of Glubokoye, Lithuania.  She leaves behind her father, mother, and four younger brothers. As a Russian Jew, she finds that even in America there are challenges to face. The story covers the time period between 1904 and 1936.  It was a Progressive era and much history happens during her lifetime.  You will follow her through wars, fashion, political events, social influences and cultural changes.

The story focuses on Bessie and her life in America but there is still a lot of history woven in throughout the book.  You learn her resilience and stubbornness to overcome the obstacles she faces.  Once she is settled she continues to face challenges throughout her life, but she overcomes so much and the story shows you that with hope, all things are possible.  Bessie never gives up.  She presses on, perseveres, and comes out victorious.  You live with her through jobs, marriage, babies, loss, death, joy, and success in business. Over time she brings her two eldest brothers to America and they also become successful in America.

Even my 13 year old son remained engaged with the story.  Most chapters are short and it is an easy read.  I felt it was a perfect story as a read aloud.  We read five days a week.  There are 40 chapters and we often read 2 to 3 chapters at a time.  Most of the times I would read, but he offered to read several times too (this is good for him because he generally does not enjoy reading aloud).  There is death and much sadness throughout the book, but there always remains a hope and perseverance that allows Bessie to overcome the obstacles. I think this is a good book for age 10 and above depending on the maturity of your child and ability to deal with death and loss. The lessons learned are endless and much can be gleaned from this book.  Not only are you getting a history lesson but character as well.  Themes covering honesty, integrity, compassion and perseverance are woven through the entire book. If you like Charlotte Mason type living books, you will love this one.

In addition to all the lessons learned from the story, there is a website, Bessie's America, that has a plethora of educational information, links and study guides.  Some of the links include:
  • Actual photographs of Bessie and her life and family
  • European Immigration
  • Famous People
  • Food and Recipes
  • Health
  • Housework
  • Movies
  • Music and Dancing
  • News
  • U.S. Presidents
  • Radio
Through the links there are many videos available that simply immerse you in that time era.  You can experience what it was like for Bessie during her time in America.  There are some great sources for American History and your children will enjoy learning about it. At the end of the book there is a section titled Bessie's America that has some of the same, but also additional, study helps and links to really dig deep into the history, cultural, and social aspects of the time.

You can download a teacher's guide that leads you through instruction in Social Studies and Language Arts.  The Language Arts section covers:
  • Analysis of Major Characters
  • Questions for Review and Discussion
    • Technique and Structure
    • Themes
      • Living Through Loss
      • Independence
      • Perseverance
      • Paying it Forward
    • Symbols
    • Oral History and Self-Discovery
The Social Studies section includes:
  • Questions for Review and Discussion
    • Immigration
    • World War I
    • Disease
    • Labor and Employment
    • Women's Suffrage
  • Research Topics
I really liked this book and highly recommend it!  I don't think you will be disappointed in what it has to offer.  A wonderful story filled with real life and so many resources for further study and learning.

You can also connect with Bessie's Pillow on FACEBOOK or TWITTER.

Read more reviews on this book from fellow crew members

Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews}
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Walking with the Waodani Unit Study Review

Walking with the Waodani
What a blessing to be able to review Walking with the Waodani Adventures in Ecuador, a Unit Study by Stacy Farrell of Home School Adventure Co.  This Unit Study is still currently being finalized and it was a joy to be able to implement this study in our homeschool. My son has always been fascinated with the story of Jim Elliott and Nate Saint and their interactions with the Waodanis.  It is one of his favorite missionary stories.
Home School Adventure Company

This study consists of four lessons that can be used for weekly or monthly lessons.  Each lesson consists of the following components:
  • Lesson Introduction
  • People & Places
  • Meals & Markets
  • Animals & Agriculture
  • Worlds & Worldview
There is also a Travel Journal component that allows for more writing and creativity from your student. Your student will:
  • answer questions related to the lessons on notebook pages
  • mark maps or discuss a ministry
  • assume the role of a recipe critic
  • use their drawing talents
  • engage in creative freewriting
Walking with the Waodani is an excellent unit study focusing on the story of the five missionaries who were martyred trying to evangelize a group of Auca Indians now known as the Waodani. Anyone who has delved into any stories on missionaries has certainly come across the story of Jim Elliott, Nate Saint, and their missionary friends.  Stacy spent two years of research study to compile this wonderful resource.

One of the meal options in the study

I really like that it incorporates so many subjects including history, language arts, geography, home ec, and social studies. It is a wonderful Charlotte Mason type study and I like that it is not too deep.  There is a plethora of knowledge, but it is presented in a simple way and the assignments are not too long to bog your child down.  My 13 year old 7th grader had no trouble tackling the assignments.  If you have multi aged children it is easily adaptable for different age ranges.  There are links provided for further study and additional resources for each lesson.  I would think this study is best suited for age 12 and above because of the nature of some of story (they were violent before they were saved), but that being said that is not a focus and there is plenty of material that can accommodate most age ranges.

Vampire Bat my son chose to draw

The author is still currently finalizing this resource but the final study will include four lessons that can easily be completed in a month's time.  We had access to the first two lessons and just recently received the third addition.  We chose to complete each lesson in two weeks time. We spent the first week mostly reading and following the extended research links.  We watched the movie again (it was already part of our video library). The second week we concentrated on the writing lessons and more research.  My son dislikes writing very much but the lessons are short and the subject really interested him.  We are looking forward to continuing with this study and can't wait for the finished product!  You can be notified when this study is completed and ready for purchase by going to their website and selecting the link at the bottom of the page.

We are enjoying this study and would recommend it especially if you like Charlotte Mason type Unit Studies and if anyone is interested in missionaries or missions work for the future.

You can connect with Home School Adventure Co. at their social media links:

Follow the link below to read other reviews on this study and a few other fun resources available.

Resources with a Biblical Worldview{Home School Adventure Co. Reviews}
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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Spring Fever or Chick Fever?

I think I have both!  I am so ready for winter to be over.  We had such a mild winter here and then such hints of an early spring.  Seventy degrees one day and down to freezing and below temps within the week!  Crazy weather.  Even more than usual for us.  I'm sure my chickens are just not happy right now.  Though they are only down a few eggs a day, so grateful for that.

This is the time of year for chicks.  It is SOOOOOO hard to go to the local farm store and not walk away with armfuls of baby chicks!!  Especially when they are marking them down to seventy-five then fifty cents each!!!  Oh my. I have had self-control thus far.  Not sure how much longer I can hold out LOL!!

Seriously though.  The past six months or so have been such a season for us around our homestead.  The adoption that still isn't happening yet and just dragging on.  Sickness that finally hit and just won't get gone. Weather that can't make up its mind. Spring cleaning that needs done, but the weather won't cooperate with our schedules. Lots of craziness, yet so much to be grateful and thankful for.  We are blessed.  Everything in its own time.  God's word reminds us that there is a time and season for everything. 
To everything there is a season
A time for every purpose under heaven Ecc 3:1 NKJV

I have so intended to get this blog going on a steady, regular basis, but have really struggled.  I am once again going to try to commit to at LEAST one post a week if not three.  I really need to work on this.  Be watching for my newest review tomorrow.  We really enjoyed this one.  I also need to get going on the blog hops and what not again.  I so miss really interacting with everyone.  So my goal for this next week.  Get going!  Hope your day is blessed! 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A REVIEW

 We recently had the privilege to review Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A from Eclectic Foundations.  Level A is geared towards K-1st grade.  I was able to review this with my 4 year old preschooler.  She won't be age eligible in the public school system to start Kindergarten until the fall of 2018 but she is advanced in several areas and she did pretty well with this curriculum.  I said that so you would realize she is underage for this but was still quite able to complete most of the assignments and really enjoyed it!

This curriculum is available in either print or download form.  Their print prices are going up soon so you may want to take advantage of the lower pricing by ordering soon if you choose to try this out. The student workbook is designed to be consumable as are the word cards.  The word cards are also available as a FREE download from their site if you choose to do that.  The print items available are the Teacher's Guide, Student Workbook, and Appendixes and Word Cards (McGuffey Flashcards).  The download version includes each one of the print items.  The program uses McGuffey's Eclectic Primer which is available as a free download and the link is available on their site.

The curriculum is designed to be used four days a week and we used it as suggested. The Teacher's Guide walks you through each short lesson step by step.  It is really a turnkey program that requires no prep work.  I like that!  My little one loved doing her "lessons."  Especially when play doh was involved!!
Letter recognition with play doh

The lessons include reviewing the letters and using wonderful hands on and sensory techniques such as play doh, glue and glitter, drawing in flour, and using pipe cleaners or wax sticks to name a few. I absolutely LOVE the Charlotte Mason way this curriculum works. There are 144 lessons in the program that cover

  • reading
  • reading comprehension
  • spelling
  • grammar
  • phonics
  • handwriting
  • poetry
Each lesson also includes a Mother Goose rhyme from the 1916 version.

The Eclectic Primer is not even used until the second half of the program.  Of course my little one isn't reading yet, but as I stated, the beginning lessons are perfect for her and a good review for what she knows and a challenge for what she has yet to learn.

The general format for the lesson is to review the alphabet (sing the alphabet song), work on letter recognition, work on the Start With? Game, and then recite the Mother Goose rhyme at the end. Other lesson include different variations.  Sometimes you will work on word sounds, sometimes "where is the sound" of the letter (beginning, middle, end of word), mazes following the letter or circling the letter in a reading selection. You can easily complete a lesson within 20 minutes if not less depending on what is covered for the day.

Following the letter M maze

Working on tracing and writing the letter M

My little one had a lot of fun with the Start With? Game even though she seemed to have trouble in this area understanding what I was asking.  If a word from the list given to you in the Teacher's Guide "starts with" the letter of the day you are supposed to point to the smiley face.  If it DOES NOT "start with" the letter you are supposed to point to the sad face.

Playing the Start With? Game
We are really enjoying this curriculum and I would definitely recommend you check this out.  They currently only have up through LEVEL C (4th grade) available, but LEVEL D (5th-6th grade) is scheduled to be out April 2017. They list all the way to LEVEL I (9th grade to college) on their website so I am excited that my older one will soon be able to try this out.

You can connect with Eclectic Foundations through their website or on Facebook.

Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations }

Read other reviews from this level as well as Levels B and C through the link below.

Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations Reviews}

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