Saturday, May 31, 2014

Update from us for May {Thoughts From Me}

This week has been a long one for us, not leaving me with a lot of time online.  Mom had gall bladder surgery last Wednesday and that means my usual help is not available.  Having her out of commission has been hard on us all.

I'm truly thankful for all my Momma does for me - she helps me every day with the kids, especially with Jackson.  She's always there to run to the store or to simply keep an extra eye out so I can keep up with the household stuff and have one on one time with each child. It's great.

This week, she's not been able to help out as much.  Her surgery went great and she's feeling better every day.  I'm hoping in a few days she will be back to her normal self and we will be back on track again.

So until then, my posts will be short and my time limited.  Just wanted to give this quick update about where we are at!  Blessings to all!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Apologia: What We Believe Series {Crew Review}

Apologia Review
If you follow our blog, then you know that I absolutely LOVE Apologia Educational Ministries.  I was introduced to Apologia's wonderful curriculum when we first began looking into homeschooling when Winston was four, nine years ago.  It took me a while to invest in any of their curriculum but as soon as I did, we were immediately hooked.  The kids LOVE Apologia just as much as I do and enjoy every curriculum purchase we have made from them.  For this review, we used Apologia's What We Believe: What On Earth Can I Do?, What On Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal, What On Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal and the What On Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book.

We discovered Apologia's What We Believe series for Biblical Studies the very year they came out.  I was thrilled to find that Apologia had created a set of books just for educating children on how to study the Bible and build their relationship with God.  It was such a blessing to me to find these materials through this one company which we loved so much and I knew that my children would enjoy these books as much as they have the Science curriculum we previously purchased from them.  I wasn't wrong.

We've been using Apologia's What We Believe for quite a while now, each year diving deeper into the books.  Sometimes going back to previous chapters to review the curriculum and put it to use for our lives in their current path.  The books never fail to teach us something new from the first time to the review of different sections.

Apologia Review

Apologia is one of our favorite review items from the Schoolhouse Review team.  We look forward to seeing what they have available each year and to learning from the beautifully written books to the intriguingly designed curriculum.  When the vendor form popped up for the What We Believe series' fourth book, What On Earth Can I Do?  I knew it was a product I definitely wanted.  Not only does this fourth book complete on of our favorite Apologia curriculum collections, it is also a series my children and I love to enjoy and learn from together.  I was estatic to be chosen to review this in the last of our series with my children.

The What We Believe series is a Biblical study designed to be used with students and children in grades 1 through 6.  It is a Biblical Worldview series, teaching stewardship to those who use it.  It is easy to follow and easy to understand, making it work well for family use.

I'll be honest, I don't know a lot about the intended plan of using this program any more simply because I have used it so long that it just flows for us.  We use it together as a family, from oldest (Me aka Mom) to youngest (Jackson at 21 months listening along).  We take turns reading through, though I am usually the one doing the reading to ensure my children grasp the knowledge behind the lessons and stories shared throughout the books.

We read the text straight through, section by section.  Sometimes we do this daily throughout our school year and other times we do it several times a week.  How you choose to complete your lessons is completely up to you as it is with any Apologia curriculum.

At the end of each section, there are almost always questions to help reflect on the things we have read.  We discuss these together and talk about the answers as a family, helping each other build our knowledge and a stronger connection to God through our reading.  We enjoy sharing with each other and learning in this manner.

We also enjoy reading about different people throughout the lessons and listening to the stories of others who have shared in God's work over time.  Some of the stories are serious and some are funny but they always have a message to convey.  The differences in each makes the curriculum well-rounded and enjoyable all together.  This is important to us since it keeps learning fun!

There are quotes from the Bible and quotes from important Christians shared throughout these lessons too.  We often use these quotes as copywork or I will put them onto a printed image or a post it and place them around our house as reminders of the things we have learned from our study.  I do the same with new words we learn through the Words You Need to Know section of the curriculum and also the Hide It In Your Heart section which is there to help instill the word of God in your heart and lives.

There are also prayers shared throughout the curriculum which help teach your children how to pray.  This helps to show them the prayers of others to help them strengthen their ability to pray and their understanding of how others pray, as well as their own prayers.  We also pray these sections together with one of us reading the prayer and then we add to it however we feel is needed.  I like to take turns on these sections so that my children strengthen their voice when it comes to speaking prayers to others.

What We Believe: What On Earth Can I Do? was written by John Hay and David Webb.  This textbook is hardback and is 294 pages long.  The book contains 8 lessons with around 15-20 sections each.  There are four books in the What We Believe series.  What On Earth Can I Do? is the fourth and final book in the series.

Apologia Review

This curriculum offers additions as well.  There is a website with extras created specifically for the course.  This can be found on the Apologia website and a special code is provided for log-in at the front of the book in the How to Use This Book section.  This is a great bonus of material that we always enjoy from Apologia.

Additionally, there are Journals which can be purchased to go along with this series.  We love these journals!   There are two choices to use:  the What On Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal is for older students while the What On Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal is for younger students.  There is also a coloring book available for the youngest of students.

Apologia Review

 I think the What On Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book is my favorite!  I love the simple clean lines of the images and the words shared on each page.  These pages are perfect for the littles and the older kids alike.  The coloring book contains 64 pages to color.

The What On Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal is another favorite of mine.  It's easy for my younger students to comprehend, around grades 1-4.  The work inside isn't too taxing or boring for them.  Additionally, there are coloring pages found in this spiral bound, softcover journal.  Lesson plans can be found in the front to help guide the use of the journal appropriately along with the curriculum.  I used them for a while and found them very helpful.

Apologia Review

The Junior Notebooking Journal contains lots of fun activities from crosswords, to word finds, and even books, songs and stories to help build upon the lessons learned in the textbook.  We enjoy reading these extra books and sharing the songs and stories with each other during our lessons as we work through them.

There are also note pages that are included in this journal.  We use those in many ways.  Sometimes we will draw a picture depicting the topic.  Sometimes we will write a story or just a few sentences.  Sometimes we cut out pictures from magazines to paste showing what these topics mean to us.  Each time we try to do something different from the last activity to keep our lessons from becoming rote and boring for the kids.

Lesson plans are also included in the front of the What On Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal.  They are a great addition to each of these books and very helpful to help you get an idea of a plan that works for your family.  As I mentioned above, we used them for a while until we adapted the lessons to better fit us.

The What On Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal is designed for older students to use.  I'd say it's perfect for grades 4-6.  The work inside is a bit more challenging than the Junior Journal and the page designs are a little more serious than the other journal.  There are question and answer pages that are more thought provoking.  We generally do these together and write in our responses. There are also word finds and crossword puzzles but these are also lengthier and more challenging than the Junior Notebook.

Each journal contains work to be completed in accordance with each lesson in the textbook.  These are also broken into sections so they are easily found and completed.  There are mini-books which can be found in the back of the journals to use additionally with the lessons and help bring the book to life.

We love each and every piece of this curriculum and how each piece builds into the next helping us to grow closer in our relationship with God and to better understand our purpose here on Earth as his servants.  I personally enjoy the Biblical Worldview provided in these books which allows my children to grow in Faith outside of our little piece of the world we live in.  We all enjoy seeing how other people live in other countries with the same kind of faith that we live with, worshiping God just as we do.  This has been a blessing for our family and broadened our lives, our faith and our tolerance as Christians.

You can purchase a copy of Apologia Educational Ministries What We Believe: What On Earth Can I Do? for $39 for the hardback textbook.  The What On Earth Can I Do? Junior Notebooking Journal is available as a soft-cover spiral bound book for $24.  The What On Earth Can I Do? Notebooking Journal is also available as a soft-cover spiral bound book for $24.  The What On Earth Can I Do? Coloring Book is available in paperback for $8.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Signed, Sealed, Delivered {Propeller Review}

There's a brand new series that has recently aired on The Hallmark Channel.  Signed, Sealed, Delivered was written and developed by Martha Williamson.  Mrs. Williamson also created the long-running series Touched By An Angel.

Sign, Sealed, Delivered showcases the lives of four postal detectives who track down the recipients of undeliverable mail.  Each of these intriguing individuals must work together to find out who the letter of the day belongs to and make sure it's delivered.  This takes them on some interesting adventures.

Beneath the surface of Sign, Sealed, Delivered is a freshness that most other shows lack these days.  Steeped in the rich word of the Bible, this show is sure to soothe the soul and bring joy back into television viewing.  This show is different from most I've seen lately, bringing God to the forefront.

Sign, Sealed, Delivered is a family show.  This is something I can share with all of my family, from the youngest to the oldest.  I don't have to worry about them taking away negativity from the episodes and know they will surely take away a verse of scripture or an important lesson each week we watch.

The episode that I viewed aired on May 25 on the Hallmark Channel.  This particular show was about a letter that was found jammed in the drawer runner of an old desk.  The letter was missing the address and name of the recipient and could not be delivered but the team behind Signed, Sealed, Delivered was on it!

Through various sources, the team was able to figure out this letter was written by the lovely Ellie and they were able to track Ellie to a local flower shop.  Ellie was very excited to have her letter back and it reminded her of some important things she'd been putting off.  You see, Ellie was in love and had been since she wrote the letter around 7 years ago for a school project where she was to write a letter to her future self. She still wasn't married to her beau because Ellie and her beau have Down Syndrome.  Her family wasn't supportive of them marrying but reading the letter, Ellie was reminded how strong she was and that this was a dream she truly wished to have happen.  And it did - Ellie made a beautiful bride!

You can view Signed, Sealed, Delivered weekly on The Hallmark Channel.  The show is scheduled for Sundays at 8/7 central.  It's one show you will  not want to miss!

To see a clip of Sign, Sealed, Delivered and find out more about the show, please visit their website.  And don't forget to follow them on Facebook as well!  You can also find Martha Williamson on Facebook!

*Disclaimer - I was offered the chance to view an early preview of Sign, Sealed, Delivered from The Hallmark Channel for free ahead of the scheduled release by Propeller Reviews in exchange for my honest opinion shared in a blog post.  I'm including this disclaimer in accordance with FTC Guidelines and Regulations.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Trident Case {Schoolhouse Review}

A few months ago I purchased a new iPad Mini for the kids and I through my cell phone company.  I didn't immediately purchase a case for it, so I was thankful when this review for Trident Case became available through The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew.  It was definitely something we could and would be able to use.

It didn't take long for the man in the Brown Truck to drop off our Trident Case in it's specially marked packaging.  There was no doubt what had arrived and I quickly ripped into the packaging to find our brand new Trident Kraken A.M.S. Case for our Apple iPad Mini.  I chose a Red case, both for the Apple aspect, after all Apples are often Red, and for the neutral color since both boys and girls use our iPad Mini.

The case color is so vibrant and beautiful.  It immediately shown through the inner plastic packaging that I found inside my original cardboard box the case was shipped in.  The red color of the case is accented by a black silicone that helps to protect the Apple Mini when placed inside the case.

I pulled the case out the packaging and took it apart carefully.  It was a bit tricky to pull apart since it was just opened but not overly troublesome.  It was fairly easy to lock back into place as I placed the cover over our Apple iPad Mini.  I already had a screen protector on our Mini but it isn't necessary as the case comes with a built in screen protective cover as well.  However, this allows double protection from scratching and I often leave a screen protector underneath my protective cases when applied.  It doesn't affect the performance of my iPad Mini at all.

The Kraken A.M.S. Case is made in America and has been military tested for performance.  It is also Green Protection and able to be recycled at any point.  It offers drop protection, vibration protection, and rain and wind protection.  Dust filters keep dust from entering the case and ruining your device.  It also protects device controls and ports from water, wind and dust damage if you ensure you close the rubber pieces back into place after charging or opening for use.  Enhanced sound through sound funnel technology allows this case to not interfere with the quality of sound from the product inside the case.

The Kraken A.M.S. Case is compatible with attachments which can allow the case to stand up on it's own.  There is also an available shoulder strap for purchase so that it makes carrying your case easier.  The case itself is a hardened Polycarbonate exterior with a silicone interior that allows suburb protection of the device inside.

Those are the fine details but how did it really stand up?  I find the quality of this product equal to other similar products on the market that I have used on other Apple devices I own.  I actually feel the quality is better than those devices.  The case is sturdy and solid.  It's easy to put on and take off and very easy to use.  It does not interfere with function and is not overly bulky, yet I know with the Kraken A.M.S. Case, my very expensive Apple iPad Mini is safe and secure inside this case.  I was impressed with the port covers and how well they fit back into place.  I am also impressed with the screen protection.  It's strongly glued into place so there is no worry about it coming loose or being damaged.

I am able to press the "Home" button with no issue and my apps are not affected by the thickness of the screen protector in place, even with my Apple Screen Protector in place as well.  It's easily cleaned with glass cleaner and a soft rag as needed.  I even took this thing into the bath with me while I read with no worries about water damage though I was extremely careful not to drop it into the tub!

Overall, I give the Trident Kraken A.M.S Case for the Apple iPad Mini an A+.  I'm so thrilled with this case that I've been considering purchasing cases for our other Apple products as well and also purchasing some of the accessories available.

The Trident Kraken A.M.S. Case for the Apple iPad Mini is available for purchase for $59.95.  There are also versions available at differing prices for other devices, including the Apple iPad 2/3/4.  Cases come in various colors so if Red isn't the color for you, choose a color that fits you best!

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

C is for Charles Towne Landing {Blogging Through The Alphabet}

Ben and Me

C is for Charles Towne Landing

Last week we had another doctor appointment in Charleston.  Since we were in the area, we decided to take a field trip as well.  One of our favorite places to visit is Charles Towne Landing, a South Carolina State Park.

Viewing and listening to the first exhibit in the park museum.

My first visit to Charles Towne Landing was in 4th grade with my public school class.  That one visit stuck with me for my entire life, so when my children were born, I knew Charles Towne Landing would be one place that I wanted my children to see with me.  Charles Towne is also a childhood favorite of Josh's, so it's a place he enjoys visiting as well.

Charles Towne Landing is located in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina right on a marsh off the Ashley River.  This park represents the establishment of the birthplace of the first Carolina Colony at Charleston, where a group of English Settlers first landed in 1670.  The park is filled with historical representations of the original Carolina Colony.

This was Jackson's very first field trip!

You begin your visit to Charles Towne Landing with a stop at the Visitor's Center, where you can pay for entrance to the park.  The fees are low at $10 per adult, $6.50 per Senior Citizen, $6 for Youth ages 6-15 and children under 5 get in free.  If you purchase a South Carolina State Park Passport Plus, then who ever is in your vehicle while you visit gets in free of charge.  The park is open daily from 9am-5pm, closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Audio tours are also available for $5 a person.

Reading the map, that is free with entrance, to decide where we will head first.

At the Visitor's Center, you can pick up a paper map of the park.  The map shows every wonderful place to visit in the park and is free to visitors.  It helps you to not get lost and not miss a single fun part of the park.  To view a map of the park click here!

While you are at the visitor's center, you can take a look around at the wonderful trinkets, stuffed animals, books and more related to the early days of South Carolina's settlement.  There are tons of replica pieces of the past available for purchase that help support South Carolina's State Parks.  We recently picked up some beautiful natural stone bracelets, Indian drum toys, and a set of stones to sort and learn more about.

Colonial man trading with a local American Indian.

In the back of the Visitor's Center, is a small museum filled with so much interesting information about the early English settlers and the first Carolina Colony.  There are examples of the ships' storage, the early Indians found here in SC, portraits of early founders and specific people who were important to early SC history.  This entire section of the building is filled with beautiful examples of our state's history.

Exploration and examples of what the ships carried.

There are two paths into the park: one leads to the gardens through the back of the Visitor's center and the other leads to the Animal park and main center of Charles Towne Landing.  We usually go through the park gardens first.

These gardens are absolutely gorgeous, especially in the spring when they are in bloom.  In the gardens, you will find a picnic area, as well as a picnic area outside the main entrance to the park.  You will also find Christopher's Garden which states Christopher's age as 10.  It is a small area intended for prayer.

The paths of the garden cross over the many beautiful ponds throughout the property where you can view turtles, Egret, Blue Herring, large fish and even alligator.  There are many other beautiful, wild animals found within the park as well.  Benches are appropriately placed throughout to stop and view the wildlife and flowers.

A white Egret and a Blue Herring in one of the many ponds at Charles Towne Landing.

Also in the gardens, you will find the Wedding Garden.  This beautiful space is perfectly designed to celebrate your wonderful day, if you choose.  It also makes a great backdrop for photographs.  There are small benches and a large white arbor in the garden in front of the beautiful ponds.

The gorgeous Wedding Garden behind the Legare-Waring House.

The gardens lead to the Legare-Waring House.  The home was built in the 1840's for the Waring family.  The house is in the same pristine style and condition as when built and is a wonderful representation of life and style in the 1800's.  The home can also be rented for weddings.

The beautifully designed, wrought iron gates that lead to the Legare-Waring House.

Cobblestones in front of the Legare-Waring House.  So beautiful to see!

Facing the Legare - Waring House is the beautiful Avenue of Oaks.  The beauty of this particular sector of the park is indescribable.  It is set exactly as you see on those old southern plantation style movies.  The trees themselves are steeped in Spanish Moss.  Walking across this beautifully designed path, beneath the gorgeous oak trees is liking taking a step back into the past.  This is one of my favorites in the park.

Three photos of the beautiful Avenue of Oaks in front of the Legare-Waring House.

Past the Avenue of Oaks, you will find a replication of the original excavation of the Charles Towne Landing site, as well as a small cabin, complete with a small garden that shows how the Colonists lived upon first settling the area.  The building's roof is thatched and the timbers are tarred to keep them long lasting.  The garden is just enough to support a family coming to America for the first time.

Example of an early settlement at Charles Towne Landing.

Thatched roof and siding on building.

Inside the small cabin at the settlement.

Further down the path is a bridge to view the beautiful natural marsh that surrounds Charles Towne Landing.  There we see small crabs, the footprints of deer, raccoon, and many other wild animals.  It's truly a gorgeous thing to see and a great way to compare various natural habits for animals.

As you continue on this path, you come to my children's favorite part of the park: The Adventure.  The Adventure is a 17th Century replica trading vessel from Colonial times.  It is water-worthy and has been out to Sea to test it's accuracy.

We always spend time exploring the Adventure.  My children love to climb down the steps into the ships hull and view the captains quarters, as well as into the beds to see what it was like to sleep in such a tiny space.  They help pump water from the ship and to lower the anchor using the old-fashioned mechanisms found on the Adventure.  It's truly a lot of fun to see.

Outside the ship during low tide, you can see minnow, oyster beds laying against the sides of the dock and shore, turtles, and so much more.  There is also a replica of a ship being built to view and a rope tying area to practice your roping skills.

Further down this path is another replica building that is much larger than the previous tiny cabin.  This represents the servants quarters and includes a wooden broom, a large working fire pit, examples of furniture and other things used in Colonial times.  There is even a bowling pit outside of this building to play, just like children would have who lived in the 1700's.

Across from this building is the Gun platform.  Here you can find large mounds with various Cannon in place, ready to protect the fort of Charles Towne Landing.  You can also see a replica tent that early soldiers would have used to sleep and stay in.

A bit further down the path are the Stocks, where thieves and prisoners were kept.  This is another favorite of our family.  We love to lock each other up (there aren't locks, just replicas).  The kids always get a good laugh out of this part of the park.

Lock used on the small cabin mentioned above.

Through the Palisades, you come to the Horry-Lucas site. This is a excavation of a home that once stood on this site in the park.  There you will find a brick chimney remnant, a stone bathtub that was built into the home and other interesting tidbits.

Further up the paths, you will find large, beautifully erected statues representing the American Indians that once lived in this area.  The ceremonial center showcases the history of these tribes and helps to bring America's heritage to life.  This area also contains a true African-American cemetery where generations of slaves were laid to rest.

Our final favorite place in the park is the Animal Zoo.  This 22 acre natural habitat is home to black bear, bison, raccoon, local birds, otter, and many other beautiful creatures who were natural to the area at the time of settlement.  It always amazes us to see these beautiful animals and think they once roamed freely throughout our home.

Charles Towne Landing is a true sight to see and a wonderful field trip for anyone in the Charleston area.  If you are visiting or planing a visit to South Carolina, add this state park to your must visit list!  If you're a local, invest in a state park pass and start visiting today.  With South Carolina's State Park Passport Plus, you can visit this park as many times a year as you wish.

We hope you have enjoyed this tour of one of our favorite places to visit.  Where is your favorite place to go for local field trips?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Golden Prairie Press: American History Curriculum {Schoolhouse Review}

One of our favorite companies for learning about History is Golden Prairie Press.  Amy Puetz has put a lot of hard work into developing solid Christian curriculum for learning History.  She has graciously provided the Schoolhouse Review crew with downloads of Digital Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum.

Before I get started telling you how great this curriculum is, I want to start out telling you that American History is one of our family favorites.  Living in Georgetown, South Carolina we have access to so many resources that make this history come alive for our family.  We never hesitate to use a new program for American History lessons, as each one has taught us something completely different and Digital Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum has been no different.

As mentioned in the title, this is a digital history program.  It is designed to be used by students in grades 1-6 but can be used with older students as well and adapted to fit many educational styles.  We used this program with my Kindergartner, 4th and 6th grader together as a study.  It worked well for all of them.

The program isn't exhausting but it is thorough.  For us, it was more of a review than a lesson but we are learning more each day from using it.  Since this is a year long program, we did not complete the entire program while working through the review but we did work through several lessons.

This program does not need to be used daily but it can be.  It is expected to be used several times a week for a thorough lesson plan and to complete the program on schedule within the year.  Lesson length will vary per lesson.  Most lessons will take an hour to complete but some may take longer while others may take less time.

Included in your program package are the following materials:
  • Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 1
  • Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 2
  • Additional Materials CD which contains videos, coloring pages, artwork, history timeline and more.
  • Historical Skits
  • Sing Some History CD
  • Listen to Some US History MP3 CD
Each of these pieces come together to create an interesting experience in American History.

Heroes and Heroines of the Past is the core of this history program.  It contains multiple selections from throughout American History about people and places that have importance to the creation of America itself. The program begins with Colonization and continues through modern day times.

There are two parts to the curriculum.  The first part is designed to be used for half a year and the second part is designed to follow and be used the second part of the year, making the curriculum last for a full years period.  Of course this will depend upon how quickly you choose to complete your lessons.  We chose to work a few times a week which extended our lessons but if you completed several lessons a day, you'd finish the program much quicker.  The entire course contains 30 lessons total.  Lessons 1-15 are found in Part 1, while lessons 16-30 can be found in Part 2.

Each part of the Digital Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History curriculum is also broken down into two portions.  The first part of the lessons are designed to be used with the early grades of 1st and 2nd grades.  The second part of the lessons are designed to be used with the later grades of 3rd through 6th.  We chose to use the second part, even with my Kindergartner.  The grade lessons contain the same information and stories but the grade 3-6 level is more intensive, containing more information for a more in depth lesson.  I did not expect my K'er to follow along through all of the lessons but she actually did surprisingly well and kept up.

The lessons all follow a similar format: there is a story on a person or place of interest all related to some bit of American History.  Often in these readings, there will be a word that students may not know.  These are defined within the text for students.  These definitions can be found within parenthesis.  There are also quotes and scriptures related to the lessons found throughout the text that can be turned into copywork for students to use to enhance their lessons.

To expand lessons, you can purchase an additional Literature Pack for Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History through Amy Puetz and Golden Prairie Press.  Recommended for this curriculum are:
  • Ten Great Adventurers by Kate Dickinson Sweetser
  • Ten Girls from History by Kate Dickinson Sweetser
  • Heroines of the Past Bible Study by Amy Puetz
  • Two Little Americans in Spanish California by Frances Margaret Fox
  • Jack and Jill by Louisa May Alcott
The readings in the Heroes and Heroines of the Past text are followed by questions and answers, like many textbooks contain.  There are only a few and answers can be found at the end of the text.  We chose to do these verbally but you could have your children write out the answers if preferred.

There are also activities and additional resources suggested to help expand the lessons.  These bring the lessons to life for students.  One of our favorites was building a Tee Pee.  The lesson suggested using brooms but we were able to use sticks cut and found from our surrounding woods.  My children worked together to build their Tee Pee and they enjoyed playing in it.  I hope to expand on Tee Pee building with them very soon.

We also used this time to take a look at some of the Historical Skits that were made available as part of this curriculum.  The kids enjoyed playing many parts in those various skits and they enjoyed singing along to the Sing Some History songs as well.  These additional tools really made learning these lessons fun for us together.  It was also great bonding time.

To round out our lessons with this study, we took a field trip to Charles Town Landing in Charleston, South Carolina.  Charles Town is a South Carolina State Park that represents the site of the first English settlement in South Carolina.  Our visit to this location really brought all we had been learning about the early days of American History to life.  The kids were able to see statues of the Indians for themselves, to see arrowheads and baskets, as well as table settings from the time period, housing and even the ship, Adventure, which is a replica of early American ships used during early settlement times.  Charles Town is one of our favorite places to visit and I knew it would be a great asset in expanding and bringing Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum to life for my children and I.

To purchase Digital Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum by Amy Puetz of Golden Prairie Press you can visit the website.  This curriculum is available for $98.99.  The additional Literature Pack for Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History is available for $59.99.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Busy Week: Neurology Update {Epilepsy Awareness}

It's been a crazy week... and it's not slowing down.

Last week was a mambo jumbo of activities for us making it one hectic week.  I'm proud to say we survived it, though not without some issues.  Still looking back, I think how much worse our week could have been but thankfully it wasn't as bad as I originally thought it was.

Mid-week we had our MUSC check-up with Neurology for Laycie and Jackson.  Laycie had a Pulmonary Appointment this day as well, but it was cancelled since she had not had her sleep study yet.  Our Neurology appointment was scheduled together for her and Jack though and it went amazingly well.

I must stop here to say that I absolutely, totally and completely LOVE our neuro and the MUSC Children's Pediatric Neurology Unit.  We have been using this same office for 34 years now, as they were also my pediatric neurology team as well, though the doctors have since changed to be replaced by new neurologists.  As a parent, we have been using this office for 11 years and though we've had ups and downs with care, changed neuro's a few times, we have always had a wonderful experience with their office.  Very rarely do we run into issue with them and that makes such a wonderful difference.  The staff truly cares.

That said, we went into our appointment and I was ready to go to bat with my thoughts and ideals but that wasn't needed at all!  The doctor brought to point many of my thoughts before I could even mention them.  He had recently cared for a family who's children have severe issues with Breath Holding Spells with seizure, much like Jack suffers from.  He saw my urgency for treatment of Jackson's disorder and the same fears in this family that I have for my son and for Laycie who also has Epilepsy.  He agreed that most likely Jackson's Breath Holding Spells are a trigger for Epilepsy in him and he also agreed to continue treatment as needed, instead of removing medications.  

Talk about God's blessings!  I completely felt them on this day!  I left this appointment feeling like we finally had so many answers and a treatment plan that truly fit to us!

Our crazy day wasn't over though, as that night we had a sleep study for Laycie at MUSC.  The study was to check her for sleeping disorders and also do an updated EEG for our neuro.  The study was from 7pm-6am and I feel she did really well.  Some of the wiring was upsetting for her but she managed through it all.  Daddy was there to pick us up bright and early the next day so we could head home.  We are still waiting the results of this study to see how she is doing.

Later on Thursday, Laycie had two partial complex seizures happen unexpectedly.  The toil of the busy day before hit her like a freight train.  These are the first seizures we have noticed since her last breakthroughs last June and I feel they were directly related to the extra excitement for the week.  There were no signs of them coming and I am hoping that her EEG showed some activity for the doctor the night before so that he can treat her appropriately.  

Since Thursday, things have been busy at home. The week was relaxed.  Sunday was a lazy day, with rain keeping us from getting much done.

Today, I've spent mostly on the phone.  I had some business and personal calls to make, caught up with email, and just got things in order for our medical appointments.  I did some odds and ends I needed to get done as well.

Tomorrow, Jackson has his first Hemotology appointment at MUSC.  He frequently bleeds a lot from even the smallest of bumps so we are taking him in to see if there is some sort of issue.  He bruises extremely easy from the smallest of bumps.  If you didn't know better you'd seriously think my sweet baby boy was abused and this concerns me greatly.  So while we were at our Neurology appointment, the neuro referred us over to get him looked at.

So this has been our busy week update.  So much is going on that it's hard to keep up but we are managing.  Please keep us in prayer for all of the issues above.  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

B is for Blogging {Blogging Through The Alphabet}

Ben and Me

B is for Blogging

I'm a blogger.  That's just what I do.  I love blogging.  I enjoy sharing with others and using this creative outlet to speak my mind.

I began blogging in 2009 simply as a way to express myself.  I wanted to share with others about our life.  I wanted to find a way to write again, which I hadn't been doing a lot of simply because I had very little time.  Blogging gave me a reason to write.

I began reviewing not long after I started blogging.  I started with book reviews.  It was a great way to get free books and share with others about what I was reading.  Those are two things I greatly enjoy.

I began working as a reviewer for The Old Schoolhouse about 4 years ago.  Being a homeschooler, TOS was a huge part of my life.  The materials gifted through the amazing online parties thrown occasionally by Gena Suarez were impressive and Gena herself is an amazing woman to look up to.  The things Gena does for the homeschooling community and the genuine love of others that she has was a huge inspiration to me.  Gena is the main reason I wanted to become a TOS reviewer.

The first year I applied, I did not finish my trial.  I gave up and I honestly regretted not joining up.  Every time I saw a TOS review for that next year, I mentally kicked myself for not following through with my tryout and joining the review team.

When the next TOS try-out came along, I applied again and I made it all the way through.  I am so glad I did.  The crew has been a great blessing to me and our family.  I have enjoyed reviewing and blogging while working on the Schoolhouse Review Team.

Writing is a huge part of my life.  Blogging allows me to write and get out how I feel.  I use blogging to express myself, to share my feelings, to share great products with others and to learn more about myself in unexpected ways.  There is just so much to it.

Over the last 5 years, I have greatly enjoyed this blog.  I plan to continue to blog for as long as possible and I look forward to sharing with each of you our ups and downs, our happiness and tears and all the things along the way.  I hope you enjoy our blog as well.

So tell me, if you blog, why do you do it?  Share your stories!  I look forward to reading them.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Christian Parenting Handbook {BookLook Review}

50 Heart-Based Strategies for All The Stages Of Your Child's Life
Written by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN

The Christian Parenting Handbook is full of insightful information to promote Heart-Based parenting.  From the very beginning it jumps straight in sharing tips and tidbits of heart warming, helpful ways to Parent your children.  The Christian Parenting Handbook encourages you to parent from your heart straight to the heart of your children.

Throughout the 240 pages of this book, you will find heartfelt suggestions on how to become a better parent.  You will learn how to better discipline your children, changing their attitudes and their hearts at the same time.  Reaching the child's heart to change how they work, act, think and live.  You will also change your own heart through the lessons shared in this book.

This book also teaches you to use your Bible as a guide to parenting your children and changing their hearts.  It outlays Biblical reasoning for how and why to do things, as well as correction to share.  The Christian Parenting Handbook helps to show you how to encourage your children to become better Christians through your parenting methods.

This is definitely a must-read parenting book.  You can buy your own copy of The Christian Parenting Handbook: 50 Heart-Based Strategies for All The Stages of Your Child's Life in bookstores and online.  Get your copy today!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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