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Just Being Us
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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls Books 3 & 4


     I love books! I have always enjoyed reading to my children.  Finding good clean books that also offer adventure and Biblical truths is hard to do, so when we were chosen to receive and review the 3rd and 4th book of  The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls, from  WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, I was so thrilled.  Last year we were given the opportunity to review the first 2 books and they were great.  I couldn't wait to read these 2 newer ones. 

     The Great Escape (Book #3) and Journey to Jericho (Book #4) are geared towards 6-9 year olds, but let me assure you, older and younger kids will enjoy them as well.  My kids are 11 and 14 and were more than happy to read these wonderful books.

      I always research the authors of the books my children read, and when I read about M.J. Thomas, I was happy to let my children read his books.  He wrote these to teach his son Biblical truths while adding adventure and imagination to the mix.  How can you go wrong with that combination?

     Let me give you a bit of a back story to these adventures.  The books have a few main characters. Peter and Mary are brother and sister, and they have a dog named Hank. Then there is their Great-Uncle named Solomon who is an archaeologist.  The kids are not thrilled to visit their Uncle, but soon they realize that this Uncle has made a discovery that will change their lives.  

     Great- Uncle Solomon has found some old scrolls that are sealed with a wax seal that can only be opened by the special chosen ones. It wasn't long before Mary and Peter figure out they are the chosen ones, and that this is just the beginning of their adventures.  It didn't take long for them to LOVE being with Great-Uncle Solomon. 



      In book 3, The Great Escape, we see Peter, Mary and Hank  making an adventure to ancient Egypt.  How awesome would that be?  These young adventurers get to witness first hand what it was like to live in the days of Pharaoh and when the Israelites were being held captive by him.  At first they are not thrilled with being here.  They didn't care for the camels or the hot weather, but knew they were needed. 

      The Great Magician, a cunning man working for the Pharaoh,  was trying to destroy God's people,  It was up to Mary and Peter to not only figure out who this evil one was so they could defeat him, but to protect the scrolls from his grasp. They must also escape from those like the Captain, who was trying to keep them from solving this puzzle.  Could they solve the mystery before their time is up? 


     
     Book 4, Journey to Jericho, takes the team to the time of the Battle of Jericho. Mary, Peter and Hank become spies in this adventure.  They have a couple of weeks to solve the secret of the scroll or they will be trapped in this time of history. 

    At first they are thought to be spies by Joshua, but then he realizes they look a lot like the children from when they were in Egypt.  He laughs off the idea that the are the children from 40 years ago, but knows after Mary writes a word in the sand that they have been sent to help him in his endeavor to conquer Jericho and get to the Promised Land. 

    Will they be able to help Rahab get away?  Will they be able to cling to God's Word as they try defeating the Man in Black?  Who is this man?  All these questions will be answered as you read through the story.    

    If you have children who love adventure these books would be a great fit for them.  They will not only get to go on a mysterious adventure, they will learn Bible truths throughout. 

    We have more reviews of these books for you over here 
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The Great Escape & Journey To Jericho {WorthyKids Reviews}

Would you like to connect with them on social media?  Just follow the links below: 
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/WorthyKidsBooks/   
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Twitter:   https://twitter.com/worthypub  

Friday, February 22, 2019

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW : OUR REVIEW OF IXL

     Our family enjoys trying new online classes. Especially ones that offer many different levels and subjects.  Recently we were chosen to receive and review IXL Learning, a full comprehensive  K-12 online curriculum.  We were given a full year membership to IXL.  This is always a blessing for our family and gives us plenty of time to complete courses that our kids are interested in.




     IXL, has 14 Levels for 2 of their subjects, Math and Language Arts. Social Studies and Science begin at level D and end with Level J.  They also have IXL Spanish that teaches 140 skills in their 7 units of study.  If you are nervous about picking a level for your child they have diagnostic testing that will help you figure out what level your child will need first.  I love that!  No guess work!  I also like that they reward students for their progress.  You get a certificate and virtual prizes.  Kids love seeing their hard work being recognized.  



          Once I received our log in information, I wanted to take a look around the site. I was so pleased with the way it was set up. It is easy to navigate and so colorful.  There is a parents section where I can check up on how my kids are doing and make sure they are logging in to do their work. After looking over the site, I set up 2 accounts.  One for my daughter Hope, who is 11 and one for my son Josh, who is 14.  I wasn't sure what levels they needed at that point be we figured it out quickly as soon as they logged on.

     When we first started the program, Josh was finishing up some other projects, but Hope was able to dive right in.  We chose Level G for her Math and Language Arts.  She loved working through the questions and didn't have any issues. 

     I spent some time sitting with Hope to see how the program worked. It was good to see that when your child gets an answer wrong it explains how the right answer was obtained to help your child learn where they made a mistake. If you see that your child is struggling in an area too long, the program gives you other lessons that may be a better fit on the bottom of the page.  It's very intuitive.  

      When Josh was ready to begin, he started working through the Level K as he is in the 9th grade,  It didn't take long until we saw he would need to go ahead a few levels in Math.  He is doing Level M for it and Level K for Language Arts.  It's nice to have the luxury of choosing what is best for him.

     All kids are different and that is what make this program unique.  There is some level that will be a perfect fit.  The skills being taught need to fit where your child is right now and that is what this program does. 

     We are looking forward to taking some Spanish lessons and trying their Social Studies and Science classes once we finish up the books we are working on.  There is so much to take in! I can't wait to explore it more. 

      Just when I thought this resource couldn't get better.... I found out they also have a MOBILE app.  In the app, you can work on your Math and Language Arts skills.  I love that it is on the go! The kids aren't tied to a desktop or laptop in order to do their lessons.  It is very easy to use and works on newer iPhones, iPads, and Android systems. 




     I hope that I have given you some great reasons to check out this program.  It could be a great fit for your family as well.  

     Would you like to read more reviews for this resource?  We have more reviews from real homeschooling families right here 👇👇👇👇

Immersive, Adaptive Learning Online {IXL Learning Reviews}
They also have social media pages for you to explore:
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Twitter

Pinterest

YouTube


HAVE A BLESSED WEEKEND!


Bold as a Lion

   


      Sometimes  I feel we have lost the ability to be bold about our faith.  We need to do what is right, no matter what may happen to us.  In the Bible, there are three words that are translated to the word bold: Tharrheo, Parrhesiazomai, and Tolmao.  Tharrheo means boldness in the face of death.  Parrhesiazomai means a boldness to speak the truth.  Finally we have Tolmao, it means a boldness to accomplish great things for God.  Today I want to talk about the latter two.

     We need to be bold to speak the truth.  Yes, we must speak the truth with love, but we need to be careful not to compromise the Bible, while trying not to upset those we are speaking to.  Jesus always spoke the truth with love, but He was BOLD.  He would love on the person, but tell them to repent of the sin in their lives.  We need to follow Christ's example.  Sometimes  I will hear people say, well if I tell the person what they are doing is wrong, then I am judging them.  This is not true if you are speaking with love and truly concerned for the person's soul, and you are standing on Biblical truths.  I mean you wouldn't have any trouble telling a murderer that killing people is wrong, so why do we have trouble with other areas of the Bible?




     Now let's talk about boldness to accomplish great things for God.  If you can speak with boldness, you are ready to accomplish great things for the Lord.  God is looking for someone who is humble, yet bold.  Someone who is willing to tell the Good News to everyone they meet.  He is looking for the Daniels and Gideons of our day.  Those who have a heart for God, and are willing to step out of their comfort zones in order to do what He has called them to do.  He wants a person wholly surrendered to His plans, and ready to die for what is right.   Is this you???
   
And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.  And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. ~ Revelation 12:11

     Do you know how to teach your children to be bold?  The best way to teach this character quality is by example.  Live a life that exhibits BOLDNESS in front of your kids.  Let them see you stand for what is right.  Go over Bible verse that speak about these three types of boldness.  Daniel is a great Bible book to help teach about boldness in the face of death and peer pressure.



Thursday, February 14, 2019

HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW: Our Review of For The Temple


     Our family has come to love the audio dramas from Heirloom Audio.  When we were chosen to receive and review For The Temple, we were so excited.  Another great adventure that will teach us morals, integrity, and many other Christian values.  It's not just for kids.  These audios are for all ages.  We can all gain from listening to them. 

     It is hard to find books and listening material that will entertain the whole family, but I feel these audio dramas do a great job of providing a wonderful experience for everyone.  Heirloom Audio goes the extra mile when they make an adventure audio drama.  They use talented men and women to make it the best it can be.  It never ceases to amaze me.  With each audio, I am blown away.  The time and effort they put into it makes it one of a kind.  This particular one, For The Temple, did not disappoint.  It is 2 1/2 hours of amazing non-stop adventure.  It will keep your attention and will awaken your imagination. 



     During this adventure, you will join a young man named John, the son of a vintner, who wants nothing more than to live in peace as he grows the finest grapes in all of Israel.  Before he knows it he is involved in a battle between the Romans and those who opposed them.  

     John has to face many hard decisions after he leaves his mother and love of his life to join the fight.  He has to choose who and what he will be fighting for.  John not only grows in stature and status, he grows in faith.  Being one of the great Jewish leaders of this battle, he makes decisions that will have great consequences to all involved. Throughout the story, you will see his wisdom and humility. 

     I would never want to give away the book because I know you will want to find out what choices John makes regarding the Temple and if he is able to save it. You will also see if John is able to be with his love Mary.  I can't express to you how great it is, you will have to find out for yourself. 

     During this adventure, I both laughed and cried. The story comes to life with the wonderful sound effects and acting skills.  I didn't want it to end and can't wait for the next adventure from Heirloom Audio.  

     Now let's talk about the study guide....


     In addition to the 2 CD's we were also given a study guide to enhance our learning as we listened to the audios. The study guide helps parents to discuss what is going on in the story.  Each section of the study guide, that focuses on one part of the story, is broken into parts.  
  • Listening Well
  • Thinking Further
  • Defining Words
     We haven't been able to use it yet, as we listened to this story while on the go.  I am planning on printing out the study guide next  month as we study it in more depth during our reading comprehension classes.  From what I have seen, I know it will be a valuable resource.  

     I hope you are encouraged to try this audio and the many others from Heirloom Audio.  

     We have more great reviews for you here
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For The Temple {Heirloom Audio Reviews}

     You can also find Heirloom Audio on their social media pages listed below: 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeirloomAudio
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeirloomStories  
Instagram: @HeirloomAudioOfficial

Have a blessed weekend!!!!



Monday, February 11, 2019

Good Morning!


     Good morning!  I hope you are having a blessed weekend.

     This morning when I woke up, I looked out to see more snow that had fallen overnight.  We have been getting quite a bit of snow this month and even had a very cold patch that closed schools and some businesses.  When we get snow and ice like this it builds up on our slate roof.  When it begins to melt it makes sounds that can be frightening if you are not expecting them.  These snow storms have caused this to happen many times this last week. 

      When the ice first fell off, it was late at night. My children ran upstairs to my bedroom, and I wondered what had scared them, but they were not scared, they were wanting to go out and pick up the huge chunk of ice that had fallen.  I chuckled as I remembered being their ages and not liking the storms and weird noises that I had heard as a child.  These kiddos don't fear the same things I use to, because they know they are protected by the very One who created them.  I wish we could all have faith like them.  

     Each day we go through different types of storms. These storms may be attacks against us physically, emotionally or spiritually.  We fear what will happen.  We don't put our trust in God. Instead we try to find ways to cope with the turmoil.  It doesn't help us, it just masks the fear we are feeling.  

      What if we turned to God instead of earthy things?  What if we allowed Him to be our strong tower in times of upheaval.  Storms are always going to roll in, but it is how we handle them that makes us grow stronger or become weak. 

      As I sat here reading my Bible this morning, I saw that I need to take refuge in my God.  He is good and will be there for me.  He will help me through the storms.  He will never leave me or forsake me.  His promises are true!   I just have to put my faith in Him.

     Today is the beginning of a new week.  Let's resolve to put God first in all we do and say.  Let's be determined to put our faith in Him and to run to Him when we feel the storms of life rolling in. His love will cast out all our fears and His guidance will see us through whatever may come our way.  

       Are you ready to begin this week with a new perspective? 



Friday, February 8, 2019

My Word for 2019



     It took me a while to come up with my word for 2019.  Honestly, I was afraid what it would be. After praying for over a week, I came up with the word COURAGE.  This word scares me. I know it will take me out of my comfort zone.  It will stretch my faith.  I won't be able to use the excuse that something scares me. 

     The definition of courage is mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.  I had never really thought of its definition until writing this blog post. It took me a minute to let it sink in.  What is coming my way that may be difficult?  What fear will I have to face that I will need courage? Will I be able to withstand? Once the initial wave of anxiety rolled over me, I began to pray.  Right away the Lord reminded me of these verses: 


     Alone, I would not be able to accomplish the goals and plans God has for my life, but with HIM, I can!  I don't have to fear.  I just have to trust in and rely on HIM!  He will give me the strength I need to get through each and every day. 

     I will keep these verses and a few more posted around my house to help remind me that I can do this!  I can take that step of faith.  I do not need to be afraid.  

     Want to know how I knew I had chosen the right word? A day or so after I chose my word for the year, it was confirmed with a trip to the dollar store.  I know that sounds crazy huh?  But seriously, there was a wall hanging there that validated what I knew in my heart. Of course I had to buy it and place it on the doorpost of our home.  Every time I look at it, I smile.  I know God has big plans for me this year and I won't let fear stop me from accomplishing them.  




     What word did you choose for this year?  If you haven't chosen one, you still have plenty of time.  It's only February 😉  Pray about what the Lord would like you to focus on during 2019.  It could be life changing! 

Friday, February 1, 2019

The Do's & Don'ts of Homeschooling


    I have been homeschooling since 1997.  Our oldest son was just three years old when we started preschool classes with him.  We were young parents and thought the earlier we started the better.  We wanted what was best for our children and we did what we felt was going to help them. 

  After 21 years, I feel I can safely say I know some do's and don'ts of homeschooling.  We have tried and failed in many areas and I would like to share my knowledge with you. 

  I always like to begin with the positives!  Here we go.....



1.  Always begin your day with a word of prayer together.  I feel if we give our days to the Lord, things go better.  We are more at peace.

2. Plan your day.  Have an agenda to follow. We don't want to have a rigid schedule, but we do need a tentative list of things we would like to accomplish by the end of the day.

3. Try to get the more difficult courses finished earlier in the day when everyone is fresh and alert. 

4.   Be patient.  Don't push your children too hard with subjects they are having difficulties in.  Gently guide them and look for new ways to teach the areas they are struggling in.  Be sure they know that you will do anything to help them to learn and that with hard work, they can accomplish any task. 
     {I want to stop here and add if you feel your child has a 
      learning disability, please seek help for them.  Sometimes
      we do not have the knowledge to help our children if they
      are struggling in areas out of our expertise} 

5.   Have fun while learning together.  Make it an experience they will not soon forget.  There are many games and wonderful teaching techniques that make studying more enjoyable for them and you.  

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1.   Don't fill your calendars with too many activities.  We have been so busy before that we failed to get any school finished during some days.  I use to feel they children had to have their calendars full, but that only made for frustrated kiddos and one exhausted mama.  BALANCE IS THE KEY when scheduling activities, play dates, and other outside functions. 

2.   Don't worry about what other homeschooling families are doing. Your family is unique.  You know what is best for your household.

3.   Don't allow pressure from family and friends to affect you. Some people do not understand what homeschooling is about.  They may question your abilities to teach your children or say your children need more socializing, but you are in charge of your family.  God has called you to this task and He will equip you with what is needed to accomplish this goal. 


4.   Don't be upset if you do not finish all your curriculum by the end of your school year.  It's not about racing through a book to get it done, it's about learning in such a way that the knowledge is soaked up and remembered.  

5.   Don't fight the fact that all children are different. They will learn at different paces and in many different ways.  It's your job to find out what works best for your child and stick to it. 

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     I think the most important book we can study each day is the Word of God.  We should put God first in all we do and then we can finish the race that the Lord has given us to run.  We will accomplish His goals for our lives and isn't that what we want most for ourselves and our children?  When we lean on and trust in Him, we have nothing to fear.  He will direct our paths as long as we surrender our lives to him. 


  
May God bless you as you seek Him 
in all you do and say!

Trust in Him as you teach your 
children each day!