Sunday, May 01, 2016


This past weekend begins our many spring and summer weekends visiting our favorite place. This is one of the reasons - big sky. It is just so peaceful. Click to enlarge to see how really lovely it is. :)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bach - Prelude

If you have not had your daily dose of beauty, here you go. This piece always moves me, and it never gets old. Oh to be able to play this on any instrument. What a gift.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - A Review

Exclusive High School Diploma Review

It is almost graduation time again for many families, and I was given the opportunity to review some amazing products from The best and most exciting thing to me was the Exclusive High School Diploma, that I was able to order for my own son.

Once you decide which diploma selection you wish to purchase, the process is easy, and you have some neat choices to make the diploma your own. The Exclusive High School Diploma ($48.99) comes with a deluxe padded cover with various choices for its design. The center seal on the diploma itself is the first thing you select in the list of choices. What do you want it to look like?

There are four seals to choose from that go in the center of your diploma:

 "Christian Education" Engraved Seal

 "Soli Deo Gloria" Engraved Seal
 "Classical Education" Engraved Seal
 "Private Education" Engraved Seal

Because I just love the "Five Solas" that underlie our faith, I selected that one.

Then you add the name of your student and make sure you select their correct gender as the wording further down will address this on the diploma. You will add the name of your school and the city and state (if you wish). You will also be asked if you have the authority to issue the diploma. I thought that was interesting. I know each state has their own rules, but you will need to authorize that you can, indeed, issue it.

Then you select the wording you want on the diploma. This was really neat. You can choose a number of different things that reflect what your school stands for, and whether or not your student is an honor student. I liked these choices and we selected this wording:

With thanks to God and in acknowledgment of His enabling grace, we joyfully present

(My son's full name.)

with his diploma. It is the culmination of his High School education,
a milestone at which we recognize his many accomplishments, and evidence
that he has fulfilled all requirements for graduation.

Then you select whether or not you want a verse or a school or family motto on the diploma. Some of these are included in the price, and some are extra (depending on whether or not you use the standard selections.) I liked that this was a choice.

You will provide the graduation date and then the signature lines. You can have your school principal or headmaster, or some other administrator's name and/or date lines on there. It is nice to have two so that you can have both parents sign it, or one for a signer and the other for a date line. Either way, these are your choices.

You have a choice of paper for the diploma: Ivory Parchment or Cream Colored Stock. Both are nice and the finished document on the parchment we received was just beautiful. You also select the font and have two choices: Printed Gothic (which is free) or Hand Calligraphy ($10.50 extra). This is what they look like:

I would have liked to have had another choice or two with fonts as there are just so many available these days. We selected Printed Gothic. If your child was an honors student, there is an honors gold sticker option that is $2.95 extra.

The padded covers are lovely and come in a variety of color choices: black, navy, royal blue, red, white, green, maroon, and purple. You can select the seal for the cover of that as well. I chose the Soli Deo Gloria cover in gold foil with black background. It is gorgeous! You can choose a lot of different cover options. You can also personalize the cover with your student's name for $14.50 extra.

This is our finished diploma:

Once you fill in all those selections, you can then check out, or see the other high quality items they sell, and add them to your list! Do you need graduation announcements or invitations? They produce some very professional and beautiful ones you can with many different designs and choices for your school and student! They also sell graduation apparel and class rings. Need a cap and gown for the big day? is really a one-stop shop for all your family's graduation needs.

We were very pleased with both the quality of the finished diploma and the padded cover. I am excited to be able to present it when the time comes!

If you are in need of a gorgeous diploma for this year, is an awesome choice! If you will need it in the future, follow them on their social media outlets!

To read what others had to say about their own experiences with this company, click the link below.

Demme Learning's Math-U-See Review
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Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Studying Geologic Regions of North America

How many of you can name all eight regions, or outline them? I couldn't! So on page 39, of BiblioPlan's Early Modern History (or Year 3), the authors focus on Geographic Regions of North America. I wanted a physical study of this for my kids so I began with this map:

Map Location
I printed this out for my kiddos and then I made and printed this notebooking page:
Then, we watched a series of brief videos I found on Youtube that describe each region and show photos of the region. I had the kids trace and label each region and take notes on each one. Here are the videos in order of region:

They all start out with the same music so you can skip to 20 seconds in if you want to skip the music as it gets a little annoying after a while. As we watched these, and took notes on what features each region had, we discussed who we knew in each of those regions and whether my children had been to one or more of them. My children have traveled with their grandparents to various parts of the country so it was fun to discuss this with them. They have been to more than I have!

Tomorrow we will focus on states and regions in the country using a pad of tear-off USA maps (aff) similar to this one. I had them label all the states and tomorrow we will go through this video I found on Youtube to discuss North American Physical Geography, Part 1. I will have them label the different aspects of the USA as we watch. I also used this because it defines the regions a little bit differently (Regions of the US). We will follow through with Part 2. It is a very simple way to expose the kids to regions and geographic areas of the country that adds to their BiblioPlan study. I hope will be a fascinating geography unit! 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Entombment

I saw this beautiful painting by Rembrandt on Facebook, of all places, yesterday. I think it is a poignant reminder of what our Savior did for us. We are reminded regularly as we study scripture, but especially reminded each Easter. Jesus hung on the cross in the most painful of deaths - for His people. If you are not one of His people, seek Him while He may be found!

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
 John 1:9

And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.
1 John 5:11-13

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Mound Builders - BiblioPlan, Year 3

We are jumping into year 3 of BiblioPlan, and today we covered the north American mound building cultures. I find these folks to be totally fascinating because there is so little we know about them. They left no written word, but left gigantic earthen works and a lot of mystery. I found three videos on different mound building societies, and I thought someone might find them worth watching.

This is a little more generic, but covers a lot of ground in its short five minutes.

The Mound Builders:

Then there is this whole huge culture that absolutely flabbergasted me when I first learned of them a number of years ago. They are the Cahokia. I wish we knew more about them, and what happened to them, but it is a great mystery.

The Cahokia Mounds:

Lastly, there is the fascinating Serpent Mound in Ohio.

Did you know about these cultures? Did any of it surprise you?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Math-U-See's New Digital Packs - A Review

So Math-U-See, from Demme Learning, has come up with a product that is sure to make a lot of homeschool parents very happy, Digital Packs, for enhanced mathematics learning at home. If you have an internet connection, you can have Math-U-See's streaming video instructions delivered right to your laptop or desktop--Mr. Demme at your doorstep!

I was selected to review a 12-month subscription to the Digital Pack for Algebra 2. I was sent the student books in physical format, and given access to the 12-month online teaching dashboard. This was very easy to find and use. You login to the website and then select, "My Digital Packs." Once there, you select the course you have paid for, then select the lesson, and off you go. (A note: the Student Book and the Test Booklet must be purchased separately as they are not included with the purchase of a Digital Pack.)

This is what the dashboard looks like with Lesson 1: Exponents, in-process. Click to enlarge it so that you can read the sidebar. They have made this as simple and easy to navigate as possible. I have used a lot of online programs, and some of them are unbelievably confusing. Not this one! They know their audience wants "get up and go" and they have done that for us!

The selected lesson can be played as many times as your student (or you, the teacher) may need. Then your student will use the physical books to work out the problems. The books contain two lesson worksheets that pertain to the specific lesson, and then three extra review pages, followed by an honors page. The solutions are found in the same dashboard on the right, and are detailed so your student can work out where they erred if they miss a problem. Also included on the right are the PDF lesson summaries that are the instruction from the physical teacher book. So you are really getting all the same information you'd get via the hardback book, but it is all in one place, and printable if you desire, or not. 

The only issue with the dashboard display is that all the solutions are available on the right hand side, so that means all the answers are one click away. So, if you are using this, you really do have to make sure that your student watches the video, and then shuts the screen off so that they can do the work without using the solution keys that are easily accessible. I am not sure why they chose to do it this way, but I do hope they offer a parent login and a student login in the future. It is really the only undesirable issue I found with this program. 

At the bottom of the dashboard, under "Additional Resources," you find a link entitled, "Downloadable Math-U-See Resources." This is a gem of a link! Depending on the level you are using, you have access to drills, extra practice worksheets, webinars, e-learning resources, general math and secondary math level downloads, math fact sheets for review, word problem tips, record-keeping sheets, graph paper printouts, and any updates or corrections to the books.

What does Math-U-See's Algebra 2 cover? I am glad you asked! This is the entire Table of Contents for this level:
We determined that my child was at this level by taking the assessment for this level found on the website. It requires a parent to share some information in order to access the assessment, but I have not been contacted by MUS, and they have not shared that information with anyone that I can tell. I find it a little strange that they require that information for an assessment, but I did need him to take it so I gave it. They ask for name, email, and phone number. We determined that this was his level, and so far, we have been correct in this assessment. These are his thoughts on the program:

The Math-U-See Algebra 2 program is a fantastic way to learn math. I find that the teacher explains his subject really well and he enjoys it a lot. I have grown to like math even more since I started using this book. He gives you two separate lesson pages so you can get to understand the subject. Then after those pages he gives you three review sections to further engrain the recent subject in your brain. After that, he gives you an Honors page, which brings in subjects from your math past and new ones that you might not have heard about. So far, I have grown to love this curriculum and to love math. I hope that you will have this same experience!

I am very pleased with the newest addition to the Demme Learning universe! Their math programs have always been good, but now they are even better. The cost of the Digital Pack is $61 for a full 12-months of access. The Student Book and Teacher Book are $41 for the set. So for $102, you have a whole year of Algebra 2! The video lessons are well done, and enjoyable for my student. (He says he likes math even more, and I love that!) To see a sample of any of the levels, click on the level of your interest on the Product Overview page. Once your level loads, you will find a sample to watch on that page. You can also find more information on their YouTube page. Excellent work, Demme Learning!

To follow Demme Learning so you don't miss anything new and exciting, find them on the following platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

Demme Learning's Math-U-See Review
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