Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Best History Supplement EVER

Most of you know what I do with TOS, and on occasion, this affords me the opportunity to review a product I have heard a lot about, but have never used. It is rare that I actually choose to review something because a) reviews take time and b) I don't have a lot of that! :+) This particular product though, was worth every second of my time and I wanted to share it with you.

HISTORY Through the Ages Timeline Figures (Creation to Present)
HISTORY Through the Ages Suggested Placement Guide
HISTORY Through the Ages Record of Time
Homeschool in the Woods
By Amy Pak

3997 Roosevelt Highway
Holley NY 14470


I have long been interested in doing history timelines with my children, but there are a variety of ways of going about it. I wanted creative and well-drawn interesting timeline figures with brief summaries of the person, place, or event we were studying. I wanted a guideline that would help me in this placement so I knew I was not totally off the mark. I wanted a beautiful book that we could use for many years that we could refer back to again and again. I wanted versatility for many ages, and I wanted it to be worth the money. Money does not come easy to most homeschool families – is this a resource that has staying power?


I believe Amy Pak’s HISTORY Through the Ages timeline resources have succeeded in providing all of these things and much more!


Once you open the HISTORY Through the Ages Timeline Figures, you will see that you have far more than 1,260 black and white figures on two CDs. You have a veritable library of information at your fingertips to use with all ages. All the figures are re-sizable for those younger children keeping history notebooks that may not yet be doing timelines! That means you have 1,260 coloring pages of all the same topics you are studying with your older children! This is exactly what I have been looking for.


Not only are the figures organized in chronological order, but they are also organized alphabetically as well as classified by group. For example, you can find images for Ancient China, Ancient Wonders of the World, Authors/Literary Works, New and Old Testament, Civil Acts & Activists, Wars/Conflicts/Acts of Aggression, Scientists/Inventors/Mathematicians, Religious Figures & Events, and many many more. Anything you are trying to locate can be easily found on these CDs.  


Many of you will want to know how the figures are dated so I am going to quote the author:


Bear this in mind when considering the earliest dates: We at Home School in the Woods believe in a young earth, with a literal 7-days of Creation. The problem we've encountered with older dates and existing texts and curricula is that just about everything in publication has been dated according to the Historical Records. These are found both in the early Egyptian and Sumerian history. According to the Egyptian calendar, our oldest dates can be off by as much as several hundred to 1000 years, placing Creation to c. 4000 BC, and the flood more in the vicinity of c. 2400-2300 BC. However, this throws the remaining early dates in a tailspin when it comes to almost everything in print out there! Within history texts and curricula, the Egyptian calendar dating is widely used.


When it comes to the most ancient of dates, especially those pertaining to the period of Creation through the time of Egypt, bear in mind the unreliability of exact dates. As mentioned throughout this resource, should your research and findings lead you to place a figure at a different location, by all means do so! As you proceed beyond these dates, they will eventually line up and have records that back them accurately. However, the further back we go, the less apt we all are to find accurate dates without having been there or knowing the trustworthiness of the source and authors of the historical data; the very data that is used to write the history books and texts available. With the knowledge that earlier dates are based on the Egyptian calendar, we have designed our resource to align with respected Christian curriculum providers.


So what kind of figures are you likely to find here? I will give you a sampling. From the first section, Creation to Christ:


Adam and Eve c. 5000 B.C., Cain and Abel c. 5000 B.C., Jubal and Tubal-Cain c. 5000 B.C., Enoch c. mid 4000s B.C., Methuselah c. early to mid 4000s B.C., Noah and the Flood c. 3500 B.C., The Ice Age c. 3500-2500 B.C., The Tower of Babel c. 3500-3300 B.C., Sumerian Civilization Begins 3500-2500 B.C., The Ancient Native Americans c. 3500-150 B.C., 1st & 2nd Egyptian Dynasties (Early Dynastic Period) c. 3100-2650 B.C., Menes c. 3100 B.C., Sumerian Cuneiform c. 2800 B.C., The Epic of Gilgamesh c. 2750 B.C., Stonehenge c. 2700 B.C., 3rd & 4th Egyptian Dynasties (Old Kingdom) c. 2650-2467 B.C.


From the second section, Resurrection to Revolution:


The Dead Sea Scrolls c. 100 B.C.-c. 75 A.D., Teotihuacan 100-750 A.D., Hadrian 76-138 A.D., The Buried City of Pompeii 79 A.D., Clement of Rome c. 100 A.D., Ignatius died c.110 A.D., Marcus Aurelius 121-180 A.D., Irenaeus 130-202 A.D., Bar-Kokhba died 135 A.D., The Apostles' Creed c. 150 A.D., Tertullian 160-230 A.D., Ptolemy second century A.D., Origen 185-254 A.D., Shapur I reigned c. 215–272 A.D., Diocletian 245-313 A.D., The Maya Civilization c. 250-900 A.D., Cyprian died 258 A.D., Valentine died 269 A.D., Constantine I 285-337 A.D., Athanasius 293-373 A.D., Eusebius 300 A.D., The Golden Age of India c. 320-535 A.D.


Of the immense choices available with this resource, this is only a tiny sampling!


For those considering a purchase of this product, please note and honor the copyright:


Purchase of this product allows you a single license to use the contents of these CDs for your individual family only. Sharing images, whether via computer or hardcopy, with other families or friends is strictly prohibited. Re-sale of these CDs is also prohibited. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means - graphic, electronic or mechanical, including duplicating, photocopying, information or retrieval systems, the world wide web, or e-mail - without written permission from the author. Distribution within large classes is also prohibited. Use is granted for small co-op classes, provided it meets these requirements: maximum of 12 children to the class; no more than 50 figures. Anything beyond that, please contact Home School in the Woods for permission or terms of licensing to schools. For permission to reproduce graphics for any other purpose, please contact Home School in the Woods.


The HISTORY Through the Ages Record of Time is a beautiful well-built hardback binder that will house your lengthy timeline. Starting at 5,000 B.C., and ending with 2,025 A.D., the cream-colored cardstock paper is made to hold up for many years and lots of timeline figures! The older sections have large periods of time between them. For example, 5,000 B.C. to 4,000 B.C., has 1,000 years between them from one page to the next. The later years have much less time between them. For example, 900 B.C. only has 100 years between that page and the next, 800 B.C. Further into the Record of Time from one page to the next you will sometimes find only ten years. I am really grateful for this space as there are will be more people and events that we wish to note.


At the end of the Record of Time you will find seventeen classically drawn old and modern world maps. Ancient China, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, South America, Central America, United States, World, etc. are all here.


The HISTORY Through the Ages Suggested Placement Guide is exactly what it says it is. It is an immense help for those of you wondering just where certain things should be placed. Do we place George Washington on his birthday or during the Revolutionary War or when he became our President? Some events have specific dates (Pearl Harbor) and other events (Civil War) span some time. Should that go at the beginning or the end? The guide helps you with these types of questions as well as offers you a page by page picture of what your timeline *can* look like. Of course we will not all choose the exact same figures as there are just so many tantalizing ones to choose from, but we can see what it should look like and follow suit.


Upon first examination the price may seem high to some of you. However, it is my opinion that it is so useful, for so many years of homeschooling, for every age of child, that this cost is absolutely worth it in every respect. As the Product Reviews Manager, I have both seen and used a *lot* of history resources. If I had to choose just one resource to add to our curriculum, without a doubt it would be this one. I had no real idea what was contained in this product until examining it myself. I am not at all easily impressed, and this product has completely blown my expectations out of the water. It is so much more than I thought it was and has so much to offer every homeschool family. This is highly recommended!

-Product Review by Kate Kessler, Product Reviews Manager, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, May, 2007


Monday, May 28, 2007

Beatrice Brigade

Are you a member? I loved this blog post and found it extraordinarily encouraging. I hope you do too!

I will be back soon!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lollipops for free today!

That would be one of my favorite lines from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It is a movie we all enjoy watching because Dick Van Dyke is so tremendously talented in it. Our favorite dance in the musical is Old Bamboo. In our more agile moments we try to copy him. (Without much success, but with great merriment.) In the movie there is an Official Child Catcher for the town that does not allow children and he dresses himself up and draws Van Dyke's children out of hiding with the words, "Lollipops for free today!" It has become a favorite saying here.

Hence the lollipop garden:

We grew lollipops in our backyard last week. We all needed the diversion and this was great fun. Only the two smallest of our children understood it to be very real, of course, and all it takes are jelly bean seeds and a few hours to grow! Elizabeth (6) almost tripped us up with her secret planting of one single is-this-for-real jelly bean seed:

She was kind enough to let Daddy in on the secret so she was happily surprised that it actually grew. :+)

There was a time when I would never have done this. I would have considered it tricking the children. I don't think that way anymore. It is OK to have a little magic and mystery in one's childhood. It is OK to allow them to wonder just *how* a jelly bean turned into a lollipop in only a few hour's time. It is OK that there are fairies in the world when you are four and six. They learn all too quickly that the world is not made up of strawberry lollipops and candy cane gardens. It was pure joy to see their faces--and the big ones too!

Enjoy those little ones, ladies. They are not little for very long.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

On this day

You know, I feel so blessed to be a mother. There is nothing in the world like it. There is nothing like the tremendous feelings that becoming a mother can elicit. I have not felt comfortable being the recipient of the accolades that fall to me on Mother's Day for a long while now. I shared my feelings on this last year and I can say that I don't really feel any differently this year. I thought I might as well share it again:

To be a mother is a wonderful gift, but not something that should be looked at in a lighthearted manner. Being a mother is a huge responsibility, and should not be taken on lightly because those newborn babies are so darling. Those babies turn into older children who need and require much from us--training, love, time, attention, schooling, feeding, clothing, almost all of us really we feel sometimes! Then they turn into young adults, who then really need their parents--perhaps even more than they did as little ones.  All along much is required of us; and much of ourselves is given.


Do we celebrate our roles as mothers? I am not sure what that means really. What is Mother's Day to you? I mean *I* do what I do not because I am selfless, but because it is my job, or my role that I took on when I became a mother. When I had a child I immediately took on the many roles and responsibilites that came along with it. Would I change it? Oh no, but I don't really know that I think that I should be celebrated for doing what is really my job to do. I appreciate the kind sentiments in my children's card to me:


"Dear Mama: Happy Mother's Day! I love you very much! You are the best mama I ever know." 


"To the perfect mother. God has blessed you with many gifts."


"To the mother that loves and understands me and always cheers everyone around her! I love you more than words can say!"


"Dear Mama: I'm soo sorry I lost the shoe. Would you forgive me? I love you soo much and tomorrow I will write you a letter."


These are all precious sentiments to me, but I know the real me inside. I know I was really angry this morning because my daughter lost her nice church shoe. I was angry that yet again I will have to search high and low through the house to find it--if indeed it can even be found. I know I was testy and frustrated and angry this morning. Not much worth celebrating there. Wow, Mom, thanks for the great greeting in the AM--we sure love you too.


See, and there is the rub. I really don't deserve to have a day in celebration of ME because I know who I am deep inside. I know that I can be terribly selfish and irritable, and that I do what I do sometimes because I have to do it, not because I have a selfless heart. I am a mother by default some days and that just isn't right. I want to have that selfless heart that is so lauded on Mother's Day. It is not me though. What is me is a person who is not worthy of my five beautiful children, of my husband who would never steal my children from me, and not worthy of my Savior's love, the blood He shed for me so many years ago. Yet, I have it all. I have all these things and am UNWORTHY. But He gave them all to me anyway because He loves me--truly selflessly loves me--even me.


Thank God that where I am weak He is strong. Thank God that when I am weary of well doing that He never grows so. That God that He gives me all that I need in Himself. I am blessed over and over and over. Thank you, dear precious Lord, for all these precious gifts today.


Reading Frenzy

I have been reading up a storm in the past few weeks. Some of the books are absolutely worth mentioning and some are not. As a BookMooch mama I have been the recipient of some tremendous finds - both fiction and non. I have enjoyed reading a new-to-me author of Egyptian mysteries, Elizabeth Peters. The worldview is not my own, but the mysteries are quick, interesting, and enjoyable to read. She is a very sensible woman. :+)

I realized in my quest to read all the best Victorian Literature has to offer that I had overlooked Jane Austen's book, Persuasion. I own the movie so I figured I had read it. What a lovely wonderful well-written book. It was much more satisfying than the movie (as much as I liked it too) because you were in the character's heads. That is my favorite part of reading a fictional work--getting into the minds of the characters. Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth were wonderful to get to know and much more layered than the movie allowed. It was an incredibly satisfying book and I wished for more!

I had not read an Austen novel for so long that I forgot just how enjoyable they were. So, upon finished Persuasion last night, I picked up
Northanger Abbey immediately. It is a very different Austen than the ones we mostly see on film. The female character is less interesting, but learns a great deal over the course of the book. It is a very fast read and I anticipate being done today. It is my least favorite of her books, but contains one of my favorite of her male character leads, Henry Tilney. Go figure. :+) I think this is a good book for a budding young lady to read because it dispells the myths of friendships, true and false, and allows the reader to know things before the fairly naive main character does. Catherine is a different young lady at the end of the book.

In my "to-read" pile I have
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and I still have yet to finish poor old Plato. He will get his due eventually, but I have been far to busy enjoying my late-night reading to stay and fall asleep with him. :+) So what is on your reading pile? What is filling your mind?

Thanks for all the kind words on our loss. They are appreciated.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

This Week

I am sorry I have not been on the blog much this week. It has been a difficult one. Our beautiful Egyptian-looking cat, Merry, was killed by a car early in the week and that pretty much did in any motivation for posting. He was a lovely sweet cat that was unlike any other animal we have ever had. He let the little ones manhandle him and slept on Elizabeth's bed curled right above her head. Our other cat, Pip, is doing OK, but I feel for him. They were good buddies. It is amazing what an animal will do to your heart. I could not stop crying the day it happened. It was hard to believe and harder to see. We buried him in the backyard. Somehow this blog post misses exactly what he was to our family--a quirky, funny, beautiful sweet kitty.

Goodbye Merry. You will be missed.