Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Westfield Studios ~ Biology 101 ~ A Review

There's something wonderful about reviewing a product you can wholeheartedly endorse. I was tickled to receive, Biology 101: Biology According to the Days of Creation, from Westfield Studios. If you have never heard of The 101 Series, you are in for a real treat. Westfield Studies is owned and operated by the homeschooling husband and wife team, Wes and Tammy Olson. In 2003, Tammy could not locate a program she was excited to use with her children, so her husband decided he'd make it for her! Wes Olson had "...15 years of corporate film production experience, and his natural love of science," so The 101 Series was born.

Designed specifically for the homeschool family, this four DVD set comes with a 114-page PDF Guidebook that helps you use and flesh out this study, as well as a 12-page PDF Course Accreditation Program. (More on those two later in the review.) In the study, you will find 11 segments that are divided into 27 individual weeks of study. With all the details done, let's get into Biology 101!

Based upon the six days of creation, we begin at the beginning of the third day, after the first two days of "setting the scene" or getting the "backdrop" ready for living creatures in Genesis 1:11-13:

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

Biology comes from two Greek roots, bio for life and logos for study. (Logos has other meanings, and the wiki on the word is very fascinating for word geeks like me.) Life is hard to define. He addresses this right at the beginning in the Introduction. Most of us don't think about the definition of the word life. We just live it. We often take it for granted--at least I know I do. It is really an indescribable, indistinguishable something that keeps us all alive - breathing, making and expending energy, developing, and reproducing. I'd say scripture is clear about the Giver of life. As Job 12:10 so eloquently states, In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind? God is the source of all life, and everything your family learns in Biology 101 flows from there.

In the Introduction, Wes Olson goes over the whole taxonomy (or laws of classifiying) system. I have always been fascinated with this! When our children were younger, we memorized the seven classes that he defines in the series: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. To give you an example of how this is used, he classifies an animal.

Source: Wiki
Kingdom: Animalia (all animals from insects to zebras are in this kingdom)
Phylum: Chordata (the animal has a backbone)
Class: Aves (birds)
Order: Passeriformes (birds that perch)
Family: Muscicapidae (birds that catch flies) 
Genus: Turdus (brown thrush)
Species: Migratorius (migrates)

So the Turdus Migratorius is what we commonly call a Robin. I find classification to be absolutely fascinating! He delves right into this in solid detail. 

The 37 minute Third Day lesson focus is, of course, the plants and vegetation that God brought forth on the third day. The first section is divided into Vascular Plants and Non-Vascular Plants. This is the breakdown of this section of the video:
Some of the things our family learned from this lesson were totally fascinating! Here are just a few:

* Vascular plants take in water and nutrients through what we'd call tubes or windpipes of sorts. Many of you have taken a stalk of celery with a fresh cut at the bottom, and placed it in a glass of water with colored dye. Wait a few hours and you will see the celery turn that color. These are the "tracheas" of the plants at work. A tulip is a good example of this. Moss is a good example of a non-vascular plant because it takes it moisture from the surface of the plant. 

* Most of us have heard the terms stamen and stigma, but do you ever remember how to tell which is the male or female? He gave the simplest way that I highlighted already: men = male and ma = female! 

* Did you know that algae played a role in the development of dynamite? That was highly fascinating and you will find the answer to that in this lesson!

* Did you know that without grasses, the world wouldn't survive? Wheat, oats, barley, sugar cane, corn, and rice are all considered grasses. Half the world's population relies on rice for a main staple. So even if you are a paleo enthusiast, all the meat you eat has to eat the grasses. It is quite a cycle!

* Did you know that trees are the oldest living things in the world? That the oldest tree still living is around 4,500 years old and was growing during the time the pyramids were being built and Abraham left his home in obedience to God? 

These are a *tiny* number of the many wonderful facts that you learn along with the definitions and photos or videos of whatever he's discussing. The facts systematically build upon each other and you end up with a very comprehensive understanding of the subject for each lesson.

The remaining lessons are: 

Aquatics (40 minutes)
Avian (44 minutes)
Land Animals Part 1 (22 minutes)
Land Animals Part 2 (28 minutes)
Mankind Part 1 (27 minutes)
Mankind Part 2 (24 minutes)
Genetics (40 minutes) 

These are broken into segments and the Course Accreditation Book explains how to do this.

The Guidebook (sample) is a fantastic resource. The videos provide the meat, and the potatoes and veggies are found in the Guidebook. You will find specific information on the lesson directly from the film, side bar trivia, commentary, biographical information, source footnotes, discussion questions, assignments, field trip suggestions, as well as Bible study suggestions on the topic here.

Some of the quiz questions for the lesson include:

* Chlorophyll is the chemical responsible for ______________?
* Why is the stamen considered the male part?
* The division name of vascular plants is ______________?
* Penicillin is an antibiotic made from _________________?

Some of the Discussion Questions include: 

* How is eating a plant the same or different than eating an animal?
* What did Jesus believe about creation and the Bible? Why is it important to believe what He believed?
* How do we know the Bible is a reliable document?
* God made all vegetation on the day before He made the sun. How could the plants have survived this?
* Discuss a few of your favorite ways plants are talked about in the Bible.

The Course Accreditation Booklet (sample) shows you how to use the Biology 101 course as a base and to build from there. Suggestions in this PDF include:

Creating a Biology 101 Notebook, Utilizing Discussion Questions, Activities, Quizzes, Labs, Reports, Field Trips, Essay Suggestions, and much more. This 12-page booklet can flesh out the videos and build upon them for further study and course accreditation.

Other Resources from The 101 Series:

As a family, we have already used Chemistry 101, and are in the midst of using their new Physics 101 too. You might be able to tell that we like The 101 Series! I was excited to read that General Science is in the works for 2017!


Final thoughts:

Biology 101 is easy-to-use, content-rich, and truly a feast for the eyes. The visuals Wes Olsen uses to explain his subject matter are lush and beautiful. This is the visual guide to biology that you've been looking for. Every single one of these courses have produced the results I wanted - children interested and engaged in the subject matter!

Want to follow them on social media? You can find them here: FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

If you'd like more information from families that used this with their children, click the link below and explore the different reviews of all three courses!

Physics, Chemistry & Biology 101 {The 101 Series}

Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Family Verses

So do you have a verse or verses that you consider your "Family Verses"? We do. Slowly, over the years, we have memorized some scripture. Not a lot because I am a lame mom, but I love scripture and it fills me with Christ's peace when we read it or memorize it. It is something every family should do if they claim the name of Christ, but if you are like me, you don't always do what you should be doing.

Recently, we started memorizing verses again, but Colossians 3:12-14 has been our "Family Verse" for as long as I can remember. It is how scripture tells us to be in a family - and really how we should be to all, as those chosen by God. We strive for this, though often fail.

What are verses that mean something to you as a family? 

Do you memorize scripture? 

What are some of your favorites?

Monday, October 24, 2016


So my sister in law got married on Friday. The happiest rest of their lives to them!! 

My children and I spent two days helping get things ready for their big night. Among other things, I helped with the flowers, making boutonnieres and corsages. The wedding had two themes, music and science fiction (and their love for Jesus was shared during the service). :) My husband, Amy's brother, was given the perfect thing to wear - a Star Trek ComBadge! I'd post a photo, but I don't have one. You can see it at the aff link in the name. It is such fun, and all the important men in the wedding had one. The groom wore a commander badge. Since my husband is a tech geek, he wore the engineering badge. 

These were the flowers for the mothers that I made. :) 

I wish them both the joy of Christ, a deep walk with their Savior together,
and much laughter and love in their marriage. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Galations for You - New Reading Material

(Affiliate links included in this post.)

I am starting a new book this week. I just finished reading a fictional account of part of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, and this week, I will begin a non-fiction book, Galations for You, by Timothy Keller. My friend recommended it, so here I go.

I opened it up to the Introduction, because that often states the heart of the author. This is no exception. 

Part of it reads:

"But in this short letter, Paul outlines the bombshell truth that the gospel is the A to Z of the Christian life. It is not only the way to enter the kingdom; it is the way to live as part of the kingdom. It is the way Christ transforms people, churches and communities.

"We're going to see Paul showing the young Christians in Galatia that their spiritual problem is not only caused by failing to live in obedience to God, but also by relying on obedience to Him. We're going to see him telling them that all they need--all they could ever need--is the gospel of God's unmerited favor to them through Christ's life, death and resurrection. We're going to hear him solving their issues not through telling them to "be better Christians", but by calling them to live out the implications of the gospel.

"We're going to watch Paul challenge them, and us, with the simple truth that the gospel is not just the ABC of Christianity, but the A to Z--that Christians need the gospel just as much as non-Christians."

I am excited to read this. What are you reading right now? What is on your bookshelf that is bringing you encouragement in this life? What have you loved that you have recently read?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Recipe for Almond Butter Skinny Chocolate

So some of you are trying to lose weight - and so am I! I have done the research on the keto diet and really do believe there is something to it, however it is hard to miss some of the best things I have always loved. I have purchased a few cookbooks to help me with that, and I will share some of those at another time. Today though, I want to share what I concocted for us. I received two delicious jars of  Organic Alive Almond Butter from Living Tree Community Foods, and I decided to put it to good use.

I did cheat one day and made almond butter toast and ate it with a cold glass of milk. Oh my heavens - it was so good. Almond butter is a wholly different flavor from peanut butter, but it is versatile and interchangeable with peanut butter in recipes. It is softer so it will melt faster once made, but the flavor is worth the licking of the fingers that may result. :) The New Lighter Life posted three recipes for skinny chocolate, and I modified the peanut butter one to make this. I had a recipe that I modified that used peanut butter, and this is the Almond Butter Skinny Chocolate recipe:

Almond Butter Skinny Chocolate

1/2 C Coconut Oil (melt if not already in oil form)
1/4 Heaping C cocoa powder
1/2 C Almond Butter
1/4 C Truvia, blended to powder form (I use a second coffee grinder that I keep for this purpose. I don't like gritty chocolate and this smooths that out.)
1 T vanilla - make SURE you include this or it will simply not be the same
1/4 t salt

Mix all together and place in a rectangular pan; freeze. I use the container below that's about eight inches long. You can put them in mini-cupcake tins or double the recipe and pour it into a 9x13 pan. Once frozen, you can easily cut with a knife and leave it, closed, in the freezer. It is quite good right out of the freezer and melts in your mouth.

If you make this, let me know what you think!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

16 Years and yet...

So I had to use math to figure out that I have been homeschooling for 16 years. That seems crazy to me, but when I look at my children, I see that most of them are either adults or very close to being there. I have two graduates, and three in school this September. They will be in 8th, 10th, and 12th. I can't believe I am going to have another senior, and I can't believe I am almost done homeschooling my third child. I simply do NOT know where the time went. It feels as though it flew away so quickly.

I wonder, as most homeschooling mothers wonder, did I do enough? The answer (to me anyway), is probably not, but God is able to do more than we ask or think, and His plans are perfect. I regularly feel like I am not doing enough, but I know that most homeschool mothers think this way. I know that most of us struggle with the time that is given to us - and those of us (like me) that work from home, it is doubly so. I am *so* grateful for my ability to work from home, but it is still hard, and does take its toll. I am not complaining, just being honest.

I have a hard time looking at old photos as I see the changes that have so swiftly taken place. I have become that mom that shares with her younger mom friends, "Love those babies! Enjoy this time! Don't worry about the laundry!" The older I get, the faster it goes. So I resolve to have a good year, but I feel that I don't really know how to do that very well. I am struggling to get it all together even though I have some really awesome curriculum to use this year. I am so blessed with what we have. I wonder if *I* am able. Do you ever wonder that?

I know that God is able. I know that He is able to come along beside me and help me to be who He needs me to be.

"If we must come to Him for the small things and can be assured of His wise provision, how much more can we bring to God the "big" things and be assured that the same wise Father is at work?"

I read that today, from this article. What a powerful message - that we are dependent on God for every single thing - every single day!

This really hit me:

"On the journey through the wilderness from Egypt to the Promised Land, daily dependence on God's provision was the way of life of God's people.

What the Israelites -- about two million men, women, and children continually on the move for forty years -- needed for each day, came that day, and was enough for that day. No Israelite could hoard the leftovers, because as they soon learned, they would be stinking and worm-infested the next day."

I get worried that I won't be enough; that I won't be able to plan in the right way, or do the right work. But maybe it isn't supposed to be planned out every day. Maybe I need to trust that God has us well in hand, all the time, each and every day - just like He has for the last 16 years.

I want to remember that this last year is a gift. That I will never have this time again. I don't want to waste it.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning."
(James 1:17)

I saw this on Facebook the other day, and saved it. I don't know who created it, but I loved it. I hope it helps you too. God is able. Always.

Monday, July 11, 2016

24 years

24 years ago, I was just about ready to walk down the aisle with my father, to embark on the greatest adventure of my life with the young man who'd become my best friend. We had no idea what the next 24 years would look like, but we were committed to experiencing it together. By God's grace, we're here today with five amazing children, one awesome son-in-law, and a deeper love and faith than we'd ever imagined. Looking back, I'd not trade a moment of it - not any of it. God is ever faithful and His love is everlasting. The happiest anniversaries to you, Mark. You are deeply loved.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

You Hold it ALL, Lord!

Today, I discovered that the Newsboys have a new album. This song in particular, spoke to my heart today. This is the amazing Sovereign I serve. I am so very grateful He rules the world.

From the highest of mountains
To the depths of the sea
From the planets in motion
To the breath that we breathe
From the womb of the barren
To the rich and the poor
To the dreams of the orphan
Every heart beat is Yours
You hold it all
(Every mountain, every valley)
You hold it all
(Every tear drop, every heartbeat)
In my weakness
You’re my victory
In my sickness
You surround me
I believe that You hold it all
It’s in the roar of the lions
It’s in the wind and the waves
It’s in the glory of sunrise
And the lives that You change
You stand alone in splendor
You reign in majesty
Your hands formed all creation
Your hands are holding me
You are my hope forever.

(Copyright, Newsboys.)

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

HomeschoolDiploma.com - 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 HomeschoolDiploma.com. 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? HomeschoolDiploma.com 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, HomeschoolDiploma.com 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
Crew Disclaimer

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
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Yes, it does.

This is 100% true. :) 

Happy Wednesday. 

I am grateful for so much!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Using your Kindle?

This is not a sponsored post. My friend over at Ben and Me just happens to have some awesome resources all in one spot for homeschoolers. The top one, the free books for Kindle for kids is an *amazing* list full of some seriously great classic books for children.

This one is awesome too!

I think you might find something at those links! 

Thanks, Marcy!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Everything Changes

So today we moved out our second born. Our beautiful nineteen year old has found a place of her own. How did those 19 years go so quickly? It is amazing and bittersweet. I am so proud of the woman she has become, but it is hard to say goodbye to the girl we have known. I am so glad that God is sovereign over all. I am so glad that He loves my girl more than any paltry love I can offer her. I am so terribly grateful for all of it - the heartache, the joy, the peace, the fear, the sadness, and the unbelievable love.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections - A Review

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you will see how big a supporter of Home School in the Woods I am. There isn't anything Amy Pak has put out that I don't love! Her creative beautiful artwork, and careful study and presentation of each subject she tackles, result in excellent homeschool resources! HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections is no different.

I have used many of her resources, and genuinely love her lapbooks. This is one of her more thorough ones, that is just packed with awesome educational and crafting opportunities for your students. As a reviewer for the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was sent a digital download of the whole "Lap-Pak." You won't believe what you have access to for only $18.95! After downloading and extracting onto my computer, all I needed to do was click, "Start." The whole program loaded before my eyes. Because I have used her products over many years, I am familiar with how they work, but she has simplified and streamlined her newest offering. Included, are two audio recordings of the text provided in booklet format, read by Jaron Pak. He has a perfect reading voice that is highly enjoyable to listen to. The 24-page booklet itself is thorough and covers the following subjects in detail:

Elections in the United States of America
The Different Forms of Goverment
(The Rule of One, The Rule of a Few, The Rule of Many, and Anarchy)
Governments of the People in History
(Athens, Rome, England)
America: A New Creation from Old Roots
The Three Branches of Government
Qualifications to Vote
The Election Process
Running for Office and Political Parties
Caucuses and Primaries
Running a Presidential Campaign
The Electoral College and more!

This is written for students in grades 3-8, and anyone within that age range (and beyond) will certainly walk away with a solid understanding of the American election process after listening to or reading the informative booklet. Because we are in the midst of an election, this could not come at a better time!

So the meat of the program is found in the booklet, but just how do you help your students to really grasp it? That's where the Lap-Pak comes in! Never put together a lapbook before? Never fear, you'll have no trouble because photographic step by step instructions are included, and they are very thorough. You and your students will put together 21 different projects that each reflect a different aspect of your election education. She even gives you a cover. All printables are in black and white and you can print on colored paper or white and design it yourself. We did both things. You will, of course, need a printer.

Some of my favorite projects included the three forms of government craft. As you scroll through the resource as it is open on your desktop, you will see this:
Notice the "PHOTO" button in the right corner. There is a full-color photograph of every single project found within so you don't have to wonder if you are doing it right. All of the grey-colored lines of text are clickable PDF files that will bring up the four different pages of the printable craft that your student will put together to form this:

It will go into your lapbook underneath another project called The American Experiment. Your completed full page will look like this:

As you can see, inside the branches of the government tree, it defines who is included in each branch, and a write-up about each one. You are even provided printable leaves - she thinks of everything! We decided to color ours in. Colored pencils and pens have played their role in this review too.

Here are some of the other projects that we particularly liked. Suffrage was a flip-up craft that explained the fight for the right to vote - not only for women, but former slaves too. The 15th and 19th Amendments are focused on here, and the inside includes a write-up that explains suffrage over the years.

I also really liked the Political Parties project. This book has a flip-open tab for six political parties that gives a brief explanation of the party's past and/or current ideas. The parties included are: Federalist, Democratic-Republican, Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, and the Green Parties.

We also enjoyed putting together the Statistics and Who do we vote for? projects. Inside the Statistics flip book, we learned how the elephant and the donkey came to be, and the statistics mentions the reliance on polls and a candidate's charisma. 

The Who do we vote for? project is a rotating craft that defines the candidates we vote for (President, Vice President, Senators, and Representative), and what qualifications they must fill in order to run. 

These are only a few of the projects found in this awesome Lap-Pak! I have left out a lot of other projects and a whole vocabulary glossary found inside that is beautifully decorated. I just don't have space to tell you about it all! We can't escape that this is an election year because it is all over the news. We homeschoolers are notorious (I prefer to think of us as smart!) for utilizing what is going on around us to facilitate our home learning. HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections is an unbelievably thorough and interesting way to take advantage of what is going on right now. Home School in the Woods has done it again!

Want to find out how other homeschool families with the Crew used this, click the banner below!

U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak  Review

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