Our May Reads

Our_May_Reads

It never ceases to amaze us how many books we finish in a month. The lists we share here are merely books we’ve used in a homeschooling/parenting capacity; there are many more which we read on our own! May’s list has a ton of incredible finds from our local library. Everything on this month’s list was completely new to us, which is always fun. All of them were used in our learning to some capacity. Most of them are now on a book wish list.

  1. Ordinary People Change the World (Series by Brad Meltzer) – WE CAN ALL BE HEROES. That’s the inspiring message of this lively, collectible picture book biography series from New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer.
    A friend on Instagram shared this incredible series. We immediately pulled every available book in the set. My son is in love. So am I.
  2. Make: Magazine (Maker Media) – As the leading voice of the maker movement, Make: publishes tested projects, skill-building tutorials, in-depth reviews and inspirational stories, accessible by all ages and skill ranges.
    I happened across this publication while perusing for other periodicals. This is an amazing resource for learning! Each issue is filled with tons of incredible projects to make with detailed instructions. Check them out… Make:
  3. The Beauty of the Beast, Poems from the Animal Kingdom (Selected by Jack Prelutsky) – A stunning collection of poems celebrating “the beauty and wonder of the animal kingdom.” Poet and anthologist Jack Prelutsky has chosen 200 works by 123 poets from Carl Sandburg to Seamus Heaney, with a tip of the hat to his own “The Multilingual Mynah Bird.”
    An incredibly fun book to explore with the kids. Many animals were covered, and all of the poems lovely.
  4. The Curious Garden (Peter Brown) – While out exploring one day, a little boy named Liam discovers a struggling garden and decides to take care of it. As time passes, the garden spreads throughout the dark, gray city, transforming it into a lush, green world.
    It was the art which drew us in, but the story which kept us coming back for multiple readings. The Curious Garden is a wonderful story and quite inspiring.
  5. Art & Max (David Weisner) – Max and Arthur are friends who share an interest in painting. Arthur is an accomplished painter; Max is a beginner. Max’s first attempt at using a paintbrush sends the two friends on a whirlwind trip through various artistic media, which turn out to have unexpected pitfalls.
    An adorable read, through and through. We loved how this story explored the fun and adventurous aspect of art.
  6. What To Do With a Box (Jane Yolen & Chris Sheban) – If you give a child a box, who can tell what will happen next? It may become a library or a boat. It could set the scene for a fairy tale or a wild expedition. The most wonderful thing is its seemingly endless capacity for magical adventure…
    We’re continually on the lookout for books which encourage children to think creatively. In this case, outside the box. Mission accomplished!
  7. The Little Island (Margaret Wise Brown and Leonard Weisgard) – There is a little island in the ocean—and this book is about how it is on that little island, how the seasons and the storm and the day and night change it, how the lobsters and seals and gulls and everything else live on it, and what the kitten who comes to visit finds out about it.
    Suggested by an online acquaintance, this charming story helped us focus on our nature studies; learning to experience God’s creation through all of our senses. 
  8. A Child of Books (Oliver Jeffers) – A little girl sails her raft across a sea of words, arriving at the house of a small boy. She invites him to go away with her on an adventure into the world of stories… where, with only a little imagination, anything at all can happen.
    I confess, the cover caught my attention. It went in my basket without further thought. Was opened in the quiet of my home. And devoured entirely, from beginning to end. We loved the clever illustrations and thoughtfulness of the story. 
  9. Finding Wild (Megan Wagner Lloyd) – There are so many places that wild can exist, if only you know where to look! Can you find it? Two kids set off on an adventure away from their urban home and discover all the beauty of the natural world. From the bark on the trees to the sudden storm that moves across the sky to fire and flowers, and snowflakes and fresh fruit. As the children make their way through the woods and back to the paved and noisy streets, they discover that wild exists not just off in some distant place, but right in their own backyard.
    Another nature study find by Mom. I appreciated the thoughtfulness of the story without the tendency of some books towards glorifying nature to the point of considering man an evil. 
  10. The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs (Tristan Gooley) – Gooley has compiled more than 850 outdoor tips—many not found in any other book in the world—that will open readers’ eyes to nature’s hidden logic. He shares techniques for forecasting and tracking, and for walking in the country or city, along the coast, and by night. This is the ultimate resource on what the land, sun, moon, stars, plants, animals, and clouds can reveal—if you only know how to look!
    I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. It came highly recommended so we gave it a chance and were pleasantly surprised. We learned so much from just the first chapters, we cannot imagine pushing through this book quickly. Even a single reading will not be enough to fully absorb its material. For nature explorers, this book is a wonderful guide and help!

We generally gather our reading materials from the library, but several of these have been added to our book wish list. Great reads are worth revisiting!  We were so excited to find another incredible selection this month! A few of them were excellent aids in nature study. Join us again next month as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading.

Your Turn!: How do you know when a book is so good, you have to buy it?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

Factoring Birthdays Into the Homeschool Routine

Factoring_Birthdays_Into_Homeschool_RoutinesFor whatever reason, when we’re planning out our yearly routine, it never enters my mind to factor in birthdays. With four kids, two parents, and several grandparents it might be time to start factoring in the many celebratory days I seem to overlook when creating our homeschooling routine.

If you’ve been following us on any of our social media sites recently, you’ve noticed the stream of birthday posts coming in during the last few months. My kids have birthdays pretty much one month after the other, and those in-between months contain holidays. The fun never stops! Call us funny, but it just doesn’t seem right to make a kid do “school” on their birthday, so we take the day off and do whatever they like. As the teacher, same goes. Pop’s the principle so you know he’s going to want the day off. As for extended family, we’re helping them celebrate so that deserves a day of rest, too.

This doesn’t seem that big a deal, really. Until I remember her birthday happens to land on a test day. Or his birthday is also our routine science experiment activity. Then, the homeschool scramble begins… Do I switch up that test and make her take it the day before her birthday; the day after; do I skip it all together? Should we do makeup work the following day or double the previous so we finish our materials by the end of the school year? It’s crazy, I know.

After several – several – years of homeschooling, you’d think I’d have this down to a science, but this always slips my mind. Their birthdays are firmly imprinted in my mind. I know we’ll be taking the day off. Yet, every single time, I forget to include this factor on our homeschool calendar. Meaning, I forget to mark down, “No school today. Birthday.” Essentially ignoring all dates what-so-ever, and only focusing on routine. Instead I happily plod along and mark down, “Arithmetic Test Today”. It’s not until the week before the special event I actually look at the dates on my nicely organized homeschool calendar and realize my mistake. Then, I scramble. This is especially true when one honey’s birthday happens to always land during the last week of school. You know, wrap up week? Goodness.

It’s a laughing matter, truly. What’s a few days here or there? The moments spent together far outweigh the issue of missed work or tests not taken. It’s merely the fact I overlook this each and every year which continues to amaze me. Perhaps by the time my youngest graduates high school I’ll finally have it down. Then again, who knows?!

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
~ Psalm 118:24

Your Turn!: Do you pencil birthdays into your homeschool calendar or routine?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

 

Conquering the Wandering Mind

Conquering_Wandering_MindsI’ve called his name four times now, hands waving before his book work. The boy is smart. He could complete this lesson in two minutes flat – if only I could divert his attention to his work. He comes back to the present only for a moment before returning to his imaginings. With each ticking of the clock, I wonder what I’m doing wrong and how I can help my child conquer this challenge.

Understandably, this situation is just as frustrating for our son as it is for me. Being the last one to finish lessons, and constantly having to hear your name is irritating. We’re doing our best to work through this struggle together and learn keys to succeed in this area. Diet, exercise, routine, and using essential oils is helping. How we homeschool has been reviewed as well. Less independent work is in order; being replaced with one-on-one lessons with a parent sitting close at hand verbally offering encouragement.

Do any of your children battle this on a daily basis? We’d love to hear your thoughts regarding this area of homeschooling!

  • Are there clear symptoms of when your child’s mind has gone wandering?
  • What helps you remain calm and help meet your child’s need when this becomes a daily/hourly concern?
  • Have you identified the cause of their distraction? How have you done this?
  • Do foods affect your child’s focus?
  • Will routine and/or exercise help focus increase?
  • Do you find this more prevalent in your sons than daughters?
  • What helps your child to better focus?
  • Are there essential oils you’re using to help your child focus?

We have by no means conquered this challenge. There are days we cruise through without any difficulty, and days when keeping eyes on the page leads to anger. Through God’s grace we’re moving forward, learning what works for his body and mind. Amidst the frustration, it helps to remember this not personal or purposeful. Our son is not being rebellious, his mind is merely occupied elsewhere. Together we’re discovering fun, meaningful ways to redirect his attention to the present and offering grace when a momentary whim takes his mind on a journey elsewhere.

There is beauty to be found in these moments, even those taken in the imagination. May we have patience to find it, wisdom to see learning opportunity everywhere, and gentleness in leading our children through daily responsibility.

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,…”
~ Ephesians 1:17-18

Your Turn!: That’s quite a list of questions we’ve asked… Don’t feel as if you need to answer every one. Pick one which resonates with you, or one in which you’ve seen growth, and share with us!

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

The Priority of Family Connection

The Priority of Family ConnectionToday we’re rushing around doing errands. Tomorrow there is a planned group field trip. Saturday my daughter has a library event. Monday my little lady has a sewing class. Wednesday is… You get the idea. We have so many wonderful opportunities before us. Before we get lost in all the busy-ness, let’s place priority on family time.

Life can certainly be busy. Staying connected as a family can be a challenge. In order to stay on top of it all, we need to have a game plan. Before a plan can come together, we need to first look at our objective. Is our goal uninterrupted home time? Perhaps we simply wish to have meaningful conversations on a more regular basis.

Once we have our overall goal in mind, we start looking at when we can make this happen. Family time doesn’t have to be at the end of each day. It might mean starting the morning off with family breakfast, or enjoying lunch together. If this isn’t an option, let’s look at travel time. While in the car – on the various, multitude of events we attend – could we be turning off radios and devices; using this time to build relationships? There is time available, if we only look for it.

Given that we homeschool, we could assume our learning time is plenty of opportunity for family. We have discovered that while we have enjoyed our adventures, this is not the same as family time. We all need a space of time when I am not giving instruction or introducing new topics, and the kids are not being drilled on arithmetic facts. This is especially true when Pop is not an active part of our learning routine. The goal of connecting is for everyone to be present and participating.

While some might argue against planning dates/family time. (How much fun is something you have to mark down on a calendar?) We would caution against such thinking. After all, planning a day at Disneyland never fails to bring joy and anticipation. Why should this be any different?

As a final thought, instead of taking this upon our own shoulders, we should consider making this a family affair. We might host a family meeting, expressing concern over a lack of quality time. Allow everyone to share their thoughts, feelings, and ideas on how to solve the problem. After taking into consideration everyone’s contribution, together come up with a plan. Then, stick with it.

If we’re not careful, we can schedule ourselves into a complete breakdown. While attending events, field trips, and games is of benefit, we also need to teach our children the value of quiet, family time. If we don’t, let us not be surprised when our adult children are too busy to make time for us later in life.

We all have busy days. We might even have crazy weeks. But when days and weeks turn into months, it’s probably time to call a family meeting and reconnect. Let’s start with prayer, and see where the Lord leads! Many blessings on finding time for what’s truly important, family.

“So, then, be careful how you live. Do not be unwise but wise, making the best use of your time because the times are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
~ Ephesians 5:15-17

Your Turn!: What are your family’s favorite ways to reconnect after a busy stretch in schedule?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

Review: Captain Absolutely from Focus On The Family

Review_Captain_AbsolutelyComics are all the rage in our home. From my husband’s work to classic Superman, we enjoy a good graphic novel. So it was with much anticipation we reviewed Captain Absolutely from Focus On The Family. Today, we’re excited to share this fun, educational, Biblical resource with you!

Captain Absolutely is a graphic novel which focuses on using a Biblical worldview to battle everyday challenges such as fear and guilt. In Captain Absolutely we meet our hero, Captain Absolutely, and learn how he gained his incredible power. We are taken through a series of subsequent events in which Captain Absolutely meets several villains – Dr. Relative, Cap’n Crastin, Fear Chemist, and more – who wish to ruin the town of Metropolitanville and take over the world. Captain Absolutely uses his knowledge of Scripture to fight each enemy, while kindly showing them the error of their ways.

Captain Absolutely is a full-color paperback graphic novel. The pages within are printed on glossy paper, in tune with traditional modern comics. The illustrations themselves are fun. The story is fast-paced and silly while faithfully teaching Biblical truths, complete with Scripture reference for each argument the Captain uses to defeat his foe.

As Captain Absolutely touches on important Biblical topics and discusses the gravity of truth, we handed our story to an expert both in the field of comics and apologetics… my husband. In addition, both our oldest daughter, our son, and myself read through the story.  This was not a required read for the kids, merely something we strategically placed in anReading_Captain_Absolutely advantageous position of the learning environment to encourage interest. The reading took approximately forty-five minutes for my son and husband to read through together; about twenty for me and my daughter individually.

We found Captain Absolutely functions under the assumption the Bible is true. We are presented with basic worldviews and how a Biblical worldview responds to each argument. This is not a philosophical defense of truth, but a sharing of Biblical wisdom. With that said, all of us enjoyed this graphic novel. My husband found it to be a good foundation for younger children learning Biblical truths. He recommended the story for children aged 8-12, but noted finishing the entire novel in one read might be a bit taxing. To fully absorb the concepts being presented and prevent fatigue, perhaps reading Captain Absolutely over a few days time might be of benefit. My daughter and I thought the stories to be quite silly, with many good points made for the reader to think on. Our son laughed continually through the reading; the storyline made for many good talking points and further truths to be shared. He thought the silliest “villains” were Edward Snooze – who fought Captain Absolutely with pillows – and Cap’n Crastin – who’s heartfelt desire was to be on television.

When passing comics to our children, we parents are continually on the lookout for appropriate content. Captain Absolutely met all of our requirements: It was clean, engaging to the mind, easy to follow, and as an added bonus, pointed our children to Christ. Our son learned a great deal through his reading, and this initial story has laid beautiful groundwork for future discussion of truth and Biblical wisdom.

If you’d like to learn more about Focus On The Family, as well as Captain Absolutely, please visit them at their website. You can also find Focus on The Family on social media sites such as FacebookTwitterPinterest, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into High School Essay Intensive please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: Is there a Christian comic you’d recommend?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

Is Home Schooling the ONLY Answer?

Is Home Schooling the ONLY Answer?Sometimes, well-meaning homeschoolers feel the need to convince other people that keeping their children at home is a must. We feel the need to cajole them into believing homeschooling is the only answer, and if they don’t homeschool something is wrong with them. While, quite obviously, we prefer to homeschool and find it is best for our family, I am very hesitant about what I share and how it is expressed. I would prefer the Lord be the one working on their hearts, not me.

Over the course of several years, there are some key things I have learned about sharing my heart with other people. Things I feel help to develop relationships and open the doors to good communication.

Earn respect. How often have we heard well-meaning advice from a complete stranger? Worse yet, someone whom you don’t respect. Before I open my mouth to speak, I ought to ask myself how well I know this person. Perhaps they are not open to receiving what I might want to communicate. I need to earn the right to be heard, not demand I be listened to.

Learn to listen. How often have we spoken to someone, only to discover we didn’t really hear all they said? Or while they were speaking, we were already trying to form our own arguments and thoughts in response? The first step in a good conversation, is listening! Taking time not to just hear the words they are speaking, but the heart of the person talking. Sometimes it is not just the statement being made, but the emotions behind them which need to be addressed.

Be humble. How much I accomplish and the efficiency in which it is done is not to my own credit. It is the Lord who has given me my gifts and it is He who continues to sustain me. They don’t need to hear about all I have accomplished; they need to see how the Lord has directed our lives and used certain circumstances to bring us to where we are. This takes the glory out of my hands and puts it where it belongs.

Be slow to judge others. Imagine how hard it would be to bare your heart to another, only to have them turn and tear you apart. In the realm of parenting, there are many methods of schooling, training, and building of relationships. I need to understand my way isn’t the only way and all of us are still learning. My responsibility is to edify, encourage, and help; not to bury them under a mound of guilt.

Let the Lord lead. It is not my job to convince someone of my argument or my way of thought. If someone is genuinely interested in what I have to say they will listen and take my thoughts into consideration. If the Lord leads, speak; and let Him do the rest.

Know when to keep quiet. There is a time to speak and there is time to remain silent. It is important to know what the situation calls for. It is okay to offer advice and express my views, but there comes a time when words are of no use. Know how to pick battles and when to walk away.

When I am offering advice or answering questions about homeschooling, I want to make sure I am not overstepping my bounds. If I have earned the right to be heard, I then need to make sure I am listening to their concerns. When I respond, my answers should be given gently and with humility. Once I have said my piece, I need to let the Lord lead them and remain quiet.

We love homeschooling, and enjoy sharing our adventure with others. Heaven forbid our calling become a burden we force upon others, or a prideful arrogance we throw in someone’s face. Instead, may we live in such a way as to bring others into the beauty of God’s presence, blessing everyone we meet.

Your Turn!: What are a few indicators which help you know when sharing about your homeschooling adventure is beneficial?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

Review: The Secret Bridge by Lamplighter Publishing

The_Secret_BridgeEvery once in a while, we come across a read which sparks the imagination and edifies the soul. This week, we’re happy to share with you a new read we had the pleasure of reviewing. The Secret Bridge by Lamplighter Publishing was a joy from beginning to end, and we know you’ll want to hear all about it!

Lamplighter Publishing’s aim is to develop Christlike character one story at a time, and this book hits the mark! The Secret Bridge tells the story of young Bridget Channing, and her journey toward a meaningful relationship with God. Through trials, tribulations, and a helpful friend, Bridget learns what it means to cast her cares upon the Lord and fall in love with her Creator.

We first meet Bridget on a sea voyage to England, following the death of her father. While aboard, she befriends Godfrey Bullingham, a naval officer who desires to see Bridget settled well. When disappointing circumstances leave Bridget homeless and with little to live on, Godfrey saves the day by proposing marriage. At first hesitant to accept, Bridget quickly realizes marriage might be her only option and accepts the offer. After a hasty ceremony, Bridget is taken to Godfrey’s hometown where she will be staying for the year while he is away at sea. Everything seems to be working in Bridget’s favor until her husband asks her to keep a secret. A big secret. Throughout the remainder of the book, we experience Bridget’s struggle to keep the secret hidden while more and more secrets become known to her. In the midst of her trials, Bridget meets a most unusual gentleman who encourages her to “Acquaint thyself with Him.”Secret_Bridge_TitlePg

The Secret Bridge was cleanly written, which is a requirement when choosing our books. Thus, any of our children could have read the story. However, I had a personal desire to read the book myself and took possession first. I had planned to read the book slowly, perhaps taking a few chapters at a time. I quickly realized this was not possible. The Secret Bridge was too good to put down. I finished the entire book in one night!

I will note, this story might be best suited for young ladies. There is no action in the book and a great deal of conversation whilst drinking tea. We should also point out that while the main purpose of the story is to encourage a closer relationship with Christ, there is a distinct romantic element to the story; particularly at the beginning of the book. I would recommend The Secret Bridge to young ladies in middle school or older, as the topic of marriage and proper courtship would be more appropriate for that age category.

As I devoured the story, there were a few points which caught my attention in particular. Mr. Jocelyn, the gentleman who speaks with Bridget, is a naturalist! While the study of God’s creation plays no significant role in the story, I appreciated reading of his love of nature and his desire to teach children through his hobby. It was also interesting to note the back story of the tale, which centers on a family dispute as far back as the time of Secret_Bridge_IllustrationHenry VIII. As we are currently studying this era in our history lessons, this was a fun circumstance and a God moment. While not important in any way to the story, it would be remiss if we failed to mention the gorgeous cover of this book. Mole skinned, engraved leather, and gold embossed. It’s a beautiful book.

The Secret Bridge was a joy to read! I can’t think of a single thing I disliked about the book. The story itself was lovely to read, well-told, and edifying. The character lessons throughout were encouraging, even for one who has walked with the Lord for years. We look forward to exploring more exciting reads at Lamplighter Publishing!

If you’d like to learn more about Lamplighter Publishing, along with The Secret Bridge, please visit them at their website. You can also find Lamplighter Publishing on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into The Secret Bridge, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: In The Secret Bridge, Bridget has a developed a hobby of wood carving. Which hobby/handy-craft would you most like to acquire?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

Our April Reads

Our_April_Reads_2017

It never ceases to amaze us how many books we finish in a month. The lists we share here are merely books we’ve used in a homeschooling/parenting capacity; there are many more which we read on our own! April’s list has a few incredible finds from our local library. Everything on this month’s list was completely new to us, which is always fun.

  1. Lindbergh: The Tale of the Flying Mouse (Torben Kuhlmann) – A story of toil and triumph—inspired by Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight! These are dark times . . . for a small mouse. A new invention—the mechanical mousetrap—has caused all of the mice but one to flee to America, the land of the free. But with cats guarding the steamships, trans-Atlantic crossings are no longer safe. In the bleakest of places . . . the one remaining mouse has a brilliant idea. He must learn to fly!
    The illustrations are what sell us on Torben Kuhlmann’s books. They are simply amazing. But you’ll love this adorable story about a little mouse with big aspirations. The kids thought this was a perfect read. 
  2. Beautiful Birds (Jean Roussen) – In this stunningly illustrated introduction to the world’s most beautiful birds, Jean Roussen and Emmanuelle Walker pay homage to an alphabet of birds in all their feathery fancies.
    A nature study read for the month, the colorful illustrations were wonderful and definitely helped us explore the world of exotic birds. 
  3. Before After (Anne_Margot Ramstein) – Just as day turns into night and back again, a many-tiered cake is both created and eaten down to a single piece. Each spread or sequence of spreads explores a before and after.
    A wordless book I wanted to explore with the kids, this book is perfect for littles or the art of storytelling. 
  4. The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts (Maja Safstrom) – Did you know that an octopus has three hearts? Or that ostriches can’t walk backward? These and many more fascinating and surprising facts about the animal kingdom are illustrated with whimsical detail in this charming collection.
    I’ll be honest, I picked up this book because of the cover itself. It’s adorable! However, I was pleased to find the pages within just as charming. We recently discovered there’s a sequel! This was a great book for nature study. 
  5. Three Swords for Granada (Walter Dean Myers) – In the year 1420, the cats from the kingdom of Spain attacked their foes: dogs led by the cruel Fidorean Guards. Full of bravery and ready to give their lives for their country, the cats begin a swashbuckling journey of swordplay and derring-do.
    As we are studying the Renaissance, this seemed a perfect read for the younger kiddos. Three Swords is a cute book and a fun read. 
  6. None Like Him: 10 Ways God is Different from Us (Jen Wilkin) – Jen Wilkin leads us on a journey to discover ten ways God is different from us – and why that’s a good thing. In the process, she highlights the joy of seeing our limited selves in relation to a limitless God, and how such a realization frees us from striving to be more than we were created to be.
    One of my parenting/mommy books of the month, I discovered this read through an Instagram account I follow. Each chapter was a blessing and an encouragement. Grab it, you won’t be sorry.
  7. Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too (Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish) – With humor and understanding, Faber and Mazlish explain how and when to intervene in fights, provide suggestions on how to help children channel their hostility into creative outlets, and demonstrate how to treat children unequally and still be fair.
    Parenting can be tough sometimes, so this book suggestion piqued our interest. While the overall principles were sound, we were saddened to find the concepts within were not grounded on a moral foundation. While this is not mandatory in writing a parenting book – by any means – we, personally, prefer it. Without Christ, we are nothing. 

We generally gather our reading materials from the library, but I know a few of these have been added to our book wish list. Great picture books are worth revisiting!  We were so excited to find an incredible selection this month! A few of them were excellent aids in nature study. Join us again next month as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading.

Your Turn!: Do you have a favorite “wordless” picture book?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

Review: Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”

Drive_Thru_HistoryIf you’re like us, you enjoy incorporating media in your learning day. When that same media helps us draw closer to the Lord and gives us a deeper understanding of the world He created, you know we’re jumping for joy. This past month, we had the opportunity to review Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” by Drive Thru History® and we’re incredibly excited to share this resource with you!

Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” is a beautifully boxed DVD set which includes 3 DVD’s, with a total of 18 episodes, and an 118 page study guide. Throughout Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”, our host, Dave Stotts, takes us on a tour of Israel showing us the footsteps of Christ and bringing Biblical history to life. Used in tandem with each episode, the included study guide will prompt further discussion with thoughtful questions and illustrations to spark the mind.

Rather than include Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” in our daily homeschool studies, we instead chose to incorporate the episodes into family time at the end of each day. Drive_Thru_SetSnacks in hand, we gathered around the television and watched an episode each evening, Monday through Friday during the course of the review.

Our immediate impression was of the care which was taken in creating such quality material. The boxed set itself was lovely. The study guide was clearly laid out, with brief questions even our youngest was encouraged to participate in answering. The episodes themselves were fantastic. Cinematically, the videos were incredible. The quality was beyond expectation and overflowing with professional graphics. Frankly, we’ve never seen a history series better made!

As our review took place around the time of Easter, Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” couldn’t have come at a better time. As we progressed through each episode, we were shown such incredible sites as Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Nazareth. We saw the Church of the Nativity, the Herodium, the Sea of Galilee, and so much more. We followed the gospel message from before Christ’s birth to His resurrection.

Study_GuideOne fun aspect of Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” pertained to Dave Stott’s vehicle throughout the series! Lovingly named “Steve McQueen” by its actual owner, Dave Stotts showed the kids how to make Car-B-Que. We refuse to give away this little tidbit. Watch the series to find out what this is, and why you need to try it!

Our only regret in doing this review is that there were only 18 episodes. We would have gladly sat through several more hours of the series, taking in the beauty and majesty of the Gospel. Our consolation is that three other series exist – Drive Thru History® – “The Holy Land”, Drive Thru History® – “American History”, and Drive Thru History® – “Ancient History”. We’re also excited to discover another series is already in the works which will center on the book of Acts.

If you’d like to learn more about Drive Thru History®, along with Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”, please visit them at their website. You can also find Drive Thru History®. on social media sites such as FacebookYouTube, and Instagram.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Drive Thru History® has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: If you could pick the next location for Drive Thru History®, where would you like to go?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

Dragons Love Tacos

Dragons_Love_TacosIf you’re ever in our neck of the woods, you know you’re invited to dinner. What’s on the menu, you ask? Well, tacos of course! Why tacos? Because they’re TACOS!!! I mean, who doesn’t love a good taco? Even dragons know tacos are the best.

You’ll find tacos of all kinds in our home; they’re a family favorite. Our little dragons eat them up. We’ve made everything from chicken and beef, to fish or potato tacos. No matter what kind of tacos we make, one thing is for sure, we always serve our tacos with a fresh batch of salsa.

The Recipe: What is salsa and how do you go about making a batch for your favorite dragon? We’re so glad you asked!

Salsa is a spicy tomato sauce, made from a blend of tomato and your favorite type of chile. Salsa is generally used in Latin American cooking and enjoyed with a variety of dishes, not to mention on its own with tortilla chips.

Salsa (Chile)

Ingredients:
4 Large Tomato
2 Cloves Garlic
3 Jalapeños
1 Tbsp. Better Than Bouillon (Chicken)
1/4 Cup of Water

Directions:
On a flat, cast iron skillet – or flat grill – roast your vegetables, including garlic, until nicely toasted. Immediately after roasting, place your vegetables in a plastic container with lid until cooled. (This helps remove the skins easily.) Once cooled, carefully remove the skin from the tomatoes and jalapeños.
In a blender, place your water, Better Than Bouillon, and cloves of garlic. Blend these for a moment to fully incorporate the garlic. Add your jalapeños. Add your tomato, removing any hardened centers. Blend all ingredients by hitting the pulse button on the blender three to four times, with a second between each pulse. Pour into your favorite mason jar, and enjoy!
(Tip: If you’re concerned about the salsa being too hot for your dragons, remove all seeds and veins from the chiles while removing skins. This will give you plenty of flavor but reduce some of the heat.)

The Experiment: We all know dragons love tacos, but serving hot salsa is a no-no. Just how hot is HOT? Let’s try an experiment and explore the wild world of chiles, then see how our taste buds take the heat!

Scoville_List

In our home, our dragons prefer salsa made with Pepperoncini, Anaheim, or Poblano chiles. But, just for fun, let’s see how hot we can take it before we start breathing fire!

Mom is the weakest of all, no surprise. She likes the mildest of the mild chiles. JAG is a little braver, eating salsa which makes his nose itch, but still enjoying the flavor. Little Lady doesn’t really like it at all. Hmmm. T enjoys salsa, but feels the same way Mom does about the heat. Mouse, she’s amazing. She can eat half way up this chile diagram without blinking an eye! And Pop, well he’s the king of us all. Nose itching, eyes watering; he can go three-fourths of the way up the chart and still keep on eating. Wow! Can you stand the heat?

The Giveaway: Now’s your chance! Care to try your hand at winning this adorable book, including a dragon of your own? Enter HERE for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) Dragons Love Tacos Book and Toy Sets (ARV: $17.99 each).

Dragons Love Tacos

(NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 3, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 1, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about May 5, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.)

And stay tuned because…

The Sequel: Oh, no! It seems tacos have become so popular there will be no more tacosDragons Love Tacos 2 in world as of May 2nd! What will we do? Pre-order your copy of Dragons Love Tacos 2 and help the dragons #SaveTheTacos.

If you’re ever in SoCal, just let us know. Send us an email, place your order, and taco night it will be. Unlike these dragons, however, be prepared for some pretty hot salsa. There’s no sense in doing things half way.

FTC Disclaimer

Your Turn!: What is your favorite type of taco?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!