Getting the Most Out of Field Trips: A Series Review!

Field-TripsWho doesn’t like a good field trip? There’s nothing quite like fresh air, a change of scenery,  and a little exercise to rejuvenate your learning routine. While field trips can be a lot of fun, they will quickly turn into a frustrating mess when not planned properly. Join us as we share tips on how to make the most of any field trip and explore ideas for a smoother day.

What if we could make the day more simple? Wouldn’t the trip be much more enjoyable if we had a plan of attack and were better prepared? I think so. After planning field trips, both for myself and for larger groups, here are a few tips we’ve learned along the way:

Go out and explore! Have a lot of fun and enjoy your children while they are young; this won’t last forever. ~ Cristina

“Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.”
~ Proverbs 24:27

We’re curious… Do you enjoy being spontaneous with outings or planning in advance?

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Review: The Great Escape by M.J.Thomas

https://thehomeschoolmomblog.wordpress.comIt’s here. It’s finally here! You’ll forgive us if we’re jumping for joy and ridiculously excited to share with you The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls (Book #3): The Great Escape, the newest release in The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series from M.J. Thomas and Worthy Kids/Ideals. Our copy arrived a few days ago and we can’t put it down.

Worthy Publishing Group is an established book company whose mission is, “To help people experience the heart of God.” Of their five distinct imprints and vast selection of titles, Worthy Kids/Ideals creates vibrant children’s literature including The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. The series began with THESE two amazing stories, and is followed by The Great Escape.

“Join Peter, Mary, and their dog Hank as they discover ancient scrolls and travel back in time to stories in the Bible. They find a world filled with wonder, adventure, and danger. They must search for clues to solve the secret of the scrolls … or they will be stuck there forever… Perfect for emerging readers ages 6 – 9, homeschooling families, and lovers of adventure, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls brings beloved Bible stories to adventurous life.”
~ Secret of the Hidden Scrolls

In our newest story, The Great Escape, Peter, Mary and Hank find themselves transported to the deserts of Ancient Egypt where they meet the Pharaoh’s daughter and experience firsthand the ten plagues God brought upon the land in order to free His people. Along the way they meet an old enemy hiding behind a new identity; one who will stop at nothing to prevent the children from completing their mission and returning home. Together the children discover, “GOD IS POWERFUL AND WILL SET YOU FREE”! Hidden Scrolls

I’ll be honest. One of the main reasons this mama is so excited for the release of Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Great Escape is that now my eleven-year-old son can stop asking me – every. five. minutes. – when his book will finally be here. While the official release date was the first week of April, an advanced copy was kindly sent our way just a tad early. Thus the minute the calendar said March, the mailman’s deliveries were met with anticipation. The moment it arrived he pounced on it and barely let it go long enough for his mum to read it herself. What a fantastic problem, don’t you agree? I love watching my children enjoy good, Bible based literature and Secret of the Hidden Scrolls is everything lovely.

Specifically targeted for 6-9 year olds, homeschoolers, and those who love adventure, our family has found Secret of the Hidden Scrolls to be a perfect fit. Our son was able to finish his first read-through in approximately one hour. (I say his first because, since, he’s read through it several more times. Which goes to show just how much we love this series!)  We were especially blessed to find we received a signed copy of the The Great Escape, which meant the world to my son. As with the first two books in the series, we appreciated the inclusion at the back of the book complete with specific references to Scripture covered and notes on the story itself.

Hidden+Scroll+Activity+Sheet_ScrollStealerIn addition to enjoying this fantastic read, we made sure to visit The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls‘ website. There we were able to sign up to be part of the Secret of the Hidden Scrolls Club. We just know it’s going to be fun! We were also able to enjoy the Activities page and read the Story Behind the Story. (For those just discovering this series, Secret of the Hidden Scrolls website is also the perfect place to preview each story or order a set for the family!)

We are absolutely excited about this book, and the entire Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series. Now, just like Mr. Thomas’ son, Peter, we’re anxiously awaiting another one! We’re not sure when it’s coming, but we feel certain another read is on its way. Until then, it looks like we’ll just have to re-read and be patient.

If you’d like to learn more about The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls by M.J. Thomas or WorthyKids/Ideals please visit them at their website and on FacebookTwitter or Instagram!

FTC Disclaimer

Your Turn!: In The Great Escape, Peter and Mary discover firsthand what it must have been like enduring each of the ten Egyptian plagues. Given the last plague as the worst, which of the other nine plagues would have affected you most?

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A City Broken: Teaching Our Children Self-Control

a_city_brokenThe Bible teaches us that a man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls (Proverbs 25:28). We are open, exposed, and basically waiting to be attacked. Our defenses are down, available to an enemy who seeks to plunder. One advantage to homeschooling is that as we train our children academically, we are also training them in character. We are helping form the adults they will one day become. Training their character is just as important as training their minds; in fact, they go hand in hand.

So what do we do when our children are defenseless and vulnerable? How do we help them rebuild their fortress, securing themselves from the inevitable attack of the world and its influence? Just like building a city, we build their character one brick at a time. We need to help them form their foundation, build their walls, and place guards to keep watch.

Forming the Foundation. In I Corinthians 3:11 we are told, “For no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ”. The foundation of all that we do, should be Christ. Our children should be steeped in the Word; knowing not only what they believe, but why they believe it. This will help them better understand why they need to have self-control.

Build the Walls.  In order to gain self-control, our children need to be given the proper tools; they need instruction and a lot of encouragement. There are some great steps that we can take to help them along the way.

  • Lead by example – Our children should see us exhibit these qualities. While we won’t be perfect, we can be a model and grow together.
  • Teach them to recognize – Children need to be able to identify when something is becoming a problem, long before it actually is a problem. Recognize the warning signs and instruct them how to avoid trouble.
  • Teach them to pray – The first, and best thing, to do when control starts to become an issue, is to pray! Let the Lord have control of the situation, not your emotions.
  • Teach them Scripture – Meditating on the Word of God is a great way to help them be filled with the Holy Spirit and not hurtful emotion.
  • Teach them to think – Show the kids how to work through the emotion and be logical. Whether it’s taking a walk, doing some deep breathing, or distracting yourself with another activity, we need to take a minute to reasonably work through the situation.
  • Teach them to act – Identifying the problem is only half the battle, we now need to resolve the issue. Form a “game plan” and then make it happen.

Place guards to watch. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it,” Proverbs 4:23. Let forgiveness and righteousness be your armor; allowing nothing evil to enter in and being quick to overlook the fault in others.

Whether you are doing arithmetic, piano, or taking that fun field trip; self-control is a vital lesson being learned. With grace and a lot of encouragement, our children will learn to use temperance in their daily lives, growing into the people they were called to be.

Let the Lord build and guard your children; with Him, you can’t go wrong. “…Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”
~Psalm 127:1

Your Turn!: How do you instill self-control in your children? Is there a practical way that you safeguard them from emotional outbursts?

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You Talk Too Much!

you_talk_too_muchOur children, with the exception of one, are very outgoing. They talk easily amongst their friends, family, and even with new acquaintances. Even the one who is seriously shy often opens up after a few moments. They like to talk about what they are learning and ask others what they are being taught. Our children will generally carry on a conversation with just about anyone, anywhere, on almost any topic. While we encourage our children to share, it’s also important they learn to listen.

One of the subtle arts of parenting is teaching our children proper communication. Yes, to share. But also to listen. Learning when to speak and when to remain silent can be a challenge. One some of us adults – myself included – are still learning to master. Perhaps we could all use a refresh in this area?

Learning to Listen First – Speaking is the easy part. Speaking well harder. Not talking and listening would be the biggest challenge. Listening not for an opening during which we can finally speak, but genuinely caring what the other person is saying and giving them the entirely of our mind. Oh, to perfect this step alone would be a dream.

Learning to Ask Questions  Often the best way to open doors of communication is not by telling, but by asking. By seeking information from others we encourage them to talk with us and share their lives.

Learning to Identify Those Who Will Receive – Let’s face it, not everyone wants the entirety of our plans for summer vacation. Nor should they. Some are not ready to hear our fantastic homeschool adventures. And not every possible debate needs our input. We need to weigh our words; identifying what should be shared when, and with whom. It’s not a matter of other people not caring, as much as our caring to give people what God has directed in His timing.

Learning When to Speak – Equally challenging is knowing when to finally open our mouths. May the Lord give us wisdom and grace!

Learning How to Speak – Sometimes sharing can be done with pride, a smug attitude, or a sense of “knowing all about it”. It can also be harsh or bitter. We want our words to be kind and humble always.

Learning When Someone Wants Help – Confession. I like to help. It’s taken me some time to realize not everyone who is expressing frustration or anxiety really wants constructive input. Sometimes they just need a listening ear. May we be that which is needed most.

Thank God for close friends who make communication easy. We are incredibly blessed by those few who allow us to vent when needed, either when upset or ridiculously excited. We never have to weigh my words, calculate if we’ve spoken too much, or worry about interrupting. And our friends know they can count on us, too!

When addressing the rest of the world, may we err on the side of caution more than not; choosing our few words with care and giving those we meet Jesus. It’s more important they see Him and hear of His good deeds than anything we could possibly offer. When in doubt, we follow this sage advice, “Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise;…”

“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.”
~ Proverbs 10:19

Your Turn!: This does beg the question… How much talking is too much?

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Do My Children REALLY Need Help?

do_my_children_really_need_help Our kids are usually pretty good about doing their lessons; most of the time. However, every once in a while, these kiddos decide they just don’t want to do the work and would rather try to con mom into giving them the answer instead. It can be hard to determine whether they actually need help or are just being lazy.

Normally, I love helping my kids. I help them cook, clean, learn new skills, and have fun with them. The one time I won’t help them is when they aren’t really asking for help, they are looking to get out of work. What’s a mom to do?

Look and Observe – Before simply giving my child an answer to their question, I first want to be sure I’m paying attention and understand if my child needs help. More often than not they know what to do. It’s just faster to ask mom. However, if there’s a genuine need, I want to give them my full attention so we can master this area of learning.

It’s New – Once I look at the work, I need to determine whether or not this is a new skill. Sometimes they need the help and others they are merely intimidated by the newness and want me to tackle it for them. I will walk them through the problem and guide them to finding the answer for themselves. More than likely, they’ll also see additional practice in this area over the next few weeks, just to make sure we master this skill set.

It’s Been a While – Especially after several weeks off (during holiday months), coming back to book work can be a challenge. While these skills may have been taught in the past, it’s been a bit and my kids could use a little help with review. I won’t give them the answers, but I will walk them through the process and guide them to the answer. Additional work over the course of the week might also be an option.

It’s a Lot – Yeah, they know how to do the work; trust me. However, the problems staring them in the face are daunting. The thought of having to work through ten long division problems just isn’t appealing. (And why would it be?) When this concern hits us, I weigh the skill being taught. If this is a skill they’ve done many times, I will usually reduce the amount to be done and watch as they work through the rest. If it’s new, I sit next to them and we walk through all of them with lots of encouragement from mom.

They’re Being Lazy – It happens, even with my kids. The kids have decided they don’t want to do their lessons and figure if they nag mom enough she’ll give in and, in frustration, pick up the pencil to show them how easy it is to work the problem. (It’s been known to happen. Sad, I know.) Sure, I could let it slide and let them do the work another day or pick up the pencil and do the work for them, as mentioned, but what would this teach them? Our kids need to learn that not all work is easy. There are going to be days when we don’t want to finish the work, but that is part of maturing. At that point, the lesson is no longer about the work in front of them, but about teaching them diligence and good work ethic. I will encourage them, but finish the work they will and without me writing the answers in for them!

I Help – Let’s face it, at times we all need help. If the help needed isn’t a matter of shirking responsibility, mommy is more than willing to help. All they have to do is ask!

As parents we want to help our children. Sometimes helping our children means teaching them to help themselves, gaining independence and confidence. I will help our children, if I can, but doing work for them is where I draw the line. Some things they need to do themselves.

“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”
~ Titus 2:7-8

Your Turn!: How do you determine the difference between your kids needing help and them trying to shirk responsibility?

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Our January Reads

our_january_readsThe new year is underway and it’s been a while since we’ve shared what’s recently hit our reading shelf. It has been a wonderful few months of reading, learning, and increasing in wisdom. Our list has a few reads which were recommended for personal development, and others which added to our learning fun. All were an adventure!

We’ve broken down the list into categories and included our personal rating from zero to five stars. To read more about a particular book, simply click the title!

Books for Adults

  • Of Mess and Moxie (Jen Hatmaker) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐- Jen Hatmaker, beloved author,mess_and_moxie Big Sister Emeritus, and Chief BFF, offers another round of hilarious tales, frank honesty, and hope for the woman who has forgotten her moxie.
  • People of the Book (Geraldine Brooks) ⭐⭐⭐ – From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of March, the journey of a rare illuminated manuscript through centuries of exile and war.
  • Man’s Search for Meaning (Viktor E. Frankl) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival.

Learning Books for the Family

  • Welcome to New Zealand: A Nature Journal (Sandra Morris) ⭐⭐⭐ – A gorgeous guide to creating a nature journal that will inspire kids around the world to chronicle what they see in their own backyards.
  • Stupendous Science: 70 Super Cool Experiments You Can Do At Home (Rob Beattie & Sam Peet) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Learn to make ice cream with salt, a book_of_bonessmartphone projector, a lava lamp and more with this brilliant book of simple home experiments!
  • Seek and Find: National Parks ⭐⭐ – Travel through twelve of the most-visited national parks in North America.
  • Storyworlds: Nature (Thomas Hegbrook) ⭐⭐- Explore the beauty and wonder of nature in this wordless picture book-and let your imagination bring everything to life!
  • In Focus, 360 Degrees (Libby Walden) ⭐⭐⭐⭐- Ten illustrators take a complete look at the world around us, traveling the globe to find a fresh perspective.
  • Atlas of Dinosaur Adventures (Emily Hawkins) ⭐⭐⭐- From the team behind the best-selling Atlas of Adventures comes this prehistoric journey of discovery.
  • Maps (Aleksandra Mizielinska & Daniel Mizielinski) ⭐⭐⭐⭐- Much more than an ordinary atlas, this book of maps is a visual feast for readers of all ages, with lavishly drawn illustrations from the incomparable Mizielinskis.
  • The Book of Bones: 10 Record Breaking Animals(Gabrielle Balkan)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐- It’s a book of world records… of bones! Guess whose bones are the longest, shortest, heaviest, spikiest, and more. With touchable skeletons!

Storybooks

  • The Wonderling (Mira Bartok) ⭐⭐- Mira Bartok tells the story of Arthur, a shy, fox-like foundling with only one ear and a desperate desire to belong, as he seeks his destiny.
  • Brave Red, Smart Frog (Emily Jenkins) ⭐⭐⭐- Step into a wintry forest where seven iconic fairy tales unfold, retold with keen insight and touches of humor. language_of_thorns
  • The Book of Dragons (E. Nesbit) ⭐⭐- Dragons — of all sorts — make for marvelous fun, and this collection of madcap tales is filled with them.
  • The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine (Mark Twain & Philip Stead) ⭐- A never-before-published, previously unfinished Mark Twain children’s story is brought to life by Caldecott Medal winners Philip Stead and Erin Stead.
  • The Language of Thorns (Leigh Bardugo) ⭐⭐⭐- Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.
  • The Magic of Misfits (Neil Patrick Harris) ⭐⭐- From beloved award-winning actor, Neil Patrick Harris, comes the magical first book in a new series with plenty of tricks up its sleeve.
  • The Glass Town Game (Catherynne M. Valente) ⭐⭐⭐⭐- Charlotte and Emily Brontë must enter a fantasy world that they invented in order to rescue their siblings in this adventurous and fiercely intelligent novel.
  • Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman) – Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

How are we rating these reads? Good question! If the book has a five, whether learning or for fun, it’s clean and we want it on our bookshelf permanently. Four stars are sorely tempting us, but as our local library carries them we’re in luck. Three stars are worth a look, but we don’t see ourselves reading them too often. Two stars were entertaining, but once was enough. One star was interesting. And zero. Well, it’s zero.

What to be on the lookout for… Generally I enjoy Neil Gaiman books, but this one is especially dark and odd. The Magic of Misfits was a well-told story. I enjoyed it. Please note there is a character with two dads; it is not essential to the story but there none the less. The Atlas of Dinosaur Adventures was beautiful, but one should expect, “…millions of years ago…”. People of the Book was incredible! However, it did have a little language and, while no great detail is given, an affair is touched upon. Of Mess and Moxie is a riot, but not one for your teenage daughters. And, finally, The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine. It said Mark Twain. It also said previously unpublished. Maybe unpublished for a reason?

You may have noticed a few changes to our review format. It’s a work in progress, but one we hope will work better for you readers and us! Join us again next month as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading!

Your Turn!: What’s sitting on your bookshelf, waiting to be read this coming month?

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Why Aren’t My Kids Doing That?

Why_Arent_My_Kids_Doing_ThatDo you want a recipe for disaster? Come on, you know you’re a tad curious. Here you go… Take a well-intentioned and involved parent. Give them social media, opportunity to compare themselves to lovely but very active friends, and kids who enjoy doing things. Heap on a bit of nagging guilt they aren’t doing enough, and then set them loose. Before long said parent will start asking themselves the inevitable question, “Why aren’t my kids doing that?” And there you go!

I’ll be the first to admit I am totally speaking to myself on this matter. I enjoy being active. I hate the notion of missing out on an incredible opportunity. I want my kids to be able to do everything and anything their little hearts desire. Well, maybe not everything, but everything good. There in lies the trouble. How do I determine what is good for my children? Not everything is black and white. This isn’t necessarily a moral issue, but one of wisdom. Just because Johnny is in basketball doesn’t mean my little man needs this. Or wants this. Or that we can afford it. Or that we have the time. There is much to be considered. The same goes for homeschooling. That curriculum – field trip, academic course, college prep class, etc. – highly recommended by my community might be lovely, just not for us.

Before we bury ourselves under mounds of guilt or stress our families, perhaps the better question to ask would be whether or not our kids should be doing that. Whatever that is. Instead, we often spend too much of our time comparing ourselves to others and attempting to add yet another thing to our ever-growing list of to-do’s. And should we discover we can’t do that then parental guilt sets in.

When I’m tempted to travel this path of destruction, may the Lord remind me of these few things:

He Hears – Not my complaining mind you. (Although He is too often forced to hear me groan.) The Lord hears my heart! He knows my anxiety stems from a desire to minister to my babies and give them what is best.

He Understands – That disappointment and stress I’m feeling seems overwhelming, but He knows what I’m going through. He also understands better than I what is best for my children.

I Cannot Do it All, Nor Am I Being Asked To – This post is not being written by Supergirl, no matter how much I’d like it to be so. I need to stop expecting to function at ridiculous levels of busy and wearing that badge of honor. Then remember the Lord isn’t asking this of me either.

I Am Me – Simple, right? I wish! There are times I have to force myself to remember this. I am not you any more than you are me. Or that family down the street with the perfect lawn. Nor the homeschool family in the community who seems to be excelling with flying colors. I am not them. I am me. And all God asks is that I be what He wants.

There is a Time for Everything – Just because we aren’t doing that right now, doesn’t mean we won’t ever do it. It needs to be in God’s timing or I don’t want to move. God’s timing is always best.

This Has No Power Over Me – That nagging guilt? The stress of doing everything for all my people? I don’t have to claim it or keep it. By the power and the grace of God, I have the ability to hand those over to Him and let them go.

That recipe I shared with you? Ditch it. Trust me on this. It will leave a bitter taste in your mouth, have you feeling empty afterwards, and rob you of all joy. Instead may we learn to appreciate the wide world of ideas which surround us for what they are, possibility. Let us admire one another’s adventures, yet remain confident in our own. And above all, seek first the kingdom of God. He’ll add whatever else is needed.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
~ Colossians 3:23

Your Turn!: What is one opportunity you’re glad you took advantage of this year?

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Review: The Thrifty Time Travelers Series

TTT_BlogTour_18

“What follows is the guidebook, exactly as it was discovered on a sidewalk outside Frank’s Pizza in Manhattan in AD 2018.”
~ The Thrifty Guide to  Ancient Rome (Uncorrected Text)

I love books. I love history. I love hearing my kids laugh. So when I have an opportunity to combine all three into a fun afternoon of reading, you know I’m going to be all over it. This month we had the opportunity to review The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome: A Handbook for Time Travelers and The Thrifty Guide to the American Revolution: A Handbook for Time Travelers by Penguin Random House and Jonathan W. Stokes and we can’t wait to share this funny, educational book series with you. We’re still cracking up laughing and enjoying the multitude of lessons to be found within their pages!

Set in the distant future, The Thrifty Guides are a humorous look at what happens when we travel back in time to discover the history of the world. Both are written from the perspective of Time Corp, presenting a complete vacation package for tourists. Each book seeks to help you make the most of your trip offering locations you might wish to visit, events you could participate in, and people to have lunch with. Currently three Thrifty Guides are available: The Thrifty Guide to the American Revolution, The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome, and The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Greece.

We received an advanced reader edition of both The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome and The Thrifty Guide to the American Revolution, along with a clever “Passport for Time Travelers” which included passport stickers for both our travels and an additional passport sticker for The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Greece. Suggested as early reader novels, our ten-year-old son was given these books to be used during his reading time after Mom had ensured the books were both clean and met family standards.

 

Ancient RomeThe Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome: A Handbook for Time Travelers is a snappy, informative travel guide that comes in the package with your time machine purchase in the year 2163. It contains information vital to the sensible time traveler:

  • Where can I find a decent hotel room in ancient Rome for under five sesterces a day? Is horse parking included?
  • What do I do if I’m attacked by barbarians?
  • What are my legal options if I’m fed to the lions at the Colosseum?
Designed as a parody of Fodor’s, complete with humorous maps, reviews of top attractions (Julius Caesar’s assassination is a must-see!), and tips on who to have lunch with (Hannibal, assuming he doesn’t kill you). If you had a time travel machine and could take a vacation anywhere in history, this is the only guidebook you would need.
Chapters include Roman Entertainment, Julius Caesar, The Roman Civil War, Quality Time with Cleopatra, and more! Our favorite portions of this book are “Important Warning Before Time Traveling”, “Top Five Ways to Die in Rome”, “How to Pilot a Horse”, and “Cleopatra’s Perfectly Normal Family Tree”. “People to Have Lunch With:…” is especially funny, and “Friendly Message from Your Corporate Overlord at Time Corp” is sure to have you rolling.

American RevolutionThe Thrifty Guide to the American Revolution: A Handbook for Time Travelers is a snappy, informative travel guide that comes in the package with your time machine purchase in the year 2163. It contains information vital to the sensible time traveler:

  • Where can I find a decent hotel room in colonial New England? Are credit cards accepted?
  • How can I join the Boston Tea Party without winding up in a British prison?
  • What do I do if I’m being shot at by a cannon?
Designed as a parody of Fodor’s, complete with humorous maps, reviews of places to stay and top attractions (Don’t miss Paul Revere’s midnight ride!), and tips on who to have lunch with (Alexander Hamilton, naturally). If you had a time travel machine and could take a vacation anywhere in history, this is the only guidebook you would need.

Chapters include The Boston Tea Party, The Battles of Lexington and Concord, The Siege of Boston, The Declaration of Independence, The Battle of Cowpens, and more! Fun  features we enjoyed are “Your Odds of Being Hit by a Musket Ball” and “Your Odds of Being Hit by a Rifle”, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting… to Be Shot by a Cannon”, “A Message From the Good People at the Time Patrol”, and “Letters From Time Corp’s Complaint Department”. Thrifty_Guides

Written by former teacher and rising Hollywood screenwriter, Jonathan Stokes, The Thrifty Guides were very funny, simple to read, and educational. There were a ton of fun facts, silly illustrations, and interesting notions on the concept of time travel. We enjoyed them tremendously and couldn’t wait to tell you all about these wonderful books. If you’re a fan of history, or happen to be studying any of these areas in your learning adventures, you’ll definitely want to give these books a try.

On sale now, you’ll find The Thrifty Guides to be a wonderful addition to your learning bookshelf. We had a great deal of fun reading both The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome and The Thrifty Guide to the American Revolution, and look forward to searching out The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Greece soon!

FTC Disclaimer

Your Turn!: If you could travel back in time to any era, which would it be?

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Help, We Started Late!

Help_We_Started_LateLet’s face it, there are times in life when we all run a little behind. We arrive to appointments late, we show up tardy for Christmas dinner, and perhaps don’t get the bills in the mail on time. As homeschoolers, the one time we shouldn’t have to worry about running late is during our learning day.

Each of us is on our own schedule. We all have a routine which best meets our family’s needs. Once we have established ourselves it can be all too easy to start feeling like a failure when we vary our day or even our week. We get up a little late and it seems the whole day is out of focus. Life hands us a curve ball and school for the week is a total loss.

Instead of allowing this situation to get the best of us perhaps we need to look at this from a different angle. We are homeschoolers. Unless our state or PSP mandates a particular day-to-day routine, we have the freedom to start our learning any time we like! There is no ‘running late’ to start arithmetic and science. There is no waking up ‘late’. Apart from outside appointments, running late is nonexistent.

To take this a step further, we might even consider these occasional variations in our routines a blessing. Maybe we needed that extra sleep and our bodies are renewed. Maybe we needed those extra minutes to get the science project done. Whenever we experience a slight change in our schedule, this doesn’t mean we are failing or running behind, it means we are adjusting our day to best meet our family’s needs. Sometimes that means more sleep, sometimes that means a longer learning lesson, and sometimes – in my case – we decide our local theme park looks good today.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I like routine. I thrive on routine as a matter of fact. I am the first one to admit ‘running late’ is a frequent worry of mine. There is a time and place for having a schedule; many of us benefit from a daily plan. However, we need to plan our day; not let our plan run our day. Don’t live for the routine.

This month, as most of us head back to our learning routines, I pray we all forget the imaginary clock in our heads; the one that tells us we ‘didn’t start on time’. Instead, let us live each day to the fullest; grateful for each moment we have with our kids.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:11

Your Turn!: What helps you get back on track when things seem to be running a little longer than you planned for?

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It’s Okay to Be Tired

Its_Okay_to_be_TiredLike all of you, I tend to be a busy person. From the moment I get up till the moment I force myself into bed, I am on the go. I pride myself on how much I can accomplish in a single day, and tend to judge our overall success based on this factor. Pride can be a challenge. It’s no wonder there are times I feel downright exhausted. So why does it surprise me when I get to that point, and at what point had I started viewing my being tired as a weakness?

I want to choose to look at being tired in a positive light.

First, I have put in a solid day of ministry and fun; no matter how that manifests itself. Whether we are doing a little learning at home, going on nature hikes, spending the day on an art project, or simply baking cookies; being a mom and an educator is hard work. When we add outside factors into the mix, it’s no wonder where all that energy goes. I have definitely earned that tired!

Second, the Lord is telling me it is time to take it easy. My Father is gently reminding me I cannot do all things; I need rest to refresh my body, soul, and mind. A moment, or two, of relaxation does not make me negligent. It is a subtle reminder I am human and need a break.

I should give a word of caution. Taking a day off now and again, or needing to get a few more hours of sleep in the evening is not the same as feeling tired day after day. Trust me, I’ve been there. There is a significant difference. When we notice a trend toward a continual tired, it is time to take the matter seriously. Don’t put it off. Go see a doctor and deal with the issue. This is too important to ignore.

Being tired is not a weakness, no matter what my pride is trying to tell me. Being tired does not mean I am being lazy, or that I am lacking. Being tired is not a sign that I am failing. When friends ask if I’m a little tired they are not being mean or unkind; they simply care and notice I am probably pushing myself to an unhealthy limit.

While it is true there are certainly constructive ways to reduce the amount of things being done and streamline our routine, the fact is there are weeks which just hull me out completely, leaving me tired. It’s life. It’s to be expected and that’s okay. The issue isn’t whether or not we will get tired, but how we handle these moments. We shouldn’t see being tired as a weakness, but a natural occurrence and an opportunity to take a breath. Being tired is a sign of a job well done, even if the job is serious playtime. It’s a time to enjoy well-earned rest and allow the Lord to renew our spirit.

Of course, taking the occasional nap might not hurt either.

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
~ Jeremiah 31:25

Your Turn!: When was the last time you took a nap?

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