Monday, September 25, 2017

Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up- September 26, 2017

Welcome to Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up with your hosts Karen @ Tots and Me, Emily @ Emily Reviews, Shelly @ The Attic Girl, and Rena @ An Ordinary Housewife.

So glad you could join us as we share our giveaways on  Tuesday's Giveaway Link Ups. 

This link up will be posted Monday at 7 PM est. and run all week long! Make sure you stop in as often as you can to list your latest giveaways.

Here is how to use the Giveaway Link Up

1. Post your reviews and/or giveaways, as many as you have, be sure to add the end date (family friendly please)

2. Help spread the word about the giveaway link up by grabbing our button, Tweeting or posting on Facebook. (Not mandatory- but it helps get more exposure to your giveaways as well!)

3. Take a moment to enter any giveaway that strikes an interest to you!

If you would  like to follow the  hostesses, we will gladly follow you back! Simply leave us a message to do so.
Thank you for linking up with Karen @ Tots and Me, Emily @ Emily ReviewsShelly @ The Attic Girl, and Rena @ An Ordinary Housewife.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Exploring the World With Let's Go Geography {A TOS Review}

We live in a world that is comprised of nearly 200 countries. Though there are many different cultures, beliefs, and languages, we were all created by God and come from the same original ancestors. We are connected, yet separated by so many differences. I think it is so important for children to learn about the world around them, to learn about these different people and realize we are all God's children. Children also need to realize that the world does not revolve around them and their little corner of the globe. That's why I thought it would be fun to try out this fun homeschool geography curriculum called Let's Go Geography from Carol Henderson.

Let's Go Geography offers membership subscriptions which are available for a semester or a full year. Currently Year 1 of what will be a 3-Year program is available.
As you can see in the above screenshot, if you complete this full three year program with your child(ren), you will be learning about over 75 countries, including the different regions of the United States. 

Let's Go Geography is designed to be used by children in kindergarten through fourth grade. So, if your desire is to complete the entire program, you would need to start in kindergarten, first grade, or second grade. That said, I have been using this with all four of my children, and they range in grade from kindergarten through fifth grade. Even Tabitha, our fifth grader is enjoying this curriculum, so if you didn't get started until your child was in third grade, I could see this program still working out. Another option would always be working through the program at a faster pace than one country per week, which is doable for older children.

As a Homeschool Review Crew member I was given the option of choosing either a semester or a year membership. I chose the full year. This is their best option when it comes to finances, as it costs only $21.99 a year as opposed to $14.99 for each semester. However, it was also the best choice for our family because I planned on skipping around to different countries instead of following the order scheduled. We are allowed to do this, which was quite nice for us, as I used this opportunity to start by reviewing a few countries we learned about last year. In fact, even though we spent a year learning about different countries, we only focused on fourteen countries, all but one of which is included in the full 3-year program of Let's Go Geography. In Year 1, there are only three countries that we already learned about, so we are going to be learning about many new countries this year.  

Let's take a closer look at how this membership works. 

After I created an account and chose which subscription package I wanted, I was given access to my account. From there I was able to click on my "subscriptions" link in order to access my lessons. Additionally, we were given a free Kid's Printable Passport (which we ended up not using) and the bonus Travel Journal Covers which are currently free for those who sign up for membership. Ms. Henderson is actually quite generous, in that anyone could receive the Kid's Printable Passport for free, just by sharing about the Let's Go Geography program. I can access the passport through my "subscriptions" link, but the Travel Journal Covers were given as a downloadable product. 

Here is a sample of the Passport:

And this is one of the four Travel Journal Covers available. 

After I click on my subscription, I come to my home page, from which I have access to all the lessons for Year 1. 

As you can see, the lessons are listed on the left side of the screen. On the right you will find information to help you figure out how to use the curriculum, a download link for continent dividers, internet safety suggestions, and a link to click on if you come across any technical problems. You can also leave a comment at the bottom of the page. 

The next step in accessing the lesson is to click on the lesson name. Clicking on "Year 1, Lesson 3: CANADA" brings me to this page:

From here, I click on the blue link to download the lesson. You want to make sure to actually download the lesson to your computer instead of just using it as it is when it appears on the screen. We have found that we get error messages if we try to get back to the lesson if it isn't downloaded on the computer. Once it is downloaded, you don't even have to log in to your Let's Go Geography account to access that lesson. 

The lessons are completed using the online components and the hands-on activities. In addition to internet access, you will need a printer, printer paper, printer ink, and craft supplies (which are listed in each lesson). You will also need some sort of binder for assembling your Travel Journal. You may also want to obtain books about each country, which we do through our library. 

Now, let's take a closer look at the lessons.

Each lesson file we have downloaded so far has been between 27 and 37 pages long, averaging around 4 MB. Each lesson starts out with a cover page:

Then there is a note from the author with some tips about using the curriculum. After that you will find the Table of Contents. You will find the following chapters in each lesson:
  • Are You Ready?
  • Chapter 1: Map It!
  • Chapter 2: The Flag
  • Chapter 3: The Music
  • Chapter 4: Let's Explore
  • Chapter 5: Create!
  • Chapter 6: Printables
Are You Ready gives you some facts about the country.  You will learn what continent it is on, the capital, the largest city, the official language, population, and size. The second page is an itinerary where your child can check off the activities once they have been completed. You will also find a list of materials needed for the craft, plus the call number to use to look up books on the country. Honestly, I never use call numbers, as I look up books using our libraries online search program, so I just search using the name of the country as the subject. However, if I was going to go to the library to search for books, having the call number would be quite helpful. 

Chapter 1: Map It!

On the first page of the Map It! section a link is given to print out the continent map. There are then activities to complete using the map. 

In addition to the continent map, there is usually some additional map work for older students. This might focus specifically on the country, or may look at different features in that region. For example, we looked at the provinces in Canada, the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, the Gulf Stream in Norway, and the Arctic Circle in Greenland. 

Chapter 2: The Flag

Basic information is given about the country's flag, usually just the description. There are then 2-3 flags which are outlined in color for the children to fill in and include in either the passport or the "Flags of _________" page. We decided to use this Flags of the Continent page as opposed to the passport.

As we have four children in our family using this curriculum, I did have to print out the flag sheet from the printables section which contains enough flags for a classroom, instead of the flag information sheet. I'm just glad that page is included, as I appreciated not having to print out the flag information more than once. 

Chapter 3: The Music

The next section shares the country's national anthem, translated into English if needed, plus a link to watch a video of the national anthem being performed, usually with some great footage of the country. Of course, this will depend upon what Ms. Henderson was able to find available. The children and I have really enjoyed listening to these different anthems. 

Chapter 4: Let's Explore

This section will share lots of interesting trivia about the country, along with links to videos and occasionally links to read more information about a certain topic. 

Each Let's Explore chapter starts with a "Did you know?" section. Then we'll go "sightseeing." We may look at the landscape, animals, how people live, different celebrations, popular places to visit, and famous features of the area (such as the Northern Lights).  There is information to read, plus links to videos featuring what is being discussed. Then there is usually a link to go to some other site to read more about the country online. Older children then have the option to fill in a notebooking page with some of the information they have learned. At the end of this section there is a "Photo Album" with more pictures from the country. These can be printed and added to the Travel Journal. 

Chapter 5: Create!

Included in this section are two activities. There is a Coloring Page and a Craft. 

Coloring Page:

This section actually shows a small image of the coloring page and explains what it is depicting. In order to print out the page, you need to go to the next chapter. 


You will see a picture of the completed craft, plus information as to why this craft is relevant to the country. Occasionally there are also links so you can find out more about the subject of the craft. Instructions are then given on how to make the craft, including the list of materials needed, steps for putting it together, and sometimes a link to see instructions for the original craft. 

Chapter 6: Printables

Here you will find the sheet of flags suitable for classroom or large family use, the notebooking page, the coloring page, and any printables needed to complete the craft.

Each lesson concludes with a farewell from the author, along with an "About the Author" page. 

How we have been using Let's Go Geography:

As I mentioned, we started our studies by reviewing a few countries we previously learned about. The plan was to fit this information for these review countries (Canada, Norway, and China) in two weeks. However, we were discovering that we were learnings some great new information, so I ended up taking a full week for even our review countries. Then we chose to skip back and do one new country per continent. 

We got into a routine that we are still following. 

On Monday, the children and I will gather around the computer and I will pull up the lesson for our new country. While I do the girls' hair, I (or one of the older girls) will read the introductory information about the country, look at the flag, listen to the country's national anthem, and go "sightseeing." Usually, I am finishing their hair around the same time the videos are ending. Sometimes we sit/stand there a bit longer to finish up. That is the extent of our geography lesson for Monday, unless I found a picture book to read that focuses on that country. 

On Tuesday we will review the information while I do the girls' hair. The children will choose their favorite videos to rewatch. We also enjoy finding additional videos on the subject, if available. 

The other days of the week, we may or may not review the information and rewatch the videos while I do the girls' hair. It depends how busy we are. However, if I was able to find books, we will read at least part of one during our storytime. Such as these books for Greenland:

During the week we will find the time to do the map and flag work as a group. 

The children usually work on their coloring pages at the same time that we work on flag and map work. Though there are times that they take them to the YMCA to work on in the Child Watch while daddy and I exercise. 

(This picture shows various coloring pages, one each from each of the children's Travel Journals. 
Top left: Amelia (Canada), top right: Tabitha (Greenland), bottom left: Hannah (Norway), bottom right: Harold (China))

When we were working on Ecuador, the children had the opportunity to color their page while I read a book. The book is called Paco Goes to the Fair: A Story of Far-Away Ecuador by Richard Gill. In the story the Otavalo market is mentioned, along with the lovely patterns made, which went perfectly with the coloring sheet.

We then find time to do the craft, though it may not always be on the week we are learning about that country. The crafts are so creative, we definitely don't want to skip them, sometimes we just get too busy to do them right away.

Here are the crafts that we completed so far. We still need to finish the reindeer that goes with our last country, Finland.

Dragons from China

Viking Ships from Norway

Butterflies from Ecuador

Snowy Owls from Greenland

The older girls also have their notebooking pages to fill out. I have the children tell me what they remember from our lesson and then I write all the information out. The girls are then allowed to choose several items they find most interesting to write down.

As you can see, there are a wide variety of activities to complete in Let's Go Geography. Not only is it hands-on, but it is quite multi-sensory. The videos are great for visual learners, and there is written information that can be read aloud for younger children or auditory learners or read independently for older students. The crafts are wonderful for those children who enjoy tactile work. However, if the parent isn't fond of doing crafts, the author does state that not all of the activities have to be completed. That said, even parents who struggle with crafts should find these crafts simple to complete with their children, seeing as the needed materials are easy to find, the printable parts are included, and the instructions are clear and easy to follow, with pictures included of the different steps. In fact, I've been able to walk away and let my children work almost independently with most of these crafts. 

One thing you do need to be aware of is that there are times when YouTube videos are no longer available, which is the nature of YouTube. What impressed me a great deal however, was the speed in which Ms. Henderson replaced the couple of videos that we had issues with. She updated the curriculum and emailed me to let me know this issues were fixed. So, if you come across a video that is no longer available for whatever reason, don't hesitate to use the contact information included on the third page of each lesson. 

We are loving this curriculum. If you couldn't tell. I do have to say, there is one aspect I wish was a bit different. I would love to see a few different options for the notebooking pages. I think my youngest children could fill this out if there was a dotted line page. And my older daughter prefers to write smaller, so we added lines in between each line on the page. I would prefer to not do this for each country to get to. I mean yes, she could use loose leaf paper or a spiral notebook, but I love the page that coordinates with the curriculum. A page with smaller lines would be a wonderful addition to this program. 

Let's Go Geography is most definitely a program I can recommend. It is a wonderful, hands-on curriculum to introduce elementary aged children many countries in God's amazing world. We have LOVED seeing the various landscapes and animals God has created throughout the world through the pictures and videos. I did want to clarify that this is not a Christian curriculum. It can be used by homeschoolers of any belief system. I just love that it exposes children to the wonders of God's creation. 

You can find Let's Go Geography on Facebook and Pinterest.

Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about Let's Go Geography.

Let’s Go Geography {Reviews}

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Throwback Thursday Blog-Style #170: September 21, 2017

Welcome back to... 

I know, I know, Throwback Thursday seems to be all about sharing pictures from the past, great memories that mean something to you, that you would like to share with others. At least that is how it appears to me. Throwback Thursday wasn't something I was participating in, and then I came up with an idea.

I thought it would be great fun and a help to my blog to share old content, but not just any old content. Each week I will share an old blog post from a previous year, any year, BUT it has to be from the current week (for example, something I've posted around September 21st, from any previous year)  I will go in, edit the post if needed, add a pinnable image if I don't already have one, and share it on Facebook.

Last year I focused solely on recipe posts for the posts I wanted to share, and the year before that, I shared past review posts. It was fun remembering some of the recipes and reviews I had forgotten about. This year I will be sharing random posts.

Would you like to join in? You do not need to edit your past post in any way, you don't need to create a pinnable image, though it couldn't hurt, in fact it will help your blog traffic to add quality pinnable images to your posts.

Just go into your archives, choose a favorite post from this current week from any previous year, and link it up below. (If you don't have anything from this current week, it is still okay to link up with a post from a previous year around this time. And if you haven't been blogging for a full year, feel free to share any earlier post.)

Please make sure to share from the past as instructed above if you would like your post to qualify for the Featured Post. Most weeks I find that there is a wonderful post, but I can't feature it because it is a current post, not from the past. I love reading the current posts, if you want to share them. However, I am not able to feature them, because the spirit of Throwback Thursday Blog-Style is to share posts from the past.
Thank you

I will be pinning posts to my appropriate Pinterest boards and will be randomly selecting a Featured Throwback Thursday post to share next week. Just a note, I will be sharing a picture from your post if you are selected as the featured post, but I will link back to your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. By linking up you are giving me permission to use your picture in the post. 

Here is my Throwback Thursday post:

Originally posted September 13, 2016
Muffin Tin Monday: H is for...Horse and Other Things

Here is this week's randomly selected
Featured Throwback Thursday:

Richele from Talking Mom2Mom shared The Imperfect Homeschooler.

To participate, link up below. It would be great if you could visit several of the other posts that have linked up. Stop by, comment, and pin images so we can help each other.

No button currently, and there won't be one until I can figure it out seeing as Photobucket has changed things. Feel free to still share the picture in place of the button. Just link it to my Throwback Thursday Blog-Style permalink please.

Happy Throwback Thursday!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Adventure-Filled Christian Fiction for Kids with Imagine . . . The Great Flood {A TOS Review}

I love books. I could sit and read forever. I love that my children love books. And I love when I find new books for us to read together. Especially ones that fit so well with what we are learning in our lessons. This year we are studying the time period spanning from the creation to the time of the ancient Greeks. We just started our school year, so we are right there at the beginning. The first week we studied the seven days of creation, and then last week we started reading about Noah. So, when I learned that a book called Imagine . . . The Great Flood by Matt Koceich, was coming up for review, and we would be reading it right before learning about Noah, I jumped at the chance. I was even more intrigued when I was reading the description of the book and it looked like some sort of time travel would be involved. Thanks to the Homeschool Review Crew, we had the great opportunity to read this new release from Barbour Publishing.

Now, was there really time travel involved? Well, that is never really made clear. Though with a title that includes the word "Imagine," I'm leaning toward the adventure being more in his mind. Nevertheless, the story features a young boy named Corey Max who is ten years old (Tabitha's age) and finds himself on an adventure in the time of Noah. His day started normally, walking to the park with his mom and his dog Molly, to get some exercise in before a big Texas storm hit. Even though this would seem to be a day like any other, it isn't. He is focused on the fact that there is a moving truck in front of their house. It is a reminder that he will be moving across the country, away from everything he knows and loves, and he just can't come to grips with this reality. He knows he should be trusting God, but he is struggling.

His mom uses Molly's trust in them while playing ball, to give Corey an object lesson about the need to trust God and realize that He is in charge and will be with them. The next thing he knows, he is chasing after Molly, heading into the woods, trying to figure out what has gotten her so agitated, when he falls and hits his head. He wakes up to find himself on a hill covered with gravel where he is face to face with two lions, a male and a female (remember the whole Noah's Ark thing). Thankfully, he discovers that these lions don't want to eat him, or harm him in any way. In fact, Corey gets to help Shem, one of Noah's three sons, guide the lions to the ark. 

Thus starts his Bible adventure in a land filled with wickedness and danger, from the fierce Nephilim to the evil sorcerer Elizar. He gets to meet Ham, Japheth, and Noah, and even finds himself on the ark, though only briefly. The bulk of the story finds Corey facing trials and dangers as he tries to help Noah's sons get the animals to the safety of the ark, while avoiding the giant Nephilim who are bent on his destruction and ruining God's plans. Along the way he also has to deal with "betrayal" by someone he thought was helping him. Though in reality, Corey had just met the man, and I would say it was more of a deception from the get-go, because to me, betrayals come from those you already know and trust. 

Throughout his adventure, Corey finds himself close to death more than once, but it is these trials that help him learn the lessons that God wants him to learn. There are some wonderful messages in this story. At one point Shem tells Corey, "God is a promise keeper, Corey. I have faith in His plans for our lives." Corey also realizes he has been misplacing his faith by placing it in himself, and has not been trusting God and what He could do. There is a point in the story where Corey has been thrown down a 20 foot deep hole. He is afraid and finds himself doubting God. However, he remembers a story told by his great-grandfather, which helps him to trust God to forgive and bless him. 

Does Corey survive his adventure? Well, yes he does, but I am not going to spoil the story by telling you how. We do discover that his "trip" back in time has helped him to have a new perspective on life. When we catch back up with him in the last chapter of the book, three months have passed. Corey is happy in his new home, has made friends, and has learned to put his trust in God. There is one last exciting event where we see that his adventure has made a lasting impact and then the story ends. 

Imagine . . . The Great Flood is very much a fictionalized account of Noah's Ark. While the story was full of adventure, I do have some reservations. My concern is that so much about the story of Noah and the ark has been convoluted in today's world. There are nuggets of truth told in Imagine . . . The Great Flood, such as the thought that there was no rain at all before the flood (which I've learned about from different creationism ministries) and the Nephilim being real (though in the Bible they are called "heroes of old, men of renown"); however, I'm afraid those things would come out as looking as fiction as well, mixed in with all the other liberties taken with the story. As the reader, it could be difficult to see what is fiction and what is truth. 

While we were reading the book during our nightly family storytime, I would pause every once in a while, debating how I wanted to share some of this information with the children. For example, we don't know for sure what kind of wickedness was in the world during the time of Noah, however, the Bible tells us that "every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time." Genesis 6:5b. We are also told that the earth was full of violence. I guess it is open to speculation whether Noah and his family had any interference by the local people, whether the Nephilim had turned evil, and whether there were sorcerers around. 

Luckily we are currently learning about Noah's Ark, so we can try to determine which parts are fiction and which are not. So, I would say, if you are going to allow you child(ren) to read this book on their own, make sure they know that there is a LOT of make-believe thrown in with truth. Use this book as an opportunity to dig into the truths of God's Word. 

Though I have my reservations about this story, the children and I did enjoy reading it. 

Here is what the children have to say about Imagine . . . The Great Flood by Matt Koceich:

(warning, there are some spoilers below)

Tabitha: "I liked that it had to do with difficulties in life and how people can overcome them if they just trust in God. My favorite part was when Corey got saved by the elephants. It was God who sent them, because Corey told God that he believed in Him. I think that other kids in the world might really enjoy that he goes back in time and experiences things from the Bible."

Amelia: "I like the way it shows how some things can be tough and how it shows that it wasn't easy back in the Biblical times either. It teaches us to be brave and listen to what God is telling us."

Hannah: "I liked that it taught us some of the animals that were on the ark. I liked when Corey got pulled up onto the ark out of the water and was safe."

Additionally, there were what I felt were some inconsistencies in the story. Though they weren't huge, they were things that made me scratch my head when I reread the book by myself when I was getting my thoughts in order for this review. For instance, (watch out for another spoiler) Corey fell down a 20 ft deep hole, climbed up only halfway with the use of the staff that was thrown down to him, which would place him 10 ft down, and yet the elephants were able to reach down with their trunks and lift him out of the muddy hole. The hole that was getting muddy because it was raining, and yet in the Bible it states that God closed the door of the ark before the rains started. 

I admit, I expected the book to be a little closer to how it would have played out in the Bible. The Nephilim being evil was a bit of a shock to me, as was the inclusion of a sorcerer. If you are one who doesn't have a problem with events from the Bible being changed up a bit in a fictitious story, you are your child(ren) would probably love this book. There is a LOT of suspense and adventure, but be aware it may be too suspenseful for younger children. The book is meant for children ages 8-12, which I feel is a suitable age. I did read it to all the children (ages 5, 7, 9, and 10), and they had no issues with it. However, when it comes to independent reading, the younger children would be a bit too young. Tabitha was able to finish the book in under two hours. As it is only 110 pages in length, that did not surprise me in the least.

We are looking forward to the new release in this series coming March of 2018. It is called Imagine...The Ten Plagues.

You can find Barbour Publishing on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Speaking of Barbour Publishing, this isn't the first time we reviewed a book from this publishing company. It's been several years, but Tabitha really enjoyed reading Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story.

Don't forget to click the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates and their children thought about Imagine . . . The Great Flood

Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich {Barbour Publishing}

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: September 20, 2017 (w/linky) : Doctoring Up Daddy

Poor daddy sliced his thumb pretty good on the blade of our food processor. It fell, he went to catch it, oops. The children decided to turn our dining room into a waiting room and our living room into an examination room. Granted, this was all when I was supposed to be cooking our Sabbath meal (if you want to see what all that is about, I invite you to check out this week's Littles Learning Link Up post). I ended up hanging around, watching how well they were taking care of daddy, and taking pictures. Our meal was a bit late.
Waiting Room

Time to see the nurse and doctor.

X-Ray Machine:

He was so bad, he needed to be on life support:

Or he just needed some medicine.

All fixed up and ready for our Sabbath meal.

Looking forward to seeing your Wordless (or not so wordless) Wednesday posts this week.
No button currently, and there won't be one until I can figure it out seeing as Photobucket has changed things. Feel free to still share the picture in place of the button on your Wordless Wednesday post or in a list of Wordless Wednesday linkies. Just link it to my Wordless Wednesday permalink please.

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