Saturday, February 28, 2015

Around The Homestead ~ Sickies and COLD Weather

It’s been so bitter cold the past few weeks, we are all so ready for spring!!  It’s funny the weather keeps saying warmer weather is coming in the next few days and it keeps getting bumped further away. (sigh)  We haven’t been up to to much here the past while.  On Valentines Day morning the tummy bug hit our home and we are just now starting to get over it.

Valentines Day hubby had planned to go and pick up a load of firewood so was up early to leave for that.  It was starting to snow, but we weren’t suppose to have any bad weather.  With in minutes of him and dd9 leaving we could hardly see out the window!  I was worried but also busy with dd12 feeling sick.  What he didn’t tell me until he got home was that he was picking up a “new” couch and chair set for us. :)  We had been looking for a new set for a while and had found one that I liked.  I had no idea that he had made arrangements to pick it up.  What a lovely surprise! 

Unfortunately by the time they got home, we were up to 2 sick kids.  It’s taken about 2 weeks to work through all of us, no fun!!  Poor hubby even was hit and he hardly ever gets sick.  He spent a day in bed and missed a day of work as well.  The day he was the sickest we also had 2 water pipes in the basement freeze and crack.  First the hot water going to the washer, so I had to shut that off.  Then the cold water so hubby had to shut off the water to the house.  Then thankfully was able to put on a temporary fix so we could get the water running again.  Then the next day he was feeling well enough to pick up the parts and fix it right.  Sickies, sickies go away and don’t come back! lol  This week we will be spending a lot of time getting caught up. 

The good news is a lot of the library books I had requested on inter library loan came in last week.  Now that we are feeling better we can dive back into our middle ages study!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

IndoctriNation ~ Review

We have always homeschooled our children, I knew before any of our children were born that I would want to homeschool them.  I love resources that help me be a better teacher to our children, but I also enjoy reading or watching something that helps me remember WHY I'm homeschooling them.  I recently had the opportunity to review a DVD copy of IndoctriNation a documentary movie produced by Great Commission Films.

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What Is IndoctriNation?

IndoctriNation was created by Colin Gunn.  Colin was born in Scotland and in the film talks about him having an average school experience there.  While Colin is talking about his education experiences the screen is showing report cards from his childhood.  You can see the discouraging comments made by his teachers about how Colin needs to try harder and apply himself etc.  When Colin married and moved to the USA he knew that he would like a better way to educate his 7 children.  Colin's family became a homeschooling family.

This film is about Colin Gunn's family traveling across the USA on a quest to understand how the modern public education system began and what it's impact on our social culture.

IndoctriNation is really in 2 parts.  In the first part Colin buys an old yellow school bus and turns it into a temporary mobile home as they travel around the USA interviewing people about the education system.  In this film Colin talks to well respected public school teachers and principles.  These are people who love the Lord but who's hands are tied when it comes to really sharing about their faith in their class rooms.  They are forced to teach curriculum that is completely the opposite of what the truth is and you can really see it weighing on their hearts.  They also interview a student who went to what is considered a very good school about her experiences there.  She shares so much of what goes on and how hard it was on her.  So many things happen in public schools that are not told to parents.

The second half of the film is a trip through the history of the public school system in America.  The yellow school bus stops to take on passengers through time including Robert Owen, Horace Mann, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, John Dewey and many more.  If you don't recognize all of these names, it's well worth the watch to realize the strong impact they have had on the public education system.

This film tries to cover the debate in Christian groups about if Christian children should be sent to public schools to be witnesses the “salt and light” to children who are not believers.  Or  whether Christian children should be given a Christian education. 

IndoctriNation includes interviews with pastors, historians, lawyers including some well known in the homeschooling circle, Ken Ham and R.C. Sproul Jr.

IndoctriNation is 102 minutes long and available in both Spanish and English on the same DVD.

 

What Did We Think?

IndoctriNation was one of the best documentary films we had watched in a long time.  It was very easy to connect to Collin's school experiences as both hubby and I were publicly educated in Canada and it was very similar to his experience. 

IndoctriNation is very easy to follow and understand.  We liked how he tried to show both Christian view points.  One side that Christian children should be sent to public schools because the schools are doing so bad morally.  That these children should be used as the salt and light to show other children the truth about God.
The other side of the debate is that Christian children should be educated in Christian schools or homeschooled to ensure they are being given a Christian education.

When we really look at this view point I'm in the group that Christian children should not be in a public school setting, if at all possible.  First of all I don't believe that it's the job of little children to be witnesses.  They are children! They are easily impressionable and their job is to be taught the ways of the Lord so that when they are adults they can be strong in their faith and teach others.
Also in our public education system I hear constantly news reports about children being expelled for trying to pray before they eat or share God's word with others.  This also applies to teachers who try to share their faith.  This film covers at least 2 teachers who lost their jobs because they would not hide their faith anymore.

I really liked how at one point it showed a timeline of the changes in the education system.  Then as the film went on as new material was brought up it was shown how it tied back into an earlier interview.  I really can't say how good IndoctriNation is, I would recommend this to all Christian parents as a must watch film.  I would strongly caution that parents pre-watch this film before showing it to their children.  There are parts of it that deal with sexuality and violence in the school that I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable letting our children watch until they are older.

 

How to purchase

  • The DVD IndoctriNation can be purchased on their website and currently sells for $19.95. 
  • There is also a book version that is 372 pages for $14.95.
  • Another option is to rent online from their website, currently $4.95.

You can also view the first 30 minutes of the film for free on their website.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Simple Woman’s Daybook Feb. 17

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My thoughts for today

Outside my window… It’s grey clouds and snow.  It’s been bitter cold this past week, on Sunday night our mini weather station showed it was down to – 34 C that night!  We’ve been fighting frozen pipes and just trying to stay warm.

I am thinking… About spring!  I’m so looking forward to warmer days and getting back to work in the garden.

I am thankful for… The kids are starting to recover from a tummy bug that hit our home this weekend.

In the kitchen… It’s lots of easy on the tummy foods!  Soups, crackers, applesauce etc. this week.

I am wearing… My I don’t wanta get dressed clothes. LOL  Black sweat pants, tan t-shirt and blue sweater. 

I am creating… Not much right now.  I had planned on sewing skirts this past weekend but the tummy bug changed that.  Maybe this weekend!

I am going... No to far in this cold weather!  We are suppose to get more snow squalls this week to.  So I’m planning to stay curled up near the woodstoves as much as possible.

I am reading… The Writers Jungle from Brave Writer.  It’s been on my to read for a long time now.  I love it!  I’m into chapter 4 and my highlighter is getting a real work out.

I am hoping... That we might have an early spring despite how cold it seems to be.

I am looking forward to... Reading some good books with the kids this week.

I am learning… To relax more and not worry about the “little” things.

Around the house...  I have lots of laundry to get caught up on, pipes to keep thawing out, sick little ones to cuddle.

I am pondering... What our school plans for next year will be.  Will I keep on with what I have been doing, make my own year plans or go with something new.

A favourite quote for today...

“Self-education is the only possible education; the rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child's nature.”
― Charlotte M. Mason

One of my favourite things...   Seeing my children become the best of friends.

A few plans for the rest of the week:   I’m hoping to start sewing skirts for the girls and I if I can find the time.   Enjoying good movies and books with the kids and not worrying about formal lessons since they are sick this week. 

To join in or read more daybook entries visit Peggy’s blog The Simple Woman’s Daybook.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Weekly Wrap Up Feb. Week 2 ~ Cold Weather, Indoor Gardens And Getting In Order

Oh my has it ever been COLD this week!  Last night the wind chill’s were below- 30 C.  This week is starting to remind me of what it was like all last winter.  Burrr!  I’m so glad that our winter season hasn’t been that bad this year.

This week I’ve been focusing on getting my desk in order.   Everyone has been using my desk as a catch all and it was piled HIGH with stacks of books, CD’s, etc.  I just can’t get any work done if I don’t have a place to spread out my books and laptop to work. So I cleared it all off and washed it down.  I’ve taken over the kitchen table as a place to sort everything out.  So far all the kids school work has been sorted, hole punched and added to their binders.  Printables that I need for later in the year are in folders ready and waiting.  All in all I’m slowly getting it back in order!  It sure feels good to have it sorted out. :)

This has been our “light” week for lessons.  The kids have been having fun working on Valentines Day projects of their own inspiration.   This is largely painting pictures I’m not suppose to see until tomorrow. ;)  They’ve been having fun with our new review products and I can’t wait to share about these soon.  The younger little ones are still working on Easy Peasy Homeschools reading program and enjoying it.  Our oldest is working on her Tornado lapbook.  She’s already asked if I can find another for her when this is done.  She LOVES learning about weather.  Thankfully I already have a few weather related lapbooks I bought on sale this winter.  That should keep her busy in science for a while.

In homestead plans, I’m still working on our seed order.  It is getting close to being done.  I really, really want to get these orders in soon.  We were given another big load of older windows this week.  So now we have enough to add a few more greenhouses this year!  We expanded our old greenhouse last fall and plan to make at least 2 more this year.  I would also like hubby to make some cold frames.  We’ve lined up a great source for firewood for next season and will be having that delivered this spring.  Then we also found someone who says they can bring us dump truck loads of woodchips at a good price.  So we might be getting a load of that in the spring to.  That would help finish off the garden mulch and save us a ton of time!

radish seedlings tomato plants herbs Our little indoor garden is doing well.  These photos were taken a few weeks ago.  The radishes and tomatoes have grown so much since then! The tomatoes are at least another 3 inches taller and the radishes have doubled in size.  The tomato plants already have flower buds on them!  These were started with cuttings from the Old German tomato plants we grew in the greenhouse last year.  Late in the fall we took some suckers off the plants and rooted them in little cups. They grew very well after we brought them inside.  We hope to transplant them into the greenhouse and get an early tomato crop from them.  One of the best things about having tomato plants in the house is every time you touch them it smells like summer!

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Berenstain Bears And The Biggest Brag by Mike Berenstain ~ Review

Berenstain Bears Cover

Our children just LOVE the Berenstain Bears books and shows.  I loved them too when I was a child!  Brother Bear and Sister Bear always seems to have some kind of problem that leads to Papa Bear trying to solve it.  This often leads to a bigger problem!  These books cover silly and serious problems our children face and help them to understand how to solve them. 

I was recently sent The Berenstain Bears And The Biggest Brag book by BookLook Bloggers to review.  The Berenstain Bears And The Biggest Brag was written by Mike Berenstain son of Stan and Jan Berenstain who had created the original Berenstain Bears book series.  This is part of the Berenstain Bears Living Lights series published by Zondervan.  In this story Brother Bear and Sister Bear work very hard to do well at school in their studies, in sports and music to.  However they also start competing with each other and this leads to them being very boastful!  They are constantly trying to "one up" each other.  As the story goes on Mama and Papa Bear try to stop the bragging and boasting but it just keeps building until they are acting like complete fools.

Later in the story Brother and Sister are looking at clouds to see what shape they can see.  They have to each build a bigger story then the other and this is where Grizzly Gramps comes along.  Gramps explains how foolish the children are being and shares proverbs and helps them back on the path of being kind to each other.  He explains to Brother and Sister Bear that it’s ok to be proud of being able to do something well, but not at the expense of hurting others.

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

Overall our children ages 6, 7, and 9 really enjoyed this book.  So did their slightly older siblings who came to listen in the first time I read it with them.  I think it reminded them of their favourite Berenstain books from when they were younger.  This book follows a very similar style of the original series, although I think it's a bit shorter then most.  

This is a great children's book to enjoy and would be a great starting point for a lesson on character!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

CurrClick Winter Whisper Sale And Freebies!

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

Twenty of CurrClick’s top publishers are reducing their entire product lines to 50% off during their Winter Whisper Sale Tues. Feb. 10 - Tues. Feb. 17, 2015.   To receive the sale prices you must visit the sale page and NOT the product pages!

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During the Winter Whisper sale you can also get 8 wonderful FREEBIES

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Weekly Wrap Up Feb. Week 1

The weather this week has been very cold, so we’ve enjoyed being curled up inside.  The kids of course have braved the weather to play and come back in.  Thank goodness for woodstoves and hot chocolate. LOL  Our youngest is getting more and more mobile all the time!  This past week she mastered pulling herself up and standing on her own.  She can last a few seconds before she has to grab onto something or sit down.

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Baby girl is really keeping us hopping these days!  She’s teething again to so it has to be Momma cuddling her all the time.

As for lessons this past week Ds6 and Dd7 are working on a new phonics/reading program.  With ds I’m doing a review letter of the week with phonics.  He’s having fun with this!  I’m using the reading lessons from Easy Peasy Homeschool for him as a starting point.   I’m also using this program with dd7 but she’s starting much further along since she’s been working on phonics for a while.  Dd is LOVING this style of reading.  It’s funny because I’ve always preferred the phonics method to learn to read but it does not work well for most of my children.  They learn best with a sight word method, followed up with phonics.  Ok, I give up lol we’ll do it this way. ;)

We’ve started a new science program, Digital Science Online (review coming soon!) and the kids are really enjoying it to supplement our other program.  It’s an online video followed up with quizzes and worksheets.  This week we’ve been working on life science and we learned about life cycles.

Another new program the kids are using this week is GPA math (review coming soon!) so far it’s been another hit.  The kids have been asking to do math all the time!

I’m thinking about changing our core history program as.  In January the Tapestry of Grace newsletter offered a free unit.  I’ve looked at TOG over and over again since it first came out.  I picked out Unit 1 from the Year 2 program and it covers the middle ages.  Since we were already studying this time period I thought it would be a good fit right now.  There is SO MUCH in these unit’s it’s amazing!  I love that it unites all of the children in all grade levels on the same topic.  This is something we really missed when we switched to Ambleside Online.  With Ambleside Online it’s designed that each child has their own year.  This means each child has their own level of history, science, etc.  This can work well, but our family really missed the togetherness we has built using Five in a Row.  So this year I started combining our studies picking and choosing from Ambleside Online and adding Story of the World back in.  I love that the Story of the World Activity Guide has so many ideas for hands on projects and mapping. 

So this past week we’ve started easing into using TOG.  I like that I already own some of the core history books, unfortunately the suggested books for the other topics our library doesn’t have them or any of the alternatives.  So I’ve requested them on interlibrary loan for now.  So far we are enjoying the program and I can see it being a big help as we start to move into the high school years.  Our oldest starts grade 9 in 2 years!  Goodness the time goes by so fast.

Ds6 and dd7 also worked on a Groundhog Day activities using the activity pack at 3Dinosaurs.  It’s really cute!  Dd9 has asked to use some of them to but I was low on ink, so maybe we’ll add some groundhog day fun into this coming week to.

Other then that we started our FIAR unit on Katy and the Big Snow.  I wanted to start this book study a few weeks ago but the book was missing.  We searched the entire house and couldn’t find it anywhere.  So I decided we would start the study using the video version on YouTube.  We watched the story and discussed snow storms, preparing for storms and the character of Katy.  Then each of the kids designed their own character and filled out a booklet about it.  Even dd12 wanted to join in on this one. (grin)  She remembers her FIAR days!  Then wouldn’t you know it yesterday we found the book!  LOL  It was behind ds dresser!  So this week we’ll finish up that unit study.

How was your week?

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