Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Banana peel antics?

Where did the "slip on a banana peel " school of comedy come from?  Remember all thos jokes and tv sketches as a child where the banana peel was the culprit? I guess I  never really thought about it, but are they really slippery? Have you ever slipped on one or seen anyone slip on one?

It's a great mystery from childhood,  I guess! :)

Monday, May 20, 2019

Elizabeth Prentiss: More Love -- my REVIEW

We love to read in our household. All of the kids plus mom and dad are big readers (well, dad just discovered his enjoyment in reading about ten years ago).  As such, new books are always welcome here!  This month we were given the opportunity to read and review the book Elizabeth Prentiss: More Love, by Claire Williams, which is available through Christian Focus Publications. 

I was somewhat familiar with Christian Focus Publications as my children had read some book sets that were published through them (10 Girls who Changed the World and 10 Boys who Changed the World.)  

The Elizabeth Prentiss book is in the Trail Blazers series, which contains over fifty biographies of Christians throughout history.  My youngest daughter (14 years old) was also interested in reading this book, as she enjoys biographies as well.

You might not be familiar with the name Elizabeth Prentiss, but I'd guess you may have heard (or sung!) a hymn which she wrote, "More Love to Thee."  

This book touches upon points in Mrs. Prentiss' life--some early childhood as well as growing up and adult/parenting years.  The focus seems to be on sad events which occurred in her life. Mrs. Prentiss, born in Maine, was a skilled author and a strong believer in God and his sovereignty.  You can get an idea of many events in her life by reading this book.

I read the book in its entirety; my daughter read part of it--and then put it down because she did not care for it.  From my point of view, the book is very choppy, jumping from time to time, highlighting some large events as well as some seemingly unnotable events, oftentimes not wrapping up the story or vignette before jumping into another. 

Also very distracting to me was the presence of grammatical errors within the text. Had the story been more gripping, I may have more easily overlooked these, but they jumped out at me and added to my unease in reading. 


I think one concept which the author wishes to highlight is Mrs. Prentiss' trust in God throughout hard life circumstances. I think this theme is definitely something that we (and our children) living in the 21st century should hear more about...however, the book makes it seem almost flippant, like she had a huge tragedy but was okay with it because of her trust in God. Not a lot of struggle or sadness is shown (though I'm guessing that she did struggle and probably had to mindfully decide to trust God through it), and I think that makes it harder for people to identify with her and harder to want to emulate that.

Mrs. Prentiss was an author, she wrote the song referred to earlier, "More Love to Thee," as well as other stories and books, many of which were emotional and spiritual helps to her readers. 

The book we received for review, Elizabeth Prentiss, has a timeline in the back, for an overview of events in her life; there is also a section of "Thinking Further Topics" which include an idea followed by a challenge. These could be utilized to guide discussion with the children you are reading the book aloud to or with those who read it themselves; if you are reading it solo, you could also use this section to highlight different concepts that you could think more about.

Although I would not recommend this book, you may find others who have different opinions than I do! To read more reviews of Elizabeth Prentiss (as well as other books from Christian Focus, including Big Bible Science, God is Better than Princesses, and God is Better than Trucks, please click on the link below!

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Friday, May 17, 2019

Less vs Fewer -- quick tip :)

Are you ever unsure about when to use "less" and when to use "fewer"?

Here's an easy guideline: if you are talking (or writing!) about something that you can COUNT...then use the word "fewer." If it is uncountable, then use "less."

For example: if you are talking about apples, then you have fewer apples than someone else. If you are talking about milk, then you have less milk than you had earlier.

Count it? fewer

Not a countable item? less

So... give it a try:

She has _______________________ chocolate sauce than he does. (less)

He ate ____________________ grapes than his brother did. (fewer)

They poured _________________ cement than they had the day before. (less)

There are _____________________ leaves in the parking lot than we thought there would be! (fewer)

Are you getting the hang of it?


Here's an illustration of this in use...it annoys me that someone in charge of making signs would not edit this or know it (or care?)

Don't be the person responsible for grammatical
errors on a sign for all to see!!!!!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

When I am powerless...

      Psalm 121

      I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from?

      My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

      He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber;

      indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

      The LORD watches over you-- the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

      the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

      The LORD will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life;

      the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

      Tuesday, May 7, 2019

      Pathway to Liberty US History -- my REVIEW

      We are studying US History this year, and I was given the opportunity to check out a different history curriculum from Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum.  This company offers several history curricula in their Pathway to Liberty's History Curriculum collection--Universal History, Middle Ages, US History, and World History.  Since my students are in high school, we opted to use the level 4 of the U.S. History (Year 3 | Level 4).  You can easily figure out which level your student are in by checking on the Pathwaytoliberty.com website under the "select your materials" link.

      The Pathway to Liberty History Curricula is the solution to the author's (a homeschool mother's) dilemma as she sought to teach her children history--but found the choices she had to be too boring or dry or too revisionist (she felt that they picked and chose key individuals, leaving out others and other events and more...to suit an agenda).  She then began researching and wrote a new comprehensive history curriculum, highlighting themes that she believes arch through history.  This curriculum is written from a Christian perspective and incorporates Bible verses and passages and Biblical themes.

      The curriculum is laid out as an easy-to-follow guide to allow the student (especially the high schooler using level 4!) to progress through their studies, divided up into a four-day week.  The lessons are laid out nicely, leaving no confusion for the student as he or she looks over the work plan for the day.  

      The lessons are made up of component parts of history, English/writing, and Bible.  The resources used for learning range from The Chain of Liberty book to different "Core Books" (listed in the front of the manuals--books such as Christian History of the Constitution, Boys of '76, Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary, the NIV Bible, and more), "Expanded Reading Books" (such as The Story of Liberty, Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule, and more), YouTube videos and corresponding worksheets, vocabulary terms, Bible verses, and more.  Each week/chapter has a principle to focus on as well as a leading idea.  

      There are questions for the student to answer in the Student Guide after they have completed a reading or a video which help to cement or focus the learning in another manner for the student.  

      The teacher's guide is much the same as the student guide, except the answers are included :) 

      You will notice on the Weekly Overview Page picture that the different levels are listed.  Students of different levels (grades, ages) cover the same general information at the same time.  I really like this. It is so nice for a family to be studying the same topics.  We have found in our family that when the kids are studying the same material (even if at different levels with age-appropriate work), conversations in the car, around the dinner table, in the midst of regular life--tend to include references to the material that is being learned.  It is a great way to learn and maintain the learning!

      Overall, I really enjoy this style of learning--having multi-age learners studying the same topics and themes.  A few other things I really like about this are the ease of following the lesson plans each day of each week as well as the Christian emphasis and the intent of the author to highlight the important "links" of the chain of history.  There are a few typos/layout and spelling errors, but they are really just small annoyances, they will probably be fixed in a future edition.  If you are looking for a history curriculum which you can utilize for your full homeschooling family, this is worth looking into!

      If you'd like to read some more reviews of the Pathway to Liberty products (including other Years and other Levels), please click on the link below!

      Universal History,  The Middle Ages,  US History & World History Curriculum {Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum Reviews}

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      Sunday, May 5, 2019


      We are moving. Tomorrow. To another state. Away from all our friends and everything we love here.  Anxiety is rampant in our house!!!

      I think that we are too caught up in understanding what we are leaving behind, and we are not yet able to see what we have ahead of us. 

      I am thankful that we have a God who is in control and Who can see the future as well as the past...and who loves us and wants good for us.

      Philippians 4:6-7 

      Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

      **************EDITING TO SAY--I just looked up in the corner of my blog where the Bible Gateway verse of the day is...and guess what it is??? It's that verse I've been claiming all day!!! Wow, thank you Lord.

      Friday, May 3, 2019

      CLEP and DSST prep materials from Study.com -- my REVIEW

      I have mentioned before that my children are hoping to earn some college credit before they attend college by taking a few CLEP exams. The topics they have studied in their homeschool learning have prepared them quite in-depth in some subjects, so they would like to maximize that learning by using it to help them earn college credit for a very low cost, by taking CLEP tests. In light of this, we were so happy to be given the chance to review some CLEP prep and DSST prep programs through Study.com!

      Before I go any further--are you familiar with CLEP exams or DSST exams? The CLEP is the College-Level Examination Program®, which is basically an exam that seeks to test a student on representative information such as they would learn in a college course. There are thirty-three of these exams, ranging from history to literature, to some maths, to foreign languages, and more. When a student takes one of these exams, they get a score. Colleges publish their CLEP policies and show the minimum score a student needs to be granted credit. If a student reaches or exceeds that score, they are then given credit for that course...actual college credits, not just a prerequisite waiver or something! So for a fraction of the cost of taking a college class, a student can test out of a course and earn college credits for it as well! The DSST is similar, but is for eligible folks taking similar tests through the Department of Defense.

      Okay, all of that was important background information!! Let me get to the product we got to try, the CLEP prep and DSST prep programs through Study.com.. If you or your student are looking to take a CLEP or DSST exam, the resources in Study.com will help make sure you or they know the material they need to for the exams. The website is extremely easy to navigate, and a learner can jump right in.

      The first thing to do is to find the course which you'd like to review/learn (easily accessible through the search bar or side menus.)  For many of the courses, before beginning the learning segment, there is a placement test to evaluate what you already know so that you don't focus on material you already have down.


      From there, you can see an overview of the topics and chapters you need to work on. Now, you don't just have to go study that material on your own--there is actually a learning course, complete with short video lectures (great for both auditory and visual learners!), with quizzes following each segment. The lectures/videos are very easy to follow along with, and there is a transcript which accompanies the videos.  Something that is a really neat option to use is the note-taking box, which allows you to jot down notes about what you are learning the video. This is great as another method of processing what you are learning  and for reminding you of the points you had wanted to highlight.

      (I really like this note-taking space, I think this is something that sets this program apart!)

      At the end of the courses there are practice tests which will further help you gauge your readiness to take the actual exam. There are also flashcard sets which help you review in yet another way.


      The interface is super easy to use, and you are able to navigate directly where you want to go.

      Your courses and progress are saved and you can easily resume courses you have begun.

      My high school daughter and son have been working on the History of the United States 1 course. I think they were surprised about how low they scored on the placement test-- so they were eager to use the study.com materials :) and jumped right in.

      Here's what my daughter had to say about it: "Study.com has fun, short videos that are easy to understand. Each video lesson is followed by a short quiz covering topics from the video. It is really helpful and easy to learn from. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot from it! I like having the quizzes right after each lesson, cause it makes it easier to remember what you learned. Once you finish a lesson, you have the options to reply, move on, or take a quiz. This is really helpful! The lessons also cover important information in a fun, easy manner."

      I would also like to point out that there are way more courses available on study.com--we are also planning to utilize the ACT and SAT prep courses, and I have started taking an Introductory calculus class!

      OH my goodness, I almost forgot to tell you about one of my favorite aspect of study.com--they also have an app!! You can download the study.com app and use your same login information and use the site on your phone or other device! This is so convenient!!! My family has been able to use it much more, thanks to the app:)

      I bet that you have already guessed that I really like and recommend this product!  If your student is interested in saving money by taking a CLEP test or DSST exam, please check out this prep program! I think you will find it an invaluable help. To read some more reviews of it, please click the link below!

      CLEP & DSST Exam Prep {Study.com Reviews}

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      Wednesday, May 1, 2019

      The Hamelin Stoop Series (first two books) -- my REVIEW

      Do you enjoy reading? Do your childen? My teenagers often enjoy reading books within the fantasy genre, so we were interested to check out this new series for middle schoolers/high schoolers called The Hamelin Stoop Series.  We had the opportunity to read the first two books in this series by Robert B. Sloan, entitled The Eagle, The Cave, and the Footbridge (book 1) and The Lost Princess and the Jewel of Periluna  (book 2).  These are published by a company called 12 Gates Publishing.

      The books are definitely a fantasy series (as you can guess by the front cover view!), focusing on a boy, Hamelin, who was abandoned shortly after birth (the story behind that is also explained) and who grows up in a children's home.  He does not know about his parentage, but the reader does!  Throughout the first two books he grows up to seven years old  and then to the age of eleven.  He has a fairly normal seeming childhood until he encounters a large eagle who speaks to him and takes him on a journey.  He is frightened and kind of fails at the challenge that the eagle presents him.  He struggles with his failures and feels a pull to right them.  He tries to on his own, but is told that the time is not right.  He is given another chance and -- (I'm not going to tell you, okay??) :) :) 

      I really struggle with book reviews--wanting to tell you the plot and what happens--but that would spoil the story!!  So suffice it to say that the books are full of details, struggles, successes, growth, friendship, betrayal, magical things, creatures, and more!  

      The books are nicely-written--they hold the reader's attention, though for me they were not the type of book to make me stay up late at night to just finish the next chapter.  They are clean in the sense that they do not contain profanity (well, there was an Oh my God) but they are also clean as far as topics that might be considered inappropriate by some parents for their preteens/teens.  

      The writing is easy to follow, chronological. It is a little confusing/mixed up because it is set in a real-life year and a real-life location (in Texas) -- though some of the times are not real and some of the locations are completely fantastical.  I think that the reader should just focus on the fantasy aspect and not try to pinpoint the setting in time or place.  

      I will admit that I am not usually a fan of fantasy, but I did not mind reading these books.  

      I think that my biggest issues with these books are things like the first half (at least) of the first book is basically background information.  Book one ends without really feeling like an ending--it just is a huge cliffhanger, I guess--but really has no resolution. Book two jumps right in (I think it would be hard to read book two without having read book one) and, like book one, has no real resolution (there are two mini-resolutions, but not the "big" one).  I imagine that the author is writing a third book which will perhaps clean all of this up.  I tend to not like this type of writing--I'd rather they just be bound together in one large book.  Just my preference, that's all :) 

      So...to sum up...it's a fantasy series for preteens/teens--a little intense in the beginning, cliffhangers at the end...but good writing, interesting, non-offensive.

      If you would like to read what others have written about the first two books in The Hamelin Stoop Series, please click on the link below!

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