Friday, December 15, 2017

Fudge :)

I'm not much of a candy maker, but the Christmas season is the time for making fudge around here :) Over the years we've tried many different recipes, but always come back to the one on the back of the Fluff container! Nothing is quite as good, quite as consistent, or quite as easy! Yummmm!!

How about you? Any favorite fudge recipes? Or do you use the Fluff recipe too?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Frustration and flexibility

 Frustration and flexibility.  Quite opposites!  I have been trying to teach my children to look for opportunities to be flexible when they encounter frustration. . .it's difficult, isn't it?  However, a planned approach might help, or at least a mindfulness.

This is something that not only my kids need to work on. I am also working on this :) The way my brain works, I can usually recognize that I am getting frustrated and stop for a moment to make a conscious decision of how I'll proceed (yes, I know that I'm weird that way.  I'm not really a person driven by emotions).  This verse is a good one for me to remember in my quest for flexibility rather than frustration:

Deuteronomy 31:8

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

A lot of frustration is rooted in fear or anxiety, this verse reminds us that when we have the Lord with and for us, we do not need these responses.  It's by HIS help, not my own doing. 

To see more blogs by homeschool families, please check them out here!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmastime -- focus

I know I posted this before, but I am really struck by the song "Would I Miss the Miracle".  This December, with one child at community college, two being homeschooled, braces for me on the horizon, and other medical things going on in our family . . . we need to try hard to really focus on the reason for Christmas and be thankful for what God has done for us.  Here's a link to listen to it :)
Enjoy and remember why we are so thankful for Christ's coming to earth as a baby, to die on the cross to pay for our sins to redeem us and take us to heaven when we die!

Monday, November 20, 2017

What We See in the Stars by Kelsey Oseid -- my REVIEW

Are you looking for a gift for someone who is interested in the nght sky?  You might want to pick up a copy of this book, What We See in the Stars by Kelsey Oseid.  This book is a pretty hardcovered book, full of illustrations which will walk the reader through the different entities in the night sky.  

You will be introduced to constellations (thank you Ptolemy!) and the nice illustrations will help you to visualize what the ancient namers were thinking when they gave certain clusters of stars the names that they did (for instance, did you ever wonder why that "M" or "W" shape is given the name Cassiopeia?  Check out page 36 and you'll be able to read the information about the name (and the associated Greek myth), as well as learning information about some of the elements of the constellation.

There is a whole section about "modern" constellations -- which are still in use in the modern constellation naming system.  I got a kick out of some of these... Antilla--the air pump (a pneumatic pump or bellows), Microscopium--the microscope, and more.  Did you ever hear of the constellation Chamaeleon? (sticking its tongue out to catch its neighboring constelation Musca, the fly!)  Very interesting!

After reading about the constellations, you may then read the sections about the galaxy, the moon, the sun, the planets, and deep space.  There are lots of topics covered in a very visually attractive way--the illustrator did a great job to keep the reader engaged.

I love seeing shooting stars, so I enjoyed the section on meteor showers, including a listing of when the most notable meteor showers annually occur.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I think it would go nicely with a homeschooling family who is studying astronomy. . .and I think it would make a nice gift for a child or an adult who is interested in learning more about what is in the sky above us.  I will say that this is not written from a religious or creationist viewpoint, just saying. This would not stop me from recommending it, though.

You may view an exerpt from the book here on their website.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Mitten craziness...again

It's mitten-making season! It's funny, I can look back through the blog and find mitten-making posts from past years ( here from 2012!) (Here from last year)

Each year I do one craft sale--making mittens out of felted wool sweaters that I purchase all year long at rummage sales and such. It's a lot of work, but kind of my one big way to earn money -- usually our Christmas $$ for the year :) This year, however, it will be going toward a downpayment for braces... :/ can you see my frowny-face from here?? Ah well, it's a great way that God provides for us and I am thankful!


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis -- my REVIEW

We are a family of readers. . .but formal learning in literature is not my forte. Some appreciation of classics (for things like societal references and etc) have been discussed, but I am always kind of torn as to how much time and effort we should put on literature, "great authors," classics, and historic writing. We have tried a few different literature curricula, with differing degrees of learning and enjoyment. My attitude toward literature may be a bit lax, but I do realize that for several purposes (college prep, social understanding, appreciation of great art/writing) we ought to study literature and authors.

My son had begun a literature course this schoolyear, the type of course that is a textbook with samples of many, many authors--and then quizzes/tests. This didn't seem to be a thing that stuck in his mind, doing it independently. Maybe with a teacher teaching, it would have been more learn-able, but as an independent learning thing, it wasn't great. ENTER Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis which is produced by Writing With Sharon Watson.   When the opportunity to review this literature course came up, I thought that it would be a good chance to check out another curriculum--and boy am I glad we got to use this!!!

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis

My 10th grade (15 year old) son is the student that is using this course, and from the very first day that he flipped through the course he was excited to switch to this one away from his other literature (okay, seeing that one of his favorite books, The Hobbit,  was "required reading" may have played a part in that happiness as well:) ) but he jumped right in. 

The book begins with chapter zero (haha!!) and the lessons focus on an introduction to "literature" and why you should read it/study it, different important terminologies, descriptions of antagonists/protagonists, etc. along with a concrete exercise to reference these in one of their favorite
books or movies. 

from the student text

Once the student has begun with relating these to something they chose, they move on to chapter 1, which begins with a short story ("A Jury of Her Peers").  Different literary terms and concepts are taught, as well as historical context, followed by the reading of the story and then questions to answer and discuss.  There is also a Novel Notebook (a pdf download) which the student can utilize to answer more questions/thinking exercises. 
from the novel notebook

Between the textbook and the novel notebook, there is an abundance (overabundance?) of questions for the student, to provoke thought and for them to write in answers for.  There is also a large list of activities ("Your choice of activities") which relate to the topic/study...for instance, for the "A Jury of Her Peers" short story, some of the options are: research (research the history of women on juries), create (draw, paint, or sculpt an event or character from the story), can (learn how to can fruit), write a procedure (write the procedure for police coming to the scene of this story), conduct a trial (Conduct Minnie's trial), and more.  These activities will cement this story into the minds of the learner.

There are also quizzes.  There is a quiz book, the quizzes are also available online.  There is a "Yes I read it" quiz (covering the story itself) as well as a "Literary Terms Quiz".  My son enjoyed doing the quizzes online, though they could be done on paper as well.  (the online ones are self-scored, if you utilize a paper quiz, the answers are provided in the Quiz and Answer Manual.  

Once the book-reading begins, specific publications are recommended (the ISBN's are in the book, so you can purchase the corresponding one) so that the student can follow line references referred to in the textbook.  Thankfully these are not really super-pricey versions ;) We haven't tried using a non-recommended version, so I don't know if that makes it more difficult.  

As of right now, my son is working on Frankenstein.  The other books that will be addressed in this program are Silas Marner, Much Ado About Nothing, "A White Heron", "The Garden of Forking Paths," "Haircut," "The Lady or the Tiger," "Of the Passing of the First-Born," "A Child's Christmas in Wales," Sense and Sensibility, Biography (of the student's choice), and (my son's favorite!!!) The Hobbit.  Short stories are either printed in the text or linked to online.  

from the novel notebook download

Okay, so ... I really like this literature curriculum.  I love all the literary terms that are introduced, in a concrete, applied fashion, not just as abstract terms.  My son learns things much more thoroughly when they are applied right away (as do I!)  The website on which  you can find this curriculum mentions that "by the end of this course, your teen will have learned almost 100 literary terms and devices as they occur naturally in the selections. "  This is very valuable.  There are a wide range of pieces that are covered and discussed (and learned about!)  It is also written in a very learner-friendly way.  My kids do much of their high-school work independently, and this book is written in a way that is easily-independently-used.  My son actually has said that he would like to use another book by this author next year, if it's available!  So there, high praise from a 15 year old boy! :) 

The set of books that is included is a Student text, a quiz and answer manual, and a teacher's guide. As a reminder, there are also quizzes available online, as well as a "novel notebook" .pdf to download if you wish.  It's a great value, with all of these together.  Check out this Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis and you'll see what I mean!  

To hear what other reviewers thought of this curriculum, you can click the link below!  

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis {Writing with Sharon Watson Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Braces? :/

Well, my next adventure will be braces on my teeth.  Hmmm.  Not sure how this will be, I'm thinking the worst part will be the cost.  I am waiting to see how the Lord will provide :) 

Thankful for the reminders in the song "Great Is Thy Faithfulness"