Friday, April 18, 2014

Great Spring Resources for Your Homeschool

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

Although spring weather doesn't seem to be here to stay- at least in my neck of the woods- the calendar says it's spring. I'm joining the TOS Review Crew in sharing some spring resources for your homeschool.

The Legend of the Easter EggThe Legend of the Easter Egg - This is a sweet story that ties in the message of Easter with the symbol of the Easter egg. Homeschool Share has a free lapbook to go along with this story here.

Rechenka's EggsRechenka's Eggs - This is another beautiful story centering around Easter eggs. There is much here to use for further study, and Homeschool Share has a free lapbook/unit study to go along with this one. It includes activities for math, geography, and art as well as vocabulary and a book list of additional reading.

If you and your children enjoy lapbooking a Journey Through Learning has several $8.00 lapbooks for spring, including Spring, Easter, and The Death and Resurrection of a King.

Easter Lapbook with Study Guide-8.00The Death and Resurrection of a King Lapbook with Study Guide-8.00Spring Lapbook with Study Guide --8.00

Amanda Bennett also has some great spring unit studies including

Easter Promise which is a 5 day unit study for grades K-4 ($8.95):
Click here to view more details
 Easter Promise

Gardens which is a full 4 week study for grades K-12 (and is on sale for $5 right now!)
Click here to view more details

And Spring Surprises which is a 5 day study for grades K-4 ($8.95)
Click here to view more details
Spring Surprises

If you're looking for some spring crafts for your homeschool, here are some great ones I found:

Flower printing- involves flowers dipped in paint (and my kids love anything that uses paint!)

A Tissue paper tulip- This would be especially cute for young kids.

Rainbow luminaries- The blog post says for preschoolers, but I know my older kids would like this one also.

Butterfly finger puppets using pressed flowers- These are really pretty.

Felt eggs- These are sown, so they would be great for older kids. And there is a link to instructions for a cute woven basket at the end.

With all of these great ideas, we can still enjoy spring in our homeschool- even if the weather isn't cooperating.

Check out what the other Crew members are posting about spring studies. (This will be live on Wednesday, April 23)

That's Pinteresting

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Weekly Wrap Up: A Sort of Spring Break (My Father's World Week 32)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

All the local schools were out this week for spring break, so we took a "sort of spring break." We continued on with Week 32 of My Father's World. We only have two more weeks left now. But I didn't have the kids do much independent work- except for some review things we have going on. This gave us the benefit of getting closer to a school break but still having some fun and flexibility this week.

In some exciting news this week: I won a Blogger to Wordpress transfer from the Ultimate Blog Party from 5 Minutes for Mom! I am so very excited because this is something I've been wanting to do but was afraid to tackle on my own. So some big changes are coming and coming quickly. May 9 is the date set as the transfer. Hopefully everything will go very smoothly and there will be no problems. Then you'll be looking at a brand new blog!

Ashlyne and Rachel are still working on Logic of English. I love it, and am looking forward to reviewing it. It's one of those things I probably wouldn't have picked up on my own, but I am finding that it really works well for us. One of the things the girls are enjoying is that there is some of sort of game each week.

We finished up a unit on bats in our Apologia Flying Creatures book. There was a great activity where we soaked cotton balls in different scents, and then the girls blindfolded had to pick out the one scent they chose. This was to show how the mama bats can come back to the nursery- a place where all the babies are staying- and pick their one pup out of thousands.

Because we didn't have independent work this week, there was plenty of time for other things like organizing silly bands and nail polish.

Charles made some bracelets and necklaces to sell. Some he sold around the neighborhood and some we listed in an Etsy shop. We are intending to make and sell some other jewelry and craft items.

On Wednesday the big kids left after lunch to go spend the afternoon with friends, so the little girls and I went downtown to the library and the Children's museum.

Yesterday all the girls and I had lots of fun volunteering at the animal shelter where we got Blondie. We worked with some new, shy puppies to help them learn to socialize so that they can be adopted more easily. We loved playing with all the dogs- the next best thing to bringing them all home. We definitely plan to go and volunteer again.

Today we didn't really have any My Father's World school, so all we did was devotions and then worked on our Poppins Book Nook book. This month I'm sharing a book and activities about transportation. So check the post Monday to see the book we read and some of the activities we did.

We read parts of Matthew this morning and talked about the crucifixion and the resurrection. One of the girls asked a question that really made me think. We said today is good Friday and Sunday is Easter. One of the girls asked, "What about tomorrow, Saturday?" We talked about how Jesus' followers must have felt on Saturday. The One they thought was the hope of Israel had come and healed and multiplied food, and preached God's Word. But now He was dead. And all of Saturday passed in mourning and confusion. As they mourned, we wait. And Sunday we will celebrate the fact that our Savior is alive. He is risen indeed!

I'm linking up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hearts at Home Blog Hop: Love Your Struggles (Scriptures for the Struggling)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

This month's Hearts at Home blog hop theme is Love Your Struggles. When I read the topic, it really made me think. Most of the time when I'm faced with struggles or trials or troubles I don't think of loving them. In fact I really don't love them. I want to get out of them. I want them to be over. But the fact is that going through struggles and hard times really helps to grow us. Coming through a hard time can make us more mature and draw us closer to God. And whether or not those struggles do help us to grow depends upon how we handle them. The question is: when I face struggles do I allow God to help me draw closer to Him or do I push Him away and try to handle things on my own?

One of the biggest struggles I've faced is dealing with chronic pain. After surgery three and a half years ago, I began having frequent painful episodes. I hurt like I had the flu. It kept me from sleeping at night and made me very uncomfortable during the day. After months of trying to figure out what was happening, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The pain has steadily increased until last year when I went gluten free. I still have daily pain, and sometimes it is very severe. But eating gluten free has slowed the progression of the pain.

Living in pain has been a struggle. And I will admit that I haven't loved this struggle many days. But I can also say beyond a doubt that dealing with chronic pain has drawn me closer to God. Without God's strength, I literally cannot make it through the days.  What I'm able to do- homeschooling my kids, taking care of my home, taking the kids to activities- I can only do in the strength of God. Before the chronic pain I could take credit for all of this- or I would try. Now I know it's all God.

It's difficult to love my struggles. But God's Word is full of words that assure me that God is in control of my trials. Here are some of my favorite Scriptures for struggling times.

James 1:Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

1 Peter 1: In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 

1 Peter 5: casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you

Matthew 6: 25 For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 

Matthew 6: 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; foryour heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Job 26:2 “What a help you are to the weak!
How you have saved the arm without strength!

2 Corinthians 12: And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Psalm 23:4  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.

These are some of my favorite verses that encourage me in my struggles. What are some of yours?

Visit the Hearts at Home blog hop to read more.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jonah and a Story of Mercy: A Guest Post

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

Today's post is a guest post from my daughter, Kathryne Courtney. You can visit her at Kat's Corner.

Almost everyone has heard the story of Jonah. A guy tries to run from God, God causes a storm, Jonah get thrown overboard and gets swallowed by a whale, whale spits Jonah on beach and Jonah finally goes to the place he was supposed to go in the first place. Everyone one is happy, and the story end there, right? Wrong. There is a second part to this tale, one that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, which means it gets left out much of the time.

After Jonah went to Nineveh, and God saved it, Jonah was angry. He sat outside the city for several days waiting for God to level it. When that didn’t happen, he argued with God over the whole deal. God tried to use a vine that lived and died shortly to teach Jonah a lesson, but Jonah wasn’t having any of it. He told God it would be better if he were dead. Jonah didn’t understand why God wouldn’t destroy Nineveh, and most of the time we don’t get why Jonah didn’t understand. It seems like Jonah should have been awed by the mercy of God towards Nineveh, especially after Jonah had received some of that mercy recently. It’s hard to understand Jonah’s attitude, but not impossible.

Jonah seems to have an extreme sense of warped fairness. Warped in that, while everyone else should get exactly what they deserve, he should get God’s mercy and grace. He thought that Nineveh did not deserve God’s mercy, and therefore it should be destroyed. He wasn’t wrong. Nineveh didn’t deserve God’s mercy and it should have been destroyed, but Jonah didn’t deserve God’s mercy either. He didn’t deserve to be kept alive through the storm by the fish, and he didn’t deserve to live to get out of the fish. Jonah forgot that, just like Nineveh, he received mercy and didn’t die.
Now, most people sort of write Jonah off after that. They give him a black mark and move on, because it’s so much easier if everything is black or white. But Jonah isn’t all bad, almost no one is. After he got on the boat to Tarshish and the storm started, he told the sailors to throw him overboard. Jonah realized his mistake and admitted it, albeit after the lot fell on him and he needed to say something. Inside the fish he praised and prayed to God. He then went to Nineveh like God had told him to in the beginning. He gave the message God had given him to give, He did not elaborate on it, but those eight words had a powerful effect on the Ninevites. And that was Jonah’s problem. He was angry with God for saving the Ninevites and just wanted to die. He was so over God’s mercy, and actually told God so. Jonah was selfish, angry, exhausted, and through with life in general, all because God was extending mercy to a city filled with children and animals.
Courtney                                                                                                               2

We can learn many lessons from Jonah’s story. Firstly, obey God the first time. If Jonah had obeyed God the first time, all the stuff with the whale never would have happened. Second, we can’t run from God. Jonah tried that and ended up in a whale. God knows exactly where you go and even Tarshish isn’t far enough to hide from him. This next lesson is one that gets missed, but that is very important. Acting out your faith is often more efficient than just telling people. Jonah, when the lot fell on him, told the sailors he served the Lord, and that he was running from him. He also told them to throw him overboard, and when they did the storm stopped. Then the men feared the Lord and made sacrifices to Him. Jonah didn’t get on that ship to witness to people. In fact, he was there to run from that. But God used his time on the ship, along with the storm, to lead the sailors to Him. It’s really interesting all the ways God works to accomplish His plan. The fourth lesson we learn is God hears all our prayers, even in the belly of a fish. Fifth, if we repent, God will give us mercy. This can be observed with Jonah in the belly of the fish and again concerning the destruction of Nineveh. Finally, if we care about things like plants that grow up overnight and die overnight, how much more does God care about all the people who He has created. There are so many more lessons that can be found in the story of Jonah if you dig a little deeper, but there isn’t time now to delve into all those.

Lastly to be addressed: the difference between mercy and grace. These word get used interchangeably quite often, especially in the story of Jonah, and, while their meanings are quite similar, they do not have same meaning. Mercy is being exempted from a punishment you were supposed to have. What God showed the Ninevites and Jonah was mercy. Grace is not only being shown mercy, but then being given a gift too. A good example is if you get caught speeding and the cop doesn’t give you a ticket, he showed you mercy, but if you get caught speeding and don’t get a ticket and are given a candy bar, you were shown grace. It’s easy to get the two confused, but the most important thing to remember is that God is both merciful and gracious.

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What Type of Kindle Is Right For You? (Along With Some Currently Free Ebooks!)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

There are quite a few Kindles in the Amazon family now. I've become an expert on the kinds of Kindles because I happen to own just about every make and model. This is because the Kindle represents the marriage of two of my favorite things- technology and books.

I know that when you're shopping for a Kindle- because of course you want one- it can be confusing to see all the different kinds of Kindles. So this post is a guideline of sorts to help you choose which Kindle is right for you or your child. There is no "best Kindle." Instead they each are better for certain things.

The orignal Kindle - This is where it all started. Although my much older model has a different look, this is the original Kindle.
     *Fast Facts: Less than 6 ounces - lighter than a paperback, fits in your pocket
                     Hand-tuned fonts for easier reading
                     Reads like paper with no glare, even in bright sunlight
                     Download books in 60 seconds with built-in Wi-Fi
                     Holds over 1,000 books - take your library wherever you go
                     Massive book selection. Lowest prices. Over a million titles less than $4.99
                     Hundreds of thousands of Kindle-exclusive titles that you won't find anywhere else, including books by best-selling authors such as Kurt Vonnegut
                     Supports children's books and includes parental controls
     *What it's good for: Basic reading; If you are a heavy reader and want to be able to transport lots of books without breaking your back, this is for you. There isn't much eye strain or glare factor because the ink is similar to that of a book. There also isn't any fancy color. So if you're buying picture books for your child or reading magazines, you might not be happy with this basic Kindle.
     *Cost: $69 with special offers or $89 without. (Special offers just means that ads about other books show. It really isn't bothersome and is hardly noticeable.)

Kindle Paperwhite - I'd consider this the next step up. I got my paperwhite mainly because I wanted the backlight and the touch screen, but I still wanted the e-ink print of the original Kindle.
     *Fast Facts: No screen glare in bright sunlight
                       Read with one hand—over 30% lighter than iPad mini
                       Battery lasts weeks, not hours
                       Next-gen built-in light—read without eyestrain

                       Whiter Screen, Darker Text

     *What it's good for: It's still good for a reader who wants to have many books in one place. It's easier to handle than the original because of the touch screen. And the backlight makes it really nice for night time reading. The backlight isn't so bright that it causes eye strain. It's also much easier to organize your books on the Paperwhite than on the original. So, if you are a tad OCD- like me- you will love the ease of organization.
     *Cost: $119 for the basic with special offers; There's also a 3G version(constant internet like your phone) for $189

Kindle Fire HD - the Kindle tablet. I read conflicting things before I purchased mine, but it truly is a tablet. It can do anything any tablet can do (and sometimes more).
     *Fast Facts: Experience movies, TV, and games, and more on a stunning HD display (216 ppi / 1280x800)
                       Fast 1.5GHz dual-core processor—apps launch quickly, games and videos play smoothly
                       Create profiles and set time limits for children with Kindle FreeTime. Easy-to-use parental controls let everyone enjoy, worry-free
                       Ultra-fast web browsing over built-in Wi-Fi, plus updated e-mail and calendar support for Gmail, Outlook, and more
                       Instant access to over 100,000 apps and games in the Amazon Appstore, including a new paid app for free every day
                       In addition to Free Two-Day Shipping, Prime members can stream tens of thousands of Prime Instant Video titles at no additional cost, over half of which can be downloaded to the latest generation of Kindle Fire tablets.
     *What it's good for: If you are looking for an inexpensive tablet to play games, use productivity apps, watch movies, play music, and read books, the Fire is for you. Now in HD, the Fire has amazing graphics. If you are an Amazon Prime member you can have access to free movies and t.v. shows. And whether or not you're a member, renting and purchasing movies to watch on Amazon is cheaper than other services. There are various sizes. I love my 7 inch just fine. Charles- my 13 year old- wanted something bigger, so he went with an 8.9 inch. My one complaint is the processor speed. Sometimes it's just slow. Once you are into an app, the speed is okay. But sometimes navigating is slow.
     *Cost: starts at $119 right now with a limited time offer. They are normally starting at $139. The price increases based on how much storage space you want and the size you pick out.

I did not include the DX and the HDX here because I do not personally own those. If you want to compare specs and price, you can find out more by clicking below. I think the main difference in the DX is size. And I think that the HDX is supposed to have better graphics and a faster processor speed.

Kindle DX, Free 3G, 9.7" E Ink Display, 3G Works Globally 
Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers

Now that you have the Kindle you need/want, you want to fill it with books. One of the greatest things about the Kindle is that there are so many free and cheap ebooks. I try to post some every once in a while. You always have to check your price before clicking because Amazon changes prices frequently. Below are some current freebies you might like. 

Journey of Hope: A Novel of Triumph and Heartbreak on the Oregon Trail in 1852

Born of Persuasion: 1 (Price of Privilege)

Container Gardening: Now You Can Garden Anywhere No Matter How Small the Space

40 Juicing Recipes For Weight Loss and Healthy Living (Juicer Recipes Book)

A Home in the West (The Amish of Apple Grove)

  The 7-Day Prayer Warrior Experience (Free One-Week Devotional)

  Gluten-Free: A Quickstart Guide To Living A Gluten-Free Diet

  Daughter's Inheritance, A (The Broadmoor Legacy Book #1)

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