Saturday, October 29, 2011

Marshall Publishing: George Washington Carver

Marshall Publishing is an online multimedia publishing company that creates many educational dvd's. I was sent for review "George Washington Carver: His Life and Works". We thought it would be a great reinforcement to our studies, since we had just visited his memorial in Diamond, MO earlier this month.

The video is recommended for 4th graders and up, but all my kids watched it and took a few things away from it - even the 3 year old! The kids enjoyed it, but they had some questions after. There were a few facts that didn't mesh with what they had learned on our field trip. They were not major errors, just some discrepancies on dates and minor details on his childhood years. I told them that some dates may have been different because records were not as well-kept in the 1860's as they are today.

The video is a 29-minute documentary published in 2009. However, it felt much older than that. It had great content, but a very old-fashioned feel to it. The kids liked the narrator's voice, he had a deep southern accent. But they did say they wished that some of his quotes would have been recordings of his voice. Have you ever heard George's voice? It is as much an enigma as the man himself, and my kids just loved hearing it on our trip.

EXTRA: We did not use it, but there is also a study guide on their website to go along with the dvd - I wish I'd remembered, and so do the kids...I made them write reports instead! ;)

George Washington Carver is a man worth studying. He did so much for the United States, and he always accredited the Lord for his successes. If you plan on studying the man, this video will be a treat. The dvd is $24.95, but you can purchase it on the website, Marshall Publishing, for $19.95 right now. BONUS, you can use the Discount Code TOSC1 and receive 15% off –that makes it $16.95.

Their website is a font of useful information. So many dvd's on a multitude of subjects. You should really check their line out if your kids learn well with videos. I think I'll be a returning customer!

*Don't just take my word for it! Check out some of my fellow TOS Crew Members' reviews here.

**Disclaimer: I received this product via TOS Homeschool Crew in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review; all opinions stated are mine or my children's.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Apologia - Educating the Whole Hearted Child


Apologia - Educating the Whole Hearted Child is a popular homeschool guide in it's 3rd Edition. It gives you amazing tools, detailed information, and a godly reasoning to help you in your homeschool journey. Clay and Sally Clarkson are Christian homeschoolers who have a desire to educate all God's children who are endeavoring to follow the Lord through homeschooling. They give sound biblical principles that will open your eyes, and dare I say, humble you in more ways than one.

I truly think this book is one of the hardest reviews I have had to write. First, because this book is so big, so all-encompassing, so life-altering, that whatever I say will not make you grasp how excellent this information will be to the new or veteran homeschool parent. Second, because I'm only 1/3 of the way through it!!

I truly had to slow down in my process of reading this book. Typically when I read a how-to-homeschool guidebook, I can peruse the table of contents, skip around till I find something interesting, and write my review as I go. Unfortunately, every chapter seemed to be a topic I wanted insight on, so I decided to try to read it cover to cover - big mistake! I have to tell you, I have spent many moments on my knees praying for God's help in our homeschool after just reading a few paragraphs.

The Clarkson's touched my heart through this book. They humbled me, they encouraged me, they challenged me, and they looked right into my heart and reminded me that every day of this life is to be lived loving and reflecting Christ. If I stray from that model, who on earth is going to show my children how to love their Lord wholeheartedly? Here is a quote that brought me to tears (if I typed all of those, you'd be reading the majority of the first 60 pages!):

"Like a shepherd who leads his sheep to life-giving water and pasture, your first responsibility as a parent is to lead your children to the life-giving presence and reality of Christ in our heart and home. Our desire should be to implant a longing in their spirits for God that can be satisfied only with the water and bread of life in Christ."

That may seem obvious to all of you reading this, and it is to me as well. It's one of the main reasons for us to homeschool. However, I read this section from Chapter 3: Home Nurture just a little while after Connor and I had had a difficult English/Spelling lesson. Even when I know the areas he struggles with, I find myself making it ever more difficult for him by being frustrated with a poor grade. This core reason for homeschooling so often gets pushed aside by my drive to make him a straight-A student, which God may never plan for Him to become. However, I am certain that God intends for Connor to become a passionate servant of the Gospel. Reading this made me realize that my priorities must change in order for my family to honor God above all else. Does that mean we stop striving for excellence? Not at all! But it does mean that my job is to nurture my children, to guide them and instruct them with grace and mercy - not groans and mutterings.

This book also gives a great breakdown of each education model available to the homeschooler today. They have made it easy for you to compare and contrast each model side by side. They do not push any one model, but give you pros and cons to each. That is so refreshing, to not feel pressured while researching.

ETWHC is broken into 4 sections: Home, Learning, Methods and Living. I haven't even delved into Section 4 yet, but I know there will be treasures galore for me to glean and learn from. I am certain that this book will be a blessing to you and your family. I know it has been for mine.

*Educating the WholeHearted Child ($22.00) can be purchased online on their website.

**Don't just take my word for it! Check out more reviews from the crew here.

***Disclaimer: I received this product via TOS Homeschool Crew in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review; all opinions stated are my own.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

A study of ancient Egypt....

The formidable Pharoah!

The strong and able shepard/servant

Our very own Queen of the Nile!

The brave warrior

Could homeschooling be any more fun than this??? ;)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How much is too much?

I constantly ask myself this question. What activities are we in? What should we add? Do we have to do everything? Is it time to let go of some activities? I've looked at my calendar this last month and realized we have had activities scheduled nearly every day, including weekends, for over a month. Our schedule is just getting too overloaded, and it's time to do some pruning. Pray for me as I try to make the right cuts. Sometimes as a homeschooling parent, I get caught up in providing opportunities for my kids since they "miss out" on activities that are standard for public school students. However, a book I am reading right now (review to come soon!) is reminding me of the main purpose to homeschooling: building godly character and loving, wholehearted disciples of Jesus Christ.

So what are your boundaries? Do you have any standard you stick to in order to stay balanced?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Secret Keeper Girl with Dannah Gresh is coming to town next week! And it's gonna be a pajama party! I can't wait to finally take Chloe to this great conference, just for girls. It's going to be a time of spiritual growth and a chance to address personal subjects without the boys around. She is becoming a young lady, and I want her heart and mind focused on Jesus from here on out.

If you haven't heard of Dannah Gresh, look up her website here. I first heard of her when my cousin, April, sent me an email 2 years back about The Modesty Project. With all the wrong messages bombarding our girls today, I was thrilled to hear about this godly woman taking a stand in a big way. I have been receiving newletters from her ever since, and I can't wait to experience this with Chloe.

It's going to be a great week ahead, but I'm really ready for next week already! ;)
What's going on in your family?