Joy of Discovery with Learning Objectives {Review}

We have used unit studies since we first started homeschooling. I have always been a little envious of those that could make a unit study out of anything! I know a couple people in our homeschool group that can do just that! A couple weeks ago I received Joy of Discovery w Learning Objectives from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources.
Joy of Discovery w Learning ObjectivesThis binder is actually two separate publications just packaged together. You can get each one by itself, but really, they go so great with each other that it just makes sense to get it this way!
The Joy of Discovery TitleThe first part is The Joy of Discovery How to Teach with Unit Studies. To me, this part basically makes it less overwhelming. Because that is how I viewed making up my own unit studies before! I had no idea where to start!

They came up with an I³ method that I think nails down everything you need to do to make up your own unit study!

The first I is ‘Individual’ decides on a topic of interest. If you already have one in mind, this part is easy. If you are just going blindly trying to come up with something, it is a little more tricky! They also have some suggestions on different topics, and if none of those work for you, I am sure that you could branch off of them to come up with something perfect.

The next I is ‘Inquiry’ to define one question. There are so many topics that are quite general, that you should narrow it down a bit. Maybe you find something that is quite interesting and you can go off from there. If it goes a little deeper or more varied than that even, then you can come up with ideas for even more unit studies!

With the first two Is, they are helping you figure out what you want to study…while the last I actually IS the study!

The last I stands for Instruction. This is broken down in to a few parts that will all help you as you make up your unit study. One thing that they touch on that I am glad about is learning styles. Learning styles are so important in homeschool. Or anything really!
The Joy of Discovery WheelIncluded in the binder is a wheel that, once you figure out the learning style, it helps break down on how you should be teaching! This is so great! It is very easy to assemble.

So, for example, if my child were a visual learner we would spend time making diagrams or graphs, or even a card game! If my child was a written learner, they would be working more on journals, essays, or even worksheets. It really helps narrow down what you include in your unit study!

The rest of the information is packed full with answers to questions and ways to help create a learning environment. There are so many questions that are answered, I can’t imagine having one that wasn’t answered!

There are also worksheets that will help you as you are making up your own unit studies. You can copy new ones whenever needed…which is definitely a bonus!
Learning Objectives TitleThe last half of the book is Learning Objectives. This breaks down an example of what each child should learn in a particular grade. These will all help you as you plan your unit studies and see what can be grouped together!
Learning Objectives ChartHere is an example in part of the 8th grade section. Now, this is only a guide, so if they didn’t do something that was in a grade previous, you should make sure they do that first. We all know that homeschoolers don’t always follow a ‘grade’. Remember, this is only a guide, but it is a quite helpful guide!

It also goes over Art, Music, and Character Development. I think that last topic needs to be taught more in schools, just saying. 😉

All in all, I think this is a fantastic resource! Even though my kids are in high school, I really feel that I can make this work for coming up with our own unit studies! And it isn’t so overwhelming as I thought it was before reading this book!

If you would like to read what others thought of Joy of Discovery w Learning Objectives feel free to click the banner below! There are also reviews of other Hewitt Homeschooling Resources that might appeal to you! One of which I have used before and it was fantastic, Speech. But there are some great literature studies in there for all grades! Check it out!
Lightning-Literature-My-First-Reports-State-History-Notebook-Joy-of-Discovery-Hewitt-Homeschooling-Resources-Reviews-2019Joy of Discovery with Learning Objectives

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The Wars of the Jews {Review}

This year, the kids didn’t have a Bible study like they have had for the last couple years in high school. For the past few weeks I have had Kyle using The Wars of the Jews set from Memoria Press. We have used Memoria Press for years now, it is definitely a favorite!
The Wars of the JewsWe received the complete set. It included the books you see above.

The main book is The Wars of the Jews: The Fall of Jerusalem. It was written by Josephus but translated by William Whiston. Thankfully.
The Wars of the Jews BookThis book includes book five and six, and there are 18 chapters altogether. The words are larger, which is nice. I also like the pictures throughout as well!

Since the book was starting in Book five, and in Chapter 6, it just kind of jumps right in. It takes a lot to figure out what is going on at the beginning! I think he read the first few pages a couple times until he figured it out. But once he got over that, the rest made a lot more sense.
The Wars of the Jews StudentAlso included in the set is the Student Guide. Each lesson is set up the same except for the first one, which has a couple vocabulary words included. There is a Facts to Know section and then some Comprehension Questions.

I think the Facts to Know section is great, especially the first lesson. It tells you about people and events that were important at that time. There are also some quotations included.

The Comprehension Questions are all just write in for the answer. There are some decent questions in there! In the image above, you can see that my son didn’t answer one of the questions. It was a perfect opportunity to go over it together.

There is a Review in the back of the book that has quite a few questions to answer. This makes it evident that you really need to have retained what you read!

Also in the set is the Teacher Guide. One of the things that I have always loved about Memoria Press is that the student and teacher guide are set up the same so you can turn to the corresponding page in each book and it will have the exact layout.

Since they are the same layout, I didn’t take a picture of the book. But I did want to mention that included in the teacher guide is a test. It is longer and more involved than the review.

With Kyle’s summer college courses starting up, we have only been able to make it through Book five so far. The first two weeks we worked on it three times a week, and then the last two weeks we had to really slow down to only once a week. But honestly, it almost seems better to go at a slower pace!

We will still be working through this for a while, since their college course load is pretty heavy this summer. But we are all looking forward to getting to book six!

If you would like to read what others thought about The Wars of the Jews set, feel free to click the banner below! If your children are younger, they are also talking about Simply Classical Writing Book One: Step-by-Step Sentences (Bible Story Edition) and Simply Classical Writing Book Two: Step-by-Step Sentences (Bible Story Edition) Simply Classical Spelling Book One: Step-by-Step Words and Simply Classical Spelling Book Two: Step-by-Step Words The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set and 200 Questions About American History set,

There really is something for everyone! You can see our other favorite products by Memoria Press on my website!

The Wars of the Jews

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What I read in May

I really need to stop reading these big books. I am usually so much further along in my Goodreads challenge by now! I bet my pages read will be higher though! We have also taken a few breaks this school year that messed with our reading. I am hoping that I even make my goal this year! We will see! Here is what I read in May!What I read in May 1
Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel – Inspired by a long fascination with Galileo, and by the remarkable surviving letters of Galileo’s daughter, a cloistered nun, Dava Sobel has written a biography unlike any other of the man Albert Einstein called “the father of modern physics- indeed of modern science altogether.” Galileo’s Daughter also presents a stunning portrait of a person hitherto lost to history, described by her father as “a woman of exquisite mind, singular goodness, and most tenderly attached to me.”

The son of a musician, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) tried at first to enter a monastery before engaging the skills that made him the foremost scientist of his day. Though he never left Italy, his inventions and discoveries were heralded around the world. Most sensationally, his telescopes allowed him to reveal a new reality in the heavens and to reinforce the astounding argument that the Earth moves around the Sun. For this belief, he was brought before the Holy Office of the Inquisition, accused of heresy, and forced to spend his last years under house arrest.

Of Galileo’s three illegitimate children, the eldest best mirrored his own brilliance, industry, and sensibility, and by virtue of these qualities became his confidante. Born Virginia in 1600, she was thirteen when Galileo placed her in a convent near him in Florence, where she took the most appropriate name of Suor Maria Celeste. Her loving support, which Galileo repaid in kind, proved to be her father’s greatest source of strength throughout his most productive and tumultuous years. Her presence, through letters which Sobel has translated from their original Italian and masterfully woven into the narrative, graces her father’s life now as it did then.

Galileo’s Daughter dramatically recolors the personality and accomplishment of a mythic figure whose seventeenth-century clash with Catholic doctrine continues to define the schism between science and religion. Moving between Galileo’s grand public life and Maria Celeste’s sequestered world, Sobel illuminates the Florence of the Medicis and the papal court in Rome during the pivotal era when humanity’s perception of its place in the cosmos was about to be overturned. In that same time, while the bubonic plague wreaked its terrible devastation and the Thirty Years’ War tipped fortunes across Europe, one man sought to reconcile the Heaven he revered as a good Catholic with the heavens he revealed through his telescope.

What I thought: The book was interesting, but I don’t think it would be one that I read again. It was interesting reading his daughters letters and to read what was going on in that time period…
What I read in May 2
Born Again by Charles W. Colson – In 1974 Charles W. Colson pleaded guilty to Watergate-related offenses and, after a tumultuous investigation, served seven months in prison. In his search for meaning and purpose in the face of the Watergate scandal, Colson penned Born Again. This unforgettable memoir shows a man who, seeking fulfillment in success and power, found it, paradoxically, in national disgrace and prison.
In more than three decades since its initial publication, Born Again has brought hope and encouragement to millions. This remarkable story of new life continues to influence lives around the world. This expanded edition includes a brand-new introduction and a new epilogue by Colson, recounting the writing of his bestselling book and detailing some of the ways his background and ministry have brought hope and encouragement to so many.

What I thought: I really liked this book, you really got involved with the main character. I liked reading about that time period also!

What I read in May 3
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

What I thought: This book was different than anything I would normally read. It was entertaining though! Some swearing and different situations that made it…interesting to read aloud to the kids, lol.
What I read in May 4
God and Ronald Reagan by Paul Kengor – Ronald Reagan is hailed today for a presidency that restored optimism to America, engendered years of economic prosperity, and helped bring about the fall of the Soviet Union. Yet until now little attention has been paid to the role Reagan’s personal spirituality played in his political career, shaping his ideas, bolstering his resolve, and ultimately compelling him to confront the brutal — and, not coincidentally, atheistic — Soviet empire.

In this groundbreaking book, political historian Paul Kengor draws upon Reagan’s legacy of speeches and correspondence, and the memories of those who knew him well, to reveal a man whose Christian faith remained deep and consistent throughout his more than six decades in public life. Raised in the Disciples of Christ Church by a devout mother with a passionate missionary streak, Reagan embraced the church after reading a Christian novel at the age of eleven. A devoted Sunday-school teacher, he absorbed the church’s model of “practical Christianity” and strived to achieve it in every stage of his life.

But it was in his lifelong battle against communism — first in Hollywood, then on the political stage — that Reagan’s Christian beliefs had their most profound effect. Appalled by the religious repression and state-mandated atheism of Bolshevik Marxism, Reagan felt called by a sense of personal mission to confront the USSR. Inspired by influences as diverse as C.S. Lewis, Whittaker Chambers, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, he waged an openly spiritual campaign against communism, insisting that religious freedom was the bedrock of personal liberty. “The source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual,” he said in his Evil Empire address. “And because it knows no limitation, it must terrify and ultimately triumph over those who would enslave their fellow man.”

From a church classroom in 1920s Dixon, Illinois, to his triumphant mission to Moscow in 1988, Ronald Reagan was both political leader and spiritual crusader. God and Ronald Reagan deepens immeasurably our understanding of how these twin missions shaped his presidency — and changed the world.

What I thought: I loved reading about Reagan’s life and the things that happened while he was president.

So, this is all that I read in May! We are taking two weeks off of school in June and also having visitors, so I don’t know if I will get much reading done then either! I better get busy so I can catch up!

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Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 {Review}

You guys know how much I love The Critical Thinking Co. We have used their products since we first started homeschooling! Lately we have been using Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 (Grades 8-12+) for a bit now, and it is great!
Vocabulary Virtuoso cover
On a typical school week we do spelling four of those days, but we only did vocabulary off and on. I was excited to get back into studying it with a more fun approach.

With The Critical Thinking Co. products, we have always ordered the books. This time around we got a digital PDF version and I am kind of loving that format!

I get ready for the school week on the weekend, so I have plenty of time to print everything out and get it situated. I was able to print out the daily work ahead of time and separate it by day so it was easier for them to know what to do.
Vocabulary Virtuoso list
This is the layout that you can see as you open the file. You can easily click on what list you need, and also the answer section. You can then print however many worksheets you want.

Normally I would just give one lesson a day… but since they are old enough and scheduling their own time, I just gave them the weeks worth that they could then do when they wanted. I did keep the weeks Vocabulary List out so they could look at it.

Each Vocabulary List includes nine words. And each week focuses on different forms of speech. Nouns, adjectives, etc. I never thought about it, but I really like this approach! If you are having a problem with a word, you will be able to remember what other words you learned at the same time and it can jog your memory.

For Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1, each list has the same layout for their worksheets. Although there is an ongoing storyline throughout the whole book. The storyline is set in a classroom and is actually quite entertaining.

Each part of the lesson is done in such a way as to really help you learn the words.
Vocabulary Virtuoso words
First is the list of words. Like I mentioned, there are nine words in each list. For example, this week is all about adverbs. I love that they have the pronunciation on there, that is so important! They also show other word form(s) if there are any. And then along with the definition, it also lists a sample sentence.
Vocabulary Virtuoso worksheet 2
The first section, A, is a fill in the blank. You have a word box to choose from, with hints to help you figure out the correct word.
Vocabulary Virtuoso worksheet 3
Section B is another fill in the blank with just using the word box and no hints.
Vocabulary Virtuoso worksheet 4
Section C is the story that I mentioned earlier. The kids in the story are learning as the story progresses, which I think is a neat thing to do. The story line covers history and writing so you get that extra learning in there as well. It is also a fill in the blank.
Vocabulary Virtuoso worksheet
Here is section D. I figured I would show a printed copy. They don’t stay unwrinkled for long, lol. This one is fun as it is word scrambles. My kids are so good at these! You are supposed to pick the word that fits the sentence and the underlined word the best.
Vocabulary Virtuoso worksheet 5
Section E is basically just picking the best match from the word box.

Vocabulary Virtuoso worksheet 6
The last section, F, is great for making sure they know how to use the word. They will need to finish the sentence.

At the end of every four lessons is a review. There are a few more sections, one of which is a crossword puzzle. The other two are a multiple choice and something fun where they list a fictional book title and you have to pick the best word that could be found in that book title. It’s a great idea!

So like I mentioned, I give them sections A-F at the beginning of the week and they can do as much or as little as they want throughout the week. On review weeks, I let them just take a break and work on just the three review pages.

They have really retained a lot of these words! I really think it helps that they are grouped together by forms of speech.

The Critical Thinking Co. also has a Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 2 if you want to continue! Maybe your child finishes this book in lightning speed, who knows! Feel free to use this coupon to pick up as many as you want!
The-Critical-Thinking-Company-Discount-Coupon-Code-2019-15-discount-and-FREE-ShippingAlong with the second version of Vocabulary Virtuoso, they have many other books available for many other age groups! Here is a small selection:

Pattern Explorer Beginning (Grades 3-4)
Elementary Math Games (Grades 3-5)
Critical Thinking Detective – Vocabulary Book 2 (Grades 5-12+)
Dare to Compare: Math Level 2 (Grades 6-7)
Middle School Math Games (Grades 6-8)
Building Writing Skills – Essential Tips & Techniques (Grades 6-12+)

If you want to read what others thought about any of these items, feel free to click the link below! Like I mentioned, we have been using The Critical Thinking Co. since we first started homeschooling. We love them!
Critical-Thinking-Math-Vocabulary-Writing-Skills-The-Critical-Thinking-Co.-Reviews
Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1

 

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Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum {Review}

Throughout our homeschool years we have focused heavily on History. Every year has been a major historical study. We recently started using Pathway to Liberty’s Universal History, part of Pathway to Liberty’s History Curriculum, from Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum.
Pathway to LibertyThis history curriculum is different than any other we have used. It focuses heavily on a Biblical worldview, which others also do, but I guess they just go about it differently.

Universal History starts at the beginning of the Bible and looks at different people and events that were happening. It begins with Creation and ends with Ancient Greeks.

We are using level 4 which is intended for 10th-12th grade. It is pretty intense, so you may want to look throughout the site to make sure you get the correct level for your family.

What we got were the two books shown above which are the Teacher Guide and the Student Guide. With the older grades, you as the parent can choose how involved you want to be. I am always right in the middle of everything, so that is what we did.
The Chain of LibertyAlso included in our package were these two books, The Chain of Liberty and the Study Guide that accompanies it. These books would be great even by themselves for your own use! They aren’t very big books, but there is a lot of information packed in! And the study guide asks great questions to make sure that you understood what you just read.

I am loving these books because this semester we are studying Government. A lot of the things we have learned about have been mentioned in this book, in more detail, which is fantastic!

All of this goes so well together, and it is highly suggested that you get these two books. There are other books that you will need with this curriculum. Some you may be able to find at the library, or borrow from a friend, others you may have to buy. You can check the book list to see what is listed.

We started at the beginning of the study, but you are more than welcome to start anywhere you would like. We weren’t studying any particular part of history this year, so we just decided to start at the beginning.

The study is 26 weeks long. Weeks 1-7 are Foundations in Genesis. I liked that some of the first couple weeks were devoted to the days of Creation. I mean, who doesn’t like that? Other weeks include Adam, Noah, Sons of Noah, Shem, and Terah.

Weeks 8-15 is Dawn of Nations, which talks about ancient civilizations. It also talks about the Tabernacle and the Covenant.

Weeks 16-26 cover a lot! It starts with the Judges, different empires and finally into Ancient Greece. This is the largest section.

The teacher book is set up nicely, very easy to understand what they were wanting. At the beginning of each week is a weekly overview that will let you know basically what is going on. There is also a list of teaching objectives.

Then, which everyone knows by now, what I love when curriculum does it…adds what to do each day.. Ahhh!! It takes such a load off. It is broken down by levels.. So really, you could do this with children of different ages, they would just need the appropriate workbook that goes along with their level.
Pathway to Liberty workbookThe student book lists these things as well at the beginning of each week so that everyone is on the same page. But the rest of the pages in each week are workbook style. They read or watch a video and then fill out the workbook pages.

I like that that workbook questions are written in a large font. Sometimes you see a workbook and it is a small font with not a lot of room to write. As long as you don’t write too large, there should be plenty of room for even long answers!

Going back to videos… There are a lot of YouTube videos to watch. If you are like us and live where the internet is not that great, just keep it in mind. We had times of the day that the internet was better than others, so we took advantage of it. But when your highest speed is 4mbps, it gets a little tricky.

As much as I loved the weekly schedule, it was just a bit much for us right now. We ended up taking a week and a half to two weeks for each lesson. But that is acceptable to do! I think once we don’t have to drive to the college three times a week we could do the weekly schedule just fine.

You can earn different credits as well with this curriculum! History is one credit, Bible and English are anywhere from 1/2 to one credit depending on how much they do. This video explains a bit about the curriculum. It will also go into the levels a bit too.

Like I mentioned, Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum is different than other History curricula that I have seen. They did a great job! It is very thorough and quite interesting. It really makes you think, not just learn the same old stuff. I would definitely look at the levels to make sure that you get the correct one for your child. It can get pretty intense!

Since I did level 4 of the Universal History, you can click on the banner below to read reviews of people that did The Middle Ages, U.S. History, and World History. You can also read about them trying the different levels.
Pathway-to-Liberty-History-Curriculum-Reviews-20109Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum

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Study.com CLEP & DSST Exam Prep {Review}

With kids in high school in can be slightly overwhelming when it comes to homeschooling. There are so many options! And testing! We recently tried out a three month subscription to Study.com to try out their CLEP and DSST prep materials!


My two teens are at the tail end of their first semester taking college courses. In looking at the selection of courses that they have to accomplish to get their AA, I was curious if there was anything on Study.com that would help them!

The site is very user friendly. You can log in and just go straight to what you are looking for! Like in the image above, you can use the drop down menus or just type in the search bar. Each section then has a list of the courses you can pick.

We dove right in! Thought it would be interesting to take a couple science practice tests in the CLEP section.
Oops! Looks like we need more practice on this one! It’s been a while since we did Biology….

After looking around the CLEP section for a while, we decided to look at the DSST section. Right away I noticed a public speaking test! That is one of the classes that they are going to need for their AA in college! We just jumped right in with the test.
Look at that, much better! Of course you can’t really compare public speaking to biology…ha! But what I find great about Study.com is how thorough it is.
It lists your strengths and weaknesses. This allows you to then make sure you hit on the right areas more. Also on this page are some other statistics about your test that you just took. You can track test results from when you take the test again…it will have different questions. It will compare how well you did to others and also compare the time frame in which you took the test.

Further down, you can turn on the question results. It will show you each question and selection of answers just like it looked on your test. It will highlight what you answered and if you got it correct or not. In looking at our results for this particular test, I realize that one question we read maybe too fast, but our answer was ridiculous. That made us go slower next time.
After you take the test and get your results, you can look to the right of the percentage as shown in the pic above, and it shows you what course the exam was taken from. You can then start the course right from there! You don’t have to search for it or anything!

This image shares all the information you would want to know about this particular course. I like that it tells you when it was last updated. This one was 2018, so that’s great! It also says that new lessons are still being added. I like that too!

They really took a lot of time when designing their site. There are a lot of links to things that you will want to click on and they make sure they are right there!
The course has a quick video. I think my kids, I mean, I…appreciated the title of this one. That is one question they both have asked. Why Do I Need to Do It? Coming from a family of introverts, I get it! But alas, they need it.

The video is done with a sort of cartoon, but it isn’t childish. I like that underneath is also a transcript that you can follow along with, or look back at later. It also lists who the instructor is as well as their credentials.
Hooray, 100%! If you get a score you don’t like, you can retake the quiz, or just continue to the next lesson. Also on this page is a worksheet. You can do the worksheet on the screen as well as printing it if you prefer.

You can do just one lesson, or a few, in one sitting. As you are taking lessons, on the right of the screen shows you a little about that chapter in the course, as well as what is coming up.
You can retake the Practice Exam at any time! Look! Just after a few lessons it increased from 62% to 74%!

I think that Study.com does a great job in their CLEP and DSST prep materials. There are numerous subjects that you can choose. Their website also has many other sections besides these prep courses, it is definitely something to check out!

If you want to check out what others spent their time checking out on Study.com, feel free to click the banner below!
Study.com CLEP & DSST Exam Prep

 

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What I read in April

Another month, this year is going by fairly quickly! I am just not looking forward to summer, it is my least favorite. But alas. I did read more books this month than last month, which isn’t hard to do. Like I said, school comes in handy for my challenge goals. Here is what I read in April!

What I read in April
Queen’s Own Fool by Jane Yolen & Robert J. Harris – Called La Jardiniere, a resourceful and clever jester to the queen’s court, Nicola was a most unlikely person to end up “fool” and friend to Mary, Queen of Scots. But Nicola isn’t an ordinary comedian clowning before the court; her sharp tongue is rare amongst the fawning nobles. As fate takes Mary from France to Scotland, and into confrontations with rebellious lords and devious advisors, Nicola remains deep in the queen’s inner circle. But when the Scots start to turn on Queen Mary, Nicola struggles to find something-anything-that she, just a fool, can do to save her friend.

What I thought: I thought this was a great story. It’s different than other Queen of Scots stories we have read which was nice. I liked that it wasn’t one that you expect certain things to happen.

What I read in April
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon – For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones …about a love that transcends the boundaries of time …and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his ….

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart …in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising …and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves….

What I thought: It had been years since I read the first book. But after watching the series on tv I decided to read the rest of the books. They take me a while since I don’t have as much time to read anymore. I definitely liked the first book better, but this explains quite a few things. I do like how the show kept pretty close to the books..

What I read in April
Our House by Louise Candlish – On a bright January morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they’ve just bought in Trinity Avenue.

Nothing strange about that. Except it is your house. And you didn’t sell it.

When Fiona Lawson comes home to find strangers moving into her house, she’s sure there’s been a mistake. She and her estranged husband, Bram, have a modern co-parenting arrangement: bird’s nest custody, where each parent spends a few nights a week with their two sons at the prized family home to maintain stability for their children. But the system built to protect their family ends up putting them in terrible jeopardy. In a domino effect of crimes and misdemeanors, the nest comes tumbling down.

Now Bram has disappeared and so have Fiona’s children. As events spiral well beyond her control, Fiona will discover just how many lies her husband was weaving and how little they truly knew each other. But Bram’s not the only one with things to hide, and some secrets are best kept to oneself, safe as houses.

What I thought: I thought this sounded interesting when I first got it! It just didn’t have that oompf to be a favorite, but it was still a decent read. I couldn’t imagine being in the position, but I just wish part of the book went a different way.

What I read in April
Napoleon’s Buttons by Penny Le Couteur & Jay Burreson – Napoleon’s Buttons is the fascinating account of seventeen groups of molecules that have greatly influenced the course of history. These molecules provided the impetus for early exploration, and made possible the voyages of discovery that ensued. The molecules resulted in grand feats of engineering and spurred advances in medicine and law; they determined what we now eat, drink, and wear. A change as small as the position of an atom can lead to enormous alterations in the properties of a substance-which, in turn, can result in great historical shifts.

With lively prose and an eye for colorful and unusual details, Le Couteur and Burreson offer a novel way to understand the shaping of civilization and the workings of our contemporary world.

What I thought: I was intrigued with a lot of the book. The stories were neat. The actual chemistry part was….eh. I guess I just like more story, less actual science, lol. But the things that were mentioned were fun to read about!

What I read in April
Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson – William Shakespeare, the most celebrated poet in the English language, left behind nearly a million words of text, but his biography has long been a thicket of wild supposition arranged around scant facts. With a steady hand and his trademark wit, Bill Bryson sorts through this colorful muddle to reveal the man himself. His Shakespeare is like no one else’s—the beneficiary of Bryson’s genial nature, his engaging skepticism, and a gift for storytelling unrivaled in our time.

What I thought: I enjoyed reading some of the book. After a while it all seemed kind of repetitive in a way. I did finish it though.

What I read in April
Macbeth by William Shakespeare – In 1603, James VI of Scotland ascended the English throne, becoming James I of England. London was alive with an interest in all things Scottish, and Shakespeare turned to Scottish history for material. He found a spectacle of violence and stories of traitors advised by witches and wizards, echoing James’s belief in a connection between treason and witchcraft.

In depicting a man who murders to become king, Macbeth teases us with huge questions. Is Macbeth tempted by fate, or by his or his wife’s ambition? Why does their success turn to ashes?

Like other plays, Macbeth speaks to each generation. Its story was once seen as that of a hero who commits an evil act and pays an enormous price. Recently, it has been applied to nations that overreach themselves and to modern alienation. The line is blurred between Macbeth’s evil and his opponents’ good, and there are new attitudes toward both witchcraft and gender.

What I thought: Really, it’s Macbeth…what can you say about it? 🙂 It was definitely hard to read aloud… But other than that we all enjoyed it.

What I read in April
Someday by David Levithan – Every day a new body. Every day a new life. Every day a new choice.

For as long as A can remember, life has meant waking up in a different person’s body every day, forced to live as that person until the day ended. A always thought there wasn’t anyone else who had a life like this.

But A was wrong. There are others.

A has already been wrestling with powerful feelings of love and loneliness. Now comes an understanding of the extremes that love and loneliness can lead to — and what it’s like to discover that you are not alone in the world.

In Someday, David Levithan takes readers further into the lives of A, Rhiannon, Nathan, and the person they may think they know as Reverend Poole, exploring more deeply the questions at the core of Every Day and Another Day: What is a soul? And what makes us human?

What I thought: Well, I am sure I liked the first one better. This one just kept going on and on. It really didn’t end for me. :shrug:

So that is what I read in April! I am hoping that I can stay ahead of the game for my reading challenge! I started another long book and it may take me a while to finish. What have you loved lately?

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My search for a deodorant…

I have had such a hard time! My search for a deodorant has gone on and on.

Fortunately a year ago I came across Lume! This isn’t sponsored or anything like that, this is just all about my findings!

I did a hair test a long while back and one of the things it said was that my body was high in aluminum. Which I guess a lot of people have that issue.

Immediately I was on the search for deodorants that didn’t include aluminum in their ingredients.

Back then, it was harder than it is now! Although as my search extended, there got to be more and more options.

Some of the more popular ones included baking soda. Annnnd, I come to find out that I am one of the lucky ones that gets a chemical burn with baking soda! Fun, right?

But still, I tried each and every one thinking that maybe the formula would be different and I wouldn’t have a reaction. Nope, each one that was aluminum free and had baking soda really did a number on me!

Finally I found Lume that mentioned it was aluminum free as well as baking soda free. Whaaaa? Sign me up!

I bought just one my first time. It was in the fall.

You can’t just try it for one day and know how it is going to be, so I used the full container. I had no issues whatsoever! My skin was healing too!

I kept using it and using it. The real test being in the hot humid summer temps. I didn’t have any issues at all!

It’s been about a year and a half now and I am still using it. They have changed formulas a couple times since I first started with them, and I still don’t have any issues.

I just wanted to share this with anyone else who may be searching for a deodorant too.

You can also use it on other parts of your body. You only  need a little bit!

Not sure my armpits will ever look normal again, due to all of the chemical burns, but at least I finally found something that works for me! My search for a deodorant is over!

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Change of plans

Change of plans mountains

Well, it looks like there is going to be a change of plans!

All of the preparations and ideas and everything are just going to have to be put aside. The remodel turned into a rather large addition and the cost outweighed the gain.

So now it looks like we are going to move!

As much as we love our property, the house isn’t going to work for our needs anymore.

We are excited about a change. Recently we looked at a couple houses in the mountains, which we never thought about before now. All of us agreed that we miss the mountains that surrounded us when we lived in Arizona.

One house was pretty neat, it was on the top of a hill. It had a great area for my mom to stay but it didn’t have a barn or anything. And there were some other things that made it not be a perfect fit.

Another house that we were looking at has amazing views…a couple barns, a spot for my mom.. Not much would have to be done to move into that one. We are still looking everyday!

It’s quite hard to find a house that meets all of our needs…not just wants, but needs. I mean, space for all of our birds and goats…a spot for my mom and possibly Jeffy’s mom.. Not much to choose from at the moment online!

We know that there isn’t going to be something that is perfect, but it would be great to find something that comes close! We are looking forward to seeing what else is out there!

It’s been almost seven years since we moved here and really, not sure anyone had moving on their radar. But now that it is out there, I think we are all kind of excited.

How do you feel about moving? How many times have you moved? One time we moved five times in 18 months, so I am thankfully glad that is done…ha!

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Sound, and Fluid Dynamics {Review}

We have had many years of science over the last eight or so years of homeschooling three children. We have done many different forms of curriculum as well, as we love changing things up a bit! I was definitely intrigued by a new online science, Sound, and Fluid Dynamics from CrossWired Science.
Sound, and Fluid Dynamics 1
CrossWired-Science-Logo
I can honestly say that I haven’t seen anything like this in all the different sciences we have tried!

After logging in for the first time to check it out, I was a little overwhelmed at first. But once I looked around a bit more, it all made sense on how it worked. There are tips on each page to help you too, just in case.

One thing that was added recently was a section with different calendars. After a few years of doing unit studies a lot when they were younger, we tend to like more of a scheduled school day. It also works with their college schedule.
Sound, and Fluid Dynamics Calendar 1
This is the standard calendar. It is great if you have different age groups working together. It is also the same one that is used for the lower levels. There is another one that is meant for the older kids that is a one month version. It cuts out certain things but it all kind of evens out. They even include 4, 5, and 6 week blank calendars that you can customize to fit your own schedule.

I admit, our schedule was kind of wonky because the kids were coming to the end of their college semester, but it really was a nice break to log in to this program! Not that it was an easy thing per se, but that it was informative while going about it in an almost entertaining way.

Since my kids are older, we do a lot of book science lately. You know the kind….. But with Sound, and Fluid Dynamics we learned so much already in the short time we have been using them!
Sound, and Fluid Dynamics coursesThe two courses are Sound, and Fluid Dynamics. They are just the first two of many more to come. In choosing what to start first, I chose Sound, because honestly, I wasn’t sure what Fluid Dynamics was just from the title..

I have never learned so much about the ear and hearing before. Even after a very lengthy Biology course that we did last year!

As you click on the image, it will take you to everything that you will need for your course! Such a wonderful thing to have it all in one place, and easy to understand what each thing is! I appreciate user friendly-ness.

They include experiments that are unlike most science experiments. There are so many that I would love to do that we haven’t yet. Using flour clay to make the mini bones of the ear. How fascinating is that!?! I love it.

Another is something as simple as trying to record 25 different bird calls. Sure, most people don’t have 25 different birds around their house, but you could go to a zoo, to a different part of your state, or anything! We have one around here that we have been hearing lately, we aren’t sure what it is though yet!
Sound, and Fluid Dynamics video
There are plenty of videos on the site. They are very short, most just a few minutes long. The information moves very quick, so I highly suggest making sure there are no distractions while it plays! There is so much information included that you don’t want to miss it!

Each video is a mix of people talking, photographs, graphics, etc. Everything moves fast, like I mentioned, but it definitely kept our interest.

After each video is a little quiz. It will be automatically graded at the end! You can view the quiz again after if you’d like, or just keep going to the next section. There are also printable worksheets that are great!

If you look on the calendar above, you can see all of the different things to do for each topic. They supply everything off of the one page. Of course you can click ahead if you’d like. But they even have devotionals, and the digging deeper sections are definitely fascinating.

You can tell that this took them a lot of man hours to put together. The site has undergone quite a bit of changes just since we first logged on, as they are constantly adding more to it! They hope to have enough on their site for years of science!

By the way, Fluid Dynamics is the flow of something. 😉 But it includes much more of what you are probably thinking. One of the experiments with this one is dissecting a fish or shark, we’ve got that one done already! hehe..

There is a section on their website called Why We Do What We Do, and I highly suggest that you read it. I love everything that they say. There is a section about fieldtrips and they mention how they think it is so important for kids to just get outside and experience nature, and life, and just see everything that God has blessed us with. That is huge with me, I do think that kids need to get outside more!

If you would like to read how others used Sound, and Fluid Dynamics from CrossWired Science, feel free to click the banner below. There have been kids of all ages using this and I am sure that there is someone that has kids that are your kids ages!
CrossWired-Science-Sound-and-Fluid-Dynamics-Reviews
Sound, and Fluid Dynamics

 

 

 

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