Posted in #music, Homeschool Band, Homeschooling

Homeschool Band Participation

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So this year our family is doing something new.  Our second and third sons along with my husband and myself are playing in the homeschool band.  The picture above is our second son who is playing the baritone.  He has played the baritone in the past when we were in Pennsylvania.  So far he seems to be enjoying himself.  He began learning it when we were part of the Salvation Army band at our local Salvation Army Corps.

Our youngest son is going to learn how to play the alto saxophone.  This is rather interesting since I started on the alto saxophone in the fourth grade.  Unfortunately, our family moved to South Carolina and I had to wait until I reached sixth grade to play again.  Also in his past, my husband has played the alto saxophone as well.  Yesterday was his first time actually playing his instrument in band class.  He was very excited about it.

My husband who played clarinet and trumpet is playing the trumpet for the beginner band.  Then he is playing the clarinet in the advanced band.  Unfortunately, his clarinet needed some work done on it, so right now he is using a borrowed one.  It is fun to listen to him practice.

I am playing the flute for the beginner band, which I have always wanted to learn.  Then for the advanced band, I am playing the french horn.  I played french horn in high school.  Then I played an E flat horn in the Salvation Army band.  I am very excited that we were able to find an amazing french horn for us to purchase for me.  It is a double french horn, which is new to me.  But so far I am loving it.

Posted in Audio Dramas, history, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

Review of “Captain Bayley’s Heir” from Heirloom Audio Productions

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Our family absolutely loves listening to audiobooks – especially when we are traveling.  So I was thrilled for our family to have the opportunity to participate in this review.  Heirloom Audio Productions brings another G.A. Henty novel to life with Captain Bayley’s Heir!  The quality of this audio drama is fantastic.  For the purpose of this review, we simply listened to the audio drama.  The listeners are pulled into the story which begins in England, but tells of the Gold Rush in the United States and includes visits to various countries in Europe as well.  This is our second review of a production by Heirloom Audio Productions and we enjoyed it as much as our first.

This two-and-a-half hour audio drama begins with a conversation between G.A. Henty and a young man while they are traveling together.  The young man mentions that he is in love with a young lady who is a Christian.  However, he is not.  During the course of their conversation, G.A. Henty mentions that he writes books, so the young man asks for G.A. Henty to tell him a story.  This story brings out the boundless grace offered by God if we are only willing to take it.

G.A. Henty proceeds to tell the story of a young man in England who encounters various individuals and his life.  Frank is the nephew of Captain Bayless and has a cousin named Fred.  He also is good friends with a young lady named Alice.  Frank encounters another young man named Harry when Harry’s dog needs to be rescued from the water.  Frank heroically saves the dog.  They become friends and Frank discovers Harry’s birth parents had passed away.  So Harry is living with another couple who were generous enough to take him in and give him a home after his mother died.

This story contains many twists and turns.  Those twists and turns include Frank finding Harry’s adopted mother a job with his uncle.  Frank is accused of a crime he did not commit.  The headmaster of the school accuses Harry of stealing from him in addition to “going out of bounds” by leaving the school campus, which results in him getting into a fight.  He begs his uncle in a letter to show whether he believes Frank is innocent.  When Captain Bayless fails to respond, Frank and Fred determine the best course of action is for Frank to escape to America.

This drama wreaks of action and adventure as well.  From a terrifying encounter on a boat with a storm and a tree to an encounter with Indians, along with stagecoach robbers.  This drama does an amazing job of painting what life was like in America during the time of the Gold Rush.  The friends Harry makes truly make this story memorable.  Also, the use of “Amazing Grace” frames the story to perfection.  While faith and the Bible are not shoved in the face of those listening, the role of faith is made clear.

To go along with the audio dramas, Heirloom Audio Productions has introduced a club called the Live the Adventure Club that includes a wealth of resources.  This club includes valuable resources including a study guide for the drama.  The study guide is available as a download on the Live the Adventure Club site from Heirloom Audio Productions. The study guide offers background information on what is included in the study guide, a background on G. A. Henty, information about Heirloom Audio Productions, a list of the members of the cast and crew, background information on important people during the time of the story  and other resources to facilitate the study and discussion of the story.

The questions are broken down by disc and tracks on the CD.  The questions include questions for listening well, thinking further, defining words along with opportunities to expand learning and Bible Study as well as additional resources.  Here are some screenshots of pages from the Study Guide.  While our family did not use the study guide this time, I plan on everyone listening to the audio drama and utilizing the study guide and other resources at that time.  Heirloom Audio Productions has done an amazing job with this audio drama.  If you would like to read our review from the first product, you can click here for our review of “In the Reign of Terror”.

The “Live the Adventure Club” offers the ability to see the selections you have purchased along with the bonus material, kids activities, and games, educational treasures as well as other educational resources.  When members click on their listening library, they can select from listening to the audio drama online with the ability to answer online questions, take quizzes, listen to the soundtrack, view or download the e-book, print a cast poster or inspiration hymn poster, download desktop wallpapers, and utilize the study guide and discussion starter.  Once your family has completed the drama and the online activities, you have the ability to print a completion certificate.

Or if you would like to read other reviews of “Captain Bayley’s Heir”, you can click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Uncategorized

Review of Barbour Publishing’s “Imagine…The Great Flood” by Matt Koceich

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As I have stated before, our family loves books.  So anytime we get the opportunity to review a new book, we take it. We’ve lots of historical fiction over the years but recently we just finished reading a Biblical fiction for kids book called Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich from Barbour Publishing.  This book details the experiences of a young boy named Corey who travels back in time to the days of Noah and the Ark.

This is the first book in a Christian Kids Series by Matt Koceich.  Mr. Koceich is a school teacher who created this series with children ages 8 to 12-years-old in mind.  However, I can say after reading the book myself, I believe almost anyone of any age would enjoy this book.

`This book begins with Corey Max and his mom taking his dog Molly to a park in Texas to avoid the chaos at their house where a moving truck was being loaded with all their belongings.  The family was preparing for a move to Florida.  In the typical fashion of a child, Corey does not want to move and leave everything familiar – even though they are moving for his father’s job. Corey’s mom tries to help Corey understand and recognize God will be with them and will care for them wherever they go.

While at the park, a storm comes up quickly with lightning, thunder, and rain.  Molly had rushed into the woods, so Corey has to go after her.  While running after his dog, he trips over the log and finds his surroundings changing to new ones he did not recognize.  Unexpectedly he encounters a lion.  He begs for God to show him mercy.  The story then chronicles Corey’s encounter with Noah and the Ark, Noah’s sons and getting the animals onto the Ark while dealing with individuals who try to interfere with their plans.  The Great Flood is chronicled in a way which made me feel as though I was actually there.

I read this book and then had our 14-year-old daughter read it as well.  When I asked her for her opinion of this book, she had definite opinions.  She felt the beginning of the book was excellent.  However, she felt like the ending was rushed.  She thought it was a good book to read.  She stated she would have liked to see more details about the motivation of the antagonist.  Overall though she thought it would be a good book just to read for fun.

I felt the author did a great job with pulling the reader into the story.  I felt like I was actually in the story.  I could feel Corey’s pain and frustration over the move to Florida, which he had no control over.  I also felt the love and compassion of his mother.  I felt Corey’s amazement when he realized he had traveled back in time.  I enjoyed reading the details about Noah’s sons gathering the animals and preparing them to get them on the ark.  At the same time, I felt Corey’s fear as he encountered the unknown enemies and faced danger.  I won’t spoil the story for you, but I will say that Corey returns safely to his own time and finds the move to Florida better than he expected.

This is the first book in the Imagine series, and I personally can not wait to read more.  If you want to read more reviews on “Imagine…The Great Flood” by Matt Koceich, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Book Reviews, history, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

Review of Books by Carole P. Roman

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Our fourteen-year-old daughter absolutely loves trivia and facts and sharing what she learns.   So when I saw the opportunity to review books by Carole P. Roman, I knew we had to take this opportunity.  For this review, we were given the opportunity to pick two titles of our own choosing and then the author sent us two other books.  We selected “If You Were Me and Lived In… Elizabethan ENGLAND” and “If You Were Me and Lived in Ancient China: Han Dynasty“.  The two books the author selected for our family were “If You Were Me and Lived in Ancient Greece” and A Captain No Beard story entitled “A CAPTAIN NO BEARD STORY BEING A CAPTAIN IS HARD WORK “.

The first thing that caught my eye with all four books is the amazing illustrations in the books.  These capture the essence of the author’s words on the page with great accuracy.  The words and pictures help pull the readers into the book.  All four books are written in a story format.  These books would be excellent books to read aloud.  Even if there were younger children in the household, I expect the story and pictures would keep their interest.  Another thing I liked is that these books are available for the Kindle and are part of the Kindle Unlimited program – so we can read any of these titles for free.  I love being able to take books with us for those unexpected times we need something to occupy our time. Also the three history books do an amazing job of being cultural books that capture the essence of what a good children’s history book should be like.

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For this review, our daughter read “If You Were Me and Lived in Ancient China: Han Dynasty” by herself first.  This book is designed for children ages 8-15.  I feel this book would make a wonderful starting point for a unit study on Ancient China or a comparison of life in ancient China versus modern-day China.  My daughter found the book to be interesting and worth reading.  The book goes through facts about what life would have been like in ancient China including illustrations of modern day China as well as ancient China.  Facts are also given about how China was ruled during this period, possible names children may have been given, life in the capital city, and more.  It made it more realistic when the author stated what type of family the person would have been born into as well as what his/her daily life would have been like.  My daughter really enjoyed reading this book.  I plan on having her re-read the book and then complete various notebooking assignments using facts in the books that captured her interest.  I also plan on having her doing some kind of visual display and report showing what she learned.  For this, I will probably have read additional books to discover more information as well as do research using the Internet.

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Next, she read “If You Were Me And Lived In….Elizabethan ENGLAND“.  This book chronicled life in Elizabethan England from the perspective of a child born to a baker and his wife.  Again the book gives general facts about the time period, background on the government and life in general during the time period.  Then, detailed descriptions of what life would have been like for the child of a baker would have been like.  I especially found the descriptions of how their clothing would have been made to be interesting.  I was also fascinated when I learned that bakers may have let other families use their ovens to bake things for a price.  Again my daughter enjoyed this book.  I plan on following a similar plan of using this book basically as the foundation of a unit study for the Elizabethan time period with a report, additional research and reading along with a final project to be done.

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Our first book that the author selected for us is “If You Were Me and Lived in… Ancient Greece“.  This story follows the same format as the two books my daughter selected.  Due to Hurricane Harvey wreaking havoc in our area, I read this book myself.  Again, it discusses life in general in Greece, contrasts between life in Greece in ancient times versus today, and then goes into what life would have been like for a child born to a doctor.  My one caution about this book would be that it goes into various Greek gods and goddesses.  So if your family wants to avoid discussing that, this may not be the right book for you to use.  I found the facts to be presented in a straightforward way.  Again, I see this book being an excellent starting point for a unit study approach for ancient Greece.

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The final book we received was “A CAPTAIN NO BEARD STORY BEING A CAPTAIN IS HARD WORK“.  This story is geared more for 3-8-year-old children.  Since all of our children are much older than that, I read this book myself.  The story chronicles the adventures of Captain No Beard and his crew.  The captain shows great determination about traveling to the Dew Rite Volcano.  Along the way, many decisions are made by the captain that his crew expresses concern while offering alternative ideas.  At the end of the story, the ship and seas turn back into a bedroom.  The child who was pretending to be captain learned many important lessons including the value of listening to other and that being in charge is not always easy.  I found the book enjoyable to read.

So I definitely recommend checking out these and other titles by Carole P. Roman.  You can find other reviews either by clicking here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Books, family, Our Life, Uncategorized

Book Review – More Than Just Making It

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I was really thrilled to be a part of the launch team for Erin Odom’s book – “More Than Just Making It”. This is one of those books I picked up and had a hard time putting back down.  This is a down-to-earth, heart-warming book that examines realistically finances, public assistance and more.

I love Erin Odom’s conversational style in the book.  I felt like I was sitting with her in one of her homes while having a real conversation.  This book touched my heart as well as provided inspiration and memories of what our lives where like when our children were younger.

And while I planned on writing today about this book.  I felt like I needed to talk more about my own #kissesfromJesus as a result of being part of this launch team.  About a year and a half ago, we moved from Pennsylvania to Texas thanks to the United States military.  We have no real family to speak of in the state.  So when Hurricane Harvey decided to come calling, we were in a dilemma about where to evacuate to for the storm.

Initially, we planned on hunkering down in our home.  But when the storm was upgraded to making landfall as a Category 3 “or higher”, I knew we needed to find somewhere to evacuate to for safety.  Somehow the topic of the storm came up on the book launch Facebook page.  A generous lady offered to open her home to our family in the event we needed to evacuate.  I filed the information away for future consideration.  Once we found out we were under a mandatory evacuation order, I sent a message to this amazing lady and asked if she was serious about allowing our family to evacuate to her home.  She quickly replied that we were more than welcome to come.  So that evening, I had our four children and my mother who all live with my husband and I pack in preparations to leave.

Another giant blessing was when we found out her husband was lactose-intolerant like our oldest son.  On Friday morning as Hurricane Harvey was preparing to making landfall in Texas, our family took to the highways to go to Dallas.  We were blessed with reasonable traffic and reasonably good weather for our travels.

Once in Dallas we were welcomed like honored guests.  Truly our family was blessed to meet Dominique and her husband.  She cooked amazing meals and had wonderful touches that made us feel incredibly welcomed.  We received #KissesfromJesus with this act of kindness.

So if you are looking for a new book to read, I recommend this book.  Trust me, if you read it, you will be blessed.

Posted in Faith, family, Our Life

An Update on Our Family – Hurricane Harvey Part 1

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Two weeks ago today, we began a journey thanks to Hurricane Harvey.  We live approximately an hour and a half north of Corpus Christi and about two hours south of Houston in Texas.  We have lived here for around a year and a half.  We are no strangers to hurricanes having our home of record in eastern North Carolina.  In a Facebook group, I am part of, a discussion began about what those of in Texas were going to do.  Another lady and I both stated we did not know what we would do.  Finances or other circumstances did not give us many options.

Our week started off normally.  On the 22nd, my husband and I celebrated our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.  We knew there was a tropical storm named Harvey who might decide to visit our community.  Wednesday was a normal day.  Thursday we decided to get some supplies in for the incoming storm.  While we were out, we found out the storm had been upgraded and would potentially come in as a category 3 or higher.  The “or higher” part is what got our attention.  We have several large trees in front and behind the home, we are living in now.  So we were paying attention.

Later Thursday evening, a friend sent me a message to say our community was under a mandatory evacuation order.  So my husband and I discussed what we wanted to do.  I am on the book launch team for Erin Odom’s book “More Than Just Making It” and someone on the launch team offered our family shelter.  So we began packing up and tried to figure out what we needed and/or could take with us in our 12-passenger van.

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Friday morning shortly after 6:30 am, we started towards Dallas.  We were surprised at how light traffic was on our route, at least until we got to Waco.  Then, we arrived in Dallas around 12:30 or so where we would be staying.  Until Monday morning, our hostess was absolutely amazing.

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 where I will share what happened while we were in Dallas and what we found once we returned home.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Review of Apologia Educational Ministries’ Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set

 

 

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Ever since our family began homeschooling about eleven years ago, science. has been a course I have looked to Apologia Educational Ministries for our textbooks, notebooking ideas and more.  Looking for a homeschool marine biology course? I suggest Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set from Apologia Educational Ministries.  Ever since I met my husband twenty-six years ago, he has expressed an interest in Marine Biology.  At several points, he even considered pursuing it as a career.  So when I saw the opportunity come up to review this course, I immediately called my husband to see if he would be interested in reviewing it.  He answered with a resounding yes.

For this review, we received the hardback textbook with over 500 pages, the student notebooking journal, the tests, the solutions, and tests manual as well as the Marine Biology 2nd Edition Audio CD read by Marissa Leinhart. This course is meant to be done after completing a traditional Biology course as well as Algebra I.

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Apologia Educational Ministries offers a range of products and services including science courses for elementary school through high school, resources for writing or reading or literature as well as ones designed for parents.  I love the variety and the quality of the products offered.

As I previously stated, my husband was the one to use the materials.  However, I did listen to the audio cd with him.  So here is his review of the textbook and notebooking journal.  At this time, he is not planning on using the tests since this is strictly for his own knowledge and interest.  We do plan on having our daughter, currently, a freshman in high school, do this course.

At first glance at the text book, I saw that it contained a lot of illustrations. That’s important because it captures the attention of the reader. As I endeavored into the text, I noticed that there are also a lot of bold lettering to identify key words and phrases. At the end of every segment, there are questions posted so that it would quiz the reader on what was read. This is all good so that the reader can learn as he or she reads the subject. Labs are also inserted in places that correspond to the information that has been read. This is good because it is a hands-on way to remember certain information. At the end of each module, there are also questions that are posed in a different manner than how the questions are stated in the material itself. This would enhance one’s mind to think of different ways of approaching information and help to remember important facts.

 

The student notebook is exceptionally great in the fact that it follows the text book on every question and Lab. There is also a reading plan to follow which makes it easy to develop a plan of action for the student. Grading tips are also given to help the instructor. What is extremely helpful are tools recommended to use to take notes, a place to answer questions from the text, fill in the blank questions, and recording Lab data.

 

The Solutions and Tests come in a separate softcover book.  This solutions manual includes helpful information to use before beginning the course including grading and course administration.  The solutions for the study guide are included as well as the answers for the summary of each module.  There are also blank copies of the tests (which can also be found in the separate test booklet) as well as the solutions for the tests themselves.  These are laid out in a manner that makes it easy to find when looking for something.

My husband, who reviewed this product, highly recommends the setup of the text and student notebook. He truly is excited about it and is looking forward to continuing the course.

The Marine Biology 2nd Edition Audio CD is meant to only be used on computers and does not play on regular CD players.  So this could be a disadvantage for those who prefer to listen to audio on a regular CD player.  At first, I downloaded the files to my computer and tried to play them for my husband and myself.  However, doing it that way meant I had to click on each individual file.  Later, I decided to download the files to my computer and then upload them to my iTunes account.  Once I did that, it was easier to manage the files.  Also, by doing it this way, we can hook my tablet or phone to the audio system and listen while driving.  We both thought Marissa Leinhart did an excellent job reading the textbook.  My husband was pleased he could listen while looking at the textbook to follow along.  I strongly recommend getting the audio version along with the set.

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Once again, we really recommend the Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set from Apologia Educational Ministries.  If you want to read other reviews of this product, click here or on the image below.

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