Review of God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn

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As a homeschool mom, we all need encouragement from time to time so I was excited to read God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn written by Julie Polanco.   I remember when we first decided to homeschool our oldest son when he was in the fifth grade.  Until that point, I never would have believed our family would ever be called to homeschool.  But God had other plans for our family.  We were blessed to have a local homeschooling community to walk beside us and encourage us.  I love the ideas she presents in this book about Christian unschooling.
Julie Polanco has been a Christian since 2000. She and her husband homeschooled their children from the very beginning. Serving in the Womens’ Ministry and the Worship team for her family’s nondenominational church keeps her busy. Her first child graduated in 2016. She is a regular contributor to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and their Homeschooling with Heart blog. She is involved in the homeschooling community on a local level and through her blog and books. She also finds time to be a freelance writer.
I know there are many who begin their homeschooling journey alone and with no support.  Julie Polanco shares her heart and experiences through the book God Schooling:  How God Intended Children to Learn.  The book is broken down into two sections:  Dispelling the Myths and then the actual practice.  Many people visualize unschooling as children running around all day unsupervised and unfocused.  However, Julie Polanco illustrates how unschooling God’s Way results in children who grow and learn in the manner God intended them to learn.  Julie emphasizes throughout the book that schedules and routines are perfectly acceptable and in many cases necessary for daily life.
As I read this book, I knew Julie Polanco could relate to everything I felt and thought through the years.  I love how everything in the book revolves around God, His Will and walking in His Way.  It takes away the myths of homeschooling being simply doing things the public school way at home.  At the end of each chapter, there are questions to answer that delve deeper into what has just been read.  I found these questions to be an excellent way of helping me to think more about what I had just read.

As I read how there is Biblical support for natural learning. As we began our homeschooling journey, I knew our oldest son needed time to decompress from his experiences at the public school. He needed time to connect with our family, our God and to recapture his love of learning. So we took the time to do those things. After reading Julie Polanco’s book, I wish I could have read this book when we began our homeschooling journey. As my daughter loves to say in general (and not specifically about homeschooling), “Many mistakes have been made!” I know we did a lot right, but I wish we had the ability to go back so I could do some things differently.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the beginning through the middle of the book:

 

As I read this book, I remembered the importance of recognizing the abilities and developmental readiness of our children was more important than what some other person (educator, other professional or parent) thought my child should be doing. For example, our youngest son experienced motor skill delays growing up. So I had to recognize that certain fine motor skills that came easily to our other children would not come as easy to him. We had to adapt and become creative in what his schoolwork looked like. On the other hand, his younger sister did not have any motor skill delays, so there were things she could do easier than her brother. When they were younger, we found a homeschooling gymnastic class that all four children could participate in together. The activity, motion, and patience of the teachers brought our youngest son a long way in his motor skill development.

I love the parts where Julie talks about how children need to be in motion.  Our three sons were extremely active when they were younger.  They seemed to be in perpetual motion.  If they had attended public school, I feel like we may have been told they suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder at the least and more likely we would have been told they suffered from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  I realized they were just growing boys who needed to be active and to be in motion.  So as Julie suggests, I made sure the boys were in motion a good part of the day.

As I read God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn, I realize how different every child is and how God created each and every one of them with His specific purpose in mind. This means each child has specific gifts and talents, He intended them to have. So I can not ignore those facts.  Given our youngest child will be turning sixteen in a few months, the later section of the book was the most relevant to our family.  I love how she went in depth about choices for beyond high school.  With three teenagers and one child in his 20s, I know everyone does not need to go to college.  Our oldest son is now working as a nursing assistant by taking a three-week course earlier this summer.  So far, I think our third son is the only one who will be attending a normal four year college program.  Here are some other quotes I loved.

I also loved how various means of keeping records are discussed inlcuding scrapbooking, journaling and more.  Obviously the more stringent the requirements are for your location will help determine how detailed your records need to be.

This book details a form of relaxed homeschooling that takes the students and families into consideration.  It is meant to develop a life-long love of learning.  So check out God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn written by Julie Polanco for yourself.For your information, the e-book version is available for half price sale through August 22, so now is the perfect time to check out this book for yourself.  If you want to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Branch Out World’s Picture Book Explorers – Paddington Bear

 

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Today I want to introduce you to Paddington Bear, a lit-based unit study, from Branch Out World.  For this review, we received a downloadable PDF file to print out.  Even though my youngest child is almost sixteen years old, I still love looking at what is available in the Homeschooling marketplace for younger children. As someone who loves to read, anything based on books is bound to get my attention. This unit study is recommended for ages five years old to ten years old, but if your family lives outside of the United Kingdom, you may find this book works for older children as well.  I could definitely see the benefits of using this curriculum if you have more than one child, even if some of those children are older than 10 years old.

Branch Out World is a company ran by a homeschooling family based in West Yorkshire.  Their family started homeschooling over 20 years ago and they love books.  They have created literature-based unit studies that can be tailored to your own child/children’s needs and interests. These studies can be used with multiple children at one time or with one child as they grow into them.

Paddington Bear is part of Branch Out World‘s Picture Book Explorer series.  The unit study is meant to be completed over five days.  I would definitely recommend starting on a Monday when you know your family could complete all five days in a row so that your child maintains their focus and interest.  To complete the study, you need the unit study printed out, the picture book, possibly the chapter book the unit study is based upon, and any other items listed for each day to complete the activities.  All of the extra supplies needed are listed on page 7 of the printable PDF file.  I would definitely recommend assembling these items the week prior to starting the unit study so you do not have to scramble to find anything.  On page 7 a list of optional extras is listed that include other books about Paddington Bear, books about Peru and a list of films and television episodes.

The unit study consists of reading the book every day and then doing different types of activities each day.  The days are broken down as follows:

  • Day 1 – Exploring the Setting
  • Day 2 – Exploring the Words
  • Day 3 – Exploring the Pictures
  • Day 4 – Exploring Science
  • Day 5 – Exploring Maths, Crafts & More

I have to say as I read through the guide, I was impressed by the variety of activities included and the way those activities are organized.  Each day has background information along with instructions for the day’s activities.  There are suggestions about how to complete the activities.  When my children were younger, they tended to enjoy coloring and map work, which is included on the first day.  I also like the fact that a variety of maps are included so you can pick the one which suits your family the best.  You can pick just one or you can pick more than one.

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If I was doing this literature-based unit study with my children, I would definitely probably have them complete it in a binder so they could add pages as needed and keep everything organized.  Also, since my daughter loves art and drawing, I think day 3 would be her favorite day. As a teenager, I could see myself wanting her to recreate the pictures she saw in the book concentrating on the characters and the architecture.

 

I know when our children were younger, they would have loved making their own passports and then would have wanted to have stickers and other things we could add to them to show where they had traveled through the books they were reading and lessons from history and other subjects.  I know they would have enjoyed the hands-on activities better than just reading a normal textbook.  I wish we had this opportunity when they were younger.

You can find Branch Out World on social media including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

If you have children who love hands-on learning and a variety of activities, I definitely recommend you check out Branch Out World, their Picture Book Explorer Series and Paddington Bear for yourself.  If you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Weekly Wrap-Up for the week ending on August 12, 2018

 

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So this week was the week our youngest son attended our church’s service camp.  The youth arrived at the church Tuesday morning complete with clothes, sleeping bags, pillows, Bibles, and whatever else they may need for the week.  They spent their days doing things at, for and with the Youth Group.  They ate all their meals at the church and then had various evening activities including going to play laser tag one night and swimming another night.  At the end of the activities, the girls went to the home of one of the adult leader’s family, while the boys were divided among two different homes.  Our son really enjoyed himself.

This was also a week where very little book work was done, but I have been working on planning our new school year.  Our 15-year-old daughter will be entering 10th grade.  Here is what I have planned for her to do:

  • CTC Math
  • Picta Dicta
  • Grammar Planet
  • American Literature
  • TruthQuest History
  • Biology/Nature Study
  • Violin
  • Art
  • Bible Study with me
  • Latin

Our 17-year-old son will be doing:

  • CTC Math
  • Bible Study
  • Picta Dicta
  • Grammar Planet
  • Literature
  • Exploring World History by Notgrass
  • Chemistry/Marine Biology
  • Latin or Japanese
  • Bible Lessons
  • Photography

Our son is taking responsibility for his own schedule and is inputting them into Homeschool Planet himself.  I am in the process of entering my daughter’s lessons myself.  However, it seems like interruptions sometimes happen and distractions are bad.  But I am fairly happy with our choices.

Wednesday morning, I received a phone call from one of the ladies at our church.  She wanted to know if I could come to help her prepare some pears for canning.  I found out another lady from the church was coming as well.  So I spent about an hour or so of my time helping peel, core, wash the pears along with a few other tasks.  Then as our reward, I was given pears to bring home for our family to “put up” or can.  Originally I wanted to can pear slices.  However, our oldest son decided we needed to make pear preserves like his paternal grandmother did/does.  So he called for instructions and this afternoon, my three sons and I worked to peel, cut and core the pears.  My oldest and youngest son both work independently.  However, my second son decided we should have some kind of assembly line going.  So he peeled the pears, and then I cut them into slices and cored them.  All in all, it went very well considering we had almost 30 pounds of pears to do. I really enjoyed working with my sons.

For dinner, we decided to have a whole roasted chicken along with stuffing.  After the work we did today, a fairly easy dinner like that was appreciated.

Upcoming Reviews & Crew Activities:

  • God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco
  • Branch Out World
  • Back to School Crew Blog Hop
  • GrammarPlanet

 

So what is going on in your world?  I would love to hear from you.

If you would like to read what other members of the Home School Review Crew are writing about this week, click here or on the graphic below.

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Book Review – Survival Guide for the Soul by Ken Shigematsu

 

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As a person who loves to read, I enjoy having the opportunity to help authors by being part of their book launch teams.  I recently had the opportunity to participate in the book launch team for Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve by Ken Shigematsu.  I have to say this book lived up to my expectations.

Ken Shigematsu is the senior pastor of the Tenth Church in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Prior to entering the ministry, he worked for the Sony Corporation in Tokyo, Japan.  His grueling work schedule at Sony caused him to investigate personal disciplines to help bring order to his life from those of his samurai ancestors to St. Benedict’s rule Christian communities.

Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve is Ken’s second book.  His first book, God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God was published in 2013.  This latest book examines what prevents us from flourishing in our spiritual lives in order to accomplish more in the eyes of society.

I love how he discusses the  Striving Adam versus the Soulful Adam – referring back to Adam of Adam and Eve.  The Striving Adam is that part of us that wants to accomplish more and more.  It is the part of us that is driven to accomplish lofty dreams and ambitions regardless of what it might cost.  The Soulful Adam is that part of us that desires a connection to God and wants to draw closer to Him.

Ken Shigematsu draws on a variety of sources including Scripture, church history, psychology, and neuroscience, as well as a rich variety of stories from his own life in order to demonstrate how the gospel redeems our desires and reorders our lives.

This book is perfect for anyone who desires a closer walk and relationship with God, especially in the midst of the pressures of daily living.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is found on page 49 of the book:

Spiritual exercises attune us

This book truly captured my attention and kept me focused on the message.  I wanted to read more.  This book truly caused me to think about the ramifications of a driven life versus a life lived at drawing closer to Jesus Christ and God.  The message is clear.  The style is engaging.  The words are powerful.  So if you are looking for a book about how to have a closer relationship with Jesus Christ is the midst of a world that believes power and success in the workplace are more important, this is the book for you.  I definitely recommend you check it out for yourself.

 

Disclaimer

Thoughts for Tuesday, August 7, 2018

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Today begins Youth Service Camp at our church, so our 17-year-old son is attending that.  He left this morning and will not be home until Thursday night.  The youth will be staying in various homes of the adult leaders, including our pastor and his wife.

Meanwhile, the rest of the family is keeping to our normal routine.  This means our oldest son and my husband are working.  I am blogging, reading and preparing for reviews along with cooking and chores.  Our second son is working on projects and other interests.  Our daughter is working on schoolwork and drawing.  So it ought to be a fairly quiet week around the house.

Upcoming Reviews

Here are some of the reviews our family is currently working on for the Home School Review Crew:

  • Godschooling by Julie Polanco
  • Branch Out World
  • GrammarPlanet
  • RomanRoads Media

So stay tuned in the next few weeks for these reviews.  Also, be watching for the Home School Review Crew Back to School Blog Hop coming August 20-24.  I can not wait to see what our Crew Members have to say.

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Now for the topic of the day, I am finding that homeschooling high schoolers can be lonely – both for our high school students and for myself.  Everyone is so busy and caught up in either what they are doing or with outside activities.  Plus, it seems like it is a lot harder to find other homeschoolers with time to interact or that have similar interests.  Plus, we are a military family who moved while some of our children were either in high school or getting ready to enter the high school years.  Being new in a community can make things very difficult for finding friends and activities.

On the bright side, we have found at least one thing that has captured the interest of several of our children and that is the Home School Band for our area.  All four children play instruments and my husband and I do as well.  Below is a picture of our youngest son and me at the summer music classes learning piano.

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So what is your family doing this summer or planning to do this fall?  I would love to hear from you.  If you would like to read about what other members of the Home School Review Crew are blogging about this week, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Home School in the Woods’ The Renaissance and Reformation Timeline

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Home School in the Woods is my favorite company for timeline materials, so I was super excited to receive The Renaissance and Reformation Timeline from their À La Carte Timelines projects. Our children tend to enjoy hands-on History studies rather than using a typical textbook.  So I was thrilled for our family to review this product.  I feel Home School in the Woods offers some of the best history studies available.

Home School in the Woods is a hands-on history company, with multiple product lines for all grades from Kindergarten to high school.  These product lines include À La Carte Timeline projects, Hands-on History Lap-Paks, Time Travelers American History, and more.  For this review, we received the digital download of The Renaissance and Reformation Timeline.  I was very excited for our 15-year-old daughter to receive this product.  Moreover, I was excited to work on it as well.

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This scrapbook-style timeline includes artists, historical figures, world leaders, religious leaders and more.  It is recommended for grades 3 to 12th.  I have to say I agree with that recommendation.  For the younger students, they will enjoy cutting and pasting the figures into the timeline. For older students like our daughter who is in high school, this can be a springboard for deeper studies.  My initial plan was to get the timeline completed, which we did.  Now for the upcoming school year, I plan on our daughter researching the events and people included on the timeline in more depth.  I want her to complete notebooking pages on some of the historical people and events on the timeline as well as write some more in-depth reports on others.

 

With this product comes the timeline pages are broken down to time periods and indications on the pages what person or event belongs where.  It includes figures, predated lines, and a teacher’s key, so the only extra supplies needed are glue and scissors.  We simply printed our timeline and figures on normal printer paper.  However, I would recommend using cardstock at least for the timeline pages to make it sturdier.  Also for our purposes right now, we put the completed pages in a Presentation folder.  As I have our daughter do more in-depth studies and she completes more pages, I will probably have her move everything into a binder broken down into the timeline pages, notebooking pages, reports and other items she wishes to include as she completes them.  

 

I feel this product is an excellent springboard for more in-depth studies of historical events and people.  Our family definitely recommends this product line.

One of Home School in the Woods’ newest products is their Project Passport World History Studies.  This series includes hands-on activities.  Students receive a passport and a luggage folder in order to prepare for their journey.  According to their website, students will “Take a trip through history and discover cultures at another era of time with hands-on projects and activities that drive the lessons home in a fun way”  These studies are designed to take approximately 8-12 weeks and are meant for grades 3-8.  Students will learn about everyday life, agriculture, trade, education,  writing, medicine, government, the Bible and more.  So click here if you want to learn more about the Project Passport World History Studies.

You can find Home School in the Woods on social media at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homeschoolinthewoods
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HSintheWoods
G+: https://plus.google.com/+Homeschoolinthewoods
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/hsinthewoods/

Check out Home School in the Woods for yourself.  If you want to read other reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew of the À La Carte Timeline or other product lines, click here or on the graphic below.

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