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.

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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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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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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Review of Math Essentials’ No-Nonsense Algebra

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Homeschool math at the high school level can be intimidating so I’d like to introduce you to No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials.  Finding a math program that our 14-year-old daughter likes and understands can be challenging.  But with the included videos for the lessons taught by Richard W. Fisher, our daughter has found this program to be understandable.

Our daughter is our 4th and last child and she is definitely more gifted in the area of art than math.  So we have tried a variety of math programs through the years. Like most parents, we have found some work and some do not.  So when I saw the chance for our family to review No-Nonsense Algebra, I was glad to get it for our daughter.

This is a soft cover book that is meant to be used as a textbook, and the students need to do their work in a notebook.  Since it is not consumable, it would work well for families with more than one child.  As I have already stated, our daughter is not a math whiz kid.  She loves art a lot more.  So in her own words, she stated, “Some of the instructions and problems are worded in ‘mathease’, which is a language our daughter feels she does not speak.  However, the videos provided our daughter with clear and concise instructions that made the lessons understandable for her.

I feel like the videos are well-executed, easy to hear and easy to understand.  The instructions really helped our daughter.  This course covers everything from integers to the quadratic equation along with everything in between.

I felt like the lessons were reasonable in the material being covered, the examples that were given and the number of practice problems.  Each lesson contains an introduction which includes helpful hints, example problems worked out showing each step for solving the problem, exercises, and several review questions.

Since I have taught high school math and realize how it builds upon itself, I love the review problems.  It helps to ensure the students remember past materials.  I also loved the fact the book starts off with problems involving integers.  This is a necessary skill for solving most algebraic problems.  If a student can not solve problems with integers properly, he or she will probably have extreme difficulty later in Algebra.  Also, from my experience in teaching Algebra, the majority of mistakes in Algebra are caused by mathematical computations.  So ensuring students have a firm grasp on working with integers will help with their success.  The pictures below show two days of my daughter’s work and answers.  As I have stated, she is very artistic so her pages have to include some drawings.

I feel this book is perfect for a variety of situations.  It is perfect as a stand-alone textbook for Algebra.  It is also perfect for a student who just wants to brush up on certain skills.  It also would be perfect for a student just wanting to review Algebra for any reason. I also like the fact Math Essentials offers a variety of other products ranging from materials for 4th/5th grade all the way through this Algebra course.

I was very pleased with this book and the videos are provided with it.  This course is definitely worth taking a look at in my opinion.  If you would like to read more reviews about No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Greek ‘n’ Stuff’s I Can Study Acts Alone With God Bible Study (52 week study) KJV

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As the parents of a teenage daughter, we are always on the lookout for new Bible study materials for our daughter.  So when the opportunity came for us to review  I Can Study Acts Alone With God Bible Study (52 week study) from Greek ‘n’Stuff, I was excited for us to try this Bible study workbook.

Greek ‘n’ Stuff offers courses in Greek, Latin, Bible studies, free activities and other resources on their website.  They also provide free sample pages for their materials.  The Bible Study materials are offered in either the King James Version or the New International Version.  The Bible studies range from 13 weeks to 52 weeks.  We decided that the study on Acts was the best choice for our daughter.  This study is recommended for those in late elementary or up.

This consumable workbook contains 52 weeks of lessons.  It comes in a spiral-bound format that makes it easy to write in for the student.  Each week is broken down into daily lessons with several questions for the student to answer.  Every week also has a memory verse, which my daughter really liked.

The lessons were broken down into manageable chunks that my daughter enjoyed completing. She takes seriously the idea of memorizing the weekly memory verses.  I decided to do the lessons with her as a way of spending time with her.  This idea seemed to work very well for our family.

On the first page of each lesson, the Scriptures being covered are listed.  Then it is further broken down by day of the week.  The first step for each day is a reminder to pray asking for God’s help in studying His Word.  Then there is a reminder about reading or reviewing that week’s memory verses.  As the weeks progress, I think it is a good idea to pick a time to review the memory verses that have already been learned.  Then each day has questions for the student to answer.  These questions have been easily found in my daughter’s Bible – either from the actual verses or from the introduction to the book of Acts or in the commentary her Bible contains.  I believe a good study Bible is extremely helpful for this study.

All of the pages contain blocks containing either the week’s memory verses, additional questions that are answered for the student, or a box containing a section entitled “Think and Pray About It”.

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I also loved the fact that there were only assignments for Monday through Saturday, leaving Sunday to be the Sabbath.  We decided to use Sunday as a day to review the memory verses for the week.  I believe a family could easily rearrange the days if it was necessary – such as rearranging the days to suit when the family wanted to observe the Sabbath.

My daughter really enjoyed doing this study.  She found it relatively easy to answer the questions.  I know I enjoyed doing the study with her.  So if your family is looking for an open and go Bible study workbook, the I Can Study Acts Alone With God Bible Study (52 week study) from Greek ‘n’ Stuff.

If you would like to read more reviews of the Acts study, the company’s other Bible studies or their Greek courses, click here or on the graphic below.

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Our Area’s Homeschool Activity Fair – Part 1

 

So we are now in our second year of living in Texas.  This week I became aware that our local homeschool organization was holding an activity fair.  So I informed my youngest two and my husband the four of us would be attending.  As we drove into the parking lot and started to get out of the vehicle, I stated I was not sure how much we would find if anything.

So imagine my surprise when we entered the room the fair was in and found a number of booths that interested my children.  I am going to break this up into two parts.  Today I am going to write about the activities our 16 (getting ready to turn 17 in October) son found at the fair.

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The first activity which really interested him was the area homeschool band.  The benefit of this is that I can also play in it as a parent.  Furthermore, our second son can play as well.  After talking with the representatives a few minutes, I picked up a flyer, added our names to the list and checked one activity to add to our schedule.  So this should be fun for us.

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The next table to catch Nathan’s interest was one for an area Junior High/High School choir.  Nathan has a love of music and of singing, so again I knew this would be a good fit.  So I grabbed the flyer, noted the date of the informational meeting and then we moved on again.

My son then became distracted for a few minutes when one of his friends from church handed him a flyer for the group’s yearbook staff.  Involvement in that is still under consideration.  Then he was distracted by seeing the mother of that same friend.  So, of course, he had to go over and speak to her.

Then we stopped at a table where another one of my children’s friends was sitting.  We spoke to her for a few minutes before moving on to see what else we could find.

The next table to truly interest our son was the one for tennis lessons.  One of the moms we met when we first moved to Texas was on duty there.  We received the information, chatted for a few minutes and caught up a little bit.  I gave a sigh of relief when I realized they provided all the necessary equipment.  So that is one expense I do not have to worry about right away.

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Finally, he asked if we could stop by the table for the area athletic teams – including basketball – something he has wanted to play for years.  Unfortunately, that activity is not a possibility because it will conflict with the homeschool band.  I was glad to see my son was more interested in the band instead of basketball.

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So that is a summary of the activities our son is interested in for the new year.

Stay tuned for part 2 where I will discuss the activities our daughter is interested in for this year.