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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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

Review of “Always Enough, Never Too Much” and a Giveaway

 

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BOOK DETAILS:

We’ve all been there. We know that sneaking, small voice in our heads all too well—you’re too loud. Too quiet. Too young. Too old. Too unimportant. Too ugly. Too silly. Too serious. You’re not as successful as she is—look at her perfect family, look at her high-powered job, look at her great hair and size 4 skinny jeans. Why can’t you be more like her—be more in general? Why do you expect so much from everyone? Why can’t you take up less space? Ask for less? Be less? The lies track well-worn paths in our minds and our hearts, wearing us down and making us question our role in God’s kingdom.

Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan, bestselling authors of Wild and Free will help you replace those lies with God’s truth. This devotional flip-book is designed for you, the woman who feels like she can be both too much and not enough—sometimes in the same day. When you banish lies and insecurities and find your identity in Jesus, you can embrace these truths: You are always enough. You are never too much.

MY REVIEW:

This hardback flip book contains 100 devotions. With the book facing one way, you can read devotionals based on the idea of “Always Enough”. Flip the book over and you can read devotionals about “Never Too Much”. There are fifty devotionals for each half of the book.

The devotionals for “Always Enough” address the idea of not comparing ourselves to others and to “start living wild and free” according to the opening of the book. Each devotional includes a passage of Scripture and then a relatively short devotional passage that ties into the Scripture.

Then on the flip side of the book is for “Never Too Much”. Again, each devotional has a passage of Scripture and then a short passage that relates to the Scripture and to real life.

I personally love devotionals like this. It does not have to be read daily or chronologically. I can just pick it up and read it whenever the mood strikes me or I need to deal with the topics covered by the book.

I love how the book clearly lets the reader know which one of the authors wrote each devotional. As someone who has questioned my worth of whether I am enough for God or not, I found this book touched my heart. The devotional entitled, “Even When You Don’t Have Enough Friends” by Hayley really spoke to me. Growing up, our family constantly moved from either one house to another or from one state to another. This made finding and keeping friends difficult. Now as a military wife who has moved three times since 2008 and one of those moves being from Pennsylvania to Texas, I can say this devotion was one I really needed to read. I love how the related Scripture passage is Proverbs 18:24.

Here are some photographs of some of my favorite devotions.

Click here or on the graphic below if you would like the opportunity to win your own copy of Always Enough, Never Too Much.

Win 1 of 5 Copies of God Loves Mommy & Me

 

Disclaimer

 

Review of Northwest Treasures’ Geology and Apologetics

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We recently had the opportunity two review the online class Geology and Apologetics as well as the introductory video Taking the Mystery Out of Geology from Northwest Treasures.  For our family, it is not just enough to believe in the Bible, but we beleive our children should also be able to state what they believe and why.  My children also have expressed an interest in learnning about geology.  We loved how the courses integrated both geology and apologetics.  Apologetics is the reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.  The courses we reviewed were online courses that required an Internet connection to access them.

You can read all about Northwest Treasures by clicking here.  Northwest Treasures offers online courses, kits and curriculum and more.  The company offers opportunities for children from grades kindergarten through twelfth grade.  From field trips to Yellowstone National Park under the guidance of Patrick Nurre, the opporutnities and products offer a wealth of experiences to capture your child’s imagination.

The first product we reviewed was “Taking the Mystery Out of Geology”.  According to their website, “This short, 20-minute class from Patrick Nurre is a gold mine of information that will help you to understand geology from a Biblical perspective. You will learn 13 terms that will clarify just what is the science of geology, and what is the philosophy of it.”  Our family found this description to be accurate.  One of the things we absolutely loved about this course was the amazing photographs that were included.  It is meant for grades 5 and up and I felt this was a good range for this video.  However, I believe if you have younger children, they could benefit from listening along with their older siblings.

The second course we received to review was “Geology and Apologetics”.  This is a six-part course, again online, that includes six videos that is meant for grades 8 to adult.  Again, we feel this is an appropriate age range.  Each lesson includes a video to watch that range from around 13 minutes to about 22 minutes long.  The videos include the following topics:

  • Lesson One: Knowing the Scriptures in the Secular Geological Age
  • Lesson Two: Clarifying the Conflict Between Science and the Bible
  • Lesson Three:The Genealogies and Chronologies of Genesis. Are They Accurate and Reliable?
  • Lesson Four: Evolutionary Gaps in the Fossil Record, How Serious Are They?
  • Lesson Five: Dinosaur-to-Bird Evolution, the Story That Never Seems to Die
  • Lesson Six: Time and Chronology in the Secular Geological Age

Each video includes discussion questions at the end.  We were able to watch all the videos, and I have to say if you are looking for high-end expensively produced videos, this may not be for you.  If on the other hand, you are more concerned with content, beautiful photographs and Scriptures to back up what is being said, this will be perfect for your family.

Our family loved how Patrick Nurre seamlessly weaved Scripture, geology, apologetics and real locations into a breath-taking video shots, such as this stained glass window below.

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Another scene that caputred our attention was this one with Hebrew wrting.

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Finally, some other photographs that captured our attention inlcuded these:

Along with these scenes:

The maps, charts, graphs and pictures Patrick Nurre uses during these videos reinforce everything he is saying.  We loved how everything he said was backed up with Scriptures and facts.  It is easy to see he loves what he does and loves sharing that knowledge with others.  Our favorite lesson was Lesson Three:The Genealogies and Chronologies of Genesis. Are They Accurate and Reliable?  This may be as a result of my husband, an ordained Primitive Baptist Preacher, spending so much time studying this geneaolgy through the years himself and sharing it with us.

For our first time through these videos, we decide to just answer the discussion questions orally rather than having anyone write anything down.  I felt it would give more involvement from our three sons and our daughter.  Moreover, we planned on just using this for enrichment rather than actual course credit. I feel like I want to print out notebooking pages for the vocabulary words, timelines for the time periods and also pages suitable for answering the questions and actually taking notes during the videos.  So I will be back with an update on how that goes and to share some of the pages.

Here are some pictures of the discussion questions for the 6th videos.  Each question comes up individually and you have to manually pause the video so there is time to answer the questions.  When we go back through the videos again, I will provide everyone with any questions, vocabulary, and Scripture references that are utilized in the videos.

In addition to the online classes, Northwest Treasures also offers physical courses such as the high school level Northwest Treasures Curriculum Project or for younger students the Geology for “Little Eyes” series.

You can find Northwest Treasures on social media here on Facebook and here on Pinterest.  Also, Northwest Treasures may be found on SchoolhouseTeachers.com.  I must say I loved that we had the ability to stream the videos through our television using our Roku device rather than having to watch on a small computer screen or hook our computer up to our television using an HDMI cord.

You should check out Northwest Treasures for yourself if you are looking for online courses that include geology classes, Apologetics, or dinasours.  You can read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew including Geology and Apologetics or Dinasours and the Bible by clicking here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1)

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In this age of technology it is becoming more and more important for students to learn some basic programming skills so I was thrilled to be able to review Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1) from Code for Teens.  Ever since our family joined the Home School Review Crew a litte over a year and a half ago, I have wanted at least one of children to learn to code, if for no other reason than to be able to help with our blog.  Our seventeen-year-old son carries the torch in this area.  He is willing to take the time and energy to learn to code in order to help me.

With software engineering being among the fastest growing career paths around today, I feel like I would be doing our youngest son a disservice if I did not expose him to coding.  The Code for Teens website states, ” This book is written with the goal of teaching young teenagers to code without ANY parent or teacher involvement. Important concepts are introduced gradually with ample review and many drills and small challenges to ensure that the child understands the concept fully before moving on.”  I loved the idea of my son being able to work independently.

The book was written by Jeremy Moritz and illustrated by his wife Christine Moritz.  I have to say I absolutely love the illustrations.  You can read the introduction and first chapter here on the website just above the superhero looking graphic.  Because JavaScript is the most common language for computer programming, students learn about it in this book.  The book is basically designed for anyone who has at least a sixth-grade reading leve- so basically older children and teenagers.

The book contains an introduction, a section for parents, and then starts off slowly and builds through ten chapters that cover a variety of topics and include such chapter titles as “Hello World!”, “Time to Operate”, “Comments on String Section”, “Projects Galore and More”.  The book also includes a conclusion, answers and a glossary.

Each chapter includes reading, activities, a quiz, key concepts, and drills.  The very first chapter required our son to find the average age of our family using coding.  He really enjoyed this.  Starting with chapter 2, the review is cummulative.  In Chapter 2, the learner works on a project which builds on the concepts introduced in the chapter.

So far our son has completed Chapter 2 and is working on Chapter 3.  Because he already has coding experience, he felt like the book started off a little bit slow for him.  However, a child with no coding experience will probably find this book perfect.  I had him glance through the book and he stated chapter 5 begins to reach a level that will hold his interest more.  You can find Code for Teens on Facebook here.

So far our son is really enjoying the book and I am enjoying seeing what he is creating.  Even though we are off to a slow start, I  can not wait to see what else he learns.  Code for Teens is worth checking out for your own family if your family is interested in learning more about computer programming, coding, or JavaScript.  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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Review of Progeny Press’ Perelandra-eguide

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Progeny Press makes earning High School Literature credits easy with high school level study guides such as  Perelandra – eGuide.  When I saw the opportunity come up to review this product, I was thrilled.  I thought my science fiction loving 17-year-old son would possibly love reviewing this product.  When looking for literature curriculum, I want products that include Christian values and beliefs.  I also prefer literature guides that utilize an entire book, rather than ones with a lot of pieces and parts from different literature choices.  I also prefer ones that have lessons plans and involve critical thinking skills. For this review we received the e-guide for Perelandra.  This means we received a downloadable study guide along wth the downloadable answer key.

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Progeny Press is a Christian company that provides literature study guides and e-guides for Kindergarten through twelfth grade. They offer a variety of selections and choices.  The guide we received included activities ranging from vocabulary terms to critical thinking questions to essays and more.  I really loved the study guide included vocabulary, reading comprehension, anaylsis and more.

Because I typically prefer to know what my children are studying and learning about, I decided to work through the Perelandra – eGuide myself before having my son start it.  While I am very familiar with C.S. Lewis, this series was not one I had really heard of , so I was interested in learning more about it.

 

I felt like we were at a slight disadvantage because we had not read the first book in the series.  So I really wish we could have gone through a study guide for the first book in the series before beginning this one.  My recommendation would definitelty be to familiarize yourself with the first book in the series before beginning the guide.  For convenience, we decided to download the actual book for Perelandra by C. S. Lewis on our Kindle app so we could take it wherever we happened to be going. I also downloaded the e-guide and the answer keys on my iPad in iBooks so we could travel with it as well.

 

The guide is meant to be completed in about eight to ten weeks.  Since it is summer here in the United States we went at a slightly slower pace.  We decided to read the chapter(s) in the book before we worked on the questions in the e-guide.  So one day we would read and then we would take the next few days to complete the vocabulary or other questions in the e-guide.  I encouraged our son to take his time with the analysis questions.  If you have a student who finds answering in-depth analysis questions, you many need to provide extra guidance for your learner.

 

You can find Progeny Press on social media at:

Facebook: https://facebook.com/progenypress
Twitter: https://twitter.com/progenypress
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/progenypress
YouTube: https://youtube.com/progenypress

All in all, my son and I have been very pleased with this product and are glad we had the opportunity to use it.  You should definitely check it out for yourself.

If you would like to read more reviews by the Home School Review Crew of this or other products by Progeny Press, click here or on the graphic below.

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Thoughts for Tuesday, July 10, 2018

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This past week our son started working as a Certified Nursing Assistant.  He seems to really be doing well and enjoying his work.  Because of the 4th of July, we did not have band or piano lessons.  We celebrated Independence Day with a quiet day at home.

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Here are some tasty dishes we had during the past week.  We had spaghetti with homemade sauce, stuffed shells, manicotti, and shrimp kebabs.  All in all it was a good week of eating.

 

Over the weekend, we got in contact with a Primitive Baptist Church in our area and decided to attend there this Sunday.  Here is a picture of the hymnal they use.  The church is having a four-day meeting this weekend, so we plan on going to the meeting Thursday night.   One of my favorite things about attending a Primitive Baptist Church is that all the singing is acapella.  So the harmony of voices tends to be amazing.  This church was no exception.  It was the first time in over 4 years that we were able to attend a Primitive Baptist Church and we look forward to returning to visit.  Only our youngest son was able to attend on Sunday, but it was still a wonderful time.

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One of the other good things about Primitive Baptist Churches is the way they welcome visitors.  Although we did not know anyone when we walked in, we walked out feeling like we were part of their family.  The other good thing is that when they serve a meal (which they did after the services), everyone is always welcome to come and the food is always amazing.

So what has been 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 have been up to, click here or on the graphic below.

Review of The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective

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Looking for homeschool art history curriculum?  Let me tell you about The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective created by The Master and His Apprentices.  With a daughter who loves everything about art, I am always on the lookout for new art programs that will inspire and motivate our daughter.  For this review we received the downloadable version of this curriculum.  We received Print/Photocopy rights for our family.  I really appreciate this feature.  It means if our older sons wanted to do this program, they also could.

The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective offers a product that is suitable for adults, high school students, parents and artists in a wonderfully inspiring program.  For this review, we received the Digital Edition of the Textbook and Teacher’s Guide.  With the textbook being 380 pages and the Teacher’s Guide being 116 pages, I decided it was in our family’s best interest to download the textbook to our iPad and then print out the Teacher’s Guide.   I made this decision because the textbook contains a tremendous amount of artwork which is in color.  I felt like reading the textbook on our tablet would work fine for our family.

The course is designed for a chapter a week.  My original intention was for our daughter and I to work through the course together.  Even though I claim a limited to non-existent talent in art, this course really excited me.  This course is meant to be a full high school credit when completed.  I love that there is no nudity or other objectionable material included.

The Teacher’s Guide includes what to read, discussion questions, student worksheets, exams and more.  It includes instructions for teachers in classroom settings, Home school parents, record keeping forms (including attendance and grade sheets),a syllabus, terms to describe art, Art History Paper Instructions, weekly discussion question worksheets and exams along with an answer key.

 

I decided the best way to approach The Master and His Apprentices was for my daughter and I to read the textbook on our own and then discuss the worksheets and other questions in the Teacher’s Guide.  This Christian Art History textbook covers an introduction to art, Creation, Ancient Cultures, Classical Antiquity, Middle Ages, the Renissance, and Baroque Era & Beyond.  There are also appendixes that includes essays, a period chart, a timeline, pieces by location, terms to describe art, and even an index.

Because of some things going on in our life for the past few weeks that involved me doing a lot of driving, I decided to have her ride with me and we discussed the material orally rather than having her complete the worksheets by hand.  I felt this gave us the opportunity to go more in depth than what would have happened on paper.  Now that life has settled down, we will probably use a combination of oral and written formats for the worksheets.  Then after we were home, she filled out the worksheets.All of the questions for the worksheets are open-ended rather than multiple choice which I like; since it makes her think more. For the exams there are matching, multiple choice, fill-in-the-blanks, and short essay questions.  The first exam comes at the end of Chapter 7, so we are not quite there yet.  Here is a completed worksheet.

 

As our daughter and I worked through the chapters, I feel like we both enjoyed a greater appreciation of how art and history work together.  We also loved the variety of artistic works included in the textbook.

 

 

You can find The Master and His Apprentices on social media at the following links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Master-and-His-Apprentices-245504999349223/
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/themasterandhisapprentices/boards/

My daughter and I are really enjoying The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective.   So if you are looking for a homeschool art history curriculum, check it out 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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Monday Musings for June 4, 2018

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So for the last two weeks, our youngest son has suffered from the lack of musical classes.  But today, his suffering ended.  The summer band program began today.  Our 17-year-old son and I had the fun of attending our first piano class.  Now I should say, I took piano lessons when I was like 6 or 7 years old and it was only for a few weeks or months at the most (I remember taking the lessons, but not how long).  It was one of the few regrets I have in my life that my parents let me quit.

For most of my life, I have wanted to pursue the art of piano playing.  Our youngest son wanted to learn the harp first, but finding a harp teacher is quite a challenge.  So off and on he has tried teaching himself to play the piano.  We also have found people to teach piano right as we were about to change duty stations.  So when we saw the opportunity to take lessons this summer together, we had to try it.

So today we had our first lesson.  I love that we are able to take classes together.  Our band instructor made the lessons fun and enjoyable.  While the class we are taking is for adults, the book we are using is for children.  But I found it fun to use – especially since it was just my son and I in the class.  So stay tuned the next six weeks to hear how the lessons are going.

 

Here is a video of my son playing.

 

I am looking forward to Wednesday when our son starts beginner band for the clarinet.  Plus our second son, our youngest son and myself will begin band camp.  Then later that afternoon my husband and my husband will play for Advanced Strings.

On a different note, our oldest son started a new adventure today. He began pursuing the goal of becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant.  Through a friend, we found out about the opportunity and Friday we found out he had been accepted.  Today he had his first day of classes.  He has three weeks of classes and upon successful completion of that, he can take the Texas state exam to be come a certified nursing assistant. He seems to be really excited about this opportunity. He was really excited to try on the scrubs they issued him today for the “on the floor” portion of the training. It is going to be interesting to hear all the things he is learning and wants to share with the family. In the meantime, school is continuing for our youngest ones for the summer. We will see how things go for them all.

Also, tonight we canned our first batch of sauerkraut for the year.  There is just nothing like the taste of sauerkraut.  I am so excited about what we have been able to can so far this year.

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So how are things going where you are?

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