Our Daughter’s 16th Birthday

 

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Sixteen years ago today we welcomed our baby girl into the world. As the youngest of four children and the only girl, she has lived a rather pampered lifestyle. For a number of years, whenever we went anywhere Dad would carry her on his back or shoulders. Then when Dad could not handle it anymore, her oldest two brothers took up the cause and carried her. To this day, I often find her trying to catch rides on one of her brother’s backs. Of course, now it is not surprising to see her attempting to carry her on their backs.

Recently I have been reading and seeing a lot of posts regarding fathers and their daughters and I can not help but reflect on my daughter and husband’s relationship with each other. I think it is safe to say she truly is Daddy’s little girl and princess. She holds a privileged spot in the house. It is rare for her father to tell her no. He often will go out of the way for her. Through the years, he has bought her special clothes, special food and taken her places just for her. One of the first things he ever bought her was Ella Bella Bear. He had to go to a conference while we were stationed at a reserve center in North Carolina. The conference location was Raleigh. So he took my daughter and me with him. She was all of about two years old. Directly across from the hotel where the conference was, a mall could be found. We went in the mall and found a “Build-A-Bear Workshop” and of course, our daughter came out with a bear. Fourteen years later, Ella Bella Bear is still a vital and valuable member of our family. Boo rarely goes anywhere without her.

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Then while we were stationed in Pennsylvania, my husband once again had to go to a conference. Once again, he took my daughter and me with him. This time food was the important story. While we were there, we took her to several different places to eat. She was roughly 12 or 13 at the time. We had steak, Mexican, and one other type of food I can not remember. But she really enjoyed herself, especially with the chocolate cake that we ate.

Last year there was a day where our daughter stayed up all night and her dad and I woke up early. So we wound up going out to eat at IHOP and then driving to San Antonio to go grocery shopping. We ate lunch at Olive Garden and she had a fantastic time.

 

Since the beginning of the year, our daughter has been playing the violin while her father plays the violin and her oldest brother plays the cello.  Now her youngest brother has started playing the viola and I have begun playing the violin.  So we are having fun playing together.

So I want to wish a very happy birthday to my beautiful baby girl on her 16th birthday!

 

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

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Special Offer from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

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We have just opened a contest that will run from now through the end of November focused on sharing your favorite holiday traditions! There are two parts to the contest. In October, come in and share your favorite holiday traditions! Then in November, come back and vote on which is your favorite. The winner will win a Kindle Fire Tablet and will be announced at the start of December.

Join us for a Holiday Traditions Contest in SchoolhouseTeachers.com Community Forum

  • Share your favorite holiday traditions in October!
  • In November come back to vote on your favorite.
  • Winner will receive a Kindle Fire Tablet – just in time for Christmas gift shopping!

The SchoolhouseTeachers.com Community Forum is a private group filled with 7,500 member moms and dads. To gain access, you must be a member of SchoolhouseTeachers.com. You will find encouragement, fellowship, local parents wishing to meet up, recipe sharing, discussions of the over 400 courses on SchoolhouseTeachers.com and more.

Members of SchoolhouseTeachers.com can access the forum using the link: SchoolhouseFamilies.com. Not a member? Join NOW during our FALLGIFTS sale and get a year-long membership for only $139 along with a TOTE and THREE back issues of our beautiful print The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine! Use coupon code FALLGIFTS

31 Scriptures of Love, Faith, Joy, and Hope – Day 10

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Today is day 10 of my series of 31 Scriptures of Love, Faith, Joy, and Hope.  This Scripture is found in the book of Titus.  Here is the Scripture.

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So what is going on in your world?  I would love to hear from you.  If you would like to read all my posts in this series, click here.

Review of Kingdom File Series from Barbour Publishing

 

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 Barbour Publishing sent us two new titles Who Was Jonah?  and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? which are part of their Kingdom Files series.  These Christian books for kids are definitely worth reading. Our family has been enjoying their books for quite a while. So we were excited to have the opportunity to review two books from this new series.

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Kingdom Files is a Bible-based book series for children ages 8 to 12 years old. Every book in this series examines the life of a Biblical character and helps children become excited about learning about key people in the Bible who were part of God’s plan and kingdom. The books are written by Matt Koceich, who is an elementary school teacher and creator of the “Imagine” series of books. He makes his home with his family in Texas.

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Each book has a FACT FILE – which includes general information about the Bible character. This includes their name, what work they did (their occupation), where they lived, what work they did for the kingdom of God, a timeline along with key statistics. Next, there is an ACTION FILE – this is where the Biblical story is told in a way the child reading the book can understand. Finally, there is a POWER FILE – where the main lesson of the story is broken down to where the child can see and understand that the Bible stories from ancient times do apply even in today’s time.

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One of our family’s favorite parts of both books are the fantastic line art drawings that help capture the imagination of the readers. The books are written with a font that is easy to read regardless of age. Personally, I think these books would be perfect to use as a read-aloud for the entire family – regardless of age. Our youngest child is 15-years-old, so we each read the books independently. However, if she was in the age range of 8 to 12 years old, I would probably have required her to read some parts of the books out loud to me. I also would have had notebook sheets and possibly coloring pages to go along with the stories as well. Or since our daughter loves to draw, I may have had her draw what inspired her as I read the story aloud to her.

The possibilities are endless. “Who Was Jonah? examines the life of Jonah beginning when God wanted him to become a prophet. Rather than doing God’s will, Jonah instead decided to run away. Matt Koceich does an excellent job of telling the story in a way that captures the reader’s attention. He also does an excellent job of explaining ideas that may be hard for children to understand – such as when the sailors casting lots (meaning using either sticks with markings on them or small, flat stones with symbols on each one. The descriptions and explanations are perfect for children of the intended age range. The clue boxes are easy to spot and provide an excellent opportunity for students to engage in a meaningful way with the book. I could see these being used for oral narration, writing prompts or even family discussions at the dinner table.  There are even note pages that the reader can use to record their own thoughts, the memory verses and more to help with retention.

Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus?  examines the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus played in the Kingdom of God.  It discusses how the angel Gabriel visited Mary in her hometown.  It also discusses how she and Joseph probably felt about what was going on as a result of the pregnancy.  It goes through Mary’s encounter with Elizabeth – her cousin.  It examines the sacred night when Jesus was born and how it came to pass that Jesus was born in a manger.  Our family loved how Bible references were included throughout the book.  It talks about the magi, King Herod, Jesus at the temple when he was about 12 years old, and more.  One of our favorite parts of the book was the wedding at Cana where Jesus turned water into wine at his mother’s request.  We appreciated how the book discusses how Jesus wanted to honor God’s wishes before his earthly mother’s wishes.  But he did end up performing the miracle in the end.

The Power-Up Files at the end of the book provide a Bible verse to memorize along with informative commentary.  There are 10 files for each book.  One of our family’s favorite Power Up Files is the one entitled “God doesn’t Abandon”.  It talks about how Satan tries to convince us that God does not care about us, but Jonah’s story proves that God does provide.  It uses Hebrews 11:1 as the memory verse.  I have included a graphic of this verse below.  Our family felt like the amount of information along with the memory verse provided a perfect balance for children who are ages 8 to 12 years old.

Hebrews 11_1 King James Version (KJV)11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

You can find Barbour Publishing on social media on  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.  So if you are looking for Christian books for kids, and especially biographies for kids, check out the Kingdom Series, including Who was Jonah? and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus?   for yourself.  These books from Barbour Publishing by Matt Koceich are definitely worth reading.

If you would like to read reviews from other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Home School Review Crew Blog Hop – Motivation Mondays

Dear Homeschool Mom,

If you are having what you consider a “bad start” to your week?  Or if you feel like you are failing your children (or at the minimum not doing everything you should), take a deep breath,  say a prayer and realize we have all been there and felt that way.

Homeschooling can and will look different for every family and that’s okay!  What works for one family or even one of your children versus another child may be different.  It is okay.  If you feel overwhelmed and out of sorts, take a day to just spend time reconnecting with your children.

Also, for the mom who maybe is entering your first year of high school, again take a deep breath and don’t become overwhelmed by the choices and what other homeschooling friends or acquaintances are doing.  Breath in and realize you are the one who knows your child best.  As the mom of two homeschool graduates and two in high school currently, I know it can get stressful.  But, you can do this.

If you would like to visit the other Home School Review Crew members who are participating in this Blog Hop, here is the list.

Angie @ Run Ran Family Adventures & Learning
Annette @ A Net in Time
Ashley @ Gift of Chaos
Betty @ Let’s Get Real
Brenda @ Counting Pinecones
Carol @ Home Sweet Life
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

Christine @ Christine Howard
Christy @ The Simple Homemaker
Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag
Debra @ Footprints in the Butter
Diana @ Homeschool Review
Felicia @ Homeschool 4 Life
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine
Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life

Jennifer @ Dear Homeschooler
Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Karen @ Tots and Me…Growing Up Together
Kellyann @ Walking Home …
Kimberley @ Vintage Blue Suitcase
Kristen @ A Mom’s Quest to Teach
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Laura @ Four Little Penguins
Linda @ Apron Strings & other things

Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Margaret @ Creative Madness Mama
Marla @ Jump Into Genius
Meredith @ Powerline Productions: Being World Changers/Raising World Changers
Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Missica @ Through The Open Window
Monique @ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling

Nicole @ Bless Their Hearts Mom
Patti @ Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy
Rebekah @ There Will Be a $5 Charge For Whining
Rodna @ Training Children up for Christ
Stacy @ A Homemakers Heart
Tess @ Circling Through This Life
Wendy @ Life at Rossmont
Yvie @ Gypsy Road

If you would like to read other posts for this post, 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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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.

 

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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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