Today's Wisdom

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tenacious Thursday #7



Checking In :)  Down another pound this week!

Fitbit steps - Got my 4 times in at least.



This week truly doesn't show what I've done! We've been painting my son's apartment and I'm sore everywhere - it just doesn't register many steps evidently!



Ah man, moved down a number among my friends - you guys need to just sit down once in a while, lol!!  Just kidding - keep me accountable!  I really increased my overall steps so I am happy with that too.  



Other goals:
  • try hard to hit my step goal of 7,000 daily steps at least 4 times per week
  • water intake - doing better
  • weigh in - 216 - Total loss/gain = -2
Thanks for those of you joining in with me and keeping me accountable!  How was your week?  What were your accomplishments?  Let me know!  It's never too late to join in! Let's keep each other accountable!

Friend me on Fitbit  - melissa@gchomeschool.com



Monday, June 13, 2016

Review of Notgrass' Exploring Government


We are huge fans of all Notgrass curriculum so when the opportunity came up to review Exploring Government, we jumped at the chance. Timberdoodle sent us both the Exploring Government book and the accompanying book We Hold These Truths. We also added in the student quiz and exam book (not shown). All of the books are paperback books.

The Exploring Government course is intended for high school and your student will earn a half year credit in government upon completion. The lessons are found in the Exploring Government student book. There are 15 units that are clearly broken down into 75 daily lessons. The book is written to the student and each unit contains contains activity ideas which are often essay prompts to complete. At the end of each lesson students are given what pages they are to read from We Hold These Truths.

We Hold These Truths contains a collection of historical documents, essays, and speeches in American government. Both books contain black and white images sprinkled throughout the text. Only the outside covers are currently in color. A new edition with hardcover binding and color images is set to be released in August, 2016.

If you add in the student quiz and exam book, students answer questions after each lesson and complete a quiz at the end of the unit. Units include 5 lessons each.  There are also 3 exams. An answer key is also provided. 

As with all their courses, this one is written with a Biblical worldview so not only will students learn about the operations of the Federal, state, and local governments but they will also explore the Biblical pattern for government.  

History is my 10th grade son's favorite subject and he has already completed Notgrass' Exploring America curriculum. It is also written by a veteran homeschool dad. So far, Stephen has loved anything we have used from Notgrass.  It's simplistic, organized, faith-based, and makes learning history and government not so intimidating by breaking it down for students.  By the way, he can often be found reading just like this!  


The Exploring Government curriculum package currently sells for $49.95 and the optional student quiz and exam pack sells for $7.95.  You can find out more about those here.  

See sample pages below:
This course is also a part of Timberdoodle's 2016 Eleventh-Grade Curriculum Kit.

**I received a free copy of this product through Timberdoodle in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Review of Puzzleball Globe


Today's review was the perfect summer activity for us. Timberdoodle sent us this 3D PuzzleBall Globe to review.



However, your puzzleball globe doesn't start out that way, of course. It contains 180 puzzle pieces and a display stand. There is no glue required to assemble this puzzle - only willing hands are needed!

The puzzle pieces are made of a sturdy plastic. Each piece is numbered making this puzzle so simple to complete for younger children. We found that the pieces snap into place fairly easily. They have a curve to them which eventually helps to form the finished globe. The only tricky portion is when you reach the top but I would not really call that part difficult at all. It is recommended for ages 8 and up.


Ruler shown in picture is not necessary!  I just think it happened to be laying on the table when they began assembly.  :)





We found this to be the perfect summertime project because it was simple and fun. Not only that though. Now, we have an actual globe that we can use when we start back with our "official" school time! We will be studying lots of countries and cultures so this will be the perfect accessory for our studies. 



This was a totally unique product for us as we have never seen any type of 3D puzzle before. Stephen and Sarah had this project knocked out in no time. They are both well above the age level but found this to be a fun afternoon activity for them both. After they finished, we all were discussing how we should have recorded the process for you to show how simple and easy it was. Well, Sarah asked the next day if she could take the globe apart and redo it so that she could record it for you guys. Now, you know this is a fun project when your children ask to do it again! So, here is her time lapse showing just how simple and fast this project can be to complete.


For older children, you could also try putting the globe together without using the numbers on the back. That will be a great review after we learn each country next year too!

This puzzleball globe is currently selling for $24.99 at Timberdoodle and is also included in their 2016 3rd grade curriculum kit.

**I received a free copy of this product through Timberdoodle in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Review of Lilla Rose Inc. Tiger Lily Clip #prettyhair


We were recently sent this beautiful hair clip from Jennifer Minks Miller with Lilla Rose, Inc. The little round beads add an elegant touch and the clip itself is extremely durable. It has held up well for us so far and my daughter and I both use it often!



I used the chart and decided to chose the medium size thinking it would work for both my daughter and myself.   My hair is long and thick.  Her hair is not quite as thick or long as mine but it is definitely not fine either. We both have curly/wavy hair as well. 




We have had a blast playing around with different hair styles using our new clip.  The clip itself is so unique from anything we've ever used in our hair.  It really bends to allow it to go around your hair. The price varies depending upon the size but this medium clip currently sells for $16.  

My favorite way to wear the clip was in a pony tail.  The clip takes a pony tail from drab to stylish in seconds and is just as simple to add to your hair as an elastic holder.  I even went for a jog with mine in and it stayed in my hair beautifully without slipping.  I would need a larger size to fit all my hair in the bun styles.  Even when I straighten my hair, I found that I would need a bigger size to put all my hair inside.  



The medium size worked really well with several different styles for my daughter.  Her favorite way to wear it was with the bun style.  




I also feel like I should mention that the packaging was also beautiful with great attention to detail.  I love when companies go the extra mile with their products.  




There are so many different styles of clips that I am sure you can find one for almost every occasion!  These adorable flip flop and sunflower ones have caught my eye for summer - so pretty!!



Find out more at these websites:

https://www.lillarose.biz/prettyhair
https://www.pinterest.com/mommiejennm/pretty-hair/https://www.facebook.com/LillaRosePrettyHair/


*Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Review of Daily 6-Trait Writing Grade 6


It is well known that the way you get better at anything is through frequent practice. Writing has never been a strong subject area in our homeschool so having a resource to break down the writing process into bite size chunks is a must for us. Evan-Moor's Daily 6-Trait Writing from Timberdoodle has fit that description completely.



The Daily 6-Trait Writing book comes with 125 daily lessons in a 160 page paperback workbook. The six traits of writing are content, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, voice, and conventions. You will spend 5 weeks in each of the first five traits with the conventions (correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation) taught in each lesson. The workbook comes in perforated pages making it easy to photocopy but we just used the book as is since I will not have another child who will use it.

If you have concerns about your student looking at the teacher key, you may want to photocopy it. Course work is available on a Monday-Friday schedule but can easily be adapted to a 4 day school week. This workbook is for 6th graders but there are also workbooks available for K-5. There are 4 worksheets to complete each week which are broken into daily assignments and they take around 15-20 minutes to complete. On the 5th day, the student is given a writing prompt. Prompts correspond to the lessons learned for the week.


The teachers guide is also in the workbook at the beginning of each lesson and guides the parent/teacher in what to say to help the child brainstorm the lessons taught. So if you are at a loss for how to teach writing to your student, these pages will walk you through the process completely.




The concept is pretty simple. The use of daily writing in small increments has helped Sarah gain confidence in her writing. Each week builds upon the previous week so there is built in review as well. This workbook currently sells for $26.99 for a full year of writing curriculum. You can use it to supplement your current writing curriculum but I think it would be great on its own as well.   You can also see sample pages

**I received a free copy of this product through Timberdoodle in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Tenacious Thursday #6



6 weeks in already?  That sure went by fast.  Here's where I am.

Fitbit steps - How I finished the week last week.



I finished 12th among my friends list last week - hoping to make it into the top 10 this week!


Here is this week, Sunday - Thursday. Today was a bust but hopefully I can finish strong!




Other goals:
  • try hard to hit my step goal of 7,000 daily steps at least 4 times per week
  • water intake - doing better
  • weigh in - 217 - down 1 pound
Thanks for those of you joining in with me and keeping me accountable!  How was your week?  What were your accomplishments?  Let me know!  It's never too late to join in! Let's keep each other accountable!

Friend me on Fitbit  - melissa@gchomeschool.com



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Review of The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle {Shiloh Run Press Review}

Shiloh Run Press is coming out with a a new middle grade fiction series and we had the opportunity to read and review the first book, The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins.

Fiction is not normally my favorite genre when reading books even read alouds but the cover and excerpt of this one had me intrigued from the beginning. Since we're on summer break with lighter learning going on, I thought it might be exciting to veer from the usual as well.
The Glass Castle {Shiloh Run Press Review}


Book Details
This book has durable hard covers with beautiful imagery of the setting on the covers. It is broken down into 41 chapters and contains 256 pages. The chapters are quick to read and the font size is pretty large. The inside has no pictures. The Glass Castle is currently on sale for $11.24 here. You can also read the first five chapters here.


This book is considered middle grade fiction so the recommended ages are 10-14.  

Storyline and Characters

From the very beginning pages, this book takes you on a mysterious adventure.  In the opening chpater, Avery, who is one of the main characters, is kidnapped on her thirteenth birthday!  She also has her three year old brother with her and has no idea what has happened to him.  The story continues to unfold as she is taken to a castle where she founds out that she isn't the only thirteen year old in the kingdom to be kidnapped.  Ironically, the castle is being run entirely by the thirteen year old teenagers who are all also orphans.  Avery's mother had disappeared mysteriously herself one day and her father was left behind in their house when she was kidnapped or so she thought.  As a child, Avery's mother had told her stories about this very castle and now those stories were coming true so she digs down deep in her memories to try to help all the children escape.  Her mother had often told her of an underground tunnel system so she continues to pry, investigate, and snoop to find answers to the many questions she has about the castle.  Where were the underground tunnels located? How could she gain access to them?  Is her brother alive?  Will she find her mother?  Her father?  Will she be able to help all the children escape?

Avery is quickly befriended as soon as she enters the castle by Kate, who is full of mystery herself and seems to know many answers to the castle questions Avery has, yet she doesn't ever reveal all that she fully knows. There is a background simple romance story that also develops in the book between Avery and Tuck.  Tuck is obviously the leader among the kids and is even elected their king in a kid replica of the real king's wedding.  Can you guess who he chooses as his queen?  Yes, Avery. For the children's ages, we thought this was a bit much and could have been left at a friendship level. However, this is not an over the top romance in any way.

While all of this is playing out in the kids side of the castle, the adult king has his own share of drama to deal with.  His story unfolds to the reader through the vents as the children have found how to spy on him.  The king is sick and rumor has it that thirteen years ago, his previous wife died after childbirth and so did their child. The king is now being pressured to marry a new queen, Angelina, because she is threatening him with "secrets".  We don't know what those secrets are but we do find out that she wants to be the sole heir of the kingdom and there just may be an heir to the king already living...among the children of the castle!

The Glass Castle is full of adventure, pain, mystery, and suspense which leaves its readers hanging on to every word.  We read this book in its entirety in three days and wish we had the next one already!  I have already added it to my buy list.  

The book also contains spiritual elements scattered throughout the pages. There are mentions of prayer, God being in control, The Bible, and chapel meetings.

Warning:  This is a series of books so if you are looking to find all the answers by the end of this one, you will be sadly mistaken as I was.  You will definitely need to read the next book in the series as you are left dangling from a cliff at the end of this one!  Maybe that's why I never liked fiction.


I read this book aloud to my 12 year old daughter who was just as enthralled with the storyline as I was. She too was disappointed that we didn't find out much when we finished the book but it was a great way to leave you wanting more. Here are some of our favorite quotes:
  • "Even royalty knows that God exists among the humble."
  • "You never know what burdens people are carrying," Avery's mother had always told her. "Be nice to everyone."
  • "Silly Avery.  We don't worship to reflect on ourselves. We worship to reflect on God."
The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins, is a fantastic Christian fiction for kids book, from Shiloh Run Press. We would both highly recommend it.

The Glass Castle {Shiloh Run Press Review}

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