Week 6 flew by in a flash as we headed into break week - surprising! Normally that week drags! Our break week flew by as well. We took a fun trip to a new to us museum/zoo/aquarium. This place had it all!
We also participated in our local See You At The Pole - what a blessing to see students praying for one another!
You may have heard me say this each time a new audio drama is produced but this one is so far my favorite. I remember my oldest son reading this book a few years ago and he loved it. That means a lot coming from someone who is not a big fan of reading. So when the opportunity came up to review this, we were all excited. We listened to each CD in one sitting because we just could not stop! In this historical fiction adventure, you follow a sixteen year old prince, Amuba, and his protector, Jethro, as they are kidnapped from their land all the while no one knowing they have kidnapped a prince. You will follow along as God provides the path of protection and salvation for each of these men. First, by allowing an Egyptian priest who secretly believes in the one true God to bring them in as his servants. Second, providing protection for them over and over again as they find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy against the priest and his family. Lastly, as they fight together to capture what rightly belonged to them to begin with. Where is the cat in all this you might ask? Well, the climax begins with the cat and an arrow. I will tell you that the Egyptians considered cats sacred. True to Henty's style, The Cat of Bubastes contains adventure, adversity, a hint of romance, all on top of betrayal, conspiracy, defeat, and triumph. Now you can see why we had such a hard time stopping once we began! Again, these dramas are not just audio books being read to you but complete theater productions with exciting sound effects!
We also received access to special bonuses in addition to the CDs. We received a Study Guide, a mp3 soundtrack, 2 mp3 files of the audio drama,The Cat of Bubastes ebook with beautiful color pictures, a behind-the-scenes video which we all thought was so fun to see, and a couple of printable posters including this beautiful inspirational verse poster.
I love that we can easily transport The Cat of Bubastes. We listened to the CD's on the way to and from basketball practice and then discussed the questions from the study guide when we returned home.
There are 29 tracks/lessons in study guide so we are completing 1 track/lesson per day and listening to the track again if needed. I love the fact that the study guide is made so user friendly by marking each track with the time stamp.
I still can't rave enough about the full color guide and era background pictures making it so much more fun to use. I don't know why but we all love our resources in color. We have never printed the guide out because we just answer the questions straight from the file on my laptop.
Questions are broken down into 3 sets:
The Listening Well questions - comprehension questions
The Thinking Further questions - these require a little more thought, sometimes finding places on a map, and student's interpretations
The Defining Words - vocabulary words
I also loved that we could find the spelling of the character names on the study guide too since we were dealing with very unfamiliar names.
On some tracks were additional expand your learning categories that students could read/do to enhance their studies further such as pharaoh information, recipes, maps, additional resource links, pictures of the historical period, historical background information, and more.
The study guide also includes 3 Bible studies with tons of Scripture verses for students to look up. We took one statement each day and looked up the verses together as a family.
Our entire family loved this audio drama and would highly recommend any of the audio dramas produced so far! If you are looking for a way to make history come alive, you will definitely want to check these out.
My daughter now has own kids email! She has been sending and receiving emails with the Annual Subscription from KidsEmail.org. When you turn 13 in our home, you not only step into the teenage years but it is also the introduction to the world of social media. Yes, their friends have all mostly already begun before age 13 by lying about their age but we make ours wait until they can truthfully put in their birth date.
Truth be told though this is a scary step for me. I know what the internet holds and it is a scary place without some supervision. I am always upfront with my children and tell them that I will be monitoring their accounts and I am extremely grateful when products come along to make that job so much easier!
KidsEmail.org came along at just the perfect time for us. Sarah turned 13 at the beginning of September so her first step into the social media world was to set up an email account and that's where KidsEmail.org has made my life so much simpler. I feel that she is so much safer using this email than any other.
Mail monitoring - Parents receive a copy of all incoming and outgoing emails.
Blocking and Filtering - You can block senders or simply set up the account to only receive emails from the email addresses on your contact list. You can also block emails from going or coming at certain times of the day as well as filter out any that may contain foul language. You have the option to block images or attachments too.
Mail Queue - This is where emails go when they have failed the safety rules that you have set up. You can then choose to let them go into your child's inbox or delete them. I LOVE this feature so much!
Template options - There are several background options to choose allowing your child to customize their email landing page.
App - There is an app available for children who have smartphones. There is also a GPS tracking feature you can set up with the app. Sarah does not have a smartphone but she played around with it using my phone and is excited when that next milestone comes. In our house, you can purchase a smartphone when you can pay for it yourself!
Just like in other email programs, you an set up folders to filter emails and have the options of different fonts, sizes, and even emoticons. There is also a fun drawing board feature.
I really liked that I could change the email address to @kmail.org instead of @kidsemail.org and Sarah could have her own area where she could log in her information separate from mine. When emails come in they look like every other email so kids have no reason to feel like this program is babyish or anything other than what other email programs offer.
With the types of security that this email program features, I would even consider allowing my children to have their own email before they turned 13. I really wish we had this around when my boys were younger too!
With the annual subscription, you can add up to 6 email accounts for $38.95/year. There is also a monthly option at $4.95/month where you can add 4 email accounts.
You can sign up for a 30 day free trial to see if this program will work for your family. No credit card needed!
I have recently finished devouring a new Christian historical fiction book, The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles, written by Mark S. Mirza and published by CTM Publishing Atlanta. Most of the time when I read, I stick to nonfiction but historical fiction has always been a genre I have found interesting as well. When you add in Christian historical fiction, I am intrigued.
Author, Mark S. Mirza, had a few goals in mind when writing The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles:
1)for the reader to experience prayer for themselves through his characters and
2) for the reader to enjoy their reading experience.
I can say that from my perspective as a reader both of those goals were completely met! I found it hard to put the book down once I began reading it. That is always the sign of a great book to me.
The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles is a paperback book with 372 pages and 45 chapters. It is also available as a Kindle book. In the beginning of the book, you will find a preface explaining why the author wrote the book along with his reasonings on not capitalizing the names of demons, footnote explanations, and more. At the back of the book was one of my favorite parts as each character is listed including a little detail about them along with the era they represent. My favorite part of the character descriptions were the pronunciation keys to their names because many of them are not common names. The book takes place in three different eras of church history - First Century, Nineteenth Century, and the Current Era. Each era has its own hero story line to follow. Each chapter of the book tells which era you will be reading about as the book pivots back and forth between eras. The characters are connected as the current era hero, Dr. Dale Riley, is the great-great-grandson of the 19th century hero, Alexander Rich. Each of the era heroes also has the same guardian angel, Hael, looking after them.
As the story lines of each character unfolds, you find a common theme among them. They each face their own share of uncomfortable situations to deal with and you follow along as each one pours their heart out to God. You are not just told that they prayed about the situation, but you read their actual prayers over and over. Scattered all through out the book are Scripture footnotes showing the why of what the characters believe. Those are great references for any believer and I loved the way the author wrote them in to flow so well with the story lines. There are a lot of historical and Biblical facts in each story line as well. Sometimes I found it hard to separate the fact from the fiction! I loved when Mr. Mirza would give a footnote of a real event that coincided with the story such as the name of one of the character's horses being his own horse's name.
This was a great read while waiting for my children to finish basketball practice. I found the time reading so refreshing for the soul. My normal spot was at the park sitting in the van.
Here are just a few of the main characters and some of their story lines (there is a lot more for you to find out on your own):
First Century - Thales is the hero of this era. His uncle is Epaphras whom Paul spoke about in Colossians 4:12 as one who prays earnestly. Thales ( a fictitious character) learns prayer under his uncle and deals with his own feelings of falling in love with the granddaughter of the Jewish High Priest, Caiaphas.
Nineteenth Century - Alexander Rich is the hero of this era. He is a preacher in the south dealing with racism, a congregation full of accusations and gossipers, and his own feelings of love. One of his childhood friends is D.L. Moody so they often exchange letters through out the book.
Current Era - Dr. Dale Riley is the hero of this era. He is a track coach at a university who also leads a men's prayer meeting. One of his students runs into a problem with one of her papers when she gives a Christian answer that her antagonistic professor, Isabela Gonzalez, doesn't like. There lives intertwine as Professor Gonzalez is diagnosed with cancer and seeks council from Dale's praying wife, Margie.
Over and over again, the book gives prayer examples and I found myself picking up some great inspiration for my own prayer life. It was like having my own prayer mentor right by side showing me how to pray more fervently and using Scripture as my prayer. One part that really stood out to me was when was when Dr. Dale Riley was leading his men's prayer group and he gave them advice on what to do when they begin to pray and all of a sudden it seems the enemy starts throwing distractions to you at every angle. He told them to get out a piece of paper and right down what kept coming to their minds and that would help them to take the distraction off their brain. He also taught them that praying in silence is okay. Often we think of awkwardness when all is silent but sometimes that is when we hear God the best.
Here is a snapshot of the type of dialogue you will find. In this sample, you see the angel smiling, the demon (name in lower case) in an uproar because the saint is on his knees in prayer. You can also see a sample of the Scripture footnotes.
This is not a book for younger children unless you are wanting to discuss abortion, atheism, cancer, death, rape, or sex. I did not feel that the book had any inappropriate content and I do plan to let my 15 year old son read the book next. These are things that our children will be dealing with all around them if they haven't already. In the book, characters will deal with strongholds and you will see walls beginning to break down as you reach the end which is always a rejoicing and exciting time. However, you will not see their complete transformation (I'm guessing there will be one coming!) or find any definitive answers. As you read to the end, you are only left with more questions and cliffhangers as to what will happen next in their lives. You do know that they will continue to battle with spiritual warfare as you are told the sequel, The Pray-ers / Book 2 Spiritual Warfare is expected out by Christmas 2016.
I did find a few editing errors as I read but overall I would highly recommend this book to teens and adults. It is a fun and enjoyable read as well as an inspiration to a better prayer life. The Scripture footnotes alone are a valuable resource to have at your fingertips!
I almost just skipped this question because in all honesty we have not faced any negative comments about homeschooling. Both of our families fully support our decision and we are constantly being approached by others who want to homeschool their children because I ALWAYS tell them, "If I can do this, anybody can!" and I truly believe that especially if you are a Christian. The list of people who are now homeschooling in our circle includes fellow church members, family, friends, and even previous school teachers! Yes, it is a scary first step and you will doubt every decision you make but I promise you if God has laid this on your heart, He will pull you through and equip you with what you need. We had one mission when we began homeschooling and that was to teach our children God's Word so they could grow in their relationship with Him. I knew that if I could accomplish that one goal, He would equip them with whatever else He wanted them to learn! You can read more about our mission statement aka our "why"here. So, it's not really easy for me to tell you how to deal with negative comments when I haven't really faced them in our journey but I have to believe I would deal with them the way I do all negative people in general and oh boy I have dealt with my share of negative people. 1) Take it all with a grain of salt - you do what works best for you. This is your life, these are your children, this is your family. They really have no right to say anything. 2) Simply ignore them. Most negative comments come from pure ignorance and have no merit whatsoever. 3) If need be pull yourself away from them. If it is a family member or friend who is constantly bombarding you with negativity, simply tell them this is your choice. If they can't take that, distance yourself from them. You can still show them love but it doesn't have to be daily or even weekly!
If you would like to join the Coop, go here to learn more. No voice is too small!
Only 1 week left and then we will take a little break for a teacher planning session and a little camping trip hopefully. We love having a 6 week on / 1 week off schedule when possible.
Basketball season officially began this week. We had some tough lessons to learn this week as Stephen made the team and Sarah did not. However, the girls only have a varsity team and Sarah has only just turned 13 so she still has plenty of time left to secure her spot. It is still hard to not make the team but life lessons help us grow. And hey she gets to have school at Krispy Kreme while we wait so not too bad, right? :)
Here is a sneak peak into Teaching Textbooks Geometry and Pre-Algebra. I cannot recommend them enough. The lessons are taught so simply and not over complicated and automatically graded for me - yes! Tip: I have the kids write their daily scores down on their checklist in case of a computer crash and loss of scores which we have dealt with in the past.
More science experiment fun this week as Sarah was learning about the different variables of experiments. How much salt does it take to make an egg float? What motor works best for a cardboard boat?
This was our last week in the USA so each child took a final state quiz. Next week, we're off to Mexico!
My first attempt at freezer meals was a success - tiring but successful and I now have 10 meals in the freezer for a busy basketball season!
We finished up the the first half of Kingdom Tales this week and will begin reading a missionary book next week.