Monday, March 25, 2019

My Handsome Dates!

I just got the chance to spend a delightful night with my handsome dates...and oldest sons!

First, an amazing steak dinner

Then, a great show!  Something Rotten is one of our favorites - a fun-filled, colorful (and slightly off-color) comedy about the Middle Ages and Shakespeare. 

I am so blessed!  Watch out world!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading from Tied 2 Teaching: A TOS Crew Review

STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading from Tied 2 Teaching

Are you ready to have some fun?  We have been having a blast and learning with STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading from Tied 2 Teaching !

STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading comes as a giant download with 65 individual files, each a STEM activity with extras.  The extras include a link to a close reading passage, questions related to the reading to test comprehension, the stem design challenge and a variety of worksheets that the student can use to detail what they did, why and what they could do better.

Many of the activities tie into holidays like Valentines, St Patricks Day, and Christmas.  These would make great activities to use when you need a break from "regular" school.  Don't worry, they will still be learning!

For us, I looked at the list and felt like a kid in a candy store, I got to choose whatever looked great!  Since we have a whole household, my testers ranged in age from 9 - 17.  The target is 3rd-6th grade.

Let me show you.

First,  Hat for the Cat Challenge.   Since we have several kitties, my youngest tester thought this one sounded fun.  I printed off the challenge instructions, as well as the reading passage.  She finished those and went straight to work designing her hat.

 I enjoyed watching her think through what materials she would use.  The challenge sheet offered suggestions, but not instructions.

 Cappy (my cat) was happily sleeping when she became a fashion model for the newest feline headwear.  What happened next was my big surprise!  My tester had so much fun, she asked if she could make another hat.  The learning from this activity kept on going.  Even the barbies had hats by the end of the day.  Who knows, a future career in fashion design may have just been born while making A Hat For the Cat challenge!

Next up, the House of Cards Challenge. My next tester was excited to get started with her challenge.  Build a house of cards, with at least two stories.  Seems simple, right?  It proved to be a challenge we all ended up trying.  We learned what the phrase, "collapsed like a house of cards" really meant!

 Some of the extra worksheets in each design challenge can be used to help your student evaluate what they did.  I think this would be an excellent class for a Coop setting.  She had a difficult time with this one.

 I didn't stop our fun to complete the worksheets, but we used them as discussion starters.  For instance, in this challenge, it was easier to build on the carpet than it had been on the table. The deck of cards we used made a difference.  We were able to discuss the why's behind each change.  I think we both learned something new.

Here's where it really got interesting... If you have more than one child, especially if they are boys, give them a design challenge and make it a competition!  In the Pipe Cleaner Challenge, my sons took each other on in a competition to build a structure out of pipe cleaners that could hold a cup of 30 pennies at least 4 in. off the table.

Their race was on!  Both used different approaches.

Both had to go back and rebuild, learning along the way.  Brothers can be sticklers when it comes to precise measurements (especially in a contest!)

They both succeed.  With very different designs.  The discussions of what worked and why were priceless.  I love it when we all get to learn together!

 My son was having so much fun, he begged for another challenge.  This one was right up his alley, the Dinosaur Building Block Challenge. It's a good thing this one had a time limit because he could do this!

These were so much fun!  I highly recommend adding these into your school days!

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation": A TOS Crew Review

 Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation"

We have been longtime fans of Drive Thru History®, and were so excited to get a chance to watch Dave Stott's newest edition - Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation" !   This 3 DVD set contains 18 new episodes that continue Dave's journey into "The World of the First Christians".  You can check out our review of "The Gospels" here.

With over 9 hours of video, this set is the perfect complement to your Bible, history and geography studies.  We love to watch them together!  Each segment is approx. 30 minutes and captivating. The recommended age is for 6th grade and up, but all of my children have enjoyed each episode. Here is a quick rundown of the episodes:
  • Episode 1: The Gospel shared at Pentecost
  • Episode 2: The Church grows at Jerusalem
  • Episode 3: The Gospel Spreads o the Gentiles
  • Episode 4: Saul of Tarsus & the Road to Damascus
  • Episode 5: Paul’s first Missionary Journey: The island of Cyprus
  • Episode 6: The Journey Continues: Pamphylia, Glatia & Asia Minor
  • Episode 7: The Jerusalem Council & Paul’s Second Missionary Journey
  • Episode 8: The Second Journey Continues: Philippi and Thessalonica
  • Episode 9: A Road Trip to Athens
  • Episode 10: Ancient Corinth
  • Episode 11: Paul’s Third Missionary Journey: Ephesus
  • Episode 12: Paul’s Final Trip to Trip to Jerusalem & Caesarea
  • Episode 13: Jesus Arrives in Jerusalem
  • Episode 14: A Final Journey to Rome
  • Episode 15: The Martyrdom of Paul & Peter
  • Episode 16:John and the Island of Patmos
  • Episode 17: The Seven Churches of Revelation
  • Episode 18: The Book Closes on the New Testament Period
Along with each video segment, the beautiful hardcover, book-style case contains full-color illustrations, a summary,Scripture reading and discussion questions for each episode. "Side Roads" are included as well, they give additional information on some of the interesting locations or historical figures.  I love that this can be used for a stand-alone Bible study, or as a supplement.  What a perfect choice for your small groups! It is a truly beautiful book.

This series truly brings the Bible to life for us!  Dave Stotts is our personal travel guide to the actual places of that the apostles walked.  He narrates throughout with interesting facts, amazing artwork and passages straight from the Scriptures. In this collection, we visited Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Rome, and Patmos.

I really want his job!  What an amazing adventure to get to travel around the world and tell everyone about Jesus.   This particular series focuses on the lives of the first Christians. People like Paul, John, Peter and Timothy.  Seeing the actual context of their stories brought them to life for us in all new ways.  I think my favorite was his visit to Patmos, and the road trip to the 7 churches of Revelation.

Of course, Dave's sense of humor shines throughout his adventures.  This is why we enjoy his videos so much!  In these segments, we saw his more serious side, but we still had plenty to laugh at. His variety of interesting vehicles keeps us guessing as to what he'll show up in next...

If you want to really SHOW your family, and not just read about it, I highly recommend you check out all of  Drive Thru History®!

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Convention Season is Back!

My happy place is a homeschool convention!  It's a great getaway from the "normal" busy.  I used to go with girlfriends, but now I get the chance to go with friends and my teenage daughters!

The Great Homeschool Convention in Fort Worth is just a few hours away.

I used to feel like I needed to spend every minute scouring the hall for the "best" curriculum.  Now, after all these years, I see it more of a reunion with long-time vendor friends, a chance for great food and Starbucks everyday!

We had a wonderful time exploring downtown together, and making great memories.  Yes, the crazy one is all mine...

Hotel rooms with lots of girls!

A bit of "fangirl-ing" with Dr. Kathy Koch of Celebrate Kids - go listen to her if you get a chance!

I love these faces!!