Friday, June 7, 2019

Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year from The Old Schoolhouse®: A TOS Crew Review

Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year from The Old Schoolhouse®




 Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year from The Old Schoolhouse®, written by Gena Suarez is one of my must have homeschool power tools!

Summer is a wonderful time to relax, unwind from the school year, and start to plan. The Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year  is part planner, part journal, and part personal encouragement for this journey. 


Gena is a homeschool veteran who talks directly to your mama's heart.  Each month begins with a devotional from her heart to yours.  Topics like joy, provision, perseverance and hope give you a burst of encouragement to begin the month.  Gena's practical advice is like having a mentor along with you,  field tips, squabbling kids, and naysayers, her tips are just what you need!


The planner is designed to get you organized, with monthly 2 page spreads. I love planners that begin in July!  This keeps my school year all in one place.


In addition, the weekly section is left blank, so you can customize.  I appreciate this.  I use this specifically to be my Co-op planner.  Instead of using the titles for "child", I use them for "class".  This works perfectly for me to see all of the classes I teach in one place.  



One of my favorite features of this planner, is the ability to use it like a journal as well. It has room for up to 5 children.  I just realized, with 3 graduated, I fit into this planner!  Sections are included so you can record specific things for each child.  A blank lined page you can journal on,  detailed curriculum planning section, attendance record, books read log, yearly goals, and semester goals.

I use my summer months to pray for these goals for each of my children.  We discuss them together and I love to be able to look back.


All of this AND this planner is beautiful!  The cover is a lovely floral design.  The pages are heavy quality paper.  It is sturdy enough to stand up to an entire year of use.  

You will want one of these, but you better hurry!  They are already 98% sold out!



Find The Old Schoolhouse® on Social Media:

Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year {The Old Schoolhouse® Reviews}
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Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year {The Old Schoolhouse® Reviews}

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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Life With Dog from Mill Creek Entertainment : A TOS Crew Review


Life With Dog from Mill Creek Entertainment



Life With Dog from Mill Creek Entertainment is a family friendly movie. We all cuddled up to watch together, one of my favorite ways to connect with my kiddos.

This movie is available at Walmart stores starting June 4, 2019, or online at Amazon.  When you purchase the DVD, you get a code from Mill Creek Entertainment that allows you to get instant digital access to your title, this gives you the ability to watch it on your other digital devices as well.

Mill Creek Entertainment offers a huge selection of contemporary and classic films and television series, documentary series and popular kids programming, as well as independent films, Latino cinema, early learning and fitness.

Life With Dog - "Hope comes in many forms", is it's tag line.  This 106 minute film is centered around Joe Bigler as he grieves the loss of his wife.   Wow - I  was caught right away, having just lost my husband two months ago.

Joe, played by Corbin Bernsen, is angry.  The film alternates his present reality with "conversations" from his deceased wife Alice, played by Marilu Henner.  It's a movie you need to pay attention to, as the story keeps developing and unfolding.

Joe has isolated himself, until a stray dog arrives and refuses to leave.  Joe's daughter, Zoey, played by Chelsey Crisp, introduces the faith aspect of this film.  She has had a rough time, with her husband leaving her alone to be a single parent.  She is worried about her father. She encourages him to remember what she and Alice believe. She brings her pastor to speak with Joe.

As Joe becomes more bitter and angry about Alice's death, we see him act on his emotions by threatening the bank and others of a conspiracy to murder Alice to try to take his home.  He wants to have someone to blame for Alice's death.

Through this, Dog, what Joe names the stray, stays with him.  Eventually,  we see Joe having the opportunity to confront the young man responsible for Alice's death.  By this point in the film, I was not sure what Joe would do.  He chooses to forgive, because of the influence of Alice and her faith.




All in all, we weren't that impressed with the film.  I would definitely NOT recommend it for your younger children because of the topics.  Since my children, who had just lost their father, were watching it as a family movie night - it did give us some important discussions on the different ways people grieve, and what types of behaviors are unacceptable, no matter how much your heart is hurting.

The quality of the film was excellent, technically.  Great actors, great acting.  I just felt that the story line was confusing, and the characters underdeveloped.  The dog was the least understood character, which is disappointing with a title like "Life with Dog". The ending left us asking, what really happened?

On the positive side, there are few films that can capture the attention of my pre-teens, teens and adults.  This movie did.


Life With Dog {Mill Creek Entertainment Reviews}Find Mill Creek Entertainment on Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MillCreekEnt
Twitter: https://twitter.com/millcreekent
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/millcreekent

Hashtags: #hsreviews #MovieNight #ChristianMovies #FamilyMovie





Life With Dog {Mill Creek Entertainment Reviews}

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Abel's Island

I almost forgot... our final book for my favorite co-op literature class was Abel's Island by William Steig.

I LOVED teaching these sweet girls literature this year.  I focused on building a love for reading - page-by-page.  For them, it was all about increasing the amount they could read.  We read about 15 books, and some poetry.

All I had to do to win them over was add... a craft! 

For this book, we made our very own pet mouse rocks.  Abel is a stranded mouse.

It was so easy.  I found some rocks, they painted them.


Add some details like googly eyes, yarn tail and felt ears.



I'm going to miss these sweet faces every week!






Thursday, May 30, 2019

Graduation 2019

He did it! 

Another Bentz Academy Graduate... only 5 more to go!


I won't lie...this one was HARD!  Getting on the stage alone to hand him his diploma without Matt.  The diploma was signed by Matt, a last minute decision on my part to grab it on the way to the hospital.  The last Bentz Academy graduate to have both of our signatures...  Matt's final wish, for me to continue to homeschool them, and get them all to college.  I'll do my best!



 I'm proud of his quilt!  I don't know how I pulled it together.  It was a form of therapy for me.  It has one of Matt's favorite t-shirts in it as well.  I really like how it turned out.

My collection (minus one, who is doing a summer internship). 


Friday, May 24, 2019

Typing Tournament Online & Maths Invaders Online from EdAlive: A TOS Crew Review




Summer learning should look like fun.  Typing Tournament Online & Maths Invaders Online from EdAlive is my new secret learning weapon!

These two programs are really teaching math facts and typing skills, but shhhh...don't tell them, my children think they're playing computer games.  

EdAlive is an Australian company that creates software for kids that is both fun and educational. We were delighted to have access to both programs, all from a central library with the same login.  To get started, you create a parent login, and set up your students.  From this login, you can easily track their progress, in both programs. 



Typing Tournament Online is designed for students ages 6 and up.  It contains important typing skills instruction, and vital typing practice.  The 128 lessons have a medieval theme.  Your students progresses along a personalized map.  It's quite simple, learn the skills needed in the lesson to pass a skills/speed test, and you move on. Each lesson contains 3 typing drills designed to help you master the keyboard, and a test.  


The program teaches typing skills progressively, building lesson upon lesson.  If they need more practice, they repeat the lesson. There are several "games" they can play, all with the medieval theme.  My testers loved knowing what their WPM was.  Certificates are available to print out as a record of what they have done.

My tester LOVED this program.  She is in 4th grade and hasn't done much typing instruction.  This was the perfect introduction.  It's easy to use, and she asks to get to "play" every day.  I've already seen improvement in her typing skills!

  
Maths Invaders Online is great for students in K-10th grade.  This program contains skills practice for a huge variety of necessary math skills from addition to square roots and percentages!  There are several different ways the student can practice: Galactic Campaign, Space Rescue, Time Tables, and even printable worksheets.

My testers loved the Galactic Campaign - basically, they are answering math questions in order to stop the invaders.  Answer the question and "shoot" the invaders.  It's so fun, it's addictive!  I sat down to "show them how", but ended up hooked myself.  They had to beg me for their turn :-)  They can choose to play at different speeds: basic, expert or master, so you can really focus on improving their math fact recall and speed.  



Space Rescue is a game they can play.  They can choose to compete against themselves, other players online, or against the computer.  Answering math questions allows them to arm their weapon to take aim at the target.


In addition, you can practice those important times tables.  Either online, or you can print out customized worksheets as well.


Overall, these two programs were easy-to-use, and fun.  I'm sure that they'll spend many more hours practicing  math and typing skills, but thinking they're playing games!  It's a win for me, and for them.


Typing Tournament & Maths Invaders Online {EdAlive Reviews}
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Hashtags: #hsreviews #onlinetypingtutor #typingtutor #onlinemathpractice #mathpractice




Typing Tournament & Maths Invaders Online {EdAlive Reviews}

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Elizabeth Prentiss from Christian Focus: A TOS Crew Review



Elizabeth Prentiss from Christian Focus


I love reading biographies, especially of Christians.  I just finished Elizabeth Prentiss- More Love by Claire Williams from Christian Focus.  This 135 page, soft-cover book is part of the Trailblazers Series.  This series has over 50 biographies of Christians throughout history, including some modern day heroes and heroines.

Christian Focus has been publishing since the 1970's all around the globe.  Their focus is on "staying faithful" and "reaching out". The Crew is reviewing books from their Christian Education selection. Be sure to check out some other great books:

  • Big Bible Science, RTM (Read to Me) 5-7; RM (Read Myself) 7-11 -  All the experiments are designed to be done in a home school environment, with materials and equipment that can be easily acquired. Learning about God's Word and learning about God's world go hand in hand.


  • God is Better than Princesses & God is Better than Trucks, RTM 0-5; RM 5-6  - A-Z books, highlighting a vehicle or royal feature that starts with each letter of the alphabet, and explaining why God is better. Useful for learning ABCs while learning truths about God and his Word at the same time.


Elizabeth Prentiss- More Love by Claire Williams is recommended as a read aloud for ages 8-9, or an independent read for ages 9-14.  I decided to pick it up to preview it, and couldn't put it down.





Elizabeth Prentiss was a young woman, dedicated to God.  She married a Pastor, and had six children.  But her life was marked by tragedy.  She lost her father, two of her children, her sister, and her husband. In addition to all the losses, her health suffered as well.   Through all of the adversity and grief, she choose to turn toward God, instead of away from him.  What an important lesson for us all! 

Having just lost my husband, this book carried a very timely message for my family.  God is the one who gives us the strength to walk through difficult circumstances, if we will choose to trust him.  Elizabeth did just that.


Elizabeth used her gifts with her pen to write to inspire others.  She influenced many with her writing.  She wrote children's stories, poems, letters and beautiful hymns.  Her trials brought a blessing to others, what a testimony.

The book contains a selection of "Thinking Further Topics" at the end.  This is a great way to use the lessons of the book with your children.  They offer some great ideas to think deeper on, along with a "Challenge" to encourage the reader to put what they have learned into action.

My favorite part of reading this book, is seeing how we can turn toward God, and learn to love him more with our gifts, even in dark times. 

Elizabeth is just a normal woman, that God used to do extraordinary things.  If God can use her life, I'm sure he can use mine too.

I'll leave you with a beautiful hymn by Elizabeth Prentiss:
.

More Love to thee ~ Hymn

More love to Thee, O Christ,
More love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make
On bended knee;
This is my earnest plea:
More love, O Christ, to Thee,
More love to Thee,
More love to Thee!


Once earthly joy I craved,
Sought peace and rest;
Now Thee alone I seek, 
Give what is best;
This all my prayer shall be:
More love, O Christ, to Thee,
More love to Thee,
More love to Thee!


Then shall my latest breath
Whisper Thy praise;
This be the parting cry
My heart shall raise;
This still its prayer shall be:
More love, O Christ, to Thee,
More love to Thee,
More love to Thee!



Find Christian Focus on Social Media:

Big Bible Science, Elizabeth Prentiss, God is Better than Princesses,  God is Better than Trucks. {Christian Focus Reviews}Facebook: www.facebook.com/christianfocus/
Twitter: twitter.com/Christian_Focus
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9n_TTQulXBNqM7LtEALtJg?view_as=subscriber
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Hashtags:#hsreviews #BooksWithaFocus #BibleScience


Big Bible Science, Elizabeth Prentiss, God is Better than Princesses,  God is Better than Trucks. {Christian Focus Reviews}
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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

God is Good

I promised to share Matt's Celebration of Life with you.  It was a beautiful service with every detail attended to by my amazing "Border Patrol".
 
 While we were in the hospital, learning the devastating news that cancer had returned, my circle of friends (fellow homeschool moms) surrounded my family in so many ways. 

They brought comfort items to the hospital room, made sure I was eating, and they even slept in the uncomfortable chairs with me, just so we wouldn't walk through this alone.  They took notes when doctors were in the room, helped interview hospice providers and even protected our precious moments of family time from the staff intruding. 

One morning, Matt was pretty groggy from the medications, he asked if "border patrol" had returned... the name stuck!  I have no idea how I would have made it without them...

 This is our final picture together (not a great shot of me...) Matt's smile, even here!  He is my hero.  He was ready to meet Jesus, not even a minute of fear.  He worshiped, and blessed us from this place, leaving a legacy of faith for us to follow.


The "border patrol" didn't stop at the hospital, these amazing women coordinated a beautiful celebration of Matt's life for us!

 I have been constantly amazed at how the Body of Christ, the physical one, came to our side.  Every detail was exactly right, the tables were decorated beautifully (with books, flowers and candles...), they organized the food (cookies and treats from our Coop family), took pictures, and dozens of other details I'll never even be aware of. It was perfect.




As we started to plan, the children and I realized that there was no way for us to be able to speak at Matt's service, we were too shocked and emotional.  So, "border patrol" stepped up and served us once again.  They each spoke, divinely inspired words that will echo with us for a long time to come.


I am so eternally grateful for these amazing women and friends.  "Thank you" is such a feeble word to express the depth. 

Our Pastor closed Matt's service, singing (yes, he does both!) "God is Good", by Don Moen, one of Matt's favorite songs.  We ended worshiping God- the same way Matt ended his earthly life, and began his heavenly one.

"God Is Good All The Time"


God is good all the time
He put a song of praise in this heart of mine
God is good all the time
Through the darkest night, His light will shine
God is good, God is good all the time

God is good all the time
He put a song of praise in this heart of mine
God is good all the time
Through the darkest night, His light will shine
God is good, God is good all the time

If you're walking through the valley
And there are shadows all around
Do not fear, He will guide you

He will keep you safe and sound
He has promised to never leave you
Nor forsake you, and His word is true

God is good all the time
He put a song of praise in the heart of mine
God is good all the time
Through the darkest night, His light will shine
God is good, God is good all the time

We were sinners and so unworthy
Still for us He chose to die
Filled us with His Holy Spirit

Now we can stand and testify
That His love is everlasting
And His mercies, they will never end

God is good all the time
He put a song of praise in this heart of mine
God is good all the time
Through the darkest night, His light will shine
God is good, God is good all the time

Though I may not understand
All the plans you have for me
My life is in your hands
And through the eyes of faith
I can clearly see

God is good all the time
He put a song of praise in this heart of mine
God is good all the time
Through the darkest night, His light will shine
God is good, God is good all the time

God is good all the time
He put a song of praise in the heart of mine
God is good all the time
Through the darkest night, His light will shine
God is good, God is good all the time