Monday, November 28, 2016


I am enjoying our walk thru history with ART.

This week at Co-op we tried our hand with fresco painting. (painting into wet plaster).

Our creations turned out beautifully!

We used food trays and plaster of paris for our base.

Then, we painted with watercolors on the base before it was completely dry.

The end result was great, the paint soaked into the plaster and it dried well.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Annual Turkey Coloring Contest!

Bentz Thanksgiving traditions are alive and well...  The annual Turkey coloring contest!

Which is your favorite? (winners determined by FB voting....)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Commissioned by Chara Games: A Homeschool Crew Review

Commissioned {Chara Games}

Commissioned {Chara Games}

Commissioned by Chara Games

Hands down...our family loves to play board games!  Especially cooperative, strategy games like a new family- favorite - Commissioned by Chara Games.

This NEW game (don't you love discovering a new game...just in time for Christmas?) is designed for 2-6 players, best for ages 14 and up.  It is a cooperative game, which means plenty of working together to win.  

Can I pause a moment to get on my "soapbox"... cooperative games have been a wonderful training tool for my teens!  These types of games teach them to work together, to sacrifice for the greater good, and many other character lessons.  If you haven't discovered this game genre, now is the time.

Commissioned is a game of strategy - the goal is to spread Christianity throughout the ancient world with the apostles.  I love this game is about spreading the gospel, kind of a reverse of another cooperative game my boys like that focuses on containing viruses.  

The game can be played in around 1 hour.  Our first game took longer as we learned the rules.  Strategy games have various levels of complexity - my boys figured this one out very quickly. The Rules are clearly explained in the "Rulebook",  It can be hard to figure out the complexity at first, so you can even watch a "how to play" video online.  The game has 5 scenarios you can pick from, so you can play this game over and over without getting tired of it.  

This is a beautifully done game board.  The pieces are the high-quality type.  Heavy, full color and built to last. The games includes 6 unique "player boards" which form the basis of each player's game play.

In addition "faith cards" and "trial cards" are played during each round.  This is where players start to work together toward the goal of spreading the "churches" throughout every region on the board.  My high school and college sons are masters at the strategy part of the game.  My daughter and I really enjoyed playing as well (even if we just did what they told us was the best move).

In addition to spreading churches, you are also collecting books of the New Testament and attempting to keep your candles (the church) still lit.  The game ends when your candles are out, or your goal is met.  

Each turn a different player is the "Elder" and makes decisions, with the help of the others, to advance the game. 

The variety of scenarios appealed to my serious gamer sons.  They love to play, and get quickly disappointed when a game gets easy to beat.  This will not be the case with Commissioned!  I predict this will be a family favorite for a long time to come.


 We were delighted to win our first game, but it came down to our final card!

Commissioned {Chara Games}

This is a beautiful game, with an even better message - spreading the Church.  The theme appendix that comes with the game is treasure of historical background on the real people, places and events of the game.  It makes this "educational" too... It's a win-win :-)

You will definitely want to wrap this up this Christmas!

PS - I'm scheduled to get a chance to play 3 Seeds a new game in production at Chara Games.  This is a card game style game about using your resources to mange your time, money, and labor.  I can't wait to tell you about it!

Find Chara Games on Social Media:

Twitter: @Charagames

Hashtags: #hsreviews #ChristianBoardGames #StrategyGames
See what other members of the Crew thought here
Commissioned {Chara Games}
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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Look like an Egyptian!

We are having a blast learning about the ancients this year!  Both at home, and in our Ancient Geography class at Co-op (with me as teacher!)

For our visit to Egypt, I introduced a new generation to the wonder of...Shrinky Dinks.  Can you believe it...they didn't know what they were!

We made our very own Cartouches with our names.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

History should taste GOOD!

I get to teach HISTORY!  I love HISTORY - especially when it's yummy!

We are traveling back to the beginning this year with Ancient History (and a combination of Mystery of History - Vol. 1 and Tapestry of Grace - Year 1).

For our Co-op class - we were discussing the 10 Plagues.  What better way to make them memorable than with candy and treats...

Here's what I came up with (sorry for any fuzzy pictures...I was just too sugared up...)

Did you know...each of the plagues took on an Egyptian God, and showed our God is Greater?

 Blood - Red Gatorade       Frogs - Mint M & M's 

Lice - shredded coconut     Flies - black licorice

Disease on Cattle - animal crackers    Boils - Captain Crunch

Hail & Fire - marshmallows and red hots    Grasshoppers - Andes mints (grasshoppers...get it?)

Darkness - Dove chocolate    Death of Firstborn - Sour Patch Kids 

Pretty creative, if I must say so myself!  

Language Smarts™ Level E from The Critical Thinking Co.™: A Homeschool Crew Review

Language Arts {The Critical Thinking Co.™}
Language Arts {The Critical Thinking Co.™}

Language Smarts™ Level E from The Critical Thinking Co.™

Language Arts always leaves me questioning, "What's Missing?"  Well, not anymore! Language Smarts™ Level E from The Critical Thinking Co.™ is making sure we are covering all areas!
This full curriculum comes in a colorful, 392 page softcover book.  The level we received is for Grade 4.  It is available in levels B-F (grades 1-4).  It contains 258 assignments - about 2 lessons a day for a full year of language arts, all in one place!  This curriculum is very comprehensive, it includes a  wide variety of content area, including:
Level E (Grade 4) Content
    • Capitalization        • Prefixes, Suffixes, Roots
    • Critical Thinking        • Silent E
    • Compare/Contrast        • Singular/Plural
    • Imply/Infer        • Syllables
    • Inference        • Usage
    • Opinion        • Homographs
    • Prediction        • Homophones
    • Adjectives        • Metaphors
    • Adverbs        • Sequencing
    • Antonyms        • Similes
    • Conjunctions        • Writing
    • Interjections        • Characters
    • Nouns        • Comparing
    • Prepositions        • Conflict
    • Pronouns        • Context Clues
    • Sentences        • Drama
    • Subject and Predicate        • Editing
    • Subject-Verb Agreement        • Fiction and Nonfiction
    • Synonyms        • Idioms
    • Verbs        • Parts of a Book
    • Grammar        • Plot
    • Punctuation        • Poems
    • Colons        • Proverbs
    • Commas        • Reference Materials
    • Exclamation Marks        • Setting
    • Periods        • Story Maps
    • Question Marks        • Table of Contents
    • Quotation Marks        • Titles
    • Semicolons        • Topic and Main Idea
    • Spelling        • Using a Dictionary
    • Compound Words

 My tester is actually in third grade right now but, this was a perfect fit for her.  Right off, I added some colored tabs to our book for each section.  This way, my tester can work on a variety of exercises by doing a lesson in each of two sections each day.

I really like the wide variety of exercises.  Word Searches, Crossword Puzzles, and fill in the blanks.  The color is very helpful for my daughter.  It highlights directions, word banks, etc. and makes it a visually appealing program too.

 Language Smarts™ Level E  contains exercises from The Critical Thinking Co.™ popular series - Editor in Chief and Writing Detective (both programs we use!)  These exercises focus on getting the student's to analyze what they are reading and spot errors.  My tester loved the reading selections. 

The writing section walks the student through the complete writing process - from pre-writing (with graphic organizers) to editing and publishing.  

This is a very easy-to-use and comprehensive language arts curriculum - the parent doesn't need to prepare anything, and the answers are all included in the back of the book, so you don't need to buy a teacher guide.

What a find! We have found that using The Critical Thinking Co.™ curriculum has helped our children be well-prepared for any standardized testing, and it's fun too!   Check out the sample pages and see for yourself!

Be sure to check out some of their Software the Crew is reviewing as well... makes me wish I had another Preschooler (almost!)   "Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic Before Kindergarten!™" program  and the "Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic Before Kindergarten!™"   If you need help with Sentence Diagramming: Beginning is for grades 3-12.  

Find The Critical Thinking Co.™ on Social Media:

Hashtags: #hsreviews #criticalthinking #languagearts

Language Arts {The Critical Thinking Co.™}

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