Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Drum Roll Please......And the Winner Is.........

Already Compromised
Already Compromised
Thank you all for reading and entering to win Already Compromised!
Out of 54 comments, Random Generator choose:
True Random Number Generator 3 Powered by RANDOM.ORG
Congratulations to April E. who left comment #3!
"I like you on facebook."
I will be contacting you shortly.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Some of Our Favorite Things 2010-2011

Some of our favorite things
Some of our favorite things

Since my first year doing curriculum/book reviews has officially wrapped up AND my 2nd year cruise with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's Review Crew will start again shortly, I wanted to take some time and look back over our favorites from this past year!

I want to thank TOS for giving me my first opportunity to review dozens of wonderful homeschool items!  Please  click here to see what products received the 2011 TOS Crew Homeschool Crew Blue Ribbon Award.

Special thanks also to Vision Forum, New Leaf Publishing, Timberdoodle and In the Hands of a Child for blessing me with items to review as well!

Here are Homeschool Circus' list of favorite products from a variety of publishers and link to my review:

Creative Writing: Institute for Excellence in Writing

Literature -  Younger:  Circle C Beginnings
                 Older:  Coral Island

Foreign Language: Word Roots

Math:  Math Rider

Science: Nutrition 101: Choose Life

Creation Science: Case of the Missing Mountain

ebook Format:  Kit Kittredge z-guide to the Movies

Bible Study: Raising Maidens of Virtue

Language Arts:  Talking Fingers - Read, Write and Type

History:  For You They Signed: A Spiritual Heritage of Those Who Shaped Our Nation

Art:  Artistic Pursuits

Hands On:  Modern American History Lapbook

Pre K:   Kinderbach

Toddler:  Sew 'N' Sew

Baby:  My Creation Bible

Post-High School: Already Compromised

Family Resource: Large Family Logistics

Personal Favorites:

2nd grader's all time favorite:  Artistic Pursuits

4th grader's all time favorite:  Coral Island

7th grader's all time favorite:  How the Scots Saved Christendom: Tales of Bravehearts and Covenanters

1 More Day to Enter!

Already Compromised
Already Compromised

TOMORROW a winner will be chosen for this fabulous book.  Click here for information on how to enter the contest!

Today is your last day to enter!  Don't miss out!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Already Compromised GIVEAWAY!

Already Compromised
Already Compromised

What do you do when you have 472 Google Friend Connect/Networked Blog followers, 900+ Facebook Friends, 99 Fan Page Friends and 350 Twitter followers? 

You host a GIVEAWAY of course!!!

Up for grabs is a fabulous, eye opening book about the state of our Christian Colleges by Ken Ham and Greg Hall called, Already Compromised

If you missed my review of this book, please check it out here.

You must leave me a separate comment for EACH of the following that you do.

To be entered into the drawing for this book:
*Read my review (=1 entry)
*Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect or Networked Blogs (=1 entry)
*Like Homeschool Circus on Facebook  (=1 entry)
*Follow me on Twitter (=1entry)
*Visit Ken Ham's blog (=2 entries)
*Like Ken Ham's Facebook Page (=2 entries)
*Follow Ken Ham on Twitter (=2 entries)
*Like New Leaf Publishing's Facebook Page (=2 entries)
*Follow Master Books on Twitter (=2 entries)
*Post about this contest on your blog, Facebook or Twitter linking back to this post (=3 entries)

Using a random number generator,  a winner will be selected on June 29, 2011.
The winner will receive a brand new copy of this book directly from the publisher.  So, please make sure I have a way to contact you if you win so I can get your information!!!  Winner will have 72 hours to respond.


A huge 'Thank You' to New Leaf Publishing for providing this giveaway!

Weekly Wrap Up (Titanic, World War I ) - June 22

World War I:  Europe in Flames!

Kayaking at Bass Pro Shops
Kayaking at Bass Pro Shops
 But first we pause to enjoy a fun afternoon at Bass Pro Shop where the kids participated in Fishing, Archery, Kayaking and Leather Stamping workshops....
Leather Stamping
Leather Stamping

Now, back to our regularly scheduled school week....some of this weeks reading:

Selected Reading for WWI
Selected Reading for WWI

My daughter finished up books 5 and 6 of the Samantha series.  She also completed the Samantha portion of the American Girls lapbook from Hands of a Child.

American Girl Samantha
American Girl Samantha

American Girl lapbook elements
American Girl lapbook elements

We also read about The Titanic and put together models of the famous ship (got these reasonably priced at Consumer Crafts ..... a great option for a Mom who's not real crafty!).  The one on the left is The Titanic and the one on the right is its' "sister" ship, The Olympic.

Books about The Titanic and Craft
Books about The Titanic and Craft

Also this week:  swim lessons, art & nature lessons at a local park and bowling!

On a sad note, our recently acquired Green Tree Frog, Pistachio, didn't make it through the week.  He will be missed!

Join us next week for more adventure!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sew 'N' Sew at Timberdoodle

Sew N Sew
Sew N Sew
Sew 'N' Sew
From the Timberdoodle website:

Sew ‘n’ Sew
This frustration-free lacing tool has been used for two decades to teach very young children basic lacing skills. Sew ‘n’ Sew’s smooth-to-the-touch wooden block with slanted holes and its oversized wooden needle make it super-easy for tiny ones to develop the hand-eye coordination and fine-motor skills needed not only for lacing but also as a pre-writing skill. Compact in size, the Sew ‘n’ Sew makes an ideal traveling companion and inspires discovery while fostering valuable developmental skills your child will use for a lifetime.
Features include:  wooden spool and lacing thread.

Our experience:
Sew 'N' Sew is an intriguing toy that holds up even under the most rigorous chewing and dropping.  I love that there's no painted surfaces that can chip or "needle" to get lost.  My 20 month old needed some help getting started.  But after watching his siblings "sew", he had it down in no time.  This is one very durable learning toy that will be used for many hours!!!

My toddler loves Sew 'N' Sew!
My toddler loves Sew 'N' Sew!

My toddler loves Sew 'N' Sew!

Sew 'N' Sew is one of the learning toys available in Baby Timberdoodle Core Curriculum.
Timberdoodle Baby Core Curriculum

From Timberdoodle:
Why We Do Curriculum Kits
As you know, Timberdoodle has been meeting the needs of home educators since 1985. However, it is only in the past few years that we started offering complete curriculum kits, finally realizing that new homeschoolers often like to start with a curriculum package the first year. It lets them relax knowing that everything is covered, and get their feet wet with a complete plan in place. Since our goal is to help parents teach their children at home, offering curriculum packages was a natural outflow of this. (You can read more or watch our video here)

Babies and ToddlersSince helping parents teach their kids is our goal, it also makes sense to start with the little ones. We aren't ever going to be advocating for forced baby geniuses and hours spent at a desk from the time your child can sit. Instead, we want parents and their little ones to get a taste for the joy of learning early, in the natural environment of daily life. In that attempt, we have assembled the best tools we can find into kits for your wee one. In our opinion the best toys are not just toys, but are the safest, sturdiest, most educational tools, you can find, with the final test being whether they are still actually fun for you and your little one. One of the most little known facts on these kits though is that every item is completely reusable (with the obvious exception of the toddler workbooks!) so a parent can use it with all of their children, and then pass it on for the grandchildren or to the church nursery!

The Planning Folders
These serve a few different purposes. First, they give mom something to show dad so that he can get a quick overview of what he bought and why. J Second, they give you some of the reasons we've included each item, and an assortment of ideas for using them. Third, the checklist gives you an easy way to keep track of what you and Junior have done this week, without juggling a formal schedule or having to remember what you did Monday and what was last week. Fourth, we've included some of the articles our customers have found most helpful through the years, for those new parents or new homeschoolers who may not have seen the articles on our blog.

A word about the Planning Folder:
Included in the Core Curriculum is a wonderful Planning Folder packed with information on how to use each item in the kit.  It also includes useful information such as:  "What You Need to Know Before You Get Started."  "Learning Styles", "Ideal Environment", "How to Do It All:  Housework, Homeschool and Home Business." and my favorite "Toddler Tornadoes".

Other Core Curriculum packages can be viewed here.

Request your FREE Timberdoodle catalogue here.

Connect with Timberdoodle on Facebook.

As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Week of Hope!

Week of Hope
Week of Hope
Today we dropped our oldest child off for his first official short-term missions trip called "Week of Hope" . 

During this week he'll have fellowship with new friends, attend Bible Studies and Worship in order to be equipped to minister to the community.  What ministries he'll be helping  won't be known until the morning of each day.

He's looking forward to all aspects of this week.  We are sure that he'll come back with new experiences in the area of showing the love of Jesus to those hurting around him.

To have a more 'missionary' experience, he raised his own money for this trip by running a concession stand and sending out support letters.

Keep tuned for the results of this life-changing week!

Week of Hope Fundraiser
Week of Hope Fundraiser

In Memory of My Father

This is a repost from last year.  It has been two years since I celebrated Father's Day with my Father.  He passed away 4 days after The Nip Napper was born.  They say that with time loss gets easier....I don't think I'm there yet.

I miss you Dad!!!

My Father passed away last October after a short battle with lung cancer at a ripe age of 84.  We were blessed to have an extra 21 years with him after his first massive stroke.

My Father was an artist.  But, not in the conventional sense.  His first love was cars.  He could walk through any car museum and tell you the most intricate detail about any vehicle.  His artistry came through his work as a mechanic.  My Father was able to diagnose and fix any car old school - meaning that he didn't need to use a computer to find what was wrong....he listened to the car and heard it's woes.  No matter what the problem, he was able to fix it.  Most amazing was his ability to CRAFT a part if one wasn't available.

I love and miss you Dad!

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Summary and Review (1900-2009) Project Pack (Modern American History) Lapbook Review!

Modern American History Lapbook
Modern American
One of the  aspects of homeschooling I love is the hands-on learning projects incorporated into our days.  So much more meaningful than a worksheet, lapbooking offers a creative way to retain information while having fun!

The basic idea behind lapbooking is taking 'apart' a subject and doing creative paper cut-outs on which your student writes the information they've learned about a particular question.  Once various cut-outs are completed, they are mounted on folded file-folders to be kept for a fun reminder of that topic and/or review.

We started using lapbooks 4 years ago.  Our favorite company hands down is In the Hands of a Child .  Started in 2002 by 2 homeschooling Moms, they really understand the needs of home educators.  HOAC offers many genre selections from Pre-K through Highschool.  You name it, they've got it!  And, if they don't have it, they can create it!

Throughout the years we've done Curious George, Butterflies, Spiders, The Great Ice Age, American Girls, Pioneers and many more.  Fitting in perfectly with our 20th century studies this year, I am thrilled to be able to review A Summary and Review (1900-2009) Project Pack  .  (Modern American History)

After downloading the ebook and printing the activity pages on multi-colored paper, I set out to work to plan our our lessons.  (Other versions available include:  printed, cd-rom, and combo packs)

SURPRISE!  It's already done for me!!!

This particular study is laid out over a period of 12 days and each day includes vocabulary, a reading guide, lapbook activities to complete (with directions) and a timeline of events.

Topics covered are:  The Titanic, World War I, Roaring 20's, Woman's Suffrage, Great Depression, World War II, NATO, Cold War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Civil Rights Movement, Watergate, Persian Gulf War, 9/11, War in Iraq and War in Afghanistan to the present.

This particular lapbook is unique in that it is very helpful for doing a 'quick review' of Modern American History or can be easily stretched out to last weeks or months.  For our purposes, I stretched out the 'days' to match our weekly topics and the lapbook activities are used to check my boys' comprehension and to help retention of knowledge they have learned.

I should point out that this lapbook is for grades 6-12.  I have a 5th and 8th grader using this lapbook.  The wonderful thing about lapbook from HOAC is that they can be tailored 'up' or 'down' depending on your child's need.  Both boys love History.  My 5th grader is the more creative of the two, but, takes a bit longer writing the information.  My oldest hasn't been a big fan of lapbooking UNTIL this particular study because Modern American History is his absolute favorite. So far, it's been a great fit for both children!

We also decided that instead of putting the activities into an official lapbook, that we would mount them on a tri-fold board in a timeline-like fashion that will be used in a History Fair later on in the year.
My 5th grader filling out the 'Titanic' activity:

World WWI Leaders lapbook element
World WWI Leaders lapbook element

My 8th grader working on the 'World Leaders During World War I' activity:

World WWI Leaders lapbook element

What the activity looks like when it is folded up:
World WWI Leaders lapbook element

Axis & Allied Powers:

Axis and Allied Powers lapbook element
Axis and Allied Powers lapbook element

All folded up and tucked into their envelopes:

Axis and Allied Powers lapbook element

I am so pleased with this lapbook and my boys' reaction to it that we will continue to use it throughout this year, adding it to our Weekly Wrap Ups as well!

To view more of this lapbook and see pictures of what a finish product looks like click here.

I received this item free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Already Compromised Book Review!

Already Compromised
Already Compromised

"Faith is one of the world's great is capable of drawing people to such dangerous seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness."  -Dr. Richard Dawkins

"If scientists can destroy the influence of religion on young people, then I think it may be the most important contribution we can make."  -Dr. Steven Weinburg

"Secular professors should arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own."  -Richard Rorty

In this world of tolerance and religious 'blending', these men of secular science are leading the way in proclaiming evolution as 'truth'.  Though in reality it's not about science at all.  It's about religion and the continuing undermining of Christianity through the chipping away of the Word of God chiefly focused at the collegiate level.

I already hear your response...."We won't experience that because we will send our child to a Christian establishment."  Think again - not all Christian Colleges are created equal and not all of them teach a Biblical worldview.


I know I was!

In Already Compromised, Ken Ham and Greg Hall poll Presidents, Vice Presidents, heads of Science and Religion Departments of Christian Colleges through the United States.  The answers (and the analysis) from 312 responders shed light on what they believe, the many contradictions within those beliefs and how those contradictions hurt the faith of students instead of building it up.

"The compromise that we're seeing in Christian colleges always centers on this:  What we believe about the inspiration, inerracy and infallibility of Scripture.  This IS the issue.  The authority of Scripture is a central point of faith.  If you don't get the first 2 chapters of the sacred text right, you cannot get the rest right either."

This book will give you helps in historical vs. operational science (and why that is important), a thorough list of questions to ask when looking for a college and keys to help students gird themselves for the fight over their beliefs.

Why is this so important you ask......

A quote from page 182 says it best:

"So, no literal Fall, no literal Adam and Eve - so much for Christianity!  And all people have descended from several thousand people, not just two - which means the Apostle Paul in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 is wrong concerning the gospel!  And if that's the case, then Jesus didn't even tell the truth in Matthew 19 when he quoted Genesis and built the doctrine of marriage on the literal history in this account.

It seems the atheists understand theology better than these compromised Christians.  They realize that if a literal Fall and a literal Adam and Eve are indeed false, then there is no use being a Christian because it undermines the very basis for the gospel.

One leading atheist claims:

Christianity has fought, still fights and will fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus' earthly life was supposedly made necessary.  Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the son of god.  Take away the meaning of his death.  If Jesus was not the redeemer that died for our sins and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing."

I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review

Weekly Wrap Up (Roosevelt, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Women's Suffrage) - June 15,

The Nip Napper is the Sip Snatcher!
The Nip Napper is the Sip Snatcher!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled week for some milkshakes and bowling.....

This week in history, we covered:  Roosevelt, American Imperialism, Hawaii and Crumbling World Empires!

Some of this weeks reading:

Selected Readings on Roosevelt, Hawaii and Panama Canal
Selected Readings on Roosevelt, Hawaii and Panama Canal

We also watched The Last Princess:  The Story of Princess Kaiulani of Hawaii  (and sad, but well done story!)

My daughter read Book 4 from the Samantha series and then more on Women's Suffrage. 

American Girl Samantha and Women's Suffrage Reading
American Girl Samantha and Women's Suffrage Reading

We also started an embroidery craft and made blueberry muffins from the Samantha books as well.
Embroidered Handkerchief
Embroidered Handkerchief

Embroidered Handkerchief

Making Blue Berry Muffins
Making Blueberry Muffins

And now for the newest member of our household.....he 'followed' us home from the's a baby Green Tree Frog named 'Pistachio" (shown with a delicacy of meal worms)

Green Tree Frog
Green Tree Frog

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Guest Post: Homeschool Failure - Refuse to Fail or Burnout

A Second Generation of Homeschooling
A Second Generation of Homeschooling

It was one of  'those' days.  Maybe you can relate?

All before 11 am, my toddler (The Nip Napper) had:

Woke up on the wrong side of the crib hours too early...
Crabbed through devotionals
Refused his toys
Crabbed through a spelling test
Microwaved a pencil
Dumped an entire container of liquid soap on himself
Had a bath
Dumped an entire bottle of Ranch dressing on himself and tried to 'ice skate' through it
Broke a DVD entirely in half
Had another bath
Refused to nap....

My house was a disaster, the other kids were crawling at a snails' pace through their work and we were all getting grumpy.

In short, I felt defeated and like a failure!

Ever had a day like that?

Searching for encouragement, I hit the jackpot with Homeschool Failure- Refuse to Fail or Burnout from A 2nd Generation of Homeschooling.  If you've never visited this blog, you owe it to yourself!  Lisa is a homeschooling grad and current homeschooling mom of MANY who is full of encouragement! 

In the above article, she encourages Mom's to "Keep your eyes set on the author and finisher of your faith as you go about your daily housework and homeschooling tasks." Also to "Accept the vision God has revealed to your through His Word. Recall the vision regularly. Move toward the finish line while casting your burdens on Jesus. Fix your eyes on the only one who is the finisher, the motivator and the only unfailing source of strength."

Some of you know that I have recently 'solidified' our school plans for this year.  Yep, I made nice neat plans all written out ahead of jumping into our new school year.  The problem?  Well....I had forgotten to ask the Lord what HIS plans are for us in this year.  So, instead of feeling defeated and deflated with all my failures, I should have taken MY plans and laid them at HIS feet and asked for HIS will and HIS direction for this year. 

Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up - 1900's / Modern American History - June 8

Model of the White House
Model of the White House

We've just completed our first week of the new school year....

Since we are studying the 20th Century this year, I thought it would be appropriate to start with building The White House .  (Bet you didn't know how talented my kids are, did you?)

After spending some time reviewing the happenings of the 19th century, we began with President Theodore Roosevelt.  In addition to reading, we watched a great documentary on 'Teddy' and my daughter worked on her American Girls lapbook.

My daughter at her  first 'official' Ballet Recital
My daughter at her  first 'official' Ballet Recital.  Here she is after her dance with flowers from Daddy!

Some of the books we read this week about the 1900's
Some of the books we read this week about the 1900's

 Starting with Samantha at the turn of the 20th century!
Since I wasn't feeling well, we spent most of the week at home.  It was a good time to get some reading done with my daughter.  Starting with Samantha at the turn of the 20th century!

Next week:  Hawaii, Panama Canal, Samantha crafts and more!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Goal Planning Monday - June 6

Goal Planning Monday

It's time for Goal Planning Monday hosted by Katrina of Mama Manuscripts!  This meme is a great way to plan goals, hold each other accountable and receive encouragement!

It's been a few weeks since I posted!  I finished up the last of my TOS Crew reviews for the year.  They are:  Considering God's Creation and Apologia: Read For Heart .  I also got our Our 2011-2012 Curriculum posted.

I've been battling an ear/sinus problems, so, it's been rather difficult to write.  BUT, I'm going to try to:

1.  Reregister for sewing classes - I missed because I was sick

2. Finish reviews for Already Compromised, Modern History Lapbook, and Sew n' Sew.

3.  Post our homeschool weekly wrap ups!

4.  Finish planning the rest of our school year.

5.  Rest as much as possible.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Our 2011-2012 Curriculum

This year, my children are 12, 10, 7 and 20 months.......

Our 2011-2012 Curriculum
1st Day of School

Here's what we are using:

:::::Drum roll please:::::

12 year old
Math-U-See   Algebra
Summit Ministries Lightbearers
Analytical Grammar
Apologia Physical Science
MCP Map Skills Book H
Institute for Excellence in Creative Writing Level B
Critical Thinking - Word Roots
Mavis Beacon Typing
Tapestry of Grace Year 4 - Dialectic

10 year old
Math-U-See   Epsilon
First Language Lessons
Sequential Spelling
Handwriting without Tears
Read, Write and Type (to learn typing)
Institute for Excellence in Writing - Level B
Apologia - Swimming Creatures + Journal
MCP Map Skills - Book E
Tapestry of Grace Year 4 - Upper Grammar

7 year old
Math-U-See   Gamma
First Language Lessons
Sequential Spelling
Handwriting without Tears
Read, Write and Type
Circle C Beginners readers + activities
Christian Liberty Press Nature Readers
Writing Strands
MCP Map Skills - Book C
Apologia - Swimming Creatures + Journal
Artistic Pursuits - Book 3
Learning 20th Century History with American Girls: Samantha,  Rebecca, Kit, Molly and Julie

Doing our best to love, teach and keep him safe!