embracing life and letting God


Considering God's Creation




today our subject is


Building a solid foundation from

A creative biblical approach to natural

It's the end of May and the end of the school and my last review for the 2010-2011 Crew Review year.  What a fun and fast year this has been.  I have had such a wonderful time reviewing all the new curriculum's, books, and programs.  What a blessing it has been.  So, my last review of the year...

Science from a Biblical worldview.  We have been looking, for some time, for a new science curriculum that was easy to use and didn't require a lot of extra preparation on  my part.  I have also been looking for something that would be a good fit for my 10 year old who is a visual/hands on learner.  He grows easily frustrated with materials that require too much read without visual or hands on application. Workbooks seems to open the doors of understanding more fully for him.  That is when the Lord opened the door to us to review Considering God's Creation - A creative biblical approach to natural science. 

Ding, ding, ding!!!  Thank you Lord.  Once I received Considering God's Creation I was impressed with two things:  1) The Teacher's Manual that did all of the work for me and 2) the absence of paragraphs upon paragraphs of reading expected of my child.  When you open your students workbook you will find an almost encyclopedia full of science pictures and activities that visually stimulate the student to SEE what they are learning. 

They address:

  • The solar system
  • The weather
  • Plant life
  • Speed
  • Animals
  • Cells
  • The human brain
And so much more.

Throughout the child's text they are activities to physically put together to see how each part works with the other.  They given opportunities to go on 'field trips' to the zoo first at home with pictures of zoo animals, then actually discovering these animals up close and personal at the zoo in your area.  They become 'Science Detectives' actually experiencing what they are learning.  For example spending a day or two watching the clouds. 

The pages of my student's workbook are meant to be reproduced for them to write on, cut and paste, draw, journal, answer questions, play games, and chart.  There is also a Teacher Manual that is just as easy and clear to use as the student workbook.

Each lesson consists of 1 or all of the following:

  • New vocabulary words
  • A short introduction read by the teacher on the new subject matter
  • Bible reading
  • Work in the notebook
  • Evolution stumpers
  • Activities
  • Song/Poem that is accompanied by a CD in the Teacher's Manual
  • Review
  • Digging Deeper - which are suggestions of physical activities you can do to increase understanding of the lesson even more fully.  i.e. go fishing, to the zoo, research, look up scriptures, etc.

The Teacher's Manual is just full of information to share with the student.  We have enjoyed this curriculum so far.  I was not able to dive into the entire text due it falling at the end of our school year but we have enjoyed what we have learned so far and will continue using it with my 5 year old loosely and my 10 year as his full science curriculum for the upcoming year.  CGC is adaptable for 2nd to 7th graders.  I have to say my 5 year old loves to learn along with us.  She loves to cut and paste and I am able to help her fill in the blanks so that she can learn right beside her brother. 

You can find this curriculum and more at http://eagleswingsed.com/
  • Student Workbook and Teacher's Manual is $29.95
  • CGC Workbook $13.95
  • CGC Audio CD $3.00
Created by Homeschoolers [that were homeschooled missionaries] with your homeschooling needs in mind. Easy-to-use, hands-on approach, with the benefits of workbooks

Other products available from EW are phonics, state capitals, math, and christian history.  Enjoy!

From My Heart to Yours,
Mindy B.

The only thing that would make this curriculum even better for me as teacher is to make a cd-rom of the student text to make printing copies for each child even easier.  Otherwise, we are pleased.
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Wordy QWerty


and today I am bringing to you

Talking Fingers


Introducing you to Wordy Qwerty are fun characters QWERTY the word coach [computer keyboard with hands] and MIDI the musician [piano keyboard with hands] on what is expected of your student throughout the exercises.  

QWERTY the word coach

"Two engaging characters, Midi the musician and Qwerty the word coach, enlist children to help them accumulate the "spheres" that are needed to play Midi's music machine. Children do this by successfully mastering six activities in each of twenty lessons. They learn to recognize patterns in words, type to dictation, write and read stories, and listen to and sing songs that will help them remember how words are spelled and pronounced and what they mean." 

Rhino Legend rolled his eyes at the way the keyboard talked at first, but once I pointed out the voice sounded like the robot at the old Star Tours ride at Hollowood Studios he was a lot more willing to play along. 

WQ Introduces 20 Spelling Rules from Silent E to CH or TCH to I before E. 

"The overall purpose of Wordy Qwerty: Foundations for Reading and Writing Fluency, is to improve phonological and morphological sensitivity, to develop a deeper understanding of how words are constructed in English, and to provide reading and writing activities with helpful feedback, in order to increase fluency and comprehension in reading and writing. Wordy Qwerty has 20 lessons, with six activities per lesson, that present the following foundations for fluency:

Some sounds can be represented in several different ways.

Most words follow about 20 easy spelling rules.

There are many word families, (words that sound the same, or rhyme). By changing the first letter(s), you can make hundreds of words.

Some words are "outlaws". They don't follow the rules. They must be recognized quickly and automatically.

Writing to dictation develops vocabulary, comprehension and fluency as well as spelling skills.

Reading (and filling in missing words) develops vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency skills 
When a new rule/lesson is introduced QWERTY explains clearly what to do.  When an answer is correct your student receives points indicated by a fun harp sound.  They earn points and move on to next level.  When an answer is incorrect your student hears a short buzzer sound.  The Helping Hands pop up next to the keyboard and show them how to do it correctly.  Helpling Hands show your student how their hands/fingers are supposed to be positioned correctly on the keyboard."

Once an exercise is completed QWERTY and/or MIDI comes out to tell your student what a good job they have done and explain more about the Rule. Once the level is completed a song about the rule is sung. The second time around the student is given the ability to Sing Along on their own.  Rhino Legend still to this day thinks those songs are too silly for him but they get their point across. 

Video Clip of Karaoke HERE.

There are a variety of games to hold your students interest and to really ingrain in them grammar, reading and spelling.  For example, one of the story exercises, Read Stories, is a short paragraph with missing words.  The student clicks on the blank and decides which one of the available word choices makes the most sense.  You will find a section on SAT testing that is very similar so they are not only helping them with grammar, reading and spelling but testing skills as well.

Exercises include:
1. Patterns - sorting words depending on the beginning letter sound

2. Karaoke - rhymes and catchy songs introducing 20 spelling rules

3. Recycler - different vowel combinations teaching student to distinguish real from non- words

4. Pop a Word - arcade type game finding the correct word and balloon pops

5. Write Stories - 8 line rhymes to see and hear - then remember/type the sentence and correctly spell the words

6. Read Stories - short paragraphs that develop comprehension, vocabulary and fluency - find the correct word to go in the blank to complete the story.

"Wordy Qwerty is targeted at 7 to 10 year olds who have learned the basics of phonics and word identification and are poised to master more complex reading and writing skills in order to become enthusiastic and capable readers and writers. It uniquely uses a writing-to-read approach in order to provide individualized feedback and to activate and connect essential areas of the brain."
Suggested retail pricing (SRP) for the Home Edition of Wordy Qwerty is $35. The SRP for a Single School Edition (with two sets of CDs) is $55.  Go to Talking Fingers store and find WQ here.

System requirements:
Mac: OS9/ CarbonLib or OSX
Windows: Windows/98/SE/2000/xp

Rhino Legend:  My favorite 'games' are Pop a Word, The Recycler and trying to figure out what [MIDI's] music machine is going to be. 

 For a child who loves to learn on the computer and needs more encouragement with their reading, comprehension and vocabulary this is a fun program.  Your child will learn so much more than you think at first glance. 

From My Heart to Yours,
Mindy B.

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What goes up must come down

Hi Friends, I have been a little lax in sharing our own personal experiences lately. Things are still a little strangled here and there and we are learning as a family how 'get along' on the bad days. Oh, how thankful I am for God's Grace and that he has US in the palm of His Hands no matter what struggles we go through. And, yes, we homeschool and still have struggles with school and life. So I am sharing a wonderful article with you from Sally Clarkson that just hit the nail on the head for me. I am so happy to be a mother and be able to love my children in the good and bad times. Enjoy!

From My Heart to Yours,

Mindy B
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Wonder Maps!



and today we are traveling The World!

From the company that brings you The Mystery of History by Linda Hogan and Christian Kids Explore Science by Stephanie Redman [see my review of CKE HERE]  we are charting our course and our destination is...


You are going to LOVE this resource.  It may be your favorite of the year! 
Interactive, customizable, easy, and down right fun

"WonderMaps is a customizable collection of over 350 different maps. With nearly endless possibilities, WonderMaps makes it easy to regularly integrate map study into a variety of lessons and make the most of every learning opportunity."

Maps of The World
United States of America
Historical Maps
which includes The Ancients, The Middle Ages
The Renaissance/Reformation/Growth of Nations and Revolutions to Rising Times
Thematic Maps

Our access was through immediate download using Adobe onto 2 computers.  You can also purchase the CD-rom.

Once you purchase the program (download or CD) you will automatically become a member of the site and gain access to extras  and upgrades once available. 

Those who subscribe to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine will find a 20% off discount they can use to purchase from Bright Ideas Press.

We use Sonlight curriculum therefore we utilize maps often for Bible, History, Geography, Literature and Science.  With more than one child using these maps I sometimes find it an inconvenience to copy the maps for everyone.  WonderMaps makes this step very simple for me.  I can add and take away whatever feature I would like to include in my students studies.  They simply thought is was 'Cool'.  They would dread having to label maps.  Now they can print their own and label as I assign. 

You can Access World, Continental, Regional, National and State maps with a click.  "WonderMaps is designed with easy-to-use layers that allow you to enjoy great customizable features with just a click. Select:

historical or modern-day maps

outline, reference, political, or topographical maps

black-and-white or color maps

features including: names, borders, rivers, cities, physical features, and graticules."

There is a Teachers Resources which is very easy to use and a Quick Guide to get mom on board with this WONDERful program.

WonderMaps includes:
 Maps of the world
60+ maps of the USA
125+ historical maps, including 25 biblical maps
The complete map sets from The Mystery of History vols. I–III and All American History vols. I and II

Watch this informative video to find out more about WonderMaps.  Every student should have it!
Wonder Maps Cd or Downlad $49.95.  Head on over to Bright Ideas Press and find Wonder Maps and many more great studies and resources.  >BRIGHT IDEAS PRESS WONDER MAPS!<

Find more reviews from my fellow Crewmates on this product at The Homeschool Crew HERE
From My Heart to Yours,

Mindy B.

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Andi's Scary School Days



and today I bring to you,
from Kregel Publications


Sweet, Andrea 'Andi' Carter, a 6 year old ranch girl in 1870's California is about to begin one of life's greatest adventures, school.  It's her first day of school in Fresno and she is not happy about it.  And things go just about like she thought they would that first day, terrible!

School is Scary!

Andi is a tomboy who loves her horse Taffi and pony Coco.  She is happiest doing nothing more than spend her days riding and playing on her family's ranch.    A bit of a complainer and rebel against the rules Andi pushes the boundaries trying to find her way in this great big world.  She soon finds out that following the rules is very hard.  But, even if she doesn't like it she learns it is the best way to have a good day.

I was pleased to see the characters were not perfectly behaved.  They were real in their responses to one another, especially, challenging little Andi.  She was a real child, with real responses to situations that did not please her and she had to learn how things really work, most of the time not her way.  Andi is like most children, in need of lots of guiding to find peace with different situations we all eventually must face. 

Andi's Scary School Days
by Susan K. Marlow
From the Circle C Beginnings Seriesandiandtaffy.com

Andi's Scary School day, written for children ages 6-8, was 70 pages and 10 chapters long followed by a short 'history' chapter called "What was school like in 1874".  In this last chapter you catch a glimpse of what is was like to be a student in Andi's day.  The author also shares a little about how children were disciplined in school when they broke the rules. 

calling each other bad names     3 swats
telling lies                                    7 swats and so on.

4 Books in the series so far and two more to come, Pricing:
1 book - $4.99 plus $2 s/h
2 books - $9.98 plus 2 s/h
All 4 books - $15.96 plus 2 s/h

When you visit Andi's site directly at andiandtaffi.com, you will find more information about the other books in the series as well as coloring pages found here, online puzzles found here, free activity packs found here a wonderful resource to enhance the enjoyment of this fun little book - vocabulary, maze, even a map of Andi's school room], and you can purchase lapbooking lessons to take your child's learning even one step further [ pricing on lapbooks is $12.00 OR the Book and Lapbook for $15.00 plus $3 s/h].   

I think the only thing that was a little disappointing was that the author, Ms. Marlow, is a homeschooling mom and took the perspective of a child going off to school instead of schooling at home.  I also would have rather Andi's mother be the one to have taught her obedience instead of her going off into the world to learn 'proper' behavior.  Otherwise, I would, recommend this story as a fun and simple reader for 6-8 year olds or read-aloud for youngers. 

You can find all of the Circle C Beginnings Series at Kregel Publications here  OR they can be found at Christianbooks.com, here.

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you today on more fun books to enhance your child's reading adventures. 

From My Heart to Yours,
Mindy B.
I received this product free of charge for review purpose only. 
This review is simply my own personal opinion. 
Thank you.
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