Saturday, June 28, 2014

My Week In Images

My Week.....

These apricots....

because I was so thankful that our friend let us pick them.

This jam......

because all it has in it is fresh apricots and a little sugar, and I made it with my own hands.

This move....

 because it brought precious friends closer.

This Gratin.......

because it has the perfect blend of garlic, basil, and zucchini.

This crazy child......

because she has no fear.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Omnibus {Crew Review}

I am teaching two high school students now. Sometimes I feel completely inadequate to teach them and give them the tools necessary for life. As the years have gone by I have found myself looking outwards, to other sources besides myself, to teach my older students.

And this is where the Self-Paced Onmibus I from Veritas Press is so very useful.

Veritas Press Review
What It Is:

The Self-Paced Omnibus I is an online course that teaches World History, Literature, and Theology, all in the same course. Meant for 7th to 9th graders, this year-long course covers ancient history, from Creation until the Fall of Rome. The literature reading is extensive and includes:

  • Genesis, Exodus, I & II Samuel, and other Old Testament Books
  • Gilgamesh
  • The Codes of Hammurabi and Moses
  • The Odyssey
  • The Last Days of Socrates
  • The Aeneid
  • Julius Caesar

And many more literature resources.

The course works systematically through history. The online program is video based and streams right to your computer. Each lesson, meant to be done 5 days a week, is 30-50 minutes long. The lessons are taught by Mr. Bruce Etter, and through his engaging style, students will explore historical events through three worldviews: Ancient, Modern, and Biblical.

But don't think that this is done in a dry way. There are so many interactive and thought provoking segments, that this sometimes difficult time period is brought alive and the lessons learned are applicable for today.

Some of the ways this is done....

Street Interviews are thought questions that are being asked to the general public. In some of the lessons these included questions about how the world began, or what the punishment for adultery should be. The opinions are varied, from liberal to conservative, and give a wide array of opinions.

In some of the lessons are formal interviews. These are specific to the topic in the lesson. In the lesson on law Mr. Etter interviewed a law professor from Partick Henry College and discussed the origins of law, the different types of laws, and Theonomy.  In another lesson, the students watch a debate between two Christian scholars as they present their cases for a literal six-day creation (24 hour day) and the framework hypothesis (that creation happened in six stages, not days). These segments are very challenging and cause the student to understand why they believe what they believe.

One of the segments was particularly fascinating; a photo of the Sistine Chapel came onto the screen.

When you would select different sections of the ceiling a detailed description of that section came up.

Interspersed throughout the segments are short quizzes, which are between five and ten questions in length.

The questions are very age appropriate and helpful in understanding the topic.

In each lesson, Mr. Etter also has teaching sessions, where he delves further into the scripture or literature section being studied. I was eaves-dropping during one segment where he was talking about the moral law. He was describing how the law not only prevents evil, but also shows us how much we sin ourselves. He then went on to specifically show the students how they do break each and every one of the Ten Commandments. He related it to them, and what they might be dealing with as teenagers, and how they sin, even in their minds. He then reminds us that the law points us to Christ, and His saving work on the cross.

 I gathered all of my kids around the computer and we re-watched that segment together. What a powerful lesson, seeing how pride can get in the way, and convince us that we are doing all right, that we don't break all the commandments. And what an amazing reminder, that without Christ, we would be lost in our sin.

What You Get:

With the Veritas Press Self-Paced Omnibus I, you will receive online access to the program for one year. The program is meant to take 32 weeks, but since it is Self-Paced, you can move at your own speed.

Veritas Press Review

You will need to have the Omnibus Text which includes other essays, questions, and cultural and art analysis questions.  I received the ebook version of the text book which is available for $37.50. And for your convenience, you can purchase the ebook with all of the literature sources as a kit for $151.32. These works are conveniently located in a drop down menu when needed throughout the program.

Your child will also be graded. At the end of each lesson is a test, with ten to fifteen multiple choice questions. These are recorded online for you to see, and to use to grade them on the course.

As the parent you can have access to your child's quiz results and grades, plus the reading assignments, which are helpful for planning ahead.

You will get all of this for $295, with each additional sibling costing only $100. If you think about the cost of a high school literature, theology, and history class, this is a pretty good deal.

How We Used This And What We Thought:

I was given a subscription for one child to take this course and I chose Bookworm to take it. She did about three lessons a week and completed each of the homework assignments. The reading assignments were extensive and took her 45 minutes to an hour a day. This was time well spent; I encouraged her to have a paper and pencil with her so she could jot down her thoughts and any questions she had. After the reading assignment she would watch the videos.

I liked that there was an index, but be aware that you cannot skip ahead. I actually liked this feature; I knew that she had to listen to every part of the segments.

She would take the tests at the end of each lesson; right away we figured out even though you can take the test multiple times, your first score is the only one that counts towards your grade. She was doing great, with a 95%, when she had a bad test in the moral law section that dropped her grade to 80%. Again, I liked this little bit of pressure; it really made her focus on the questions. There were a few times where after she was done with the lesson she went back to re-watch a couple of things,  so that she would be better prepared for the test.

The subject matter was excellent: some of the topics discussed were Free Will vs. Predestination, Gnosticism, Tolkein's allegories, and the Covenant of Grace and Covenant of Works. I want my children to learn more about these theological ideas and appreciated the Reformed perspective this course provided.

This course is definitely going to be a keeper. Looking back at what we have covered so far in Omnibus I, I can say that this is one of my favorite things I have reviewed this year. I plan on purchasing another subscription, and having both Bookworm and Mr. Lego do this.

Giving our older children the tools to see the world, not only in the past but also around them today, is such an important part of their education. And doing this from a Biblical perspective is invaluable.

Other Crew members reviewed Veritas Press' Self Paced History for elementary grades. Check out what they thought of it by clicking below.

Click to read Crew Reviews

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Friday, June 20, 2014

My Week In Images/Beauty Captured

Combining my two photography projects this week....

This hymn....

because it reminds me of my need for a Savior.

This Kombucha.....

because it is fun to drink, and even though only half my family drinks it, I have to make this much of it a week.

This celebration.....

because it was wonderful to honor marriage and to be reminded of the promises that are made.

This refreshing drink.....

because it makes my summer day.

This dad.....

because he is an amazing man who holds my heart.

Friday, June 13, 2014

My Week In Images

 My Week...

This gift of blood....

because I know how it feels to need some, and I am returning the favor.

This church.....

 because I am so thankful that God led us here.

These kids working hard to show their sheep.....

because as some of my friends found out this week, hard work pays off.

These pizzas....

because 4Hers tend to be a hungry bunch.

These friends....

because I am so, so thankful for them.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Learning Wrap Ups {Crew Review}

Do you ever wonder what fun educational things you could have your kids do over the summer? Or, do you have a tactile child, that loves hands-on learning?

Then look no further, Learning Wrap ups might just be the thing for you!

Learning Wrap-Ups Review

What are Learning Wrap Ups?  In short they are a hands-on way to learn not only math facts, but reading skills as well.

I received two sets from Learning Wrap ups; 4th Grade Math Learning Palette 1 Base Center Kit($71.99)and the  2nd Grade Reading 1 Base Center. ($61.99)

Learning Wrap-Ups Review

First of all, let me explain what the Learning Palette is. The learning palette looks exactly like an artist's palette,

There are brightly colored discs, which the student places around the palette depicting where the answer is for that question.

In the Math Kit, there are 6 different curriculum packs. These cover:

  • Whole Numbers (adding and subtracting 4 to 5 digit numbers, place value, word problems)
  • Fractions (equivalent fractions, adding and subtracting, simplifying, mixed fractions)
  • Decimals and Percents (ordering decimals, rounding, adding and subtracting)
  • Geometry & Measurement (finding perimeter, area, and volume, symmetry, and graphing)
  • Probability and Statistics (finding mean and median, determining likelihoods, using data graphs)
  • Algebra Concepts (solving for unknown, identifying number patterns, value of shapes)

Inside each pack are 12 wheels. Each wheel is placed on the palette. In the center of the wheel are the questions. Next to each question in the center you can see a colored dot....

Then on the outside of the wheel are the answers.

 Your student will look at each question, find the answer on the outer part of the wheel, and then choose the correct disc.

On this wheel below Dasher is matching decimals and fractions.

The correct answer to the one that she is on is 0.15.

So she will take the blue solid disc and put it next to 15/100

The Reading Kit covers:

  • Grammar (capitals, pronouns, verb understanding, prepositions, present/past tenses)
  • Reading Comprehension (understanding word meaning, context tools, critical thinking)
  • Word Usage (abbreviations, adjective meanings, inflection ending s)
  • Vocabulary (high-frequency words, synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms)
  • Capitalization & Punctuation

These follow the same exact idea, but are teaching grammatical concepts.

The Reading Comprehension ones were good for Nutsy. She needed help with a few of the words but could do this mostly on her own.

And it is very easy to check and see if you have all of the answers right....simple flip the card over to see.

The colors match! All of them are correct.

Some of the wheels are split down the middle. This makes it easier, especially when there are some answers that are very close to one another.

 I gave these to Nutsy and Dasher to do. Dasher learns so much better with hands- on things, and I found that the need for coordination and memory was something she needed work on. When she would figure out an answer she not only had to remember the answer, but remember which disc to put in the correct space. I could literally see her brain thinking at times, and she ended up coming up with a system to help her remember where she was.

I also received 10 Days to Multiplication Mastery Wrap up and Book Combo. ($12.99)

Learning Wrap-Ups Review

This I also did with Dasher. She has really struggled with her multiplication facts. She can memorize the facts, but has a very hard time translating the numbers into word problems.

We spent about 20 minutes a day working through the workbook and using the Wrap up. The consumable workbook has the child learn each multiple in turn. Some of the activities are doing both horizontal and vertical multiplication problems, commutative activities, and word problems. Her favorite thing to do was the timed pages. Here, she either wrote the answers to the multiple questions or did the Wrap up, and then I timed her. There is a space to record her time at the bottom and she loved trying to beat her times each day. Math is harder for her, so we did take longer than 10 days to go through the workbook. I do feel that doing the Wrap up really helped her to memorize her multiplication facts.

I also received the 10 Days to Addition Mastery Wrap up and Book Combo. ($12.99) This was the perfect fit for Nutsy. She knows most of her addition facts already so I was able to have her use this a a math review. We did do this in 10 school days (2 weeks) and she came away with a better recall speed of the math facts.

The workbook is in a similar fashion to the 10 Days to Multiplication Mastery. She especially liked the beginning page; each day, as you add more math facts that you have learned, you can color in the facts on a big number fact graph. This was a great way for her to see her progress. She also really enjoyed using the Wrap up and got pretty fast at "wrapping" her answers

I also received the Learning Wrap up Vocabulary Intro Kit. ($35.99) I had no idea that there were vocabulary Wrap ups and we incorporated them into our daily review time. If you aren't familiar with Wrap ups, let me explain them to you...

They have a string attached to the top. The student matches the first word on the left (or number, in the case of the math Wrap ups) with the correct answer on the right.

Dasher is doing this one and she is trying to figure out what the antonym of night is...

They continue to wrap their way down to the bottom, and then secure it in the notch.

And the cool thing? You flip the Wrap up over, and you can see immediately if you are correct.

You can tell that she got a couple wrong, since the track of the line is visible and not covered by the string.

The Vocabulary Intro Kit comes with four Wrap ups:

  • Compound Words (shoe-lace, kick-board, ware-house)
  • Antonyms (push-pull, laugh-cry, hit-miss)
  • Synonyms (rich-wealthy, amuse-entertain, agile-spry)
  • Homonyms (seize-grab, pail-bucket, poll-survey)

Each Wrap has 10 different panels, giving you 120 different word combinations.

These were great and were so easy to incorporate into school. I spend time with each of the kids each school day, doing what I call School With Mom. We going over their math lesson, do phonics and reading, and I help the older ones with any problem areas they are having. So as you can imagine, I am in high demand and sometimes need something for hands to do while they are waiting for my attention. These Wrap ups were perfect for  this. I could either put on the timer and have them do the Wraps during that time, or ask them to do 5 panels and see if I had finished by then.

The Learning Wrap up Math Intro Kit,(59.99) which comes with all four Wrap ups (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division), is perfect for this kind of thing. Even my older kids would use them, timing each other and seeing how quickly they could do the multiplication and division Wraps.

I think these would be the perfect for summer use. It is a fun way to review math facts and reading comprehension, and is excellent for those that appreciate a more kinetic style of learning. Or, this can be something that you do throughout the school year, to solidify those math facts and gain a greater grasp of language and reading comprehension.

I received two physical levels of math and reading, but if you are a more of an online person and would like access to all levels, Learning Wrap Ups has an online version at You can purchase a family subscription (up to 5 students)  for $60 and get access to all levels of the reading and math palettes for an entire year.

Other people used different levels and reviewed the online version; check out what they thought by clicking below.

Click to read Crew Reviews

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Friday, June 6, 2014

My Week In Images

This week....

This lettuce.....

 because I love being able to just walk into the backyard to pick lettuce for our salad.

This Saturday.....

because it was good to be back to normal, cleaning and hanging out with the family.

These cuties with their new friend.....

because these moments make me glad I homeschool.

These beauties.....

because I am eagerly anticipating the red yumminess they will reproduce.

These bulk bins....

because I finally got them labeled. No more guessing!

This pool......

because I am thankful that we can cool off this way.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Taking a Break From MM

I have decided to take a break.

From MM.

 Not millimeters, which honesty, since we are a strange nation and don't use the metric system, I don't use anyways.

And I'm not talking about M&M's....I'll still be eating those yummy chocolate candies that don't melt in your hands.

I am talking about my Monday Musings.

I have loved sharing glimpses of my thoughts on here, what I am cooking, what we are learning, and such, but I need a little break.

 Did you know I started my Monday Musings back on October 19, 2009? Four and a half years ago....

This was the photo I chose that day...

This one was later in 2010....

 My babies.

And if you look at my "Label Cloud" on my sidebar to the right, you'll see that Monday Musings is by far the biggest.

I have written 225 of them. That is just crazy to me.

And this is a good place to take a break....I like even numbers. (Although with this entry, I'll make it 226...)

I am thinking I will take the summer off, and then re-evaluate in September.

I won't stop blogging....I am still reviewing for The Crew and I'll keep up My Week In Images and other family posts.

Have a lovely week everyone!