Tuesday, March 31, 2009
In the Footsteps of PaulExperience The Journey That Changed The WorldBy Ken Duncan
Follow a trailblazer’s path and see for yourself all the places that Paul visited . . .
Paul’s missionary journeys are much more than mere dotted lines on rough maps at the back of your Bible. His travels changed the world, and when you, too, follow In the Footsteps of Paul, you’ll experience those amazing journeys more powerfully than ever. The lens of renowned photographer Ken Duncan traces everywhere Paul is known to have traveled. Ken’s stunning photos, combined with Scripture and writings from noted authors, creates an exciting platform for experiencing the life and times of one of the apostles who introduced Jesus to the Roman world and beyond.
Who is Ken Duncan?
Ken is a recognized photographer around the world. He travels to search the stunning panoramic pictures that he is best known for and works on book projects in various locations like Africa, Malaysia, China, Hollywood, and the Middle East. He is well known for his books Where Jesus Walked, Walking with God in America and The Passion: Lessons from the Life of Christ.
My thoughts on the book
As soon as I received this book, I devoured it. Literally! I was impressed by the colors of the pictures and while I read I walked with Paul discovering the roads he travelled throughout his ministry. The pictures in this book are stunning. It made me want for more every time I was turning the pages of this book. I learned about the man, his mission and his destiny while seeing where he would have been. We often heard an image can express a thousand words. I believe it! I had goose bumps while going through the book and immersing myself in the footsteps of Paul.
At every page, a significant scripture is written to remind us the story of Paul. Also, you will find insights from various well know Christian leaders. Reading this book was a breath of fresh air for me. I experience Paul’s travels in a special way thanks to Ken and his talent in photography. I love photography myself and I hope that one day I can truly experience Paul’s journey by travelling where he went and bring back my own memories of it.
Thank you Ken for this marvelous book! Continue to bring other ones like this. In the meantime, I am looking forward to get your other ones to complete my collection of your works.
I plan to use this book to teach my children about Paul’s travels as well as showing to friends visiting my house. This book is a must in every Christian home as it depicts the journey of the apostle to the Gentiles.
You can get In The Footsteps of Paul at amazon.ca for 19.39$ Cdn or indigo.ca for 19.75$ Cdn if you have the ireward card.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Try it for free at http://www.spellquizzer.com/download.htm !
When her plane is hijacked and crash-landed outside Bogota, Emma Cauldridge, a biochemist for a cosmetics company who is on a special mission of her own, is thrown safely from the wreckage. She watches as guerillas march the surviving passengers away, heading toward a ransom rendezvous point. An ultra-marathon runner, Emma follows closely behind, using her athletic skills and her experience in identifying wild plant life, to stay alive. Her skills become even more valuable when she finds an injured passenger, government agent Cameron Sumner, on the jungle path, separated from the group.
As news of the hijacking and kidnapping breaks in Washington, the Department of Defense contacts Edward Banner, a former military man and current CEO of a company that provides special forces personnel in times of international crisis. Banner pushes the limits of his influence in order to find the hostages, Sumner, and the woman who stayed a step ahead by staying a step behind in the race for her life through the Colombian jungle.
Who is Jamie Freveletti?
She’s a competitive (speed) runner. She’s a teacher and black belt in aikido. She’s earned degrees in law, political science and international studies. She’s been a trial attorney. She’s the author of the book. She is looking forward to write more and to learn to throw knifes and pick locks. This is her first published work.
My thoughts of the novel
WoW! I was able to read this novel in one week and I am really impressed with it. The suspense is intense and existent from the beginning to the end of the book. I must admit that I am very surprised by the quality of the story and the writing. Jamie was able to keep me hooked on the book the whole nine yards and I was always look forward to what would happen next. The main character is very courageous. Personally, I wonder if I would be in the same position I would be able to just survive in the jungle. Reading how Emma adapted herself in this situation made me want to be even more in shape so I can survive any situation too. The character of Emma also made me remember things I had learned when I was a girl guide on how to survive in the forest. Emma is a source of knowledge that is good to have. I wish I had a Emma in my life!
I was not expecting the theme of faith and prayer in this book. To my surprise, the author handles this specific subject pretty well without going through too many details. Faith and prayer is a touchy subject sometimes but as a Christian I was pleased with the fact that Emma was covered in prayer and faith by another character. God did guide her steps and actions throughout the whole ordeal.
This book is worth the read. I recommend it 150%to everyone who loves suspense and thriller! It will keep you wanting more and discovering what will happen to Emma, Cameron and the passengers. Don’t hesitate. When you see it at the bookstore, buy it. It is a wonderful book full of adventures. At the turn of each pages, you will find yourself sitting more at the edge of your chair.
The book is available at amazon.ca and indigo.ca in both hardcover and tradepaperback. Official release of the book is end of April. Until then - be patient...
Sunday, March 22, 2009
The first publisher I was able to contact was Thomas Nelson. And after signing up and being accepted (they do verify your blog), I was able to choose the product I wanted to review. Back then there were about 5 books available and one jumped out to me. The title is Christianity in Crisis 21st Century by Hank Hanegraaff. After reading a little bit more about this book, I was highly interested in learning more about the subject. So I selected this book for my review.
Within a week the book was home and immediately I dove into it.
Who is Hank Hanegraaff? He is the president of the Christian Research Institute and author of many books. He also can be heard on the Bible Answer Man around the US and in Canada. Two decades ago, he wrote a best-seller titled Christianity in Crisis which was alerting about the dangers of a cultic movement within Christianity. Today, during the 21st century, new dangers – new teachers have emerged and this time the damages might be worse.
This new book is about the dangers of the Faith theology which can teach fallacies to a multitude of Christians. Unfortunately, many fall for the teaching of these people and get hurt in the process when things are not happening as what they have been taught. The consequences can be difficult especially when their belief in God is touched to the point that they reject Him at some point.
But how can people fall for false teaching? Because we are looking for easy answers sometimes and the Faith teaching can be easily taken. Unfortunately, many of the teachers will twists the scriptures and apply it in ways that are not truthful…
At first, Hank Hanegraaff presents the basis of the Faith theology and the various players in this movement. Then he decorticates the beliefs of the Faith movement and gives plenty of examples of why the teaching is erroneous. Going through what Hanegraaff called FLAWS, he exposes the fallacy of the teachings versus the truth of the scriptures. You could see that he is really passionate in bringing back Christians on the right path of their faith in God. Finally, at the end of the book, he brings back the reader to the basics by going through the ABCDE of faith (Amen, Bible, Church, Defense, and Essentials) The importance of prayer, bible, being connected to a community of believers, defending the various aspects of Christ and the scriptures as well as the essentials aspects of Christianity as so important that I think every believers should go through a special course so that we would be fully equipped to face resistance.
During the past year, I was exposed to some Faith theology and inside me there was something telling me that this didn’t add up totally. Now I understand why. I think the Spirit was stirring something in me to not completely and totally believe what I was seeing and hearing. Personally I learned a lot while reading this book and I will revise the ABCDE’s regularly so I can easily converse with a non-believer on these subjects.
Interested in reading more about Christianity in Crisis 21st century? Or do you know someone who has been “burned” by the Faith movement and that you know need to read this book? I strongly recommend it to everyone who wants to know more about this movement and how to keep ourselves from falling into it. You could easily find it at Amazon.ca for 18.14$ Cdn or Indigo.ca for 18.14$ Cdn if you are a ireward member (which is totally worth it – believe me!). Both stores offer free shipping in Canada when you buy for over 39$ Cdn.
We had the marvelous surprise to be able to review a toy while being on the TOS Homeschool Crew. The toy we received comes from a company called One 2 Believe. One 2 Believe is a company who wants children to learn Bible Lessons and come to faith in Jesus.
The toy is part of the Toy of Glory series that One 2 Believe has. We received the Noah’s Ark (based on Genesis 6-9) and as soon as the box was open, the kids disappeared with the boat and the figurines. Funny enough I got a couple of animals in double. So we just pretended that the animals already started to reproduce in the ark *grin*.
The ark was a huge hit in our household. They are using it in various ways – not always as the story of Noah – as they are using their imagination often. But the ark is quite solid. So solid to be honest that it took me a few minutes to figure out how to open the boat to store the animals. It wasn’t quite evident at first but I finally was able to separate the top from the bottom to put the animals in the ark. OUF! Sadly, the ark is only coming with one person ie Mr. Noah. It is a bit sad to see that Mrs. Noah is forgotten so often as well as his sons and daughters-in-law. After all, Noah wasn’t alone to take care of the animals…
The Tales of Glory figurines are made of PVC. Each ark comes with a mini-book which tells the story of Noah’s Ark in a few words. Someone from the crew also mentioned that you could get some Tales of Glory figurines at the Dollar Store in the States. Back in February, we took a drive to Ogdensburg, NY and there was a Dollar Store. So I decided to take a peek just in case I could find some of the figurines. I was able to get Jesus, Mary, David, Goliath and Moses. The kids love the figurines especially the Jesus one! It was great to be introduced to a company who is creating toys based on biblical stories.
Would I recommend One 2 Believe for someone who is looking for toys based on the biblical stories? You bet. The figurines are quite sturdy and easy to manipulate for little hands. Even though the animals look a little bit funny (they make me think of cartoon animals), the toy can easily be used an homeschooling environment or even as a Sunday school tool to illustrate the story to little ones.
The Noah’s Ark is available at the One 2 Believe website for 29.99$ US. While being there, check also their other products. You will be amazed by what they are offering…
I was given a choice of which curriculum I wanted. I selected the one that I thought would speak more for my oldest son. And I was very surprised to see what I got in my mailbox a week later. Further Up and Further In gave me goose bumps as I was scanning the pages of this study. What is Further Up and Further In you wonder?
Further Up and Further In is a full-year curriculum based on the study of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. It brings together English literature, social studies, geography, Bible and character building, cooking, and art with a bit of science and history at times. However, to complete this curriculum, parents are strongly advised to supplement with more history, math, grammar and spelling.
Specifically aimed for readers of grade 4-8 level, Further Up and Further In can easily be adapted for younger children. Each book of the Narnia series is covered in this literature study. You will find recipes, directions for activities, other books to read, and poems. I personally used it with my 2nd grader and he enjoyed the time we spent together reading The Magician Nephew and learning new words. I must admit that I too learned interesting things while using Further Up and Further In the past few weeks. We took it slowly as we were discovering this together. We had discussion about scriptures and about we had read in the chapter, we learned new words and their definition, we applied these new words in a different context to make sure we understood them, and so on. I must admit that I skipped some acitivities that I found too advanced for a 7 year old but generally speaking we had fun. We are both looking forward to continue reading the Narnia books and to learn more new words. Too often I find that we don’t stop to look at the words when we don’t understand it. This study helps us to slow down and discover new vocabulary.
Cadron Creek also have other products including a literature-based unit study on all nine books of the Little House on the Prairie called The Prairie Primer (grades 3-6 )and one that brings the student in the Victorian Era and the world of Anne of Green Gables called Where the Brook and River Meet (junior high and high school students). If you are interested in reading reviews about the other two literature-based unit study that other members of the crew were able to used, please feel free to check out the TOS Crew blog at your earliest convenience.
Further Up and Further In is available for 56$ US in paperback or 62$ US in spiral-bound. However, please remember that you might have to buy other resources to help you with this study. I personally recommend ROAR! A Christian Family Guide to the Chronicles of Narnia which is out of print but you can still find it in sale sections of at Christianbook.com and also a book from Paul F. Ford titled Pocket Companion to Narnia. The author also suggests other books for older students as well.
The DVDs are what I call “learn by example” lesson which means that the instructor explains the problem in terms that are easy to understand. All the topics are taught with examples and an easy step-by-step approach. We received two different DVDs to review. The first one is Basic Math Problem. The second one is Algebra 2. I must honestly say that I focused more my attention to Basic Math Problem since my kids are so young. But I like what I saw. I even spend some time on the Algebra 2 DVD to see if the instructor is still making it simple to understand. And he does…
The instructor is Jason Gibson and he takes the time to explain the viewer how to resolve a problem. He assumes that the viewer doesn’t know anything about it and take him/her in a step-by-step process to resolve the problem. He even explains the mathematical terms in simple language for children to understand. You can see that Jason has a passion to decorticate complex topics into simple ones. He always starts with easy problems and slowly directs the student toward harder ones.
I asked my 2nd grader to sit down and watch two specific sections on the Basic Math Word Problem DVD with me. So one afternoon, during the nap of the younger ones, we watched Adding Whole Number and Subtracting Whole Number. My son quite enjoyed it and wanted to watch the rest but since he hasn’t learned the other notions yet, I told him we will have to wait a bit. He loved it because he taught it was easy and he was able to answer the problems before Jason was finished explaining the resolution of it. I thought it was funny to have my 7 year old saying the answers out loud even though the problem wasn’t solved yet. That’s my boy! He just loves mathematics… which is great because personally I had trouble with it when I was in high school.
Most DVDs on the website are 26.99$ US. I think it is pretty reasonable when you have a child who is struggling with some specific notions of mathematics. If you want them to succeed, it’s important to invest in various ways so they can get it. You can also order some CDs containing worksheets to help resolve the problem seen in the DVDs for certain subjects. I recommend Math Tutor DVD not only for kids but for the parents too as it can give you some tips and tricks on how to explain in a simpler way.
So I was more than curious to hear what was on my The Bible CD which covers stories from the Old and New Testaments. Honestly I have mixed feelings about the CD after we listened to it. Don’t get me wrong, the songs are pretty peppy and teach about the bible but I feel that they are a bit too much on the choir side for my taste. However, my oldest son loves it end enjoys listening to it which means a lot to me. After the CD is for educational purposes and while hearing the songs my kids will learn more about the bible.
What I particularly like about this CD is that before each song, they give a scripture or a little explanation about it. It also presents various books of the Bible in a creative way. The CD I received contains 32 songs about the Old Testament and the New Testament. You can also get sheet music and song books from their website. Other CDs available are Matthew 1, Matthew 2, Matthew for young singers, Moses 1, Moses 2, Moses for your singers and David. To hear some samples of the CD, simply go to http://www.biblestorysongs.com/songs.htm and look for The Bible CD songs sampler in the middle of the page. The CDs are available for 9.99$US directly from the vendor site.
Geared for children ages 4-10 the curriculum of Rocket Phonics is research-based and scientifically proven as a method to teach reading. It uses games and a multi-sensory approach to encourage the child to read. My son, who will be 5 years old at the end of the month, is now asking me regularly to do Rocket Phonics. He loves the bingo games and the cards. We use the cards to make the words and he is able to read them. Before I was wondering how I will approach reading with him. Today, I feel confident that we can make it. I also discovered since September that he is more a kinesthetic learner which means he likes to move when doing something or hold a toy. He is very interested in learning how to read as many 3-5 years old. He sees his older brother reading and even playing with the Wii and now he wants to be able to do it. He would like it if it could happen overnight but this is not the case. At first he was frustrated because it wasn’t happening fast enough. With Rocket Phonics, he is having fun at the same time and doesn’t complain as much anymore. He is so happy to tell his dad that he learned new words at the end of a day!
2 big Rocket Phonics readers
I discovered a great product with Rocket Phonics and I enjoy it a lot. I also learn personally as I discover the real sounds behind the letters… (you see I am French Canadian from birth and picked up English from school and never did phonics!) We shall see if there will be an improvement in my own learning when we are done.
Some of you might be wondering what is Schleich? Schleich is a leading manufacturer of animal figurines and imaginative play worlds. It was founded in 1935 and is headquartered in Germany. Today, they distribute their products to over fifty countries! The products can be found in specialty toy stores, Micheal’s, Toys R Us and so on. Their passion is to create educational products that promote imaginative play. And they did! It a joy to just hear my kids playing with the animals (and the ark we already had).
Personally, I plan to expand our new collection of Schleich action figures. Why? Simply because they are so realistic. I can see ourselves using these as we learn about animals and their habitat. It’s so nice to see that Schleich not only create one animal for a specific kind but made the effort to create the male, female, and baby version of it. Each has their own particular characteristics and it’s easy to point them out to the kids.
We don’t have a zoo in the city where I live. In fact, the closest worthwhile zoo there is can be found 4 hours away from our place. To introduce the zoo menagerie to the kids, we look at books and also DVDs but now I think I have discovered another way to do so via the Schleich action figures of wild animals.
Schleich do not only do animals as figures. As a matter of fact, Schleich offers over 500 items in their collection. They have a whole bunch of themes from which you can use as teaching elements.
Specific play sets
Farms buildings and accessories
African animal nursery and accessories
Prehistoric animals including dinosaurs (which would be a hit with boys!)
World of Knights
World of elves
World of the American Frontier
The Smurfs (remember the little blue guys? Well a movie is in the making believe it or not!)
I am totally impressed with the quality and the realistic details on the figures we have received. And the kids love them. They are having a blast with them and already are asking if we will get more in the future. This product is already much loved in our house and we are looking forward to discover more of the Schleich world!
Schleich do have a presence on the web at http://www.schleich-s.com/ . Please note that they are looking into expanding the educational aspects of their site. Consequently, new features will be added in 2009. Also, the have a photo contest right now so check it out www.schleich-s.com/hobbyfarmhomecontest. Now until March 31, 2009, send in a photo of your family's farm diorama using Schleich animals and accessories, and you could win a Schleich Red Barn valued at $159.99!
The prices of the Schleich Action Figures vary depending of the model you want to get. Visit your local store to know how much they are. You will be impressed with them. Guaranteed!
These are so versatile that you can use them in addition of your writing program or just for a fun activity to do with your student. Guarantee that you will have some little surprises and the student will have fun with them. Anyone can use them – from a kindergarten to a high school student and I would say even mom and dad can join the fun at writing a story! Each StoryBuilders are e-books that you can download easily on your PC. No shipping involved which is fantastic! Your e-book will contain 192 StoryBuilder card either in black print or colored print as well as 48 blank cards for your imagination! You will also find instructions and ideas on how to use the StoryBuilders cards.
The instructions are very simple and you can use the cards in various ways. Every card included in a StoryBuilder is different which means you can easily mix them and create a wonderful story… By mixing the different decks of cards of other WriteShop StoryBuilders, the student can have more character options, settings, or plots.
We had the opportunity to review the World of Animals which features animal characters and the World of Sports which features sports characters. My 2nd grader is enjoying them so well that the first thing he does in the morning is to pick the envelopes containing the different elements of a story. He sits down for 5 to 10 minutes with his notebook and creates new sentences. He told me that he really like doing this. Afterwards, I take his creation and make corrections if necessary and try to direct him in modifying his sentences a little bit. Here are some of his creations:
From the WriteShop StoryBuilders World of Sports:
“An aggressive body surfer competes in a foreign country track while an ignorant
wrestler forgets the uniform or gear to go to the golf course. A snowboarder
tests his skills of underwater snowboarding and he’s in danger because there are
sharks. An unfriendly football player enters a football race in the park. A
moody surfer with a black top invents a new kind of energy food. An
argumentative fisherman competes in his own hometown in a boat while a spirited
sailor left behind a letter that said he’s going to a sport camp.”
From the WriteShop StoryBuilders World of Animals:
“ A curious snail meets a man in blue disguise under the couch. A restless
eagle went to school because he was trapped in a sudden storm. A puzzle octopus
in an amusement park can turn into a human. A nervous worm under a tree stump
becomes a stuffed toy. A shy raccoon hiding in the pantry was stalked by a
predator. And a ridiculous spider went in his spaceship with his toy box and
landed on the moon.”
I can easily see the fun of bringing these on a trip just to practice writing and creativity. I realize that I need to sit down with my son and help him to expand more on his paragraphs in the future. I’m really impressed on how easy to use the StoryBuilders are and how little it takes to sparks the imagination of a 7 years old!
Other WriteShop StoryBuilders are available on their website. You will be able to find People which feature a bunch of human characters and a mini-builder about Christmas. However, the authors didn’t want to encourage children to re-write the true Christmas story so the creativity will be more holiday-themed oriented with characters like snowman, nutcracker, etc. Also, the World of Imagination is announced as coming soon on their website which will include fantasy and fairy tale characters.
You might be wondering how much the StoryBuilders are. Their regular price is 9.95$ US but right now on the website they are on sale for 7.95$ US. Seeing how much my son enjoys them, I will go get the People StoryBuilders since it is the one we are missing. Please note that the price of the Christmas mini-builder is less because it is smaller than the other StoryBuilders.
As part of my participation with the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a bunch of frames from Heads Up! And at first I was wondering what I should do with them. I decided to check what the frames are meant for and suddenly understood the potential for these. Some of the frames I received have colored stripes and I was seriously wondering how someone can read with these… Well I since learned that there is a disorder called Irlen that makes it difficult for people to read black and white printed words. Isn’t it interesting? If a family can’t afford to buy colored glasses to a child who has this disorder, the frames are an interesting option…
The Top of the Line and the Double Time frames will help a reader to stay in track with the text that is read. The colors will help to the student to stay focus and remove the distraction.
The bigger size frames can help a child to concentrate on a specific section of a book or page. If your child is overwhelmed when seeing a whole page of text in front of him/her, use these so you can separate the text in sizeable chunks.
Finally, the Reader has a strip of color between two stripes of grey. It helps the student to stay in track while reading. My son was having trouble to keep track while reading some text in his bible so I thought this could help him to stay focus on his lines. It helped! Since he is using one, he didn’t skip on his reading and is following his lines without problem. I think these are just wonderful. One even found its way inside my bible! *grin*
These little tools are affordable for everyone. See for yourself!
Double Time 1$ each available in yellow or blue
Frame 4 x 4.5 1$ each available in various colors
Frame 4 x 9 1$ each available in various colors
Reader 1$ each available in various colors
Written by Marie Rippel, who is behind the program All about Spelling, the book All About Homophones is a simple tool kit to help you teach your kids about – you’ve guessed it – homophones. Homophones are words that sound the same but written differently and having different meaning. The lessons are quite simple to follow and you will find interesting activities for your kids which complete the lessons. Learning while having fun!
Included in this resource are worksheets, games, activity cards and a impressive list of homophones. It is specifically designed for grades 1 to 8. All the activities are separated by grade and you will find fun games about homophones in them. My son is only in grade 2 and he had lots of fun to do the exercises and activities for his age. Since then, not only does he spot homophones while doing his homework in English but he also spots them in French! And he does it with a huge smile on his face. So nice to see that a lesson did went through his brain and that he applies it elsewhere.
On the website you can also sign up for a free report called “The 5 Secrets for Teaching Homophones” as well as access the homophones machine. In the machine you can type any sentence of paragraph and click on convert button so the machine can convert it using homophones. Lot’s of laugh guaranteed with this little tool!
So you must be wondering how much for this fun book? I think it is pretty reasonable. The softcover book is 32.95$ US and the e-book is 27.95$ US . I personally vote for the e-book because once you have it, you can print the pages you need for your child and use it multiple times. To top it off, the author is so convince that you will like it that she offers a 30-day, no-question-asked, money-back guarantee.
So go ahead - try it out! Your kids will have fun learning about homophones.
What a book! I love it. It is actually pushing me to go out more with the kids. We are so blessed in our city to have a multitude of walking trails in what is known as the green belt! I wonder why I didn’t go explore these trails more with my children – ok I know why a little bit 1) I hate mosquitoes in the springs (my kids have some sort of reaction to their bites and I hate bug spray) and 2) I’m lazy. There I said it! Isn’t the first step to change is admitting it? Here you go… I’m going to change in 2009!
I honestly love the various articles in this e-book. However, I especially enjoyed the one about nature study through the seasons. I’m the kind of person who will delights in all the seasons. It’s something that we in Ontario go through every year – spring, summer, autumn, and winter. There is something to enjoy no matter what the season. So why not taking advantages of them? This year, we are not planning to park the trailer at a specific campsite. Consequently, I need to explore more the forests surrounding our city. I love bird watching and this will give me the opportunity to teach my kids about birds. I even learned some things from the bird watching articles! You are never too old to learn new information on a specific subject.
While reading the e-book, I also learned to create a scavenger hunt while exploring nature. I never thought of that! Geeez! I discovered the wisdom in having a nature bag with us and a perpetual journal to note specific nature sighting or discovery. These are wonderful ideas and I can’t wait to try them.
I also enjoyed the article “I See God” Walks. God created everything and I’m excited to see how creative He was when I see the trees, birds or animals. He thought about everything didn’t He? Just watch a blue jay diving in a pine tree or explore a beach in the fall to find a turtle nest… these are teaching moments!
One of my dreams would be to have a little garden in the backyard so the kids can grow flowers and vegetables in it. Our problem right now is that there are “wild” rabbits living around and last time we had tomato plants…. Well let’s just say they enjoyed them before we did!
The little e-book is packed with wonderful ideas like listening walks, taking a walk during nighttime or creating a nature bracelet using masking tape. The article Nature Study with Food in itself is a little gem of discovering nature where food is involved… 2009 will be a stepping stone for me. I have no honest reasons not to go out more and explore the nature trails in our city. Nature activities will become a regular thing to do – I promise! My kids are used to go fishing with dad… now it will be discovering the nature around us with mom. *grin*
I will also make the effort to bring them strawberries picking for a new tradition to start. We already did the blueberries and apples picking but we never went to pick strawberries and then make jam… New adventures and discoveries await us in 2009! I’m excited about it. Can you tell? And coming from a former girl guide, who used to be able to tell the difference in the kind of clouds in the sky and found some constellations in the night, it means a lot… I will rediscover my lost skills and find new ones on the way...
Thank you so much for all the writers in this e-book for pushing me to go out more and enjoy the nature around me (mosquitoes and all!).
Crayola Art Studio is now available in Canada! When I first was selected, CoreLearning had to wait for authorization to produce the software for Canada and it took a little bit longer for me to receive the product. But now it is available for anyone who loves drawing and painting with digital tools!
Crayola Art Studio is packed with interesting activities for children to use. They will be able to pick between pencils, markers, crayons, paints and pastels to create anything they want. From decorations to greeting cards, this software has it all. The kids can use a multitude of tools and starters to bring their imagination to life.
The appropriate age to use this software is 4 and up. Even an adult can have fun with it! I tried it a bit and found it easy to use. My oldest son created some interesting art with it as well. While experimenting with the software, I discovered, with joy, that you could easily blend the colors as you draw. While using the pastels I realized that it was easy to mix the colors just as if you were using real pastels.
Mind you, as real as they can make it, it doesn’t give you the satisfaction of having colors on your fingers and feeling the paper while you are working with real pastels. I’m a Give-Me-The-Real-Stuff kind of girl and I love holding the pastels/crayons/pencils while I draw. I’m just like that. Using a software remove the touching part of the whole process. I am also at lost when I am in front of a screen to create some art. However, give me some paper and colors and I will create. Not sure why I am like that but I know that not everyone is like that. I discovered in the user manual (which comes in a pdf format) that even though the software could be use with a mouse, it is better to use mouse pen accessories or a tablet PC to obtain a better control over free-hand digital drawing and painting. Now I am seriously considering looking into getting a mouse pen accessory to try the program with more freedom in drawing and painting!
Crayola Art Studio is a cool software that children can use while exploring art. I have never seen something this fun to use and so realistic at the same time. You can easily see that they have taken a lot of time to think about what they wanted to have as a product before producing it. The colors are vibrant and even the stamps are very interesting! Once interesting tool that I likes was the symmetry tool. With this tool you could draw and create immediately in the symmetric part of it at the same time. I had fun experimenting with this and creating the following. Okay I admit it doesn’t represent anything specific but some famous painter drew some weird things and their paintings are sold for expensive prices…
Crayola Art Studio is affordable. For less than 25$ you can have a fun drawing software for your kids to use. If you have a child who loves to draw and to experiment with new things, I highly recommend it!
You want to try it? No problem, simply go to the CoreLearning website and download the demo. They also have a little video to explain how to use the software and some screenshots.
Karri Gregor decided to teach piano when her own children were 4 and 7 and she couldn’t find a piano teacher because they were too young… Karri had a background in music education and she decided to teach music to kids. Back then she had started a music studio but because the family was moving she lost her students (except her own kids…) and didn’t feel like starting over again. Previously, she had made some tapes to teach the children about music and piano. While unpacking she stumble on these tapes and Karri started to think about another way of teaching piano to children. KinderBach was born!
KinderBach offers their lessons on DVDs or via the Internet. Make note that a high speed connection is necessary for the Internet lessons! Also, the internet lessons only cover the 1st year of the curriculum while with the DVDs you can get the whole two years of lessons.
I was fortunate to be set-up with a computer hooked on our TV so we could watch them comfortably sit on the sofa. However, I think it would be more complicated for other families with many little ones to be all around a computer screen to watch the lessons. I am more inclined to use DVDs also. But the lessons are the same whether you choose to get the DVDs or the online lessons.
Online access to the lessons is available for 85.95$ US for a whole year. You can try a first lesson free at this page: http://www.kinderbach.com/Learn/index.html . Enjoy!
Math Mammoth is divided in 4 series. The Blue Series explains a specific topic for example multiplication, clock or fractions. They are perfect for remedial or supplemental work. The LightBlue Series is organized by grades; the books contain a complete mathematics curriculum for a specific grade. Each book covers the topics for that grade and also contains tests and a worksheet maker. The Golden Series presents workbooks for a grade-level. These are great for homework, for general review, reinforcement, or practice material. Finally, the Green Series is similar to the Golden Series bu organized by topics.
Because we already had our math curriculum for the year, I decided to pick specific books from the Blue Series that I thought the MathUSee curriculum was lacking. I had sent some ideas to Maria and she sent me a bunch of them. I received via e-mail the Early Geometry (grades 1-3), Introduction to Fractions (grades 2-4), Canadian Money (grades 1-3), Clock, and Measuring (grades 1-3).
This module is very exciting for us because we will be able to carry it with us when we go on a trip across the border – you see we live in Canada about 40 minutes from the border and we are planning to visit the US often with our trailer in the future. As a matter of fact, we are planning a trip for 2009 (just have to decide where exactly we are going *grin* ) which means this little module will find its way in our luggages so we can keep the kids busy (coloring for the young ones and games for the oldest). Once again, the authors have pull out a wonderful module on the USA.
My only negative point for this module is that I would have liked to have more information in the Cruisin’ the Country section… It would have been great to have ALL the States covered in this module but it isn’t the case. Personally, I love learning more about our country’s neighbor and this module gave me a bit more information about the US.
Finally, one thing I would like to see in future modules would be cursive copybook so that older kids can practice their writing while having fun at the same time. I guess this is something close to my heart since I have a child who is learning cursive writing at the moment.
In a nutshell, the January module is a must to learn more about the different States in the US. You can get it via the OldSchoolhouse Store for 7.95$ US.
Puppetools was inspired by Jeffrey Peyton and his website provides resources to teachers and students to experience with educational play. On the website you will discover some videos to explain how to create your paper puppet as well as patterns if you need some ideas. I experienced in making one puppet but I had to modify the instructions for the hinge because I only had 8 ½ x 11 cardboard. So I decided to make a fish and as I was doing so I was wondering how I can use it later on… then I thought of the scripture about Jesus telling Peter to throw his net in the water and they caught a fish with money in its mouth to pay the taxes (Matthew 17:24-27). Maybe I could glue a Loonie (our Canadian dollar) in the mouth of the fish to make it more real and use it during the children lesson at church.
Even though it wasn’t that bad, I found it was a bit time consuming. So if you decide to create a puppet, you will need to plan some time without being disturbed. Honestly, I can see the advantages to use this kind of active-play for a classroom setting but in a home school setting I am still wondering how to use this. The best idea I came with right now it to use it as a craft activity. Mind you I’m sure that some ideas will come to me when I attach subjects related to animals and other things like how light bulb works.
As I am writing this, there are two types of subscriptions available on the website. A 20$ US trial are designed for individual users (like home school moms!) and gives you access to all the resources for a full 60 days. A regular subscription is also available for 99$ US and this type of subscription is designed for small & large groups.
As part of the review process, I received three books that I had to read and write about. I must admit that I didn’t know what to expect from books written in the 1800s or 1900s but I was pleasantly surprised by them.
The first book of the package is Mary Jane – Her Book written by Clara Ingram Judson and originally published in 1918. This little treasure that many little girls would like tells the story of a five-year-old as she helps and learns various tasks. She goes on a picnic, plants a garden with her father, learns to sew and more. She is curious like any five-year-old can be and eager to learn new things like sewing for example. This book is written for 6 to 10 years old but I think it is more for children age 5-7 years old. It is a very good book to put in the hands of an early reader once he or she has mastered the basics of reading. Now mind you the book is about a little girl doing little girl things so I am unsure on how a boy would react to this book. My oldest son is above this level of reading and I doubt he would be interested in reading it…
The second book of the package is The American Twins of the Revolution written by Lucy Fitch Perkins and originally published in 1926. Geared for readers ages 8 to adult, this historical novel recounts the adventure lived by the Priestly family during the war between the America and Britain. I enjoyed reading about this period of time and learning how the family evaded the soldiers so that they can bring the food and money to the ones who were fighting for them. Even though it was not about Canadian history, I think it was a good read and very informative.
Finally, the last book I received from Salem Ridge press is Glaucia the Greek Slave written by Emma Leslie and originally published in 1874. This book is part of a series called the Church History Series. It is a tale of Athens in the first century and is an historical fiction. Glaucia is the first book of the Church History Series and is for anyone ages 10 to adult who would love to read more about how Christianity was able to attract followers in a time where there was so much corruption and many gods... Here’s what Emma Leslie says about the book:
“In the pages of the following tale I have endeavored to show some of the many
difficulties with which Christianity had to contend, on its firs introduction to
the centers of civilization, not only from paganism and philosophy, but from
every mode of life and the whole tone of thought then prevailing. It was an age
at once of atheism and superstition; of boundless wealth and the most abject
poverty; of reckless luxury and selfish cruelty; and against all these, with the
long train of evils they bred and fostered, the simple Gospel story of the life
of Jesus, as told by a few fishermen, was all this new power could boast.That it
would make any progress in such a world of corrupt, luxurious, cruel
pleasure-lovers, or proud, self-satisfied, disdainful philosophers, seemed
impossible; for what chance had a religion whose whole teaching ranged itself
against everything that the popular mind accounted as worthy of notice? It had
no gorgeous ritual, there were no feasts or games in its service, it held out no
hope of wealth or power; but, on the contrary, was despised, sneered at, and
contemned by the rich and powerful, and yet, in spite of all the abounding
corruption on the one hand, and the proud disdain of Jews and philosophers on
the other, this “grain of mustard-seed” grew so mightily, that before its first
founders had passed away its branches had spread into many lands, and weary soul
were resting beneath their shadow.”
During the story, Glaucia is introduced to the Gospel and is told early on that she has to choose between Jesus and the other Gods she serves for her mistress as she cannot worship both…. She decides to worship to God of the slaves who loves everyone who comes to Him. The story is set up during the times of Nero and the famous (or should I say infamous) fire of Rome. The story starts in Rome and finishes in Athens. You get introduced of the way of living in that period of time and also the difficulties that were present for the ones who decided to follow God – persecution. Persecution still exists these days in other countries. The faith of those who are persecuted is so strong. While I was reading I was impressed of how the characters didn’t rejected God even though they had hard times and their lives were in danger. I also appreciated the boldness of the characters to share their faith with unbelievers. It was refreshing to read this.
I personally enjoyed all three books. However, I must admit that I had a bit of trouble “translating” the slang of the slaves in the book The American Twins of the Revolution or the King James way of talking in Glaucia the Greek Slave. I totally understand that it makes the book more interesting but not being used to reading it (and English not being my first language…), I had a hard time figuring out the words… but once I had caught the slang/King James then I was able to read it with more ability.
I loved the books I have received from Salem Ridge Press and I plan to get more of them. Believe it or not, I discovered that they are available at Amazon.ca! And Daniel also told me that he is working to make them available with other bookstores like Indigo in 2009 as well as potentially making them more affordable for us, Canadians. The Church History Series is certainly on the top of my list!