Thursday, April 23, 2015

School is Not About Having Fun!

The treasure of wisdom and knowledge

He looked at the old tattered map and took a sharp intake of breath.  He knew the landmarks on this map!  This was the river that ran down the valley his house overlooked.   Those mountains were the ones he could see in the distance.  He quickly scanned down and looked again at the bottom where there was drawn a treasure chest. 
Earlier that day he had been moving the old wardrobe down out of the attic when one of the drawers had slid open and banged against the wall, gouging the plaster.   He figured it would hardly be noticeable, the house was in such a state of disrepair.  In fact he was bringing the old wardrobe down in hopes of selling it to gain at least a little more time before he had to sell the house.  He was examining the dent when he saw that an envelope had fallen out on the hall floor.  He recognized his grandfather's spidery handwriting on the front. "Given to me by my uncle Bertram who always gave me antique gold coins for my birthday". 
He had opened the envelope and was interested to find this old map. He thought again of the gold coins.  Why hadn't his grandfather ever pursued finding the treasure?  Why hadn't he followed the map to it's end?  He glanced again at the map and thought of the mountains he would have to cross.  The provisions he would need to buy.  The dangers he would encounter.  And he decided they were indeed worth the trouble to find the treasure that would be waiting for him.

What if your education and the education of your child is the treasure at the end of the map?  Are you willing to cross mountains, face trials and make sacrifices to attain the provisions you will need?
The longer we homeschool the more I am convinced that we are becoming educational wimps.  We are afraid to do the hard things.  Memorizing stuff is hard, doing things well is difficult, repetition is boring.  And we settle for an education that resembles an old tattered house, in a well-known neighborhood.   Never getting the chance to see the view from the mountain peak.  Or experience the thrill of overcoming difficulties. We never follow the map to the treasure. 
I have been so convicted recently.  You see, I am a wimp too.  And I let my kids wimp out.  But we are slowly making changes and I am trying to lead by example.  I am reading more of the classic literature, memorizing worthwhile material, and learning to not let my desires determine what I achieve each day, but rather doing the things that must be done for the benefit of all.
In the book of Ecclesiastes 1:13 Solomon says "I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is all that is done under heaven.  It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with."
He says that seeking wisdom is an unhappy business.  That seems backwards doesn't it?  We are constantly being told that if we are passionate enough, read enough living books, let our children direct their learning, etc. that your children will willing and happily work to attain knowledge.  So why should learning be an unhappy business?  Because just like anything else, if we don't work hard at it, we won't get anything out of it!  How many times in The Hobbit does Bilbo wish to be back home by the fire waiting for his tea to brew?  He is dealing with difficulties and wishes for comfort but knows he must press on to gain the treasure.  We can't just provide comfort and expect to get anywhere.  We need to challenge ourselves and our children.  There are not shortcuts over the mountains.  I would however like to note that, the journey is made more endurable by the fact that we can travel with companions that lift us up and push us on.  It may be difficult but we can still encourage one another to take that next step and the next in order to travel the path set before us.

Want to read and listen to a little of what has inspired me in this train of thought?
http://www.colsoncenter.org/the-center/columns/viewpoint/16816-an-unhappy-business
http://iew.com/help-support/resources/mp3-resources/nurturing-competent-communicators This is long, but it's worth listening all the way to the end!


I am just starting to go through some of these podcasts, but if you need some help as a homeschool teacher these are great.
 http://amongstlovelythings.com/listen-up-collection-of-my-favorite/?ap_id=edsnapshots


Thursday, April 16, 2015

FREE (non-brand related) Essential Oil Summit!

You may recall that I recently posted an article explaining how I somewhat reluctantly began using Essential Oils and how I became convinced of their effectiveness due to seeing obvious results in our own family. 
Well I wanted to share with you an exciting event in case you were interested in learning more.

It's a free Summit featuring some of my favorite bloggers, like Jill from www.theprairiehomestead.com(She's speaking on Day 5: May 15th).  All of the speakers will be teaching about Essential Oil usage but won't be trying to convince you to buy a certain brand or sign on to sell oils.  It's all about their experience and information!

I know I'm excited to "attend" and look forward to finding out how to better utilize the oils I have so I can get the most benefit from each one.  If it's something you would like to learn more about, just click below to sign up to attend

Click Here

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

{Giveaway} Lads and Ladies of Wisdom Bible Curriculum

(This post contains affiliate links)
Every night we read a story out of a set of books called The Bible Story.  I love how it makes the stories easy to understand and the illustrations are beautiful.  But I have been wanting to add an element of scripture memorization and application.  For this reason, I was interested in doing this review.


 
I had heard of Kathie Morrisey and  had liked what I had seen of the format of the precursor to this book, Little Lads & Ladies of Virtue.  So I thought this new book might be a good fit for us.  We have used it for a couple of weeks and I'm going to share what we thought of it.  And, I am giving away 2 copies plus there will be a grand prize giveaway April 20th-23rd that you don't want to miss! You can find out more below.

What is it?
Lads and Ladies of Wisdom is a curriculum for 1st-6th graders "based on the book of Proverbs to help teach your children the value of wisdom. It contains 20 topics which include 5 lessons each, allowing you to cover a topic per week and will result in 5 months of character training."

How do you use it?
One aspect of this curriculum that I really enjoy is that it has an easy to teach format.  There are a few items you will want to have on hand to help reinforce the lessons, but they are very basic.
"The lessons include a weekly memory verse, fun activities to make the lessons practical, and a daily prayer about applying the lessons to their daily life."
  The Lads & Ladies of Wisdom Elementary Curriculum has a script that you can read as you do the lesson.  It's basic enough that you can discuss the topic on your own but gives enough guidance to make the teaching easy.  And the script is set up to initiate conversation, which it does efficiently.  There is a list at the beginning that maps out any supplies you might need for each day.
The format is the same each week. On the first day you introduce the lesson, and the memory verse. The other days will have key thoughts, and activities to illustrate them in a fun and practical way. Each day's lesson ends with a prayer asking God to help them in the area they are studying. On day 5, each child is given "treasure" to put on their reward page when they can say the memory verse and keys for the lesson. There is a coloring page for each week also.

The addition of the Activities and Copywork book has two purposes:
1. To help the students practice their penmanship, while reviewing the key thoughts from each daily lesson.
2. To provide extra activities that are fun to help reinforce what they are learning.

It includes copywork in both print and cursive and  various word search puzzles, crossword puzzles, match-ups, and word scrambles.
There are activities for each week that kids can do on their own, or you can work on as a family. For the
younger ones, there are coloring pictures; for the older students there are different puzzles and a few charts that they can do. These activities are meant to be a fun way for the kids to dig a little deeper, or just review a little more of what has been taught.

 How much does it cost and what formats are available?
To start with you will need the Lads & Ladies of Wisdom Elementary Curriculum and you can also add in the Lads & Ladies of Wisdom Elementary Character Activities and Copywork.
You can purchase each book individually for $15 or you can get both for $26.  They are available as an e-book that can be downloaded immediately and will need to be printed.

Did my kids like it?
My kids are loving it so far.  I let my oldest daughter choose the order we do her school subjects and she always starts with her favorite first and she has been picking Bible time since we started using this curriculum.
The lessons are brief enough and the activities hold their interest so that even the 3 yr old does well when sitting in on it.  And I like that the things they are learning are coming up in conversation during the day.  The day we played the wisdom game(Children draw cards that state something they have done and decide if that was something that reflects wisdom or not.  If so they take a step towards the wisdom sign.) my middle daughter was able to comment on something she was doing as something that was wise.  It's great to see them applying what they have learned.

Cons
When I am considering an item to purchase for our homeschool use, I look for reviews that aren't only full of praises.  I want to be able to consider what some people had trouble with so I can decide for myself if I think it will work for our family.  With that in mind, the following is what I would consider to be some of the drawbacks.

1. Lots of printing- This may not be an issue for some, but I am stingy with my printer ink and with all the activities, coloring pages, etc. there is quite a bit of printing to do.  I think that for the main curriculum book, I might print it on a half page in the future as it's just for my reference and not for the kids to work on.

2. You do need some items to help teach the lesson each day so you will need to prepare ahead of time.  It would be to your benefit to go through the week before and just make a note of what things you will need to gather.  But on the plus side, they are all items you should have in your house and not special craft items or expensive purchases. 

That's about it for me.  The curriculum is Biblically sound.  I like that they only give the reference for the memory verse so you can memorize it in your preferred version.  It's easy to use but has great depth and we will be using it as our  Bible curriculum.

And now for the giveaway!

I am authorized to give away TWO digital copies of the e-book Lads and Ladies of Wisdom Elementary Curriculum!



 

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Educents Just Got Even Better!

Introducing the NEW Educents Marketplace!

I just received an email from the founders of Educents, Kate and Kaitlyn, with some really exciting news. Until today, Educents was a website for parents and educators to take advantage of daily deals. But those deals expired... And there were only 50 deals available at once... I wanted saving money to be even EASIER. Kate and Kaitlyn agreed. So they created the new Educents Marketplace. It’s even easier to discover affordable educational resources that make learning FUN!

168b9eb3-ef68-4b42-80a4-f3aa5cf66646

Thousands of new products - Educents Sellers can now offer ALL of their bestsellers on the new Educents Marketplace. There's a wide variety of worksheets, lesson plans, educational apps and toys. Shop The Young Scientists Club, Scholastic, Workman Publishing, Alpha Omega Publishing, Life of Fred books, hundreds of printable units created by educators, and more!

Offers that NEVER expire - Sellers can offer our favorite educational products year-round. Once a deeply discounted Daily Deal expires, you can still find that product available on Educents at the lowest price.

Discovery - It's easier to search on Educents. Search for your kiddos' interests like Minecraft or Frozen-inspired resources, and then sort by grade level, subject, brand, and more!

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 9.36.15 AM

Follow your favorite brands and Sellers - The “Follow Me” feature lets me add my favorite Sellers to a list. Click the heart on the Seller Storefront. You can also see which Sellers are the most popular with other shoppers!

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 5.59.18 PM

The Educents Marketplace is exactly what I want it to be -- the best place for parents and educators to find the resources I NEED at an affordable price.



Monday, April 6, 2015

I Didn't Really Believe All the Essential Oil Hype...

Good morning!  I hope you all had a blessed Easter weekend!

I am not selling you anything today or reviewing a certain brand of oils but I really wanted to share the experiences we have had with Essential Oils recently.

A few months ago my mom bought a few oils from a friend and it was a better deal for her to sign up to be able to sell oils.  My mom is the most generous person I know and each time she would earn points towards getting more oils, she would get one that she thought would benefit my family.  So we started out with Lavendar and Melaluca (tea tree oil) and now have things like On Guard (DoTerra's version of Thieve's oil) and Serenity among others.  Anyway, since I had all of these oils I thought I should probably try them. 



Warts
About 8-9 months ago my daughter developed a large wart on her knuckle.  It wasn't just an eyesore but it was in a spot that she would bump and injure and at one point she even fell on our sidewalk and sheered the whole thing off.  Unfortunately it came back.  And to add to the problem, when it was irritated, she would put it in her mouth and due to having chapped lips, she ended up getting a wart right on the front of her top lip! 

I had warts on my hands as a child and went to the doctor to get them removed by freezing them and they would just come back after awhile.  And I wasn't even sure if it would be a good idea to freeze one on a tender spot like her lip.  So I looked up remedies for getting rid of warts using oils.  I found a few recommendations to use lemon oil and OnGuard so I made a simple lip balm using coconut oil and these two oils and my daughter started using it about 1-2 times per day.  It's been about two weeks and the wart on her lip isn't visible anymore (although my daughter can still feel a slight bump) and the wart on her knuckle is flat with the skin.  I can't believe how well it worked! 

Tired and Grumpy
The second scenario in which I've used the oils in and really seen a difference is with myself.  I have never been a real energetic person.  Even as a kid, I would choose reading a book to running around at recess.  But after I had my first child, I became even less energetic.  In fact I have felt just plain tired for the past 8 years.  That's a long time!  And with that lethargy came frustration and anger because I would get so overwhelmed.  I just kept praying that I wouldn't be so tired and grumpy anymore.  I wanted to be a person who finds joy in their everyday life and not have to struggle to find motivation to get out of bed in the morning.  My mom knew I struggled with this so she sent me an oil blend called Elevation.  I didn't use it for a week or so.  Like I said, I wasn't entirely sold on the fact that oils work.  But I finally looked up where to apply it and started using it once a day over my heart.  Each time I would put it on, it was a reminder to pray for wisdom and patience.  I have been using it for about two weeks and I can't even begin to describe the relief I feel because I feel SO much better!  I can actually pause in a stressful situation and identify that I am getting frustrated because I'm overwhelmed.  Before this I would just fly off the handle and yell.  Now I am able to see that I just need to take a moment to get things situated.  Small things stay small things, I don't blow them up into a big, scary situation.  And I feel amazingly alert and energetic.  Not hyper or bouncy but just ready to hop out of bed, do the extra little chores and heck, even make supper! 
For the past 6 months I have cut out sugar(I use Stevia instead) and take a vitamin B12 every day.  That was helping me feel better and not have an afternoon crash, but it wasn't until I started the Elevation that my head  cleared.  If  you feel at all like I was, I really recommend you try it.  It's totally worth it.  I am sure you can find a DoTerra seller in your area.  I think another brand available is Young Living but I don't know the names of their blends.  I think they have a similar one called Joy. 

Stomach Upset
The last oil blend I'm going to tell you about is DigestZen.  It smells like black licorice (yuck!) but it helps a ton with upset stomach issues. We ate at a Chinese Buffet awhile back and it wasn't the best place we have ever eaten... Anyhow, I ended up feeling nauseous and had a stomach ache.  I put some of the oil on my stomach and within 20 minutes I was feeling great!  We have used it a few times with the kids and it always helps.

So to sum this up, I never intended to use oils.  I thought it was sort of a hippy, tree-hugger kind of thing.  But after using them and seeing such great results, I am sold.  We will continue using them.  If you want information on buying them, you can e-mail me at thechickenwire@gmail.com  I do know of a few people that sell them.  But I didn't want to make this post about promoting someone.  I really just wanted to share something that has greatly improved our lives.