Monday, February 19, 2018

Learning about the Norman Conquest with Wulf the Saxon by Heirloom Audio Productions {{REVIEW}}


Heirloom Audio Productions is one of my most favorite vendors to review! I was so excited when Wulf the Saxon showed up in my mailbox that I'm surprised I didn't get any more strange looks from the neighbors over my squeal of delight than I did! HAHA! Wulf the Saxon is 2 1/2 hours of listening adventure that is sure to thrill your whole family!



Heirloom Audio Productions


Wow, where to even start....We love it. That's it...we just flat out love it! I don't think we have ever listened to an audio adventure from Heirloom Audio Productions that hasn't left us just speechless at the end, and this one is definitely no exception. 

I feel it is super important for me to distinguish between these audio adventures and an audio book. This is NOT like an audio book. There is an narrator who narrates the storyline, but it is not like a narrator who is reading, verbatim, a book. This is more like the narrator over a stage production play. There are a number of actors who portray each different character in the story, along with ambient and background sounds, etc. It is truly like watching a movie, but with your ears and not your eyes. You FEEL like you are really there! 

Wulf the Saxon
Heirloom Audio Adventure Club
About the Story: 

The story begins with Mr. George (as always) speaking to two young boys, explaining the ins and outs of kings, earls, and dukes. When the boys wish to hear more, the story begins. This story takes place when Edward the Confessor is the King of England, and is set in both England and France. Wulf is a very well respected young landowner who works hard to earn the same respect once given his father before him. He works under the Earl Harold. Harold would go on to be king, eventually, but that comes later. The story opens with Harold mildly chastising Wulf for a youthful mistake when he's only 16 years old in quarreling with another. Upon being pardoned, and welcome back into the King's court, Harold takes Wulf under his wing and Wulf becomes part of his inner circle. 
Harold shows his circle 5 ships, and the follow day they set sail. Wulf is on the same ship as Herald, and they head East. They find themselves in the middle of a strong storm. You can hear the winds blowing, the water spraying, and the ship creaking. The men are hungry, sea sick, and drenched. They finally see land, and attempt to maneuver the ship between the rocks for a safe docking. Shipwrecked, but alive, they rescued as many of the others as they could. I do not want to give away the entire story, but it progresses onward. Wulf and Herald find themselves in the middle of the Battle of Hastings.

I was working on the computer while listening to this the first time, and found myself trying to flip to a different tab to "watch" the movie. Then I laughed at myself for my mistake! These audio dramas are so real and full of great acting and ambient sounds that it's as if you're watching a movie. There is the distinct sound of a blacksmith's hammer between the first and second scenes that is so vivid, I could see it in my mind's eye.

Brian Blessed is still my favorite narrator of all times. He narrates as G.A. Henty between scenes, and does a beautiful job, as always. Alex York is a great Wulf, and Chris Larkin does fantastic as Herald. All of the character portrayals are top notch.
Overall:
Overall, Heirloom Audio Adventures has another winning product. We loved it. Beyond that, the Live the Adventure Club is a favorite of mine. Here you can join the club and receive 3 CD shipments per year, take part in a message board community, and have access to all of your Audio Adventures and the bonus content that comes with them. Mr. B is so calmed by these audio adventures. We often listen to these on our extended medical trips, or even just family day trips. At 2.5 hours long, they are the perfect length to cover the story in great detail, but not be too much. They're also perfectly timed for our trip duration! 


Does Heirloom Audio Productions Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

We received physical disks. These disks are broken up by chapters, so you can start and stop with ease. There's no schedule, or anything like that.  

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

There are no hidden fees at all.  I would say this particular story is best for upper elementary to adult ages, but it's perfectly acceptable for younger students, as well. There are no grade ranges, as this is a family friendly product.  


3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long? 

This is definitely NOT boring at all! Heirloom Audio Productions totally grabs your attention, and takes hold! For those who maybe can't sit still too long, or those who do not wish to listen to much at one time, you can easily stop after each short chapter and listen to this over the course of a few days if you want. 


4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.
This works great with any history based on the same topic. If your order this yourself, you will also receive a discussion guide. We did not receive that with this review, but in reviews past we have used this guide as a discussion guide, for writing prompts, and comprehension studies. 

Please be sure to check out the rest of The Homeschool Review Crew to see what others have to say! 
Wulf the Saxon {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, February 18, 2018

How do I Start Homeschooling?





Right now in WV, teachers and other state employees are hitting the picket lines striking for better pay and better benefits. While I support the teachers, and other workers, kids are suffering the consequences. Due to social media posts, families are also discovering, in glaring detail, just how inadequate our public schools are. That, on top of the most recent school shootings, has led to a tremendous amount of people asking about homeschooling. While the laws stated here are only for WV, the tips and advice are for any new homeschooler.


WV LAWS

The laws governing homeschooling vary from state to state. I've linked the state page that goes into detail with WV state homeschooling laws. I will also provide links to two different groups, HSLDA and WVHEA. Both deal with the rules and regulations with homeschooling. I'll give a brief run down here. These are all under the assumption there are no extenuating circumstances such as legalities surrounding CPS charges, truancy, etc. 

1.) To get started you must send in 1 notice of intent (NOI) There is a sample NOI under resources, getting started, on the WVHEA page. You are only required to send in one, unless you move. If you move out of the COUNTY, then you must notify the superintendent of the county you are leaving, and then upon moving in you are to send another NOI to the superintendent of the new county. This law recently changed, and some Board of Education (BOE) workers are not up to date on current laws, so it is a good idea to have a copy of the law handy just in case they are unaware of the recent changes. After all, we are all only human, and they deal with a lot of people on a daily basis.

2.) There is NO waiting period for homeschooling. You submit your notice of intent, and that's that.

3.) You do NOT need approval, nor do you have to have permission from a school principal, teacher, or any other employee.

4.) You must file a NOI for any child who will be turning 6 prior to September 1st for the remainder of the 2018 school year and the 2018/2019 school year. Beginning with the 2019/2020 school year, that will change to any child who turns 6 prior to July 1st. If you have already registered your child for Kindergarten, then you must file a NOI for them regardless of age.

5.) You can't graduate a child early. WV has a minimum age of 17, and each county can choose up to age 18 if they wish. So you can not issue a diploma to a 15 yr old and claim they have graduated.

6.) You must show progress via a portfolio review OR a national standardized test. The results of these reviews must be sent to the board of education for grades 3, 5, 8, and 11. You must keep these results for at least 3 years. For testing, your child's test scores must be in the 4th stanine or above. If they are not, they must be higher than the previous year's test scores. For a portfolio review, you must show progress through the year, and the work must be evaluated by a WV Certified teacher.

7.) You must teach the 5 core subjects of reading, science, math, language, and social studies. How you do this, and what materials you use is totally up to you. You are not required to list exact materials you plan to use, or provide a detailed lesson plan.

8.) You can homeschool your own child, or you can designate someone else to teach them, but whomever does the teaching must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. A college degree or post secondary certificate from an accredited school is also accepted, but most will urge you to provide the lowest level diploma/degree you have in order to maintain the current status quo.

9.) You can issue your child a homeschool diploma. There are a variety of sites where you can order these, or you can make your own. It is legal and must be accepted throughout the state. There are a number of students I know personally who have gone on to colleges from state public schools to private Ivy League universities without any type of diploma. There are a variety of Facebook groups dedicated to homeschooling through high school, and they are a wealth of information.

10.) Parents CAN administer their own assessment test provided the test perimeters allow for parent testing, and the test has been written and/or normed with in the last 10 years.

How do I start?


The first step is deciding to homeschool. Why do you want to? What is it that you hope to accomplish? The next step is to file your NOI and keep your kids home. I highly recommend letting them sleep in that first day, HAHA! Many first time homeschoolers, especially of the youngest students, wish to push their kids to a higher grade because they are advanced, or other reasons. I TOTALLY understand that feeling, BUT I always recommend staying with the youngest grade possible for a variety of reasons. Your child may seem advanced now, and that's GREAT, but the higher levels aren't necessarily more difficult due to academics, but more socially and maturity. There's a vast difference between 4th and 6th grade, for example.

I also suggest "de-schooling" for a period of time. Just relax, and really get to know your kids. They have been away from you for 7+ hours a day, 5 days a week, for a really long time. Get to know them. Figure out what they like. Figure out how they learn best. One may be more hands on, another may prefer reading non-fiction over fiction. Another may really want to take Latin classes! Who knows?! Get to know them in a way you've never known them before. Ask what they like about each subject. Find out what they don't like, and why. Little Johnny may claim he hates math because in 2nd grade he had a really hard time with subtraction, and the teacher had to move on before he mastered it so now math is really difficult. By knowing this, you can easily back up and fill in any gaps that may be causing difficulty and frustrations, leading to discontentment.

Curriculum: 

I can't tell you how many times I get asked, "What is the best curriculum to use?" And the answer? I have no idea! I'm not your kid! I'm not in your situation! The best for us is not the best for everyone else. Curriculum is a truly unique and individualized concept. I remember seeing BJU for the first time. Oh how I thought it was the best ever! I just knew it was going to be EXACTLY what we needed, and of course it was so expensive it had to be fantastic. I also remember the gun wrenching feeling when I realized I had wasted a LOT of money on something that we both hated. But a few of my friends LOVE BJU, and it works great for them! The most expensive doesn't mean the best out there. And it is definitely not the best if it brings about financial stress for your family.

There are different methods. Some people choose to go with all one method. Others, like me, choose to go with whatever works across the subjects. We do Charlotte Mason for some, traditional for others, and classical for the rest. I have several posts on choosing a curriculum that fits your family, so be sure to check those out. I'll link a few at the bottom.

Subscribe to my blog! I review loads of curriculum to give you an indepth look at what it's really like. Also check out The Homeschool Review Crew (link at the bottom.) Many of my crewmates review dozens of different things every year, and the Crew is a valuable source of curriculum reviews.

I do have a few favorites that I ALWAYS recommend to others. These companies provide resources that cover a wide range of grades and styles, and I feel they are more than worth the money for all they provide.

Schoolhouseteachers.com offers more than 300 courses. They feature an online World Book, home planning, education from Pre-K to 12, and sooooo much more. You can search my blog for numerous reviews, and that's not even the tip of the iceberg of all that you will find there. Seriously, go check it out.

Notebookingpages.com I love these people there's seriously a page for everything. If we want dinosaurs, they're there. Rocks? You got it! Planets? Sure thing! It's THERE! We've been using this for years!

I will probably add a few more after tonight :)

Advice: 

The best advice I can give is this: There WILL be times where you question if you are doing the right thing, if you've made the right decision for your children. You will wonder if homeschooling is working, if you're doing a good job. You will regret ever starting. You will want to call the school and beg them to take your kids back. And then you will wake up the next day and realize all of those doubts and negative feelings were just temporary because if you can teach them to walk and talk, you can teach them to read. You will NEVER be able to teach them EVERYTHING they need to know. No one can! But you CAN teach them to learn. You can give them to greatest tool so that they can in turn teach themselves what you are unable to teach. That is the greatest piece of advice I can give anyone.

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments, and I will do my best to answer them or find an answer for you! Good luck, and God Bless!




Links




5 Days of Homeschooling 101-Curriculum (This has links to several other bloggers, too!)


Perspective 

Homeschool Review Crew





















*This post, like all posts, may contain affiliate links. These links do not cost you extra. I choose to become affiliates with products I TRULY love, and truly use and think others will love as well!*

Boxed Curriculum vs. Mix and Match

One of the biggest debates you may have with yourself, and even others, on your homeschooling journey is boxed curriculum vs. mix and match. You'll find folks from both sides who feel passionately about their choice, but which one is the one for you? That's a personal decision for each family, but here are a few pros and cons to help you make the decision for yourself!


Boxed Curriculum Pros:

1.) It all comes together, basically in one box. Hence the name, boxed. Need 7th grade? Easy enough. Just choose the 7th grade option, then wait on the delivery guy to show up in a couple of weeks.

2.) It usually has all of the core subjects, so you're not scrambling around to make sure you have the right subject, at the right time, for the right grade.

3.) Reusable/resale value. A lot of times, boxed sets are textbook based. You can easily put those books up for later use with a younger student, or in some cases (check the company policy first!) you may be able to resale.

4.) Pre-planned. Most boxed sets come pre-planned for convenience. Also known as "open and go," boxed sets will usually include a calendar for parents to follow.

5.) There's usually something for everyone. Most anyone can find a box set to match their chosen method or system of beliefs.

6.) Often, the subjects will pair with each other nicely. Whatever you are learning in history will also be the topic in reading.

Boxed Curriculum Cons:

1.) Price: Often times, complete boxed sets cost more. I've found that if I price each piece individually, I can often scrounge around and create the same set for hundreds less. Especially with literature, I can generally find the same required books for pennies on the dollar used off Amazon vs. new from the company.

2.) One size does not always fit all. Maybe your child is on a 5th grade math level, a 6th grade science level, and a 7th grade reading level? A boxed set isn't going to be easily tailored to fit your needs. This is especially true when it comes to special needs.

3.) Overwhelming. Boxed sets can seem daunting and overwhelming when the set arrives and you suddenly have five books just for geography, another three for math, and don't even get me started on history! It can be stressful when you are initially going through all of the books.

4.) The rigid structure can be an unnecessary hassle. One of the main reasons we homeschool is for flexibility. With a boxed set, there's often a pre-planned set of days. While that's great in one sense, it can be easy to get caught up in the "we have to finish this by day 62...OR ELSE!" Or else...what? One of the main questions I get asked on a regular basis is, "What happens if we don't finish our set in 180 days? What if we need 190 days?" My answer? Then you take 190 days! Homeschooling is about flexibility and the ability to set your own schedule, not a pre-planned one.

Pros with a mix and match curriculum:

1.) Skill level doesn't always coincide with grade level. When you mix and match, you can truly tailor your child's education to his/her own unique levels. My son may be in 7th grade, legally, but he still needs help with some lower level math skills. With mix and match, I can easily choose a family plan for math that allows us to move about grade levels with ease, rather than being stuck with 1 grade level book and a lot of frustration and learning gaps.

2.) Ease of flexibility. I can plan what we do, when we do it. Sure, it's not as easy as opening a box and just starting, but the freedom and lowered stress of not having a pre-planned calendar staring at me is nice. There are also a lot of single subject courses that are still planned for you. We are using a history program now that is labeled day 1, day 2, etc. and based off of a 5 day week. It's great that it's not labeled as starting on any particular day, and I can check off the days we've completed as we go. But if we want to take a month off of it, and do something else, we can with no worries at all about starting back again. We don't have to worry about keeping up in history so that our reading-or another subject- will make sense. While it is nice to have them match, it's much easier to move at an individualized pace between two distinctly different programs.

3.) We can include both secular and non-secular choices. Boxed sets are typically one or the other. This way, we can have both as we want.

4.) We can have a variety of different methods and forms. My son prefers to do some things online, and others with pencil and paper. With mix and match, I can customize his day so that he gets a good mix of both. We can do history online, and we also have book and paper history for other days. He can do math online, but we can also pick up a math workbook and focus a bit more on a harder-for-him concept. We can do more hands on for science, and stick to the internet for reading. Whatever the combination, mix and match is the way to go for variety.

5.) Interest driven is a possibility with mix and match. Does your child want to study anatomy, but that 7th grade set calls for Earth Science instead? With mix and match, you can choose whatever topic you want, when you want it. Right now, my son wanted to study great explorers to 1815, even though other boxed curriculum wanted to put him in late american history or even the middle ages. I believe children learn best, and retain more, when they are truly interested in what they are studying. Mix and match gives you the ability to choose what interests them the most.

6.) Family learning. With mix and match, you can choose programs that the whole family can use at the same time. You can have a younger student working on the same topic as an older, but the work is tailored to their levels.

Cons with mix and match:

1.) Time consuming. It can be time consuming and stressful to pick and choose exactly what you want, and what you need.

2.) Second guesses. You may second guess yourself. Did you choose the correct level? What if you forgot something needed? Do you really need those optional flash cards? What if Little Susie doesn't learn everything she's supposed to in 4th grade history? What if Little Johnny isn't on the exact same language arts program as the neighborhood kids? Freedom and flexibility can come with a certain level of stress.

3.) Shipping costs: I personally hate shipping costs, haha! Nothing like saving that 10% only to turn around and have to spend 14.99 on shipping! If you're internet savvy, you can often times find free shipping codes, or other promo codes. If not, shipping costs can add up, over time.

4.) Going overboard. It is very easy to go overboard when shopping for curriculum. You may find yourself wanting your child to learn everything there is to know about the Civil War, and end up with way too much in the way of resources and materials.

As you can see, there are a lot of good and bad with either option, and it is important to choose what is best for your situation. I hope I've listed enough pros and cons to help you make the right choice for your family!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Perspective




I took this photo on the campus of Grove City College in Grove City, PA. I was there to shoot a wedding one cloudy Saturday afternoon. I loved the architecture of the school, but this building stood out to me. It was different from the rest. The rest were your stereotypical red brick exterior, but this one was like a beacon set against the others. I wanted to capture this beautiful building, but just standing there taking a straight on photograph didn't work for me. It looked clinical and boring. That's where PERSPECTIVE comes in.



Life is all about perspective, and our perspective can change. We are influenced by a number of things-Our family, friends, strangers, events, even social media memes. How many Facebook friends do you have who base their assumptions on a Facebook share, or share headline grabbers without checking the validity of those shares? All of that shapes our perspective for, or against, something. 

Thinking about perspective, I had Mr. B do his language arts, today. I admit, we are a bit behind in Language Arts because he pretty much hates it. He doesn't like anything to do with it. He couldn't care less if a word is an adverb, direct object, or pronoun. He just doesn't like it. So instead of nagging, getting hateful, and pretty much forcing him to do it, I changed the perspective. I sat there like I was doing it, and like I had no idea what I was doing so he'd have to "help me" get the answers correct.

Changing his perspective from him doing it, to me doing it, caused him to think it was fun to correct me. AND it caused him to do a full week's worth of language arts! 

We can apply this same concept across our every day life. Look at things in a different way, think about the world in a different way, and approach problems in a new, and different way. Let me know how it works out for you! 



Wordless Wednesday


Friday, February 2, 2018

Loss of a friend....

Loss is never easy, and it's even harder when it is a partner. A dear friend of mine lost her husband last night. He was her first, and only boyfriend. They spent 25 years together, building a loving family, and suddenly-with no warning at all-he's now gone. I can't even begin to imagine the heartache she's feeling. Please keep them in your prayers.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Tough health decisions

As a parent, it's hard to always be the one making all the decisions. At least it is for me. Right now, Mr. B is scheduled to see a pulmonary doctor in a couple of days. We just got back from a week at The Cleveland Clinic, and neither of us really feel up to another overnight medical trip, nor does my account at the moment. With the flu at epidemic levels, I also don't want to take him out. Yet, he still coughs more than he should. It's not out of control like it was, and the meds he received at CC haven't had time to start working yet, either. So I'm relunctant to make the trip, and would rather reschedule. But there's always that nagging thought of: you should go anyway. CC doctors said it was my choice, either way would be good. Sigh...I need an easy button.

Wordless Wednesday




Friday, January 26, 2018

Curriculum Choices

Choosing a curriculum can be such a hard decision to make. Should I go with a boxed set? Should I try to wing it? GAH! What do you do?! For this next year, I'm finding the need to change things up for a multitude of reasons. I plan to still stick with a mix and match approach because that's just what works best for our family.

Mr. B is having some learning difficulties in math. He has poor organization and poor planning, so I'm looking for a math skills class for that. Language Arts is already settled, and we're sticking with a CM approach, as well as science. I LOVE MASTERBOOKS! That's one of my favorite companies, and that mixed with apologia will cover science for us. History is a combo of Veritas Press and Masterbooks-so classical plus CM. Reading is set to be more traditional, but online. See? That's the beauty of mix and match. I'm not bound to one method!

What are you planning this year?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

SNOW

Whew! Last weekend we were expecting 6-8" of the fluffy white stuff, and only 1-3" today. I laughed and said lookout, today we'd get slammed. Well guess what....we have close to 6" out there folks! Roads are terrible, SO STAY WARM and STAY SAFE!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday, December 22, 2017

Books for Christmas: A list of what is on our gift list.


I just love getting books for Christmas, and I equally love gifting books as well. To me, there's no greater gift than the gift of reading. A book can take you on many a great journey, so it's always the ideal gift! 

Here are a few books on our gift list this year. 




The Illuminated Bible is simple GORGEOUS! This would be a great solo gift, or the perfect gift to share with a family.


Adored 365 is a year long devotional for young women. It has a little area for note taking if you wish, and I find it to be a nice size, and meaningful book. 


You can NEVER go wrong with Carole P. Roman. She has so many WONDERFUL titles to choose from, that the hard part is choosing! We've been blessed with so many wonderful titles over the last couple of years. They are cherished treasures for us, and we love blessing others with these wonderful children's books. I HIGHLY recommend you check them out! We recently started reading one about the Vikings! There's so much to choose from, that you really can't go wrong here. 

Comic books: We love comic books, and comic books stores, and several kids in the family this year will be receiving one. I do caution that you flip through any comic book before gifting to a child, even the ones labeled for kids.  Some of the artwork is not child appropriate in my opinion, so caution should be used here. 

Various fiction: I always think of the person I'm shopping for, instead of myself, when it comes to books. Usually when I buy a gift, I'll buy what I personally like. But when it comes to books, you can't really do that. You have to take their interests in mind. For example: M and the foster son of my best friend both enjoy middle earth wizard type books. Another friend is into table top gaming. Then you have my niece who is all about Zombies. Mr. B loves non-fiction and natural disasters. Me? I like anything really, but if it's like a Hallmark movie in book form I'll probably love it, or a good dystopian adventure. If I bought them only the books I found interesting, it wouldn't be loved nearly as much. 





Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Last Minute Stocking Stuffer Ideas


Are you like me, and realizing you totally dropped the ball on the whole Stocking thing? Well, I sure did this year! Luckily for me, I've discovered a few awesome Last Minute Stocking stuffer ideas!


These are available in 12 or 24 packs, and are GUARANTEED to not dry out when the lid is left off for up to 7 days! Now, we have not put this to the test yet because Mr. B nearly always puts the lid on, but a friend of ours did, and she took daily photos to show the progress. On day 7 the writing looked as good, OR BETTER, as it did on day 1! I don't know how they do it, but it's sure like MAGIC!






2.) Dollar Tree Bargains! 


 Speaking of magic....Small magic sets are a great hit! You can find them at your local Dollar Tree store for just $1.00. You can even order online! In addition to magic sets, you can find a great assortment of character licensed goods like magic towels, puzzles, books, and more! They have a lot of neat things to check out!


3.) Candy



Can you ever go wrong with candy? I LOVE these chocolate "oranges." They are one of my favorites! I'm also very partial to Aldi's chocolate bars! YUMMMMY!



When all else fails, everyone can always use socks and underwear!

That's what I plan to put in our stockings! Leave me a comment to tell me what you plan to put in yours!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Feed them.

I fully believe God puts people in the right place at the right time. I wanted to see a later showing of Star Wars, in an attempt to hopefully not be squeezed in like a sardine with a bazillion of my new closest friends. That didn't work out, and a 7:40 showing is what I was literally stuck in. But it was OK, because Geeks unite and all was well. Then I wanted to make a quick run to Walmart to grab some grape juice before going home, but a bathroom break at Sheetz was needed first. This put me getting to Walmart right about the same time this younger couple was walking out and talking to this guy who was obviously down on his luck and in need of....something. I admit, I didn't pay them much attention, and I truly tried to walk as far as from them as I could. But despite my best efforts, I still overheard the down on his luck guy say something along the lines of, "Yeah, I'm just having a bit of a hard time right now. But this guy was great and bought me some pants to wear, so I'm OK." I stopped. Literally stopped. I argued with myself...do...not...stop. Just keep walking. This guy looks like he's on something, you don't know what he's capable of...it's late. Are you an idiot? Just WALK! It's late....it's dangerous...Just keep going. Funny how that works, right? Never having been one to listen to good judgement, I turned around. Walked back out to him, interrupted the conversation-I'm good at that, too- and said, "Man, are you on the street?" I'm nothing if not blunt and to the point. He drops his head and says, "yeah...but it's OK. This man got me these nice clothes to wear. I'll be ok now." What I never heard come out of his mouth was a request for money, or anything else for that matter. I said, "Are you hungry?" (He LOOKED hungry...) He said, "Well, yeah. I could use a couple of things. But it's OK, I really needed some clothes." (And he really did.) I said, "Come on. Let me buy you something to eat." He says thanks, then says, "I really appreciate that, I really do. But these people here just got me a ride to somewhere where I can stay tonight." He has a friend or something who was letting him stay there-or so was his story. I asked if they could wait 5 mins, they said sure. They were getting him in Uber, so it was fine. I walked him in and told him to get whatever he wanted to eat. I went straight over to the Deli where there were sandwiches, salads, party trays to feed extra people for however much they cost, etc. He says, "I really like apples. I'd love to have some apples." Now I may be really stupid, and apples may be used in some kind of drug thing, I have no idea. But off to the apples we went where he searched until he decided on a bag of snack apples, and politely asked if he could have some caramel dip, too. So we walked up to the check out, and I wish I could describe the looks we got. Looks of disgust mainly. People stepping way back, and people looking at me like I'd lost my ever loving mind. So we stand there, him with his bags of clothes and a backpack. Me with a debit card. A gal looks at him very uneasy, then looks at me and says hi. I tell him to scan his stuff. Have him bag it, and I pay. A whopping $6.55. It's as I'm paying that a male worker comes up and starts interrogating this guy-for lack of a better description. To be honest, I'd have told him off. But the dude remained calm and polite, told him that someone had just purchased those clothes for him, and he was waiting on a ride, and I was buying him some apples. He kept thanking me, etc. He told me he had lost everything in a fire, and had nothing. That he was trying, etc. I told him I really didn't care how he had gotten himself in the situation he was in, I didn't care if he was telling the truth or lying and taking advantage of me. All I wanted was for him to get out of his current condition, better himself, and try to help someone else in the future. He walked out while telling me a bunch of thank you's, God Bless you's, and Merry Christmas.
Now you may be wondering what in the sam hill is the point to all of this. And you know what, I had the same thought. But I think this story is supposed to show that it doesn't matter. We are ALL human. Rich, Poor, Middle Class, Homeless....drug addict or church mouse. Jesus would have fed that man. He wouldn't have judged him on his outward appearance of what truly looked like another hopeless addict in a drug torn community. He wouldn't have kept walking, telling himself the guy could do better if he only chose to do so...or that he was only out taking advantage of people. Jesus wouldn't have cared how he voted, if he voted....Jesus died for that man, like he died for each of us. Simple as that. That man DOES have a choice, that's right. But isn't it the job of the Church to help people like that? Isn't it the job of the Church people to seek out those in need? Those who truly need led to God? Those who truly need fed? That man received more than clothes, apples, and a ride to some where. He received a chance. God orchestrated a way for 5 people's lives to converge at the same place, at the same time, in order for one of them to be given a chance. What he does with that chance is completely up to him. Maybe he will blow it, shoot up tonight, and be another statistic. But maybe he will think about it, and do something amazing and get up out of the slump he's in. The point is, no one knows. And that's where faith comes in. Faith that God knows his circumstances, and can lead him out of that place. Please, think about that the next time you pass by the dirty, scroungy looking person. Think about the fact that they have hope. They have a purpose on this earth, just like you do. Think about it....and feed them.







I decided to use this post for a weekly blog link up. Please click the photo below for more great blogs. 
Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wordless Wednesday Star Wars Edition

We LOVE Star Wars! So this "Wordless Wednesday" comes to you from a galaxy far, far away.

Chewie says:


Friday, December 8, 2017

Holiday Traditions



The Holiday Season is packed with memories for me. And some of those memories are from long standing traditions. One of those traditions was always a huge family dinner, with all of the extended family.

I can fondly remember piling into the car and heading to Mamaw and Papaw's house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Being from a large family, all of the aunts, uncles, and cousins would be there. There was always so much food, play, and laughter. Ohhhh how I long for those days, just one more time!

It wasn't long until my papaw died from Cancer, and eventually, those gatherings just became too much for my mamaw. She eventually moved into a tiny home on our property, and we began hosting these family get togethers, with both Mom and Dad's family present. We would set up 2 tables, full of food, and everyone had a great time.

After my dad became sick, we had Christmas one last time-but it was just the immediate family. After that, the big dinners just faded away into distant memories until eventually, I found myself with just my niece and my son sitting in a restaurant booth for one holiday meal. I'll never forget an older man who was alone. He was without any family, and his wife had long since passed away. We invited him to eat with us, and it was one of the most enjoyable meals!

I so longed for those feasts of long ago that I began hosting a Christmas party every year. Unfortunately, I'm not sure we will be able to host this year due to health issues, but if we do I'll be sure to post pictures. It's still not quite the same as Holidays of yesterYear, but it's close.

Check out more posts from The Homeschool Review Crew!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Let the Little Children Come REVIEW TAKE 2



If you remember, I brought you a couple of Reviews from Let the Little Children Come. The first was a Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Tract Box. The second was a sampler pack of a variety of goodies.

Each Pack Contains:

John 3:16 FlipAbout
John 3:16 Animated Tract
Gospel Buttons FlipAbout
Wordless Bracelet Kit
The Lost Easter Egg Pop-up Tract
The Most Amazing House Pop-up Tract
The True Story of Christmas Animated Tract
Silicone Salvation Bracelet
Wordless Book
Where's Everybody Going? Animated Tract



Now is the best time if you plan on purchasing these sampler packs. These are a great way to fill Sunday School treasure boxes, stockings, and so much more! Please check them out! 

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


Wordless Wednesday


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Veritas Press Self-Paced Bible REVIEW


I had always wanted to try Veritas Press Self-Paced courses, and we were blessed with a chance to do a review for them a little over a year ago. Mr. B did so well with the course, I knew I had to make these a regular part of our daily homeschool. I went ahead and purchased their Self-Paced History Explorers to 1815, and Mr. B would beg to do his school work every day, so I was so very excited when they allowed me to review their Self-Paced Bible Judges to Kings

Each Self-Paced Bible course features 32 biblical events that are taught through fun games and videos. Judges to Kings covers the period from the book of Judges to Second Kings, and details the time from the early people of Israel to the exile to Babylon. You child will follow along with Levi, Vasko the Frog and Pallu the Badger as they learn about this portion of the Bible. 



The Course includes:
  • Art
  • Music 
  • Geography
  • Chronological events memorized to music
  • Names, Places, and Dates
  • Activities such as projects, worksheets, and tests
  • 32 Bible events

Each lesson has fun and clever videos to capture your child's attention and imagination. Mr. B loves watching them, and he giggles right along! After each video lesson are different activities such as games and quizzes, and then there are interspersed tests that recall what has been learned. Everything is done online. 


Mr. B is quite fond of the colorful graphics, and fun dialogue between the characters. I love how much he is learning, and how much he talks about it afterwards! 


There's a mix of real human characters, along with fun animated characters. 



The course is easy to navigate, and I like how it's laid out in such a way that high functioning kids on the spectrum can see what needs to be completed, and what has already been finished. 



The navigational bars on the left show what has been finished, and gives them the chance to go back and replay lessons as they want. It also shows what is still to come, as does the middle assignment table. 

It's also easy to see what your child's grades are, overall and per assignment. 




Overall, Mr. B loves this and so do it. It is exactly what we've come to expect from Veritas Press and their self-paced courses. We had a great time reviewing Genesis to Joshua last year, and we're both loving Self Paced History Explorers to 1815 and the Self-Paced Bible Judges to Kings. Mr. B sings the memory songs all the time, and has even sang them for church members! He is learning so much, and even talks about what he has learned with the elders and church, who are very much impressed with his overall knowledge on the subjects. He is asked to do one lesson each day, but frequently works ahead and asks to do one or two additional lessons.

There is just enough repetition to really make it all sink in, but not so much that it is boring or frustrating.  He retains what he has learned, and I can tell this program truly does work for him.

From a special needs standpoint, I find this to be perfect for high functioning autism. There's a routine to it, and of course the memory aspect makes ideal. You know when my child asks to do his school work on a WEEKEND  you've found a fantastic program that you have to share with others! I can't even begin to express how much he LOVES Veritas Press Self-Paces courses! He's set to finish both the Judges to Kings and the Explorers to 1815 before the end of this school year, and I hope to be able to have the next Self-Paced Bible ready for him by then, as well as some Ancient History since we've not gone over that era in a while. We both highly recommend this to others!






**We were provided a free subscription to Veritas Press Self-Paced Bible Judges to Kings in exchange for our honest and unbiased review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own, or those of my family.**







Wordless Wednesday