Saturday, November 26, 2016

My Favorite Movies (52 Lists)

We love movies.  While we aren't able to go to the movie theater as often as we would like - sky high ticket prices and outrageous concession prices - we do love to sit in the comfort of our home with a huge bowl of communal popcorn and enjoy a bit of screen time together as a family.

For this week's list as part of the 52 Lists from Beauty full Slow, participants were asked to list their favorite movies.    This is a super easy list for me!! LOL

52 lists with Chasing Slow

  • Top Gun - My very first love was Tom.. Not Tom Cruise but the F-14 Tomcat.. I can't tell you how many times I've watched Maverick and Goose in the past two decades. 
  • Silence of the Lambs - Hannibal Lecter is without any doubt the best serial killer ever and I always thought the respect/love he had for Clarice was pretty cool. 
  • The Last Samurai - Believe it or not, I am not a fan of Tom Cruise, so it's funny he's the main character in two of my favorites.. But I absolutely love the visuals and the story to this movie.
  • Beauty and the Beast - A tale as old as time - my favorite animated classic.  A Disney Princess who is smart and loves to read?? Enough said!!
  • The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia - The scene where Kristy McNichol is singing to her brother always stuck with me.. This is my all time favorite tear jerker. 
  • Six Pack - Another oldie but goodie.. I always wished I could have been part of that "pack" lol
  • The Alamo - I love the 2004 version..  I'm a Texan, what can I say.. The scene where Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crocket starts playing the violin in response the Mexican Army gives me chills every time. 
Crockett Plays the Violin for the Mexican Army

Friday, November 25, 2016

Five Minute Friday - Surrender

The Thanksgiving holiday is over and I'm sure I put on about 5 lbs just from one meal alone.  I hope everyone else had a wonderful holiday spent with family and friends.

It's 11:15pm here, so it's still officially Friday, so that means it's time for 5 Minute Friday.  This week, Kate at Heading Home has offered up the word Surrender for the word of the week.  If your interested in joining in with the Five Minute Fridays, be sure to click the button below 

Surrender is a concept that is very hard for me.  The concept of completely ceasing resistance to another person, laying our vulnerabilities and those things that can hurt us the most out for another to see?? This is a concept that goes against every single coping mechanism I've ever had.  As a sexual abuse survivor, I tried to appear strong,  a brick wall without feelings and who was against the world and the world better realize I was a formitable force.. I grew up knowing I was the only one who could protect me and as such, I didn't let others see the real me.

And then I met my ex husband.  I thought he loved me - I thought I loved him.  And so, I surrendered. I gave him access to all of me that I had hid away behind the facade.. And in the long run, he used much of those vulnerabilities against me.  I swore I would never let anyone in again.

I learned it's hard to be a "lone wolf".. I took a chance and once again let someone.  10 years later, he has never turned anything against me or exploited those weaknesses against me.. I don't feel like I've given myself over to the enemy but fond a formidable ally instead.

Learning to trust my second husband eventually led to the ultimate surrender - Giving myself back to God.  I turned my back on him for so long that it was very hard to admit my mistakes to him.  How could he forgive me for the things I'd done?  

That surrender has led to me becoming the best person I have been in a long time.  I'm still rough around the edges, I still hold some things behind a barrier, but I am more lax on how hard I hold to those things. If someone sees me cry at a sad scene in a movie, it doesn't mean I'm weak, it means I'm a person with feelings and who shows empathy toward what I am seeing.   If I cry reading a Bible verse or even today when listening to "Mary, Did You Know" and teared up on the verse "When you kiss that little baby, you kiss the face of God", it doesn't make me vulnerable - it means that my heart is open to the pure joy of knowing I have a Savior who loves me.

And I love him!!


Don't Break The Bank...5 Gifts that Inspire for $25 or Less

Finding the perfect gift for your child doesn't have to mean breaking the bank.  There are so many wonderful gift ideas that can help inspire creativity or curiosity in children of any age.   For the start of the holiday season, I would like to share with you five gift ideas for your child that are priced at $25 dollars or less.  These are items that I think provide quality entertainment at a great value.

Kwik Stix Solid Tempera Paint Sticks
First up on my list for great holiday gifts for children of all ages is Kwik Stix paint sticks.  I had the opportunity to review these as part of the Review Crew and they quickly became one of our favorite household items. I wasn't the only one as The Homeschool Review Crew also awarded Kwik Stix their Blue Ribbon Award for Best Preschool Product.  It was also one of Ashleigh's favorite products that we reviewed for the 2016 Crew Year. 

 Kwik Stix are solid tempera paint sticks in bright colors that require no water or paint brushes to use.  Much like fat crayons or makers, kids simply draw or color with them.  The colors are very creamy and the paint glides on smoothly and they dry quickly (about 90 seconds).   The stick themselves work similar to a glue stick, as more paint is needed the student simply twists the bottom to expose more of the paint stick.  The paint itself is a semi-solid, also similar to a glue stick.   The colors themselves are very bold and provide full coverage to the project they are being used on.   And the best part is that there is little to no mess at all.  What little cleanup that may be needed is easy with simple soap and water.  Kwik Stix are available through The Pencil Grip, Inc. website or can be found at your local Target shopping center.  They are available in a 12 pack of basic colors ($11.99), 6 packs of either Neon or Metallic colors ($5.99), or as a 24 pack that contains all available colors ($24.99).  Kwik Stix are available for purchase at The Pencil Grip, Inc. website or at Target. 

The Wind in the Willows (Sterling Illustrated Classic)

For bedtime story time, I highly recommend the hardcover copy of The Wind in the Willows by
Kenneth Grahame and illustrated by Robert Ingpen.  First published in 1908, this classic story of Mole, Ratty, Badger and Mr Toad is endearing to children more than 100 years later.   

While there are many versions of this classic, the addition of Ingpen's beautiful full color illustrations with this particular edition really helps to bring the characters to life.  This particular version, Sterling Illustrated Classic, is unabridged. The pages are thicker than average book pages, more like a thin cardstock rather than paper which will stand the test of time, making this book a great keepsake to pass on to later generations. 

The hardcover Sterling Illustrated Classics version is available at Amazon for $13.36 with free shipping for Prime Members, making it an excellent gift to share with your family. 

Dixit Board Game

Every picture tells a story – but what story will your picture tell? Dixit is the lovingly illustrated game of creative guesswork, where your imagination unlocks the tale. In this award-winning board game, players will use the beautiful imagery on their cards to bluff their opponents and guess which image matches the story. Guessing right is only half the battle – to really succeed, you’ll have to get your friends to decide that your card tells the story! Every turn, the storyteller will call out a short phrase or word to match the image on his card. Then each player will choose the card that most closely matches that phrase, and then everyone must guess which card the storyteller saw when he invented his brief tale. Correctly guess the storyteller’s card, and you’ll move ahead. Convince everyone else that your card is best, and you’ll do even better. Dixit is a wonderfully simple game, playable by nearly anyone with whom you share a common language. With a fantastic range of beautiful illustrations and rules that can be understood by children and adults alike, Dixit will appeal to anyone with an imagination.

Dixit can be played by 3-6 players and is recommended for ages 8-12 years old available from Amazon for $25.99 with free shipping available for Prime Members.  

Fisher-Price Little Peoples Noah's Ark

For the younger members of your family, this Noah's Ark is absolutely adorable. Recommended for ages
12months to 4 Years, children can re-enact the story of Noah and the Ark as Zebras, Giraffes, Elephants, and lions come 2 by 2 to join Noah on this high quality plastic ark.  The upper deck of the Ark is removable for easy access to the inside for those who are working on their motor skills. 

The animals are really adorable but are not so "cutsy" to appeal to only little girls, making this a great gift for both boys and girls. 

Fisher-Price Little Peoples Noah's Ark is available from Amazon for $20.78 with free shipping for Prime Members. A larger version with more animals (hippos, leopards, pandas and turtles) is also available at Toys R Us for $28.49. 

The Complete National Geographic - 125 Years (1888-2012)

I love National Geographic Magazine and we subscribe to it for our family. Nothing brings the world to the minds of both young and old like the vivid photographs and articles of this best selling magazine and it has been doing so for nearly 130 years.  

This affordable software, available both for Windows and Mac, brings every issue of National Geographic that was published during the magazines first 125 year history.  Search tools within the program allows for quick searching for particular subjects of interest which is perfect for children who are more "delight driven learners".   Also included with this software is a trivia based game where users can test their knowledge on a vast array of subjects.

The Complete National Geographic - 125 Years Software is available at Amazon for $15.03 with free shipping available for Prime Members.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tamale Night

Tamales.. My family loves them but at 8 bucks for a half dozen, it gets very pricey to buy them at the commissary here on base..  This week, when I checked the local Aldi's ad, I saw that they had pork roast, corn husks and mesa all on sale and I was like "You know what, I want to try to make my own".. My husband was a bit hesitant - I mean, when you think of people making tamales, you think of an old Hispanic grandmother painstakingly rolling them with love.  We always thought it was a difficult process.  However, I was determined that I was going to make tamales!!  And so on our shopping trip, I bought the things needed for my first attempt.

Making tamales turned out to be a really fun experience for all of us and became a family activity.  After putting the pork roast in the crock pot on Saturday night at 7pm and allowing it to cook until about 5pm the next day,  I shredded the pork, made a chili pepper sauce and then mixed up the mesa.  We brought out the corn husks that we had soaking for 4 hours and then we got to work.

In all, we ended up making 52 tamales.  We probably could have made more but as this was our first attempt and the two little ones were helping, we had some pretty fat tamales that could have been made into two.  It turned out to be lots of fun and once we steamed half of what we made (the other half went into the freezer for later), we sat down at the table and enjoyed our creation. We all admitted they turned out way better than we would have expected and that they tasted WAY better than store bought. We might not be old Hispanic grandmaws, but I think we did a great job and we will never buy store bought again.

And yes, I let my kids sit on the table so they could make some as well.. I promise, we cleaned it off afterwards LOL

Monday, November 14, 2016

Commissioned from Chara Games (A Homeschool Crew Review)

There's something to be said about family game night.  It's a tradition we've tried to implement into out family on Saturday nights as a way to turn off all our electronics and just spend time having a good time as a family together. Over the years, we've managed to put together a pretty impressive game collection and we're always on the look out for a new game to add that we can all enjoy.  When given the opportunity to review the co-operative play board game Commissioned by Chara Games, I was pretty excited to add it to our collection.

About Chara Games

A newer company in the board game market, Chara Games was developed in 2014 by Patrick and
Katherine Lysaght who wanted to produce table top games with a Christian theme.   Following a very successful Kickstart campaign that raised more than 254% of the production cost, Chara released their first board game, Commissioned, this year.  A second game, a strategic card game named 3 Seeds, is currently in production and will be released at a later date.

About Commissioned

Commissioned is a table top co-operative board game for 2-6 players ages 14 years and up.  (Because of the amount of smaller pieces used in the game, it is recommended that this game be kept out of reach of children three years and younger due to choking hazards).  Unlike many board games on the market, this is a co-operative style game, meaning that all players work together to complete a common goal, as opposed to pitting players against each other.

This historical themed game takes players back to Jerusalem in 34 AD.  Jesus has walked the earth, been crucified and Resurrected.  The followers of Christ have begun to spread the Word to the rest of the world but are being targeted by the Roman empire.

In this game, players take the role of early Christian Apostles and work together to spread the word of Christ, grow the Christian church and collect the books of the New Testament.  While trying to accomplish this, they must overcome the many trials and tribulations that the Apostles faced while trying to grow Christ's church.

At first sight, this game can be fairly intimidating, especially for those unfamiliar with table top role playing games.  Contained in a very hefty box, the game consists of 1 double sided game board, 5 scenario cards, 6 Player boards representing one Apostle (Paul, Peter, James, Andrew, Barnabas and John), 96 faith cards, 27 trial cards, 4  missionary meeples, 75 church member cubes, a wooden elder staff, 6 colored player pawns, 37 punchboard tokens, and an 8 sided game dice.  Also included are a rule book and a theme appendix.  All pieces are of high quality and the meeples, member cubes and player pawns are wooden instead of plastic - which I thought was a nice touch.   Luckily, Chara Games has provided a 23 minute video to explain both basic board setup as well as basic game play to help explain gameplay.

Before we even attempted playing Commissioned, Charles, Alyssa and myself all sat down together to watch the provided video.  The video was very helpful with explaining how all of the various components of the game should be set up and demonstrating how the game play works.  Once we had the board set up, we each selected which Apostle we wanted to play (Alyssa played Barnabas, Charles selected James so he could say he was Jesus's half brother and I was given Paul because I am the oldest and wisest) and got started.

We elected to play out the first scenario card (The Acts of the Apostles) for our first try with the game.  For this scenario, we were given a list of "Victory Conditions" that we had to achieve in order to win - we had to have a church in every city on the map and we had to collect all 9 New Testament word cards (these are cards with books of the New Testament printed on them).  This card also informed us that failure would mean that The Roman Empire never adopts Christianity.

With cold drinks and snacks in hand, the three of us began working our way through the game.  Game
play is fairly simple once you get the hang of it. One at a time, players take their turn.  Each turn consists of the same thing - the player pulls a Trial Card which gives a situation that all players must work to overcome. Trial cards contain scenarios such as Apostles being placed in prison, churches being destroyed or some other situation that would hinder the play of the game.  Once the Trial Card has been played, the game moves on to the Pray and Show phases: each player selects two cards out of their 6 card faith deck in the hopes to neutralize or diminish the effects of the Trial card.  The player who's turn it is then selects two cards from the cards that were "prayed" and use them against the Trial (or if there's a New Testament word card, they can select that card and use it to complete the task).  After, the player can then move his pawn, church cubes or meebles around in order to work towards the final task of bringing the church to neighboring areas on the map.  This is followed by the Grow phase, which adds church members to each existing city with three or more markers on it. At this point, the players turn is over and the next player then takes their turn following the same process.  After this second turn, the game enters the Mature Phase, which allows each player to tally up the "points" left in the cards in their Faith Deck that was not played during the past two turns and allows them to use those points to buy another Faith card to add to their deck.  Then, the next player starts their turn.

Kenny Decided He Wanted to Play Too
The gameplay itself can be slightly confusing when first starting to play.  It took us about four turns to really start feeling comfortable about how the game mechanics worked. Once we had it figured out, we all really enjoyed playing Commissioned.  There's no Bible knowledge needed to play (which was really good since Charles has very little) and with all honestly, this is a game that even someone who is not a Christian might still enjoy.

I could easily see this being a great board games for families who enjoy strategy games but maybe want something a big different.  The co-operative play of this game really helps to temper down any competition that might arise during normal game play since players need to work together for the common goal.  I also think this would be a wonderful addition to any church youth group.

Overall, I'm really happy to have added this board game to my collection and I think Chara Games has done an absolutely WONDERFUL job both with the concept of the game and the quality of the game itself.   I also absolutely LOVE the fact this game can accommodate up to 6 players, which is always an important thing for our family of 5 (nobody wants to have to sit out).  It has quickly become a new favorite for us and I can't wait til both Ashleigh and Garrett will be old enough to join us.

For more information about Commissioned and Chara Games, be sure to visit their website or one of their social media platforms:

Twitter: @Charagames

Commissioned {Chara Games}

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Letter to Millennials from a Gen-Xer

Okay, Millennials.. Listen up.. As a Gen Xer, I got a bit of a lesson for you..
Yes, we all know that you are upset that Donald Trump is the new President. Yes, we know you still Stand with Her and all of that.. And that's fine and dandy.. But you guys seriously need to get a grip on yourselves.. When an election result affects you so much you need to have therapy dogs, free hot chocolate and safe spaces, it speaks volumes about how out of touch with reality you truly are.
Kiddos, you don't know the first thing about feeling "unsafe" because you've been sheltered all your life.. And that's why we are here today - why a cup of hot cocoa and a pack of crayons helps you feel "right as rain", because you have never known real hardships. Most of you instead grew up in a world where if you failed a test in school, your parents went and yelled at your teacher for it rather than making you face the consequences of not studying. You've been told that you can do anything, be anything when the truth is, NO, YOU CAN'T. Many of you never worked a day in your lives, being given everything you wanted, have never been told NO you can't have something. You went straight from high school to college, where you now require safe spaces and have to have your sensibilities catered to or else you can't function.
Most of you do not remember 9/11, the older Millennials probably do, but they're not the ones rioting on the streets right now. But those of you between 18 and 25, you really DON'T remember it. Yes, you might have been alive but you weren't old enough to truly remember and understand what was going on. You want to talk about being scared?? Needing a safe space?? Try watching as your fellow Americans lept to their deaths from 70+ stories knowing they would die but being brave enough to face death on their own terms. Try watching brave men and women of the NYPD and NYFD rushing into a building with the knowledge that they might not come back out (and many of them did not) because they knew that their decision to go in meant that many others might get out and live. Try being on a plane 25,000 feet in the air knowing that that plane is hijacked and heading some unknown place to kill more Americans and making the decision to take that plane down and crash it in the middle of an open field, sacrificing your life to save others. Not a single on of those people cried out "Stop, wait, I need a safe space because I feel triggered".. They instead gave all they had unselfishly for the sake of others.

And that's what it all boils down to. Unselfishness. That's a word that has been taken out of your vocabulary. You are a generation of ME ME ME and cannot comprehend the concept of doing anything for someone else or the greater good unless you personally get something out of it.
It's time you learn, it's NOT always about you.. Sometimes, you don't get what you want.. It doesn't matter if it's an election outcome, a grade on your exam, or whether or not mommy and daddy got you that brand new car even though they couldn't afford it but wanted their snowflake to be happy. In life, there will be disappointments, there will be roadblocks and there will be things you simply will not be given just because you want them. Success isn't defined by how easy you were handed something, or how much you whined until you were given it - it's defined by how hard you worked your ass off, the sweat and the blood you personally scarified to achieve it.. True satisfaction is known by actually earning an accomplishment rather than expecting it to just be given to you. If you want to be treated with respect and appreciated for what you bring to the table, then pull up your Big Girl/Big Boy panties and actually prove your worth rather than throwing a tantrum like a 3 year old. Actually become a productive member of society - yeah, it means you have to actually work hard but you'll be so much better for it in the long run.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Language Smarts Level E (A Homeschool Crew Review)

We had the opportunity to review the physical copy of the Language Smarts™ Level E   workbook from The Critical Thinking Co.™.  A digital download of this workbook is also available from The Critical Thinking Co. website.

Language Arts Level E can be used as a complete curriculum or as a supplement to be used with Grade 4 students.  The softback workbook is 392 pages designed to improve reading, writing, spelling, punctuation, grammar, and thinking skills through various activities.  From starting with the basics such as recognizing the amount of syllables in a given word to progressing to writing three different style papers (Personal Narratives, Opinion and Informative writing), Language Arts Level E seamlessly progresses through all points in between while covering important skills such as parts of speech, punctuation, reading skills, and sentence structure. The workbook covers all grammar concepts that are expected to be known by fourth graders, as well as also including some skills that are taught in fifth grade. Each activity starts with a quick explanation of the concept being taught as well as demonstrate the concept in easy to understand examples in well marked charts.  Everything needed is included and easy to follow, making preparation for each lesson simple.

Specifically, the Level E workbook covers the following topics:
    • Capitalization        • Prefixes, Suffixes, Roots
    • Critical Thinking        • Silent E
    • Compare/Contrast        • Singular/Plural
    • Imply/Infer        • Syllables
    • Inference        • Usage
    • Opinion        • Homographs
    • Prediction        • Homophones
    • Adjectives        • Metaphors
    • Adverbs        • Sequencing
    • Antonyms        • Similes
    • Conjunctions        • Writing
    • Interjections        • Characters
    • Nouns        • Comparing
    • Prepositions        • Conflict
    • Pronouns        • Context Clues
    • Sentences        • Drama
    • Subject and Predicate        • Editing
    • Subject-Verb Agreement        • Fiction and Nonfiction
    • Synonyms        • Idioms
    • Verbs        • Parts of a Book
    • Grammar        • Plot
    • Punctuation        • Poems
    • Colons        • Proverbs
    • Commas        • Reference Materials
    • Exclamation Marks        • Setting
    • Periods        • Story Maps
    • Question Marks        • Table of Contents
    • Quotation Marks        • Titles
    • Semicolons        • Topic and Main Idea
    • Spelling        • Using a Dictionary
    • Compound Words

I was a bit apprehensive originally about whether or not my kids would be able to use this workbook or not before selecting this particular book for reviewing. Fortunately, The Critical Thinking Co. has sample pages for their products which allowed me to have a better idea of how the workbook was laid out.  This allowed me to judge much easier whether or not the material would be something my kids would be able to handle.  Even thought my children are both third grade, these sample pages allowed for me to determine that this workbook would be something I could easily use with them based on their learning level.  

One of the first things I absolutely love about this workbook is the reproduction agreement that the Critical Thinking Co. allows with their printed materials.  The Critical Thinking Co. allows for families who purchase their workbooks to make copies for other students in their family.  This is always something I love to see from companies and can be a "make or break" when I'm making decisions on curriculum as it tends to offset the cost of a more pricey curriculum (in this case, $42.99 for this particular workbook).  Since both Ash and Garrett use the same curriculum, if I am able to make copies of the material instead of having to buy two separate workbooks, that's always a plus for me. 

Another thing that I really like about this book is that there's a wonderful Table of Contents that allows for me to find exactly what I need to print out.  If we're discussing Adverbs, I can quickly find Adverbs in the table of contents and see which pages apply to that topic so that I can quickly turn to those particular pages and print them out for the kids.  This is extremely helpful when dealing with a hefty 392 page workbook.  Anything that saves time makes a huge difference in our homeschool. 

In addition to the Table of Contents, the end of the workbook includes the Answer Key for every activity in the book.  There's nothing more annoying then to purchase a pricey workbook and have to purchase a separate answer key booklet (that might cost 10 to 20 dollars more) to be able to grade the activities. 

So far, I have used this book as a supplement to our current English/Grammar curriculum.  However, as impressed as I have been with the activities in the book, I've been giving serious consideration to instead begin to use this workbook as our full time curriculum after the holidays are over.

#hsreviews #criticalthinking #languagearts

To learn more about The Critical Thinking Co. and their large array of educational material, be sure to visit their website or one of their various social media sites:

Language Arts {The Critical Thinking Co.™}

Monday, November 7, 2016

November To-Do List (52 Lists)

Once Halloween is over, it seems like the final two months of the year are always a blur of constant planning and preparing.   Between Thanksgiving, the Advent Season, Christmas and New Years, it seems like the last few weeks of the year goes by so quickly.

52 lists with Chasing Slow

For week 44 of the 52 weeks of Lists hosted by Beauty full Slow, we were asked to list our November To-Do List.

  • Fall Back - Time to Turn the clocks back (and hope the kids reset their internal clock to adjust for the extra hour)
  • Order new Advent Candles for our Wreath
  • Fill our Operation Shoebox box.. (this is our first year participating in this and are pretty excited about seeing where our box goes)
  • Gather reading materials to be read each week of the Advent season
  • Start planning out our  Thanksgiving Dinner Menu
  • Wind down the Homeschool Crew Year and get ready for a few weeks break
  • Figure out what Christmas decorations we will use and what we will replace or add to our display
  • Bring out the Christmas tree and Advent Wreath for decorating
  • Find out where I am on my reading challenge and adjust my schedule to make sure I meet my goal
  • Start planning for Christmas gifts (4 for each kid - something they need, something to read, something they want and something to wear)
  • TRY to get the house clean.. (which almost never happens)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Five Minute Friday - Journey

When I was 16, I stepped off the road I was travelling and I decided it was time to do things my own way.  I felt so alone at that time, abandoned by my family, friends and my church.  In my mind, everyone had taken the easy way out, to ignore what my father had done to me and instead cast me out - that by taking away the temptation, the illness that possessed my father wouldn't matter anymore.  And I thought what good was a family and a heavenly father who would allow a victim to be thrown out to fend for herself and allow the abuser to continue living his life without any penalties.

It's only been in the last couple of years I realized how wrong I was, that the Lord never allowed me to make that journey alone.  So many horrible things could have happened to me in that time - drugs, more abuse, homeless, murder, suicide - no telling what could have happened to a 16 year old with no family to help her.. But instead, I was kept safe. I finished school (albeit a year later than I was suppose to but I still graduated).. I had a failed marriage that I rushed into as a way to protect myself but later found a wonderful man who loved me. My father ended up going to prison and will be there for a very long time.   And I found my way back to Christ!!!

I might have taken the "scenic" route in the hopes to find a different destination, but God knew where I was going the whole time and I know he was on that journey with me.


Be sure to click the button above to find other Five Minute Friday entries and submit your own.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Homeschool Legacy (A Homeschool Crew Review)

These last few weeks, the kids (and myself) have been having a blast learning a bit about four of the founding fathers of our country as we worked through the digital download of Cooking Up History With the Founding Presidents Once-A-Week Micro-Study from Homeschool Legacy.

Homeschool Legacy is a company that I was already very familiar with. Last year, the kids and I had a
great time using their Christmas Comes to America Unit Study and we have used other non-holiday themed studies such as Native America, Lewis and Clark, Knights and Nobles and horses and I have a whole bunch of others that I plan to use later down the road.

Homeschool Legacy study units come in two different levels.  The shorter Once-A-Week Micro-Study units are designed for grades 1st-8th while Once-A-Week Unit Study units are more in depth and can be used with 2nd-12th.

One of my favorite draws to these particular unit studies is that they are completely planned out, from start to finish.  Each week has the complete lesson planned out as well as a list of books and movies that can be Incorporated into the study.  I also really like the fact that they are very short - taking about 20 to 30 minutes two to three times a week.

For those participating in American Heritage Girls or with Boys Scouts of America, the longer Once-A-Week Unit Studies (not the Micro-Studies) allows for fulfillment of merit badges for completing the study

For this particular Micro-Study unit. each week focuses on one of our countries founding Presidents  (and their First Ladies) .

Week one focuses on George and Martha Washington and the many accomplishments of our first President, "First in War, first in Peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen".  From leading the American Revolutionary Army to defeat Great Britain, to his 5,000 acre home at Mount Vernon, and ending with one of Washington's favorite indulgences - the classic cherry pie.

Week Two focuses on John Adams who lead the charge for American Independence and who severed as the Massachusetts delegate to both the First and Second Continental Congresses as well as the first ambassador to Great Britain.  This week also covers a bit about John Chapman (AKA Johnny Appleseed), Samuel Adams (John's cousin) and John's wife, Abigail Adams.  This lesson concludes with a recipe for Abigail's Apple Pan Dowdy.

Week Three teaches about Thomas Jefferson who was a man of many accomplishments.  Jefferson excelled at many different fields of study such as horticulture, architecture, law, and music, served in many various positions in our new government, as well as being the author of the Declaration of Independence.  In addition to learning about these various accomplishments, students also learn about the Monticello (his home in Virginia), and different words used in our vocabulary today that were a result of Jefferson's writings.  As a homage to Jefferson, a recipe for Macaroni and Cheese is included.

Finally, Week Four teaches about James Madison and his wife, Dolley. We learned that Madison was rather small in stature (5'4'' and only 100lbs) but accomplished big things.  From drafting the prototype for the US Constitution, developing a system of governmental checks and balances, writing the Federalist Papers that explained our republican form of government, students learn that Madison was very important in molding our country into where we are today.  While Dolley Madison's favorite ice cream flavor was Oyster flavored, luckily students are invited to make a vanilla ice cream at the end of this weeks lessons.

For each of these weeks, the kids and I checked out biographies about each of these founding fathers from our library to read in addition to the text included with the lesson.. Also included with the lessons were links for videos and outside websites (all family safe) to research more about either the President, his family, or topics that relate to them (such as the ratification of the Twelfth Amendment while learning about  John Adams).  While we weren't able to make the cherry pie at this time (we are planning on saving it for Thanksgiving), we did make the Macaroni and Cheese recipe, which calls for cooking in a cast iron skillet..  This quickly became our new favorite Mac and cheese recipe!!   Unfortunately, it was so good that it was devoured before I thought to take a picture. LOL

#hsreviews #unitstudies #historyunitstudies

This turned out to be a great learning experience for the kids and definitely a unit study that we will revisit a bit later down the road.

To learn more about Homeschool Legacy and their many Once-A-Week studies, visit their website or find them on facebook at : .  Also, be sure to click the banner below to read the reviews of other crew members who got to use one of 6 different studies and see what they thought :)

Once-a-Week Studies {Homeschool Legacy}


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