Monday, September 28, 2009

A Journey Through Learning

note: If you are reading this on facebook, please scroll to the end of the post, and click "Original Post"

As part of The Homeschool Crew, we were sent 5 lapbooks from A Journey Through Learning.



   The Desert


The Parables of Jesus    

            (Click the photos above for sample pages of the lapbooks we received.)

I worked on The Parables of Jesus with my 5th grader. I had first heard of lapbooks a few years ago. I really liked the idea. And I really always wanted to do them. However, I have always felt like I did not have the time or the energy to be creative enough to create all the mini-books and flap books, let alone all the different folds and such. The next best thing was to try a "pre made" lapbook. However, the one that we tried was very intricate. Lots of details, so I walked away feeling like a failure once again. However, with A Journey Through Learning, they put together everything we needed, spelled it out plainly and  it was not too difficult.  It was easy enough for her to handle, yet hard enough to keep her challenged and interested! We thoroughly enjoyed this lapbook. What is a lapbook you ask? It is an interactive way to learn about a subject. See the photo below:

What you are looking at above is a finished lapbook. A Journey Through Learning helps walk you through every step. Not only do they give you information for your student to learn, they give you the cut outs, and tell where to place them, and how to assemble them into a lapbook.

The information in a lapbook is the same as you would have in a report or on a worksheet, however, it is a hands one way for your child to learn that information. There is cutting and gluing and reading and drawing, etc... When you marry these activities you help your child concrete these new facts into their memory.

A Journey Through Learning takes all the intimidation out of making a lapbook. So you say you are not crafty, no problem, all the craftiness as already been done for you. All you need to do is follow the directions.

The unit studies are available in several different  options.

Instant download-$13

Please visit their website and look at all they have available. They carry both lapbooks and unit studies. 

Friday, September 25, 2009

Growing Healthy Homes ~ Nutrition 101

**please note: if you are reading this review on facebook,
please see the link at the bottom to be taken to the original post**

~Nutrition 101: Choose Life, A Family Nutrition and Health Program~

This is a very unique curriculum! It takes the information that you would normally find in a biology course and the information from a nutrition course and marries the two. So while you are learning how the body works, you are also learning how to properly fuel your body for optimal health. The goal of this curriculum, is not to simply tell you about biology and nutrition. It is to help you live a more healthy life!  And all of this is from a biblical perspective. After all, God created us, He should be included in a book about how our bodies work!

Nutrition 101: Choose Life covers;
1) The Brain and Nervous System

2) The Digestive System

3) The Respiratory, Olfactory, Auditory and Visual Systems
4) The Skeletal and Muscular Systems

5) The Cardiovascular and Immune Systems

6)The Endocrine System and Emotion

In addition, you have over 30 appendixes in the back of the book, that cover everything from, how to purchase fresh produce, shopping lists, supplements, kitchen safety, just to name a few. These prove to be invaluable as you transition your family into living a more healthy lifestyle.

Each of the above sections have 4 chapters. In each of those you will find recipes, and activities to enhance learning and really help bring the topics to life.

As you work through Nutrition 101, you will find it impossible or nearly so, to continue to live and eat the way you have been. Let's face it, most of us, even those who feel like they are eating well, have lots to learn about how food interacts with each of our body systems . Even the healthiest of families, will benefit from the information in Nutrition 101.

How has our family used this program? In our house we have children ranging in ages from 10-17. We worked through the section on The Brain and Nervous System during our review period. We treated it like a read aloud. We would all gather 'round and I would read and then we would discuss all the illustrations, side notes and then do the activities... and the best part for us was trying the new recipes!  We have found our new guacamole recipe!!! We like this recipe much better than the one we had been using! And it is great Brain Food!!!

As part of the Crew we were given a download of the book. The book is available to purchase in a CD-rom ($79.95), Hardcopy Book ($99.95) or a Combo set with both ($129.95).  It is available here.

At first I had not intention to print out this book, because after all it is 447 pages and FULL of color illustrations that I love! However, as I began to work through it, I knew I just would not utilize it to it's fullest capacity if it sat on my computer. So I printed it out, the whole thing, in color!  WOW, this is a beautiful book.  The illustrations are awesome, having them in print, and in color really made all the difference for my family. I have been blessed with a color office jet printer... so the cost  wasn't too bad. For our family we like to hold things in our hands..... so, you will have to decide what will work the best for your family.  I also like being able to just print out more of some of the lists in the back as needed.

I have really enjoyed this program, please don't let the price scare you. This is a wonderful family resource!  Please take some time to see what some of the other crew members think about this great product!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009



**Note- if you are reading this review on Facebook, please click the link at the bottom of the post to be taken to the original blog entry. **

What in the world??? What is a StudyPod you ask? In my head what I am thinking of is some kind of "egg" like from "Mork and Mindy". However, I couldn't be further from the truth. What it is, is a very nifty invention, that I have actually been dreaming about for a least the last year and a half. As I write our monthly homeschool newsletter, and I have to copy type from a piece of paper into a word document, I would bend over and read, and then type, and then bend over and read.. and boy I was wishing I could have something that held up my papers for me at eye level.

Enter StudyPod, it is a "book" stand that you can use for books or even papers. I have used it for both.

StudyPod was "developed by a teacher, the STUDYPOD provides students with a great and simple way to improve their studying. It holds textbooks & study sheets upright at a comfortable level (similar to the angle of your computer screen) helping to maximize  a student's focus.  It holds virtually any textbook wide open freeing hands for writing, typing.."

In the above photo, you can see the STUDYPOD in both it's positions, the open and ready position. And then also in it's "storage" or portable" position. When it is closed it measures 6.75" x 8.875" x 1.25", which makes it very easily transported to the library or class.  And you are able to store it on the bookshelf, right along with the books you will be using it with!

Inside the STUDYPOD, there is a handy pocket to hold all of your supplies needed for a study session! Which helps when you are going to be using the STUDYPOD on the go or even tot'n your stuff to another room.

The STUDYPOD has become a valuable member of our homeschool! We have used it to prop up illustrations we are studying as a group. I have used it while I cook, and as I mentioned at the top, it has been invaluable as I work on our monthly newsletter!

STUDYPOD is available in Black, Blue and Pink, Or you can purchase a BOOKPOD, which is the same product targeting a different audience, which comes in Black, Grey and Beige. 

You can order both the STUDYPOD and BOOKPOD from their website. They sell for $19.95 each, however, if you buy 2 or more they are $16.95 each. You can mix and match the BOOKPOD and the STUDYPOD to take advantage of this offer. And the makers of the STUDYPOD, have been so kind to give our readers a $5 off coupon. Use code TOSBLOG5 when placing an order. 

Please visit the Crew Blog to see what the other crew members have to say about this product.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Who You Butters Your Bread?

I recieved this from Family Protections Ministries today.  I thought some of my readers would like to see this article. You can see the original here.

Who Butters Your Bread?

(Posted July 15, 2009)

Private & Home Educators of California
Roy Hanson, Jr. - Director
PO Box 730 • Lincoln, CA 95648-0730 • (916) 786-3523 • FAX (916) 415-9470

(This article is available at for your use.)

What gets bigger the more you take from it? As a kid, this was one of my favorite riddles. The correct answer, of course, is “a hole.” The more you take out of a hole, the bigger it gets. However, there is another answer to this riddle — one that seems to elude many people today.

A large majority of the voters in the United States think that lower taxes would have the most immediate positive impact on them and their families. Many think that government at all levels is far too big, taking away our freedoms and destroying the concept of personal responsibility.

Paradoxically, large numbers of people who claim to want smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom continue to clamor for their “fair share” in a plethora of government-subsidized programs. Each individual who chooses to participate in a government-funded program creates a two-fold demand on the government. First, they create a need for money to pay for the goods or services they would receive. Second, they create a need for more bureaucrats to administer the programs that are supposed to provide those goods and services. The more benefits we receive from government, the bigger it will become, the further it will encroach on our freedoms, and the more money it will need.

But, the government does not have money. All governments get their money by taking it from the people. And there are a variety of ways the government gets this money: income taxes, sales taxes, gas tax, utilities and phone taxes, excise taxes, property taxes, payroll taxes, corporate taxes, license fees, fines, etc. Every single worker in America works from January through May just to meet the government’s voracious appetite for money. In fact, the government’s biggest job has become the redistribution of our money through government entitlement programs. One report notes that the cost of these entitlement programs is actually growing faster than the economy. This means that Americans are wanting “their share” of everyone else’s wages almost faster than those wages can be earned.

Frederic Bastiat, in his booklet The Law, makes this point: “Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources...” “ But it is also true that man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.” You and your children should read this short book.

When the laws are changed to allow the government to plunder its citizens, eventually everyone will strive to obtain his share of the -plunder (e.g. his share of the taxes). And this change of the law into an instrument of plunder creates a contradiction between morality and the law. This will cause a breakdown in morality in favor of the law. Especially when the law favors man’s natural inclinations toward selfishness, greed, and irresponsibility.

For example, God’s moral principles say not to steal, but to work with your own hands at that which is good in order to voluntarily give to others who have a need (Ex. 20:15; Eph. 4:28). Each person has a right to the fruit of his own labor as well as a personal responsibility before God to properly handle and dispose of the fruit of his labor. This is the essence of personal responsibility, stewardship, and the promotion of voluntary charity and justice.

In contrast, some of man’s legislated laws allow one person to receive the fruit of another person’s labor which is stolen by means of the government’s program of legalized plunder. This is done under the guise of a perverted sense of justice. Civil government’s God-ordained jurisdiction of authority primarily consists of “being a terror to evil doers.” This essentially means prohibiting, stopping, and punishing criminal behavior against its citizens. Taxes, which are allowed by law for purposes beyond this limited civil government jurisdiction, are essentially forcible seizure of another person’s property. However, according to Scripture, we are still required to pay these levied taxes.

The law then makes this plundered money available in the form of government-subsidized programs to provide goods and services to people who may or may not have worked to earn any part of that money. This is the essence of dependency as opposed to responsibility, and the promotion of so-called fairness as opposed to justice. It is the engine of statism in its many forms, such as economic fascism and socialism. Some have claimed that it is compassionate and charitable to have government to help others. True compassionate charity and help from God’s point of view must always be voluntary on the part of the individual doing the giving. Payment of taxes is, by law, non-voluntary and coerced.

Participation in a government-subsidized program (at least when there is a choice not to participate) contributes to a violation of the eighth commandment. It also creates a demand for the government to continue and even increase its plunder.

If we truly want lower taxes and less government involvement in our lives, we must do more than ask our elected officials to do something. They hear our voices, but they see our actions - give me, take care of me, meet my needs, solve my problems, build me a bigger and better safety net.

And for those who say we are just getting some of our money back, there are many problems. To name just a few:

(1) Only a very small percentage of people receiving government program benefits (such as government education) are getting only what they put in -- especially when considering their share of the cost of legitimate government services (such as the military, law enforcement, judicial and criminal justice system) from which they already benefit.

(2) Once the government receives your money from taxation, by law and from God’s point of view, it is no longer your money. That is unless you overpaid your taxes and then you get a refund.

(3) The government must collect several dollars to support the bureaucracy necessary for each dollar redistributed to an individual.

(4) The ends never justify the means. More than good motives are needed. The means as well as the ends must have God’s approval.

We must choose to not ask for the government’s help whenever we have the opportunity to make that choice. When we shoulder our personal responsibilities, rather than expecting the government to come to our rescue, we take a positive step toward lower taxes, smaller government and increased freedom.

(Permission given to duplicate unaltered & complete.)


Private and Home Educators of California
a program of
Family Protection Ministries


Family Protection Ministries
P.O. Box 730
Lincoln, CA 95648


Monday, September 7, 2009

To School at Home or Not School at Home, That is the Question!

To School at Home or Not School at Home, That is the Question!


You might be thinking that I am talking about, whether or not we should homeschool. If you are reading this, you are probably already a homeschooler! What I am talking about is how we are going to home school.

When I first started writing this article, it had nothing to do this. I was discussing a totally different topic, however, as I worked through it, what the Lord pressed upon my heart, was, what is it we are really doing here? Are we striving to mimic schools? If so, wouldn’t we be sending our children to the local school? But, we are not. We have taken on this task, for a reason. Why? Why have you chosen to home educate your child/ren?

I think that is where we need to start! If we are not sure of the why, then there is no way we can follow through with the how! I believe the very first thing you should do, is spend some time with the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to help you guide your homeschool. In I Corinthians 10:31 it says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” If we should be bringing Him glory in all that we do, then He should be in the planning process! And He should be a part of every single day!

If Jesus Christ is not the cornerstone of your homeschool, and you are simply homeschooling for financial reasons, or academic reasons, or any of the other laundry list of reasons a family has, as times in your life change, you will not have a firm foundation, to rest upon.

In this economy, many of us are homeschooling on an extremely tight budget. I know that we are. This reminds me of the principal of tithing. On paper it just does not seem possible. However, when we are faithful to give the Lord what already belongs to Him, God always makes a way. Homeschooling is the same.

If God is in your homeschool, if we are willing to let Him lead the education we are providing to our children, dare I say, His children, He will enable you to succeed.

If Jesus Christ is the center of your homeschool, then every other decision you make will be based on Him, and on your biblical world view. Once that is set, you can look at what your goals for your child/ren are.

Look down the road, what are you hoping to see? Whatever your answer may be, chart a course to that destination. And remember that it will not always be easy. You will hit detours and bumps in the road. While you may have mapped a course to a specific goal, be mindful that our eyes should always be upon Jesus Christ and He will direct our path. Proverbs 3:6 says, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths”.

So when life’s detours come your way, don’t become defeated, know that the Lord is re-charting that course for you. Many of the course corrections that come in our home, are ones that fall into the character building category. I would like to tell you, that it is always my children, that need to have their character built. However, that is simply not true. Homeschooling has not only allowed me to help cultivate godly character in my children, but also in me.

When I signed on to homeschool, I had no idea, what I was getting into. It is the hardest and the best thing I have ever done. It challenges me in ways, I ncould not have imagined. Our children are watching us, in all that we do. In every situation. How we handle ourselves when we are not at our best! And when nobody is watching. They watch how we speak to our spouse, and they feel how we speak to them. Are we being faithful in our own bible reading and prayer life, as we teach them to be. Are we working diligently at the tasks on our list, as we ask them to work on theirs? They listen to see if we praise the Lord for everything, not just the good things.

I don’t say all of these things, to stress or worry you. I say them, to remind you that in our own power, we simply cannot succeed. However, with the power of our Lord living in us, we can accomplish much! I John 4:4 says “…greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” We are not alone in our endeavor to “Train up a child in the way he should go..” We have the Lord to lean on, and the Lord has provided us with friends! Proverbs 27:17 says, “ Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Let’s help each other along this journey. Help each other to stay faithful to the Lord, and stay the course that has been set before us.

I pray that the Lord will bless your families and your homeschools for many years to come!

I have heard it said, “God does not call the enabled, He enables the called”.

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College Prep Genius

**Note- if you are reading this review on Facebook, please click the link at the bottom of the post to be taken to the original blog entry. **

This year on the Homeschool Crew, we have been given the opportunity to review a product called College Prep Genius, The No Brainer Way to SAT* Success.

We were sent the Master the SAT Class DVD set, the College Prep Genius Textbook, and the Class Workbook.

The class promises to teach you techniques to help your student learn the logic behind the test. Here is what they say on their site:I am very intrigued by this program. I will be working through it with my 9th and 10th graders.  I will be posting a review after we have worked with the program for about a month. Please watch this space for more information!

"COLLEGE PREP GENIUS gives the solution to finding scholarships and paying for college through an exclusive program designed to increase standardized test scores. With our help you can:

  • Go to college for FREE!

  • Raise your SAT score as much as 600 points!

  • Get accepted to the college of your choice!

How does it work?


Many students simply don’t understand the strategies and logic behind these standardized tests. These exams test more than just a student’s ability to answer questions; they test time-management skills, logical aptitude and much more. COLLEGE PREP GENIUS helps students pinpoint weak areas of the test by emphasizing the strategic and logical approach to taking the SAT. For example:"

It will cover things like, IF a student runs out of time. . .,IF your student isn’t good at math. . .,IF you’re worried about wasting another dime on SAT prep. "

 While you are waiting for my final review, please visit their website for more information! 


***** Please visit here for my final review of College Prep Genius.