Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Strong Learning, Inc. - Bessie's Pillow {Homeschool Review}

Bessie's Pillow

I love history, I love biographies, and I enjoy reading historical fiction.  We have been reading Bessie's Pillow during our read aloud time and it fits all three of those!  A special thanks to Strong Learning, Inc. for giving us the opportunity to do a review for their book.  Bessie's Pillow is classified as historical fiction, and is based on the true story of Bessie Markman Dreizen.  It is written by Bessie's granddaughter, Linda Bress Silbert, who is also the owner of Strong Learning, Inc.  I would recommend this book for middle/highschoolers and up, but in saying that I also read this to my 9 year old.

Strong Learning, Inc.

Boshka Markman is a Jew from Vilna, Lithuania.  In 1906, at the age of 18, she is one of hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrants who, with the help of her father and mother, leaves Europe alone to escape persecution by going to America.  Boshka is a strong, independent woman in her time. Once in America, her name is changed to Bessie.

I cried as she said good-bye to her family (I remember those feelings), my daughter's ears perked up at the slightest hint of romance (typical teenage girl!), and my son enjoyed learning more about NYC.  My kids enjoyed this book, and often requested that I read it to them (and it wasn't to get out of their schoolwork!).  Just a little disclaimer, there were a few things (or words) that I skipped over as I could see them coming as I read, mostly so I didn't have to explain to my son.  Nothing bad, just not for little ears.

Bessie's Pillow is written in first person, which makes me feel like she's sitting across the table from me telling me her story.  She left her family and home and travelled first class by ship to America.  She arrives at Ellis Island and it explains the sights of the time.  We now have Ellis Island on our bucket list.  I've always wanted to go there, but after reading Bessie's Pillow I really want to go there.  What an amazing feeling it must have been to step off the boat on to Ellis Island with other immigrants and have that new sense of freedom.  As an immigrant to Australia, I remember stepping off the plane.  I remember my surroundings, the weather, and the feeling of exhaustion and excitement.

The book continues to talk about Bessie settling in to America and the many adventures that awaited her.  I struggle with writing book reviews because I so badly want to tell you more, but then  you'd have no reason to buy a copy for yourself!  If you enjoy historical fiction, if you are interested in immigration, if you are fascinated with NYC, no matter the if, I think you'll enjoy this book!
Strong Learning, Inc. also has a page called Discover Bessie's America.  I have enjoyed going through the links on this page and learning more about the history of the time period.  You can find links for European Immigration, Food and Recipes, Movies, News, Radio, US Presidents, and more.
We were given a PDF copy of the book, but I plan to buy a hard copy to add to our library.  With immigration being in the news on a daily basis these days, I'd encourage you to get a copy and read it together as a family.  It may even encourage you to trace your own family history!

Watch the clip below for a little excerpt of the book.

Find Bessie's Pillow on Facebook and Twitter.

For more reviews of Bessie's Pillow click below.
Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews}

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Creating a Masterpiece {Homeschool Review}

Creating a Masterpiece

As a homeschool mom, I admit I often let art slide to the back burner.  I'm not creative, and I definitely can't draw, so having a resource like Creating a Masterpiece is a sweet relief!  We have reviewed the Monthly Plan and have thoroughly enjoyed it!

Creating a Masterpiece

Creating a Masterpiece teaches art with many different types of medium: acrylic, batik, block printing, carving, conte 'crayon, copper tooling, glass mosaic, gouache, ink, mixed media, oil painting, oil pastel, pencil/charcoal, sculpture, silk painting, soft pastel, watercolour, and wood burning.  So many choices!

We live remote, so we don't have easy access to some of these items, so we stuck with watercolour and pencil.  The first project we did was with watercolours and it was called African Sunset.  I sat down and did this project with the kids.  It was fun to learn along side of them, and I think our artwork turned out pretty well.  I love how they each are unique in their own way, not exactly alike, but similar.

We learned a new technique of putting a dab of paint on the page and blowing through a straw to make trees.  The kids enjoyed doing this and learned that different size straws had slightly different results.  I didn't use a straw, but blew on the paint and it had a similar effect.

I am an artist by no means, and I don't normally enjoy sitting and doing something like this.  I found this to be a relaxing time with the kids, and they enjoyed having me sit and create with them.  This project did take us two days to complete as it had to dry halfway through before we could put on the finishing touches.

Can you tell which one was mine?  :)

Autumn continued on her own and did several more pencil drawings.  Creating a Masterpiece is user-friendly.  Autumn was able to access the site quickly and was able to find the artwork she wanted to create.  She worked on these two projects in one afternoon.  Some projects can be done in one sitting, while others may take 2-3 days to complete (like the watercolour one above).

She was not impressed with her sunflower, but I think for her first pencil drawing she did quite well.  It is proudly hung in our schoolroom.

She also did a pencil drawing of an incandescent light bulb with it's shadow.  Which I think turned out beautifully, but I may be a bit biased.

With her lightbulb.  She was pleased with this one.

Working on our watercolour painting together.

We enjoyed Creating a Masterpiece and will continue to use it until our subscription expires.  The website is well done and like I said, it is user-friendly.  The monthly plan is $39.99/month. (If you are in a co-op there is a group discount worth checking out.)  This gives you access to all the projects (over 144 lessons) for the entire family.  To me this is a bit pricey for a homeschooling family, but I know there are art programs that cost a small fortune and are just books.  The videos in Creating a Masterpiece are well done, and the teacher, Ms. Sharon, is fun.  I think this is a good investment for your homeschool curriculum, even if you can just afford to use it for one month, I'd encourage you to give it a go.

You can find Creating a Masterpiece on facebook.

To see more reviews for Creating a Masterpiece click below.
Creating Beautiful Art at Home {Creating A Masterpiece Reviews}

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Cody is 9!

Last month Cody turned 9.  
I guess I'm still in denial since I failed to write a blog post about it.  
This is his last year in the single digits.  
Where does time go?

Just a few hours old.

He got a new quad for his birthday.
(I'm still adjusting to this!)

He also started guitar lessons last month.

Cody is tenderhearted.  He loves hugs.  He love animals.  He loves the Lord.
I couldn't ask for anything more.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Walking with the Waodani - Home School Adventure Co. {Homeschool Review}

Home School Adventure Company

Walking with the WaodaniI'm excited to share with you the newest study from Home School Adventure Co. It's called Walking with the Waodani by Stacy Farrell.  The amazing story of Jim Eliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCulley, Pete Fleming, and Roger Youderian, has always been a favourite of mine.  A few years back I had the privilege of meeting Steve Saint, Nate Saint's son. Along with my family, we got to watch him perform the bucket drop in a Piper Cub.  It was a great day and a memory I won't soon forget.  So when I was given the opportunity to do a the preview version of a unit study called Walking with the Waodani, I jumped on it!

The complete 7-week study will soon be available for you to download as a PDF file.  It is a fun and fascinating study of the Waodani (formally known as the Aucas) and of Ecuador.  My preview version had 2 lessons.  The lessons are divided into 5 components - 1. Lesson Introduction, 2. People and Places, 3. Meals and Markets, 4. Animals and Argiculture, and 5. Worlds and Worldview.  The study also includes a Travel Journal for each lesson, and it is also divided into 5 components - 1. Travel Journal Notebook Pages, 2. Mark your Map (or Ministry), 3. Rate the Recipe, 4. Mark your Map, and 5. Creativity Unleashed.

You can do the study in your own time frame.  I found doing one lesson one week and the Travel Journal the next week was a good timetable for us.  The lesson components are one page, so you could read 1 page a day.  Then the following week do one component each day of the Travel Journal. You could easily do both parts in a week's time. It is not a time consuming study, but it's very enriching.

In this unit study you and your child will learn geography, history, creative writing, cultural studies, and so much more!  This is one aspect I love about unit studies is that not only can you do them with your children as a group (even at all different ages), but they cover so many subjects.

The unit study is geared toward middle/high schoolers, but my 9 year old enjoyed doing it with us.  He especially enjoyed learning about the Palmetto Weevil Grub (photo on right).  Which we have the Witchetty Grub here, so we could relate, although we've never tried one!  

I am looking forward to the complete unit study. Watching End of the Spear will be a great reward as we complete it.

If you love missionary biographies you will love this unit study.  Living overseas, I find it's one thing to breeze through a book about about a person's life, it's another thing to study out their living condition, their surroundings, their menu!  I feel this study has done an excellent job giving you a peak into the life of the Waondani! 

Check out Home School Adventure Co. for more great studies.  Last year we did a great Scripture memory course on Philippians.

Home School Adventure Co.'s Social Media Links:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/HomeSchoolAdven  @HomeSchoolAdven

Resources with a Biblical Worldview{Home School Adventure Co. Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Kid's Club Update

A beautiful sunset over Barunga during game time.

Attendance has steadily been growing each week at Kid's Club.  Normally the adults go to another room for prayer time, while we play games, sing songs, and have a Bible lesson with the kids.  Although we often have parents sitting in to help supervise.   We started the year off teaching on Creation, then onto Adam and Eve, and sin.  This week we will further discuss sin and why Jesus came to earth.  In the coming weeks we will discuss the life of Christ, which will bring us to Easter where we will bring it altogether with Christ's death, burial, and resurrection.  It's one of my favourite Bible lessons to teach.  Please continue to pray for us as we minister to these young children, they are the next generation!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

I have no greater joy...

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
3 John 1:4

I have noticed a change in Cody over the past few months.  He is constantly asking me for new verses to memorise.  I see him quoting verses to others.  The other day he said to me, "I feel bad that I spend more time playing video games than I do reading my Bible.  I'm going to work on that."  Melt this momma's heart!  Then this afternoon he said to me, "Mum, I love you.  You are the most beautifullest person I know.  I'm glad you teach me the Bible."   I'm not saying this to brag on myself.  Trust me, this is all God working in his life.  I do my best, but I fail.  Daily.   I'm just wanting to save this memory here, so I can come back to it in the teen years!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Field Trip to the Post Office

This past week we went on a field trip along with some other homeschoolers in town to the post office.  We had a wonderful tour and we learned a lot!

The kid's wrote letters and were allowed to stamp them and put them in the bin ready to be sent out for delivery.

Autumn wrote a letter to her best friend in America.

We got to see how they organise the mail for each street.

Here is the back side of the post office boxes.
The kids kept looking inside them hoping someone would open them up to check their mail,
and then they could scare them.
Didn't have anyone open their boxes though.  :)
Here is the back side to the parcel lockers.
This is for packages that don't need a signature.

We learned the difference in priority mail and regular mail.

Here is where the sort the mail for the stations and communities.
The bags are then tied up and put on a plane for delivery.

Roger, who happens to be our postie, gave the kids a tour of his motorbike.
He was great with the kids and answered all their questions.
Our dog may have been named when asked which dogs have gone after him.

Here are some of the kids that came along.
A few of them didn't want to be in the photo for some reason.
Kids these days!