Thursday, March 22, 2018

V is for Valiant (Blogging through the Alphabet)

abcblogging, courage, knights, parenting, valiant, bold

Being a parent has taught me how important it is to have great determination and courage in everyday life. When I hear the word, "valiant," I will admit that I do not first think of my parenting abilities but instead think of a knight of the Middle Ages.

abcblogging, courage, knights, parenting, valiant, bold
Knights were supposed to be: 


When I think about it, parents need to possess the majority of these skills in order to raise our children. 

Gallant - An older definition of gallant is giving special attention and respect to women. I think that this idea can be applied to the respect children should show for their parents as well as the respect parents can show their children.

Heroic - Pushing our children out of the way of danger - whether it is a car, another child running at them, or just catching them from falling off the chair we told them not to climb onto a hundred times - we need to be heroic to protect them. 

Courageous - Doing what is right, even when others think it is wrong, is one of the ways parents show their courage. Sticking to a bedtime when everyone is letting their children stay up late or not letting your son or daughter watch an R-rated movie when all of their classmates are seeing it.

Daring- Parents can be daring when they challenge the traditional thoughts of society, school, or even family. 
abcblogging, courage, knights, parenting, valiant, bold

Tough - I find I have to be tough in the face of my children doing things that are wrong but really hilarious. How often do we need to turn around or leave the room, because we just need to laugh at the ink-stained faces of our toddlers? We also need to be tough when we see our children participating in sports or other activities where they can get seriously injured. 

Brave - When our children are injured or hurt, we must be brave to not show them how scared we are about their injury. 

Bold - We need to stand up for our children against others who may bully them or treat them unfairly. 

Fearless - It is very easy to be afraid - especially in today's world. In order to raise our children with all of the problems of today, we need to be fearless in accepting this challenge.

If we look deep enough closely, we will be able to find many of these qualities in ourselves.

---------------------- Bundle Sale March 2018

Are you looking for a set of eBooks and Print Magazines with a focus upon "Building Readers & writers from Preschoolers to Teens"? This bundle is only $29 through March 31, 2018. The Bundle comes with four PRINT magazines shipped to you (at no additional charges for the shipping!) as well as the following eBooks: 
  • Three Keys to Teaching Writing
  • 4th of July: A Nation Built on Freedom 
  • Helping the Reluctant Reader
  • It's the Starting That's Stopping Us
  • Writer's Workshop: Getting Children Excited
  • Getting to the Root of Writer's Block
  • Writing Essays
  • Growing Authors and Illustrators
  • Why Does My Child Hate to Write? 
  • Wise Words About Teaching Reading: You Can Teach Your Own Child to Read Well
  • And Then Mama Said...It Takes Time to Learn to Read E-Book 
  • Creating a Rich Environment and a Fun Place to Learn for Preschoolers
  • Preschool at Home Where They Belong 
I linked up with the following blog(s):

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wordless Wednesday (Mostly Wordless) - Ice Hockey Championship

My stepson when he was playing before his concussion. 

Smooth sheet of ice for the teams.

The teams lined up at center ice for the singing of the National Anthem.

My stepson wasn't playing because he was only recently given the okay after his concussion.

It is the March “Building Readers & Writers from Preschoolers to Teens” Bundle! Do you have a reluctant writer? Does your child have a desire to read? Do you have a preschooler at home? If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, you need this month’s March bundle at The Old Schoolhouse® - 13 eBooks and 4 Print Magazines for only $29! This $29 bundle pricing is only good for March 2018. As of April 1, forward, bundle price is $49. 

I linked up to the following blog(s):

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A Review of Super Beads from Zirrly

My children really enjoy doing arts and crafts each day, so we were so happy to have the chance to review Super Beads from Zirrly. We were fortunate enough to review the 3D Car and Truck kit from Zirrly. When the box of Super Beads arrived, my four-year-old son was so excited. He turned the box over and over as he studied the designs, colors, and information printed on the outside of the box. He wanted to put them together right then and there but I told him we would need to wait for a time when his older brother was free so we could work on the project together.

Having never completed a project using any type of fuse beads before, I wanted to make sure I understand the instructions thoroughly.

After watching several videos on YouTube about Super Beads and reading (and re-reading) the instructions, we were ready to start the project. With the additional instructions provided by Zirrly sitting on the table, we emptied all the packets of beads so we could organize them. I gathered together several more containers to hold them as we worked on the two different projects at the same time. We needed a total of five containers to hold all the beads that we would need for the project.

Our 3D Car and Truck kit contained the following:

  • Red Super Beads
  • Orange Super Beads
  • Yellow Super Beads
  • Black Super Beads
  • White Super Beads
  • Spray bottle
  • 2 puzzle trays
  • Plastic tool (to aid in lifting the completed design off the puzzle tray – I found this to be very valuable)
  • Plastic pipes (of two sizes)
  • 2 templates (for the red car and the orange truck)
  • 4 sets of wheels
  • Instruction manual with photographs
  • Separate instructions also provided

My two boys worked on the beads for the red car, while I worked on placing the beads for the orange truck. My two-year-old daughter was busy ‘helping’ all three of us. My daughter provided actual help by threading the Super Beads in the correct patterns onto the plastic pipes when we reached that step of the instructions.

Some tips to remember when placing the beads onto the trays as provided on the Super Bead Instructions sheet:

-          Ensure hands are dry
-          Place the beads with the lined end facing up
-          Let your bead surface dry for at least 60 minutes

I found these to be the three most important tips as we were putting together our project.

My four-year-old son had a fantastic time putting together the car and truck and couldn’t wait to play with them. He is eagerly awaiting his birthday in hopes that he might get some more Super Bead projects from Zirrly. I think we will be looking into the Super Beads Mega Pack to enable him to use his creativity to make his own designs. When my daughter gets older, we will also take a look at the Super Beads Jewelry Set for an arts and crafts project for her to do.

Unfortunately, I did have a few problems with our projects. I had difficulty removing the beads from the pattern board. I had to put them back on the board several times and re-spray. I probably needed to use more water when I sprayed the initial time to ensure they fused together.

I also had difficulty when putting together the two sides of the cars to make them 3D. I felt like my fingers were too big to properly put all the plastic pipes into the proper bead locations. In fact, I did not match up the orange truck properly so it is a little lopsided. Oops! This mistake did not affect my son’s happiness when playing with it, though.

Even with these few difficulties, my family had a fun time with these projects. There are also many great features to Super Beads from Zirrly.

Some of the fantastic features of Super Beads include:

  • No need to use a hot iron
  • No need for glue
  • Just use water to fuse the Super Beads together 
  • Completed designs are flexible
  • Promotes fine motor skills development
  • Safe and Non-Toxic

I would recommend Super Beads from Zirrly for families who want to try a new way to work with fuse beads for their arts and crafts projects. It is so much safer when you do not need to use a hot iron. In fact, my four-year-old was able to use the spray bottle provided to fuse the beads together.

To learn more about Super Beads, please be sure to visit the following sites and links and check out the other reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew

Monday, March 19, 2018

Reviewing Home School in the Woods' Á La Carte Projects

My family had the wonderful opportunity to review two history products from the Á La Carte Projects line from Home School in the Woods – Pirate Panoply game and The War to End All Wars game. When I became a teacher, these types of activities – file folder games, timelines, newspapers, and lap books – were the very things I couldn’t wait to do with my students. Now as a homeschooling mom, I will be able to share my love of history with my own children using products from the Á La Carte Projects line.

Both Á La Carte projects are PDF files that vary in length from seven to over thirty pages and provide an ‘Introduction and Tips’ page that includes information on printing the project and laminating completed pieces.  These “individual projects are designed to enhance your studies” with a variety of hands-on activities and “new projects are added regularly.”

Pirate Panoply: A Game of Pirate Garb!  

Pirate Panoply: A Game of Pirate Garb! is a multiplayer game for grades third to eighth grade where families can learn about pirate clothes and accessories. Each player takes turn rolling a six-sided die to dress their pirate in clothes that range from a wide-brimmed hat to stockings and shoes. The Gameboard, which each player needs to play Pirate Panoply, includes information on the different pieces of clothing and accessories such as the Baldric is “a leather belt, hung diagonally over the whole ensemble.”

The pieces for Pirate Panoply are black and white and can be colored by the family. Our sons and I colored the pieces so each would have their own set and game board when we played. All the children enjoyed playing Pirate Panoply.  Even our two year old, who played with the help of Dad, had fun. We found the most difficult part of Pirate Panoply was trying to get the necessary roll for one person to dress their pirate and thus win the game. (We also played till everyone’s pirates were dressed since we were playing with 2-, 4-, and 15-year-olds.)

The War to End All Wars File Folder Game

The second project we reviewed from the Á La Carte Projects line from the Home School in the Woods was The War to End All Wars: WWI France vs. Germany, a two-player file folder game of strategy and card management for third through twelfth grades. The Rule Book includes an introduction, a description of the components, and directions on setup, phases, units, action cards, the environment, and how to win or end the game. The War to End All Wars also includes a section on this history of the war with some background on trenches, weapons on and off the field, and protection that was used during the war. All this information expands upon the action cards and tokens available for play during the game.

The information for printing the necessary game pieces for The War to End All Wars was very helpful. I admit to having some difficulties when printing things double sided but the instructions were clear as to what page was printed on the back of which one. I chose to print the black and white copy to color in myself. If your older children are so inclined, they could help you color out the pieces for The War to End All Wars game. It provides the perfect opportunity to color, discuss the history of World War I – which the game provides via some background information, and watch documentaries or movies about the Great War. 

It is a very complex game with lots of information to retain during play. While my stepson and I played, my husband helped ‘referee’ the game – providing information as we needed it. For example, when playing your cards, there are multiple (thirteen to be exact) options for what to do with your soldiers. And depending on which side you are playing, you may have a tank card or a French rifle (if you play as France) or you might play a stick grenade card or a flamethrower card (if you play as Germany). All of the information is outlined in the directions, but it is helpful to have someone (who is outside of the game) read it during game play. However, I do not think this is a flaw of the game (it's a feature!). There are many board and card games that I have played where the directions are quite lengthy and complicated. And in reality trench warfare, which the game seeks to imitate, is quite complex and lengthy.

I would recommend both of these products to families – homeschooling and non-homeschooling alike. They provide an excellent extension to lessons about the topics at hand (Pirates and World War I) and are just plain fun. 

I have also looked into other Á La Carte Projects from Home School in the Woods for our family. In the future, we may add several other projects to our home, including the Taxation Frustration! Game which allows two to four players to “learn about the pressures and drama of paying taxes in the American colonies before the Revolutionary War” and the Tomb Dash! File Folder Game in which “players work together against the timer to answer questions from the era in an attempt to gather artifacts and then escape the pyramid complex.”  

Personally, I am also interested in The Art of Quilling, the art of paper rolling, as a possible new hobby. And the final project that catches my eye currently is WWII: On the Home Front LapBook/Notebook Project. My teenage stepson is very interested in World War II history, so this would be a perfect summer project for him. He already knows a lot about the war itself, so this would introduce him to the struggle “in the homes of ordinary Americans” during World War II. 

You can read more about Taxation Frustration!, Tomb Dash!, and The Art of Quilling Á La Carte Projects and others by checking out the Homeschool Review Crew Reviews.

You can learn more about Home School in the Woods by visiting the following places:

Home School in the Woods Website - Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest - YouTube - Google+

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Journaling Through the Bible: Protection

This past week I wrote a Blogging Through the Alphabet Post about umbrellas provided more than just protection from the rain and sun. I was inspired to draw two different versions - in my Bible and my sketchbook. The last image I am sharing is pre-printed in my Beautiful Word Bible.

Original drawing in my Bible

Drawing from my sketchbook 

Illustration provided in my Bible
I linked up with the following blog(s):