Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Hands-On Projects are the Most Remembered

I was provided with this product in exchange for my honest opinion. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

What are some of your fondest memories from school? Whether you attended public or private school or were homeschooled, you might remember the hands-on activities and projects you did the most.

I attended public school. In addition to remembering an awesome end-of-the-school-year picnic at my 4th grade teacher's farm (this event is probably similar to the field days of today's public schools), I remember all the hands-on projects we did—both in class and at home.

Some of my projects that I remember include a Native American longhouse, an animal cell made of edible materials, and a family educational tree that I made in college. For a long time, my mom kept the projects I made in elementary school. It wasn't until I was in high school that I decided to part with them to make room for other projects.

When I taught high school history, I included at least one hands-on project a year for my students. We usually started the project in the classroom with several days devoted to working on it and they completed the work at home. After teaching for several years, I had more than one student come back to tell me that they really liked building their pyramid, sphinx, Colosseum, or museum exhibit.

Homeschooling means we can complete lots of hands-on projects to solidify the information and learning for our kids. But sometimes coming up with the project, gathering all the necessary materials, and completing the project can be daunting and time-consuming. What if there was a place where you could get almost everything in one box so you would only have to worry about the actual learning and creating in relation to the project?

Hands-on History Project Kits 

Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum offers two History Project Kits for families who wish to bring history alive for their children. Whether you homeschool or not, you can use these kits to help create lasting memories of fun activities with your children.

There are two kits to choose from:

  • World Cultures History Project Kit 
  • World History Project Kit 

Each one offers different activities with project supplies, an instruction manual, and a schedule to help you tie it into the Sonlight curriculum programs but it can be used independently as we are using the kit. 

So you could pick a kit based upon the projects or suggested age range. World Cultures is suggested for ages 5-7 and World History is suggested for ages 6-8.

hands-on history kit from Sonlight

hands-on history kit from Sonlight

What do you get in the World Cultures History Project Kit? 

There are a total of 9 projects we will be able to complete from the hands-on history kit that will help bring various time periods of history to life for our homeschooling children. Using the 117-page instruction booklet, we will be able to gather any additional supplies we need (such as baking soda and vinegar for the volcano) and talk about history or nature of the hands-on project. The booklet is also laid out with detailed and illustrated step-by-step instructions. I love this! The layout makes it so much easier to guide our children—which can be difficult when the entire family gets involved in homeschooling.

The World Cultures History Project Kit is geared towards ages 5-7 which makes it perfect for our younger son. This also means that our older son, a teenager, can help either his brother or his younger sister complete one or more of the hands-on projects.

Getting the Whole Family Involved 

Sonlight canvas bagThese hands-on history projects from Sonlight also allow dad to get involved in our homeschooling endeavors. So not only will our children have great memories of learning about obelisks of Ancient Egypt, volcanoes, desserts, and more, these educational memories will include our whole family learning together.

While our two younger children love homeschooling with me, they absolutely love when my husband gets involved. They love to share what they have learned as well as learn from him. For our daughter, creating the volcano with her dad, will be a memory she will share with family and friends for a long time.

Our younger children also like to show off to their dad their knowledge. Working on hands-on history projects helps them do this in an educational way. Our younger son can share what he has already learned about Egypt when putting together the obelisk (and since their Grandmom also loves studying Egyptian history, she can get involved with this project, too!).

sailing ship kit and catapult kit

volcano kit

Making Memories 

When our children have completed all the hands-on activities from the World Cultures History Project Kit, they will have made some wonderful memories. The kit will enable them to build confidence that they can create projects either on their own or with guidance from an older sibling or parent. They will also be able to share lots of knowledge that they will remember for a lifetime.

hands-on history kit from sonlight, car kit

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Monday, June 17, 2019

Educating New Entrepreneurs: A Review of The Complete Starter Kit from The Kingdom Code

Reviewing: The Complete Starter Kit, JR Budget Kit, and The Kingdom Code Coloring Book from The Kingdom Code

At some point nearly everyone will hold a job. So, as homeschooling parents, providing our children with the guidance necessary to enter the workforce is a very important task. If we can help our children become entrepreneurs and start their own businesses, then we may be able to instill the tools necessary for them to be their own boss and find joy in their future career. The Kingdom Code, through The Complete Starter Kit, provides kids and young teens with the means to learn about money management and the steps necessary to start their own business.

What Did We Receive?

We received The Complete Starter Kit, JR KCK Budget Kit, and The Kingdom Code Coloring Book.

The Complete Starter Kit includes:

  • The Kingdom Code Textbook – This is a beautiful 244-page spiral bound book with lots of photographs and pictures to illustrate key points. Each lesson in the text is laid out in a similar manner, making it easy for a student to read and understand the messages and objectives. 

  • Activities, Forms, and Notices 
  • Worksheets – These consumable items are very well laid out and would be easy for children grades 3-6 to complete on their own time or with their parents or classmates. They check for understanding, review objectives, key ideas, and key terms clearly and concisely. 
  • Teacher's Guide – The Teacher's Guide is 131 pages split into 27 lesson plans and four appendices, providing parents and teachers with the ability to teach the material to either individual homeschooling students or groups of students in class. 

Preparing for a lesson – getting the worksheets and vocabulary needed, per the Teacher's Guide.

  • TKC Treasure Map – This is a sturdy map taking students along the 27 lessons and allowing them to have a visual of how far they have come during The Kingdom Code.

  • Flash Cards – Parents or students will need to cut out the vocabulary cards for each lesson. The text is very large and easy to read. (I like that it is clear font and not something fancy. Even our five-year-old was able to read through the vocab cards with us.) 
  • Posters (8.5 x 11 inches) – These look nice in the front and back pockets of the binder. 
  • 2 Pages of Stickers (Bonus Reward Stickers and KCK Budget Stickers) – Our teen was excited to see the sheet of reward stickers. He takes his time finding which one he wants to use for the Treasure Map.
  • KCK Receipt Book – I love the practical nature of this receipt book. I think it will really help our teen realize he will be making money so he should start getting customers for his photography business. Once this one is complete, we will probably pick up another for him to use. 

Here is receipt book and some of the very helpful forms that are included.

The JR KCK Budget Kit includes:

  • KCK Budget Poster (8.5 x 11 inches) 
  • One sheet of JOEYS stickers – J is for Jesus (10%); O is for Others (5%); E is for Education (10%); Y is for You (60%); and S is for Savings (15%)
  • My KCK Budget Percentages Page – A great one-page coloring sheet that is a good visual reminder for the student of how money should be divided. 
  • Six coloring pages – These would be good if you wish to divide up the Budget Binder with separate sections to record where money is saved or spent.
  • Instructions for assembling the Budget Binder and zippered pouches (not included) 
The Kingdom Code Coloring Book is a 32-page paperback coloring book that will reinforce the ideas taught in the course with your children. Some of the illustrations are similar to those found in the text. 

What is the Goal of the Program?

The Kingdom Code is about making and managing money...God's way. Through the program, students will be empowered to be entrepreneurs learning how to build a business, develop character, and prepare for the future. It is designed to be taught using a 36-week schedule with two 45-minute days per week. In the Teacher's Guide, it is noted that if this schedule does not fit, you can contact them for support.

Through the 27 lessons children will learn:

  • How to start their own business
  • Learn the basics of economy
  • Discuss the importance of mentoring
  • Brainstorm business ideas and work out details for their business and write a business plan
  • Seek customers
  • Organize time using the KCK calendar
  • Discuss the different types of sales
  • Learn how to keep and manage a ledger 
  • Follow the KCK budget to split up money into five parts using the zippered pouches 
  • Learn more about themselves and build confidence in their abilities to run a business
  • Practical aspects of businesses and economies 

How Did We Use It?

Please Note: This program is geared towards grades 3-6 (ages 10-13 is suggested on the site) so we have made some adjustments to make it work in our homeschool as our teen is working through the program to start his own photography business.

Over the years, our teen has changed his idea of what he wishes to be when he grows up. From a professional ice hockey player to someone who makes gaming videos, he has had a number of ideas and dreams for his future profession. A few years ago, he was graciously given a camera and he began taking very good photographs with it (something he has uncannily done since his first "kiddie" camera). He has been told in the past that he has an eye for art – for a while we thought he might pursue a career in illustrations, comic book art, or another avenue for drawing but he seems to enjoy photography more than drawing.

As neither my husband nor I have started our own business, we thought reviewing The Kingdom Code would be great to help our teen start putting into place what he will need for his photography career in the future. This course will also tie nicely into our future Economics homeschooling course.

I spent time reading through each lesson prior to handing over the text and worksheets to our teen. Sometimes our younger 6-year-old son joined me while I was reading the textbook or cutting out the vocabulary flash cards to learn along with me previewing the lesson.

Each lesson is suggested to take two 45-minute sessions over the course of one week. As I was adapting the material to our teen son, we tended to focus on one lesson each day we studied The Kingdom Code during our homeschooling day. However some lessons took longer than others because I was adapting them and asking our teen to make corrections to what he had given to me. For example, instead of completing the practice and actual surveys, I asked him to write a template for an introductory letter to potential clients. This letter was revised more than once as we decided what information he should include based on what we were studying in the course.

We were moving through the lessons rather quickly but then stalled for a week or two as we discussed and debated a name for our son's business. As this could be his potential future career, we didn't just want to give it any old name. We also wanted to set him up online so we needed to know what he wanted for a name and logo. So, even though we could be further along in the curriculum than Lesson 8 because our son is already familiar with many of the terms and concepts, we have slowed down to make sure we get it all right. For example, we spent some additional time on the marketing strategies activity from Lesson 5 as well as Lesson 4's Bonus Code Work of designing a logo. (In fact, we are still working on the logo but I am proud to say we finally have his business email set up.)

Our Thoughts

From the beautiful presentation of the material when it arrived to the wonderful organization, I really like The Kingdom Code. Starting this course enabled me to really start pushing our teen who has been talking about starting his own photography business for more than a year. Yes, I did have to adapt it to fit our family as our son is outside of the age range, but isn't that what homeschooling is all about—finding a good product and making it fit for your family's needs?

Our curriculum has arrived! 

So many great materials! 

Student's Text – The Kingdom Code Textbook 

Our teen and I are both really impressed with the presentation in the textbook. The full-color textbook is 240 glossy pages that is divided into the 27 lessons. Each lesson is set up in a similar manner with the following:

  • Proclamation
  • Check Your Path
  • Quest for the Clue 
  • Code of Honor
  • Action Time
  • Treasure Seeking
  • On Your Own
  • Kingdom Keys 
  • Bonus Code Work
Simple organization

Bright colorful photos and illustrations 

We both appreciate that the lessons are organized in a way in which we can easily find the information we need to discuss. I like that there are scripture and history references which help reinforce the ideas being taught. I also like that I can include our entire family in some of the activities and bonus code work. For example, in lesson 17 students are asked to interview parents, grandparents, or older friends to share important principles they have learned over time. I love that our teen can talk to his grandparents and even his great-grandparent about life lessons. And finally I like that there are built-in reviews every few lessons.

Teacher's Guide 

The Teacher's Guide opens with a wonderful introduction that goes through the supplies needed, how to organize everything, expectations in the lessons (things taught in the primary sections and those taught in the addition), how to use the different essential elements (activities, worksheets, flash cards, posters, forms, notices, and treasure builder ideas), and what is included in the Teacher's Guide itself. I love things that are organized and laid out clearly for me.

I pulled out the worksheets for each lesson and kept them in the Teacher's Guide until we needed them. 

I did feel that the majority of the Teacher's Guide was more useful for parents or teachers leading a group class or a co-op of homeschooling students. There were reminders to collect items from everyone and make sure students kept items at home (like the budget binder and zippered pouches). Lessons also specifically mentioned 'whole group instruction' and one of the activities we modified was conducting a practice survey with fellow students.

I did like that the Teacher's Guide had specific page numbers (from the Student Text) listed next to activities, a list of materials, and the overview, learning goals, essential question, and space for notes. Having all this information on one or two pages was a bonus for organization for me.

Coloring Book and JR KCK Budget Kit

The coloring book was used by three people in our family. I colored in some of the pages while our teen worked on his assignments from The Kingdom Code independently. Our daughter and I colored a few pages together—she loved that we would work on reading the Bible quotes together. And my mom picked up the coloring book and colored a few pages when I was telling her about the program.

As The Kingdom Code Textbook can be reused, purchasing the JR KCK Budget Kit would be perfect for families who have multiple children working through the program either at the same time or in different years.

Our teen did comment that he thought the program would have a more medieval feel through the entire curriculum but personally, I feel like there was enough of a mix between focusing upon children being knights and Kingdom Code Kids in a past and present context.

I highly recommend The Kingdom Code to families with children in grades 3-6. If you are willing to do a little more work and adapt the program, you can even use it with older children like we did with our 16-year-old teen.

Want to Learn More about The Kingdom Code? 

Are you interested in purchasing The Kingdom Code or another Product? 

The Kingdom Code is graciously offering readers 10% products purchased online from The Kingdom Code. Please use the following code: 10TKC27. Thank you!

Interested in learning about what others had to say? 

There were many families who used The Kingdom Code in their house. Be sure to check out all the reviews to see the different perspectives from families whose children fit the age range and those who might be outside of the range like our own family.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Book Club: Book Review of Overcoming Fear

This post contains affiliate links. I received a copy of the book from the publishers in return for my honest opinion. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

I recently read Overcoming Fear: The Supernatural Strategy to Live in Freedom by Dawna De Silva, published by Chosen (a division of Baker Publishing Group). A metaphor of a recipe helps explain the ideas behind Dawna De Silva's theory of how to overcome fear. While people face many fears – anxiety, stress, financial problems, marital problems, etc. – God has provided us with the path to overcome that fear. With her experience as founder and co-leader of International Bethel Sozo Ministry, De Silva shares many examples of people who were helped and overcame fear through the Sozo sessions. She also provides readers with the steps to fix the recipe for ourselves.

About the Book 

Overcoming Fear is a 190-page book divided into five parts:

  • Part One: Fear
  • Part Two: Power
  • Part Three: Love 
  • Part Four: Self-Discipline
  • Part Five: Application 
Each chapter ends with group discussion questions, activation prayers, and declarations. Among the many examples there are many scriptural references and Bible quotes. 

The three main parts of the recipe – that all people need in balance to overcome fear are power, love, and self-discipline as referenced in 2 Timothy 1:7. 

"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline." 
2 Timothy 1:7 NIV 

Through parts 2-4, De Silva takes the reader through how these three things may be out of balance, what things may be substituted in place of power, love, and self-discipline, and how to find the balance again and fix the recipe. 

My Thoughts 

I was very excited to receive Overcoming Fear to review but I don't know if I got as much out of the book as I had anticipated. I think perhaps I will add it to my to re-read list to see if I can glean more wisdom with a second reading. 

Even though De Silva provides readers with a glossary, I felt that because I had never attended a Sozo Session I was at a disadvantage. Personally, I also find myself having trouble with the idea that God will show me what I need to know (De Silva gives an example of one session in which a pastor was shown a 'beautiful red and yellow horizon' and he was able to interpret that as his future). 

I think Overcoming Fear could be the right fit for some individuals. I will re-read it again later this year to see if I can see the healing and liberation that De Silva speaks of in the book. 

Friday, June 14, 2019

Q is for Quiet (Blogging Through the Alphabet)

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World War I became one of my favorite time periods in history to study—especially the origins of the war. What makes reading primary sources, secondary sources, and literature about World War I—including All Quiet on the Western Front—so important for studying the events? As we progress further and further away from events of the past, it is becoming increasingly important to look at sources that were written before, during, and immediately after the events. So many of today's history books are reinterpreting history—not always for the better.

All Quiet on the Western Front was written by Erich Maria Remarque and published in 1928 in a German newspaper and as a novel in 1929. Perhaps if the book had been written and published during World War II or after WWII, then the events of that war might have impacted the author, a German veteran of World War I. But since it was published in between the wars, we can trust the experiences described with a greater certainty that new wars did not influence Remarque. The first movie adaptation was even released before WWII (it is considered a very realistic account of the first World War).

Who was Erich Maria Remarque? 

Serving as a German soldier during World War I, Remarque gained first-hand knowledge of the experiences he would write about in All Quiet on the Western Front. He was drafted in November 1916 and was sent to the Western Front (Belgium) where he worked in a support unit, laying barbed wire and building bunkers and dugouts. He was injured while retrieving a wounded soldier in July 1917 and was sent to a hospital. He would remain in hospital until the end of the war. During that time, he would write short stories that were published.

Before the publication of All Quiet on the Western Front, Remarque worked as a teacher and in other odd jobs for a time. The success of the book allowed him to turn to writing full time.

All Quiet on the Western Front was viewed by many as a powerful antiwar statement. The view of the Nazi party was that it was unpatriotic and was in fact one of the first books burned in public. The 1930 American movie was also banned in Germany. Remarque, who had moved to Switzerland in 1931, had his German citizenship revoked in 1938.

Remarque moved to the United States in 1938 and maintained homes in New York City and Hollywood. He became friends and acquaintances of famous people like Charlie Chaplin and Ernest Hemingway.

The Novel 

"This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men, who even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war." – Introductory statement in 1967 Fawcett Crest Book publication.

Twelve chapters tell the story of Paul Baumer, the narrator, and the men with whom he served during the war. Scenes move back and forth between the front and settings away from the intense fighting and danger. Through the novel, we are introduced to a number of specific experiences of the narrator including the use of poison gas and the repercussions of bombardments.

"The gas still creeps over the ground and sinks into all hollows. Like a big soft jelly-fish it floats into our shell-hole and lolls there obscenely." 

The imagery of a total war—destroyed nations—is experienced over and over as you progress further in the novel. Brand new coffins are stacked up against a shelled schoolhouse. Rats are everywhere, gnawing at the available food and the men. Barriers of barbed wire and holes from bombings are spread throughout the countryside. The book does not remain quiet in regards to how destructive war can be for the land and the people.

Primary Sources – Telegrams, Treaties, and Letters 

If one is studying the origins of World War I, one could seek the telegrams, treaties, and letters written prior to the war. I was fortunate enough to take a course in college—Origins of World War I—where we conducted a diplomacy simulation. In it, we formed groups to represent the different countries in the war and to see if we would start World War I or find a peaceful resolution. We read through telegrams and other primary source documents. We also read one secondary source on the causes of the Great War. For this course, our professor had gathered together specific primary sources he wished us to read and examine for class discussion.

Diplomacy Simulation 

Our purposes as nations were not just to survive but also to prosper and grow. Our countries could increase and grow our prosperity in three ways:

  1. Expansion 
  2. Diplomatic success
  3. Satisfaction of population 
Prior to the actual simulation in which we would send 'telegrams' back and forth between nations to meet these goals, we researched our nations. We examined the events that took place from 1908-1913 in relation to our specific country and wrote a research paper in which we presented historical information as well as goals for the diplomacy simulation.

My country was France and the other nations represented were Germany, Serbia, Austria-Hungary, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire. Did we wage war? Did World War I start? No...somehow our class managed to meet some of our nations' specific goals without needing to go to war. I think the United States did not even get very heavily involved (our professor was representing America). 

Final Thoughts 

I enjoyed this trip down memory lane. It was nice to share my experience at college and my thoughts about history. I am glad that Blogging Through the Alphabet affords me the chance to not remain quiet on the topic of history.

Because history is so important to me, I do not ever want to remain quiet in regards to remembering history and the events of the past. Some people would be content with seeing controversial historical figures like Robert E. Lee erased from history. Others are finding their educational videos about Nazi Germany being removed. No matter how painful events are, we must remember them.

Resources and References

World War I Document Archive at Brigham Young University Library


Won't you join us for Blogging Through the Alphabet this week?

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Virtual Refrigerator Weekly Art Link-Up

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Favorite Products

What items do you like to keep in your arts and crafts drawer (or box or however you store your supplies)? These are a few of our favorite items.


Our children can never seem to have enough crayons. I do find that different brands are better than others. However, I let them keep a mixture of crayon brands in a plastic box. They have access to this box at all times for drawing and coloring.

Colored Pencils

As our two younger children get older, they have been enjoying using colored pencils. They have a basic set they keep in their pencil case and on occasion I let them use the colored pencils I keep for my own projects.

Drawing Paper

Most of the time our kids use scrap paper left over from when I was a high school teacher. I do make sure we have several drawing pads in the house for when we do more sophisticated projects, make cards for family members, or use water colors, Kwik Stix, or other paints.

Kwik Stix

I love these solid tempera paint sticks. The fact that my kids can uncap them to start painting immediately is fantastic. There is no water needed so I do not have to worry about spillage on the table. They also dry almost instantly so they won't be smudging it on their clothes. 

They paint well on paper and wood (we have used them for the wooden masks you can pick up at craft stores).

And if you are concerned about allergies they are nut-, egg-, and gluten-free.


So what crafting items do you always have in your home? Have you found they have changed as your children have gotten older?

Please Join Us!

We would like to extend an invitation to you and your children to share their artwork created while homeschooling. Each month we will host a link-up for you to share your posts about you or your children's art creation.

After you link up, please visit the other blogs and admire what they have shared from their fridges.

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Click here to enter