Sunday, May 24, 2020

Journaling through the Bible: Wait

A Mom's Quest to Teach logo; background image of a clock

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It seems like so much of my time of late has been waiting. This lockdown has put so many of our family's plans on hold. We are waiting till restrictions lessen so that we can gather help to move furniture and belongings. We had a timeline for future plans. Now all the deadlines have passed and we couldn't meet any of them. So we wait. Writing a new timeline is impossible as we wait to hear when our state will completely reopen.

Where can I seek encouragement as I wait? Psalm 130 is an excellent place for me to start.

Waiting for the Redemption of the Lord 

Text: Journaling through the Bible; Wait; A Mom's Quest to Teach

"Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord; 
Lord, hear my voice! 
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.

If You, Lord, should mark inequities,
O Lord, who could stand? 
But there is forgiveness with you,
That You may be feared." 

Psalms 130: 1-4

background image of clouds; quote: "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope." Psalms 130; A Mom's Quest to Teach

Can the Lord stand by me and give me the strength I need to wait? "My soul waits for the Lord." I am eager to hear His response. I pray for the day when we will no longer have to wait for things on earth.

Waiting is so difficult – even for adults. Reminding myself of God's mercy and redemption is so important. Sharing that knowledge with my children is important. We can all weather this storm of waiting with the Lord's help.

notebook journaling; text: I wait for the Lord; A Mom's Quest to Teach


Bible opened to Psalms 130; A Mom's Quest to Teach text

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Homeschooling Resources: Great Courses for Everyone in the Family

text: Homeschooling Resources: Great Courses for Everyone in the Family; Background image of crayons

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

We have been homeschooling for about three years now but we have never attended a homeschool convention. I had been so excited earlier this year because we had decided to go to a Homeschooling Convention. I was looking forward to speaking with vendors, previewing new homeschooling products, and getting a swag bag of homeschool convention goodies. Unfortunately, conventions have been cancelled or postponed. There are great deals still to be found – including an exciting tote bag of gifts from a variety of homeschooling and educational companies that accompanies a great sale.

text: Homeschool Resources; Great Courses for Everyone in the Family; A Mom's Quest to Teach; background image of child and mom looking at computerOne of my favorite resources for teaching my children is I became a member several years ago when I was writing lessons for their curriculum site. I then became a member of the Homeschool Review Crew where our family receives homeschooling products in exchange for our honest opinions and reviews. From that time to today, we have enjoyed using many courses at I love the fact that there are courses for our kindergartner, soon-to-be second grader, and our son in high school. There are even courses for parents such as Building Faithful Marriages and Heritage Crafts.

One of the courses designed for preschoolers through high school students is Schoolhouse Spelling. Our two youngest are currently taking Schoolhouse Spelling. With the multiple levels, all your children can complete the course together. There are lists for preschool, lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and high school, as well as the option to use lists that are either phonics-based or Charlotte Mason-based.

text: Schoolhouse Spelling - for PK to High School; image of letters; Schoolhouse Spelling Worksheet and Memorial Day Wreath

Our second grader is taking Hands-On Notebooking: The United States in which he is learning about each of the 50 states through reading and researching. He has read about Helen Keller, Lon Chaney, and Martin Luther King, Jr. and completed biography pages as well as completed several projects during the course's study.

bridge experiment with paper cups and pennies and paper folded
While studying California, our son experimented with different types of paper to build bridges.

The Old Schoolhouse® 19 Gifts Sale is a great chance to receive access to as well as 19 awesome gifts. They teamed up with over a dozen homeschooling and family-friendly companies to provide NEW members with 19 gifts (available while supplies last) when they purchase the Ultimate (PreK–12) Annual Membership this May with the code 19GIFTS to lock in the annual price of only $139 (reg. $224.97). (This is a non-refundable rate and available in the US only.)

Homeschool Special 19 Gifts Promo with Peacock

There are so many great gifts included. If you purchase your Ultimate Annual Membership before June 1 you will lock in the annual price of only $139 (reg. $224.97) and receive $527.71 worth of gifts from IEW, Writing with Sharon Watson, The Brinkman Adventures, Chess House, Learn to Play Publishers, and more!

I would like to highlight a few that would fit in with our family's homeschooling year. For example, Learn & Color Books is offering a printable PDF of Color Thru History™ – The People of Early Civilization which features 30 historical figures from early history like Abraham, Hammurabi, and Hatshepsut. Our children enjoy coloring and love history, so this is a perfect combination! I could also see us using 100 Women Composers Through the Ages to introduce the study of music into our homeschool. And, finally, our family would enjoy listening to the audio dramas being offered by Brinkman Adventures as we sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.

If you are thinking about purchasing an Ultimate (PreK-12th) Annual Membership to, now is the perfect time! Use the code 19GIFTS for the gifts and discount.

19 Gifts Sale; tote bag with chessset; Color Thru History coloring book; IEW Teaching Writing disk


Friday, May 22, 2020

Crafts: I is for Iron

text: Crafts: I is for Iron; background picture of Minecraft scene; logo of A Mom's Quest to Teach

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

What exactly makes Minecraft such an intriguing game to both children and adults? I don't know if I have the perfect answer. The fact that the game allows for such creativity may be one of the reasons. It also inspires our children outside the actual game. They love when I create Minecraft-themed crafts for them to complete such as E for Enderman and R for Redstone. It even encourages trips to sites where people can learn more about mining like Eckley Miners' Village.

Iron Ore

Iron ore is an important mineral block found in Minecraft. When smelted, it becomes an iron ingot which can be used to craft tools and armor. In the real world, iron ore or iron minerals range from dark grey, bright yellow, a deep purple to red. None of them actually have the beige color of iron ore in Minecraft.
Text: I is for Iron A Mom's Quest to Teach; letter I craft with toy Iron Golem and Minecraft iron ore blocks
There are four main types of iron ore deposits:

  • magnetite deposits 
  • titanomagnetite deposits 
  • massive hematite deposits 
  • pisolitic ironstone deposits 
While iron ore is used directly to make items in Minecraft, in the real world the majority of iron produced is used to make steel. (In some modpacks for Minecraft, players will use iron to produce steel.) 

And just what is steel used for? An excellent question to ask your children. Perhaps this will even develop into a great research project! Some of the many uses of steel include the building of automobiles, locomotives, beams for buildings, paper clips, tools, and more. 

box of gems and precious stones
This lesson lends itself to examining rocks and identifying gems and precious stones.

How to Make an 'I is for Iron' Craft



1. Gather all your materials.

scissors; letter I; construction paper; glue stick

2. Trace a large letter I. If your children are ready, have them cut out the letter on their own.

3. Glue the letter I onto the large construction paper.

gluing on letter I onto construction paper

4. Cut out small beige colored squares.

5. Glue the beige colored squares onto the letter I to create iron ore from Minecraft.

gluing squares onto letter I construction paper

6. After your project is dry, display proudly in your home.

Letter I craft with Iron Golem and Iron Ore Minecraft toys

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Book Club: Book Review of The Unexpected Champion

Text: Book Review of The Unexpected Champion by Mary Connealy; image of pilgrim house; Logo of A Mom's Quest to Teach

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

This year I am participating in a reading challenge – AtoZ Reading Challenge. I recently looked through Hoopla to see what books I could read next to fill out the alphabet. (The current state of society is making it difficult to find the books I need to read. With the libraries closed, I need to use the digital resources available through our public library.) After looking at some of the recent books published by my favorite authors and publishing companies, I picked The Unexpected Champion by Mary Connealy. It loosely fits into the historical fiction category which I greatly enjoy.

In Book 3 of the High Sierra Sweethearts series, the main characters of John and Penny find themselves caught up in a kidnapping attempt and the illegal actions of a feared mine owner. The story takes place in the wild west in and around Virginia City, Carson City, and Lake Tahoe. The entire book is action-packed from John and Penny falling over a cliff to escape their kidnappers to having to swim in the cold water of Lake Tahoe to get inside the criminal's mansion.

Book cover of The Unexpected Champion

Through the story, we see Penny struggling with how she reconciled the lying, cheating, and breaking and entering of John as a Pinkerton agent trying to solve a crime. Penny knows what she is supposed to do according to the Bible—but is there a gray area? This is a fascinating question, indeed. John picking the lock on the shopkeeper's business is illegal and wrong, but the only thing he takes is a ledger that leads them to a criminal and a murderer. The Unexpected Champion doesn't delve too deeply into the right and wrong of these actions but the book did get me thinking.

I think Mary Connealy did a really nice job telling the story of Penny and John. In some respects, I feel like a bit more detail could have been given telling the readers more about Penny's brother, his family, and the other people closely involved in Penny's life but this is the third in the series. Perhaps I should have read books one and two first? After all the point of The Unexpected Champion is to tell Penny's tale.

I would recommend The Unexpected Champion to those who enjoy reading Christian fiction, historical fiction, light romance, or adventure tales. It was an easy but interesting read that made me want to read more about the mines, towns, cities, and homesteads in that area of the west.


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Learning a New Language: A Review of Prima Latina Complete Set

Logos of A Mom's Quest to Teach and Memoria Press; text: Learning a New Language: A Review of Prima Latina Complete Set; background image of notebook

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Our son has been talking about learning Latin for quite a while now but it has been hard to find something that will work with a first grader. We were very fortunate to have the chance to review the Prima Latina Complete Set from Memoria Press which is geared for 1-4 grades. It was written as a preparatory course to Latina Christiana from Memoria Press. Even if you have no background in Latin, you can teach your children this language using the set's clear format which presents 125 Latin vocabulary words, numbers, basic constellations, and more.

Why study Latin? It is such a great way to build vocabulary. Cheryl Lowe wrote the course which comes after Prima Latina as well as an excellent post about the importance of studying Latin. The key sentence that stands out to me is that "Latin teaches English better than English teaches English." When I was teaching high school history, I saw that the students who took Latin as their world language did better in their other subjects. As Latin is very rigorous, it does help instill good study habits in students. We want our son to not only gain skills to make him a better student but also be able to learn more about classical history which Latin will help him do.

Prima Latina Teacher Guide book; vocabulary cards; CD
The softcover Teacher Guide, some of the vocabulary cards, and the Pronunciation CD.

What is in the Prima Latina Complete Set?

There are multiple ways to purchase the items that are included in the Prima Latina Complete Set. You can purchase the items individually (say you need a second student workbook) or in the basic set without the DVDs. Personally, I think the Complete Set is the way to go. You will receive the following:

  • Student Book 
Prima Latina student workbook page completed
The Student book is spiral-bound, making it easy to lay it flat on the table.

  • Teacher Manual 

Teacher guide page
The Teacher Guide follows the Student Book and provides answers to the questions. 

  • Pronunciation CD 

CD track list for Prima Latina
The Pronunciation CD has 36 tracks and is easy to navigate.

  • Flashcards (which can be used with the next course - Latina Christiana) 

Prima Latina CD and vocabulary cards
Several of the flashcards with the Pronunciation CD

  • DVDs 

Prima Latina DVD 1 track list
There are three discs in the DVD set and you can easily navigate between lessons.

In the Teacher Guide, you will find teaching guidelines and a simple lesson plan in the back of the book. It also contains answer keys, vocabulary drill and grammar drill pages that are reproducible, and an appendix that lists vocabulary both alphabetically and by lesson.

Prima Latina Teacher guide, DVD, and Student workbook

Studying Latin in Our Homeschool

Prima Latina student workbook; text: Savle! Prima Latina from Memoria Press uses a systematic format to introduce Latin to young students. It teachers grammar concepts, as well as vocabulary, sayings, prayers, hymns, and constellations. There are twenty-five lessons with five review lessons and five tests. We have started with the first five lessons. This has taken us about five weeks – so one lesson per week. These lessons include instruction on the alphabet (the Latin alphabet only has 25 letters), the pronunciation of consonants, vowels, and vowel teams, and an introduction to different types of verbs. Our son has also been learning practical Latin such as how to say hello and goodbye to one person or a group of people as well as how to address a teacher. Finally, the Sanctus prayer was taught over the course of the lessons. Each lesson introduces one new line of the prayer for our son to learn and memorize. Closing up the first five lessons is a very thorough review lesson. It presents all the verbs and nouns introduced along with the Practical Latin and the prayer. Students are asked to copy all the vocabulary words and translate them. There are also a number of questions to review the material taught in the lessons.

Future lessons continued to be grouped in fives with reviews at the end and tests available. In Lessons 6-10, our son will focus upon nouns and numbers while studying the Latin Prayer Gloria Patri. After completing the review and test for those lessons, our son will work on proper nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs in Lessons 11-15. The prayer introduced along with such words as good (bonus), high (altus), and always (semper) is the Table Blessing. In Lessons 16-20, our son will learn the names of the constellations (which will fit in perfectly with his science studies) and several verbs. The Lord's Prayer is the Latin Prayer being taught during these five weeks. Finally, in lessons 21-25, conjunctions and question words like who will be introduced. The lessons close with learning about declensions (specifically First Declension Singular) and one conjugation (for the word I love - amo).

What Did We Think?

I was very excited to use the Prima Latina Complete Set from Memoria Press. We have had experience with other products from Memoria Press in the past that we have reviewed: A Review of StoryTime Treasures, a Review of Classical Phonics, and Simply Classical Writing. The DVD made teaching the lessons so easy. I did not have to worry about my own lack of prior knowledge in regards to Latin. The instructor on the video, Leigh Lowe, pronounced all the words (multiple times) so I could learn the language right alongside our son.

DVD screenshot of Prima Latina with vocabulary words like libero and narro

I really think the DVDs are a great asset to the program. Even though you can learn the pronunciation with the audio CDs, having Leigh Lowe go through each lesson step by step is a great bonus. She asks questions and pauses, giving children the time to respond. The words and information are also presented on the screen. For children older than our son, parents may even be able to start the DVD and not have to worry about teaching the lesson. And finally, if you want a copy of the DVD slides, you can download them from Memoria Press.

DVD slide screenshot: "Four things we will cover in each new lesson"
One of the slides that you can download to accompany the DVD lessons.

Having the vocabulary cards pre-made was such a blessing. As a former history teacher, I see great value in creating notecards for studying vocabulary, key concepts, and more, so I know that our children will be able to use these cards for years to come as they continue to learn Latin.

Our son really enjoys the fact that the Magistra (teacher) Leigh Lowe tells him to say hello and goodbye to his family and friends in Latin. He loves being able to open prayer with Oremus. I think the practical Latin and learning the prayer are his favorite parts so far.

I appreciate that the course is designed for students who are still becoming familiar with grammar but are interested in learning Latin. We had looked at another Latin resource prior to this review period and there were too many assumptions made in the writing of it that the students had a firm understanding of English grammar already.

I would recommend the Prima Latina Complete Set to any family who wishes to teach Latin to their children.  It is a great starting point for grades 1-4. 

working on Prima Latina workbook

Do You Want to Learn More? 

Members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed five other levels of Latin from Memoria Press. So be sure to see how they used the sets in their homes.