Thursday, May 28, 2020

Book Club: Book Review of A Mosaic of Wings

text: Book Club: Book Review of A Mosaic of Wings: A Novel by Kimberly Duffy; logo of A Mom's Quest to teach; butterfly clip art

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

I must admit I am not a fan of insects. Or arachnids. But I will persevere when needs must. For example, when applying for a full-time job at a metropolitan zoo in the education department, I had to give a presentation on spiders. I created a web out of yarn and a hula hoop and presented a lesson on the differences of how spiders caught their food. I was hesitant when I started reading A Mosaic of Wings: A Novel by Kimberly Duffy because the main characters are entomologists who embark on a research expedition to India. What was I getting myself into while reviewing this new book?

text: Book Club: book Review; A Mom's Quest to Teach; book cover of A Mosaic of WingsIt turns out that while the details of the lives of insects (mostly butterflies) were very well written, the story itself did not make me feel like bugs were crawling on me. A Mosaic of Wings instead elicited feelings of amusement, joy, good humor, sadness, anger, and pride as I came to know Nora Shipley and Owen Epps better with each passing page. The 359-page tale takes place primarily in 1885 where they join a British expedition seeking an elusive butterfly. There is a cast of characters in Ithaca, New York at Cornell University, and in India that all come to life under the entertaining words of Kimberly Duffy.

While Nora always stuck to her principles, she sometimes did not make the best choices for those around her. For example, at a dinner party honoring her graduation from Cornell University, her stepfather invited a potential future husband, Mr. Primrose. Nora's stepfather, Lucius, really wanted them to be a match because he needed Mr. Primrose's assistance as he printed their scholarly journal. Things did not go well at the dinner party and Nora told Mr. Primrose exactly how she felt which led to shock and dismay from the guests. I personally think she was right in her anger as Mr. Primrose had said to Nora in regards to her intelligence: "Or maybe your brain is an anomaly. Perhaps you have lost every trace of feminine virtue" (80). Yet, there had to be a better way to handle the problem than calling out a guest in front of everyone else.

This dinner party example is not the only time in A Mosaic of Wings where Nora makes a decision that has negative consequences. Her actions cause injury to the leader of their expedition and another huge decision leads to Nora losing almost everything of her discoveries during the expedition. I feel that some of the consequences seemed a bit much but perhaps that is because I was eager for there to be a happy ending for Nora (and Owen).

butterfly photo with text: A Mosaic of Wings; Book Review

While Christianity is not at the forefront of the story, the beliefs of the main characters do come into play when Nora realizes she will have to rely more on God and faith in terms of how to help Sita than through her own science and training. And, of course, readers see the differences between the beliefs of the Indians, the British, and the Americans living in India at the expedition site and in the town as missionaries. This difference creates one of the main challenges of the book as Nora finds a way through a rather large dilemma.

I would recommend A Mosaic of Wings to individuals who enjoy reading Christian fiction set in far-off places. If you like reading about the natural world and the study of it while seeing characters unfold, then you might like to add A Mosaic of Wings to your 'to-read' list. There is a heavy romance element as Nora and Owen discover their mutual affection for each other but at the heart of the story is seeing Nora grow and change as a person as she makes difficult decisions.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Creating Successful Readers: A Review of Reading Kingdom

text: Creating Successful Readers: A Review of; logo of Reading Kingdom and A Mom's Quest to Teach; background photo of books

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.

I am excited to review Reading Kingdom with our son for a second time. We first reviewed Reading Kingdom, an online reading program that customizes to your child, in 2018. (You can read that review here: Reviewing Reading Kingdom.) Even though our second grader is quite a skilled reader, he still struggles with spelling which I think is due to the fact that he picked up reading naturally. I also think he skips over words if he is unsure of the meaning on occasion. My hope is that, by using Reading Kingdom with him, he will bring all the skills that go into being a fluent and proficient reader together – that he will bring together comprehension and recalling his favorite stories.

What is Reading Kingdom?

This online reading program uses an innovative reading system so that your child can learn to read and write successfully. It is designed for ages 4-10 (with the option for parents to change the artwork to be more appropriate for older children). There are six key reading and writing skills that are taught together so that children will become successful readers. The "Six Skill Integrated Method," developed by Dr. Marion Blank, focuses upon the following:

    text: Creating Successful Readers: A Review of; "Teach a child to read and you have imparted the most important skill a child will ever learn." Reading! logo of A Mom's Quest to Teach; Reading Kingdom; image from Reading Kingdom online program
  • Sequencing 
  • Writing 
  • Sounds 
  • Meaning 
  • Grammar
  • Comprehension 
Throughout the activities (which are fun and educational), children will use the words they are learning in context. Sentences are provided in which words are used and then illustrations follow which reinforce the words being taught. 

There are five reading levels that are further divided into books. These books are then divided to teach each of the words that will be used in the book (the final lesson for that section). As your child works through the lessons, they will have the opportunity to skip lessons for words. This is the adaptive nature of Reading Kingdom. It changes to fit your child's skills and abilities. In order to ensure that your child understands each word before they reach the story to read, they will use the "Intensive Word Teaching Method" which uses four formats to teach a single word's:

  1. Spelling
  2. Pronunciation
  3. Meaning 
  4. Usage in context
4 screenshots from Reading kingdom showing spelling, pronunciation, meaning, and usage in context skills being worked on
I really love this graphic that Reading Kingdom provides. It shows four of the ways children learn words.

How Did We Use Reading Kingdom?

As our son had previously used Reading Kingdom, I had him pick up with where we left off. Even though it has been about two years, I knew that the program would adapt to where our son was in regards to reading and writing. As he progresses through the level, he is skipping more and more words as the program continues to adapt. For example, in the current section he has skipped two words and probably would have skipped 'hop' if he remembered how to spell 'hopping.'

I required our son to complete a lesson on Reading Kingdom at least once a day so that he maintains using it for over five days a week. (It is recommended that a child uses Reading Kingdom at least four days a week – with using it five days being better.)

dashboard from Reading Kingdom showing program, subscription status, and more
Your children will be listed here on the Dashboard. You can see when it was last used and for how many days per week.

After clicking through the dashboard, your child will be on the start page where they make a few decisions. If you have gotten subscriptions to other programs, they can use those instead of Reading Kingdom or they can use the Extra Games which are useful for reinforcing typing and memory skills.

Click to Continue Reading Kingdom screenshot

When our son clicks to start, he is asked by the program to spell that lesson's word or to recognize it in a sentence. From there the program adapts to his skills and he progresses through as many as 21 screens depending upon his skills.

photographs of screen from Reading Kingdom showing different ways in which children are taught the words
Here are some of the activities that our son completed during his lessons.

Each lesson offers similar activities ranging from having to pick out the word in sentences to spelling the word when only a few letters are provided in the word. Finally, to close the lesson, he has to type an entire sentence using the word.

Typing the sentence on Reading Kingdom
For this activity, our son had to type in the words, spaces, and punctuation as the computer read the sentence.

Reading Kingdom has been his primary language arts lesson provider during the course of the review time. While we have continued with his spelling lessons, I have incorporated the words from Reading Kingdom into his spelling program so he can reinforce his knowledge of the words elsewhere. And since the lessons do not take a long time to complete, it has been very easy to even have him complete a lesson during the weekend.

What Do We Think?

I really like Reading Kingdom. I think it offers a variety of activities and educational games to reinforce the learning of each word. I think that, because each lesson follows a similar pattern, it will be of great benefit for some children as they like to know what is going to happen next.

Reflecting upon our previous review, I find that the biggest problem we had was the program not loading properly. I do not recall us having any similar problems (with the audio starting before the screen appeared or needed to reload or refresh the page) during our review period this time. Everything with Reading Kingdom is going very smoothly.

Our son does complain about having to complete his Reading Kingdom lessons. I really do think this is because the program is stretching his abilities. He still struggles with finding all the letters on the keyboard (even with using the games on Reading Kingdom available to help with typing). I think he allows this to influence his view of Reading Kingdom. Personally, I think the program is really helping him.

His favorite part is the Passport Feature which changes as he gets points. He is very eagerly awaiting the next level to see what the sun does next in the Passport.

Passport on Reading Kingdom
When you click the Passport, the sun clock inside spins and has your child's name listed. 

What Else Do They Offer?

If you are looking for something to help your child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, there is ASD Reading available. This online program focuses on reading, writing, and comprehending. No prerequisite skills are required - meaning all children (even those who are non-verbal) are able to use the program which will adapt to the child's skills and needs. There are several members of the Homeschool Review Crew who reviewed ASD Reading so please be sure to check out their reviews.

And don't forget to check out the other reviews of Reading Kingdom from the Homeschool Review Crew!

Do You Want to Learn More?

Reading Kingdom logo

Website – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Pinterest 

Homeschool Review Crew Click here to read more reviews

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Journaling through the Bible: Wait

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

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

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.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Book Club: Book Review of Warfare Prayers for Women

Text: Book Club: Book Review of Warfare Prayers for Women by Quin Sherrer & Ruthanne Garlock; logo of A Mom's Quest to Teach; shield clipart; book cover of Warfare Prayers for Women

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

Sometimes finding the right words is difficult. How many times have you set out to pray but have been at a loss for words? Or perhaps you feel you are too busy to properly pray? A new book by Quin Sherrer and Ruthanne Garlock is written to help the woman who finds she is too busy to "find the words to express what" they want to pray (15). Warfare Prayers for Women: Securing God's Victory in Your Life is a beautiful hardcover book split into eleven parts that truly helps the reader pray with power. Whether you are married or single, praying for young or grown children, or praying for yourself or family, there are a great number of prayers that can meet your needs.

book cover of Warfare Prayers for Women How is the book divided? 

  • Part One: Praying with Power 
  • Part Two: Praying against Hindrances 
  • Part Three: Praying for Life's Milestones
  • Part Four: Praying for Children and Grandchildren
  • Part Five: Praying for Family and Friends 
  • Part Six: Praying When Single 
  • Part Seven: Praying through Tough Times
  • Part Eight: Praying in My Senior Years
  • Part Nine: Praying for My Community and Nation 
  • Part Ten: Important Prayer Helps
  • Part Eleven: Scriptures for Intercession and Warfare 

Each prayer is on one page with accompanying scriptural quotes from the Bible. On occasion, the prayers themselves even have references to scriptures in the Bible. For example, in the prayer "Saying No to Worry," we read the notation to see Genesis 50:18-21 NKJV when the prayer states "Even if bad things happen, You are a good Father who can take what the devil means for evil and turn it into good" (46). So if you are looking to incorporate some more Bible reading into your day, you can be inspired by Warfare Prayers for Women.

page from Warfare Prayers for Women; Overall Daily Prayer for Family

What Did I Think? 

I love how beautiful the book is – the cover is colored in gorgeous blue and purple hues with the same color scheme following inside its pages. This would look lovely on your bookshelf, dresser, or desk as you read whatever prayer fits your daily need. (The only thing that would make the book better is a ribbon attached to mark your place."

I really like the prayers for family and friends, for praying through tough times, and for praying for my community and nation. All of these prayers are timely for this time period with the quarantining of families. Everyone – friends, family, pastors, neighbors, leaders, etc. – need our prayers more than ever. There is even a prayer for the media asking God to "empower them with wisdom and courage" (240).

I would recommend Warfare Prayers for Women: Securing God's Victory in Your Life by Quin Sherrer and Ruthanne Garlock for any women seeking to form a closer relationship with God. "Prayer is our vital link to God" and finding a way to open our talks with God through prayer is important. This book can help. I think it would make a lovely gift for your mother, daughter, grandmother, or another loved woman in your life.


Thursday, May 14, 2020

Homeschool Planning for Year Round Homeschoolers

Text: Homeschool Planning for Year Round Homeschoolers; A Mom's Quest to Teach Logo; background image of school supplies

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

Do you homeschool year-round? Does it feel like you never celebrate the end of the homeschool year but just move from one curriculum to the next? For the most part, our family homeschools year-round for a number of reasons. Our homeschooling high schooler gets a significant break from most courses while his younger brother and sister continue their studies through the summer.

Evaluate Materials 

Text: Homeschool Planning for Year Round Homeschoolers; Evaluate what works for your homeschooling family; background image of colored pencilsIf you homeschool year-round, it becomes very important to take regular breaks and evaluate the materials you are using to teach your children in your homeschool. If something is not working, you should feel free to replace it. Yes, even if you spent a lot of money on it. I know I feel great regret if we have to put curriculum or materials away that were costly, but I have found the homeschooling environment becomes too disrupted when our children are not learning well. (And you can always look to gift that material to another homeschooling family either by reselling it or just passing it along.)

Even if you homeschool year-round, you can still take advantage of traditional homeschool sales. There is no rule that says just because you purchase your new curriculum in July, that you need to start using it in September. In fact, I purchased a history curriculum for our upcoming second-grader from Notgrass History in March and we won't be using it till mid-summer at the earliest.


While many traditional school planners run from September to June, there are also a great number of ones that allow you to organize the months, weeks, and days yourself by either printing or purchasing blank pages. This way you can completely customize your planner to meet the needs of your year-round homeschool. With technology today, you could even keep a planner entirely online. Scheduling ones' homeschool year is so easy with all the resources available.

Organizing and Cleaning 

When you are evaluating your curriculum materials, it is a good time to organize or reorganize your homeschool area(s). Clean out all your books, manipulatives, resources, etc. and decide if your previous set up was working for your homeschooling family. I have found this is also a great way to see just exactly what materials one needs to purchase as you might find things you forgot you had for your homeschool.

If you are looking for some new organizational ideas, check out this post: Top 5 Suggestions for Best Organizing Your Homeschool Materials.

bookshelf photograph

At the End of the Day...

Every homeschooling family needs to do what is best for their family. Whether that means you homeschool year-round or use a schedule that follows a more traditional school calendar, we can all follow the same basic planning tips:

  • Evaluate Curriculum and Materials
  • Look for Sales and Discounts 
  • Find the Planner that Works for You
  • Organize and Clean your Homeschool Area 

So whether you purchase a full curriculum from a company like Timberdoodle, you are a member of, or you purchase your materials from many different companies and locations, you can plan with ease as long as you keep your family homeschooling goals in mind. Think about your goals—maybe they need to be reevaluated—and get planning!

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Monday, May 11, 2020

Art for the Whole Family: A Review of Beyond the Stick Figure Art School

Logo of A Mom's Quest to Teach; text: Art for the Whole Family: A Review of Beyond the Stick Figure Art School; image of flower and circles

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.

For the past several weeks our family has been working through the Beyond the Stick Figure Complete Drawing Course PLUS 3 Bonus Courses together. These courses are offered by Beyond the Stick Figure Art School and can be by everyone in your household. It is designed to be used as a daily program for the homeschool year but we have been working on different parts in a quicker fashion as fits our needs and homeschool style. With over 60 lessons, we can incorporate art into almost every day of our homeschooling week.  

What is Beyond the Stick Figure Art School? 

Working on the premise that famous artists use techniques and skills that they have learned and practiced, your family will learn the very basics of drawing that they then can take with them into more artwork. The person behind Beyond the Stick Figure is Sally who is from England (so expect an English accent while you are learning your art!). She homeschools her children and wants to share her passion for art with other homeschooling families. 

What Are the Courses? 

There are four courses that we have access to for the review: 
    Text: Art for the Whole Family: A Review of Beyond the Stick Figure Art School; Sit around the table and create works of art with your entire family; watercolor picture and drawing with a marker
  • The Beyond the Stick Figure Complete Drawing Course 
  • The Complete Pen & Ink and Watercolor Course
  • Introduction to Acrylic Course 
  • Introduction to 3D Design Course 
The courses focus on techniques that you can use to develop your drawing skills using various materials. In the first drawing course, the short videos are sometimes accompanied with PDFs to download for drawing, tracing, and practice.

There is a list of materials that you will need to purchase before you begin creating your art that is now available before you start looking at any lessons. You can then view specific videos within the courses that show and discuss the necessary materials. (For example, Acrylic Part 2 Materials, you can view the video that shows the paintbrushes, paints, and other items you will need to create a beautiful brown and white lake scene.)

We had to pick and choose which supplies to purchase for the review of Beyond the Stick Figure courses. As our teenager was going to be working on the painting portion of the course with me, we spent the money we allocated to the course on those supplies. In the future, we will purchase the marker set but with the current state of things we were unable to purchase them. We also had to substitute a few other things (like picking a different color paint) due to being able to go to the craft stores and online supplies being limited. (Personally, I don't think using a different color for our watercolor painting was too detrimental.)

pen and ink watercolor in four pictures (one photo of lesson from online)
The picture was supposed to be drawn with a black fine point sharpie marker but I couldn't find ours anywhere in the house!

How are the courses set up? When you log into the site, you will see that you need to go through each lesson and watch the videos and then mark them as complete. You cannot skip ahead to the further courses (I went through and marked the courses as complete so we can do the different drawing and painting lessons. This was a bit time-consuming.)

drawing lesson from online
Here you can see the parts of the course are listed to the left side of the screen.
There are a couple of ways to navigate once you have checked off courses as completed. 

But beyond getting the materials you need ready (purchasing or printing out documents) and have accessing to the lessons online, Beyond the Stick Figure Art School can be very easy for homeschooling parents. There is no need to write out lessons or spend time doing the teaching yourself. The instructions are provided in each video.

How Are We Using the Courses in Our Homeschool? 

Our younger children and I are working on the beginning Drawing Courses. There are three parts to the Drawing Course which focuses on the basics of drawing. Our children have been drawing straight lines, curved lines, circles, and dots. They then took those skills and worked on drawing abstract pictures and flowers.

I really like that the children work on 8 x 11.5 papers cut into fourths. It makes it a lot easier to provide them with page after page for drawing as well as being less intimidating, as is talked about in the lessons. (You aren't staring at a huge drawing page that you have to fill.)

four images of drawing curved lines in various stages and from online lessons
For many of the beginning lessons, our children worked on mastering drawing lines and shapes.

There were also some parts in the early lessons of the Drawing course where children practiced dots, circles, straight lines, and curved lines. We printed out the pages for our younger son to complete included pages that examined primary and secondary colors.

same drawing dots and lines worksheets

I watched and completed the first Pen & Ink drawing myself. I plan on working on the second one from Part 2 but I need to purchase tracing paper prior to completing the tree scene. I also went through and watched the Introduction to Acrylic Course videos.

watercolor still frame of online lesson
I am really looking forward to completing this painting. I just need the tracing paper!

online lesson for painting with acrylics
I am looking forward to painting with acrylics. 

At the end of each course, there is a rubric that you can download so you can determine how well you think you did during the course. The rubric focuses upon self-reflection. So, if your children are younger, you may want to complete it with them.

Our teen and I sat down to complete the watercolor course together. As we did not have access to the recommended gray color paint, we each choose a different color to create our small painting. I think I will have fun practicing this painting more and more to get the technique and details to my liking.

two completed watercolor pictures; one practice watercolor picture

What Are We Looking Forward To?

Our teen son and I are looking forward to working with acrylics. This part of the course is in three parts. We have about half of the supplies we need but with the current state of affairs, it has been difficult to get all the materials suggested or needed. I have gone through and watched them. I can't wait till I can start to practice painting a lovely sky, a mountain scene using brown and white, and another lovely countryside scene.

The final course, which we have not started, is on 3D Design. There are three parts to this course. I think our children will enjoy working on this part as they will get to create an animal.

There are a few things that I feel could make the online courses even better that mostly deal with navigation. I wish that the lessons were labeled with more detail. As in Watercolor Part 1, Day 9: Foreground. It would make it easier to navigate back to lessons when taking a break. And while I understand the skills taught in the courses are meant to build upon each other but it is difficult when one child wants to work on art while another is more interesting in painting. We had to go through and click complete on parts of the courses we actually had not finished yet. Perhaps each course could be individual rather than be grouped together.   

The lessons are full of some great advice – including a video just for moms (or dads) that encourages us as parents to not crush the spirit of our children when they are going through the lessons. Another piece of advice I enjoyed hearing was that of not squeezing the paintbrushes in the paper towel. Never thought anything of doing that till watching the videos at Beyond the Stick Figure. I really think everything is presented in a very clear manner to help those who are not used to drawing or working with the different types of paint or clay used in the courses. If you are looking for a beginners course to help you or your children get started as artists, Beyond the Stick Figure Art School will be a great resource for your homeschool.

Do You Want to Learn More?

There were many families who had the chance to review the Beyond the Stick Figure Art School courses. Be sure to check out the Homeschool Review Crew reviews!

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