Brother-Offended Checklist Review

“Mom! He has the astronaut LEGO man and I was going to play with it!”

Disagreements like this were becoming all too common at our house when the Brother-Offended Checklist arrived for me to review…

Read the rest of my review over at Home Educating Family’s website, and while you’re there, you can enter to win one!

And if you’re looking for some government themed books for younger kids check out my recently published reviews of Vote! and George Washington’s Teeth.

Being U-NEEK

I was that kid 25 years ago. I was the kid who was shy, awkward, and just didn’t quite fit in anywhere. I spent years trying to be the kind of person everyone else wanted me to be. It took me a long time to really grasp that God had created me unique and different to bring glory to Him. I’m hoping that my kids will learn that particular lesson a bit sooner than I did!

We’re all a little different, maybe a little goofy, and definitely U-NEEK!

I definitely want my kids to embrace their own individual gifts and talents. I want them to realize that God can use them in remarkable ways precisely because they are different from everyone else! And then I want them to take it a step further.

I want them to see that potential in others. Instead of making fun of the kids who are “different”, I want them to see God’s handwork in those differences. I want them to be the person who treats everyone with kindness, even the “weird” people.

For someone who’s been the brunt of a few too many mean remarks, that kindness can mean so very much. A word… an action… sometimes even a card. Any of those can be an encouragement and an expression of God’s love.

Note: Dayspring kindly provided me with their products in exchange for my post. I received no monetary compensation, and any opinions expressed are solely my own.

Maine Miracles

Have you ever read any of the popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books? Chances are, a lot of you have. While the “Chicken Soup” books are good, I want to tell you about something better…

Maine Miracles compiled and edited by Joan Hileman is a collection of stories that will make you smile, make you cry, and in the end, leave you encouraged and uplifted. All of the stories in the book are about regular people from Maine. Each one gives us a glimpse into the life of someone who experienced God’s miraculous provision in their life. Maine Miracles makes no allusions to a “higher power”, but rather gives the glory to God.

Maine Miracles is available in both the paperback and Kindle formats. At $2.99, the Kindle edition is an absolute bargain! This book would make a lovely gift for someone who could use some encouragement and reassurance that God is indeed at work all around us.

Resources for Home Education

I’ve been asked a few times for information about homeschooling. I’m certainly not an expert on the subject! All of my children are still young, so I’m still relatively new to this. However, I have found certain resources that have been a tremendous help to me. I’ve discovered some of my favorites through recommendations from other moms who home educate, so I thought I’d pass them along.

I buy the majority of our books and curriculum through the Christianbook website. They have some of the best pricing that I’ve found and the selection just cannot be beat! I also like the Currclick website. They offer downloadable curriculum, e-books and other worksheets and pintables. The prices are reasonable, and their selection diverse. I’ve purchased various copywork books through them for my daughter’s handwriting practice, and we have both been pleased with them.

There are also plenty of websites that offer free coloring pages and worksheets. Two that I’ve used quite a bit are Learning Page and Kids Learning Station. Both websites have a good variety of quality pages to print. Almost all of the preschool worksheets that I’m using for Camo this year have been printed from those websites.

I know of two homeschool legal organizations: Homeschool Legal Advantage and HSLDA. Both are committed to defending the right of parents to educate their children at home. Their websites contain some good information regarding legal questions about homeschooling.

I’m familiar with four magazines published for home educators: Home Educating Family, The Old Schoolhouse, Home School Enrichment and Homeschooling Today. Some offer trial digital issues so that you can get an idea of what the magazine is like before subscribing. All offer free e-mail newsletters that contain some wonderful information! My personal favorite is Home Educating Family, but all four are good magazines.

I will put in a plug for my favorite planner. The same publisher that produces Home Educating Family magazine also offers a planner called The Well Planned Day. This is the second year that I’ve used the planner, and I can’t say enough good things about it!

When picking out curriculum, books and other materials, information is the key to making a decision! Many retail websites also have the option for customers to review products that they purchase. That’s a good place to start, but there are other websites that specifically review homeschool products. Cathy Duffy Reviews and Home School Reviews are two that I’ve used in the past. I’ve found reading the reviews to be very helpful when deciding what books to order!

Victoria Botkin is a veteran home educator. I listened to her Curriculum Advice Volume 1 and found it to be incredibly helpful! It’s the perfect place to start for those of us with young children. She has also recorded Curriculum Advice Volume 2 for those with kids ages 8-14 at home. I will be purchasing the second volume once I have kids in that age bracket! Both are available on CD, or as MP3 downloads.

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry that has been around for quite some time. I had the opportunity to hear the founder, Ken Ham, speak when I was still a teenager. It made a definite impression on me! I’ve read a number of the books they publish and have been impressed with them all. They offer books, DVDs, a magazine and other products that a produced from a Biblical, creationist worldview.

Robin offers a lot of really good stuff on her Heart of Wisdom website. There is a lot of great information and plenty about how to do lapbook studies. Definitely check out her website and books!

Karen Andreola is a home educating mother who I recently interviewed. I was curious about Charlotte Mason’s educational methods, so I picked up Karen’s book A Charlotte Mason Companion. It is a must-read for anyone interested in a fabulous introduction to a Charlotte Mason education! Karen has written several other books, and over time, I plan to add all of them to our family library! You can follow Karen’s lovely blog as well.

Well, I hope that some of you find these resources as helpful as I have!

Note: None of these individuals or organizations have paid me to be featured in this post. These are my own opinions.

Product Review: Back to School

The lovely folks at Dayspring have sent me a back-to-school assortment of their products for review. Several different designs are available, but the set they sent me will be perfect for Munchkin to use this fall. Homeschoolers use plenty of notebooks, folders and three-ring binders! The set I received included two of each.

The notebooks have a sturdy plastic spiral binding, which is nice because it doesn’t tend to get bent up like metal bindings do. The eighty-page notebooks are wide-ruled with micro-perforated edges. I personally prefer college-ruled paper, but at my daughter’s age, wide ruled is fine. My only suggestion would be for Dayspring to make a college-ruled option available.

The folders are your typical folders (but pretty!) and are nice quality. They are a little tall for the three-ring binders, but fit perfectly in the zippered binders that have replaced the “trapper keepers” that we used back when I was in school.

The three-ring binders are 1 ½ inches thick, making them a good size to handle plenty of filler paper and notes. The binder rings seem to be of good quality, and will probably hold up as well as any typical binder does. The inside of the binders I received is black, which goes nicely with the designs on both binders. There is an inside pocket on both the front and back covers.

The products all seem to be well-made, and I love the designs on them! It’s nice to have a better option than some of the less-appropriate characters and themes we find on back-to-school supplies in the stores. My daughter is six and a half and when we opened the box she was thrilled. (Of course, what little girl doesn’t like hearts and hot pink?) Dayspring also offers several other designs that would be appreciated by boys and girls alike. They are reasonably priced, and I may even order a few binders for myself!

Dayspring is generously giving one of my readers a $20 coupon code for their online store! Just go take a look at their website and leave a comment on this post telling me what you would spend it on! A winner will be drawn on Saturday, August 13th. (Regular shipping charges will apply to the winner’s order.)

Also check out the (in)spired Deals page for reviews, coupons and giveaways!

Disclaimer: Dayspring was kind enough to send me these items free of charge in exchange for my review. These opinions are my own.