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Monday, October 31, 2011

Ready, Get Set, Run!

There was a time when I enjoyed running.  Before I moved to North Carolina, I lived in an area in Colorado that had some beautiful running lanes throughout the local park.  When we moved here, I stopped.  Then, after my third child, I took up running again.  Pregnant with my fourth child, I stopped.

In each case, running was a way to get exercise and lose weight.  It works.  To me, there are few things more rigorous than running.  However, I have rarely found running to be much fun.  Treadmills can be worse, not much to do while running on a treadmill.
I had pretty much sworn off running once I hit 40 thinking those days were behind me.  My idea of fun physical fitness these days is taekwondo.  Martial arts was always intriguing.  When my boys started, I started with them.  What a fun way to get exercise!   However, taekwondo isn’t very cardio intensive.  I was OK with that until the rules for getting a black belt were explained to me.  One must be able to run three miles in thirty minutes.  Oh dear… 

Nothing could be done but to start running, again.  This time, though, there is more motivation than just weight loss.  Taekwondo is a passion of ours, and one that I want to see through to black belt and beyond.  Since the black belt is about a year off – there is time to get into shape!

First things first – I’m a linear kind of person.  I need a plan.  Couch to 5K has a plan for getting a person from the couch to running a 5K in nine weeks.  I don’t plan to do it in nine weeks as I’m not doing it three days a week.  Instead, I’m slowly using the plan and working up to three miles while running one day a week and doing TKD five times a week.  For example, last week I would run for 3 mins, walk for 1.5 mins, run for 1/2 a mile, walk for 2 mins then repeat.  The key for me is not taking on too much too fast or I’ll burn out.  Going slow and feeling a sense of accomplishment gives me a big boost.  I usually run at the Y while the boys are in their homeschool groups.  Indoors on bad weather, outdoors in sunshine – perfect!

The benefits were almost immediate.  I said TKD isn’t very cardio intensive; however, there are times when endurance is key.  My ability to meet the exertion challenges of TKD improved right away and continue to get better.  Hurray! 

I am going to run a 5K come spring.  In actuality, I hope to begin making a habit out of running 5K’s.  Not only will that best prepare me for that aspect of the black belt challenge, but having races to run gives me short term motivation to stay in shape and get better.  I’ll never be a tri-athlete like my friend who is in her 50’s (she’s amazing!), but there will be a sense of accomplishment and fun.

So… How to begin?  First – good shoes!  I ended up getting turf toe on both my big toes several years back.  Since then, shoes must be loose with plenty of room for my toes to be comfortable.  My nails have a habit of falling off when they’re not.  I know – TMI!  Anyway, that and the fact that I have flippers for feet – read size 10 to 11 in women’s – means I need good shoes.  You can take a look at my recent shoe buying journey here.  I realized I needed a really good pair of shoes if I’m going to stick with this!  I was even talked into adding inserts to help minimize the impact.  I’m excited to see the difference these make after a few weeks.
In addition, boredom must be combated.  To that end, the hubby gave me his MP3 player.  Some good, pounding music makes it easier to run.  I need to add new tunes to the repertoire, though. 

Finally, a good stopwatch to make sure I’m fully completing my Couch to 5K goal for that week.  Sometimes the stopwatch is nice because I get a sense of accomplishment.  Sometimes, it’s draining when I realize I have quite a ways to go and I’m already exhausted.
It’s exciting to be 40 and taking on these challenges.  There’s nothing better than being in shape.  If I could get my sweet tooth under control, these finely toned muscles would  look amazing.  Right now, I’m a little pudgy.  But, hey, brownie or bikini?  I’m over 40 – give me a brownie!  lol

So, thus begins my running journey. 

What do you do to stay in shape?  Do you run?  How do you stay motivated?  What are your tricks or tips for improving your endurance and timing? 

***  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Slim Down Sunday Meme - Week 16

Heartfelt HomeschoolingWhether you want to lose lose weight, get fit, eat healthier or all of the above – it always helps to have support from those around you.

Goal – (Revised) Run in a 5K  


How it Went This Week:

Keeping up with the new exercise regimen this week.  We actually added another hour of taekwondo.  We have to do weapons to get our black belts.  My son is doing staff and I am doing sword.  This week, to start sword, myself and another lady spend the middle twenty minutes of the hour swinging the sword over our head to protect our back then back to the front for a strike for about twenty minutes.  Yes, my arms a sore.  Not as bad as I anticipated, but sore.

Dieting is still not going well.  I'm eating way too many things I shouldn't.  :-(  Need to reinvigorate myself in this area to at least cut corners when I can. 

What’s my Plan for next Week:

Monday - run using the Week 5 - C25K plan.  Time to try a little more endurance.

TKD on Tues/Wed/Thurs + Sword and demo for 3 hrs on Fri. 

Watch what I'm eating!!

How do you plan to watch your intake and maintain exercise with the holidays coming on?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Review - Memoria Press First Form Latin

First Form Latin
Ages:  Recommended 5th grade and up
Cost:  $119 for complete set with DVD
I never had the opportunity to learn Latin “back in the day” when I was in school, so I hadn’t really considered teaching it to my children.  When I taught Language Arts to eighth graders at a local Christian school, I was surprised by the requirement that they learn Latin.  Then, when I became a homeschooler, I began to understand that many advocate a classical education that includes Latin – I was intrigued.

Near the beginning of our homeschooling journey, we joined an excellent teen co-op that offered numerous classes.  My older son took Latin I and my youngest son took Greek and Latin Roots.  This was an eye opener!  Learning Latin was a big benefit to understanding the origin of words, thus understanding our own vocabulary.  I was hooked!
When my older son took Latin I – the teacher used Latina Christiana by Memoria Press.  So, I was excited to learn I would be reviewing the next level of Latin from Memoria Press – First Form Latin.  What a blessing – they sent the entire First Form Latin plus DVDs and Flashcards.  I was humbled by their generosity.  This set includes:

DVDs
Teacher Manual
Student Text
Student Workbook
Quizzes and Tests

Pronunciation CD
Flashcards 

There are thirty four lessons in the program.  The DVD contains lessons taught by an instructor who refers to the student text during the lesson. 

See sample student text page here. 

The DVD instruction has the real feel of being in the classroom.  The instructor is engaging and really knows his subject.  He often gives comparison of Latin to English early on so that students understand that the rules or “code” of each language are very different.   
 

The workbook is excellent with exercises to really reinforce what the student is learning.  If studied diligently along with the DVD’s and pronunciation CD, the student will learn Latin.  The program says this is for 5th grade and up.  Personally, I wouldn’t start this program until high school.  It is very in-depth and moves at a fast pace. 

See a sample workbook page here. 

I found the teacher’s guide to be thorough.  The guide gives excellent structure for teaching the course.  The program recommends teaching this as a class rather than individually.  Thus, the teacher’s guide is really structured for teaching more than one student at a time.  I believe this to be good advice as learning any language is easier when you have other students to work with and practice with.  As I noted, this is used in our co-op and is found to be effective in that format.  If you’ve never tried Latin, the teacher’s guide can be a little overwhelming at first.  You will want to read it through thoroughly and listen to several  lessons before attempting to teach it to your children.

See sample Teacher’s page here. 

The program offers several suggestions for reinforcement of vocabulary and language “code”.  Recitation, flashcards, games, and quizzes all help the student memorize the vocabulary and learn the concepts of the Latin language.

See a sample recitation here. 

This is a very complete program for teaching your child Latin.  If you are in a co-op, I recommend it highly for group learning.  Memoria Press has, in my opinion, always created a strong product for learning.  They are a name I trust.
 
To see reviews by other TOS Crew members click here.
 
*** I received this program free of charge as a member of the TOS Crew in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review - Excellence in Literature: Intro to Lit

Excellence in Literature
Author: Janice Campbell

Cost:  ebook - $27, $29 + $4.95 shipping
Age: High School

My son started high school this year.  As an English teacher, myself, it was very important to me that his high school writing and literature experience be strong.  I waded through numerous different programs, curricula and textbooks trying to determine what I felt was best for him.  I didn’t want him doing American Literature, yet.  I wanted to save that for next year.  However, I did/do want him exposed to a broad array of genres, writing styles, eras, etc.  When all was said and done, I decided that Excellence in Literature – Introduction to Literature was the best for us.

What I loved about EIL’s Intro to Literature:

·        The literary choices he will be reading this year are EXCELLENT!  In addition to this, they can all easily be downloaded to our e-reader so that he has one thing to carry instead of several books to keep up with.  These are classics, so very inexpensive.  (The short stories can all be found online.)

Unit 1: Short Stories by-
Sarah Orne Jewett: A White Heron
Edgar Allen Poe: The Purloined Letter (This one is not scary, if you're concerned about that.)
Guy de Maupassant: The Diamond Necklace
O. Henry: The Ransom of Red Chief
Eudora Welty: A Worn Path
James Thurber: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Unit 2: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
Honors: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Unit 3: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
Honors: The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

Unit 4: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Honors: Shirley or Villette by Charlotte Brontë

Unit 5: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Honors: Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot

Unit 6: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Honors: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

Unit 7: Animal Farm by George Orwell
Honors: 1984 by George Orwell

Unit 8: The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Honors: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Unit 9: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Honors: The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

·         The class is self-directed.  She tells the student what needs to be accomplished each week, but she doesn’t spell it all out for them.  The student has to learn time management, scheduling, how to read directions, etc.  This is a college-prep course, and I’m prepping my child for college.

·         She offers an Honors option!  Love it!  I want rigor.  It is very important to me to challenge my student.  The honors option includes additional reading each unit along with writing exercises.

·         The incorporated writing is strong.  Janice provides structure for what the students need to write about and then gives them the parameters (500 words etc.) for them to meet.  Then, the student runs with the writing.  My son has already learned a great deal about authors from the writings he’s done.  Additionally, he’s learning to think critically about his writing instead of being pigeon-holed into the five-paragraph essay format.

·         Each unit has Content Resources for the student to explore.  Those resources involve film, poetry, art, biography, and a plethora of other enlightening options.  My student is learning about the author, the time period, and the literary style of that era in addition to just analyzing literature. This broader approach really appeals to me.

·         Janice provides the parent with enough context to feel confident grading the writing and monitoring success as the student moves through the course.  Even if you aren’t an English teacher, you can feel good about assessing your student's knowledge and writing using her approach.


I was sold on this program even before I ever had the opportunity to review it. My son has enjoyed the reading so far.  He’s been a Verne fan for quite a while.  I’m looking forward to seeing how this year plays out as he discovers the classics.
To see reviews by other TOS Homeschool Crew members, click here.
*** I received a copy of this book free of charge as a member of TOS Homeschool Crew in exchange for my honest review.

Wordless Wednesday - Nostalgia

These are my babies when they were babies...  The youngest is now 12 and the oldest 21.  Where has the time gone? 





Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Italian Mac-N-Cheese - Yum!

Thanks to Pam and Smiley 360 for the fun baking kit that arrived a few days ago.  It was unexpected!  I thought I was just getting a Pam coupon!   They sent coupons for a free bottle of spray Pam, free canned tomatoes, a pyrex dish, a spatula and some yummy looking recipes!  Click here to get your fifty cent off coupon.



What else is a girl to do, but try out the recipes.  The Italian Mac-N-Cheese looked amazing, so I gave it a run.  First, Pam to keep all this cheesy goodness from sticking.




Then, Italian crumbs layer over the top of the cooking spray.  I like this part of the recipe - thought this would add a fun crunch!




Then, noodles layered with cheese - Yum!




Finally, an egg and milk mixture over the top and more Italian crumbs.  This looks really really delicious!


One hour bake time and we have a fun, family meal!



Hot out of the oven - doesn't it look amazing!  I wish you could be here to see it!  I'm excited!




A cheesy serving - it all holds together.  I wondered if it would be oozy with all that cheese or if the egg mixture would hold it together.  It holds.


Pam did its job - no sticking despite all the cheese!  That's why I love using Pam!

So, this recipe is AMAZING!  Wow is it good - I'm officially replacing my normal mac-n-cheese recipe with this one.  We didn't include the tomato/basil mixture because the kiddos wouldn't like it, but I have no doubt it would have been a great complement to the other flavors.

Enjoy!


***  I received a Pam pack from Smiley 360 in exchange for my honest opinion.

Let Him be a Man

As you all know, my oldest son moved out two weeks ago.  I miss him.  He’s working hard, 40-50 hours per week, and enjoying his new apartment.  He’s still adjusting.  One thing he’s adjusting to is living on a budget.  Since he’s just gotten the job, the paychecks haven’t started rolling in yet.  He called the other day to ask me to check the balance in his checking account and it was $12.  He wanted to go buy food.  His savings had $24 – so, $36 dollars for one week’s worth of food.  Yikes!

I looked at my husband and he shook his head.  Let him be a man!  I explained that he didn’t need to starve to be a man.  Big Chalupa, as my oldest son calls my husband, decided we could bring him groceries, but we weren’t going to give him money.  Fair enough.

Arriving with copious amounts of quick fix foods to hold him over for a week, I was shown the finger he cut deeply about a week ago.  Ouch!  I immediately went for the first aid kit I’d given him to grab Neosporin and Band-Aids.  The hubby stopped me – let him be a man.  He doesn’t need his mom bandaging his finger.  Sigh.  Ok.

We took him to dinner, and I wanted to walk him to the door.  It’s hard to leave him behind even though I know we really aren’t.  Again, the hubby, give him a quick hug and let him go.  Let him be a man.

I’m not ready for my baby boy to be a man, I guess.  But, that doesn’t mean I get to stop him from growing up.  I know that’s why he wanted to move to his own place because he wants to be a man, not mom’s little boy.  I have to admire that and am so proud of him for working hard and accomplishing his goals. 

I guess I have to let go and let God – then I can let him be a man.  But, if he ever needs me, I’m there!  Why do they have to grow up???

Monday, October 24, 2011

Review - George Washington Carver DVD

George Washington Carver: His Life and His Work

Marshall Publishing

Cost:  $19.99   See discount at the end of this post - $16.95

“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”

George Washington Carver
My older son is studying American History this year.  It happens to be one of his favorite subjects!  One of the things I’ve always loved to do along with our study of history is to incorporate videos.  There’s something about seeing history in action that helps us remember and identify better with the period.

Marshall Publishing offered TOS Crew members the opportunity to review their new DVD entitled George Washington Carver: His Life and His Work.  This is a thirty minute video walking the viewer through the life and contributions of this amazing man.
I must confess – I didn’t know a lot about Carver before watching the video.  After watching, I’m amazed by a man who came from slavery and elevated himself through education to the point where he was able to make a lasting contribution to the future of African Americans.  His genius with agriculture enabled him to teach poor black men how to grow crops, fertilize the soil and make a living of their own.

“We get closer to God as we get more intimately and understandingly acquainted with the things He has created. I know of nothing more inspiring than that of making discoveries for one's self.”
George Washington Carver

In addition to his intellectual contributions, what impressed me most about him was his focus on his work.  He chose not to marry and eschewed wealth and fame in exchange for a life of faith and focus.  He had numerous opportunities to gain wealth and notoriety, but he chose instead to focus on bettering the world around him.  What an impressive human being!  I’m so glad the boys and I had a chance to watch this DVD and learn more about him.
The video is not a movie; it’s a documentary.  Gorgeous natural imagery combined with narration, quotes by Carver and pictures and video from his life give the viewer an understanding of who he was and what his legacy is.  I feel very blessed to have had this opportunity.

“Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.”
George Washington Carver

Marshall Publishing is graciously offering a 15% discount to readers who are interested in sharing this DVD with their family.  Click here and use the code TOSC1 at checkout to receive the discount.
To read reviews by other TOS Crew members – click here.

*** I received this DVD free of charge as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Slim Down Sunday - Week 15

Heartfelt HomeschoolingWhether you want to lose lose weight, get fit, eat healthier or all of the above – it always helps to have support from those around you.

Goal – (Revised) Run in a 5K  



How it Went This Week:

In terms of exercise, this has been an amazing week.  I got my run in on Monday and didn't do half bad if I do say so myself.  I'm not fast by any means, but I see my stamina increasing which is nice! 

In addition, my middle son and I have upped our anty when it comes to TKD.  This week we went to three regular classes and the evening demo practice.  I also went to the adult demo practice on Friday for a total of seven hours of TKD this week!  Wow!  AND - the best part, I didn't die!  lol  I am pretty sore today, Saturday, but no pain no gain. 

While I don't necessarily see seven hours each week, I do see us doing TKD four days a week.  We are loving it!

Now, the weightloss thing is a whole different issue.  It was THAT week of the month only three weeks late.  I've been eating like a horse!  Blech.  I really need to reign my eating in this next week.

What’s my Plan for next Week:

Monday - run using the Week 4 - C25K plan.  Walk for 5, Run for 3, Walk for 1.5, Run for 5, Walk for 2.5, Run for 3, Walk for 1.5, Run for 5.  Phew!

TKD on Tues/Wed/Thurs and demo for 3 hrs on Fri. 

Watch what I'm eating.  Stop pigging out!!!  I need to get this aspect under control!

How do you stop eating when your body wants food all of the time? 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Review - Say Anything Family Edition

Say Anything – Family Edition

Northstar Games
www.northstargames.com

Cost: $24.95

My family enjoys playing board games.  It’s one way we can all come together and spend time with one another.  We really enjoy interactive games as opposed to those where each person is taking a turn while the others wait.
Say Anything is one of those games.  The setup is simple – everyone gets a small dry erase board and pen.  One person reads a question off of the provided deck of cards starting with “In my opinion…” and the rest respond by writing down what they think the answer is. 


For example, “In my opinion, What’s the best way to waste time?”  Answers can run the gambit from serious to funny.  One thing we did find is that we know each other pretty well – on several occasions, two or three of us would have the same answer. 

Once everyone has written down their answer and revealed it, the card reader must secretly choose the one he likes best.  Everyone votes on which answer they think he/she will pick.  Each player gets two tokens to place on the answer/answers he thinks will be picked.  Then the winning answer is revealed.

Points are allocated by the following
  1. 1 point for each player token placed on the right answer
  2. Player who wrote the winning answer gets a point
  3. Judge gets one point for each token placed on the answer selected
There are a maximum of three points that can be earned each round.  Game play ends when each player has been the card reader twice.
We did get a little confused with the points, but keeping the instructions nearby was an easy fix for that.
Not only is this a fun game for family, but it’s a great game for friends or as an ice breaker.  It lets you get to know that person a little better.  My teens have teen game nights each month – I’m going to send this game with them as I’m sure their peer group will have a ball coming up with answers to these questions.
To see reviews by other TOS crew members, click here.

*** I received this game free of charge as a member of the TOS Crew in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Review - Wits and Wagers Family

Wits and Wagers – Family Edition

Northstar Games
www.northstargames.com

Cost: $24.95

Wits & Wagers is the “Most Award-Winning Party Game in History”, so, needless to say, we were excited to get to test-drive.  Northstar games are particularly appealing to us because they are interactive.  Being a very vocal family, interactive and opinionated are good qualities in a game.  Northstar’s mottos is “Games with Personality”.
This game is about numbers.  My two non-math children didn’t like that idea very much until they realized it was about getting closest to the answer, not doing math or knowing the exact answer.  The game can be played as individuals or teams.  Teams can be fun if you have lots of people playing.


The way it works is that a player reads a question like, “In feet, how tall was the tallest pyramid in Egypt?”  Everyone uses the dry erase board they are given to write down their answer.   Answers are then placed in order from smallest to greatest.  A card with the number one is included as well.  Players use their “meeples” to decide which answer/answers they feel are closest without going over to the right answer.  If you think all the answers go over, you place your meeples on the one.
The card reader then reads the correct answer and interesting fact from the back of the card and points are allocated.



Points are allocated by the following:
  1. 1 point for the winning guess
  2. 1 point for small meeple on the winning answer
  3. 2 points for large meeple on the winning answer
Play ends when the first player/team reaches 15. 

My hubby and I both really liked the numerical aspect of this game – there’s a right answer, we like that.  J  It is fun to learn interesting facts and to really be surprised by the not only what people think might be a correct answer, but often what the real answer is.  Of course, as homeschoolers, anything that keeps us learning is a bonus! 

To see reviews by other TOS crew members, click here.

*** I received this game free of charge as a member of the TOS Crew in exchange for my honest review.

Probiotics Update

As promised, it's been two weeks and I'm posting an update.  (To see my initial posting - click here.)  I have faithfully taken the Member's Mark 4X Probiotic Digestive Care Supplement found at Sam's Club for two weeks.  My goal was to see if taking a probiotic helped my stomach and digestive system become more balanced and less irritable.

While I can't state anything conclusive, I can say my digestive system has been behaving better even through some very stressful events in our household.  I had noticed that I was feeling this odd bubbling sensation right below my right rib cage in the area of my gall bladder.  That has since stopped during this two weeks.  There's no official connection as it could just be coincidence; however, I felt like it was worth noting.

I've begun amping up my exercise with some basic running and additional taekwondo classes.  I feel good adding the probiotic supplement as digestion is one area that can create discomfort and hamper activity.

I do notice that when I eat healthy my system feels better than when I eat unhealthy or fatty foods.  I'm not sure how the probiotic plays into this either, but my digestive system seeks to quickly eliminate any unhealthy foods since I've been taking the pills.  It seems to me that that's how the body should work - eliminate waste and hold onto nutrition. 

Another note a comment prompted me to add is that I haven't felt bloated lately.  I HATE feeling bloated.  It's so uncomfortable.  I've tried diuretics and pills for gas to help reduce this issue to no avail.  Not sure why I didn't think to mention it as this has been a big benefit in my book!

All in all - I'm glad I was able to try this out.  I have a twelve week supply and will continue to take this probiotic supplement. 

Do you take a probiotic?  How has it helped you?  What other ways do you seek to improve your digestive health?

*** This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.

Wordless Wednesday - My Sister-in-law's Herp Collection

My sister-in-law is a herpetologist at heart.  In "real-life" she's a doctor.  She had a wide variety of amphibians and reptiles in her basement that she loves to care for.  It's like going to a zoo.  Here's a small glimpse at some of her collection.








Monday, October 17, 2011

Night of the Living Dead Christian - Review

Are you a vampire - sucking the life out of others while only thinking of yourself?  Or maybe you're a werewolf following your basest instincts and wreaking havoc on those around you?  Maybe you're a zombie - mindlessly being led through life without questioning those who lead?  Who is the monster that resides in you?

Night of the Living Dead Christian is a humorous allegory showing the monsters in all of us.  From the beginning, the reader is drawn in by the humorous storyline and the author's use of himself as the main character and narrator traipsing through a rural neighborhood saving the innocent unknowing citizens for the monsters living all around them.

Matt Mikalatos ends up trying to save his werewolf neighbor from the monster hunter determined to do him in.  He discovers his friends are vampires, mad scientists, robots and even zombies.  Eventually, most come to see that it is their lack of spritual faith and awareness that leaves them captive to their baser instincts.  Even Matt himself realizes that he's more of a mad scientist than he would like to admit - fixing the world whether it wants it or not.

It took me a while to finish reading this book - not because I didn't enjoy it, but because my son 12-year-old got ahold of it and wanted to read it as well.  He really enjoyed the monster motif while learning about how we must reject our inner human failings in order to truly follow Christ.

Night of the Living Dead Christian is a fun read with heavy theological undertones.  While much of the book has you enjoying the "b-rated" monster movie approach, heavier topics like abuse, divorce, neglect and some violence are also present.  They are all the more shocking because of the otherwise lighter tone.  Mikalatos helps us see our more monsterous side and to realize that choosing to follow Christ isn't an easy path.  It's not one that erases our inner monster, but one that helps us to choose light instead of darkness and to get back on the right path when we stray.

My son and I really enjoyed this fun perspective on what it means to be a Christian. 

*** I received this book free of charge from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Review - Educating the WholeHearted Child

Educating the WholeHearted Child

Author: Clay Clarkson with Sally Clarkson

Price:  $22.00
  
Educating the WholeHearted Child is a book I wish I had had when we started homeschooling four years ago.  This book is an honest look at the approach to homeschooling, God’s guidance in the decision and strong recommendations for how to approach schooling in your own home.
View the Table of Contents here.
Section 1 discusses the whys of homeschooling and the impact it will have on your family.  It WILL have an impact.  Through numerous scriptural references, Clarkson shows us to follow God’s will for our children’s education and the realities that are the blessings and sacrifices of this choice.  What I appreciate most is the honesty – it may not be for you!  However, if it is, then one has to be prepared.

In addition to preparing you for your choice, this section covers dealing with the questions that will inevitably come with being a homeschool family.  Shaping your child’s spirit, heart and mind to learn for God round out this preparatory section.
Click here to see Chapter 1.
Section 2 is all about learning.  What approach will you take to homeschooling your child?  This may be an intimidating question if you don’t have an education background, but, the good news is, you don’t have to have one to be successful.  The book covers the various modes of thought for approaching your educational time from the Charlotte Mason method, to Unschooling, to using unit studies, etc.  Finally, the Wholehearted Learning Model is introduced.  This model is the focus of the book: how to really reach your child’s heart through the techniques described.  We’re eclectic – this approach appeals because it allows for several modes for education and learning.
Section 3 goes deeper.  Each method in the Wholehearted learning model is addressed: discipleship, discipline, discussion, discovery and discretionary studies methods are all elaborated upon.  What aspect of schooling goes into each?  Some examples – math is a disciplined study, reading falls into discussion, computers or science are discovery and field trips are discretionary.  Employing all these methods addresses the child’s whole heart instead of trying to fit the child into one particular approach.

Section 4 addresses the home and the family.  Schooling in the home on a homeschooled schedule impacts everyone.  Where will you school in your home, when will you take breaks or vacation, how will you handle the holidays, what about housekeeping?  Again, there will be blessing and sacrifice, but, with prayer, planning and time management, the house will fall into the flow of your homeschooling choice.  Struggle in the area of how to keep all those balls in the air while juggling homeschooling is a common concern.  I felt the author is realistic and yet direct about keeping the focus on priorities and on God while eliminating the time wasters that eat up our day and add stress to the week.  This section was a refreshing and reinvigorating read.
The Resources section has book lists, scripture recommendations, and forms all aimed at starting homeschool off successfully and keeping it on track.

If you are thinking about homeschooling for the first time – get this book!  The content helps you address this choice realistically, spiritually and confidently.  Again, I wish I had it four years ago.  If you are feeling overwhelmed or need some new direction with your current homeschool, I still recommend this read. 
This is another strong offering from Apologia!
To see other reviews by the TOS Homeschool Crew - click here.

*** I received this book free of charge as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew in exchange for my honest review.