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Saturday, September 30, 2006

What to do with a Toddler?

I asked for advice on how to entertain my 2 year old son last week, and I wanted to update the situation. We are happier now, because I am playing with my 2 year old on the floor with his Aquadoodle pad while my daughter does her independent work. We leave the room briefly to read a book (this is very distracting to my dd), we crash cars into each other and we are taking tickle breaks whenever the mood strikes.

Someone "Anonymous" wrote: "Put him in his high chair and let him finger paint the tray with pudding. Ok, that's really messy, but a ton of fun."

Okay. Did that...

Who's going to clean him up?

And this is our picture of our activity for Chapter 2 of SOTW Vol 1.
We read about the White Crown of Upper Egypt and the
Red Crown of Lower Egypt (you know if you're a SOTW user)
and here's my dd with her impression of King Menes (Narmer).

And this is my regular sweet girl...

Whew! Much better. You'd wouldn't want to mess with her, she's 6 and full of spunk! She's wearing our rendition of the White Crown of Upper Egypt.

(Duh, it's on the sign. Sorry)

LaMereAcademy suggested "What about those color wonder markers by crayola that only mark on their special paper?? Pouring water in the kitchen into different cups, pots, give him mixing cups and spoons and a pan of rice or small pasta to pour and do things."

I have the Color Wonder stuff. He doesn't play with it long because it takes too long to appear. I do have to say that it's wonderful when he does play with it. He does fine with the crayons until I'm not paying 100% attention. (Of course)

I have the cups, I have the pans, I have the rice, what I don't have is the courage to hand that over to my 2 year old son. I let him bang the lids together one day and my ears were ringing for a couple of hours AFTER he stopped. It's too hot right now to do school outside. Our humidity is horrible right now and we have to wait until 7:00 pm to do our nature journals.

MoreLittleWilsons said, "Jessica, do you have a baby gate? Close him into your school room with you and dd, and make sure there are things that belong to him.. trains, cars, playdough etc.. and then make sure he doesn't have free access to them, that only you can take out a few things for each school day, and rotate them so that he feels this is all new every few days. "

We have 5 baby gates. Little man is 10 inches shorter than 6 year old sister. He scales the baby gates. To keep him in a room we have to stack one on top of the other. It really looks like he's in a cage then. We only do this at night anymore for his own safety.

He has two toy areas in our learning room- nope, three. A shelf for coloring books and games that are 2 year old friendly. A box filled with board books and a basket that has lacing blocks (great idea- he doesn't use them) and his aquadoodle gear. I'm going to try your other suggestions though.

This is the aquadoodle, and he loves it. It's something we keep in the learning room and he'll play with it a little each day. It's only water in the pens and the drawing disappears when it dries. You can see it's a good size for a toddler. I hope this helps someone else that is struggling with entertaining a toddler. I've put a limit on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, it can only be viewed every 48 hours. LOL


Friday, September 22, 2006

BiblioPlan for Families

Are you still looking for a History curriculum?

Have you ever wished for a history curriculum guide that combines Scripture with the study of ancient civilizations? Would you like to learn about Church history and the lives of great Christians while you study the Medieval, Renaissance and Reformation historical periods? Do you wish you could find a history guide that recommends great children’s literature the whole family can enjoy reading together? If so, then BiblioPlan for Families may be what you are looking for.

Find BiblioPlan for Families here. Read reviews and comments about it here.

BiblioPlan is a family-friendly guide designed for a chronological study of world history. Our plans integrate quality historical literature with Biblical and secular history in a format that is easy to follow and requires minimal parent preparation. It is designed so that all the children you are schooling are studying the same period of history at the same time, and doing so at their own level.

From Jessica: I wanted to share this because I know a few of you are struggling with what you might use. This curriculum seems to not be considered a "popular" one, although I have no idea why other than lack of advertising. We've chosen not to use it at this time but it is worth looking into if you're looking for something like this.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Explorer's Bible Study

What if I told you that there is a non-denominational Bible study available that covers preschool - adult?

This is what I was searching for when I was looking for a Bible study solution for our United Methodist family.
My Wishlist :
1. Character training 2. Bible stories or study (simplified for a 6-7 year old)
3. Memory scripture
4. Easy to use, not much prep. I don't need crafts.
5. Music would be nice but not essential. Would like to learn hymns (accompanying cd would be a huge plus)
6. UMC doctrine to aid in preparing dd6 for confirmation and to lay a solid foundation for her. 7. Familiarity with our church worship is essential. Doxology, Apostle's Creed, Lord's Prayer etc.

That is the list I wrote before looking at a single product. Explorer's Bible Study program covers SIX of these! Of course, I will have to prepare my children for confirmation but I have a few years to do that.

I purchased Explorer's Bible Study's Beginnings: And it Was Good. Let me share with you what it contains. First of all, this curriculum was developed to equip a scholar with a chronological and historical method of Bible study which allows the Bible to be seen in its entirety, not in broken pieces.

In Beginnings: And It Was Good here's how the lessons are set-up. Each (there are 30 weeks of lessons with daily instructions) lesson lasts a week, so that the material covered lasts one week. In each lesson there are:

Bible Love Lesson- establishes an important daily foundation each time you begin your lesson. God is love, God loves you! It is the central truth for everyone.

Bible Story with Key Points: Written in an easy to understand language and provides Key Points that can be used for a narrative exercise (excellent for my classical education preference!) Also, you can further discuss the bolded Word and Phrase Meanings.

Word and Phrase Meanings: word or phrases within the Bible Story that help develop understanding.

Guided Prayer Thoughts: A short prayer that can be used as a model for learning to talk to God.

Questions: Thinking & Remembering: There are multiple questions for each day that help the child recall and relate the story concepts in the lesson.
Bible Words to Remember: In this version, the scripture is abbreviated or parapharsed from the New King James Version to make it easier to understand and remember. The memory scripture last all week to help build a firm foundation.

Praise Hymns: A variety of songs, (including familiar worship songs!) and hymns for making worship time meaningful. You can purchase My First Hymnal (like I did) that correlates with the Beginnings Book.

Virtue Lessons: as called Choosing God's Way, incorporated into each daily lesson. This is a wonderful simple way to have character study based on the Bible story.

It seems like it's been packaged with a little bow and says "Here are tools to disciple your children." I love this. No planning, no crafts, just two books, the Bible Study book and our Bible. I really enjoy the fact that we can "praise" with a hymn each day. My children love music. So what about other age levels?

Beginnings I has two: This series helps preschool age children discover truths about God's Word. Each lesson contains a Bible Love Lesson, a Bible Story, Key Points, Word and Phrase Meanings, Guided Prayer Thought, Thinking and Remembering Questions, Bible Words to Remember, and Choosing God's Way.
(Preschool-Grade 1)

Beginnings II has two: This course is designed for the early elementary student (Grades 2-3). It features a broad overview of the Bible in an exciting and challenging way. Prayer Thoughts help each child learn how to talk with God. Bible Words to Remember encourage children to hide God's Word in their hearts. Questions about the story build Bible knowledge and understanding.

Discovery has five: This series helps older elementary age children discover truths about God's Word. Questions about the lesson help students read, examine, and understand Scripture. Map studies and Word and Phrase Meanings help them dig deeper. A weekly lesson review makes sure they retain what they have studied. (Grades 4-9)

Quest has six: Our Quest Series is designed with Jr. and Sr. High students in mind! This daily Bible study uses questions to help each student understand 1) what the Bible says, 2) what it means, and 3) how to apply it to his/her life. Questions are designed to help the student think, evaluate, understand, and apply what God is communicating through His Word. Notes are provided with each lesson to give deeper understanding and to communicate solid Biblical truths and principles.

And then there's a whole Adult Curriculum! I am very excited about this! I have a Bible curriculum for every school year, and it builds and builds. If you're looking for a Bible curriculum to fit your needs I would suggest looking at Explorer's Bible Study first!

You can purchase from the Explorer's Bible Study website or you can find it at My First Hymnal is also available at and provides samples! Please tell me if you decide to use this. It would be nice to know that sharing this has helped someone.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Manners Made Easy

I can't help it, I received this in the mail today and I have to share. Especially because I know we can't always see what we're buying before we buy it. Somehow I've been very blessed in what I've purchased.
~ ~ ~ ~

Manners Made Easy by June Hines Moore
Link is to Timberdoodle which has it at $7.75 right now.

The workbook is designed to be everything you need in one for students aged 7-12. It could be used for younger students but would be best for students who can utilize fill-in-the-blanks worksheets well. There is a teacher section and student section. The student section is perforated and has plenty of margin to photocopy and three-hole punch for a notebook. The author grants permission for use in home or church school classrooms. This workbook was designed to be able to use for multiple children, perfect for homeschooling families. This can also be used in Christian or secular classrooms, the author provided a Bible Study lesson separate from the main lesson for those who wish to have a secular approach.

There are a total of six lessons which cover:
Who Needs Manners Anyway?
How to Introduce Myself
How to Introduce Others
Telephone Manners
Writing Thank-you notes
Table Manners

Additional Information
Mouth manners and other courtesies
Saying No without saying thank you

The Word from the Author offers some very sound advice on how to approach the subject of good manners with our children and what our objectives should be. Learning styles have been considered and a range of approaches are included: role-playing, working in teams, personalizing lessons, watching demonstrations, performing hands-on tasks, brain-storming and taking quizzes.
There is also a word of caution on how not to teach good manners.

A look inside Lesson One: Who Needs Manners Anyway?
Lesson Overview: the topics discussed for this lesson
Supplies Needed: for this lesson two or three styrofoam balls, toothpicks
About This Lesson: A note to the teacher/parent
What Manners Are All About- Discuss the first student page with students.
Included is a quote about manners. This area allows the students to share what they think about manners before being taught.
Object Lesson: What do you know about porcupines?
Then a German fable about porcupines illustrates the importance of manners.
Activity: Create porcupines and discuss the importance of manners further.
Q&A: Read a short passage to the students and ask short narration-type questions. These same questions will be on their quiz to come.

Etiquette: Our Ticket to Success
A little history about the word etiquette.

Activity: practice saying the word etiquette properly
Lesson: A wonderful narrative that offers an example of good manners.
Teaching Tip: In case you're having trouble.

Rules of Etiquette (Manners) Have Reasons:

Explaining a little more to the students.

Q&A: Question to use for brain-storming or in-teams. They will make a permanent chart, poster or list on the board of what they consider to be good manners.

Then the Lesson One Quiz is listed in the Teacher's area with answers.

The Lesson One Bible Study is also in the teacher's area. It is simply Key Scripture Reference, Bible Lesson, and Bible Quiz. The teacher/student sheet is the same so that they can work together.

This is something that I would cover one lesson a week, separating the regular lesson from the Bible lesson to do two days of the same week. It could easily be done all at once but I'd prefer to get as much exposure as possible.

For those who want something for their 3-6 year olds, check out this link to ClubMom


Monday, September 18, 2006

Extras for your Blog

I've been meaning to post about this for a while, and now I've finally decided to. There are many things out on the web to add to your blog- here's my favorite, why and where to find them:

Daily Scripture:
I use Verse A Day because I saw it on Kris's blog and I thought it only used the NSRV translation but I've found that it uses all translations, which is fine. There are many scripture add-ons you can use, I like this one the best after trying a few.

I love this! Since I have all these links on my blog, MyBlogLog shows me what ones have been used and how often in a 24 hr period. It also has a wonderful add-on code for Yesterday's Top 5 Links.

Sitemeter: If you use Sitemeter then that will open the door to other blog utilities/add-on such as being a part of the Truth Laid Bear Homeschooling Community. Sitemeter keeps a count of all the visitors to your blog and you can even see where they are coming from. If I left a link to my blog on a message board, I can see that in Sitemeter, very cool. It also allows me to see Google searches other have done that have resulted in visiting my blog.

Truth Laid Bear:
I'm currently a Slithering Reptile, which is just an indication of how many other Truth Laid Bear Homeschooling members visit my blog daily. I could really do without this because it has a sneaky repercussion- you start to care if you're a Wiggling Worm or a Slithering Reptile. I've overcome this, although it would be pretty cool if I could be a Flappy Bird, it just sounds better than Slithering Reptile, lol.

Quote of the Day:
I was using the other popular quote of the day blog add-on but switched when I decided to feature certain quotes. QuotedB allows me to do this. Last month I featured Benjamin Franklin, this month is GK Chesterton. I added the picture myself because I did like that feature from The Free Dictionary.

LibraryThing: I cannot tell you how much I love LibraryThing! We have catalogued all our books and I've used it to show one book from our library and even display books we want to read/own. LibraryThing led me to BookMooch, where I am giving away books to receive books that I want. This is a very wonderful thing! I've used LibraryThing a multitude of ways on my blog- my favorite is the Search Our Books feature. You put in a word and it shows you all the books in my library that pertains to that word, the little box expands, very cool.

I appreciate being able to read about homeschool news and this is a wonderful way to access it and show others what is going on the in world concerning homeschool news. They do such a wonderful job! HomeschoolBuzz also has reviews, links to other blogs and many other wonderful features. Technorati and Bloglines: These help me to keep up to date with friends blogs. I read a few blogs from these places. Technorati keeps track of how many people are linked to me and allows me to read their entries. It also has a cool feature for searching my blog or some of the millions of blogs linked to Technorati. The only thing I don't like about it is that you may come across a blog that you wish you hadn't! Lol. Bloglines allows me to read my friends blogs who have their RSS feed turned on, the only drawback is that I cannot comment through Bloglines, only read. What happens is, I'll read but not always comment due to time restraints.

Okay, I've saved the best for last! Flooble Expandable Scripts, this allows copy on your blog to be expandable. I have over 100 friends in my friend list- which would eat up a lot of space on my blog, as well as our Reading lists and BlogRolls. I've seen this on a lot of blogs outside of HSB and finally found out where to get it. These are wonderful and you can create it to match your current blog template if you know your way around code.

All right, I've given up all my secrets! I don't have music because it loads slowly and can be a pain to shut off (especially for late night bloggers who are in the dark), I try to stay away from anything that loads slowly. So far I don't have any ads, but have been wondering about adding an Amazon search box.

Happy Blogging!


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Resources for an United Methodist Homeschooler

Just to clear a few things dh and I are on the same page with raising our children in the fear of the Lord. We may not always agree about the details but we both want the same result. This may be a little long, but's me.

This is the link to the Articles of Religion of the United Methodist Church (there are 24). This is written for adults. I am thinking about trying to write a version for children, I'm praying about this. I had such encouraging comments, I have to at least entertain the idea! If I do this, I will have it "proofed" at least the Bishop of our Conference and higher up in the food chain if need be. I would never want to lead anyone astray by my lack of knowledge, etc.

I DID find a catechism of the Methodist church however. It is Catechism for the Use of the Methodist Missions. First Part. [3rd ed.] by William Capers. 40 pages
Charleston [S. C.?]: Published by John Early, 1853. You can go look for yourself at this North Carolina at Chapel Hill site. Please keep in mind it was 1853. There are slave references.

I found a new source for United Methodist products as well. At Bristol House, LTD., they offer The Order of St. George Bible Memory

Which is a little like the Keepers of the Faith program whereas your children earn patches which one set is included in the purchase of the reproducible book which is $29.95. This program has 7 levels and the scriptures are KJV and NIV. This was developed by an United Methodist Church.

The next thing I want to share is the Bible Story Cards sets. These are available to be seen at, You can teach several ages together.

Kit includes: a pack of 50 trading-sized BibleStoryCards, a set of maps and charts, a set of memory verse cards, a coloring book, and a Teacher's StoryTelling & Review Guide. Of course, Old Schoolhouse Magazine reviewed this product and said just ordering the Bible Cards and Coloring book were sufficient for a Bible lesson. These card sets have been said to be non-denomination and there is an Old Testament set and New Testament set.

If you're looking for a more interactive way to teach your child(ren) and want a completely fresh approach as well as teaching compassion then I would take a look at this book. Sign & Say: Bible Verses for Childen.

You can look inside at the Amazon link above. This would be a wonderful way to teach about differences in God's people. This book was written by an United Methodist.

Also written by an United Methodist (a different one) is Teaching Children Bible Basics: 34 Lessons That Help Kids Learn to Use the Bible

by Barbara Bruce. This book was written for elementary students. Amazon has it available to be seen inside at the above link. Also by Barbara Bruce....7 Ways of Teaching the Bible to Children This book includes Learning Styles! Sound familiar? Barbara Bruce if you didn't catch it before, is an United Methodist.

Okay, so what have I chosen? Hmmm. How to Study Your Bible for Kids by Kay Arthur was highly recommended but it didn't seem to fit what I want, it might be a good resource for someone else though.

I choose Explorer's Bible Study. Beginnings I. I recommend you checking this out if your list of wants was like mine. See last post. Explorer's Bible study has a program for preschool through Adults!

Daily lessons covering major Old Testament events and characters from the Creation through the Prophets. Includes Bible stories, Memory, Questions, Praise Hymns, and Virtue Lessons.

Guess what? It also recommends a cd called My First Hymnal! Companion CD to My First Hymnal Songbook by Karyn Henley with 75 all-time favorite hymns and choruses, including "This Little Light Of Mine," "Zaccheaus," "His Banner Over Me Is Love," "All Hail The Power Of Jesus' Name," "Amazing Grace," "Fairest Lord Jesus," and many more! Split-track format.

I'm so excited with this product. The "My First Hymnal" is also available for Recorder Fun! which is what we're using to learn the recorder this year!

The only thing missing from my wishlist is the United Methodist worship selections such as our doxology, Apostles Creed and the Lord's Prayer. Dh and I talked about this and decided that it would be prudent to use these as our "Poetry" and memory/copywork until dd6 has them memorized. I can't think of a better use of our memorization/copywork time than to have dd6 be able to participate joyfully in our worship service.

I hope that not only United Methodists benefit from this post but other persons seeking a non-denominational way to teach their children about our Lord.

God Bless All of you, your encouragement and comments have been such a blessing! May you be blessed as much as you've blessed me!


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Free Maps Online

I think I have mentioned once or twice that I tend to research things I'm interested in. I have decided that until I can write about our homeschooling misadventures, I'll share my research with you. Who knows, it might actually help someone!

Today the subject is: Maps.

The Ancient World Mapping Center, An interdisciplinary research center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
From their website: "We are developing a collection of free digital maps for educational use. This effort gives teachers and students an expanding set of small-scale reference maps for classroom and personal use. Each may be downloaded from the website in multiple formats. A blank version of each map — suitable for map quizzes and customization — is usually available." The Ancient World Mapping Center link

Online Bible Atlas

From their website: "Readers of the Bible quickly recognize that the number of place names and locations mentioned in the text -- most of them unfamiliar -- is stupifying. The geographical references range eastward as far as India and westward to Spain. Between these limits, the Middle East itself contains numerous states, cities, villages, mountains, rivers ... many of the names have changed from century to century. Thus, in order to have a grasp of what is happening in a particular text, it is extremely helpful to have a set of maps, so that you can follow the narrative in your mind's eye. The following index is arranged in chronological order with maps relating to the Hebrew Bible coming first, and those relating to the New Testament following. All maps and images from the online Bible Atlas are provided by the Access Foundation. " Online Bible Atlas link

Houghton Mifflin's Education Place- Outline Maps

PDF files of World, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, South America, North America, United States, Historical, and Primary. Education Place Maps link and if you'd like there is a game called GeoNet to play GeoNet link

Online Cartography Resources

From their website: "The explosion of the World Wide Web has helped to create a number of useful online map resources. These include everything from historical maps to road maps to geographic maps. Here is a list of resources including brief descriptions: go see for yourself the resources they have listed!"Online Cartography Resources link

Perry-CastaƱeda Library Map Collection from The University of Texas at Austin

More maps than you know what to do with. This site lists all the maps on other sites. I would consider this the ultimate map resource, if you know what you're looking for. UTexas Perry-CastaƱeda library map link

All sites above are FREE, so see if you can use them in your homeschooling journey.