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Saturday, 12 February 2011
Psalm 139
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: General

I've been lying around all day today. It seems that I have caught the same flu bug that Joshua caught. Not much to do but sleep and read. I've been reading a great biography of Iris Blue called Iris: Trophy of Grace. It's a book that I received from the First Wild Card book tour folks. The official review isn't due until early March and, believe me, I will be saying a lot about this fantastic book. In the meantime, here is a bit of scripture that was included in one of the chapters. I won't go into detail about why it was there or what the chapter is about, I'm just going to share it as is. It spoke to me again today as it has on many an occasion before.

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

 1 You have searched me, LORD,
   and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
   you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
   you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
   you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
   and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
   too lofty for me to attain.

 7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
   Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
   if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
   if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
   your right hand will hold me fast.


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Posted by tink38570 at 10:16 PM CST
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Friday, 11 February 2011
The Curiosity Files - Zombie Fire Ants - Perfect for
Mood:  spacey
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

Let me give you all one quick caveat to this review. First, Joshua, the main one using this study, had the flu. Next, my sister called and said that my mom's health is failing quickly. Nothing to be unexpected, she is 88 years old (I think Smile) and has been in failing health for a couple of years. Still, it is not fun news. So, my brain is mush, however, I don't want to get behind on reviews, and, as you will read, I know enough about The Curiosity Files to be able to write an informed review. Besides, it keeps my mind busy. I will write an update, though, when Joshua gets feeling better and we can complete the study. Now for the review.


A few months ago a request went out to all of the TOS Homeschool Crew First Mates for proofreaders for a new type of Unit Study that TOS was putting together called The Curiosity Files. The name caught my attention and I'm always looking for things for my kids to use, so I decided to give my proofreading skills a try and sign up. One of the first responses that I got after signing up was something like "Oh good. Your boys will love them. These studies are really gross type studies perfect for gross loving boys!" However, I think that girls will love them as well. Just get ready for some gross stuff!

So far I've had the great pleasure of proofreading Cicada-Killing Wasps ~ yes there are some gross parts ~ and Platypus ~ not really gross but certainly curious ~ so you see, there really is something for everyone, even if you don't like the word "gross". Zombie Fire Ants is actually the first published, on the market, Curiosity Files study that I have been able to look at and use.


From the time I first began proofreading the Curiosity Files studies, I knew that they were something unique. The author of these great science unit studies is "Professor Ana Lyze". She has a "research team" that helps her and they specialize in science oddities. And, yes, Zombie Fire Ants are definitely some science oddities.

Originally from South America, Fire Ants hitched a ride on some ships importing products to the U.S. The only problem is, Fire Ants are not native to the United States. All of their natural predators are in South America, so they have been left to multiply freely and wreak havoc on the U.S. population. Scientists decided to experiment with bringing some of the Fire Ants natural enemies from South America to see if they would help control the U.S. Fire Ant population. South American phorid flies were imported and released near some Fire Ant colonies and soon thereafter Zombie Fire Ants were created. What are Zombie Fire Ants? You'll have to buy the study to find out!

I love The Curiosity Files science studies. Professor Ana Lyze seems to talk to you through the study and has a knack of knowing exactly what questions or comments might be crossing your mind. Take this little snippet of conversation from Zombie Fire Ants:

I get it—the ants are called zombies because they are just wandering aimlessly, unable to really think or do anything.

That’s the idea. A fire ant slowly morphs from a hard-working part of an industrious colony to a mindless, wandering creature who signals to the rest of the ants that something isn’t right. They really are zombies.

The zombie part is gross, but it seems a lot better than spraying chemicals on the mounds.

The phorid fly life cycle takes longer to see results but is very effective.

I don't think I revealed too much of the study in that little exert and you can see what an easy flow there is to the information given. It's like you are not really studying at all. That's the kind of Science study I have been longing for at our house.

But that's not all.As parents aren't we always looking for "teachable moments"? You know, those moments where something happens and it is a perfect time to weave a life application into it. Well, that's exactly what The Curiosity Files do! After the initial information and a short "Let's see how much you've learned" section, there is a section that weaves what you have learned right into a Christian application! Remember, TOS (The Old Schoolhouse) is unashamedly a Christian company and you can trust that their materials will not be compromised by evolution or non-Christian thoughts. I love their Christian application section. It really ties science and what you are learning into why God created or allowed that particular thing and what it has to do with you. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! The main attraction of a good unit study is the extra "hands on" things that are included. Well, let me tell you, there are plenty of hands on things in Zombie Fire Ants.How would you like to do one of the following?
  • Work on your math skills while studying Fire Ant Flight or having a Fire Ant Week?
  • Hone your writing skills by doing Zombie Writing?
  • Do puzzles to work on your Fire Ant spelling and vocabulary words?
  • Practice handwriting with special copy-work pages using special ant verses from the Bible.
  • Create and study an Ant Farm complete with a Fire Ant Journal?
  • Eat "Ants on a Log" or "Ants on the Sand"? Yes I said "EAT THEM"!
  • Create an "Egg Carton Ant" or learn how to draw an ant?
  • Those are just some of the dozens (yes I said dozens - I counted!) of activities that you will find in The Curiosity Files - Zombie Fire Ants. There is even a section where you can make your own Fire Ant mini book, an ant music section, a section where you can find books and websites about ants if you want to study more AND...get this...a special "Hands On Learning" section for special needs learners.We have loved this study so far, but as I mentioned above, we haven't been able to complete it all yet. As a matter of fact, by the looks of all of the things that I mentioned above, it may take weeks before we complete everything. Of course TOS has included so many things so that you can pick and choose what you feel would work best for your child. Many of the sections are conveniently divided into younger and older student sections.


    This is all packed into a 91 page downloadable ebook that you can purchase from the TOS Store by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted sections above. The prices of the individual units vary so you would have to check the TOS Store website to find those. I can tell you, though, that there are nine studies currently available and you can buy a CD of all nine studies for $49 or a downloadable version of all nine studies for $46. If you would like to know about some of the other studies, many of my fellow TOS Crew members reviewed other Curiosity Files and you can check out what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Home Educating!

    As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of The Curiosity Files unit study Zombie Fire Ants in order to try out and review on my blog.


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    Posted by tink38570 at 8:08 PM CST
    Updated: Friday, 11 February 2011 10:46 PM CST
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    Thursday, 10 February 2011
    We've Been Hit - And Not By Cupid's Arrow!
    Mood:  don't ask
    Topic: Family

    We've been hit by the nasty flu bug!

    Sorry that my Valentine's post isn't up yet!

    Hopefully tomorrow!

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    Posted by tink38570 at 11:55 PM CST
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    Wednesday, 9 February 2011
    What are your Valentine's Day plans?
    Mood:  amorous
    Topic: General



    What are your Valentine's Day plans? Tune in tomorrow to find out about some great Valentine's day pasts in the Tinkel household!

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    Posted by tink38570 at 9:04 PM CST
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    Tuesday, 8 February 2011
    What I'm Reading (and am About to Read)!
    Mood:  a-ok
    Topic: General

    Yep, it's time for my monthly (or bi-monthly...or really whenever I get around to it) post on what the Tinkel family is reading right now! Actually, this time around, it's going to be mainly me (Tim) and one book that John Allen is reading.

    Now, if you have read my previous "what I am reading" posts, you know that I am almost never reading just one book at a time. Well, this month is no different. In fact, I am reading several at a time, put several that I was reading to the side, and have several that are on my "to read right away list". Reason being this crazy book review group that I am working with.

    Oh, okay, First Wild Card book tours aren't crazy, it's really just me that is crazy. I'm crazy because I've been signing up for too many books of late which makes my reading schedule quite hectic.

    If you'll look over in my side Amazon widget, you'll see all of the books that are in my life right now. Some, like 1776, I have put to the side. Those you already know about so let me highlight the ones I am presently engaged in reading.

    Iris: Trophy of Grace: I am really enjoying this book. It not only is a good read, but it has really gotten me to thinking about my ministry to children. I won't say too much about it right now, because I am reviewing this book for First Wild Card blog tours and I don't want to spoil the review. Nor do I want to say too much about what the book is about. All I can say is it's one of the best biographies I have read in a long time. I really think you would enjoy it.

    Unshaken is another great book that I am reading right now. It's the story of Dan Wooley's survival of the Haitian earthquake last year. Dan was on assignment for Compassion International (is it any wonder why I like this book Laughing) and had just returned back to his hotel when the quake hit. It's one of those "hard to put down" books that I am really enjoying. It's hard to go back and forth from Iris (mentioned above) and Unshaken. They are both fantastic books!

    The Young Carthaginian: I think I mentioned in my last "what are we reading" post that John Allen had just finished reading G. A. Henty's book - The Cat of Bubastus. Well, he liked it so much, we decided to begin to read Henty's books in a chronological fashion. Henty wrote historical novels and we found a list of his books in historical order. The Cat of Bubastus just happened to be the first one on the list and we are studying world history this year anyway, so I just had him read the next one in line - The Young Carthaginian. He is enjoying it as well. We're finding out that you really can't go wrong with a Henty novel.

    None of the rest of the family is reading anything significant at this time - well, I guess Sarah probably is but I can't keep up with her. Joshua is using a reading curriculum right now from a company that we are reviewing with the TOS Homeschool Crew. Look for that interview coming up in a few weeks.

    In the meantime, check out all of the books in my Amazon side panel. Those are all of the books we are currently reading or about to read. Be advised, though, that, just as yesterday with Swagbucks, I am an Amazon affiliate and if you click on one of the books and end up buying it I will get a percentage of the sale.

    So, what have you been reading lately. Leave me a comment and let me know. Happy Reading!

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    Posted by tink38570 at 8:38 PM CST
    Updated: Tuesday, 8 February 2011 9:14 PM CST
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