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Families Again
Monday, 30 May 2011
To All Who Serve or Have Served Our Country...

Thank You!


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Posted by tink38570 at 9:54 PM CDT
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Sunday, 29 May 2011
What Our Mission - BCM International - Is All About
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: BCM International

Most of you know that Sarah and I direct a ministry called Good News Mission.  Good News Mission works with the low income folks in our town. What some of you may not know is that Good News Mission is part of a much bigger ministry called BCM International. BCM stands for Bible Centered Ministries and this just happens to be our 75th anniversary. To celebrate, BCM has created a special video that briefly tells the history of our mission and what our mission is all about. This video is very special because I am very privileged to know many of the people featured. Please enjoy the video and if you would like more information on BCM International just click on any one of the hi-lighted links above.


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Posted by tink38570 at 11:06 PM CDT
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Saturday, 28 May 2011
The Compassion Bloggers Are At It Again!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Compassion International
Compassion Bloggers: Philippines 2011
The Compassion Bloggers are taking another trip. This time to the Philippines. Five bloggers and three trip leaders are going to be blogging about their interactions with Compassion International and the Compassion kids in this great island country. It is always a blessing to read the posts of those who are contributing. Just click on the banner above to get to the official trip site.

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Posted by tink38570 at 10:50 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, 28 May 2011 10:51 PM CDT
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Friday, 27 May 2011
Read for the Heart - It'll Do Your Heart Some Good!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review


This is my last TOS Homeschool Review this year. It is rather sad. I am returning to the TOS Homeschool Crew for another year, though, so there will be a lot more reviews to come!

However, as the saying goes, I've saved the "Best for Last". At least one of the best. It's one of my favorite items this year anyway.


But enough chit-chat. So what is this great item? It's Sarah Clarkson's book Read for the Heart published by Apologia.

I can hear it now, "What! Another book?!".

Yes, another book, but it is a good one. It's not just a book ~ it's a book about books ~ good wholesome books that we should all have in our family libraries.

Let me tell you a little bit about the TOS Homeschool Crew. Sometimes they tell us about an upcoming item, let you research it a little and then fill out an interest form if you think it would be good for your family. You don't always get it if you fill the form out, and, sometimes, you are chosen to get an item even if you didn't fill out a form for it. They just want to know interest.

Anyway, when I looked at this book on the Apologia website, one of the first things that I noticed is that, in the appendix, the author had a complete list of G. A. Henty books. Now G. A. Henty has written some great historical fiction books but isn't a really well known author. I've seen lots and lots of lists of books that are "must reads" or that you "have to have in your children's libraries". I've learned to take lists with a grain of salt. However, when I saw that this book had a Henty list, I knew that it had to be different so I filled out the interest form.

And I was right! This book is different. Sarah Clarkson begins by making a case for why families should be reading good literature. She talks about what has happened to literacy in America and how to change that in your household. She continues with how to change your reading lifestyle and how to use her book to help you get started. She then lists some great books to consider adding to your library.

But it's not just a list of books, it's a list of great books that are in different genres of children's literature. Sarah Clarkson recommends: good children's picture books; "Golden Age Classics"; children's fiction; fairy tales and fantasy; history and biography; spiritual reading; poetry; and music, art and literature. But they aren't just lists. She explains why this author is a good author and why this book is a good book. Not only does she explain why the author and book is good but why we should read those types of books.

She doesn't stick with just the usual authors, either. She has done her research and mentions some unusual or not well known authors and books. G. A. Henty is an example, as is Gene Stratton Porter.

I really can't say enough about Read for the Heart. I have pored over her book and enjoyed reading about books that she grew to love as a child. I've been intrigued by the reasons why she likes a specific genre or author. And, last but not least, I've enjoyed reading some of the recommended books myself.

I'm going to tell a little secret about myself and give you, my readers, some neat information. Copyrights on books expire after so many years. If the author or family doesn't pick up the copyright, it goes into public domain and any company can print the book and sell it. It also means, though, that any book can be reprinted on the internet and be downloaded for free. There are lot's of online sites that offer free classics. And I'm talking classics like Tom Sawyer, Pride and Prejudice, etc. Recently we bought a used tablet - you know, one of those hand held computer's and I have downloaded a bunch of free books to read. 

So, what does that have to do with Sarah Clarkson's Read for the Heart? Well, I have been so excited about some of the titles that she's recommended, I've searched for them and downloaded them! So far I have read three of the books that she's suggested, The Wind and the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling and Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter. I'm now reading another Porter novel, Girl of the Limberlost. And, get this, I downloaded them all for free! Starting a family library of good books doesn't need to cost a lot of money. Now I'm reading Just So Stories to the boys and they love it. It has been great family time and that's exactly what Sarah Clarkson wants ~ a family that reads good wholesome literature together and on their own.

As you can see, I'm really excited about this book. It has begun to change my reading habits and the reading habits of my children for the better. And, it has also brought good family time back into our lives. This book is a must have!

So, how much is this book? Just $17.00! You'll make up for the cost of it by downloading all of the recommended books that you'll find for free. Just click here or on any one of the above hi-lighted links for more information on this and other great books by Apologia. Click here to find out what other TOS Crew members thought about this book. Happy Reading!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of Read for the Heart in order to read and review on my blog. 


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Posted by tink38570 at 5:45 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, 27 May 2011 11:24 PM CDT
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Thursday, 26 May 2011
Eagle's Wings: Considering God's Creation
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review


Okay, this is one of those, "I would have never tried this until I reviewed it and now I love it", type reviews.

I think I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that, although I always liked science, I was never any good in my science classes. That's why I struggle sometimes to teach science to my kids. This year, however, I have been very blessed to review a couple of good science resources. Considering God's Creation is one of the best! I am so glad that we were chosen to review it.

When we began homeschooling with John Allen, we found a very popular and well written science curriculum for him to use. We loved it  and he loved it and we have chosen to keep using it. Children, as you all well know, can be different. What works with one doesn't always work with another. I think Joshua may someday be ready for the same books that his brother uses, but not yet. So, I have been piecing together science things for him to use. A unit study here, a lap book there, reading assignments added in, a book found at a used book store - you get the picture. When we received Considering God's Creation and I began to look it over I realized that this was the one for Joshua.

Let me tell you what I like about this course and then I will tell you how Joshua has reacted to it.

  • This book is really easy to use. There are actually two books - a student book and a teacher's manual. The teacher's manual is very well written and easy to follow. I like easy to follow! I don't have time to run around looking at different resources and trying to figure things out.
  • It covers nine scientific areas (is that what you would call them) in 36 lessons. The topics include Creation; The Universe: Stars, Sun and Planets; Non-Living Things: Rocks and Minerals; Weather; The Plant Kingdom; The Animal Kingdom; Animal Anatomy & Physiology; and, Man: Made in God's Image. I like the fact that there are nine different areas in one year to study. I see the advantage of some other curricula that study one area in a year, like Space or the Plant Kingdom. We have done that type of study with John Allen. However, Joshua is younger than John Allen was when we started and I really don't think that he is ready for an in depth study of something yet. This will give me (and him) a feel for what scientific areas he is interested in and then perhaps the year after next we can do an in depth study.
  • The experiments really do use things from around the house. Okay! This is soapbox time! How many times have you gotten a science book that claims to have experiments that use "things from around the house" but then realized "around the house" really meant a drive "around the town" to find the things needed? Well, Considering God's Creation really does use things around the house. We're talking like a shoe box or a cereal box type stuff. The student book often has things that you have to cut out and use as well.
  • The lessons are very flexible. I mentioned that there are 36 lessons. Each lesson could take up to a week to do but many lessons will (or could) take you more than one week. In each lesson there is always a list of things that you need (like I said above - simple things), some vocabulary words to put on flashcards for your kids, a song or poem to help reinforce what is being learned in that lesson (did I mention that a CD comes with the books?), an introduction, an activity (science experiment), notebook activities (I'll cover that in a minute), Bible readings that go along with the theme, Evolution stumpers (a really neat little section), review, and a Digging Deeper section for further study if wanted or needed. It sounds like a lot, and it kind of is for some kids like Joshua, but the teacher's manual is so well written that it can easily be broken down into how ever many days that you want. If you do science three days a week. Break it down into three days. If that's too much, extend it into the next week. If you have kids that really thrive on science, do the Digging Deeper stuff. It's all easy and very flexible.
  • Do you remember the old Certs Mint commercials - "It's a breath mint, no it's a candy mint, it's two, two, two mints in one"? Well, I am having the same problem with the notebook activities (no, I don't think it's a mint Laughing). One day I look at it and say, "Oh this is a neat notebook activity". Then the next day I'll say, "Oh I like this lapbook section". Finally I realized that it's not a notebook or a lapbook it's "two, two, two books in one". They call it a notebook, but it has a lot of lapbook type things in it. This is really the core of the curriculum. This is where the kids really learn a lot. Joshua loves it. And, don't worry, there are no fill in the blank, boring, worksheet type pages. They are all fun, colored pencil, cut out, scissors, glue, crayon etc. type stuff. The other neat thing is that you can copy the pages of the student book (for your family) so if you have more than one child doing the study at one time, or you have youngers that you want to use it with in a couple of years, then you don't need to buy more workbooks. The student does the activity then you store everything in a notebook, so at the end of the year(s) you'll have a really neat notebook to look at and remember your study.


All right, I think I've gushed enough about how much I like Considering God's Creation. Joshua really likes it as well. This is right down his alley. As I mentioned above, we are going to use this next year with him. Remember, if a review item makes it into our everyday homeschool it's got to be good! If he really likes it (and I'm sure he will) and if we don't want to use one of those "study one topic in a year" studies that John Allen did, I may even use this for two years. The second year we can do some of the digging deeper things. That's the beauty of this curriculum. You could use it in a variety of ways. Do what I said above or extend each lesson and make it a one, two, three or more week lesson by doing the notebook and then the digging deeper studies. Or, if you have children of different ages using it at one time, you can do the basic stuff together then, while the youngers are doing the notebook, the olders can be doing digging deeper stuff.

AAHHH Surprised- I've got to stop exuding and finish this review!

Now we get down to the nitty-gritty. This curriculum is adaptable for kids in 2nd through 7th grades and the student book (that can be copied for kids in the same family), teacher's book, and the CD are...get ready for this...just $29.95 Smiley . If you plan to use this in a co-op situation or if you just want your kids to have separate student books they are just $13.95 and the audio CD's are just $3 if you want an extra one of those. The company that makes Considering God's Creation is called "Eagle's Wings" and has all kinds of great curriculum. You can check it all out by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. As always, different members of the TOS Homeschool Crew reviewed this item and you can find out what they thought by clicking here. Happy Home Educating!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent free copies of the Considering God's Creation Teacher's Book, Student Book, and audio CD in order to try out and review on my blog.

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Posted by tink38570 at 4:47 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, 26 May 2011 11:17 PM CDT
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