We believe the words of God in Deuteronomy 6:6-7:
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (KJV)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

CHEK Conference "Thank You!"

I wanted to THANK everyone who gave of their time to put on our local CHEK Conference this past weekend, June 22-23, 2012. 

WOW! I almost didn't go, after homeschooling more than 20 years and beginning to settle into the "over it" mode. You know when your in surviving mode instead of thriving.
I went at the urging of Gina Glenn who promised me I would love the speakers this year. (Funny I remember a time I would go for the vendors only.) This year was DIFFERENT! Although I did have a blast moving through the vendor area and seeing all the great stuff and mingling with wonderful people. My real motivation for going this year was a good old shot in the arm.
I needed my inspiration back and I GOT IT!!! The speakers were TOP NOTCH! 

I had thought it would be enough to go Friday only but after hearing Rick Green of Wallbuilders and Israel Wayne of Wisdom's Gate for the first time I knew I had to go back. It was obvious to us God had not only lead the Conference Leaders in their choice of speakers  but also providing for them to come. And we are so glad they did. Please keep bringing speakers with hearts and vision like theirs.

My teens LOVED the TEEN TRACK: Carol Topp's, Micro Business Class  and How To Publish Your Own Book. 
They too, were super inspired listening to Joel Grewe of HSLDA Joshua Generation

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! to ALL the  CHEK Conference Visionaries and Administrators. You brought to our area GREAT LEADERS to INSPIRE our families to keep the Torch burning BRIGHTLY in our homes for JESUS. I was reminded that I home educate out of obedience and of what a HIGH CALLING it is. 
I came home with "You Have But One Life To Give" resonating in my spirit and ready to once again, give it all for the Glory of The One I serve and owe my life to.

Although it was a small conference in comparison to the Midwest Conference in Cincinnati, I still couldn't be at two places at once, and knew I was missing some great breakout sessions as I had to choose just one. I regrettably did not get to hear Mrs. Ruth Smith of The Pilgrims Institute ( but I have in the past been privileged to sit under her tutelage)   and you can be sure my older children did go to her sessions and were blessed. She is a wonderful treasure and I was amazed and honored by her presence at our CHEK Conference.

 There was plenty to do and see and just enough time to do it all in. I will be back with my whole family next time. Hopefully I will encourage others to write next years conference on their calendars too. 

My two personal notes to remember for next year: 
1) Bring a sweater (  although it is 90 degrees outside it is air-conditioned on the inside.)
 2) coloring book/stuff etc... to busy youngest children in meetings.

In Service of THE ONE who set me free,
Alicia Ahlers

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review by Audrey Bolin : Starting a Micro Business for Teens by Carol Topp

“Starting a Micro Business”
by Mrs. Carol Topp
 A Review by Audrey Bolin, A Teentrepreneur exhibitor at the CHEK Family & Homeschool Conference

     This book is an awesome resource for any teen; especially those who are seriously considering the idea of starting there own “Micro Business”!  Mrs. Topp provides many real-life examples of teens that have already started their businesses. These help you realize that starting a successful business is an actual possibility. 

      If you want to start a business, but are not sure what you would like to do, you will surely find a solution to your problem in this book.  With over 20 micro businesses ideas, from tutoring to website developing, you will find something that is just right for you.

     Many businesses fail, because the owner did not start out on the right foot.  But, if you follow Mrs. Topp’s basic steps for creating a business and financial plan, you are sure to get a get start!

     I am a member of my local 4-H Means Business club and have recommended this book to all of the other members and I highly recommend it to you.  Also, I encourage you to attend Mrs. Topp’s “Micro Business for Teens” workshop, Friday, June 22 at 1:00pm in the Chapel.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review: Phonetic Zoo from IEW

Institute for Excellence in Writing.  Andrew Pudewa.

Both names are well-known and well-respected. Anyone who knows me knows that Mr. Pudewa ranks up there in my top 3 as far as conference speakers go.  His approach to teaching is very common sense.  I trust him.  I believe him.

I was thrilled to receive his Phonetic Zoo spelling curriculum, but a little nervous, too.  I will admit up front that I've never used a spelling curriculum with Ben (4th grade) before.  I usually pull vocabulary words out of our unit studies and sometimes use those as spelling words, using the Charlotte Mason method for spelling, which is a visual method. I think this method has worked well for Ben, so I haven't really sought out another way to teach spelling.  I wasn't sure how I would feel about using a spelling curriculum.

I was nervous for no reason.  Phonetic Zoo is a great, common sense method to teaching spelling. Once again, Mr. Pudewa has not disappointed.

Before choosing which level to review, I was to give Ben a spelling placement test.  Phonetic Zoo comes in 3 levels: A (grades 3-5), B (grades 6-8) and C (high school).  Ben easily placed in Level B, so that's where we began.

Upon receiving Phonetic Zoo, I quickly discovered that it is mostly an auditory program. No problems there, Ben is a very auditory child. The set comes with audio CD lessons and lesson cards (47 lessons in all) for a cost of $99.

The lesson cards use animals for cues into spelling rules (thus the name, Phonetic Zoo).  For example, lesson 1 has a picture of a caiman for the "ai" rule and a manta ray for the "ay" rule. On the front of the card, along with the animals, are sample words from each level (A, B, and C) to show the rule.  On the back are the spelling words for the lesson, again, all 3 levels.  Each lesson has 15 words.

Ben worked very independently through the first 10 lessons.  He began by studying the lesson card. Then he popped in the audio CD to listen to the lesson. As he listened to the audio CD, he would write the words in list form. There is an immediate spelling check after the lesson.  If he missed any words, he would repeat that lesson the next day, only moving on after spelling 100% of the  words correctly for 2 days in a row.  Ben generally spelled the words the correctly by the 2nd day, so this easily makes this a program that can be used one lesson per week for a year.

Another awesome addition is that every 5 lessons, the spelling words come from a list of words your child has misspelled during the week in other subjects: writing, history, science...anywhere you have seen misspelled words. The words are recorded during the week on the blank cards, and then tested by mom, dad, or a sibling.

Phonetic Zoo also comes with a DVD seminar where you can sit and listen to Mr. Pudewa speak about how we learn to spell. It's very interesting, but is for you to watch, not your children.  And it's long, so set aside some time.  It's like attending a conference on spelling.

Ben enjoyed this method of spelling as much as any. He is a natural speller and I suspect would do well whatever method is used. But if I had to choose, I would choose Phonetic Zoo. The method makes sense to me, and I love anything that helps Ben work independently.

So to paraphrase Andrew Pudewa: "If you like the spelling program you are using, and that program is working well to teach your children how to spell, then keep doing what you're doing.  But if it's not, then do something else."

I highly recommend Phonetic Zoo as your "something else."

Disclaimer:   I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are those of myself and/or my son. This review is also posted at www.benandme.com --Marcy Crabtree

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: NaturExplorers Wonderful Wildflowers

Spring has sprung! And nowhere is this more evident than during a nature walk. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and the sun is shining bright. It's the perfect time to get outdoors and explore nature!

Why not begin with the loveliest creation of all--those blooming beauties--wildflowers? If you're like me, you might not be sure where to begin. NaturExplorers' Wonderful Wildflowers, from Shining Dawn Books, makes it easy to figure out!

This awe-inspiring unit study lays out a plan perfect for one nature walk or a dozen. With living books, carefully selected non-fiction books and websites, tons of hands-on activities, notebooking pages, and a complete list of ideas for how to learn about and enjoy wildflowers, your students will be begging for more nature walks and creating a lifetime of memories while photographing and drawing all of their discoveries.

For the Charlotte Mason fan in you, this unit (and all NaturExplorers units) also incorporates studies of artists and their works, composers and their works, and poetry! Toss in a little Bible, geography and lots of science, of course, and you have a pretty well-rounded unit study! But even if you aren't a Charlotte Mason or unit study homeschooler, you will find NaturExplorers units to be of benefit to your homeschool. They can easily be adapted into your science curriculum or just used for fun nature walks!

NaturExplorers are perfect for homeschooling families, co-ops, nature clubs, 4-H clubs, scouting troops, and any other groups of children interested in exploring God's amazing creation. Although they are geared toward elementary-aged children, there are ideas within the unit making it easily adaptable for younger and older children as well.

Take a peak inside Wonderful Wildflowers.

Purchase this downloadable unit for $8.95 here.

Disclaimer: I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are those of myself and/or my son. This review is also posted at www.benandme.com --Marcy Crabtree

Review: First Form Latin

Founded in 1994 by Cheryl Lowe, Memoria Press is a family-owned and operated publishing company, specializing in simple and easy to use Classical Christian educational tools for private and home schools. Their products are designed to be used by families and teachers who have no background in the subject matter, but with the highest academic standards in mind.

First Form Latin is an introduction to Christian Latin for grades 5 and up. First Form uses the grammar-first approach, suitable for the grammar stage student, making it appropriate for all beginners. After mastering First Form, the student will have a solid grasp on the six indicative active tenses of the first two verb conjugations, five noun declensions, first and second declension adjectives, and 185 vocabulary words.

The uniqueness of the First Form Series lies in two features:
  1. It is committed to the trivium model of teaching grammar systematically in order to facilitate retention and understanding, rather than topically, to facilitate translation.
  2. Extensive workbook exercises ensure skills mastery and rapid recognition of inflected forms.
Features include:
  • Designed for students and teachers with no Latin background
  • 8x8 inch Student Text, small, concise, unintimidating with 34 two-page lessons on facing uncluttered pages
  • Limited vocabulary of 185 words
  • Full-size Student Workbook with 4-6 pages of exercises per lesson
  • Vocabulary derivatives and detailed explanations of Latin sayings
  • Grammar catechism for daily rapid-fire review
  • Milestone markers for each grammar objective
  • Everything-you-could-possibly-need teacher manual

Completion of First Form Latin is equivalent to one year of high school foreign language.

First Form Latin plus DVDs & Flashcards can be purchased for $115.00 at the Memoria Press website. This set includes: 
  • Teacher Manual
  • Student Text
  • Student Workbook
  • Quizzes and Tests Pronunciation CD
  • plus Flashcards and DVDs
You can purchase the set without Flashcards and DVDs for $55. 

Disclaimer:   I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are those of myself and/or my son. This review is also posted at www.benandme.com --Marcy Crabtree

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Lost Skills of Homemaking- Modesty Matters by Malia Russell

Modesty Matters will once again be a welcome vendor at CHEK!  This article is contributed with permission by Malia Russell of Homemaking 911, a Featured Speaker and vendor herself!

I would like to share a new curriculum that I am using with Anne Mary (9) and Sarah (12) so that we could learn sewing together at home this fall as part of their “Home Economics” Credit. We purchased a curriculum that is made to teach basic sewing skills. Each lesson is brief and on video so that it is very visual- an easier way to learn sewing. With basic instruction and easy-to-follow instructions my daughters are learning sewing machine basics, different types of stitches, fabrics, and other sewing essentials. Over the course they will learn to sew an apron, a skirt and other projects as well. We are really enjoying it so far.

Here is an article written by Deanna L. Carmichael, the founder of the curriculum.

The Lost Skills of Home Making

In 1985, the year I graduated from high school, my school had a department named “Home Economics”. It was equipped with two teachers, a kitchen and a sewing studio. Inside these walls students learned nutrition, cooking, baking, meal planning, many levels and facets of sewing, budgeting and shopping for a home.

I confess, I rarely stepped foot into this department. Then again, I didn’t need to. Unlike most of my friends, I had a mother and sister that practiced these skills and willingly shared all of their knowledge and talents.

The year I graduated from high school I also learned of another way to educate children: Homeschool! I remember well my reaction, “That is great, I’m doing that!” A few years after my graduation, the high school Home Economics department closed forever leaving decades of girls (without domestically skilled mothers) out in the cold; or at least out of the kitchen, sewing room and often out of the home in general.

As time went on, I went away to college where I sewed on-the-side for friends and to make a little money. I graduated from college, met my husband, got married and began having children.

Roughly 2 decades after my high-school graduation I found myself still sewing for friends. Now, however, these were other home-school moms who had NO idea how to sew. They often would lament to me about how immodest clothes in the stores were. I was surprised at how few of these ladies thought of sewing as a viable alternative or even an aid in altering clothes off the rack.

One day I was sitting outside with my neighbors watching our children play in the cul-de-sac. My dear friend Jen was telling me how annoyed she was that she could not find feminine dresses for her daughter like my girls wore. I suggested she try to sew them. Her response was “SHOW ME!” So she came over and I made a dress while she watched. She agreed that she could do it, especially if I came over to her house and showed her again while she sewed with me, like on a video. Hmmmmm…

Over 20 years since Home Economics was removed from public schools, Modesty Matters, LLC is striving to provide home educators with the means to teach themselves and the next generations these valuable skills through video, text and patterns. From an array of single titles including teaching dresses, swim wear, bloomers and more, to an entire 65 lesson video course, text and projects called “Home Economics, you Can sew!” Modesty Matters can teach YOU too!

In the future Modesty Matters plans to develop video courses on cooking, baking, cleaning, advanced sewing and more. You can visit us as www.modestymatters.net to learn more.

Deanna L. Carmichael

Modesty Matters, LLC.

Home Economics: You CAN Sew

Article originally posted on the Homemaking 911 website here.

Review: SchoolhouseTeachers.com

I wanted to let you all know about a new feature at The Old Schoolhouse
Magazine-- Schoolhouse Teachers.

You may have noticed that the new digital version of  TOS Magazine is open access, meaning it is free to everyone now. There are even FREE apps available for iPhone, iTouch, iPad, Kindle Fire, and Droid

In the past, when you subscribed to the magazine, one of the side benefits was
the Teacher's Toolbox. We enjoyed  the Teacher's Toolbox, especially the freebie unit study each month, but we didn't really utilize it much more than that.

Things have flipped. While the magazine is free, the paid subscription service is now an updated version of the Teacher's Toolbox, called Schoolhouse Teachers.

But it's so much more than the old Teacher's Toolbox ever was.

One of the coolest features of Schoolhouse Teachers is that there are now real live teachers for several subjects who are providing lesson plans on a daily or monthly basis. You just log on and see what's there for the day or the month. It's easy peasy to use.

Here is a sampling of what you'll find for June's lesson plans:  

Kim Kautzer (WriteShop) teaches descriptive writing with her lessons on Describing a Season.

Cathy Diez-Luckie (Figures in Motion) begins a summer study on dinosaurs and fossils with hands-on activities.

Matthew Glavach (strugglingreaders.com) helps your struggling reader with Learning a Different Way.

Judi Munday (helpinschool.net) helps your special needs learner with When Your Child Continues to Struggle.

Terri Johnson (Knowledge Quest) is taking your students on a tour around the world!

Diana Waring (Diana Waring Presents) is the history teacher, and is introducing us each month to the different servant of the Lord in her history series, Life Lessons from Christian Lumanaries.

David Chandler (author, Homeschool Study Companion series) explains how to find areas without formulas for High School Math

Malia Russell (Homemaking 911) shares weekly Home Economics lessons for all ages.

Kimm Bellotto (In the Hands of a Child) combines lapbooking with art appreciation!

Adam Andrews (centerforlit.com) takes your students through a thorough literature study of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Joey Hajda (friendlychemistry.com) continues with his weekly Friendly Chemistry Lessons.

Joy Sikorski (singingmastermind.com) uses summer camp songs to teach weekly voice lessons in her Music class!

Carol Topp (homeschoolcpa.com) is leading an 8-week Career Exploration Class.

Trevor Mizrahi (Premier College Guidance) shares his expert advice on how to choose a college.

Mike Sims (nanocivics.com) shares weekly lessons on Chocolate Economics.

George Escobar (Advent Film Group) introduces lessons in Film Making, with his series, Discovering God's Stories.

Andy Harris (author,  HTML / XHTML / CSS All in One for Dummies ) shares lessons in Technology.

Be sure to click here to see the tour of the site. It will give you a great overview of how the site works.

Friends, all of this changes month to month with brand new lessons and it only costs $5.95/month. In fact, you can try the first month for just $1. 

In addition to the montly lesson plans, you also get all of the Schoolhouse Planners (releasing later this month) and all of the past Schoolhouse Expos on mp3, plus a new ebook dowloaded for free.

If you are a current subscriber of the TOS Magazine, you have been grandfathered in until your subscription runs out, so be sure to take a peek.You can email customerservice@thehomeschoolmagazine.com for your log-in information.

If you will be attending the 2012 CHEK Family and Homeschool Conference, June 22-23, be sure to stop by the TOS Vendor Booth to receive a 3-month subscription FREE, with no strings attached!

Review: A+ Tutorsoft


Just the word can send many homeschool moms running for the hills. In our 5 years of homeschooling, we've tried at least that many math programs. We've yet to use the same math curriculum 2 years in a row. Nothing seems to click well with my son. 

So I was excited to get to try A+ Tutorsoft, in exchange for an honest review. My son loves the computer, and since this is a software-based program, I had high hopes it would click with him.  

A+ Tutorsoft is interactive, easy to implement and, for the most part, does the teaching for you. We received the Interactive MATH Full Curriculum CD for 5th grade. On the CD were the year's worth of lessons with a suggested lesson plan, interactive flashcards, printable worksheets with practice problems, printable exams, and a solutions guide.

My son has not minded using this math program. Because it is self-paced, he has not found it overwhelming, even though he has found it challenging. I have appreciated that when I see an area where he needs extra work, there are the printable worksheets for reinforcement. But if he is getting a concept easily, he can move on to the next lesson. We have also appreciated that lessons are presented using audio, visual and textual presentations. Sometimes he needs all 3 in order to understand. The solutions manual gives step-by-step instructions -- very helpful for this mom who doesn't care for math much more than her son. When I found myself needing to explain why he didn't get an answer correct, I appreciated very much having those step-by-step instructions to show him.

The graphics are nice and simple, with splashes of color, but not childish. My son noticed that there weren't the cartoonish characters common in many software and online math programs we've used. Because our math review schedule has been a bit on the heavy side this year, we aren't even halfway through this year's CD, but we will continue using it through the summer. I am seeing definite progress and he doesn't complain about doing math with A+ Tutorsoft. That's a testimony that many of you won't quite understand. But trust me, it's speaks volumes. Looking forward to what's coming, I am quite impressed with the subject matter taught in the 5th Grade curriculum -- Fractions, Percents, Geometry, Algebra, Graphs, and Probability. 

If you're like me and would like a program where your child can learn independently, with little time investment in planning and implementation for you, at an affordable price, and with an interactive, comprehensive program, A+ Tutorsoft might just be the answer you're looking for.

Click to see a demo video of A+ Tutorsoft.
Click to learn about A+ Tutorsoft's online option.

Disclamier: I received this product for free, in exchange for my honest review. Opinions are those of myself and /or my son. This review is also posted at www.benandme.com --Marcy Crabtree

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Review: Full-Time Parenting A Guide to Family-Based Discipleship by Israel Wayne

If you're a typical working parent, according to Israel Wayne's newest book, Full-Time Parenting A Guide to Family-Based Discipleship, you are spending just 19 minutes per day looking after your own children.

Pair this statistic with the even more sobering statistics mentioned in his book regarding the number of hours a child spends away from home during the day, hours and type of media consumption and exposure to "non-parental information and life-changing worldviews" and you may not be surprised that according to Mr. Wayne, "65-88% of all Christian youth leave the faith their freshman year of college. "

It begs the question, "Did they leave long before then?"  What is a concerned parent to do?

In Full-Time Parenting, A Guide to Family-Based Discipleship, Israel Wayne provides a blue-print to take back the raising of your own children and move from being a "part-time" parent to a "full-time" parent while establishing family-centered discipleship.

He addresses several areas of concern including

  • How to Be the Parent (chapter 1) "Train their hearts, not just their behavior."
  • What is The Father's Role (chapter 4) "Keep an eternal perspective."
  • Helping the Hyperactive Child (chapter 6) "Training is for the child's good."
  •  Family Culture (chapter 8)
  • Technology, Keeping Your Marriage Strong, Education, Parenting by Grace, and more.

 Mrs. Israel Wayne (Brook Wayne) also contributes a chapter on "Living on One Income."  Her insightfulness in addressing underlying reasons couples tend to reject the idea of living on one income and her gentle admonishment to learn to be content is honest and convicting.

An especially poignant and helpful chapter by Israel Wayne's mother, Skeet Savage, provides encouragement, comfort, advice and hope for the single parent.

Though I feel I am a "seasoned" parent and have long embraced the idea of being a full-time parent, Full-Time Parenting, A Guide to Family Based Discipleship was a good reminder that there is still work to be done.  I can only say I wish I had had this book 24 years ago when we started our family!

Full-Time Parenting, A Guide to Family-Based Discipleship is the cure for distracted parenting and is the answer for the cultural war on the family.  I highly recommend!

You can find out more about Mr. Israel Wayne below.

 Israel Wayne, Homeschool Speaker

(This review is also posted at www.acherishedkeeper.com.  I received no compensation or free product for this review.~ Gina Glenn)

#Homeschooling, #Parenting from a Biblical Worldview, Israel Wayne Keynote Speaker

Israel Wayne Keynote Speaker for CHEK Family & Homeschool Conference

Homeschooling: Preference or Conviction?
Why do you homeschool? What will define success for you when your children are grown? What is a Biblical philosophy of education? This keynote session focuses on what is really important. Israel will share what has helped his family avoid burnout and frustration in their many years of homeschooling.

Homeschooling From A Biblical Worldview
Are your children prepared to face the “real world”? Learn how to equip your children to stand against the flood of secularism and humanism that threatens to drown them. What is your worldview? How will you transfer a Biblical worldview to your children? How can you be more effective than the media and popular culture? Discover how to teach your children to view the core subjects (and all of life) through the lens of Scripture.

Full-time Parenting--Workshop
The average parent spends about 19 minutes per day interacting with his or her child. In contrast, a student in public schools receives over 12,000 hours of instruction by high school graduation, mostly by secular teachers who are shaping their worldview. When you add to this the 7.5 hours per day that students spend engaged in digital media, plus time with peers and extra-curricular activities, it is clear that most Christian parents today are not the most influential factors in the lives of their children. Learn what it takes to move from being your child’s part-time baby-sitter to becoming a Full-time Parent.
 Israel Wayne is a homeschooled graduate who is leading his generation in defending the Christian faith and developing a Biblical worldview. He is the author of the book Homeschooling from a Biblical Worldview. Israel is a regular columnist for Home School Digest and Brush Arbor Quarterly, published by Wisdom’s Gate (www.WisdomsGate.org), where he currently serves as the Marketing Director. He is also the site editor for www.ChristianWorldview.net.
Since 1995, Israel has been a popular conference speaker, and a frequent guest on national radio programs discussing home education and cultural issues from a Biblical perspective. Israel’s family began home educating in 1978 and has been featured in national and international publications including TIME Magazine, The Arizona Republic, The Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal. Israel has been featured as the keynote speaker at various state homeschool conferences, with over 5,000 in attendance.
Israel and his wife Brook were joined in marriage without dating and share their testimony of God’s faithfulness on an audiobook titled, What God Has Joined Together. Israel and Brook, also a homeschool graduate, are home educating their seven young children, and Brook is a regular columnist for An Encouraging Word magazine.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Carol Topp, Homeschool CPA & Micro Business for Teens at CHEK


Carol Topp, Homeschool CPA
Is the author of The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization and Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out,as well as several ebooks and magazine articles helping homeschool leaders. 

Carol runs a home-based accounting practice specializing in tax preparation, small/micro business accounting, and nonprofit accounting. Carol has presented numerous workshops on money management, business start up, taxes, budgeting, nonprofit management and homeschooling to various community, church and homeschool groups. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and two daughters, both homeschool graduates.

Carol is a Featured Speaker at the 2012 CHEK Family & Homeschool Conference and a Highlighted Speaker in the "Teen Track"!   Her workshops are:

Micro Business for Teens: Starting a Micro Business
Encouragement for teenagers to start and run their own micro business. They will learn a lot while earning some money. A micro business can be started quickly and easily with no debt from home. Presenter Carol Topp, CPA has counseled dozens of teenagers starting a business and will discuss business plans, ideas. Teenagers and their parents are encouraged to attend together!

How You (or Your Child) Can Be a Published Author
It is easier than ever to become a publisher author. If you have something to say, write it down and tell the world. Author, Carol Topp will show you how to do it quickly and inexpensively. As the author of Business Tips and Taxes for Writers, and other titles, Carol will explain the process to become a published author.

Record Keeping, Transcripts and Plans for Homeschool High School
As a homeschool parent approaches the high school years, their direct involvement in teaching may decrease as the student become more independent, but the record keeping increases. Carol Topp will discuss how to make a high school plan, what is required for graduation and for admittance into college, how to keep records and create a transcript. Parents of high school and even junior high students will find this helpful and encouraging that homeschooling in high school is possible.
                                  HomeschoolCo-ops                        Cover                    
Carol says, "Sign up for my newsletter and receive Best Financial Practices for Homeschool Groups!"  
You can do this by visiting Carol's site, Homeschool CPA today!   

Visit Carol's other site, too! Micro Business for Teens  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Review: The Mighty Works of God by Ruth J. Smith

"Today, the study of history has become a study of dates, facts, names, and events, with no consideration for their cause and effect. This approach to history has produced students who regard history as dull and boring and who have some knowledge of facts (or effects) of history, but no understanding of the cause of history and the individual's importance in His Story. Studying history with an effort to determine the cause and effect of the events gives life to the subject." ~Ruth J. Smith

The Might Works of God  history series is a child's Providential History of the United States of America, written by Ruth J. Smith (Pilgrim Institute). This series contains 3 volumes, written for the elementary-aged student:

The Might Works of God: Self Government ($17.95) In this first volume, readers learn about Christ as the cause of Self-Government, the historical effect of the Bible in English, God's Providence in the discovery of the New World, the people and events which God used to produce a new nation, and the expansion of that nation. (sample pages)

The Mighty Works of God: Liberty and Justice for All ($19.95) This volume focuses on Christ as the source of liberty --both individual and national. Students will be mesmerized by the individuals and events God used to bring forth American liberty, as well as America's growth and expansion. American patriots, explorers and mountain men, used by God to open the West, are captured in this part of His Story. (sample pages)

The Mighty Works of God: Divine Providence ($19.95) The third volume in the series demonstrates God's hand in the placement of men in nations, the fundamental laws of self and civil government, Christ and His gift of internal liberty, Christianity's answer to pagan ideas, and the westward movement of Christianity and liberty from Europe to America. The Revolutionary Period records abundant evidence of Divine Providence as Americans struggled to preserve the precious gift of American liberty. Individuals and a nation at liberty move forward into a fascinating era of invention and progress, leading into the 20th century and the worldwide struggle to protect liberty against the threat of tyranny. (sample pages)

Available for each volume are the Student Texts, as well as a Teacher's Guide with CD-ROM containing resources such as maps, charts, and coloring pages. The Teacher's Guide sell for $34.95 each.

The Student Texts are lovely, with beautiful illustrations and written in language that is both engaging and appropriate for elementary-age students. The first volume is written for your younger students, with a larger font and simpler vocabulary, but as you progress through the series, the fonts grow smaller, while the vocabulary increases to a level of upper elementary.

While just reading the Student Text with your students would provide an interesting and engaging time of learning for your family, do not miss the Teacher's Guides. These guides are nearly 200 pages and will guide you in developing course objectives and lesson plans. They are filled with leading ideas, thoughts for reflection and reasoning, ideas for incorporating the CD-ROM printables, and ideas for supplemental activities, such as field trips.With these guides, and the accompanying CDs, you will have the tools necessary to build a comprehensive elementary Christian History curriculum for your homeschool, rather than just having 3 books to read aloud.

Although the language is age-appropriate for younger to middle elementary, this curriculum in no way "dumbs down" history for your students. In fact, it does quite the opposite. The Mighty Works of God presents history as His Story, in a an engaging, thought-provoking format, that will leave both student and teacher wondering what part in history God has written for their own lives.

If you are interested in teaching American History from a Providential perspective, to elementary-aged students, you will love this series. Mrs. Smith's obvious passion and knowledge of American History as His Story are both refreshing and contagious. She does indeed, "give life to the subject".

Disclaimer: I received this product at cost to me, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine. This review is also posted at www.benandme.com --Marcy Crabtree

Thursday, June 14, 2012

DAY 10 of 10 Days of Giveaways! Literature Bundle

Today's the last day and guess what? We have more giveaways than days!

So, today we'll have more than one giveaway!

Here's our first one:

Both volumes have 5 star ratings on Amazon!Visit the Amazon links (titles below) for a preview!

Annals of Wynnewood I, Shadows and Secrets by Chautona Havig

 AND Annals of Wynnewood II, Cloaked in Secrets by Chautona Havig literature for young adults.

About the author:
Chautona Havig began her love affair with words as a very young child. An early reader, she spent most of her childhood devouring books at the speed of a paper grocery bag full each week during summer vacation. Blessed with a vivid imagination, she often escaped into worlds of her own creation.

When asked about her first attempts at writing a novel, Chautona said, "The summer I turned thirteen, I wrote the most insipid, pietistic, self-righteous pile of wasted paper that anyone has ever attempted to put on paper. Looking back, I guess it was a good reminder of what I don't want to write! Twenty years later, in 2001, I suddenly felt compelled to write, and I haven't stopped since."

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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Dads Make a Difference!

It was a quick trip to the park on a Saturday evening. Nothing major, just a few minutes with the family to get out the hyper-activity. I didn’t notice it right away, but once it sank in, there was no stopping the waves of sadness, frustration, and anger. It might not be a big deal to you, but it still stands out to me. It doesn’t have to do with what I saw, but rather, what I didn’t see! Out of all the families at the park that night, there were no fathers. Not one. Plenty of moms with their children, playing around the monkey bars, walking the track, throwing a Frisbee – but no dads.
There is a crisis of leadership among families – especially of godly, male leadership. Fathers are absent, too busy working to be present. Fathers are passive, too stressed and tired to be involved. Satan is attacking homes by attacking fathers… and it’s working! The US leads the world in fatherless families. Nearly 35% (over 1/3) of kids are without a father in their life. Twenty million children growing up in ‘head-less’ homes. The annual cost to the government due to fatherlessness: $100 billion.
STATS: Dads DO make a difference! 
Dad, you might not feel like your presence is very important. You might not feel like you are making a difference, but you are. Fatherless kids are more likely to:
- Be convicted of a violent crime (2,000% more likely than those with fathers)
- Be involved in a teen / unwed pregnancy (700% more likely)
- Be involved in homosexuality, rape, sexual deviance (1,400% more likely)
- Be a high-school dropout (900%)
- Attempt suicide as a teenager (500%)
- Run away from home (3,200%)
- Abuse drugs / alcohol (1,000%)

The Kind of Dad who Makes the Difference

...as seen in 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12 Text (v11): “as a father doth his children”
1.He is Gentle (v7) – he might be rough around the edges, he might have been a good candidate for the Hell’s Angels… but that doesn’t mean he can’t be gentle. Being gentle is being tender or mild. It is to interact with others through the grace of God. His tone (his words) should be gentle; his touch should be gentle (affectionately hugging his family).
2.He Gives of Himself (v8) – he is like a nursing mother who doesn’t want to give her baby anything but herself (no bottles, no formula). He bares himself in honesty and transparency with this family and lives sacrificially for them (Ephesians 5:25).
3.He is Gospel-Centered (v9) – not only is he a saved man, but he is familiar with the cross because he daily dies to himself. He knows God because he’s not afraid to be associated with Christ’s death, suffering and resurrection (Philippians 3:10). The Bible and the gospel aren’t separate from him, his life is lived for the glory of God.
4.He is Godly (v10) – he patterns his fathering after his Heavenly Father. Growing in holiness, dealing fairly with others, acting above board, without accusations. He seeks the Divine attributes as his own. He desires God’s presence and power upon Him (Matthew 6:33). He depends upon God more than he does himself or his work. He loves others more than they love in return. He is a good representative of God, the Father, to his children.
5.He Guides (v11) – he is actively building his family with spiritual coaching, emotional comfort, and Scriptural challenges. He is not a passive, ‘do as I say-not as I do’ kind of father. He is present and involved, walking with them over the mountains and through the dark valleys of life. It’s sad that many adolescent grow up without a guide to ‘forsake’ (Prov. 2:17) – even in so-called Christian homes.
6.He is Good at Reproducing Himself (v12) – whether consciously or not, he prepares another generation not only to fill his shoes, but also to surpass his spiritual devotion and to be great for God. He understands that his calling is far bigger than the here and now. He realizes that what he does (or doesn’t) affects eternity – and not just his eternity, either! Amazingly, he overcomes the enemies of pride, career-pressures, laziness, financial burdens, media bombardment, procrastination, sensual culture, selfishness, and more. His success isn’t measured during his lifetime, nor the next – his rewards will wait until all is tallied at the judgment (Matthew 25:23).

Patrick is the chief editor of the Community Connection blog & Partners for the Gospel.


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