Reading is one of my favorite past-times. It always has been. I don't have as much time as I used to, but I still try to read whenever possible. I've tried to instill this love into my kids, too. My daughter loves to read, and my son is really changing his attitude about it since his reading ability has improved so much.

When we found out we would have the pleasure of reviewing a new book, we were excited. As a member of the SRC, we received the book Tunnel of Gold, by Susan Marlow and Kregel Publications.
Susan Marlow began writing books at around age 10. She is the author of Circle C Adventures and Circle C Beginnings series. These historical fiction books take place at a California ranch in the late 1800's. She spent time researching for her books by travelling to the area. She writes, "The best part about writing historical adventure stories is tramping around the actual sites. I have a gold pan, but it has not seen much action. Panning for gold is a lot of work!" (goldtownadventures.com).
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Tunnel of Gold is the 2nd book her newest series, Goldtown Adventures. This series is for kids ages 9-13, but is a fun read of all readers, I think. The books start out in 1864, as the California Gold rush is coming to a close.

The main character is Jem, actually Jeremiah Coulter, a 12 year old adventurous boy that traveled with his parents and sister, 10yo Ellianna "Ellie" Coulter. Their parents were 49ers, in search of a new life out west and hoped to strike it rich. In the Goldtown Adventure books, Mr. Coulter is offered the position of Sheriff, and he accepts. His panning days are over and keeping the peace was first and foremost. You can read about the characters here. The Coulter's are a christian family which is evidenced throughout the book.

We learn throughout the book the struggles that ensued those that came to California to strike it rich. There were many heartaches, pains, and death. Jem and Ellie's mom died of influenza sometime after getting out west Both characters in the book face difficulties that were common in that era. But the book is not about the difficulties, but about the adventures.

Tunnel of Gold takes Jem, his sister, and his friends on adventures, or should I say misadventures, that are exciting to read through. You will read how Jem experiences gold mining, attempted cattle branding, the struggles and disagreements within the small mining town, and daily chores. 

Susan Marlow writes in a way that is easy to read but remains interesting. The language she uses is fitting for the era, which I like. It may be a bit challenging for readers, but it'll keep them on their toes figuring out what the different phrases and vernacular mean. Like surly, woolgathering, coyote hole, cussedness, frog in the puddle, and hobnob. Reading together will allow for discussion and explanation for younger readers. 

There is also a free study guide that can be downloaded right from Goldtown Adventures website. This guide offers activities, games, vocabulary, and history lessons for Tunnel of Gold. Like learning about the life of a hard-rock miner, making a miner's stove and donuts, too. The answers are at the back of the study guide along with links to explore more information.

How To Purchase: A personalized copy of Tunnel of Gold is available from Goldtown Adventures for $7.99 +s/h. You can also purchase both the first and second books as a set for $13.95 +s/h.

What We Thought: Each of us took time to read Tunnel of Gold. We enjoyed the story line and how Susan Marlow weaved historical facts throughout the book. Reading the book inspired us to do some research of our own. Because this was the second book and we haven't read the first yet, some of the pieces took time to understand, but it's still exciting. Reading the character descriptions on the website helped a lot.

The adventures that Jem chose were fun, and a little dangerous, too. Which made reading fun for my son. They were all typical for the period and Susan Marlow's era oriented language was fun to read. 

We utilized the free study guide after reading the book. This allowed us to already have an idea of what the story was about as well as evaluate reading with and without the guide. I must say, the guide really brought out points to think about that we otherwise might have skipped over, or lost along the way. The games and activities were fun and took us back to another era of time. It was fun. The vocabulary listed in the study guide was very useful. In some ways, I wish that we had used the guide along with reading the book the first time, but not using it encouraged us to find our own answers : ^ )

I believe you will find the Goldtown Adventures series a wonderful addition to your library. The 3rd book of the series will be out soon, too. You can read a sample of Tunnel of Gold here

To read more reviews on Tunnel of Gold and the first book, Badge of Honor, click below.
 
 
You may recall that last year there was a lot of hype about the end of the world as we know it : ^ ) This was all based on the Ancient Mayan Calendar. Scholars and laymen alike, have studied the Mayan's culture through artifacts and knowledge gained through the years, to learn what they could about this interesting civilization. For whatever reason, one of the findings was that their calendar ended on some random day in 2012. 

Of course, you know, that was not true and we are all here to talk about it. But learning about the Mayan Civilization is an incredibly interesting subject. They were an intelligent people that seemed to study and know about many things. That is why Dig-It! Games  created the Mayan Mysteries interactive PC/Mac/iPad puzzle based game.
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Dig-It! Games was founded by Suzi Wilczynski, a professional archaeologist. She created Dig-It in 2005 after years of field work and being a middle school teacher. she found that traditional classrooms did not provide options for students to learn "about the fundamentals and importance of archaeology" (Dig-It!). She developed games that "promote creative thinking, independent learning, and cultural understanding" (Dig-It!)

The first game created was Roman Town in 2010. We were able to review this in 2010 as members of SRC (formerly TOS). We had fun playing it and did learn alot about Ancient Roman history. Roman Town received industry praise for this first game.

Mayan Mysteries was launched in 2012 and is available as a browser game for the PC or Mac and there is even an iPad App!

Mayan Mysteries allows your child to travel to this mysterious civilization and help Professor Alex Quinn and his niece and nephew, Fiona & Charlie, solve a mystery. Along the way of this fun adventure, your child will learn interesting facts about the Maya. He will discover artifacts, decode hieroglyphs, visit ancient Maya cities, explore the Maya calendar, and much more.

The game is historically accurate, too. Along with Suzi Wilczynski at Dig-It!, Mr. Robert Sharer was also a professional archaeologist and even discovered the tomb of an ancient Mayan king in 1993 in Honduras. Imagine the knowledge he had to contribute to the Mayan Mysteries game!

This journey through history is fun and educational. As your child enters the playing field, she will be introduced to the main characters and then given instructions. Each phase of the game offers intriguing messages, fun games, and a challenge to find hidden artifacts. And throughout the game, your child is learning about the Mayan Civilization in a fun, interactive, and interesting way.
Mayan Mysteries is designed for students in grades 5-9. There is a nice teachers section that offers support with helping your student learn the most from Mayan Mysteries. There are also grade-level specific in game evaluations. Fun and educational......

How To Purchase: Mayan Mysteries is available for a single user for $21.99 (PC/MAC). The iPad App is $9.99.

What We Thought: We liked Mayan Mysteries ok . I like the amount of history that is available. The graphics seemed a little behind the times, but the game moved along well without hesitations. It really was fun and we enjoyed learning.

My son and daughter both played the game on their own. My daughter made it through the entire game pretty quickly. She liked playing it but did get very frustrated at the end when the game didn't really end. It was basically "stay tuned for the next episode of. . .". She didn't like that. She said she worked hard to get to the end to solve the mystery, and there was no closure. She added that the games were not consistent with the story line, which she thought would have added to the experience. There were also no instructions for the games. She was able to figure them out, but didn't like, for example, in one game she typed the answer several times before realizing how the game actually wanted the answer. My daughter also adds that the information needed to play the games came after the game in the trivia that followed. For example, descriptions for specific tools needed to excavate were not given until after the game was played. This didn't make sense. My son just had fun and didn't really say much either way. He's 13, lol. But he did like it, which says alot with all of today's technology.

You can watch the video above of the game to see for yourself. You can also read more reviews below.
 
 
If you've been around any homeschooling support groups, you undoubtedly have heard about Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). It was started by Andrew Pudewa, who graduated from the Talent Education Institute in Japan (Suzuki Method) and has a Certificate of Child Brain Development. Mr. Pudewa is the principal speaker for IEW's writing curriculum's and offers every student an almost individual teaching regardless of which class/curriculum is being used. 

We have had the opportunity to use IEW's Speech Boot Camp with our speech and debate club. Mr. Pudewa's humor engages each student and encourages them to want to learn the lesson and complete the work. With the SRC, I have had another opportunity to use an IEW product, Teaching the Classics DVD Course.
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Teaching the Classics was written by Adam & Missy Andrews after they were approached by neighbors for guidance. Missy Andrews' education is in literature and they were a homeschooling family. They worked together and created this wonderful curriculum.

What it is: Teaching the Classics (TTC) is a guide to help you teach your children or students the Socratic Method for Literary Education. Why did the Andrews' choose to use the Socratic Method? The following will explain.

The Socratic Method is named after Socrates. The method or technique is to study by asking questions. The limitations of just sitting and listening to instruction is evident in so many subjects. Students listen and do, listen and do, and then, after a time, don't remember what they listen to and ultimately will not be able to do it. With the Socratic Method, students are engaged and interacting while learning. The Socratic Method also "allows parents and teachers to put instruction in literature in the service of instruction in character" (TTC, pg. 12). It allows the parents to instill their philosophy and worldview into the lesson, instead of being told what to think or how to think. Finally, the Socratic Method allows you to focus on the "essential element of education, which is teaching the student how to think" (TTC, pg. 12).

What it is not: Teaching the Classics is not a literature guide to every classic story you will read. It does not tell you what the author meant by a certain sentence or about the foreshadowing intended to further the piece.

And back to what it is: This curriculum teaches almost the exact opposite. It allows you and your student to learn how to analyze any story you read, or show you watch (if you choose). TTC uses short stories to guide through the various elements of literature. Using these stories, Mr. Andrews demonstrates how to use a specific set of questions, known as the Socratic List (found in the Appendix A in the back of the text) to find answers that will bring meaning and understanding to whatever piece you are reading. There is also a reading list in Appendix B that the Andrews' enjoy.

The Lessons are based on the Five Elements of Fiction: plot, conflict, setting, character, and theme. The first lesson prepares you for literary analysis. The following is the table of contents:

INTRODUCTION – Why Literature?

LESSON 1: PREPARING FOR LITERARY ANALYSIS
Context and Authorship
Literary Structure
Literary Style
Paul Revere’s Ride, by H.W. Longfellow
The Socratic Method
The Socratic List

LESSON 2: PLOT and CONFLICT
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Plot and Conflict in Adult Literature

LESSON 3:SETTING
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling
Setting in Adult Literature

LESSON 4: CHARACTER
From The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Character in Adult Literature

LESSON 5:THEME
Martin the Cobbler by Leo Tolstoy
Theme in Adult Literature

PRACTICUM: Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

A CURRICULUM FOR LITERATURE
Scope and Sequence
Daily Lesson Plans
Story Chart
APPENDICES
Appendix A: The Socratic List
Appendix B: Reading Lists
Appendix C: Glossary of Literary Terms
Here is a video clip from the DVD set.
You can view a sample of TTC here. You can also see a sample lesson plan here.

Teaching the Classics can be completed in 6 weeks and can be used for middle and high school students. The text is a 97pg. spiral bound soft cover book and there are 4 DVD's. 

How to Purchase: IEW offers Teaching the Classics DVD Seminar and Workbook for $89.  It may seem like a bit of money, but the lessons learned are for a lifetime and are truly ones that will be worth it.

What We Thought: Having used IEW products before, I had an idea of what to expect. Though Mr. Pudewa is who I was familiar with, I was confident that he would not offer TTC's if it did not meet his standards. Mr. & Mrs. Andrews have created an exceptional guide to utilize for literature. Last year for our co-op group, I taught a classical book discussion. Or should I say, I tried to teach a classical book discussion. I searched the internet for study guides that would help me teach this class. One that would be engaging and fun. Though I did use 2 different studies for the class that were suitable, they were not exactly what I was looking for. My students were not engaged and were actually quite distracted throughout each of the classes. I actually did not want to teach the class anymore. After reviewing TTC, I'm considering having the class again. I believe that with what I have learned from Mr. Andrews, I will have better skills to know how to analyze literature instead of just figuring out what the author meant and then forgetting it.

We used TTC as a family. We watched the videos together, read the stories, and then answered the questions and were really pleased with all that we learned. My kids enjoyed interacting together to learn about the story. It was fun to participate in and I can say we were very blessed. 

My daughter says, "I liked the concept. It's a good idea to teach how to analyze literature so that more kids will enjoy reading and learning about what they have read."

The one thing we weren't excited about were the videos. Not Mr. Andrews, as he was entertaining and engaged his live audience and viewer. But the video was done in a rather drab room and the audio wasn't the greatest. I would have preferred to see a presentation, I think. But this is just a minor thing. We loved the overall curriculum.

Check it out for yourself and also click the banner below for more reviews of IEW.
 
 
Moving Beyond the Page is a company that I have been introduced to as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. They offer a comprehensive, literature-based curriculum that utilizes unit-like studies in Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies. Their curriculum can be purchased in a full-year set, or as individual units, and is available in as physical products or in an online format. For review, we received two individual unit studies, both for age 11-13. The first, British Poetry, uses the online format, and the second is a physical product, The Solar System.

Moving Beyond the Page (MBTP) is written by a group of women who are "highly qualified in the field of education" (MBTP). Their experiences include direct classroom education, educational publishing, and curriculum development. But their most important experience, in my opinion, is that each of them are homeschool moms.  Educating their own children gives them that first hand, personal knowledge of what works and what doesn't.  Moving Beyond the Page offers a glimpse at who these lovely authors are on their About The Authors page. They've put together curriculum based on the needs of children, not by grade, but level. MBTP encompasses different elements from some of the most common teaching styles, including Waldorf, Montessori, and Unschooling. But the core of MBTP is aligned with the Constructivists Theory of Learning where learning is "an active process in which the learner actively constructs knowledge as he tries to comprehend his world" (MBTP). To read more about MBTP's philosophy, click here.
PictureCurriculum Structure Overview
Every level of MBTP is divided into 2 semesters or Concepts, depending on the specific level. These are then broken into units, and each unit has a set number of lessons.
For age 11-13, the level that the units we received belong, there are 2 semesters, 5 units, 10 lessons, & a final project.

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age 11-13 Structure
So what makes Moving Beyond the Page special, different from any other program? Their curriculum "is a complete homeschool curriculum designed to challenge and stimulate creative, hands-on, and gifted homeschoolers". It is:
Research-Based 
MBTP utilizes the "latest educational and curriculum strategies". View them here.

Fully Developed
MBTP offers "ideas and activities that are crafted to ensure your child not only
gains understanding but learns to apply it to his world".
They promote "critical and creative thinking

Promotes Higher Level Thinking 
MBTP takes learning to a different level. It 
It "promote comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation".

Exceeds Standards 
It not only meets state and national standards, "Moving Beyond the Page
strives to enable critical thinking, creativity, and higher level thinking".

Comprehensive or Supplemental Curriculum 
Curriculum is available as a full-year package or individually
to supplement an existing curriculum.

(MBTP Curriculum)
As I wrote above, Moving Beyond the Page can be purchased as a full-year curriculum or as a supplement to your current curriculum. Because MBTP has many levels and is based on the student's ability and "readiness", there are no specific grade levels, but recommended age levels. MBTP offers guidelines that can help you determine which age level is appropriate for your student.

The units we received fall into the age 11-13 level. The following is a brief guideline from MBTP for this level.
Our first unit was British Poetry. This unit is part of concept 2, semester 2, and is unit 5. We received online access, which gives 95 days to complete the unit. Each unit is designed to be done in approx. 19 days, so 95 should be ample time to finish. 

This unit also includes a physical copy of Poetry Rocks! Modern British Poetry by Michelle M. Houle. The student uses this book throughout the unit. It's nice that it isn't necessary to find it and purchase separately.
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The Table of Contents for British Poetry includes how many days are suggested for each lesson.
  • Lesson 1: Rhythm and Meter
  • Lesson 2: Voice and Rhyme (2 Days)
  • Lesson 3: Graphic Elements
  • Lesson 4: Figurative Language (2 Days)
  • Lesson 5: Allusions (3 Days)
  • Lesson 6: Tone
  • Lesson 7: Themes (2 Days)
  • Final Project: Autobiography of a Poet (3 Days)

This unit teaches about British poets in the modern era and how they began to break away from the standards of the day and wrote their own, free-flowing, poems. The student learns about each of the elements of poetry and enjoys activities along the way. Each lesson offers activities with options. This is a nice way to engage your child's style of learning. There are hands-on work available for each lesson, links to outside sources or sources within MBTP that further the lesson. There are also PDF files for each lesson.

For the online unit, there is the option to view it as a child (to work through the lessons) or as the parent/teacher, which includes the answers. 

The second unit we received is The Solar System. This belongs to age 11-13 concept 2, semester 2, and is unit 3. It includes the book 13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System by David Aguilarbook. 

The hard copy (physical) unit copies are all soft cover and spiral bound. The Solar System study is 149 pages and includes the "Parent Overview" which, again, has the answers and a description of what the student will be working on. 

The Table of Contents is:
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  • Lesson 1: The Latest View of Our Solar System
  • Lesson 2: Our Sun
  • Lesson 3: Earth, the Third Planet (2 Days)
  • Lesson 4: Eyes in the Sky and Eyes on the Sky: Satellites and Telescopes
  • Lesson 5: Meterorites and a Natural Satellite: the Moon (2 Days)
  • Lesson 6: Other Terrestrial Planets
  • Lesson 7: Gas Giants (2 Days)
  • Lesson 8: Dwarf Planets and Asteroids
  • Lesson 9: Men on the Moon and Beyond (2 Days)
  • Final Project: Solar System Model and Test (2 Days)

The Solar System, your child will learn facts about our solar system, including the 13 planets--4 terrestrial ones, 4 gas giants, and 5 dwarf planets. They will learn how technology has allowed us to explore the solar system. Each lesson includes a list of "stuff you need", "ideas to think about", "things to know", reading and questions, and activities. The activities include options so your child can choose which fits best with his learning style. She could also complete all of the activities, if desired.
How To Purchase: Moving Beyond the Page offers individual unit studies for age 7-9 through age 11-13, at this time. The prices vary, depending on subject and age/level but seem to be less than $50 each, with the online package being slightly less than the physical one.

The British Poetry online package that I received is priced at $27.88. The physical package is $31.94. The Solar System physical package that I received is priced at $33.94. The online package is $29.88.

Moving Beyond the Page also offers full-year packages for ages 5-13 at this time. This summer they will be adding curriculum for ages 4-5 and 12-14, that are available for viewing now. The prices for the full-curriculum vary by age and range from $409.73 (online ages 5-7) to $974.64 (physical package, age 11-13).

What We Thought: In general, we have not used unit-type studies because of the amount of time that often is necessary to prepare a lesson. However, with Moving Beyond The Page, the lessons are organized well and straight forward. There is some preparation necessary, but overall, I was pleased with how clear the directions were. 

We enjoyed MBTP. Because my son is 13 now, the units we received were appropriate. Now that his reading is at his age/grade level, we have been working on his writing skills. The prerequisites for MBTP age 11-13 include being able to write "multiple paragraphs on a topic". We have been striving to reach that goal but are not quite there yet. So we worked together through each of the lessons. He loved the activities for The Solar System. He thought they were "cool" and actually wanted to do the work. That is a huge plus. Having the different options for the lessons is a nice touch. He is a hands-on student, and it was nice to have that included. British Poetry was received well by him, as well. Which surprised me. We've worked slower through it, in part because of his regular curriculum requirements, and in part because I didn't want him getting overwhelmed. He did have fun creating various poems and learning more about the different elements in poetry. 

My daughter breezed through the lessons for fun. She liked the way everything was set up. Except, and I would have to agree, the fact that with the online versions of the studies, each PDF had to be downloaded individually to be viewed. For each of the lessons, there is a section of learning, then a button click to the next section, and so on. You cannot view the entire unit together. I would have preferred the ability to view the all at once. Though there is a table of contents and you can choose which lesson you want, I like to see the whole picture and then move forward. Both of my kids are the same way. But this was the only negative that we could see with MBTP. The price is a little more than we pay for curriculum, but for supplements, it's comparative to other products in price.

I liked it as a supplement to a set curriculum. I'm not sure that I would choose the use it as our sole curriculum. But as I said above, we are not typically a unit study family.

You can view samples of the curriculum on the Moving Beyond the Page sample page. This will give you an idea of each of the online or hard copy styles. You can also read more reviews from SRC members by clicking the link below.

Thanks for reading : ^ )
 
 
When you are angry or frustrated, what is your reaction? Is it a godly reaction or human reaction? Unfortunately, mine is not always as it should be. Following behind a slow driver when I'm in a hurry or waiting for the dog to come in when it's freezing out and I just want to go to bed, my reaction is sometimes not so pleasant. I say things I shouldn't and feel the frustration throughout every inch of my body. Then I become frustrated with myself because I know that I did not act in an appropriate, Christian way. 

But what about when we do or say things we shouldn't and someone else is watching? We often are on our best behavior when around other people, doing the right thing and appearing like we are walking in a godly fashion. That one time when we do have an outburst of irrationality, ridiculousness, or stupidness as I like to call it, and someone sees, the action becomes larger than can be imagined because we are supposed to be Christians. We are not supposed to act like that, or say that, or respond like that. Our sin stands out like a red stain on a white shirt. To ourselves, to our fellow believers, and especially to those not yet believers, there are certain behaviors that a Christian should not have.

To ourselves and to fellow believers, this is because we know what The Lord says and know that when we accept The Lord as our Savior, we are to "put off. . .the old man, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24). Meaning we should no longer be selfish, deceitful, or lustful in our actions. We have made a promise to our Savior to strive to be righteous and holy in all areas of our lives, sacrificing our sinful nature for Him, as He sacrificed Himself for us. Though we are not completely free from sin, because we are human, we should do our best to walk as He wants us to. 

To those that are not yet believers, the "correct" behavior of a Christian is placed on a pedestal and will be virtually unattainable by anyone in the non-believers eyes. No one will be "good enough" in actions. This may be because non-believers have a certain opinion of what or how a Christian should act based on fallacies they have learned, much like a stereotype.  There will always be something that can be found for them to say "see, he isn't better than me" or "You're not supposed to act [say things] like that". 

Unfortunately, some Christians, over time have only perpetuated those fallacies, leaving everyone, believers and non-believers, confused and dismayed. This causes the line between good and bad, or right and wrong, to be grayed to some. For this reason, Christians may find themselves behaving a certain way when by themselves or with friends, and another way while at church. Or they may say or do something that appears right while around others, but then change their entire demeanor at home. This is, in part, because the sin of the old man is not easily forgotten or left behind, and with the lines of right and wrong sometimes skewed, it's easier to sin when no one is looking. But isn't it still a sin?

We must remember that even though no person may be around to see our sin, God is. He can see our every thought, our every action. Our words and actions reflect more than just our thought at that moment in time, it represents our hearts. As Christians, we must always be ready to "answer every man". We must strive to keep our words, actions, and thoughts tuned to The Lord's heart. If we do, we won't need to be concerned whether we said or did the right thing. . .  because it will be according to His words and heart, which are always Holy.

What are your thoughts about this subject? I'd love to hear from you.
 
 
There's a saying that we cannot see a rainbow without a little rain. I believe that The Lord is always with those that love Him and set their eyes upon Him. I believe that sometimes the rain is not necessary to see a rainbow, like this one that I took on a beautiful sunny day. But, though I didn't see any rain, I know that our trials or "rain", do not need to be visible to others in order for them to be real. Only The Lord truly knows our hearts and our needs. He knows our pain, our weaknesses, and our rain. 

Thank you, Lord, for knowing my heart. Thank you for knowing me, and loving me still.

Thank you for Your promises and Your faithfulness.

Thank you for the beauty that we can see all around us if we just "turn our eyes upon Jesus". . .
 
 
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Moon from 2/26/13
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Moon from 6/24/13
I guess it really is a super moon : ^ )
No matter the size it appears, it is The Lord's awesome creation. 
"Then God said,
'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night
and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years;
and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth';
And it was so.
Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day,
and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.
God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth,
and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness.
And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day."


Genesis 1:14-19
 
 
Geography is a fundamental subject taught in every classroom across America. However, it is often combined with history, and it's importance is reduced to merely a reference and not an actual place on the map. When I was in school, Social Studies was the subject and, though we looked at maps, the historical facts took precedence and the maps became, seemingly irrelevant. But homeschooling has changed that focus for me. I've realized that geography is just as important in life as history itself.
 
Memoria Press believes this, too. They have created "a unique geography program designed for students pursuing a classical education" (Memoria Press), Geography I. This curriculum focuses on the geography of the Ancient Roman Empire: the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. Historical content is given in the "History's Headlines" and "Tour of Today" sections. "Your student will learn countries and capitals of today and relate them to the ancient lands of the Greeks and Romans, deepening his understanding of both the past and the present."

Before I write about Geography I, I'd like to tell you a little about Memoria Press. You might remember that I've reviewed products for them before. They are a family run company that "produces simple and easy-to-use classical Christian education materials for home and private schools". Their products include K-12 curriculum, including Jr. Kindergarten. Their subjects include Christian Studies, Penmanship, Grammar, Literature, Logic, Languages, Phonics, Science, History, & Geography. Every product "is characterized by 3 things: simplicity, quality, and affordability" (Memoria Press). The simplicity lies in the ability of every family to be able to teach the subject, regardless of familiarity with the subject. The quality is demonstrated by the level of academic standards that exist within each subject. And the affordability is proven by the reasonable cost of the curriculum and the continued desirability by users. You can read more about Memoria Press and their products here.

As members of the SRC Crew, we have reviewed Memoria Press' Famous Men series, Latina Christiana, and Logic series. We have enjoyed each of the products, and have actually used them many times since the review. Being able to review Geography I is a wonderful complement to our previous reviews.
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Geometry I is designed for students in grades 4-8. I believe it's appropriate for use with high schoolers as a supplement, too. 

The Geometry 1 curriculum consists of 5 workbooks/texts: the student text, student workbook, teacher guide, United States student workbook, and the United States key, quizzes, and tests.

Each of the workbooks are consumable, but can be purchased individually for use with more than one child. The countries and history that correspond to them are combined into 3 sections: Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. In the text, there is also a section of full color flags.

The first chapter of the student text introduces your student to geography. Definitions and explanations of hemisphere, country, capital city, resources, and climate are given. For climate, each of the world's climates is described: tropical, dry, temperate, continental, polar, alpine. It's simply stated, which makes it very easy to understand. Each section of the text begins with a brief overview of the area. Memoria Press has included pertinent information for each and writes it with information that will interest your student. These overviews include sections titled "Story of the Land", "Land of the Story", Fast Facts, maps, and photos. Though brief, the information is enough to get your student introduced to the area and form possible connections to it with historical facts he might remember.

For example, in the Europe overview, Constantinople, the Vikings, and the Caspian Sea are mentioned (below photo on left). Most students, I believe, will recognize these names/titles and remember something they may have learned about them. The information might be brief, with only a word or two, but it is enough to stimulate the thought process : ^ )

The descriptive sections that follow will then expand the lesson and include "History's Headlines", Fast Facts, photos, maps, and a story or two, all specific to that country (photo on right).
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The United States student workbook is a brief overview of the US states and and capitals. The teachers key includes the answers to the questions, quizzes, and tests that are in the student workbook. 

The student workbook is broken into 8 regions: New England States, Middle Atlantic States, Great Lakes States, Southern States, Plains States, Rocky Mountain States, Southwestern States, and Pacific States. There are then 4 sections that the student will go through. The first section is identifying the states on a map, the second is matching the capital with the state, the third challenges the student to match the state with the capital, using the correct spelling, and the fourth section the students must identify each state and capital on a map. It is a nice overview. It does not offer historical facts or information, which is ok for a review, I think.

HowTo Purchase: Memoria Press offers Geography I for $48.00. which includes all 5 books. That's an excellent value for a full year curriculum. You can purchase the individual books, if desired.

What We Thought: We liked Geography I. We used it as a supplement in our eclectic homeschooling world. We were learning Medieval history this year, so we connected as much as possible. Because there are Biblical references throughout the student text. we were able to use it also as a companion to our Bible lessons. I really liked the lessons because I do not remember geography well from high school.

These are my daughter's thoughts: "I like the way that the student text is set up, it is easy to read and understand. The text covers all the essential information about each country: location, capital, climate, resources, etc. I do not like the way the questions are presented in the student workbook, although there isn’t really anything wrong with them; I just don’t like them". I asked her what she didn't like about the questions, and she said that she didn't think that she could do them well without referencing the text. Since the lessons are suggested to be done 2-3 countries per week, she felt that by the end of that section, the student might not remember where the countries were on the map. I could see her point, but feel that each student is different in how they remember and we, as homeschoolers, typically know the best method to use to help our children : ^ )

You can view samples of the Text, Table of Contents, and the Workbook too see how this might work for your family. I'm confident you will see the benefits of this excellent geography curriculum.
 
 
 
I was sent an email by a wonderful friend that included a link to the following video. This video is scientific in nature, with language and images. It offers a video clip that is was compiled through a special scanning process to allow visualization of the growth of a baby from conception to birth.

Alexander Tsiaras is the speaker and narrator of the video. IT IS INCREDIBLE! As he said "so perfectly organized a structure, it was hard not to attribute divinity to it" and "The marvel of this information; how do we actually have this biological mechanism inside our body to actually see this information?".

The answer is written throughout The Bible, and can be seen in all of creation. Genesis 1 tells the history of creation. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth..." In Job, God questions Job "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth", "Do you know the time when the wild mountain goats bear young?". Job knew the strength of the Lord and his own ignorance, and he repented, "I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know...I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." (scripture from Job 38-42).

In Romans 1: 20, it is written, "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse." This scripture, of course, tells us that He is "clearly seen" in everything but those that are unwilling to see "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things." (Romans 1:18-23)

The following video is real, and if we would allow our eyes to be open we will clearly see the Glory of God in our unique design
So what are your thoughts? I believe The Lord has created each and every one of us, in His infinite wisdom. Though this video can't possibly reveal all there is about the human body (because only He knows all of the answers), it is incredible to see the growth of the baby and realize, it is He that created everything.

Thanks for reading : ^ ) Have a blessed day!