Friday, April 28, 2017

Words of Truth

Trials and tribulations are a fact of life. Everyone goes through them, some try our faith greater than others. Sometimes the trials that we are faced with knock us to the ground. This past week I have been dealing with a "knock you to the ground" kind of trial. Keeping hold of ones perspective is sometimes very difficult to do. The flood of emotions are raw and real. Your mind races. You fight to remain in control of a situation that is out of your control. It is in these times that I am so grateful that I have someone that is BIG enough to deal with any trial that I may face. This beautiful quote pretty much sums it up. 

"God did not promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, nor sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way."

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Drive Through History® ~ A Review

My daughter has been working through Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”  from Drive Thru History® over the past weeks. Who would you say is the most significant person who has ever lived..? Join Dave Stotts as he explores the Gospels, the life of Christ, and shares the truth of scripture. The total run time is 486 minutes. The content is designed for all ages. 

The set covers the Gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Dave Stotts does a fantastic job of captivating the Gospels in a way that teaches as well as entertains. This Drive Thru History® set includes 18 episodes, each lasting about 30 minutes. 

Episode 1: The Historical Landscape
Episode 2: The Announcements
Episode 3: Jesus is Born
Episode 4: Jesus Grows Up
Episode 5: Jesus Starts His Ministry
Episode 6: Jesus Returns to Galilee
Episode 7: Jesus Begins His Miracles
Episode 8: Jesus Teaches with Authority
Episode 9: The Sermon on the Mount
Episode 10: Jesus Travels the Sea of Galilee
Episode 11: Jesus Travels North
Episode 12: A Final Trip to Jerusalem
Episode 13: Jesus Arrives in Jerusalem
Episode 14: The Last Supper
Episode 15: The Trial of Jesus
Episode 16: The Crucifixion of Jesus
Episode 17: The Resurrection of Jesus
Episode 18: Who is Jesus?

Students will get a true sense of life and history back in the time that Jesus was living. The DVD episodes utilize a wide variety of visual learning tools such as maps, paintings, models, timelines, as well as actual footage from Israel. It is truly an adventure. On his travels, Dave Stotts, takes students to over 50 ancient sites to give the student visual understand of Israel and its geography. Dave does a great job at bringing the Gospels and the historical aspects of  this very important time in history to life. Having never used a Drive Through History® series before I was not sure what to expect. Well, it exceeded my expectations. 

In addition to the almost 9 hours of video included in The Gospels ~ The Extraordinary Life of Jesus of Nazarethstudents will be able to browse through the 118 page study guide that accompanies the set. Included in the study guide are fabulous photographs, pictures, and artwork. The study guide is broken down into the 18 episodes with each including study guide material containing:
  • a famous quote
  • a summary
  • discussion questions
  • scripture reading
  • side road (interesting added commentary)

"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is
not fish they are after."
~ Henry David Thoreau ~

A sample of the discussion questions that students will find in the discussion guide are, "Discuss the evidence for the actual location of Golgotha--the place of crucifixion." and "What does the word 'apostle' mean?". 

My daughter said, "Dave Stott's Drive Through History® is in many ways educational and spiritually profitable. He not only teaches you with the love of Christ in mind but passion as well. There is so much to learn in these information packed videos. He is quite entertaining, funny but yet serious too. His humor will lighten the mood and make something that may seem dull to young eyes, quite entertaining. There is so much to learn and why not learn such an important subject as this with a fellow brother of the Lord." 

I thoroughly enjoyed the episodes that I watched. Once I started it was so hard to not want to finish. I will most definitely be using this Drive Through History® set with my other children this summer. This a fantastic addition to your homeschool experience. It would be great for the whole family to experience together or for a group setting. I will definitely be checking out other Drive Through History® curricula. I cannot wait to share this great find with my friends. 

To read more reviews click here. 

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Planet 316 ~ A Review

Daily Bible Jigsaw from Planet 316 has turned into a fun daily iPhone break for me. Players piece together beautiful pictures with Bible verses to encourage you as you go about your day. Daily Bible Jigsaw is an online jigsaw puzzle app that works either on Facebook or on mobile devices.

To start off lets talk about the following helps available:

  • the Rotate tool turns all of the pieces in the correct direction 
  • the Guide tool shows you a picture of the completed puzzle
  • the Sweep tool moves all the single pieces out of the way
  • the Magnet tool connects two single pieces together 
  • the Edge tool moves all of the center pieces out of the way

I found that using the helps make putting the puzzle together way to easy. These tools would be great for a younger child needing a bit of extra help. Since the puzzles are only 30 pieces these tools are not really necessary. 

The space given to put the puzzle together is quite small. I found that the easiest way to work around this is to place the middle pieces off to the sides while assembling the edges. You can manually rotate a puzzle piece by clicking on a particular piece until it is in the direction you want. 

The clock in the right hand corner keeps track of the time it takes you to complete the puzzle.

When you complete the daily puzzle it reveals a piece of the monthly puzzle picture. 

After completing the puzzle you are left with a beautiful picture with scripture and reference. 

The puzzles are quite small with only 30 pieces. My younger kiddos were easily able to complete the puzzles. 

You can challenge friends for the top times! At first I wasn't sure that I really liked this feature. I prefer to complete puzzles at a leisurely pace. Well, the competitive nature in me came out and I soon was on a race to get the top time. 

By clicking the calendar icon in the lower left hand of the screen you can see your times on each puzzle completed. 

Before you begin each days puzzle you will see this New Puzzle screen. I love the little saying such as "God Is Faithful Friday" and "Amazing Grace Tuesday."

Isn't this bunny the cutest thing ever? 

By clicking the crown icon at the top of the puzzle screen you can see the awards that you have been given as well as the total number of daily and bonus puzzles you have completed. 

In addition to the daily puzzles you can also work through the Bonus Puzzles. These puzzles have 56 pieces. 

 Once you complete puzzles the pictures are stored and you can share with others.

The one drawback is that the help tools and some of the other puzzles cost coins. You can watch videos to earn free coins. The videos are of other games that can be downloaded outside of Planet 316. Warning: some of the game previews shown are not appropriate for younger children. You can purchase more coins in the store. 

Overall, I was happy with this app. I would definitely recommend it, especially for kids. 

To read more reviews click here.

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Twitter:  @planet_316 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

That Damn Donut

A bit of a background can be found in my blog postings entitled, When Food Is Your Foe.

Imagine walking into your kitchen and coming face to face with a box filled with yummy donuts! As you stare at the donuts you know that you cannot eat one. In your mind you weigh the pro's and con's of eating one anyway. If you eat it you will satisfy a very normal and natural desire that everyone has. Though it is not the most healthy of foods, it is still food. Now for the con's. You know that if you eat that damn donut you will most likely suffer nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, body itching, eczema flare, and extreme fatigue. Well, this is a decision that my 14 year old has to make on a daily basis. It is putting it lightly by saying that food is her foe. For most of her life many foods have betrayed her body in a very negative way. Instead of her body accepting it as nourishment her body sees it as bad. As you eat one of the coveted donuts you know that eventually you will pay the price for this decision. But, in the moment all you can think about is how good the damn donut tastes. Eventually your body begins to rebel and betray you. Now imagine that damn donut causing a week long battle within your body. It seems so unfair and wrong. How can a simple donut cause so much bad? Well, it can!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Raw High Calorie Cookies

1 cup Nutivia coconut oil
(1,920 cal, 224g fat)
1 cup chunky Jif peanut butter
(1,520 cal, 128g fat, 56g protein)
1 10oz bag Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
(1,520 cal, 95g fat, 19g protein)
1 12.7oz bag Quaker Perfect Portions Maple Oatmeal
(1,280 cal, 24g fat, 48g protein)
1 cup Kirkland Almonds (finely chopped)
(680cal, 60g fat, 24g protein)
1 cup Aldi brand corn flakes
(130 cal, 2g protein
2 cups Orgain Plant Based Protein Powder
(900cal, 24g fat, 126g protein)
2 cups unprocessed honey from the hive
(1,024 cal)

I mixed all of the above together until well mixed.
I then scooped 1/4 cup serving into a cookie type shape. 
Put in freezer to get cold. Package separately to preserve freshness.
Take from freezer to eat.

This made approximately 24, 1/4 cup servings. Each cookie has approximately
374 calories
23 grams of fat
11.5 grams of protein

Friday, April 21, 2017

Specific Carbohydrate Diet

A dear friend of mine has a son that was recently diagnosed with Crohn's. She didn't want him to be on the traditional "medication cocktail" and decided to research and find a diet along with supplements to treat his Crohn's. Her son is doing great and is on very minimal medication. This is a video she created explaining the SCD diet. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

SpeedyPrep ~ A Review

Two of my high school age kiddos have been working through the material from SpeedyPrep. SpeedyPrep helps prepare students for taking CLEP tests. This program utilizes a flashcard, fill in the blank format in order to teach the subject material. There are 24 courses that will provide the student with the facts, concepts, and vocabulary to prepare for test taking success. This is an online program. 

If you are not familiar with CLEP tests in a nutshell they are exams that students can take, and if they pass, the student can receive college credit. Each CLEP test covers a particular subject and are based on College Board Standards.  

Wow, this review could not have come a more of an opportune time! My 10th and 11th graders have been studying to prepare for the entrance exams for junior college. This next year instead of utilizing co-op classes my kiddos will be taking classes at our local junior college for dual credit. So, even though this site is to prepare an individual for taking CLEP tests it was extremely helpful for my students that needed to take test in writing, reading, and math. 

SpeedyPrep offers material for the following subjects:



Foreign Language

History & Social Sciences



Psychology & Human Development

So how exactly does SpeedyPrep work? The program utilizes a fill in the blank flashcard system. The student simply types in the answer and clicks the submit button. If correctly answered it will display a green check mark banner with an explanation of the answer. If incorrect it will display a red banner with an "X" along with the correct answer and explanation. The flashcards are supplemented with short videos and explanations to questions asked. If a student is unsure of an answer they can just click the submit button and the answer and explanation will be given. Using the Mastery Learning Principle students with repeated exposure to the material will gain mastery. After correctly answering any particular question correctly multiple times the program will automatically advance you on in the particular subject you are working through. What is AWESOME about the program is that it will let you know when you have successfully mastered any given subject and are ready to take the CLEP test. No worrying about have I studied enough? 

And the added bonus, drumroll...if you do not pass your CLEP tests SpeedyPrep will refund your subscription fee! The student must have completed 90-100% of the material in any given subject to qualify for this refund. 

SpeedyPrep can be used on many types of devices (smartphones, laptops, tablets, ect.). Only one device can be used at any given time. The reason for this is because the program cannot record progress on more than one device at a given time. It should also be noted that if the student repeatedly gets questions wrong the progress bar isn't going to move. This feature is built into the program. This feature is in place so as not to advance students unless they really know the material. 

Some important information about SpeedyPrep is that:
  • SpeedyPrep questions are NOT actual CLEP questions
  • Watching the videos alone will NOT prepare you for the CLEP, it is merely a supplement
  • It is important that  a student take the high school equivalent of a particular subject before attempting to take a CLEP
  • This program is suggested for students 16 and older

My high schoolers concentrated on the math, composition, and literature portions of the program. Math tends to be their nemesis and is definitely what they are concerned about the most. This past week my high schoolers went and took the TSI exams at our local community college and both passed the reading and writing with flying colors!! What does this mean for them. Well, it means that they tested well enough to take college level courses while still in high school. We will most definitely be using SpeedyPrep to try and CLEP out of some of the basic classes this summer. 

I actually have enjoyed working through some of the subjects myself to refresh my knowledge in various subjects. 

For each subject you can choose "select all" to go through all of the sections or you can select individual sections in a given subject to study and focus on particulars such as illustrated below. 

After completing a given section within a subject it is recommended that the student use the "repeat missed questions" button. This will take the student back to all questions missed. Studying missed questions right after completing a section will help the student to remember the correct answers. 

If you have multiple children using SpeedyPrep you need to be aware that if two students study a single subject, the algorithm will record both students work. This is a bit of an issue if you have two kids needing to complete the same subject. 

One one thing that my kiddos and I did not like was that with most questions requiring the student to actually type in a response and if they misspell a word it is incorrect. For instance, in Psychology, if you misspell "Piaget" when asked about his theory on Cognitive Development your answer is wrong. This can be quite discouraging especially for names or words that have more difficult spellings. 

Overall, I think that SpeedyPrep is a good study tool. I would recommend this program to other. 

To read more reviews click here.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Apologia ~ A Review

My 5th grader has enjoyed working through Readers in Residence Volume One (Sleuth) from Apologia Educational Ministries over the past weeks. This curriculum is geared for student in grades 4 and up. Readers in Residence aims to help student comprehend what they are reading in order to appreciate its beauty.

For this review I was sent the following book set which includes:

Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) Student Text and Workbook 
This 562 page, full color, spiral bound text includes both student lessons as well as all activities and work required

Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) Answer Key Book 
This softbound answer key book contains all the answers for the activities and questions found in the Student Text and Workbook.

Readers in Residence contains 6 units of study which include:

  • Sarah, Plain And Tall
  • On Your Own: Historical Fiction
  • Charlotte's Web
  • On Your Own: Animal Fantasy
  • Because Of Winn-Dixie
  • On Your Own: Your Choice
Each unit is broken down into modules. Then each module is broken down into sections. When the curriculum is complete your student will have read six books, added to their vocabulary, increased reading comprehension, show what they have learned through fun projects, and hopeful gained a new love and appreciation for literature. A suggested daily schedule is provided in order to help your student organize their time in order to complete the curriculum successfully. 

Each unit has a thorough introduction of the book being studied or suggestions about how to choose a book. Your student will become reading sleuths and find out that reading does in fact require detective work. What do I mean by detective work? Well, most books have foreshadowing, mysteries to solve, and hints throughout the book that give a reader sneak peaks about what is to come. Readers must be able to figure out new words and there meaning. It is important for readers to understand characters within the book they are reading and why they are important, why they behave the way they do, how they play their role within the text. When an author writes a book they always have something that they hope the reader will glean from their writing. Students will learn how to be active readers. 

Students will learn the importance of identifying the books genre. They will learn the importance of studying a books cover and all of the details that they can learn from just studying a books cover both front and back. They will learn to identify character development, plot development, and setting within books. 

Some of the literary terms that your student will be introduced to are:
  • nonfiction
  • fiction
  • infographic
  • plot
  • setting
  • narrative
  • non narrative
  • active reading
  • theme
  • text
  • italics
  • connotation 
  • denotation

Throughout the modules your student will come across helpful tools in color coded boxes. These include:
  • take notice suggestions
  • vocabulary
  • checklists
  • reader's toolboxes
  • sneak peeks
  • point system checklists
  • sleuth's log
  • reader's questions
The student text and workbook is very student friendly and easy to follow. It is colorful and inviting. The curriculum engages the student in thought provoking questions, charts to fill in, providing drawing spaces, etc.. 

My daughter has been working through Unit 1 over the past weeks. She is an avid reader and has already read all of the books to be studied in the curriculum. At first she didn't understand why reading the books again would be helpful. After explaining to her the purpose behind Reader's In Residence and that there was so much more to a book than just reading it for fun. I also explained to her how the tools learned in this curriculum would benefit her going forward with each new book she read. 

My 5th grader has been able to pretty much work through the modules on her own with very minimal help. She has had fun dissecting Sarah Plain And Tall and reading it through this second time has opened her eyes to new perspectives, thoughts, questions, and understanding. 

Some of the questions asked in the modules are:

What does this bit of dialogue show you about Papa before you even meet him?

How does Sarah describe the sea? Use a sentence from the book to support your answer?

Sarah shows herself to be different from the other women the children have known. List some of her unique characteristics that you have noticed throughout the book.

Readers in Residence Answer Key

The answer key provides the teacher with the tools needed to grade and assess the student along the way. It provides answers to questions and charts. A section entitled, How to Make RIR Work for Your Student gives ways to tailor the curriculum to your child's needs. The answer key breaks down every component within the student text and workbook and explains its relevance and importance. I found the answer key to be very helpful. 

In a section entitled, How Books Are Selected, Debra Bell explains the reasoning behind the three books chosen for this curriculum. One sentence stood out that I wanted to share, "In the same way that listening to a great symphony or viewing a famous painting many times increases our appreciation and understanding, rereading exceptional literature enriches our experience." Wow, this is so very true. When I read this aloud to my daughter my 8th grader chimed in and said, "See mom, that is why I reread my favorite books again and again!" I am all too guilty of giving my daughter a hard time about rereading books over and over. 

I will point out that specific editions of the books assigned are required. Page numbers referenced as well as additional information added in anniversary editions will be utilized. 

I would HIGHLY recommend this curriculum to other homeschoolers. Apologia has many amazing curriculums to offer and each one that I have used has been great. Whether reading for school or pleasure, the tools learned in Readers in Residence Volume One (Sleuth) will enable your student to sleuth and dissect a book, a tool very beneficial for life. 

To read more reviews click here.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017


  1. Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!
    Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
    Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
    Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!
  2. Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
    Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
    Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
    Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!
  3. Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
    Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
    Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
    Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!
  4. Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
    Foll’wing our exalted Head, Alleluia!
    Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
    Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
  5. Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
    Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
    Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
    Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!
  6. King of glory, Soul of bliss, Alleluia!
    Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
    Thee to know, Thy pow’r to prove, Alleluia!
    Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!

Monday, April 10, 2017

CompuScholar ~ A Review

My high school daughter has been working through Digital Savvy from CompuScholar, Inc.. This program is available for both Mac and PC. Does your student need to improve their computer skills? Well, this program is perfect for reviewing the basics in order to prepare your student for further more in depth computer information technology courses. This is a school year long course (equivalent to two semesters). Digital Savvy is geared for student in grades 6-12.

This course syllabus will give you a great overview of what your student will learn in the Digital Savvy course. Your student will cover topics such as:
  • operating systems
  • managing files and folders
  • hardware and software
  • networking
  • online safety
  • computer security
  • Word processors
  • spreadsheets
  • presentation programs
  • databases
  • editing
  • social media
  • e-mail
  • website design
  • computer programming
  • careers in computers
Lesson Text

There are 25 chapter in the Digital Savvy course. Each chapter contains hands-on "Work With Me" activities as well as chapter quizzes, tests, lab assignments and supplemental lessons. The lessons include step-by-step instruction as well as videos.

Each student will set up their own account. There is a separate teacher account where you can track your students progress. The teacher account provides lesson summaries, teaching objectives, suggested order of activities throughout each chapter, and discussion questions. All student accounts are self grading so there is no need to worry about grading!! The projects and activities do require the teacher to grade. 

Teacher Menu

Over the years my daughter has learned to use different programs, applications, and computer related stuff on an as needed basis. She has never taken a computer class. Though she knows many basics this program has been great for filling in the gaps. She has learned so much from Digital Savvy. At first she was not thinking that the program was going to be useful but as she worked through the chapters she has found the program quit helpful. My daughter was even more excited when she found out that I would give her high school credit for completing this course.  

Chapter Contents

The layout of the program is very user friendly. Students with minimum computer knowledge can easily follow that is being taught. The quizzes throughout the chapter ensure that the student is understanding as well as completing the required work. There is lesson text available to read or reference that is basically a script of the videos. This option is definitely great for students that learn better by reading rather than hearing. I would highly suggest that your student watch the videos even if they choose to read the lesson texts. At the end of each chapter your student will complete the chapter test and chapter project. 

As well as being extremely informative the videos and graphics are quite entertaining. I really like that CompuScholar incorporates student projects in order to put into practice what is learned in each chapter. 


We are diehard Mac users. Many of my children has absolutely no experience with PC's. I do believe that is it important to learn about both operating systems but it would be nice if CompuScholar gave the user the ability to focus more on the particular operating system that they use. With that said, getting basic understanding of PC's was great. Learning Mac's and PC's are like learning two totally different languages. Both are important to have basic knowledge of and without this course my daughter would not have had this exposure. 


As a parent I was very grateful that sections on computer security and safety were included. We can tell our children the dangers behind social media and computer safety but sometimes when it comes from a neutral source it is better received and believed. 

I will most definitely be having several of my other children work through this course. I would also highly recommend Digital Savvy to homeschoolers and educators. 

To read more reviews click here.

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Homeschool Programming
CompuScholar, Inc

Confetti Eggs