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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Illuminating Literature Review #hsreviews

Writing with Sharon Watson Review
One thing I have never had to force my kids to do is read. They love to read and they still love our read aloud time. When I told them we were going to review a brand new literature course from Writing with Sharon Watson called Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide the first thing they wanted to know was what books do they have you read. They were pleased with the selection, and couldn't wait to get started. 
Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide is written for Christian high schools, homeschools, and co-ops. There are 70 student-directed lessons with reading schedules, and this two-semester course will give your student one credit for language arts or English. It takes you through 8 books with colliding worlds. They were chosen for their literary value, and their potential to help students make moral, ethical, spiritual, and life choices from a Godly perspective. The student will learn 44 literary terms, and elements.
Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide (Student Book) ~ This 285 page softcover book is written directly to the student. The introduction chapter talks about what literature is, what is the philosophy of the course, and about colliding worlds. Each book chapter has a section to read before starting the book. It gives an introduction with a suggested reading and homework plan, and tells us about the author. After reading the student gets to rate the book, take online quizzes, and answer questions. There are vocabulary words, questions, discussion questions, and a list of activities. There is also a list of books that you may enjoy if you liked the one you just finished. 

Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide: Teacher's Guide ~ This softcover book is 182 page answer key and guide. It contains a schedule for the year plus a grading grid to help in giving the student a grade. It also includes the answers to the questions in the Student Book.

Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide: Quiz and Answer Manual ~ This book is for students or teachers who prefer to have the quizzes and opinion surveys on paper. The online quizzes can be accessed free with the links and passwords included in the Student Book. The online quizzes are automatically graded and the results will be sent in an email. The quizzes in this book may be copied for your personal use and the answers are included in the back of the book.

 Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide:Novel Notebook (Free PDF Download) ~ This 102 page notebook is free to download. This journal should be kept handy while reading the books. The student can take notes here, include their opinions about certain topics and write down examples of literary terms that they find while reading. 

I have been using this course with Amber (age 14) and Delaney (age13). We received the physical copy of the Student Book, Teacher's Guide, the Quiz and Answer Manuel, Pudd'nhead Wilson, and The War of The Worlds. The Novel Notebook is a free download that we printed and had spiral bound at our local copy store for just a couple of dollars. I purchased an additional Student Book, so my girls could work through this together. If you read the exact books that I have linked above there are page number references included in the curriculum to help the student find exactly what they need very easily.

We read the introduction chapter together and then got started on the first book, Pudd'nhead Wilson. I have never read this book and after reading the Before You Read section and learning more about Mark Twain I wanted to read it, so I decided I would use this book for our family read aloud. That was a great choice for this book, but I am having the girls read the next book, The War of the Worlds, themselves. Pudd'nhead Wilson was a great book to start this course with. It is very easy to see the different conflicts throughout the book and is perfect for When Worlds Collide.

The questions for this chapter included picking out several conflicts of different characters. There are several discussion questions to choose from, and you do not have to use them all. Suicide and abortion are included here, but is very appropriate for the age of the students. Some of the additional activities included creating your own calendar of witty sayings like Pudd'nhead Wilson's, writing short stories, create a timeline, additional research and more. 

My family loves when I read out loud to them. My youngest daughter (10) sat with us while I read the Before You Read the Book to Pudd'nhead Wilson and learned about Mark Twain. We all found this very interesting and it built anticipation to read the book in all of us. In the first chapter of Illuminating Literature it discusses different types of conflicts with the characters. The explanation was so well done, that Alaina was picking out different types of conflicts while I read. They all loved rating the book, and everyone rated Pudd'nhead Wilson high. There is a section titled If You Liked This Book...... that suggests other books that you may like. The recommended titles are good matches, because we had already read 5 of the 9 that are listed and we liked all of those too.

I had heard many wonderful things about Writing With Sharon Watson curriculum and I knew I wanted to review this one. Delaney loves to write and I am thinking about ordering her Writing Fiction In High School: Bringing Your Stories to Life! After talking about the conflicts from Pudd'nhead Wilson in When Worlds Collide she has created more conflict in the story she is writing now. 

This homeschool literature program is very easy to use, and really got my girls noticing things in the story as we read. If you are looking for a Christian literature curriculum this would be a wonderful choice.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wordless Wednesday, August 26

 Time goes by so quickly. 
I love spending time with all 5 of my kids & they grow up so fast.

Wordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Outside Wedding with Storm Moving In

 Outdoor weddings are always so pretty, but you never know how it will turn out.

 After setting up this 5 tier cake the wind started blowing an dark clouds started moving in.

 Dark clouds make great pictures. This was a friend's wedding, so I was there for the wedding. During the ceremony it started raining and I went and covered the cake with my umbrella. I'm pretty sure they cut the wedding a little short and they took cake cutting pictures immediately. As soon as those pictures were taken the rain let up and the rest of the evening was beautiful.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Illuminating Literature iPad Giveaway from Writing with Sharon Watson!

I was very excited to start using the new Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide from Sharon Watson. I had heard so many wonderful things about Sharon's products that I knew we wanted to try it. Amber & Delaney both have been using it & I will have a review along with other Crew members written about it soon.The selection of books used in this curriculum are wonderful choices. The only one my kids had already read is Peter Pan and there are a few that I haven't read either. My girls like to read and so far they are pleased with what they have read and they would be great for boys too.

 Writing with Sharon Watson Illuminating Literature iPad Mini Giveaway
To celebrate the release of Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide, we are joining with Writing with Sharon Watson to bring you an incredible giveaway!  One of you may win ALL of the following prizes, a value of nearly $450: 

Apple iPad Mini 16GB, WiFi Only ($329 value)

  • 7.9-inch LED-backlit Multi-Touch Display; 1024-by-768 Resolution
  • Apple iOS 6; Dual-Core A5 Chip 1GHZ
  • 5 MP iSight Camera; 1080p HD Video Recording
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n); 16 GB Capacity
  • Up to 10 Hours of Battery Life; 0.68 lbs

Illuminating Literature Curriculum Set ($64.47 value)

Literature in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere . . .

Your teens will appreciate the unstuffy way Sharon Watson teaches literature. They’ll read some great novels, encounter the hero’s journey, learn literary terms and elements, and gain an appreciation for fine literature. More important, eager and reluctant readers will become more discerning as they learn the secret craft of the writer. Prepare your teens for college literature courses and for the rest of their reading life.
  • Written for Christian high schools, homeschools, and co-ops.
  • Two-semester course earning one credit for language arts or English.
  • 70 lessons.
  • Student-directed, with clear lessons and reading schedules.

Illuminating Literature 8-Book Bundle ($52.84 value)

This book bundle includes the following books used in Illuminating Literature:
  • Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain
  • The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
  • The Friendly Persuasion by Jessamyn West
  • Peter Pan by Sir James Barrie
  • Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
  Writing with Sharon Watson Illuminating Literature Facebook Party
To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter below, then  join us for a Facebook Release Party on Thursday, August 27 at 9pm ET when the winner will be announced. 

RSVP for the Facebook Party

Enter the Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway Terms and Conditions: This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn. Entry into this giveaway will subscribe you to the Writing with Sharon Watson email list.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Riding Barrels

The girls went horse back riding at Glacier View Ranch in Ward, CO this summer. They loved the ride and once they were done, the wrangler took them down to run the barrels. They were thrilled, they had never had the chance to do this and they were very excited.

Amber's first time riding barrels.
Delaney's first time riding barrels.
 Alaina's first time riding barrels.
Alaina's second time riding barrels.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Heartbreak Trail Review #CircleCRanch

My girls and I are huge fans of Susan K. Marlow's books. We have been reading them for years and we have read some books from all three of the Circle C series and we even like the Goldtown Adventures for boys. The Circle C Beginnings are recommended for ages 6-9, the Circle C Adventures are recommended for ages 9-14, and the Circle C Milestones are recommended for ages 12 and up. The Circle C books are about Andrea Carter growing up in the 1800's on the Circle C Ranch in California.

Heartbreak Trail is the second book in the Circle C Milestones series. Andrea is approaching her fifteenth birthday. More than anything she wants to go with her brothers on a two week cattle drive to Los Angeles. She wants to convince her family by showing them newspaper clippings of other women who don't fit in society's expectations of women. After convincing her family to let her go as the cooks helper her dreams are finally a reality. Andi learns that trail life isn't what she imagined, but she does end up helping out more than just the cook. She realizes how dangerous a cattle drive can be after dealing with cattle, horses, mosquitoes, flooded river, and mean cowhands. 

This newest series has been a great addition to the Circle C Ranch. There is plenty of adventure, hard work, dedication, commitment, and suspense for the reader. My girls all enjoyed reading it and they can't wait for book three The Last Ride coming in February 2016.

My girls love these horse stories so much that they are all three entering the Circle C Milestones writing contest. This contest is for children 18 and under. All entries must be submitted by August 21, 2015.

Disclaimer: I received Heartbreak Trail free of charge as part of the Kregel Blog Tour in order to write my honest review. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Conversation Review #hsreviews

Classical Conversations Review
This summer has been crazy busy at our house. With VBS, youth camp, soccer camps, family camp, company, vacations, and everything else we have going on it can be hard to find time in my day to read anything except my Bible and the newspaper. But I have made time to read The Conversation from Classical Conversations

Classical Conversations Review
The Conversation: Challenging Your Student with a Classical Education is a 267 page softcover book written by Leigh A. Bortins. In this book Leigh takes a look at her 30 years of homeschooling and encourages parents to stay on the course through high school. She wants families to experience rich conversations as their students become rhetorical learners. 

The Conversation is divided into three sections:
  • Part One: High School at Home~ This section contains two chapters, Confident Parents, and Rhetoric Defined. 
  • Part Two: The Rhetorical Arts ~ There are 10 chapters here that cover high school subjects including Speech & Debate, Writing, Science, Government, Foreign Language, Fine Arts and more. A Graduation Conversation chapter is also included. 
  • Part Three: Appendices ~ Rhetorical games & devices, resources, and parental responses on homeschooling high school. 

If you have been homeschooling for awhile or if you have been researching it you have probably ran across Classical Conversations. Classical Conversations believe parents are the best teachers for their unique children and a great education includes Classical Education, Christian Education, and Community. They support parents and students with different programs while they homeschool, and they offer many training aids including a three day parent training. 

Leigh A. Bortins is the founder of Classical Conversations, Inc. and she has written 3 books on classical, home-centered education that include The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education, The Question: Teaching Your Child the Essentials of Classical Education, and now The Conversation. 

In The Conversation Leigh defines the Rhetoric stage and encourages parents to continue homeschooling through high school. Not having a classical education myself I've often wondered what it should look like on a daily basis. Well now I know, in the second part of the book Leigh shows us what it should look like for every subject including dialog between herself and the students.

I'm sure you have heard people ask why certain subject need to be taught to our children. Leigh explains to us the importance of the subjects. She shows us exactly what they should look like with our children & makes everything seem so simple including our materials. She says all you really need for a classical education is pencil, paper, good books, and time for great conversations. 

There is also a chart for each subject that contains the five canons of rhetoric for that subject. If you are unfamiliar with these they are Invention, Arrangement, Elocution, Memory, and Delivery. How to incorporate these in your child's education is included in this book. 

Leigh says she likes homeschooling because it educates two generations at once. I agree with her 100%. I did not do well in the public school setting and I have learned so much from educating my kids at home. I even look at my own kids and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt which ones would not have been successful in the classroom setting. 

This book will be one that will be a great reference for years to come. I will want to reread the sections for each subject again and I'm sure I'll use it to reference later too. 

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Shadow Play @PTXofficial #MaryDidYouKnow

My girls love to help with puppet shows & plays. The past couple of months they have been working on a shadow play to the song Mary Did You Know by Pentatonix.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Funtastic Unit Studies Review #hsreviews

Funtastic Unit Studies Review
My kids favorite part of science are the experiments. I'll admit we don't always get them all done partly because we don't have all the supplies that we need. It helps when you use a science book written by a homeschool mom for homeschool families. We have been using Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers from Funtastic Unit Studies

Susan Kilbride is a homeschool mom that wants homeschool kids to have fun with science. She wrote this book to help parents get their children interested in science. She had the home in mind while writing this book and most of the supplies are common household items or easily located at the local stores. This 201 page softcover book is recommended for students ages 4-13. The book is divided into two sections the first ten chapters are for children ages 4-7 and the last ten chapters are for students age 8-13. Subjects include the human body, animals, insects, health, planets, atoms, chemistry, weather, plants and more. The answers to the tests and worksheets are included in the back of the book. 

Each chapter varies in length, but they all start with a list of supplies that are needed. Then there is a short lesson with activities and a test after each topic. The book is written to the parent and includes exactly what you should tell your children and gives you questions that you can ask them. 

I used this book with all three of my girls. We skipped the first half of the book because my girls are all older than 8. Although Alaina (age 10) wants to go back and do some of the first lessons. She flipped through the book and had to stop and read some of the stories like The Story of the Blind Men and the Elephant & The Cookie People

The first lesson we started with was about microscopes. We don't own one, but we could look up slide pictures online. We did learn about concave and convex lenses and other parts of the microscope. We studied matter, atoms, molecules, chemistry, and weather. The lessons are very easy to implement. We went over the supply lists first and purchased anything we were missing. There were actually very few things we needed we had most of the supplies already. The additional reading material & library books are also listed in the supply list. That was all the preparation I did. After we gathered everything we sat down and I read the lesson out loud and then we worked on the activities. The reading section is written in a conversational style and easy to just read out loud to the kids. Since our experiments are a group effort we answered the questions out loud together. I made sure all three of my girls had a turn to answer some instead of my oldest (and most talkative) answering them all. If it was something I knew my older two would know I let the youngest answer first and then the other two could add to it. The questions at the end of each lesson are all multiple choice. 

Susan Kilbride has a has a biology degree and she wanted to help other homeschool parents teach science so she wrote Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers to make it easier on them. She used the same methods that she used to teach her own son. She has also started an Our America series to teach children American history by telling stories.  

This book contains great science ideas for homeschoolers. There are experiments for different branches of science and this could be used with any science unit studies, textbook, or by itself for a general science course.

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Patterns of Evidence Exodus Review & Giveaway #PATTERNSOFEVIDENCE #FLYBY

We love to study history in our house. We also love to read historical fiction. But how do we know what is actually fact and what is fiction? I believe the Bible is true but for more than 50 years some of the world's most prominent archaeologists and historians have proclaimed that there is no evidence to support the Exodus from the Bible. Some of the evidence is so strong against an actual Exodus that some religious leaders are saying it is only historical fiction.

Timothy Mahoney is a filmmaker with a question, "Is the Bible just a myth, or did the archaeologists get it wrong?" He wanted to answer this question with scientific approach. First he studies the biblical account & then he starts his journey for firsthand evidence. He travels to Egypt & Israel and finds a tomb with a larger than life statue. While Timothy speaks with archaeologists, professors & historians they tell us about Egyptian kingdoms & Pharaohs, Joseph, and they show us how they decipher what was going on during a time period by they way the statue is constructed. This is a great archaeological investigation with plenty of facts and photos of archaeological finds. 

The DVD features stunning animations and a cast including narrator, Kevin Sorbo (God's Not Dead, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys), interviews with leading archaeologists including Israel Finkelstein, Kent Weeks, and David Rohl, and guest appearances by Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres. 

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Twitter:  @PattofEvidence
"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Saturday, August 1, 2015

TobyMac This Is Not A Test Review & Giveaway #THISISNOTATEST #FLYBY @officialtobymac

We have been listening to TobyMac ever since he was with dc Talk & we have all of his albums including his brand new one THIS IS NOT A TEST that will be released on August 7.  I received a digital copy of this latest album to review & I have a CD copy to giveaway. We have been listening to this new album almost nonstop since we got it. We are loving it. 

We listen to TobyMac so much that Alaina has no concept of when each of his albums came out because she listens to them all the time.  Backseat Driver features  Hollyn & TRU and in this song TRU talks about getting behind the wheel because he is 16. Alaina (age 10) started laughing and said how can he be 16 he was just a little kid singing about braiding Marlee's hair. 

This Is Not A Test  (Deluxe Edition) Songs: 
1. Like a Match
2. Backseat Driver (featuring Hollyn & TRU)
3. This Is Not a Test (featuring Capital Kings)
4. Lights Shine Bright (featuring Hollyn)
5. Til the Day I Die (featuring NF)
6. Feel It (featuring Mr. Talkbox)
7. Move (Keep Walkin')
8. Love Broke Thru
9. Beyond Me
10. Love Feels Like (featuring dc Talk)
11. Undeniable
12. Lift You Up (featuring Ryan Stevenson)
13. Fall
14. Beyond Me (Phenomenon Remix)
15. Like a Match (Garcia's Remix) 

Toby McKeehan(known professionally as TobyMac) is a husband, father, performer, songwriter, producer, and businessman.  Growing up in the northern Virginia suburbs adjacent to Washington D.C. helped instill his love for rap music.  While attending Liberty University during the mid 80s, Toby met Michael Tait and Kevin Max Smith and these three friends formed the Grammy winning, platinum selling group dc Talk.  Toby began his solo career in 1999 with his first solo album, Momentum, releasing in 2001.  Momentum has been followed by four additional studio albums, Welcome to Diverse City (2004), Portable Sounds (2007), Tonight(2010), and Eye On It (2012), along with his first live album, Alive and Transported (2008).  This Is Not A Test is his 6th studio album to be released.  Starting with dc Talk, and then going solo when the group disbanded, Toby still clings to such rootsy notions as hard work, persistence, patience, and - perhaps most relevant of all - the power of music, which he insists is still what keeps him going.  "It's the truth," he says.  "I still believe that a song can penetrate a heart.  I believe God can use a song to open someone's mind and heart."   

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THIS IS NOT A TEST will be available on August 7, 2015. If you pre-order on iTunes you will receive 4 song downloads instantly. If you are from the US or Canada you can also enter my giveaway below. 


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"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”
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