Ramblings

The Kingdom Code {Review}

My oldest son just started his first job this summer; working as an assistant camp counselor at our local zoo he will receive a financial stipend at the end of his service. He is already spending the money he will earn – I think we need some financial education over here. What better time to receive for review The Kingdom Code ? They offer biblically based course in financial education through the creation and operation of their very own business. Teaching money management, financial responsibility, budgeting skills and seeking to help build a strong work ethic, this is one of those “can’t miss out on it” programs. We received The Complete Starter Kit which includes a Textbook, Student Packet, and Teacher’s Guide. As a bonus we also received, a JR Budget Kit and The Kingdom Code Coloring Book.

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The Kingdom Code textbook is spiral bound, with 240+ pages written directly to our students. There are 27 lessons (34 weeks) recommended to be taught one lesson per week, through two sessions of about 45 minutes. This is an amazing program designed to teach our children how to make and manage money, God’s way. Through this program our students create and manage their very own business. Every lesson contains eight sections:

  • Proclamation
  • Check Your Path
  • Quest for the Clue
  • Code of Honor
  • Treasure Seeking
  • On Your Own
  • Kingdom Keys
  • Congratulations
  • Bonus Code Work

That sounds simply amazing right? But there is more (I feel like an infomercial, saying that ha-ha) from historical fiction to history highlights. Throughout the lessons there are also: Action Time, Share Your Thoughts, Exclamation Shields, Clues to the Code and lots more.

Each lesson is designed to give our children something to think about (an essential question) along with learning goals and target skills. So much of this was an opportunity for reflection, not just creating a business but also knowing what it is that causes people to impulse buy or what we see and hear that gives us the desire to spend our money. These are good things for us to consider. I honestly never would have thought to cover these sort of things myself. What stood out to me most of all was not the lessons in creating a business but the emphasis on who you become as the owner of the business. Sometimes I think we forget how much character matters.

Both of my boys (my hubby too) have always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit about them, so this was pretty exciting for them both. Not too long ago my boys got the idea to offer pet care services to families in our neighborhood. There are tons of dog owners where we live so it seemed like a home run to them. Until they started doing their research and learned how many others there are who provide these same services in our neighborhood. While I did encourage my son to stay the course and just consider how he could reach people, he decided to move forward in another direction.

He loves sweets. He will often bake cookies and cupcakes for friends so it made sense to him to continue to do so and just charge a small fee. This was a fabulous idea (one he already has a small group of customers for too) but I did encourage him to consider the cost of all that would be needed for many baked goods.

So many great ideas coursing through his mind – the other day I overheard him trying to convince his younger brother to be a partner in a yard working business. Or a woodworking one. My younger son has quite the talent for wood working and carving – he has made a few swords that have really got the attention of some of the boys they know (maybe the parents weren’t as pleased).

As they both try to figure out which business they shall really focus on, it is amazing listening to them consider alone and together, the various pieces that need to fit in place to make their business a success. A future plan is for them to showcase and sell whatever goods they have at our church and perhaps a farmers market or two. I love how they are already considering outreach!

Since our kids are never too young to learn, there is even a super cool JR KCK Budget Kit introduce our kids to budgeting and saving. This kit includes: KCK Budget Poster, one sheet of JOEYS Stickers, My KCK Budget Percentages Page, six coloring book pages, and instructions to assemble the Budget binder and zippered pockets (you do need to purchase these yourself but we had stuff around the house we were able to use for this and our other one easy peasy). My daughter is saving up her money for a rabbit (since daddy said a definite no to a pony). She even has her younger brother building a rabbit hutch for our backyard for her. As payment for the work he is doing she agreed to provide him with a bunny of his very own. These kids sure know how to get things done.

Have I said before that this is a simply amazing program? I love how it isn’t just speaking to creating and running a business but it walks with them, step by step. What a great way to set our kids up for a successful experience. I don’t think there is anything that this program doesn’t cover. From the very first lesson, to the very last our children are encouraged to not just create and execute a great business but also, to develop a great character. And to see that whatever we do, we ought to do it as though we are serving the Lord himself. We are so very blessed as people of God and we need to be ready to bless others in the same way. Whether we buy or sell or trade, there is a way that we can do so while glorifying God!

Looking to get your hands on this fabulous program? Be sure to use coupon code 10TKC18 to get 10 percent off products purchased online from The Kingdom Code. They have some great freebies too that you can download if you just aren’t sure.

Want to read more about what others on the Crew thought? Click below.

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Bible Studies, Ramblings

As He Delights in Me

This morning I was reading in Deuteronomy….It’s not like I never read it before but this morning as I read…. Seeking something to renew me. Something to refresh me in this season in which I feel so very tired, so worn.

 

Sometimes things just jump off the page at you. You see it, as though for the first time.
There is clarity, perhaps revelation as well. Some thing made new. God is in the business of making things new right? 🙂

 

Slowly, I read words I have seen time and time again:

 

 “…ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the Lord thy God hath blessed thee.ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the Lord thy God hath blessed thee.”

 

Ye shall rejoice.

 

It isn’t a question. It isn’t a suggestion. It is a simple command.

 

Ye SHALL rejoice in ALL that we do.

 

Because it is in all that He has blessed me.

 

 

 

These days are not what I hoped they would be. Sassy mouths, tattling and tantrums; a house that we long ago outgrew even as our family keeps on growing. 😛

 

I am struggling with minimizing yet it seems no matter how much stuff we clean out, there is still even more to sort and store and organize.

 

So much noise; so many things making it harder to hear that still, small voice.

Lately how I just long to get away.

 

I remind myself that He is my hiding place. My refuge and my peace.

 

This world is not. Nor is my husband. And my children sure aren’t either. LOL

 

There is power in knowing that He is my portion; He is my joy.

It is said the joy of the Lord is our strength.

Can we not always have that joy if we are simply willing to be joyful?

 

To pray always.

 

To give thanks (for the mess, for the noise, even for what we believe we lack)

 

Just give thanks! 😀

 

 

When we simply obey His command to REJOICE in all things, for all things are blessings (whether we recognize them as such or not) there is rest. There is peace.

 

 

 

 

 

What do my eyes really see? Can they see beyond what is right now? Right here? Instead of seeing the natural can they look up, to the supernatural? To that Kingdom which is to come?

 

 

My ears…What do they hear? Do they hear commands? Do they hear fights and complaints? Or do they hear opportunities to teach and guide? Chances to pray for hearts and minds to soften and turn.

 

 

I am not my children’s Holy Spirit, I do not have the power to change their hearts. Only God can do this.

Ramblings

Grit & Grace {Review}

I know I need to be more of a warrior momma to my children. Fighting for them, not against them.

Lately I think I have said more moment of feeling incapable. There are days when I am certain I have made a mess of my children. God reminds me that I am not that powerful. He reminds me all we really need is Grit and Grace.

This is an amazing book with 90 devotions to encourage us every day and to strengthen us. Right now. In the midst of our mess.

We are reminded that it isn’t just about giving grace to our children but also to ourselves.

These devotionals are short enough to be read in only a few minutes (which is perfect for me when my four kids keep me running in all directions). I love that there is even a short prayer at the end of each one. Because some days I just don’t have the words myself.

  • There are so many bits of wisdom within these pages:

“Sometimes they and we just don’t know.”

We are kind anyway. At least we should be. How can we exercise more kindness and understanding towards those in need?

Let us have and exercise lots of grit and even more grace.

Let us rise up and claim the victory! For we are greatly blessed.

Ramblings

First Times

My firstborn, my baby boy, is growing up. This morning when I dropped him off for his very first day working as an assistant counselor at our local zoo’s summer camp.

He has been struggling in so many ways; it’s a difficult time. I remember wanting to do more yet still being seen as a child. Because we are still children. But we need opportunities to learn to be more!

I recently was so very blessed with access to a program called Do Hard Things. I am working my way through it very slowly but what an inspiration it is already.

We need to teach our kids how to do those hard things. We need to encourage them to have and find purpose in their life and community.

I think of how the Bible says that even a child is known by his doings. It is good for us to teach our children that what they are doing ought to honor God. No matter their age, they too were created for good works.

I am becoming more intentional and praying for my children. For my oldest son specifically I have begun to pray daily (shame on me for not having already been) for his hands and feet to honor God. I pray for the work that he does and the people he meets to be blessed by God.

We bless and we curse. It is up to choose each day which we will do. As he struggles with some wrong thinking, as he battles negative thoughts, I remind him and I pray for him that he would guard his mind and that the Lord would renew his thoughts daily.

I pray that my son would be a light to those around him. I pray that he would be unshakable in his faith.

We have the power and the authority to bless others in Jesus name. Let it be so at this today and every day when we go out we shall bless others in abundance!

TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

Lightning Literature and Composition: Shakespeare Comedies & Sonnets {Review}

I am a huge fan of classic literature. I cannot imagine how anyone could not just love Shakespeare…But my oldest son is not a reader. The closest he has come to an appreciation of Shakepeare is a comic book style reader he found at our local library. I have been wanting to find a way to challenge him to explore good literature. We had lot of fun a couple years ago when we used some materials from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources so when I saw the opportunity to use their Lightening Lit & Comp Shakespeare Comedies (recommended for grades 11-12) I jumped at it. We received both student and teacher guides.

We did need to have unabridged copies of the following plays:

  • Twelfth Night
  • As You Like It
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • The Merchant of Venice

Thankfully some time ago my husband got me an amazing book of the complete works of Shakespeare! I admit the big book kind of scared my son a bit – I had to explain that it is full of many works and we were only really going to focus on a few. He definitely wasn’t thrilled with me but I was sure he would warm up because A Midsummer Night’s Dream was the first, and my favorite, of all Shakespeare’s plays. Surely my son, with his quirky sense of humor, would enjoy at least this one!

There are eight lessons within this book. Each lesson contains an introduction, plot summary, literary lessons and perspectives. Sounds pretty deep right? Don’t worry – this is all put together so well – no need to feel overwhelmed at all! In the Appendix there are lots of great resources too: discussion questions and project suggestions, reading list, movie and video recommendations and schedules. If you are anything like me, this schedule is something you cannot live without. I admit it, without being told exactly what to do and when I tend to be like a fish out of water. We chose to follow the schedule for a full year, but there is also a schedule for a semester. Since my son is younger than the recommended age, I didn’t want to rush him along.

The first two weeks we did some reading (out loud because then I know he really is reading it) and we dug into the comprehension questions designed for the play we were enjoying together. My son also did some reading along with an audio book for a few times where I just was not able to sit down with him for more than a moment. He has quite a splendid British accent he has developed since we began this!

The third week it was recommended that we watch a movie or video, or attend a live performance of the play we were reading. Not going to happen where we live. Although there is some Shakespeare in the Park towards fall …. So we watched together. I love BBC! I am always all the more fond of programs that recommend BBC and Laurence Olivier. I am not a fan of movies and television – I grew up going to outdoor live performances of Shakespeare and that’s totally the way I roll – but its not always realistic so I do appreciate quality on the screen.

Some of the really fun lessons included were based upon things like, Elizabethan Theater, one titled ‘Did Shakespeare Really Write the Plays and Sonnets” really piqued my son’s interest. He was quite intrigued by this idea which had him wanting to know why that was even a question for some. I think had I let him run with it he could have been quite busy researching this – Maybe another time I will let him delve into all of that.

One thing I really liked about this program was their emphasis on the value of becoming familiar with Shakespeare himself; it is so much more enjoyable, you understand so much more, when you have a greater appreciation for the person and the times. This does a very good job of helping students understand why they should study Shakespeare as well as understanding the criticisms from various schools, from the traditional literary approach (used in this program) to political, feminist, psychoanalytic and more (honestly, I did not know of many of these views myself). Quite interesting!

This really is a very well put together program. The student and teacher guide books have it all covered. There is no way that Shakespeare is too difficult when you have this! I have always believed there is great value in learning from classic literature; resources of this sort I believe are a great treasure. My son did let me in on the fact that he would have preferred the tragedies to the comedies (I was surprised by this) but I think he is still enjoying all we are reading together, even if he won’t admit it. The Lightning Literature and Composition series is a wonderful help for high school students who need to develop those college-level composition skills by responding to great literature. Or in the case my son, these are a great way to challenge and encourage a student to go where they have not gone before. I do believe it is materials like this that cause the spark that causes the fire to burn.

There are many other materials like this, and others for our younger ones, that other members of the crew had the opportunity to review so be sure to click below to check them out!

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Ramblings

Simply Classical Spelling {Memoria Press Review}

My sweet daughter struggles with reading and writing; not sure why either because she can do both quite well. It seems to be more of an issue of confidence than ability. Because of that I am constantly looking for ways I can encourage her in her reading and writing – building confidence with simple skills, progressing to those more complex ones as she is ready. We were very excited to review Simply Classical Spelling Book One: Step-by-Step Words and Simply Classical Spelling Book Two: Step-by-Step Words, recommended for 1st-3rd grade created for special needs learners, from Memoria Press. I just love this company! We have been blessed with so many of their materials and every one of them has been a hit with my kids!

What do I love about this company? Maybe it is how simple their materials are to uses. It could be the way in which they train the mind; these materials aren’t about reading and reciting information so much as about developing care and concentration for the work at hand. Even something as simple as spelling can help our kids learn so much more: concentration, memory, attention, executive function skills (something new I am learning all about). With these materials my daughter is training her mind, word by word. Every page requires her to read, remember and recite.

There is a suggested pattern for how to use these workbooks (in case you need a little help getting started). These have fun names like:

  • Memorize Monday
  • Hands-on Touch Tuesday
  • Write High Wednesday
  • Thursday Quiz Day
  • Optional Fifth Day

My daughter was SO excited when these books arrived and she learned that there were all for her! She got to work right away; I actually had to stop her so we could go over everything together. I love when I see enthusiasm like that in my children. Especially when its in one who tends to get more anxious when it comes time to work. Book One contains 34 weeks of instruction with 30 spelling lists. Only 70+ pages, this book introduces basic sight words; this is a simple start that, for my daughter, was more about confidence building than anything else. Four days of lessons, with an optional fifth day, each week had its own list of spelling words for her to master. There are so many creative ways to be able to learn and master spelling and reading!

How do we get started using this? There is a spelling list for each week that we start with, reading those words, then moving on to write them. We moved through these pretty quickly; Since a lot of this involved words she already knew, she was quite eager to do her pages each day. I love that this really built up her confidence, making her more sure of her abilities. Each day’s lesson was short and simple so she wasn’t overwhelmed or overworked. She had a great time reading and spelling words both on the pages and out loud. Other days were dedicated to remembering how to spell the words – some days she would spell them out using playdough or tiles from our bananagram game. It was fun to use our whiteboard too and make games for her to play as she practices remembering the words and the letters in them. We also had fun each week quizzing the words she learned. She could sing them, write them or just shout them out while playing outside.

The second book challenged her a bit more (in a much needed kind of way). Book Two contains 34 weeks of instruction and focuses on words grouped by vowels, consonants, and other sounds. Here we began to really focus on proper capitalization and punctuation in writing. For this book we worked for four days on spelling words (five days if there were some words she was struggling with). There were also flashcards and games that were played to help make remembering the words much more fun! One of my daughters favorite things to do was to bounce her ball or jump rope as she spelled out her words for the week. A great way to get that extra energy out while still working on the things we need to have done for the day! This book also includes pages for dictation and assessments. There is even a certificate of completion of the book.

This is such a fun and simple too, way to learn and grow in our vocabulary. I know my daughter daily looked forward to doing her pages. She is hoping for the chance to do some spelling bee so I am thrilled that she is enjoying and wanting to do more! I think the multisensory approach that these books take is a real benefit for any struggling learners. For us mommas, this is so simple because all you need is right there. This really is a simple, gentle approach to spelling that helps to build their confidence with small lessons, slowly building their abilities. I cannot say enough how pleased we have been with these books. We will certainly be continuing to use more of their materials with our daughter. What a wonderful way to encourage our younger, or struggling, learners in a fun and gentle way.

There were quite a few different materials the Homeschool Crew received from Memoria Press, so be sure to stop by and see what they reviewed and their thoughts on all the other amazing materials!
Classical Writing & Spelling, American History & Jewish Wars {Memoria Press Reviews}

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Ramblings

Questions We Don’t Ask

I have been asking a lot of questions lately.

It’s been a dark time. One of those days where I feel like everyone around me is just fine and I kind of wish I could be too. But then I began to wonder why….

I have always Penny Black sheep. While everyone else was chasing the latest fad I was enjoying something a bit more unknown.

I guess I have always sought after that which is unpopular and unknown .

I guess I have always lived by the secret rule that if the masses are for it I have been warned.

I think of so many things that we do simply because everyone else is doing it.

I think I prefer that which is uncommon.

I sat last night listening to the concert that our church put on… I couldn’t help but wonder why do we really do this?

It seems now it is everything has to be louder, bigger, busier. The idea of simple, small, quiet…

My Bible says be still and know that I am God.

It’s it’s hard to know and it’s hard to really be still when there’s too much noise. So many distractions.

My favorite style of music has always done acapella and acoustic. I firmly believe that it is in these forms of music which really see someone’s ability.

It is in the little things that we can see the detail and care that was put into the bigger picture.

Anyone can make noise. Anyone can run and shout and clap and jump. It takes so much more to be still and to wait. To be intentional in your seeking.

In my search for more I find but I am alone more. With my thoughts, with my God.

It requires and almost ugly kind of honesty. The kind that requires me to admit I don’t like where I am. That while I do belong to Christ I don’t belong where I am. This is not my home. I am not a part of the church, I am the church.

I tell Jesus how tired I am; fellowship and worship services make me weary. I do not enjoy the songs we sing; it’s all too much for me.

I don’t want to hear about my problem being but I am not giving enough or doing enough. It is enough. We love because He first loved us.

I want simpler times. I want times really are all about Jesus. I don’t want to sing to God about everything I’ve done or plan to do.

I want something real. But the world is in the church. I know the church is in the world; I fear we are not guarding our hearts and our minds as we should.

How many things do we do because it’s what everyone else is doing? It’s what we’ve always done?

I know I am not where I should be. There is a better way. But it requires me to trust and wait for Him.

My path has always looked different. I need to embrace it. I need to trust in my fortress and my rock. Follow where He leads no matter the cost no matter the lost.