Tuesday, March 3, 2015


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Hurry over and buy your Teach Them Diligently registration before the price increases in a few short hours!

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This awesome convention will be in 4 different cities and will have special activities for moms, dads, kids, and teens!

The Peace Jar

Because sometimes it takes an old pickle jar......

Filled with strips of paper with consequences on them like....

  Apologize to your sibling

  Clean a Closet

  Write an Apology Letter

   Wash, Dry, and Fold a load of Laundry

   Wipe baseboards

To get through to short people that PEACE is a big deal in this house.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review: In Freedom's Cause from Heirloom Audio Productions

Our family loves audiobooks, and they are a great way to sneak in learning. One of our new favorites is the audio drama In Freedom's Cause from Heirloom Audio Productions. This is the real story of William Wallace and Sir Robert the Bruce as they led the battle for Scotland's independence. This exciting story really draws the listener into the historical events that unfolded as Scotland struggled to break free from English rule. This isn't just the reading of a book on disc, it is a radio theater production with voices, sound effects, and more. I received the In Freedom's Cause Single Package which includes the In Freedom's Cause 2 disc CD, In Freedom's Cause Study Guide, In Freedom's Cause soundtrack (MP3 download), and a printable copy of The Prayer of William Wallace. 

In Freedom's Cause Audio CD Review

The quality of the production is so impressive. The voices come from actors like Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings), Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey), and Skander Keynes (Chronicles of Narnia). These terrific actors really brought life to the story. The story comes from G.A. Henty and the great musical score is from John Campbell. The music really adds to the drama and anticipation of the story. My kids were so wrapped up in this history of Wallace and the other characters. Speedy did ask why we needed to learn about Scottish history since we are American. I was able to relate it back to America fighting for independence from England as well. Both kids were really able to follow along with the story and have already asked to listen to it a second time. 

While I think just listening to fascinating history like this is educational, I like to ask the kids questions to make sure they are really digesting the information presented. We talk about the audio stories we listen to whether they are fiction or nonfiction. With this 2 disc CD, I was given some special downloads as part of the review package. I received the components of the single package as well as access to a full download of the audio drama, a printable cast poster, and an In Freedom's Cause ebook. The 49 page study and discussion guide was particularly useful. The study guide included some terrific extra information as well as questions to ask. There are "Listening Well" questions for comprehension, "Thinking Further" questions for reasoning, and even vocabulary words. We do our audio book listening in the car, so I spent time reading ahead and looking at questions on the study guide before we listened to the disc. The study guide is insightful and contains questions to fit different levels of thinking. It was great to have questions ready to go since I usually have to think of them myself! 

"It is very interesting and funny", says Speedy.
Apple says, "I LOVE IT!

Like most families, we spend a lot of time in the car. We find that many radio stations don't reflect our values so audio books have become a staple for our family. With at least a 20 minute drive to most of our destinations, we have listened to quite a few. I can easily say this Christian audio drama has been one of our very favorites. I personally love the historical aspect and educational aspects while the kids really enjoyed the action and adventure of the story. This is a great package for homeschooling families or anyone that loves an exciting escapade. This is one of those wonderful tools that will get your children interested in history and they won't even realize they are learning while they are listening. 

Connect through social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InFreedomsCause
Twitter: https://twitter.com/InFreedomsCause
Google+:  > https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/112701427096792421838/112701427096792421838/posts
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jointhecause
See more reviews of In Freedom's Cause
In Freedom's Cause Review

The next audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions will be With Lee in Virginia

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Review: IndoctriNation the Movie

Educating our children involves so many personal choices, and parents must decide what is best for their family. Great Commission Films movie IndoctriNation is a great place to start for any family that is considering home education. We never thought we would home school, but it is what we feel called to do and we evaluate and pray about our decision constantly. I'm happy to do this review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew because I think this movie gives some great reminders about the issues in the public school systems. 
IndoctriNation DVD Review
IndoctriNation is an in-depth look at public schools in the United States. Colin Gunn and his family loaded up in a big yellow bus and traveled the roads of America for 3 weeks to learn more about the American school system. Colin (who was born in Scotland) and his wife homeschool their 7 children. The film explores bullying, sex education, abuse by authority figures, teen pregnancy, drugs in schools, and other issues. The statistics are staggering in each of those areas. The movie takes time to look particularly at the struggle of Christian children and Christian teachers in the public schools. 
My husband and I spent time watching this movie together. The DVD contains the 102 minute film and some extra features like deleted scenes. An interesting topic addressed by Gunn is whether our children should be in the school as missionaries or "salt and light" to unchurched kids. This movie takes the time to make specific points about why this doesn't work. Teachers and kids in the school system that attempt to bring their faith to school with them are often shut down or shut out. For students, it is often too difficult to remain in the minority as a practicing Christian in a public school. Especially for young children, I think this is an unrealistic expectation for them to find a way to live out their beliefs in the midst of reading and math. This film interviews some teachers and school officials who have tried to go into the public schools with their faith. They have some interesting stories they share about the difficulties they have faced. 
This movie serves as a great reminder for us. Our reasons for homeschooling are numerous but some of the top reasons are addressed in IndoctriNation. We want to be the ones to raise up our kids. We want to be the adults spending the most time with them each day. We want them to understand our beliefs and our history and why we believe the way we do. We feel strongly that God directs us to raise up our children and for us, for our family, that includes home education. We spend a big portion of our school time talking about God. We focus on character and morals. I feel like our kids have a much better chance to be strong in their own beliefs if we are able to foster them at home through childhood, the tween years, and the teens. 
In this age of Common Core, many parents are questioning the public school system. If you have considered homeschooling your children, if you currently homeschool and are considering returning your children to public school, or if you know someone that is thinking of taking the homeschool journey, I think IndoctriNation could be beneficial for you. I even recommend it to my friends who have kids in public school and don't intend to remove them. It's a good idea to watch it and see what your child may be facing in school that you haven't even thought about. Schools are not the same as they were when I attended public school. Whether you have children in public school or not, I hope you pray for your local schools, school leaders, and students. They are a part of our community even if we are not directly involved with them. 
You can find out more about IndoctriNation on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IndoctriNationMovie
Twitter: https://twitter.com/indocmovie
Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/indoctrination
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/IndoctriNationMovie
Take the time to read reviews from other members of the Crew:
IndoctriNation DVD Review
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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Budget Battle

Our biggest struggle is still dining out. Just keeping it real. It is hard to eat at home 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. It just doesn't happen every time. I think being aware of it and paying attention to the cost is the key. I'm writing down EVERYTHING while I work to keep us on a budget. I'm low-tech. I've always kept a notebook to keep up with bills. Now I have pages to track all of our expenses- gas, groceries, clothing, dining out, etc. It's great to look and see how much we spent last week or last month in a particular area. 

We are also working on an envelope cash system. I originally priced wallets designed for the purpose but they are expensive! Who wants to spend money to stay on a budget? I pulled out an old planner and filled it with some regular envelopes. Money spent=$0

Moral of the story. Track your money. All of it. Every penny. See where your money is going and decide where you can/ should tweak the flow. Keep your receipts and post them in your low tech notebook or computer program a couple of times a week. 

How do you track your money? Do you use an envelope system?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Just Over a Month Away

{Affiliate links are included in this post.}

In just over a month, Hubby and I will be headed to Nashville to enjoy our very first homeschool convention. Teach Them Diligently will be at the beautiful Opryland Hotel March 19-21. Big names like Dr. James Dobson, Israel Wayne. Ken Hamm, and Rachael Carman will spend the three days sharing and encouraging parents. I can't decide if I'm more excited about the speaker sessions or the HUGE exhibit hall full of curriculum vendors! (My name is Edie and I'm a curriculum junkie.) TTDNASHVILLE 2105 250

If you are near Tennessee and you need encouragement, curriculum, or just some time to gather with other homeschoolers then I hope you will consider TTD. Although we've never been I've heard so many amazing things about it. There are programs for teens, kids, and a special men's breakfast!

Teach Them Diligently will be in 3 other cities as well! Find out more about TTD.

Ice Day!

Here in Tennessee, we are on day #2 of the ICE. It is sunny today so things are thawing out a bit but with cold temps forecasted for the rest of the week, things are at a halt. Schools are closed, church services are being canceled, kitchens are stocked with milk and bread. Of course home school doesn't have to cease due to a little ice or snow!

I have not made my "Snow Day Soup" but I did make a pot of Taco Soup and a pot of chili yesterday. Today I have my first attempt at white chicken chili in the slow cooker.

The kids did school yesterday morning then took a break lay with some kids from the neighborhood. They came back in to finish school and then spent the whole afternoon sliding on the ice and playing. Last night they decided to do most of today's work so they would have the majority of the day to play with friends who are out of school due to the ice. They've been out most of the day other than a short lunch break inside. I'm glad we are in a neighborhood now where there are other children. Schools here are also out tomorrow so I see a repeat this evening and tomorrow. I reminded the kids this morning what a blessing we have with our flexible home school schedule!

What's the weather like in your area? Do you enjoy snow/ ice days?