Friday, April 29, 2016

It's Coming! Favorite FREE! (or Cheap) Homeschool Resources!

Favorite  FREE / Cheap Homeschool Resources
The Schoolhouse Review Crew does so much more than reviews. One of the other things that they do is provide homeschool help to homeschool parents. Every couple of weeks they have what they call a "round-up". A round-up is when the crew members submit some of their posts that revolve around a certain topic. For this next weeks topic we submitted posts that talk about our Favorite FREE! (or Cheap) Homeschool Resources.
Have you ever thought about homeschooling but didn't really know how you could afford it? Well, let me tell you, we used to spend hundreds of dollars a year on homeschool things. Over the years, however, we have learned how to homeschool by spending little or no money. Of course, being on the Schoolhouse Review Crew has helped, and there are some things that John Allen used that we have used with our younger boys as well, but, many of the things we use now weren't from the Schoolhouse Review Crew or weren't hand-me-downs. They are things that we have found either free or very cheap. We have even developed our own history curriculum using inexpensive resources.
How do we do it? Well, you'll have to wait until next Friday when the Favorite FREE! (or Cheap) Homeschool Resources round-up goes live. When it does you'll find the three posts that I submitted and posts from many, many, other Schoolhouse Review Crew members. So, stay tuned and put on your calendar to come back to this post and click on the banner above. It will take you to all of the neat posts. Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

GREEMU - A Plant Based Alternative to Emu Oil - A Schoolhouse Review Crew Review

Greemu Devonian Review

Okay, I'm going to get right to the point on this one. When I found out that we were going to get to review GREEMU developed by Devonian  and distributed by Koru Naturals, I was excited. With all of the intricate skin problems we have with our boys and Sarah and I as well, we use a lot of natural products. GREEMU is a new plant based alternative to emu oil. It has the same beneficial qualities of emu oil is not made by the fat tissues of emus, but is made completely by plants and natural butters.

I'll give a list of ingredients later, but first I want to tell you about my dilemma. While I was excited about trying out this new product, I really had no idea what to use it for! I had heard about emu oil, and had even used some products developed for aching muscles that emu oil in them, but I had never used emu oil myself. So, I had no idea how to use emu oil - or in this case natural, plant based GREEMU. I did some research on emu oil and Greemu and found that it can be used for all sorts of things. The main uses are for aging skin, dry skin and as a hair treatment, but it can also may help with muscle aches, arthritis, sun burns, and more. When I found all of that out, I was super excited to try it.

Greemu Devonian Review
As I mentioned before, GREEMU is completely plant based. Many people don't like using regular emu oil because it is animal based - made from the fat tissues of emus. GREEMU is a completely plant based alternative made from:

Macadamia Seed Oil
Palm Oil Certified Organic
Shea Butter
Sunflower Seed Oil
Rice Bran Oil

We really like using natural things when we can and we are very pleased with GREEMU. Sarah has used it for her skin and I have used if for my arthritic knuckles and we are both pleased. It really softens the skin. I have been thinking of all sorts of ways to use it this summer. Since we all have fair skin but spend a lot of time outside in the warmer months, this would be excellent for the occasional sun burn or chapped skin. My heals always get dry and crack in the summer but this year I'm going to slap on some GREEMU! Fair warning though - since GREEMU is plant based, it absorbs into the skin more slowly than regular emu oil so only a few drops are recommended for each use. We made the mistake of putting too much on at first and since it didn't absorb into our skin right away we had a little bit of oily skin. Using only a few drops, however, solved that problem and it worked wonderfully.

I wanted to add the above, because, although I haven't read anywhere that GREEMU is NOT recommended for animals I also have not read where it IS recommended for animals. Having said that, when Sarah's mom passed away we inherited her 10 year old dachshund, Wiggles. Wiggles has very dry and itchy skin. She is constantly scratching and biting. One day Sarah suggested putting a couple of drops of GREEMU on her back. It worked! It really helped her dry skin. So, while I would suggest you use great caution on pets and I repeat, neither Devonian nor Koru Naturals has recommended it for animals, it did work on Wiggles.
We are very pleased with GREEMU as we are all of the products we have received from Koru Naturals. I would definitely recommend it especially if you have objections to using animal based products. To find out more about GREEMU just click on any one of the highlighted links above. To find what some of the other Schoolhouse Review Crew members thought about this product click on the banner below.
Greemu Devonian Review
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Heroes of History - Meriwether Lewis - A Schoolhouse Review Crew Review

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

Some of you may remember that late last summer the boys and I reviewed two great literature unit studies. We had a lot of fun reviewing them and I was so impressed with how much they learned and how attentive and excited they were when I was orally reading the books that I decided we were on to something. History had been a little lacking in our homeschool so I decided to create a whole United States History curriculum using some of the great biographies and core history texts that we had collected over the years. It has been a super success and I can thank those two literature unit studies that we reviewed for giving me the idea.

It just so happens that the first study that we reviewed, and probably the one that they liked the most, was a study from YWAM Publishing. When we were given an opportunity to review YWAM Publishing again through the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I jumped at the chance. We were given a couple of dozen choices of their great biographies to choose from and we chose one from their series Heroes of History - Meriwether Lewis along with it's accompanying Digital Unit Study. Of course we weren't sure if we would get our first choice, or, for that matter, if we would be chosen for this review at all, so we were pleasantly surprised when we were, indeed, chosen to review our choice.

Since we are doing an in depth study of United States History, we are still in the Revolutionary War and, of course, Meriwether Lewis is famous for the Corps of Discover also known as the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Those events happened a few years later but we adjusted our study a little without much of a problem.

We were given two things to review. The publisher sent us the physical paperback book Meriwether Lewis - Off the Edge of the Map, and then sent us a download for the accompanying unit study which is a digital product. The paperback book, written by Janet and Geoff Benge, arrived in excellent condition and the unit study was very easy to download and use.

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}
Most of the great biographies published by YWAM are written by Janet and Geoff Benge and they are always very well done. This one is no exception. Since it is a biography, it begins at his birth, well before the great expedition for which Meriwether Lewis is famous. It's an adventure from the start. The drama begins right away and doesn't  finish until the end of the book. From Meriwether's rough boyhood through his days as President Thomas Jefferson's personal secretary and the leader of the Corps of Discover to his untimely death - Meriwether Lewis - Off the Edge of the Map is definitely an adventure and keeps your interest. There were several times where I couldn't stop reading where we were supposed to and had to read the beginning of the next chapter or the boys would have revolted! This 231 page biography is well written and exciting. The authors do fantastic research when they write their historical biographies so you can be sure that what is written is accurate.
The biography in itself is exciting, but when accompanied with the digital unit study the Meriwether Lewis and his adventures really come to life. It is packed with ideas on how to make reading the book into a full scale study. It has sections on expanding the study by having a display corner; using essay, artwork and other projects to expand the students knowledge; incorporating field trips and interviewing knowledgeable experts from the time period; incorporating this study into other areas of learning such as math and science and more. We particularly like the study questions that go along with each chapter. There are always four questions for each chapter - a vocabulary question, a factual question, a question that gauges the comprehension of the student, and an open ended, subject to opinion, question. We also enjoy the huge social studies section that has maps, points of interest, geography questions and more. I was also impressed with the bonus downloads that we received that tells how to use the great biographies that YWAM Publishing has as a full curriculum similar to what I am doing with the biographies that we have. I had never seen that before. YWAM's unit studies are always well done and this one is one of the best we've seen.
We absolutely love YWAM's materials and have (and still are) thoroughly enjoying Meriwether Lewis - Of the Edge of the Map. I even ordered some more of their biographies to use with the boys outside of the review material that we received. To find out more about this product and all of YWAM Publishing's materials, click on any one of the highlighted links above. Many other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed other biographies from YWAM Publishing and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below. Happy Homeschooling!
Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

God Looks at the Heart!

1 Samuel 16:7 English Standard Version (ESV)
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

I wrote about this on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and, since it has a spiritual lesson, I thought it was worth posting on my blog as well.

I'm sure that most of you know the story from the verse above. King Saul had failed as ruler of the nation of Israel so God told Samuel that He had chosen a new king. The new king was to be from the house of Jessie. Samuel was to go to the house of Jessie and God would show him who the new king was to be. The first person that Samuel saw was the oldest son. He was tall and handsome and Samuel thought that he was the obvious choice. God, however, had other plans. That is where the above verse comes in. God does not look at the outward appearance, but at what is inside. The following story, although not completely, in some ways is an example of not looking at the outward appearance.

Our middle child, Joshua, bowled at the Tennessee State Youth Bowling Tournament a couple of weekends ago. One of his teammates from his four man team unexpectedly couldn't make it so we were given an alternate. We kept looking around for our alternate but, since he wasn't from our bowling club, we didn't know who he was or what he looked like. When our team was  announced out runs this little guy that didn't look over five years old. Sarah and I both thought "how cute, the little guy is going out with his older brother".

Oh no! How wrong we were! The "little guy" WAS our alternate! Let me introduce you to six year old bowling phenom Alex. Alex has been bowling since he could barely stand and won his first tournament when he was four! With six year old Alex and three teenage boys our team ended up in a tie for fifth place out of nearly forty teams!

This could also be an example of never judge a book by its cover or big things can come in small packages!

The little guy in the picture above is Alex. I didn't get a picture of him with our team so this is a picture of him with another team that I found.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Attention Everyone! - Have Bus! Will Travel!


Attention Everyone!
We have a bus and we're not afraid to use it!
For the Lord of course!
Good News Ministries is looking for places in the Overton County area to do 5-day clubs this summer. What is a 5-day club? It is like a Mini Vacation Bible School. We will come to your area with our bus every week-day for a week to do a two hour Bible Club. All you have to do is provide a place for us to park our "Bible Club Place" bus. A place to hook up electricity would be greatly appreciated as well so that we can run some fans on the bus. If you have a yard for us to have games it would be useful but not required - we have plenty of on bus games that we can do. It doesn't matter if you have one or two kids in your neighborhood or if you have a ton of kids. We can fit 15-20 kids on the bus at a time. If you think more than that will show up, we can make adjustments or maybe have two 5-day clubs for different ages. We would love to fill up June and most of July with clubs if we can and are available in the mornings or in the evenings. We'll provide everything. The stories, the games, the refreshments, and, of course, the bus! We would love it if an adult or teenager from your area could be there since they know the kids but we will always have at least two adult helping us at all times. My wife and I are full time missionaries with BCM International and, combined, we have over 50 years of experience in all kinds of children's ministry from directing Bible Clubs to running day camps and even over-night camps. For more information call Tim Tinkel at 931-319-2551. You can message me at that number also or contact me via facebook. Get your week scheduled now because we already have at least 3 slots filled!
Ps. If you know of a teenager or adult that is looking for a great ministry this summer we could always use some help.



Friday, April 15, 2016

Talking Fingers - A Schoolhouse Review Crew Review

Talking Fingers Inc. Review
I have mentioned before that one of the subjects from high school that has been the most helpful in my adult life, indeed perhaps THE most helpful was typing class. It was a simple one semester class, but taught me a skill that I use almost every day. In this day and age of computers and the internet, it is a skill that is very valuable and one that I want my kids to learn. John Allen has taken a couple of keyboarding classes in his lifetime as has Joshua, so I had been thinking about one for Jacob as well. Well, wouldn't you know it that God dropped one right in our lap through the Schoolhouse Review Crew. In fact, Read, Write & Type from Talking Fingers Inc. not only teaches good typing skills but also teaches reading and writing skills as well. God really knew what Jacob needed! And, it's very entertaining!
Talking Fingers Inc. Review
There are several things that I appreciate about this program.

I love that Read, Write & Type is very entertaining with an interesting story line that keeps Jacob's attention. I'm sure you have noticed that super heroes are all the rage these days. Story lines with villains and heroes are what kids really like. Well, Read, Write and Type has capitalized on that and has a marvelous story line where Vexor, the villain, is trying to steal all of the letters to keep them from telling their stories. Someone needs to be the hero and foil Vexor evil plot! Who is that hero? Your child! Or, in our case it was Jacob. With the help of the two hands (pictured above), Lefty and Rightway, your child defeats Vexor all while learning phonics, reading, writing, typing and more! Jacob loves the story line. 
Talking Fingers Inc. Review
I love that Jacob is learning how to type correctly. I have seen people that don't know how to type properly and have to hunt and peck to use a keyboard. That takes forever, and, as I mentioned before, computer and keyboarding skills are a very important part of life these days.  Lefty and Rightway teach the kids how to position their fingers on the keyboard and how what fingers to use to reach what letters. And they do it all while teaching the kids how to read, which I'm going to get to next. I love the way that they integrate everything! 
Talking Fingers Inc. Review
I love that Jacob is getting practice in reading with a correct phonics based program. Most people don't know that I was an educational therapist for eleven years at a private school in Florida where I worked with learning disabled students. One of the things that we used was an excellent phonics program. The method that Read, Write & Type uses reminds me a lot of that phonics program. It teaches the correct way to make sounds and blend letter sounds together. I appreciate that. I also really appreciate the way that this program builds on what has been already learned and all of the reinforcements that this program has. This is really a well researched and well developed program.
Talking Fingers Inc. Review
Finally, I love that Jacob is getting rewarded for what he is accomplishing. As well as the "kudos" and "well dones" while actually using Read, Write & Type, Jacob earns certificates when he completes different levels. There are 40 different levels in this and I like that he gets constant encouragement.
As you can probably tell, our family really loves Read, Write & Type from Talking Fingers Inc. Yes, I said "our family". You see, Joshua used this program as well when he was younger and he loved it too! It has been a real blessing to us. To find out more about this great program just click on any of the highlighted links above. To find out what some of the other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of Read, Write & Type click on the banner below. Happy Homeschooling!
Talking Fingers Inc. Review
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Homeschool Copywork - A Schoolhouse Review Crew Review!

Homeschool Copywork Review
Let me tell you a story. It is a sad, sad story of two boys, brothers in fact, named Joshua and Jacob. Poor Joshua and Jacob both had learning problems. Their learning difficulties were different, but they had one thing in common. They both had small motor problems. Their father, who was the major teacher in their homeschool, you see, they were both homeschooled, tended to use a delight oriented approach in teaching. Since writing, naturally, was not one of their favorite things to do, he tended to let them off of the hook when it came to that task. Well, lo and behold, the dear, loving father was taken aback when one day Joshua came to him and asked for something that would help him with his writing. He said that he really needed to learn how to write correctly so his writing would be legible. So, the father set out looking for a fun way to help not just Joshua, but Jacob as well. One day, through a Schoolhouse Review Crew opportunity, they were given a Lifetime Membership to Homeschool Copywork and their lives were changed forever. Here was a fun way for both boys to practice their writing and learn at the same time. They loved it and lived happily ever after! The End.
As you probably figured out, the above story is about us. Almost everything in it is true. One part that isn't exactly true is the "loving it" part. Joshua and Jacob still don't exactly love to write, but Homeschool Copywork has helped make the task a little more fun and a little more palatable. Let me tell you about what all they have to offer and what we did with it.
Homeschool Copywork is amazing. They have dozens of great copywork pages, really whole books, that cover an amazing array of topics. You can download copywork for famous composers, famous authors, and famous poets. There's Bible copywork, hymn copywork, and holiday copywork. They have copywork that can be used as a supplement for many subjects such as science and history. Both print and cursive copywork is available for all ages from kindergarten through high school. They even have notebooking and coloring pages. And more is being added all of the time!
When we first received our membership, I looked over everything and chose two that I thought would really interest Jacob and Joshua. Jacob loves history and, in particular, loves learning about presidents. When I saw the poem, O Captain! my Captain!, a poem written by Walt Whitman about the death of Abraham Lincoln, I knew this would be something that would interest him. I was correct. He really enjoyed discussing the poem with me and we have been doing the copywork part of it in small doses. This particular book could also be used for even lower elementary kids because they have some of the main words from the poem in the elementary block letter form with numbers and arrows showing where to start and how to print each letter. We have been using the more advanced pages where he just traces over the dotted outlined letters. In this book there are copywork pages for two different types of print and also cursive as well as the lower elementary pages. There are also blank pages for students to who are advanced and can write on their own. Joshua needs more practice in correctly forming letters so I used the trace pages.

Although Jacob loves history as well, his big interest is in animals. When I found the Animal Alphabet Copywork Pages with pictures of animals and short sentences for each animal to be copied, I knew this would be perfect for him. I was correct again. Although writing still isn't one of his favorite things to do, this has made it easier. The block print words for him to copy have been great for him.
As I mentioned before, Homeschool Copywork is fantastic and has something for every student of any age that has almost any interest. I am excited that we received the Lifetime Membership so that I can turn to this great site over and over again. To find out more about Homeschool Copywork just click on any one of the highlighted links above. To discover what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of this company just click on the banner below. Happy Homeschooling!
Homeschool Copywork Review
Crew Disclaimer