Come See “Oklahoma” the Musical! (And a New Hairstyle)

We are about to enter Tech Week for the new Spotlight Youth Theater musical my kids are in:  Oklahoma!  It’s the first time it’s been performed with Spotlight, and we are so excited to be involved in it!

My oldest has a small lead this time.  He’s Ike Skidmore.  My 2nd son (not pictured) is working backstage.  The next three kids are in it as well!  My husband is working Tech.  And I’m the ticket-seller!

Please get your tickets today to see “Oklahoma” at Spotlight.  The show runs November 6-16 in Zion, IL. And credit a Mayo kid!

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It’s my 8-year-old son’s first show!  He’s the youngest of 86 kids kids in the cast.  The kids range from 8-18 (or just turned 19).

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Below is one of their stage moves:

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Just imagine them with their hair and make-up done–and cowboy hats!  The dancing is awesome. And the leads are so talented.  If you are in the area, you don’t want to miss it!

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On another note, my 2-year-old daughter had her first haircut this week.  Unfortunately, it was not cut by me.  It wasn’t even sanctioned by me.  Let me just say that we were having a WONDERFUL morning of homeschooling my 6 oldest kids Monday morning.  I was just thinking how nicely (and quietly) my 4-year-old and 2-year-old were playing together in the basement.  Then, she came up looking like this.  And her brother was the guilty culprit!  I cried.  Her older sisters cried.  But, now it’s kind of growing on us.  It’s funny how he left the one long piece on the right side of her head.  I’m calling it her “Kate Gosselin” hair-do.  My husband calls her the punk rocker!

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From House to Home {Link Party} #90

It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Thanks everyone for joining today and sharing your wonderful posts!
Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (up to 3 and exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted. Find the html code on my Link Party page.)

3. Optional: Comment or pin a post or two that you see here!

I Choose Joy!

 

Follow on Bloglovin

Review: The Berenstain Bears Blessed are the Peacemakers

Here’s another great Berenstain Bears book written by son Mike Berenstain called Blessed are the Peacemakers.

This story is based on the verse from Matthew 5:9 where Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

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The cubs are at school and we find that there are several groups who are always bickering with each other.  They’re trouble-makers and tease and bully.  Everyone joins in for the all-school play, though.  And it’s pretty ironic that the lead girl and boy (for Romeo and Grizzliet) are from rival “gangs.”  Problems continued to happen until they were actually on stage, and a fight breaks out in front of the audience!  Even the parents got involved.  It’s Squire Grizzly and Preacher Brown who became the peacemakers and helped everyone realized what they were doing was wrong.

The final page has “Activites and Questions from Brother and Sister Bear”

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There are 3 questions to talk about with your child and 2 activities to get out and do.  These help to add to the teaching of the book.

 

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Blessed are the Peacemakers in order to write this honest review. This post also contains affiliate links.)

Review “Samantha Sanderson at the Movies” by Robin Caroll

I enjoy getting books that would be good for my tween daughter (who just turned 11) to read.  She loves to read and she loved reading the Samantha Sanderson books.  When we received them I didn’t have time to read them yet; my daughter read them in a matter of days!

The first book in the Faithgirlz! Series for Tweens by Robin Caroll is Samantha Sanderson At the Movies.  We are introduced to Sam who is a 7th grader in public school and her best friend Makayla.  The scenes go from school, fun places (movie theater, football game), church, and Sam’s home.  Sam has a great desire to be an investigative reporter like her mother.  Sam’s father is a police detective.  The story starts out at the movie theater when Sam helps to discover that a bomb has been planted there.

The entire story is that Sam is reporting on the crime at her school’s new blog site.  She continually has to make decisions about what would be appropriate to print, and she often makes bad decisions, such as all but accusing certain people of committing the crime when there was no proof.  She justifies what she does by saying that that’s what a reporter does.  At the end of the story she learns that she didn’t do it very well.  Her mom and dad talk to her about writing things that are kind–not just true.  And listening to her father’s wishes and keeping his trust, instead of just writing what she wants to because she’ll get more comments.

The story was very well-written.  Nothing about the writing bothered me (which seems to be common in lots of books these days).  I loved the ways living out the Christian life was seemlessly woven into the story.  Sam talks to her youth director at church and gets advice on witnessing to her friend at school who isn’t a Christian.  She prays with her dad and talks with her mom about God.

The only negative thing I have is that there was so much more time that Sam spent justifying writing what she wanted than there was of her admitting she was wrong and listening to her parents explain the best way.  I fear that maybe my daughter didn’t quite catch all of it.

Overall, I recommend Samantha Sanderson At the Movies as a book that would be great for a Christian tween girl to read.  Now, I’m off to read Samantha Sanderson On the Scene!

 

(I received a complimentary copy of Samantha Sanderson At the Movies in order to write this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

See the Light special for October

Hurry and grab this incredible Art Projects Sunflowers and get the FREE Unit Study! It's a 9.99 retail value!
During the month of October you can purchase Art Projects:Sunflowers and get the FREE Sunflowers Unit Study to go along with the art lessons! It’s a 9.99 retail value.
Hurry and take advantage of this special! Purchase the Art Projects- Sunflowers and get the Sunflowers unit study FREE!
Purchase the Art Projects: Sunflowers for 14.99 and FREE SHIPPING in the USA.  **Click on OCTOBER SPECIAL at the top of the page!

Coupon Code to use: STL

Hurry the special is good thru October 31st.

What do you find in the Sunflowers Art Projects DVD?

We’ve been doing this with my kids this week.  The teacher guides the students through 4 sessions of one project–to do an oil pastel of Sunflowers in the style of Vincent Van Gogh.  She sprinkles lots of interesting historical facts throughout the video, and teaches the art techniques in a way that any level can follow.  They are really written for ages 10 and up (and could be used for high school art credit), but my younger kids were able to do it also (just not to the extent an older child would).  By the way, the pictures below encompass the first two lessons–not the finished product yet!

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What do you find in the Sunflowers Unit Study?

It contains everything the busy home educator needs to have a well-rounded, comprehensive plan for an entire month!

With SUNFLOWERS Art Project at the core, this unit study-guide provides integrated instruction in many disciplines for the student ages 10 and up — and can be tailored with more challenging research assignments for the high-schooler.

Components of the SUNFLOWERS UNIT STUDY:

BIBLE

SCIENCE

LITERATURE

VOCABULARY

WRITING

SOCIAL STUDIES (History and Geography)

MATH

ART HISTORY / ART APPRECIATION

MUSIC

FOREIGN LANGUAGE

SUNFLOWERS UNIT STUDY also includes a “Week at a Glance Plan” as well as the daily plan. There are Internet links and suggested reading lists.

 

So, use the coupon code STL to purchase the Sunflowers Art Projects DVD for $14.99 and get free shipping and the Sunflowers unit study for free!  The sale ends Friday October 31, 2014!  Click on OCTOBER SPECIAL at the top of the page!

(This post contains affiliate links.  I purchased the Sunflowers Art Projects DVD for myself.)

Weekly Wrap-up: Baptism, Birthdays, and Astronomy

Weekly Wrap-up?  Ok, to be honest, it has been so long that I’ve done one of these posts that it’s really going to cover the last 2 months!

Hope you enjoy!

On August 30 my 4th child was baptized by her father in a nearby lake.  I’m so proud of her for making the decision to follow Jesus and identify with him in baptism!

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Is this little girl cute or what!  She has now decided she doesn’t need an afternoon nap anymore.  I’m not ready for that!

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Three brothers:

 

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Worship in the Park:

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Our family supporting her baptism day:

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My kids with a young lady who was heading off to college:

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We’ve been studying astronomy with the elementary kids.  Here are my meager attempts at photos of the recent lunar eclipse:

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And a few other projects we’ve done for astronomy.  Balloons representing the sun and planets:

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Solar eclipse.  We were shining a flashlight toward the earth with the moon in between.

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A salt dough model of Mercury which has been hit with many asteroids (it doesn’t have an atmosphere):

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Dropping “asteroids” onto the surface of a “planet”:

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In September and October we have several celebrations.  My husband and I have been married 16 years!

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This pretty one is six:

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This sweet boy is 8:

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And here is our new 11-year-old:

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Check out my 2-year-old singing “Happy Birthday.”  She’s getting pretty good at it!

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And, last but not least, Dad!  (With the biggest cake fail ever.):

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My two oldest sons presented speeches for their Young Speakers Guild assignments (part of the Institute for Cultural Communicators).  Here is “The History of Musical Theater.”

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And a recitation of  “The Remarkable Farkle McBride” by John Lithgow:

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I love this baseball painting that my daughter made at our Tapestry of Grace Fellowship Group (co-op).  It has a quote by Babe Ruth:

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Here is my loving 4-year-old:

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And this is what I’m looking like these days:

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I’m having a ball teaching the toddlers music at Tapestry:

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My oldest daughter has made some dresses for her doll:

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And we’re taking advantage of the great weather to play in the park each week while my oldest takes his saxophone lesson:

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My second son has started a few projects:  taking Nerf guns apart, repainting them, and changing them:

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Next week is the Showcase for the theater classes my kids started back in August.  My two oldest girls have LOVED their theater makup class!

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And a brand new hairstyle for the girls!

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Please leave me a comment letting me know your favorite part of our “Weekly” Wrap-up!

 

(Linked to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers, Hip Homeschool Moms, My Week in Review at Home to 4 Kiddos, Fellowship Friday, Whole-Hearted Home

 

Review/ Giveaway of Manic Drive CD “VIP”

Manic Drive VIP CD

I have something brand-new to review today – a Christian rock CD! We’ve never reviewed one of these at I Choose Joy! before! When I first popped the Manic Drive VIP CD into the car CD player, I didn’t like the first two songs. But I did really enjoy the rest of the CD. It didn’t take long for me to begin singing along with the first two songs, too! Those first two songs are a little harder rock and include some rap, but the last songs are all ones that you might hear on a radio station such as K-Love.  And, I have to tell you, my 12-year-old son loved the first two songs the best!  **Be sure to check out the GIVEAWAY below!

Here are the songs that are included on the CD:

Electric

VIP

Street Lights

King of Mercy

Good News

I Hide You Seek

Song to Sing

Fire

Indestructible

Rhythm

 

My favorite songs were “King of Mercy” and “Indestructible.” I really like it when bands use unique features in their songs. And the song “Indestructible” uses strings!

Check out the Manic Drive song “VIP” in a music video from YouTube:

About the Band:

Manic Drive has been widely known as a Canadian band who always delivers a great show, but over the past few years and project releases, they have added to their extensive touring of Canadian and US markets multiple Billboard Top 10 & 20 singles on CHR & Christian Rock Radio. Manic Drive is clearly very intentional about reaching their generation and inspiring them to pursue a deeper walk with Christ and to get involved in changing the world they are inheriting. And they are uniquely equipped to do so. The band members, all in their early-mid twenties, have made sacrifices to pursue God’s call on their lives. Their life experience, spiritual maturity and ministry have opened doors to speak into the lives of their own generation and that is perhaps the most defining characteristic of this group of guys.

Follow Manic Drive here:

Manic Drive Official Website

Manic Drive YouTube Channel

Manic Drive Official Twitter

Manic Drive Official Facebook

Giveaway of the Manic Drive VIP CD:

I’m so glad to be offering a giveaway of Manic Drive’s latest album VIP, which released October 14th. Enter through the Rafflecopter app below, 18 years and older only, US & Canada only.

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 the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

From House to Home {Link Party} #89

It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Thanks everyone for joining today and sharing your wonderful posts!
Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted. Find the html code on my Link Party page.)

3. Optional: Comment or pin a post or two that you see here!

I Choose Joy!

 

Follow on Bloglovin

Field Trip to Cantigny First Division Museum

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We had a great day at our field trip last Friday.  It had been raining all week, and started raining on our way home. But the weather was so beautiful for the hours we were at Cantigny Tank Park and First Division Museum yesterday!

We have just completed our study of World War 1, so this was a perfect enrichment for the kids.  Cantigny has lovely gardens and grounds, but we spent most of the time playing on the tanks and taking a tour of the First Division Museum.  (If you visit the website, you’ll see more pictures of the exhibits in the museum.)  All of my kids loved the climbing on the tanks.  And most thought the coolest exhibit inside the museum was the trench re-creation.

We divided in 3 groups to go through the museum.  My older boys were in a large tour group of boys.  My oldest daughter was in a tour group of girls.  And I took my 5 youngest through myself.  One of the docents gave us a neat flip-chart of photos of items to look for as we walked through–a scavenger hunt.  This was highly fun for my 9-year-old and 7-year-old; they were constantly on the look out for the next picture.  There were a couple of movies, but because they were about war I skipped those with my younger group.  The older kids really enjoyed their tour guides (both older gentlemen.)

We have another great field trip to a museum in November, as well as a few musicals to see.

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Post linked to Inspire Me Mondays, Mom 2 Mom Monday, A Mama’s Story, Monday’s Musings, Living and Learning at Home Trivium Tuesdays, Hip Homeschool Hop, Laugh Learn Linkup, Hip Homeschool Moms, Whole Hearted Home

Review: 2 Adventure Bible “I Can Read” books

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It’s always fun to receive some new “I Can Read” books for the beginning readers in my home.  Here are two unique ones I’d like to review for you today: God’s Great Creation and Moses Leads the People.

The Bible Stories come from The Adventure Bible–a very popular Bible for kids.  These small paperback books are 32 pages long and are written for Level 2, which is described as “High-interest stories for developing readers”.  They are $3.99 each.

The illustrations are by David Miles and are very fun and colorful!  The last page of each book has a memory verse, description of Bible people to know, and “Words to Treasure” (an explanation about something described in the story).

God’s Great Creation is a retelling of the creation story–the six days of creation and what God created each day, his creation of Adam and Eve, and their disobedience and being sent out of the garden.  But at the end, we are told “God was planning how to help his people.”
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Moses Leads the People tells us about the wonderful man of God Moses who lead God’s people out of slavery in Egypt.  We see him talking to Pharoah, learn about the plagues, and see the Red Sea part and God saving His people.

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I’m so glad to have these books that my younger kids can read to themselves and learn about the Bible at the same time.

 

(Disclosure: I received these books complimentary in exchange for this honest review. This post also contains affiliate links.)

Recipe: Angel Food Cake Frosting

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My mother-in-law has been making this Angel Food Cake Frosting for birthdays for years!  My daughter wanted it for her birthday this year, so I’m happy to share the recipe with you.

I just used a box mix to make the angel food cake.

Angel Food Cake Frosting:

2 cups sugar

2 egg whites

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

food coloring (optional)

Put about 2 inches of hot water in a saucepan and set heat to high.  Mix the first three ingredients in a double boiler over the saucepan.  Mix on low 1 minute, then on medium-high for about 10 minutes (until stiff peaks form).  My mother-in-law’s tip is to have a magazine sitting there so you can flip through it while you mix!  When the water boils, turn down the heat to low.  During the last minute add the vanilla and food coloring.  Immediately pour over the cake.  Depending on the humidity level, it may stay soft or it may get hard and crunchy.  Both ways taste great!

 

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Post linked to Inspire Me Mondays, Mom 2 Mom Monday, A Mama’s Story, Monday’s Musings, Hip Homeschool Hop, Laugh Learn Linkup , Our 4 Kiddos New Recipe Tuesday, Hip Homeschool Moms, Whole-Hearted Home

Review/ Giveaway: Veggie Tales “Beauty and the Beet”

About the film:

This brand-new VeggieTales musical premieres Oct. 14 and stars Kellie Pickler (American Idol, Dancing With the Stars), who brings her unmistakable voice to the role of Mirabelle, a sweet-potato singer whose family band is on the brink of superstardom. BEAUTY AND THE BEET blends the irresistible charm of VeggieTales with a heartfelt message about unconditional love. The DVD also includes Mac and Cheese, a giddy new “Silly Songs With Larry” segment in which Larry the Cucumber reveals the surprising and heretofore untold history of his family’s unexpected contributions to Italian cuisine. BEAUTY AND THE BEET is just the start of the fun in store this fall for VeggieTales fans, because the gang will also star in a brand-new Netflix original series, VeggieTales In the House, which premieres Thanksgiving weekend!

Be Sure to Visit the Veggie Tales Official Website.
My Review:
We watched the DVD tonight with the family.  What a fun story!   It tells the story of a family of singers (3 brothers and 3 sisters) and their dad-the manager.  They are moving up in the concert world and are heading to their biggest gig yet when a snowstorm stops them right in front of a chalet.  They don’t have enough money to stay there, so they decide to work for their room.  The Beet is the owner and is a very grumpy, grouchy character.  Mirabelle (played by Kellie Pickler) decides to show love to him anyway.  In the end, everyone is transformed by her choice to show God’s love.
My husband said that the story reminds him of “White Christmas,” and I agree.  The music was fun, the songs uplifting, and the story helps kids to know that loving an unlovable person is what God wants us to do.  It’s what might bring them around!
Enter to win your own copy of Beauty and the Beet!  Enter through the Rafflecopter app below, 18+ only, US and Canada only.  Winner will be chosen on Friday October 24, 2014 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

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 the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

This post also contains affiliate links.

Post linked to Inspire Me Mondays, Mom 2 Mom Monday, A Mama’s Story, Monday’s Musings, Living and Learning at Home Trivium Tuesdays, Hip Homeschool Hop, Laugh Learn Linkup

From House to Home {Link Party} #88

It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Thanks everyone for joining today and sharing your wonderful posts!
Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted. Find the html code on my Link Party page.)

3. Optional: Comment or pin a post or two that you see here!

I Choose Joy!

 

Follow on Bloglovin

Review of “Write for Life” Research Papers by Karen Lange

I’m happy to review Write for Life Volume One: Writing the Research Paper by Karen Lange.

Do you remember writing research papers when you were young?  I remember writing about Saturn, The Effect of Ethylene on Growing Bean Plants, Reasons Airplanes Crash, A Correlation Between Rock Music and Suicide Rates, and The History of the Piano.

Since my oldest kids are now in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades I know that it’s time to teach them to write a research paper.  But I was really hoping for a great guideline to lead them (and me) through the process.

I have found it with Write for Life: Volume One: Writing the Research Paper!  It’s a very easy-to-follow downloadable e-book curriculum that guides kids through the research writing process with 8 lessons in 52 pages.  It could take 8 weeks, or spread out the assignments (give them longer to complete them) and it could take a whole semester.  The price is only $.99!

Here is what you will find in Write for Life: Volume One: Writing the Research Paper:

Assignment Schedule:

  • Week One – Topic, several preliminary sources, and rough thesis statement
  • Week Two – Remainder of preliminary sources and revised thesis statement draft
  • Week Three – Working outline, any additional sources and revisions to thesis statement
  • Week Four – Pages one through three of rough draft, any additional revisions
  • Week Five – Finish rough draft, any additional sources
  • Week Six – First revisions of rough draft, rough draft of Works Cited Page
  • Week Seven – Additional revisions to rough draft and Works Cited Page
  • Week Eight – Final draft and Works Cited Page

Along with these assignments you have several pages to read through and study in order to learn how to do it.  For example, with Week One Karen gives lots of ideas of how to go about picking a topic for the research paper.  She gives examples of how to narrow the topic, so it’s not too hard to write about it.

I loved the various brainstorming ideas she gave.  I know kids could really have fun with those.

She also gives links to websites to get more information about writing.

You could certainly change things if you want to, but I like how the assignments and rubrics are so specific.  For example, she says to use a minimum of fives sources and that three of them need to be print books.

Also, at the end of each lesson is a “Just For Fun” activity such as finding out the true stories behind inventors of candies or cookies!

A rubric is included so the students know to check off the guidelines to make sure they aren’t missing anything in their writing.  This was very helpful for me, as the teacher.

Other subjects taught on are plagiarism, taking notes with note cards, writing an outline, and the bibliography/works cited page.

 

The next book Karen Lange is working on is:

Write for Life Volume Two: Essay Writing

This book offers ready to use lessons for grades 7-12 that guide students through the essay writing process. Suitable for homeschool families, co-ops, or other student groups, these eight lessons break down the steps from start to finish with helpful tips, instruction, practice, and encouragement.

Lesson topics include:

  • Essay basics and structure
  • Choosing topics and sources
  • Taking good notes
  • Thesis statements and outlines
  • Developing content
  • Revision and editing
  • MLA style source documentation
  • Preparing for the test essay

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Write for Life
in order to write this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Blog Tour (& Giveaway): “Write for Life” Learn how to write a Research Paper

Welcome to the Blog Tour for . . .

Write for Life: Volume One: Writing the Research Paper by Karen Lange

(Join me tomorrow where I will share my personal review of the e-book.  Keep reading on down below for a chance to win the book!)

This book offers ready to use lessons for grades 7-12 that guide students through the process of writing the research paper. Suitable for homeschool families, co-ops, or other student groups, these eight lessons break down the process from start to finish with helpful instruction, encouragement, and practice.

Lesson topics include:

• MLA style research paper basics, topics, and sources
• Thesis statements
• Outlines
• Developing content
• Rough and final drafts
• Citing sources

No matter what we do in life, good communication skills are an important ingredient for success. Strengthening students’ writing enhances verbal and other interpersonal skills and helps prepare them for a lifetime of good communication.

Since 2005, Karen Lange has used these lessons to teach homeschool teens at the Homeschool Online Creative Writing Co-op. She believes that everyone can improve their writing skills with a good balance of instruction, encouragement, and practice.

Purchase Write for Life on Amazon

About the Author:

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Karen Lange is a homeschool veteran and consultant, freelance writer, editor, and online writing instructor for teens and adults. Her articles appear in parenting, homeschool, and other publications. Homeschool Co-ops 101, her first book, was released in 2013. She and her husband homeschooled their three children for grades K-12 in southern New Jersey. They now live in north central Kentucky where Karen enjoys reading, walking, and playing with her grandson. She is a fan of dark chocolate, hockey, and historical fiction.

Visit Karen:  Amazon Author Page

Blog

Email – karenelange@gmail.com

Facebook Author Page

Pinterest

Twitter – @KLELange

 

Giveaway Information:

One winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card & a copy of Write for Life ebook.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Interview Questions:

What prompted you to write this book?

Thanks so much for inviting me to stop by! The lessons in Write for Life Volume One are ones I use with my teen homeschool students in an online writing co-op. I’ve long wanted to convert the lessons into book form for use at home or with student groups. These are lessons I wish I’d had when homeschooling my children. They break writing the research paper down into more manageable, less intimidating steps, offering tips, advice, and insight into the entire process.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

My hope is that readers, students in particular, will come away more confident in their research and writing skills. I believe that with practice and encouragement, every student can write. Certainly not everyone will become a bestselling author, but they can learn to express themselves better through writing. Improving communication skills helps students gain an edge for future pursuits. My philosophy is that everyone has something to share with others, and writing is one way to do that.

Who was Write for Life written for?

The book is designed for group, family, or individual student use. This includes homeschoolers and public and private school students. It can be used anytime to help students brush up on their research paper writing skills.
Write for Life includes an instructor guide with information and advice on how to help students through the process. While best used with parent or other adult supervision, self-motivated students can work through the lessons themselves. I’ve had a writer tell me recently that the lessons would also be suitable for anyone wanting to brush up on research skills.
Since Write for Life is more of an educational resource, how do you plan to market it?
That’s a good question! I am exploring different options as we speak. They include doing articles and guest posts, spots on Blogtalk Radio, and of course, social media. In addition, I may offer some workshops in the future. I will also do another blog tour when Volume Two, Essay Writing, is released.
You mentioned that there is a Volume Two of Write for Life. What will that include? When will it be released?
Write for Life Volume Two’s topic is Essay Writing. It will follow the same format, offering ready to use lessons for grades 7-12 that will guide students through the essay writing process. The lesson topics include:

• Essay basics and structure
• Choosing topics and sources
• Taking good notes
• Thesis statements and outlines
• Developing content
• Revision and editing
• MLA style source documentation
• Preparing for the test essay

Three Tips to Use to Encourage Children to Write:
By Karen Lange
Teaching children to write can be intimidating, especially if you don’t feel like you are a good writer. Here are some tips you can use to encourage your children to write. Grade school, high school – age doesn’t matter; it’s never too late to develop good writing habits. A seventy-year-young gentleman I know took some writing courses and got published. You’re never too old to learn!

Tip #1 – Read to your children. Make family reading time a priority, if only once a week. It’s a great way to share quality time together. It provides opportunities for discussion. The benefits of exposure to literature are endless. It broadens perspectives and lends to a sense of adventure; this can enhance content when they write.

Tip #2 – Set a good example; let your children see you writing. Even if the only things you write are emails, letters, lesson plans, and grocery lists, you are still writing! It’s important to remember that no matter what we do in life, it is necessary to communicate.

Tip #3 – Find writing projects to do together. Writing activities in a standard curriculum are great, but sometimes they don’t spark a student’s creativity. When it comes to writing, especially for the reluctant writers, fun is the key. Engage children by finding short, interesting activities to start. Try writing a continuing story, silly poetry, or a family newspaper together. For ideas, I recommend If You’re Trying to Teach Kids to Write, You’ve Gotta Have This Book! by Marjorie Frank.

It’s worth a little time and effort now, for strengthening their writing will enhance verbal and other interpersonal skills, preparing children for a lifetime of good communication.

 

(Disclosure:  I received a copy of Write for Life in order to write an honest review for this Blog Tour.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Tapestry of Grace: Weeks 1-8 of Year 4

TOG Y4

We have had a wonderful time using Tapestry of Grace this year!  It’s really what I needed to help us with some structure and accountability.  I feel like our homeschool is going smoother than it has in years!  (Of course, I’m not pregnant or nursing–for the first time ever since I started homeschooling 13 years ago–so that probably makes a difference, too!)

We are studying the 20th Century and using our studies of humanities around that framework.  Here are some of the things the kids have done, read, and studied so far:

Literature:

My middle school boys have read and discussed with their Fellowship Group Call of the Wild, Stories of O. Henry, Anne of Green Gables, and Robert Frost Poetry.

I have read to the younger kids The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Beatrix Potter books, Raggedy Ann stories, Pollyanna (Porter), When We Were Very Young (A.A. Milne), and Peter Pan.

On her own my 6th grade daughter has read Five Children and It and The Girl of the Limberlost.

History:

We’ve studied about Theodore Roosevelt, the Wright brothers, Henry Ford, President Taft, Titanic, San Francisco Earthquake, President Wilson, World War 1, Flu Epidemic of 1917, prohibition, women get the vote, President Harding, FDR, and The Jazz Age.

The kids have done some fun and educational group activities at the Fellowship Group (based on their age): reenacting a Ford car assembly line:

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making a submarine out of clay (middle school), making a submarine out of water bottles (preschool):

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writing a radio commercial script, voting activity, timeline activities and games, and geography activities.  One of the activities my elementary kids most enjoyed was doing some of the spy activities from World War 1.  I just love the teachers and all they are doing to provide such wonderful learning experiences for my kids!

Here is my son with his World War 1 bag that he used when reenacting trench warfare (the black balloon is a grenade):

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I love how the kids are still studying history with “Living Books” as well as some that are more textbook-like.  The middle school kids have read Modern History in Pictures (Mills), Popular Culture 1900-1919 (Hunt), Bully for You Teddy Roosevelt (Fritz), Our Living Constitution (Aten), The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (Schaefer), The World Wars (Dowswell), Unraveling Freedom (Bausom), Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Freedman), Women’s Right to Vote (Landau), Temperance and Prohibition (Bauer), and Stalin (McCollum).

My elementary kids have read Welcome to Samantha’s World (1904), An Age of Extremes (Hakim), Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor (Freedman), The Story of the Wright Brothers and Their Sister, The Legend of the Teddy Bear (Murphy), Where Poppies Grow: A World War 1 Companion (Granfield), World War 1 (Adams), Louis Armstrong and the Jazz Age (Elish), War Peace and All That Jazz (Hakim), and  The 1920’s Decade in Photos (Corrigan).

Music Appreciation:

I’m am having a ball teaching the music history/appreciation class at our Tapestry of Grace Fellowship Group! So far we have studied and listened to music from Debussy, Ravel, Opera (Puccini, Menotti, Gershwin), Ragtime (Joplin), Marches (Sousa), Stride Piano, Blues and Jazz (Armstrong and Ellington), and Mahler.  I also taught a short lesson on Hymns that were written in the beginning of the 20th Century:  “This is My Father’s World”, “Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee”, “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, “Old Rugged Cross”, and “In the Garden”.  You can see an example of the Sousa/ Joplin lesson here.

I also teach a music and movement class for the nursery kids and the preschool kids. Here is the nursery class playing drums:

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Assembly Time:

The kids are also involved in the assembly time, where they will have the opportunity to get up and present something to the whole group (about 100 people) a few times during the year.  The preschoolers sang a song about a car and drove their assembly line cardboard cars around the room.  The middle school kids presented about O. Henry, a writer of short stories.  I also had several middle school kids help me with leading the hymns that I mentioned above. Here are my lower elementary kids saying the Pledge of Allegiance:

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(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.)

Linked to Mom 2 Mom Monday Linkup

Review of 3 New Veggie Tales Books

We have 3 great new Veggie Tales books in our home that I’d like to share with you today.

First is Yuletide Ice Cube Fair by Karen Poth.  The Veggie Tales characters are all getting ready for Christmas!  They ice skate and then hear the bell calling them over to the annual ice cube carving contest.  Everyone works hard creating their incredible carvings to display what Christmas means to them.  The finalists are a shopping mall, angels singing, the peas winning the prize, and a Christmas feast.  But the winner is Junior who carved a tiny stable with a little baby and a shepherd kneeling down.  That displayed what Christmas truly is about!  You’ll also find two Scriptures from Luke 2 in this paperback book of 20 pages.  The book is best for ages 4-8.

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The next two books are Level 1 “I Can Read” books.  These are always a hit in my home where I have beginning readers.  The titles are Sheerluck Holmes and The Case of the Missing Friend and The Mess Detectives and the Case of the Lost Temper, both by Karen Poth.

 

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In Sheerluck Holmes and The Case of the Missing Friend Sheer luck Holmes and Bobby Watson have to solve the mystery of what happened to their friend who disappeared from the pizza place. They find a note he left that said he was leaving because his feelings had been hurt. The ones who hurt his feelings confess, find Sniffy, and ask for forgiveness.

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In The Mess Detectives and the Case of the Lost Temper Bob and Larry and trying to solve the mystery of the Masked Door Slammer. But the story is really about bob who is really in a bad mood. He gets madder and madder as the sort goes on, and finally he loses his temper. Larry explains that Bob is being just like the Masked Door Slammer by losing his temper. Bob realizes that he is right and chooses not to “let his anger run wild” anymore.

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(Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of these books in order to write these honest reviews.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

 

5 Easy Ways to Add Music Appreciation to Your Homeschool!

5 Ways to Add Music Appreciation to Your Homeschool

Recently I shared this post over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog. Find five great ways to add music appreciation to your homeschool — the easy way!

(Linked to Mom 2 Mom Monday Linkup)

From House to Home {Link Party} #87

It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Thanks everyone for joining today and sharing your wonderful posts!
Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted. Find the html code on my Link Party page.)

3. Optional: Comment or pin a post or two that you see here!

I Choose Joy!

 

Follow on Bloglovin

See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

 

 

 

 

Review/ Giveway: “It Will Be Okay” by Lysa TerKeurst

It Will Be Okay review

I’m happy to be reviewing a book from one of my favorite authors today: Lysa TerKeurst. But this time it’s for a children’s book!

It Will be Okay: Trusting God Through Fear and Change (Little Seed & Little Fox)
 
is a beautiful hardback book for
ages 4-8.  I absolutely adore the illustrations by Natalia Moore–so precious!

It Will Be Okay by Lysa TerKeurst

*Great purchase for parents or grandparents who want to encourage their children to deal with fear and change

*Children will learn that God has good plans for them

*Helps kids know that God will be with them through every stop as they grow

The book has a pretty page for filling in if giving as a gift.  The next page is a letter from Lysa to the parent about why she wrote the book.  She knew she needed to help her kids find a way to face their fears and trust in God, even when she isn’t around to remind them.  Next is a page with 10 Scriptures to Memorize with Your Kids.  There are some really great scriptures listed here.  I think my favorite is Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

The story is 28 pages long and tells about a little seed who is safe in the Farmer’s shed.  A fox comes in and befriends him.  They are quite happy keeping each other company until the day the farmer plants the seed.  The seed is very fearful, but the Farmer reassures it that He can be trusted.  The fox finally finds the seed and also encourages it.  Then, as you can guess, in the spring the seed grows.  It eventually grows into a wonderful tree.  The fox and the seed/tree continue to encourage each other and to trust in the Farmer.

You can see the inside the book here:  Flipbook

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And now for the GIVEAWAY: 
If you would like to win a copy of It Will be Okay: Trusting God Through Fear and Change (Little Seed & Little Fox), please enter through the Rafflecopter app below.  The winner will be chosen on 10/14/14 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of It Will be Okay: Trusting God Through Fear and Change (Little Seed & Little Fox) in order to write this honest review. This post also contains affiliate links.)

Linked to Living and Learning at Home Trivium Tuesdays