Hi, my name is Melissa. Pour yourself a cup of tea and stay a while. I'm completely devoted to my Savior, madly in love with my husband, and joyously raising my daughters. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoy your time here!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Week in Review: April 16-20

 Sometimes we sit at desks...sort of! Homeschoolers, go figure, right?

This is the time of year I start to really get stressed. Things are wrapping up with my English class I teach and I am full speed ahead towards my piano recital. I have 27 students participating this year! We are keeping up with our schooling, but I'm also working in the background while the girls study. I haven't been great at taking pictures this week, but I have a few!

Rose (7th Grade): Revival to Revolution Unit 14

Most of my photos with Rose these days are her working independently. Honestly, this is how homeschooling is working for us right now in middle school. She studies on her own and then we recap together. It's beautiful really. She is excelling because Heart of Dakota helped me give her the tools she needed to know how to learn instead of merely stuffing facts into her head. 

 Grace (2nd Grade): Bigger Hearts for His Glory Unit 22

This girl is on the move constantly. The fact that she was studying her weekly memory verse from Proverbs sitting down was a miracle! She's typically pacing around as she's working. She's still getting used to her glasses. They are definitely helping and she really loves them!  

Beth (5th Grade): Creation to Christ Unit 29

Beth worked on an acrylic painting as a part of her history project this week. I just realized I think she forgot to finish it! I will have her finish it up tomorrow and post it on Instagram so you can see the finished work. Her water background was gorgeous. 

Friday Science
This week Grace taught her sisters what she has been learning about cells in the human body. She loved this project and had a hard time waiting until Friday to make her edible cell!

They then had fun devouring it as soon as it was finished! 

This was our week. How was yours?
Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up

Preserving Memories: April 15-20

This is my very busy time of year. I'm wrapping up the English class I teach including grading several projects and a major test, then calculating my student's semester grades. I'm also preparing for my piano recital and I have 27 students participating this year! I also have several projects on my plate and don't have as much free time for scrapbooking. Here are the few layouts had time to make. Expect lots of scrapping this summer while I'm on break from my jobs!

Template: Freebie from Fiddle-Dee-Dee Designs

Monday, April 16, 2018

Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology from Apologia: A TOS Crew Review

 Grace is eight. She already has plans to attend a specific college to earn her nursing degree...as long as she can be assured a job where she doesn't have to deal with blood! She thinks blood is gross, but learning about the human body is AWESOME! I asked her if she would like to study this as a regular part of her school day and she started jumping up and down with glee. When Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology from Apologia arrived on our doorstep she could not wait to dig into it. 
Anatomy & Physiology
 Our curriculum pack included the textbook, MP3 audio CD, and both the regular and junior versions of the Notebooking Journal. I loved having access to the entire course for Grace. She is in 2nd grade, but quite advanced for her age academically.I gave her the option of which Notebooking Journal to use and she chose the regular over the junior. I felt this was a good fit as well, but wanted her to make the choice. The older journal is best for students who are already comfortable with handwriting and especially able to write down their thoughts easily. The Junior version is perfect for younger learners who are still in the handwriting learning process but are ready to have focused science instruction.

I really like the option of the MP3 audio CD. This is great for kids who process better with auditory learning, are slower readers, have a reading struggle, or just as a n alternative to reading the book! I had Grace read the chapters, but I think this is especially helpful for younger kids who may be studying along with their older siblings. I know very few companies which offer this option with text books and am very impressed by the thoughtfulness of the company on this matter. It is important to note that this is not a direct, word-for-word reading of the text and may not always track exactly with the book. I actually really like this because I can have Grace read the chapter and then listen separately and she won't feel like she is merely listening to what she read.
The content is Christ-centered, focusing on God as our Creator. This is very important to me as we keep this focus in our home on a continuous basis. Science is relevant to our every day lives and the way we understand the creation God has given us. The curriculum is filled with incredibly simple, yet satisfying experiments and projects to further her understanding.

The experiments which go hand-in-hand with the learning. I have found that all the supplies I need are usually already in my home, or quite easy to obtain locally at the grocery store. 

 Making a paper "Me" was one of her favorite activities! She was also very excited to go shopping to get the few things we needed to create her own cell model out of food. What an incredibly tangible way  to learn!

 This is a kid who adores written workbooks! I know not every kid loves these, but seriously, this was a highlight of each chapter! She especially liked doing this particular crossword puzzle. We worked on it some together, but she did it mostly by herself. She will tell you that learning vocabulary and spelling words are her favorite school activity anyway, so anytime we incorporate this aspect into a new area she is completely on board. Knowing how much she loves words I can imagine her having the time of her life memorizing the various aspects of the human body she would need to in the medical field.

Grace's desire to study medicine and help others is a reflection of her relationship with Him. While I know this may change, her wonder for how the body works and desire to help others will remain. She will now have a wonderful working knowledge of human anatomy and physiology even at a very young age. If you are looking for a new science course to study or have a budding medical degree in your home, this is a fantastic course for you to pick up! 
Check out what my Crewmates have to say!
Apologia - Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Reviews
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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Week in Review: April 9-13

(Pssst...read through this post to find a special offer just to my readers!)

This is what real-life homeschooling looks like! Sunglasses on her head inside, blankets all over from early morning snuggles, crayons from who knows what, doggy toys scattered around, and still learning happens. We have a schoolroom and the girls each have a desk, but honestly, most of their learning occurs elsewhere. One of my daughters likes order and chooses spots without chaos for her learning. This girl seems to thrive with a little clutter in her world. We have a group "clean up" time all around the downstairs after school is done and before I begin teaching piano lessons. 

Here are some more aspects of our week...

Grace (2nd Grade): Bigger Hearts for His Glory Unit 21
When Grace wakes up in the morning she often comes downstairs and snuggles under a blanket. This week was still pretty chilly in North Carolina, so she kept her blanket handy all over the house. This is actually one of Beth's blankets, but it is super warm and snuggly so we all take turns using it! 

Grace enjoys grammar as much as her sisters with Rod and Staff. It usually only takes 10-15 minutes as we do the majority orally and I will often skip over some practice if I know it will be redundant. No matter what the current research says, I see great value in structured grammar lessons and diagramming. Understanding how the sentence parts work together does help in creating new sentences! 

In history this week she read about Andrew Jackson. I skipped a lot of this reading. It was violent and dark in a way I didn't want to delve. I remember skipping most of it with my other two as well. I also don't particularly care for how positively he is portrayed. There are so many things about this man that does not make him a hero of history. While I am careful about how detailed I present some of the horrible events of our history, I also am honest with my daughters about these events. 

Beth (5th Grade): Creation to Christ Unit 28

Here is a close-up of that same scene I have at the top. See what a little cropping can do? She's working on giant numbers and learning how to use a calculator. Our tablets can do so many things! 

We are closing in on the finish line of this guide. She has grown so much this year physically, academically, and spiritually. Ten has been a difficult year for her after her unexpected and unexplained hospital stay in the fall. She is incredibly healthy now and hasn't had any repeat episodes. We are watchful, knowing there could be an underlying issue, but thankful that at the moment she is living completely normal without any lasting issues. 


I'm excited for her to get into the next guide which will focus heavily on the medieval period. I think she will really get into this! We will be reading abridged versions of Shakespeare's plays over the summer all together which will correlate with her guide next year. I have to admit, I don't really love Shakespeare, but I adore this title from Usborne! It's beautiful and I'm enjoying reading it myself first!

My dear friend and book consultant, Julie Kent, is offering a 15% discount just to my readers for any orders placed through this link between now and June 1st. Simply place your order through this link (make sure it says consultant: Julie Kent and event: Grace-Filled Homeschooling) and after you place your order, Julie will be in touch with you to refund 15% of your book purchase price (excluding tax and shipping) either through PayPal or check in the mail. All orders will help earn free books for our local children's hospital where Beth stayed last fall.


Rose (7th Grade): Revival to Revolution Unit 13

Penny is usually hanging around of of my gals during their studies. She loves to snuggle right with them! Rose uses her tablet more and more for school. Since it is larger it works like a mini computer. On this day she was continuing through her Spanish curriculum. She asked to take this foreign language this year because she feels God is calling her to the mission field one day. 

She has decided to continue through her history over the summer. I am going to have her read the books and complete the notebooking pages although she may not finish the rest. This way she can be ready to start the next guide in the fall. We have also decided to go ahead and work through a high school English course next year. She's quite advanced in reading and writing and she is quite excited about the prospect. I've been pleased with her diligence this year and she is often done with school early, leaving her time to pursue more interests. 

One goal I have given her is to read through our collection of 30 or so abridged classics by the end of the summer. This will give her a working knowledge of quite a bit of literature without needing to delve into all of the books yet. I've always been an advocate of abridged classics and think they are excellent ways to introduce these works to kids. I'm also struck that there are many "classic" novels which I think are just awful. Sometimes understanding the story is enough and I don't think it is necessary to actually read them. I'm also left wondering, who decides what makes a classic? Why are some absolutely horrible novels considered must-reads? 

And I leave you to ponder those thoughts. I would love to hear what you think, so comment below! 

Take a lot at what some other homeschoolers are doing this week!
Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Princess Cut from Watchman Pictures: A TOS Crew Review

Watchman Pictures

Family friendly films are sometimes hard to find. I'm excited to see a resurgence of this genre in theaters and on the small screen. We are extremely cautious about what our daughters watch. This is not only because of the language and violence, which is an extreme problem. We are also concerned about how women and love are portrayed in fictional stories. We watch very little live tv and when we do we often turn the tv off during commercials because even they objectify women and promote a value system completely opposite from our own.

I was interested in the opportunity we had to view Princess Cut from Watchman Pictures. The premise definitely intrigued me.

Princess Cut The Movie 

The story opens with a young girl, Grace, looking for love in all the wrong places. While many well-known love stories start this way, this one goes a completely different route from most mainstream films. Grace begins a new relationship which concerns her parents. She is given advice from sources which are completely opposite from her parents who are striving to raise their children with a biblical worldview. After this advice goes badly, she finally talks to her parents who give some guidance about growing close to the Lord rather than just seeking someone to marry.

I thought her love interest would be someone completely different than it turned out to be. I actually kind of liked the guy she started to date at the beginning. He was not portrayed as creepy or weird until Grace turned down his physical advances. I'm glad the movie took this approach. Usually you don't like the guy you aren't supposed to from the start. This really shows that you must be discerning and listen to wise council. Just because a guy seems nice doesn't mean he is! I want my girls to be discerning so they are not manipulated in their future relationships.

I like that the idea of faith plated a pivotal role. Still, this is not a preachy film. There were minimal references to Scripture, but biblical themes still ran throughout. I'm a Christian and very serious about my faith, but "preachy" films annoy me.

While I really did love the message and themes presented throughout this movie, the plot felt pretty slow. Some of the conversations and wording in extremely serious moments felt forced and unnatural. Grace's character was very genuine and I liked her very much, as well as her youngest brother who provided some fun light comedic moments. One funny spot was when he places an ad in the newspaper to get his sister a guy and all sorts of weirdos show up!

It would be a great family movie night if your kids are a little older. If they are still in the cartoon phase most of the time they probably won't really be into it though. I believe my 12 and 10-year-old would like this one, but probably not my youngest who is eight. 

Check out the trailer!

My final assessment is it is definitely worth checking this out if you are a fan of faith-based films!

Check out what my Crewmates have to say! 
Princess Cut {Watchman Pictures Reviews}
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