Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wisdom for the Long Haul

From my loving husband this morning:

Dave's text this morning: "I luv u. Have fun. Stay strong. Remember it is a boy thing."
Me: "What's a boy thing?"
Dave: "Whatever they do today that makes u scratch your head." 
And just to add some cuteness to this post:

Indeed, Dave.  It's a boy thing!

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's gonna be a Good Morning sorta fall

I'll be transparent here:  Having daily quiet time with God is hard for me to "squeeze in" because I {sometimes often} get sucked into making bad time management choices.  I have experienced the powerful changes that can occur with daily devotional time, but...., well, I could finish that thought with lots of excuses, none of them worthy, however, of skipping out on my Lord and Creator.

I heard about Good Morning Girls a few weeks ago from another Old Schoolhouse Crewbie and decided to give it a try.

Daily you read a bible passage, write it down, and make some observations, applications and end in prayer -- it's called a SOAP note.  Groups of women share their insight for accountability and encouragement.

My group is connected via Facebook, but there are plenty out there connected with other social-media tools.

In 12 weeks I'll have written out the entire book of 1 John and meditated on each verse. Awesome, eh?  I'm looking forward to having this time with my Savior.

How about you?  If you are unable to attend a IRL Bible study, what online tools have you used to meet your spiritual needs?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Crew Review: Nature Nuts by Griddley Games


I'm embarrassed to admit this after playing several rounds of this game with my kids, but in the interest of fairness to them and honesty with you all....................

I am no nature nut. 

But, I am OK with that, because my losing streak makes the kids laugh and they want to play again.  And again. And again.

Nature Nuts is a simple idea -- a game asking trivia about animal, plant and earth sciences -- with some fun and silly add-ins which make for a fun learning activity.  Here's how to play:

According to the website, this game is for two to four players, ages 8 and up, but it was fairly easy to modify to allow my 5-year-old to play.  We set his point value low (20 points) and (depending on the question) we made up multiple choice answers for him. With these two adjustments, he was very competitive (heck, I'd be more competitive with multiple choice!).

The animal category questions were definitely some of the easier questions for us.  What is the name of a female lion? What is the difference between the feet of frogs and toads?  Not that we knew all the answers! The Earth question topics were a real hodge podge -- magnetism, the moon, environmental science, geology, basic chemistry.  We really didn't know what we'd get in that subject, which made this my favorite type of card to get.
Questions about plants were from ecology/ environmetal science and plant biology topics.  Some of the 7-point questions were T.O.U.G.H. for us.  It's been a few years since my 12-year-old (rising 7th grader) has studied plant biology, so he was definitely befuddled by  many of the 7-point questions.  For my 8-year-old 3rd grader, however, the types of 3-point questions were fairly spot-on for his knowledge base -- not that he could answer all them.

I think a good percentage of the 7-point question could be more easily answered by both my 8-year-old and 12-year-old if we had just finished a science course on plants and/or animals or had an on-going interest in biology.  As much as Ben likes science, he's more of a physics kid, so these questions challenged him, which is a good thing.  It isn't often that he gets stumped!

But it is the purple Wise Alec cards that make this trivia game fun.  Tongue twisters, yoga poses, open ended brain teaser questions and other action cards (bird calls, making a fish face) made us laugh. The kids couldn't wait to get a purple card! As we waited in the car at a music lesson, Luke and Levi giggled to no end when I had to get out, run across the street (so they could snap a picture) and do the tree pose:

and this picture was snapped after pulling the Wise Alec card that said, "Your horse passed gas. Minus 3 points:"

Laughing and trivia at the same time --  the creators of this game deserve a high-five for that card. Another high-five for Griddley Games:  the directions are imprinted on the cover of the case.  That's one less game in Toy Heaven because of a lost set of directions.  As a matter of fact, Griddley Games was founded by a mom (who must've had her own collection of direction-less games). Their products have won TONS of game and toy awards, so even if Nature Nuts doesn't sound exciting to you, it's worth a browse through their website to see what else they offer.

I forgot to mention earlier that Nature Nuts can be an add-on expansion kit to Wise Alec, a full-blown trivia game for the family.  At the time I am writing this, Griddley Games does not have a storefront of their own.  However, the games are readily available at retailers and online. It is retailing for $14.99 on Amazon right now.

I hope we can use this game more in the future to supplement our science learning in a fun, crazy way.

If you'd like to read more about Nature Nuts and Civilize This! by Griddley Games, click on over to The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew to read more!

Thanks to Griddley Games who provided a free game for my family to use in exchange for our honest opinion about it!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Time is on HIS side

As usual, I'm amazed by God.

Sometimes {sheepish confession}, I've gotten a little sidetracked by the academics of homeschooling and have forgotten to focus on our most important reason for homescholing our family:  imparting our faith in our children, living it out with them on a minute-by-minute basis.

So, I'm making a conscious effort this year to begin with what is important:  God. I am using a resource called Sword Fighting to engage all the boys at the same time in scripture memorization and Bible reading as a start to our day.  We've changed up our morning routine a bit to include breakfasting at the table {instead of the counter} and while we all eat together, I read the passage of the day and we practice our sword fighting -- the word of God. 

What I've noticed is that when we are faithful to set aside time in our day for God, he is faithful to us and provides for us abundantly -- and this includes an abundance of time.  After reading our scripture passage on Tuesday and talking together, the boys spend a good 30-45 minutes drawing swords and writing our verse (Psalm 119:11) on them.  They were having fun creating decorative hilts on their swords and even translating the verse into codes Ben had created a few years ago. 

Displaying {God inspired} patience, I just let them have fun and enjoy the activity.  And I was richly rewarded by my precious Lord:   even though the boys spent a good hour working on all this, we were able to still get to all the other school work I'd assigned and with darn good attitudes to boot.

For a mama who often time feels like I've got to race against time {uh, that mama would be me} to fit in all that needs to be done some days, I'm just so grateful to God for the reminder that He is in control of it all.