Friday, July 31, 2015

Review and GIVEWAY!!! Patterns of Evidence Exodus

I don't do many reviews these days, but when I was given the opportunity to review a brand new DVD, Patterns of Evidence Exodus, I had to say yes.  

In this documentary, filmmaker, Timothy Mahoney researches whether there is archaeological evidence for the Biblical account in Exodus. A couple years ago when we were studying ancient history, Ashlyn, Lexie and I watched, read, and listened to a variety of resources, about ancient Egypt, including some discussing the revised chronology that helps to better align archaeological evidence with the Biblical account. So I was interested to see if this video added any new insights. 

Considering the number of other resources we had looked at on this topic, no, I can't say that this video actually provided us with new information, however, it did a very good job of summarizing the information that we had gleaned from other resources and presenting it in a visually easy, or at least easier, to understand way. 

Things we liked: 
The video includes interviews with archaeologists who do not believe there is evidence for the exodus. It interviewed both Jewish and Christian scholars, some of whom don't believe that Exodus describes a literal historic event. I really liked that it provided "both sides" so to speak, yes, all from a Judeo-Christian worldview, but the video clearly showed that there is not consensus. 

Things we didn't like:
I can't really think of anything. Obviously, the target audience of this documentary is Judeo-Christians who are interested in seeing how archaeology supports the Bible. The "conclusion" of the documentary is that yes, there is evidence for Exodus.

If you're interested in learning more about how archaeology, ancient history and the biblical accounts all line up, this DVD is a great resource!

It will be released on August 4 and can be purchased here


A blog featuring interviews and articles is available here.

Twitter: @PattofEvidence

And now, I have a copy of this DVD to GIVEAWAY to one of you!!! Please leave a comment on this blog post (not on facebook or twitter), if you are interested in winning this DVD. Make sure to include your e-mail address so that I can contact you. If I can't contact you, or don't hear back from the winner within 48 hours an alternate winner will be chosen. 

Giveaway ENDS on August 4, 2015 at 8pm EDT.

Please note the rules in the disclaimer below.

"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 a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Wrapping Up 2 More Weeks

So apparently this summer is the summer of two week wrap-ups . . . no real reason . . . I can't even say we're so busy I haven't had time to write . . . maybe it's because we are having a nice quiet summer and there's not a whole lot to write about. I kinda like that.

The weather's been surprisingly wet and not swelteringly hot for July. I like that too.

Ashlyn's been doing lots of gardening. It's kind of doing "too well" the plants are so big they're crowding each other in the raised beds. But we enjoyed the beets that she dug up last week, yum! We're also enjoying the herbs from the herb beds, but sadly, the Japanese beetles seem to really like the basil. Sigh . . . this year is the first time in years that I've seen TONS of Japanese Beetles. Must say, I haven't missed them, UGH! Ashlyn quickly learned to hate them too.

Little Bit is my . . . includer. . . off and on for several years now, we've done "dates" to allow each of the girls to have one-on-one time with one of their parents. Little Bit loves the idea of getting to choose to go someplace special or fun, but inevitably she invites her sisters to come with her. Kind of defeating the whole reason the "dates" were set up. But it makes her happy, so whatever . . . This time, Little Bit chose to go to Oley Dairy. An ice cream shop that also has a petting zoo.

This time I don't think we ever made it past the first couple pens because . . . BABY GOATS! To be fair, I think at various times all 3 girls DID walk around the rest of the pens, but rather quickly gravitated back to the baby goats because . . . they're babies, and they were friendly! The only challenge was keeping the big goats from butting them out of the way.

When we did walk around the rest of the pens, there was a turkey OUTSIDE the turkey pen. I asked Ashlyn to run inside and let them know that it was out. But they told her it's actually a WILD turkey that has been hanging around, trying to get in to their turkeys. How funny is that!

Otherwise, a pretty quiet couple of weeks. Little Bit rediscovered her magnatiles and has spent countless hours building "cages" for her plastic animals with the magnatiles.

The library reading program, though the prizes this year are . . . very disappointing (last year the raffle options included a science kit that had a microscope, etc. This year the raffle options are . . . not educational) Whereas last year the "token" prizes were lots of stickers and such that Little Bit, at least, enjoyed. This year everything is superhero themed. An "I like to read" sticker seems alot more, not only appropriate for a library, but also gender neutral/wide appeal than a spider man eraser. However . . . despite grumbling actual prizes, the girls are still having fun writing down the books we read.

So we're having a quiet, nice, unexciting summer . . . it's a good thing :)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Wrapping up the Last Two Weeks

I have no excuse for not posting last week. We weren't even that busy, just doing normal everyday stuff, but somehow it didn't happen, sigh . . . 

Then again, nothing much was happening so it wouldn't have been a very exciting blog post anyway LOL.

Ashlyn's been busy with her garden. If all the pepper and tomato plants survive, we'll be doing a LOT of canning and freezing LOL.

Our neighbor got some bamboo to use as stakes in her garden, and handed over the leafy tops to all the kids to build a "fort".  It took them 2 afternoons, but they got it built, and seemed to have fun doing it :) 

Corn came in at our local farm stand, so we've been happily eating corn every chance we get, yum!! The first day I brought home 13 ears (the farm stand sells it in  a "baker's dozen") and the girls told me I should have gotten more LOL.  That day the farmer also had some bananas he'd gotten from somewhere and wasn't sure what to do with, so we happily brought home a box full, chopped them up, and put 2 FULL gallon bagfuls in the freezer for "ice cream", yum!

Lexie's been reading the Bobsey Twins books to Little Bit (and Ashlyn's listening in). They think it's pretty fun that the twins in the books are 6 (Little Bit's age) and 12 (Lexie and Ashlyn's age) respectively. And that the description of 6 year old Flossie sounds an awful lot like Little Bit :)

A couple months ago I reserved the library's museum pass, which normally is available very quickly. For whatever reason there was a HUGE waiting list this time, so I FINALLY got it this week. We'd actually reserved it planning to go to an exhibit that was here in May, and is now gone, but since we had it, we decided to go ahead and go. They had a pretty cool art exhibit for kids that let the kids go "inside" the paintings in various ways. Little Bit had fun there for awhile.

Then Ashlyn suggested that we check out another temporary exhibit called "Maker Space" with no description as to what it was. Turns out it was citiblocks! With pictures of suggested things to build. Ashlyn decided to make the 200 block ship that was pictured, so we ended up being there a LONG time. Lexie was an awesome big sister and built with Little Bit, and built "houses" for Little Bit to use with her little animals, while we waited for Ashlyn to finish her ship.

It WAS pretty cool when it was finished!

We finished our week with Independence Day. We had potluck after church and the kids all had fun playing for awhile after that. Then that afternoon a friend texted and invited us over to cook out and do some fireworks so we went over there for the evening. We had a great time! Yummy food, lots of talking, and Little Bit got a turn at being the "big kid" since their kids are 4 & 2. The 2 year old really latched onto her and was dragging her around the yard showing her things. She's been saying for years that she wants a little brother, so she was more than happy to play the big sister. And then, to add to the fun, Mr. Jeff took them for rides in the wheelbarrow. If the delighted squeals and laughter was any indication it was the most fun ever! Once it got dark, we had more fun with sparklers and some firecrackers :) 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Wrapping up . . . Camp meeting

Whew! Campmeeting 2015 is over.

This year's exhaustion (for me) was different than normal. My mom got to experience my normal exhaustion of managing the kids' schedules, keeping Little Bit entertained while her sisters are off "having fun" but there's nothing for her age group. . . Figuring how how to have lunch ready as soon as meetings are over (though thankfully this year the big girls didn't want to do all the available afternoon activities and were able to arrange things so that the earliest time slot after lunch was free, meaning they didn't have to inhale their lunch, so Mom didn't have to figure out and have lunch ready the second they got back from morning meeting (seeings as how SHE was also just getting back from taking Little Bit to morning meeting).  . .

So, while Mom was handling all that, Dad and I spent our days at my house tearing a shed off the back of the garage (and doing other projects when the rain prevented us from working on that.  It was definitely more physical work than I'm used to, and more time spent out in the heat than I'm used to, but we got a lot done and I suppose it was good for me. . . re-reminded me why, when I was a kid and my mom would give my brother and me choices on which chores we were going to do each day (during summer vacation), I always chose the indoor ones! I don't do heat well. . .

But now to back up a little bit. Sunday schedule at campmeeting is different from the rest of the week. There are no meetings for the kids (except evening meeting for the bigger kids). So we decided to spend Sunday visiting a National Park instead. Hopewell Furnace was one of the early Junior Rangers the big girls earned and has always held the place of "favorite Junior Ranger" in their hearts. Little Bit was too little when we did it though, and there was a new Passport stamp there that Dad wanted. So we headed back there.  It's still a favorite. In addition to the "scavenger hunt" that Little Bit did to earn her Junior Ranger (and that the big girls remember so fondly from our first visit), they now also have a more challenging page for older kids, so the big girls got to earn another Junior Ranger there, doing different things from the first time. The girls were disappointed that the horses were too hot to come over to fence and say hi, but otherwise it was a great visit and confirmed that it's still one of our favorite National Parks :)

While I wasn't at camp meeting much, I did go up in the evenings for supper and got to hear about the girls' week. The big girls still love all the things they've always loved, though this year cemented in their minds, their feeling from 2 years ago, that Primary (age 7-9) is the most fun tent. Apparently the songs are better, the pastors give out candy, and . . . I don't remember what other reasons the girls gave for missing being in that tent. Their continued love for Primary has Little Bit anxiously looking forward to getting to go to that tent next year.

Little Bit didn't have very fond memories of her own class from 2 years ago, so we weren't sure how things would go this year. But apparently being one of the oldest instead of one of the youngest in the class (for ages 4-6) makes a big difference. Not only did she happily go to her meetings, but by part way through the week she didn't even need/want my mom to come with her (making that whole "have meals ready" thing easier . . . at least this way Mom could prep the food during meeting, then go pick Little Bit up, and then just do finishing touches while the kids all waited).

There was quite a bit of rain during camp meeting this year. I can't imagine how miserable it would have been to stay in a tent, but the motorhome made it not much of an issue for us. One evening though, it had just started to rain when Lexie and Ashlyn were ready to leave for their meeting. They decided they could walk in the rain rather than be driven to meeting by grown ups (oh the indignity!) so they set out. I wasn't paying much attention to what was going on outside, Little Bit was soundly beating her daddy and me at Sorry, when the gentle rain switched to downpour and I glanced out the window to see the trees surrounding the motorhome whipping every which way. Eek! I texted the girls to make sure they'd gotten safely to meeting before the sky opened up. Ashlyn replied that they had, and soon after getting to the tent, the leaders had moved them all to the basement of the girls' dorm (camp meeting is held on the campus of a boarding school). Whew! Rodney and I waited for the storm to pass and then headed home for the night. Later we found out that soon after they got all the kids moved out of the tents and into the dorms, the Primary tent collapsed. Thankfully nobody was hurt and they were able to get it set back up in time for the next morning's meeting.

We finished off our week, and camp meeting, with a church potluck picnic. The kids all had great fun playing on the playground before and after lunch. It was overcast, but didn't rain till we were packing everything up to go home anyway, so all worked out nicely.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Wrapping Up the Week of June 7

Hmmm . . . we had a pretty quiet week. I like quiet weeks, but they don't make for very exciting blogging :-)

Lots of baking and such getting ready for campmeeting (this week). Lexie made at least 3 different kinds of muffins and froze them for breakfasts. Ashlyn made crepes and froze THEM for breakfasts.

The only picture I took all week (and technically I didn't take it, Lexie did) was of the "cell" Lexie and Little Bit made for science. I have to say, I like "hands on" alot better now that I can just turn the kids loose with it LOL. Lexie mixed up the gelatin and then Little Bit "helped" her put it in a ziplock (cell membrane) and add the neucleus and . . . whatever the pinto beans represent, then they laid it in a box to represent the cell wall. Fun stuff :)

The other big excitement this week was getting cell phones for Lexie and Ashlyn. Sigh . . . somehow this feels like a big milestone, even though I know many kids have phones much younger than 12. They're finally to the point where there are times it would be nice for them to have phones so Rodney shopped around and found a prepaid plan that is very reasonably priced. I had suggested they get one phone and share it, and we could always get a second one if we needed to, but Rodney apparently wasn't paying attention when I suggested that, so he ordered 2. So, they each have their own. The phones came on Friday, just in time for us to head to camp meeting, so the timing was perfect (and jumping ahead just a tad, I was beyond thankful they had phones when, last night, just as their evening meeting, that they had walked to, was supposed to start, a thunderstorm with high winds whipped up. Was sooo reassuring to be able to text them and confirm they'd made it to the meeting (and that the meeting, normally in a large tent, had been moved indoors).

So, that brings us to the fun of the last part of the week. . . camp meeting. . . My parents brought their motorhome up and parked it on campus on Thursday. Friday we packed the kids' stuff and headed over there. I wasn't sure how things were going to work for Little Bit. She was very unsure she even wanted to try going to meetings (remembers NOT enjoying them last time we were there), but she seemed to enjoy it on Sabbath, so we shall see how the week progresses (today my mom was going to take her, since Dad and I are busy working on projects at my house). Sabbath afternoon we enjoyed a potluck picnic with people from church, and then that evening, Little Bit played with friends on playground (with my parents keeping an eye on her) while Rodney & I got to actually sit down and listen to vespers :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

'Tis the Season . . . for Curriculum Planning

We school year round, but it seems to work out that spring is the time of year that we plan curriculum for the next year or so. We tweak things as we go, and sometimes plan to "figure it out when we get there", but with homeschool convention and our state-required evaluations that makes it an easy time to file away last year's stuff and start fresh. . . this seems to be the "schedule" that we've fallen into.

Since I know many people are curriculum planning in the summer to start back in the fall, I thought I'd share what our current plans are for the next year or so:

We recently started year 3 of Bible Road Trip. I'm not expecting this one to take a full year (even a school year). It's designed so that (for the twins' grade level) with a larger book, we read 2 chapters per day, which is a good pace. However, when a book is less than 10 chapters, it's still given a full week. I can understand how, for some people, maintaining the rhythm of focusing on the same book in a given week would be valuable but with our eclectic schedule, we rarely stay on "track" to have our weeks line up with the curriculum's weeks anyway, so, when there are less chapters we stick with our 2 chapter per day pace and just have shorter "weeks", which means, considering how many short books there are in the last part of the New Testament, I'm guessing this "year" won't take us a full year, and obviously, even if it did, we're getting an early start . . . we are adding in a few more days because we'll also be using the Picture Smart Bible at the end of each book to recap/review that book. This is one of those subjects that we're planning to plan later. When we are approaching the end of BRT we'll figure out what we want to use for Bible for the rest of the year. Our current thought is to find something to fit the time left until July 2016, and then start back with year 1 of Bible Road Trip at that point.  For now we are using the 7th grade level for Lexie and Ashlyn. I ask Little Bit to listen in to the chapter(s) that are also included in the 1st grade level.

We just finished Volume 2 of Story of the World and are beginning Volume 3. As we've done for the last couple of years, we add in lots of living books, videos, some crafts, etc. I'm hopeful that Little Bit will be more involved for Volume 3, and am planning some crafts and things just for her (not that the older girls aren't allowed to join in, but I'm including them because I think Little Bit will enjoy them). I also pulled out the History Pockets books that we used with American History when the big girls were 5 and 8 to see if she enjoys them. I'm anticipating that we may take abit more than a year on this volume. It includes the early American history that we love so much, and have so many great field trip opportunities nearby for, I don't think I'll be able to "skim over" the American history in this volume, especially if our excitement is contagious and Little Bit catches the history bug :)

Lexie and Little Bit are using science from Answers in Genesis. It seems to be working as we'd hoped, with Lexie "teaching" the 1st grade level to Little Bit, and working independently on the 7th grade level.
Ashlyn is using a Botany curriculum we got from SchoolhouseTeachers she's combining this with using the Handbook of Nature Study, and the gardening and other plant studies as her interest inspire her. Little Bit will be joining with her some as well, at least for the gardening and other hands-on type things.
I need to ask Little Bit if she wants to listen through Herb Fairies again this year too. We listened to the first one in April, but I forgot to do the second one in May, if she wants to go through them again this year, I need to get us caught back up.

Lexie is continuing with Life of Fred. She is currently learning Pre-Algebra and Physics.

Ashlyn is switching to Teaching Textbooks. She's hoping to still read the stories in Life of Fred but she wants the more detailed explanations of Teaching Textbooks. As a bonus, it's all presented as audio which is perfect for her! I really wish it was available as an online thing or a download so we didn't have to set up one of the old laptops that has a DVD drive for her to do it on, but we'll manage, while keeping fingers crossed that they will realize that in today's world of chromebooks, netbooks, tablets, and half tablet/half laptop things, having to insert a CD to use the program is rather old fashioned.

We continue to use Spelling Wisdom. Ashlyn loves it, Lexie hates it, but she just generally hates the very idea of spelling, I'm pretty sure there's no other spelling curriculum that she'd like any better. She's holding out hope for technology to make spelling obsolete LOL. I definitely feel like it's a more "real life" way to learn spelling than the spelling lists I had in school.

Grammar/Language Arts:
Ashlyn is continuing with Fix It Grammar, at least for now. Once she finishes the book she's using, we'll decide if she wants to do the next book or feels comfortable with where she's at. She does still have the Grammar of Poetry that we reviewed, but didn't have time to finish (because she reviewed Fix It Grammar immediately after that review) so I would guess she'll finish that up before going on to another Fix It Grammar even if she decides to continue that series.

Lexie was still pretty adamant that she was NOT doing grammar at the time of the homeschool convention and then, as we were browsing at Rainbow Resources, she noticed an unfamiliar Life of Fred book . . . Life of Fred Australia. She had to check it out . . . and discovered that it was a language arts book. She read through part of the first lesson before we moved on. When I looked it up online we discovered that yes, it's a language art series (4 books) but is intended to be high school level. Lexie insisted that it was easy enough for her, so we have ordered that first book and we'll see how it goes. . .

The big girls continue to get their "reading" in the form of reading whatever they want as long as they are reading regularly.

Little Bit goes in spurts of wanting to read. At the Homeschool convention I picked up some early readers with a nature theme and some weeks she wants to read them, some weeks she doesn't. I'm not pushing it, but have asked, after some "false starts" that she wait until she's ready to commit to being consistent about it, so we shall see. . .

Both girls continue with the music lessons.

Ashlyn is continuing with Artistic Pursuits. We were able to get another book at a good price at the used curriculum sale at the homeschool convention so that should keep her busy for most of this year. If not, there's an art curriculum on SchoolhouseTeachers and there were also some interesting looking art options in the "bundles" we got at the recent Bundle sale, so she has lots of art options available.

Lexie has decided to take more of an "art appreciation" approach to art this year. She found a series of books on various artists at the homeschool convention and will be using those this year.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Wrapping up the First Week of June

We began our week with Lexie's violin recital. She has completed Suzuki Book 1. Normally her teacher has her violin students play 4 or 5 songs from Book 1 for their graduation recital. But, she has her piano students play all the songs in the piano book 1 and has a cute little story that incorporates all the titles. When Ashlyn had her graduation recital Lexie decided she wanted to play all her songs for her graduation recital as well, and promptly sat down and wrote her own story, a sequel to the piano story. So Lexie's violin recital was an exercise in arm stamina as well. Rodney recorded her recital.

Monday was our end of year evaluation for homeschool, so the 2014-2015 school year is now officially complete.

We were worried this week about Little Bit's cat, Joy. He had been gone for a few days and when he came back he wouldn't eat or drink much and was limping. The vet couldn't really find anything wrong. His best guess was some sort of infection or abscess on Joy's back. He gave him antibiotics for that and sent us home with pain medicine and and appetite stimulant. We gave him one pain pill and one appetite stimulant and between that and the antibiotic he was walking close-to-normal by the next morning, and eating ravenously. Now he's back to normal but extremely annoyed at us for not letting him back outside yet. Whew!

We started Volume 3 of Story of the World for history this week. One of the suggested activities I'd found for chapter 1 (talking about the Spaniards mining for gold and silver in South America) was gold mining. I figured Little Bit would have fun with that, so handed Lexie the link and had her set it up for Little Bit. Much mess, much fun!

The big girls were very willing to help eat the "gold" (lemon heads) when Little Bit was done mining :)

Sabbath was a busy day. After church, instead of potluck, everyone brought picnic lunches and lawn chairs and we all picnicked together on the lawn by the church. It worked out really well because after we ate the kids played with bubbles (Lexie took some awesome pictures of that, but they're on Rodney's phone and he hasn't sent them to me yet) and played tag and just generally ran around and had fun while the adults could sit around and talk and still keep the kids in sight.

When we got home, the girls wanted to go see our neighbor's puppy so we went over and hung out at their house the rest of the day. They recently got a "double" hammock (that is HUGE), so everyone had to try that out.

Then Lexie and Ashlyn decided to see how it worked to actually use a double hammock like it's "supposed" to be used. They completely disappeared inside it LOL. And then had a horrible time getting OUT of it.

We stayed at their house for supper and didn't get home till bedtime. So, long day, but fun.