Saturday, July 9, 2016

Getting Started Homeschooling Guide

What did I want to know when I started homeschooling?  Everything.
However, that's a tall order, so I started with the basic information I could find in library books, then looked at internet resources.  I dug deeper and deeper and deeper, collecting and sorting information, until I stumbled across philosophies and methods that were right for my family.

I get a lot of questions from parents who want to start homeschooling but don’t know where to start. "What are the state policies? What are the different types of homeschooling? What home school programs should I use?" Download this free, Getting Started Homeschooling Guide to get the answers.
home school guide
The free homeschool guide includes:

  • Getting started checklist (Tip: Print this page!)
  • Legal policies by state
  • Explanations for 8 types of homeschooling
  • Curriculum suggestions for each type of homeschooling
  • A list of resources that new homeschoolers should bookmark
  • Total of 15 downloadable pages that you can print or save onto any device

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

NIrV Minecrafters Bible

This is my first Bible review, not counting the preschool version.  I enlisted my 11 year old son to help with this one, because...Minecraft.  This is considered a Children's Bible, and the NIrV stands for New International Reader's Version.  Special content is Minecraft themed, and the full-color, full-page illustrations throughout are in the familiar style you see on the cover below.

Isn't it cute?!  I had mixed feelings upon its arrival.  Is it sacrilegious to use video game love to make God's Word look more appealing?  I don't know, but my son was excited to help and promptly sat down in the hallway to look through it.

He liked the illustrations, pointed out to me the table of contents and "How to Use This Bible" page near the front, and looked over a couple of the illustrated pages that have some of the more popular stories retold in larger text, with a reference at the bottom ("What to Read") as well as a "What to Do" suggestion, for those who like to get hands-on in there learning.

For example, in the middle of Psalm 135 we find the "Jesus is Born" page with a short 3 paragraph paraphrase referencing Luke 2 and Matthew 2, and the suggestion to "Create a stable for some animals. Then build a manger for them to eat out of."  I think the idea isn't too bad - some kids enjoy crafts and just need an idea to get them going.  However, the grammar in the second of those two choppy sentences is atrocious. (I know I'm not perfect at grammar, but I want to give an honest review.)  I'm also not sure why this particular page is stuck in the Psalms. (On second look, the illustrated pages do seem to go in Biblical order as well.  More are from the New Testament so it spilled over, I think.)
The Bible itself is as easy to use an any other I have had.  The pages are thin but not too thin, the text isn't too small, and I do like the font and spacing (see picture below).  The little retold story referenced above is Biblically accurate.  The hardback cover is very sturdy and I imagine it would hold up several years to a typical boy.
My only real reservation to recommending this would be that the translation/version itself isn't beautiful.  It isn't as bad as some, though, and does retain the gist of each verse.  I'll use John 3:16 for comparison, as most everyone knows that one:
God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.
Official description:

"Do you ever feel like it's more fun to exist in the computer world than the real one? Is that the only place you can control your destiny? Well, God is the original great world builder, and he gave us the power and the skills we need to make changes in the real world. The Minecrafter’s Bible, NIrV contains the full text of the New International Reader's Version (NIrV) of the Bible (from Genesis to Revelation) as well as 24 color tip-in pages featuring full-color illustrations in the style of wildly popular virtual-world-building games. Featured stories include the days of creation and great builds of the Bible."

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


I have not found Utopia.  But I did read Utopia and have decided that I don't ever want to live there.

As part of the Back to the Classics Challenge of 2016,  I chose to read Utopia by Sir Thomas More because its also a chance to pre-read for AmblesideOnline year 8 (we are about to begin year 5!).  I helped lead the discussion of this short book on the AO forum, and enjoyed the discussion more than the book.

Not that its a bad book.  I liked my translation (Dover Thrift edition, no translator listed), it wasn't a difficult read compared to some others this year, and it includes interesting ideas.  However, it was full of satire and I found it hard to distinguish the satire from the serious parts...if there were any.

Utopia is a story within a story, told by a man the character Thomas More meets.  They hit it off, grab lunch, then the secondary story begins.  All the virtues of the Utopian way of life are extolled.  Everyone proclaims they are happy living this special way on an island of exact measurements with cities of certain specifications, wearing the same clothing as everyone else, sharing the fruit of their labors and renting out their diplomats to help the governments of other countries.  They have more money than they can ever use (communally), despise jewelry or things that draw attention to individuals, and have to switch houses and lands every so often to prevent the idea of "rights' taking hold (at least, that's my take on it).  They all are offered education, work hard and freely at the jobs assigned to them, and have slaves to do the dirty jobs.

It seems to me that the whole story must be satire, not just some.  However, since it was written, communist governments took it at face value, and encouraged all their citizens to read it!  I don't see how anyone can read this and think its a good idea to try to implement it.  The whole thing is only ideal if slaves aren't real people, and human nature doesn't exist, neither of which are possible.

So - do read this book, if only to disillusion yourself of the notion that Utopia is a nice place to be.