This is an invitation to all wives, including new wives, old wives, happy wives, sad wives, separated wives, wives-to-be, and any wife in between. An invite to what?

S.H.M.I.L.Y. for 30 Days of Prayer!! (Amy) started SHMILY in June of 2009. SHMILY (See How Much I Love You) for 30 days of Prayer is a time for all wives to come together and commit one month to daily prayer for their husbands. It is vital for us to pray for our husbands. 
This from Amy: "Continuing every June since, marriages have been changed because women prayed and trusted in God… and quit trying to do things on their own power.  Note: Not only married women have prayer, but also women separated have prayed for reconciliation, as well as single women wanting to pray  for their husband to be!

Covering a husband in prayer is so important, and regardless of where your marriage is right now (great… okay… or falling apart…), “S.H.M.I.L.Y. for 30 days of prayer” is to simply make sure that your man is being prayed for every day for a month… regardless of how YOU feel. (And if things are really bad, that this is a perfect time to do this!)
  • WHAT YOU’LL NEED: “The Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie OMartian.
  • WHAT YOU’LL DO: Read a chapter a day, which includes a prayer. (Even if you’ve read this book before, you can just do the prayers and skip the reading… the point is for you to PRAY!)
  • THE POINT: To get wives praying for their husbands… that’s it! Doesn’t matter what the background, denomination of faith (or lack there of), or current state your life is in… Let’s get those hubbies covered in prayer and stand back and expect great things to happen to them, our marriages, and even ourselves as we petition God on their behalf!"

Please join all of us in praying. Hurry to sign up, it starts June 1st. To read more & join, click on over
Today is a day of remembrance, a day to reflect. Many of us know someone - a friend, relative, friend of a friend - that has sacrificed so much for us. They leave their families behind to go stand for freedom. They've fought wars with some sacrificing their own lives. There are those that made it through, to come home mourning their friends & fellow soldiers.

Today, I want to thank each and every one of the fallen heroes - the dedicated service members - that have given their all for all of us.

I also want to thank their families for encouraging their loved one despite the fear and desperation that comes with them serving. 

Lastly, I want to thank my husband for his service in the Army. He served in the Persian Gulf & though it may not have been Vietnam or WWII, it was still war, and he served our country, making that sacrifice for us. Thank you, my Honey!! 

To all of you, please remember to pray for all of the service members and their families. Every day they face dangers, whether at war or training. Thank you, all of you! 
Are you a history buff? Do you just love teaching history to your kids and learning more than you knew? Well, sad to say, I wasn't a social studies fan when I was in school. I didn't like remembering dates and places and names, and all of the other, seemingly unimportant stuff.

Now, as a homeschool mom, I LOVE history. I love learning about all of the stuff that happened throughout history. And I love that I can learn it beside my children. I'm disappointed that, in my education, the importance was placed on dates and names, rather than the occurrence of it all. It's so interesting to me now, and I'm excited for my kids when we start learning a new era.

So when I was given the opportunity, through the TOS Crew, to review a new history product, I said YES!!! Please!!!

That new product is Heritage History. The first thing I saw on their website was their introduction. It starts:  
Putting the Story Back into History

There are two quite distinct purposes of history; the superior purpose, which is its use for children, and the secondary, or inferior purpose, which is its use for historians. The highest and noblest thing that history can be is a good story.
          —G. K. Chesterton
That's exactly what my thoughts were on history. I was excited and kept reading:
"The mission of Heritage History is to make old-fashioned history books, written for the enjoyment of young people, easily available."

"We believe that the current trend of teaching Social Studies rather than history to young people is unfortunate, not so much because it is politicized, but because it is boring. Too many students leave school with a vague disinterest in history because it was never presented in an engaging manner."

"At Heritage History, we seek to promote, not so much the study of history as the enjoyment of History. By making available old-fashioned history, as it was enjoyed as a pastime rather than studied as a subject, we hope to help reawaken the interest of a new generation

I was sold! If the products really upheld their philosophy, this is what I wanted to use for history. I needed to find out.

After searching around their site, I discovered that Heritage History looks at history, well, as history, not social studies. I learned more about the background of the modern educational system's approach to "social studies". And realized - that is why I didn't like "history". It wasn't history, necessarily, that I was learning! (read more at Heritage History's Intro page).

Ok. So now that I had rediscovered the true definition of history class, I wanted to learn about the products. 

Heritage History offers curriculum CD's that contain actual books, study guides, user guides, and more. Each of the books is available as a printable PDF and in e-Reader format (EPUB & MOBI). That's 3 different formats you could use!
The study aids & guides offer:
The study guide is also printable or you can purchase it pre-printed separately. Each CD Curriculum has biographies, legends, hero stories, & historical literature. The CD's also contain the study guides, timelines, historical maps, and era summaries. All of which can be printed. It truly is incredible all that is on these CD's!
We received the Ancient Greece Curriculum. This CD contains 46 books, 50+ maps, timelines, battle dictionaries, reading recommendations, geography terms, short biographies, and the ready to print study guide.

The pic to the left shows the CD with the printable study guide and a printed book, though all of the books could be read without printing.

We are thrilled with this curriculum. Heritage History has put an incredible amount of time and effort into it. And one of the greatest things, for us, is that Ancient Greece correlates with our current curriculum. 

Each of the CD's are priced at just $24.99 (the classical library CD's are just $19.99). That is amazing for all that you receive. Right now, Heritage History is having a sale, purchase 2 CD's and get one free! Each CD can be used for students from grade school through high school.

I am confident that you will find this curriculum interesting & easy to use. It is organized effectively, even for us : - )

For More Reviews From The TOS Crew
Disclaimer: I received this product free as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew with the sole purpose of providing an honest review after using it. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer.
I See You :P
This will be more like a Wordless Wednesday post, just not so wordless, lol. The pics are from Monday's "science" lesson. It was just too  nice to be inside so the kids went to the pond. This was caught in the middle of the pond - had to put the waders on to reach! No, it wasn't me : - )  It was my son that caught him., but I had fun holding him, too. 
He Was Just HUGE!!!
Isn't He Cute?! : -)
Even Harley Wanted To Join In
These are the kind of science projects I like. God's Creation

I pray you have a great day!!
"Teaching writing has never been easier!®"
Do you dread the time that is spent trying to encourage your child to write? Does that encouragement become a debate round with no winner? If you've answered yes, then I may have the solution for you!

WriteShop is company that was created by 2 homeschool moms,  Kim Kautzer & Debbie Oldar. In their search to teach writing, the sources they found just didn't contain everything they were looking for: clarity, conciseness, focus on strong paragraph development, a variety of writing activities, teach students refining skills, & help parents learn to evaluate student's work. 

They ultimately put together their own program, WriteShop. It's "engaging, step-by-step lessons present students with the building blocks of the writing process—pre-writing, brainstorming, writing, and revising—and help you edit and evaluate their work."  

So what is it, exactly? It is a systematic approach to helping your child gain writing skills and have fun, too. It is a creative writing program that can work with many learning styles. It is flexible and can be used for children of different levels.

WriteShop can help you teach your children how to write with confidence.
The TOS Crew has been given the opportunity to review a few of the levels that WriteShop offers. I was given Book D, which is geared for students in 3rd & 4th grade, but can be used with reluctant 5th or 6th graders. I used it with my struggling 6th grader & as a refresher with my high schooler.

According to WriteShop"Book D teaches the basics: how to come up with ideas; brainstorm and organize before writing; choose more interesting words; learn to self-edit in a fun and positive way; and publish creatively."

There are two components to WriteShop, the Teacher's Guide & the Activity Pack. The Teacher's guide literally guides you how to teach & evaluate your child's work. It offers step by step suggestions to get you in the right direction with scheduling & lesson plan ideas. 
The Activity Pack is twofold. It contains student worksheets on the left and the Level 1 Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack on the right. They tear off at the top for each lesson.

There are 60 worksheets pages that include pre-writing activiites, skill builders, journal prompt pages, brainstorming worksheets, reading log forms, self-editing checklists, and skills evaluation charts. 

The Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack allows the student to create 10 grammar & writing guides. There are 20 bookmarks that have quick reviews on them, too. The Grammar Pack contains the following guides: punctuation marks, self-editing, nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, capitalization, & references.

The Book D set teaches:

"Table of Contents
Letter of Invitation * Humor * Adventure Science Fiction * Mystery * Poetry/Haiku * Folktales Historical Fiction * Personal Narrative
Expository Writing: Factual Article
Skills Introduced in Book D
Identify & Use Proper Grammar & Punctuation
Narrow a Broad Topic to a Specific Topic
Brainstorm Before Writing
Structure a Sentence * Write a paragraph
Choose Strong Words Instead of Weak Ones
Use Emotion Words to Develop Voice
Use the Five Senses to Add Descriptive Detail
Self-edit and Revise Their Work"
There is also a Time Saver Pack This pack saves you valuable time by having the games & props already completed (no prep-time required). There are 20 sturdy pages printed on white and colored pages. They correlate with the lessons in the Activity Book and instructions are in the Teacher's Guide. You are all set!

 I really like WriteShop! I like how easy it is to use, once you get the hang of it. The lessons are step-by-step and incremental. You start out slow and move along as your student progresses. Because I have a struggling 6th grader, I believe WriteShop offered me the ability to reintroduce writing in a fun and not so stressful way. For my high schooler, it was an interesting way to review, and even learn a few new skills that were overlooked.

You can preview a free sample's of each of levels here to see if it's right for you and your family.

You can purchase WriteShop Junior Activity Pack (Book D), print version, for $39.95. The ebook version is $29.95. You will also need the Book D Teacher's Guide to guide your student through the worksheets & projects. This is $39.95 in print or $34.95 as an ebook. The Time Saver Pack can be purchased for $13.95 print or ebook.

WriteShop offers products for grades K-12 and I am confident there will be at least one that work for you and your family. You can view them here.
For More Reviews From The TOS Crew
Disclaimer: I received these products free as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew with the sole purpose of providing an honest review after using them. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer
Below is information on a great celebration happening RIGHT NOW!

It's over at 7onaShoestring and she is having different prizes everyday ending with the Grand Prize on June 6th. Please click on over to her blog and follow the steps to enter.
Blogiversary Giveaway

She is celebrating her 1 year Blogiversary for 7 on a Shoestring. She is continuing right along with the giveaway-a-day throughout this week {5/21-5/26} & then the Grand Prize Giveaway that starts on May 27th. With the help of over 140 of her blogger friends, these giveaways say, “Thank You” for all of the support along the way!  

Knowing the basics of math is the first step in becoming a great mathematician. The basics; like addition, subtraction, multiplication, & division. But often times these basic facts get left behind as we introduce calculators & computers into the mix. I remember completing Calculus assignments and realizing the answer was incorrect because I added wrong. How frustrating! Memorizing facts and tables is a great way to learn, but even with memorizing,  that can be boring (according to my kids).

Now there is a better way to help your kids learn & retain math facts. It's called CapJaxMathFax. CapJax is a software program that you can quickly & easily download onto your PC or MAC and is also available on CD. No more flashcards getting lost or fact tables being misplaced. The program is designed to be like a game where your student chooses the levels and concepts. The difficulty of the game is dependent on the student's level and progression is adjusted automatically according to his/her skill improvement.

CapJax was designed by Jack Fretwell (Captain Jack) of Starboard Training Systems. Mr. Fretwell earned his Master's in Educational Technology and has been in education and computers for over 30 years. He has been heading CapJaxMathFax for over 10 years & has "seen many children develop stronger math skills and confidence." The goal of Starboard Training Systems is to "help organizations that teach, train and mentor our children so that not one is without basic math abilities." (CapJax about me)

Here is a short video about the need for increased math skills:
To get started with the program, you download the program and plug in your license key. 

Once set up, you will see a screen like that to the left. You (or your student) will click "Go For It" (and the mouse is even a little captain at the wheel). 

From there you will find the login screen. The teacher & "player" have the opportunity to choose the math concept & level each time the game is play.

Once you're logged in, you will see a screen similar to the one below. The game automatically generates the exercises based on the students choices and level (based on previous sessions). There is a timer so the player has an opportunity to see his/her success as well as "Super Seconds", which challenges the student to answer in less than 3 seconds. Below are a couple of screen shots. You will see in the left pic, there is a graph that shows the student's progress. And the teacher can also view progress through summary & diagnostic reports. 

One of the benefits of CapJaxMathFax is that it doesn't attempt to frustrate the student. It's designed to encourage by providing immediate positive feedback for correct answers and there are even praise messages (message in a bottle) that are a fun and quirky form of encouragement for the student.
If you would like to get a feel for the program, you can try the program for free. Simply download the free evaluation program to get started. According to CapJax "The evaluation package demonstrates the full system. . . .  We've included notes to help explain how the software works to improve basic skills." After you've tried the program, you just purchase the license key for $29.95. This license is good for up to 10 users! It's a great deal, for sure, and a good investment.

As a member of the TOS Crew, we were given a 6mo. license key to try out CapJaxMathFax. I really do like the program. The concept is great, it's easy to use, and my kids can practice math facts at their own pace, as often as they want for however long they want. To learn more about CapJaxMathFax, go to their features. There is also a great "Why Pick CapJaxMathFax" page that will answer many questions for you.

Try out CapJaxMathFax today for free and see if it'll work for your home. It does for mine.
For More Reviews From The TOS Crew
Disclaimer: I received this product free as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew with the sole purpose of providing an honest review after using it. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer.
Finding wholesome, educational books, DVD's, CD's, & more, at low cost, can be a real challenge. There are many companies that offer them, but it's finding one that will give you the best deal possible that's not always easy.

Library and Educational Services (LES) is a company that will do just that. LES is a wholesale distributor of educational and inspirational materials. They offer "a wide selection of children’s books, books for teens, and adult fiction and nonfiction titles. We carry popular audio series such as Adventures in Odyssey, Your Story Hour, and the Focus on the Family Radio Theatre series. DVDs such as Moody Science Classics are also popular." LES also carries the Childhood of Famous Americans series, Trailblazer Books, and Christian authors like Karen Kingsbury, Beverly Lewis, Max Lucado, and Dr. James Dobson.
Library and Educational Services offers 30-70% off retail prices! These discounted prices are available to wholesale customers, which include: resellers, libraries (directors & librarians), schools, teachers & other school leaders, churches & church leaders, home educators, & missionaries. To learn more about ordering from LES, you can read their FAQ's.

As a member of the TOS Crew, we were introduced to LES when we were given the opportunity to review Go Science DVD's. Mr. Ben Roy is the instructor in each of the videos. He teaches science methods at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is the former director of a science program on television. He brings exciting science experiments to life in each of the Go Science videos, each based on the particular topic of the video.
There are 6 DVD's in the Go Science series for a total of 67 experiments. In each of the videos, Mr. Ben Roy "captivates, motivates, and inspires students to be excited about science, while providing effective instruction based on science phenomena. Each spectacular demonstration of physical or chemical science has a spiritual application and points to our Creator!" 

Go Science is geared for children age 6-14 but are fun to watch for all ages, in my opinion. Here is one of the video clips from Volume 3:
We received Volume 3: Magnetism, Electricity, Engineering, & Design & Volume 6: Water, Space, & Solar System.
Volume 3's run time is 54 minutes and is appropriate for ages 5-11. The demonstrations include:

Monster Magnets * A/C Electromagnet

D/C Electromagnet * Making a Compass

Static Electricity * Light Bulb * Jacob's Ladder

Conductivity * Solar Energy * Tesla Coil * Color

Cut Paper Halves * Heat Engine * Plastic Pre Forms


At the end of every clip, in every DVD, Mr. Roy exclaims:
"Every time we learn something about SCIENCE,
we learn something about our CREATOR GOD
(Ben Roy, Go Science)
Volume 6 runs for 37 minutes and is also appro_priate for children ages 5-11. The demonstrations include:

Water Disappear * Boil Water in a Paper Cup

Properties of Water * Floating Balls

As Cold as Outer Space * Make a Rocket

Living in Space * Solar System * Centripetal Force

Because of the terrific discounts at Library and Educational Services, you can purchase the whole series of Go Science DVD's for just $47.95. That's 60% of the retail price of $79.95! Each individual DVD is $8.97.

We enjoyed the science experiments on the DVD's. My kids thought they were "cool" & they kept their attention. Most of the experiments can easily be done at home, though the materials list isn't given until you watch the video. I liked that Mr. Roy gives credit to The Lord in every video. It is important for children to hear this and recognize that science, creation, and The Lord are all connected. The one thing that I wouldn't mind seeing different is the explanation of the experiments - the how's and why's of it. Mr. Roy does explain some, but not in great depth, which I like. Of course, these videos are designed for elementary grade levels, so it is not overly technical, but I think there could have been more to the explanations. And though all of the videos give credit to God, they don't necessarily tie it all together. This is definitely not a reason I wouldn't buy these videos. They really are wonderful and fun, and the fact that God is even referenced is a step in the right direction.

I encourage you to take a look at the Go Science DVD series. I believe you will find that they will fit right in to your science lessons : - )
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Disclaimer: I received these products free as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew with the sole purpose of providing an honest review after using them For more information on this, please see my disclaimer.
Teaching our children The Bible and Godly character is our commission as parents. Our home is our mission field while our children live there and we must help them learn what is important before they enter the "real" world. Helping them build a strong foundation on The Lord will provide them with a sound structure on which they can stand. 

How do we do this? There are many avenues that we can take to achieve this goal, but I would like to tell you about one that allows you to teach the way you want to and how you want to, but offers you suggestions and ideas for both.

It's called Judah Bible Curriculum. JBC doesn't have a traditional curriculum that you follow. It doesn't dictate what to teach or how to teach it.  It helps teachers & students break curriculum dependence by using the Bible as the textbook

JBC uses the "Principle Approach" -

"Principle Approach refers to a philosophy of education whose content and methods are designed to build character in teacher and student capable of sustaining liberty.

The Principle Approach is a resurgence of the Biblical philosophy of education prevalent in the founding period of America, when the character of the American colonists was one of dependence on God, not the State
." (Bill Burtness, author JBC)

The philosophy of education of JBC is based on the philosophy of government. You will find on JBC's website "Our philosophy of government guides our education in such a way that the content and methods of our education produce individual character that reinforces and aids our philosophy of government." This is a wonderful summation, but there is a great Powerpoint presentation that explains the Philosophy of Education & Government behind the curriculum.  You will find it here.

So what does all of this mean for you and how do you teach a curriculum that has no curriculum? 

What this means is that YOU will teach your children based on your knowledge. Don't think you know enough about it all? Judah Bible Curriculum is designed to help you learn so that YOU CAN TEACH them.

JBC breaks the Bible into 5 themes:
then gives examples of how you can divide the "curriculum" across K-6th and/or 7th-12th. The scope & sequence offers a suggestion on the division. 

The main method of teaching/learning is by using the Notebook Approach. You & your child will create a notebook which includes verses, lessons, and notes based on the key themes. This is a wonderful, interactive way that your child will be able to see the lessons come alive and help him/her apply it to life.

There really is so much more to this. I encourage you to check out JBC's website where you will find descriptions and explanations about the Judah Bible Curriculum.

I really like the JBC. Though it is intense, and even a bit overwhelming at first, after reading through the manual, reviewing the website, and learning how to implement it, I can appreciate the value in it's entirety. I am considering using this to help teach Apologetics  to a few of my speech club students. The very essence of the JBC's philosophy shouts Apologetics to me and I am excited to take that step.

You can purchase the digital version of Judah Bible Curriculum for just $44. The hard copy version, direct to you, is $69 + s&h. Both versions will give you the curriculum K-12 manual, elementary notebook ideas, & the 8-lecture teaching training seminar. The difference? You will get the digital version immediately and the hard copy in about 1 week.
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Disclaimer: I received the digital version free as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew with the sole purpose of providing an honest review after using it. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer.

I love being a mom. The Lord has blessed me with 2 beautiful children and I am so thankful. I love being a wife and am thankful for that, too. I love that I can share the rest of my with the man I love, the man the Lord created me for. But sometimes it's not easy being a mom and wife. 

Sometimes I just don't know what to say or do. But The Lord is faithful and loving, and provided me, and you, with a way to know. If we use the guidance given to us in Proverbs 31, we will discover it all is possible.

The Lord has provided all of us with godly instructions to live our life & we do not have to go far to find them. We don't have to search the web for hours, or send out questions to forums seeking advice all we need to do is pick up our Bibles, and read. He has given us everything we need!

I want to share with you a free book. Courtney at Women Living Well Ministries is offering The Proverbs 31 Woman ebook free to all that sign up for her email updates. This book will help you to understand Proverbs 31 better.

Table of Contents

Is the Proverbs 31 Woman For Real?

How to be Treasure to Your Husband

Does Your Husband Trust You?

A Woman of Action

Working With Eager Hands

Shop to the Glory of God

The Proverbs 31 Woman Rises Very Early

Do You Have a Dream?

Vigorously Clean Your Home & Get a Bonus Workout

Burning the Midnight Oil

Mundane Tasks Are a Hidden Treasure

P.S. Your Hands Are Beautiful

Are You Prepared for the Weather Changes?

The Proverbs 31 Woman is Classy

Help Your Husband be a Man of Influence

Pursuing Excellence

Let Me Help You Pick Out Your Clothes

Putting Order on Your Tongue

Managing Our Time, Family and Home

What Do Your Children Think of You?

Be the Woman Your Man Needs

The Proverbs 31 Woman’s Beauty Secret

Pity or Praise the Proverbs 31 Woman?

Hurry on over to Women Living Well and get your free Proverbs 31 Woman eBook today.