Summer Activities are Education, Too

(This post contains affiliate links. If you follow a link and make a purchase, our family may receive a small commission from your purchase.)

“Life is learning and learning is life.”

Summer-Activities-Are-Education

I was given the opportunity to share a bit about how our summers look by the Homeschool Review Crew during their weekly series titled Spotlight on the Crew. Our summers are spent in learning. Some of it happens here at the house, like it does during the “school year.” But a ton of it happens in the summer through other opportunities. There are great benefits to these activities.

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read my post on Education Through Summer Activity.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

How can you turn your kids’ summer play into fun learning experiences? Join SchoolhouseTeachers.com to enjoy courses like Let’s Do Art OutsideCamping with JesusWeb Game DesignPhotography, and Wonderful World of Bugs, plus hundreds of additional PreK-12 courses and all the resources you need to create a quality, individualized homeschool plan for each child. During the May Flowers sale, you can get access to all SchoolhouseTeachers.com has to offer for only $99/yr (code TOTEBAG) or $9.95/mo (code UNDERTEN), and your rate never increases. PLUS, get a free tote in your choice of color and a copy of the Summer 2011 anniversary edition of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine when you select the annual membership option.* But hurry, because this deal ends on May 31, 2019! *free gifts US only

 

2019-ST-may-flowers-theme-3-instagram-1024x1024

Elizabeth Prentiss: More Love ~ a Crew review

Elizabeth Prentiss review

More love to Thee, oh Christ, more love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee,
This is my earnest plea
More love, oh Christ, to Thee
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

This hymn is well known to me and my family and we enjoy singing it. We didn’t realize these were the words of a lady named Elizabeth Prentiss or that it came out of the depth of sorrow in her life, which she kept dedicated to the Lord. Christian Focus allowed us the pleasure of reading the story of Elizabeth in their biography of her titled Elizabeth Prentiss. The subtitle of this book is More Love and how fitting it is once you read of her story.

Christian-Focus-Publications-Logo

First, let me share a bit about the company Christian Focus. They have a singular focus in what they are publishing – the Gospel. Through the literature they print, they strive to remain faithful to the infallible word of God, the Bible. In being focused through their publishing, they are trying to fulfill the command of Christ to share His gospel. This focus and outreach guides their publishing house.

Christian Focus sent the Crew several options of titles for review and they all look so interesting. The age range is varied but the quality looks to be solid across the titles.
Big Bible Science, Read To Me ages 5-7; Read by Myself ages 7-11
Elizabeth Prentiss, Read To Me 8-9; Read by Myself 9-14
God is Better than Princesses,  Read To Me 0-5; Read by Myself 5-6
God is Better than Trucks, Read To Me 0-5; Read by Myself 5-6

20190519_114510

We received Elizabeth Prentiss and used it as a family read aloud. I did read it by myself first and determined that it would make for some wonderful family discussions so I chose to read it aloud. I feel like the above ages are about right for the start of the Read to Me bracket for this book but that the Read by Myself ages are more appropriate at 12 and above due to some of the intensity of emotion from events in Elizabeth’s life (death and illness, not violence). Regardless of the age, it is a wonderful story!

Elizabeth Prentiss is a lady dedicated to God. She knew this from a very young age. We often say this about people who go to foreign mission fields but Elizabeth? She chose to be faithful to God in supporting a loving husband who was a preacher and raising children while serving those around her in many ways. And they did this in America. This is a beautiful picture of a faithful servant of God that we don’t see written down often enough.

20190520_083119

At the age of 6, Elizabeth’s father died and her memories of him were of a man dedicated to God. She remembered finding him on the floor praying to God. She saw her mother doing the same often, especially after her father died. These two godly parents set the standard for Elizabeth and she followed it throughout her life, speaking to God often throughout the days. This early experience of death and the soon after experience of her own severe illness were just the beginning of trials Elizabeth was to have to repeat these over and over in her life. Thus, the example set by her parents was one of how to handle life’s trials by leaning on God. And this is the value of the story of Elizabeth Prentiss.

Elizabeth Prentiss review quote

Elizabeth found her strength in Christ and shared this often with those around her. She was an encourager and a strengthener for those who knew her. She knew suffering but did not let it define or burden her. She poured her thoughts and emotions out to the One who could handle them and she encouraged others to do the same.

 

In living her life as a Christian wife and mother, Elizabeth shows us the beauty of a life dedicated to Christ. Through her own constant illnesses and the deaths of her children and other family, Elizabeth shows us how to stand tall in Christ, how to rely on Him to strengthen when your physical strength is gone. Her life also shows us how to focus on the service that God has given to each of us. Even in her own sorrows, Elizabeth reached out to others. Her children grew in love and strength and dedication to the Lord, just as Elizabeth did. And the submission to her husband is a delight to see, as it shows a beautiful godly marriage where love is freely given by both and strength is gathered through that.

Elizabeth Prentiss review quote 2

One of the things Elizabeth did extremely well was write. She enjoyed writing and later in her life, she wrote many stories for children. She also wrote down her prayers. Some of these prayers have been set to music and that is where we know the hymn More Love from. In the midst of her sorrow, Elizabeth focused her emotions on loving Christ. This hymn is lovely.

Each of these aspects of Elizabeth’s character are woven together beautifully in this biography.

 

20190519_114603-1

Thinking Further Topic for the chapter Blessings and Sadness and the Challenge for the previous chapter

A feature in the book that I really appreciated is the Thinking Further Topics. For each chapter in Elizabeth’s story, there is a short devotional-like discussion of a related idea. That is followed by a challenge to the reader, something to do that will encourage them to act according to God’s will. The challenge is sometimes as simple as asking you to find more time to pray or to think carefully about how you treat people who are different than you. Other times, it is a bit more difficult such as thinking of a small way to serve God, a bigger way, and a biggest way to serve Him. All of the challenges are within reach of the reader, though, and all of the topics resulted in good discussions for our family. We used these after each day’s readings. They were simple to incorporate.

20190519_114628

There is also a timeline of Elizabeth’s life that could be used in a few different ways. One of the girls just wanted to look at it to see how things lined up since the passing of time in the story was not always clear. There were many times the girls stopped me to ask how much time had passed or how old Elizabeth was at a point in the story. The timeline was helpful for that.

We really enjoyed this story and I know we will be keeping our eyes open for more books by Christian Focus.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to stop by the Crew blog and read more reviews about this book and the others that were being read by families.

Big-Bible-Science-Elizabeth-Prentiss-God-is-Better-than-Princesses-God-is-Better-than-Trucks.-Christian-Focus-Reviews

3-Crew-Disclaimer-2016

New Mexico Bucket List – M ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet M vertical image

This time we are going to visit two places – one I am very familiar with and the other I have never visited. First we will see the Malpais Lava Flow/Valley of Fires and second, Meow Wolf.

The Malpais (pronunciation) Lava Flow is right up next to the Valley of Fires. The lava flows one right into the next. It is a large, rough area of black lava. There is a day use area, a small camping area, and the highway runs right through the center of it. Once you get into it, it is beautiful and not at all barren. The pockets of lava hold water and dirt, which allows gorgeous plants to thrive in a fairly protected environment. The area is also home to many different animals and is a bird-lovers paradise. The trails through the malpais are lovely hikes. This beautiful area is located in the south-central part of the state, in the Tularosa Basin, near Carrizozo.

Malpais is a Spanish word for “badlands.” It is often used to describe lava flows and is actually given to more than one place in New Mexico. There is another site,  El Malpais National Monument found about 130 miles northwest of Carrizozo, up in the Grants area.

We have stopped while driving through the malpais several time, allowing the girls to climb on the rocks. It is fun to see what they discover and to allow them to get their wiggles out on the trip from Albuquerque back to my parent’s home.

Screenshot 2019-05-15 at 3.40.04 PM

Now for Meow Wolf. This is located in Santa Fe and I really don’t know a ton about it. It is considered an art collective. It is an immersive arts experience and includes architecture, sculpture, painting, photography, video production, cross-reality (AR/VR/MR), music, audio engineering, narrative writing, costuming, performance, and more (from the Meow Wolf website). The experience will give interaction with fantastic realms of story and exploration. With secret passages and portals into alternate worlds, it will certainly be an experience.

I have looked into it a few times when we were planning to be in the area but have not yet gone. It looks to be an interesting experience, especially for those with older members of the family rather than fairly young ones. I have been told that youngsters enjoy the place, too, but not sure it was a good fit for my girls. A couple of them get pretty overwhelmed by light flashes and super loud sounds so we have bypassed it for now. However, a family member has now been and said that it looks pretty good for the girls. Of course, they are also older. So maybe our next trip to Santa Fa will include a stop at Meow Wolf.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Blogging Through The Alphabet M image

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
Christine @ Life’s Special Necessities
Kimberly @ Vintage Blue Suitcase
Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag
Wendy @ Life On Chickadee Lane
Yvonne @ The Life We Build
Jennifer @ A Peace Of Mind
Kristen @ A Mom’s Quest To Teach
Kirsten @ DoodleMom Homeschool
abcblogging image lg

You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–
* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

New Mexico Bucket List – L ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet L vertical image

Billy the Kid.

You know the name, right? He was put on trial in Lincoln, NM, which is right around the corner from where I grew up. We drove through all the time. And I have enjoyed the Billy The Kid Pageant every time we have gotten to go. A few years ago, we took the girls.

During the weekend of the pageant, there are the expected vendors and food things. But the neatest part, by far, is the re-enactment of the last escape of Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War. This war is considered probably the most violent time in NM history, when the cattle barons, cowboys, store owners, and the law were all at odds. The pageant portrays the main figures of the time, including the cowboy Billy the Kid.

L lincoln pageant

The episodes of the pageant are based on historical facts of the notorious Lincoln County War, and in particular its focus is centered upon the best remembered of its fighters, Billy the Kid. The Pageant portrays many scenes to include the killing of John Tunstall which precipitated Billy’s wrathful vengeance, the Battle of Blazer’s Mill in which the courageous “Buckshot Roberts” stood off Billy and his twelve cohorts, the siege of the McSween House, up to Billy’s incarceration in the Lincoln County Courthouse and his remarkable escape. – from the Facebook page for the Billy the Kid Pageant 

Lincoln itself is an historical site, with 17 preserved buildings. 7 are open year round and 2 other are open seasonally. The courthouse is a fascinating building to go through and to view the court room where Billy the Kid was to be tried. (As a fun side note, we got to hold one of our practice trails in that courtroom when I was participating in Mock Trial in high school.) There is also a visitor’s center that includes information on Billy the Kid, Lincoln, the Lincoln County War, and the area.

Lincoln vacation 2013 - torreon

Look at these faces from 6 years ago standing in front of the torreon in Lincoln, NM.

One of my favorite buildings, and it has been since I was a child, is the torreon. It is a round building with plenty of places to watch from and where the towns people went for safety in the event of an attack. I have always found the building interesting and there are lesson plans on the site for learning more about the building.

Another historical place I would like to share this time around is the Loretto Chapel. This is a fascinating building in old Santa Fe. When Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy came to the NM territory back in the 1850s, he found a need to educate the girls. Thus the Sisters of Loretto opened a school for girls. After quite a few years, the Sisters were able to start construction of a chapel in 1873. It is Gothic in style and fashioned after a chapel in Paris. The architect, however, died before stairs to the choir loft were completed.

The access was going to be difficult since the loft was so high. To build the staircase would take up too much floorspace or too much of the loft space. So, the Sisters prayed a novena (9 day prayer). One the final day, a carpenter showed up and built a spiral staircase. It is beautiful. But there is something really special about it.

The staircase is considered miraculous. It includes two full spirals yet has no visible means of support. There were no nails used in the construction, only wooden pegs. Additionally, the wood is a rare wood not native to the American SW. When the staircase was completed, the carpenter disappeared without comment or pay. The Sisters were not able to locate him.

This staircase still stands in the beautiful Loretto Chapel. Just a short walk off the main square in Santa Fe, it is definitely worth a visit.

Other L places to consider in New Mexico –
Las Vegas, NM – This is my birthplace and there is a beautiful lake, Storrie Lake, in the area. There is a hotel here that was a Harvey House (La Castaneda) and a historic hotel (The Plaza). There is also a museum dedicated to the Rough Riders, the group that Theodore Roosevelt recruited to do some of the fighting in the Spanish-American War.

The Lodge – A hotel in Cloudcroft, NM. I mentioned this in the C post.

Lotta Burger – A fabulous burger place that is found only in NM, though there are several locations throughout the state. Their green-chile cheeseburger is highly recommended.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Blogging Through The Alphabet L image 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

abcblogging image lg

You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

Easter (Homeschool style – late!)

Easter (Homeschool style - late!)

We joyfully spend our Easter weekend with about 2000 others who are learning to lead in the church. We had a fabulous Lads to Leaders weekend every year that concludes with worship with all these lovely church family members. It is such an encouragement!

This year, the girls list of activities is huge –

Good Samaritan
Year Round Songs of Praise
Year Round Bible Reading
Year Round Puppet Theater
Year Round Bulletin Board
Keepers
Debate
Art Says It
Bible Bowl – individual test
Bible Bowl – team events
Pearls
Songs of Praise convention event
Bible Reading convention event
Puppet Theater convention event

It feels like I am missing an event or two but that could be because several events are wrapped up in Art Says It. The thing I want to share about this is the commitment. I am so proud of the girls because they committed to the program and their chosen events and then stuck to it. They wanted to stop sometimes. They didn’t enjoy it sometimes. But every time was time spent with God and learning more about His will and way. This is where the purpose of the program lies. It is fun to get recognition for things but the truth is that I would rather see their desire continue to grow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The girls have already documents hours towards next year’s convention and events. Because they enjoy it and it is important to them. If you have opportunity to get involved with Lads to Leaders, I highly recommend it. You will do nothing better than to encourage your children to grow in God.

 

AND, then we celebrated Easter later.

The fun part, I mean. We enjoy hiding eggs and eating fun foods. When we returned home from Lads to Leaders, the Easter Bunny had left baskets on the table for the girls. Nothing grand but a few candies they don’t normally get and a pretty hair doo-dad.

We had bought a carton of cascarones – confetti eggs. We did that one day about a week after Easter before At Home Dad went to work. We hid the eggs. The girls got to find four each and then they could smash them on someone. They had some oopsies and threw a couple that didn’t break. Guess who was faster than they were at grabbing them? Yep – I got to smash a couple of eggs on mischievous girls. 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A couple weeks later, we hid our glow-in-the-dark Egglo eggs and had a nighttime egg hunt. It was fun since the girls came in from dance and got to do that. A nighttime egg hunt is always different so it was lots of fun.

20190429_175810.jpg

You know – it is good for kids to learn that it isn’t the day that is important. It is what it commemorates and the time spent together. This is huge so that when you can’t celebrate a holiday “on its day” it doesn’t become a heartbreak. Because, life happens and holidays don’t take breaks. I have seen too many people put aside good works because they felt they had to celebrate a holiday “on its day.” That is just not true and the sooner we learn that, the easier and more meaningful celebrations become.

So, celebrate when the time is right for your family and remember the important things in life. And most of all,

HAVE FUN!

 

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

Pattern Explorer Beginning from The Critical Thinking Co. ~ a Crew review

Pattern Explorer review

Miss J is interested in numbers and seems to find patterns intriguing. She also enjoys logic puzzles. We like to encourage that as much as we can. So, when Pattern Explorer Beginning (Grades 3-4) popped up in the possible reviews,  we knew it would be a good challenge and engage her interests. (I like it when I am not wrong.) This book from The Critical Thinking Co. has been a fun item to add to our weekly work.

For this review, we received a digital copy of the ebook. This is a download that is password protected and can be saved to your computer. You can then print as many copies as you might need. This is par for the course with The Critical Thinking Co. and one of the many reasons I really like them.

The-Critical-Thinking-Company-logo

I printed out all of the worksheet pages for Miss J and put them in a folder. Having used several other products from this company, we have found this is the best way to go about it for her. She has all of the pages to work on as needed and she doesn’t need to access the computer any more to do her work.

The solutions are still on the computer so if we can’t figure something out, computer access will be needed again. So far so good, though. The book also has some hints for when the solution is not yet desired but a slight push would be helpful. This will be a great help if we get stuck along the way. These hints are on completely different pages than the solutions so there is no chance of accidentally seeing the answers.

Miss J is completing two to three of these exercises a week. This is quite a good brain challenge, actually. The pacing is left up to the teacher to determine, as students tend to be ready for abstract thinking at different times. These patterns are intended to help students move from concrete to abstract thinking.

The book consists of 84 pages, the last one of which is a sample of another book. There are 40 exercises that work through five pattern themes, so there are 8 of each type in rotation.

pattern explorer number ninja

This is an example of one of the Number Ninja pages. I had her mark the operation needed to solve each problem.

  1. Pattern Predictor – Finding the patterns and determining what is coming up in the pattern
  2. Equality Explorer – Decoding equations to find the value of different symbols
  3. Sequence Sleuth – Determining what comes next in the sequence, whether numbers or symbols
  4. Number Ninja – Solving puzzles to find hidden numbers or functions
  5. Function Finder – Discovering the hidden connection between numbers in patterns

The pages rotate through these five types of puzzles. Miss J has completed two of each type so far. Pattern Predictor has seemed to be her favorite. It is recommended that the student work through these in order since the difficulty level does grow slightly with each new appearance of the rotation.

pattern explorer pattern predictor

Watching her work through each of the types, I see her really struggling with some of the puzzles. The reason? Her multiplication and division skills are still not super strong. So it is a challenge. These pages are definitely helping strengthen the skills, though. Even in the few weeks we have been using Pattern Explorer, her ability has grown.

Does she love it? Not particularly but her pride in having figured things out is apparent. And she is excited when she completes a page. She doesn’t ask for it like she does the Mind Benders books we have used from The Critical Thinking Co. but she doesn’t fight about pulling the pages out. And to me, that is a win.

20190408_111657

Would I recommend this series of Pattern Explorer books? Yes. Without a doubt. Getting in math thinking and reasoning skills in ways that are not the same old problem/solution, equation/solution is a great thing. And these definitely fit the bill.

If it sounds interesting, The Critical Thinking Co. is offering readers a 15% discount AND free shipping when you use the coupon code: TOSCREW19. It expires 12/31/2019.

And if you want to read about other products we have used, you can check these out:

  • Something’s Fishy At Lake Iwannafisha – an extended project working on forensic sciences (review)
  • Editor In Chief – learning to find and fix errors in passages (review)
  • Mind Benders – a series of puzzles in logical thinking to solve (something we picked up locally)
  • Math Analogies – a series of analogies to work through; not something we reviewed though you can read reviews of it from the year we reviewed Editor In Chief

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Other Homeschool Review Crew members have been using other products from The Critical Thinking Co. They are:

Pattern Explorer Beginning (Grades 3-4)
Elementary Math Games (Grades 3-5)
Critical Thinking Detective – Vocabulary Book 2 (Grades 5-12+)
Dare to Compare: Math Level 2 (Grades 6-7)
Middle School Math Games (Grades 6-8)
Building Writing Skills – Essential Tips & Techniques (Grades 6-12+)
Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 (Grades 8-12+)
Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 2 (Grades 8-12+)

Click on the image below to head over to the Crew blog and read about other families’ experiences with these products.

Critical-Thinking-Math-Vocabulary-Writing-Skills-The-Critical-Thinking-Co.-Reviews

3-Crew-Disclaimer-2016

Pathway to Liberty ~ a Crew review

Pathway To Liberty Review

History can be such an interesting study when approached with enthusiasm but by the same token can be a boring subject when approached from a flat, disinterested viewpoint. Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum takes more of the first approach and we are enjoying it more each week. We received levels 2, 3, and 4 of Pathway to Liberty’s World History from Pathway to Liberty’s History Curriculum. I asked for this level as it moved us forward in our study of history; we had been recently talking about the American Civil War.

Pathway to Liberty was founded by homeschool mom Jayme MacCullough. She found, while teaching her own students, that the curriculum choices she had did not meet her personal standards and desires. These included biases and what she described as incomplete or revised histories. To combat this, she began studying the principles on which America was founded and true liberty. Out of this study came this curriculum.

 

Pathway to Liberty consists of four years, which cover from creation through the 21st century. The four years, in order, are:

Year 1 – Pathway to Liberty’s Universal History,
Year 2 – Pathway to Liberty’s The Middle Ages,
Year 3 – Pathway to Liberty’s US History,
Year 4 – Pathway to Liberty’s World History

Pathway to Liberty

There are four levels for each of these years. These grade levels are approximate. My 9th grader used level 4 and we found it be not any more difficult than the level 3 materials, though it did use different source materials. The recommended grades per level are:

Level 1 – Kindergarten through 3rd grade
Level 2 – 4th grade through 6th grade
Level 3 – 7th grade through 9th grade
Level 4 – 10th grade through 12th grade

We received World History. This has been an overall good study so far and we are looking forward to continuing with it. I expected a more world-wide centered view from the curriculum. It is very US centered, though it does look around the world some in light of the fact that there are so many wars to cover. We have covered WWI pretty well at this point, and while we did talk about some of the causes of the war and the parties involved in it, the level 2 and 3 books really focused on the US presidents during that time rather than a wider world-view of the war. This is not bad, in any way, just not quite what I was expecting.

Pathway level 2 and 3

We have enjoyed reading the source materials for Pathway to Liberty. For levels 2 and 3, we are using books from the Joy Hakim’s series A History of US. Level 4 is using The Century by Peter Jennings and Todd Brewster. These are well-written materials that are age appropriate, though I wouldn’t mind seeing the level 3 source a bit more challenging as much of the level 2 and level 3 materials are exactly the same.

Pathway level 4

Pathway to Liberty book and video

There are also plenty of videos to watch that come from various sources on YouTube. There is a Pathway to Liberty channel on YouTube that has most of the videos linked there in a playlist. We did have to do searches for several videos and at least one would no longer play from the playlist but it was easy to find what we needed.

pathway-weekly-plans.jpg

Each week, the teacher guide and the student workbooks have the weekly overview plan. The material is exactly the same in both places, and in the student workbooks.  It gives the scripture for the week, the principle, and the leading idea. There are four lessons of materials for the week and each level has its own column showing what they are to do for each lesson. There are also some additional assignments for writing, expanded history reading, and vocabulary. We utilized the vocabulary but have not yet assigned additional readings or writings.

Pathway to Liberty workbook being used

Each day’s lesson consisted of two or three activities. Most days included a reading and completing some pages in the student workbook. Many days included a video also. Lesson 2 added the word study for levels 2, 3, and 4 each week, though we are skipping it for level 2. My girls added their vocabulary words, either doing a couple of them a day or choosing to do them all in a single day.

Each student workbook had a daily banner that stated which lesson it was, the topic and which level and week. Then it gave the instructions for that day, followed by the questions to answer. The teacher’s guide includes all four levels and the suggested answers for the student workbooks.

The time the daily materials took varied greatly. Some days it was just 30 minutes or so. Others, the videos were an hour or more long by themselves. When you added in the rest, the student could easily spend two hours on just history. This wasn’t a problem as the girls seemed to really be enjoying the study and we had some fabulous discussion. It just isn’t a clear cut amount of time to be spent and day to day can vary greatly.

Pathway girls working

I am now going to let the girls say a little (Or a lot!) about their thoughts on the program. Note please: some of the issues they mention were bothersome early on but we figured out how to work around them. Specifically, the issues that could have been caught by a different editor, we fixed by just handing the girls a highlighter and telling them to highlight any time they found something. This added in a language arts element to our history study! 🙂 I will come back at the end and add a couple more thoughts of my own.

Julia, age 10, using level 2 – 

I liked the reading on the Wright brothers but I did not like the other ones as much. I learned a little in each reading that I didn’t know before. The videos were interesting but many of them were long. Overall, I didn’t like it too much. Spelling mistakes, scriptures marked wrong, and things like the lesson headings being in the wrong place made it hard to tell where the next lesson was or when one ended or what I was supposed to be doing.

Louisa, age 12/almost 13, using level 3 –

I felt like this was a good curriculum, even though I have a balanced opinion on it. There were several inconsistencies within the lesson plans – what they would state in the weekly plan would be different from what was on the day’s work. There were several grammar mistakes and noticeable typographical errors. These were a source of annoyance for me but could potentially cause confusion.

I don’t think anyone in our family found the first required book (Chain of Liberty) helpful or beneficial to the learning. The way the questions were worded made it hard to tell what they were asking for. Many times what they were asking for turned out to be a word-for-word repetition of several sentences or more, which my sister and I found hard to replicate. I feel like this book was not beneficial and could easily have been removed from the curriculum and the curriculum would not have suffered.

I really enjoy the in-depth word studies that are done every week.  Each week we are made to create a paper on a specific word that is relevant or helpful to the lesson or principle we learn about that week. I find these to be helpful and enjoyable at the same time and would not complain if a second word study was added to the curriculum each week. One step in the process of the word study is to record scriptures that are relevant to the word. One thing that makes the word study slightly tricky is when the word you are studying is not included in a Bible’s concordance, but with a little bit of creativity and the use of a synonym, the scriptures are attainable.

Pathway level 3 vocabularyThere is a list of vocabulary word which each study is asked to copy out, define, and review each week. Each week the words are different and the number differs from level to level. Even though the study asks us to do this, there is no designated space for this. Since the rest of the curriculum is clear for this sort of thing, I was disappointed to see that there was not a specific space in which we were supposed to complete this step, and I was confused as to when to do it and where to document them. I enjoyed coming up with definitions for these words.

A bunch of the curriculum had online videos to go along with it. When I watched the videos, they were of a lower quality than I expected (Me being a spoiled 21st century kid!). There were a large quantity of videos, many of them almost an hour long. It was also a bit hard to navigate the website (YouTube) to figure out which videos I was supposed to be watching, since all the levels had videos in the same place. Sometimes it was unclear in the curriculum which video I was supposed to be watching.

I enjoyed the different elements that this curriculum brought to studying history. It had me writing things, which had me working on penmanship. It has a strong Biblical aspect to it. It encourages study of the scriptures. It has online resources and videos, as well as books with quality source material. Overall, I think this is a good curriculum which I enjoyed. I am confident that others would, too.

Elizabeth, age 15, using level 4 –

It was a fantastic program. The videos were interesting and the book “The Century” was interesting. I have learned a lot. I didn’t know much about WWI until I started watching the videos and reading the book. Now I know a whole lot more. I love the word studies. They are fun and I think they are very useful.

I personally did not see a reason to have the week’s scripture, principle, and leading idea. There wasn’t a connection for me to the lessons.

I did not like how the first three videos I had to watch were cut because they were cut in the middle of a word most of the time. There were several spelling mistakes in the workbook, including Corrie Ten Boom’s name. There were also a number of punctuation mistakes. These mistakes bother me, especially when they are on things like Bible verses or important people’s names.

Pathway level 4 written assignment

When I have to write something, there are large spaces between the lines. This makes it hard to write and takes up so much space that there are often not enough lines for the assignment. 

I also did not like the first book that we were assigned to read. It (Chain of Liberty) was biased and opinionated. I personally don’t agree with probably half of the book. I didn’t understand some of what was in there. Both of my younger sisters had to read the book, also.

While I think the word studies are a fantastic thing to do, it didn’t feel like the word studies were well thought out. I have done five of them. Three of these five were not in the Bible and yet I had to find verses for those words. I ended up having to work with synonyms for these words and still I only came up with one verse for one of the words.

Overall, this is a really good program. If you start after the first book that we had to read and edit the workbooks, this would be outstanding. I would enjoy continuing on with this program. The history that I was working on before was really fun but I think this is teaching me a whole lot more. I wasn’t getting very in depth before and now I am learning even little details that I probably would not have learned with the other program I was doing. I think other high schoolers would enjoy the program, as well.

Back to me, now. We have really begun enjoying this curriculum. It took a few weeks to catch our stride with it but have come to like it quite a bit. Is it perfect? No but nothing is. I would highly recommend starting in week 3 and just skipping the first recommended book (Chain of Liberty) and the “links” discussions. We found it to be a highly biased book and we had to have some pretty in-depth, serious discussions with the girls about the reality of the world we live in and the government that is over us.

 

While Pathway to Liberty is intended to make it possible for a family to all study history together, we did not find it to work that way. Students are reading different source materials and watching different videos. They have different vocabulary words and work at different speeds. They are, however, all working on the same ideas and so when one girl asks a question, all of them can pay attention and learn something and contribute to the discussion themselves. For some families, this may work beautifully as a family study.

Overall, I really like this curriculum. The history is solid and uses solid source materials. It has also opened up some fabulous discussions for our family. We definitely can recommend this one.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to click on the banner below to read what other families thought about Pathway to Liberty and how the curriculum worked for them.

Pathway-to-Liberty-History-Curriculum-Reviews-201093-Crew-Disclaimer-2016

%d bloggers like this: