Category Archives: parenting

Parenting Made Practical ~ a Crew review

Being a parent is hard, so resources to help us along the way can be terribly beneficial. Parenting Made Practical strives to help parents raise their children well through materials such as the DVD and workbook combination  Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works?

parenting made practical

Parenting Made Practical was created by Joey and Carla Link. The Links are parent educators who have worked for many years in various ministries and educational settings. Much of the material they have created and share have been developed because of needs that they saw and dealt with during the ministries, as well as how they handled the parenting of their own children, now grown. The goal of Parenting Made Practical is to “encourage, equip, and empower parents to raise obedient, respectful, and responsible children in today’s challenging world.” I love this goal! This is what every parent I know wants to do and the Links have set about helping parents the best ways they know how.

Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works? is part of the Parent’s Night Out workshop that the Links present. It is presented here separate from the rest of the workshop and is directed both at parents and at teens/young adults old enough to be thinking about dating, in any form.

Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate...What Works? DVD & Workbooks

The DVD and workbooks are set up in two sessions, each running approximately 50 minutes. The first session is titled Developing Your Dating Philosophy. The second session is titled How to Make It Work.

In Developing Your Dating Philosophy the Links present three different dating “philosophies” or ways of getting to know someone of the opposite gender. They share what they see as the pros and cons of each philosophy. After looking at Cultural Dating and Courtship Dating, the Links present Friendship Dating. This is, obviously, their preferred approach to dating. They spend quite a bit of time presenting the framework for how they approach this type of dating. They explain the four corners of growth and then define the levels of a relationship leading to marriage within each area. They also look at the areas of concern to address, and how the couple in the relationship take responsibility for growth in all of the areas.

20180311_211639

In How to Make It Work, the Links present ideas about how to approach Friendship Dating with young adults, and how to put this process into action. They review the four corners of growth and the levels of the relationship. Then they share possible goals for each area. This is the “practical application” part of the DVD and workbook. The Links walk parents and those in the relationship through setting up goals, putting a plan into place, and getting affirmation by parents.

Due to the background of the Links, I expected there to be a much more direct biblical approach and application to this workshop. I was disappointed that the biblical direction was not very strong.

As parents, we had really looked forward to this DVD, hoping that it would give us more practical information on how to develop a philosophy on guy/girl relationships before our oldest daughter reaches the age at which she wants to talk about it. The session about Developing Your Dating Philosophy did not actually guide us in developing a philosophy. Rather it was expected that you would adopt the one presented on Friendship Dating. We did not feel that there were any fresh, new ideas presented here and the guidance for parents to create their own philosophy was missing.

This DVD did not resonate with us and seems very difficult to implement. It is not realistic to expect a couple to begin their relationship by mapping out a series of goals and lists, ignoring emotion and feeling. When there are so many lists to check and goals to meet, the human element and emotion is missing. Yet that is what drives deep and meaningful relationships. Why would we choose to hide this part of God’s plan?

20180311_211711

If you choose to purchase this, be aware that it takes some work to use the workbook alongside the DVD. There are paragraphs of additional information shared in the workbook, which is good, but makes it difficult to follow. Not all of the important ideas from the video are shared in the workbook and they flash on the screen fast. The workbook is a useful resource and could be used without the DVD, though it doesn’t appear to be sold that way.

The video quality of the DVD is very good. The lighting, video quality, and camera angles were well done. However, the sound quality was disruptive. There were significant variations in the voice levels and I had to constantly turn the volume up and down, depending on who was speaking. I normally listen to things with our volume level at 15. I had to turn Mrs. Link up to 35 most of the time but immediately turn it back down when Mr. Link began speaking. Addressing this would definitely help make the DVD a much more pleasant workshop to view.

20180311_211727

This could be a good program for parents who are confused about what they want to present to their children about dating. The examples on types of dating and the issues/concerns about them are helpful. There are good examples of how to deal with questions children may have and ideas of how to guide students as they grow into the area of wanting to spend more time with someone of the opposite gender.

In closing out this review, I want to share a thought that has stuck with me since I watched the DVD. I think it is a highlight of their video, though it really doesn’t have anything to do with dating philosophies.

If a teen doesn’t trust parents for help in guy/girl relationships, the bigger question is this – will they trust God?

Blessings,
At Home.

The Homeschool Review Crew was able to review several different materials from Parenting Made PracticalPlease take a look at some of their other materials, as well as find other families who looked at the DVD  Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works?. The other programs reviewed include:
Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think (book)

Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave (book)

Navigating the Rapids of Parenting (video)

Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think (Video) 

What Every Child Should Know Along the Way (book)

Click the banner below to read more reviews.

 

Parenting Made Practical {Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Advertisements

Safe Place

The other day, my heart broke. As we were leaving violin class, a little boy, about 4, came sobbing, screaming, running down the stairs, flying past us. I waited a second before I moved so I could get out of the way of the adult that would obviously come chasing him. That didn’t happen but another adult that I knew came through the door at the top of the stairs with questions in her eye. I knew I needed to follow him. So I did, my heart breaking.

I flew down the stairs after him, fearful of what he was running from, but knowing he needed someone to help him. As I got to the hallway at the bottom of the stairs and turned to follow him, a woman stepped out of a classroom with terror on her face. Her little boy was screaming and running. She stepped out to meet him and console him and let him know he was okay.

Safe Place

I don’t need to tell you just how thankful I am that he found his mother, that he wasn’t running from any physical thing that was threatening him. It has brought two thoughts to mind though.

1 – For that sweet mama – He is safe and you are okay. That choice to leave him turned out okay in the end so don’t berate yourself any more. I could see you shielding your face as you climbed the stairs with your boys. I could see you avoiding eye contact and trying to not have to face anyone. I wish I could have reached out to you, to calm your fears of what others were thinking.  We are all so very grateful that he was fine and he knew where to find you. No one is judging you. No one thinks you are a bad mom. And I wish I had had a way to reach out to you. I could see the pain on your face as you held his hand and walked with him to your car. I could see the love written there, too, and the relief. You are a good mama and your children, they are special gifts. We are thankful that you love them and they are with you tonight.

And

2 – Do I run to my parent the same way that little boy did? He knew where his safe place was, even when he was no longer in sight of that safe place. His mama may have been out of his sight but he KNEW. And when he got frightened, scared, and worried, he took off just as fast as his little legs could carry him, running to the one who would make everything right.

Do I run to God like that when I make a mistake? When I am frightened or scared? When I can no longer see “my safe place?” Do you?

God tells us in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

He tells us to come to Him. To give Him our burdens, our weariness. When we do this, he gives us rest. This is the only rest that really matters. It is not rest that can be gained overnight in a comfy bed. This is the relief of the bone-deep weariness and burdens that plague life on earth. God asks us to come to him, come running, sobbing, frightened, scared. Come however you are. He will give you rest.

He also tells us about the son who has turned from the father’s way and was lost to him. In Luke 15:11-32, we find the story that many of us call the “Prodigal Son.” This son left the ways of the father, took all his “birthright” money, and turned his back on his dad, his family. But after hardship and trial came his way, this young man realized just how much love can carry you through and what he had actually abandoned. He ran home, throwing himself down at his father’s feet, and asking forgiveness.

He ran to the one who he KNEW, without a doubt, would reclaim him, would care for him and not throw him out again. But even better was the whole-hearted acceptance he received. His father did not just receive him; he embraced his son. His father cared for him better than the son ever imagined he would.

The son knew where his safe place was and he ran to it.

I need to run back to God, to find my safe place within his arms. And I know he will accept me, again. He tells us that. (Acts 2:38, Acts 13:38)

I am blessed to have a God who loves me so much that he provided a way for me to come back to him.

Blessings,
At Home.

By The Way Book Series (Colorado) ~ a Crew review

colorado-by-the-way-review

By the Way Book Series is not new to us but we were still really excited to get to read and review one of their newest books: Colorado ~ By the Way.

By The Way came about due to a sad statistical fact. The author, Joy Budensiek, was sitting in church when she heard the statistic that 19 out of 20 Christian families are not talking about God in their day-to-day lives, noticing Him and His work in all that surrounds them and the things they do. This shocking statistic jolted her into creating a series of books that models for parents not only how to see God and His majesty in creation but how to then discuss that and talk about that with their children. Mrs. Budensiek has a goal of 100 books to help facilitate ideas and examples for parents.

Nature Books With A Biblical Worldview {By the Way Book Series }

Colorado ~ By the Way is a story that brings us tidbits of the history of the state of Colorado, mixed in with a lot of geography, science, animal observation, and God’s scripture.

Meet Alex and Lexi. These two young folks are getting to spend a week with a friend, Jose, in Colorado (they met this friend in the book Washington ~ Here We Come!, which our family has also had the pleasure of reading). Jose’s family owns a ranch and is more than happy to help Alex and Lexi learn all that can about the state of Colorado while they are visiting. From the varied landscapes (mountains, sand dunes, and the Royal Gorge) to the many different animals (wild horses, cougars, cutthroat trout, big horn sheep, beavers, and more), Alex and Lexi get to experience wonder after wonder.

great-read-aloud

As fantastic as all this is, one of the best parts of the story is the many ways in which Jose’s parents, as well as the others around them, model for Alex and Lexi how to see God. From noting the wonder of God creating a way for fresh water to be kept close to animals that need it (thanks to the beaver building dams) to the marvelous ways God protects His creations (such as clothing the snowshoe hare white for winter and brown for summer), everyday things are seen through the lens of the amazing ways God shows His handiwork.

Other ways in which God is taught through the Colorado book includes the discussion about some of the first churches founded in Denver and the beautiful chapel at the United States Air Force Academy. With a discussion of the Continental Divide, the effects of choices upon our character is taught. In talking about the juniper tree, the beauty of everything God makes is discussed. Scripture references are found often throughout the book, as well.

Our family has used this book in two different ways. I have read it aloud with Miss J, who just turned 8. She could have probably read it by herself but in my reading it aloud with her, we were able to stop and discuss some of the points that are made in the book. We were able to talk about the different ways we see God around us and apply the things from the book to our daily lives. Also, the print is fairly small and some pages have two columns that start at different heights on the page. These would have made for some possible confusion in where and how to read the story.

miss-j-reading-by-the-way

Miss L, age 10, grabbed the book the minute it arrived and sat down with it. She read it straight through and came to me to tell me about what she had read. We talked about things that she found interesting. She then asked if she could do a notebooking project to go along with it. She chose 10 of the animals from the book and wrote about them in some notebooking pages that we printed off. She was thrilled with the information she found in the book and was very pleased with the outcome of her project.

animal-notebooking-page

The book will be a jumping off point for additional activities, I think. I would like to have the girls read a book about one of the historical people mentioned, as there is not a whole lot of information about them. I also think it would be fun to do some additional reading or website visiting about some of the landscapes and destinations visited in the book. These are just a couple of examples of how easily this series can be expanded into additional learning.

But, truly, the best feature is how simply and easily the By the Way Book Series incorporates the discussion of God and His might into every day lives and activities. What a great model for us all.

At Home.

Check out all of the By the Way Book Series being reviewed by families of the Homeschool Review Crew:
Florida’s Treasure Coast ~ Here We Come!
Smoky Mountains ~ Here We Come!
Pennsylvania ~ Here We Come!
Ohio ~ Here We Come!
Washington ~ Here We Come!
Colorado ~ By the Way

Nature Books With A Biblical Worldview {By the Way Book Series Reviews}Crew Disclaimer 

The End or the Beginning?

printable-pages-for-2016-and-2017

An end and a beginning. Which do you see?

As the end of 2016 very quickly approaches, I see just that. An end. Finality. The finish line. But is it really? No. So, I find myself wondering.

– what did we do right?
– what did we succeed in?
– what did we make better?
– where did we grow?
– where do we need to do better?
– where do changes need to be made?
– where did we fall down?
– where did we fail?

The end of the year is a natural time for reflection and re-evaluation. But, did you notice that all of these statements have a “we” in them? There is a reason for that. I think of our family as a unit. We are a family and we look to help each other.

Still, what I do well affects others. What I fail at also affects them. So we are moving through this journey together. And when I evaluate and do better at my part in these things, I make our family stronger.

The end is clearly marked by the calendar but what if we took a new approach and looked at it solely as the beginning? This is my beginning. I am beginning a new set of goals. I am beginning a new year. A new outlook. An ending is often a sad time but beginnings are seen as opportunity. So take this new beginning as an opportunity for whatever it is you desire. And write those goals, or desires, down.

I tend to be very visual so I created these two little worksheets to help me think through the good, the bad, the ugly and to plan for where I can do better. I am going to post these in my notebook that I am beginning for Bible time/prayer time so that I see them often through the year and hopefully, it will help me. Remind me. Get me back on track when I wander. And help keep me accountable.

2016 In Review

2017 Goals

I am also tying the 2017 goals into my “one word” for the year – CRAVE. I will share more on that word next week, as I am still trying to work through all the ways I want to apply this in the next year.

Please print these and use them as you can see them benefitting you and your students or family. Please share, as well. All I ask is for you to link back to this page if you share them. Thank you!

At Home.

the-homeschool-review-crew-reflect-on-2016

Linking this post up with the Homeschool Review Crew bloggers’ Reflecting on 2016 linkup.

 

Fun-Schooling for Everyone

thinking-tree-journals-2

I had hoped to publish this review last week but here it is now. Three additional Thinking Tree journals for you:

We have used each of these in quite different ways than the previous review so we’ll just jump right in.

Mom’s Fun-Schooling Handbook

moms-fun-schooling

This is a very thick journal – about 130 pages, front & back – of help for the homeschooling mom. If you are looking for a relaxed format to help organize your thoughts, this is it. Designed to inspire you, it is an open-and-go journal for mom (or dad, even).moms-fun-schooling-basket-page

It starts out with some ideas to help find joy and feed curiosity in both you and the student. From creating beautiful baskets of learning to thinking about how learning occurs, guidance is done gently through both written and visual prompts.moms-fun-schooling-visual-list

There are a variety of pages that repeat throughout the journal. These include finishing doodles, creative journaling, coloring pages, to-do lists, and more. A couple of my favorites are the word studies and the “learn a new skill” pages. They pique my interest and encourage me to keep learning myself. Page titles include: Finish the Doodle, Creative Journaling, Reading Time, What’s On Your Mind, Funschooling Ideas, Color Together, Learn a New Skill, Fun Things to do Together, Thinking Time, A Hope/Prayer/Memory, Illustrated To-Do List, Goals For My Home, Mom’s Word Study, and Listening Time.

The one think I have not figured out with this journal is how to use it consistently. The pages, while repeated, do not seem to be repeated in any specific or consistent format or order. Which for me means difficulty in finding a daily – or even weekly – use for the journal.

This journal is truly designed to encourage creativity, turn a new twist to learning, and add plenty of fun. If you are looking for something different, this might just be for you.moms-fun-schooling-written-list

Travel Dreams Fun-Schooling Journal

travel-dreams

Travel Dreams is “an adventurous approach to geography & social studies.” This funschooling journal is packed with 30 different cities from around the word to study. Each city is approached the same way through journal page themes repeated for each city. There are also several blank pages at the back to choose other cities of interest to your family.

At the beginning of the book, there are a series of maps. These maps are used to mark the locations of the cities studies. The maps are separated by continents (mostly) with a page for each map to list the cities that are found there.travel-dreams-page

For each city you will study food, clothing, landmarks, the flag, events, and a quote or proverb. There are pages for documenting the cooking of a food you choose from that city and writing the recipe and step-by-step preparation instructions. For each city, the students choose what should be known about the city if you were planning to visit as well as studying up on an event in that city’s history. There are also pages for the students to document the resources consulted for the study of each city.

We have been using this as a family, studying a city by watching documentaries and visiting websites. The girls take turns drawing and writing the necessary information. Preparing traditional foods has definitely been the most exciting part so far. This is a fun, relaxed way to approach geography and social studies.

The Four Seasons Spelling Time

spelling-time

Spelling Time is a journal that gently encourages and reinforces spelling in youngsters. Miss J, age 7, is using this book daily as part of her spelling work. This soft back journal is about the size of a piece of notebook paper. The pages are white with black printing and are numbered, which is unusual for Thinking Tree journals.spelling-time-example

The book approaches spelling through a few different activities. The first is rhyming poetry set in couplets. Each poem relates to a particular month, starting with May and going to April. We haven’t worried about trying to line up the month to what month we are in but you certainly could. The poem is covered twice, with specific words boldly written in highlighting for copying. First, the words are outlined so the student can trace and color the letters. The second time, there are blanks where the words go and the student writes the words in. Each poem has an activity page to accompany it. The page might be a coloring page or it might be one where the student completes the drawing.

The second section dwells on the four seasons. Each season has some words to focus on that are then used in a four-stanza poem. Each poem page is accompanied by a color or activity page.

The next section is one where the student takes some responsibility for words they need to learn to spell and they write them into a list so they can practice them. Then the student begins to use the words in writing a story. There are other writing prompts, too, such as “make a list of 15 things to do in spring.”

The final section allows the student to create their own calendar. We plan to begin this in January.

Throughout Spelling Time encourages students to use words, not just learn to spell them. Gentle and easy to incorporate, this has been a great addition for Miss J.spelling-time-writing

So, there you have them – three more journals from Thinking Tree. These have been an interesting additional to our family and our learning times. I still struggle with the Mom Journal but I really like it so am working hard to find a way to make it a productive addition. The Spelling Time – it has been fabulous and Travel Dreams is a fun alternative for days where we just need a change of pace.

Thinking Tree has lots of other journals. Be sure and check out all that they have created. There is something for everyone and it is a pleasant shake up for your homeschooling routine.

At Home.

5 Days of Tips: Lookout for Freebies ( & don’t miss the ones here!)

Lookout for Freebies

I am constantly on the lookout for things that will benefit our education. These look different but are often digital products. I have a huge file of things on the computer that may or may not get used. But I keep saving things just in case. Remember the 4th tip I posted about following rabbit trails? Well, if you do that often enough, you might just have accidentally saved something that will help with one of those rabbit trails one of these days.

So, today, I am sharing some freebies for you from The Old Schoolhouse.

TOS logo

magazine cover

 

Have you ever looked at their magazine? No? Really? It’s free and chock full of academic, homeschooling articles that will encourage you. Just head over to the TOS website and read all about it. You can download their free app or you can purchase their annual big book.

 

 

 

 

 

Paul and Gena Suarez are the publishers and they are so amazingly generous. They let me go shopping in the TOS store. For Free! And, I get to offer you the products I chose. For Free! Here is what I have chosen:Spiritual Growth Bundle

Spiritual Growth Bundle – http://www.theoldschoolhouse.com/product/spiritual-growth-bundle/

This bundle includes three e-books: Home Improvement, Homeschooling: A Prayerful Journey, and Don’t Rush God.

Keeping The Garden

An e-book for the gardener, the gardener wanna-be, or the dreamer.
God Made Them All Wonder Bundle
A set of five WeE-books about alpacas, bugs, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

You will need to create an account in order to check-out. At check-out, use the code LHCREW16 to get these three items for free. This code is good through April 30, 2016, but go use it now so you don’t forget!!

And be on the lookout from other bloggers from TOS Review Crew. I have heard from a little birdie that there are some other freebies out there.

TOS freebies

Freebies, whether you need them now or not, are worth the gathering because they can enhance your learning when you least expect it. Or, they might just take one of those hard days where you want to throw it all out the window and rescue it with something new and interesting that helps the students focus. So don’t pass something up just because you don’t see a need for it now.

And, definitely go check out all that The Old Schoolhouse has to offer. Their products are worth the cost, even if you don’t have a coupon code to use. Also, head over to the Review Crew Facebook page and give them a “like” if you don’t mind. You’ll get lots of great encouragement from that page.
At Home.

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

This is the final day of the blog hop with 5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents. I hope you have gained a lot of good tips over the week. Please visit my previous posts if you haven’t yet and please visit some of my friends from the Review Crew.

5 Days of Homeschool Tips: Make Time

This tip can go a lot of different ways. But it all relates to the same idea.

 We make time for the important things.

So we need to prioritize.

Prioritize who is important.
Prioritize what is important.
Prioritize what needs to be learned.
Prioritize where to focus.

Make Time

While I was sitting in Ladies’ Bible Class this morning, I had this thought come to me. We make time for the things we want to.

I know. That thought is not profound. It is nothing new under the sun. However, it kind of hit me hard after we had this amazing weekend.

We made time to focus on God on a weekend when so many people typically spend time with family and have egg hunts and take lots of pictures. Instead of “having Easter” we had a weekend filled with God.

So, my question to you is: what do you make time for?

Do you make time daily to read God’s word?

Do you make time daily to do something with your children other than formal schooling?

Do you make time daily to connect with someone who is important to you?

Do you make time for activities that will enrich your life?

Do you make time for those things that will take you where God wants you to go?

I want to encourage you to know what your priorities are and where you need to be headed. Know your goals and who you need beside you. Then, make time every day to be sure you are headed in the right direction.

Our most important goal is to have children that know and love God, who serve Him, and who have followed the Bible to salvation (hear, repent, believe, confess, be baptized, and live according to His word). We make time daily for that to happen, whether it is through a family devotional, Bible study time, or having Bible be a part of their school day. We make time for that by going to church and Bible classes and spending time with others from our church.

Do you know your priorities? Do you make time for them? If not, what are you making time for? Do you need to redirect?

This, more than anything else, will direct your life and, if you are a home educator, your homeschooling. So what do you make time for?

At Home.

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

Looking for more great ideas and tips? Check out other Review Crew members who are sharing tips all week long. Today, I encourage you to go visit these friends:

Dawn @ Double O Farms
Dawn @ Guiding Light Homeschool
Debbie @ Debbie’s Homeschool Corner
Desiree @ Our Homeschool Notebook
Diana @ Busy Homeschool Days
Diana @ Homeschool Review
Elyse @ Oiralinde: Eternal Song
Emilee @ Pea of Sweetness
Erin @ For Him and My Family
Jen @ Chestnut Grove Academy

%d bloggers like this: