Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Helpful Resource: ICR Education

Homeschool Teachers, if you are not signed up with ICR (Institute for Creation Research) go ahead and do it today. You will receive their two free periodicals, Acts & Facts and Days of Praise. They They also have some more education related resources. There are science curriculum supplements called Science Education Essentials (available for purchase), a new education blog hosted by Dr. Rhonda Forlow, and an online video program called Thats a Fact.

Monday, July 30, 2012

My Reasons for Switching to Heart of Dakota

I am a curriculum junkie, I admit it. I've tried lots of them. I'm subscribed to the different curriculum review boards and I love looking at new curriculums. In January, I usually begin figuring out what we will use the next year. We never use exactly what we used the previous year; although, I do seem to be nailing down what works best for us...finally--after 8 years of homeschooling!

This year I looked into using a more prepared curriculum for my youngest son who will be in the 3rd grade this coming year. We contemplated My Father's World for about two months. In fact, I was just weeks away from making my order. Then on a whim, I decided to go check out Heart of Dakota because I had heard that the two curriculums were similar. Within a couple hours of looking, reading and spending time on the message board; I made a complete turn around on my curriculum decision. We are going to use Heart of Dakota.

A couple months ago, I was at our local homeschool book store and I noticed a couple with some Heart of Dakota curriculum and they were trying to figure out some things. I thought I'd be helpful (I do try to do that when I can) and spoke to them about HOD. Since I've been homeschooling for so long and am now switching to HOD, they wanted to know my reasons why. The bottom line is (drum roll)--this curriculum does what I always try to do except it's even better.

Here are my reasons for switching to Heart of Dakota:
1. The philosophy of HOD matches my philosophy (mostly). You won't find a curriculum that is 100% perfect, but that is what's so great about homeschooling. You can change it to make it work. It mostly follows a Charlotte Mason philosophy mixed with a Unit Study focus.
2. It is obvious that the author, Carrie Austin, has experience both in the classroom and homeschool. She has a masters in education and you can tell by the way she put this program together that she knows what she's doing.
3. It is going to make my life a whole lot easier because most of the planning is already done. All I have to do is put together my Language Arts and Math lessons (since we use something different than the HOD recommendations) and any additional elective-type classes like Latin.
4. I love the book choices. They were books I would choose. When I look at the book choices of My Father's World and even SonLight, my choices fell more in line with HOD. (Of course, some book choices coincide with all three of these companies.)
5. The Biblical philosophy is apparent throughout the curriculum. It isn't just included in a separate Bible class but is integrated throughout all the subjects.
6. For me this year, the price was right. I had a lot of the books already and the rest I can get at the library. Mainly, I had to get the teacher's manual. The few books I decided to purchase I got with a couple gift cards that I had.
7. The way subject matter within the lessons all flow together so seamlessly from subject to subject as the learning is extended (unit-study style) is phenomenal.
8. It just looks fun. My 8-year-old is going to have a great time with this curriculum.

This Fall my 3rd grader will be using Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory. This level is recommended for ages 6-8. My guy will be 8 most of this year and so falls into this level no problem. I could have placed him in Bigger Hearts for His Glory but decided to wait. Since this is a new curriculum and style for him I knew it would be best to hold off. He isn't big on writing yet and he is reading at slightly below level due to a medical eye condition. I think Beyond will work great with him in conjunction with the extras I've thrown in there. This year I plan to blog about our adventures with HOD so stay tuned.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Learning to Love Discipline

I find with my boys that they hate discipline as they take it very personally. Most of the time it is more like correction than anything else. They aren't in trouble; I am not upset with them and yet it is like the end of the world. Today in reading my Bible, I came to Proverbs 12:1--Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. (ESV) In all truth, no one really likes to be corrected; but as illustrated in this verse, we learn from discipline. And the true goal of the disciplinarian is that those under their care learn to self-discipline. I pray today that my children learn to love discipline that it will bring them to knowledge.

This past week, my husband and I have been discussing making a chore chart for the kids and starting this new school year right--not only academically but spiritually (which I will get to in another post) and also diligently--more discipline. So today I typed up a chart with their daily and weekly chores. We sat the boys down and went over it together. Needless to say, they were not thrilled to learn about MORE chores and less game time but honestly we weren't asking for much. We will just keep on with the discipline and pray that in time they recognize the knowledge they have gained.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

I've been involved in a lot of recipe exchanges this summer between different mom groups and homeschool groups. The great thing is that my cooking has been infused with exciting new delicacies. I know the men in my household have enjoyed it. And I have become more enthusiastic to cook than I had been for the last several months.

One of the recipes I tried was for chicken pot pie. I've never made my own pot pie before, but I've always meant to try. This is a very easy recipe that does NOT include making your own crust--although, I'm sure you could and it would be even yummier. I tweaked the recipe a little and it turned out great.

2 (9") deep dish pie crust--thawed. (in frozen section of grocery store) You need a bottom and a top.
2 cups cooked chicken cut into pieces
Mixed vegetables (either a 15 oz can or frozen) drained
a few cooked potatoes cut up (use the microwave)
1 (10.75 ounce) can of condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
a tablespoon of dried rosemary (this is a key ingredient)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Thaw the pie crusts or bake fresh.
3. Precook the chicken.
4. In a bowl, combine all the other ingredients together and then add the cooked and diced chicken.
5. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Place the other pie crust on top of the filled pie. Seal the edges together and poke holes in the top crust to vent.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

This will serve 4-6 people.

To keep the calories and fat content down, make sure to use lean chicken breast, 98% fat free cream of chicken soup, and fat free milk. It's still just as delicious.