Mystery of History and Grapevine Timeline


Timelines with Grapevine Studies to review The Mystery of History volume I.

(From January 28th to February 3 2015 everything at Grapevine Studies is 50% off)

I am timeline challenged. After 15 years of homeschooling we just completed our first time line. While I do think time lines are great learning chances, you can send your child to college without ever completing one. Since I have 9 more years of homeschooling, I am pacing myself.

My struggles with timelines:

  • Deciding where to put people on the line. Do you do it by birth date, death date or another date
  • Deciding which events to add.
  • Keeping track of the project for the whole school year.
  • Which method do you use; sewing board, poster board, notebook, or on the wall?

I knew if I was going to help my kids complete a timeline I had to:

  • Keep it simple
  • Complete it in a day
  • Allow it to be sloppy
  • Have some structured directions

After completing the first semester test for Mystery of History volume 1, I ordered the Grapevine bible study timeline of the Old Testament.

Now Grapevine Studies come in the notebook format. Personally I like to see the actual timeline all at once. I copied the odd number pages since the timeline was double sided. Then I had my boys cut out each scroll, complete the drawings, and tape them together to form one long timeline. [Read more…]

Atomidoodle, A Periodic Table Game

*Disclosure: I received this app for free and have been compensated for my time on writing this review. All opinions are my own. You can read more about my disclosure policy here.

First, I am always on the lookout for fun and different ways to encourage math skills at my house. Second, science is a subject that I often leave at the bottom of my school list.

Allowing my boys to unlock levels on the Atomidoodle app reinforced math skills while helping them learn new facts about the periodic table.

Atomidoodle by Hero Factor uses the periodic table and teaches math skills of addition and division by teaching fission and fusion.

Periodic Table

The fusion widget combines any two elements together and sends out the new element. Then if it is the correct element needed you can send it to the examinator. The fission widget will divide one element into 2 elements. The fission tries to divide as evenly as possible, but for odd numbers the smallest number will come out first.

My 10 year old struggles with math. I needed to briefly explain to him how the fission widget worked. Once you add the two elements together, try to think of what is half of the number. This helped when it was an even number. Sometimes he could figure it out and sometimes he would yell for help for the answer. I did not mind answering, I support all moments of using math without crying.

Before I was carried away in writing lesson plans to include this app in our lessons; I handed the iPad over to my 13 year old son. I wanted to see if he could figure out how to play and if he could play independently from my instruction.

He was able to follow the tutorial and play for a few rounds of the game independently. I made it a point to not mention how he was using math to reach new levels. After playing about about 40 minutes he had already unlocked 18 elements.

This is a fast pace game that does require some problem solving skills. My boys love the fun facts that are displayed before and after playing a level. [Read more…]

Hours Spent Homeschooling

Hours Spent on Homeschooling

How many hours spent homeschooling? How long does it take to teach history? How many hours do you spend a day on math? What time is your school day done?

I get asked this question often from other homeschool moms trying to get a feel for homeschooling or for teaching a new curriculum.

In my heart I want to answer them with a precise number but honestly in 15 years of homeschooling I have yet to have a child do their math in 50 minutes each day for a week…not even two days back to back. Answering the question with “it varies” just seems to be ignoring the question.

Factors Affecting Hours Spent Homeschooling:

  • Motivation
  • Meltdowns
  • Attitudes
  • Focus
  • Interest

Motivation: If tomorrow I told my teens they each could have a $100 or a week off from lessons if all their work is done by noon tomorrow…there is a good chance at 12:01 they would be done. But realistically that happens about once every other month when I can find a really good motivator.

Meltdowns: Most of the time you never know when they are going to happen but there is no planning. Most of the time I struggle to offer the needed grace. Then I find that we are still doing school at 7pm or leaving the lessons unfinished.

Attitude: Sometimes I have the bad attitude and sometimes it is one of the kids. It is hard to complete school when you spend time wining and complaining. Normally bad attitudes do not happen every day but at my house they are on a monthly rotation.

Focus: Look it is snowing! The farmer is plowing the field! Forget holding anyone’s focus when that happens. Late nights and extra activities can cause brains to lose their focus. Oh sometimes they get focused on a new book and there is no changing gears to a new subject.

Interest: It does not matter how many fun math games I buy, my kids hate math. Yes, I try my best to make homeschooling interesting but I can not make every subject in every lesson amazing. Some days the lesson becomes a matter of learning endurance to finish the things we have started.

Hours Spent Homeschooling: Game Plan

With all these factors I should be amazed that any learning is taking place at my house, but it does. We have lesson plans and goals to keep us moving forward.

I tend to be content with about 80 percent of lessons getting done. Yes some weeks are stellar and everything is completed and other weeks might only be 25 percent.

Some weeks lessons are done early and some weeks we school on Saturday.

I will skip a few things in the schedule to help us get back on track.

So if you really want to know I guess my best answer would be to tell you how many hours it took to finish school today

Illuminations Schedule Created for Mom

Illuminations Custom List for Mom

How I used Illuminations Schedule to Create a Custom To Do List

I have really been struggling with forgetting things, or just winging my work hours and not really having a plan. In keeping with my word for 2015, Stones, I decided I needed to spend a few moments on writing some goals and to do lists. I started a google search looking for planners, schedules, and to do lists.

After about 30 minutes I decided I would probably need to create my own since I did not trust my brain to learn a new system. I took a moment to think what I might already have to help keep me on task.

How To Tweak the Illuminations Schedule:

  • Open up the program and select create a new schedule.
  • I selected the subject family bible and created the new schedule.
  • I began adding custom subjects for each different area of my schedule.
  • I added homeschool, Lane kids, blogging, BIP and errands.
  • I then deleted family bible from the schedule.

[Read more…]

Our Journey with Leg Braces, Part 2

Journey with Leg Braces

Read, Our Journey with Leg Braces, Part 1 first.

The amazing blessing about Eyes, remember the knitted alligator, well he fits in my son’s pocket. Now Eyes could travel with us to the hospital to pick up his leg braces. It brought tears to my eyes when I realized how God weaved all these details together.

While we waited on doctor appointments I read to him stories from Profiles of Valor- Character Studies from the War of Independence. We discussed the topics of courage and endurance.

The first 24 hours into leg braces…Mom I do not think I can do this. Yes son, just like the process Green Blankie went through being repaired, you can survive this. We just have to take it one moment at a time.

Mom I think I need a prize for all this hard effort. Me too son, I happened to have tickets to see the Battleship New Jersey has a reward for your hard work on wearing them. My son wants to join the Navy someday so this is a big thing for him.

Mom, I am glad I chose camouflage for my leg braces. It reminds me of being a soldier and it is my duty to wear these.

Since he has to be in them 18 hours a day, I let him decide which hours he wants to rest. He likes having a say about it.

He has not figured out running or hard playing while in leg braces, instead we are increasing his swim time. He now has a new love for his swim lessons because he can do this activity brace free. [Read more…]

Our Journey with Leg Braces, Part 1

Journey with Leg Braces

Three months ago when my son’s physical therapist suggested leg braces to help with his toe walking, I knew we were about to embark on a lengthy journey.

I asked some friends if anyone had some book suggestions for a young boy to read about getting leg braces. My son had a ton of questions and I had no answers. It seems no one had any leads on books discussing leg braces, at least none that my research found.

While we waited for doctor appointments and insurance approval, I began praying about ways to prepare my son. Part of the battle with him wearing leg braces would entail breaking the habit of toe walking and helping his brain to take in the new input.

One of my son’s huge comforts in life is his green knitted blanket that he has had since his birth. Green Blankie is an important sidekick to super hero fighting. About two years ago my husband saw a snag in Green Blankie and thought it was best to cut it off. Yes, my dear crafting friends, he cut one of the strings and soon Green Blankie started unraveling in the middle.

Green Blankie

[Read more…]

DIY Christmas Ornaments with The Mystery of History

DIY Christmas Ornaments

Here are simple DIY Christmas Ornaments that would go great with The Mystery of History, Volume I.

Since volume 1 covers creation to Christ it includes lessons on the kings and prophets of the Old Testament. Just like the Israelites in Joshua 4 built a monument to remember how The Lord helped them cross the Jordan River, these ornaments can help students remember Old Testament lessons.

To keep this simple, focus on the lessons you have read. If you need to keep it simpler I suggest taking a bag of whistles or trumpets and writing the name of each prophet you have read about.

If you want to really get involved then create one for each prophet or lesson and keep a small tree up all school year.

DIY Christmas Ornaments Supplies:

Various items for inside DIY Christmas Ornaments:

Brainstorming Time:

  • Ask your kids which Prophets they remember from their history lessons.
  • Make a list of the ones they remember
  • Refer to the book for help
  • If your list is quite long, select your favorite 5-7 to place in your bag.

[Read more…]

100 Things To Do Before High School Graduation

100 things to do before graduation

Yes, it has been years since my own high school graduation. But this list represents things I had my son learn before his graduation and things I want my daughter to know before her own graduation. This is by no means an exhaustive list but hopefully it gives you some great ideas and spurs conversations about important things to do before high school graduation.

This is written from the slant of a home educator so some things reflect the graduate has been homeschooled.

In no particular order… [Read more…]

100 Things to Do With a Dollar

100 things to do with a dollar

100 Things to Do With a Dollar! If you give a homeschool mom a dollar these are some of the things she will teach her kids.

For some of these your dollar might need to be broken into different coins. I have constructed the list into different topics. Grab a dollar or dollars worth of change and enjoy your time of learning and fun. [Read more…]

Black Friday Sales with Bright Ideas Press

2014 Black Friday Sale BIP

It is the best time of the year to save on your purchases with Bright Ideas Press!

Have you been thinking about using Illuminations with The Mystery of History?

Normally Illuminations cost $125 but with the 20% you can purchase it for $100.

Personally I love the scheduling software and literature study guides. Here is video I created on how the software works. [Read more…]