Saturday, April 25, 2015

Leo Lionni: Author for May
I was excited to end the year with Leo Lionni!  I have such great memories of his books from my childhood.  I thoroughly enjoyed researching him.  This fascinating article on his life from AIGA, a magazine for designers, showed the breadth and depth of his career.  I loved this Random House site that also included videos where Mr. Lionni describes why he writes about animals, how he makes a mouse, and about his childhood.  A very fun way to learn about his books.  I also set up a Pinterest board filled with activities.
But the find of the day was this awesome packet by the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University, New York. It was created by teachers and includes original art work.  It is worth checking out.   
So welcome May and read some wonderful books by Leo Lionni.  Make a mouse, make a frog, or talk about the inch worm.  
~ Becky

Friday, April 17, 2015

A New Astronomy Textbook!

My children and I holding the new Textbook.

I was just thrilled to meet Gladys Kober at the Midwest Homeschool Convention last week.  She has co-written an Astronomy Textbook called The Crossroads of Science and Faith: Astronomy Through a Christian Worldview.  What impressed me about this textbook was the depth of information presented, the interviews with Astronomers around the world and how their faith interacts with their  science career, and the beautiful color pictures and diagrams.  I feel this is an excellent resource for students.  I bought the textbook, and find my son reading it in his free time.   This is the information she was sharing at the convention. I hope you find it helpful.

Statistics show that a large number of students who claim to be Christians abandon their faith during their college years.  While there may be many reasons for this sad abandonment of faith, research shows that confusion about science and faith issues plays an important role. This textbook will equip high school students to engage in respectful science and faith discussions and defend their faith with sound reasoning and confidence! 

Learn what professors of Christian Universities are saying about this textbook!

The Crossroads of Science and Faith: Astronomy Through a Christian Worldview is a wonderful educational resource for home schooling and Sunday school classes. Using excellent pedagogy, this book demonstrates that the continuing scientific endeavor to better understand the universe and its underlying laws is consistent with our Christian belief in God as Creator.  In the tradition of Augustine, The Crossroads of Science and Faith aims to convince the reader that God’s revelation is revealed, in a mutually consistent manner, both in the Book of Scripture and in the Book of Nature. The book offers a concise and accurate summary of our present knowledge of the universe. It is written in a style that high school students will connect with. The end-of-chapter questions are thought provoking and will inspire readers to re-evaluate their perceptions of the relationship between science and faith, and will likely deepen their understanding of God as Creator of our magnificent universe. I highly recommend this book!”
Dr. Gerald B. Cleaver, Professor of Physics at Baylor University and Head of the Early Universe Cosmology and Strings Division of Baylor’s Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics, and Engineering Research

This is excellent, simply excellent. I have not seen a better book about astronomy and Christian faith for pre-college students. Scientific, historical, and theological aspects are all very well written at just the right level to challenge students while helping them to meet the challenge. Christian families owe much gratitude to the authors for producing such an excellent work.”
Dr. Ted Davis, Distinguished Professor of the History of Science at Messiah College 

As someone who has taught astronomy in a Christian context at the college level, I am very excited about this textbook. The authors have done a remarkable job introducing students to the intersection between science and faith at a high level. The end of chapter questions and exercises for this material are extensive and thought provoking. Students using this text will also experience the science of astronomy in a rigorous way, complete with beautiful images showing the latest observations. I loved reading the personal interviews of so many Christian scientists, astronomers, and astrophysicists, many of whom I know personally and highly respect. Overall a great resource for students, parents, and teachers looking for an inspiring and trustworthy introduction to astronomy from a Christian perspective.”

Dr. Darren Craig, Associate Professor of Physics and Department Chair at Wheaton College

This textbook is designed to be a resource for the Christian community (for both the home
school environment and Christian schools) to teach Astronomy and introduce students to the science & faith dialog. The materials in this textbook will strengthen students’ faith and prepare them to face a secular university or world environment with confidence. It is designed to equip them to defend their faith with good reasoning and to make them ready to engage unbelievers in respectful discussions. The textbook also encourages the search for truth in every area and promotes dialogue and integration between science and faith while also offering a Christian worldview, where God is the Author, Creator, and Designer of this mind-boggling and awesome universe. The textbook includes many interviews with professional Christian astronomers that we hope will inspire and encourage students and parents alike.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Free Printable Worksheets~ A Guest Post by Christy Gould

 Today's guest post is from my friend Christy Gould.  She is the mom to 4 boys under 6.  I asked her what she was into lately and she told me about her wonderful worksheet resources.  I am thrilled she has compiled them all for us!  Enjoy. 

I have four boys, two of them school-age, plus a toddler and a baby. You’d expect my house to be a noisy, messy place with constant running and tackling – and sometimes, especially around the dinner hour, you’d be right.

For the most part, though, my quieter-than-average oldest boys are very content to sit at the kitchen table and write, draw, and color. And they love worksheets. Easy mazes, word searches, dot-to-dots, DO-a-dots, matching . . . you name it, they love it. It defies everything I ever heard about raising and schooling boys!

I’ve spent the past three years or so amassing quite the collection, and I have a few favorite sites for free printables that I want to share with you today:

Mommy School at Oopsey Daisy Blog. These are arranged by letter (A is for Apples, etc.). She doesn’t have the entire alphabet completed, but the packets that are there have been a hit in our house.

Adding dots to a ladybug so the wings match.

Homeschool Creations. We’ve used her materials to enrich favorite stories, from old Corduroy to  The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear.

Matching rhyming words from a Blueberries for Sal printable.

Royal Baloo, 3 Dinosaurs, and This Reading Mama. These three sites are fairly similar in content, and they often work together to make whole units, such as the ocean month we did last summer. They also teamed up to do sets of worksheets for the ever-popular BOB books, which were a huge success. (For about six months in the middle of this school year, he’d do anything as long as it used a Do-a-Dot marker!)

Using a Do-a-Dot marker to complete a “word path.”

Last but not least, I’ve gotten tons of thematic material from Gift of Curiosity. Her printables require e-mail subscription (unlike the others listed here, which you can print directly from the website), but they’re worth it. Most of the packets are enormous (100+ pages), geared to a wider range of ages (usually 2-7). She also has whole packs of themed Do-a-Dot pages, much to my children’s delight!

So, you might be asking yourself, how do you find all of these when you need them? The answer: I get daily e-mails from Free Homeschool Deals and Money Saving Mom (and, now, Gift of Curiosity, in order to have access to her printables). Whenever anything looks like it might be something I might ever use, I grab it. For example, I’ve known for some time that my kids would be studying botany this spring, so I’ve been downloading every freebie on plants I’ve seen. I plan to do a unit on the armor of God this summer, so when some free castle-themed coloring pages showed up on the Free Homeschool Deals e-mail, I downloaded it. You get the picture.

And now you’re probably asking yourself, what do you do with hundreds of pages of worksheets?! The answer: I have very intentional document storage on my computer. Within “My Documents,” I have a folder called “Homeschooling.” Within “Homeschooling,” there are many, many folders. I started out saving by age range (tot, preschool, pre-K, etc.). But when some of the packets ended up being for multiple ages, I switched to subject: holidays, science, transportation, phonics, math and numbers, handwriting, etc.

Are worksheets for everyone? Probably not. My current almost-three-year-old is much less interested in working at the table than the older two were at his age, and that’s fine. But for kids who love to learn on paper, let me assure you that it can be done for free!

Christy Gould is the wife of a pastor and a homeschooling stay-at-home mom to four boys under six. When she’s not refereeing little-boy disputes, you can find her in the kitchen, whipping up real-food meals and toiletries in equal measure. She chronicles her adventures in homeschooling and life at

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Motivate Your Child by Dr. Scott Turansky & Joanne Miller. 

Motivate Your Child by Dr. Scott Turansky & Joanne Miller.  

We need a parenting revolution!
Most parenting approaches end up encouraging children to ask the wrong questions about life: What’s in it for me? Are you going to pay me for that? What’s the minimum I need to do to get by?
But God’s Word gives us a better way to parent, one that builds strong internal motivation in children. When parents change the way they parent, kids change the way they live. This practical book explores a theology of internal motivation and then gives parents real-life solutions to equip their kids for life.
You’ll learn . . . 

• how to parent in ways that build internal motivation so that kids don’t have to rely on you to get things done.
• The four promptings of the conscience and how to coordinate your parenting to take advantage of them.
• ways to energize your spiritual training with fun and creativity.
• how to help children respond to mistakes instead of blaming, defending, or justifying.
The greatest gift you can give your child is strong moral and spiritual development—this book shows you how. Every chapter includes practical examples of families applying the Bible to their current issues. Join the revolution!

I have enjoyed reading Motivate Your Child.  I feel that the authors have something different to say that adds to the conversation on parenting.  They talk about the conscience and how different children react to discipline when they make mistakes.  I discovered that my daughter reacts differently than either my husband or myself to learning she has made a mistake.  That has made a great difference in my parenting her, and I feel like our relationship has improved since reading this book.  I feel for the first time I am making some progress with her, and reaching her.   It has empowered me as a parent.  My husband said this alone made the book worth reading. 

Motivate Your Child has many examples of conversations other parents have had with their children to help them become responsible adults.  I found this very helpful, and it has given me ideas on how to start good conversations with my kids.  I liked the variety of stories and the different kind of families they used in their examples.   The authors do a great job painting visual pictures that help clarify their points.  

Lastly, what I love about this book is that it is a relational book.  This is not a get your kids to do what you want in 5 easy steps.  The authors talk about working with your child's heart, showing your child how they can change, and how you can guide your child to become the person God wants them to be. I highly recommend reading it. 

Both of the authors will be at the Midwest Homeschool Convention this weekend in Cincinnati. You might enjoy hearing them speak and stopping by their booth.  

ABOUT AUTHOR: Scott Turansky has been a pastor and missionary for more than 33 years and is an author of several books. In addition to pastoring full time, Scott also conducts parenting seminars on Saturdays around the United states ( He is the co-founder of the National Center for Biblical Parenting ( and has co-authored four books.
I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review from Book Club Network.