Celebrate Ground Hog’s Day with Adventures in Odyssey!

This is such a funny holiday to me, but one I enjoy. There was a pretty famous movie by the same title as well where a man relives the same day over and over. That day happens to be February 2! The idea of reliving the same day may sound great or awful depending on what that day was like. I watched a short portion of the video from Pennsylvania this morning. The gentleman speaking mentioned that this year has felt a lot like that movie in many ways, but there is hope. A new day is rising every day and we can look forward to what that day can bring. I loved that perspective as a Christian, knowing that the Lord consistently gives us new days!

I love that Adventures in Odyssey has a couple of fun episodes along this theme. Even if you don’t really think about this silly little holiday very much, it is a great day to listen to them if you have never done so! You can find both on the Adventures in Odyssey Club.

From Album 56: The Grand Design
Groundhog Jay
After Jay pushes Priscilla into an unexpected trip in the Room of Consequence, the two of them experience the same event over and over again.

From Album 33: Virtual Realities
The Eternal Birthday
Liz experiences her birthday over and over again.

Is there a day you would like to experience again?

Odyssey Adventure Club

Disclaimer: In exchange for promoting The Adventures in Odyssey Club I receive a membership to The Adventures in Odyssey Club. I am not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Adventures in Odyssey Club: Merry Christmas!

Adventures in Odyssey Christmas Stocking Cards

We absolutely love working our way through the Adventures in Odyssey Christmas episodes! Have you listened to the Countdown to Christmas Album? If not it is the perfect place to begin! Once you are done with that one, pop back here and take a lot at a few more Christmas episodes from the Adventures in Odyssey Club to enjoy!

(I also happen to know the newest album, only available on the Adventures in Odyssey Club currently has a Christmas episode! A new episode will be featured each week from now until January 19!!!!)

Prepare for Christmas with 24 Adventures in Odyssey episodes designed to help your family understand Christmas in a new and meaningful way.
Club Season 1
All By Myself

Wooton is quarantined in his house and has to find ways to entertain himself. Meanwhile, Penny tries to re-create a mountaintop experience in her faith.
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Club Season 3
Un-Tech the Halls

The Parkers decide to unplug their gadgets and make family memories by searching for a Christmas tree.
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Club Season 5
Beyond Repair

With Pastor Knox along for support, a nervous young woman finally visits the prisoner who betrayed her.

You can listen to these and more through the Adventures in Odyssey Club! Try your 14-day trial today!

Disclaimer: In exchange for promoting The Adventures in Odyssey Club I receive a membership to The Adventures in Odyssey Club. I am not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Pixel Scrapper: A Memory Keeper’s Dream Come True!

Travel back with me to Christmas 2006. I had one sweet 16-month-old daughter, busy as can be. I had joyfully discovered during Thanksgiving a few weeks earlier that I was expecting another baby, due the following summer. My sister-in-law (also my best friend) was showing me her beautiful scrapbook of her own 16-month-old daughter, my niece. I was in awe of what beautiful books of memories she had created. She took a lot of time to tell me about her process. For Christmas, she and my in-laws outfitted me with everything I would need to start traditional scrapbooking, and oh how I dove in! 

Fast-forward to 2010. I had now had three daughters, ages 5, 3, and 1. Traditional scrapbooking had become rather non-existent in this wonderful world of mine with three busy little ladies around me all the time. I was saddened by this but figured I would get around to it again…eventually. 

I honestly have no idea how I discovered digital scrapbooking, but I stumbled upon it somehow and researched it until I felt comfortable giving it a shot. I purchased a now obsolete program and set off on my journey into digital scrapbooking. Now, 10 years later, I have created hundreds of layouts, full scrapbooks, and more. When I began, I looked for what I could find for free. It was a lot of random searching, and not the easiest way to start. Still, I did not have a lot of extra money to invest at the time and it was the best choice. 

I discovered Pixel Scrapper in 2015. I believe someone mentioned it in a thread on a message board for digital scrapbookers. It was like a dream come true! This treasure-trove was a discovery I couldn’t believe I had been missing out on this wonderful site. 

Pixel Scrapper describes itself as… “friendly community site for digital artists and scrapbookers.” It uses a system of active participation to earn credits which can be used to download individual items for free. This is a unique system that allows users to engage in a meaningful way with a reward. You can also become a patron where you have access to download full kits for a very small amount each month. 

The templates, papers, elements, and actions are all high-quality creations from top-notch designers. The kits are packed full and there is so much variety! I love the search function, super easy to access at the top of the home page and the left sidebar allows more narrowing of your search by item type. 

I really think the best part of Pixel Scrapper is the community. It is encouraging, affirming, and honest. There are many opportunities to engage in conversational threads where you can ask for help, look for answers and inspiration, and just have fun conversations with people who love to scrapbook too! 

This is an excellent place for beginners as well. This summer I had the chance to Zoom call with a couple of friends who want to learn to scrapbook digitally. You better believe the first place I pointed them to was Pixel Scrapper! You will find all the resources you need from tutorials to materials. Don’t be nervous! The community is kind and you will be thrilled with the results of your memory making endeavors. 

 Hope to see you soon over at Pixel Scrapper!

Adventures in Odyssey Club: Animals of Odyssey!

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You may not recognize this pup below unless you have watched through the Adventures in Odyssey Animated series.

Sherman Voice - Adventures in Odyssey (Show) | Behind The ...

This is Sherman and he was a major part of the cartoon series created about the town of Odyssey. Although animals are not main characters in the audio series, there are a number of stand-out episodes that feature animals!

Album 08: Beyond Expectations
All’s Well With Boswell

When Robyn gets her first real babysitting job, it turns out to be more of an adventure than she could ever imagine!
Album 20: A Journey of Choices
Pet Peeves

Donna Barclay tries to cope with all the change going on in her life by adopting a stray dog.
Album 29: Signed, Sealed & Committed
Viva La Difference

The Mulligans take in some of the animals when the Connellsville Zoo closes down.

Album 30: Through Thick & Thin
Leap of Faith

The Mulligan family and their animals are threatened when heavy rains wash away a levee upriver from their farm.
Album 34: In Your Wildest Dreams
The Lyin’ Tale

Aubrey’s tale of being scared by a cat seems to become more life-threatening with every telling.

Sunset Bowlawater
Mandy Straussberg’s goldfish narrates the story of his untimely death.
Album 43: Along for the Ride
Potential Possibilities

When Trent is put in the gifted class at school, he wonders if he’ll survive his first week. Meanwhile, Aubrey Shepard learns that she has a real talent with horses.
Album 44: Eugene Returns!
The Invisible Dog

Eugene teaches at Odyssey Middle School as a substitute. Meanwhile, Lester shows everyone his new pet–an invisible dog.
Album 51: Take It From the Top
For the Birds

Camilla Parker desperately wants a pet, but her family seems to suffer from the “Parker Family Pet Curse.” To prove her responsibility, Camilla takes care of a baby blue jay
Album 63: Up in the Air
Crash Course

When getting lessons from Connie is a disaster, Jules turns to Odyssey’s newest licensed driver Buck Oliver to teach her how to drive.
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Club Season Seven
Badges of Honor

Lagging behind other girls in their troop, Olivia and Zoe set out to earn as many merit badges as they can.

You can listen to these and more through the Adventures in Odyssey Club! Try your 14-day trial today!

Disclaimer: In exchange for promoting The Adventures in Odyssey Club I receive a membership to The Adventures in Odyssey Club. I am not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Passages: Adventures in Odyssey Club

Are you looking for something new and engaging than the traditional episodes of Adventures in Odyssey?!? Some of my favorite and extremely different Adventures in Odyssey stories are the Passages episodes. They center around an alternative world, called Marus. Individuals from our world find themselves transported unexpectedly into a world they’ve never known, yet seems strangely familiar.

Passages: Fletcher’s Rebellion, Part 1 of 2
A woman named Alice tells an incredible story about how she and Tom Riley’s son, Timmy, traveled to another world called Marus.

We are first introduced to the Passages stories in the first two episodes of Album 34, In Your Wildest Dreams. Another extremely unique aspect of this episode is that we hear more about Tom Riley’s son, Timmy, who drowned when he was young saving another young man’s life. It is a sad story that is sometimes referenced, but until these episodes we have not really encountered Timmy.

As you listen to the story you will begin to recognized hints and shadows of stories you have heard before from Scripture. In many ways they are similar to the tales from Narnia in this. God is referred to as The Unseen One. Events, although not categorically exact, echo those from biblically historical accounts. It definitely gives a new perspective and appreciation for things you may have known for years.

Fletcher’s Rebellion parallels the story of Gideon. As you listen with your kids encourage them to try and guess what Bible passage this reflects. Help them to pick out clues and see what they notice is different.

Enter a world where ancient history comes to life . . . and faith in God becomes the adventure of a lifetime! Introducing Passages, the legendary audio series from the creators of Adventures in Odyssey. One minute, Anna and Kyle are exploring a creepy old house outside Odyssey. The next, they’re transported to the mysterious land of Marus–and caught in the middle of a dangerous conflict between a brave army general and a powerful king. Will their newfound powers be strong enough to save the rightful heir to the throne . . . and return them safely home?

The album Passages: Darien’s Rise is our next encounter with this strange world of Marus. This episode opens with Jack Allen bringing an old manuscript he found in a trunk from an estate sale to Mr. Whitaker. He asks Whit to read it and to let him know what he thinks afterwards.

Kyle and Anna, two children not previously mentioned in Odyssey, are transported to Marus through an abandoned house. Once there they are immediately thrown into a perilous adventure, once again in parallel with biblical history. Darien is a parallel to David from the Old Testament. This is a longer storyline as it takes up an entire album of 9 episodes. I loved the characters and once again the ability to pick out little bits that helped to identify which story is being represented.

Adventures in Odyssey: Passages Volume 1: The Marus Manuscripts
Adventures in Odyssey: Passages Volume 2: The Marus Manuscripts

If these two sagas interest you, there are also 2 collections called Passages: The Marus Manuscripts, each containing 3 books about Marus. While these stories are not Odyssey-centric, they are true to the nature of Adventures in Odyssey and might be very appealing to middle schoolers and older.

You can listen to these and more through the Adventures in Odyssey Club! Try your 14-day trial today!

Disclaimer: In exchange for promoting The Adventures in Odyssey Club I receive a membership to The Adventures in Odyssey Club. I am not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Peek into Our Week: October 26-30

Grace is reading Little Women while Penny keeps watch.

Our routine is smooth
Our flow is back
Now all I ask
Is we stay on track

Sometimes a little poetry is cathartic. This week was good. There were bumps…there always are…and we press on. If anything I’m the one feeling a little off these days. Maybe it’s the state of our country and world…maybe it’s the political angst…maybe it’s the fact that I’m realizing how soon my nest will be empty. The last decade brought us into this homeschooling adventure. This next decade will bring a totally different season. I’m honestly not comfortable with this idea yet, but I have time and try not to dwell too much in these things.

Many of our activities have (safely) started back. I hate having to add that commentary. I feel we will be heavily chastised if I do not. I find myself adding phrases like …while socially distanced… and …while wearing masks… to almost everything these days just so there are no rushed assumptions. But I digress…

Many of our activities have started back and this has been a huge boost to smoothing out any of the routine bumps that were still there. The girls have missed face-to-face interactions and to have even a few return is a solid win. Here are updates on each of the gals.

Beth studying Awana.

At 13 Beth has become a most studious young lady. Her favorite place to work is often in our bedroom sprawled across our bed. Many times I will enter the room to put something away to find her with work all around and listening to a musical soundtrack. These days she’s enjoying Esther from Sight and Sound Theaters or The Sound of Music.

She is zipping through Algebra 1. We are using No Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials. It is excellent, no frills, and a great fit for her. She also studied pre-algebra from the same company.

For literature she is using the 8th grade curriculum I wrote for Schoolhouse Teachers.com {aff. link} a couple of years ago. It is good for me to see this in action and I’m so pleased with the outcome for her. She’s covering a variety of genre this year and seems to be enjoying the pacing. To round out this subject she’s working on Caught Ya! grammar, All About Spelling, and Writing Strands.

History with Heart of Dakota is the best preparation for independent learning I have ever encountered. I love the notebooking, research, living history, map studies, and more. Although I have deviated from a few things from the curricula as the girls got older to fit their personal needs better, I cannot say enough good things about this company!

Finally is science. Beth is continuing to take a science class with our local homeschool learning center. While it is online this year, it’s still such solid content. She’s had the biggest adjustment here this year as she’s moved up into junior division and the workload is significantly more. Learning to balance her time in this has been challenging, but so very rewarding!

Grace studying math with lots of books as her cushions!

Grace is showing much maturity this year. She’s 11 and working on studies much deeper than many her age. With this year came an increase in work-load which was a lot for her to handle. I was tempted to back off a little bit in the first few weeks, but I’m glad I didn’t for her sake. I knew it wasn’t too much, but for her it was the greater amount of time. I just chose to sit with her while she worked and encourage her to stay focused. Now she is zipping away through most of it, has learned to budge her time, as well as the benefits of working ahead if she has extra time.

She is working through Math Mammoth and will be fully prepared for pre-algebra at the end of the material. She understands the concepts and is learning to slow down a bit and pay attention to what word problems are asking. She is also enjoying Life of Fred as a supplement 2 days a week. That is what she is working on in the picture above. Many families use this as their core. I like a more traditional approach and use it as a supplement, giving my girls a different way to look at mathematics.

In elementary school I have my girls read quality literature without a lot of extra instruction. Right now she is reading Little Women as an abridged classic. I also really advocate introducing kids to abridged classic stories all through elementary school so they are excited about the story when they approach it later on in schooling in it’s full rendition. I have an entire shelf dedicated to abridged classics and they titles from Dickens, Shakespeare, Austen, Melville, and more. This has proven to be an excellent approach for the older girls so I’m continuing it with Grace. She rounding out this subject with Rod and Staff Grammar (We LOVE the simplicity and traditional structure!), All About Spelling, and Writing Strands.

Heart of Dakota’s Creation to Christ has been the most challenging for Grace as it’s workload intensifies from previous guides. She’s also using notebooking, learning research and map skills, and studying harder things. Just like her older sisters the adjustment and challenge is worth it! I’ve not been great at doing the art studies with my kids through this guide, so starting next week we will all 4 be working on the water color tutorials. I am hoping this is a good way to pass the cold winter days coming, knowing we may be facing more activities closing down again.

Just like Beth, Grace is studying science at our local learning center. Her teacher raises the bar in quality remote learning. She has such an excitement about learning and it’s a beautiful thing to watch!

Rose learning The Grinch for recital.

Rose loves music. She (as her sisters) have studied piano since they were 3 or 4…it makes it easy when you live with your piano teacher! I have 19 other students, but these three are my favorite. She is also self-taught on the ukulele and is working to learn how to play the mandolin. Beth is learning to play the glockenspiel (mallet bells) and Grace has dabbled in hand drumming and guitar. It’s fun to see them really embrace learning music.

This year has been a very different learning structure for Rose. Just like everyone else she’s our oldest experimental child so I wasn’t certain how our plan would work out, but so far it’s going very nicely! At the beginning of the year we sat down and talked about her goals and what classes she would need to meet those goals, namely begin dual enrollment next year.

For literature she is using another curriculum, American Literature, I wrote for Schoolhouse Teachers.com {aff. link}. Again, seeing this in action in our home has left me feeling very good about the job I did in creating it. The structure is to study American lit through the lens of history. I spent intensive amounts of time studying American history alongside American literature to see how one impacted the other. I’m very pleased so far with how much she is grasping. Rose is using Jenson’s Grammar, All About Spelling, and Writing Strands.

Math…oh math. Math has been the most intense for Rose all through schooling. This year she asked to study both Geometry and Algebra 2. We were given Algebra 2 from Teaching Textbooks as a hand-me-down (What a blessing, right?!?!) and we are using Geometry from Schoolhouse Teachers.com {aff. link}.

Chemistry has been a raging success with Mater Books. I’m so very pleased with the strong material without being overwhelmingly complicated. There is a significant emphasis on observational science rather than theoretical and a grounding in how these observations continually point us back to the Creator. Rose is also studying World Religions from Master Books with which we have also been very pleased.

More Schoolhouse Teachers.com {aff. link} courses are rounding out the year with Economics and Government. Rose is reading excellent material by Thomas Sowell. I had never heard of this man before, but I’m impressed over and over again with his common sense approach to economics.

Final Thoughts on the Week…

As we begin the approach the holidays I am grateful for our little family and extended family and friends. This year has not been what anyone wanted, but the Lord is good and faithful. I encourage you to not dwell too very long on the losses, but instead focus on the blessings and ways we can thank the Lord, even if the year has brought pain.

Adventures in the Physical World: Level 2 – A MasterBooks Review

I remember how curious my daughters were when they were in the early elementary years. Why is the sky blue? Why can’t I see the wind? Why…why…why… One of my favorite aspects of homeschooling is being able to dig deep and find the answers to some of their questions, to inspire them to want to ask why! They are still curious and ask lots of questions, but often do their own research instead of seeking me out. So how do you foster these inquisitive little minds early on and engage them so they stay curious? Masterbooks has a new title, Adventures in the Physical World: Level 2, that provides short lesson (20 minutes), just 3 days a week that will engage and delight your young learner!

I think the cover is just gorgeous! The inside is just as beautiful, filled with bright colors, but not so much as to cause distraction. Rather the vibrant illustrations and photographs are strategically placed to induce curiosity and delight. I very much appreciate the straight-forward schedule as well as the weekly list of supplies needed. They should be easy to find around the house, but having it all collected in one place is fantastic! Anything to make a homeschool mom’s life easier is a win in my book!

A wide range of science topics is covered including chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, meteorology, and more! I like how each area allows young learners to dip their toes into the world of curiosities around them. This is quite appropriate for younger elementary students who are ready to start engaging with the world in a scientific manner.

As with all titles from MasterBooks you can be assured that this is grounded in the truth of God’s Word. One of the early units on Kinetic energy encourages children to point out examples of kinetic energy in the retelling of Noah building the ark. What a cool way to look at scientific principals built into creation from the start!

While my own kids have grown past this level of science, I highly recommend this title to those with kids in kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade. This definitely requires a bit more writing than earlier titles, so make sure your student it ready for that aspect!

DisclaimerI received a digital copy of Adventures in the Physical World: Level 2 from New Leaf Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions here are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Passport to America: A MasterBooks Review

Our family has used MasterBooks resources for a good portion of our homeschooling. From preschool through high school we have so many titles rich in history, science, and biblical truth. Their latest geography title, Passport to America, is a new favorite!

Grace is using the companion title, Passport to the World, as a part of her world geography studies this year. I was excited to see a book focusing on each of the states presented as well!

This lively and colorful book packs a ton of information on each state in just two pages. I really like that each license plate is shown as well as a number of interesting facts. In addition to the state flags, birds, and other symbols you will learn about land features and a food specific to each state. I was pleased to see 5-Way Skyline Chili featured in Ohio! One of my favorite memories of visiting my aunt and cousins there was eating chili over spaghetti. It may seem odd to my friends here in the south, but boy is it delicious!

I also was happy to see the opening pages featuring the story of America featured the indigenous people groups who lived here. I want my children to learn factual history and recognize that history features everything from Creation, not just when European explorers first landed here.

On the final page is an encouragement for children to pray for each state as they study it. Students are encouraged to find out something happening in that state and to pray for the people who live there. What an amazing find. I have not seen another books, even from Christian companies, encourage prayer in this way.

If you are looking for an excellent guide for your curious kid, planning your next road trip or launching a study of the United States, Passport to America is an excellent tool!

DisclaimerI received a digital copy of Passport to America from New Leaf Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions here are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Week in Review: September 28-October 2

This week was really good. I’m so thankful we are finally in our routine. I’m also really glad we started in early August so we could take the time we needed to really get ourselves into a groove. It takes time every year, but this year was longer. Our 6-weeks-of-school, 1-week-off pattern is working out beautifully this year!

Beth: 8th grade

Part of our daily schedule is music practice. All of the girls started by the time they were 4-years-old with piano lessons…but then that is what happens when your mom is your piano teacher! My kids are 3 of my 22 piano students and I love watching them grow. Sometimes it would be easier for someone else to teach them, but most of the time it’s a beautiful blessing. You can see the camera on the piano. I’m teaching the majority of my lessons virtually and that camera is for my hands for demonstration. This year is so weird in so many ways.

Rose: 10th Grade

Rose worked very hard and saved up money this year to help pay for a Chromebook. As she’s progressing in high school we all realized it would be helpful for her to have her own device. The younger two still share a laptop…which I also have to share for teaching piano lessons now. One of my favorite courses she is taking this year is an apologetics course on World Religions from Master Books. It is so wide-ranging and a great way for her to understand the various belief systems and how they differ from the truth found in Scripture. She’s enjoying it as well which is important.

My kids are pretty easy learners. What I mean by that is they rarely complain about a particular curriculum. They do sometimes complain about the amount or ask for a day off, but they generally just accept the curriculum I put in front of them. I try to pick the best I can and if I get something that isn’t a good fit, I listen to them and we look for something better if possible. Sometimes it isn’t possible, but I do try. Don’t get me wrong, we are not curriculum hoppers! I just try to assess my kids’ learning styles and pick something that will fit that. I love to reuse curriculum, but sometimes that isn’t what is best for the next kiddo. Math is a great example of that. Each of my girls is using a different curriculum brand for math and that is perfectly okay!!! Tailoring their education to meet specific needs may be the best aspect of homeschooling.

Grace: 5th Grade

Grace is doing almost exclusively 6th grade work except for math where she is right on grade level. She is one of those kids with a late fall birthday and was absolutely ready to start learning earlier than the traditional-school guidelines. I really love this flexibility in learning.

One of her big changes this year was using notebooking pages with Heart of Dakota. I love that the company is now offering them for younger guides as well, but we were one guide ahead as each new notebooking set came out! If you are just starting out with Heart of Dakota I would strongly recommend doing the notebooking with the younger guides. It’s a beautiful way to prepare them for the higher ones. It was a big jump for Grace, but she’s doing so well now! She loves the timeline she’s creating as well as the research she does.

There is a little peek at our learning week. We also celebrated Grace’s 11th birthday on Sunday!!!! It is so hard to realize she really is growing up. She’s so full of energy and love and is still full of sweet innocence. She’s such a bright light in our family and we had so much fun celebrating her!

I was able to get some scrapbooking in as well! Here is my favorite page I completed. You can click to see all 6 of my completed pages for the week! I feel like I’m back on track!

Scrapbooking: September 28-October 4

The first Saturday of October was Digital Scrapbook Day!!! There were lots of fun celebrations all around internet-land. I really didn’t get to participate much as we had a full day of work at our church mulching and afternoon preparing to celebrate Grace’s birthday on Sunday. I did get a little bit of scrapping in throughout the week and that day though!