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Let Me Be The First To Say…

Welcome!  Whether you are new to homeschooling or a seasoned pro, my prayer is that you would find this blog to be an encouragement.  Here you will find infomation on why you should Homeschool, how to start Homeschooling, choosing a Biblically based curriculum, tips, tricks and resources along with dealing with life as it happens.

As a mother of nine, believe me when I say that life happens!  But God’s grace has always been sufficient in the good, the bad and the ugly.  After 20 years of Homeschooling, I can truly say the rewards far out-weigh the sacrifices.  May God bless your Homeschool!

Kristen

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The Complete Zoo Adventure

Zoo GuideSometimes The Best Learning Happens Outside The Schoolroom!

With the Complete Zoo Adventure, a family field trip to the zoo becomes an unforgettable learning adventure with this unique, evolution-free guide to the incredible world of animals!

 

 

 

Did you know:

  • That the flamingo’s pink color comes from the food that it eats?
  • That the hummingbird’s heart beats 1,000 times per minute?
  • That the polar bear has a third eyelid that acts as “sunglasses” to protect it from snow blindness?

The Complete Zoo Adventure sets the stage for learning with “Before the Zoo” preparations, gives you the tools you need for an awesome “At the Zoo” experience, and then continues to deepen the understanding of God’s Creation with fabulous “After the Zoo” activities. Truly a complete guide like no other!

Includes:

  • 7 Devotionals
  • 27 Encounters with God’s Creatures
  • “Looking Ahead” – 7 Creation Foundation Lessons
  • Detailed Professional Educator Guide
  • 27 Scripture Memory Aids
  • 12 Name Badges
  • Over 35 Reproducible Activity Sheets
  • 27 Field Fact Cards
  • 3 Field Journals

Hard Cover • 9 x 9 • 150 pages • 4 Color • Authors: Gary and Mary Parker

Published by Master Books.  Purchase a copy for your family!

 

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Love this book but wish you could make it a part of your family’s homeschool curriculum?  Now you can!  Check out this new Elementary Zoology course by Master Books.  This fun course includes:

This is a complete one year course and suggested for students in grade 4-6.  I helped design and write the Parent Lesson Plan.  Our 4th grader picked this for his science course this year.  After all, what kid doesn’t love animals?  Find out more!

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Selecting Your Curriculum Part 3

Once I have a tentative list of curriculum and materials to teach the courses needed for each child, I like to take a look at the overall picture for each child and the entire school year. Here are some questions I ask myself:

  • Am I being realistic in what I think we can accomplish?
  • Are there some weak areas that we need to strengthen?
  • Am I happy with the amount of work each child will have each day?
  • Am I spreading myself too thin?
  • Is there a good Biblical foundation being established?

These are just a few of the questions I keep in mind as I flip through the curriculum lists for each child.  I can then make adjustments and then make my final decisions.

Once my lists are complete, I can begin the shopping process. I like to have all of the materials in my hand by the end of June. I then have the summer to put together my lesson plans, buy supplies, make adjustments, and pick up anything I may have missed.

I hope you have found helpful this brief glimpse into my process of selecting curriculum.  It can seem overwhelming at the start but with prayer, wisdom, and some practical steps you will have a plan in place in no time.

May God bless your homeschool!

Kristen Pratt

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Selecting Your Curriculum Part 2

Maybe you are the type that loves a full-on unit study approach. Perhaps the thought of unit studies makes you have nightmares but you get excited about the thought spending a good portion of the day reading good books aloud with your children. Some families find a traditional classroom setting is the best fit for them while others prefer their children to work on their own as much as possible. There is no one right way to homeschool, as some would suggest. Each family is unique, designed by God with specific needs and characteristics. Spend some time evaluating your own style and that of your children. You will find there are a lot of approaches and materials you can cross off your list of options, narrowing your choices to a more manageable list.

Once you know what you do not want, you can begin the process of deciding what you do want. It can still seem like the list of possibilities is long, but with a few more tweaks you can shorten it considerably. I like to make a list for each child that includes all of the subjects I want them to learn for the year.  My state laws partly dictate that list. Be sure to look up your own state laws at www.hslda.org.  I start the process with my youngest child and work my way up. I focus my search on Christian materials first. If I cannot find something that fills the need that has a Biblical foundation, then I will cautiously move on to secular materials.

It is helpful to attend a homeschool convention and/or visit www.christianbook.com for online samples. I also like to visit publisher websites for more information.  http://www.nlpg.com/imprint/master-books has always been a favorite starting place for my family.  I also ask local homeschool families if they happen to use the materials I’m interested in. They are usually quite happy to show me their books and let me know what they like and don’t like about the curriculum.

The goal at this point is to develop a list of needed subjects with a list of possibilities. It is not about making final decisions.

Blessings,

Kristen Pratt

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Selecting Your Curriculum Part 1

Selecting materials to use in our homeschool can be daunting. Visit any homeschool convention and you will understand exactly what I mean. There are so many choices, methods, materials. Each homeschool family, company, publisher, and author is certain they have the perfect (and only!) way to homeschool. The convention workshop for method A has you completely convinced that is the only way to go, at least until you go to the workshop detailing method B. Then there are the catalogs to be gone through and the websites to visit. Sometimes my head feels like it is spinning! We all need some practical ways to deal with the overwhelming number of choices we are blessed with as homeschoolers. Begin this important task bathed in prayer. I also encourage you to keep your spouse involved in the process.

The first step in figuring out what to use is to weed through all the stuff we know we do not want. I like to start with weeding out the choices that do not match up to my Biblical values. A good comparison of the various approaches is a good thing to study at this point. For instance, while I like many of the principles of the Classical Approach, I’m not real fond of the focus put on the false gods. Many of those materials I can cross off the list for consideration. Some materials are so denominational in their approach that it is too narrow for my consideration. We are also strong believers in a literal, 6 day interpretation of Creation and expect our curriculum to support that view. Once I have determined which materials do not measure up to my Biblical worldview, I can take a closer look at my over all style and what works for my family.

I hope this will help get you started on your way to selecting great materials for your homeschool.

Blessings,

Kristen Pratt

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Biblical Authority in our Home Schools

Biblical Authority Video

The homeschool community has gone through phases over the years. One of the best phases has been the move back to the authority of Scripture in regard to Creation. Answers in Genesis, Master Books, and other organizations have done a wonderful service to the homeschooling community in bringing awareness and providing materials to us. Families have abandoned science books laden with evolutionary thought in exchange for God honoring titles. Our kids are being taught that the Bible is reliable and can be used to understand our world. What a legacy for us to give to our children. It is a legacy that will affect not only our own children but our grandchildren and generations of our family. God is good!

There is another area that needs our attention, another area where we need to establish and safe-guard Biblical authority. That area is History and Geography. We are amazed at the amount of material out there, even some published and/or sold by Christians, that is completely secular. Some of it is given a Christian label because it has a little bit of Christian language sprinkled here and there but relies on mostly secular materials. What a loss of opportunity to convey the handiwork of God throughout all history and even geography. What is history if it is separated from the plans and works of God? It is relegated to a meaningless look at accounts of the accomplishments and failures of man, in other words it becomes humanism at the core. God needs to be the center of our history and geography lessons. Creation is the beginning of our history. We need to extend what we have established with Creation in our homeschools to our history and geography materials as well.

Let’s give our children a lasting legacy by using materials that shine a light on the mighty works of God throughout ALL history.

God bless you and your homeschool!

Kristen Pratt

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Wonders of Creation Series

Wonders ImageThe Astronomy Book: Soars through the solar system targeting middle-school through junior-high levels. Acquire a wealth of knowledge on subjects such as supernovas, red shift, facts about planets, and much more.

The Fossil Book: The exciting story of fossils: How were they formed? Where are they found? How old are they? How are they extracted? This one-of-a-kind book explains how coal and oil are formed, how the Grand Canyon was created, how to interpret the geologic column from a creationist perspective, and how to identify various fossils.

The Geology Book: Whether jutting skyward, or languishing in the murky depths of the deep, rocks and sediments hold our little planet together. In The Geology Book, creationist author Dr. John Morris takes the reader on a tour of the earth’s crust, pointing out both the natural beauty and the scientific evidences for creation. Profusely illustrated, this book presents an accurate view of earth’s natural history.

The Ocean Book: Join the adventure as the depths of the ocean are explored in this fascinating new book that brings the wonders of the ocean to light with full-color photos, charts, graphs, and illustrations that bring the murky, mysterious depths of the ocean to life.

The Weather Book: What we call weather is caused by forces occurring globally that are in constant motion. Starts with the “”big picture,”” our place in space, and explains how each of the various weather conditions play a role in our daily lives. Learn how thunderstorms build, hurricanes are formed, tornadoes destroy, and about crazy weather phenomenon.

 

archaeology-book-_wonders-of-creation_The Archaeology Book: Developed with three educational levels in mind, The Archaeology Book takes you on an exciting exploration of history and ancient cultures. You’ll learn both the techniques of the archaeologist and the accounts of some of the richest discoveries of the Middle East that demonstrate the accuracy and historicity of the Bible.

wonders-of-creation-_cave_The Cave Book: Explore deep into the hidden wonders beneath the surface as cave expert Dr. Emil Silvestru takes you on an illuminating and educational journey through the mysterious world of caves. Discover the beautiful formations, thriving ecology, unique animals, and fragile balance of this little-seen ecosystem in caves from around the globe.

ecologyThe Ecology Book:  The best-selling Wonders of Creation series adds a new biology-focused title that unveils the intricate nature of God’s world and the harmony that was broken by sin. This educational resource is color-coded with three educational levels in mind: 5th to 6th grades, 7th to 8th grades, and 9th through 11th grades, which can be utilized for the classroom, independent study, or homeschool setting.

The Wonders of Creation series of books started as the foundation of our homeschool library.  We add to our collection each time a new book is released.  They are unsurpassed in their photographs and layout, each new book better than the previous titles.  These are classic books that your grandchildren will grow to love as much as your children have.  They can be used for unit studies, resource books, or as your main textbooks as you study each topic of science.  Best of all they have a young earth creation worldview that you can trust.

Written by a variety of authors and published by Master Books, these are Hard Cover books sure to last many years.

Do you love these books but wish you knew how to use them as curriculum in your homeschool?  Well now you can.  I have helped Master Books put together curriculum packages using these beloved books.  Complete with Parent Lesson Planners that I helped create, teaching these courses is easy.

Your students now have several options to choose from:

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Intro to Meteorology & Astronomy  Recommended for grade 7-9 for 1/2 Credit
Intro to Archaeology & Geology  Recommended for grade 7-9 for 1/2 Credit
Intro to Oceanography & Ecology  Recommended for grade 7-9 for 1/2 Credit
Intro to Speleology & Paleontology  Recommended for grade 7-9 for 1/2 Credit
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Survey of Science Specialties  Recommended for grade 10-12 for 1 Credit
Have the books but need the Parent Lesson Plans?  You can purchase them separately!
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A Word about Discernment

I have been increasingly concerned about homeschool curriculum that displays the “Christian” label yet strays considerably from providing a Biblical education. Some of it, we are told, started off solid but has somehow strayed from the mark. Others slipped in through marrying Christian thought to humanistic ideas. Some of the problems are glaring while others are subtle. The enemy has been busy making his way into the homeschool curriculum arena in order to destroy the work the Lord is doing in the hearts and minds of our children.

We must be vigilant, wise, and discerning when selecting curriculum and books for our children.  We must know what exactly our homeschool materials are teaching our children. We cannot use any particular curriculum, book, or plan just because another good Christian friend recommends it or because there was a good lecture about it. We must do our own research and understand the author’s worldview before providing it to our children.

Take a fresh look at the materials you are handing to your children. Do the materials you are using stand under Scriptural scrutiny? I know I am going to be taking a more sober look at the materials in our home.

Blessings,
Kristen Pratt

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Creation Museum

Creation Museum DVDWe have had the pleasure of visiting the Creation Museum and we were so blessed by the experience. If you have been there, I’m sure you know what an awesome experience it is. If not, we would encourage you to check it out.

Hundreds of thousands of people visit the museum every year, now you can experience it in the comfort of your own home through  the Journey Through the Creation Museum DVD. This DVD overflows with faith-strengthening images and commentary as you get the “inside story” and take a chronological walk through history. (22 minutes, plus over 60 minutes of bonus facts and special material.) 

Purchase this DVD for your family!

We highly recommend you visit the Creation Museum with your family.

Blessings,

Kristen Pratt

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Life is Good!

We were presented with a challenge in our Sunday night service last night to spend the week focusing on all the good things in life. It really is an attitude of thankfulness to focus on how good life is. Should I be surprise that we are put to the test first thing this morning by waking up to a gloomy, rainy western New York spring day? For those of you who do not understand our weather, we can go for days or even weeks with never seeing the sun. Once it starts raining (or snowing) we never know how long it might last regardless of what the weather man says. It is particularly difficult in the spring because winter is filled with long stretches of gloomy skies. We are ready for sunshine, warmth, and flowers. As they saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. How we anticipate those May flowers as we sit in the gloom of the rain!

Isn’t that a lot like life? Sometimes we must go through the gloomy showers while holding onto the hope for a better day. I am going to choose to spend the day being thankful rather than focusing on the grey, gloomy weather outside my windows. I might even go so far as to thank the Lord for the rain because it is giving the plant life the stimulation it needs to spring forth very soon, bathing our grey and brown landscape with lush greenery and beautiful blooms. If you are going through a gloomy season in your life, I encourage you to muster up what little strength you may have and thank the Lord for something in your life. Look for more things to thank Him for. Before you know it you will have developed an ”attitude of gratitude” and might feel a bit better. I know I feel a little better about today even though it is rather dreary just because I am focusing on God’s goodness.

God Bless!

Kristen Pratt

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