Advent Season 2010 – Are You Preparing Him Room?

Christmas, History, Parenting No Comments

baby jesusHave you heard of Advent? It is the season right before Christmas when, as Christians, we can prepare our hearts to celebrate the coming of Christ. Because the date of Christmas changes according to the calendar, so does Advent. This year the Advent 2010 season begins on November 28, 2010, the first Sunday of Advent.

If you are like me, you might feel woefully inadequate for this task of preparing yourself or your family for Christmas. I was not raised in a home that took Christmas preparation very seriously, in fact quite the opposite.

I, like many of you, was raised in a non-Christian home. And when I became a Christian as a teenager, I attended a church that knew nothing of Christmas preparation or Advent or anything of the kind. Sure, they would decorate the church with wreaths and red bows, and even allow the children to come down the processional with the poinsettias, but they knew nothing of the magnitude of the event.

So Christmas was not held up with wonder, awe, or reverence. Sadly, it was a time for me to be on my guard, to be watchful because it meant spending extended times with my non-Christian family. I even remember asking my Christian friends to pray for me. I would say, “I am going home, so pray that I do not stumble and that I do not fall into all the old habits.”

Thankfully, I married into a family that knew how to prepare itself for Christmas. And with my own spouse and children, I learned the priority of getting my heart ready to celebrate the birth of our Savior. These most recent years have been filled up with joy, wonder, amazement, and pondering how one so small could accomplish something so large. Truly, it is amazing!

As the Advent season has come upon us, I want to persuade you to begin preparing. I want you to take your preparation for Christmas seriously. Begin now to gather the things you need to direct your family’s hearts toward heaven. Let this season of Advent fill your home and your life.

_____________________

Copyright Stephen Beck, 2010

You have permission to reprint this article as long as you don’t make any changes and include the bio below.

Stephen Beck gives free advent calendars with daily Christmas activities to prepare your family for Christmas. Pick up a FREE Advent calendar at http://www.ChristmasCelebrationIdeas.com.

Famous Football Players

History, Homeschooling, Sports, Writing No Comments

My son does not like history as most of you know. But he LOVES sports! Do you have a child like this?

This week you can tie in sports with studies. What subjects can you do?

– History
– Writing
– Research

Choose a famous football player from a past Super Bowl. Write a report about his life and achievements.

If you are unsure how to help your child write a short 1, 3 or 5 paragraph paper, use Teaching Writing: Structure & Style. It’ is absolutely the BEST writing program to tie in writing with ANY subject area, even football.

*** For younger children who aren’t writing papers, let them alphabetize all NFL teams by city and mascot.

US History Writing Lessons-Vol. 2 (Civil War – Present)

Curriculum Connection, History, Homeschooling, Writing No Comments

Veteran co-op teacher Lori Verstegan developed and test-taught these remarkable lesson plans for several years before refining them into this superb collection. This series of 32 lessons provides source texts, practice exercises and assignments/grading checklists for all nine of the TWSS units. Touches on people and events in US history from the Civil War to the Present.

 

Most lessons begin with activities to teach a stylistic technique or writing structure. These vary from strong verbs to show emotions to topic sentences/clinchers to similes. An overview of the lesson is provided, as well as a step-by-step (EASY TO FOLLOW) lesson plan.

U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons, Volume 2 are just another excellent supplement to Teaching Writing: Structure & Style. Lori provides 2-6 lessons for each of TWSS (IEW’s Teaching Writing) units thus covering stories, reports, formal essays, critiques and creative writing. Checklists are provided for both the teacher & student.

The Student Resource packet is a gold mine of its own containing:

  • Structural Models
  • Banned Word Thesaurus
  • Grammar Dictionary
  • 72 vocabulary words on card stock complete with defining pictures and words

So you’re wondering what ages can use U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons?

Glad you asked because Lori has thought of everything. In her easy-to-follow lessons, she separates her instructions for elementary (4th-6th grade) to junior high to high school. To help teach different ages of students, different checklists & assignments are given.

Click here to learn more about US History-Based Writing Vol. 2
Get your copy today!

US History 1 Writing Lessons (Explorers – Gold Rush)

Curriculum Connection, History, Homeschooling, Writing No Comments

Lori Verstegan is amazing! She provides 34 writing lessons for moms & teachers who are studying or teaching United States history.

 

Most lessons begin with activities to teach a stylistic technique or writing structure. These vary from strong verbs to show emotions to topic sentences/clinchers to similes. An overview of the lesson is provided, as well as a step-by-step (EASY TO FOLLOW) lesson plan.

U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons, Volume 1 are just another excellent supplement to Teaching Writing: Structure & Style. Lori provides 2-6 lessons for each of TWSS (IEW’s Teaching Writing) units thus covering stories, reports, formal essays, critiques and creative writing. Checklists are provided for both the teacher & student.

So you’re wondering what ages can use U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons?

Glad you asked because Lori has thought of everything. In her easy-to-follow lessons, she separates her instructions for elementary (4th-6th grade) to junior high to high school. To help teach different ages of students, different checklists & assignments are given.

Click here to learn more about US History-Based Writing Lessons Vol. 1
Get your copy today!

Medieval History Based Writing Lessons

Curriculum Connection, History, Homeschooling, Writing 2 Comments

Lori Verstegan has done it again. She provides 27 writing lessons for moms & teachers who are studying or teaching medieval history. One of the coolest things about Lori’s writing lessons is it goes chronologically through the program. In other words, it begins with Augustine & Mohammed, runs thorugh Charlemagne, Knights, King Arthur and ends with the Magna Charta.

Most lessons begin with activities to teach a stylistic technique or writing structure. These vary from strong verbs to show emotions to topic sentences/clinchers to similes. An overview of the lesson is provided, as well as a step-by-step (EASY TO FOLLOW) lesson plan site.

Medieval History Writing Lessons are just another excellent supplement to Teaching Writing: Structure & Style. Lori provides 1-4 lessons for each of TWSS (IEW’s Teaching Writing) units thus covering stories, reports, formal essays, critiques and creative writing. Checklists are provided for both the teacher & student.

So you’re wondering what ages can use Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons?

Glad you asked because Lori has thought of everything. In her easy-to-follow lessons, she separates her instructions for elementary (4th-6th grade) from junior high. To help teach different ages of students, different checklists & assignments are given.

Click here to read more about Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons
Get your copy here!

Ancient History Writing Lessons

Curriculum Connection, History, Homeschooling, Writing No Comments

The lessons in this book are designed to teach structure and style in writing. As they move through Ancient World History themes, the lessons incrementally introduce and review most of the models of structure and elements of style found in the Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Teaching Writing: Structure & Style.  Watch this video to see more about Ancient History Based Writing Lessons.

Instructions are directed to the student, but teachers should read them with their students and help as necessary, especially with outlining and brainstorming.

It is assumed that teachers have attended IEW’s Basic Seminar, either live or via DVD, and own the seminar workbook.

With 24 lessons moving through all nine IEW units, this series uses source texts touching on Ziggurats, Gilgamesh, Pyramids, Mummies, The Trojan Horse, Olympics, Ancient Rome, Persecution of Christians, and more.

Quit Making It Hard by Planning 2 different subjects….
Integrate History & Writing NOW! It’s that EASY!

For students grade 3-6…

Click Here to read more about Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons.
Get your copy here!

Combining History and Writing…Is It Possible?

Curriculum Connection, History, Homeschooling, Writing No Comments

Do you waste your time and your kid’s time by not integrating your writing lessons with another subject?

Waste Time No More!

Make your life easier by combining your history and writing. We have a resources for you that combines the two for you.

What time period are you studying…

Check back daily to find the resource that best fits you and your student(s).

Excellence in Literature – What’s this?

College, Curriculum Connection, History, Homeschooling, Kerry Beck, Living Books & Classics, Reading, Worldview, Writing 1 Comment

At first glance, I wasn’t sure about Janice Campbell’s new book, Excellence in Literature.  But when I began reading the introduction and all the material available for high school students to use in literature studies, I was sold on the program.

Mrs. Campbell has done an excellent job of creating a college-prep course that high school students can use independently.  Let’s face it, by the time a student is in high school, teachers should not be spoon-feeding them.  Students should assume responsibility for leaning and use Excellence in Literature (EIL) as a guide for their study routine.  Not only is this my belief, this is Campbell’s belief as stated in the Overview.

Check out this video to learn more:

In this guide, you will find a wide variety of helps for high school literature.  Let me share just a few:

  • Specific instructions for each assignment
  • Suggested schedule to follow for each piece of literature
  • References for background & research of each work
  • Time management & organization tips
  • Specific tips on how to read a book (Fiction, Poetry, Tragedy, Comedy, Challenging Literature)
  • Variety of writing topics for each piece

Most of the work in this course is done by the student.  Parents & teachers come alongside to guide and evaluate the student’s writings and readings.  That saves moms & teachers a lot of time!

I wish there was a course like this when my children were in high school.  I would definitely had used it because it would make it very easy for me to “teach” literature in high school.

Since the parent/teacher is not actively teaching, the student is responsible for “learning” or discovering what each literature piece is all about.  To summarize, students will

  • Study the book, following the scheduled assignments
  • Ask their mentor when they don’t understand
  • Actively seek to learn from each assignment
  • Complete each assignment
  • Make no excuses! (I really like this one)
  • Enjoy Fine Literature (Of course, I love this!)

If you are following the Leadership Education/Thomas Jefferson Education model, Excellence in Literature is a perfect complement for the Scholar stage.  Janice provides just enough guidelines for students to get started, but leaves it open-ended enough to allow students to learn on their own.  One particular section I think is pertinent to Scholar phase students is the section on discerning worldviews in literature.  This helps your Scholar student understand what the worldview of that time period is so he can better study the piece of literature at hand.

If you are following a Classical model of education, you will find literature that is truly classic.  Your students will use their independent learning skills to enjoy and study great works of literature.  As they read these pieces, they should grown in their love of learning.

I believe Charlotte Mason would endorse this guide, too.  Ms. Mason wholeheartedly believed in literature based education.  EIL uses literature that are truly “living books”.  This literature provides opportunities to discuss lessons that pertain to our lives today.  Thus, making them living books you will want to read  & discuss with your children.

For each unit, Mrs. Campbell shares the edition of the text she recommends, as well as additional texts you may use for honor students.  The background information she provides includes the literary period, a unit focus, an introduction (short), something to think about, and something to be sure to notice.  Context resources cover the readings itself, the author’s life, and poetry/poets of that time period.  Enrichment resources include music, audio books, videos, visual arts, historical context, places to go, and just for fun.

Finally, your student has the assignment schedule for that unit.  The schedule is divided by weeks and includes reading & writing assignments.  As the parent or teacher, you should check the progress of your students each week and guide them through their writing projects.

As a bonus, you will receive some fantastic extras in the back of this book.

  • An Honors Program is outlined for those families who want to go over & above this college-prep course.
  • Formats & Models provides sample formats for the different writing projects assigned throughout the year. Not only will you have an outline or model of what your student should consider for each paper, you will receive samples (or models) of each type of writing.
  • Excellence in Literature Evaluation Rubric gives the mentor a specific checklist to use in evaluating the student’s writing. If you use IEW now, you can use the additional Evaluation Rubric for IEW students.
  • Student Evaluation Summary is a chart you can use throughout the year to record progress. It specifically records the mentor’s evaluation of writing projects.
  • The Glossary defines terms for the students as they study Literature.
  • Selected Resources are additional resources the mentor or student may want to use in their study of British literature.

Overall, Excellence in Literature is a superb guide for high school students to use with their mentor/parent/teacher.  It encourages responsibility of the student as he studies & enjoys literature.

If there is a weakness in this program, it would be the idea of not encouraging the mentor to read & discuss the literature pieces with their student.  This is easily overcome because Janice gives some great “things to consider” and ideas to think critically about in the writing assignments.  I would encourage mentors to use the ideas in each unit as a basis for verbal discussion.  If your students struggle with the writing assignment, be sure to verbally discuss the assignment so they can get ideas out of their head.

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Lessons from Booker T Washington

Entrepreneurs, History, Reading 2 Comments
 I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.
-Booker T Washington
 
If you haven’t read Booker T Washington’s autobiography, stop what you are doing and get yourself to the library.  Up From Slavery is one of my all-time favorite books and well-worth reading.  With spring break around the corner, you can finish it in a week.  You will learn so many lessons about industriousness, entrepreneurialsim, scholarship and making yourself indispensable.  Your kids can learn those same lessons!

Defiance

History, Homeschooling, Raising Leaders No Comments

On Sunday night, we took our teenagers to see the new movie, Defiance.  I wasn’t too excited about it, but Steve really wanted to see it.  Have you heard of it?

It’s a movie about a group of Jews in Russia who hide from the Germans in the forest.  Tuvia Bielski leads the group and must make many moral decisions to keep the group focused and safe.  I was gripped by the story quite soon, the interaction between the four brothers, the difficult decisions that must be made, the leadership exhibited.  Of course, the curiosity & concern of what happened to Tuvia’s group was always in the forefront of my mind.

Driving home after the movie, we all commented that we liked the movie.  Interesting to note is the fact that 1 day later my 18yo daughter, Gentry, was talking to Steve about how good this movie was.

Screenit.com has a complete review and you can see if the category ratings are in line with your own family’s standard.

What topics can you discuss?

Leadership – Why does a group follow a particular person?  What qualities does Tuvia have as a leader?

Moral dilemmas
– Do you agree with Tuvia’s decisions (name a particular situation in the movie)?  Why or why not?

Symbolism
– What Biblical and Jewish symbolism was in the movie?

Would I recommend this movie to you?

Yes, but….

There is much violence between the Jews, Russians & Germans.  Be prepared for that, but realize it shows the conflict that really existed at the time.  If you have young children, I would not recommend this for a family movie.

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