Monday, December 30, 2013

On Becoming Trim & Healthy

I started following the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan in August of this year. For the last several months I have hosted a monthly group in my home to share about the plan with friends who want to hear more about it. A few days ago, I uploaded a photograph comparison on Facebook and got a lot of questions about what I was doing. So, here it is in a nutshell.

Trim Healthy Mama (or THM) is a low-glycemic eating plan. It is a way of eating - a lifestyle, not a diet. Diets are unhealthy. Diet starve your body. Diets deprive you of wonderful foods.

The bare bones of the Trim Healthy Mama program are to
  • separate healthy fats from healthy carbs
  • eat at least every three hours to keep your body nourished
  • eat no sugar, no corn products, no white flour, and no white potatoes
Once you understand the concept of the program, you can tweak your family's favorite recipes to fit the plan. There are many recipes in the book that I enjoy, but in my weekly menu I use more of my regular recipes than I do THM recipes. This is especially true for my evening meals.

When I started THM, I began by changing my morning routines, sitting down to eat at a regular time and then "changing fuels" three hours later for a snack or lunch (depending on when I ate breakfast.) I ate a THM-approved lunch and afternoon snack. Then for dinner I made a normal dinner and made the best choices I could to stay on plan (avoiding sugar or potatoes if I had made them for the kids.) 

I changed very little about what I ate. I did change how and when I ate it. Oh and now I eat bread. And desserts. And lots of yummy things I have avoided over the last ten years while I battled my weight.

I've lost 42 pounds (and counting!) I've lost this weight without exercise. I know that exercise is important, but it is not vital to this weight loss program. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

TOS Review: Dive Into Your Imagination

Having lived on the coast when I was a child, I have always adored the ocean. Though my boys have never been to the beach for more than a day or two, they have developed a deep love for it as I have. We've called Farm Boy a "fish" since the first time he got in a pool. He is fascinated by all creatures but has always loved fish and especially ocean life. When we received our Dive Into Imagination DVD, he immediately fell in love with it and began planning a field trip with Family Divers. (He was devastated when he found out that we couldn't budget for that this year!)

What to Teach When
The Dive Into Your Imagination DVD series is geared toward younger elementary, grades K-4. The Study Guides come in Pre-K and Grades 1-3 age ranges.

What's It Gonna Cost Me?

DVDs start individually at $17.99
Guides (printed version) $299.00
PDFs $69.00

For the month of June, you can also get FREE shipping as a reader of a TOS blog!!!

The Guides are amazing. Yes, they seem costly as a homeschool family who has to budget, but let me tell you that they are WORTH IT!! The information put forth in these Guides are worth their weight in gold!!

Skills covered include:
"Art, Language Arts, Geography, Math, Music, Social Studies, Movement, Teamwork, Collaboration, Character Building Skills, Imagination Play."

lesson plan for each chapter, a materials list, activity stations such as

As followers of this blog and The Old Schoolhouse Crew Review, you can get the Guides FREE of charge by telling her you are a homeschool parent. Just put that in the "notes" sections when you order your products!! 

Other Products 
The entire line of Dive Into Your Imagination Products are available online on the website.

Check It Out


Final Word

On a personal note, this is my last review with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. For two years, we have had the privilege of reviewing numerous products. My time has been a blessing but as my children have gotten older and their homeschooling more intense, I felt a tug at my heart to step down. This completes my commitment to The Old School Magazine and though I will miss getting surprises in my mailbox, I know to is the right decision for my family in this moment. Many, many thanks to those who work tirelessly behind the scenes for homeschooling families across the world.

Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received Dive Into Diversity free of charge from Dive Into Your Imagination for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

Friday, May 11, 2012

TOS: Library and Educational Services

It has been a while since my kids begged daily to watch a school DVD. As soon as they saw we were reviewing Go Science from Library and Educational Services, they did just that. Begged me. Every. Single. Day.

In our homeschool, science DVDs are usually limited to inclement weather days and then it is usually something from a website. Since most science doesn't come from a Christian background, we end up in a lot of discussions about why the earth isn't billions of years old.

Now, I have a better choice. Library and Educational Services wholesale distributor of educational and inspirational materials. They sell only to qualified wholesale buyers such as homeschool families, missionaries, daycares, churches and church leaders, libraries and the like.

It was so hard to choose between just two of the DVDs offered. All of the themes are so interesting (especially to little boys!)
Vol. 1 - Motion
Vol. 2 - Simple Machines, Sound, and Weather
Vol. 3 - Magnetism, Electricity, Engineering, and Design
Vol. 4 - Chemistry, States of Matter, and Life Sciences
Vol. 5 - Air and Flight
Vol. 6 - Water, Space, and Solar System
The Go Science series was originally produced for a "religious television program." Throughout the series, science is presented from a creation standpoint, which is challenging to find in homeschool science curriculums.
What to Teach When
The Go Science DVD series is appropriate for ages 5-11.

What's It Gonna Cost Me?
Go Science 6-DVD Set

Individual Volumes

Other Products 

Library and Educational Services offers many products for the homeschool family including books, curriculum, CDs and DVDs and numerous other products you would generally find at a Christian bookstore.

Check It Out
A preview video from Go Science Volume 3 - Jacob's Ladder is available on the Library and Educational Services website.

Final Word
My boys are begging for the entire Go Science series. We are going to add it to our wish list for next year.

Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received Go Science Vol. 1 and Vol 2 free of charge from Library and Educational Services for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

TOS Review: Judah Bible Curriculum

We've all heard never judge a book by its cover. But if you are anything like me, you've done it time and time again. It never fails that when I receive an ebook with a simple cover that I do judge. And this time I judged harshly. Then as I began looking into the meat of the curriculum, I judged again. And then, the light came on. 

Judah Bible Curriculum uses the bible as the textbook. This to me is profound. Using the concepts presented in the program (teacher's book) students learn how to study. Then the students implement those concepts as they learn more and more on their own.

Throughout Judah Bible Curriculum, one phrase that is repeated often is the need to "turn on the light" in regards to learning. Though the title says "curriculum" it is more of program. The program is not really something you, as the teacher, teach. The program teaches the teacher how to teach and how to encourage her students to learn key bible truths on their own. 

I received a digital copy of the program as well as audio files. There is a learning curve associated with the program (read that as preparation needed!!) The audio files include eight hours of training material for the teacher. JBC isn't something you can open up and just start doing. But once you understand how the program works, and the students grasp the concept of how to learn on their own, the program is easy to implement. It is almost comparable to an immersion language curriculum where it is what you do naturally, 24-7.

The program is divided and then subdivided to allow the teacher to choose which aspects the homeschool will cover in a particular year. There is a specific recommendation for the first year the curriculum is used and then the following years allow more freedom to choose in the key themes. The first year is foundational and explains a lot about how the program is implemented through the Principle Approach. 
Principle Approach refers to a philosophy of education whose content and methods are designed to build character in teacher and student capable of sustaining liberty.
The bible is covered in each of the two semesters in a school year: the first semester covering the old testament and the new testament covered in the second semester.
There are five themes of the bible covered throughout the entire year, every year, deepening the knowledge of these themes and their "keys." There is also a weekly theme focus within the five themes.
One or more keys are covered per week (key individuals, key events, key institutions, key documents) depending on the weekly theme.

One challenge we faced with this program is that there is quite a bit of writing involved. This can be adapted to suit the needs of the student younger (which we will have to do even next year.) Students who struggle with fine motor skills and handwriting could even do the writing work on the computer or dictate to an older sibling/parent. And of course, notebooking is a great way to utilize the program for younger one. The teacher has to locate coloring sheets, crafts etc for the younger students but it is well worth having the themes laid out for you in the program.

What to Teach When
Judah Bible Curriculum spans the ages from K-12. If you have read my blog at all, you know that I love, love, love multi-age curriculums. Each year expands and deepens the growth and depth of learning of how to learn the Bible.

What's It Gonna Cost Me?
$69.00 (hardbound)
$44.00 (digital)
I paid $15 at my local big box copy center to have my PDF file printed with a decent slick cover and coil binding. 

It is important to note that while I feel this program itself is impressive, what you receive is rather unimpressive in the way it looks. Be prepared to delve into learning how to teach the program and plan ahead. (Do not open this the week before you want to start it. It will overwhelm you and may very well run away from it screaming! If you are willing to learn it though, it is a great bargain for the amount of information and years of use!)

Final Word
I cannot wait for bible class next year! 

I strongly suggest that if you are interested in Judah Bible Curriculum, that you purchase it now and take the summer to grasp the program itself. I only had a few weeks to understand and implement the program. JBC is a program that should not be jumped into lightly. And one that I think has the potential to change the lives of students and their teachers!

Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received Judah Bible Curriculum digital and audio files free of charge from Judah Bible Curriculum for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

Monday, April 16, 2012

TOS Review: God's Great Covenant

This is our third year homeschooling. Not counting the first year where I was figuring things out, I gravitated towards a mostly Classical education for my boys. Though it was an adventure trying to figure out the various curriculum choices for our homeschool, we have stayed mostly Classical except for Bible. I honestly didn't know a Classical Bible curriculum existed until now. 

The God's Great Covenant series by Classical Academic Press is a foundational Bible course for children. There are three volumes with the Old Testament begin divided into two volumes. There are 36 weekly lessons, or chapters, a full year curriculum. 

Each lesson is divided into three sections: Memory Work, Storytime and Worksheets. This allows saturation of the subject throughout the day and week. The Devotional Guide was also included for the entire lesson (chapter.) I would have expected a devotional guide to allow for daily reading or activity. 

What to Teach When
The God's Great Covenant series is designed for elementary students grades 4 and up. 

Each chapter uses maps, memory work, quizzes, and devotional guides to offer a complete curriculum for students. A teacher's edition is available which contains the entire student text and additional helps and answer keys.

What's It Gonna Cost Me?
God's Great Covenant New Testament $26.95
God's Great Covenant Old Testament 1 or 2 $22.95
MP3 files $9.95

Other Products
Classical Academic Press is a Classical curriculum company with emphasis on the study of languages and logic.
Song School Latin
Latin for Children 
Latin for Teachers
Spanish for Children
Greek for Children
Tin Bot French Language Reader

Headventure Land is a free online collection of skill building games to practice languages.

Check It Out
Samples are available in PDF format for each book.

Final Word
This is a great resource and curriculum for anyone wanting a specific plan to follow. However, because it is much more intensive than the previous Bible curriculums we have used (which were geared more towards a daily devotion time) sample guideline for a week suggesting when to do each part of the curriculum would have been most helpful. The curriculum is laid out beautifully and doesn't require a lot of teacher prep but because the curriculum is so thorough, a lot of materiel is covered in various ways.

I also prefer a loose-leaf notebook design rather than the large workbook-style soft cover format. Because the worksheets require a good bit of writing, the workbook is difficult to write in and frustrating for younger children. A loose-leaf format would have also allowed for easier continuity of the week's work rather than flipping back and forth between the Storytime, Memory Page and Worksheet pages.

Overall, I was very impressed with the curriculum. Because my children are younger than the suggested age, it was extremely challenging to utilize it to its full potential. I am looking forward to using it as a complete curriculum in a few years.

Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received God's Great Covenant New Testament free of charge from Classical Academic Press for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.
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