Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Review: For You They Signed by Marilyn Boyer

For You They Signed: The Spiritual Heritage of Those Who Shaped Our Nation by Marilyn Boyer

How many signers of the Declaration of Independence can you name?  I could only name a few.  I wasn't born and raised in America so I had a good excuse :).  I am now an American and I want to teach my children the Christian heritage of this nation.  It is important to let them know that our Founding Fathers feared God, not men.  It is important for them to understand that the signers of the Declaration of Independence relied on God's principles, provision, and power.  It is important to teach them to value and preserve their freedom.  Our youth in general today tend to look at athletes, musicians, and celebrities as their heroes.  I desire to show my kids that Jesus is our #1 Hero.  And then godly Christ's followers whose lives demonstrate righteousness, faithfulness, devotion to God, integrity, moral values, and Biblical virtues are the ones who deserve to be called heroes.  That's why I like to read biographies and autobiographies of great godly men to my children.  Besides Bible study, character-building is on the top of my "must-teach" list :).

For You They Signed combines history and character-building into one convenient resource.  The author presents biographical summaries of 56 brave men who signed the Declaration of Independence.  This book helps readers see the character and Christian faith of these men who risked so much in order that we could enjoy freedom.  Their firm faith, courage, and sacrifice are truly inspirational.  I love what William Ellery of Rhode Island said: "I was determined to see how they all looked as they signed what might be their death warrants. I placed myself beside the secretary, Charles Thompson, and eyed each closely as he affixed his name to the document. Undaunted resolution was displayed on every countenance." (page 57)  Undaunted resolution!  Undaunted = not discouraged or disheartened, fearless!  It was a matter of life and death; yet they were undaunted because (I believe) they placed their lives in God's hands as they sought freedom.

It's suggested that this book can be used as a family devotional, a complete resource for a single mom to teach her children Bible, character, & history, a self-study for students to work through on their own, a group study/a unit study, or an inspirational general reading for junior high age through adults.  I use it as our read-aloud book in our homeschool.  I have been reading it to my three children (9, 12, 17).  This thick hardcover book looked somewhat intimidating to my kids :).  They feel that lots of sentences (from many quotes) are long-winded (probably due to the style of writing back then :)).  However, lively discussions take place during and after reading about each signer.  Many interesting tidbits stand out.  My 17 yo daughter noted, "I like Matthew Thornton's work ethic since I can identify with him. Once he didn't change his clothes for ten days while working on starting the New Hampshire government. To me, this shows dedication. As a result, New Hampshire was the first of the 13 colonies to create their own government apart from Great Britain."  When you purchase this book, you will find a code in the book for a free download of a Family Activity Guide online.  The activity guide includes coloring pages, weekly character qualities with verses for memorization, and fun quizzes.  I ask my kids questions and reward them with chocolate for correct answers.  That helps motivate them to pay closer attention while I read :).  I am thinking about making "trading cards" of all the 56 signers by having their portrait on one side and the important facts about them on the other side and then laminating all the cards.  I think the "trading cards" will be a fun tool to help my kids remember what they have learned.

If you love history (which is really His story), you will enjoy this book.  If you like character-building material for your kids, you will appreciate this book.  If you want accurate, thoroughly-researched American history and a faith-exemplifying & character-building resource, you will treasure this book.  How thankful I am to have a valuable tool such as this book to help us pass on a godly heritage to our family!
"This is all the inheritance I can give my dear family. The religion of Christ can give them one which will make them rich indeed." ~Patrick Henry (By the way, Patrick Henry's speech delivered to signers, "Our Heritage of Freedom" is included as Appendix B in this book)


To read other reviews of this book and to vote for my review (if you like it), visit Christian Home School Hub.  Please also leave comments here because they now count as votes.  Thanks! 
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To follow Marilyn Boyer on Facebook, click here.

~I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group in an exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Online Geography Games and Quizzes

http://www.apples4theteacher.com/socialstud.html#worldgeography
http://www.yourchildlearns.com/geography.htm
http://www.funbrain.com/where/
http://www.eduplace.com/geonet/
http://www.triviaplaza.com/trivia.php?quiz=geography-world
http://geography.about.com/library/quiz/blpreviss.htm
http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/Geography.htm
http://www.syvum.com/squizzes/geography/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/4_11/geography.shtml
http://library.thinkquest.org/10157/
http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/subjects/geographygames.htm
http://www.quia.com/shared/geo/
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/geobee/
http://funschool.kaboose.com/arcade/history-geography/index.html?page=1
http://www.lizardpoint.com/fun/geoquiz/

Online Spelling/Vocabulary/Word Games

- http://www.vocabulary.co.il/ 
- http://www.netrover.com/~kingskid/writing/Kids_Writing.html
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http://www.spellingcity.com/
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http://www.storyit.com/wgames/wgames.htm
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http://www.manythings.org/cts/
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http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids-games-play-and-learn.htm
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http://www.kidsspell.com/
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http://www.agameaday.com/
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http://www.ozspeller.com/
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http://www.spinandspell.com/
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http://www.bigiqbee.com/
- http://games.aarp.org/categories/word.aspx
- http://word-games.pogo.com/?pageSection=free_home_category

Online Math Games

- http://www.learninggamesforkids.com/math_games.html
- http://nrich.maths.org/public/search.php?search=All%20Games
- http://www.prongo.com/math/ (addition, multiplication)
- http://www.aaamath.com/ (Kindergarten to eighth grade)
- http://www.mathgoodies.com/games/
- http://www.coolmath4kids.com/  (for ages 3-12)
- http://www.coolmath-games.com/
- http://www.mathcats.com/explore/mathcatsgames.html
- http://www.mathmastery.com/cyberchallenge/index.html (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division)
- http://www.mathmovesu.com/
- http://www.cut-the-knot.org/Curriculum/index.shtml#games
- http://www.ictgames.com/resources.html
- http://resources.kaboose.com/games/math1.html
- http://www.aplusmath.com/Games/index.html
- http://teacher.scholastic.com/mathhunt/index.asp
- http://www.theproblemsite.com/math_games.asp
- http://jmathpage.com/index.html
- http://mathematics.hellam.net/
- http://www.kidsnumbers.com/
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/numbers/wholenumbers/multiplication/timestables/game.shtml
- http://www.crickweb.co.uk/ks2numeracy.html
- http://hoodamath.com/games/index.php
- http://www.solvemymath.com/games/
- http://www.netrover.com/~kingskid/Math/math_kids.html
- http://www.mathplayground.com/games.html
- http://www.mathsisfun.com/games/index.html
- http://www.playkidsgames.com/mathGames.htm 
- http://www.quiz-tree.com/Math_Games_smain.html
- http://www.littlewoodscasino.com/education-resources/multiplication-and-math.htm (multiplication)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Live Orchestra

We took the kids to the free preview concert by the Portland Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.  I really enjoyed it.  Jun Iwasaki, the violin soloist, was fantastic.  David Hattner, the conductor and music director, did a great job.  We listened to Variations on America by Charles Ives (orchestrated by William Schuman) and Serenade after Plato's "Symposium" by Leonard Bernstein.  We left during intermission.

We learned that Portland Youth Philharmonic Orchestra was America's first youth orchestra.  It was founded in 1924 by Mary V. Dodge, a schoolteacher in Burns, Oregon.

Links to explore:
http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/musicApprHSU.html
http://www.squidoo.com/musiclapbook
http://www.squidoo.com/orchestraunit
http://homeschooling.about.com/od/musicorchestra/Orchestra_Resources.htm
http://webspace.webring.com/people/bt/thephunnyfarm/alice.html
http://www.homeschoolhelperonline.com/lapbooks/orchestra.htm
http://www.homeschoolshare.com/bach_big_adventure.php

Monday, November 1, 2010

Children of Light Christian Academy

Welcome, everybody, to our family's blog.  You can read about us on the left sidebar. 

Our homeschool's name is "Children of Light Christian Academy".  "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord."  (Ephesians 5:8-10)  Our homeschool's motto is "Let's shine brightly for Jesus!"

We homeschool our three precious blessings: 17 year old daughter, 12 year old son, and 9 year old son.  We have been homeschooling since 1999.  We mix and match our resources to meet our kids’ individual learning styles and interests.  Grade level is not emphasized.  Their skills and abilities are taken into consideration more than their ages.  We have flexible structure/routine.  We take time to dig deeper when there’s an interest.  We read (a lot), research, create, experiment, write, memorize, analyze, apply, explore, investigate, practice, work, sing, and play all sorts of sports & games.  Hopefully, we also learn and retain some knowledge, wisdom, & valuable/useful skills along the way :).  More importantly, our children are taught that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" and that "the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding."

I will be transferring lots of old posts from my previous blog at HSB.  I also have two other blogs: Living for God and My Father's World.