The crazy life of the ClarkClan. Living a life of grace through Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day 30 Gratitude Challenge

Today is Day 30 of the Gratitude Challenge. The last day. Wow am I surprised that I was able to keep up. So today my thankfulness is for this Challenge.  I started my blog this Spring when I applied to be on The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew. I have found that it has been fun to blog, but I don’t always know what to say, as well as not sure if people really want to read my ramblings. But with this Gratitude Challenge, I had to write everyday. I never wanted to skip a day (then I would have felt like I failed the challenge). And I did post something everyday. Some posts were long, some not so long. Early in the month I would do the post the night before, then get up early and link up. This past week though I have been lucky to get done at a decent hour.

I have also been very grateful for all the people who leave comments on my blog. I truly enjoy and get excited each time I get a comment. Reading other blogs has also been a blessing. It has been fun to read all the different things people have been thankful for.

Now for next month Brenda is hosting a Holiday Bliss meme. I hope to join in often, but maybe not everyday. I am looking forward to reading what other families do around the holidays, and share some of our traditions and fun.

Thank you to Brenda from  Garden of Learning for hosting this Gratitude Challenge. Without you, I would not have learned how to write on my blog everyday and would not have “met” so many great people.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 29 Gratitude Challenge

Today I am grateful for the Boy Scouts of America. We have 3 kids that are active in some type of BSA Scouting program.

When we started homeschooling Matthew (17), over 9 years ago, I had taken him out of public school right before his 3rd grade year. I decided that he would miss some boy companionship and we had friends whose son was in Scouting so we started Matthew. He was a Bear when he began.

Matthew has had great experiences in Scouting. He has had wonderful leaders who have helped him become the young man he is. I remember the many campouts, bike trips, hiking trips, caving trips, summer camps. Scouting has helped Matthew be able to do way more than we would have been able to give him. In 2008, he received his Eagle Scout award. We were very proud of him for pushing through and finishing his project. It was quite an accomplishment. Matthew is still involved in Scouting. He is a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster and has been looking into Venturing so he can continue past his 18th birthday.



Our son Benjamin (9) is also in Scouts. He is a Bear this year. Because of our great experiences with Matthew, and also of knowing a lot more about Scouting by then, Ben started as a Tiger Cub. He was so excited to finally be a Scout himself, instead of just going to meetings with his big brother.  Ben is still excited by Scouts 3 years later and can’t wait until Tues. when he can go to his meetings.

Sarah (13) is also a Scout. BSA has a program for teenagers called Venturing, which is open to boys and girls. Sarah has joined this and LOVES it. I like to joke that “Sarah is now an official Boy Scout”.  This past month her Venturing Crew have been working on a sled that they will use in January during their Klondike campout.

And finally, my husband and I are both involved. My husband began to help when Matthew was about 12. He started as an Assistant Scoutmaster. He has held many positions since then. He has sat on Eagle Boards, he has been Charter Organization rep and now he sits on the District committee. And, myself, I am a Den Leader for Ben’s Bear Den. I say I have been dragged kicking and screaming, but I have had a great time with the 6 boys in my den. It has been a lot of fun to work on their achievements with them. The best part of all, my husband does all my record keeping, making life very simple for me.


Thank you Lord, for the Scouting program that has benefited our family.

Don’t forget to go to Brenda’s Garden of Learning blog and read the other Gratitude posts. Only one day left in this challenge.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day 28 Gratitude Challenge

I had planned to post my Gratitude Challenge early this afternoon. But my plans changed, and so did my thankfulness. I was going to talk about Advent, and how exciting this season is. But then after church, my two youngest cooked up plans to play with friends. So my Gratitude today goes to Brandy, who watched my kids all afternoon. This was so exciting to me, because I was able to sew all afternoon and finish a present for my youngest, Rebekah. It was nice to be able to sew, without interruption. I also am very happy that I was able to sew in the afternoon instead of during the evenings like I had originally planned (much better on my eyes).

Don’t forget to go to Brenda’s Garden of Learning and read the Gratitude posts of others. Only 2 more days to go in this wonderful challenge.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 27 Gratitude Challenge

Today I am thankful for something a little frivolous.  I am thankful that our dog, Loki, likes to walk on the treadmill. Here in Idaho it is cold and snowy and nobody particularly wants to go out and walk the dog. So we have been walking him on my treadmill. 


We actually taught him to walk on the treadmill a couple years ago when we lived in Montana. Loki absolutely loves to walk on the treadmill. I used to walk with him, but the deck is fairly narrow and I end up walking a little funny, so now he has his time to walk and I have mine. What I find hilarious is any time I get on the treadmill, Loki is right there wanting to get on as well, even if he has already had a turn. 


Thank you Lord for my treadmill so that I can exercise and so can my dog!

Check out what others are thankful for today. Go to Brenda’s Garden of Learning and read about the abundance and blessing God has given.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day 26 Gratitude Challenge

This is day 26 of the Gratitude Challenge hosted by Brenda over at Garden of Learning. Four more days left in the challenge. Don’t forget to pop on over and read what others are thankful for both today and for the past month.

Today I am thankful for ordinary, everyday activities. Ben and Rebekah running around in “hot pursuit” with Nerf Dart  guns. Matthew starting some laundry so he has a clean shirt to wear to work this afternoon. Sarah is doing what she loves and just lying in bed reading a book.  My husband sitting beside me eating turkey leftover’s for breakfast (as well as feeding me bites). Just ordinary, everyday activities, but special in the fact that God has granted us this time together.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day 25 Gratitude Challenge


For today’s Gratitude Challenge I thought that I would write out the First Article of the Apostle’s Creed and its meaning from Luther’s Small Catechism. We recited this in church this morning and I decided it says everything I would want to say.

The First Article

Creation: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

What does this mean?I   believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them.

He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.

He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.

This is most certainly true.

Go to Brenda’s  Garden of Learning to learn what others are thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 24 Gratitude Challenge

Today I am grateful for getting my house clean for Thanksgiving.  The kids all helped and we were able to pick up and dust every room. I am thankful that they kept up their happy, holiday mood through the whole process as well.  As usual they made a game out of cleaning their room. I give them my camera, which has a video feature on it and they  video taped themselves doing the show “The Messiest Room Ever”. Rebekah is always the “host”, Ben plays the sound effects on the keyboard, and Sarah runs the video camera. Then they proceed to video tape what the room looks like and how they clean it up.  It may take a little bit of time to clean in this manner, but they stay happy and focused on the task. A bonus for me is: they bring me the camera to watch the video so I can check their work without stopping mine and walking upstairs.

Thank you Lord for kids that make a game out of cleaning.

Head on over to Garden of Learning and read what other’s are thankful for today. And thank you to Brenda for hosting this Gratitude Challenge.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 23 Gratitude Challenge

Day 23, one week left in this Gratitude Challenge.  Some days have been easy to find something to be thankful for and others I have had to think and pray and work to find something.  It is easy for me when life is going well to be thankful for everything. But when I let worry overtake me I have a harder time. This challenge has been great for me to really think about all the blessings that God has given to me. I tend to put blessings as large and small  in my mind. Yet, blessings should all be considered large. That God would look down upon me, a sinner, yet love me enough to send His one and only Son to live and die for my sins, then I should be thankful for everything He has graciously provided.

While there are many Bible passages that I ponder, memorize, turn to in trouble, there is one that comes to the front of my mind often. Philippians 4:4-7 says “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (emphasis mine) So during this week of Thanksgiving, I give thanks that God loves me, forgives me, and tells me to come to Him with all my requests large and small and He will send peace.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 22 Gratitude Challenge

Today I am thankful for the snow that we had yesterday.  While I don’t particularly like driving in the snow, I love the beauty of it.  I also like that my kids like to play in it. Ben and Rebekah took time yesterday to build this little snowman, which they named “Teeny Frosty the Snowman”


Thank you Lord for the beauty and fun of snow.

Now head on over to Brenda’s Garden of Learning and read what others are thankful for today.

Bright Ideas Press–Composer Study


     Which Composers belong to the Baroque period? What about the Romantic Period? What does a Madrigal sound like? Did you know Vivaldi was a better known violinist than a composer in his day? All of these questions and much more can be learned using Bright Ideas Press A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers study.

     A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers is a full year’s curriculum. It is broken down into 32 weekly lessons. It covers Western music from the Renaissance,  Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary periods.It also includes a brief introduction of music from Creation to the Middle Ages. This study is available as either a book or CD Rom. It is geared for grades 4-8.



    I was very impressed with this study. It is extremely thorough and well-thought out.  The beginning two lessons do not cover composers, but instead start with music from Creation to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period. My kids were especially fascinated with the very first lesson. As Lutherans, we use a modified form of Mass (we call it the Divine Service) during our worship services. The first lesson covered how the Mass came to be along with a discussion of chant. It was a great to be able to review the parts of our service and talk about the different Latin names for each element.

     The first two lessons, and thereafter the overview of each Musical period have note-taking pages. I really liked this aspect of the study. As I was reading, my kids were filling out their pages. This also leaves us with notes that we can pull out to remember different terms during later lessons. I used this program with a 7, 9, and 13 year old. They were each able to fill out the note-taking pages, with me helping the youngest one the most.


     With the Baroque period, you begin to study different Composer’s starting with Antonio Vivaldi. Each composer lesson has many elements to make learning fun and meaningful. There were coloring pages, a wonderful timeline, maps and a Composer Card.  The coloring pages enhanced Rebekah’s (7) learning and she could color them while listening to me read about the Composer. For the Composer Card, I decided that all three kids could help fill out one card, instead of three cards about the same person. I read the information out loud, then we filled out the Card with the facts that the kids remembered. When we fill out enough Composer Cards, there is a game that  can  be played to  help remember each Composer.


     Listening to music is also an important element to this study. The music is not included in the study, but good resources for finding the appropriate selections are included. Most music can be found on the internet, links are provided, if needed. I found that a quick search of which piece we were looking for yielded many options for listening. I also owned a few Classical CD’s with pieces from each time period. The study recommends that you listen to each selection more than once to really get the flavor and feel for it. My kids were surprised to realize that they recognized more than than they thought they would because most of these Classical pieces have been used in TV commercials and movie soundtracks.

     I would highly recommend   A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers. I have tried to study different Classical Composers in the past and never amounted to much. This study has pulled everything I would want to study and more together in a way that is fun and very easy to use.


     A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers is available from Bright Ideas Press. The cost is $29.95 for the CD-Rom book or $34.95 for  the 298 page Paperback book.

     Bright Ideas Press also has many other homeschooling programs. They have a variety of History, Geography, and Science resources.

     I am not the only one who reviewed products from Bright Ideas Press. Go to the The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew Blog and read what others thought of their products.

As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of TOS Homeschool Crew I received  the A Young Scholars Guide to Composers CD-Rom for free from Bright Ideas Press in exchange for my honest review of their product.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 21 Gratitude Challenge

Today I am grateful for a nice, hot bowl of soup. It snowed today and is pretty chilly (not as cold as Montana, but colder by far than Texas). So for dinner tonight I made one of our favorite quick, easy, and very yummy soups: Unstuffed Pepper Soup.  I also thought it would be a good dinner for my husband before he left for work. He has been working 12 hour, night shifts, which means we haven’t seen him much during the last 4 days.  But these are just about over and then he will have a good Thanksgiving break.  Anyway, back to the soup. I am so grateful that my kids all like soup, any soup and for cold days that make everyone grateful for something warm in their stomachs.

Thank you Lord for soup to help warm up a cold day.



Thank you to Brenda at Garden of Learning for hosting this Gratitude Challenge. Don’t forget to check out her blog and all the stories of gratitude that you will find there.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day 20 Gratitude Challenge

Today I am thankful that my son works at Albertson’s grocery store.  He has been working there since the beginning of August. Today, it came in handy for grocery shopping for our family.

I usually shop on the base at the Commissary.  But earlier this week , I had a phone call from my son’s supervisor.  She just wanted to let me know that Employee appreciation days were going to be Friday and Saturday and that he would get an extra 10% off on top of his discount.  So that meant 25% off of the brands that he gets a discount on.  I decided to shop at Albertson’s this week for our groceries and holiday food.  I think I made a good choice. When I got to the register and they rang everything up, the total was over $130, then the discounts started coming off, by the time I was done I had spent $98, and that included a turkey! Matthew’s supervisor checked me out and I told her thanks for the call because Matthew had not told me about being able to get the extra discount.  She said “No problem, we figure the minor kids don’t do the shopping so they usually don’t let their parents know”.

So I am thankful that my son works at Albertson’s, that they like him as a worker (handy to have the supervisor check you out) and that Albertson’s is generous in letting members of the employee’s household use the discount.

What are you thankful for today? Head on over to Brenda’s Garden of Learning and read all the stories of gratitude as we head into Thanksgiving week.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day 19 Gratitude Challenge

Today I am thankful for municipal services. Specifically, trash and recycling.  I am extremely thankful that all we have to do is put our trash and recycling bins on the curb in the morning. Then by the afternoon we just have to pull the empty ones back to refill them for the next week.  One thing about Idaho that I love is their recycling program.  In Montana, we could have the recycling picked up, but it had to be sorted in a specific manner and if it was not they would leave it.  Here in Idaho, it is as simple as: throw it in the bin. I rinse all the cans and jars out and break down boxes, but NO SORTING has to be done. This makes it much easier to recycle. ( And yes, we had a lot of recycling this week, because we forgot to get it out on time last week!)


Thank you Lord for city services to make our lives easier!

What are you thankful for today! Head on over to Brenda’s Garden of Learning and see what other’s are thankful for and to link up with your own story.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day 18 Gratitude Challenge

Today I am thankful that I was able to talk to my sister, Lisa.  She lives in Guam and sometimes we can catch each other at least once a week and sometimes it is longer.  I am also thankful that I get to go to New Mexico for Christmas and see her and her family. It has been a couple years since we have seen each other in person, so I am very be with not only my parents, grandmother, but also my sister. My kids are super excited to see their cousins again.


Thank you Lord, for the gift of a sister!

Go over to Brenda’s Garden of Learning and read what others are thankful for today. Then be sure to add your own stories of thankfulness as we begin to prepare for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 17 Gratitude Challenge

Today I am grateful for hot water. Yesterday we had the pilot light on our water heater blow out.  Of course it went out about 7:30 in the morning, just after I had finished my time on the treadmill and was going to go take a shower.  Having never lit a pilot light before, I was leery to try. So we waited till my husband came home from work. A day with no hot water really makes you appreciate a water heater. And, I now know, along with Matthew, just how to light the pilot light, just in case it happens again.

Now, hop on over to Brenda’s Garden of Learning and read what others are grateful for today. It is an eye opening and sometimes heart rending experience.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 16 Gratitude Challenge

WOW! Day 16 of the Gratitude Challenge. It is hard to believe that November is half over and next week is Thanksgiving. Make sure you go over to Brenda’s Garden of Learning and read all the different Gratitude posts.

Today is Tuesday, my Bible study day. So today, I am very thankful for my Bible study.  We have about 8-10 ladies that meet each Tuesday afternoon.  This Bible study group is the most in-depth study I have ever attended.  In the Lutheran church we have three Bible lesson readings each Sunday, an Old Testament lesson, an Epistle, and a Gospel lesson.  Then for Bible study on Tuesday we study, in depth, each of these lessons.  It sure makes me pay attention on Sunday, both to the readings and to Pastor who preaches his sermon on one of the lessons, knowing I will be answering questions on these same lessons.  I also appreciate all the wisdom from all the different ladies who attend.

Thank you Lord, for a wonderful Bible Study to attend.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 15 Gratitude Challenge

     For day 15 of the Gratitude Challenge hosted by Garden of Learning I am grateful for my daughter Rebekah.
     Rebekah is 7 years old and a bundle of energy.  I am thankful that she always keeps us on our toes.   I am thankful that she can be a clown and keep us laughing all day long.  I am thankful  that she loves any kids younger than she is and wants to help them. I am thankful that she loves to cook. I am thankful that she needs a little more one on one time for her schoolwork. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of a beautiful, fun, crazy daughter.
SLFunny FBS 041
     Check out the blog Garden of Learning to read what others are thankful for today and to link your  blog up with your thankful thoughts.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 14 Gratitude Challenge

This is day 14 of the Gratitude Challenge hosted by Brenda over at Garden of Learning. Take some time to visit her blog and read all the stories of Gratitude that people are sharing.

Today I am thankful for kids that like to play games.  This afternoon we have played UNO Spin and Phase 10.  I love all the laughter that goes along with the games.  After each hand they  “rehash” their cards and talk about how “if I had just drawn ____ card, I could have won.” Even now, after I have finished playing with them, Sarah, Ben and Rebekah have moved to the floor and are listening to music and playing UNO Spin again. 

Thank you Lord for kids that like to play games and have fun with each other.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 13 Gratitude Challenge

Today I am very late in writing my Gratitude Challenge.  I am thankful today for a day with nothing scheduled for either myself or my husband. We were able to spend the day together, doing everything and nothing.  We went to a craft fair here in town, then a visit to a friend who had surgery earlier in the week. Then home to bake a little for the bake sale at church tomorrow (well, I baked, Matt worked on his computer). For a final touch we went to an afternoon movie in the big city at the cheap little theater. I love that theater, movies that have been out a while and they only charge $4.00 for entrance and two snack items. To top our night out off,  we went to dinner before driving home. Such a treat to have a day with nothing scheduled.

Thank you Lord, for a quiet day.

Don’t forget to go to Garden of Learning and read all the other stories of Gratitude that have been shared.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 12 Gratitude Challenge

Today is Day 12 of the Gratitude Challenge hosted by Brenda at Garden of Learning. Don’t forget to go to her blog after reading mine and see all the other fantastic gratitude posts.

Today I am thankful for my Grandma.  She has been on my mind quite a bit this week after I heard she fell and broke her upper arm/shoulder.  I don’t live close (about 2 days away) and there are so many times I wish we lived in the same town again. 

Great Grandma

My Grandmother is a wonderful, Christian woman.  I have learned a lot from her. I have learned people are more important than things. She taught me this lesson by always letting my kids use her “good” china when they see her.  She never worried that they were going to break things, she just wanted to have a good time with them.  I have learned to live out your faith through your actions. She and my Grandfather, (who died in 2008) traveled for many years as part of a group called Laborers for Christ. They would travel in their RV and be the “laborers” for churches that were in the midst of building projects. The most important thing I have learned from my Grandma is what true love means. She and my Grandfather were married for 61 years when he died. The love they had for each other was always evident. True love was taught through the wonderful care she took of my Grandpa, even through the tough times of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's.  She would be the first person to say that she is not perfect, but I think she is wonderful.

Thank you Lord for the gift of my Grandma!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 11 Gratitude Challenge

     Today I have two things for which to be thankful. The first is today being Veterans Day I am thankful for all the veterans that have gone before.  The United States would not be the same without all the men and women who served our country.  I am proud of my husband who is in his 22nd year of the Air Force, my brother-in-law Joe, who is also in the Air Force and my dad who served 20 years in the Air Force.

     The second thing I am thankful for today is my niece.  November 11th is her birthday. She lives in Guam so we don’t see them very often, except through pictures. Happy 6th Birthday!


Thank you Lord both for brave men and women who served and are serving our country and for my niece on her birthday!

Visit the blog Garden of Learning to read what other people are thankful for and to link up with your own story of thankfulness.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 10 Gratitude Challenge

     For Day 10 of the Gratitude Challenge I am thankful for my son, Benjamin.

     Benjamin is 9 years old and I am very thankful for him.  He is a very, very happy, sweet, lovable boy.  I am thankful for the hugs and kisses he likes to share. I am thankful for his beautiful smile, that we see often.  I am thankful for his happy attitude toward just about everything.   I am thankful he thinks that just about anything is fun and exciting.  I am thankful for his willingness to help others. I am thankful for his love of Adventures in Odyssey. Most of all I am thankful for his love of life.  Thank you, Lord, for the gift of a wonderful son.


Check out the blog Garden of Learning to read what others are grateful for and to link you blog up to this Gratitude Challenge.

The Write Foundation


The Write Foundation
Basic    Structured   Creative   Formal

The Write Foundation was started by Rebecca Celsor after 8 years of teaching writing to home school students in a Co-Op setting as well as her own children.  There are 3 levels to the program: Sentence to Paragraph, Paragraph and Essay. I will be reviewing Level 2: Paragraph Writing. This level is recommended for students between 12 and 15 years old.

Program Overview:

   This program is called a “grab and go” curriculum. This means that with the teachers manual and the worksheets, very little preparation is needed by the teacher. As with all programs, more time is needed for the first few lessons than for the later ones.

     When you order this writing program it has 3 parts that it comes with. The first is a spiral bound teacher book. Next are the student worksheets. Finally there is a CD with additional resources. You supply the student binder for making a tabbed notebook and the highlighters needed as well for the program. Also supplied by the parent is a Mind Bender ® book published by The Critical Thinking Co., if desired.


     Paragraph writing from The Write Foundation teaches writing in a structured format.  There are specific instructions as to how to outline and highlight the outline for clarity. These processes are very important to the program and the teacher is instructed to not skip any part as the repetition is a learning tool.  Poetry is also taught throughout the program.


From Sarah:


  • Logic puzzles
  • Poetry
  • Checklists
  • Highlighters
  • Tabbed notebook to stay organized
  • Assignment page with daily instructions

From Mom:

     There were some features of this program that I really liked. I liked that organization was a priority, both in the writing and in keeping all the pages together.  The Paragraph Writing Checklist and the No List. made grading the paragraphs easier. Sentence structure was taught in an easy, natural way. We learned about adjectives and adverbs, descriptive verbs, and so on, then Sarah was required to use these skills in the homework paragraphs.Only one concept was introduced in a lesson, so nothing was overwhelming.

  In the instructions I (as the teacher) was told that the student (Sarah) should type all work, give a word count, circle or underline various parts of speech and highlight each paragraph as discussed. Having these specific instructions to tell Sarah was good in that it was not just me coming up arbitrarily with new requirements.

     Each lesson was presented in a very orderly fashion.   The student worksheet pages were easy to fill out.  The format is provided you just fill in the blanks and highlight.

      I was a bit leery of teaching the poetry portion, but was pleasantly surprised.  The poetry generally goes along with a sentence structure theme from the lesson and is fun and not at all intimidating.  I noticed that Sarah put great effort into each poem she was assigned.  I think her absolute favorite were the Alliteration tongue twisters. (Henrietta the heroine hamster ate hot ham in her house hence her humongous head.)


     The main dislike I had with the program was: the instructions were not always clear to me.  By this I mean, I did not always understand from the teacher instructions exactly when I was supposed to help fill out a worksheet and when Sarah was to fill it out on her own. Some lessons proceeded along just fine and others I became confused. The instructions are written as if this were a co-op class.  This took some getting used to for me and I had to do some tweaking as I only have one student. The first lesson took us over 2 hours, but the next lesson went a little better.  I found that some lessons we could do in one sitting of about an hour, but others I had to break up over 2 days.


   In writing this review, I kept asking myself, “Would I recommend this program?”. The answer is YES, with a disclaimer.  The disclaimer is: expect to be a little confused with the teacher instructions at times, so keep this in mind if you tend to get frustrated easily. That being said, Sarah has written better paragraphs in the 7 weeks that we have been following the program. She has also absolutely loved the poetry. She is so excited about the poetry, she usually shows it to me or her dad well before it is due. We will be continuing the rest of the 15 lessons and will probably order the next 15.


Cost and Ordering information:

All  levels of this curriculum are available from The Write Foundation.

Paragraph Writing Curriculum  is available in 3 different packages:

Curriculum Package 1: Paragraph Complete Lessons 1-30  $100 + tax/shipping.

Spiral Instruction Manual Lessons 1 – 15 & Lessons 16 – 30

Student Worksheets Full Set Lessons 1 – 30

Paragraph Additional Resources CD

Curriculum Package 2: Paragraph Lessons 1-15   $65 +  tax/shipping.

Spiral Instruction Manual Lessons 1 – 15

Student Worksheets Lessons 1 – 15

Paragraph Additional Resources CD

Curriculum Package 3: Paragraph Lessons 16-30 $65 + tax/shipping.

Spiral Instruction Manual Lessons 16 – 30

Student Worksheets Lessons 16 – 30

Paragraph Additional Resources CD

I reviewed Level 2: Paragraph Writing Curriculum. Also available is Level 1: Sentence to Paragraph Writing and Level 3: Essay Writing

Read reviews on all the different levels of The Write Foundation by visiting the TOS Crew Blog.


As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of TOS Homeschool Crew I received  the The Write Foundation: Paragraph Writing Curriculum Lessons 1-15  for free in exchange for my honest review of their product.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 9 Gratitude Challenge

Today is Day 9 of the Gratitude Challenge hosted by the Blog Garden of Learning.  Each day I have been challenged to remember to be thankful for all things, large and small, good and bad. Don’t forget to visit and share your own story of gratitude.

What I am thankful for today is slightly different. Today, I am thankful for the problems I had yesterday. 

My day started out by my husband telling me he caught another mouse after I went to bed the night before.  I am upset that we are having a problem with  mice, so this was not welcome news. 

Also, the house we are renting needed both bathroom showers redone because of leaking. We had a handyman come last week and fix the kids bathroom. He was supposed to come back today to work on my bathroom and never showed up. This upset me as well,because I want to get the mess over and done with.

The final straw came when I went to my Dr. appt.  A little background on me, I have a slight quirk in that I am leery of going to the Dr. I have asthma and the last base we were at, the Dr. I was seeing made me question whether I was really having problems and since then I have not wanted to go back.  Well, I am having so many problems that I screwed up my courage and made the appointment.  When I arrived the requisite 15 minutes early ( military hospital requirement) I was told that I was late and couldn’t be seen.  Apparently the appointment clerk told me one time, and booked the appointment for an earlier time. Well, after losing my cool a little toward the nurse insisting that I was “late” and that they couldn’t fit me in, they found another appointment with another Dr. He was very, nice, but mentioned how anxious I was and did I want medicine to take care of it along with the asthma medicine.

All of this long background story to say that I am thankful for the problems. In my problems I am once again reminded to fall on my knees and cry out to God. I know that He cares for me. I know that Jesus died on the cross to forgive me for all my sins. My problems remind me “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV).

So, today is a new day and I am a new creation in Christ. As Martin Luther taught in his Small Catechism, “the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.”

Thank you Lord for problems that make me learn to lean more fully upon You.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Surprise! I’ve been nominated

     This morning I had a big surprise.  My friend Vickie texted me and told me that I had been nominated for a blog award. The Homeschool Post hosts Homeschool Blog Awards and between today and November 18th voting is taking place.hsbawards10-nominee125

      I have been nominated in the Best New Homeschooling Blog category. Good category for me because my blog is very new. In fact, the only thing about blogging that I knew about before I started was from the movie “Julie and Julia”.  Then I started a blog so that I could be a member of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Homeschool Crew. So my blog mainly reviews homeschool products, but every now and then I get brave enough to venture out and write other things.  My latest venture has been the Gratitude Challenge. This has been very fun as it is getting me in the habit of writing on my blog everyday. 

     THANK YOU to the mysterious person who nominated me.  I really appreciate it and feel honored to be a nominee.  Anybody can go to The Homeschool Post and vote for their favorite blog in each of the many categories.  If I read their rules right, you can vote once  per category, plus everyone in your family can vote once for a total of five votes per household.

     So go check out The Homeschool Post and make sure you vote for your favorite blogs. And if you happen to vote for my blog, Thank you very much!

Day 8 Gratitude Challenge

     For day 8 of the Gratitude Challenge hosted by Garden of Learning I am thankful for my daughter Sarah.

    Sarah is 13 and has become a beautiful young lady.  I think she is beautiful both inside and out.  Sarah takes great care of her younger brother and sister.  She plays games with them, plays outside with them and just generally helps them out.  Reading is a passion of Sarah. Library day is very important to her and she usually checks out 5-8 books a week.  Another of Sarah’s passions is our dog, Loki.  She takes very good care of him and has taught him some fun tricks.  One of the tricks is to play “Hide the treat”. Sarah makes Loki sit and stay in the kitchen then hides a treat around the house. Loki then sniffs and sniffs until the treat is found. This is great fun to watch. Some of my most favorite times are when Sarah and I are working on projects together. During these times we talk, laugh and have a good time. I love her enthusiasm for helping others. She quickly picks up on when someone needs help, and then tries her best to solve the problem.  All of these characteristics make up one wonderful daughter!

Thank you Lord for the gift of a wonderful daughter!


Check out Garden of Learning to read what others are thankful for and to link up with your own thankful thoughts.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 7 Gratitude Challenge

Thanks to Brenda at Garden of Learning for hosting this Gratitude Challenge.  It has been a great exercise for me to stop and reflect on the many blessings that God has bestowed upon me and my family.

Today I am thankful for a Pastor who faithfully proclaims the Gospel.  In the reading, the preaching, and the proclamation of God’s Word, I am refreshed. I am very thankful that I have a Pastor who does not water down the Gospel, but boldly proclaims the forgiveness that is ours through the grace of Jesus Christ.  I feel our Pastor truly fulfills Paul’s words in the book of Titus.

Titus 1:9 says “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”

Thank you Lord, for the gift of a Pastor true to You.

Visit Garden of Learning to read and respond to the thankfulness of others.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day 6 Gratitude Challenge

Today is day 6 of the Gratitude Challenge sponsored by Brenda of Garden of Learning.  It has been really great to think about what I am thankful for, both large and small.

For today, I am grateful for: toy catalogs. Yep, you read that right, toy catalogs.  My first three kids learned to read and haven’t put a book down since. But, my youngest Rebekah, is a “reluctant” reader. I say that because she can read, and read very well, yet she does not like to read.  So about a week ago we started getting toy catalogs in the mail. (I am thinking it has something to do with Christmas coming soon.)  Well, Rebekah has had a toy catalog in her hands constantly. She is beginning to drive people crazy reading all the descriptions of every toy. She also keeps a paper beside her to add up the cost of everything she wants.  We have even found her at night, lying on the floor in front of her door using the hall light to read the catalogs some more.

Thank you Lord for toy catalogs that have inspired my reluctant reader.

Rebekah reading a toy catalog 012

Don’t forget to visit Garden of Learning to read what others are grateful for. There are some amazing stories. Then link your blog up to share your story of gratitude.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 5 Gratitude Challenge

For day 5 of the Gratitude Challenge I am thankful for beautiful Fall weather.  Here in Idaho we have had beautiful Fall weather.  It is between 60-70 degrees during the day and high 30’s at night.  This has caused the trees to turn their leaves with full color.  I love the color of the fall trees. Yellow, gold, red, brown, all of them are beautiful. 

I am from Southern New Mexico. Down there the leaves stay green until about Thanksgiving and then fall off the trees still green.  So seeing all the beautiful colors of Fall is a treat. 

The weather being so mild has also been great so that the kids can play outside.  I am thankful for the great weather so we could walk to the park and I could read my Old Schoolhouse magazine that came in the mail today while they played. 

Thank you Lord for the gift of seasons to enjoy!

Visit Garden of Learning to read what others are thankful for and to link up your own thankful thoughts.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 4 Gratitude Challenge

Today I am grateful for my friend Katrina.

In the world of the Air Force, you make friends and then always have to say goodbye.  Either they move, or you do. With Katrina, we have had the pleasure of being stationed at two bases together, only separated by about 7 years.

Katrina is a great friend because she is so much fun.  I tend to take myself too seriously and Katrina helps me to let go and have fun. 


  Thank you Lord for the gift of a great friend!

Visit Garden of Learning to read what others are grateful for this year. Don’t forget to be grateful for things large and small this month!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 3 Gratitude Challenge

This is Day 3 of the Gratitude Challenge sponsored by Garden of Learning

     Today I am thankful for my sewing machine.  I love to sew even though I don’t get to sew as often as I would like. I am thankful for my sewing machine because it works every time I need or want to use it.  When I first got married 18 years ago I had a sewing machine that was awful.  It would tangle the bobbin threads, the stitches on the bottom of the fabric would not look anywhere near as neat as the top, it just gave me lots of problems.  I used that machine for about 6 years.  Then, for Christmas one year, my husband gave me the most wonderful present of a new sewing machine.  I have used this machine for 12 years now and still love it.  I have never had a problem with it.  It sews beautifully, top and bottom. I have sewn many clothes, quilts and craft projects with it.  As I was packing my machine up to take to church to work on craft projects to sell at the craft sale we have, I was reminded just how grateful I am to have a machine that works so well.

     Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of a nice sewing machine to help me


Don’t forget to check out Garden of Learning to see what others are grateful for this month.  And while you are at it, write your own blog post and link up to the challenge.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 2 Gratitude Challenge

      This is Day 2 of the Gratitude Challenge hosted by Garden of Learning

     Today I am thankful for my oldest son, Matthew.  Matthew is 17 and a wonderful young man.  I am thankful for his attitude to help almost anyone he meets.  I am thankful that he helps me out so much, whether it is making me a cup of tea, doing a spelling lesson with his baby sister, or doing dishes for me as a surprise, he is great to have around.  I am thankful that he is polite and can converse intelligently with both older people as well as people his own age.  Thank you Lord, for the gift of a wonderful son!


     Check out Garden of Learning to read what others are thankful for and to link up with your own story of gratitude.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gratitude Challenge

     The blog Garden of Learning has issued a challenge. A Gratitude Challenge. So I have decided to pick up the challenge.  The challenge is to see if I can blog about something I am grateful for, everyday for the month of November.  Yep, that means I will have to write something for the next 30 days.  Anybody can participate, so visit Garden of Learning and read what other people are grateful for, as well as to link up.

     For this first day of the challenge I think I will start with one of the most important blessings that God has given to me: my husband.  I am grateful that I have a husband who loves me just the way I am.  I am grateful that I have a husband who supports me in whatever I do.  I am grateful that I have a husband who works hard serving our country for the last 22 years.   Thank you Lord for my husband, and for the extra blessing of a husband with such a great smile

.Corn Maze 2010 070