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

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Creation Illustrated

creation illustrated logo

Creation Illustrated  magazine highlights the beauty in the world around us. Utilizing detailed photography, Creation Illustrated brings the wonder of the world God created into your own home.

Creation Illustrated is published four times a year by Tom and Jennifer Ish along with their daughter, Melissa. They are a non-profit, non-denominational family, who also homeschooled their daughter. They are determined to have “ministry dedicated to the eternal impact of sharing Biblical truth through the blessings of God's creation. “

Creation illustrated open page pink flower

The mission statement of Creation Illustrated sums up very well the reason for their magazine.

Mission Statement:

Our purpose is to share the wonders of God's creation. By revealing fresh insights of His infinite wisdom, gentle touch, undeniable justice, redeeming love, and flawless design, pure truth shall bring renewed peace. Each part of this publication is offered as a reprieve from the daily rigors of life so that all can look to the future with unbridled gratitude and hope.

A photography contest for youth is also feature in the magazine. Photographers from 5-15 are encouraged to submit a photo along with a statement describing what the photo says about God the Creator. The winning photos will be kept on file and published as space allows.

creation illustrated picture 3

An instructional guide is a part of each magazine. The goal of the guide is to help students learn the practical spiritual lessons available through the study of God’s handiwork. The guide is not designed to be a difficult chore, but as enjoyable exercises.

Other features include: Genesis Cuisine, Children’s Corner, and many devotional articles.

I liked the Creation Illustrated Magazine. It has amazing pictures and interesting stories. Each story was Christian in nature giving an uplifting, devotional message. I shared the magazine with my kids who also liked to read the articles and look at the beautiful photography. Rebekah has requested that we cut out some of the pictures and hang them up in her bedroom.

Intrigued by Creation Illustrated?  A sample copy can be requested by clicking here. A full one year subscription is $19.95 which includes 5 issues instead of four.


Disclaimer:  As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received4 issues of Creation Illustrated for free from Creation Illustrated in exchange for my honest review of their product.  All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Sewing Lessons


When I was a teenager, my mother taught me how to sew. Every summer I had a sewing project or two that I had to accomplish. It worked and  I enjoy sewing when I have the time.

Now that we live in the same town as my parents, my mom said she would like to teach Sarah how to sew this summer. Sarah was quite agreeable and the two of them have had fun for the past two weeks working on this project together.

Mom had asked Sarah if there was any thing special she wanted to sew. After some thought, Sarah decided she wanted new summer pajamas. Since my mother has always made all my kids pajamas, she loved the idea that she would teach Sarah to sew her own “Grandma Jammies”. They went shopping and found two different fabrics. One is a woven cotton print, and the other is a knit fabric.

They started with a simple pair of pajama shorts. Elastic waist, no pockets. Mom was really surprised at how fast Sarah picked it up. She cut out the shorts one day, then sewed them the next. They turned out really great and we found a tank top to go with them.

Then they cut out the knit and made a pair of shorts along with a tank top type shirt. Working with knits is a little bit trickier than wovens, but Sarah persevered and in two days finished the shorts and shirt.

Now Grandma and Sarah are planning another sewing project together. Sarah says she is not sure if she wants to make a tote bag or a quilt. What ever they decide together, I am sure it will be wonderful.

Pearson Homeschool—Algebra II

Pearson Homeschool logo









  • MyMathLab Algebra II Student Access Kit
  • MyLab Parent Access Kit (Parent Access Kit can be used for multiple programs)
  • Available from Pearson Homeschool
  • $49.97 MyMathLab Student Kit 18 month Access
  • $30 MyLab Parent Kit 18 month Access

Key features and benefits:

    • Ready to use out-of-the-box or choose to create your own lessons and assignments
    • Fully interactive eText
    • Robust multimedia library with videos and animations to improve understanding
    • Personalized learning based on quiz and test results
    • Easy-to-create online homework, quizzes, and tests that are automatically-graded
    • Immediate feedback for all your child’s work

ClarkClan Experiences

Math. This is the subject that I get the most questions on when people hear I homeschool all the way through high school.

“How are you going to be able to teach upper level math?”

Believe me, if I had to teach it, my kids would be in poor shape, I am no math teacher. But I have found there are very good resources for teaching math in a way my kids can understand and progress.

Pearson Homeschool’s MyMathLab Algebra II is one of those excellent resources. It is an online, complete Algebra II program.  You, as the parent, set up an account using the Parent Access Kit. Then your student sets up their MyMathLab and begins their class.

I will say that the student side of things is easier to understand than the teacher side. I followed the instructions provided in the Parent Access Kit and then became very confused while trying to set up the class for Sarah. I eventually figured it out, but it was not very intuitive for me. I still have to stop and think about how to access Sarah’s information when I am checking on her progress. While this has been a little frustrating for me, using the program has been easier  on Sarah’s end.

Sarah had no trouble setting up her side of the program.  The Algebra II course is scheduled out and all the student has to do is start with Unit 1 Lesson 1. Despite being an all on-line program, this is not just a multiple choice answer program. There are special tools built into the program to correctly write all answers.

We used this course  as scheduled . As I mentioned before, I am not a math teacher. So having  program  that was complete and scheduled was great for me. There is a way for a parent to switch assignments around and customize the program, but I felt no need to do this. Another great feature is that the program is self-graded. I just need to go into my “grade book” on the Parent Access and I can see what grade Sarah has made on each assignment, as well as how much time she has spent doing each lesson.

How has this program worked for Sarah? Very well. She currently has a 92% average in the class and is just finishing Unit 2. She averages about an hour a day with the program. Most days she finishes a lesson, but occasionally she does not understand something. When this happens, I always tell her to take a break, and come back to it the next day. This seems to work best for her as fresh eyes usually help the concept ‘click’. If she does not understand a concept using the e-text. there are videos that can be watched. There are over 3,000 videos featuring teacher Elayn Martin-Gay.

I asked Sarah what she liked and disliked about the course. She stated, “I like Pearson Math because it lets me work at my own pace and will give me help with any problem so I can figure it out.” Her dislike was that she found the teacher on the video to have an annoying habit of emphasizing some of her words, which in turn made Sarah feel like she was being talked down to. But, she did say that it is growing on her and not bothering her as much now. 

One of the features that I liked about the program, was that the default was that Sarah had to have 90 or above on homework, quizzes, and  tests  to continue. Sarah says she thinks this is so you cannot skip ahead or do things out of order. Extra points were also obtained by watching videos.

Overall, we are very pleased with this program. We will continue using Pearson Homeschool MyMathLab Algebra II. Pearson Homeschool offers many educational choices besides the program we reviewed. They offer Elementary level and High School level courses both online and textbook based. Make sure to visit their website to see all they offer.

The Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed a variety of Pearson Homeschooling programs. Click on the banner below to access all the reviews.


Disclaimer:  As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received MyMathLab Algebra II 18 month student access and MyLab Parent Access, for free from Pearson Homeschool  in exchange for my honest review of their product.  All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Discovery Scope

Discovery Scope Logo


Discovery Scope parts






What is it?

  • Handheld, wide-field microscope
  • Special features designed to view a hidden world
  • Designed for use by ages 6 through adults. Younger children should be able to use with adult supervision
  • Practically indestructible
  • Easily shared
  • View nature in its natural environment
  • Special chambers and holders provided for viewing terrestrial and aquatic organisms


Basic Kit  $40.00   Packaged in plastic wrap. Includes one scope, one mini-clamp, one multi-use chamber holder, two 1" x 3/4" clear view chambers, and one water dropper.

Naturalist Kit  $55.00 Packaged in custom bag. Includes one scope, one mini-clamp, one multi-use chamber holder, two 1" x 3/4" clear view chambers, and one water dropper.

Ordering Information

The Discovery Scope can be ordered online through the Discovery Scope website . Along with the Discovery Scope, extra accessories are also available.

ClarkClan Thoughts and Opinions

What exactly is the Discovery Scope? Well according to our family it is an amazing and fun science tool. We feel very privileged and blessed to have been able to review the Discovery Scope. For the past month and a half we have used this little device over and over and are still just as excited about it as the first day we used it.

The Discovery Scope comes packaged in a square reusable container which holds the Scope and all accompanying parts. The basic package  includes one scope, one mini-clamp, one multi-use chamber holder, two 1" x 3/4" clear view chambers, and one water dropper.

Learning to use the Scope took about 3 minutes. The basics are: place a specimen in the holder clip, put the clip into the focus tube, look through the eye  cup,  push or pull the focus tube until the specimen becomes clear.

From the beginning our whole family was fascinated. The first day we looked at many different plants we could find. Here in New Mexico we have a very painful sticker we call a goat head. The kids were amazed to look in great detail at these seeds which have needle sharp points.

Discovery Scope goathead picture

Throughout the month we have used this not only here at home, but also out and about. Sarah and I took an overnight backpacking trip. As I was packing, I decided to put the Discovery Scope in a pocket of my pack. This turned out to be a great decision. I pulled the Scope out and told the  three 15 year old kids I was with  I was reviewing this product and would like to know their opinions. They immediately began to look at pine needles, leaves, and flowers. Then Sarah ran over to get one of the viewing chambers. They had found a caterpillar. They carefully put the caterpillar inside the box and took turns looking at it in great detail before being able to release him unharmed. Later during our trip, the kids came to me and asked for the scope again so they could explore more around our campsite.

Discovery Scope Teen Picture

We also took this on a day hike we took with Ben (10), Rebekah (9), Sarah, Grandma and myself. It was pulled out and used multiple times during that hike. Caterpillars, flowers, wild strawberries, leaves and more were explored in depth. I was just as impressed with the quality and ease of use as I was on the last trip. We even found a use for the Scope beyond looking at nature. While on this hike, Ben got a splinter and while I was trying to find it Sarah suggested I use the Discovery Scope to see where it was up close. That was perfect! My kids have determined that they will pull the scope out every time they get a splinter as it makes it very easy to see.

Discovery Scope Caterpillar picture

As you could probably guess, I would highly recommend the Discovery Scope. I have found it to be extremely durable and easy to use. I loved that the focus was so easy to adjust. I was also impressed that it worked under any light conditions. I have been showing the Discovery Scope to others, and even have heard of one who is planning on ordering one after using ours.

Other Schoolhouse Review Crew members also reviewed the Discovery Scope. Click on the Banner below to read what they thought about this product.


Disclaimer:  As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received a Discovery Scope basic package, for free from Discovery Scope in exchange for my honest review of their product.  All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Benjamin Funnies

Benjamin can say some of the funniest things. He is not so much “Look at me!” type of funny that his sister Rebekah is, Ben comes out with movie lines and dramatics at times when it is least expected. So here are some of the latest Ben funnies.

Ben shut the front door on his index finger. He is in pain, crying and we put ice on the finger. As the pain is going away, he realizes it is his turn to do the dishes. He looks at me, shakes  his head back and forth, puts one hand over his heart and the other outstretched. Then he declares, “Too bad this is not the type of injury where I can sit on the couch and watch TV all day.”

Ben tends to be very shy kid about his bodily functions. But since he has turned 10, he has begun to act like other 10 year old boys in this area and he will talk about them in a way all his own. Ben  studied digestion  as an extra science project. One day as we were talking after dinner, Ben jumps up and tells us, “I think I need to go voluntarily open my sphincter muscle. If you will excuse me I will be in the bathroom.”

Another time, Ben came to me and asked if Rebekah could watch TV while he did the dishes. (In our house we only watch TV in the evening and usually it is one show watched all together.) I gave him a puzzled look and asked, “You want Rebekah to watch TV while you do the dishes?” And he replies, “Oh, yes, Mom. I can do the dishes and listen to the show at the same time. It is called Multi-tasking.”  So I ask, “What do you know about multi-tasking?” Ben, in all seriousness, says, “I multi-task everyday. Because when I am in the bathroom I read while I , you know, go. That is multi-tasking.” How can you argue with that logic.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Fun Ice Cream Topping!

Very rarely anymore do I get to have all four kids home for the evening. Matthew did not have to work today, and was able to go to his Fire Department Business meeting and then come home. 

To celebrate the occasion, I made the kids a special dessert. About two days ago I had made Cake Batter ice cream in the little ice cream maker that goes on my Kitchen Aid. We still had some in the freezer, so I decided to make the ice cream even more special by making homemade Magic Shell type of topping.

I used 1 1/4 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of coconut oil. Put both of these ingredients in a glass bowl and put in the microwave for about one minute. Stir until the chocolate chips are melted, adding more time if needed.

That’s it! Once it is all mixed, pour over your ice cream. The sauce, which is fairly thin, will harden and create a shell over your ice cream scoops. Leftover sauce can be put in the refrigerator. To use again, reheat and stir until runny again. So simple and so delicious.

One note is that Matthew does not like coconut. I was concerned he would not like the sauce because of the coconut oil. After tasting it, he said he could not taste coconut, just chocolate. I am definitely going to have to try this again and even make it for the Youth Group at church.