Ten Simple Manners to Teach Your Children

10 Manners to Teach Your Kids

There were eight pieces of fudge on the little plate at the end of the refreshment buffet on Sunday after the morning service at the church we visited. There were 110 people in attendance.

If I had made that fudge, I would have eaten all eight pieces myself rather than subject 102 people to fudgeless disappointment. I’m considerate that way. But that’s not the point. The point is that a girl of around 10 came up to the table and took four pieces. Four! Do the math.

Another time we were invited to a scanty church potluck where fried chicken was the main course, with a few meager sides to beef it up a tad. Having let an unrelated teen go ahead of him, my husband (the guest of honor) stood at the end of the line. When he and the teen arrived at the buffet table, there were two large pieces of chicken left in the bucket, and two people left in line. The teen took both pieces.

At that same church potluck, a late arrival showed up with a couple pizzas. No sooner had the pizzas been set down, then one of the leaders of the church said to his own kids (who had been near the front of the line and still had chicken on their plates), “Hurry and get some pizza before everyone else takes it!” What does that say to our kids? I’ll tell you what it says–me first

And try talking to most people with kids for more than 30 seconds without interruption after interruption. It’s exasperating! (Especially when it’s my kids!)

These are just a few of the many instances that set my children off on a tirade about manners, and how rare common courtesy is in their generation. It was the fudge incident that made one of my daughters demand that children everywhere learn manners…and she wasn’t planning to have any fudge.

Manners matter.

I don’t expect that my children place their knives at the proper angle to indicate they are finished eating and I don’t harp too terribly much about elbows on the table, even though they cause spills and bumps and limited room. (Okay, maybe I do harp about the elbows on the table.) I do, however, expect my family to master common courtesy, because that’s what manners are, respect and courtesy for the comfort of those around you.

Ten basic manners to instill in your children:

  1. Let others go first.
  2. Give up your seat.
  3. Chew with your mouth shut…and eat quietly.
  4. Don’t talk with food in your mouth.
  5. Say please, thank you, and excuse me.
  6. Take one…or none.
  7. Share.
  8. Make eye contact.
  9. Shake hands.
  10. Don’t interrupt.

These can all be summed up in the Biblical concept of putting others ahead of yourself. All of them!

Please don’t think my family has these manners mastered–everybody in life needs training or tweaking, because that’s part of the journey. But we’re always working on them. Train, tweak, train, tweak…see? Let’s work on them together! I’ll be addressing some of these manners this week right here and then once a month, and also focusing on them monthly with my own family in our real world.

Please subscribe to my weekly newsletter and follow on Facebook and Instagram to join in the fun.

Please take the time to make the world a better place beginning with your child…please!

Thank you!

What manners do you like to see in children?

This post is part of a week of blog hopping hosted by The Schoolhouse Review Crew: 5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop.

Apologia Anatomy–Brains, Hearts, and the God Who Made Them {Review}

There are a few things we’ve used in our homeschooling from the dawn of time (our homeschooling time, that is). Apologia is one of our mainstays. To be a mainstay for my family, you have to be fantastic, because I am a member of SGA–Second Guessers Anonymous. And Apologia, in our book, is fantastic–no second guessing there!

They sent us Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology for the purpose of this review, and to totally educate our elementary and middle school kiddos on the fine workings of the human body.

They sent us the following:

  • Textbook
  • Notebooking Journal
  • Junior Notebooking Journal
  • MP3 Audio CD

The components of the course.

The textbook is broken up into 14 lessons covering each of the main body systems, as well as an introduction to anatomy and physiology, a chapter on the senses, a chapter on growth and development, and a chapter on health and nutrition.

As is the case with all the Apologia Young Explorers books, they approach science in a Charlotte Mason style, which is ideal for us. Each chapter is broken up into short sections. There are pauses encouraging students to retell what they’ve learned (narrations) or to answer a few questions.

Each chapter also includes lab activities. The supplies can mostly be found at home, but you can also order a supplement including all the objects you will need for the activities organized according to chapter and activity.

A personal person project runs throughout the course. Your student builds a body adding each system as the student learns about it.

Because Apologia is an apologetics course, there are also Creator-focused sections such as Why Did God Create Me in Growth and Development, Creation Confirmation in the Digestive and Renal System, and Our Faithful Father in Immune and Lymphatic Systems.

The textbook is officially the only item you need to complete this course, making it budget friendly.

There is also an mp3 audio disc available. The recording is professional and easy to listen to. It includes the textbook read by Jeannie Fulbright, the author herself. (She’s an interesting person, so look her up on social media!)

Two notebooking journals are sold separately also. They are not necessary, but they are extremely helpful. There is a junior notebook which is recommended for kindergarten through second or third grade, and then another for third or fourth on up. Both are consumable and meant for one student. They contain copywork, coloring pages, puzzles, notebook pages, and lab record forms, among other things. Your child will use it for his personal person, his experiments, note-taking, making little bookslets, and refreshing his memory on all the wonderful things he’s learned.

A note about the immersion method.

The Apologia approach to science at the elementary and middle school levels is immersion. If you want to understand more about that, watch this video. They explain it better than I do. What I can tell you is how well the immersion method has worked for my family.

We have gone through most of the Apologia Young Explorer science courses, and my children come out of them with a thorough understanding of, interest in, and appreciation of the subject they studied for the year. I find it far superior to the little-bit-of-everything approach to science I grew up with, which doesn’t give you the opportunity to completely fall in love with a subject. I guess it doesn’t give you the chance to totally hate it either. Ha.

What did we do?

As with all the Apologia Young Explorer texts we use, I read aloud from the textbook to my current students, and usually someone younger who hangs around for the fun and the intriguing photos throughout the book. I may read an entire section (maybe 15 minutes max), but usually I read for no more than 5-7 minutes so that everything can sink in and I can hold the kids’ attention. (I have a kindergartener in the mix.)

I ask the questions when they pop up and will often ask for narrations on shorter sections. I almost always ask for a narration the next day as a review. We do this four or five days a week.

I do not use the audio disc because, first of all, it doesn’t play in our van, which is where we do our science readings–on our drives. Secondly, while the reading only takes 5-7 minutes, we discuss quite a bit as we go, often smack dab in the middle of a paragraph. That would be a little less natural with an audio recording, although the discussion could take place at the breaks. I also improvise as I read a bit, because it’s what I do–it certainly isn’t necessary, because the text is highly readable. Honestly, if the disc played in our van, I would probably use it.

As far as the experiments are concerned, we did not buy the supplement package due to budgeting and storage. (Remember, we live in a travel trailer–all ten of us.) We do some of the labs and experiments, but not all of them. We pick those which would help us understand the project best and use supplies we have on hand, like this mummifying experiment that the girls did on their own from chapter 1.

Well, maybe not quite as on their own as they would have liked.

Two-year-old assistants are exciting.

If we can’t do an experiment due to time, driving, or supplies, we have no problem going back and performing an experiment from a previous lesson when the supplies are available. It’s a great review.

We’ve also been known to get creative about supplies. For example, Elijah made this heart from chapter 8, and the only appropriate ingredient he had were the graham crackers.

That’s totally a heart!

The experiments definitely add to the program and aren’t burdensome, so I recommend doing at least one or two per chapter if not all of them.

My readers (third and sixth grade) are able to perform the majority of the experiments without help. My kindergartener is capable of being actively involved, but needs help with the reading and reaching things. She’s still tiny.

My third and sixth graders are using the regular journals. The third grader was originally going to use the junior journal, but decided it was a little too simple. She’s right on the border, so we purchased a regular journal. My kindergartener is using the junior journal, but it’s really too advanced for her. Basically, she dictates to me some of what she has learned and illustrates it. She also does the copywork and coloring. If you do get them, each child needs her own.

Again, the journals are not essential for the course, so if finances are an issue, don’t let the journal costs keep you from using the course. They do, however, add significantly to the course in my opinion. I like that the reading age kids can follow the guidelines within the journal and I don’t have to guide them through anything. Technically, they could read the textbook and do the labs and the notebooks entirely on their own, but I feel the benefit immensely from the discussion we have.

Just some thoughts on age.

We move more slowly than recommended through the course because we have a kindergartener in the mix. Otherwise, the recommended pace of two weeks per lesson is quite reasonable.

While I include all ages of my elementary school kids in my Apologia science studies, I would not begin with Anatomy and Physiology if my oldest was under, say, third grade. This is one of the more difficult topics, despite how well it is all explained. It seems easier for my littlest kids to grasp the concepts in astronomy and even botany. Still, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to include the younger set when I’m teaching this to older students. Just don’t expect them to grasp it all, and be ready to repeat it when they’re older. and can easily be completed in one full school year of solid learning.

 In summary

This is our second time working through Apologia Anatomy and Physiology. It is a program that strongly prepared our previous set of children for their high school level biology and other science studies, also through Apologia. Highly recommended–all 20 thumbs (and four paws) way way up.

You probably want to know what other people think about. You can read other Crew reviews right here or click on the banner below:

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Classical Christian Music Appreciation Course {Review}

Memoria Press is one of my top curriculum companies. Recently they offered us a chance to check out their Music Appreciation I book. I may have drooled a little.

If you are a full-fledged classical Christian educator, you’re probably already familiar with Memoria; if you aren’t, you should be, because you’ll fall in love with their complete grade level curricula sets. If you’re a different sort of educator who takes a classical bent toward some things, then check out their individual courses, such as, oh, this Music Appreciation course!

Let’s talk about that a bit. Actually, a lot.

Memoria Press Music Appreciation Course: What It Is

The Music Appreciation Course is a single book with two CDs. (The picture below shows the book open and closed–it’s the same book. I mean, they have two of the same book. You will get one book. You understand!) The book includes chronological lessons covering the history of western music. Lessons are broken up into several sections. Each lesson references a single portion of a work by a single composer. The works are available online, and the website links directly to them. This is the only internet access you will need.

Each lesson goes through the following:

  1. Listen to the selected peace. I wrote peace instead of piece, but you know what? Every time I play it, the van gets quiet and people really listen, and then they get loud as they start dancing and grooving and percussionating (real word) to the music. It’s very peaceful. And each peace-piece is extremely well performed and produced on an oral and visual level–no high school bands or home recordings (sorry high school bands and home recorders). All the selections are available on YouTube and iTunes. I don’t get iTunes on my not i-phone, so I can’t tell you the quality there.
  2. A brief history of the composer and the piece. This is brief, like a full page, but super interesting! It’s well-written and captivating, and I’m ultra picky.
  3. A little lesson (and I mean little) in some sort of music theory. It’s done little by little, topic by topic, and builds upon or repeats with a slight expansion of previous topics. It’s really quite interesting and accessible.
  4. Listening exercises to learn and use the new music theory knowledge. This is where the discs come in. They are not mp3s from my understanding, because my Flintstone van doesn’t play mp3s and it plays these discs. Each lesson is different, but essentially the disc plays a small section of a piece, like one theme, section, or line, to emphasize what was discussed in the music theory lesson. It is well done, although, ahem, my family of professional musicians wasn’t super excited about the Twinkle Twinkle singing and would have preferred a more soothing voice. That’s the only complaint so far! (I say this because audio and voice quality are curriculum winners or killers for people in the audio field, just like poor video production or artwork or writing will kill an item for someone in the video, art, or writing fields. You audio people are completely safe with this program so far…after Twinkle Twinkle in lesson 1.)
  5. Another little history lesson, but this is more music-based than composer-based.
  6. Review. The review is great. It’s sort of like this: Hey, did you catch this and that and that and this? I use it each week to review quickly some of the previous lessons, especially the music theory if there was something I didn’t think everyone was solid on.
  7. Extra practice. This is, uh, a little extra practice–sort of a “listen again for this” opportunity. It’s great to tie everything together. My kids often say, “Again!” After which I say, “I didn’t hear a please….” But we do it again anyway.

After four lessons there is a test. The tests are all together in the back of the book and so are the answers. I had my kids do the tests on a separate sheet of paper. I trust them with the answers right there, but someone spilled coffee on a bunch of paper, and it had to be used up. Truth.

Age Recommendations

Memoria Press–such a lovely name–recommends this for grades 3-5, which makes me feel like an dunce, because I’ve learned a ton through this program! My husband studied music theory in college and is a professional musician, so he knows most of the theory, although it’s a good review for him. I took piano lessons for four years and took the obligatory music class in high school which basically taught me how much I looooooaaaaaathe group projects and that Kansas is a state and a music group. Essentially what I think they’re saying is that children in grades 3-5 are ready for this information, and that it is a good age to start them.

That said, I am using this program exclusively in the van when the entire family, including Steve the husband and dad and professional musician, are awake. That means everyone from 2 to 21 and parents are all enjoying this course together. Some parts are review for some people, but we have all  learned something, and most of us have learned quite a bit…and we’re a musical family.

I would definitely say my kindergartener, who is 6, is too young to fully benefit from the program, but she is learning things, is being exposed to phenomenal music, is becoming more familiar with names of musical greats, and is listening to music in a different manner, even if she can’t pronounce ritornello. I wouldn’t hesitate (and obviously didn’t hesitate) to include younglings in the mix with the older kids.

My third grader is in the recommended age group and is the reason we accepted this course. She is completely enjoying the program and doing quite well in it. She is, however, highly interested in the subject and has a good head on her shoulders when she chooses to use it. If a child finds this frustrating at age 8 or 9, I would definitely hold off a year or two and come back to it later.

Outside of the age group on the older end, I have a sixth grader (12), freshman (15), junior (17), college senior (19), and a 21-year-old. They are all listening and learning, although the 21-year-old is an accomplished pianist and knows some of this already, but it’s great review. I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to use this with high schoolers. Not one second!

And then there’s the two-year-old.

Ha ha. Potato chip boy doesn’t like anything to be louder than he is, but he too is getting into the music. My favorite for him so far is one of the earlier lessons–Vivaldi’s winter–during which the children match the poem to the song so they can hear the music as stomping feet or chattering teeth or howling wind. Mine reenacted that…for a long time…and quite enthusiastically. That might explain the blown tire.

How We Make It Work

We do one lesson a week and only when everyone is available and only on driving weeks…which is most weeks, since we drive all the time! We follow the program exactly as written. First we listen to the piece. Then we read the history. That’s it for the day–maybe 10-15 minutes depending on the length of the piece. (We do a minute or two of review at the beginning, so make that 12-17 minutes if you want to be picky, and right now I’m feeling pretty picky.)

Next driving day we do an ever-so-brief (30 seconds) review and then study and practice the musical concept taught that day. This is about 20 minutes max.

Next driving day or the same day if people want more (usually same day), we go through the review and practice sections and listen to the piece again with our newfound knowledge. The entire lesson takes us no more than an hour, and usually less. The only reason it takes us up to an hour is because we listen again and again to some sections or pieces, either because we love them or because we want to practice some more.

(That picture is after they finished listening, because my camera and phone and listening device are one and the same, but this is what the participants look like sitting in the van. )

Every four weeks there is a test based on four lessons. For my large group, I pass around the book and let them take it on their own (10 minutes for most, although the third grader took about 30), or I ask questions aloud and have them write answers. There is a listen-and-identify section that we do together. The reviews we do before each lesson are mostly sufficient to prepare them for the tests, but they can also go back and review on their own if they’re so inclined. Also, once they’ve taken the test, I let them go back and use the book for any answers they didn’t know.

(She did more than one problem–I took the picture at the start of this examination because, confession time, I fall asleep a lot in the van. Plus I forget things.)

That’s it. It’s super simple. Everything is laid out beautifully, understandably, simply.

I know I say we’re a musical family, but personally I’m kind of a musical dunce. I teach my kids basic piano and make them sing hymns in harmony, but I don’t know stuff–you know, stuff. Even I can do this course. Sometimes I might have trouble finding a theme or detecting an instrument or something, but it’s all a matter of ear training, patience, and practice–there’s no rush! And if you don’t “get” something, it’s okay. You will still garner quite a bit of interesting information from this course.

There is a technological side to this course. When the technology brain cells were handed out, a bird ate mine. True story…maybe. But I don’t let that handicap stop me. Here’s what I did to make this work for us in the van. (Some of you are going to be like, “DUH! That’s so easy!” To you I say, “Show me the pastern and coronet on a horse, diagram the Preamble to the Constitution, make me some chocolate without sugar, and treat this diaper rash with no chemicals.” We all have our gifts.)

I made a shortcut on my phone to the website where all the videos are linked–I don’t remember how I did that, so ask YouTube instead of me. Each week when we want to listen, I simply tap the shortcut icon, select my selection, and BAM! It’s playing on my phone.

That’s a screenshot of my phone’s app page. I know–so many apps! And in Spanish! Ugh. See the shortcut in the upper righthand corner? Easier than pie.

To run it through the van speakers, I plugged my phone into the van’s input using my headphone cord so the van speakers are like my headphones…but louder and less private. I can’t take a picture of it, because, again, my camera is on my phone, and the music is playing on my phone, and my phone is hooked up, so here’s a picture of my van’s radio.

Wow, that was helpful.

That’s all the tech advice necessary, unless you don’t know how to play CDs. I won’t judge.

Our Final Assessment

I love this course and the offspring do as well. I’m setting aside what we were previously doing and continuing with this course until I’ve done the whole thing. Then I am hoarding it so I can do it again later when the younglings are old enough to gain more from it.

It is exactly what I was hoping it would be, except more interesting. Sometimes I want to do three lessons in a week! But I stuff a potato chip in my mouth and sit on my hands.

Memoria offers a free sample page right here, so check it out if this sounds like something that might interest your crew.

You know what though–I shouldn’t be surprised. We love everything we’ve ever gotten from Memoria Press.

More From Memoria and the Homeschool Review Crew

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed numerous other publications:

And here’s my review on their Fourth Grade Literature Guide Set.

To read their reviews, click right here or on the banner below:

For information on their other great books, including sales and new publications, follow Memoria Press on social media:


Homeschool Diploma — A Personalized Diploma Experience {Review}

We’ve been homeschooling for so long that I’ve noticed an odd pattern emerging from people who ask us questions about our education lifestyle. One of the questions we hear, strangely enough, is “What about a diploma?!”

I used to say that we were going to make our own, which had people looking up the number for social services faster than you could say “burger and fries.” Thankfully, Homeschool Diploma has appeased our curious questioners with their array of diplomas, specifically their Standard High School Diploma and the Personalized High School Diploma.

High School Diploma with 7

All my longtime followers already heard me gush about Homeschool Diploma and how they made me cry happy tears a couple years back when we ordered a diploma for Hannah. You can read all about that right here. I don’t want to repeat myself, so I’m going to talk to you today about the numerous options you have for personalizing a diploma from Homeschool Diploma.

Homeschool Diploma offers numerous options, including the following:

I want to walk you through the numerous options involved in personalizing the high school diploma we created for Marissa. Wait, what?! Isn’t Marissa graduating from college in a few weeks? Yes, yes she is. Here’s what happened. At 16 she sort of morphed from high school into college and we never really celebrated. We just called her a high school dropout and that was that. Ha! So we ordered a high school diploma for her backdated to 2015 when she was sweet 16. Next week we’ll be giving it to her at her big high school graduation bash, which is just us at Red Robin using all the birthday money I’ve been saving up. Got that? Good.

Okay, onto the details that make the personalized diploma so special.

Size options

You can go for the standard 8.5×11, the more compact 6×8, or the totally portable wallet size.

Seal options

There are three standard gold seals to choose from, and several upgraded seals for an additional charge. You can focus on home education, Christian education, or one of the other options. You classical educators will be thrilled to know there’s even an option for you.


The name of your graduate and school are up to you, of course. We are boring and used our daughter’s real name.

You can include your city and state if you wish. We use our country, since we’re a USA traveling roadschool.


This is one of my favorite parts. The wording options are quite extensive. You can choose a more state-like diploma, an honors diploma, a thanks to God option, or the Godly wisdom wording, which is my personal favorite and what we chose for both our graduates so far.

There are also options for single parent homes, double parent homes, or excluding the parents altogether if, you know, the lunches they packed for four years weren’t worthy of having their names on the diploma. Very possible!

Verse or Motto

You have the option of choosing a verse or motto for the diploma. There are a number of options or you can add your own. We have used our girls’ confirmation verses to make them even more meaningful, particularly since our girls have chosen their own confirmation verses.

Dates and Signature Lines

You can backdate, forward date, or present date your diploma. You can also choose how to label your signature lines. We did the simple Father and Mother, although I was considering King and Queen.

Paper and Lettering

There are two paper options, and this was super hard for me, because you can’t go wrong with either one, which makes it super hard for me. I know–weirdo!

The lettering options include hand-lettered calligraphy for an additional fee. We opted for printed…I think. I can’t remember.

Honors Seal

You can opt to add an honors seal in English or Latin. I always use the Latin because Latin is cool. Why? Because my high school Latin teacher said it was, and if Mr. Winter said it, you know it’s true.

Diploma Cover

You have choices of colors and seals or no seal at all.

You may also upgrade and add your graduate’s . name to the outside of the diploma, a nice little touch. We got the name on the outside for Marissa, but not for Hannah. Apparently we like Marissa better.


You may order an archive copy so you’ll have a copy for your records. This is also where you order the wallet-size copy. We got one for Hannah, but not for Marissa. Apparently we like Hannah better.

Cap and Gown and Tassel

You may add a cap, gown, and tassel, or just a tassel, or nothing at all. Hannah got a cap and tassel. Marissa only got a tassel. We really do like Hannah better!

If you need to back-date your tassel charm, that’s no problem at all! You have a seriously huge array of options for tassel colors and charms. We don’t have school colors, so I go with colors the girls like, which is not easy, so I think I’m choosing school colors before Elisabeth graduates next year.


You can add a ring for your grad, invitations, a darling little gold tassel for your diploma, a pen–so much stuff!


You have the option of saying, “Oh, rats! I forgot to order a diploma for the gaduation ceremony that is taking place in two sleeps!” You can get it made and shipped super fast.

Customer Service

I have communicated with Homeschool Diploma a number of times over the past couple of years, and I always feel like I’m talking to an old friend–not the old that’s awkward to talk to because you stopped sending Christmas cards and they didn’t. I mean the old friend that you see after ten years and it’s like you never missed a beat, you know what I mean?

Now then, let me say again that you can go back and read my other review of our first diploma experience with Homeschool Diploma right here. You can also go see what other Homeschool Crew Review team members think of their diplomas, gowns, hats, and other fun goodies by clicking here or on the banner below:

You can also follow Homeschool Diploma on social media:



Chemistry 101 on the Road {Review}

In exchange for this review, The 101 Series gave us a copy of Chemistry 101. Some other members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed Physics 101 and Biology 101. You can learn all about what others had to say by clicking on this banner:

Physics, Chemistry & Biology 101 {The 101 Series}

What is The 101 Series?

I’m feeling very bullety, so I’m going to write almost everything with bullets. Yup, crazy fun.

  • high school science courses
  • video courses
  • one year long
  • Biblical world view
  • created by Westfield Studios and Wes Olson, a veteran filmmaker
  • include printables–quizzes and a guidebook
  • include printable PDF course accreditation program booklet


Physics, Chemistry & Biology 101 {The 101 Series}
What is Chemistry 101?

I’m done being bullety. I’m feeling prosaic now. Let’s use full paragraphs, shall we?

The Chemistry 101 class that The 101 Series sent us is a full year of high school chemistry on video from a Biblical perspective. (When I say video, I mean DVD. Let’s just accept that I’m olde.) It comes with four discs. The first three contain 19 video sessions running anywhere from 20-45 minutes. I know that sounds like a long time to listen to someone talk about chemistry, but this guy kept us glued and he also made us (okay me) laugh…a little too much for chemistry lessons. I got some stares.

Each lesson is expected to last you two weeks if you do “the works.” If you want to merely introduce your kids to chemistry and not do the labs, you will still learn! So, theoretically, you could finish this whole thing in a month if you’re using it as an overview or introducing your younger kids to it or refreshing your own olde brain…use your imagination.

The final disc includes printables, including quizzes/tests and a full one-year course book–“the works” I mentioned earlier. There is a booklet you can print for accreditation, if you’re concerned about that…which I’m not…but probably should be. Wink. Using the accreditation booklet and the included suggestions for additional learning and activities, this course stands alone as a one-year high school science course–a pretty big deal. Otherwise, you can use it as a supplement to something else you’re doing.

The final disc also includes a schedule. Sigh of relief! (This is where I interject something about not being a slave to a schedule, about using it as a spine–flexible, but supportive–and perhaps say something about the joy and freedom of year-round homeschooling…with breaks. Assume I said all that, ‘kay?)

This is a lab course, so if you do the lab work, it will count as your high school lab credit on your high school transcript. (Am I getting redundant here?) The labs mostly use common household items, so you won’t have to send your last paycheck off to deepest Peru for a rare monohaki. (I made that word up.) There is a list at the beginning of the accreditation booklet, so you can get all your goodies up front.

It’s pretty easy to work field trips into some of these lessons, but you’ll also get a pretty good edu-ma-cation sitting on your keister and watching the videos and eating popcorn.

Physics, Chemistry & Biology 101 {The 101 Series}
Chemistry 101 is broken down into four parts as follows:

  1. The Road to the Periodic Table–this starts 3000 years ago (get out your timeline books to make some amazing connections) with stories from history about how we began breaking components of our known world down into the periodic table of elements. Assures us that by the end of Chem 101, we’ll be chums with the PT–what it means, how to read it, and how to explain it to someone els.
  2. Chemistry Essentials–this portion digs deeper into the chemical world. You’ll even learn how to balance seemingly overwhelming but actually extremely comprehensible chemical equations. I geek out over this stuff…and I’m not a science person…or am I? 
  3. Meet the Elements: this is where you get to know every single element perfectly–have them over for dinner, learn their nicknames–it’s pretty cool. And, yes, get one of those laminated periodic table of the elements placemats from your favorite school store, because you’re going to want to memorize that baby! I mean, everyone loves memorizing the PToE, right?
  4. Future of Chemistry–this is about the future of chemistry. You’re welcome. Isn’t it fascinating that your CHEM101 class begins 3000 years ago and ends rather open-endedly in the future? It’s a history lesson and science study all in one. You will want to keep those timeline books handy!

Bible talk time:

You can tie this study into your Biblical studies a bit. Genesis 4 talks about Tubal-Cain, the craftsman in bronze and iron. Bronze is an alloy, so that required some extreme skill in extracting the necessary elements and creating the material he needed.

Our CHEM 101 instructor emphasizes how we stand on the shoulders of brilliant men that have gone before to reach the heights we have reached now. This is very important and humbling, particularly in a world where our elders are looked down on and we have come to think we “know it all.” What we know is only because it was revealed by God and discovered by others. We just build on it.

May I say that I love a science teacher who carries a pocket Bible. Science and Scripture are not incompatible. Science proves Scripture. Can I have an amen here…unless you’re German Lutheran, in which case a slight inclination of the head will do. Thank you.

May I also say that one of my new favorite people of all time is Robert Doyle. He is one of the greatest scientists ever, and, whoa, totally agrees with my last paragraph. Look him up.

Some concerns you might have:

While this is a high school course, your tagalong younglings are not going to be exposed to anything objectionable…unless you object to God as Master of the Universe. My 2nd grader watched it with us and did say, “Am I supposed to understand this stuff?” So, they might not “get it,” but they’re not going to see bad stuff.

The videos are not cheesy, B-rated, early Christian film type. They are well done…in my opinion. I really enjoyed watching them.

The labs mostly use common household items, so you won’t have to send your last paycheck off to deepest Peru for a rare monohaki. (I made that word up.) There is a list at the beginning of the accreditation booklet, so you can get all your goodies up front for each video segment. (I know I said this earlier, but I bet you skimmed and missed that part.)

Okay, in brief:

I laughed. I learned. I love this CHEM101 class. I also like saying CHEM101 out loud to my kids, because they’ve never gone to a real high school and maybe they think I’m cool with my code.

There is a potential con, depending on how good you are at steering around obstacles. You can read about it in the next section:

Additional Thoughts for my Fellow Roadschoolers

That con I mentioned…it’s this: the printing. Oh how I hate printing. But I need something in my hands. I like books, people. I don’t like finding trailer space for them, but I like them anyway. And for science, a subject I geek out about but really need to work hard at, a book is very important to me. Or so I thought.

Not having a book, surprisingly, doesn’t take away from the course. Strangely, for this subject, I find myself learning just as well with the video than I did with a book…maybe even better. (Sorry books–I still love you!)

And because this is a video course with all the material on tiny little discs, you don’t need shelf space! All you’re really printing and storing (or throwing away) is quizzes (or just do them out loud or straight from the screen like us) and the guidebook (or just glance at it on the disc now and then, like us).

So my one con (no book, some printing…that makes two cons) isn’t really a con if you’re good with oral quizzes or quizzes from a computer onto paper, and if you can learn through a video, which most of you should be able to do, because the instructor is great…and there’s a rewind button on your video machine.

If you can’t do a lab because, hey, you are on the road and life is not like life in a house and sometimes you can’t even make a pizza much less do a chemistry experiment, it’s okay. The labs are all shown on the video. The kids can still practice writing up lab reports. Just press pause during the experiment so they can make their hypotheses and then continue.

No internet connection, no shelf space, very little weight, no truly major supplies needed, four holders taken up in your DVD case…or shove them all in one (I’ve never squeezed in more than three…and we scratch discs up a lot…so never mind shoving them in together)–it’s a road-friendly upper level science course. There, that one last reason for not hitting the road is gone. Get on out there!

Learn what others have to say:

Remember, other Homeschool Review Crewers (I think I just made up another word) are looking at Chemistry 101 as well as Physics 101 and Biology 101, so check them out here, or visit The 101 Series’ social media links below. I really like this review of Chemistry 101 by a more normal homeschooler over at Unexpected Homeschool, so check it out, too, if you’re hunting for a chemistry course. Speaking of physics (and you’ll learn why this is physics and not chemistry in the course), I smell a stinky diaper. Outta here!

Social Media Links:

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/the101series/ @the101series
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If I Am Silent, Their Blood Is on My Hands

Because this is a controversial topic, please read it thoroughly and carefully before respectfully commenting. If your comment can be answered by the article itself, I will simply point you back to the article or the resource list.

Why am I speaking up?

I was warned that taking on a topic like this could lose me half my followers, possibly all. It is blogger suicide. Plus it will likely further alienate a few friends and family members. Do I care? Of course I do! Being “unfriended” by relatives on Facebook and in real life because I’m passionate and open about babies’ right to life is hurtful, I admit.

Then why am I bringing this up? Why don’t I just keep quiet? After all, resistance is dangerous to my blog, to my business, to my family’s income, to my relationships, to family peace. As much as I dislike it, that’s a small price to pay when you consider that resistance in Hitler’s time often cost the stalwart their lives…and this issue is bigger.

Silence today is more expensive even than resistance in Hitler’s day. Babies in America are being killed at a rate of around a million a year, give or take a few hundred thousand individual lives. Can you even fathom those numbers? I can’t, but I know that is a lot of blood. If I am silent, their blood is on my hands.

So I speak up, and I ask you to speak up for those who cannot.

Why am I speaking up? Because silence is murder. 

“I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”

~Ronald Reagan

These numbers blow my mind.

Prior to the 2008 election, I was conversing with a dear teacher-friend who was voting for Obama. Why? Obama was black, and if a black man could become President, the little black boy in this teacher’s class would have hope–he too could be anything.

I find voting according to race to be racist by definition, but I see that friend’s heart was in the right place. Yes, that one boy could someday become President. Why? Because he was allowed to live. In the year 2013 alone, the number of black babies that were aborted in New York City surpassed the number of black babies that were born–over 60%. In fact, nearly one-third of all black babies in New York State are aborted. Where is the hope in that? Black lives matter?

If you want the hard-nosed, black-and-white, ugly imagery that I’ve heard before but which I generally avoid, I ask you and me both this question: Would it bother us more if they lined up black babies and shot every third one with a handgun…licensed, of course? Would it bother us more if we could see it? Would we open our mouths? Black lives matter–all of them.

While blacks lead the way in voluntary abortions, other races contribute to the over 3,000 babies who die in America every day. Every stinkin’ day while we’re sipping lattes and doing yoga and voting for pro-choice candidates and stressing over breast versus bottle, over 3,000 babies are dying and our government is saying that’s okay.

It’s not okay!

“If you care about the slaughter of the innocent, then for God’s sake, speak up!”

~R.C. Sproul

I’m sick.

I’m literally sick to my stomach. I can’t comprehend the sheer number of unborn babies that have been killed in my lifetime. It’s heart-wrenching. It’s a sucker punch to the gut. And it’s all done for the woman.

I hurt for the woman. For all the women. All the women that have believed the lies they were told, that this was a way out, that there was no other option, that they were doing what was best, that it was just a bunch of cells, perhaps a life, but not a person, to die is better than to live in poverty or in a single-parent home–the pain those women have to live with is unimaginable.

I hurt for women as a whole, to think that by giving ourselves the right to kill what only we can protect, we have somehow become greater, broken free, having risen above the “miraculous curse” of being able to create life within us. I hurt that we must be “nasty” and hurtful to be “great.”

I’ve listened to them–to both sides. They hurt! Not all of them, no. Some claim they would do it again and many, many, many women have multiple abortions. Why not! It’s legal, so it must be okay. Rather than being the last resort that it was intended as, many women are turning to it too quickly.

These babies are “the least of these.” These are the unseen who cry out and are not heard. They cannot stand up for themselves. They need us to stand up for them.

But what about…?

Yes, I know there are many who are already born and need to be cared for. (My desire to save some does not preclude or undermine the desire to save the rest.) I know there are gray areas where the mother’s life is at risk or “health is jeopardized”–a loose 12%. I know that 1% of pregnancies resulting in abortions are claimed as rape or incest. I know the abortion rate has decreased in recent years.

I know the arguments about religious intolerance, increased contraception, decreased shame, decreasing the toll on the poor, limiting danger to the mother through legality, decreasing child abuse, lowering the burden on society…I know the arguments from the opposition, and why most of them fall flat, because I study this topic. And no, thank you, I don’t get my information from FoxNews as I have been accused.

There is nothing anyone can say to change the black and white fact that a baby–a real living human person–is “legally” killed with every abortion.

I for one am ashamed for what little I’ve done and how slowly I’ve spoken up.

Are you silent?

Please don’t be silent on this issue. If you don’t speak out for the unborn babies, the least of these, who will?

We must ask ourselves this: What have I done to save them? Is it more important to me to be non-confrontational and non-offensive than it is to save these innocent lives? Is it more important to me to vote my party lines than to save these babies?  Am I contributing to their deaths by standing sheepishly in my safe zone? Am I contributing to their deaths by voting for those who would continue to offer abortions on demand? Would I rather keep peace than save lives?

The answer: If I am not for them…

To each of us who says, “I wouldn’t do it, but what other women do to their bodies is their choice,” I ask this question: if she were holding that baby in her arms instead of her womb, would we let her kill that child? Would we stand by and say nothing as she ended that life, either of her own free will or under pressure from others? Would we let her poison or physically maul that baby? Would we shoot every third black baby in the state of New York?

Well, would we?

No, it’s not different. Science is proving what Christians have been saying all along–an unborn baby is a life, a person…just like you…just like your own child…the child who had a chance to live.

“I am putting pro-life justices on the court,”

~Donald Trump

Let’s get political.

I know for a fact that the friend I mentioned earlier has a very tender heart, and that it bleeds for the babies that have died, yet that person voted for a party that now has only two remaining pro-life members. I know that party seeks to reduce abortions while maintaining woman’s rights, and their “intent” is female freedom, not murder, but millions are dying in the meantime. Their focus on prioritizing the woman’s right to not be pregnant over the child’s right to not be killed is frustrating even those Democrats who are pro-life.

There are many issues being debated in the current political election in America–economic, social, environmental, foreign, and more. There are hard topics out there–illegals, feeding the poor, gun-control, and many, many, many more. Many of these issues fall predominately into gray areas, where we can optimistically hope that all citizens and politicians believe their opposing views are in the best interest of our nation and her people. Every successful abortion, however, results in a child’s death; there is no gray area there. Abortion equals death.

There are many problems with both candidates; anyone who says otherwise is in denial, and I don’t mean the river. One is portrayed as uncouth and chauvinistic. The other is said to be deceitful and promote gender wars. You pick which is which. There is one thing, however, that both sides agree on.

The next president will be offering up nominations for the Supreme Court. Both sides have said that with the nomination of the next Supreme Court Justice, the legality of abortion on demand is at stake.

Don’t throw your vote away. Don’t stay home because neither candidate is ideal. Don’t vote death because you “can’t vote Trump.” If you care about life, help America get her feet back under her with a Supreme Court Justice who will offer justice to all Americans.

I don’t know if abortion on demand will ever be illegal. We won’t be able to save all lives before they’re born any more than we can save all lives after. But maybe we can do a little. Maybe, just maybe your voice, your vote, your stalwart determination to step into the firing range for the least of these will save a life…or a million.

Hillary Clinton has assured us that her nominees for the Supreme Court Justice seat will have to undergo a litmus test to prove they are strongly pro-choice. Her smoothly serpentine and emotional appeal to allow women to choose completely undermines the black and white truth that a life is being ended with every single abortion. Her confessed hope to keep abortions “rare” would be best met if she herself were to vote for the opposition. Her desire to not “rip families apart” in regard to illegals is completely contradictory to her voting to allow the closest possible bond between two family members to be torn asunder at a woman’s choosing. She is unapologetically “respectful of the woman’s right to choose.”

Let’s be unapologetically respectful of those who have no choice. Vote life.

“More than a decade ago, a Supreme Court decision literally wiped off the books of fifty states statutes protecting the rights of unborn children. Abortion on demand now takes the lives of up to 1.5 million unborn children a year. Human life legislation ending this tragedy will some day pass the Congress, and you and I must never rest until it does. Unless and until it can be proven that the unborn child is not a living entity, then its right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must be protected.”

~Ronald Reagan


Fact Checker and Other Articles of Interest from Both Sides
(As you read quotes in the articles below, please remember that Hillary Clinton is a practiced politician and a smooth talker, and Trump is a blunderer and a poor debater. Look at what this issue means to the little ones hidden in wombs; don’t just look at the people in the spotlight.)

Don’t Just Block Internet Access–Hold Yourself (And Them) Accountable

Note: Accountable2You gave us a free year of their Family Plan in exchange for this review…which got a little longer than I had anticipated. Sorry ’bout that. If you want to read reviews from other members of the Homeschool Review Crew, which perhaps might be a little shorter and with fewer tears and less puppy talk, click on the banner below:

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}

First, a little background…which most of you already know…and which is entirely relevant to this review, even though it doesn’t feel like it:

We have eight children. We also live in a travel trailer and tour the country full-time for our Christian music mission. (Learn more about that here and follow our travels here.)

I am a book NUT! Seriously, a NUT! And I used to be fairly anti-screen for my young crowd. That olde school combo meant books, books, and more books, and no unsupervised internet activity. That was back when we had a big house with closets and rooms bursting with books, and no teens yet, which made the “all books, limited screens” concept doable.

Life is a little different now. Exit house; enter 29-foot travel trailer. Towing a travel trailer around these United States means we only have so much room and so much weight allotment for books. And when I say “so much,” I really mean a ridiculously small amount. I’ll show you a picture of that someday, but first I have to cry.

I am getting to the point. Stick with me.

As my crowd grows older (and larger), and our ridiculously small amount of book space shrinks (or at least seems to shrink), we have had to rely on modern technology for our schooling needs far more often than I would like. That inevitably means computers, kindles, and smartphones, and that inevitably means more internet access and that inevitably results in less supervised internet access, because I’m only human. (My husband has a song about that–being “only human,” not unsupervised internet access.)

One of our new favorite homeschool writing programs and a free language guide just for you!

We have discussed internet safety with our kids, and the little ones have limited access. We use some blocking tools to keep the kids safe from those nasty images that pop up on the screen or from accidental search results. So the kids are relatively safe and the kids are relatively trained. We want them to be more than relatively safe and relatively trained.

Enter Accountable2You…stage left. (There really is no stage, so don’t get confused. I’m just waxing nostalgic about my old acting days.)

Accountable2You is an accountability service that holds you accountable. (Can you say, “Duh!”) What I like about accountability software is that, rather than making it impossible for, say, your 16-year-old to spend her math time hunting PetFinder for a golden retriever puppy up for adoption, it causes her to determine whether or not that is the best way to use her time. In other words, it teaches responsibility with accountability. I’m all about accountability…and responsibility.

How does it do this?

Accountable2You teaches responsibility by making my aforementioned 16-year-old daughter, for example, accountable for her actions. Everything she does online is reported to the accountability partner we set up who, in this case, is Steve (my man) and me. You can choose your own accountability partner because, no offense, I’m a little busy with my own accountability-ing.


Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}
You know the why of this sort of accountability software. Now the what:

Accountable2You offers four different plans:

Individual Plan:  Do you want to monitor only one person? Perhaps you spend too much time looking at cookie recipes or hunting for puppies when you should be writing reviews of accountability software. You need to be monitored. This plans for you. You can attach up to six devices.

Family Plan: This plan allows up to 20 devices, which is a lot of devices, even for my family! You can monitor several people, including those who may be boarding elsewhere. This plan also enables you to set hours for your kids, so you’re alerted if they’re doing a little after-hours puppy hunting.

Group Plan:  A group is…well…a group. You’re welcome for that explanation. Each person in the group can attach up to six devices. I did not review this plan, but from my understanding, the administrator does not receive user reports, so each family maintains its privacy. The reports are sent to the accountability partner the family chooses rather than the group administrator.

Small Business Plan:  Unlike the Group Plan, administrators of the small business plan receive reports on what their employees are up to during work hours. No puppy hunting on the clock, folks!

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}
What exactly does accountability mean in this case:

I (because so far this hasn’t been beyond even my technical expertise) install the software on all devices I want monitored. It hasn’t been any more difficult than installing an app, so far. (Ignorance disclosure: I don’t know how to install apps on the KindleFire–I’m going to need help with that one, so I put it off.) If you can install, say, PacMan on your device, you can install Accountable2You…and then monitor how much you’ve been playing PacMan.

You select your accountability person. I selected myself, because I was a willing and enthusiastic volunteer. (I may have bribed myself with cookies a little…and the promise of a puppy.) You can select more than one person.

Then, customize your list of objectionable words. My husband would add “puppies” to my list, because he is under the delusion that we’re not getting one and thinks I’m wasting my time by looking for one–silly guy. Perhaps you want to add Minecraft, a teen idol, or diseases to your list if you have a hypochondriac in the house.

Set time limits for each device if you so choose. This is a great way for me personally to be more aware of how much time I spend online.

As the accountability masters, I or my husband receives  hourly reports as soon as something objectionable happens on a device. So within an hour of looking at that darling little golden retriever up up for adoption in Arizona, my husband was giving me the look.

I half-joke about puppies and cookies, but as you must be aware, pornography is a rampant problem that ensnares men and women at young ages. It is huge in the church also. If you know you are accountable to your mother and then your wife or husband for your behavior, won’t that affect what you look at? Won’t that remind you to mind your own behavior, because aren’t we ultimately accountable not only to ourselves and others, but to God? Yes. Yes, we are.

I don’t believe in raising our children (or ourselves) in a bubble, but I firmly believe in protecting them and teaching them to hold themselves accountable. Accountability doesn’t end in childhood. Personal accountability should be a way of life for adults as well–it isn’t, sadly, but it should be. Accountable2You is one tool in the arsenal of staying on the narrow road.

Check it out. I’m off to look at puppies. Don’t tell my husband…although he’ll know within an hour.


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