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Facebook Party Giveaway: Ratataz

If you are looking for STEAM-themed science kits, you are going to want to check out RATATAZ!

This comprehensive science program has done all the sequencing for you in a way that integrates science concepts across disciplines, so information makes sense and becomes more memorable.
The RATATAZ focus is on teaching kids how to think and not what to think. They believe strongly in helping students develop critical thinking skills, and to foster the natural curiosity that kids have.

Every RATATAZ unit includes a reading, writing, and hands-on experiment section. They integrate reading and writing strategies into science education. One key focus is teaching students how to strategically use opened ended questions to gather more information, just like scientists do.  These open-ended questions leaves plenty of room to explore concepts beyond the RATATAZ science kits. This is where real inquiry and exploration begins. It also comes with an NGSS outline guide, so you can easily identify what concepts have been covered in each unit.

Each subscription box comes complete with the supplies needed for each unit and requires very little setup and prep time.

These kits are designed for student-led activities and facilitation. This decreases parent workload while increasing student comprehension.

Follow RATATAZ on Facebook!

Facebook Party Giveaway: Circle C Adventures

If you are looking for some fun and engaging books, activity guides, and lapbooks for your children ages 6-11, you will want to check out Circle C Adventures! These Wild West themed novels offer exciting literature and language arts learning that your kids will love.


Free E-paper dolls! Six-year-old Andi Carter and her friend Riley, along with their animal friends from the Circle C ranch in 1874. Great for narrating the stories in the Circle C Beginnings series of first chapter books. 

Click here to get your FREE paper dolls!

Special Offers! Circle C Adventures is offering an awesome “Library Special,” which is usually only offered at in-person vendor halls. This year you can get the same deal online. You can get all 35 of the Circle C and Goldtown books for only $190. The regular retail price of this collection is $268, so that’s a savings of $78! You even get free priority shipping for your new collection! Click here to check this deal out. 

Coupon Code: Use code BUNDLE2021 to take an extra $10 off the already discounted year-long curriculum bundles. Click here to check those out.

Coupon code: Use code BOOKSETS2021 to get free shipping on the discounted book sets found here. Clickety-click!

 

Facebook Party Giveaway: The Long Shadow

Are you wondering how to teach about the racial conflicts going on now in America? This book could give you a good springboard for discussion, especially using the free discussion questions provided by the author, a veteran homeschooling mom.

You will want to check out a new novel called The Long Shadow by Phyllis Wheeler. This is an anti-racist time-travel tale for kids ages 12-14.

Fourteen-year-old Richie, from white suburbia, thinks it is a good idea to run away from his guardian – until he finds himself whisked back 50 years, fighting to survive a freak storm, and afraid to accept help from a black man.

“Part survival story, part exploration of racial justice in America, part journey of self-discovery, and wholly engaging and memorable. A well done and powerful story. It is certainly stuck in my head.”—Joe Corbett, school librarian, St. Louis

“A powerful message wrapped in a page-turner.” —Cherie Postill, author, speaker, and mentor for teens at the St. Louis Writers Guild

“Heartwarming and heartbreaking, Richie’s story is a shining example of how taking a chance on unlikely friendships is the best way to break down the barriers we build.” —Jill Williamson, award-winning author of the Blood of Kings trilogy

“Sometimes we need to escape our own time and place to walk a few miles in someone else’s shoes. Phyllis Wheeler’s The Long Shadow will open your eyes, rend your heart, and take you on an invaluable journey.” —Wayne Thomas Batson, bestselling author of The Door Within Trilogy.

Wheeler’s sensitivity reader, St. Louis writer LaShaunda Hoffman, finds that the black characters are portrayed with dignity: “It was a good history lesson without being offensive to anyone.”

Why did the author feel impelled to write this book? “I grew up in a variety of mostly white neighborhoods in various places,” says Wheeler. “I moved to highly segregated St. Louis. Then, soon after we married, my husband and I decided to buy a house in a black neighborhood. We lived there twenty years and raised our four children there. We had black neighbors who folded us into their lives, their community.”

Living in a black neighborhood is not something most white people have done. “I wrote this book, hoping to encourage more people of any color to reach out to get to know someone different,” says Wheeler.

Published by Elk Lake Publishing Inc., an award-winning Christian publisher. Find out more about the book here.

This book will be available starting June 1, 2021.

FREEBIE:  You want to bring up booklovers, but you’re also wondering how you can pre-read all those books in the library. Phyllis and Sarah at Bringing Up Booklovers are here to help! Find their middle grade book reviews for homeschoolers on Youtube at Bringing Up Booklovers.

Today we have a special freebie for you: get their Top Ten list of middle grade books. Click here to go get yours. ($10 value)

P.S. There’s also ANOTHER freebie you can sign up for. It’s a short story that’s great for middle schoolers. Click here to go get yours.

Planning When Life is No Longer Normal

This is a guest post by Sue Hooley. Sue is a longtime homeschooling mother of six and the creator of the Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner. You can read my review and watch my show and tell video about this planner here.

 

I remember the morning when I opened my planner, and nothing written applied to where I lived nor what I should do next. I was a displaced missionary and my days did not have the typical demands. For a while, the unexpected vacation was delightful, but before long I felt lost in nothingness.

Universally, we experienced rearranged schedules in 2020. In a way, women received the brunt of the chaos. Without warning, we became homeschooling moms who prepared huge amounts of food, day after week after month. As a bonus all the coffee shops were closed, and other rejuvenating pleasures disappeared.  

 

Homemakers are a flexible bunch that learn to roll with the surprises. We erase, reschedule and juggle duties on a regular basis. It is not unusual to start the day with “Plan A,” and shift to “Plan B” to deal with interruptions.

But what about limbo? That uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution? The time when you cannot plan for next week or next month? My brain tends to run in circles, and it is hard to focus. It seems impossible to plan anything when schedules are demolished. Meanwhile, my planner silently reminds me of predictable days gone by.

 

A planner primarily helps to organize days and duties. But a planner is equally helpful when days and duties cannot be organized. It may help you stay motivated and replace the emptiness with purpose. Your planner entries become a peculiar mix of “to do,” “maybe” and “did.” Small, attainable goals will help you be productive. There is not a quick fix to abnormal times, but here are a few tools to get you going.  

 

Schedule an out. Limbo can be mentally overwhelming and sometimes clouds of depression hover. Schedule something refreshing. Write “Thirty-minute break,” (or longer). I needed this when I was homeschooling, and other adult family members were in and out of the house. After thirty minutes of quietness, my brain was clearer. Maintaining sanity is important. Find time to do what refreshes you. 

 

Keep track of the days. Scribble daily notes on the now unscheduled planner slots. Record the weather, news tidbits, current events, with whom you talked, etc. Tracking your days will give you a historical record of what happened during unusual times. It is amusing to read old planner notes during limbo. Did I really need to write “wash my hair?”

 

Swap disappointment for creativity. It is hard to erase anticipated events, but you can use the tasks list to write creative replacements.   One friend wrote me, “It was sad our Canadian relatives couldn’t come to the family reunion, but we made the best of it. Every day we wrote an email and sent pictures to those missing, including some quotes and funny quips.”

 

Write down what must be done.  During disruptive times, laundry and food preparation can be a comforting routine or a bothersome obstacle. If I write those duties in my planner, it helps clear the brain fog in those areas. Plus, I am doing something that is routine. I fill my planner with little things that can so easily be forgotten. Buy stamps. Ask when meeting starts. Pay Mary $20.00. Do not forget to schedule fun. Go for family hikes or buy a new flavor of ice cream. 

 

Try something new. It is good to have something to aim for.  In the middle of shutdown, I learned how to make artisan bread. One of my friends learned how to design a photo book online. It is easy to let days slip by and all we do is wish for normal life. Limbo can bring unexpected gifts of time and pleasure. Text photos or inspiration to friends, get physical exercise, trade audio books with others, read the Little House Series to your children or have an indoor or outdoor picnic.

 

Remember you are not a superwoman. Abnormal living can affect our energy levels. Somedays you will be physically and mentally weary. Typically, we arrange duties in a way that makes sense for our household. Abnormality replaces sense with disorder. Give yourself time to work through new issues. Take note of what is causing the most brain drain and find ways to minimize the pressure. Sometimes a talk with a friend gives encouragement, a new perspective, and fresh ideas.

 

If we mindfully plan our day, we benefit ourselves and our family. We can productively use our time for what is most important regardless of our circumstances.

This is a great planner for busy moms! Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner


I was first introduced to the Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner in 2018, and I have been a big fan of it ever since. In fact, this is the planner I use to keep my homemaking, homeschooling, mothering, appointments, and business tasks straight. Yes, even for a very busy person, this planner covers everything I need, without giving me a bunch of stuff I don’t need.

This is a sponsored post that I am very excited to share with you, because I use this planner just about every single day.

I like the smart and thoughtful design that went into creating this planner. I can tell that it was made by a mom like me, for moms like you and me. Sue Hooley brought this project to life based on what she needed as a busy wife, mother of six, and missionary. You’ll notice right away how practical it is.

Each year Sue has a theme for the planner, and the theme for 2021 is so perfect during these uncertain times. It’s “Flowing with change” and you’ll find encouraging quotes and Bible verses throughout the planner to remind you of this goal.

In the welcome message at the beginning of the planner Sue shares this quote that really resonated with me. “Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” Yes, indeed, we have all been learning that lesson in 2020!

I know that a lot of people like to bedazzle their planners with stickers, markers, washi tape, and so forth. I’m sure if that’s something that you enjoy, you can use this planner in that way. But for me, I am not a bedazzler and enjoy the clean, thoughtful layout and peaceful quotes and colors throughout.

This planner has everything I need, both as a homemaker, a homeschool parent, and a business owner. Here are some of the highlights:

  • It looks pretty without being overwhelming
  • The spiral binding allows it to lay flat
  • The size can easily fit in my purse, tote bag, or back pack

There are just enough sections to be useful, without getting carried away. You can check out my video below for a full show and tell tour.

The Weekly Planning area is what I use the most. Each week has a two-page spread. I like that there’s a space for general tasks that don’t necessarily need to be specified by day. I also appreciate that there is space for about ten items in the daily To Do area. This helps stop me from creating a completely unrealistic (and disappointing) list of far too many things to accomplish in a day and keeps me focused on a realistic amount of most important things.

There’s also space to notate what’s on the menu for the day. Save yourself the brain space and have that planned out in advance. Each day you’ll know what your plan is, if anything need to be thawing or in the crock pot, or moved from freezer to fridge in preparation for later in the week.

Each purchase of the Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner includes a FREE Bonus downloadable menu planner for the year, so you can literally map out your meal plan for the coming year and be free from the 4 o’clock “Oh no! What’s for dinner?”

Other categories include:

Monthly Calendar

Great for reminding yourself of tasks for later in the year when you aren’t exactly sure what week or day you’ll be doing them on. This works for seasonal jobs, homeschool planning, things like tax season, birthday or Christmas shopping, or plans for a business

 

Yearly Calendar provides a good spot for keeping track of all the birthdays, anniversaries, and other noteworthy events.

Tasks List
This area provides plenty of pages for you to use however you see fit, and the spiral binding allows you to neatly remove pages once you’re done with them.

Projects and Events

These pages are great for when you want to make a plan for a holiday meal, birthday party, garden planning, or other upcoming events. I like to keep track of menus we used for big meals like Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I can easily refer back to it to know what portions worked for what size groups. Huge time saver for me!

Information

This section is great for phone numbers, keeping track of all the clothing and shoe sizes in the family, and other bits and pieces of info you’ll sometimes need in a hurry.

Shopping Lists
I love this section! Each page has three vertical columns that are  perforated. You can easily keep a running list of what you need to get at the store, and neatly rip off that column when it’s time to go on your errands. This is especially helpful to me for times when I’m accumulating a list for an unusual errand, such as Lowe’s or Home Depot, since it gives me  a spot to accumulate the list of items I’ll need to get when I finally go there.

Handy pocket in the back for bills, letters to be sent, birthday cards that you’re having the family sign, etc.

They have an annual subscription!  When you enroll in their subscription program you’ll get a discount on the regular price, and know that you’ll have your new planner in hand in the fall of each year so you won’t miss a beat on staying organized. To set this up you can email planner@christianlight.org

You can order your planner from Homemaker’s Depot and you’ll get a FREE coordinating menu planner as well!

P.S. I gave away one of these planners to a lovely lady named Melanie. She told me that she had struggled to ever make using a planner successful for her, but she was willing to try. I got a great testimonial from her that she said I could share with you, so here it is:

“I am really enjoying my planner. At first, I didn’t like how small the calendar book was but now that I have been using it, I like it just the way it is. I also like how everything important stays in the little book. For example, the last time I was in town, I had planned to do a big shopping trip so I brought my list…that was still in the book. But then we didn’t have time to do our big shopping. I only had time to grab a few needed items. In the past, somehow, I don’t know how but I would have lost my list by the time I got home. Then I would have needed to start all over but as it was, my list was/is safely in my book still. So I have just been adding as we think of new things that we need. Another example, for my kids birthday we always take the school day off. It is our special holiday. 😉😊 They also get to pick the meals for the day. Normally, I have to ask them several times because I lose the meal list. Not this year, it was safely in my book at all times.😉😊. It makes me feel organized!!😊😊”

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