Monday, October 31, 2011

My Memories Suite Winner!

Late last night (or rather, I guess it was really early this morning), I used to pick a winner for the My Memories Suite giveaway.

Entry #7 was posted by lifeonahomestead -- October 30, 2011 at 5:22 pm.

Thank you everyone for entering! If you didn't win and would like to order My Memories Suite software, you can use the discount code STMMMS49512 to get a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software (regularly $39.97) and a $10 credit in the MyMemories store.

Goal Planning Monday

Now that we're back from vacation, I'm setting off in full catch-up and get-ahead for the holidays mode.

I've found that I make more progress if I have a goal in mind so I'm going to join the Mama Manuscripts Goal Planning Monday meme this week. I'll be back next Monday to report my progress.

Here are my goals for this week (in no particular order):

1. Finish putting away all of the stuff from vacation.

2. Re-organize medicines and medical supplies.

3. Clean off my dresser and put all the jewelry where it belongs.

4. Finish making a meal plan for this month, hopefully with recipes and shopping lists. (Yay for e-mealz.)

5. Clean kitchen before bed each night.

6. Plan and set out school assignments each evening.

7. Christmas projects -- I have a coupon code that expires November 6th.

8. Take stuff to Goodwill (aka move huge pile out of the floor of my bedroom).

9. Find a new pediatrician for Lauren.

10. Work on new chore assignments and a schedule.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Moments to Cherish

I could share hundreds of pictures that we took last week while we were at Disney World. I'm sure I'll share lots more over the next few weeks, but tonight I want to share a few special moments -- a few of those moments that I'll treasure.

I sent this text to a friend shortly after leaving our hotel the first morning: "You can understand a teary eyed mom pushing her princess to Epcot. There were days that I never would've imagined this."

All of us will remember when we walked over to ride the Tea Cups, and Alice in Wonderland asked the kids if she could ride with them. I looked over at one point, and I'm not sure if Brennan or Alice was trying harder to make it spin.

She's a lucky little girl to have two big kids to take such good care of her. She'd often opt to ride beside them on the fast rides (aka rollercoasters) instead of with a parent.

I never ceased to be amazed at the way all of the Disney castmembers went out of their way to say something nice to Lauren, and I don't think she ever got tired of being called Princess. Princess Aurora taught her how to hold her skirt and pose for pictures.

As Lauren met more of the characters and collected more autographs, she would get more excited about meeting them. I loved to see the way her face lit up during the parades and to hear her shout out to all of the characters that came by.

Sleep tight, my tired little princess...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Review: Educating the WholeHearted Child

How do I tell you about the best homeschool book that I've read in ages? How can I even start to describe the way I was touched and encouraged? How do I convey the way that this book didn't meet my expectations in one way but far exceeded anything I hoped for in so many other ways?

Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson truly is all that and more.

PhotobucketConfession time: When I found out that I would get to review this book, I didn't fully check out the product information page here. If I had, I would have known that the book is nearly 380 pages long. I could've even read the sample chapter and known that this was not a typical education book. This book isn't about teaching your child the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic as I first assumed. It's not about how to stay sane while teaching one child algebra and keeping another child from coloring over her big brother's geography map either.

Instead, Educating the WholeHearted Child is about creating a Christian home and teaching your child to serve God "with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind." (Taken from 1 Chronicles 28:9, the words David spoke to his son Solomon near the end of his life)

Perhaps the best way to let you, the reader, know if this book would touch you the way it touches me is to share a few of the many passages that I've underlined in my now dog-eared copy.

p. 42 "You will never be able to live up to either the real or imagined expectations you place on yourself and your children. Don't even try! Make it your goal to please God in your homeschool, not other people. If you are truly seeking to please God in all that you do at home, that is the reputation that matters to Him and the one that should matter most to you."

p. 75 "The true test of a child's education is not what they know at any one time relative to what other children know (or don't know). It is whether or not the child is growing stronger in all of the most important learning skills -- the skills that enable them to acquire knowledge, insight, and ability and to educate themselves independently."

p. 213 "Reading is much more than simply an academic discipline. It is the doorway between a life of dependence on other people on one side and a life of spiritual and personal freedom on the other."

p. 285 "No one has to remind you that your home domain can quickly get out of control and need to be subdued. That's why you need some principles, priorities, and convictions that will help you bring order and structure to your lifestyle. It's like laying out a garden so you'll know what goes where, when, how much, and what will be needed to keep it all healthy."

p. 310 "Motherhood is not a sentimental journey but a challenging marathon characterized by acts of giving -- giving to, giving over, giving away, giving in, giving out, and occasionally, when not enough is taken in, giving up. And that last one is the real challenge of the homeschooling lifestyle -- how to stay refreshed and replenished as a mother so you can keep giving out, without giving up."

I could share hundreds of other quotes. This definitely isn't a book that I read through quickly. I read a section, went back to underline a few things I wanted to refer back to, thought about it, then thought about it some more, and then read on a bit father. I know that I will be reading through this book many, many times as we continue homeschooling our children. If ever there was a book that was in danger of being read so much that it falls apart, this book is it.

Educating the WholeHearted Child is available from Apologia and can be ordered for only $22. I have also truly enjoyed reviewing a few other books offered by Apologia,  including Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson (see my review here) and How to Have a H.E.A.R.T for Your Kids by Rachel Carman (my review here).

If you'd like to hear what the other members of the review crew thought about Educating the WholeHearted Child, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here.

I received a copy of Educating the WholeHearted Child as a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Review: Say Anything Family


PhotobucketOur family was lucky enough to receive not just one North Star Games product to review this year, but two. I cannot tell you how excited my kids were when they tore open that box and found two new games.

Earlier today I posted a review of Wits and Wagers Family by North Star Games (here). Say Anything Family was just as big a hit with my family, and it perhaps even squeaked ahead to claim the spot as "favoritest" game we've played in a long time.

How to Play:
Each player chooses a color and receives a marker board and two colored tokens. For each round, one person gets a turn to ask the question.The "asker" gets to choose from three question options, all of which are open-ended or opinion questions.

The remaining players write an answer on their marker board and place it face-up in the middle of the playing area. No duplicate answers are allowed; first come, first serve. In our family, that rule sometimes means you have to write (scribble) quickly.

After all the answers are placed, the player that originally asked the question uses the Selectomatic 6000 to record their favorite answer. (The Selectomatic 6000 is simply a cardboard circle with a spinner that you move to your choice. It sounds so much cooler if you call it "The Selectomatic 6000" in your best TV announcer voice.)

After asker picks a favorite, the other players use their tokens to vote according to which answer they thought the question-asker picked. You can see both the answer cards and our tokens above.

Scoring is fairly straight forward. After all tokens are placed, the asker reveals the choice that was selected on the Selectomatic 6000. The person who wrote that answer gets a point. Other players receive points for each of their tokens on the chosen answer. The question-asker/answer-chooser gets up to three points for the number of tokens on the chosen answer board.

After each person has a chance to be the asker two times, the points are tallied and the game is over.

What we loved about Say Anything Family:

* Fun for all ages. We played games with just the kids, kids and parents, and even a few games of kids, parents, and grandparents. All were fun games, and we all had a blast.

Lauren is technically under the 8+ age recommendation, but she is able to play with a little help writing her answers. She loves this game so much that she woke up one morning begging to play, even though she and I were the only ones awake. She persisted, and I found myself playing with Lauren and several imaginary friends before I even had my first sip of coffee. Needless to say I lost. (I suspect that there was some sort of conspiracy amongst Lauren, Lenny, and Jose. I didn't stand a chance.)

* Builds great thinking skills. You have to think about an answer the asker would pick, not just write down a good response. For instance, one question we had asked which TV character would make a good teacher. My dad was the asker that round, and I knew he would be more likely to pick Andy Griffith than a modern day character. The more that you can put yourself in the other players' shoes, the better you will do.

* Doesn't have to be taken seriously. The open-ended questions lend themselves to all sorts of answers -- some serious, and in our family, a whole lot of not-so-serious. For instance, we were once asked, "What two flavors would make the worst ice-cream combination?" Our answers: sardines and caramel, cockroaches and peanuts, earwax and vomit, turnips and liver, spinach and cauliflower. There are definitely times when we say anything.

North Star Games has created several fun games for families, including both Say Anything Family and Wits and Wagers Family. (Note: they also have adult versions of those games, but I haven't seen them and can't vouch for their appropriateness.) According to their website, North Star Games are available at Target, Borders, and most specialty toy stores. They also have an online store finder to locate a store in your area. Say Anything Family retails for $19.99.

If you'd like to hear how much the other members of the review crew enjoyed Say Anything Family, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here.

I received a Say Anything Family board game as a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.


Review: Wits and Wagers Family


One of the fun things about being on The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew is the opportunity to review games and other fun educational activities. Most of those would appeal to all families, not just families that homeschool. Wits and Wagers Family by North Star Games is one of the new favorites at our house.

How to Play:
We found that Wits and Wagers Family is best played with at least three players, and more players often meant more fun. When we had more than 6 people wanting to play, a few people simply partnered up and worked as one.

One player reads a question. Some of the examples we heard were:
* On average, how many new dinosaur species are discovered each year?
* What percent of US households have at least 1 pet cat?
* What percent of messages on Twitter are classified as "Pointless Babble"?
* How many stars were on the flag that inspired The Star Spangled Banner?

As you can tell, all of the questions can (and must) be answered with a number. Each person writes their number on their colored game board, and then the boards are arranged from smallest to largest.

Then everyone uses their colored meeples (pictured at right) to vote for the answer they think is closest to the correct answer without going over. My husband said, "Just like The Price is Right," but we had to explain that reference to our kids.

When the correct answer is revealed, the person that wrote the correct answer gets a point, and every meeple on that card gets points (1 point for the mini-meeple and 2 for the big one).

The score is kept for up to 12 rounds, enough chances for each player to read two questions for the group.

Thing we really liked about Wits and Wagers Family:
* It uses dry erase boards, and therefore we don't need to track down scrap paper to keep score. There's also no chance of running out of specially-designed score sheets.
* We like the fun of using the meeples to vote on the answer you think is correct. I like that you can give one guess more weight than the other. If you're confident that you know the right answer, you can go "all in" and put both of your meeples on the same answer.
* You can score points even if you can't answer correctly on your own.
* Most of the questions aren't common knowledge. It's more about fun guesses than knowing trivia, and nobody felt dumb for not knowing the right answer.

North Star Games has created several other games that would appeal to families. (My review of Say Anything Family is here.) According to their website, North Star Games are available at Target, Borders, and most specialty toy stores. Wits and Wagers Family retails for $19.99, and you can use their online locator to find a store near you.

If you'd like to hear what the other members of the review crew thought about Wits and Wagers, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here. 

I received a Wits and Wagers board game as a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Read-Aloud Challenge -- October 20, 2011

I'm quite embarrassed. I haven't linked up with the Read-Aloud Challenge at Footprints in the Butter for the past several weeks. Thankfully, I'm better at reading to my children than I am at taking the time to share each week.

Addison, Brennan, and I are still working our way through Rifles for Watie. I love the way that we can really get drawn into a longer book and see the main characters develop as the story progresses.

Lauren and I finished My Father's Dragon. Since we drug our feet through this one, we decided not to move on to the other books in the series. Instead, she noticed the Little House on the Prairie series that I have on the bookshelf and begged me to read it next. In fact, she willingly listened to the end of My Father's Dragon one night because I promised to read Little House in the Big Woods the next morning. So far, we're only two chapters into the book, but she already seems more interested.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday with Philip Johnny Bob

Apparently Philip Johnny Bob has learned a lot by just sitting in the sun room while Lauren and I do her schoolwork. He was able to read all of her word cards last week.

Trivia question: Where did Philip Johnny Bob (the orange elephant) get his name?

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Memories Review and Giveaway

Some time last month I had a note on my calendar that it was 100 days until Christmas. That reminder was supposed to encourage me to start working on my gift ideas sooner rather than later this year. I'm normally rushing in December to get my calendar and photo books finished so that I won't be late for Christmas. All too often, the gifts get finished, but I know that I could do a better (or fancier) job if I took more time with them. I now know that it might not even take me more time -- I just needed better tools.

My Memories Suite digital scrapbooking software makes photo projects so fun and easy that I might just finish all of my gifts before December. 

Here's the first page that I tried. It will go into the calendars we make for members of our extended families. I downloaded the program, picked my favorite pictures from last February, and then slid them into a predesigned template. I originally put a simple solid color background on the page, but later I went back and downloaded a free shabby paper back to add a bit of color and texture to the page.

Once I figured out how to download all sorts of extras, I really started having fun. I'm really happy with the way this page turned out, and it probably didn't take more than 15 minutes from start to finish (including deciding which photos were my favorites).

I think this next page would make an awesome gift for my daughter. I'll probably print it out in an 8x8 inch size and frame it so that she can remember her camp days last summer. Or, maybe I'll pull together some of the other camp pictures and make a big collage of all the great pictures. If I did that, I could include all the great snapshots we have of her hanging out with her old friends from DC.

Be sure to spend some time poking around the My Memories website. Not only does it have great online tutorials here, I could spend hours looking at the inspiration section of the website. In fact, if I spent as much time creating my own digital pages as I do looking at all the really cool things other people have done, most of my Christmas projects would be done by now.

I better get working....

If you'd like to use My Memories Suite software to create Christmas gifts for your family, you can order it here. If you use the discount code STMMMS49512, you'll get a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software (regularly $39.97) and a $10 credit in the MyMemories store.

Or, if you're willing to wait a few weeks to find out if you won, you can enter my giveaway to win a copy for free!

I'm going to make this giveaway easy to enter so that you can spend extra time looking at the digital photos you've already taken and thinking about how awesome they'd look scrapbooked into either a photobook or calendar. Simply visit MyMemories and leave me a comment telling me what product you'd most like to use -- either an album template, digital kit, a cute embellishment, or whatever. You could even look at the MyMemories gallery and tell me the cutest page you found.

Contest ends Sunday 10/30/11 at 11:59 pm (CST). The winner will be randomly chosen and will receive a free download of the MyMemories software (a $39.97 value) and a $10 credit in the MyMemories store.

Disclaimer: I received a free download of the MyMemories Suite and a $10 credit in their store so that I could write this digital scrapbooking review. All opinions are my own, and I received no other compensation for this review. I do, however, receive a small monetary compensation for any reader that uses my discount code to purchase their own software.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Review: Visual Latin


Contrary to popular belief, my children do not study Latin simply because I have an evil desire to torture them. In fact, if you saw the Latin program that they've been using for the past several weeks, you'd agree that it was not torture.

Why I am so impressed with Visual Latin:

1. Visual Latin takes an approach that builds understanding first, vocabulary later.
I like their whole approach to teaching Latin -- understanding first, vocabulary later. After learning a sentence, we can substitute in easy vocabulary to make our own sentences instead of just knowing random Latin words. For instance, the first lesson covers being verbs (I am, he is, etc). The worksheet lesson for part A has the student translating basic sentences such as Sumus in Italia. (We are in Italy.) The second worksheet asks the student to fill in the correct form of the verb in simple sentences. Definitions for any unfamiliar words are included on the page.

Addison really likes the third portion of each lesson, the worksheet where you translate a Latin Bible passage into English. Some of the vocabulary is provided, but the student is expected to know some words and how they are being used in the passage. In the first lesson, one of the verses translates into "God is good." The words God and good are listed in the vocabulary box, but the student is expected to understand and translate the Latin word for is. The translation exercise in lesson 10 is nearly 20 sentences taken from the story of creation. A sample sentence from that page translates, "The earth is beautiful and good." At this point, the student is familiar with enough Latin words that a vocabulary section is not necessary.

2. The video lessons are amazing.
At least I think they're amazing. I've watched video lessons for several different subjects. I know that all of the instructors are passionate about what they teach, but it doesn't always seem that way in the videos. In the Visual Latin lessons, you can tell that Dwane Thomas loves teaching Latin.

You can also tell that he likes making Latin enjoyable, even funny at times. My children apparently don't share my sense of humor and often failed to appreciate his somewhat nerdy jokes. I guess that's their loss. I thought his comments about the "confusative case" to be quite funny.

We enjoyed some of the added information that he included, interesting facts that make Latin more real and less academic. For instance, in the fifth lesson, he mentions how Romans didn't have capital letters or punctuation. They also didn't leave spaces between their words. After hearing this, Brennan declared, "I want to write in Roman." He thinks I'd quit fussing about the sloppy state of some of his assignments if he didn't have to worry about those pesky little punctuation and capitalization rules in English.


3. Visual Latin's convenient format is perfect for my family.
We reviewed the Visual Latin lessons in their download format. I loaded the videos onto my iPod, and Brennan was excited to get permission to use it as part of his schoolwork. On a different occasion, we watched the video together on the computer screen. I am able to view iPod movies on our main TV, but it wasn't ever as convenient for us to do Latin that way.

The worksheets that accompany the video lessons are well-done. I found that it provided enough practice with the new concepts, but most pages did not require so much writing that my children complained about it. The translation exercise was sometimes a bit lengthy, and I often took dictation for Brennan on those days.

From a parent perspective, I appreciated that the worksheets were more than just the homework that accompanies the information in the video. Brennan didn't always catch on to the Latin grammar concepts the first time that they were presented, and I was able to use the information included on the worksheet to help review it with him. I also like that the worksheets were pdf files. More than once I reprinted a worksheet that was either lost or that needed to be redone.

Finally, I like that the Visual Latin lessons are sold in sets of 10. As most homeschool families know, there are always programs that sound so great but completely flop when I try to use them with my own kids. There are other products that end up getting pushed to the side when life gets in the way of the best of intentions. For me, I like being able to use 10 lessons and then evaluate whether we should move on to the next 10 lessons.

If you are interested in knowing why (or at least some of the reasons why) I want my children to learn Latin, you'd be interested in seeing Dwane Thomas's short video "Why Study Latin?". It is available as part of the sample Visual Latin lessons that can be downloaded here.

Visual Latin is suitable for older elementary students and can be used for part of a High School Latin course as well. If you'd like all the specifics of how to count it for High School credits, be sure to check out Visual Latin's All the Specs in One Place page. Downloaded lessons cost $25 for each set of 10 lessons; lessons on DVD are slightly higher.

If you'd like to hear how much the other members of the review crew thought about Visual Latin, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here.

I received the download version of the first ten Visual Latin lessons as a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Review: E-Mealz


I was a bit skeptical when I found out that I was chosen to review the E-mealz menu planning resource, but I ended up falling in love with the program.

Planning meals for my family is a difficult task. I eat a completely gluten-free and milk-free diet, and I also watch the carb content of the meals to manage my diabetes. My middle child has a life-threatening peanut allergy which also limits the products we use. Thankfully, all of my kids are fairly adventurous in terms of trying new foods. We all have a few favorite dishes that I fix, but nobody likes repeating a meal very often.

E-mealz advertises that it's as easy as 1, 2, 3...

1. Pick a plan. When I signed up for E-mealz, I chose the gluten-free plan for any store. There are tons of other options, but it seemed like a simple choice given my diet restrictions.

2. Print and go shopping. I made this step a bit harder than it would normally have to be. I knew that we had several outside commitments and therefore I didn't need to cook seven dinner meals that week. I crossed off a few meals, made the easy adjustments to the printed shopping list, and then went shopping.

3. Cook and enjoy. This step was the one that worried me the most. I worried about the size of the meals because I normally serve more side dishes than E-mealz includes. I worried that my family wouldn't like the new recipes. I worried that the meals would be too much effort or take too much time.

The verdict: Lots of thumbs up in our house!

We did indeed have enough food to feed my hungry family. There were some nights when we even had leftovers.

I learned a lot by cooking according to the E-mealz plan. I learned that it's really not that difficult or time-consuming to grill food. I used to always leave those meals for weekend nights when I could delegate the grilling to my husband. I also learned that sometimes simple food is good enough. My family has a favorite hamburger recipe that I sometimes fix, but nobody complained when I made hamburgers according to the easier E-mealz directions.

We all found new favorites. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was the way that my husband and all three of the kids loved the Spinach Quiche recipe. I've already fixed it again with one of our old favorite entrees.

E-mealz is a subscription based service that costs $15 for a 3 month subscription. My husband noted that it was quite a bargain if you consider that most cookbooks cost at least that much. Cookbooks don't often come with neatly printed plans and shopping lists, either.

You can find all of the basic facts about E-mealz on their Frequently Asked Questions page.

If you'd like to hear how much the other members of the review crew thought about E-Mealz, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here. Warning: many of us started taking pictures of the meals we fixed. I assume no responsibility if you start reading other reviews and then drool on your keyboard.

I received a three-month subscription to E-Mealz as a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the program and how it worked for my homeschool family.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review: Raising Real Men

I remember a time when I had absolutely no clue what I was doing when it came time to raise a boy. I know girls -- me, my little sister, several hundred freshman girls that lived in the dorms with me, my oldest child, etc. When Brennan was a baby, I was still doing pretty good.

But then, before I knew it, I had a toddler -- a boy toddler.

Some things I could understand.

Things like chocolate

and playing outside.

I even learned to play with action figures.

But I'm not sure I ever figured out boys. I'm certain I never figured out what was going on the day I took this picture.

I wish I had read Raising Real Men years ago. (It's a new book, but I definitely could've used the information in it years ago.)

Hal and Melanie Young have six boys of their own and understand the challenges of raising boys. I definitely relate to their statement on page 24, "When we look at the foolishness and immaturity of our little boys we have a hard time recognizing the men they will become."

Perhaps that's the most important theme of the whole book. The idea is not to be a parent that survives each day without completely going insane. The idea is to raise Godly men.

The book starts out by talking about manly virtues.
"And what are the manly virtues?

In many cases, they're the same things we complain about in our boys: competitiveness, aggression, a desire for adventure (commonly called recklessness?). We may admire the independent spirit of man but grind our teeth when exhibited by our son. How about messy, scary ideas like heroism, courage, endurance, fortitude? Real men should be protectors, persistent, honorable, and intrepid. There's precious little that's neat and nothing that's quiet about those things." (p. 27)

Our society needs real men, but all too often we discourage the activities that build strong character for our boys.

We discourage risk taking and warn our boys to "be careful."

We don't take enough opportunities to let our sons develop their own sense of adventure.

Please don't misunderstand. This book isn't telling parents to let their sons run wild and get away with all sorts of uncivilized behaviors. "Raising manly men doesn't mean raising barbarians. Men can and should be civilized." (p. 126) Some of the best parts of the book talk about how to cultivate manly virtues while also teaching our sons to fit in well with our society.

In this book, the Youngs share how they taught their sons to interact in society, to lead their families, and to serve God. There are so many useful tidbits of information shared in these pages. I'll share one that particularly rang true with me.

"Boys really need a goal, some purpose for the day. She learned that giving them a list can help them see what has to be done and allow them to be in charge of doing it. It also gives them hope that there really is an end to the school day, if they don't prolong it themselves." (p. 152) I figured this out with Brennan a few years ago, after spending several years butting heads and trying to drag him along as we slogged through his school assignments each day. That's why I rarely start a school day with Brennan without either a written schedule or filled workboxes. I wish I could've skipped over the years of arguing and dawdling and started with a schedule from the beginning.

Throughout the book, Hal and Melanie Young talk about the Biblical principal laid out in Luke 16:10: "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much." (NIV) As their boys grew up, they'd give them small tasks so that they could develop responsiblity. As they showed themselves worthy of that trust, they were allowed to take on more responsibilities. With greater responsibility, the children were given more freedom. This model allows their children to develop the skills necessary to become an independent (and successful) adult.

Of course, I still have days where I want to pull my head out. I also find myself thinking, "What in the world is going through his head?" I've also learned that moms of boys often say things that I never thought I'd say. Now that I've read Raising Real Men I understand it all a bit better, and I try not to let it get me down. Most importantly, I no longer try to fit my boy into my preconceived notions that were largely based on my experiences with girls..

My bottom line: If you have a son, you need to buy this book. Read it, and then read it again. Turn down the corners of a few pages (or a lot of pages) and highlight your favorite passages. Refer back to it when you're pulling your hair out because your son is acting like... well... I guess acting like a boy, right? Refer to it also on the days when you think about the future and when you pray about the man your son will grow up to be.

The Youngs ended Raising Real Men with the hope, "May we all become the parents of godly heroes." That's my prayer for my son and for all the other boys I know and love.

Raising Real Men can be purchased from Timberdoodle, one of my favorite online stores for educational materials. What I love most about Timberdoodle is that they have found all of the coolest products to make our school days (and entire lives) more fun. In addition to homeschool supplies, you can find parenting helps and boy-friendly products for outdoor learning.

Even if you aren't a homeschooler, you really should stop by and request a free homeschool catalog. Their products make excellent gifts!

Disclaimer: As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of Raising Real Men in exchange for a frank and unbiased review. You can find other reviews of Raising Real Men on the Because Mom Said blog.
Because Mom Said


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