Grade 4 Curriculum Choices

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I can’t believe my baby is going to be a 4th grader this year. Tater turned 9 a couple weeks ago, and I’m kind of in a permanent state of denial about it. At least she still calls me “mommy” and enjoys being around me. Sigh.

It’s always so much fun to choose curriculum, so I’m excited to start the school year! Here are our curriculum choices for Tater’s 4th grade:

Bible: We are not using a formal curriculum for Bible, but will read Bible stories, study heroes of faith as well as biblical character traits.

Math: We are continuing with Horizons math this year.

Science: We enjoyed Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Astronomy last year, so this year we are using Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics. Tater’s choice…she loves doing science experiments.

Language Arts: We are doing daily Reading Comprehension worksheets, Latin Roots of English, and vocabulary.

Handwriting: No formal curriculum here either…just copywork from Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses.

Spelling: We have loved All About Spelling for Tater’s dysgraphia, and will be continuing with the program.

History: Last year I wrote my own World History curriculum using Living Books. We read almost 900 library books last school year and did corresponding crafts and hands on activities. I will be doing the same thing this year except with US History. I’m really excited!

Literature Read Alouds: All our read alouds correspond with our US History lessons. They will be:
-The Matchlock Gun
-Calico Captive
-Johnny Tremain
-By The Shores of Silver Lake
-Rifles for Watie
-Caddie Woodlawn

Art/Music:
We will be studying US Artists, popular time period music, and will be doing a lot of arts and crafts.

PE: Tater will continue in karate. She loves it and has shown quite an affinity.

Also, Junior will be starting Preschool work this year. We aren’t doing anything formal unless he wants to (I bought him an Apologia notebook to follow along in science), but he is already an eager learner and will be joining us for history, read alouds, and whatever else he wants!

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Book Review: Beloved Hope

Beloved Hope is the second book in Tracie Peterson’s Heart of the Frontier series. (See my review of book one, Treasured Grace).

This second book follows Hope, the middle sister of the three Flanagan girls who survived the Cayuse Massacre at the Whitman Mission in late 1847 (this story is told in book 1). Beloved Hope opens in May 1850, as Hope is wrestling with the memories of the massacre and subsequent captivity because she has been asked to testify in the trial against the Cayuse who were responsible for the deadly attack. At the mission, not only was Hope’s beau John Sager (an actual historical figure) murdered, but she was taken advantage of multiple times during the captivity.

In the two years that has passed, Hope has maintained bitterness and unforgiveness against Tomahas-the Cayuse who stole her innocence–and wants nothing but revenge. She has closed herself to friendships and other relationships, and is convinced that she is no longer capable of loving or being loved.

Army Lieutenant Lance Kenner is stationed in the Oregon City area and has been assigned to keep order during the Cayuse Trial. He meets Hope when the young woman goes to the prison where Tomahas and the other braves are being held with a gun in an attempt to kill Tomahas herself. He is intrigued by this fiery young woman, but Hope has made it very clear that she wants no part in a relationship.

Meanwhile, Lance is struggling with his own feelings of resentment and unforgiveness, and he is stunned to learn that someone close to Hope has ties to the man who killed Lance’s brother. Can Hope and Lance push aside the pain of the past and open themselves up enough to be loved? Or will their bitterness stand in the way of true happiness?

I liked this book quite a bit–it was not nearly as sad as the first book in the series, and instead focusing on hope, second chances, and forgiveness. I enjoyed getting to know Hope, rejoicing with Alex and Grace as Grace as she prepares to give birth to their first child, and watching Mercy mature into a lovely young woman. In fact, I am looking forward to the next book in the series, which I assume will follow Mercy.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Bible Review: Kids Visual Study Bible

9780310758600, NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible, Hardcover, Full Color Interior : Explore the Story of the Bible—People, Places, and HistoryMy daughter is almost 9, so she is ready for a “meatier” Bible, with deeper study notes but she still loves the fun little inserts and bright colors of the younger kid’s Bibles. I was really intrigued with the Kids Visual Study Bible, because it seemed to have the best of both worlds. The Bible, in the NIV translation, is a study Bible that is also chock full of color illustrations and photos, maps, and cultural details of Bible times.

The side 1/3 of each page in this Bible yellow, and includes study notes written for kids to get a better understanding of the verses. The inner 2/3 of each page is the actual Scripture. The visuals in this Bible are great…it includes many lists, timelines, references, and charts and gives a clearer understanding of Bible stories.

My daughter and I were both equally impressed with this Bible. I tend to prefer the NKJV in general, but with the amount of information and commentary this Bible had, it didn’t bother me too much that it was an NIV. Just flipping through it, I really enjoyed the commentary, which gave good information at a child’s level without being too simplistic. The maps and illustrations really helped to bring the Bible alive too. My only minor complaint is that there is no verse index in the back to search for a verse using a specific word. That would have been helpful, but again, this book is well worth it for a child who has outgrown the kiddie Bibles but still wants some colorful features.

*I received a copy of this Bible from Zondervan Publishing and BookLook Bloggers. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Cookbook Review: Food52 Mighty Salads

Like most Americans, I try to eat healthy. I try. I really do. But healthy food has such a bad reputation for being boring and bland. I do love a good salad, however, but it seems like even with the blank canvas of a salad I run into a creative wall and get bored easily.

Luckily, the cookbook and website authors over at Food52 have given us a new cookbook to help with that rut, entitled Mighty Salads: 60 New Ways to Turn Salad into Dinner”. The title is self-explanatory–getting creative with salads to make them more appealing to eat on a regular basis. Think beyond lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese topped with ranch. This cookbook goes way out there and even challenges the definition of a “salad”.

Many of the recipes in Mighty Salads don’t even include lettuce…things like:
-Charred Broccoli and Lentil Salad
-Toasted Farro and Asparagus Salad
-Coconut Rice Salad with Mango, Bell Pepper, and Lime
-Charred Okra Succotash Salad
-Grilled Lobster Salad with Lemon-Thyme Butter
-Grilled Mushroom and Fig Salad

There are 60 Main Dish Salad recipes, as well as many tips, techniques, and dressing recipes along the way. Some of the dressings (because we all know the dressing makes the salad) include:
-Parmesan Vinaigrette
-Lime Vinaigrette
-Phuong’s Peanut Sauce
-Lime Sriracha Dressing
-Creamy Ginger Dressing

Like all the Food52 Cookbooks I’ve read, Mighty Salads continues to push the envelope with innovative recipes and techniques. I thought the photos in this cookbook were outstanding, and the recipes were outside-the-box in a (mostly) good way. This cookbook has shown me that salad doesn’t have to be boring, and that it can be truly satisfying to eat healthy.

*I received a complimentary copy of this cookbook from the publisher and Blogging For Books. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

How Many Tomorrows?

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Have any of you mommas ever had an exchange like this?

“Momma, can you play with me?”

“In a minute buddy, I’m trying to clean.”

“Can we play now?”

“I’m making dinner. Maybe later.”

“Now?”

“It’s too late,  bud. We’ll play tomorrow.”

And then tomorrow comes, and it’s the same thing. “After I get off the phone.” “We have to go to the store first.” “I just need a minute to think. Why don’t you go outside.”

And somehow, tomorrow always becomes tomorrow again. But the saddest truth I have learned as a parent, is that those tomorrows always end. One tomorrow he will not ask to play. One tomorrow he will not want to sneak into your bed just to snuggle. One tomorrow he will not ask for “one more story” or “one more hug. One tomorrow you will realize that you need him more than he needs you.

So today, I will play. I will leave the cleaning for later and hang up the phone. Today I will read. I will put a frozen pizza in the oven and not spend two hours making dinner. I will be present…I will be in today. Because I know that tomorrow they will be another day older, and never again will they be as little as they are today. So I cherish today; the hugs, the kisses, the sticky fingers and toys on the couch. I’ll cherish the noise without getting annoyed and the sound of “momma” spoken in little voices.

I’ll cherish it all today, because tomorrow it might be too late.