Monday, June 30, 2014

Obscure Bible Heroes {Blogging Through The Alphabet - J}

J is for Jochebed

Many Bible readers are familiar with the story of Moses - how he was born into an Israelite family of slaves in Egypt. We know of his narrow escape from certain death as a baby. We remember how he grew up in Pharaoh's house, and eventually returned to his Hebrew roots to lead the nation of Israel out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and to the brink of their new home in the Promised Land. 

How often do we think of his mother - that dear woman who bore him, hid him, protected him from death, and wholeheartedly trusted God to keep him safe as she gave him up to Pharaoh's daughter? That amazing woman was Jochebed, named in Exodus 6:20 as the mother of Moses.

I like reading about Jochebed in Exodus 2:2-10:

2 "And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.
3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.
4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.
5 And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.
6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children.
7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?
8 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother.
9 And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.
10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water."

It is difficult for me to even imagine the pain in this mother's heart as she gave birth to her son, knowing the edict from Pharaoh that all baby boys must be immediately killed. I recently mentioned the Hebrew midwives and the courage they showed to save these babies, but Jochebed completely took matters in her own hands when her son was born. She had a vision of what he could be, and put her life on the line to hide him away from the evil that was around her, trying to snuff out his life.

When it became apparent that she could no longer keep the baby hidden, she made a bold, daring, and drastic move. I can picture her weeping over that small vessel as she formed it with her hands, praying that her son's life would be spared. I am sure she begged God for wisdom to know right where the tiny ark should be floated. I can envision her sensitive, caring daughter drying her mother's tears and keeping a watch over the small vessel that held her baby brother.

What a miracle and answer to prayer it was that the baby's life was spared, and that Jochebed, his very own mother, was chosen to be the one to nurse him until he was old enough to be weaned and live with his adopted Egyptian family! Since the Bible clearly states that the Egyptian princess named him, I wonder if Jochebed had a 'pet' name for her son while he was with her.

I admire the courage and selflessness that Jochebed displayed in saving her son, and then in giving him away to another to raise, because doing so meant that his life could be spared. I am in awe over the circumstances that God allowed to happen, for Jochebed to be able to enjoy the extra years with her son, nursing him and training him in the Hebrew ways. He truly "did not depart from it" as a grown man, returning to his Hebrew roots, even though he had spent the majority of his childhood growing up as an Egyptian in Pharaoh's household.

public domain - image is from

As a mother, my prayer is that my life can be as dedicated to God as Jochebed's was, so that my children will experience real Christianity in the short time they spend growing up under my care. They are truly "arrows" that will one day be sent out into this world. I pray that they, like Moses, will always remain true to their God, and that my life will be one of devotion to teaching them His ways. 

Ben and Me

Copyright 2012-2014 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: Veritas Press

This past six weeks Kelly has had the privilege of reviewing an online History course from Veritas Press. We were chosen to review the Self-Paced History: New Testament, Greece, and Rome.  We also received the accompanying set of New Testament, Greece, and Rome Flashcards. 

The story behind this program: Veritas Press is a Classical Christian Education Company that was started by a home school family, with the intention of diligently teaching their children in the Classical Christian methods. From their very first set of History flashcards, they have expanded the available courses into a full offering of curriculum

What is the Online Self-Paced Program like? After creating a student account and log in information, Kelly was able to immediately start on her program. The website is pretty easy to navigate, and starts off with a dashboard that lists all 160 lessons, and highlights completed lessons. The student is only able to navigate through the lessons in order, and cannot skip ahead. A lesson is not made available until the prior lesson is completed. Lessons are set up in animated slides, where the student can navigate through each slide, repeat a slide if desired, and pause whenever necessary.

NT Greek 'tutors'
What is a typical lesson like? Each program has a 'tutor' - an actor dressed in the clothing of that era who functions as a tour guide throughout the program. A typical lesson lasts about 20 minutes, and includes a variety of interactive materials, including teaching from the 'tutors', map studies, eye-catching graphics, vocabulary training, and review through multiple choice questions and games. Every few lessons there is an interactive worksheet with review questions, and every five lessons there is a test that reviews the most recent segment of lessons.

How do the tests work? Tests are given every five lessons, and students select their answers from multiple choices. Everything is done online, including the tests and worksheets. When the student submits their answers, the test is graded. Students are able to see incorrect answers, but are not able to go back and retake tests for a better grade.

How are grades recorded? Tests and worksheets are averaged together to give the student a course grade. At the end of the course, or end of the school year, parents are able to print out a report card with the student's official grades. Parents are able to go online to their dashboard to view the student's progress and current average.

Sample of the gradebook - current average is in the upper right corner

Example of a flashcard
Supportive materials: Once a student is logged in to the course, they are able to access a list of suggested literature for extra reading and study. There is even a list that assigns specific pages of the books to coincide with the lessons. Most of the suggested historical fiction books can be found at the library, and we ordered in several for Kelly to read alongside her lessons, which she greatly enjoyed.

What about the flashcards? While we found that the flashcards were not absolutely necessary to complete the online program, they are definitely an asset. The flashcards are large, sturdy, beautifully designed, and colorful. One side has a picture, and the other has nearly a paragraph of information that the student should know for the course. While all 32 of the major historical events pictured on the flashcards are covered in the online lesson, the flashcard makes for a very handy review, especially when tests are looming. The flashcards also contain a handy list of extra resources that the student can look into, including book titles with page numbers that correspond to the information on the card.

What age could use this program? The program is recommended for grades 2-6. Students should be at least seven years old before starting. I think that it would be helpful if students could read somewhat proficiently before using this program as well, since it would make doing the tests and reviews much easier. In our household, Kelly just completed 3rd grade, and reads quite well. She has been able to do this program completely on her own with no extra help. I also wanted to mention that her big sister Melissa, who just finished 7th grade, has sat alongside her and watched the lessons while Kelly was doing them.  Even though she is older than the recommended age, Melissa has greatly enjoyed learning from this program as well.

How we used this program: Kelly has enjoyed being able to log on, find her lesson, and do this program on her own. She began with the simple tutorial that showed her how to navigate through the slides. Then she jumped right in to the first lesson. At first, she was completing two lessons daily. I wanted to make sure she was retaining the information, so I slowed down her pace a bit, and limited her to one per day. I must admit that I love a program that motivates my kids to study history so much that I am forced to rein them in! It is neat to hear Kelly asking to do her History lessons, and begging to do a second lesson. Even though we are studying at a very relaxed summer pace, Kelly has looked forward to working on this program since we started. A few times, she has even gone back and repeated previous lessons because she enjoyed them so much. She is very motivated to finish the remaining lessons, even after the review period is over.

What time frame and topics are covered in this course? This course spans the era from 2200 BC to AD 476. It covers the 'world powers' and great civilizations of that era, including the Greeks and the Romans, and the events surrounding the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern lands. It begins with the Minoan and Mycenean cultures, then discusses the Bible lands and the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars, the rise of the Romans, the reign of Julius Caesar, the world under Caesar Augustus, the ministry of Jesus Christ, New Testament people and places, the destruction of Jerusalem, Nero, and the split of the Roman Empire. The program ends by studying the fall of the Roman Empire.

Why New Testament, Greece, and Rome?  I think it is very important to understand this time period, so that we can better understand our Bibles. Kelly has picked up on several key things that have enhanced her Bible knowledge, including places that the Apostle Paul visited, and the culture of the New Testament people. I was glad for the opportunity to review this period in history, because it is often neglected. While we are careful to study Ancient History, the Middle Ages, and American History, we sometimes have had a gap of knowledge about this important era when our Bible was mainly written, and the setting and culture of the time when Jesus Christ walked this Earth. An understanding of this setting and culture greatly enhances our understanding of our Bible, especially the New Testament. After nearly every lesson, Kelly excitedly talked about what she learned. Understanding how the Greeks worshiped mythological gods was a new concept for her, and it was interesting to see the 'dots being connected' with different things she already knows about her Bible, and Paul's missionary journeys. She commented one day that it was no wonder Paul had to come preach the Gospel to the Greeks!

Other Interesting Tidbits about this program: A cornerstone of this self-paced history program is a catchy song that teaches a chronological listing of 32 important historical events that occurred during this time frame. I have to admit that my very first impression of the song and actors was that they were kind of silly, and I did not think Kelly would tolerate them for long. I was SO wrong! Kelly sings the song regularly, even throughout the day when NOT doing History lessons, and had it easily memorized within the first five lessons. She giggles over the actors and their antics, and is completely taken in by the talking characters, such as an animated mask or Trojan horse. It is amazing to hear her sing a timeline of events, and rattle off facts about ancient cultures.

At any time, students can quickly see an overview of their lesson through the "Table of Contents" and jump back to the page they would like to review:

Table of Contents

Each lesson includes "Map Time" where the student drags the labels to their proper places on the map and gets instant feedback about correct answers:

Map Time

Interactive worksheets with multiple choice answers help the student to review their facts. All the worksheets are graded and recorded on the student's progress report:

Review questions

Graded reviews

Animated historical figures made the history lessons come alive:

A talking Trojan Horse

Each lesson uses various games for review - "The Labyrinth" was one of Kelly's favorites:

review games

My impression: I truly am amazed at how completely and thoroughly Kelly has retained the information taught in this program. I think the integration of various types of reviews, teaching, and quick-moving games and graphics has developed this program into a very successful teaching tool. The lessons and reviews are just long enough to be thorough but not tedious. The repetition of the maps, timeline, and vocabulary words has cemented the facts into her brain. I really cannot say enough good things about this program. We have thoroughly enjoyed using it, and are looking forward to completing it. 

If you are looking for a solid History program for your elementary age children, that allows them to work at their own pace and thoroughly learn the facts, with minimal planning, teaching, and record keeping on your part, than your search should stop right here with these Veritas Press Self-Paced History programs.

What does it cost? To register for this course, "Self-Paced History: New Testament, Greece, and Rome", the cost is $199. A sibling can be added to use the same course for $100. The set of flashcards costs $19.95. An entire course includes a full year of 160 daily lessons covering 32 major historical events.

For an online course, what type of computer do I need? Veritas Press has an online System Compatibility Wizard that you can use to verify whether their programs will work on your system before purchasing.

Veritas Press has a number of online courses available, in both live classes and self-paced classes. I have been perusing their online catalog and wondering about adding some other electives into our curriculum. Using this course has definitely left a very good first impression on me! 

Check out Veritas Press online through the following links:
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The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew has reviewed quite a few different History courses from Veritas Press. If you would like to learn more about them, please click the banner below:

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review: Go Science DVD's

Recently I had the privilege of learning about (and signing up with) Library and Educational Services for wholesale and discount pricing on many of our favorite supplemental materials. I also had the opportunity to review two of the DVD's from the Go Science DVD Series 2.

What is Library and Educational Services? It is a family based business that sells educational materials at a wholesale price to schools, teachers, churches, bookstores, day cares, libraries, and HOMESCHOOLERS! They have a wide range of media materials, including books, video, and audio, and covering topics from faith and Christian character building to science to history and everything in between!

What is the Go Science Series? This is a set of seven DVD's that covers a wide range of scientific topics, (80 experiments in all) including:
  • Sound, Gravity, & Space
  • Life Science, Weather, & Light
  • Air
  • Chemistry
  • Motion, Friction, Electricity, & Light
  • States of Matter & Water
  • Engineering, Design, & Flight
What is included on a DVD? Each DVD is about an hour long, and includes multiple short segments (ranging from 3-10 minutes each) of experiments. The experiments take place in a group setting, with a large audience of children watching and participating as helpers. The scientist is Mr. Ben Roy, a real life Science professor who has also done science programs for television shows. 

What age is this geared for? The recommended ages are 4-12. The live audience children are within that age range as well. My 9 and 12 year olds watched these videos. I think they were perfect for the 9 yr old. The 12 yr old thought they were a 'tad bit juvenile' but she did still enjoy them, and actually learned quite a bit too!

How did we view these?  At first, my intention was to watch one or two segments and then do the experiment at home if possible. Once the children started watching, though, they did not want to stop. They were completely captivated by the experiments, and ended up watching the entire DVD in one sitting. For this review, we watched the 'Chemistry' DVD and the 'Motion, Friction, Electricity & Light' DVD. 

What about the experiments? Many of them utilize materials that typically you might not use in experiments with younger children. Some of the results were quite dramatic which made me glad the girls were watching it and not necessarily making a huge mess in the kitchen actually doing it! It was great for them to watch and see what happened. We chose several simple experiments to repeat at home. Not all of ours came out as well as the ones on the DVD, but it was still enjoyable, and at least the girls knew what was 'supposed' to happen from seeing it done on the DVD. One thing I loved was that Mr. Roy and the child helpers all wore safety glasses and discussed safety while doing experiments that could have some hazards, as that helped to reinforce the "safety first" lessons I try to teach at home when doing science experiments. 

How about the spiritual application? This was absolutely my favorite part of these DVD's. Mr. Roy ties in all sorts of spiritual lessons while completing the science experiments. Each lesson has at least one statement included that reinforces what is being seen. For example, on the Chemistry video, Mr. Roy does an experiment that discusses the properties of bleach, and how it can cleanse stains. He demonstrates this by mixing bleach into a glass full of water dyed red with food coloring. Of course, the bleach turns the water clear again, and he points out that accepting Christ as our Savior can also cleanse the sin from our lives. The experiment illustrates the object lesson simply and clearly. At the end of each segment, Mr. Roy repeats the same statement:

"Every time we learn something about Science, we learn something about our Creator, God."

I agree 110% with this statement, and love how it is repeatedly reinforced throughout the entire DVD. I truly believe that learning about the nature of God is one of the main reasons to study Science! What a blessing to find a DVD that so aptly illustrates that purpose.

How much do the DVD's cost? Each DVD is sold individually for $8.97 but the entire series of all 7 DVD's can be purchased for $59.82 (a 40% savings!) In order to purchase from Library & Educational Services, you must first create a wholesale account. Teachers, homeschoolers, missionaries, resellers, or librarians can sign up for a free account.

My favorite moment: I overheard one of the girls discussing hydrogen atoms with her older sister who is currently taking a college Chemistry class. Not only was she able to intelligently discuss the subject, but her sister seemed surprised and impressed with how thoroughly she grasped it. Actually, I was a little surprised myself, and asked how she knew that information. The response? "I learned it from the Go Science DVD!"

The girls' favorites: Kelly loved the fizzy Mentos and Melissa liked the bleach turning the dyed water clear. The girls also liked the dog who was present on the screen for many of the lessons, and they liked watching children help with the experiments. They thought the teacher, Mr. Roy, seemed very excited about Science.

My final thoughts: I really enjoyed these videos, and would not hesitate to purchase the rest of the series. They are the types of videos that the children will want to watch again. They give great starting points for performing experiments at home - watch the video then try it with the kids! Kids think these are very cool.

You can connect with Library and Educational Services on Facebook. 

See how other Crew members used the Go Science DVD's by clicking on the banner below:

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Copyright 2012-2014 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.
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Obscure Bible Heroes {Blogging Through the Alphabet - I}

I is for Ittai the Gittite

2 Samuel 15:19-22: "Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Wherefore goest thou also with us? return to thy place, and abide with the king: for thou art a stranger, and also an exile.
20 Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee.
21 And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the LORD liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.
22 And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him."

I have always wondered about this guy with the funny name. I remember reading these verses to my children when they were younger, and sharing in their laughter over "that guy with the silly name".  As I pondered about him just a little more, I started thinking about what his life might have been like, and that is how he ended up as one of my 'obscure Bible heroes'.

First of all, Ittai was a Gittite. That means he was a native of the land of Gath. What other famous Bible character was from Gath? If you guessed Goliath, you are right! (1 Samuel 17:4) The same Goliath that David killed with his slingshot. Both of these men lived in the same era, were from the same town, and likely knew each other.

The Philistines, including the men of Gath, mocked the Israelites and chose Goliath as their hero to fight and conquer the Israelites. David was not yet king, but as a young man, had the faith in God to know that God would help him to fight and win that battle.

When David won, the Israelites routed the Philistines, and the men of Gath were defeated as well. In fact, they ran away fearing for their lives.

It makes me wonder, then, how this 'stranger', Ittai, became associated with David and his mighty men. David's mighty men were known to be a ragtag group of rough men, but to have a former enemy now turned into a loyal servant is a pretty neat story.

While the Bible doesn't give the details of how Ittai and his family became servants of David, it is very clear on where their loyalties lie.  In the verses mentioned above, David is going out to battle, and Ittai is getting ready to join him. David encourages Ittai to stay behind, but Ittai refuses, choosing instead to remain loyal and do his part to help the king.

It is also clear that he shares David's faith in the true, living God. At some point, Ittai had to have renounced his citizenship and connection to Gath, and joined forces with the Israelites, pledging his allegiance to the Lord and the king.  It is obvious that David trusts him, as he gives Ittai the approval to join the mission. Ittai must have been an inspirational leader, because his family and other men joined in and followed him as well.

I love this story because it shows us that no matter what our background is, we can become true servants and loyal followers of the living God. Onward Christian soldiers!!

Ben and Me

Copyright 2012-2014 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Obscure Bible Heroes {Blogging Through the Alphabet - H}

H is for the Hebrew Midwives

Exodus 1:15-17 "And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.

The setting of this verse is the Israelites in Egypt. A new Pharaoh, who knew not Joseph and the history of his people, arose to power and made the Israelites serve as slaves, building his great cities. The people had grown in strength and number, and Pharaoh became nervous that they might rise up and revolt against his harsh treatment, so he came up with a plan to attempt to weaken this nation within a nation. 

Pharaoh's plan was to kill all newborn baby Israelite boys, and allow only the girls to live. The girls could be used as slave labor and eventually be married to Egyptians. 

Like all other attempts in history to obliterate the Hebrews, this one failed as well. This time, God filled several ladies with courage, and assigned them the task of saving His people. 

Though these Hebrew midwives received direct orders from Pharaoh, King of Egypt, to kill the baby boys as soon as they were delivered, their fear of God and love and respect for life caused them to disobey Pharaoh's edict. They saved the baby boys.

Not only did they (more than likely) save the Jewish race, but they also saved many families from terrible grief and heartache. I'm sure their own lives were in danger for disobeying the command, yet they regarded not their own lives or success, choosing rather to do what was right and good. 

May we, like the Hebrew midwives,  have the courage to live out our convictions, and always do the right thing, no matter what the cost may be. 

Ben and Me

Copyright 2012-2014 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Father's Day Advice

Dad is a very special person in our family. He is the fearless leader, the patient one, the gentle man who can cry over a kids' movie, or soothe a ruffled little girl's hurt feelings, and the strong, quiet, steady rock that holds it all together, and that everyone wants as soon as something is going wrong.

In honor of Father's Day, I decided to put together a short list of "Dad-isms" for a fun post.  These are some of his favorite sayings, and make up a pretty good list of words to live by!

If you know him....perhaps you can 'hear' his voice saying one of these statements....I'm sure you've heard at least one!

  • Failure is not an option.
  • It will be better in the morning....things always are! I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.
  • Have you read your Bible today?
  • Where is God in all of this?
  • You've gotta be kidding me!
  • You just can't get there from here. You're going to have to start fresh.
  • Hey...I love you.
  • If I could choose between a juicy steak dinner, or spending an hour with you....I'd take them both!
  • (when being asked for permission for something)....What's it worth to you? I can be bribed you know!
  • Watch me do this. Now you do it. Now do it again. And again. And again.....
  • Just keep spinning the plates!
  • I just want you to have a good judgment seat in Heaven.
  • Don't be a pill!
  • You're not really that old....are you?
  • Volunteer for the hardest job God has.
  • Be a stepping stone for someone.
  • Opinions are like arm pits...typically everyone has more than one, and they usually all stink!
  • Do you know for sure you're going to Heaven? You CAN know!
  • What's God been speaking to you about lately?
  • How much have you prayed about it?
  • A ship is safe in the harbor, but that's not what ships are made for.
  • Jesus knows me, this I love! Can you say that?

What is the best advice you ever received from your dad?  Leave a comment and share it here!

Copyright 2012-2014 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Review: We Choose Virtues

2 Peter 1:5  "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;"

What is virtue?  " a particular moral excellence; goodness; righteousness; conformit of one's life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness"

Why is virtue important? Virtue, basically, the way we act, is important because we want to live a life that is pleasing to our God and builds good relationships with those around us.  It is not enough to say, in words only, that we are a Christian. It is also important to show it by the way we live. God tells us in 2 Peter 1:5 that we are to be diligent about adding virtues to our life. First comes our faith and relationship with God, and then comes virtue, or the way we live. 

Since God places such an emphasis on living virtuously (another favorite example of mine is the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31), I also think it is important to emphasize virtues as I am training my children. I recently had the privilege to review the Parenting Cards and the WCV Download Bundle from We Choose Virtues. Our family was greatly blessed with these items and I would like to tell you a little more about them.

Parents know that they should teach Godly character and virtue to their children. Teachers spend precious classroom time reinforcing those virtues at school. Often it is a struggle to find good tools that children can relate to when teaching character and propriety. Even more difficult to find is tools that teach the Biblical principles behind the virtues.

The We Choose Virtues program endeavors to equip parents and teachers with a simple and relevant 12 week process of instilling Christian character in their young people. Following the plan given in the teacher handbook, a parent can teach one virtue each week, spending a few minutes everyday reinforcing the concept and meaning of that particular character trait. 

What makes up this program? While We Choose Virtues has an entire home school collection of products that a parent can utilize, for this review I am going to focus on the parenting cards (8.5" x 5.5" double sided cards) and WCV download bundle. 

What does a typical week of character study look like? Time spent on WCV starts out with introducing that week's virtue, explaining what it means, introducing the child character associated with that virtue (each card has a different character), and discussing how your children can implement that virtue in their everyday lives. The teacher handbook has some great ideas for little object lessons, stories, games, and verses that help reinforce your training. 

On subsequent days, parents will review what the virtue is and what it means, and also utilize extra items such as the coloring pages or songs.  A reward chart is also available, which uses a butterfly to show children that they can change their behavior into something that is beautiful and pleasing to the Lord. The company also produces lovely posters to hang up that remind children of the virtues. Each day, a few minutes can be spent doing something just a little different to train the virtue. Parents also can look for behavior examples throughout the day to compliment children when they are practicing their virtue, or remind them when they are not. 

This is the first virtue we chose to spend time applied to every family member, even Mom!

The front of the card for "Self Controlled, showing "Stop Sign Madeline" and a Bible memory verse.

The back of the 'Self-Controlled' card, giving some parent tips for using the card for teachable moments..

 The children enjoyed the coloring pages and the different characters:

Several things I really appreciated: I thought it was very helpful to have the "I'm sorry" box on the back of each card. Though children may try really hard to practice their virtues, often they forget or fall short, because they are immature and just learning. I thought it was a wonderful idea to prepare them ahead of time that there will be moments when they will fail to hit the mark, and how to handle that. The more proactive training you can do in a child's life, the better equipped they will be to handle the ups and downs of their day. Allowing the children the grace to know that I didn't expect them to be perfect, and then showing them how to handle their shortcomings really made a big difference in using this program. It took all the pressure off, and just allowed them to be kids who were striving to learn and grow. Many times they were quick to say they were sorry and catch themselves when their behavior did not measure up to the virtue of the week. It was just on their thoughts a whole lot more. I loved not having to do so much correction, and enjoyed seeing the maturity they were building by being able to 'fix' their own attitudes without me saying a word many times.

Another thing that I really loved about these cards is that the company offers a choice of Bible versions. Not many companies will make the extra effort to accommodate families who would like to have King James Bible verses. This company takes it a step further by offering their King James version cards with only Old Testament verses, so they would be appropriate for Jewish families who would desire that option. I really thought that was wonderful. 

How We Used This Program: We started out with the Character Assessment. I printed a copy for each child, and then we sat down together and filled them out. Each child filled out their own, and they found it challenging to think about themselves and how they act. For the most part, they all were pretty accurate in admitting their strengths and weaknesses. When they were done, we talked openly about the results, then chose what order to study the virtues in, based on those results. The children enjoyed having this much input in the study. We then went over the virtue throughout the week, and hung the card right on the fridge where everyone could be regularly reminded of it. As you can see from my picture above, the girls enjoyed coloring the virtue pages. Having the virtue in front of them made it very easy to remind them when they needed it, and encourage them along. Focusing on it made a huge improvement in overall behavior and harmony in the home. I was one very pleased Mom!

What Is An Appropriate Age for These Parenting Cards?  The company suggests ages 3-18. They also make a suggestion to allow older teen aged children to teach the virtue cards to their younger siblings. While we used the Parenting Cards with three of the children, age 9-16, I would say that Kelly, my 9 year old, seemed to thrive on these the most. What I like is that the concepts and illustrations are concrete, not abstract, so younger children can easily identify with them. An example would be the stop sign reminder from the self-controlled card. Even the very youngest children can understand the concept of a stop sign and letting it remind them to stop their behavior before they do something wrong. 

How Much Does It Cost? The Parenting Cards are currently selling for $38.49 and the WCV download bundle is currently selling for $7.99. We Choose Virtues has also made available a very generous 50% off discount on their lovely, colorful set of 12 11"x17" virtue posters when you use the Promo Code: BIG50. This code is valid until the end of June. From June through August, you can also receive 20% off any order from the WCV store when you use the Promo Code: BTS20. (Only one code may be used per purchase).

My Final Thoughts: I really love this program. I think it is SO necessary, and it promotes Godly character training in a really fun way. I plan on purchasing at least the set of posters, if not a few other goodies to go along with our Parenting Cards, especially since Kelly loves this program so much. My mind races with the possibilities of using this program in our church's inner city ministry. I think it would be very well received by the children there. There is also a Youth Journal available for older children to study through the virtues. While we did not review that, other members of the Crew did, and I look forward to reading their thoughts about it! 

You can read about how other Crew members used this program by clicking the banner below. You can also check out We Choose Virtues on a few social media outlets:

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Obscure Bible Heroes {Blogging Through The Alphabet - G}

G is for the Gershonites

Numbers 4:24 "This is the service of the families of the Gershonites, to serve, and for burdens:" 

Numbers 4:27 "At the appointment of Aaron and his sons shall be all the service of the sons of the Gershonites, in all their burdens, and in all their service: and ye shall appoint unto them in charge all their burdens"

During the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt back to the Promised Land, the tribe of the Levites was given the task of transporting, setting up, and caring for the traveling Tabernacle in the wilderness. Of this tribe, certain families had specific tasks to keep everything running smoothly.

There was a special family, the family of the Gershonites, that was chosen specifically to "bear the burdens". Their job was not glamorous. In fact, they were not the ones seen by those who visited the Tabernacle. They did not get to take care of the sacrifices, or the many seemingly more important jobs at the Tabernacle.  

Instead, their job was bearing the burdens, carrying the pieces of the Tabernacle while the nation as a whole was traveling. While it was a menial task, it was also important because the pieces of the Tabernacle needed to be kept clean and functional to be set up again at a moment's notice. Traveling through the wilderness in ancient times was rigorous in its own right. Traveling while carrying heavy burdens and packs was even more difficult.

There are a few things about these people that make them heroes to me. First, they faithfully served behind the scenes. Probably no one even noticed them doing their work, unless of course, a piece of the Tabernacle was missing when it was time to set up! Second, their entire purpose was to serve. Service was their way of life. Every time they are mentioned, they are mentioned as a family. This shows me that it was not just dad going out and carrying the load, but that whole families worked together to get the job done. 

They were also in charge of an area that many people probably tried to avoid. Who wants to be the one in charge of the burdens? I'm sure there was no line of volunteers! Yet we always read of the Tabernacle being in its place when it needed to be, which shows that behind the scenes, there were faithful people taking care of it.

What does this have to do with us today? How can we follow the examples of the Gershonites? Allow me the liberty of drawing a parallel between this Old Testament story and our current life. 

As Christians, the moment we stop to take a look around us, we will see a hurting world. We will see many, many people, both saved and lost, in the church and unchurched, who are carrying heavy burdens. It seems that everyone is hurting. You can see it in their eyes if you will take a moment to notice. 

Just as the Gershonites were given the service of bearing burdens, can we also dedicate our life to serving others and helping shoulder their load? If we were to pick up the burden of someone near us, would it bring them closer to the Lord? The answer is very obvious. God works through human vessels, and uses willing servants to help bear the burdens of those around them. 

Like the Gershonites, I want my family to be known as one that serves and bears the burdens of those around us. When the world looks at us, it is my prayer that they will see the Lord Jesus Christ and be drawn to Him. When our brothers and sisters in Christ have a burden, I hope we can be the one to help lighten their load.

Galatians 6:2 "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."

Copyright 2012-2014 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Ben and Me

Friday, June 6, 2014

Field Trip Friday: Niagara Falls State Park

We recently had the opportunity to visit Niagara Falls State Park as a family. Even though we have been there a number of times, it never loses its wonder. I wanted to share some pictures.

These were mostly taken from the American side. We visited the Observation Deck (which is free to just walk out on - if you wish to take the elevator down to the base of the Falls, it is very cheap, and gives a really neat perspective of just how huge the Falls are)

Rapids leading up to the Falls.

A rainbow in the mist is a common sight.

The American Falls up close and the Horseshoe Falls in the distance.

Notice the piles of snow at the base of the Falls that are very slowly melting away.

Focusing on the snow pile at the base of the Falls. It was very tall - about half the height of the Falls itself.

A lovely view from the Observation Deck.

Looking down the Niagara Gorge. The Falls is behind us. Loved the beautiful shade of the water.

The girls were thrilled with the birds hanging out on the Observation Deck.

We had just recently read about Nikola Tesla so it was neat to see a tribute to him.
 After checking out everything at the main entrance, we drove over to Goat Island and got out to walk around and see another perspective. In the background of this first picture is where we were standing to take the pictures above. The green tower is the Observation Deck where we took several pictures.

Looking at the Falls from Goat Island - the other side of the American Falls.

Lovely shot with the steam coming off the snow on a warm May day.

More birds walking close by to fascinate the girls!

Because of so much ice and snow, part of the park was fenced off, but the birds were still enjoying it!

After Goat Island, we drove a little further, across another small bridge, to Three Sisters' Island to get close up views of the Rapids. The water passing through here heads towards the Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls. Three Sisters' Island is such a peaceful little nook with plenty of nature and quiet spots.

Upper rapids approaching the Falls.


Looking down river towards the Falls. You can see the mist from the Falls above the tree line.

Plenty of geese looking for some lunch.

Standing on a bridge above a small waterfall, looking down. 

Watching the water and admiring the Canadian skyline in the background.

Powerful rapids!
The last part of our trip included seeing the Falls lit up at night from the Canadian side. Crossing over the border now requires passports or enhanced driver's licenses for the adults, and birth certificates for the children. (When I was a kid, you answered a few questions about where you were from, then crossed over!) Times have changed, but the beauty of the Falls is timeless.

Looking at the American Falls from the Canadian side.

The powerful lights on the Canadian side that shine out over the Falls.

A view of the Horseshoe Falls lit up.

On Summer Fridays, there are fireworks over the Falls, starting at 10:00 pm. It is well worth the wait to stay and watch them. 

I am so thankful to live close enough to one of the Wonders of the World that we can visit it any time we would like!

This post is linked up with Field Trip Friday at Chestnut Grove Academy.

Chestnut Grove Academy Field Trip Friday Blog Hop

Copyright 2012-2014 - "Be The One" -  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.