Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Garden How To

You'll need a
potting soil,
small rocks,
a small pot,
grass or wheat seed,
sticks, string
A rock big enough to cover the opening of the smaller pot.
Fill your wide, shallow pot with potting soil. Lay the small pot in the middle, on it's side, and mound over the top and sides with potting soil. Sprinkle your seeds all over, except for an area in front of the small pot's opening. We soaked our wheat seeds to give them a head start. Put small rocks in front of smaller pot on it's side, and a few at the mouth of the pot itself as the opening of the tomb. Put the larger rock to the side of the pot- (or cover the "tomb" on Good Friday and "open" on Easter morning!) 
Create crosses out of sticks and string and "Plant" on top of the hill you created when you mounded over the top of the smaller pot.
Water daily. Flower also cut up small socks as "tomb clothes" and put them inside the side turned pot.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead... 

Flower loved this project and tended her sweet Easter garden with care. Wishing you a blessed Easter!
@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Share It Saturday- Easter Edition

This is a great object lesson for Easter.
A detailed step-by-step will walk you through the process of making Easter Story Cookies  over at Princesses, Pies and Preschool Pizazz.
We have spring fever around here and are cleaning and sorting, fixing and getting to the next thing. I have a couple of "to do" projects waiting for some time. How 'bout you? I love this gorgeous girlie room from Night Owl Corner. Great details and color! Check it out: Room Reveal
Lessons in Homeschooling shares how they manage long road trips (and isn't it about the season?). You'll love her ideas (complete with printables!)
Teach Beside Me and The Sugar Aunts and I all team up to bring you a great Share It Saturday each week! Stop by their wonderful blogs for some educational and living inspiration!

And now, on to the HOP:
  • Have a link back to this post if you are participating (on your blog or in your post)
  • If you link up, click on at least one other link for each one that you share.
  • You don't have to comment or follow, but I really do love both of those things! (A Lot!)
  • HAVE FUN! On to this week's link. Bring it on.....

  • Link up your posts with educational ideas, Kid crafts, and teaching tips. Please include a link back to this blog if participating.

    Friday, March 29, 2013

    Easter Beak-ish

    On Tuesday I finally got the girlies back together again to finish their amazing clay animals from Flower's bday party (see here). I am so bummed I forgot to line up the gorgeous creations and take a picture of them- they were left to right a giraffe, a dragon, a tiger and a hedgehog (see below)
    Each animal has a removable "top" (see the giraffe above) for the safe keeping valuables!
    Nancy Pearcy, "America's pre-eminent evangelical Pro- testant female intellectual," and former homeschooler, has thought provoking and scintillating commentary, along with her husband at The Pearcey Report..  Love her words in response to complicated issues. She is now the director of the Francis Schae- ffer Center for Worldview and Culture at Houston Baptist University. Her latest book, saving Leonardo is on my list of 2Bpurchased.

    Watching The Help this week-end (love it!), and Flower ordered Emma, too. Feeche has Dark Night waiting in the wings somewhere. Good study break material, right? I've got systems history running through my head at night. That's a good thang.
    We cleaned like fiends this week. So much so that every time someone came into the living room/dining room we'd all comment on how clean it is! We moved rugs, mopped everything, and sorted. Bags of "stuff" are ready to give and throw away. I love clean and uncluttered!
    We switched from a Kauffman diet this week to The Maker's Diet based on the recommendation of our brand spanking new alternative-ish medicine doc. He's either totally brilliant or a crazy man. We're banking on the brilliant. Oy vey. Organic, grass fed, free range, clean living, baby. And expensive. From gallons of yogurt a week to none; same with eggs. THIS one better work!
    So grateful for Jesus, who loves you and me so very much, that he suffered shame and death on our behalf.
    God bless you this week-end as we celebrate the Living Christ, who rose again on the 3rd day.

    Wednesday, March 27, 2013

    Fauivsm and 5th graders

    One of Flowers latest artistic creations.
    I've mentioned before that we are truly blessed to have amazing art instruction. A couple of weeks ago the kids studied Fauvism. Here is just another example of what kids can do, under the guidance of amazing teachers like Jannell. Stop by her blog here! You will come away with a zillion terrific ideas. I just love the results! What do you think?

    Monday, March 25, 2013

    Adventus Music & Piano Learning Solutions- TOS Review

      photo AdventusLogo_zps301dbe63.gif

    I've heard it said that the educated person knows Math, Music and Latin. Which leaves me wondering if we'll ever get there. Thankfully, Adventus to the rescue for at least 1/3 of the equation! Quality music education, at your fingertips, for an affordable price. And yes, I LOVE this curriculum.

    Our piano didn't make it through the fire. Flower has been asking for one since, so I was excited to have the opportunity to review the Adventus program. It is piano lessons, to be sure, but so much more. First of all you will need a MIDI keyboard, which you can purchase from the company, which is what we did. Great, fast delivery. Then you will need to decide which program you want to start with. You options are many, 7 levels of instruction, for ages 4 -18+: (A complete overview of each volume is available at MusIQ HomeSchool) :

    Adventus Review

    We were thrilled to have the opportunity to test out Adventus and yes, I love the program. In the interest of honest reviewing, however, I'm going to take a paragraph to share how it really went down.  We ran in to serious and repeated difficulties downloading the program. We tried several times, spent hours on the phone with the company tech support and never did get the entire program due to corrupted files. In Adventus' favor, their tech support is stupendous, the gentleman that worked with us was patient, kind, responsive and perservering. 

    While gettig started was time consuming and frustrating, once we got the program we fell in love. We started with Piano Suite, which is intended for ages 10+. It begins with the history of piano and moves on to music theory. The Theory Thinker, with 6 levels to choose from, gives lots of visuals, and is the lesson section. In History Happens, the student can learn about composers and music of specific time periods. The Composer Corner allows students to actually learn composition and the Games areas reinforces a variety of Music Theory.

    Piano Suite is more advanced, including music history and tons of theory. the Piano Player allows students to play different songs. The Ear Training Coach is chock full of rhythm, melody, intervals and sight reading. A plethora of music learning to be had!

    How we used this program:
    Feeche (18) sat down and went to town. He has not spent less than over an hour every time he's used the program. Comments range from, "I love this program!" to "Thank-you for getting the Adventus!" to "I'm so glad we have this!" He had several months of piano lessons years ago and loathed them. He has also participated in a choral group for the past 3 1/2 years, which he loves. He is an excellent auditory learning and very artistic. Today, he spent 3 hrs on Adventus and composed a song! He is very motivated to learn to read music with ease and is excited about really getting into the Ear Training Coach program.

    Cub (13) has used the program several times. He is a methodical student. In other words, he is slow, deliberate and deadly accurate. If you rush him, however, he becomes frustrated and makes mistakes. He is very intrigued by Adventus and, while planning his own schedule, was sure to include it. He finds the program challenging because you have to play along with the metronome (iow, there is an external "push."). He claims the program is difficult but, after a very full homeschooling day today, asked for the computer at 7 p.m. so that he could "do" piano.

    Flower (10) is another of my highly auditory learners. If she hears it, she has it. She has been in tears twice while doing the Adventus program. I think she thought that she would be able to hear it and play it and the reality of learning to coordinate one's fingers and knowledge has been more challenging than she figured. She gets the theory just fine, but the playing has pushed her. We may go back and do the 3rd level of Musical Journey if she continues to have trouble. Which is the beauty of this program. There is no "one thing"- there is so much included, that covers such a wide range of interest and ability that you'll find a sweet spot, regardless of where you are starting out at.

    In addition we'll also be using the history time-line to integrate music into our history studies  (it includes hundred's of songs!). Perfect timing as we are just about to begin Famous Men of Medieval Times!

    This is a program that we plan to use for the rest of the year and beyond! Adventus is a  great addition to your homeschooling repertoire. Quality music lessons, just a keyboard away!

    You can choose between either a purchase or monthly subscription. The monthly subscription allows access to all levels, for $10.95 per month. If you want to buy, there are many different options-including pricing with a keyboard if you don’t have one. You can also take advantage of the free trial offered!

    System Requirements:
    Early Curriculum: Windows 7/Vista/XP/2000 or Macintosh OSX and an Internet connection.
    Multi-level Curriculum: Windows 7/Vista/XP/2000 and an Internet connection.

    This is a fantastic program that I heartily recommend for the homeschooling family, or even private or public school. It's a great way to introduce music, a perfect accompaniment to irl lessons, a creative solution for the family that desires excellent music instruction for their family but can't fit it into their lives from a time or money pov.

    Content- excellent
    Organization - excellent
    Presentation - excellent

    If you want to see if MusicIQ HomeSchool is for your family, try the 7 day free trial.

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    Saturday, March 23, 2013

    Share It Saturday

    This week's featured posts:
    As a recovering Grammar-phobe I appreciated this post!
    I do a weekly review each Friday and love reading others. You'll be inspired reading this!
    Wasn't I just extolling the virtues of the box as a toy? yes I was! Great idea!
    Don't forget to stop by Teach Beside Me and the Sugar Aunts and say "hi!"

  • Have a link back to this post if you are participating (on your blog or in your post)
  • If you link up, click on at least one other link for each one that you share.
  • You don't have to comment or follow, but I really do love both of those things! (A Lot!)
  • HAVE FUN! On to this week's link. Bring it on.....

  • Friday, March 22, 2013

    Finishing Up Despite Winter Hanging On

    During filming and 45 years later. Christopher Plummer is still the man... :)
    A few of my favorite things....
    Doesn't this picture just make you happy?!
    We were rocking  homeschoolers this week. Finished Famous Men of Rome,  Memoria Press' World Geography, Math Made Easy book IV along with Sacajawea by Knowledge Quest (review coming soon!) and Flower discovered that she and Bill Peet share a birthday. The boys continued working on programming and are having a marvelous time with it. Adventus (review THIS week-end) is a BIG hit, and Quarter Mile keeps working its magic. Perplexors have been taken over by Feeche who is having a blast with the kids and The Economist keeps  making its way into discussions and Rosetta Stone German is still gut.
    The circus and physics- winning combo! Mrs. J (world's best science teacher) sent out this great link for pre-physics this week!
    Help me understand the logic of this.
    This is the Easter garden Flower made. We pre-soaked wheat seeds but, as you can see, we are experiencing a bit of an erosion problem. The white stuff you see in the "tomb" is a cut-up sock; "grave clothes." ; )
    Spring, where art thou?
    I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to look at this week's forecast....
    K, so the snow this week-end is just a joke, right?

    Talked about Chernobyl when doing MP's geography and so Cub wanted to watch The Undiscovered Country (Star Trek). Fun times. Then watched The Hobbit with him this week-end which I thought was done pretty well. Feeche's review was that it went on and on and on and onnnn. His take is that Jackson doesn't get either Tolkien's theology or the business of folk tales.

    Other reveiws of the week include Ephron books, Discovery of Deduction and Essentials in Writing. 

    Thursday, March 21, 2013

    How to Choose Curriculum

    Cover Photo
    photo courtesy of SD TeenPact
    It's that time of year when this year's material is getting close to finished or totally boring, curriculum catalogs are arriving and convention season has arrived. Long gone are the days of 1-2 textbooks suppliers and a smattering of home-grown homeschool mom and pop shops. Homeschooling is a multi-billion dollar a year biz and savvy curriculum sellers have sleek catalogs, slick marketing and great ideas. Everything looks new and shiny and promises to please.

    What's a person to do?

    I've written about pedagogy and curriculum planning here and here, but I've also heard back from folks that get stressed out just trying to understand the word. So, regardless of pedagogy, how does one pick curriculum? First, a definition:

    Curriculum -a specially constructed information system whose purpose is to influence, teach, train or cultivate the mind and character of youth.

    With that in mind:

    1) Get clear on who you are. For instance, are you a conservative Christian? A committed pagan? A Mormon? A Jew? Do you believe in yec, oec, intelligent design or evolution? Do you believe that Civil War was the War Between the States or the Northern Oppression? Your belief system determines and guides your curriculum choices; simply because most parents want to share their belief system with their child. If you're not sure of your belief system, pm me and let's talk ; )

    2) Get clear on who your kids are. I have auditory learners, kinesthetic and visual. I have some get er' done types and other project loving kids. Be aware of how your kid learns best and what they love with the view to shore up your kids weaknesses, as well as utilize their strengths.

    3) Get clear on what you want to have accomplished at the end of the day/ year/ decade/ childhood. I want my kids to know a whole lot (going on the theory that all learning really is remembering) and I want them to be able to synthesize, and communicate intelligently about what it is they know. I also believe in allowing my kids to experience as much as possible while still building solid skill sets and developing a Biblically based Christian belief system.

    4) Gather resources that make sense given who you are , who your kid is, what you want your kid to know at the end of the day. If you're not sure which resources to gather or where to find some, get on a fast moving homeschool board, visit some conventions, start googling and find some homeschool moms to talk with.

    5) Compare resources. I compare cost, but also organization, ease of use, presentation, etc.

    6) Make a decision. Prepare to stick with your decision. Leave room and money in your budget for surprises, changes  and inspiration along the way.

    7) Have fun and feel the excitement. If I'm excited about the cirruculum, it makes a difference in my kid's attitudes about the curriculum. If it's not something I can get behind, I'll have a hard time teaching or promoting it to them.  

    Wednesday, March 20, 2013

    Brushes with Fame (it's the little things)

    One Sunday Morning
    Amy Ephron (I hope it was her. Or it was someone posing as her. Either way, it made my day!) commented on my blog this week. Serious thrill. I only wish I'd said amazing and glowing things about her book. And it made me realize that I'd jotted off an impression without being clear.

    I did actually like both her and Delia's books. But basically, I was cheat reading. I was supposed to be studying but I was reading for fun so there was the guilt factor. And I had to read super fast, in order to get back to studying. I already read super fast, so when I say I'm reading super fast, it's like warp-speed reading. I wanted to Looove the books, because that would have justified the cheat. So there you have my True Confession.

    Big City EyesAs it was, I did love the setting of One Sunday Morning. I love well done period pieces. I loathe period pieces that judge history from our perspective. And Amy did a great job of transporting us to the time and place of the Galbraith's (Cheaper by the Dozen and on my list of irl hero's). So, while the story was engaging and a sweet, fun read, the setting was the real star. A lovely snapshot of a time and place.

    Big City Eyes was another fun, fast read. It's the love affair with NY that intrigues me, but the setting quickly moves from there. Howevah, the part of the book that was truly terrific was the inclusion of Lily's (the protagonist's) articles for the small town paper and folks reaction to it. Also, the inclusion of Klingon into any novel makes it better and is, truly, imho,  a stroke of genius.

    I'll be reading more Ephron books in the future. I am totally fascinated by the family- 4 sisters, all successful writers. All witty and clever and down to earth. Love that.

    And second brush with fame this week. Flower has been totally immersed in Bill Peet's autobiography. She jumped with JOY when she realized that one of her favorite artist's share the same birthday as her.

    It's the little things, right?

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    Study Guide Neck Crick

    Family Solutions Institute Study Guide for the Marriage & Family Therapy National Licensing Examination
    A little lite reading for the week.
    1.4 pounds.
    190 pages down. About that many to go. Or more.
    Vocab cards. Check.
    Notes taken. Check.
     Neck crick. Check.
    This counts for the 52 list and definitely goes under a chunky read, right?

    Monday, March 18, 2013

    Discovery of Deduction- TOS Review


    According to the Classical Model, when your kids start arguing, they've hit the dialectic stage (logic) stage. Seems to me, I've got some precocious kids on my hands 'cause a few of them have been arguing since they started talking. I attribute this to strong personalities and opinions (I wonder where they get that from?!).
    As one of the sage quotes, included in the text admonishes,
     "Fear not those who argue, but those who dodge."
    ~Dale Carnegie.
    The classical response is to embrace the fact that good thinkers/students want to argue, and then to teach them to argue well. To that end, Classical Academic Press has supplied the educational market with some fantastic resources.

    The Discovery of Deduction: An Introduction to Formal Logic    The Discovery of Deduction Teacher's Edition
    We recently had the opportunity to review The Discovery of Deduction Student and Teacher's Manuals.
    The Discovery of Deduction is the study of formal logic. Formal logic is less concerned with the content of an argument, but more with the form. You know the drill:
    All men are mortal.
    Socrates is a man.
    Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
    While a study of informal logic is available through The Art of Argument, and helpful,  it's not necessary before diving into the Discovery of Deduction.
     The text consists of
    • 4 units
    • 9 chapters
    • 2-7 lessons per chapter
    • appendices and glossary
    Each chapter has text to read, questions to answer, samples, explanations, graphics, quotes, points to remember, and more. In other words, if you are worried that this is going to be a dry tome, think again!
    "Nowhere am I so desperately needed as among a shipload of illogical humans."
    The Teacher's Manual is a great resource, and if you aren't at ease, or familiar with logic yourself, highly recommended. It includes the entire student text, along with answer keys, teaching tips, sample essays, dialogues, and arguments.
    This program is recommended for students as young as 8th grade, which is perfect fit, imho. Cub (7th grade)  worked through several of the lessons and while he found himself initially overwhelmed by the program, he eased in to it just fine. Feeche (12th grade), who has taken 2 years worth of Logic (both symbolic and linguistic ) read through several of the lessons and declared that it looked far more accessible to him than previous programs that we've used. Love that because, while I'm committed to Logic, I detest programs that leave us feeling confused and overwhelmed, which some of them have.
    The Discovery of Deduction would be a great program to use in a group setting (think co-op, academic class day or public school environment)- which would definitely up the fun factor. But if you're worried that the study of logic won't be fun, think again. I mean, really, what's not fun or to love about a logic program that includes Monty Python, Shakespeare and Douglas Adams? Another excellent product from our friends at Classical Academic Press.
    "He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife."
    ~Douglas Adams
    The Discovery of Deduction: An Introduction to Formal Logic Student Text is $26.95. You can purchase in Kindle or iBook format as well. The Discovery of Deduction Teacher’s Edition is $29.95. I highly recommend the teacher’s manual.
    Content-  excellent
    Organization - excellent
    Presentation - excellent

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    Sunday, March 17, 2013

    The Innovative Educator

    I just wanted to share one of my fav blogs: Lisa Nielsen (and what a great first name, eh?) at The Innovative Educator.
    Lisa is an educator that makes the most of technology and the current culture. She is pro-homeschooling and always has great, challenging posts. Check out her blog and see what I mean!

    Saturday, March 16, 2013

    Essentials in Writing- TOS Review

    Essentials in Writing Grade 11 photo EIW11thgrade_zps8fbcb40b.jpg
    As a writer and a writing instructor I was eager to check out  Eleventh Grade Essay/Research Paper Curriculum by Essentials in Writing. Mr. Stephens, the founder and presenter of the materials has taught Jr. High writing for several years. It's obvious that he loves the subject matter and is an engaged and personable teacher.
    EIW contains essential content, presented in a way that is simple and engaging. It would be a good fit families who are taking a relaxed approach to writing instruction,  for kids who haven't yet had a lot of writing, don't like writing, or have some major writing gaps that need filled before graduation.
    This is a 3-step video based program.
    1. The students look at the workbook assignment, (which, in order to keep their prices affordable, EIW will be switching over to PDF workbook files. When you place your order, you'll get a code to download the file).
    2. Students then watch a segment on the DVD.
    3. They read and complete the workbook pages for the lesson. There is no textbook, as the worksheets contain quite a bit of information.
    • Easy to use. This program couldn't be easier to use. Read, Watch, Write.
    • Mr. Stephens is an engaging and dynamic presenter - both Feeche and I enjoyed how engaged and full of joi de vive Mr. Stephens appeared to be.
    • Teacher covers essential writing issues.
    • Program goes from simple to complex with ease, at a good pace, in a logical, sequential order. Love that.
    • This is an excellent overview program for relaxed homeschools, weak writers, or for those who haven't had a good solid writing program to date and need to ramp up their skills for college or the work force.
    • Feeche also mentioned that the program gave him some clear ideas, presented in ways that he hadn't heard before, about how to organize the details of paragraphs and essays.  
    • Presentation- Shirts and hair were distracting.
    • Simple spelling/grammar mistakes - Not a show stopper, and not pervasive and certainly not any more of an issue than if one had a real, live teacher in their midst.
    • While writing on the white board, often Mr. Stephens stepped directly in front of the board, leaving the viewers to watch his back while he wrote on the board. Perhaps a power point would have moved the lesson along while not cutting off the audience from the presenter.
    • Audio between lessons was very distracting, to the point of making it difficult for other kids to work in the area.
    • The teacher gives opinions such as "That is a good sentence" or "I like that paragraph" without fully explaining what makes it a good sentence.
    • Writing rubric relies on the student's ability to asses their own writing. I find that kids (and adults!) have a really difficult time objectively evaluating their own writing.
    • There was not a good visual overview of the program for us big picture people.  I would have appreciated knowing what grammar was going to be covered for this grade.
    • The writing prompts were mundane or just perfect, depending on your student.
    • We've used another writing program with a very similar acronym. I think that this will be very confusing in the homeschooling community, especially as things are discussed on on-line forums.
    Content-  good to excellent depending on the intended student/audience
    Organization - very good
    Presentation - good/ very engaging presenter!
    Included:  DVDs with lesson-by-lesson video instruction and a CD-ROM with printable worksheets/assignment sheets/answer key in PDF format
     Be sure to check out the other writing products available from EIW.
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    Share it Saturday!

    Did you have a good week?
    Ours was busy and productive. Loving the links on Share It Saturday! Keep 'em coming!
    Last week's featured links~

     I love nature tables. We have a nature table, porch and front steps ; )

    A GREAT resource! Check it out!

    We did this is Jr. High. I think we might have to do this soon!  
    Check out the Share It Saturday Pinterest board.
    As always, Teach Beside Me and The Sugar Aunts and I all team up to make this a great link-up party. Stop by their blogs; they are full of ideas and inspiration!
  • Have a link back to this post if you are participating (on your blog or in your post)
  • If you link up, click on at least one other link for each one that you share.
  • You don't have to comment or follow, but I really do love both of those things! (A Lot!)
  • HAVE FUN! On to this week's link. Bring it on.....

  • Friday, March 15, 2013

    Teaching Creatively

    This week was the 5 Days of Teaching Creatively blog hop.
    Grab a cup of tea and read all about it here:
    You have just a little bit of time to enter the $1000 homeschool give-away!
    Don't forget to enter the $1000 Teaching Creatively Giveaway. Pop on over to THIS POST (scroll down to the rafflecopter entry form) to enter in order to win one of three prize packs. (1st prize $525 value, 2nd prize $225 value and 3rd prize $190 value)
    Getting to the end of some of our fav curriculum- Famous Men of Rome; MP's World Geography, along with States and Capitals.
    Cub finished Math Made Easy IV and is begging to continue with it, rather than go back to Saxon. I don't mind going  on to book V but Saxon is still gonna be there.
    The boys are loving programming, and Adventus is a blast (reviews to follow). And, ohlala, Supercharged Science is rounding out the very full science life we've been living this year.
    2 reviews coming up asap- Essentials in Writing and Discovery of Deduction. Check back soon.

    Wives and Daughters (1999) Poster
    Flower's been feeding her regency addiction with Wives and Daughter's. 
    It's entertaining and an interesting parade of familiar actors/actresses.

     Read Delia Ephron's Big City Eyes and Amy Ephron's One Sunday Morning. Not in love with either. Surprise ending in Big City Eyes but both of them were rather fluffy and quick reads. They all have a similar writing style, witty, clever.

    Feeche finally moved all of his furniture back in to his bedroom. The paperbag floor is not all I hoped or dreamed about but it's good enough for now. For one, it's warmer than the cement, even with a large rug on it; bonus. But I think the problem was that all of the "how-to's" I looked at paperbagged a slab. Our basement is kissing 90, uneven, beat-up and definitely not cement slab perfection. Even when we did do some major repairs and smoothing. Ce la vive. Feeche likes his room and has a huge open area to spread out and write and do artwork. Happy Man-child, Happy Momma.
    Flower and I are going to make an Easter Garden tomorrow along the same lines as the Flower Garden. Check back Sunday for pictures!
    "True education should prepare us to love learning and to see the world from God's side of the sky."
    ~ Leigh Bortiens
    Don't forget to stop back tomorrow for Share it Saturday!