Nothin' 2 Prove

The building of Gunn Ranch Academy one caliche rock at a time; our friends, family, passions, learning adventures and our little piece of HIStory in the making!


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2014 TOS Review Crew

Our family has been invited back to cruise with the TOS Crew again in 2014. We are honored and will do our best to provide great reviews for our homeschool community and vendors!

We love the Crew 🙂

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Looking Back on our 2013 TOS Crew Favorites

Our first review of the 2013 year was Song School Spanish.

Levi LOVED this program. We slacked off of it a bit after our review because we needed to work harder on his reading. But he asked a while back if we could start it back up again, so we did. With him being able to read better now, it is going really well. I was surprised at just how much he remembered from the original lessons. It’s a GREAT program and I STILL highly recommend it.

Definitely one of our favorites!

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Next one of MY favorites is Handwriting Without Tears.

While I didn’t really follow the teacher’s manual, I LOVED the format of the workbook, and how it provided some much needed extra practice at just the perfect time. I loved having the book to pull out and have Levi work on independently when I needed to work with another student or had something else to do (like a review post due,LOL)

HWOT 1st grade Workbook

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Taylor and I are still working our way through Classical Academic Press’s Discovery of Deduction: an Introduction to Formal Logic.

We have worked through it at a leisurely pace, doing chunks at a time together.  It has been an awesome followup to CAP’s informal logic,  The Art of Argument that we reviewed last year.

I have reviewed other formal logic programs, and part of the lack of success was that my oldest student just wasn’t at all captivated by the subject, and the other part might have just been timing.

Whatever the reason, however, Taylor has really clicked with the classical subjects and we have had a blast going through these together. I do love subjects that I can learn right along with the student. I think this will really be a significant experience in Taylor’s educational resume for her future. Her brain seems to be wired for logic and argumentation, and Classical Academic Press is one of our very favorite homeschool companies!!

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One of the most unique and interesting reviews we did this year was Leadership Garden Legacy.

At first I wasn’t sure I liked it too much. Not really sure why- I think it just seemed really overbearing in the “anti-bully”theme, and seemed to be full of psychological babble. Like an intense therapy session, sort of.

But as we got more into it, the story was adorable with the animal characters, and we all LOVED doing our color wheels that categorized our temperaments, and learning/character strengths. I loved it that all of the kids could get in on it. We had two levels of books, and while I read the one targeted to younger kids to Levi, the older two girls read the older version. (Actually I think my high schooler sped-read through the elementary one, can’t remember.)

Either way, we ended up really loving this program. I love how the components go together, and how the story ties it all together.

It’s a great little family study in my opinion and I guess I should go back and read my review again, and make sure it reflects that! It is funny how our opinions can change as we work through stuff!

UNIQUE Kids book photo leadership-uniquekidsbook_zps3822722c.jpgU.N.I.Q.U.E.: Growing the Leader Within - paperback

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See the Light’s Paper Jungle was among our top favorites.

What a super-great way to get some hands-on art projects in, while learning about real elements of art! And all from a professional artist, that adds in Biblical content and character training!

Which reminds me, we need to get started on our next See the Light project…

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A Mommy-favorite is next: Math Mammoth.

While Levi wouldn’t jump up and down for joy and say that Math Mammoth is his favorite, he does work through it very well. The worksheets are easy for him to do and understand, and so very easy for me to print off.

I love that I can take a few worksheets and teach him the concepts with the followup problems, and they are organized in a few different ways so he can get some good practice. I love that they are easy enough to give him the confidence he needs to move on, and thorough enough that he is progressing really well.

I love that I can print out what I need, when I need it.

Math Mammoth is a GREAT math program.

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Birdcage Press Wild Cards are still being played with.

We reviewed the Baby Animals Around the World which came with a neat little book.

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I’m glad I came across this review again because I remember something I wanted to put on my Christmas shopping list. I think a couple of these sets will be great stocking stuffers! Levi voted for these as his favorites in a couple of the Crew voting categories.

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A favorites list just would NOT be complete with Institute for Excellence in Writing on it.

While we continue to use many of their other products, I was blessed to review one that I have always been interested in this year. It was really a review for ME, as I was to use the program to learn how to teach the classics to my students.

Teaching the Classics is certainly the quality and excellence I’ve come to expect from IEW. The program is thorough, very well laid out in structure, organization, explanations, and of course the seminar format is just my favorite.

I have grown to love the classical approach to teaching and we had started with teaching classical literature a few years back. With Levi, my newest student, it’s been nice to adopt a bit of a new approach to keep myself interested and learning as well. IEW’s PAL reading program that we started last year that ended up being an absolute life saver for us begins the classics and basic format of teaching in this way very early. I LOVE the way that the IEW products, though from different authors, all mesh together. I just LOVE IT!

I have adopted some of the teaching from Teaching the Classics, but as we are still working our way through really getting our reading and spelling down good, I haven’t really dove into the nitty gritty of the program yet.

I am anxious to go back through the program and add to my notes and really get going on it. The program is super-motivating and encouraging and really lights a fire for teaching!

I highly recommend this one, and will say it was probably my favorite teaching program I reviewed this year!

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Next on my chronological favorites list from the 2013 Crew year is 25 Truths.

This is just a super-cool little book for EVERYONE.

I really love the charming story of how this book stemmed from a list of truths a coach gave to his team to live by.

It’s real life.

It’s just really the way we all should live!

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This would make a FABULOUS gift for graduates.

Just sayin…

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And, drumroll please…….

my vote for all time favorite product of the year was…

Picaboo Yearbooks!

What a fun, nostalgic, exciting fulfilling, wonderful experience!!

I feel a little off that I didn’t make an actual “yearbook”, but what I did make was a memoir of one of our biggest, best and most significant homeschool projects and accomplishments of all time.

I put together a memory book of the journey we took in breeding and foaling our own baby horse.

It was a magical time, and the memory book really shows that. The rich colors, backgrounds, quality paper, layout, they are all just perfect.

I LOVE these books. I will be making more!

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Another Levi-favorite is the Fascinating World of Insects dvd by Brainfood.

This really is a wonderfully produced and put-together dvd.

The photography and video are amazing, up-close and definitely capture the attention and affections of my 7 year old.

I really LOVE the way the video has questions and quizzes included!

This got a Levi vote in one of the Crew Favorite categories too!

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Time 4 Learning has been another life-saver for us.

Definitely a favorite, because it’s easy, educational, and has led Levi to some amazing progress in his reading and learning this year.

I love it because of the content- it’s introducing him to some basic things (okay, yes, it’s public schoolish, but it’s good basic info!) that he is grasping and interested in.

I love Time 4 Learning also because Levi can use it fairly independently, and I can count on him learning while I’m not able to be here to teach him, yet I can see the progress he has made.

I am planning to continue his subscription monthly once it’s over.

It’s a great tool, and peace of mind for this season of our homeschooling!

 

Time4Learning

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We were blessed to review an old favorite that has been rekindled as a NEW favorite!

God’s World News is a monthly current events newsletter with a Biblical perspective that I subscribed the girls to for a few year. The newpapers are on the child’s level: Pre-K-K, 1-2 grade, 3-4 grade, 5-6 grade, middle school and high school. They also have an adult magazine called World that I just LOVE.

Before I was able to subscribe to each girls’ level and the content was the same so we could discuss the material together. I really loved that about the magazines, but our favorite part was probably the big wall map that the girls got to stick flags to as they did their “map-it” activities. These are little boxes included in some of the articles to map the location of the current event.

Well, just as I suspected, Levi has been every bit as excited and interested as his sisters.

I just LOVE sitting down with a fresh new newspaper for us to explore. It’s just a wonderful addition to our school day and is motivating, and filled with fun puzzles and projects as well.

There is a neat online website now too that has wonderful Worldview news and is linked to the magazines and can be accessed at all levels.

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to read through World magazine again myself as well.

This is a Gunn Ranch Academy Favorite for sure!!

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Rolling around to fall of this year, Taylor’s favorite and voted our family favorite is next up.

Taylor was blessed with the experience of reviewing and online Marine Biology course from Bridgeway Academy.

She was super excited that the subject was Marine Biology because that is her career of choice as it stands and has been since she can remember.

She has been through numerous marine biology courses in the past, and studied Apologia’s Swimming Creatures for three years in a row. LOL.

She has studied and made numerous notebooks on her own, and was so excited to be able to be taught by a real marine biologist teacher.

She enjoyed the online live lectures so much once we got our new internet and she was able to participate.

She couldn’t make her homework submit correctly through the online website, but was able to email the instructor.

Taylor did a phenomenal job and worked so very hard on her projects that it seemed like she should be getting a college credit for what she was doing!

She said upon wrapping up her course that she would really love to do more courses through Bridgeway academy like this. She LOVED it.

Realistically, I don’t think it will be in our budget, but I am going to keep an open mind!

Bridgeway Academy was voted Taylor’s favorite, and our family’s favorite.

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Our next to last review of the year was a series of 4 little paper back books that covered different cultures around the world.

If You Were Me and Lived in…

Mexico

France

South Korea

Norway

The packages came with some extras besides the paperback books.

We got a blow-up globe, two flag pencils, and two different paper passports.

These little books are jewels. Levi and I both call them favorites.

The way they are written is really cool and I can’t wait for more to come out.

We journeyed through 4 cultures, learning history, language, favorite food, names, cultural events, and more.

We looked up many of the places, events, and other things on the computers and planned a trip someday to the Snow Hotel in Norway.

These are really fun little books and a wonderful way to bring geography, culture, and some unit studies into your day!

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Last but not least, a mom favorite that I enjoyed reading so very much.

I was able to sit back and relax and get a little nostalgic as I read through At Home in Dogwood Mudhole.

I just loved the journey through the real life times of the Sanders family in Dogwood Mudhole, Tennessee.

I am not really much of a “book reader”, in the fact that I just don’t have or take the time to really sit down and read a book cover to cover.

I tend to spend my time reading instructional stuff, digging into vet cases, animal stuff, etc.

But this book was something I just couldn’t put down. It wasn’t like any other I had really read, and I guess I loved it so much because of my connection to Tennessee and farming. and animals, and kids and family. That’s what this book was all about, and it is one of my favorites!

 

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So that’s it folks.

Gunn Ranch Academy’s 2013 Crew Favorites!

Enjoy Your Journey!

Chris

 

 

 

 

 


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TOS Review Crew Year Wrapup

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Well, another TOS Crew Review year is finishing up.

I just posted my last review, which is number 28 for the 2013 year.

This has been another interesting and busy cruise full of lots of hard work and abundant blessings.

I have worked diligently to blog about other things this year and was successful at getting my 4 posts other than reviews in. I try really hard to keep our 4-H activities updated because that is a HUGE and meaningful part of our lives and our homeschool lifestyle.

For the upcoming year we will be required to blog once weekly, so that will be another challenge to face if I am accepted to the crew again.

We discussed together whether our family should continue on with the crew and I prayed a lot about it.

I weighed the pros and cons just as I have in past years, and find that things really do change a lot as the years progress, both with the crew and with our homeschool and with my own time and energy.

As with everything, the crew has changed, matured, grown and more/different requirements and expectations have come about.

I have been able to meet those changing rules time has progressed, and I am still within the guidelines this year. The biggest obstacle for me is time, as I have way too many irons in the fire.

I do work outside the home, and have to really work to keep our schoolwork moving in the right direction. The only real way it can happen is that my older two girls have become wonderfully independent and have that fire burning within to learn and succeed. It’s a bit harder with my 7 year old, but we are making progress as well.

I do have to pass on the blogging extras like linking up on certain themed blog cruises, blog carnivals, blog giveaways, etc. I know that cuts my traffic down for “regulars”.

This year there was some concern on the part of one or more of the vendors about the exposure/traffic on our blogs. They were concerned that some of our blogs only had a few “followers”, as well as the concern that not very many of the posts/reviews had comments.

This kinda really stressed me out because my blog doesn’t have tons of followers because I don’t have hours and hours to sit at the computer. I don’t spend tons of hours with giveaways, facebook promotions, social media. I just don’t have the time to devote to sitting at the computer like that. I’m not putting anyone down who does- I’m actually pretty jealous of those stay-at-home-moms who do have the chance to stay at home and take care of “home” stuff. But I am not one of them. My life runs 1000 miles per hour all the time.

So the comments really ruffled me up a bit. But mostly because the “followers” are not really the ones who are interested in “yet another” review. They are really not the ones “buying” all of these things we review.

And when people click through the TOS review crew blog to check out multiple reviews on something, it’s rare that they would leave a comment on it. I NEVER really leave comments. I just don’t.  Especially when I am reading through reviews for information on something I’m looking to buy.

I get lots of emails and “outside” comments from my reviews if someone is really interested in something.  I give LOTS of recommendations for the products we love, both when asked, and when NOT asked.

I take my job as a reviewer VERY seriously, and it kinda just really still ruffles my feathers that a vendor would think otherwise.

I consider QUALITY to be more important than QUANTITY.

My blog is quality. There. I said it. I feel better now. 🙂

So that WAS a consideration as it has been EVERY YEAR I have been on the crew- whether or not I am doing a GOOD job, or even a GREAT job for these vendors. My work ethic has always been to do the VERY best job I can at whatever I am doing.

In the end, I feel my reviews are golden to the vendors I represent, and even more valuable to my homeschool community. I have helped a LOT of folks find just the right product, as well as helping some not waste money on something that might not work for their family.

I have met so many amazing and awesome vendors that have been and are STILL on my prayer list, because I really do appreciate. more than I can express, when people use their gifts and talents to bless others.

With my older girls moving on into more time consuming and more challenging schedules and studies, it’s been harder to include them in reviewing. The crew does review high school and upper level products, and we have had to pass on many because my high schooler and even jr high student just cannot fit full course studies into their already full schedules most of the time. But there have been times that we have worked some very valuable programs and products in with them.

My Jr. High student is super-great about working with my 2nd grader, which is also a wonderful aspect of review for the crew. It’s a whole different perspective that our family brings to the table. Just one among many.

In the end, I feel our family does a wonderful job and brings a unique and honest perspective to the crew, vendors, and homeschooling community.

My kids all voted to stay, and so I reapplied. If it’s time to move on, we will certainly understand, but if not, then we will see y’all to set sail again in 2014.

For now we are back on land, and ready to enjoy the holidays.

Stay tuned for “Our favorites” post along with the crew favorites that we voted on!

Enjoy Your Journey,

Chris


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Crew Review: At Home in Dogwood Mudhole

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Everybody has a story to tell.

Some like Franklin Sanders have been blessed with the ability to tell their awesome journey with a purpose.

“Life happens; later you figure out what it means.”

That’s what At Home in Dogwood Mudhole is all about.

This three volume collection of personal letters that Franklin Sanders wrote to his “dear readers” of The Moneychanger newsletter is a unique, funny, and very real look into 16 years of the life journey of the Sanders family. He wrote the letters not as a “memoir to look back on events and impose some kind of meaning after the fact”, but as a “recounting of family news”.

He let life itself add the experience, wisdom and faith.

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For review, I received a softcover copy of At Home in Dogwood Mudhole Volume One: Nothing That Eats.   $22.95 The 379 pages cover from June 1995 to September 2002 chronicling  their move from city life to farmlife in Dogwood Mudhole, Tennessee.

Volume Two: Best Thing We Ever Did is also now available with Volume Three to follow.

Meet the Sanders family: Franklin and Susan, and their seven children Liberty, Justin, Worth, Wright, Christian, Mercy, and Zachariah.

Along the way we also meet in-laws, grandchildren, grandparents, lots of friends both old and new, and many, many family dogs, and other pets/farm residents/livestock and such (especially chickens, lol).

The book being a compilation of chronological writings for his newsletter gives it a delightful, conversational feel of everyday happenings, emotions, thoughts and dreams, births, deaths, broken arms, struggles and celebrations, much like reading a personal journal or blog.

We become familiar with the family’s love of history, specifically the Civil War, which Mr. Franklin prefers to call the War for Southern Independence. We journey with them as they participate in reenactments, cemetery walk-throughs, visits to battlegrounds, and the Confederate ball.

In addition to their rich love for history, they are living in a time when the mystery and unknown of Y2K was a challenge to prepare for. They share their preparations, thoughts and decisions with their readers as they move closer to the turn of the century.

Dogs and chickens is a common theme running throughout, as well as gardening and farm-life in general. As the family converts from city-life to country-life, they share the whole spectrum of adventures from tragedy to the sweet joy of connecting with their own little piece of God’s world.

We read about Mr. Franklin’s gold and silver business, and his standing up for his constitutional rights, landing him in jail.

The geography and southern charm of Middle Tennessee and the surrounding areas are described to a “t”, down to the addresses of the most amazing places to eat, sleep and visit.

Relationships with friends, in-laws, and acquaintances leave you feeling a sense of warmth, and sometimes laughing out loud.

This book is about family, love, and life. Throughout the pages are scriptures intertwined into the adventures. Life lessons. Real life lessons captioned by scripture, prose and poetry. From learning to raise and doctor their animals, to growing gardens, to building and constructing new inventions, to working the land that God gave them while relishing in the growth of new life-both human and non-human, At Home in Dogwood Mudhole captures the very essence and charm of appreciating all God has given us.

Throughout the pages are also pictures of the family, giving us an even more personal journey as if we are a part of their family.

My Favorite Parts

Wow, where to start. I guess I will begin by saying I can relate to this family’s journey both in their move to country life and to the place they call home.

My immediate family all transplanted to Middle Tennessee, with me following after my graduation from veterinary school.  My goal, much like the Sanders family, was to eventually end up with my own farm full of animals, gardens and room for kids to run wild.

While my story is different, much of it is the same. I found many little snippets in the pages of this book that brought back so many memories. To begin with, the book starts just as my husband and I were beginning our life in Middle Tn, and progresses to the next year when my first daughter was born. We explored many of the very same places that were mentioned in the book, and even cut down a cedar tree to bring inside for our Christmas tree, just as the Sanders family did. 🙂

Of course I loved reading about their many family dog adventures, and related all-to-well to their chicken woes. I loved their “learning curve” as it brought about much recognition of similar and sometimes exact same experiences. I love reading Mr. Sanders thought processes, his evaluation and personal feelings on things, as well as the way he and his family went about handling both hard times and good times.

It’s always interesting to me to discover how others utilize what they have to make things work. From doctoring animals to husbandry practices to fixing broken equipment, if farm life is your life, there’s nothing you can’t do.

While our family’s little piece of farm-heaven is in Texas now, Tennessee will always have a place in my heart. My daughters were both born there, and my parents and brothers and their families still live there. I have gained a new nostalgic feeling from reading this book, and just love the feeling that I just got back from a trip home where I met some new friends.

From Tennessee to the farm life, At Home in Dogwood Mudhole and the Sanders family also have a warm and fuzzy place in my heart. I will certainly be reading the next two volumes (I’m currently on my second trip through the first volume), and on my next visit “home” to Tennessee, I’m gonna take a trip down to Dogwood Mudhole to see it for myself.

To read my Crew Mates’ reviews of At Home in Dogwood Mudhole, click the banner!

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Enjoy Your Journey,

Chris

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Thankful

Well, we made it to November, past the horse show and fair, trick or treating, , and ready for some cooler weather and frisky animals.

This time of year as I’m resting up from fair season, I always begin to reflect on the things I’m thankful for.

On the top of my list is always my family. I’m so thankful that my mom and dad have been such jewels in my life for my whole life. While living so far away can sometimes be sad, it’s always fun to be able to call them and write with updates. I’m thankful that my mom is a diehard letter writer, and always sends comics, articles and sweet encouraging notes to the kids and me at random. I’m so thankful that they came to visit in September, and we look forward to Grandma’s next visit always.

I’m thankful for my husband’s dedication to his job and supporting his family’s crazy horse and critter adventures. He’s always there to help mend fences, build pens, and keep our truck and trailer going to the next show. He works hard and we appreciate him, and we are so very thankful for our daddybear.

I’m of course thankful that I was chosen to be the Momma of the three best kids on the planet. I’m so thankful for our homeschool lifestyle and the opportunities we have to learn together.

I’m thankful for 4-H and for our amazing and talented and dedicated extension agents, and especially for Barbie. She is such an awesome blessing and life wouldn’t be the same without her!

I’m so thankful for Cross Trails Cowboy Church, for the Cole family- Pastor David and Tina, and for Abigail who is Morgan’s very best friend in the world. I’m so thankful for my children’s wonderful friends.

Which leads me to Taylor’s best friend Kaitlyn. Not only did God bless Morgan with a soul sister, but Taylor was blessed with one too. The Hesseks were an answer to prayer and we are so thankful for them.

I’m thankful for our ranch, for our land, for our sunsets, for our horses and other animals, for living in South Texas.

I’m thankful for my job, stressful as it may be, it was and definitely is orchestrated by God. It allows me to pay the bills and still educate my kids, and for that, I am truly thankful. It also allows me a bit of a get-away to do something I totally LOVE to do, and that is veterinary medicine. I’m thankful as well, for my education and for my passion for vet medicine and surgery.

I’m thankful I can sing with the Praise Team at CTCC. I love my team of worship leaders so very much!

I’m so thankful for my small group Bible study.

I’m ever-so-thankful and grateful for the generous and expert help from our Equine coach Rebecca. She has generously latched onto my horsewomen and directed, guided and taught them so much. I want to be her when I grow up. 🙂

I’m so thankful for my growing relationship with my God. He is forever faithful!

Chris


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Crew Review: If You Were Me, Adventures with Cultures Around the World!

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My seven-year-old Levi and I recently went on a most fabulous 4 week cultural adventure through four countries, passports in hand, made possible by award winning author Carole P. Roman with Away We Go Media.

Where did we go?

Well, we started out in Mexico as we journeyed our way through the colorful and fact-filled paperback book If You Were Me and Lived In…Mexico.

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While my intentions were to take one adventure per week, staying in one country for the whole week, Levi immediately had the traveling bug and jumped right back on the plane headed to Asia, enjoying If You Were Me and Lived In…South Korea without a rest.

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And of course my travel-bug wasn’t ready to stop there. He flashed that passport and headed straight for Europe, exploring If You Were Me and Lived In…France next.

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Still not ready to put the globe or passport away, he arrived in The Land of the Midnight Sun to check out the Snow Hotel in If You Were Me and Lived In…Norway.

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For right around $9.00 per book (for sale at Amazon and other fine bookstores) you can take your early elementary kids (targeted audience is Pre-K to age 8) on a most exciting learning adventure through other cultures.

These brightly colored paperbacks are made of thick, high quality materials. The large-sized pages (8.5″ square)  are richly and accurately illustrated and packed with so many fun facts of the region, culture, language, and history in large print.

Each book follows the same type of format, and is between 20-30 pages.

First is a picture/cutout of the country with its capital. Next is a picture similar to the one on the cover with the children holding a globe and the country highlighted, with the name, description and fun fact of the country.

Next  is a journey to the capital city, then the child is introduced to typical boys and girls names, what you would call your Momma and Pappa, money, food, toys, historical places and events, sports, traditions, and the school.

The end of the book contains a pronunciation guide for the words used from the language of the culture.

The book being written in second person “you” definitely pulls the reader right into the adventure. Spoken directly to the child, the story includes thought provoking questions that lead to much discussion!

Gunn Ranch Academy’s Around the World Adventures

As I have already spilled the beans about my lack of self control in introducing these books weekly as I had planned, I’ll just start by saying don’t buy them all at once if you want to save them to do weekly, LOL.

Our awesome package came with two paper do-it-yourself passports, a blow up globe, and two colorful pencils with country flags on them.  Levi and I began with a discussion of passports, world travel, and a look at the globe after blowing it up. We look at our globe all the time, but the blow up one brought a brand new interest!  We found all the places we would be traveling, and tracked them with our fingers from our home in Texas.

We began reading through the books, and just couldn’t stop with one on the first day of discovery. The next day we revisited the first book and spent the rest of the week on it.

Mexico being the closest and most familiar to us was our first destination. He is very familiar with the language, the food (we had tamales for our cultural meal on into the week), dug out a peso, and discussed more cultural names of friends we know. We spent a day on into the week checking out the Mayan Temple with 365 steps and he imagined going to see it some day.  We colored a printed off flag of Mexico, and he asked to get started on his Spanish again.

Next we visited South Korea. He practiced saying the names, drew his own won which is like a dollar bill, looked up Taekwondo and kicked his legs and flung his arms around the room a bit, ate rice with chopsticks (ok, we didn’t have Korean food, we went to the Chinese place, LOL), and practiced bowing. Lastly he colored a South Korean Flag.

The following week we revisited France. Having took French in school myself, I had a lot of fun with this one. We visited the Eiffel Tower, picked French names for the week (mine was Christiane as it was in school years ago, and his was Jean-Claude), cooked crepes with cream cheese filling (yum!), and he was ever-so-proud to inform his sister that the French National Day or Bastille Day is the same day as her birthday, so they have fireworks and parades for her. 🙂

Lastly we came to what I think is both of our favorite place of all (in theory, as I am sure I would be miserable in the freezing cold after getting used to the wonderful heat of South Texas!).

Norway, where the sun never sets and shines all day and night for parts of the year, was a wonderful adventure!  He decided to be called Gunnar Gunn (Gunnar is one of the boy’s names in the book), and I was Mama Hellena for the week.

We practiced spending our kroners for bread and making smorbrods (open faced sandwichs) out of bread and chicken to eat for our Norwegian meal.

We talked about snow, skiing,  dog sledding, and then made plans to visit the Kirkenes Snowhotel some day.  We took quite a tour of the snow hotel online, even looked at reservations and several videos, which included the aurora borealis.

Levi has read back through the books several times. His favorite seems to be Norway at this time, mostly for his obsession with skiing and the snow hotel.

This adventure through the cultures has really opened his eyes to the similarities and differences between people and places throughout the whole wide world.

The books are very well written, including just enough to educate and grab the attention of the reader, but not too much to be confusing or boring.

These books would make and awesome gift along with some extras like paper passports, country flags, pencils, etc. for early preschool kids, and would also be great unit studies for co-ops or study groups.

We highly recommend these adventures!!

To read about more Crew adventures with these books, click the banner!

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Enjoy Your Journey!!

Dr. Chris

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3 Comments

2013 JWC Fair

Fair week was exhausting and pics will come later.

The week was a bit of a blur, LOL.

The animals all placed well and the girls were pretty satisfied with how they did.

A dear friend purchased both girls’ goats at the auction, and they were both surprised, thrilled and very grateful.  Their hard work paid off, and they were very proud of what they had accomplished all on their own in light of more “politics” and unfairness where showmanship is concerned. It is really tough to try and explain and “discuss”  the actions, words and lack of care and concern on the part of adults in charge sometimes. But that is unfortunately how our world runs, and they do understand this. They probably take it better than their ole momma who has watched the blood, sweat and tears they have put into their projects. They give it their all, their hearts and souls, while others who win have never really even touched their projects. Where parents hire fitters and feeders, spend thousands of dollars and have that million dollar “name” in the judges pocket.

But at the end of the day, again, I am so very proud of who my girls are. They work hard, they gain the knowledge and expertise they need to be fabulous little showman, and their projects are all theirs. From finding their animals, to breeding their own, to researching exactly what they need to be feeding, to keeping charts and receipts, to learning to tag, to digging up all the information they can find on each species, studying, speaking to adult experts, attending workshops, finding resources, and more.

Aside from the caring for, prepping and showing their animals, they worked concession stand, served at the steak dinner, and helped their extension agent and others in many ways. They are always there to lend a helping hand if and when needed.

They also spend Friday helping many of the winners of the showmanship of each species learn how to show the horse part of the overall showman competition!! They also helped out the horse showmanship winner. 🙂  While they both looked like they should have been in the ring for the overall competition, they used their skill and expertise to help others. These girls are “classy” as their showmanship coach calls them! 🙂

These girls are amazing, and I am so proud of them!

They are truly shining examples of what kids should aspire to be, and truly exemplary 4-Hers!!

Pictures to follow!

Chris