Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Trust Fund: A Movie Review

Mapelle Films
So, I have a funny story.
When most of the products you get the chance to review are education related, the chance to review a movie (that isn't just for kids) is celebrated!  When we received Trust Fund from Mapelle Films to watch and review,  it was a nice change of pace for my husband and I.  We put the kids in bed.  We made popcorn.  Mr. Butler set the projector up in our bedroom.  (Since we don't watch that much television - thank you Netflix and Amazon Prime! - and we just can't decide on the best spot for it, our projector and sound system still isn't set up in our living room.) The movie is a prodigal daughter type story with at least a few actors I had seen before, the producer was homeschooled and the trailer looked intriguing so I was pretty excited about the whole affair!

Trust Fund Movie
As soon as it began, I thought Mr. Butler hadn't turned the sound on so I pestered him to fix it.  He insisted that it was on and there just must not be any sound yet.  Weird.  The first scene is a dream sequence about the main character's childhood and he commented that since she was dreaming maybe it made sense there wouldn't be any music.  Umm, this music major didn't see the logic in that, but okay.  
So, as the plot goes, Reese is a free-spirited writer who is drastically different than her straight-laced responsible older sister, Audrey.  Both girls lost their mother when they were teenagers and we see their differing relationships with their father and the publishing company he and their mother built.  When Reese struggles in the responsibility department and finds out information her father has been holding back, she starts down a path of youthful passion.  Much like the Prodigal Son in the Bible, there is much to be learned from all directions about sin, grace, mercy, forgiveness and patience.  So, as the movie goes along I just am struck with shock that there are NO songs.  I hear them walk across the floor or clink a coffee cup, but not even montage music during scenes with no dialogue.  So weird.  
Because life is busy and sleep is very valuable, we watched it over two different nights.  On the second night, I began considering all the reasons why a movie might not have music.  Did they somehow not have enough money for music? That didn't make sense because everything else was high quality and some notable names in the cast.  Was it some artistic statement? I guess maybe, but why risk a financial investment like that on a statement?  It was just so bizarre that I almost couldn't take it.  Then it occurred to me that if I found it bizarre, surely someone else had too and commented on it somewhere.  I googled it and I didn't find any weird explanation, but I did find the soundtrack on Spotify!! And no it was just clinking glasses and footsteps, but real music!! So, wait - did we get a faulty copy or something? Nope. Mr. Butler only set up one speaker, instead of the whole set, and the way it was mixed (or something technical like that) prevented the entire score to be played from only the one speaker! We laughed. so. hard.  
Once we finished the movie and continued to laugh at ourselves, we restarted the movie (with the proper speakers) and sure enough there was a beautiful soundtrack to that dream sequence.  So many scenes were different and enhanced simply because of the background music.  Music matters so much in the evoking of emotion for sure!  
Love Was Near Book
Aside from the sound snafu that was completely user error, the movie did a great job highlighting the emotional dynamic that comes into play when someone sins.  In the movie, the main character is a writer and her book Love Was Near has actually been published and can be purchased on the film company's website, here.  It is all about the character's feelings about putting her bad decisions to rest and what she learns from her experiences.  It was certainly clean entertainment and I think it would be a great thing for families with preteens/teenagers to share together.  There is even a free downloadable Study Guide that assists in diving deeper into the themes of the story.  Both the movie and the book could be great conversation starters!  

Keep Up With Updates on Social Media: 
Trust Fund Movie {Mapelle Films Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Friday, July 14, 2017

Field Trip to the National Weather Center

When you live in the land of severe thunderstorm warnings and tornado watches, it is a pretty neat thing to visit where it all comes from!  Last week we had the opportunity to visit The National Weather Center in Norman, OK for free with a group of friends.  We had a good time and the kids LOVED it!







Jude was extra prepared with a book from home about weather!  

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Wave of Grief

When we moved from our old house to our current one, I was very sad for the beginnings we were leaving behind.  Still, I found comfort in knowing that our family was coming with us and that really was the most important part.  So the sadness faded rather quickly in a the newness that was now home.  We've now lived out here for a year and a half.  Certainly long enough to call this home.

Since losing Grace, I have grieved so much for her.  Of course our full life has moved along and the busyness pushes the tears aside pretty quickly.  Still, the tears continue to show up with fresh pangs of regret and sadness.  My sweet Jude was watching Sesame Street and insisted I watch a song between Bert and Ernie about good memories, saying it will remind me of Grace.  And it certainly did.  Just another chance for those tears to flow.  This time it was full of snapshots of Grace at our old house.  And then the tears for our old house and all of our beginnings there flowed even stronger.  My fluctuating hormones (and lack of sleep) has rendered me not quite strong enough for all of this yet!

When our little family unit was whole and staying together, the loss I felt from moving wasn't very lasting.  Now that I've lost a part of the original family unit, it makes the old house feel so distant and all that happened there a little more faded than before.  Like childhood innocence that disappeared when you weren't looking, such grief is bitter tasting.  Everything is okay and we're fine.  I know that.  But when the emotional waves get higher than you can see for a moment, I have to write about it.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Make-A-State: A Hands-On History Review

Home School in the Woods
One of the beautiful blessings of homeschooling is having the time to dive into a subject and explore it from every direction.  Our latest review is designed for in-depth exploration with hands-on activities to engage all the curiosities.  Today we're talking about Make-A-State from Home School in the Woods, which is one of their latest products from their Activity-Paks collection.  Home School in the Woods is a family-owned company that publishes history curriculum that connects with the learner visually to enhance the understanding and feed the desire to know more about a given subject. 
Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-State

Make-A-State is a collection of printable pages and activities (either a digital download or available on CD) that combine to create a fun Lap Book on each state of the nation.  Included is step-by-step instructions on how to assemble each activity onto the Lap Book as well an information sheet on each state that you can draw from for the activities.  This is handy especially if your student is old enough to assemble it partly or completely on their own.  

Since we only had time for one state, of course we picked our home state of Oklahoma!

Below is a list of all the sections of information that you include in a complete state Lap Book.
  • Key State Facts
  • Origin of State Name
  • State Motto
  • State Symbols
  • State Song
  • State Industry/Agriculture/Climate
  • State Wildlife
  • Regions
  • State Geography
  • State Government
  • State Seal & Flag
  • State History
  • Famous People From...
  • Native Tribes
  • State Landmarks
  • Sports Teams
  • State Quarter
  • Recipes
  • State Vocabulary
  • State Timeline
These 20 activities incorporate things like coloring, creative writing, vocabulary, handwriting, and mapping in addition to the strong history study component.



As a Bonus, Make-A-State includes the "Name That State" File Folder Game that is designed to help you learn the states and their capitals, as well as match information to each state.  Especially with this unifying game, the life of this curriculum could be very long.  Studying one state a week using only this program provides at least a year solid of material.  Depending on what other outside information you draw from and other curriculum you include, this could turn into a long-range study across a couple of years or more.
Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-State

From our time spent with this product, I felt it was high quality and a great hands-on component to history study.  With younger students, like my 6 year old, there is more prep work for me as the teacher (printing, cutting out, directing, etc.), but the older the student the more independent they can work.  So, the age of your student(s) will likely dictate how much of your time is spent in lesson planning and that can be a deal breaker some years.  Still, I see it as an affordable and lasting curriculum that likely won't grow outdated over the life of your homeschooling years.

Of course, state history isn't the only history you will be studying and for those times, Home School in the Woods has a long list of other options in a similar hands-on and activity-based approach.  Their Lap-Paks series includes topics like Knights, U.S. Elections and Wonders of the World and the Activity Paks series include Artists, Composers, and the New and Old Testament.  The Time-Travelers American History Studies include New World Explorers, The Civil War, and World War II.  For a really neat project, check out the Timeline Trio that could be a treasure to keep long after the learning has moved on.  Last, but not least, the company is making available singular activities and subjects in their A La Carte area that could be great for tacking onto another curriculum or study.
HISTORY Through the Ages TIMELINE TRIOTime Travelers American History Study: The Civil War

Follow Home School In The Woods on social media to stay informed of their new products.
Hands-on History {Home School in the Woods Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer