Embracing a Healthy Family

P-47 Thunderbolt Evansville, Indiana Factory: Fun Tid Bits Found When Researching Family Ancestry

I've spent some time looking up my family ancestry over the years and a big source of history is from personal accounts. This is often overlooked so make sure you're grabbing those memories from your loved ones! My cousin just told me a memory from her 90 year old father about how our grandfather used to work at the P-47 Thunderbolt Factory in Evansville, Indiana during WWII which is fascinating to me. My father repeatedly told me stories about how vastly intelligent my grandfather was which given his meager education, was pretty remarkable but after homeschooling and seeing the books of yesteryear, those school lessons and books were pretty robust.

The Republic Aviation Corporation factory was located where the old Whirlpool factory was which is now a steel mill. It employed over 5,000 men and women that manufactured 6,242 P-47 Thunderbolts from 1942-1945 which was the principal fighter plane during WWII.

A 1943 advertisement for REPUBLIC AVIATION from Flight & Aircraft Engineer magazine

Republic was originally Seversky Aircraft Company that was founded in 1931 by expatriot Russian Alexander de Seversky. He was also a veteran pilot of WWI. Eventually he was forced out and a new president was brought in as a restructuring occured giving birth to Republic. After demands for warcrafts continued, Republic out expanded their facilities in New York and the Army granted authorization in 1942 to build in Evansville.

The P-47 Thunderbolt would undergo continuous improvements and by 1945, it became the most produced US fighter of the war consisting of 15,660 altogether. It was fierce being able to endure extreme battle damage with a speed that allowed it to become the first American fighter to accompany the Flying Fortress and Liberator bombers on roundtrip flights to Germany.

Evansville Impact

In 1942, Evansville, like many other areas, were impacted by the economy. The new Republic factory was like the modern day Toyota factory of Princeton, Indiana providing feeder business booms such as Chrysler and Sunbeam whic provided steel cartridge jackets. 50 local businesses benefitted from the war contracts catapulting desperate Evansville back into a booming town. They employed women and African Americans as well as the handicapped.

Photo courtesy of Evansville Courier and Press

In case you are ever in the area, Evansville also is home for the only operational LST in WWII configuration afloat in US waters. Stay tuned for the next installation of posts for the LST.

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Historic Indiana Wabash & Erie Canal

Photo by Charles Edward

History is all around us and is right before our eyes if we look for it. Wherever I go, I love to take road trips to explore and with our recent move, this has not changed and only opened the road to more to find. On a recent expedition, I stumbled upon a road sign with "Wabash Erie Canal." I was curious as to what this peculiar sign at the start of a road in the middle of nowhere in Indiana was about so I started to Google it. As I read, it was noted how during the 19th century, canals were the main transportation hub for supplies and merchandise. In order to connect and make this interstate transportation system thrive, the Erie Canal was built. It connected the Hudson River in New York City to the Great Lakes. Then in 1827, a land grant provided the funds to build the Wabash and Erie Canal.

In 1834, the Central Canal was built which connected the Wabash River to the Ohio River starting in Peru, Indiana, through Indianapolis and continuing to Evansville. The Canal was halted due to financial reasons and was revitalized in 1845 via a land grant. The Central Canal was completed and it and the Cross-Cut Canals were joined into the Wabash and Erie Canal. This new route extended the Canal all the way to the Ohio River. To step backwards for a moment, the Cross-Cut Canal connected Terre Haute, Indiana to Worthington, Indiana. 

The Canal ended up consisting of468 miles from Toledo, Ohio to Evansville, Indiana. It had 18 major aquaducts and promoted the growth and beginnings of new towns.

Trivia: The Canal broke ground on George Washington's 100th birthday because he's credited with the idea of a canal trough through this area.

The Canal was built by hand mostly by Irish immigrants using shovels, picks, wheelbarrows and horse-drawn-slip-scoops. It is estimated that for every six feet of completed Canal in the forty-mile stretch between Indiana and Ohio, one man died. 

Today, the Canal is still visible in some places but in other places, it's been covered up. It's amazing to see and to realize that men hand dug this Canal.

For more information, check out this link for the Wabash and Erie Canal.

Jump In, 2nd Edition by Writing with Sharon Watson: A Review

I told my middle child that I wanted her try out Jump In, 2nd Edition by Writing with Sharon Watson and I was met with resistance as she's not the type that likes to write unless it's what she wants to write about. After getting her convinced that she might like it and should give it a try, she found she actually did like it. What makes Jump In, 2nd Edition so nice is it is as student directed as possible meaning she's able to complete her lessons on her own and I only have to check daily answers and utilize their new specific grading grid for her essay assignments if I prefer.

There is a choice to have either the physical copy or it can be downloaded.

Jump In, 2nd Edition is for grades 5-8 and has been utilized with homeschools, co-ops and Christian schools. The key to the course is to teach students to write in the four common modes of persuasion, exposition, description, and narration. 


The Teacher's Guide has a robust Table of Contents as this is a course designed to cover a four-year time period. The proposed schedules allow for parents/teachers to adjust to how they would like to utilize the course with their student(s). I like the flexibility as well as knowing that one course can be so versatile. We are going to use the two-year plan which guides us as follows:

  • First Year: Complete "Get Your Feet Wet" through "A Report."
  • Second Year: Finish "A Biography" through "Poetry."
  • Complete each end of chapter essay by first putting away the next chapter assignment. The suggestion is to allow the student to focus and not be rushed which I like AND she likes too!

Another key feature from the Teacher's Guide is the Teacher's Backpack full of tools to help teach the course and produce no tears or maybe less tears! From helping to teach them how to proofread to different modes of writing, it's all available to help the teacher teach. 

For the inexperienced teacher or even the reluctant teacher, as well as the seasoned teacher, it's a one source for teaching and grading the course. I even learned a lot from the Teacher's Guide and suggest reading ahead of every lesson to produce a confident approach with teaching. My girls look up to me so I have to make sure I seem confident with what I'm teaching and the Teacher's Guide provides everything I need.

The next section is called Sample Essay Evaluations which provides examples and guidance on how to grade your student's essays while still being encouraging. There are sample essays with a commentary as to why each one received a grade of A, B, C, D or F, respectively.

The next session, 10-Minute Writing Plunges Programs, contains enough Plunges (or prompts) that will last over the school year. They are to be used either to give the student a break from lessons or to be their own task. Some examples include: "I think the leader of my country should be..." and "Something good about me..."  These really were fun to do and did provide a needed break on days that she was not really feeling inspirational. I found that when I wrote my own responses and we read them to each other, she had more fun and enjoyed it.


The Student's Guide is easy to follow and literally jumps in with the lessons. The Table of Contents provides an easy reference for each chapter and name. What I find most relevant about this course is how it appeals to children and their thoughts. The very first paragraph reaffirmed to my child that Sharon Watson gets it. She understands how children think and can relate to them in a most sincere and productive way. As I mentioned above, my daughter was very reluctant to try another program but as I read the first paragraph to her, this hit a cord:

"Writing may send warm shivers of pleasure up your spine. Or you feel as though you are drowning in an angry, choppy, icy sea with nothing in sight but hungry, toothy sharks."

As soon as I finished that part, she lit up and I could see that she realized she was not alone and this book acknowledged her feelings. Her mood immediately changed and she was willing to give it a go. It also provided me better insight to how she felt about writing as I didn't know how to ask the questions that were presented to her. For example, in Get Your Feet Wet, she was asked in question one, "what types of writing assignments are difficult for you?" Due to her responses, I now know why she always grumbled over my request for book reports.

She moved through the skills or daily lessons three days a week and seemed to enjoy most of them. I did not have to remind her to complete her work as she was diligent in completing them Monday, Wednesday and Friday.


"The lessons are very short and easy to do. It usually takes about 20 minutes maxium to finish a lesson per day. Natually, I would complete more than what I was instructed to do because I enjoyed it. The directions can be difficult to understand sometimes for me but otherwise I really enjoy doing these. It helped me brainstorm ideas! I would write about anything for about 10 minutes and then fix what I might not like or did incorrectly afterwards. They teach to write first and go back and work on any issues afterwards."


I really liked how Jump In, 2nd Edition by Writing with Sharon Watson utilizes smaller lessons to teach over 98 different writing skills. The concept of teaching students to write paragraphs first and eventually essays is brilliant in starting smaller versus the whole paper. It's less intimidating and allows the students to just start writing without worrying about accuracy and it really appealed to my daughter. It allowed her to freely write without interruption as she knew she could return and correct. 

As I looked forward to future lessons, I can definitely see how they will aid in her being able to expand on her thinking processes and add more to what she's writing. For instance, Chapter 7 or titled Reports, expands on organizing by using the outline method. I'm also looking forward to the chapter called Narration as it goes through the methods from setting the scene, descriptions, dialog and more to encourage greater depth in writing by still using simple approaches that aren't intimidating. It becomes a fun way to teach and I expect she will continue to enjoy the lessons. I would recommend this course.                                                                                                                     



Check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew, a division of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, thought by clicking on the (photo) link below:

Jump In, 2nd Edition {Writing with Sharon Watson Reviews}

The Complete Starter Kit by The Kingdom Code Homeschool Review

Teaching children about money management is a needed course and seems to be one that is neglected in some school systems. This is why I enjoy homeschooling because I dictate what is best for my children. I have the drive of my parents in me with the desire to be an entrepreneur and this has rubbed off on my children. We were provided an opportunity to review The Complete Starter Kit by The Kingdom Code. It is a Biblical-based hands-on program that teaches kids about money management and how to become a kid entrepreneur. It's a very cool course with a medieval theme that should appeal to most kids. It's geared towards helping parents and teachers to teach children and teenagers a fun way to start a business and all the steps in between. 

When I first received the package of all the material, I had to take time to read and understand how to assemble it all. In the past, I would have been annoyed with the time it required to assemble and make sense of it all but as I've proceeded in the homeschool journey, I have learned how important it is to take the time to prepare. The course itself looked inviting to me so compiling everything also turned into a fun task. This curriculum is comprehensive thus requiring the time needed to prepare and plan appropriately. Every item is vital to the curriculum and I think they did a wonderful job creating an informative, educational and fun way to teach a subject that some might not normally like nor learn about. It did require some inexpensive items like a couple of binders, tabs, pencil pockets, and red pencils, but once you compile the binders for the students, it makes perfect sense and it's pretty cool looking. I did assemble my own binder as I wanted to have my own separate area for information. 


We started out using The Kingdom Code Make and Manage Money...God's Way book. As the cover states, the curriculum is designed to, "empower students to be entrepreneurs" and to "build a business," "develop character,"and "prepare for the future." It's a nice spiral bound colorful book that has engaging photos, illustrations and more. The Table of Contents lists the 27 lessons, a glossary, a bibliography, credits, and an index.

Lesson One is the "Path to The Kingdom Code" and provides the students with everything they need to know to understand what The Kingdom Code is. As it discusses starting one's own business, it is reinforced with the word of God. Each lesson includes:

  • Proclamations which are designed for the Kingdom of Code Kid (KCK) to become brave and build faith. For example, Lesson One states, "I trust in the Lord with all my heart and depend on Him, instead of myself. In everything I do, I honor and remember Him, and He makes my path straight."
  • Check Your Path are worksheets that require the KCK to answer the questions about each lesson.
  • Quest for the Clue are provided to help the KCK understand how God wants them to live and use money. It is stressed that as they find the Clues, they will be able to put on the full Armor of God for protection. They are knights in this journey.
  • Codes of Honor provide a Bible verse and a character code that describes how a KCK thinks and acts. 
  • Share Your Thought further the KCK's learning experience by asking more questions such as, "how can you have a financial responsibility and not be a financially responsible person?" These were fun as it allowed me to fully understand if they were comprehending what was being taught.
  • Treasure Seeking is the way KCKs discover treasures that will help them build their own business to make money. A business is called a Treasure Builder.
  • Action Time is where they refer to their binders and start exercises to build their own Treasure Builder.
  • On Your Own are more activities the KCKs complete on their own or at home.
  • Kingdom Keys are reviews of the lesson. They consist of: Key to the Lesson, Key Ideas and Key Terms
  • Upon completion of each lesson, the KCK receives a key (a sticker) to place on the KCK Treasure Map.
  • Bonus Code Work varies lesson to lesson and provides additional activities for the KCKs that are optional.

I know that sounds like quite a bit, but if broken into days, as the schedule recommends, it's very easy to accomplish and was a favorite activity of the day to complete.


The Teacher's Guide consists of print outs that are designed to be placed in a binder. It contains:

  • A Contents section that lists each section and lesson.
  • A Note to the Teacher that provides a letter of inspiration and more from Jimmie Byler aka Aunt Jimmi and the staff.
  • An Introduction to the Kingdom Code indexed by parts with Part 1 noting the supplies needed as I noted above.
  • Part 2 is how to organize everything and these sections are paramount to setting up the course for a smooth transition in teaching it. Note: this can be used for one student or more.
  • Part 3 explains what is in the textbook and what to expect in a lesson which I explained above in the sections from the student's book.
  • Part 4 is instruction on using the Essential Elements such as activities, worksheets, flashcards, posters, forms, notices and Treasure Builder ideas. This is the part that is a little more cumbersome in ensuring you are organized before beginning as they are not bound, As I noted above, they all have their respective places in folders, binders or pencil pouches. I'm glad they provided it this way as I think it really cuts down on costs since we assemble and buy the non-teaching essentials. Before separating and placing everything in their respective binders, read carefully so you place each section where it needs to go. This is where the binder tabs is very handy, if not essential, in organizing everything as they suggested for the supplies needed.
  • Part 5 lists what is in the Teacher's Guide which includes the Lesson Plans, Masters (Appendix A), Flashcards (Appendix B), Assessments (Appendix C), and Additional Enrichment (Appendix D).

I made a little envelope to place the flashcards in at the front of the binder.


My youngest started with the course and was completing Worksheet 1 as my middle one watched with great interest.

A close up of the first worksheet.

The Teacher's Guide provides the guidance on breaking up the days of the lessons. For the review, I will cover the first three lessons.

Lesson One

As we started Lesson One, my KCK was supposed to assemble her binder but I helped her and put it together for her. For Day One, we worked on the Overview, Essential Question, Learning Goal and Kingdom Code. We completed Worksheet One as noted in the photo above. There are tips throughout to help customize the lessons to meet individual students abilities. There are a lot of interactive type activities which makes the course a fun family type activity too. 

Day Two for Lesson One included more interactive work and the completion of pages 6-11 of Activity 1. The entire course consists of 40 colorful Activities that help to promote understanding of the material through various exercises. 

At the conclusion of the lesson, they receive their first key as noted in the above photo.

Lesson Two 

Lesson Two continued building the Treasure and didn't let her down. She was so eager and enthusiastic about each lesson. 

Lesson Three

Each lesson is a real learning adventure and this is another brief overview. This one starts out with the Proclamation, as do the others, and begins with a little history about a beef entrepreneur in the 1800s in Texas. This cleverly leads into teaching about the law of supply and demand. The lesson provides activities to build the financial concept knowledge and provides the KCK with the idea of a mentor. I was really surprised to see this as in my previous pharmaceutical life, we were encouraged to seek mentors so this was a wonderful concept to add. In addition to the worksheet, the KCK will complete Notice 1: Treasure Builder Permit and Notice 2: Business Notice.

My KCK is completing Notice 1 for her Treasure Builder Permit.
Notice 2 for the Business Notice.
My youngest discussed options with my middle one and they decided upon a food truck business or a cafe in honor of their grandfather. Although we can't start a cafe yet, we do have it in the plans for next year so as they move forward with their lessons, they will be able to start planning and preparing for a business that they will be able to be a big part of. Needless to say, they are excited and she is eager to start using the tools she has thanks to The Kingdom Code's lessons.


We also received The Kingdom Code (TKC) Kids Coloring Book and Jr. KCK Budget Kit. The Jr. KCK Budget Kit is for the younger children that aren't quite old enough to complete The Kingdom Code program. It's colorful and fun and I was able to start to use it with my granddaughter who enjoyed it. She enjoyed coloring the saving pages along with some of the 32 pages within the TKC Coloring Book. The pages are full of knights, Bible Versus and of course, the budget pages. It's a fun way of introducing financial management with younger children.


Overall summary, The Kingdom Code is an elective designed course that is expected to take 34 weeks to complete or a school year. If taught weekly for 45 minutes as suggested or more frequently, it's very easy to complete. We were able to complete the first five lessons for this review. It is Biblical in nature throughout the entire course which was a huge bonus for myself and my student. It's also noted in the course information that parental guidance is needed from Lessons 1-8, which will take a semester to complete. Afterwards, the student can move forward with the rest of the lessons that refer back to their business without as much guidance. Students can share the textbook but any consumables (Student Packs) should be purchased for each additional student for completion. They are beautiful pages so one would not want to lose out on the complete nature of the sheets nor the work that The Kingdom Code put into creating every sheet.

The beauty of this curriculum is that more than one student can work on a business allowing great flexibility. 


As I looked ahead at the lessons, I have to say that I just loved Lesson 27's Activity 40 titled, "Dividing My Money." As you can see in the photo, the KCK is guided in how to spend to include giving back to Jesus, others, education, savings and of course, them.

Activity 34 teachers the KCKs how to write a check.


The Complete Starter Kit by The Kingdom Code is a really fun, interactive, rewarding program to teach children about money and starting a business without forgetting God. It's extremely clever in that it provides children with real practical activities to start a real business. It weaves in history, economics, writing, math and the Bible to present a comprehensive course that actually brought excitement and enthusiasm with my daughter. We recommend!


If you use code 10TKC23, you will receive 10% off!


Check out The Kingdom Code on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. 


Check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew a division of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine thought by clicking on the (photo) link below:

The Kingdom Code Complete Starter Kit {The Kingdom Code Reviews}

Hewitt Homeschooling Resources' Grade 8 Lightning Lit & Comp Set Review

Writing is an important subject in our little homeschool because we all love to write. Someone is always writing a story and when we were provided Hewitt Homeschooling Resources' Grade 8 Lightning Literature and Composition Set to review, I was more than happy to see how my 8th grader would like it. She's hard to please and usually resistant to new curriculum. Were her expectations met? Keep reading to find out more!

We received three books:

  • Lightning Lit & Comp: Eighth Grade Literature & Composition Student's Guide;
  • Lightning Lit & Comp: Eighth Grade Literature & Composition Workbook; and
  • Lightning Lit & Comp: Eighth Grade Literature & Composition Teacher's Guide.

The set is to ready junior high students for high school composition skills by using some of literature's great works. With the three books, seven other books are required to complete the lessons:

  1. Treasure Island;
  2. A Day of Pleasure;
  3. A Christmas Carol;
  4. The Hobbit;
  5. My Family and Other Animals;
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird; and
  7. Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages.

Once I was able to read the Teacher's Guide and review the Student's Guide and the Composition Workbook, I was ready to begin.

The Teacher's and Student's Guide

It has a very comprehensive Table of Contents and provides the how and why to use the curriculum. It's broken up into very easy to read sections which I love. I like to be able to quickly identify chapters and particular sections which Hewitt Homeschooling does superbly in this curriculum. They thoroughly cover every step and required book needed as well as go through the lesson instructions.

Some other key aspects I liked about the Grade 8 Lightning Literature and Composition Set is how the lessons are set up. In the Student's Guide, after the welcoming message, they provide an Introduction/While You Read section that covers the author and a brief autobiography of the author or authors. This was purposeful to my daughter as it expanded her knowledge about not only the different works of literature but also more about each author she read. As she continued, she would provide me with interesting information she learned with a bit of excitement in her voice.

The other sections include:

  • Vocabulary Lists which the author states clearly it's not meant to substitute a regular vocabulary curriculum and even suggests one. 
  • Comprehension Questions follows and the author provides great instruction on how and when you might want to utilize these in the sequence of the lessons pending your child's level. This part really is critical for the child to understand as every test that I have encountered for high school and college involved a heavy reliance on how well a person can comprehend. 
  • The Literary Lessons were one of my daughter's favorites as it focuses on settings, figurative language, and character. It's 'the heart of the Lightning Literature set.
  • Mini-Lessons are included in one boxed lesson per chapter to introduce other composition skills or relates to the lesson. The Teacher's Guide helps to guide on how best to utilize these with your child.
  • The Written Exercises are meant to be done at the end of each chapter and post the workbook questions. Within the Teacher's Guide describing all the different sections, the author does note how when correcting lessons, it's important to, 'strive to be as positive as possible.' This is very true as both my younger children take criticism fairly poorly so it's a good reminder to be gentle.

The Weekly Planning Schedule provides flexibility pending on the child's skills as well as any other curriculum you might be using such as vocabulary. Each week's assignment are not too cumbersome. My daughter had no problem completing them and actually enjoyed it. I didn't have to keep reminding her to complete them either which was nice.

The Student Guide follows the Teacher's Guide and provides all the instructions for each lesson. The vocabulary lists and comprehension questions are contained in the Student's Guide. Lesson one started out with an Author's Purpose and the corresponding section in the workbook has the student's utilize their skills in answering the questions.

The book on the left shows the page from the Student's Guide and the book on the right is an example from the workbook.

As the workbook lessons continue, they get more robust but continue to build on the last ones. She really enjoys the Literary Lessons.

She was eager to complete the lessons no matter where she was as a desk or table never stopped her.

She moved forward as Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is one of her favorites.

Overall Thoughts

My daughter really enjoyed Hewitt Homeschooling Resources' Grade 8 Lightning Literature and Composition Set and this was the first literature program that she gave me no grief in completing her lessons. It's very thorough and comprehensive. With the vocabulary words and comprehension questions, it is a well rounded curriculum especially with the Literary Lessons. Given my journalism background, it's a particular area that I want to ensure my children excel in. I would recommend the curriculum!


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Check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew a division of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine thought by clicking on the (photo) link below:

Lightning Literature, My First Reports, State History Notebook & Joy of Discovery {Hewitt Homeschooling Resources Reviews}

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