Embracing a Healthy Family

Nike Missile Site C47 - Porter County, Indiana & Contaminated Soil

What is technically Hobart, Indiana, yet very close also to Portage, Indiana, is an abandoned Nike Missile Site known as C47. Off a rural road protected by overgrown brush and trees in spring, summer and fall, one can find the remnants of what is left behind. From deteriorated buildings marred with graffiti to the remains of elevator doors and bunkers, it's an interesting site. The Nike defense system erupted in response to the Cold War era across the United States. They were radar guided anti-aircraft missiles aimed at protecting populated cities. The ultimate plan was to curtail any attack from ever occurring. There is one renovated site available for public viewing and it's in California. This helps to explain the system in detail:  https://www.nps.gov/articles/nike-missile-site-c47.htm

This is the map of each building or structure of importance:

These are comparisons of how they were years ago versus now:

Even though the facilities were all closed, the remains still haunt the areas they once were built to safeguard America. The bigger question remains is what was left behind especially in those water filled bunkers like the one on a lowly little country road in Porter County, Indiana? A news story from the Chicago Tribune helped answer some of that in fact, there was chemical contamination on the site that is very slowly moving into the ground water. It is being monitored and it is claimed there is no risk to people as of yet. A remediation plan begins August of 2019 that will include limited excavation to remove some soil and they will mix it with other soil that will have chemical amendments to treat the contamination. This worked in a pilot study so they have hopes it will work for the entire site where contamination occurs.

The article can be found here.

More photos:

Memoria Press Classical Composition I: Fable Set Review

Memoria Press

When I think of Classical Christian Education, I think of Memoria Press so I chose the Classical Composition I: Fable Set to review with my daughter. It's important to me that my children have exposure to as much classical education as possible as I believe it's a proven approach to education. How can one go wrong but to be educated similarly as John Milton, William Shakespeare, and Benjamin Franklin all experienced? The Classical Composition I: Fable Set is for grades 4-12 and I've decided I will purchase another set for my other daughter. I encourage all my children to read and write as next to play, there is nothing better to spark the imagination. Knowledge is truly gained by reading and I believe, by writing. 

Classical Composition I: Fable Set

The set included a Student Book, a Teacher's Guide and Instructional DVDs. If you aren't familiar with Memoria Press, it's been my experience with other items I have reviewed, they include these great instructional DVDs that help to reinforce what is being taught. I love them! The 14 exercises are organized in a simple yet organized way to teach.

Apparently, ancient writers invented a way to teach writing known as progymnasmata. It's not only a disciplined approach to communication but fosters the ability to appeal to their audience's heads and hearts. I found from reading the Memoria Press website, Quintilian and Cicero employed the progymnasmata way to teach their students the art of communication. Mr. Jim Selby, of Whitefield Academy, developed the Classical Composition and the students at Whitefield Academy have a 100% qualification rate on the optional essay portion of the ACT and SAT which to me, speaks volumes to the success of this program.

I have to admit that one does have to take the time to read the Teacher's Guide and perhaps watch the instructional DVDs for each lesson ahead of time to gain a better understanding of how the course is taught and to be able to effectively guide the student at first. The learning curve was short for both myself and my student.

Lesson 11

Each lesson is broken down into a fable with sections used to teach the student to think differently and to write something that is truly engaging. Learning from repeating others is a great way to learn how to write. 

Each lesson has steps for both the teacher and the student that is consistent across every lesson:

  • The fable, to include a vocabulary list, provides more student teacher engagement as well as exercises to write synonyms. 
  • I have an older student that this would be perfect for as she's very conscious of speaking out loud.
  • Three Plot Components which is tricky if this is the first time you have heard of this. This is where the Teacher's Guide and Instructional DVDs come in handy to further your own knowledge and provide the confidence needed in guiding the student through this section.
  • Variations Part 1, which is the same as above, required assistance from the Teacher's Guide and Instructional DVDs for me to feel confident in teaching it.
  • The Outline is an excellent exercise that will teach the student how to summarize what they read. It provides clarification of the events and the outline provides the student an aid for the Narration exercise.
  • The Narration exercise continues to foster creative thought and thinking when they have to narrate the fable in their own words. 
  • Paraphrases I and 2 provides the student with an opportunity to use figures of description to rewrite as well as training the student to view a set of ideas from differing perspectives.
  • Variations Part 2 is the same as Part 1.
  • The Final Draft encourages the student to use their work from Paraphrase 1 or 2 to rewrite their work.

Overall, I enjoyed the Memoria Press Classical Composition I: Fable Set due to the ability to really encourage and foster such a way in writing that it will last a life time. The lessons are not like I've seen in any other curriculums which really allows for immense creativity. The set not only teaches students to write creatively but it also adds vocabulary words and the practice of identifying and finding synonyms which I think is critical in the writing process. My student seemed to be really challenged by each lesson and was inspired to excel as each lesson was completed.

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Check out what other Crew members thought about Classical Composition I: Fable Set as well as some of the other Memoria Press products:  

New American Cursive

New American Cursive 1
New American Cursive 2 (Scripture)
New American Cursive 2 (Famous Americans)
New American Cursive 3 (Famous Quotes) 

Traditional Logic: 

Traditional Logic I Complete Set
Traditional Logic II Complete Set

Classical Composition: 

Classical Composition I: Fable Set

Classical Composition II: Narrative Set.

New American Cursive & Traditional Logic {Memoria Press Reviews}

The Critical Thinking Co.™ Understanding Pre-Algebra Review

The Critical Thinking Co.™

Math has not been my strong suit nor one of my children's. When presented the opportunity to review another product that might help both of us, I was happy to sign up. What I found about The Critical Thinking Co.™ Understanding Pre-Algebra math curriculum is it was easy to follow. It provided both of us an opportunity to learn together. Understanding Pre-Algebra teaches students in understanding the concepts and elements that lead to discovery. It's broken down into 15 chapters with a final exam, a glossary and all the answers making it a year long curriculum. 

What I liked about how the Understanding Pre-Algebra is:

  • How the lessons are set up. The student will read a few pages and then practice what they learned. 
  • The pages are also broken up with bits of background information as well as little drawings and important boxes containing math rules in different colors thus making the page more pleasant for a student especially if they might feel overwhelmed. 
  • The book is large which I feel is better than cramming a lot of information in a smaller book.
  • The pages are perforated allowing for the parent/teacher or student to tear out a lesson and complete outside the book which I prefer. 
  • You can start wherever you feel the student needs to begin. For example, if the student is already proficient in chapters 1-3, begin at 4 and there will be no disruption to the learning process.
  • The Reference Sheet also provides List of Formulas and a Table of Square Roots 1-120 that I laminated allowing her to keep it nearby when needed to complete the practice sections.

As the student progresses through the lessons, the concepts continue adding to their understanding and preparing them for Algebra. I think it's a well thought out curriculum and honestly wished I had this when I was in middle school. It's helped my 11-year-old understand more to where she's not so afraid of Algebra now. I feel the page layouts help to eliminate the intimidation factor and provides just enough instruction to not overwhelm the student thus encouraging them to continue on as they progress with each practice reinforcing that they do truly understand what they are learning.

I would recommend the The Critical Thinking Co.™ Understanding Pre-Algebra math curriculum for grades 6-8 or for anyone needing a refresher or someone who never really understood Algebra from years ago! Although she's still not a fan of math, she at least understood it better.

The Critical Thinking Co.™
Understanding Pre-Algebra

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Check out what others from the Crew thought about The Critical Thinking Co.™ Understanding Pre-Algebra as well as Critical Thinking Detective Book 1, Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha, Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary, Dare to Compare Level 1 and Vocabulary Riddles Book 1:

Critical Thinking, Understanding Math & Vocabulary {The Critical Thinking Co.™ Reviews}

Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum Review

Home School Navigator

The Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum is a comprehensive language arts curriculum that we are reviewing in this post. There are six different curriculums broken into levels: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Indigo. We started with Indigo and for each month, there are downloads that break down the month into weekly assignments, day by day. This is nice if you are the type of educator that likes to pre-plan and know what you are teaching and/or prepare for the week. The beauty with Home School Navigator is it's flexible. It's a tool to utilize as the parent or educator sees fit with each student. You can print the handouts or use a white board to review the assignments and you complete the activities that you feel are best for your student whether it's all activities or just a few.

Home School Navigator

The Level Guides at the start of each Level includes:

  1. A listing of the entire month's handouts per week.
  2. A material list that includes a teacher's guide.
  3. Handouts and answer sheets where applicable.
  4. Month two begins an activity called "Interactive Notebooks." This activity is a hands on activity allowing the student to use creativity while learning. 
    1. Each print out for the Interactive Notebook includes instructions for the student. 
    2. The pages are matched to the book that was assigned. For this review, we are focusing on Month Two and the book "Holes" by Louis Sachar.
  5. An answer key follows to ensure the student understands the lesson broken down by chapter.
  6. Vocabulary quizzes.
  7. A final Check-In for the month's portfolio that encourages the student to have goals, to focus on what needs more work, new goals and what they found interesting that they learned for that month.

This is my student working on the  "Holes" Interactive Notebook.

After I prepared for the month's assignments, my student was able to begin work. What I noticed about the design of Home School Navigator is there is a routine to the assignments. So once the student becomes acclimated to how to use it, it will become easier. Mine had to get used to opening links and not closing out the Home School Navigator page where she was working. It usually starts out with an introduction video by a Home School Navigator teacher and then the student proceeds to follow the easy instructions on how to proceed.

I like that Home School Navigator breaks the activities into very practical lessons from following instructions to phonics/word study/vocabulary to computer skills, independent reading and poetry. The root word hand outs are an important part of learning how to spell too. There is also the option to upload and save copies of the work or a check box can be clicked to note that the assignments were completed without uploading. If you upload, at the end of the year, the student can download the portfolio. Overall, I think it's a very comprehensive and inexpensive curriculum for students of various levels. I think for the older students, they will learn how to navigate with the various links and videos to where it won't cause them issues. For younger students, I do believe they will require a little more assistance from a parent but to me, that is not a hindrance as I like to ensure my student is understanding what they are learning.

There are also supplies that can be ordered such as the books that coincide with the Interactive Notebooks.

Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum {Home School Navigator Reviews}

Reformed Free Publishing Association: T is for Tree: A Bible ABC by Connie L. Meyer Book Review

T is for Tree: A Bible ABC

T is for Tree: A Bible ABC by Connie L. Meyer, from 
Reformed Free Publishing Association, is an illustrated children’s book that provides the 26 letters of the alphabet with an object that is familiar to the child along with a rhyme and a Bible passage. My initial thoughts on the book were it was a good sized book to allow for smaller hands to hold while being captivated by the colorful busy illustrations. Children love pictures and the author utilizes many different objects on each page to draw young minds in to the colorful delight of each page with soft colors. I felt it had an old fashioned appearance which I liked. 

Each page covers a letter associated with an object. A three lined rhyme follows with a Bible passage at the end. Pending the child, it might be too much to read the rhyme and the passage with them, so I found this book is great for growing with a child’s age. If the child is younger, one could start with the letter and what it is for such as "X is for foxes." As the child progresses or if one decides to continue to read the book again and again, adding in the rhyme will help with memorization whereas it becomes a fun night time or day activity as the child will either read along from memory or try to beat you with what will be read next as one of mine did. Once that part is either mastered or if the child is ready, as was the case with mine, adding the Bible passage followed.

My youngest enjoyed reading T is for Tree: A Bible ABC to her niece and nephew:

The Bible passages reinforces the object of the letter as well as the rhyme thus reinforcing scripture and to me, that is never bad. I think the younger we can get children acquainted and interested in the Bible, the better. Whereas I don’t think young children will comprehend the passages, I do feel it never hurts to read to them and allow their young minds to absorb as the next time they hear it read to them, it might click to a greater degree. The objects chosen are interesting to children such as M is for Moon with the accompanying passage that reads:

“Thus saith the LORD, which giveith the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar...if those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease being a nation before me for ever.” ~Jeremiah 31:35-36

The texts also open curiosity which is always a good thing! The reading of T is for Tree: A Bible ABC invoked further questions from one of my children. So much so, she had picked up the Bible and is reading it. Another bonus is having my older daughter read to my grandson. He seemed to enjoy the book although in the video he displays a shyness about having his picture taken or video recorded. He sat contently listening which drove his sister over to hear her read as well. My youngest does not need an ABC book, however, it does further enlighten her on scripture and hopefully has provided her a renewed interest in learning the Bible as I admit, I have not been diligent in reinforcing the positive aspects of early Bible education.

Here is a short clip of my youngest reading to her niece and nephew:

Overall, I recommend this book for the wonderful delightful illustrations, the just-the-right-amount of a three lined rhyme to captivate yet not be too cumbersome as well as the fact that the child can grow with the book by introducing the Bible texts to reinforce the letter and rhyme. T is for Tree: A Bible ABC is a winner in our house.

Reformed Free Publishing Association

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T is for Tree: A Bible ABC {Reformed Free Publishing Association Reviews}

prAna: Versatile, Stylish, and Sustainable Clothing and Discount Code

Note: items received were in exchange for honest opinions about the products. Opinions are of my own.

Today, more attention has been given to products in a way that does not hinder the environment or our health. From food to clothing, there are now viable choices to ensure we aren't harmed or harming others in our pursuit of what makes us happy. Clothing might sound like an area where many might not be concerned about the quality of the material or how it's made in terms of affecting society. prAna is one company that strives to provide versatile, stylish, and sustainable clothing and accessories that can be worn during every activity, every adventure, every day. Not only do they make sustainable clothing and accessories but even the headquarters is energy efficient! This idea was started way back in 1992 in a garage in Carlsbad, California and continues to grow meeting customer's needs while giving back.

Although it's always nice to have new outfits for trips or other activities, it's also nice to just to have for no reason at all! If you are active, there are many choices available for men, women and accessories and if time is of the essence, prAna even breaks down the categories into activity collections to assist. I am currently planning a trip to Florida but in the interim, I have finally had a chance to enjoy the sunshine in my home state so now is the best time to wear my amazing swimwear and dress! I chose the black Lahari Tankini for the classic halter style and the Ikenna Bottom and this is what I liked:

  • Fully adjustable halter and wide back ties.
  • Provided lift and support.
  • Removable modesty cups which I never use so it was nice to be able to remove them.
  • 80% nylon and 20% spandex so it wasn't overly tight.
  • It does read that it provides moderate coverage and flatters all bust sizes. It was a bit lower than I had hoped but the coverage was moderate as the description stated.
  • Fits as expected.

Ikenna Bottom:
  • Triple-laced side tie bottom which added an extra edgy appeal to them.
  • Fully lined with a wide band.
  • Provided great coverage which was important for my own modesty preferences.
  • Prints are also 78% recycled polyester as was the top. I chose black to match the tankini.
  • The quality of both items were great and it seems they will hold their shape after multiple uses.

The other lovely article of clothing I have on in the first photograph of this post is the Ardor Dress. It's made of a lightweight recycle polyester with moisture-wicking technology. I loved the high neck, razor back style too. The interior shelf-bra provided the ideal support even for large breasts with removable modesty cups. The mini-diamond label at the center back provides a stylish elegance to the look. It fit as expected as well!

All three items were beautiful! The quality appears to be there and the material is soft and is not rough. Not only are you getting great quality but you are helping the environment by shopping at prAna!  For an extra 15% off at prAna, use code TRHBS18.

For vacation, home or other activities, I really like the choices available with prAna. To learn more about prAna's sustainability values, click here.

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