Monday, November 22, 2010

Bright Ideas Press-Illuminations Y2 (Crew Review)


When I was a student, History was not one of my favorite subjects. But since I began homeschooling my own children, it has quickly become one of my favorite things to learn all over again. Part of that new found love is a result from all of the awesome History programs out there, and Illuminations totally fits the bill!

Never heard of Illuminations? Well I am sure you have heard of the Mystery of History yes? Well, Illuminations is a brand new all-inclusive curriculum from Bright Ideas Press, the publishers of MOH. Illuminations is an all-inclusive, chronological study of history that is Biblically based and centered. It covers Bible, Literature, Language Arts, Geography, History, Science, Life Skills and Humanities all in one very thorough guide that will take you and your kids on an exciting trek through the history of mankind. It is available in 2 levels covering grades 3-8 and High School. There are also suggestions for gently covering the same material if you have younger kids that want to join in the study. For our review, we chose to cover Year 2, 3rd-8th grade.


For this review, we were unable to give it as thorough a tryout as I would have preferred to because we were unable to purchase any of the additional materials that are recommended throughout the program. Luckily, we do have experience with MOH and loved going through the book a few years ago. SO this review is based purely on my opinions from giving the materials a very thorough study. I hope I can do it justice. Please bear with me as there is a LOT to this program and I want to cover a little bit of all of the elements that come together to make this program so unique and fun.


As I mentioned before, Illuminations uses the correlating book of Mystery of History in each year plan. Bible and Geography is incorporated into the study as well. Each weekly plan grid includes everything you might want to do for a thorough and fun study of history including daily history reading, notebooking, bible reading, mapwork, timelines and more.


The way Illuminations incorporates the Literature element of the program is probably my favorite aspect of the curriculum. Literature readings are recommended (and scheduled for you) that coincide with what you are reading in MOH and Bible. But the best part is the awesome study guides that are included. There is a study guide for every book your child will read in the program, allowing you to make sure your child is getting the most rom every selection.

Language Arts

I you choose to follow the Language Arts plans, you will have to make some additional purchases. However if you decide not to, you can still make use of the copywork in the program. You do have a choice of several curriculums to use with Illuminations that are already scheduled in the plans for you. These are Grammar Punk, English From the Roots Up, The Natural Speller, Write Shop, and Foundations to Writing.


Year 2 of Illuminations covers earth and space science using the popular program: Christian Kids Explore Earth & Space. Every single day of lessons and activities is scheduled for you and you will never have to wonder what to cover next. Science plans include reading, discussion, vocabulary, memory work, and hands-on projects.

There is so much more to this program than I can share with you in one blog post, but if what I have shared here with you sounds interesting, I encourage you to check the program out for yourself! It can be purchased as a digital download direct from Bright Ideas Press for only $82.50 for a semester and $165 for an entire year. There are some great sample files available for you to view also and you can find them here.

Make sure you check out the Crew blog post here where you can read reviews on different levels/years of Illuminations, and other great homeschool products by Bright Ideas Press!


DISCLAIMER: This item was provided free for review purposes through the TOS Homeschool Crew.  I received no other compensation, and this review is our honest opinion.  Click the TOS Homeschool Crew banner above to read more reviews on this and other products by other Crew members.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

3 Days Down–46 More to Go…

Monday morning my husband left on a bus from the MEPS center to the airport to begin his training as an US Army soldier… We were there to him get sworn in and see him off. It was a really tough day. That night he arrived safely at the reception battalion and that was the last I heard from him til the following evening.

Bedtime was rough. All the kids cried and were pretty much a mess. It’s hard to tell your kids they have to be strong when all you wanna do is melt into a puddle of tears yourself. But I did good, I calmed them down and comforted them and got them off to sleep. I was emotionally and physically drained from the last few days’ activities and went right to bed myself. That was the end of day one.

Tuesday was a better day. I was feeling much more rested and concentrated on getting myself back into the swing of things by cleaning up a bit around the house and hanging out with the kids. I got a 10 minute phone call from my soldier hubby when the drill sergeant came in and hollered for them all to be lined up by their bunks for roll call. After another 10-15 minutes, I got another call. It was so good to hear his voice and hear what his day had consisted of. He was pretty choked up and missing us all badly. I made a very conscious effort to stay upbeat and positive and encouraged him that we were fine and that things would get easier. That night, Joey ended up in bed with me. I wouldn’t have minded but that I really needed some down time to myself. That was the end of day two.

Today I spent a lot of time online windows shopping for a new family car. Ours is on it’s last leg and we are going to be in a much better financial position to purchase a new one. This is what we are leaning towards purchasing:


It’s a 2009 Dodge Journey R/T. It has 3 rows of seats and accommodates 7 people. This model has all the extras like leather interior, sunroof, and DVD entertainment system, and it fits into our budget. I will probably not end up with this exact car, but this is the model we are looking for.

My pretty decent day was almost ruined by a major mishap – I dropped my phone (which I carry with me everywhere in case he calls) in the toilet. Yup. I immediately fished it out, took it apart, and dried it the best I could. Shortly thereafter, hubby called. About 3 minutes into our conversation it shut off without warning. I couldn’t get it to turn back on!!!! I was flipping out thinking this would be the last phone call I would be getting from him until I could afford a new phone (which wasn’t going to be anytime soon). So I again took it apart and took the hair dryer to it. I managed to get it dry enough to power back on and hubby called me back. The audio was funny sounding, so I used the speakerphone. We ended up getting to talk for almost an hour!! I was on cloud nine. He sounded sooo much better and said that he had had a much better day today. He got to talk to the kids (except Jazz who is spending time at her mom’s) and they enjoyed hearing his voice. Soon after I put the kids into bed (without incident) and now I am laying in bed with a heating pad, getting ready to sleep. So ends day three.

All-in-all I think we are all handling things quite well. It’s not difficult for me to stay busy and distracted during the day, with four kids to take care of and teach and a houseful of cleaning to be done. But in the evening, it’s a different story, being able to speak to him each night he is in reception has been a blessing to say the least. I am really dreading the end of the week when he moves into barracks and will be lucky to make a short Sunday call home.

I have connected with an awesome group of new Army wives on facebook who are going through all of this right alongside me. It’s so nice to be able to chat with ladies who know exactly what I am going through. just about any time of the day, there’s someone on there to be a listening ear, or to just make me laugh. The Army really is one big family, and I am so proud and thankful to be a part of it.

In 46 more days, hubby will get leave and will get to come home for Christmas for a few weeks. The timing of his training is really awesome, since this break will split his BCT just about in half. I can’t imagine how I would cope If I had to go through a full 12 weeks without seeing him!!

I want to thank each and every person who has offered prayers for our family through this challenging transition. Please, continue to pray! Especially for my husband. I hope to be journaling our journey as much as I can over the next 4 to 5 months and beyond. It is my hope that it will be an encouragement to others who travel down this road as well!



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