St. Bartholomew’s Eve: Heirloom Audio (Review)


St. Barthalamew
Ready to listen and ride!

Last week we had a two and a half hour ride each way to a competition that only lasted about an hour including the awards ceremony. That is a lot of riding with children, but Heirloom Audio came to the rescue with this newest review product! St. Bartholomew’s Eve is not the first G A Henty story that we have listened to from Heirloom Audio and hopefully it won’t be the last. It kept the children quiet and content during a large portion of our ride because they didn’t want to miss any of the story.

In addition to doing a great job keeping things peaceful on a long ride, I was able to cross history off of our to-do list for the day as these stories include a great deal of important historical information. St. Bartholomew’s Eve tells the story of the French Huguenots as they fought for the right to worship as they saw fit. The main story begins with young Phillip going to France to aid his mother’s family in the fight against the king and the Catholic Church for the right to worship as they pleased(in this case practice Protestantism).  We follow him through training and battles until what is now known commonly as St. Bartholomew’s Massacre.

When asked I often said that I was a fan of the works of GA Henty, but after a couple people mentioned that they could sometimes be a bit dense to read I realized that I might should clarify my opinion. All of the GA Henty that I know comes from the audio adaptations produced by Heirloom Audio. These are not mere audio books where a narrator reads the story aloud (though our family loves audio books), these are wonderful audio dramas with talented voice actors playing each role and sound effects that bring you into the story. The clanging of swords and stamping of hooves make you feel like the battles are going on all around you and not hundreds of years ago.

In addition to the history lesson, this production develops the deeper theme of understanding that many people have fought and even died for the right to worship in a way that each individual feels is best. The production begins with two boys being caught skipping church services. Instead of just chastising them the gentleman tells them the story of Phillip and the Huguenots and how they fought for the right to worship. While the Huguenots were certainly not the only people to fight and die for their right to worship, it is a great example of the sacrifices that have been made through the years. I felt like this was a great way to reinforce with my children the importance of appreciating our right to worship and protecting our right to worship.

Our family wholeheartedly recommends Heirloom Audio. We believe that these stories are not only fun but educational. They teach history in an easy and engaging manner while also teaching larger life lessons. I will caution that if you have younger children that are sensitive the battle scenes and persecution may be a bit much. I believe they are handled tastefully and appropriately but they are difficult facts for young children to process so use your judgement on when your child is ready for the stories. While my four year old has enjoyed many of these productions I think this one would have been too intense for him.  I encourage you to check out my review of Wulf the Saxon which is another one of Heirloom Audio‘s productions as well as clicking below to read what some of the other Review Crew members thought about this audio drama.

St. Bartholomew's Eve {Heirloom Audio Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

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CashCrunch Careers (review)

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While I sometimes look at my twelve year old and see just a little boy, I know that time is moving fast and the years until he is out on his own will fly by. We don’t pressure him to make any decisions about his future career at this point but it is something we have discussed with him. There are so many options for both careers and educational opportunities and we want him to take the time to know and understand what his options are and then seek the Lord’s will for his life. When we were given the opportunity to review  CashCrunch Careers by CashCrunch Games I asked my son if it was something he was interested in and he requested to give it a try.

CashCrunch Careers creates a career report for you based on your answers to the assessment. The assessment is a series of questions in which you choose which word best describes you between the two options you are given. If the person taking the test is not sure about the meaning of the word you can hover over the word with your mouse and get an explanation. This was a feature that my son used several times to help him in choosing the best answer.

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Once you have completed the survey the program creates a career report that helps analyze which careers might be a good fit. This report includes motivators and de-motivators, career attributes, and career match.

The career information is where I think this program becomes most beneficial. Honestly, I felt like the test picked up some great insight into my son’s personality but it also does not take into account skills and interests. However, the career information and data base was full of some really great information and the career options that it listed were not bad choices for my son. He had never really thought about a career as a manager but most of his options were some type of managerial role. Once he read the report he felt like some of those roles might be of interest to him. A few days after he had taken the test and looked over the report an older gentleman who was on a volunteer work crew at our church took my son aside to tell him how hard he was working and that he had done a great job that day. In the conversation he told him that if had not yet chosen a career he should really look into a management position because he thought he would do well.

 

Cash Crunch Careers 

We enjoyed looking at the various careers and the being able to find colleges that matched those careers as well as projected information about the future of those careers. I think that as my son gets older this will be a great data base of information that he can use as he explores various career paths. There were also some videos about the careers but they were older videos that would be more useful if they were updated based on today’s technology.

Overall, while this program did not provide the in depth career assessment that I was hoping for (taking into account talents and interests and not just personality traits), I do think that it provided us with valuable information. I believe that we will continue to use the career data base as we move forward and my son gets more serious about deciding on an educational and vocational path.  I encourage you to check out CashCrunch Careers over at the CashCrunch Games and while you are there check out their other educational games that help teach economics.  Also, check our the other Review Crew reviews to see how the program worked with a variety of different ages and personalities.

CashCrunch Careers {CashCrunch Games Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Forensic Faith For Kids ( Review)

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*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

Forensic Faith for Kids by David C Cook was a fun review! We read a chapter in the book each morning during our morning time and most nights we would watch the videos on the Case Makers Academy website that go along with each chapter.

We really enjoyed this book. It had parts that were really fun and lighthearted but yet really taught valuable lessons. In the words of my twelve year old son, “I like how they include the Bible verses but it doesn’t sound like they are preaching.”  The book taught some really important lessons about the Bible and faith but in an engaging format. The book was written from a second person point of view. This really resonated with my daughter who said, ” I like how it feels like you are there solving the cases.”

The main characters of the book are a group of friends in a Junior Detective Academy learning about investigations. As part of their program they were working on two cases. One involved a ‘found’ puppy and the other was the evidence for Christianity and who Jesus claimed to be. This is the third book in this series (though the first one I have had the opportunity to read). The students had a friend who was questioning whether or not Jesus even claimed to be the Son of God. The detective helped them understand how they could research and investigate to help him answer that question.

Forensic

On the sidelines of the pages were some additional components that added a lot of value to our experience in reading this book. There were ‘Dig Deep’ features which reminded you about activities and features on the website that related to the lessons learned in that chapter. There were ‘CSI Assignments’ where you went to the Bible and read a verse/s and then filled in the blanks and answered a discussion question. This was great for bringing out scriptural lessons in real life applications.

There were also ‘Detective Definitions’ where they explained some of the more technical terms used by the police detectives. For example, the words forensic and evidence. Finally, sprinkled throughout the book were sections titled, A Tool For Your Detective Bag. Those sections focused on lessons the reader could learn from the case such as “Accept Your Duty, Take Your Place, and Know and Help Your Listeners.”

The Case Makers Academy  had short five to ten minute videos that discussed each chapter. In addition there were worksheets that could be printed and completed. These included crossword puzzles, drawing worksheets, a detective notebook and even a leaders guide. The leaders guide gave great question to ask about the chapter, a summary, and connected to the adult books that correlate to the series. While I used this just with two of my own children (three if you count the four year old listening to find out more about the missing dog), it would also be a great study for a youth group or middle school small group. I intend to show the book to our youth minister at church as a possible tool for working with the youth group.

Don’t forget to check out all of the other Review Crew reviews below and then purchase your own copy of Forensic Faith for Kids! be sure to tell us in the comments how you think you could use this in your home school, family, or youth group.

 

Forensic Faith for Kids {David C Cook  and  Case Makers Academy Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

 

I Know It: An Online Math Practice Site Review

I Know It Interactive Math Lessons K - 5 grade

Math is a skill that sometimes takes some extra practice and I Know It is an online subscription program that offers that extra practice. This review was different than some other math programs we have tried because rather than being a math program that teaches new concepts, this program reviews the concepts they are learning in other programs. The program includes levels Kindergarten through 5th grade.

I used I Know It with both my 10 and 12 year olds and they both seemed to enjoy the program overall. The program is set up where I could assign them a particular lesson to review (converting fractions to decimals for example) or I could let them choose from with-in the grade level that they were assigned. We did a mixture of both so that I could have them review concepts that they needed review and let them just play around with it a little bit. My twelve year old is beginning seventh grade but used the program to review a couple of concepts that he had forgotten to help him with his current lessons.

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Each grade level was divided into sections like basic algebra, geometry, and place value. Then there were specific lessons under those sections. For example, place value to the millions, and comparing decimals to thousandths were two of the lessons in the 5th grade place value set.  Most of the lessons had about 15 questions which was enough to get some practice but did not feel like it drug on and became busy work. The lessons varied between fill int he blank and multiple choice answers. There were also timed sections for math fact drills.

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When a child was completing a lesson if they were having difficulties with a problem they could click on the ‘hint’ button to get assistance with that problem.  That would pop up a dialogue box that would give them some assistance in answering the question. There were only a certain number of questions that you could get help with for a particular lesson.

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My son thought that the responses that were given to correct answers were really funny and it helped him engage with the program.Each time he answered correctly it gave him a fun comment. Two of his favorites were “You’re the bees knees” and “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner”. It is such a small thing but it seemed to motivate him to go ahead and do his best answering questions.

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As a busy parent I really appreciated the score reports that let me very easily see how they were doing and even see which problems they had missed so that I could better help them with any areas in which they had not scored well.  This program is not designed to be a complete curriculum but is a great supplement to other math programs. It is a fun and simple way for children to review the math concepts that they have learned or get extra practice on concepts that they are struggling with.

If you are looking for a fun math supplement I encourage you to check out I Know It. They even offer a 60 Day Free Trial for you to try the program and see if it is a good fit for your family. Make sure to click below to see all of the other Review Crew reviews.

Interactive Math Lessons K - 5 grade {I Know It Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Ireland By The Way (Review)

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Is it a book? Is it a unit study? Is it a Bible lesson? Is it a geography course? Is it a fun family activity? I found that Ireland By the Way from the By the Way Book Series was all of this and more! This is the first time I had read any books from By the Way and I was really impressed.  It felt like so much more than a story book but yet it was still a fun read aloud for the whole family.

We started reading this book under very normal circumstances as a family read aloud and we were really enjoying it. When we were about half way through the book a major hurricane hit our town and caused a lot of stress and power outages for multiple days. We would sit in our living room at night and read pages from this book by lantern light. The children loved hearing it and it was a welcome break from the stresses that were going on around us.

While I sometimes find things that try to include too many subjects become confusing  or seem disjointed, in this book the author did a wonderful job of including them in a very natural flow that did not make us feel like she was jumping around from topic to topic. We used this book as a family read aloud and discussion starter. However, it could honestly easily be turned into a unit study because it includes so many different topics woven into the story but maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.

I should first tell you that this is the story of two children and their mother on a trip to Ireland to meet extended family members and see all the sites of that beautiful country.  We journey with them from Wicklow Mountains (and the wonderful wildlife) to a 5th Century Lighthouse and then on to a castle. They continued their tour through Ireland visiting other castles, cottages, cliffs, and even doing one our families hobbies, geocaching. My twelve year old son even said, “she wrote it so that I felt like I was traveling with them and with the pictures I felt like I could really see the places.”

 

Along the way we learned about a variety of subjects. At the lighthouse we learned not only about the lighthouse but about the whales and dolphins that live in the waters there. Then at the cliffs we learned about the birds and other animals that are common in that area. In another place we learned more about the history of the Titanic and even legends of fairies and leprechauns. Intertwined into the story were many Biblical lessons such as the power of the tongue when they saw the Blarney Stone to the wonder of God’s creation as they visited the Cliffs of Moher. As we went through the book there were many great discussion topics. We enjoyed a good conversation about how we can use our tongue for good and needing to be careful not to use it to cause harm.

There were fun facts about the animals, rivers, and other places they were visiting in sidebars along the various pages. These easily could have been used to expand the learning and be the jumping off point for a larger lesson. For example, when we learned about Puffins the children thought they were very interesting and so we may go back and study them further. They also enjoyed learning that Ireland has dolphins which were already a favorite of theirs because we have them here in North Carolina as well.

Ireland By the Way is part of the By the Way Book Series and each one is set in a different geographical location and includes information to help teach a Christian worldview. I hope to continue reading these with my children for fun family read alouds that spark great discussions. To check out some of the other great titles in this series or see how others used the book make sure to check out the other Review Crew reviews! I would love to hear in the comments which of the locations you would like to read.

 

By the Way Book Series: New York City, Ireland, Indiana & Alaska {By the Way Reviews}

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith (Review)

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This past Christmas my 12 year old son received his first comic book and really enjoyed it. So, he was very excited to get the chance to read and help me review Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith by The Captain Sun Adventures. This comic book is more than your average comic book, it is part comic book and part devotional written by Bryce Morgan and illustrated by Mitch Martin.

The comic is not a Bible story but in the words of the author, “a Christian Worldview tool”. The comic gives the story of the hero’s origin and how he used his powers against the villain.  Throughout the book there were pages that looked like the front of a newspaper. These pages have devotional like information that connected what was going on in the story with a Biblical lesson.  For example the first one was titled “The Origin Story” and talked about how we were created by God and are given a new identity in Christ. There is a question for them to think about and a Bible verse to connect it all together on each of these pages.

At the end of the book there is a list of questions that correlate with each chapter for parents to discuss with their children. For each chapter there is a question that relates to the story, such as “What did the story reveal about where Captain Sun came from?” and also follow up questions about the lesson/devotional.  An example of a devotional question that goes with that chapter is, “What does the Bible reveal about where we came from?”

 

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My son really liked the illustrations. He felt that they did a good job portraying the story.  He felt that the comic was very easy to read and understand; even asking if there were more in the series. I was happy to be able to tell him that there are indeed two more books in this series. This was a fairly short read for him and only took him about an hour to complete.

He said his favorite part was how everyone was waiting on Captain Sun to appear and he just came out of nowhere. He was able to fly in and save the city. When I asked him what he learned from this story he said that evil never pays off.

As a mom, I love that they provided a fun and entertaining story that reflected our faith and worldview. There are some comics that we feel send the wrong message in their stories and values but this one clearly pointed back to Christ. We love finding resources like this that can engage our children in a fun way.

If you have a child that enjoys comic books and graphic novels or maybe struggles with the length of many typical novels this maybe a great fit for your family. My son doesn’t mind long novels but I know many children who struggle with the length and this may be a great way to give them something shorter but still age appropriate to read. You can find out more, download coloring pages, and check out the other two books in the series at The Captain Sun Adventures. Also, don’t forget to check out the other reviews of Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith by Review Crew members.

Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith {The Captain Sun Adventures Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Guest Review: Easy Peasy and Genesis Curriculum

I am pleased to bring you this wonderful guest post review by Emmy Daniels.

 

Easy Peasy

 

This review is about two different curricula, Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool, and Genesis Curriculum. The same person created both of these, but they are two different curricula with completely different styles. I am going to give an overview of each one, what I like and dislike about each one, and how I personally am going to be using them this coming year with my four children.

Easy Peasy

Easy Peasy is an all-in-one complete curriculum that is free to use. It goes from preschool (learning to read) all the way through high school. The content is based on what the creator, Lee Giles, was using for her own children. She saved all the books and sites, links to videos, worksheets, etc., that she was using so that she could re-use the same things for her other children. She then decided that she could make it available for others to use. I love that she keeps her curriculum free, and she does that because she has a desire to make home schooling easy and possible for more people.

Easy Peasy is divided into levels and years. The levels are roughly equivalent to grade levels, but they tend to be a bit advanced in the reading, so there are placement tests available. The years include math, reading, writing, and LA (grammar and spelling), with thinking and computer every week or so. At the middle school levels, Foreign Language is added. Everything is online, but Lee has started to make LA and the readers available in book form. There are also four “years” to choose from, and those cover Bible, history, and science daily, with health/PE, music, and art every week or so. There are two levels in the years: L for 1st through 4th grades, and M for 5th-8th. This is designed to be done together, so that all levels are learning the same things, with the higher “M” level going a bit more in depth. You cycle through the years twice, once at the L level and once at the M level. The year subjects are: Year 1 — Biology, Ancient History, Matthew and historical books of the Bible; Year 2 — Animals, Early American History, Mark and New Testament minus the other gospels and Revelation; Year 3 — Earth Science, Geography and Cultures, Luke and Psalms and Proverbs, and Year 4 — Physics and Chemistry, 20th Century History, John and Prophets.

The best thing about this curriculum in my opinion is the lack of lesson planning involved. I love that it is laid out day by day, with instructions for each day. My kids like that they can do it themselves and work at their own pace. There is enough variety with online games thrown in, an occasional video, and a few projects as well. The curriculum is challenging enough without all the extra busywork that can drag a subject out. I don’t love all the screen time, but I have started to buy the readers, which cuts out a lot of the online reading. My husband and I own a computer repair

business, so luckily we always have computers that he can refurbish and we have enough computers for each kid to use. Others families with several children and not as many computers may have to take turns, which could make for longer days. My younger two especially like the online games that are included in the curriculum.

Genesis Curriculum

Genesis Curriculum is a completely off-line curriculum designed to be used as a one-room schoolhouse type curriculum. The parent reads the material to all students. It is best for about 3rd grade until 8th, although it can be used for high school as well with more in-depth study added. The main curriculum book includes Bible, Greek or Hebrew, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, writing, science, and social studies. (Reading is not included). There is also math you can purchase separately, along with workbooks for each child, an answer book, and a map book. What I love about this curriculum is that all of the lessons are based on the Bible reading. There are 4 years in this curriculum: the Book of Genesis to be followed by the book of Exodus, and the book of Matthew to be followed by the book of Acts. In each one, you will read through the book of the Bible, and the science and Social Studies lesson will come from something in the reading. Each week there is a memory verse to learn together. In the Old Testament books, you will learn some basic Hebrew, and in the New Testament ones, you will learn basic Greek. I love this style of teaching! I read to the kids and we can all have a discussion about what we learned. I also like that the lessons are varied. One day you may learn about a type of animal, and the next you are learning about how an engine works. I tend to get a little bored when studying one subject for too long, so I personally like the variety that this curriculum provides. The vocabulary will generally come from the Bible passage of the day, with review days thrown in, and the writing assignments are based on the things you are learning. This curriculum is extremely affordable as well.

Last year I used the Book of Matthew with all four of my kids, having the older two do the “Explore More” section, which is an option for further study for each day. I didn’t use the writing part of Genesis curriculum; instead, we used Easy Peasy language arts along with the reading. We did do the spelling, vocabulary, and grammar in Genesis curriculum, though, so my kids were sometimes getting double language arts. I am ok with that, though, and I am amazed at the progress my kids showed in those areas last year. My kids enjoyed the time spent together with this curriculum.

This year, I am using Genesis Curriculum Book of Acts (it follows the Book of Matthew and will continue where we left off with the Greek lessons) with my younger two children (ages 8 and 10) and my older two are using Easy Peasy High

School (ages 12 and 14). My 12-year-old daughter is a bit ambitious and wants to do high school level classes for credit during middle school and get college credit while in high school, so she is doing the Easy Peasy High School level courses. Although you can use Genesis Curriculum in high school, I personally think Easy Peasy is a better choice, because they provide everything needed as far as how to grade and how many credits to give for each course. One thing I’m excited for this year is a Learning to Draw class my oldest will take, available on the high school site. My younger two will use Easy Peasy for LA and writing, and my 8-year-old will also use a cursive handwriting curriculum. All four kids use MathUSee for math.

If you are looking for a comprehensive and affordable curriculum, both Easy Peasy Homeschool and Genesis Curriculum are excellent choices! They are easy to use, complete enough without a lot of “fluff,” and they both have a lot of support with Facebook groups and Lee Giles herself available to contact through Facebook or email. I highly recommend both of these, and I am so thankful to have found them to use in our home school journey!

About Emmy Daniels:

This is the start of my 10th year homeschooling. I have 4 kids who are currently 8, 10, 12, and 14 (later this month). My husband works from home as the owner of a computer repair shop, and I am a mostly stay-at-home mom who works a few hours a week at our local recreation center and also takes care of my disabled mother in my home. With so much going on, we love that home schooling can be flexible to fit the needs of our family! Our family loves the Lord and we like to read, hike in our beautiful mountains, hunt, camp, and participate in 4H.

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When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies!

Last Call! Apologia Digital Back to School Sale 25% off through 9/15!

The World of Peter Rabbit and His Friends Only .99 on Kindle! We love Beatrix Potter’s stories and this one includes her original illustrations.

Wind in the Willows on Audio for only $2.95

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FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

FREE Fantasy and Fairytales StoryBuilders from Write Shop!

Barbour Publishing Kingdom Files Biography Series (Review)

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We wrapped up what we came to call our ‘summer of reading’ with a read aloud of  Who Was Jonah? which is a part of the Kingdom Files series by Barbour Publishing. This review book along with another book in the series Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? proved to be a great fit for our family. These are fun and fairly short chapter books that feature a biography of a Bible character, an investigation into their lives, and lessons that we can learn from those stories.

We read Who Was Jonah? together and really enjoyed it. The book starts with a Fact File that gives basic information about Jonah. I really appreciated this because even as an adult I sometimes struggle with the timeline of events in the Bible . Then comes the Action File. This section of the book was the story of Jonah and included great illustrations and clues that you could apply to your own life and to help you understand the story of Jonah. For example, “No matter what you’re going through, your heavenly Father sees you and accepts your prayers. That should be as comforting to us today as it was to Jonah. ” There were also some very well done black and white illustrations of the story in this part of the book.

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Another feature of the book that I really enjoyed are the scripture references for the portion of the story that he was telling. The story of Jonah was told through the words of the author but the references allow you to go and read the actual scripture for yourselves and compare it to the book. I found that the book did a great job of following scripture while also using a writing style that was very engaging for the children. In the Power File section, each ‘Power Up’ or lesson has a memory verse as well.

For Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus?,  I had my daughter read it independently. The short chapters and engaging narrative made it an enjoyable read for her. This book was set up in the same style as Who Was Jonah? with the Fact File, Action File, and Power File.   While she enjoyed reading it and I think these books are fine to be read independently, I really think that they worked best for our family when we read them together. There were so many great lessons to be learned that I felt it was ideal to be able to pause after the chapters and have family discussions about what we were learning. I did not get a chance to use them for this reading (which we began while we were on vacation) but Kingdom Files has some great educator resources and games that you can print to take your study even further. These include word searches, creating trading cards, and mapping activities just to name a few.

These biographies can be read independently (recommended for ages 8-12) or used as a family read aloud or part of your Bible study time. I highly recommend checking out this great series. Our family is hoping to purchase some others in this series, particularly Who Was David? and Who Was Esther? Tell us in the comments which book you think your family would most enjoy and check out the other Crew Reviews below!

Kingdom Files {Barbour Publishing Reviews}

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When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Reading Eggs Review and FREEBIE!

When I agreed to review Reading Eggs, I thought I knew exactly what to expect because my daughter had used this program several years ago. We enjoyed the program then, but I was very pleased and surprised to see how much more it included now.

Online Reading Eggs SuiteFor this review I was using Reading Eggs with my four year old son.  I was a little concerned about whether or not it would be too difficult for him as he has just recently started expressing interest in letters and numbers. However, when I logged in I found that not only could he work on the reading eggs program that I remembered but they have a new section that is designed for ages 2-4. This gave us a lot of flexibility.

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When we tried the first lesson of the regular reading eggs (designed for ages 3-7) my son was able to do it but it was a little more difficult and he honestly did not really enjoy it. I feel that it is a great program and some children may be ready for it at age three but some children will need to be a little older before they are ready for that component. It started with the letter m and was teaching the sound (not the letter name) using a variety of activities related to m. He did the first activity or two but grew tired of it before the lesson was over, but he could easily go back and finish at his own pace.

Though my son was not quite ready for that portion of the program it is still a great program. Reading Eggs starts at the very beginning with letter sounds and continues through fluent reading, their highest levels Reading Eggspress works on reading comprehension and fluency for children ages 7-13. It is a fun and thorough program that works great to help improve a child’s reading ability.  Luckily for us, they also now have Reading Eggs Junior.

 

When we tried the Reading Eggs Junior section (ages 2-4), we knew we had found the right fit. He absolutely loved it and could not get enough. They had books that he could look at and listen as they were read aloud, short videos that worked on letters and other educational concepts, and lots of different games to help him with preschool level skills.

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He knows all of his colors but really enjoyed playing the color games where he would match part of an object to the rest of the object in the same color. For example, they might have a purple and a pink car and two cut out circles form the cars (one in each color). He would then have to move the colored circle into the right spot.  He enjoyed a game where he had to sort butterflies onto flowers based on their color.

They also had counting games, alphabet games, puzzles and more. The one thing we noticed with the games is that you needed to be used to using a mouse in order to successfully complete the activity. While many children have this skill, it was not something that my four year old had mastered because most of the time he does his activities on the kindle and uses a touch screen. He did get more proficient with the mouse as he worked through various activities.

Each game/activity is done in a map style layout (see the pictures above) and gets progressively harder. They program will let him return to one he has already completed but it will not let him move ahead until he completes that level. This helps keep the children from getting frustrated by the difficulty level. I should also note that in the regular Reading Eggs program it is set up in a similar manner but children can take a placement test to determine where they need to start so that they do not have to go through the lessons from the beginning.

My one real complaint about the program is that it is not compatible with Kindle. While this will not be an issue for many families, we find that logistically it is better if my son’s programs can be done on our kindle. He is better able to navigate the kindle than our desktop and can be more independent. However, this is still a wonderful program and we will work around the kindle issue using it on our desktop. Thankfully, my older children enjoy helping him and can assist him when I am not available.

If this sounds like a program that might be a good fit for your child, I have a wonderful offer for you. Reading Eggs has agreed to give my readers a FREE four week trial of the program. This is a great way for you to try it out and see if it is a good fit for your family.

In addition to the wonderful online program, Reading Eggs has just released new workbooks to accompany the program. While we did not personally use them I am hearing some great things from the reviewers that used the new workbooks and I encourage you to check out the other reviews to learn more about those.

Online Reading Eggs Suite {Reading Eggs Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn (Book Review)

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This was our ‘summer of books’ so I was delighted to add God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco to my list when the review opportunity arose.  As I share my thoughts on this book, it is important to note that I do not believe that education is one size fits all. There are many educational philosophies and different styles work for different families and sometimes even different children with-in those families. That’s one of the beautiful things about homeschooling!

This book does a wonderful job of explaining and exploring the unschooling approach to education. While I do not think that unschooling is the approach that best suits our family, I enjoyed hearing about what works for her children and the research behind that methodology. I also gleaned a lot of great information and tips that will work well for our family.

One of the points that really stuck out to me in the beginning is how she explained unschooling. Julie says, “Unschooling can be a very deliberate endeavor, not necessarily haphazard.” She spends a great deal of time explaining how she deliberately sets out to provide her children with a good education in this manner. Sometimes unschooling is assumed to be doing nothing but letting your children play video games all day while you go about your business. However, she talks extensively about how she interacted with her children and helped guide them while providing natural learning opportunities and plenty of time for play.

She talks about how children, particularly children under eight, need a lot of free time and play. I wholeheartedly agree. They learn so much through play and exploration and if we are not careful we can fill up their days with school work and not allow them the time needed to play and explore.

Her chapter on children ages eight to twelve touches on many areas but I really liked what she had to say about entrepreneurship and service. In our family we believe that serving others is a Biblical command and we try to teach our children to serve from a very young age.  During this eight to twelve range, they become capable of more complex service and taking more ownership in serving others. It is an important part of learning and development. Entrepreneurship is another important component of education for that age group. Learning to do meaningful work and contribute is a vital skill for successful adulthood. It is also a Biblical command and she shares several scriptures including 1 Thessalonians 4:11 and Ephesians 3:28 which talk about working with your own hands.

She also goes into experiential learning in that chapter. Children learn much better when they can experience that which they are trying to learn. She gives multiple examples from field trips and nature walks to living books and hands on crafts. These have been a vital part of our educational experience and I appreciated the encouragement to continue with this type of learning even as my children get older.

The section of the book that I needed to read most was probably the chapter titled, “Giving Teens Wings So They Can Fly”.  My oldest son is twelve and so the teen years are very near for our family. Unintentionally, three of the books that I have read this summer have discussed how the modern age group of ‘teenagers’ is really a new lifestyle/category. Before somewhere around the late 1930s you did not see ‘teenagers’ as a separate culture.  Most often once a child reached that age he/ she began working or contributing to the family in some way. Popular culture today paints teens in a negative light and holds them to very low expectations. However, Julie Polanco shares how she provided her children with opportunities to be involved in real life and contribute. It is important that we have high expectations for our teenagers and give them the opportunity to succeed and do great things.

If you want to know more about what unschooling looks like, especially from a Christian perspective or if you just want some encouragement and ways you can integrate more real life learning into your student’s education God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn is a great book. ** Also, she has a 1/2 price sale on the e-book version until August 22nd**

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn {Julie Polanco Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.