The Heart Changer (Review)

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In a house full of readers, it is always an exciting day when a book arrives in the mail. My eleven-year-old daughter was very pleased to find out that she had the privilege of reading and reviewing The Heart Changer by Jarm Del Boccio, Author before anyone else in the house.

We received the paperback version of this book; it has an engaging cover that draws the reader into the book. It was a relatively short book at only 111 pages including the epilogue. My daughter read it over the course of about a week and once she was finished I sat down one evening to begin reading it and read the entire book in one sitting.

Heart Changer Pinterest

I felt that this story helped bring a part of the Bible to life through the eyes of a young girl who plays a major role in the healing of Naaman but is not named with-in the Biblical text. This is the story of the servant girl, called Miriam in the book, who tells Naaman about the prophet Elisha and how he can help cure him of his leprosy through the power of God. The Biblical story focused on the power of God and the obedience of Naaman but this book tells the story from the perspective of the servant girl. I loved how it made me look at it in a whole new light and think about how important the obedience  of this unnamed servant girl was to the way the story unfolded.

Another thing I really appreciated about this story is that at the end of the book the author explains which part of the book are Biblical and which parts she used her imagination to expand upon the story.

Reading Biblical events in this format makes it really easy to connect to the characters and get a better understanding of what happened and how it affected the people involved. I really enjoyed the opportunity to read this book and I’m so glad that my daughter was also able to read it and discuss it with me.

The author has also included a free downloadable study guide on her website that gives some great discussion questions. It also shares more information about the author and why she chose to write this book. The questions were written in such a way as to help the reader not only think about Miriam and her story, but also to delve deeper into what they learned and how it could affect their own lives.

There are also some great ideas for researching and understanding more about the setting for the story of Naaman. Understanding what it meant to have leprosy in those times and the story of why Israel was taken captive. Finally, the guide finishes with some devotional suggestions to help you take what you learned even further.

I felt like the The Heart Changer was a great book especially for young girls (8-12) and would also be a good book for a mother/daughter to read together or as a family read aloud. It had a compelling story that makes you really think further about a real event from the Bible and how the lessons learned apply to our lives today. Be sure to click on the graphic below and check out the other Crew Reviews.

 

The Heart Changer {Jarm Del Boccio, Author 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.

 

Learning Dynamics Reading Program (Review)

I recently had the opportunity to review the Learning Dynamics Reading Program by Learning Dynamics with my five-year-old son. His birthday was in the spring so he just turned five and will be considered a kindergartner in our homeschool for the 2019-2020 school year. He had no prior reading instruction and was very excited to try and learn to read.

Learning Dynamics Pinterest

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The program arrived in mail all nicely packaged in a cute storage box that makes it easy to keep together. The package is a really nice perk because it is easy for parts and pieces to go missing in our house.  The kit included a lesson manual, a CD with songs to go with the lessons, a student workbook, flashcards, and character letter reward punch-outs for each letter. It also had over 50 full-color books for beginning readers.

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The program is designed with short lessons to match the typically short attention spans of young readers. The program is designed for students ages 4-7 that are learning to read. It can also be used to teach older students who are struggling to learn but may feel a bit ‘childish’ even though it could be effective.

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Even baby brother wanted to help with the unboxing!

When the program arrived, my son was very excited to try it so we got started right away. It was very ‘open and go’ and only took me a couple of minutes to know what to do and get him started. The lessons are short and only took about 10 minutes to complete.  This works well with the typically short attention span of young students.

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Student Workbook Page, Character card, and Teachers Manual

First, you introduce the letter that the student is learning in that lesson and the sound, then you read a short story about the character that goes along with that letter. Next, the student listens to the song for the letter and then completes a short worksheet about the letter in which they circle the pictures that start with the letter and put an “X “over the ones that do not.  The student can also trace and practice writing the letter on that page. Then the student listens to the song once more while pointing to the pictures that match the items in the song. Finally, you review the letter name and sound.

Once the student has mastered the first five letters, the program introduces blending so that students can begin to make words. After lesson nine, the student is introduced to the first book. My son’s favorite part was the character that went with each letter. For example, H was for Henrietta Horse who wore a happy hat. He would have me show him the punch-out of Henrietta and read her story several times.

If a child is ready to learn to read, this program could move them very quickly through learning letters, blending sounds, and into reading.  There is no busy work or monotonous repetition and so it is easy for them to stay engaged in each lesson. However, if your child is not yet developmentally ready to read this program may move too fast for them and not be enough practice to allow for mastery. In the case of my son, he enjoyed the program but could not remember the various letters and sounds from lesson to lesson which made it hard for him to progress forward. I plan to put the program away for a few months, then reevaluate his readiness in January and possibly try the program again. The age at which a child is ready to read varies greatly from child to child and could significantly affect how well your child would progress using this program.

If you have a child that is ready to learn to read or struggling with their reading and you want a short and simple approach to teaching them, Learning Dynamics Reading Program might just be the program for you. It is low teacher prep, easy to understand, and engaging for students. In addition, I am pleased to offer my readers 10% off of your purchase of this program when you click on this link and use the code: SCHOOLINSWAG . I encourage you to click on the Crew Reviews graphic below to check out the experiences that other crew members had with this program.

Learning Dynamics Reading Program  {Learning Dynamics 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.

 

Sharon Watson: Jump In, 2nd Edition (Review)

For whatever reason, writing has always been a struggle in our home school. My son would read for hours without complaint, but ask him to write a paragraph or, even worse, an essay and he will spend more time fighting about it than writing it. I have tried multiple programs but Jump In, 2nd Edition by Writing with Sharon Watson looked like a thorough but not overwhelming program and so when the opportunity to review it came up, I decided to give it a try.

Sharon Watson Pinterest

I received the digital version of both the student and teacher editions, which was nice because I could print out what I needed as we got to it and keep from feeling overwhelmed. I will also be able to use the program with my younger daughter next year since I have the digital version.

 

Jump In, 2nd Edition was designed to be a flexible writing program for students in grades 5-8 and can be completed in a year or spread out over up to three years of instruction. This is a very open and go program and aside from printing out the pages that we needed (you could also do this all at once and place in a three ring binder) it was ready to start. I went over the instructions with my son but he was able to complete the assignments with minimal help from me. I would check over his work each day but he was able to read the lessons and complete them independently.

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During the review period, we were able to complete the introduction section and the section on how to write an opinion paper. I have a very opinionated thirteen year old so this worked out to be a very good place to start. Each thing is broken down into small steps so that the student does not become overwhelmed. For example, with opinions the first step was to look at a list of items (colors, ice cream, songs, books, etc) and then write down favorite and least favorite as a way to start thinking about opinions. The next day you moved on to step two which was giving an opinion and three supporting reasons.  These strategies and steps moved you from a brainstorming list up to steps ten and eleven where the student wrote a short (150-200 word) opinion essay, proofread and corrected the essay.

 

The teacher’s manual had a variety of helpful resources including sample schedules, rubrics, answer keys, and other helpful checklists. In addition, there are sample essays that have been graded to help parents understand what an ‘A’ essay would look like at this level. I found this to be very helpful because grading writing can feel so subjective.

 

I like the question and answer parts of the curriculum and I really liked how I got to pick what I was going to write about.   Matthew, 13

I would love to tell you that my thirteen year old suddenly has developed a love for writing and will never complain again. That may not be the case, but I did find that most days he worked without much complaining, it was easy to understand and complete, and I saw progress in his writing. We plan to continue to use this program after our summer break and have my rising sixth grade daughter begin using it as well. Don’t forget to check out all of the other Crew reviews by clicking on the banner below.

 

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

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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.

 

Kingdom Code Review and GIVEAWAY!!

When I was asked about my interest in reviewing the The Complete Starter Kit by The Kingdom Code, I knew that it needed to be my son’s decision. He was very interested in starting and growing his own business but he is on the upper end of the age range that the program was designed for. However, after looking over the samples he was enthusiastically onboard with reviewing this program. According to their website,” The Kingdom Code is a Biblically-based, fun, hands-on program which helps parents and teachers educate kids and young teens about money management and how to become entrepreneurs.” Each student that goes through the program will create and run their very own service based business.

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The day it came in the mail he was ready to unbox it and get started. He already had a business idea and couldn’t wait to figure out how to turn his idea into a reality. The kit contained the student textbook, student packet, and teacher’s guide. All I needed to add to have everything ready to go was a couple of three ring binders, tabs, and a few pencil pouches.  I was really impressed with all of the resources in the student packet. In addition to worksheets for each lesson, it included a wide variety of forms to help get the business going and keep it organized. There were survey forms, ledger forms, calendars, and even a receipt book. There was also a nice map and stickers to track the student’s progress through the program.

The Kingdom Code is a really cool program. I enjoy using it to start a business. It teaches me about how to sort the money you receive to pay expenses and keep some for you and such. It taught me how to keep a ledger and make sales calls. If you are looking for a good business program I would recommend this program. – Matthew

I sat down with my son that first night and spent about thirty minutes getting everything set up in the binders, looking through the program and getting ready to begin. We then met once or twice a week to go over material from the next lesson and he would work through the other parts independently. If you had a younger child, they might need more hands on guidance at first.  The lessons vary in the amount of time/sessions needed to complete them but most include two to four 45 minute sessions per lesson. My son was sometimes able to move a little quicker because of his age and some previous experience with business.

Choosing a business to start was easy for us because my son had been cutting grass for a family member and really wanted to turn that skill into a business. He even has long term goals of running his own landscaping business one day.

Each lesson contains a variety of components that introduce Biblical money management concepts, business terminology, practical applications, and actions steps towards owning and operating a business. I noticed two things right away, the inclusion of Bible verses and Biblical principles, and that they went ahead and got started on the business very early on in the curriculum. By lesson two, they were choosing the service based business that they wanted to start. The Biblical foundation was important to us as a family because those are the principals that we try to live by as well as how we strive to operate our own family business.  Beginning the business early in the program was a huge win because it allows children to practice what they are learning immediately as well as keeps them from getting bogged down in the terminology and business lessons while waiting to get to the ‘fun stuff’.

Some programs just give a basic overview of a child’s business and then leave them to do the best they can. I really appreciate that this program takes them through step by step including details like keeping money records, writing thank you notes, sales etiquette, making goals, etc. It also teaches them economic principals like capitalism, supply/demand, being financially responsible and managing money.

We are finishing up lesson eight this week and my son already has one consistent customer and several folks that are going to use him on an as needed basis for vacations and such.  He has learned to budget his money and has his ledgers and books all set up and is ready to keep growing his business.

We have been very pleased with this program and I look forward to sharing more of our progress and my son’s business as we continue on with this program. Make sure to check out some other reviews at the link below.  Today, I have two special opportunities for you from Kingdom Code. First, you can enter to win a prize pack from The Kingdom Code by simply leaving a comment on this post telling me what kind of business your young entrepreneur would like to start or what business you had when you were a child. I will use a random drawing to choose a winner on Monday, June 24th.  This pack includes The Kingdom Code Coloring Book and The JR KCK Budget Kit. (This giveaway is open to those living in the United States and APO/FPO addresses only). In addition to the giveaway they are offering my readers 10% off of any products ordered online from The Kingdom Code. Use Code: 10TKC08 to receive your 10% discount.

giveaway items
Kingdom Code Giveaway

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

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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.

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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.

 

Lightning Lit & Comp: Hewitt Homeschooling Resources (Review)

My thirteen-year-old son loves to read. He goes to bed every night reading, takes books in the car to read, and often spends his free time reading. However, he has never enjoyed literature courses, until we had this opportunity to review Gr 8 Lightning Lit Set by Hewitt Homeschooling Resources. This included the teacher’s manual, student guide, and workbook.

Hewitt Pinterest

One of the first things that I noticed was that instead of stopping every couple of chapters to analyze and review the book, Lightning Lit had him read the entire book before he began completing worksheets related to the book. For a student like my son, who reads really well and enjoys long stretches of reading this was a huge benefit. There were comprehension questions for each chapter but the teacher’s manual explained that they could be asked at the end of the week for all of the chapters that had been read that week. If that proved to be too long of a stretch for your child you could ask them more frequently, or if they were doing well you could wait and ask them at the end of the book.

The first part of this eighth grade series featured a short story. We spent the first two weeks of the program doing the introduction and the short story. The short story was a little ‘cerebral’ and he needed a little help understanding it but thought it was quite funny once we had discussed it.  Once he had read the short story there were a variety of worksheets and writing prompts that could be completed to accompany the story. Those included activities to work on fact and opinion, capitalization and apostrophes, and author’s purpose. There was also a crossword puzzle in there to keep things interesting.

Then in week three we got into the first novel of the program, Treasure Island. This adventure-filled book was an excellent choice for my son and he enjoyed reading it. He is now working on a variety of activities to go along with Treasure Island.

Once we finish Treasure Island, we will be taking a summer break before having him pick back up and finish it in the fall. The program rotates between short stories or poems and novels. This means that after Treasure Island he will work through a short grouping of poems before moving onto the next novel.  We are really looking forward to A Christmas Carol at the end of the first semester as well as The Hobbit during the second semester.

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The teacher’s manual gives a schedule broken down into two eighteen week semesters but you could easily adapt this to various schedules to suit your needs. It also includes mini-lessons to help you work on various skills and the answer keys to the discussion questions and workbook pages.

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If you complete this course in its entirety, it would work well to cover literature and composition. There is also grammar review included though if your student is weak in that area you may want to supplement with a grammar curriculum.  We worked through the first two chapters using it in its entirety and found it to be a solid but interesting program. Since we also have a writing program that we enjoy, we will probably finish it with a focus on the literature part and skip over some of the composition components. I really appreciated that this curriculum is easy for me to adapt in that manner.

If you are looking for a literature and composition course for your middle school student, I encourage you to check out the Gr 8 Lightning Lit Set and other resources by Hewitt Homeschooling Resources. They also have programs for elementary and high school so make sure you check out the reviews from the other Review Crew members at the link below.

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

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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.

 

Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner (Review)

Gena Suarez from The Old Schoolhouse® has created a wonderful new tool for homeschool moms! I was excited to get a chance to review the Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year and try my hand at using a paper planner. This is a beautiful 188 page spiral bound book with a variety of planning resources and devotionals included.

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Homeschool Mom Planning Kit

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The calendar portion of this planner begins with July 2019 so I was not really using that portion (though I did go ahead and plug in some important dates and events). However, this is not just a calendar; there are a variety of planning pages in this planner that can help you get your new year planned, goals set, and curriculum organized.

In the past, I have typically used my computer to plan and one of the first benefits that I saw with the Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year was that it was very portable. Instead of planning while sitting at my desk, I was able to take the planner with me wherever I wanted to go. Planning while sitting in a swing and watching the waves on the river proved to be much more relaxing than staring at my computer. I also took it along on a family camping trip and used campfire time to discuss first semester goals with my two older children.

Hey Mama Pinterest

This planner starts out with information for creating an academic transcript if you have a child that is in high school and then flows into annual calendars for the next several years. Then the really good stuff gets started, you have the first devotional from Gena Suarez. Each month has a one page encouraging devotional for mom before the planning page and two-page calendar spread. This pattern continues from July 2019 through June 2020.

After the calendar pages are lesson planning pages, each week is a two page spread offering spaces for up to five children and seven different subjects. These are undated which allows you to fill them in as you go and not worry about weeks off or changes in plans. There are also some great devotionals distributed throughout those pages.

The Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year finishes with planning pages for each child (up to five children). There is a blank page for notes, a curriculum planning page, attendance, Books Read page (my children are excited to track their books this year), annual goals and semester goals pages. I really liked how these were laid out and kept it fairly simple. We worked together on our goal planning and I think that having the goals right there in the planner will help us stay focused on them as I am reminded of them whenever I use the planner.  The goals sheet was broken down into seven different areas to address the ‘whole child’ and not just academic goals.

Goal Areas:

  • Educational
  • Spiritual
  • Physical
  • Personal Talents
  • Life Skills
  • Financial
  • Relational

My older two children both chose similar physical goals and are looking forward to training for and competing in a 5K during the first semester. They have even picked out the race they want to run on Thanksgiving morning. I was most appreciative of the relational goals because we are working hard on their relationships with each other.

If you are looking for a homeschool planner I encourage you to check out the Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year from The Old Schoolhouse®. I think it offered a variety of resources that would be useful for planning for younger or older children and could help keep your home school year on track. I do need to mention that they are 98% sold out and do not plan to print any more until next year. If you want to find out more about how other families are using this planner make sure you click the link below to read more reviews.

Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year {The Old Schoolhouse® 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.

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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.

 

EdAlive Typing Tournament Online and Math Invaders Online (Review)

 

We recently had the opportunity to review Typing Tournament Online and Maths Invaders Online from EdAlive. The children are always excited to try out new online learning opportunities especially when they are in the form of games.

Ed Alive Pinterest

I used Typing Tournament Online with both my seventh grade son and my fifth grade daughter. The program is set in medieval times with knights and dragons. This makes it a bit more interesting than just typing practice. My daughter really liked that it was teaching her new typing skills and not just providing practice. She said, “typing is a lot of fun and I learned very quickly and it helped me to increase my speed.”

The program starts with lessons and practice at each level and then progresses to games that you can play once you are comfortable with the level’s material. If you win the game, it lets you take the test to move up to the next level.  There were several games but her two favorite games were the Dragon Chase game and Siege.  In Dragon Chase, you are racing a dragon to get to the castle, you type words to race and the higher up in levels you get the faster you have to type. Siege is another fun game where you type words that are attacking the castle, as you type them it blows up the words, if the word gets to the top of the castle you lose and have to try again.

 

If your student already has some typing proficiency, they can test out of levels until they reach their current level of proficiency.  I really liked this part of the program because it kept my children from being bored in the early stages. Once you complete (or test out) of all of the levels on the map you earn a movie. My daughter was very excited to earn the movie, though she was not overly impressed with the movie itself once she watched it.  You can then go back in and set a higher goal and continue working. My son also enjoyed Typing Tournament Online  but has not quite finished the map yet.  There are also some great parental reports to help you track progress.

 

Maths Invaders Online was a math review program that takes the form of space games. The two main games are Galactic Campaign and Space Rescue. Galactic Campaign was the main program and by scoring well you could earn the opportunity to play Space Rescue. We had a little bit of a false start in this program because we did not realize at first that you could change the level. This meant that, much to their delight, my fifth and seventh graders were doing lots of basic addition and subtraction. Once I realized that we needed to go in and set their levels it was more challenging for them and more beneficial. I do wish setting the levels would have been explained a little more clearly so that we could have started out on the right track.

 

Maths Invaders Online is not a game that you would use to teach new math skills but provides a fun way to review their current skills and increase speed and proficiency with math facts.  You can choose for them to work on a certain grade level material or even go in and choose a particular skill that they need to work on. For example, I was able to go in and choose fifth grade level fractions for my daughter to review because that was a skill we had just covered in her math book.

 

There are a variety of reports in the parent portal that let me know what skills they have mastered, how many questions they have answered during a given activity, percentages, correct, and it can even correlate their work with several different sets of standards if your instruction is based off of one of those sets of standards.

Overall, we enjoyed both of these programs but the favorite for both children was Typing Tournament Online. We felt that it really helped them to improve while enjoying their typing time (they would even use it during their free time).  I encourage you to visit the EdAlive website to check out these two programs as well as their other products. You can check out how other families used these programs by clicking on the link below to view the other reviews.

 

Typing Tournament & Maths Invaders Online {EdAlive Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

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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.

God is Better Than Trucks (Picture Book Review)

God is Better than Trucks  sounded like the perfect book title for my son. This alphabetical picture book is written by Sarah Reju and published by Christian Focus. The overarching message of this book is, “Trucks are powerful, big and fun! BUT GOD IS BETTER THAN TRUCKS!”

This hard-cover picture book includes fun and colorful illustrations on each page. It is an alphabetical book that features a different mode of transportation for each letter. Each letter also included a Bible verse that correlates to that page. The text of the book shares what is wonderful about each mode of transportation but then reiterates that God is better than each of those things.

PINTEREST TRUCKS

For example, for the letter ‘U’ they showed an underwater submarine. The text for that page was, ” THE UNDERWATER SUBMARINE explores a mile DEEP, but God made the whole ocean. God is better than UNDERWATER SUBMARINES!”  Then they shared ” The sea is his, for he made it…” Psalm 95:5 as the verse for that page.

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I read this book several times with my five-year-old son, who really enjoyed the pictures. By the end of the book he could say the last line of each letter, ” God is better than …” One of the pages featured and ice cream truck handing out ice cream at the beach.  He said that was his favorite page because he loves ice cream.

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This book is great for young children ages birth to six or seven. The younger children will enjoy looking at the pictures and listening to it being read aloud. Many children on the older end of that range are fascinated by various cars, trucks, and trains and may enjoy reading about the different types. In addition to using it as a read aloud book, you could pick a page to focus on each week and memorize the scripture and maybe find out more about that type of transportation.

In addition to God is Better than Trucks, the Review Crew had the opportunity to review a variety of different books from Christian Focus. These included another picture book, God is Better than Princesses. Some families also reviewed a biography of Elizabeth Prentiss and Big Bible Science. which are for older children. Be sure to check out their website and use the link below to check out reviews from the other Crew members!

Big Bible Science, Elizabeth Prentiss, God is Better than Princesses,  God is Better than Trucks. {Christian Focus Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

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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.

Nothing (A Scriptural Picture Book Review)

Nothing by Natalee Creech from WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group was a fun book review. I requested this review to read with my five-year-old son and I am so glad that I did!  He was excited to get the book in the mail and had me read it to him as soon as he opened the package.

nothing cover

The first thing that I noticed with this book was the adorable cover. The dust jacket on this hard cover book is an adorable illustration of a rocket ship at the top and a scuba diver on the bottom. The fun illustration by Joseph Cowman makes you immediately want to open the book and find out more.

I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers 39 or height or depth, or any other thing that is created. Romans 8:38-39 CEB

The book is based on Romans 8:38-39, which talks about how nothing can separate us from God’s love. The author includes that scripture in the beginning of the book and then goes through and explores that thought throughout the book. After the scripture she asks the question, ” Can anything separate me form God’s love?” and then on each page she talks about different things and how they cannot separate us from God’s love. For example, the deepest sea, an overseas flight, the desert, moon, etc. It even talks about how doing what we shouldn’t do, doesn’t change God’s love for us.

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One of his favorite pages!

The illustrations are beautiful and full color. They help really engage the young reader (or listener as the case may be) into the story. I love how it really brings a verse of scripture to life. In addition to listening to me read the book, my five year old enjoyed looking at the pictures on his own. He was even able to ‘tell’ the story as he looked at the pictures once we had read the book a couple of times. Though he did not know it word for word, he understood the pattern of the story and the pictures gave him plenty of clues.

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This was a great way to help my son internalize this scripture verse and it would make a beautiful gift for a birthday or Christmas. I would recommend it for ages 3 to 6 as the simple nature of it makes it easy for a young child but might be boring for older children. I encourage you to check out the other reviews from the Review Crew at the link below and visit the WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group website to learn even more about Nothing by Natalee Creech.

Nothing (Nothing Can Separate You From God's Love) by Natalee Creech {WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group 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.

The Critical Thinking Co. Middle School Math Games (Review)

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Teaching his sister how to play “Sum It Up”.

My seventh grade son worked hard and finished his math curriculum in April. I did not want to start him on a new one yet or give him work that made him feel like his hard work just meant that he had to do even more math. However, I did want to keep his skills fresh in his mind. I was very excited to see if Middle School Math Games by The Critical Thinking Co. might be just what I needed: a chance to review skills while having fun with games.

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We received the digital version of this book, which allowed us to print out the games as needed and print out extra copies of the score sheets for those games that used score sheets.  There are 16 different games included in Middle School Math Games and each game also includes several different variations.

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When we first reviewed this book, it had been my hope that my son could play these games either independently or with his slightly younger sister who is finishing fifth grade.  However, most of the games really required at least two people to play them and the math required was too difficult for my daughter in many cases (which is very understandable since it is supposed to be middle school level). Therefore, either I helped my daughter a bit or I would play with my son.

I loved that the games really reinforced the math concepts. I think games are a great way to reinforce learning but sometimes educational games can be mostly fun and very little learning. These games were very tied to the math concepts. For example, one of our favorite games was “What Are My Coordinates?”This game was very similar to a popular board game from my childhood where you tried to guess the location of ships using coordinates. Instead of ships, you were guessing at the location of quadrilaterals with the help of area and perimeter. This was a great review of coordinate planes, area, perimeter, and various quadrilaterals.

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Game rules, materials, and skills were easy to read and understand.

Another game that they enjoyed was, “Lets Sum Up: Odd or Even? Positive or Negative?” This game used dice and an activity sheet to work on positive and negative numbers, odd and even number concepts as well as critical thinking skills. The children decided on various operations to do with the numbers rolled, on the dice, in order to try and achieve a specific result.  If you wanted to make that game more challenging you could add squaring and square roots as possible operations. My two oldest children played this together but my daughter needed a lot of support.

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Bingo is always a hit!

Another game was number bingo, not identifying numbers but solving equations and then locating that number on their bingo boards. There were several different sheets of equations so that you could play multiple times. They also did a great job of allowing as many students as needed to play this game by having blank bingo cards with the answers down at the bottom as a list of numbers. Before the game, students could each write the numbers on their cards in whatever order they chose.

There were games that had students trying to guess the operation, make a certain number with a given set of numbers using any operations they chose, ordering decimals, working with prime numbers, and even reviewing math vocabulary.

The games were generally very ‘print and go’ making them easy to set up. The few supplies that were required were basic supplies like graph paper, dice, and index cards. In addition to basic math skills, the games did a good job of having the students apply those skills using their critical thinking and not just do basic computation.

We felt like this book had a lot of great games and ideas but it was challenging to make it fit into a one middle schooler homeschool. With the games generally needing at least two players the parent needs to plan to play with the child or have another middle school or above student who can also participate. I think it would be a perfect fit for someone who was teaching at a co-op or had two students in middle school or above.

In addition to this Middle School Math Games book, the Review Crew has reviewed a variety of wonderful resources by The Critical Thinking Co. and I invite you to use the link below to take at look at all of the different options. The Critical Thinking Co has also been generous enough to offer my readers Free Shipping and 15% off any order through 12/31/2019. I encourage you to go to the website and take a look at all of their wonderful products. You can also check out the review I did last year of their Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary book.

Critical Thinking, Math, Vocabulary & Writing Skills {The Critical Thinking Co. 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.