Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7


Friday, May 31, 2013

Chocolate Covered Baloney - confessions of April Grace - A Book Review

I chose to review Chocolate Covered Baloney by K.D. McCrite for a few reasons. The first one is that the time period that the story is set in, is the 80's, and having grown up during that era just makes me smile as I reflect on my childhood memories.
The second reason is that the targeted age for this book falls right in the tween/pre-teen range, and I'm always on the lookout for good stories that my daughters, who fit in that category, can read.
My other reasons are that I just like reading books (and children's books are a favorite), and I really like the publisher Tommy Nelson.
Now on to the review.

6th grader April Grace Reilly is the main character and narrator of this story. The middle child of the family, she declares her cranky older sister Myra Sue to be a "drip". She also has a brand new baby brother, Eli, who she simply adores, and enjoys helping to take care of him.

The book has several different plots in play. The biggest secret revolves around Myra Sue, and her mysterious behavior. She's crankier than usual, and when April Grace spies her mailing a mysterious package, it becomes her goal to find out just what her sister is up to. Her paternal grandmother is an important member of the family, and April Grace has a few concerns over her love life.
Then there is the unexpected arrival of the maternal grandmother, which initially seems to be a very unpleasant surprise.
Through it all, April Grace maneuvers her way through the many relationships in her life, and works through those familiar growing pains.

Overall, I thought this was a nice story. I would recommend this for the older end of the tween /preteen age due to some of the themes, but I found nothing objectionable or inappropriate.
The only part of the book that I thought could be left out were a few of the references to various 80's t.v. shows and icons. Having them in the book seemed forced and out of place. I thought the story was good without mentioning them.  If you would like to check out this book for yourself, click on the link below.


Chocolate Covered Baloney-confessions of April Grace

Happy Reading!



"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Schoolhouse Library!

I want to share a great opportunity with you, whether you're new to homeschooling, or a seasoned pro.
The Schoolhouse Library is a fantastic resource that will provide you with over 175 e books and audio books to support and encourage you as you navigate through he homeschool journey.
You'll hear from various folks and companies in the homeschooling community, many that I'm sure you're already familiar with, including, YWAM, Knowledge Quest, Write Shop, In the Hands of a Child, and Mary Jo Tate to name a few.

A library of this size could be  expected to cost a pretty penny, but here's the best part. All of this is available to you for a one time purchase of $25!

There are topics for every age, so you'll be covered no matter what ages you're teaching. You'll find titles covering:

* Arts and Crafts

*Bible

*Economics

*Electives

*Encouragement

*Geography

*Government

*Grammar

*Spelling

*Reading

*Nature Study

*Organization

*Special Needs

All for a one-time purchase of $25!!!

What are you waiting for? Get over there now and take advantage of this opportunity!


The Schoolhouse Library

Ages: All ages

Price: One time purchase of $25

Simplified Pantry - A Review







I often reflect on how blessed my family is to be a part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. We have the opportunity to try out so many wonderful homeschool products. And my husband will tell you that little else gets me as happy as a cool new piece of curriculum. Still, every once in a while, I receive a product that's (mostly) for me! And that's pretty neat too :)
This month, I was pleased to review one of not one, not two, but THREE e-books by Simplified Pantry .
And while I'm enjoying the process of getting through all of the books, for the purpose of this post, I've focused on Simplified Dinners - Gluten Free/Dairy Free .

I've done the gluten free thing in an on again, off again kind of way. Truth be told, I feel a lot better when off of both gluten and dairy. But, being the only one in a house of five to whom that applies, it can be difficult when you have a lack of willpower. So sadly, much of the time I walk around stuffy and sometimes wheezy as I indulge in exactly what I shouldn't be eating. All that to say that this little cookbook inspired me to give it another try, and even get the family on board.

What this book is not:
Author Mystie Winkler comes right out upfront and lets you know that this is not what might be called a "typical" gluten free/dairy free cookbook that requires specific, pre-made gluten free products and mixes. Neither is it a recipe book in the traditional sense. It's more of a collection of ideas for meals, using foods that are readily available that are naturally gluten free- think lots of fruits and veggies, meats and such.
An advantage to approaching the gf diet in this way is to kind of get an idea of what's involved, to see if it works for you, and keep it simple. This is part of the theory behind the book's design.

The first pages include a list of ingredients that may possibly include gluten and dairy as well as a master pantry list to help you stock up and prepare. Then, meal ideas are divided up as you would expect, with main dish meals, meats and fish, stews, soups, side dishes, salads, and desserts.
The last page has a sample menu plan and then a blank plan to fill in yourself.

I mentioned that this is really more of a collection of meal ideas than recipes, and that is very true. Most pages provide a basic idea using a main ingredient, whether it's chicken, beef, pasta, veggies. . .and then give a general preparation technique. There are then anywhere from 4 to 6 variations on that theme that offer different ingredients and seasonings, but not the exact measurements. This was the part of the book that I didn't care for so much, because while I'm not a complete disaster in the kitchen, I am far from an intuitive cook who can throw things together willy nilly and have it turn out great. I need the exact measurements, at least until I'm comfortable enough with a recipe to experiment a little. Because of this, I was careful in choosing more familiar looking ideas that didn't look like I could mess them up.
I will say that I do appreciate having a fresh group of meal ideas to try though.
As long as you understand what the purpose of the book is up front, this could be a great way to get started on the gluten/dairy free diet. Or at least have meal ideas in your pocket for friends or family that have allergies and intolerances.

Here are just a few of the recipes our family has tried. Some worked better than others, but my kids were surprisingly on board with some new things. Of course, any time that they can help prepare a recipe, they are more willing to sample the finished product.


     Fajitas have been on our menu before, although I will admit, ours do include cheese. They        always go over well with us. This time we used leftover chicken, onions, and peppers.

 
                                                          The house smelled so good!



                                                                  Ready to eat. Yum!





I thought that the rice flour muffins would appeal to the girls. We went with blueberries for the fruit.


These were so/so, and I'll be making adjustments for this recipe next time. They need a little more sugar, and I think I'll try rice milk instead of the soy milk I used. Baby girl still liked them a lot though.




We've also especially enjoyed the peanut butter cookies. They use no flour, and only have a few ingredients, making them very easy. My middle daughter says they're a little rich for her, but the rest of us gobble them down.
We also enjoyed the lemon chicken on the grill. The flavor was subtle and yummy, really good on its own or in a salad.
We continue to make our way through the recipes, and next up is the vanilla ice cream, using coconut milk in place of the traditional dairy. I'll let you know how it turns out :)

Sound like a book you might be interested in taking a look at? You can find information about this and the other 2 e-books I received in the links below.
And here's a deal to take advantage of. From May 20 through June 3, you can get a 30% discount by using the coupon code TOS2013 at checkout. Happy cooking!


 
 
Simplified Pantry

Simplified Dinners - Gluten Free/Dairy Free - $12.99 - PDF

Simplified Dinners - $12.99 - PDF

Paperless Home Organization - $3.99 - PDF or Kindle



Click to read more reviews about this e-book, as well as the other titles, from other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.





Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Science Naturally - One Minute Mysteries - A Review




Well, we're moving into the end of May already, and as we wrap up the school year, it's nice to add something fresh and fun to our schoolwork.  This latest review by Science Naturally was exactly what I was looking for.
As you can see by the title, One Minute Mysteries: 65 MORE Short Mysteries You Solve With Science! features mini science mysteries.

But there's no fancy schmancy equipment, tools, or materials necessary. All you need is the book and a little time. All of the stories were written by father and daughter Eric Yoder and Natalie Yoder. This book is just one of a series that they have created. Covering a variety of  topics including Life Science, Earth and Space Science, and Physical and Chemical Science, they really do take only about a minute to read.
There's even a bonus section featuring a few Math mysteries!

I figured that it would be no problem getting my kids interested in this book. All they needed to see was the word "mystery" in the title, and they were really excited. They're hooked on mysteries these days, and we have all varieties of Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and similar titles all over the house to prove it.
The beautiful thing about this book is the flexibility it affords us. Seeing as they take so little time to read, we can tackle them anywhere- the car, the park, at a restaurant while we wait for our order, you know, wherever we happen to be at the moment! Read as many or as few as time and interest allows.

For us, it was never fewer ;) Every day that we read these, I heard, "Another!" The recommended age range is 8-12 yrs., but I enjoy them just as much (and I'm a lot older than that!) These brainteasers are fun and engaging, and the whole family has had fun figuring them out. You'll find the solution to each mystery on its back page.
I love that along with the science the girls are learning, they're also refining their critical thinking skills. And it doesn't feel like "school" to them.

You can check out some sample mysteries for yourself, and see what fun they are.

 And here's a sweet little deal for you to take advantage of. Purchase 3 books for $19.95 ( plus $2.95 shipping + handling).  Just use the code 3SPEC when checking out.

Have fun investigating!





Science Naturally

One Minute Mysteries: 65 MORE Short Mysteries You Solve With Science!

Ages: 8-12 yrs.

Price: $9.95

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.





Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I is for Insect - Blogging Through The Alphabet

It's finally feeling like Spring around here, yay! So this week, we're doing all kinds of Spring-y type activities.
And that brings me to the letter I. Insect. Specifically, butterflies! Sometime around the holidays, the girls received a butterfly garden kit. It's been so hard to wait all winter long, but we're finally ready to order our caterpillars. Soon we'll have those cute little creatures munching away.

We'll also be getting a tadpole soon, so the house will be teeming with warm weather critters. Looking forward to having pictures to post as we watch the progress. For now, this what we have.




In other Spring news around here, we've begun planting for the garden, and I'm so excited that our sunflowers have sprouted! Can't wait to get them in their permanent spot in the backyard :)




                    We also planted pumpkins. We're waiting in anticipation for the first sprouts.



                                                              Happy Happy Spring!



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Spanish For You! - A Review






Are you ready to learn some Spanish? I hope so, because I have a great Spanish curriculum review to share with you.
 Spanish For You! is an affordable program put together by a Spanish teacher for students in 3rd-8th grade. A unique aspect to point out to you right away, is that this may be used with several grades at the same time, which of course is great for homeschoolers.

Each program is tested by the author herself, insuring its usability, accuracy, and effectiveness. I also want to add at this point that you will not find better customer service from a company. When I first received my download of the Fiestas program, I ran into a few glitches with my computer, and the assistance given to me was prompt, attentive and so so friendly! It gives you an idea of how important the quality of this curriculum, and the satisfaction of the customer is to the author. So, thank you to Debbie! That's what you call the wow factor ;)

We received the download version of the Fiestas program, which covers an entire year of lessons. This all inclusive package includes a soft cover teacher book (or e-book) the lessons, lesson guides, self checking worksheets, flashcard pictures, and a complete audio of the book.
The implementation of the lessons couldn't be easier. All you do is follow the guide, and do the activities. The biggest part is the printing and making the flashcards.




As a side note, there is also an extra section on the Spanish alphabet, colors, numbers, common phrases, and commands. You can do this part any time.
And there are lots of suggestions and tips for games and activities to supplement the lessons.

Now on to how we used this.
I found out for myself how easy this really is to begin using. I printed the e- book out and weekly lesson guides and got everything set up in a binder. I also printed out  a few weeks of the worksheets ahead of time.





We start with the audio, which actually goes through the lesson that you're working on. The flashcards are helpful, and the book explains how to make and use them. We like them mainly for review before a lesson. These and the games have been the highlight of this program for the girls.
The favorite games so far are naming a color in Spanish, and then searching the room for an object of that color, "Frio y Caliente" which you probably know already as  "Hot and Cold", and "Que Tienes?", which is where one child puts items in a bag, and then the other takes out an item and answers in Spanish.

Then we round out the lesson with a worksheet if there is one that day. The schedule is 4 days a week. (You can adjust your own schedule as you like)
There is so much included in this package and it could be a little overwhelming. I appreciate that at several points in going through the material, you're encouraged to go at whatever pace is most comfortable for your students, especially with the younger ones. I did find this to be the case with my daughters. Slow and steady wins the race, right? That's what's working here, so we'll keep on this way for now.





The bottom line is that if you're looking for a solid Spanish curriculum that is affordable, effective, and fun, Spanish For You! is a good option to consider. Why not stop by their site and look at a few sample pages. Check out the links below.




Spanish For You!

http://www.spanish-for-you.net/purchase-curriculum.html

Fiestas

Ages: Grades 3-8

Price: Fiestas  program Grades 3-8 -  $64.95




Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew




Sunday, May 12, 2013

Papa's Pearls by Diane Flynn Keith - A Review







Oh, how I love a good book review! This latest selection was the charming book Papa's Pearls by Diane Flynn Keith. This pretty little paperback is a quick read, with just over 100 pages and 17 chapters.
The title of the book is really a summary of what you'll find inside. This is a beautiful memoir of her father, Carol Joseph Flynn, and the wisdom that he passed down to his children and grandchildren.

"Papa", as he was called by his family, grew up in the Depression Era and was rapidly heading down the wrong path in life. He could have stayed on that course and even found himself in prison, but a stint in "continuation school" fortunately turned him around, and he eventually became a successful husband and father.

This book is a blend of personal accounts from the author, her siblings, and their children. A lovely tribute. What really shines through is the love of Papa, and the profound impact that his life and experiences had on his entire family.
He is portrayed as a real man, a common sense kind of guy who has plenty of street smarts, yet is not too macho to express his love and affection for his family. His "pearls" of wisdom are offered in phrases passed down to his children like " Tell yourself you like it", "You gotta do what you gotta do", "What's the worst that could happen?", and "Get it in writing". You know, old school common sense.


This is really an adult or parenting book, but after first skimming through, I decided to use this as a read aloud with my kids (ages 7 and 9 years). It's clean, funny, touching, and there's just a lot to be learned from this man. I found no objectionable material, there were only a few sentences/paragraphs that I skipped over when reading to the kids.

I wasn't sure how they would like it, but they took to it right away, and there was more than one occasion where my older daughter especially, requested at least 4 chapters at one sitting.
We've read a few other books based in the Depression Era, and this was one reason they were interested. The other? They just found it funny! (Their words)

The bottom line- I loved this book, and recommend it to anyone. Parents, educators, families, it's a good read. Read it and see if you agree :)




Papa's Pearls

Price: Get an autographed copy of this book from the author for $21.97 ($14.97 + $7.00 shipping)
            You can also purchase from Amazon for $13.47 + shipping


Ages: Adult/Parent/Personal Growth- However, I used this as a read aloud with my 7 and 10 year old.


Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Crew











Friday, May 10, 2013

Magazines.com - A Review








"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


About:

 Magazines.com offers people a fun, easy way to discover new reads and helps them track their magazine subscriptions. 

Shop the great magazine subscription deals at Magazines.com for Mother’s Day 2013! You’ll find incredible savings on Mom’s favorite cooking, celebrity, crafting magazine subscriptions and more. Don’t forget about all the moms in your life—your aunt, sister and your grandmother! Give her a gift that keeps on giving!


I review a variety of products and resources related to children and education, so this particular one has been a treat because it's just for me! One of my very favorite things to do when I have a little free time (which is often a rarity these days with 3 children in the house ;)), is to sit with a hot cuppa and page through a magazine.
I don't know if you've noticed, but those subscriptions can cost a pretty penny. So I have passed up a few that otherwise, I would have enjoyed signing up for.

Then along comes this website, and now I see what I've been missing. A great selection of some of the most popular magazines at amazing prices. I couldn't believe how low they really are.

Here is a sample of titles you'll find:

Cooking with Paula Deen
Martha Stewart Living
Parenting Early Years
Parenting School Years
Prevention
Weight Watchers
Working Mother
Victoria
People
Southern Living
Food Network
Real Simple
Southern Lady
Crochet Today
Tea Time
Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting
Entertain Decorate Celebrate
Taste of South
Creative Machine Embroidery
Just Cross Stitch
Quilt
Quilter's Newsletter
Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly
Creative Knitting
Quilter's World
Sew News
Crochet World
Creating Keepsakes
Crochet
Card Maker


You know, Mother's Day is this weekend, and what a great gift this would be for all of the moms you're buying for! The company, founded in 1999 is dedicated to 100% customer satisfaction. They are available 6 days a week for any questions, concerns, comments, whatever.
Shop now through Mother's Day, and use the $5.00 coupon available on their website. What a great idea for those special ladies, right?

Now then. . .

Ready for your chance to receive a FREE magazine subscription of your choosing? Once again, there's almost nothing to it. Just leave me a comment, and don't forget your email addy!!! Follow me and You'll have an extra  entry. This opportunity will be available now through Friday, May 17 2013. I hope you win! :)



Website:  http://www.magazines.com/special-offers/mothers-day-gifts-sale,default,sc.html?origin=mdbo

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/magazines.com

Twitter: @magazines





Thursday, May 9, 2013

Blogging Through The Alphabet - H is for Homeschooling

On to the letter H, and naturally, I thought of Homeschooling :) There are many aspects of this subject that I could talk about, but for today, I'll just talk about why we love to homeschool. And I think I'll do it in a slightly corny fashion.


H is for Healthy. I've noticed that my kids tend to have fewer illnesses because we homeschool. Less
                             exposure to germs, not having to be up at the crack of dawn to catch a bus.
                              Lower stress. It all helps.
O is for Open.     When a curriculum doesn't work, or we just need something fresh, we can try  
                              something new.
M is for Math.     Math is a subject that has given the kids trouble at times. I don't have to worry
                              about them getting lost in the crowd, because I can give them the individual
                              attention they need.
E is for Exercise. Even homeschoolers need some P.E.. But we can tailor it to whatever we want that
                              interests the kids, whether it's dancing, baseball, or a game of Twister.
S is for Science.   Our science lessons are not limited to a textbook. We can experiment in the
                              kitchen, take  a lot of cool field trips, and get hands on in the backyard.
C is for Cook.      Once again, we aren't stuck in a classroom. The world is our classroom! And part
                              of that learning happens in the kitchen. Good life skills, math and science. . .and
                              the results are yummy.
H is for Happy.    I am not one to judge a person's decision to homeschool or to send them to public
                               school. We are all called to what we are called to.I can say for my children, that I 
                               think that they are happier, in part because
                               they can focus on the job of school without worrying about bullies, fatigue, and
                               more. Don't misunderstand. My kids are not sheltered. They have plenty of
                               extracurricular activities and friends. But there is a lot of drama related to public
                               school that we are able to avoid.
O is for Outside.   Homeschooling affords us the opportunity to take advantage of the nice weather.
                               We can even take our lessons outside, and we do. The backyard, the park; we can
                                school almost anywhere.
O is for Opportunity. Our family is not bound by a traditional school schedule. We can make plans
                                 for any time of the day, and adjust our school schedule. That may mean taking a
                                 weekday off and working on a Saturday instead. We can take advantage of a
                                  variety of activities this way.
L is  for Love.          No other way to say it, we love homeschooling! For these and many other
                                  reasons. It has its ups and downs, but we've never regretted making this
                                  decision.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Blogging throught the Alphabet - G is for Grace

Isn't it so wonderful when God allows us to have a part in ministering to others? Honestly, when I get such an opportunity, it completely restores and refreshes my soul. I think of the verse that says "He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

We had that opportunity this weekend, nothing extraordinary, and yet it was. I wish I could share, maybe in the future I'll be able to. But it doesn't really matter in the specifics anyway. And you can probably only get what that means if you've experienced it. And that just makes me want to serve more! The grace of God is an amazing wonderful thing. He is faithful and good.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Blogging through the Alphabet - F is for Foster

F is for Foster. Foster Care that is. As I look over the past couple of years, and our journey as foster parents so far, it often seems surreal. What a trip. We've had some high moments, and our share of low moments.

You  get to the point where you know this is what you're being called to, and you find yourself in the training classes. They're great, but are still no substitute for the real deal, the day that that first child is placed into your home.

You find your life turned completely upside down with anticipation, joy, hope, fear. . .
You leave your privacy at the door, because now there are countless people checking on you and the child. DCFS workers, caseworkers, your foster child's GAL, judges, licensing reps. It can get pretty stressful.

I've heard it said about foster care that nothing is final until it's final. The future is uncertain. Will the child go home? Will they be okay? Can their birth parents get it together and keep it together for the child? Can you handle the grief when that child leaves?

So much to consider and deal with. Foster care, foster parenting, is a beautiful, terrible, unsettling, and all around bumpy ride. I've spent my fair share of time thinking I was done. It's too much. It's hard.

But as a famous movie once said, "It's the hard that makes it good." The days when there is a breakthrough in a tough situation with the child. The times when a connection is made with a birth parent. The times when your spirit just whispers that this is what you should be doing.

I don't know where all this will lead, but I feel confident that we're where we're supposed to be for this moment. And it's all I need to know right now.

Home School In The Woods - The 20th Century In America - Review




I'm not sure that I really appreciated the subject of history until my adult years. I couldn't tell you why that is, but I sure find it fascinating now. As a homeschooling family, we read a lot of what many people refer to as "living books". These include a wide variety of historical selections, both fiction and nonfiction. When I found out that I would be reviewing this product by Home School In The Woods , specifically The 20th Century In America history lap pack, I was so excited!

There are two versions of this lapbook, the download version, which is what I received, and a CD version.Even before I had this downloaded, I was taken in by its visual appeal. You can see from the photo above, that it's colorful and inviting, with many of the booklets in fun shapes and designs. Some even have moving parts. Cool!

These are just a few of the topics you'll learn about here:

*Global Conflicts
*Presidents of the 20th Century
*The Space Race
*Modern Missionaries
*Social Movements
*Disasters
*Science and Technology
*Medical Advancements
* Art Movements
*Architecture

That's only a sample of what's in here.

There is a LOT of printing involved here, as there are 22 different activities to be completed. Make sure you have plenty of time and ink as you get started with your printing. Everyone has their preference in approaching this, so you can decide if you'd rather print everything at once, or one at a time. As for me, I first thought that I would do all at once, but quickly decided to print as we go.
They could not have made it any simpler for you, with plenty of detailed instructions for printing and eventually putting it all together. There are also color photos so you can make sure you're doing it correctly. Being a visual person, that is very helpful for me.

This really is a history curriculum, and a complete study of the topic. As such, and because we are so close to the end of the school year, we have not completed all 22 activities. There is so much great information in here, and I prefer not to cram everything in a month or so and rush through. Also, my daughters wouldn't get as much out of it that way, and I know that it would quickly turn this into a tedious task. This is just too great of a resource to do it that way. So we're working diligently at a steady pace, and enjoying the hands on part of it.


                                             A small sample of just a few of our favorites.
 
 

 As a little side note, I found it interesting that this lapbook is put together a bit differently than most that I'm aware of. With the completion of each project, instead of immediately securing it to the lapbook base, you put all of the pieces in a ziplock bag and put it all together at once  when every individual activity has been done. I actually like that aspect, because I think it will be fun to review what we completed once all activities are finished. And, because there is so much to do, and the fact that this will take some time to complete, it's easier to store without the pieces or the base itself getting bent or even ruined.

I meant it when I said that there are plenty of detailed instructions included. Before we got started, I printed off the welcome and introductory part first. There is a lot of helpful information there, including the how to's and such. I was really impressed with the extensive list of suggested resources that can be used with this. You could choose to do this study as is, or extend it as much as you want. There are pages of individual books, book series' and music that you might purchase or borrow from your library to enhance your study. You'll also find a list of the materials you'll need to complete the lapbook. So, much of the work is already done for you.

The suggested age range is grades 3-8 and I would say that the middle to older end of that spectrum is the ideal. I'm using this mainly with my 3rd grader, but my 2nd grader has been sitting in too. Fortunately, the inviting designs of this appeal to both, and of course, the hands on work - cutting, coloring, etc. . .are right up my kids' respective alleys.

What we're liking:
Well, it's just a really fun way to learn about this time period in history. We are a family that loves to read, but even so, it does brighten up a lesson to do some hands on activities that blow the dust off of what could be a dry subject. My daughters enjoy the cutting and coloring that go along with the included text. And the writing that is involved can be tailored to their age. I also like that we can choose age appropriate books from the suggested list as well as add our own, and expand on a particular lesson, or aid in its understanding. And we can have some lovely background music that relate to that theme as well. I wouldn't have necessarily thought of including that in a lesson.

With most products, curriculum, etc. . ., you might have lists of what you like and don't like. I've been thinking about what I don't like, and really, there's nothing I can say that I dislike. It has so many things we like, and the instructions are so detailed and clear, and the age range allows you to work with potentially all of your children at once.
The only thing I found tricky was getting the text printed properly when using both sides. There was a little learning curve for me.
And to repeat myself from earlier, there is a substantial amount of printing with this product. So have lots of paper and ink available.

Our overall thoughts about Home School In The Woods ? We like it a lot. It's a great study alone, or in conjunction with other resources. The age range fits well, and the directions could not get any better. At the end of it all, it's great to have a really nice project to show for it all. Best of all, it points to God's hand in it all. I'll recommend this one.






Home School In The Woods

Hands on history lap pack - The 20th Century In America

Ages: Grades 3-8

Price: Download version - $21.95  CD version - $22.95




This company has other interesting subjects available, and you can check out what the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of them.






Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah In My Stomach And I think I'm Going To Throw Up! - Book Review



About the Book: Oh sure, we've all heard the story of Jonah and the Whale a hundred 
times. But have we heard it from the perspective of the whale who experienced that history-making event?
Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach and I Think I'm Gonna Throw Up
! imagines how that great sea creature from the incident might tell his side of the story, helping kids ages 4 to 8 discover a creative way of learning about that guy who was supposed to go to Ninevah.
The "Parent Connection" feature (inside the book) will help moms and dads take the story further with scripture references and tips on how to talk with their children about what really happened. 

About the Author: 
Troy Schmidt has writing and video production credits ranging from assignments with Disney (The Mickey Mouse Club) and Nickelodeon to Max Lucado's Hermie franchise. He is currently the lead writer for The American Bible Challenge hosted by Jeff Foxworthy on the Game Show Network. Troy and his wife have three sons.

The series:  This is just the first in a series!  Other books available include Hey God, Can You Stop the Rain so I Can Get off Noah's Smelly Ark? and Hey God, I'm Having an Awful Vacation in Egypt Thanks to Moses!

Here's a peek at the trailer:





I have kids varying in ages, and they all enjoyed different aspects of this book. When I first learned of this review opportunity, I knew that it would tickle my middle child's funny bone. She has a wacky and fun loving sense of humor, and sure enough, when she read the title, she was cackling!
My oldest, who is a little more reserved, but still loves a laugh saw it, she was also eager to read it.

The story, based on the book of Jonah, as you probably already figured out, is told from the perspective of the whale. The illustrations remind me of a cartoon comic strip in the way they are laid out. Very colorful and inviting. My oldest really likes the character Dr. Crab. I think this is a great book to use with kids who are already familiar with the bible story. It would be a good way to reinforce the lesson.

The back inside cover features a "Parent Connection" page. It gives a bible verse, a short paragraph that reviews the lesson, discussion questions, and the part that I like best of all, a sort of activity section. This one involves getting a sleeping bag and pretending to be in the belly of a whale, and then going through some questions to think about what it was like to be Jonah.
The final part of this page is a  note of encouragement and a final bible verse.

My kids had no sooner finished the book when they looked on the back of it and requested the other titles. I guess that says it all right there.
The only part that I could have done without, is the part where the whale, as the title suggests, throws up. But I'm just not a fan of bathroom humor. However, my girls thought it was funny, so I'm not hung up on it. The kids have spoken, and we approve :)

Now then. . .

How would you like a FREE copy of this cute little book? All you need to do is drop me a comment here with your email address and one person will be picked on Friday, May 10, 2013. Follow me here if you're not already, and you'll get a second entry. Get to it! :)


Website: http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/troyeschmidt


"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."