Review of YWAM’s Christian Heroes Then & Now – C.S. Lewis

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I love adding  Christian biographies to our studies so I was excited to review Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis, one of the books in the Christian Heroes: Then & Now from YWAM Publishing. We also received a Study Guide to use with our book.  Back when we first starting homeschooling many years ago, when we attended our first homeschool convention one of the first companies to capture my attention was YWAM Publshing.  Through the years, we have collected quite a few of the titles from their Christian Heroes: Then & Now series.  Our family loves books and this company has found a special place in our homeschool library.  So when we had the opportunity to select another book to review for this company, the only problem our daughter had one problem – deciding what title to select. Finally, she decided on CHRISTIAN HEROES: THEN & NOW C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller.

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Our 15-year-old daughter is the one who actually read the book.  I started to read the book also, but then life happened.  From my own experience, I have to say I felt like the book started off slower than other books we have read from YWAM Publishing.  Given that the book is about a “master” storyteller, I felt like it deserved a better beginning.

Our daughter had this to say about the book.  She found it interesting for facts about his life.  They include details and facts about his life that others may have overlooked.  These include things like details about his interactions with other writers and his family along with his background and his roots – meaning where he came from – intrigued her.  She found it easy to read and definitely found it to be informative.

However, she did not seem to be as excited with this book as I would have liked her to be.  She stated while she would remember some of the facts from the book, she was not sure it was one she would necessarily quote information from.

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Due to circumstances in our lives at this time, we did not get a chance to actually use the study guideas much as I would have liked. However, I love the depth and breadth of material included in the guide.  We received this as a downloadable product.  The study guide includes: an introduction, key Bible verses, Display Corner, Chapter questions, Student Explorations, Community Links, Social Studies, Related Themes to Explore, Culminating Event, along with supplemental information included in three Appendicies.

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The display corner (which would included items collected and then displayed from the country the book takes place in – so for this book it would be items from England.  This would have been something interesting for our daugther to do since my husband has actually visited England.

There are six chapter questions for each chapter where the first 3 questions are geared to younger learners and the last three questions are more difficult.  Due to circumstances in our life right now, I decided to have our daughter answer the questions for the chapters orally to me.

 

There are also student explorations which include a variety of activities to suit a variety of learning styles.  I plan on our daughter possibly creating a diorama depicting an important event from C.S. Lewis’ life.  I also plan on  having her draw a sketch of C.S. Lewis based on his own description or making a story quilt using her drawing table that connects to the computer.  We will have to see if we can fit in time for her to do both projects.  It may be something we do later when life settles down.

 

 

For this review, if she had to select a second book, she would have chosen Heroes of History – Theodore Roosevelt.  She felt like she would have enjoyed learning more about his life.

In June of 2017, we had the privilege to review another book from YWAM Publishing, we reviewed Christian Heroes Then and Now Betty Greene,  Wings to Serve.  If you would like to read our review of this title, click here or on the graphic below.

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You can connect with YWAM Publishing on social media using the following links:

If you would like to read other reviews by members of the Home School Review Crew on this book or others, click here or on the image below.

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Review for Drive Thru History Adventures

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If you are looking for a Homeschool Video Curriculum for American History, Bible History, or Ancient History you are going to want to check out Drive Thru History Adventures.  Our family has a lot of people in it who love history.  But some members get tired of studying the same topics over and over again by just reading a textbook.  They want to get more involved with what they are studying.  So when we received the opportunity to review Drive Thru History Adventures, we were very excited. For this review, we reviewed the Bible History curriculum.  Although we have not finished going through the entire curriculum yet, I have to say our family is loving it.  This curriculum is available online and even has apps you can download for watching on the go.

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The Ancient History curriculum offers 12 weeks on early Greece, Rome and Asia Minor.  The American History curriculum offers 12 weeks on Early American History.  Finally, the Bible History curriculum, which is the one our family is reviewing, offers 18 weeks on the Gospels.  Each curriculum includes videos of course, but so much more is offered as well.  This is an online curriculum, which is a feature I love.  Even if our family travels, we would still be able to watch the videos and do the assignments.

The youngest member in our family is our 15-year-old daughter, but even if your family has younger members this curriculum would be beneficial.  Younger children could simply watch the videos and then do whatever assignments you feel they could handle.

When you log in, you see a dashboard.  From here you can access the videos, additional resources, curriculum, community, your account and even Adventures TV.  What I love about Drive Thru History Adventures most is how you get access to all three history programs for one subscription price.

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The Adventures TV is the app side of this curriculum.  It can be downloaded from the app store for either iTunes or Google Play to allow you to watch the videos on the go on your portable devices such as your smartphone or tablets.  I have to say I like this feature since it means we can watch the videos anywhere we have access to our mobile devices. I love that there is an option to download the videos so they can be watched even if there is no Internet service available or I do not wish to use my data plan from my wireless provider. Although we did not need to utilize this feature during the review period, I definitely can see the advantages of it – especially if you are a family that is constantly on the go.

As we watched the first episode together, I have to say I was impressed with this curriculum.  Even my husband who has been an ordained Primitive Baptist Preacher for over twenty-five years, and has completed a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies found facts he did not know in the videos.  The scenery and locations are breath-taking.  We especially were intrigued by the discussion the Wailing Wall.  I found it astounding that companies offer the option to email prayer requests that will then be printed and place in the cracks on the wall.

The videos include a wealth of knowledge, locations and even amazing art to illustrate the points being made. Dave Stotts does an incredible job of narrating these episodes by including facts and even some humor to keep the viewers engaged.  The first video adventures compare the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and provide the groundwork for the rest of the video adventures.

The episodes chronicle the life of Christ including the announcement of His impending birth, him growing up, the beginning of His ministry, the miracles He performed, arriving in Jerusalem for the last time, the Last Supper, His trial, the Crucifixion, His Resurrection, and concludes with who Jesus is.

The videos are around 30 minutes long and it is recommended to watch one video a week and then do additional assignments including a summary, Bible Scripture reading where different versions are available right on the page, discussion questions, worksheets (with the answer sheets also provided), and even topics for digging deeper.  We decided initially to just do the discussion questions orally as a family.

The artwork included offer beautiful displays that go along with the videos.  Approximately 50 sites in Jerusalem are included.  Since I do not see our family traveling to Jerusalem given the current world situation, these video adventures are the next best thing to being there ourselves.

Right now, Drive Thru History Adventures has a special promotion for a limited time where they are offering a set of The Gospels DVD to those who join with an annual subscription.

Also, if your family subscribes to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, near the front of the Winter Edition, you can find a coupon code to get 20% off the annual subscription.  You can find the digital edition of the magazine here

So check out Drive Thru History Adventures for yourself.  If you would like to read reviews from other members of the Homeschool Review Crew for all three of the curriculum selections, click here or on the image below.

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Review of Presidents of the United States Video-Based Unit Study from Paradise Praises

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I am always on the hunt for great homeschool resources. I  am especially excited when those products come from online friends, so I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to review the Presidents of the United States Video-Based Unit Study from Paradise Praises by Katie Hornor.  I received a copy of this product for my fair and unbiased review. So all opinions expressed in this review are my own.  One of the incredible things about this product is that it can be adapted for any age – from kindergarten through high school.  As an adult, I found the videos enjoyable and educational to watch.

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This video-based product is meant to be completed over the course of one 9-week period, meaning one quarter.  The product contains a suggested nine-week schedule.  Each day the students will learn about a different president while completing activities and reading assignments.

The product contains the Presidential Biography Studies in chronological order, a listing of the Presidential videos, a listing of videos regarding the First Ladies, audiobook ideas, as well as other resources that include a field trip or virtual field trip ideas, art resources, vocabulary lists and more.  Book suggestions include picture books, early readers, and chapter books.

Our three students we are still homeschooling are all in high school, and I love the flexibility of this course.  It lends itself to flexibility and fitting the needs of a homeschool family.  The primary video for each president is only 90 seconds long.  So when your family’s time is short, your family can watch that 90-second video, complete a notebooking page for the president along with adding your Presidential figure to the timeline and be done.  On days where time is available, notebooking pages, additional reading assignments, field trips or even virtual field trips, as well as art activities, can be complete.

I have to say I loved the song for learning the names of the presidents.  I believe this would come in handy for learning the order of the presidents.  Although I have only looked over the materials myself and watched the videos, I know this resource is going to be a great asset to our family.  Whether you use it along with an existing history program or use it as a stand-alone unit study, I am sure your family will enjoy this course.  So visit the Paradise Praises Online Shop and check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.  I would love to hear from you.

Review of “Captain Bayley’s Heir” from Heirloom Audio Productions

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Our family absolutely loves listening to audiobooks – especially when we are traveling.  So I was thrilled for our family to have the opportunity to participate in this review.  Heirloom Audio Productions brings another G.A. Henty novel to life with Captain Bayley’s Heir!  The quality of this audio drama is fantastic.  For the purpose of this review, we simply listened to the audio drama.  The listeners are pulled into the story which begins in England, but tells of the Gold Rush in the United States and includes visits to various countries in Europe as well.  This is our second review of a production by Heirloom Audio Productions and we enjoyed it as much as our first.

This two-and-a-half hour audio drama begins with a conversation between G.A. Henty and a young man while they are traveling together.  The young man mentions that he is in love with a young lady who is a Christian.  However, he is not.  During the course of their conversation, G.A. Henty mentions that he writes books, so the young man asks for G.A. Henty to tell him a story.  This story brings out the boundless grace offered by God if we are only willing to take it.

G.A. Henty proceeds to tell the story of a young man in England who encounters various individuals and his life.  Frank is the nephew of Captain Bayless and has a cousin named Fred.  He also is good friends with a young lady named Alice.  Frank encounters another young man named Harry when Harry’s dog needs to be rescued from the water.  Frank heroically saves the dog.  They become friends and Frank discovers Harry’s birth parents had passed away.  So Harry is living with another couple who were generous enough to take him in and give him a home after his mother died.

This story contains many twists and turns.  Those twists and turns include Frank finding Harry’s adopted mother a job with his uncle.  Frank is accused of a crime he did not commit.  The headmaster of the school accuses Harry of stealing from him in addition to “going out of bounds” by leaving the school campus, which results in him getting into a fight.  He begs his uncle in a letter to show whether he believes Frank is innocent.  When Captain Bayless fails to respond, Frank and Fred determine the best course of action is for Frank to escape to America.

This drama wreaks of action and adventure as well.  From a terrifying encounter on a boat with a storm and a tree to an encounter with Indians, along with stagecoach robbers.  This drama does an amazing job of painting what life was like in America during the time of the Gold Rush.  The friends Harry makes truly make this story memorable.  Also, the use of “Amazing Grace” frames the story to perfection.  While faith and the Bible are not shoved in the face of those listening, the role of faith is made clear.

To go along with the audio dramas, Heirloom Audio Productions has introduced a club called the Live the Adventure Club that includes a wealth of resources.  This club includes valuable resources including a study guide for the drama.  The study guide is available as a download on the Live the Adventure Club site from Heirloom Audio Productions. The study guide offers background information on what is included in the study guide, a background on G. A. Henty, information about Heirloom Audio Productions, a list of the members of the cast and crew, background information on important people during the time of the story  and other resources to facilitate the study and discussion of the story.

The questions are broken down by disc and tracks on the CD.  The questions include questions for listening well, thinking further, defining words along with opportunities to expand learning and Bible Study as well as additional resources.  Here are some screenshots of pages from the Study Guide.  While our family did not use the study guide this time, I plan on everyone listening to the audio drama and utilizing the study guide and other resources at that time.  Heirloom Audio Productions has done an amazing job with this audio drama.  If you would like to read our review from the first product, you can click here for our review of “In the Reign of Terror”.

The “Live the Adventure Club” offers the ability to see the selections you have purchased along with the bonus material, kids activities, and games, educational treasures as well as other educational resources.  When members click on their listening library, they can select from listening to the audio drama online with the ability to answer online questions, take quizzes, listen to the soundtrack, view or download the e-book, print a cast poster or inspiration hymn poster, download desktop wallpapers, and utilize the study guide and discussion starter.  Once your family has completed the drama and the online activities, you have the ability to print a completion certificate.

Or if you would like to read other reviews of “Captain Bayley’s Heir”, you can click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Books by Carole P. Roman

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Our fourteen-year-old daughter absolutely loves trivia and facts and sharing what she learns.   So when I saw the opportunity to review books by Carole P. Roman, I knew we had to take this opportunity.  For this review, we were given the opportunity to pick two titles of our own choosing and then the author sent us two other books.  We selected “If You Were Me and Lived In… Elizabethan ENGLAND” and “If You Were Me and Lived in Ancient China: Han Dynasty“.  The two books the author selected for our family were “If You Were Me and Lived in Ancient Greece” and A Captain No Beard story entitled “A CAPTAIN NO BEARD STORY BEING A CAPTAIN IS HARD WORK “.

The first thing that caught my eye with all four books is the amazing illustrations in the books.  These capture the essence of the author’s words on the page with great accuracy.  The words and pictures help pull the readers into the book.  All four books are written in a story format.  These books would be excellent books to read aloud.  Even if there were younger children in the household, I expect the story and pictures would keep their interest.  Another thing I liked is that these books are available for the Kindle and are part of the Kindle Unlimited program – so we can read any of these titles for free.  I love being able to take books with us for those unexpected times we need something to occupy our time. Also the three history books do an amazing job of being cultural books that capture the essence of what a good children’s history book should be like.

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For this review, our daughter read “If You Were Me and Lived in Ancient China: Han Dynasty” by herself first.  This book is designed for children ages 8-15.  I feel this book would make a wonderful starting point for a unit study on Ancient China or a comparison of life in ancient China versus modern-day China.  My daughter found the book to be interesting and worth reading.  The book goes through facts about what life would have been like in ancient China including illustrations of modern day China as well as ancient China.  Facts are also given about how China was ruled during this period, possible names children may have been given, life in the capital city, and more.  It made it more realistic when the author stated what type of family the person would have been born into as well as what his/her daily life would have been like.  My daughter really enjoyed reading this book.  I plan on having her re-read the book and then complete various notebooking assignments using facts in the books that captured her interest.  I also plan on having her doing some kind of visual display and report showing what she learned.  For this, I will probably have read additional books to discover more information as well as do research using the Internet.

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Next, she read “If You Were Me And Lived In….Elizabethan ENGLAND“.  This book chronicled life in Elizabethan England from the perspective of a child born to a baker and his wife.  Again the book gives general facts about the time period, background on the government and life in general during the time period.  Then, detailed descriptions of what life would have been like for the child of a baker would have been like.  I especially found the descriptions of how their clothing would have been made to be interesting.  I was also fascinated when I learned that bakers may have let other families use their ovens to bake things for a price.  Again my daughter enjoyed this book.  I plan on following a similar plan of using this book basically as the foundation of a unit study for the Elizabethan time period with a report, additional research and reading along with a final project to be done.

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Our first book that the author selected for us is “If You Were Me and Lived in… Ancient Greece“.  This story follows the same format as the two books my daughter selected.  Due to Hurricane Harvey wreaking havoc in our area, I read this book myself.  Again, it discusses life in general in Greece, contrasts between life in Greece in ancient times versus today, and then goes into what life would have been like for a child born to a doctor.  My one caution about this book would be that it goes into various Greek gods and goddesses.  So if your family wants to avoid discussing that, this may not be the right book for you to use.  I found the facts to be presented in a straightforward way.  Again, I see this book being an excellent starting point for a unit study approach for ancient Greece.

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The final book we received was “A CAPTAIN NO BEARD STORY BEING A CAPTAIN IS HARD WORK“.  This story is geared more for 3-8-year-old children.  Since all of our children are much older than that, I read this book myself.  The story chronicles the adventures of Captain No Beard and his crew.  The captain shows great determination about traveling to the Dew Rite Volcano.  Along the way, many decisions are made by the captain that his crew expresses concern while offering alternative ideas.  At the end of the story, the ship and seas turn back into a bedroom.  The child who was pretending to be captain learned many important lessons including the value of listening to other and that being in charge is not always easy.  I found the book enjoyable to read.

So I definitely recommend checking out these and other titles by Carole P. Roman.  You can find other reviews either by clicking here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Heirloom Audio Productions “In the Reign of Terror”

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Ever since we began homeschooling about 12 years ago, we have tried to find educational and interesting ways to pass the time traveling to places.  One way we have discovered to pass time and keep bickering down is to listen to audio dramas.  So I was thrilled for us to have the opportunity to do a review for Heirloom Audio Productions.  We’ve been listening to the newest radio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions called In the Reign of Terror!  This audio drama captured our imaginations and interest.

For this review, we received the actual audio CDs.  This audio drama is based on a book by G. A. Henty.  It includes action, adventure and more.  The actors and actresses who portray the characters in the drama pulled us into the story.   The soundtrack is riveting as well and fits the mood and plot of the story.  This drama is perfect for homeschooling families who wish to enrich their study of history.  I would caution that parents with young children may want to preview the drama prior to their young children listening to it.  With our family’s youngest member being 14-years-old, this drama was perfect for our family.

The story opens with a young man talking to an older gentleman in Arlington National Cemetry.  The two discuss the American Revolution versus the French Revolution.  The older gentleman makes it clear that the Americans fighting in the American Revolution relied on God and focused on Him.  While the individuals who began the French Revolution did not.

A young man named Harry is sent from England to France as a 16-year-old boy to work for a French aristocratic family.  The story initially finds Harry and his French family he is living with living normal lives.  But things take a turn for the worst when the commoners in France decided to rebel against the aristocracy.  Harry and the Marquis De St Caux find themselves in extreme danger.  Even the Marquis’ children are in extreme peril.

The Marquis enables his daughters and Harry to escape, which results in the Marquis and his mother becoming prisoners of the French commoners. Harry determines to keep his promise to keep the daughters of the Marquis safe and uses the money given to him to achieve that goal.  Ultimately, the Marquis and his mother are put to death and Harry has to make plans to get the girls to safety.  The story then focuses on their harrowing experiences while trying to reach England.

We thoroughly enjoyed this drama and I felt the producers, directors and actors/actresses did an excellent job of bringing the story to life.  We truly felt like we were part of the story.

To go along with the audio dramas, Heirloom Audio Productions has introduced a club called the Live the Adventure Club that includes a wealth of resources.

 


This club includes many valuable resources including a study guide for the drama.  The study guide is available as a download on the Live the Adventure Club site from Heirloom Audio Productions. The study guide offers background information on what is included in the study guide, a background on G. A. Henty, information about Heirloom Audio Productions, a list of the members of the cast and crew, background information on important people during the time of the story – such as Maximillian Robespierre and Marie Antoinette, and other resources to facilitate the study and discussion of the story.

The questions are broken down by disc and tracks on the CD.  The questions include questions for listening well, thinking further and defining words along with opportunities to expand learning and Bible Study as well as additional resources.  Here are some screenshots of pages from the Study Guide.

 

 

 

 

With the Live the Adventure Club, you have the option to purchase the club with a set price being charged every three months.  You receive access to the Club website page that includes a treasury of resources.  These resources include access to the study guide, the Listen and Learn Library, exclusive educational treasures, discounts on all products, a supportive online community as well as exclusive resources and perks that are available only to members.  If you act right now, you can get your first 90 days of membership for only $1, along with the audio drama,  Captain Bayley’s Heir audio CDs as well as instant online access to the digital version so you can begin listening immediately.  After the initial period, you will be charged a set rate and then that same rate every 90 days.

 

Within the club, there are read-along scripts, chapter quizzes, along with the questions and defining words for each chapter.  I believe this would be extremely useful for creating an entire learning experience based around the audio drama.

Our family really enjoyed this audio drama and believe your family will also.  If you would like to read more reviews about In the Reign of Terror from Heirloom Audio Productions, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review for Bessie’s Pillow from Strong Learning

I am a lover of books, of all kinds. We love historical fiction at my house so I was thrilled to receive Bessie’s Pillow published by Strong Learning, Inc. to review.  This book tells the tale of 18-year-old Boshka Markman as she immigrates to the United States from Vilna, Lithuania.

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Being the book lover I am, I decided to read this book myself first.  I have a 14-year-old daughter along with three sons who are 20, 18 and 16 respectively.  Once I finished the book, we began reading it out loud together.  From the moment I picked up the book until I finished it, it captured my interest.  This is a true story of Boshka as told to her granddaughter Linda Bress Silbert from talking with Linda’s mother, Boshka’s daughter Ann Dreizen Bress.  .

The story is one of a family forced to send a daughter across the seas to the United States in hopes of a better life.The story begins with Boshka saying goodbye to her family and a stranger giving her a pillow that ultimately influences the rest of her life.  The pillow brings loves, loss, joy, and tears. Photographs are included at the end of the book and those photographs are captivating.  As someone who knows virtually nothing about when my family came to the United States or the difficulties they endured, this real life immigration story captured my imagination and the photographs drew me in even more.  This is the type of book, I would love to have in audio form for our family to listen to as we travel, especially to a homeschool convention or other destination that requires long periods of travel.

The website has a teacher’s guide along with other resources for readers or their parents/teachers to utilize.  The Teacher’s Guide  includes suggestions on how to use the book in classes.  There are suggestions for Language Arts and Social Studies/History including discussion questions, research topics, themes, a timeline, a glossary of terms, and additional reading suggestions.  At the website for Bessie’s Pillow, there is a wealth of information including:  European Immigration, Famous People, Food and Recipes, Health, Housework, Movies, Music and Dancing, News, U.S. Presidents, Radio and even photographs.  Here is a screenshot of the web page below. The final pages of the book also include additional information for the topics that are included on the website.

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If your family has younger childern, or children who are more sensitive there are parts in this book that you may want to either skip over or discuss.  Because it is a story about a real family, there are stories of heartbreak, violence, death and other topics younger children may have a hard time with or need to have discussed with them either prior to reading those sections or after reading them.  With my children being teenagers or in his twenties, I found this book to be acceptable for all of them.  This book lends itself to either being read alone or read aloud.  My children have a way of putting emotion into everything they do, so hearing them read it aloud was a treat.

Because the book is told from Boshka, some boys may or may not care for it.  However, with all of the male characters in the book, I think there is something everyone could enjoy.  All ages could find something to stimulate learning and interest. I definitely recommend this book.

You can connect with Strong Learning, Inc on social media at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BessiesPillow
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BessiesPillow @BessiesPillow

Click here or on the banner below if you would like to read additional reviews of Bessie’s Pillow.

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Not such a good start

  

Well I am not off to such a great start for this blogging challenge.  But I am at least off to a fairly good start preparing for our new school year which begins on July 7th.  We will be starting our new history course (Diana Waring’s 2nd History book for Answers in Genesis), IEW’s SICC-B, and Excellence in Literature’s “An Introduction to Literature”.  In addition, we will begin Latin.  Then probably in September we will add in Greek.

Dennis has been officially accepted into Liberty University’s Seminary pursuing a master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry.  So he will be starting courses in the fall.  Jacob will be starting work on his associates degree in the fall.  In the meantime, I am working on blogging, writing, and running the home and homeschool.

What is up in your world?  I would love to hear from you.

“K” is for Kids and Kingdoms

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I am still taking part in the “Blogging A to Z” challenge, NaBloPoMo and the Ultimate Challenge for April.  Today’s letter for the Blogging A to Z challenge is “K”.  “K” is for kids.  We have four fantastic kids.  We have three sons and a daughter.  They are the light of my life.  I love them with all my heart.  We homeschool all four of them, which means  I get to spend time with them.  Our kids keep life exciting.  With them there is never a dull moment in our home.  They constantly amaze me with the things they do.

“K” is also for kingdoms.  The most important kingdom is the kingdom of God.  Then of course there are all the kings that are mentioned in the Bible.  Finally there are the other kingdoms which occur throughout history.  These kingdoms provide us with direction and guidance.  They help us know what to do and what not to do.

What comes to mind when you hear the letter “K”.  I look forward to hearing from you.