Review of Lisa Tanner Writing’s Balancing Diapers and Deadlines

Lisa Tanner Writing provides work at home mom productivity tips in her Balancing Diapers and Deadlines course.  While I do not have my own business yet per se, as a member of the Home School Review Crew and being a military wife in addition to being a homeschooling mother and a member of several book review teams, I knew this course potentially could provide fantastic information and insights for my life.  This online course offers valuable information for anyone who already works at home along with anyone who desires to work at home.

Lisa Tanner provides amazing tips for time management for busy moms. Her work at home productivity tips truly resonated with me on a personal level.  Lisa Tanner states on her “About Lisa” page of her blog, “I’m a homeschooling mom of 8 who uses freelance writing, virtual assistance, and blogging to help pay the bills.”  I love she uses her own experiences with her own family to demonstrate how her family utilizes her suggestions and ideas.  We have four children – three sons and a daughter.  Our youngest (and only daughter) just turned sixteen, and our oldest son is twenty-two plus we have a twenty-year-old son and an eighteen-year-old son who also live with us.  So finding time for everything is imperative.

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Lisa breaks the course up into seven units, which are broken down into smaller lessons.  Action steps for each lesson provide bite-size pieces to help organize every part of your family’s life.  From setting goals for your business and home to meal planning and involving your family in the business and more compelled me to really think about what business at home should look like.  The units include:

  •   Welcome to Balancing Diapers and Deadlines
  •  Minimize Your Decisions
  • Minimize Your Decisions:  The Annual Meal Plan
  • Sustainable Growth
  • Growing a Business with Your Kids Around
  • Boost Your Productivity
  • Closing Thoughts

One of the areas I had been working on before starting this course involved meal planning.   We have a son who works now plus is lactose-intolerant in addition to several nights we have band and strings practice.  If I do not have a plan for dinner, it makes our lives difficult.  So meal planning has become my friend and close companion.  So the suggestions and tips from this section were constructive.  I loved how Lisa Tanner provided 5 years of her annual meal plan in the course.  This plan helped generate ideas for meals for us.  This weekend I plan on devoting time to making out a yearly meal plan. Indeed, meal planning provides untold blessings both to our family and to our finances.

 

 

 

One of the most compelling parts for me involved the use of my phone/iPad.  Recently I read a story online about a family who made it a point to unplug when they went out for dinner.  As a result, an older couple sitting near them paid for their meal unexpectedly.  In turn, this action prompted their family to do the same to pay it forward.  I really loved this idea.  As our family shops and goes about our daily lives, I continuously find it amazing to see parents allowing younger and younger children using technology primarily as a means of promoting good behavior.  So I know I personally desire to unplug from electronics more and plug into my family more.

 

 

The other section I really found informative and thought-provoking involved ways to include our children in an at-home business. Obviously, with our children ranging in age from sixteen to twenty-two, some sections did not apply to me, but the ones for involving teens really reflected many things I already do with our children.  For example, my third child and youngest son have been helping for roughly the past year with learning coding along with learning photography using our DSLR camera (although we have not put that into actual practice yet). I also plan on developing free items and items to sell eventually, which I plan to have our sixteen-year-old daughter, who is incredibly artistic, provide illustrations and graphics for in the future.

Some of the key points I will take away from this course include:

  • Just because I can do something, does not mean I should!
  • Let my children be a blessing to my business!
  • It is essential to begin and end my day well.
  • I can not DO everything, and that is okay!
  • Communication is key
  • My priorities will change.
  • I need to remember God made each of us unique.

You can find Lisa Tanner Writing on social media at:

Facebook: https://facebook.com/lisatannerwriting
Instagram: https://instagram.com/lisatannerwrites
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisatannerwrite
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/lisatannerwrite

Because my husband is only a few years from retiring, I know I want to come up with some type of at-home business now that will be able to supplement my husband’s retirement income, so this course has definitely been a blessing to take.  So whether you already work from or whether you would like to start your own business/blog, check out Lisa Tanner Writing and Balancing Diapers and Deadlines for yourself.
Balancing Diapers and Deadlines for yourself.

Click here or on the graphic below to read additional posts by members of the Home School Review Crew about Lisa Tanner Writing and her course, Balancing Diapers and Deadlines.

 

Review of Heirloom Audio’s St. Bartholomew’s Eve

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I love adding Christian audio drama to our family’s listening time, and so I was thrilled to receive the 2-CD set of St. Bartholomew’s Eve from Heirloom Audio for our listening pleasure.  For many years, we have enjoyed spending time listening to audio dramas either on the radio or on CDs or from digital downloads.  Heirloom Audio Productions excels at creating family-friendly dramas based on the books by G.A. Henty.  These books capture the hearts and minds of our family.  The stories, actors/actresses and music provide an incredible combination for capturing your family’s imagination.

Heirloom Audio always does a remarkable job of producing engaging and entertaining audio dramas the whole family will enjoy listening to either at home or while traveling.  The dramas are primarily designed for children ages six to sixteen, but our entire family enjoys listening to this type of Christian audio drama. Our family personally prefers listening while traveling as it breaks up the monotony of any trips we take.  The two CDs provide over two hours of listening entertainment.

St. Bartholomew’s Eve opens with G.A. Henty meeting two young men who have slipped out of a church and plan to do some exploring.  The one boy wants to show his cousin some sights.  G.A. Henty reminds the boys about those individuals who died in the past so the boys could have the freedom to worship God.

The story then segues into the tale of an English boy and his French cousin in 1567.  The English lad has come to France to help support the Huguenots.  Because the Huguenots have ties to John Calvin, upon whose ideas the Primitive Baptist Church which is our church affiliation, our family felt a certain kinship to this story.  From the opening through the difficulties encountered by Francois and Philip to the death of one of the two, the story kept our interest the entire time.

Another portion of the story that really drew our family in was the discussion of the young child who Philip and Francois rescue.  They become concerned about whether a Catholic Frenchmen who comes to their aid can be trusted or not.  This led us to have a discussion about those individuals who provided assistance to the Jews during World War II.  We discussed how being of a particular faith does not necessarily make individuals untrustworthy or evil.  Many individuals during the time of the St. Bartholomew Massacre provided assistance to the Huguenots even though they were Catholics.

The St. Bartholomew’s Massacre took place during the reign of King Charles IX under the influence of his mother, Catherine de Medici.  The assassination of Huguenot Protestant leaders in Paris set off a massacre of tens of thousands of Huguenots all across France.  It seemed eerily similar to the deaths of the Jews during World War II.

In addition to St. Bartholomew’s Eve, our family has also had the privilege of reviewing, Wulf the Saxon, In the Reign of Terror, and Captain Bayley’s Heir.  You can check our reviews by clicking on the titles.

You can find Heirloom Audio on social media:  Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram at @HeirloomAudioOfficial.  You can also check out their “Live the Adventure Club.

So if your family enjoys radio drama, check out St. Bartholomew’s Eve from Heirloom Audio  for yourself.  If you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Brinkman Adventures’ Season 6 – Underground Rising

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I love adding Audio Dramas to my family’s listening time, and so I was thrilled to receive the digital version of Season 6: Underground Rising from Brinkman Adventures for our listening pleasure.  Our family enjoys listening to audio dramas any time we travel, so this was the perfect fit for our family.  These Audio Missionary dramas will captivate your family.

Brinkman Adventures provides a thrilling radio show that tells true, modern missionary stories through the fictional Brinkman family.  The episodes run for approximately twenty-six minutes and according to their website, “contains a Biblical theme, lesson, and compelling drama that will keep you on the edge of your seat.   Using modern sound effects, original music, and superb writing, Brinkman Adventures are ‘Movies for the Ears’.”

Season 6: Underground Rising contains the following episodes:

55 Dutch Underground Part 1
56 Dutch Underground Part 2
57 Twice Born Fly
58 I Wonder Why?
59 Free Burma Rangers Part 1
60 Free Burma Rangers Part 2

You can find the real stories behind these episodes here.  On this page, you will see pictures, stories, videos and more about what inspired the adventures. One thing we really loved about the “Real Stories” page on the Brinkman Adventures’ website was the inclusion of the “Making It Work” section.  This includes a Logline, the theme, and additional commentary.  I feel these items lend themselves to enriching family discussions and activities such as notebooking pages or other activities to help reinforce the stories.

As our family began listening to the Dutch Underground in our van, the intensity of the story captivated our entire family.  We could actually picture ourselves in the story.  The despair and courage faced by individuals in countries the Nazis captured come through.  We discussed whether we thought we would have the courage to put our own lives at risk for others.  This segued into a conversation about the early members of the church like the Apostle Paul, being willing to die for their belief in Jesus Christ.  Then we moved into a discussion about how Isis tortured and killed those who believed in Jesus Christ.  So we discussed what courage it took to be willing to lay down our lives for Jesus Christ.

As we listened to “Twice Born Fly”, we loved how the opening had the family gathering around the table and discussing what they were thankful that day.  We try to always eat dinner as a family, and often I try to have our children and my husband say what we are grateful for, so we could definitely relate to this portion of the episode.  But as the story progressed, we found ourselves confused by the episode.  Jack begins telling a story about being in prison and an event that occurred while there.  We just could not imagine Jack being in jail.  When he finally gets to the end of the tale, he reveals how it was actually a dream.  At that point, it made a lot more sense to our family.  We loved how even one of the daughters in the episode commented about not remembering hearing about her father being in prison.

When we began listening to “I Wonder Why?”, My children discussed how they could relate to the family picking up and moving.  Even though we are not missionaries, we are military.  So far our family has relocated 3 times, courtesy of the military.  Each time, some if not all of my children have had moments where they questioned why we had to move.  But in the end, the family we heard about recognized God’s hand in them being where they were.  Similarly, my children have come to terms with where we were stationed at, if not developing a genuine like for the location.  We also discussed how people rather than actual places make someplace home.

In the final two-part episode, we learned about Dave Eubanks, his family, and their life in Burma.  My husband and I loved where he finally convinces the woman he loved to marry him.  Despite numerous rejections, he persisted until he received the answer of “Yes!”

We found it fascinating to listen to the part where the Brinkman family came to visit.  When Jack and his children go off with Dave and some other members of his team, we were sure some kind of adventure was going to take place.  I am not sure we expected to have them involved in a potentially life-threathening conflict with the opposition.  Nor did we expect them to assist a woman who wound up giving birth during their attempt to make it to the safe camp.  But in the end, we saw that as Romans 8:28 (KJV) states, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  Dave and Karen Eubanks definitely were following God’s direction for their lives and received the blessings of that obedience.  We also discussed how sometimes it can be hard to hear God’s voice, but often at those times, we can receive some small bit that later shows God’s hand was upon us the entire time.

 

Last year we had the privilege of reviewing Season 4 of the Brinkman Adventures.  You can review that review here.  You can also find Brinkman Adventures on Facebook here.

So if your family is like our family, and your family enjoys listening to  Audio Dramas check out the digital version of Season 6: Underground Rising from Brinkman Adventures for yourselves.  Click here or on the graphic below if you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew who also received this audio drama.

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Review of CashCrunch Careers from CashCrunch Games

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 Our 17-year-old son, our 15-year-old daughter, my husband and I all took the CashCrunch Careers survey from CashCrunch Games.  Even though our son and daugther already basically know what they want to do with the rest of their lives, I felt they would benefit from this opportunity for career exploration.  The opportunity to look at what colleges are looking for plus examining their own strengths and weaknesses would be productive as well.  Because my husband is nearing retirement from the military, we felt this would be a useful tool for him to utilize as well.  Because I am looking at possibly making a change once our daughter graduates in a few years, I felt I should also take this survey.

CashCrunch Games offers a variety of games. Blog posts, podcasts and more to help teach money habits.  Paul Vasey, the founder of CashCruch Games, holds a Business degree from Nottingham Trent University.  After being a teacher for some years, he decided to put his talk into practice to make a difference.  “Play our games and make the mistakes in a virtual world where the games can be restarted, and the environment is fun and nonintimidating.” displays prominently on their “About Us” page.

The CashCrunch Careers survey aims to simplify the process of finding a career.  The survey takes about 10 – 15 minutes to complete and consists of a series of questions where the participant selects one or the other of the choices.  Once completed, the system matches you with careers which best match your work styles and attributes and generates a comprehensive report.

The one problem that all the members of our family had was the difficulty in making selections.  We felt like either the choices were so very similar that making a decision difficult.  Or, the selections did not really reflect who we were personally.  My husband and son both expressed the same frustration.  Because they both have a reasonably good idea of where they want to go in the future, I was not too concerned about them doing the survey.  For myself, I merely wanted to do the survey just to see what the system would generate.  Our son stated how people are not black and white, so basing an assessment on such a formula seems to be really lacking something.

The Career Reports are broken down into four sections:  Career Work Styles, Motivators & De-motivators, Career Attributes, and Matching Jobs.  For the Career Work Styles, I found myself questioning the results.  It said I thrive in team environments, but that is only true if the team I am working with is competent.  Otherwise, I definitely prefer to work alone.  When it came to the Motivators & De-Motivators, I felt like the list was pretty accurate.

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When we began reading the actual reports, the three of us felt like the results were reasonably appropriate based on who we are for the first three sections.  However, when we got to the final part about  career suggestions we were disappointed.

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As my two children began to examine their selections, we were baffled by the lists.  Both of our children want to go into fields in the arts, but neither one of them received anything in the arts.  Our son wants to do something in music, while our daughter wants to go into the graphic novel industry.  So we were really disappointed in the actual career suggestions.  The videos included in the CashCrunch Careers section leave a lot to be desired.  They appear to be dated and disappointing given the quality of today’s videos.  I feel today’s youth will be unimpressed by the videos.

While the first three sections provide excellent information, the last one really disappointed our family.  However, we believe improvments may be made.  If only for the information provided from the first three sections and then ability to examine careers of our own choosing, this product definitely was worth reviewing.

You can find CashCrunch Games on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/721791248014409/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CashCrunchGames @cashcrunchgames
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cashcrunchgames/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cashcrunchgames/ @cashcrunchgames
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/FortuneAndVenture

So check out the CashCrunch Careers survey from CashCrunch Games. for yourself.  If you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Teach Sunday School’s Books of the Bible-at-a-Glance

In my daily Bible reading, when I come to a new book in the Bible, I reach for my Books of the Bible At-a-Glance from Teach Sunday School to give me an overview of the book.  As the wife of a Primitive Baptist Elder (preacher), I am always on the lookout for new Bible study and reference materials.  I love finding new and useful products for myself and our children.  So when the opportunity came up to review this downloadable product, I was thrilled.  Having a PDF file makes it easy to easy to either print out enough sheets for the family or to view on a tablet in a program like iBooks.

Teach Sunday School offers a wide variety of products suitable for busy Sunday School teachers and Christian parents.  From lessons plans to Bible printables to Bible crafts, there is something suitable for everyone.  On their website, it states, ”

Teaching the Bible Should be a JOY, not a CHORE.

Discover our Turn-Key Lesson Plans & Resources that Make the Bible Come Alive for Kids of all Ages!”

I love this statement about teaching the Bible being a joy rather than a chore.  Throughout the years, I have always been on the lookout for Bible materials that capture the interest and attention of our children.  Now that our youngest is almost 16-years-old, our needs are different.  The  Books of the Bible At-a-Glance from Teach Sunday School suits our family’s needs perfectly.  With three sons ranging in age from 22 to almost 18, I want to be sure I have a firm grasp on the books of the Bible.

Each book of the Bible has a one-page reference sheet.  For this review, I printed out the pages in black and white for economic purposes.  However, if I had a great color printer, then I would have defnitely preferred to print them out in color.  I used these pages as a stand-alone product just to give myself a good background on all the books of the Bible.  Because my husband always recommends starting in the New Testament that is what I decided to do.  Here is a picture of my Bible and the page for Ephesians.  I love how the page breaks down the major points of the book, which makes it easy to follow along.  In this case, Chapters 1-3 Paul provides encouragement to believers and refers to them as “adopted sons” of God.  I love this picture of being chosen by God.  Then in chapters 4 and 5, the sheet addresses how believers need to put on the  full armor of God.  This is one of my absolute favorite passages in the Bible to read and visualize.

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I also love how Teach Sunday School lists several of the most famous Scriptures for each book.  In the case of Ephesians, Ephesians 6:12 and Ephesians 2:10 are presented.  Because our family uses the King James Version of the Bible, I am going to quote it here in the King James Version –  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

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I plan on our sons and daughter going through the sheets with my husband and I to build on their Bible background and knowledge.  After all no one can ever spend to much time learning the background of the books of the Bible.  Regardless of the ages of the members of your family, I feel everyone could benefit from these sheets.  For younger students, it could give them a basic background of the Books of the Bible, while older students and adults could use the sheets as a springboard for deeper studies.  The summaries can be used on their own or along with whatever Bible study your family uses.

You can find Teach Sunday School on social media including:  Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.

So if you are looking for Bible summary sheets, Sunday School lessons, Bible printables or Bible handouts, check out Teach Sunday School for yourself.  If you are looking for Bible summary sheets about the Books of the Bible, check out Books of the Bible At-a-Glance for yourself.

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

 

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Review of Forensic Faith For Kids and Case Makers Academy from David C Cook

 

With a son who has had aspirations to become a police officer, books and other items relating to forensic science and detective work draw my attention.  For the past several weeks we have been learning how to be detectives with the Case Makers Academy’s Forensic Faith for Kids provided by David C Cook. I felt like this would be an excellent experience for our younger two, who are both in high school.  Because our son who may desire to work in law enforcement, I felt like this was a perfect match for our family.

David C Cook offers a variety of Biblically based resources around the world.  Millions love their products, and those products have been translated into 150 different languages while being distributed in 170 different countries.  Through the years, our family has frequently used their Sunday School materials at churches we have attended.

The Case Makers Academy offers a wealth of resources to be used with  Forensic Faith for Kids.  This group of products is an excellent way of teaching apologetics by examing crime scenes with a real detective.  Families have the opportunity to watch videos, complete training activity sheets, develop their very own Academy Notebook, and utilize the Adult Leader Guide. All of these resources are available at the Case Makers Academy link.

The recommended age range for Forensic Faith for Kids is ages 8-12.  Even though our children are 15-years-old and 17-years-old, I was sure they would find enjoyment in these products.  We decided to read the book out loud, and then my goal was for the children to complete the activities on their own.  This book is one book of a series of three currently.  I have to say our family enjoyed the book.  I wish these had been around a few years ago for our second son.  Detective J. Warner Wallace and his wife provide an engaging look into cold cases with a twist where a group of friends.  I love how there is also an adult version available, so parents or other older individuals in the student’s life can participate as well.

Readers follow Daniel, Hannah, and Jason as they work to solve a case involving a puppy who mysteriously appears.  Along with reading the book, families can visit the Case Makers Academy to complete additional activities about what they have been learning.  For example, for Chapter 7, the students fill out a note sheet about what we should say.  The students get to answer open-ended questions as well as complete fill-in-the-blank questions.

 

Forensic faith is a way of examining the world around us and finding God’s handiwork.   This book and the academy allow children to investigate God’s Existence while finding out the truth about God.  This Christian book for kids does a remarkable job of pulling the reader in and capturing their imaginations.  Our family loved how the authors pull the reader in as though he/she was present and participating in the story.  Throughout the book, there are side boxes with informative information, questions, and Scripture passages to refer to, we decided to answer these orally rather than having everyone writing them out.  It led to more in-depth conversations.

Another thing we loved about this book and online academy was the way everything was tied up at the end.  But throughout the story, clues and evidence was obtained by the group. Even though it appeared like many times the answers they were getting led to more questions, by the end of the book everything came together about the puppy.    We also loved how the authors made it clear everything happens in God’s timing rather than our timing.  Here are some pictures of a few of the Academy pages, Leader Guide pages, and the Academy notebook sheets.

 

I love how at the end of the Case Makers Academy, there are certificates and even a badge to print out.

 

You can find David C Cook on social media on Facebook, by clicking here.

Teaching young children about apologetics can be a daunting task, however, Forensic Faith for Kids and Case Makers Academy provided by David C Cook does an excellent job of reaching children on their level.  If you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

 

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Review of the By the Way Book Series from By the Way Books

 


By the Way  publishes wonderful travel books for kids such as Alaska ~ By The Way from the By the Way Book Series.  Because our family is military, throughout the years, we have been asked where we would choose to live outside the contiguous forty-eight states and our first choice has always been Alaska.  So I was thrilled for our family to have the opportunity to review this book.  This series of books is a fun way of learning about state history from a unique perspective.

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The books examine the lives of Alex and Lexi who are brother and sister.  In the book Alaska ~ By the Way, the two travel to Alaska with their parents.  They experience time on a ship, time in some of the cities, and even time in the air traveling from one place to another. Our family loved the details included about how local people live, the wildlife, the plants and flowers and even economic information.  The details included are incredible.  We found facts to suprise us -such as the information regarding the Wasilla Farmers Market and the size and quantity of fruit and vegetables produced.  There were also some things we already knew – such as the numbers of daylight versus darkness between the winter and summer.  Of course, we knew that becuase we have friends who moved to Alaska about 2 years ago to pastor a church along with their two sons.

The By the Way Book Series includes a group of books that each serve as part of a larger series of books that elaborate on a different state and the unique characteristics and information about the state. Each book shares a common thread of being geographically based with a Christian worldview.  According to their website on their “About Page”, “It is our hope with the By The Way Book Series to change that number and enable scriptural and positive conversations within Christian homes. These books are great to use for your children’s home school curriculum, family devotions or even summer reading.”

Joy Budensiek wrote these books with the aim of getting families to talk to one another.  I  feel like her books demonstrated her love for the Lord and a desire to help children connect with the Lord on a personal and meaningful level, while encouraging families to connect in a meaningful and in-depth manner.  On the By the Way website, I found a statement that captured my attention, “By the Way Series was born from the shock of a simple statement by Dr. Jeff Myers of Summit Ministries. ‘19 out of 20 Christian parents and grandparents do not talk to their children about God and spiritual truths in their daily lives’.” 

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At the beginning of the book, as seen above, there are pictures for children to find while reading the books.  Even with the ages of our children ranging from 22 to 15, they still love searching for and finding pictures.  Although we have not had a chance to do everything we want to yet with this book, I have plans for our 15-year-old daugther and 17-year-old son to pick some things from the book to draw and/or write about in the coming days.  I can not wait to see what they come up.  I can see them creating totem poles, drawing ships and city-scapes, pictures of gardens and wildlife and more.  I can see them writing about the local people, the cities, the life-style and more. One activity I definitey plan on having them do is write an account of where they would like to visit in Alaska and why.

The latest books in the By the Way Book Series are New York City ~By the Way, Indiana ~ By the Way, Alaska ~ By the Way (which is the one we received), and Ireland ~ By the Way.  Other books already published in the series include:  Smoky Mountains ~ Here We Come!. Florida’s Treasure Coast ~ Here We Come!,  Pennsylvania ~ Here We Come!, Ohio ~ Here We Come!, and Colorado ~ By the Way.  There are more books planned for the series.

 

I wish these books had been around when our children were younger. I know they would have enjoyed them.  However, even now, with our youngest being 15-years-old, these books still provide a wealth of information that our entire family was able to enjoy.  These books provided the type of trivia my family loves to learn about and share with others.  The books are perfect for reading aloud, especially when riding in the van together.

You can find By the Way Books on Facebook.  Our family was very glad we had the opportunity to review Alaska ~ By The Way from the By the Way Book Series.  If you would like to read other reviews by members of the Home School Review Crew of the  most recent books in this series, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of The Captain Sun Adventures -Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith

My son loves reading this new comic book, Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith, from The Captain Sun Adventures. For many years now, our four children (three sons and a daughter), have been pulling me slowly into the world of comic books – at least in the movie format. We have been watching the Marvel and DC movies. Every chance they get, they buy comic books or Manga books. So when the opportunity to review this comic book came up, I knew it would be a perfect fit for our 17-year-old son.

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The Captain Sun Adventures is meant to be part devotional and part graphic novel. It is intended to help children develop a Christian worldview. There are currently three books in the series. Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith, the book we are reviewing is the first book in the series. This book combines a superhero with the Bible in a format designed to capture your child’s imagination.  People of all ages will enjoy this comic book with a Christian view.

According to their “About Us” page, Bryce Morgan is the pastor of Way of Grace Church in Buckeye, Arizona (www.wayofgracechurch.com) and a part-time cartoonist with the West Valley View newspaper. He wrote all three books and illustrated the second and third ones. He and his wife have three children who love comic books.

Now I do have to say our youngest son who is our third child is not my most ardent comic book lover. Some of his siblings love the genre more. However, he is my son that is always willing to jump in and assist me with a review. So I decided to have him read this book. At some point, I will have our 15-year-old daughter read it as well.

Our son found Chapters 7 and 8 to be his favorites. These chapters showed the main character was not all-powerful, and he could be defeated. Our son stated that he does not like undefeatable characters. He felt like the graphics were fairly well done. He felt the storyline was easy to follow. Our son also stated that ending did not give him closure. He felt like it would be a satisfactory ending, but the so he wants me to buy the other books for him.

It seemed like at the end of chapter 8, meaning the end of the comic book, it looked like it was heading in the direction of a “happily ever after” type ending, but for him, he felt the conclusion could have been elaborated more to make him more satisfied. He felt like the book implied there was more to the story, but for him, it just cut off and left him wanting more.

You can find The Captain Sun Adventures on Social Media on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

If you are looking for a Christian version of a comic book that has a superhero and references the Bible, check out Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith, from The Captain Sun Adventures.
If you would like to read other reviews by members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Kingdom File Series from Barbour Publishing

 

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 Barbour Publishing sent us two new titles Who Was Jonah?  and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? which are part of their Kingdom Files series.  These Christian books for kids are definitely worth reading. Our family has been enjoying their books for quite a while. So we were excited to have the opportunity to review two books from this new series.

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Kingdom Files is a Bible-based book series for children ages 8 to 12 years old. Every book in this series examines the life of a Biblical character and helps children become excited about learning about key people in the Bible who were part of God’s plan and kingdom. The books are written by Matt Koceich, who is an elementary school teacher and creator of the “Imagine” series of books. He makes his home with his family in Texas.

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Each book has a FACT FILE – which includes general information about the Bible character. This includes their name, what work they did (their occupation), where they lived, what work they did for the kingdom of God, a timeline along with key statistics. Next, there is an ACTION FILE – this is where the Biblical story is told in a way the child reading the book can understand. Finally, there is a POWER FILE – where the main lesson of the story is broken down to where the child can see and understand that the Bible stories from ancient times do apply even in today’s time.

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One of our family’s favorite parts of both books are the fantastic line art drawings that help capture the imagination of the readers. The books are written with a font that is easy to read regardless of age. Personally, I think these books would be perfect to use as a read-aloud for the entire family – regardless of age. Our youngest child is 15-years-old, so we each read the books independently. However, if she was in the age range of 8 to 12 years old, I would probably have required her to read some parts of the books out loud to me. I also would have had notebook sheets and possibly coloring pages to go along with the stories as well. Or since our daughter loves to draw, I may have had her draw what inspired her as I read the story aloud to her.

The possibilities are endless. “Who Was Jonah? examines the life of Jonah beginning when God wanted him to become a prophet. Rather than doing God’s will, Jonah instead decided to run away. Matt Koceich does an excellent job of telling the story in a way that captures the reader’s attention. He also does an excellent job of explaining ideas that may be hard for children to understand – such as when the sailors casting lots (meaning using either sticks with markings on them or small, flat stones with symbols on each one. The descriptions and explanations are perfect for children of the intended age range. The clue boxes are easy to spot and provide an excellent opportunity for students to engage in a meaningful way with the book. I could see these being used for oral narration, writing prompts or even family discussions at the dinner table.  There are even note pages that the reader can use to record their own thoughts, the memory verses and more to help with retention.

Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus?  examines the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus played in the Kingdom of God.  It discusses how the angel Gabriel visited Mary in her hometown.  It also discusses how she and Joseph probably felt about what was going on as a result of the pregnancy.  It goes through Mary’s encounter with Elizabeth – her cousin.  It examines the sacred night when Jesus was born and how it came to pass that Jesus was born in a manger.  Our family loved how Bible references were included throughout the book.  It talks about the magi, King Herod, Jesus at the temple when he was about 12 years old, and more.  One of our favorite parts of the book was the wedding at Cana where Jesus turned water into wine at his mother’s request.  We appreciated how the book discusses how Jesus wanted to honor God’s wishes before his earthly mother’s wishes.  But he did end up performing the miracle in the end.

The Power-Up Files at the end of the book provide a Bible verse to memorize along with informative commentary.  There are 10 files for each book.  One of our family’s favorite Power Up Files is the one entitled “God doesn’t Abandon”.  It talks about how Satan tries to convince us that God does not care about us, but Jonah’s story proves that God does provide.  It uses Hebrews 11:1 as the memory verse.  I have included a graphic of this verse below.  Our family felt like the amount of information along with the memory verse provided a perfect balance for children who are ages 8 to 12 years old.

Hebrews 11_1 King James Version (KJV)11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

You can find Barbour Publishing on social media on  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.  So if you are looking for Christian books for kids, and especially biographies for kids, check out the Kingdom Series, including Who was Jonah? and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus?   for yourself.  These books from Barbour Publishing by Matt Koceich are definitely worth reading.

If you would like to read reviews from other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of GrammarPlaneti

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We are finally understanding sentence diagramming with this new online grammar program from GrammarPlanet.  Growing up, I was one of those unusal people who actually enjoyed sentence diagramming.  I was blessed to have teachers who demonstrated and explained sentence diagramming in a way that made sense.  So I wanted the same experience for our children.  I feel it is very important for them to have a good grasp on grammar.  This means they need to have an excellent understanding of the different parts of speech.  I felt GrammarPlanet fit the bill for our family’s needs.  It is an online product, which I find very convenient since it is self-grading for the most part.
GrammarPlanet’s creators are Erin Karl and Jerry Bailey.  GrammarPlanet is the realization of dream that has been years in the making.  It is designed to make grammar education affordable and available to anyone regardless of their background.  This program is meant for homeschoolers as well as public school students.  The program is designed for students ages 10 and up.  Even adults who wish to increase their grammar knowledge will benefit from this program.  Everyone benefits from having a strong grammar foundation.
The philosophy behind GrammarPlanet is  Erin Karl’s mother’s Analytical Grammar, which is a book-based program that has been available to homeschoolers for over two decades.  The love for grammar comes through each and every video.  While the videos are not fancy, it allows the message of the videos to take center stage.  There is little to serve as distractions for the students.
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There are two versions of GrammarPlanet available.  There is a free level that includes ads.  There is also a paid version which is ad-free.   For the purpose of this review, I decided to work through the units myself first before having our teenagers use the program.  Because it is a new program, I felt this was best.
I will say there was definitely a learning curve to using this program.  Each unit gives a list of process steps for completing the exercises.  If I went too fast or tried going out of order, I found I made more mistakes than if I took my time and worked in order.  While I was working through several of the units, my husband was in the room beside me.  He was very impressed by the program and I have a feeling he will wind up going through it at some point.  Several times, he stated he learned something he did  not know or heard terms he was not familiar with before that lesson.
I have to say I have been very satisfied with the order the parts of speech are taught.  I also love that a student can go as fast or slow as they or their parents want them to based on ability.  I also love that at the end of each practice section, the student has the option to continue or come back later.
The one thing I would caution about this program is that if a student misses too many ansywers in the practice exercises, the system will lock them out and a parent will have to unlock the lesson.  At the same time, I like that I have the ability as teacher/parent to reset progress when it is needed.  I also like how the grades display on the screen and are also emailed to me as the parent.  There is little parental involvement required. Upon reaching unit 6, sentence diagramming is introduced, initially with only prepositional phrases.  In the video, students and parents/teachers are advised students can do as little or as much diagramming as desired.  However, cautions are given that failing to do diagramming will cause problems later in the course.  I definitely agree with that caution.  So my children will be required to do sentence diagramming.
You can find GrammarPlanet on social media at:
All in all, I have to say I am really pleased with this program and am glad we had the opportunity to review it.  So if you are looking for an online grammar program, check out GrammarPlanet for yourself.  If you would like to read other reviews from members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.
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