Devotions For Young Women ~ Review

The new year will be here before we know it. One thing that I try to do each year is find a new devotional for AJ to work through. She doesn’t always finish on time, because sometimes other products come up. But I like to have something new for her to work through under the tree. It can be hard to find products that are good for her age. She is past the little girl devotions, but usually doesn’t find the adult ones interesting. I look for something that is short and to the point and geared for teens.

This year we were given the chance to review a new devotional from ZondervanWe have tried various products from them in the past, and have never been disappointed. We were blessed with a copy of Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women. I was sure that AJ would love this new devotional, and she did!

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women

About Beloved

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women is written by Lindsay A. Franklin. This devotional is beautiful hard covered book that is well made. The floral design that is on the front cover is carried over to each page of the book. The maroon, purple, and pink color scheme give it a girly theme. It is about 370 pages long with a devotion for each day of the year. The devotions are numbered, not dated so it is simple to start whenever you want. And if you skip a day, you won’t feel like you need to catch up. There is an attached ribbon that is used as a book mark to help you keep your place.

This devotion focuses on the different women in the Bible. It includes women like; Mary, Ruth, Deborah, Anna, and Ester – along with many others. It focuses on Proverbs 31 along with many other verses in the Bible that are often overlooked in other devotions. You will cover various verses from Genesis to Ester in the first 312 days. The remaining the days you will spend time studying verses from the New Testament.

What A Day Looks Like

Each day you begin by reading a verse or verses from the Bible that is written at the top of the page. The verses are in NIV format, so if you prefer another version you will need to find the verse in your own Bible. Then You read a few paragraphs about verse. At the end there is a question on most days. It might be about the verse, about yourself, or even about how you can apply something to your life.  Sometimes it is just a place to reflect on the verse. On the bottom of the page there is a few lines for you to write your answer.

Reading and answering the question will take less than 15 minutes a day, prayer time not included. The devotions are short and to the point, but they are well written and make you think.

How We Used It

Since it is Christmas time, AJ and I have been reading some of the devotions towards the back of the book. We started on day 313 with Luke 1:5-7. In this verse we were introduced to Elizabeth and Zachariah’s story and how they had not been blessed with a child. The devotion was about trusting God and his timing. It happened to be a verse that I needed to be reminded of.

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women
We continued reading through some of the devotions that focused on the book of Luke. We normally read through the book of Luke around Christmas, but this has been a different experience. It has been neat to read the same verses but to have more to take away from the story – as if the story wasn’t amazing enough. We see a big emphasis on trusting God, being different, and family. It has also been nice to look at the Bible from a woman’s perspective.

I also read through a few other various devotions to see what they were like. One talked about how God used women in biblical times, and how he uses them now as well. Another talked about how God’s power was bigger than giants. But this wasn’t referring to David and Goliath. It was referring to a verse in Judges where Jael won Israel’s war. I have read through the Bible numerous times, but I didn’t remember that story.

You are introduced to over 60 women throughout this study.

What We Thought

I figured AJ would enjoy it. She has another devotion by the same author called, Adored 365 Devotions For Young Women. She enjoys it as well. The author has a way of writing that is perfect for young women. It is funny at times, interesting, and she makes you think of things differently.

If you are looking for a great devotional for a young woman in your life, I highly recommend, Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women.  It would make a great gift.

Find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought by clicking on the graphic below!

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women {Zondervan Review}
Crew Disclaimer

Guitar 360 ~ Review

AJ received a guitar this year for her birthday.  She took piano lessons for a little while, but has been asking to learn how to play the guitar for years. She finally had her own guitar and was excited to start learning. The only problem was that guitar lessons near our home were quite expensive. For eight 45 minute sessions with kids ranging from six years old and up it was going to cost over $150. That is only about six hours of instruction where the instructor’s attention would be divided among up to eight kids. On top of the price was the difficulty of getting her to the lessons. We ended up holding off on the lessons. Her grandma taught her a few chords and she looked some things up online to teach herself.

While she did learn a few things, she was not progressing very quickly. She was also picking up bad habits that she saw others using. Then we were blessed with the chance to review an online program that would teach her how to play. We received the Semester 1 Bundle (including 5 weeks of Absolute Beginner bonus content + the 13 weeks of Semester 1) from Guitar 360 Method. It came just in time for AJ to sign up for the talent show at our co-op.

About Guitar 360

Guitar 360 Method
Guitar 360 is a set of online guitar lessons that are taught by Krisz Simonfalzi. The intention of the lessons isn’t just to help you learn to play a few songs on the guitar. Instead the idea is to give you a solid foundation in the guitar. After the 13 weeks of lessons, you should have the knowledge and confidence to play well and to create your own songs.

The course is broken into 13 weeks of lessons. Each week there is a goal for the lessons. The first week the goal is Foundations for Versatile Rhythm Guitar, where the goal for week six is Understanding Chords. Each week has a group of videos that teach about the goal. They vary in length from a short 2 minute video that teaches some vocabulary, to longer videos that teach techniques. In addition to the video lessons there are also printable PDFs with information.

You are able to view the videos as many times as you want. Once you feel you understand the topic you are able to park the lesson complete. Most lessons have practice videos that you should work on on throughout the week to make sure you are comfortable.  Some weeks also have quizzes to check what you have learned.

The best part is that you are able to view the videos as often as you need to, and you can go back to previous lessons. The course is self paced and simple to use.

How We Used It

AJ had already been practicing a song with some free music she found online to get ready for the talent show. But she wasn’t playing it correctly. I decided to have her continue to practice the song while slowly working through this program. She would log in on her Kindle Fire and watch the lessons and practice along with the practice videos to improve her technique. She is still learning so she spent some time on the free beginner lessons that Guitar 360 offers. They are still the same high quality videos, with the same entertaining teacher. They just focus on things that absolute beginners need to know.

I can’t believe they offer the beginner lessons for free. I think the beginner lessons helped her to become more confident to work on the first semester of lessons. She still has a while left to complete the course. Right now she practices a few days a week. But eventually that will increase.

Playing Guitar at talent show after Guitar 360

As for the talent show, she played a song and did a good job. It wasn’t perfect but it was easy to see her technique has improved along with her confidence.

What We Thought

AJ loved the lessons. The teacher was full of energy and obviously passionate about playing the guitar. The videos were professional quality. The variety in the videos kept her interested. Her favorite part was being able to watch the videos as much as she wanted to work on her technique. The best part for me is that she can practice where ever she has internet access. I don’t have to find a way to get her to the lessons.

The value of the program is amazing. For less than it would cost for six hours of instruction at the local community center, you can have access to more than 13 weeks of lessons. Right now the company is offering 20% off if you use the coupon code HOMESCHOOL20 at checkout, which makes this an even better deal!

If you or your child are interested in learning to play the guitar, I would highly recommend Guitar 360. I can’t wait to see what she will be able to do once the course is finished.

Find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought by clicking on the graphic below.

 

Guitar Lessons with Krisz Simonfalvi {Guitar 360 Method Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Starry Night Master Kitz ~ Review

When AJ was younger adding art to our school day was easy. Now that she is older and spends so much time on the basics, art can easily be pushed to the back burner. She has a few art classes at co-op so she is experimenting with different mediums. But we haven’t done very much art together lately.

She loves art so I was sure she was going to love Master Kitz The Starry Night from Kidzaw.com. These kitz give you everything that you need to recreate a work of art from a famous artist. They come in a cute reusable box with easy step by step instructions. The kitz also include some brief information about the artist and the type of art.

The Starry Night Master Kit

What’s in the Box?

Inside the box you will find:

  • Two pieces of large white art paper
  • Paint in blue, black, and white
  • A special roller
  • A sponge roller
  • Chalk pastels in white, blue, yellow, and orange
  • Star Stickers (used to block the paint from specific areas on the page)
  • A stencil
  • Directions and information about the artist.

The only thing you will need to provide is tape to tape down the paper and a plate or pallet to pour the paint on.

Making the Projects

Since there were two pieces of art paper, we decided to do the project together. AJ and I each taped down our paper. We found that taping the paper on the back and sticking it to the table worked easier than taping down the edges. Then I read through the information about Vincent van Gogh while she started the project.

First she placed the star stickers where she wanted them.

Kidzaw Master Kitz

Then she used the special roller in the blue paint to create a neat texture on the page.

Painting with the blue paint to make a neat texture

Once the blue was all over the page, she used the same roller in the white paint. We didn’t really see the white paint over the blue. AJ stated that she thought the paper should have been an off white color like they showed in the instructions. Then the white paint and texture would look a little better. Even so, the texture was neat. At this point AJ washed out the roller and we took the star stickers off of her picture. Getting the stars off was hard. Two of them ripped, but I was still able to reuse them on my page.

While she continued with the next step, I started my project.

Her next step was taping the stencil over her picture.

Using the stencil to paint

Then she used the black paint and rolled over the stencil.  At that point the painting looked really cool. The dark black was a good contrast to the blue.

The picture after the black paint was used

Then it was time to start using the chalk pastels. She started off with the yellow and orange for the stars.

The stars colored in

When it came time to add color to the town part of the picture, AJ wanted to use more than the four colors that came with the kit. She got out her own chalk pastels and had a blast coloring in the scene.

Coloring in the town with chalk pastels

In the end, her project came out great!

The final project

I was proud of mine too. I am not very artistic, but the project was fun to do and looks good too.

My final project

From start to finish the entire project took a little less than two hours. It was a nice afternoon.

AJ showing off her final project

What We Thought

Both of us really enjoyed the project. The directions for everything except the chalk pastels were simple to follow. I wish they had a little more explanation on how to use the chalk pastels. AJ also thought that four colors wasn’t enough.

There is more than enough paint to do the project a few more times, but I am not sure that the star stickers would last for more than one more picture. So if you wanted to do the project with more than two people, you may need to use something else to block the paint where the stars go. But other than the stars, I think you could use this kit over and over. AJ is planning to use the special roller on a few other projects.

The information about van Gogh was simple to read and gave basic information. I think it was a great introduction to the artist. It is not enough for an in depth study, but I feel it could be used as a starting point for a fun study. The kit would be a great addition to an artist study, or just for a fun project. AJ and I enjoyed having fun and hanging out together while completing the project.

These kitz would be a great Christmas or birthday gift for people who are difficult to buy for. They are not just for kids, adults will enjoy them too! (If anyone is looking for a fun gift for AJ, she said she would like any of the other kitz.) I would absolutely recommend these kitz to other artists, and those who are artistically challenged.

Find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought by clicking on the graphic below!

Master Kitz The Starry Night {Kidzaw.com Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines ~ Review

I have been blogging for quite a while. When I look back at the first few posts, it is easy to see that I have come a long way. In the beginning, blogging was a way to keep track of some of the projects that AJ did for school. It was also a place for me to share about my then new food intolerance and how I was dealing with it. It started off as a hobby, but grew into something more. Now I make a little bit of money from sponsored posts, affiliate links, and a few other things. But it also costs me money to maintain my blog. I have to pay for hosting and for my domain.

Now I need to think of my blog as more of a business and less of a hobby. But that can be difficult! It can be hard to find time to work on a business while homeschooling and taking care of my family. I have signed up for a few different courses in the past that claimed they could help me manage my business and my home, but they were not really effective. They were just not a good fit for my situation. But I knew that something needed to change. Lately I just haven’t been able to find the time to blog with everything else going on in my life. I was quite excited to have the chance to try out Balancing Diapers and Deadlines from Lisa Tanner Writing. I hoped that it would be different from other courses that I had tried in the past, and it was!

Lisa Tanner Writing

What is Balancing Diapers and Deadlines

Don’t let the name of the course fool you. This course is not all about dealing with young kids while running a business. There is a section that focuses on younger kids, but there is also a section that focuses on running a business while having older kids at home. What is great about this course is that you can take away what you need and skip the section or sections that do not apply to you.

This is an online course. Once you are registered and have paid for the course you select a user name and password and are able to access the course from any device that has internet access. The lessons are text based and load very quickly. They are written in a friendly tone and are simple to understand. There are eight units in the course.

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines

The Units

  1. Welcome to Balancing Diapers and Deadlines – This unit doesn’t have any lessons. It includes some background information about the author and explains what to expect in the course.
  2. Building Your Foundation with the Basics – This unit was one of my favorites. It talks about getting your family on-board with your business, flexible routines, and making plans for the days.
  3. Minimize Your Decisions – This unit is mostly about keeping your home in order so that you can have more time to spend with your family and on your business. There are a lot of helpful tips!
  4. Minimize Your Decisions: The Annual Meal Plan – This unit sets you up with ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and shopping lists. Around here lunch is one of the hardest parts of the day. It was nice to see a meal plan that had lunch ideas!
  5. Sustainable Growth ~ This is a unit about taking care of yourself. You can’t take care of a family and run a business without taking care of yourself. There is a lot of practical advice in this unit!
  6. Growing a Business with Your Kids Around ~ This unit breaks up kids into different age groups and gives advice on how to manage the kids needs and the needs of your business. It also has advice about kids with special needs. A few of these lessons didn’t apply to me because AJ is a teenager, but I still got a lot out of the course.
  7. Boost Your Productivity ~ This unit goes over ways that can make you more productive. From ways to start your day off better to improving your typing speed, there is a lot of great information.
  8. Closing Thoughts ~ This wraps the course up with some additional information and resources.

How to Use the Course

For each lesson there is an action plan. Sometimes they are simple like talking to your family about the goal of your business. While other times the action plan may be something more time consuming, like coming up with lunch ideas that your family enjoys to add to your menu plan. Once you complete the action plan, you can mark the lesson complete. The course keeps track of where you left off. But you can go back and reread any of the lessons as needed.

I decided to read through the course without doing the action plans first. I wanted to get a good overview of the course. Now I am going through it again. This time I am doing the action steps that apply to me. I found a lot of useful information in this course.

What I Thought

I was pleasantly surprised by the content in this course. In fact, because of some of the tips I have learned I decided to sign up as a speaker for an online conference. It is something that will hopefully take my blog to the next level, and something I wouldn’t have done in the past. It is a new adventure. I felt encouraged by the course that I could spend time growing my business, and I think you will too!

Find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought by clicking on the graphic below!

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines {Lisa Tanner Writing Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

St. Bartholomew’s Eve ~ Review

Over the past few years AJ and I have had the chance to witness history come alive as we have listened to different audio dramas from Heirloom Audio. We have visited Ancient Egypt, different parts of Europe, and even visited the California Gold Rush, all while never leaving our living room. We have listened to stories of love, loss, faith, courage, and forgiveness. Heirloom Audio is a company that puts out quality audio dramas that tell the true story of what happened in an entertaining way. Our family has come to really enjoy and look forward to the new releases, so we were thrilled when we were given the chance to review St. Bartholomew’s Eve.

St. Bartholomew's Eve

About Heirloom Audio

The goal of Heirloom Audio is to engage listeners’ imagination by taking them back in time and immersing them in a great Christian story. They do this by using amazing actors, background music, and sound effects, to help the story come alive. You can hear the wind blowing, swords swinging, and people in the streets. Even the accents used are authentic. It is the little details that make the difference!

Heirloom Audio Productions
All of the stories that Heirloom Audio dramatizes are from the books written by G.A. Henty. He wrote many books about history over the years. In fact, two of his books are on AJ’s reading lists this year. Heirloom Audio already made one of them into an audio drama. When it came time to read, The Cat of Bubastes, she read the book. And then she re-listened to the audio drama. G.A. Henty was a great author, but listening to the audio drama really brought the story to life!

About  St. Bartholomew’s Eve

This audio drama takes place in France about fifty years after Martin Luther brought Protestant beliefs to Europe.  At this time in France, and many other places, the Kings were in charge of what religion the people of the country could practice. There was a Catholic King on the thrown. He was not allowing the Protestants, known as the Huguenots to practice their religion. The Catholics thought that the Huguenots were blasphemous. Some of the reasons were because they did not abstain from eating meat on Friday’s and they sang Psalms. During that time the Huguenots were being persecuted.

St. Bartholomew's Eve
It is hard to imagine that people would be killed because of a difference of beliefs. But sadly many wars are about religion. In this story a 16 year old English boy leaves his home and goes to France. He wants to help free his fellow Protestant believers from tyranny. The Huguenots didn’t want to have to fight, but they knew that they needed to protect their right to worship God. During one of their meetings they ask,

“Whom shall we obey? The king of France or the King of Kings?”

The story has themes of courage, determination, fighting for what is right, and trusting in God, among others. We often take our right to worship, or not worship for granted. This story helps one to see that people had to fight and die for things that we take for granted every day.

This audio drama is for ages six and up. It is about two and a half hours long.

Our Thoughts

AJ and I listened to the CD’s together. Then we had a few discussions about our rights as Christians and how there are still places where people don’t have the same rights that we do. When we get to this era in world history, I plan to have AJ listen to the CD’s again. All of the productions from Heirloom Audio have been amazing. But I think this one has touched closer to home. It has brought up discussions. Every time I listen to a new adventure from Heirloom Audio I am amazed at the quality. The story is well written, the audio is perfect (played on a computer, CD player, or on the TV), and you learn a great deal.

I would also like to mention that the company has amazing customer service. I had an issue with an old CD, the one from The Cat of Bubastes. It was something they didn’t have to fix. But they did. They were helpful, kind, and fixed my issue in a very timely manner. The quality of their service impressed me. It is nice to see a company that makes a great product and stands behind it.

I would highly recommend any of the audio dramas from Heirloom Audio. Next, you can check out my previous reviews.

Captain Bayley’s Heir

In the Reign of Terror

The Dragon And the Raven

Wulf the Saxon

The Cat of Bubastes

Then click on the graphic below to see what the other members of the Homeschool Review Crew Thought!

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

Brinkman Adventures Season 6 ~ Review

Over the years our family has come to love audio books and audio dramas. It began when AJ was younger and struggled with reading. We would listen to audio books to help with her literature assignments while she continued to practice reading books that were at her reading level. Eventually, we started to pick up additional books just for fun. Then we came across audio dramas, and we were hooked. AJ told me they were like watching a movie with her eyes closed.

Brinkman Adventures
We have had the opportunity to try out quite a few different audio dramas over the years and Brinkman Adventures is by far one of our favorites! This time we were given the chance to try out the digital version of Season 6: Underground Rising and it did not disappoint!

What is Brinkman Adventures?

Brinkman Adventures are audio dramas that tell the stories of real life missionaries. The names and some details are changed for safety reasons, but the struggles, triumphs, and stories of God’s love are true. The audio dramas are well made. There are plenty of background noises and music to make the stories come to life. The acting in the dramas is amazing.

Underground Rising Season 6 Brinkman Adventures

About Season 6

The digital copy was simple to download. I just clicked on the link in the email, saved the episodes to my computer, and they were ready to listen to. There are over two hours of listening adventures. In the past the seasons have been twice as long, but making the seasons shorter lets them be released sooner.

Season six has six episodes that take you from the Netherlands to Wisconsin, India, Thailand, and Burma.

  •  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

The stories in season six are heartwarming. In the Dutch Underground we learn more about resisting evil while learning about what happened to the Brinkman’s grandparents during World War Two. There are stories about salvation soldiers, and more. The best part is that you can read more about the true stories on the website. There are videos and behind the scene information that let you learn even more.

Our Favorite Episode

While all of the episodes are great, my favorite episode from this season was number 58, I Wonder Why? It is about a little girl named Sam whose family decides they need to move to India to run an orphanage. The kids are so bad. They tease Sam’s little brother, don’t listen in school, and do not behave. Sam resents them and her family for having to leave her home and friends. Especially when the orphans, “don’t deserve to be loved.” Her parents continually tell her to love without reason, but she doesn’t understand why she should. In the end the orphans end up accepting Jesus and become nicer, and her heart is healed and she becomes kinder. Her brother is also healed from his deadly allergy.

The episode focuses on Trusting God’s plan. That can be a difficult thing to do, and I think the episode showed that trusting in God is not always easy, but that He does have a plan.

What We Thought

AJ and I listened to the episodes together at the computer. I personally prefer the CD to the digital copy because then I can listen to the episodes in the car or other places. The digital content can be synced with digital devices, but I didn’t try to figure out how to do that.

As with the previous seasons, we really enjoyed listening to season six of Brinkman Adventures. The stories were life like, the added sound effects made the story more interesting. Overall the stories told of God’s love. We plan to re listen to the first two episodes again when we are studying World War 2 again in the spring. Stories like, Dutch Underground remind you that even though there was a lot of evil, there were a lot of people willing to risk their lives to do the right thing. I can’t wait to see what season 7 has in store!

Check out our reviews of seasons Three and Four.

Take advantage of this great coupon!

See what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew Thought by clicking on the graphic below!

Brinkman Adventures Season 6 Reviews
Crew Disclaimer

Progeny Press eGuide ~ Review

Over the years AJ and I have tried out quite a few different book studies. Some I have found free online, others I have paid for, and a majority of them I have just made myself. The problem with making them myself is that it is time consuming. I have to read through the books, find literary elements, and figure out activities. My own book studies are always fun, but now that she is in high school I find it hard to keep up. Often the free book studies I find just have questions about the plot, and I want more. I had heard about Progeny Press before, and read that their studies were very well done. So when we were given the chance to review their Perelandra – eGuide, I was interested give them a try.

Perelandra
Perelandra is the second book in a trilogy written by C. S. Lewis. The book can be read as a stand alone book, but like most series the reader will have a better understanding if the books are read in order. AJ and I both enjoyed the Narnia series, so I figured we would enjoy this series from C. S. Lewis as well. We went into the study not reading the first book. The study guide did provide a synopsis of what happened in the first book. But I would recommend reading the books in order. Progeny Press has a study for the first book, and I wish we would have done that study first.

Study Guide Basics

We received both the study guide and the answer key. The study guide is 58 pages long. It begins with a note to the instructor that explains how to use the guide. Then it has a synopsis of the book and the previous book along with background information about the author.

The study guide is interactive. You can click on the table of contents and you are taken to that section. You are also able to type your answers directly into the study guide. This is perfect for those who don’t enjoy writing. It also works wonders to save on ink. You don’t need to print the guide off. Simply let your student type their answers in and save it to your computer. Of course if you prefer to have a written copy you can print it once your student finishes it.

The Answer Key is six pages long. The writing is very small, but it has all of the questions answered. I found the answer key helpful especially with some of the dig deeper questions. Looking at it let me help AJ when she got stuck. It also was a great discussion starter when her answers varied from the key.

More Details About the Study Guide

The study guide is designed to be used over an eight to ten week period and can count as a quarter credit for high school. During the first week the student reads the book and completes some pre- reading activities. There are a lot of different options. Some include:

  • Researching the different accounts of creation from different religions and comparing them with the Biblical account.
  • Imagining they are in the Garden of Eden and writing a description of it.
  • Researching the origins of Mars and Venus and comparing the god’s character traits in Greek, Roman, and Norse Mythology.

Once the book is read, the student comes back and does the book work. The chapters are broken up, usually two at a time. Each section follows the same format.

Vocabulary

This is one of my favorite parts of the study guide. Each section has an activity to do with vocabulary. It isn’t just a simple write the definition of a word activity though. The activities make the student look at how the word was used and what it means. Sometimes the student will need to fill the word into the blank of a sentence, and then write a definition. Other times they may need to read a passage and write their own definition before looking up the dictionary definition.  They even have to look at the context of a passage to decide which definition of the word the author meant.

There are about two pages of vocabulary for each section. One of AJ’s biggest struggles is seeing how words can mean different things in different contexts. These activities have been difficult for her, but they have helped. One thing that we liked was that there were different activities, she didn’t have to do the same activity every time.

Questions

For each section there are about four questions about the reading. These are questions that can be answered about the plot of the story. As long as the student read the book they should be able to answer the questions. But they can go back and read through the chapters again if they need to.

Analysis

Each section has about three to six analysis questions. These questions require the student to think beyond the plot of the book. Sometimes they are asked to think about what a character is thinking, sometimes they are asked to look at a character’s actions and then told to read a Bible passage. They are also asked about different uses of literary devises in the story. These are the types of questions I often find missing from other book studies. They require the student to look beyond the basic story.

Dig Deeper

Each section has a few dig deeper questions. The amount varies due to what was going on in each section. These questions go further than the analysis questions. They require the student to look at symbolism in the book, and to look at statements made by the characters. One question asks the student to go into a dark room and wait for a while. Then they are asked if they felt the way a character felt.

There is a lot of Biblical symbolism and that is explored in this section. The student is instructed to read passages from Genesis, Revelations, Hebrews, and other books of the Bible to see the parallels between the accounts in the Bible and the story.

After the questions are answered for each section then there are additional activities for the student to complete. There are options that explore point of view, the author’s use of color, the similarities between the tempting of Eve and the tempting of a character in the novel, and other activities that explore the parallels between the Bible and the novel.

How We Used It

We tried to use the study guide as written. But it just didn’t work. AJ is a slow reader and finishing the book in a week wasn’t going to happen with this book. The language in the book was difficult and at times she was getting lost in the story. I think reading the book and then doing the work would have been perfect for her while we were reading the Narnia series. At that time she hated to stop after a few chapter and answer questions. But this book was harder for her. So after two weeks of her not wanting to read and her having a hard time with the book, we decided to make a change.

I had her do the vocabulary work for the chapters and then read them again. When she was done reading the section she answered the questions. She answered some of the analysis and dig deeper questions, but most of them we are saving until she is finished with the book. Normally we rush through a book. The idea of spending ten weeks on one book seemed like a lot. But I see now that she is really understanding beyond the book. It may take her longer to get through the reading, but when she is done she will have a great understanding of symbolism among other literary elements.

What We Thought

Progeny Press
This was the first guide that we have used from Progeny Press. And I am very impressed. The study guides are very well made. The questions make the student think, the vocabulary activities make the student understand word usage, and the work isn’t rushed. The guides are affordable, and I see us using a few more in our future.

Find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought by clicking on the graphic below.

New Study Guides for Literature From a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Reviews}
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Apologia Health and Nutrition ~ Review

Last year AJ and I were finally able to try out a science course from Apologia Educational Ministries. We had heard a lot of great things about their courses in the past and were pleased to discover that all of the great things we were told, were really true. So when I learned about their newest course for high school students, Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition by Dr. Laura Chase, I was thrilled to have AJ try it out. We received  the Health and Nutrition Basic Set , and I was amazed at the quality of the information in the text book!

Apologia Exploring Health and Nutrition

About the Course

The basic set comes with everything you will need to complete the course, other than a few easy to find items for projects. The course is designed to be completed during any year in high school and can be completed over an entire school year by using the course three days a week. It can also be used daily and be completed in a single semester. It would be worth a half of credit of science on your student’s transcript.

When you purchase the set you will receive a 440 page hardcover textbook and a 365 softcover student notebook that is spiral bound. Unlike other courses from Apologia, the student notebook is not optional. It is needed to complete the course. Additional information for the course is available online. You can access it with a password from the textbook. Online is where you will find answers to study guides and tests. You will also find optional videos and other online resources that go along with each chapter.

The Textbook

The textbook is broken up into fifteen modules. Each module ends with a section called “Consider a Health Profession” where a health profession that goes along with what the student is learning about is discussed. In module 2 when the student is learning about the brain and nervous system, the section has information about neurosurgeons and a few other doctors.

 

There are “On Your Own” questions sprinkled all throughout each module. The final page of each module has an answer key for those questions where the student can check their answers.

This book goes way beyond telling the student to eat healthy and exercise. It focuses on the health of the entire person. It covers; physical, social, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

The book is full of detailed information, charts, diagrams, and graphics. New vocabulary words are highlighted in blue the first time they are used, and the modules are broken up into plenty of sub sections. All of these things help break up the reading and help the student understand the science behind health.

The Student Notebook

The Student Notebook is full of useful information. The beginning of the notebook explains how the course is graded, and has a place to record all of the grades.

It also includes a suggested daily schedule. The schedule tells your student which pages to read, which On Your Own questions to answer, and which projects to complete. It is set up as a three day a week schedule.

The end of the book has the tests for each module.

Each module includes about four pages where your student can take notes. After the note pages you will find places for the student to answer the On Your Own Questions and instructions for projects.

The final part of each module is the study guide that the student needs to fill out.

We found the student notebook to be great. There was enough room for AJ to write and it had everything in one place. We did have a few issues with it though. It is big, and even though AJ has only been using it for about a month, the spiral bounding has come out of the bottom few holes. We fixed it, but I don’t know if it will last an entire school year. One thing we found helpful was using flags on the grading page, schedule page, and the page she was working on. It made finding her place a lot easier.

AJ’s only other complaint was the lack of blank diagrams included in the notes section. There are sometimes diagrams to fill out on the study guide, but she would have liked to see them in the note taking area. Her hand drawn diagrams were not done very well. We ended up photocopying some of the diagrams and glued them onto the notes pages.

What a Day Looks Like

Each day with the program is a little different. Most of the modules have a few different projects for the student to do, but not all of them do. I like that there are a variety of projects. In the first module she had a research project and personality tests.

But the second module didn’t have any projects. In module three she has to write out a decision making chart, go on a digital media fast for a day and write about it, do something kind for a caregiver, find an write a list of emotions, and a few other projects. Later in the course she will keep a food diary and then look at it fir ways that she can improve her habits. There is even a project that requires her to chart her dental health. Some of the projects take a little while to do, but most can be finished in a day or two.

Since we want to finish the course in a semester, I had AJ work on science for about an hour each day. Then she simply checked off each day once it was finished. Sometimes she was able to get two days finished, and others she didn’t even finish a single day. It usually depended on the amount of reading and the complexity of the projects.

How We Used It

Normally AJ doesn’t need to take notes. She can just read through the material, answer questions, and pass the tests. She found out the hard way that that wasn’t going to work with this course. When it came time to complete the study guide for the first module she had a hard time. This course asks questions that are not directly found in the text. She had to understand the concepts in order to fill out the study guide. After working on the study guide for a few days, I had her reread the module before she took her test. For the first time ever, she failed a science test. I think a lot of it had to do with the type of test. It had a lot of matching definitions. She didn’t pay enough attention and ended up making silly mistakes.

Luckily, the directions for the course state that the student can fix their incorrect answers for half points. Once she was more careful she only ended up missing a few questions. Her new score gave her a “C” on the test, which brought her grade for the module to a “B”.

She wasn’t too thrilled with a “B” so she approached the second module differently. She took a lot of notes and took a few days to complete the study guide while rereading the text.

Her hard work paid off! She ended up getting an “A” on the second test, and she was much happier. The course includes a lot of new vocabulary and simply reading through won’t be a possibility for her.

What We Thought

Both AJ and I are very happy with the course. She has to work a little harder to pass the tests, but she is really learning and understanding the concepts. This course lives up to the Apologia name! If you are looking for a health and nutrition course, I highly recommend this one from Apologia. Click on the graphic below to see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew Thought.

Health and Nutrition Basic Set {Apologia Educational Ministries Reviews}
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God Schooling ~ Review

Over the years I haven’t read very many homeschooling books. Mainly because our family dynamic wasn’t the norm. I am homeschooling an only child while living in chronic pain and we were taking care of my grandma who had Alzheimer’s. We couldn’t stick to strict schedules or really even stick to a homeschooling method. We have been eclectic homeschoolers, almost from the beginning.

When I was given the chance to review God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn, I was a little skeptical. Would this book fit the needs of my family? After reading the back of the book, I thought that the book, written by Julie Polanco, could be very beneficial. I have enjoyed reading Julie’s blog over the years, and found some of her other writing very informative. In the end, I am thankful that I was given the opportunity to review this book.

God Schooling book

Book Basics

God Schooling is available in both print and digital versions. I was given a beautifully decorated soft covered book. The book is fairly short at just163 pages long. But those pages are full of inspiration, hope, and ideas.

The book is broken into two parts. The first section is made up of two chapters. It is called Dispelling Myths. In this part Julie shares some of her homeschooling experiences. It is always humbling to see that you are not the only one who has had bad days, or who has stuck with a curriculum that wasn’t a good fit for your child, because it was expensive.

Julie Polanco Books
The second part of the book contains the remaining seven chapters. This section is called, Practice. There is a chapter devoted to kids eight and younger, another to the tweens, and the third to schooling teens.

Each chapter gives advice about what kids need to Learn, and how learning can take place even without textbooks.

The final chapters in part two focus on how to get started schooling in a more relaxed way, and how to stay organized.

After each chapter there are a few questions for you to answer. The questions help you to apply the information in the chapter to your own situation.

God Schooling

As the title suggests, there is a high priority on what God wants for your school. There is a focus on prayer and not comparing your child to their public school counterparts.

Julie’s ideas are like a loosely based unschooling method. I don’t necessarily agree with every statement she makes, but overall I agree with her approach. I don’t think that text books are the only option for learning, and I agree that kids can learn so much from playing and exploring.

What I Thought

The book is well written and enjoyable to read. The tone is conversational and you feel as though you are just chatting with a friend about homeschooling. The ideas in the book are very useful. I only skimmed through the chapters about younger kids and tweens, because AJ is in high school. Even so, the sections had great ideas, especially when it came to reading and math for the younger years.

I really enjoyed the section for teens! It gave advice about getting into college, and ways to pay for it. But it also talked about the fact that college isn’t for everyone. The section gave advice for transcripts and what you need to cover. Overall it covered how to keep your schooling decisions on what God has planned for your family.

The book is full of encouragement! It would be a perfect book for first time homescholers to read. It would also be a great read for moms who are discouraged or looking for a way to make their homeschooling day more productive. Honestly, if you are a Christian homeschooler then this book would make a great addition to your book shelf.

 

Find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought by clicking on the graphic below!

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn {Julie Polanco Reviews}
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Code for Teens ~ Review

Over the past year AJ has become very interested in learning about coding. While her future likely won’t require a large amount of knowledge on the subject, she still wants to learn the basics. And honestly, I do too. We tried a free online program for a few months last year, but it wasn’t a good fit. She was able to do a few things, but she didn’t understand why what she was typing was giving her the results that she was seeing.

I wanted to try something different, but a lot of coding books and programs were out of our budget. Fortunately, we were given the chance to review a code book that is designed especially for teens, and AJ is having a blast with it. She asks to work on Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Programming (Volume 1) almost every chance she gets. Code for Teens is an affordable way to help your teen learn about coding!

About the Book

Code for teens is a 221 page soft covered book. The pages are glossy, colorful, and packed full of information. The book is broken up into ten chapters.

Code for Teens

It includes an answer key and a glossary at the end of the book. The idea of the book is that the parent gives the child the book and lets them read it and work through it on their own. The book is written directly to the student. Concepts are explained and then the student is instructed to take the learning to the computer.

You don’t need a special program to use the book. As long as you have access to Google Chrome and a word processing program, you will be able to complete the tasks in the book.

What is in a Chapter

Most chapters begins with new information. Once the concept is explained the student is instructed to type in lines of code. Sometimes the line of code contains an error. Then the error is explained and the student is taught the correct way to write the code.

Whether the code was written correctly, or contained an error, the student is told what response they should get on the computer. Through this process the student learns that spaces, capital letters, and placing a comma in the correct place, can make big changes to the code.

After the main part of the lesson there is a Follow Along Section. In this section the student learns a concept by following along and typing exactly what they are told. These are fun little assignments that get more complex as you work your way through the book.

Next up is a quiz. The student types their answers into a word processing program and can then check their answers.

Each chapter ends with a Key Concept section that states what a student should understand after working through the chapter. Then there is a Drill section where you practice what you learned in the chapter.

The final section of each chapter is the Do-It-Yourself project. Your student will need to put everything they have learned together to complete a project. They start of some what simple. In chapter one your student will write a code that will figure out the average age of their family. By the time they reach chapter 10 they will be making a hang – man game.

Answers for everything are in the back of the book. So if a student gets stuck they can look at the solution to see where their mistake was made.

How To Use the Book

The student needs to take their time and fully understand the concepts before moving on. Learning to code is learning a new language. Instead of requiring AJ to finish so much of the book each day, I decided to have her use it for 30 minutes a day. Sometimes she works on it longer.

What We Thought

This book is amazing. AJ is understanding what she is doing, and having a good time while learning. The author uses humor throughout the book and explains concepts in a way that lets teen (or adults who are not quite tech savvy) learn easily. I think it is perfect for independent learners, and those who learn visually. This is the first volume, and when AJ finishes this one we plan to buy volume 2.

Code for Teens

If your teen wants to learn how to code, AJ and I highly recommend Code for Teens! See what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought by clicking on the graphic below.

Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming {Code for Teens Reviews}

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