Christmas Activity Book

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I would watch sappy Christmas movies and listen to Christmas music all year long, if my family didn’t need a break. A year ago I put together a fun activity book for the holiday season. Since then I have updated it and made a few changes. Previously I was offering it for sale. But until the end of the year I am giving it to my readers for free. You don’t even need to sign up for my news letter. All you need to do is click on the link below, print out the pages you want, and have fun!

There are over 25 fun filled activities for a variety of ages. You will find dot to dot activities, mazes, a word search, a crossword puzzle, two different levels of Sudoku, math activities, word fun, and even more!

Grab your free Christmas Activity book! Over 25 fun filled activities to keep your kids thinking during the holiday season.

The Activity book has a Santa theme. Your child will encounter elves, reindeer, mice, Christmas trees, and other Christmas themed characters. I am currently in the process of making a biblical version of the activity book, but that won’t be finished in time for Christmas.

Grab your free Christmas Activity book! Over 25 fun filled activities to keep your kids thinking during the holiday season.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

Grab your free Christmas Activity book! Over 25 fun filled activities to keep your kids thinking during the holiday season.

Download your copy of the Christmas Activity Book. If you enjoy the book, please share this post so others can grab their own copy.

More Free Printables

Are you looking for more free downloads? Here is the link to my 30 days of free printables. There are a variety of different topics including; math, science, geography, Bible, language arts, and more.

I am in the process of creating more pintables. Please comment below with they types of printables you are looking for.

If you like what you see, join my email list where you will have access to even more printables!



Want to find other great holiday resources? Check out the Crew’s blog about Holiday Traditions!

 

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis ~ Review

Out of all the subjects I need to teach AJ, the one that is the most difficult is English. For middle school I basically made up my own curriculum. I pre-read the books and then looked for literature units online or made them myself. It was very time consuming. For high school I wanted something that was put together for me. I wanted a literature course that I could easily teach with little prep work. We were given the chance to review Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis from Writing with Sharon Watson and I was eager to try it out.

What is Characters in Crisis?

Characters in Crisis is the second volume in the Illuminating Literature series. But your student doesn’t need to take the courses in order. Characters in Crisis is a full year high school literature course that can be used during any year in high school. During the course your student will read a variety of short stories and:

  • Frankenstein
  • Silas Marner
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Sense and Sensibility
  • The Hobbit and
  • A biography or autobiography of your choice

The course is written to the student and is broken up into four main components.

The Textbook

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis
The Textbook is the main part of the program. It contains all of the lessons and the short stories that the student will read. The Textbook is almost 300 pages long and is packed full of information. In this course your student will do more than simply read and answer questions. They will really learn how to analyze literature and how to view it differently. One of the first lessons in the course isn’t even a reading assignment. The student is introduced to different types of characters. Then they are told to analyze a book or movie of their choice and explain what type of character each of the main characters were.

At the beginning of each unit the student is given a plan to follow so that they can complete all of the required work. While there are a lot of things for the student to do, the timeline is reasonable. The tasks are broken down to help ensure the student can be successful.

Throughout the course your student will learn and work with a lot of literary terms, beyond the basics. They will look at stories from different points of view and dig deep into the reading.

A unit usually takes between three to four weeks to complete. During that time your student will take a “Yes, I read it” quiz and a literary terms quiz, they will complete work in the textbook, complete work in their Novel Notebook, and complete an end of unit activity based on the reading.

AJ really enjoyed the variety that is offered in the end of unit activity. The student has a choice to do a project that fits their learning style. Some of the options for the first unit, A Jury of Her Peers include:

  • Research the history of women on juries
  • Draw, paint, or sculpt an event or character from the story
  • Rewrite the story from a different character’s perspective
  • Learn how to can fruit
  • Learn sewing stiches
  • Write a song based on something in the story
  • Conduct Minnie’s Trial
  • And more options

Each option has something to do with the story. I think giving the students options is a great idea. But knowing AJ, I decided that she had to pick a project from a different category for the following unit. Otherwise she would always pick something like learning sewing stiches.

Quizzes

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis
One neat thing about this program is that there is a lot of flexibility. Your student has two options for taking quizzes. They can take them online where they are automatically graded. They will need a password to take the quiz. It can be found in the textbook. Or they can take the quizzes on paper. In order to take the quizzes on paper you will need to purchase the Quiz and Answer Manual. I prefer the online option since it is graded for me.

Novel Notebook

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis
Aside from the Textbook, the Novel Notebook is the other major part of the program. It can be downloaded for free and printed out. As your student completes the lessons, they will be instructed to fill out the pages in their notebook. The novel notebook is full of questions that make the student think beyond the basics of the story. They are forced to dissect the characters. I think this is a great tool to help students really understand a book beyond the surface. I only wish it was available already printed out, because it does take a lot of ink to print it all out.

Teacher’s Guide

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis
The Teacher’s Guide really is needed to teach this course. While the course is written to the student, the Teacher’s Guide keeps the teacher in the loop to what the student is learning and contains all of the answers. It also explains how to grade the course and how to use the program in a group setting.

What We Thought

Reading isn’t AJ’s favorite subject, so we worked on the course together. Each day she did a little bit of work to stick with the schedule. She would work on the lessons and completing the pages in the novel notebook. In the past, courses expected too much reading and didn’t give her enough time to really understand the books. That wasn’t the case this time. The lessons were full of useful information, there was enough time to complete assignments, there wasn’t a lot of busy work, and the course was easy to grade. So far we are planning to stick with this program. I am excited to see AJ grow in her reading and writing skills with this program. If you have a high school student, I would highly recommend checking out Characters in Crisis! You can view sample pages here.

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

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis {Writing with Sharon Watson Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer
 

 

 

Thinking Like an Engineer ~ Review

AJ’s favorite subjects are science and math. When we can combine the two subjects, I know she is going to have a great time learning. We were recently given the chance to review an amazing online program from Innovators Tribe We were given the choice of two of their programs; Thinking Like an Engineer and Thinking Like an Architect. While they both looked like a lot of fun, we decided to try out the engineering program.

Thinking Like an Engineer

What is “Thinking Like an Engineer”?

Thinking Like an Engineer is an online program that uses videos, worksheets, research projects, and hands on activities to teach students about engineering. The course is has about thirty hours of work and can be counted as a quarter credit for high school. The course is broken into five units:

  1. Introduction to Engineering – In this unit students learn what an engineer is. They learn about problems that engineers help to solve, and they attempt to solve some problems on their own. The students try to build a tower that will high out of only paper and tape. They also try to make paper hold up a stack of books, and make a water filter.
  2. Introduction to 3D Design – In this unit the students learn all about the computer program C.A.D. They will use computer software to design different objects a solve problems.
  3. Engineering Rollercoasters – This unit teaches all about the engineering aspects of rollercoasters. The students even get to make a paper model of a rollercoaster.
  4. Engineering Bridges – In this unit students will learn about the challenges of building bridges. They will use math to help them make a 3D bridge using computer software, and they will make a physical model of a suspension bridge.
  5. Nano Engineering – This unit focusses on engineering things that are too small to be seen by the naked eye.

Each unit is comprised of a variety of lessons and activities. The first lesson in each unit is an introduction. It explains a little about the unit and has the Unit Journal that needs to be printed off. The journal is used during the lessons to help the students keep track of what they have learned. There isn’t a lot of writing required in the journal, but they do require the student to think about what they have learned.

Project from Thinking Like an Engineer

Navigating through the course is simple. When the student completes a lesson or challenge, they simply mark the lesson complete and move onto the next lesson. You can redo the lessons at any time.

How We Used “Thinking Like an Engineer”

When we were given access to the program AJ and I sat down to use it together. We looked at the introduction videos, printed off the needed worksheets, and got started. AJ has used the program a few times a week since then. Each day she would work on different aspects of the lessons. One day she would watch the videos and fill in her unit journal, and the next she would try to build a paper tower or research a type of engineering that she finds exciting. The days that she worked on the video lessons usually took a half hour, while the days she worked on the challenges took longer.

The course is self paced, so your student can take their time and complete the challenges numerous times if they want. AJ did the “book stacking challenge about four times before she was satisfied with herself. She had to make something with just 1 piece of paper and a piece of tape, that would hold a pile of books. At first she was discouraged because nothing was working. After pushing her to try different things, it finally worked. That one piece of paper held up over 12 pounds of books!

Project from Thinking Like an Engineer

What We Thought

AJ and I both loved this program. She still has a few units left to complete, and can’t wait. I knew she would enjoy the course, but I am surprised by how much she is learning. Not only is she learning important math and science skills, she is also learning about thinking about a problem from a new point of view, and problem solving skills.

Most of the items you need for the project are things you have anyways like paper and tape. There are a few unusual items for projects like the water filter, but you are given plenty of notice about them.

Our only complaint is that we are not shown how other kids completed their projects. Like for the book stacking challenge, we are shown a picture of how many books other students could stack on their invention, but we are never shown the invention. I think it would be great if there was a section after the challenge that had pictures of what other kids came up with. It might spark ideas and even better results for the challenge.

Other than that, I think the course is perfect. If you have a student who learns best with hands on activities then this is the course for you! Find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought by clicking on the graphic below.

Thinking Like an Architect or Engineer {Innovators Tribe Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Weave Your Word in Me ~ Review

I am always on the lookout for a good Bible study for AJ. By now she knows all of the major Bible stories, but needs to dig deeper into the Bible. The problem is that a lot of Bible studies for kids are babyish and don’t really go beyond the basics. Most of the Bible studies that do dig deeper require a lot of writing and too much reading for one lesson. Or I find one I like, and it doesn’t match with the Bible version we are using. I usually tweak the Bible studies so that they fit AJ. But it would be nice to not have to do that. When I heard about a new Bible study from Kid Niche Christian Books designed for tweens I was anxious to have AJ try it out. She is a little beyond the age range, but it looked like a great fit. We received Weave Your Word in Me — Part 1 and were eager to get started.

Kid Niche Christian Books

What is Weave Your Word in Me?

Weave Your Word in Me is a Bible study designed around four units, God the Father, God the Son, What God Wants, and God the Holy Spirit. It is broken into two parts. Part one has 36 lessons and focuses on the first two units, while part 2 has 44 lessons and focuses on the last two units. The parts can be purchased together or separately. The study comes hole punched and ready to be put in a folder.

*******
One great thing about Weave Your Word in Me is that it works with six different Bible translations. It works for; ESV, KJV, NABRE, NASB, NIV, and NKJV. This study not only teaches about the Bible, it also teaches about prayer. It uses a kid friendly version of the Lord’s Prayer that your child reads through during the study. It also helps them make their own prayers.

The pages are bright and colorful. Each page has illustrations of some kind. They have plenty of room to fill in the answer, even if you have a student who has large writing. I think the best part is that the pages are not in a bound book. You can take the pages you need out and then just add them to their folder once they are finished.

The Lessons

Each lesson is a little bit different offering a variety of activities. The student is instructed to read a few verses in the Bible and answer some questions. Sometimes they are short answer questions. Other times they are fill in the blank, filling in charts, true or false questions, drawings, or even acting out scripts.

The lesson ends with a My Prayer section. This section has a prayer partially written out that the student needs to finish. They finish with things they learned from the lesson and add things of their own as well.

The lessons range from one to three pages long based on the topic of the lesson. Lesson 2 is “Where God Lives” and is only one page. Where lesson 22 is “Jesus’ Lessons in Faith.” It is three pages long and has more verses to read.

How We Used It

I had AJ work on the Bible study about three days a week. Most days she finished a lesson in about twenty minutes. There were a few of the lessons that were longer. For those she did half of the lesson one day and then finished it the next day. She was able to complete the study fairly independently. When she was finished with the main part of the lesson we would check it with the answer key and then she would do the prayer section. I think younger students may need some help, but strong readers should be able to complete the lessons on their own with a little help.

What We Thought

Both AJ and I were pleased with this study. She enjoyed the colorful pages and different activities. I enjoyed that she was learning more about God and that she was reading verses all over the Bible. I didn’t think that she would enjoy the prayer section, but I was wrong. She enjoyed it and even asked me not to read those sections because they were personal. I have seen some growth in her from this study so far.

I feel this is a very solid study that will help your student know who God is and how to talk to Him. We plan to finish this study and then order part two. It is affordable and an enjoyable part of our day.

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

Weave Your Word in Me {Kid Niche Christian Books Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer
 

 

Super Cool Evangelism Tools ~ Review

A few weeks ago I shared my opinions about a fun 3D pumpkin shaped tract from Let the Little Children Come. The pumpkins are an amazing way to spread the gospel in a hands on way. One neat thing about Let the Little Children Come is the variety of tracts and evangelism tools that they offer. We were blessed with a chance to review their Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack. After seeing how different the pumpkins were, I was excited to see what the sampler pack had to offer. This pack is an affordable way to see the high quality tools they offer.

Let The Little Children Come

What Comes in the Sampler Pack?

The Sampler Pack has 10 of the company’s most popular tracts and tools. These are way beyond your basic tract. They are colorful, interactive, and meant to be looked at for more than a few minutes.

 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks

Animated Tracts

The sampler pack comes with three animated tracts. They are booklets that come with a striped piece of plastic. When you pull the plastic over the pictures in the booklets, the pictures come to life! While each tract is a little different, they all end with the three step process of being saved (Admit, Believe, Invite), and a sample prayer.

 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks
John 3:16 Animated Tract – This tract tells the well known verse over a few pages. The colors are bold and the pictures are simple yet entertaining. This tract would be perfect to hand out all year long.

Where’s Everybody Going? Animated Tract – This is another tract that is great to give out all year. It tells how God created the world and how He wants to be with us, but that sin separates us from Him. It then goes on and explains how we can become closer to God.

The True Story of Christmas Animated Tract – This was my favorite animated tract. It tells the story of the birth of Jesus in a way that will appeal to kids and keep them interested. The pictures include baby Jesus crawling and angles flying in the sky. It is beautifully made and would be perfect to hand out during the holiday season.

Pop-up Tracts

The sampler pack comes with two pop-up tracts. Who doesn’t love a pop-up book? These are made of a quality paper that won’t easily rip. The colors are beautiful and the pop-up pictures add a touch of entertainment.

 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks
The Lost Easter Egg Pop-up Tract – Looking for a tract to hand out in time for Easter? This one is perfect! It uses three kids and an egg hunt as a way to tell the story of the lost sheep. It is unique and full of excitement.

The Most Amazing House Pop-up Tract – This tract tells how God prepared a place for us in heaven, and what we need to do to get there. It is perfect to hand out year round.

FlipAbouts

These are neat little papers that change as you fold them in different directions. While they are very unique and I think kids will enjoy them, they are a little hard to figure out. If you try and force them to fold they can rip. I think older kids about 8 and up would enjoy them, but younger kids may find them a bit too frustrating.

 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks
Gospel Buttons FlipAbout – This has pictures of a cross, a heart and heaven. Once you follow the directions and explain the story that goes along with the pictures, the child will have fun folding and going over what the pictures represent. When you order a pack of the FlipAbouts they will come with directions about how to use them. You can find more information about how to use the products online.

John 3:16 FlipAbout – This FlipAbout tells the verse. It has bright pictures to help keep the kid’s interest.

Other Cool Evangelism Tools

While their tracts are amazing, sometimes you need an activity or something different to keep kids interested in a lesson. The sampler pack comes with three cool evangelism tools.

 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks
Wordless Book – This book is small, durable, and glossy. Each color represents part of the story. The wordless book is a great way to spread the message of salvation.

Silicone Salvation Bracelet – Medium – The bracelet comes wrapped in a paper that explains the meaning of the bracelet. It has five colors; yellow, green, white, red, and black. While wearing the bracelet the different colors can remind the child about the story of salvation.

Wordless Bracelet Kit – If you want to make the wordless bracelet, then this kit is what you need. It comes with the beads, the cord to put them on, and instructions for a lesson. This would be a fun craft to do in Sunday School.

What We Thought about these Cool Evangelism Tools

The sampler kit came with one of each item. You can purchase the kit to see just how well made and amazing these tracts and other tools are. Or you can order a larger quantity of the product that will work the best for your situation. We were very pleased with the different options. With all of the high-teck gadgets that kids have, you need to do something to grab their attention. The products from Let the Little Children Come does that. If you are looking for a new product to hand out or are looking for a way to get people interested in actually reading and benefiting from tracts, I highly recommend checking out the products from Let the Little Children Come.

Find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought about the Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack by clicking on the graphic below.

Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools {Let the Little Children Come Reviews}
 

Crew Disclaimer

Sex By Design ~ Review

Parenting teens has always been a bit difficult. Their bodies are full of hormones and they are nether kids or adults. But the world that we live in today makes it even more difficult. Our kids are bombarded with sexual images everywhere. From music, to movies, to commercials. Being sexy is “cool” and staying a virgin until your wedding night is almost unheard of. AJ and I have had the sex talk numerous times. We have discussed why waiting is important, but I am not naïve. I know that there are temptations everywhere. And I want her to be prepared.

This summer AJ attended a co-ed church camp. When She came home she told me that she kissed a boy. It was a dare and just on the cheek, but I was caught off guard. I was extremely glad that she trusted me enough to tell me about the kiss, but I knew that we needed to step up our sex talks. It was perfect timing when about a month later we were given the opportunity to review an amazing purity based course from Abby Ludvigson called Sex by Design Unpacking the Purpose and Practice of Purity. This isn’t a program that just tells teens not to have sex, it explains why waiting is so important. I was excited to start the program with AJ.

What is Sex by Design

Abby Ludvigson Sex by Design
Sex by Design is a video based course about purity presented by Abby Ludvigson. Abby is a 33 year old woman who has dedicated her life to doing relationships God’s way. She is a former teacher turned missionary who speaks to teens from her own experiences. This isn’t a sex-ed course. Your child should know the basics about sex prior to this program. The program is made up of three parts.

The Film Series

The series is broken into seven segments that are each about 25 minutes long. They are designed to be watched with your teens so that you can talk and discuss points as you go along. The segments include information from Abby and has stories from teens who have faced difficult decisions themselves. The segments are:

  1. Plan Ahead: Living Pure in a Sex-Saturated Culture – This section focuses on deciding to live a pure life. It talks about avoiding drugs and alcohol that can cloud your judgment and setting boundaries.
  2. Counting the Cost: Every Decision Has a Price Tag – In this section Abby talks about the physical, emotional, and spiritual costs of sex before marriage.
  3. Dating: Doing Relationships God’s Way – This section doesn’t tell you how you should handle dating. Instead, Abby gives you tools and advice so that you and your teen can make a plan for when, why, and who they will date.
  4. Sex: God’s Purpose and Plan – In this section you will learn about what the Bible says about sex and God’s three main purposes for sex.
  5. Modesty: God Cares What I Wear – This section debunks some common myths about modesty like, “modesty only applies to girls.” It also talks about why modesty is important and how you can stay modest but be fashionable at the same time.
  6. Pornography: Its Deception & Steps to Get Out or Stay Out – This section talks about the negative effects of pornography and discusses temptation.
  7. Secondary Virginity: Running Back to God – In this section, those who have already had sex will be assured that God still loves them. They will learn how to become closer to God and make the decision to stop having sex until they are married from that day forward.

Parent and Teen Guidebooks

You will receive two guidebooks. One for yourself and one for your teen. They are very similar. The main difference between them is that the parent book has a transcript of each video in the book. They are soft covered books. The parent edition is 165 pages while the teen edition is 112 pages long. The guidebooks are designed to be used along with the videos. There is a section to fill out for each segment. Each segment follows the same basic set up.

Abby Ludvigson Sex by Design

  • A Note From Abby – This is a short one page note that introduces the topic that the video will cover. It often has a breakdown of the major topics your child will learn about.
  • Film Outline – Your student will fill in information from the video. A lot of these are fill in the blank type questions where the answer comes directly from the video. There are also a few short answer questions.
  • Scripture Verses – A list of verses that your child should look up. They go with the segment in some way.
  • Truth Statements – These are facts that should help your child. An example from segment six is, “Right and wring are based in God’s Word and He is my moral authority.”
  • Follow Up – This section has discussion questions and additional information about the topic. Sometimes the student is directed to read additional articles about the topic.
  • Personalize It – This section takes the learning further with activities that will help the student apply the lesson to their own life. An example from segment five is flipping through magazines and looking at the clothing, then deciding what would need to be changed to make the outfit modest.
  • Apply It – This is the final section. In this section your teen actually applies the learning to their own life. In segment three one of the ideas is to create a family dating contract.

The end of the guidebook has a Bible Study to help your teen find strength in the Bible. There is also a 1st Peter Principle section. This section helps your teen figure out their own beliefs (about purity) so they can share them with others.

Online Resources

For each segment, Abby had compiled a vast amount of resources to take the learning further. She has found articles, videos, and downloads that you can use for free. She has even made a list of books and resources that you can purchase if you want to. I was amazed by the selection.

How We Used Sex By Design

There are numerous ways to use this program. You can have your child watch the videos and fill in the film outline in the guidebook while having numerous discussions. You can spend a few weeks on each topic doing all of the activities. Or you could even spend longer by adding in some of the additional resources. It is a very flexible program, but it is designed to take some time. You could spend a few days on each segment and finish the entire thing in less than a month. But your child would not get everything out of it.

Abby Ludvigson Sex by Design
AJ is 14 and no where near ready to date emotionally. What we are doing is spending a few weeks on each topic learning the basics. She is watching the videos, filling out the outlines, and looking up the scripture verses. When it makes sense she does an activity from the other sections of the guidebook. We are doing a lot of discussions. I plan to go through this series with her again once we finish it. Taking the lessons deeper and doing different activities each time. Sex and purity isn’t a one time discussion. It is ongoing and I think that constantly talking about the reasons to stay pure make the message more meaningful.

What We Thought about Sex By Design

I think this program is brilliant. So many programs teach abstinence but don’t explain it. Abby explains why you should remain pure and explains the big picture without coming off preachy. I think she is a great role model for teens. A child can hear that they shouldn’t have sex from their parents hundreds of times, but coming from another young adult who is practicing what they preach is powerful. I remember signing a purity contract when I was 12 or 13. All I knew was that sex was not okay until I was married. I think a program like this would have helped our church group back then, because it gives reasons.

Abby is a great speaker who keeps your attention and balances out the serious nature of the discussion with wit and humor. It almost feels as if you are having a discussion with a friend. I appreciate that she doesn’t lay out what dating should look like. She encourages the teens and their parents to work together to find out a  plan that works for their family. Every family is different and this lets the program work for numerous families. I like that it has a great deal of flexibility, letting each person take their learning as deep as they want to.

I will admit that I was a little concerned with the final segment. At first I thought that it might come across as giving permission to have sex since God will forgive you. I was pleased to find out that I was wrong. Abby covers the topic with grace. She explains that God will always forgive you but makes sure the viewer understands that sex changes you and is not to be taken lightly. The segment also focuses on guilt, shame, and God’s grace. If you have a teen who has been sexually active in the past, this would be a great segment to start with. I am not ready to show AJ this segment quite yet, but I feel confident that when she is a little bit older it will be something I am happy to watch with her.

AJ has enjoyed the program so far. It isn’t her favorite subject, but she is learning and gaining great skills for the future.

Overall Abby takes a topic that can be difficult to talk about and not only explains the reasoning but gives the students the tools they need to succeeded. If you have a teen or tween who you want to remain pure, this program can be a big help.

Click on the graphic below to see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought about Sex by Design.

Sex by Design {Abby Ludvigson Review}
Crew Disclaimer

Reading Eggspress ~ Review

For the past few weeks AJ has been using the Reading Eggspress portion of Reading Eggs to improve her reading skills. While she is technically above the age and grade level recommendation for the program, I have seen some great improvements in her reading skills in just a short time period. The best part is that she is enjoying the program.

Reading Eggs*

What is Reading Eggspress

Reading Eggspress is an online program designed to help students ages 7 to 13 improve their reading skills. It is meant to be used after the student has mastered basic phonic skills. When your student starts the program they can take a placement test, or you can decide what level you want them to begin with. Then they can read books, complete lessons, work on spelling skills, practice grammar concepts, or play games. For each learning activity they complete, they are awarded eggs.

The student can spend the eggs to customize an avatar. They can buy fun outfits, accessories, and backgrounds for their character.

Each level has different maps that your student works through. The video game like map is designed to take the student three to four hours to complete. It has five lessons and an assessment. There are multiple parts to each lesson. While each lesson is a little different, most include activities that help the student learn to do more than simply read text. There are activities for looking at the covers of the books to help decide what type of book it is, lessons on point of view, inference, vocabulary and dictionary skills, and so much more. Each part of the lesson only has a few questions for the student to answer and they are given instant feedback on if their answer is correct or incorrect. When they complete each section of the lesson they are awarded with a fun animation that congratulates their hard work. At the end of each lesson the student is awarded with a virtual trading card.

Once the student completes a map the parent is sent an email with their progress. The email explains which skills the child worked on, how much their reading level has improved, and what they scored on the assessment. You can also log into the parent dashboard and view detailed information about your child’s progress at any time.

The Library

There is a large library of books that your student can pick from. After they read a portion of the book they are asked a few questions about it, and are awarded eggs for correct answers. The student can pick books based on interest level or based on reading level.

Spelling and Grammar

The spelling program is easy to use! Once you decide which level you want your child to start with, they watch a video about a spelling rule. Then they answer twenty questions. Some have them correctly spell misspelled words, others have them click the correct spelling, or type the word they hear. Once they answer five questions correctly they are taken to a game to practice the words in game form. After all of the questions are answered they take a quiz and fix the spelling of any words that they got wrong.

There isn’t very much grammar instruction in the program aside from parts of speech. But your child can practice skills that they already know in game form. They can even compete with other students around the world.

Worksheets

If you would like to take the learning offline, there are worksheets that you can print off for your child to complete. There is a worksheet for each lesson that corresponds with what the student will learn in the online portion. These are not necessary, but are a great way for your child to get in some additional practice on concepts that they struggle with.

There are a lot of great things to discover on Reading Eggs.  While our review focused on the program for older students, they also have programs for kids as young as two years old. They even have a math program for early elementary grades. You can get a Free 4 week trial and see if the program is a good fit for your family.

What We Thought

Reading Eggs
We tried Reading Eggspress a few years ago and it just wasn’t a good fit for our family. There were a few different issues but I think the main one was that I placed AJ in a level that was too difficult for her and it was just frustrating for her. This time around things were different. I had her take the placement test and just had her start where it placed her. I had her do a few lessons each week and had her work on spelling.

Her reading has improved over the years and she can read grade level texts, but she still has some difficulty. Her main issues come from making inferences and vocabulary. She can always tell me what the reading says, but often has a hard time reading between the lines. The activities involving inference and vocabulary in context were very helpful for her. It helped her to see how she could learn more from the reading than what was actually written. Even though the reading level was easy for her, she was still learning valuable skills. I think we will continue to use the program a few times a week to help brush up on some of those skills.

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

Reading Eggs
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Brinkman Adventures Season 4 ~ Review

Two years ago our family was introduced to Brinkman Adventures.   At the time were blessed with the opportunity to review the third season of the exciting audio drama, and we really enjoyed it. The company tells about the adventures and trials of real life missionaries while keeping you on the edge of your seat. When we were given the chance to review another adventure, Brinkman Adventures Season 4 we were thrilled! We couldn’t wait to see what kind of adventures they had in store.

Brinkman Adventures

About Season 4

Brinkman Adventures
We received a digital download of Brinkman Adventures Season 4. It is also available as a physical product that comes on four CDs. There are twelve different adventures to enjoy giving you almost five hours of entertainment.

  • A Paradise Lost
  • Remember Nhu
  • Aisha’s Fear
  • Heart Song
  • The Crashed Kitchen
  • Crisis In The Congo
  • The Mysterious Palm Feller
  • War of the Raccoons
  • The Five Guys
  • Toughest Man
  • Cambodian Quest
  • What Brings Us Together

We enjoyed all of the episodes. One of our favorites was Aisha’s Fear. It was about a woman, Aisha and her husband Mahad. Mahad didn’t like the westerners and was overall a very hateful man. He beat his wife and would refuse to sell his products to Christians. After a while Mahad became very sick. The Christians who he refused to sell products to became his only customers because other people in the area were afraid of catching his illness. The Christians helped Mahad and cared for him when he was sick, even though he was hateful to them in the past. Eventually Mahad accepted Jesus and became a changed man. After seeing how her hateful husband changed, Aisha decided that she wanted to accept Jesus. But doing so was dangerous. It was a crime. Aisha not only accepted Jesus, but told many people about Him. She ended up getting thrown in jail, but she didn’t lose her faith. In the end, the person who threw her in jail was amazed with her bravery and released her.

This episode shows the dangers that are faced daily by not only missionaries, but by those who they minister to. It shows that you can overcome fear with love and that God can change the heart of even the most hateful person.

Each adventure tells the story of a different missionary from around the world. There are adventures in the Middle East, Russia, the Congo, Cambodia, along with other undisclosed countries. Each adventure not only tells about the trials each missionary faced, but also teaches a valuable lesson.

How We Used Brinkman Adventures

AJ and I listened to the episodes together. After listening to each adventure we went online to the Brinkman Adventures website to learn even more about the true stories of the missionaries. In order to make the stories appropriate for younger audiences, and to have the episodes flow well, sometimes elements of the original stories had to be changed a little bit. The website allows you to dig deeper into the stories. We listened to some of the episodes more than once because we enjoyed them so much.

What We Thought

Season 4 did not disappoint! It was just as good as season 3. These audio adventures are well done. The sound effects, different voices, and attention to detail make you feel as if you are actually in the different countries. If you are looking for a way to introduce your children to the work that missionaries do, Brinkman Adventures would be a great place to start. The audio drama would also be perfect as part of a geography study, a way to keep your kids entertained while in the car, or just as something to listen to for fun.

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

Brinkman Adventures Season 4
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The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls ~ Review

We were recently given the chance to review two biblical fiction books from WorthyKids/Ideals. The books are part of a new series, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls by M. J. Thomas. We received the first two books in the series, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book #1) and The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Race to the Ark (Book #2).

About the Series

The series follows two siblings, Peter and Mary. The two end up finding ancient scrolls that magically transfer them back to biblical times. It is designed for kids ages six to nine and has a reading level of first to third grade. I personally disagree with the reading level. The book uses some larger words that I think even some second graders would struggle with. A first grader would need to be a very strong reader to tackle these books independently. I feel that a strong second grade reading level would be necessary for a child to read and comprehend the stories independently.

About the Books

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book #1)

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls
The Beginning is a 107 page soft covered book that is broken into 12 chapters. The book begins with the two kids visiting their great uncle Solomon while their parents are on a trip to Africa for a month. The kids were not excited about spending a month with Great Uncle Solomon. He was an architect and didn’t even have a TV.

The first night of their stay Great Uncle Solomon told Peter and Mary about a discovery he made while working in the Middle East. He had found a glowing pot with ancient scrolls, but he couldn’t open them. Legend had it that only the chosen ones could open the scrolls.

After going to bed, the kids woke up to their dog Hank barking. The kids followed his barking and ended up finding the scrolls. They accidently opened one while tripping over the dog. All of a sudden, Peter, Mary, and Hank found themselves in complete darkness. They were witnessing the beginning of the world.

Along the way the kids met and angel named Michael. He told them that they had to follow three rules while on their adventure.

  1. They had 7 days to solve the secret of the scroll or they would be stuck in the past.
  2. The kids could not tell anyone where they were from or that they were from the future.
  3. They could not try to change the past.

Peter and Mary were surprised by the rules. They didn’t want to get stuck in the past, so they tried to figure out how to solve the secret of the scroll. Peter and Mary watched as God created the earth. Each day new things would appear. Michael warned the siblings of Satan and told the kids to stick together. They end up on a few adventures and eventually run into Satan. They finally solve the secret of the scroll which reads, “God Created Everything.” Once they solved the message they found themselves back in their great uncle’s library. After telling him about their adventure they found out that they were the chosen ones.

The end of the book points the readers to the Bible for the rest of the story.

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Race to the Ark (Book #2)

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls
Race to the Ark is 118 pages long and is broken into 13 chapters. This book begins with a short prolog that explains what happened in the first book. This makes it so you can easily start with the second book and be up to speed with what already happened. I wish that more books in a series would have prologs because I find them helpful.

The book begins with Mary and Peter sitting inside because of the rain. Their dog finds a bone and brings it to them. They end up finding Great Uncle Solomon’s old archeologist journal and tools. Then they hear the lion’s roar and their adventure begins!

The siblings find themselves in the middle of nowhere with out any food or water. They make their way to civilization but find out that they need coins to buy food. The only way to get coins is to lie, steal, or cheat. They decide to trust that God would provide when they are told that the “Dark Ruler” did not allow anyone to talk about God.

They meet with the angel and find out that this scroll has six words for them to solve. While on their adventure they meet Shem and make their way to Noah’s ark. Getting all of the animals on the ark was hard work, but they trusted God and worked together. They faced a few different challenges but in the end they solve the scroll and return home. This time the scroll read, “Trust God He Will Rescue You.”

How We Used Them

These books were both an easy read. I was able to finish them both in an afternoon. AJ hasn’t finished them yet because she has had a lot of reading in her other courses.

What I Thought

This series is really neat. It takes the facts from the Bible and expands on it. I think that anyone with young readers who are looking for an adventure would enjoy these books. I look forward to more books in this series, I  think it will be a big hit!

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

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. {WorthyKids/Ideals Reviews}
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Captain Bayley’s Heir ~ Review

Over the past few years our family has had the chance to review a few different titles from Heirloom Audio Productions. We have enjoyed every one that we have had the chance to listen to. Their audio dramas make you feel like you are watching a movie with your eyes closed. They never disappoint, so when we were given the opportunity to try out another one of their audio dramas, we were thrilled! We were given a copy of Captain Bayley’s Heir and access to additional goodies, like a study guide online.

Captain Bayley's Heir

About Captain Bayley’s Heir

This audio drama is about 2 and a half hours long. It is broken up onto two CDs with a total of twenty tracks. Like all of their audio dramas, this title is recommended for ages six and up.

The story begins with a kind and considerate boy named Frank. He lived in England and attended school. Unlike most of the other boys who attended school, Frank was friendly to everyone, even those who were a lower class than he was. In the beginning Frank jumps in a freezing lake to save a poor dog who was drowning.

Frank and his school friends decide to break school rules and go out, during this time Frank was in a fight and had to defend himself. The boy whom he was in a fight with ended up black mailing Frank. If Frank didn’t give him 10 pounds by the next day the other boy would tell the headmaster of the school. Frank didn’t have the money, his friends told Frank to pray about the issue. Amazingly, Frank received an anonymous letter with exactly ten pounds in it. The next day Frank paid the boy off. He thought the issue was resolved.

But it wasn’t. He was called into the head master’s office where he was accused of stealing the money. He was told that if he didn’t confess that he would be expelled from school. Frank wrote a letter to his uncle explaining that he was innocent. He asked that if his uncle believed him that he write a letter back to him. Sadly, Frank did not get a response. He decided to leave school and head to America so that one day he would be able to clear his name. He became a ship hand and was on his way to California.

Frank had quite a bit of luck on his travels. It was obvious that God was watching over him. Will he make it to California? Will he clear his name? Why didn’t his uncle respond to his letter? Who sent Frank the money in the first place? You will have to listen to the audio drama to find out.

About the Study Guide

We decided not to use the study guide this time around. Since we joined a co-op, AJ’s weekly work has to now fit into four days and we are still adjusting to it. Once we find our grove, I think we will at least do some of the activities in the study guide. This study guide is set up like the others that we have used from Heirloom Audio. For each track on the CD there is a section in the study guide. Each one has three types of questions.

Listening Well – These are basic questions about the plot of the story.

Thinking Further – This section can include many different things. Sometimes there are questions that make you form an opinion, other times there may be historical information for you to research. These are usually our favorite questions because there often isn’t a simple right or wrong answer.

Defining Words – This is vocabulary that is used in the audio drama that may be unfamiliar to some listeners.

The study guide is a great way to expand on the audio drama, especially if you are learning about the time period in history. Our favorite part of the study guide has always been the Bible section. They take some of the themes or moral issues from the audio drama and make it into a Bible study. This study guide has three simple Bible studies. They are on; God’s Grace, Becoming a Christian, and Honoring Your Parents.

Captain Bayley’s Heir ~ What We Thought

We enjoyed this audio drama as much as we have enjoyed the other ones from Heirloom Audio that we have reviewed in the past. The audio work is top notch. From rain and wind to horses and trains, everything can be distinctly heard. You really feel as if you are back in time with the characters experiencing the adventure with them. The story is exciting and keeps you wanting more. One thing that we enjoyed was hearing the story of how the song, “Amazing Grace” was written.

If you have a child who doesn’t enjoy learning about history, I would highly recommend having them listen to one of the audio dramas from Heirloom Audio. Learning history from a personal point of view makes a big difference. See what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought by clicking on the graphic below.

Captain Bayley's Heir {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
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