2017 Fall Resources

Fall will be here before we know it. Soon the leaves will be changing colors and the weather will be getting cooler. It has been a very hot summer here in southern California. Last week it was over 111 a few days! I am looking forward to being cold.

It is amazing how quickly this year has gone by, It seems like it was just Christmas, and in a few months we will be gearing up for another holiday season. Here are some of my favorite fall resources that I have shared in the past.

Fall Unit Study Ideas

If you like to have your studies correlate with the seasons, then this post is for you. There are some great ideas to help make your learning faun and exciting this fall season!

Free Printable Pack

This subscriber Only freebie is packed full of fall learning. From language arts skills to logical thinking, your child will have a blast learning while celebrating fall. It includes Sudoku puzzles, bingo, multiplication puzzles, graphing, and more. There are 25 pages full of fall fun!

Pumpkin Fractions

This simple pumpkin fraction activity is great for those who are beginning to work on fractions. It is a color by fraction activity that is sure to please!

Sharing Jesus this Fall

Are you looking for a way to share the gospel this Halloween? These tracts are a great way to share God’s love!

Other Fun Halloween Posts

I know that Halloween can be a touchy subject. Some people celebrate it, while others hate it. Here are my feelings on Halloween. AJ has worn some fun costumes over the years, and none of them have been scary or gory. Here are some ideas for girls costumes that are church friendly.

However you celebrate this season, I hope you have a happy fall. What are your favorite fall resources?

Halloween Tract ~ Review

Halloween will be here soon. While not everyone celebrates the day or participates, it is a great time to spread the Gospel. Kids walk right up to your house and you are able to give them not only candy, but a chance to know Jesus. One way to spread the Gospel is by using a Halloween tract. We were recently given the chance to review a neat tract from Let the Little Children Come. We were given a pack of twenty Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Box-Tract. I have only seen the plain tracts before, so this one intrigued me.

Let the Little Children Come

What is the Tract?

The Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Box-Tract is an easy to assemble pumpkin shaped tract. The outside has the question, Is there anything better than candy? Once assembled it can be filled with candy. It isn’t really big, but you could probably fit a few miniature sized candies, some kisses, tootsie rolls, or any smaller wrapped candy. If it would fit in a plastic Easter egg then it would probably fit in this tract.

Let the Little Children Come Halloween Tract
When the tract is opened, there are six petals in. The petals are each a different color and numbered. Starting with the first petal the recipient of the tract will find out what is better than candy, being God’s Friend. Each petal then walks the reader through the fact that God loves us but that we are all sinners. It goes on to explain that Jesus died for our sins and then tells them what they need to do to be saved. The last petal has a sample prayer that they can pray.

Let the Little Children Come Halloween Tract
The language on the tract is geared more for kids. It is easy to understand and explains what sin is. The message is great, but I think that some adults may find it babyish.

Let the Little Children Come Halloween Tract

Easy Assembly

The pumpkins are simple to assemble. Even the kids can help. I am not exactly sure what kind of material they are made of. I think it is a thicker paper or cardboard. They don’t rip easily, but they will if you try.

Let the Little Children Come Halloween Tract
The tracts come in a pack of twenty. When you receive them they are all on a separate square page. The first step is to punch the tract out. This was simple, and we didn’t have any issues with the ones that we made. Then you punch out the pre cut slits that are on top of four of the petals. The next step is to follow the directions on the page to fold the tract. Before you finish the final fold, you can add candy to the tract. I thought they would take a while to assemble, but even the first one took me less than a minute start to finish.

Let the Little Children Come Halloween Tract

How to Use Them

Since it isn’t quite Halloween yet, we haven’t handed any of these out. I plan to add some candy to them and send them to church with AJ for their Halloween event. The uses for them are really as endless as your imagination. You could hand them out to trick-or-treaters, give them to homeless people who are asking for money (maybe add a few dollars in with the candy), take them to a nursing home, or fill them and leave them in random places for people to find.

What We Thought

I was plesently surprised by these. So many things claim they are easy to assemble, but they really aren’t. These are! I love the idea of them. When the person gets the tract they will be intrigued by the question on the front, and they will want to read the inside. It is a great way to spread God’s love. This company has quite a few unique tracts!

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

Is There Anything Better Than Candy? {Let The Little Children Come Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Patterns of Evidence Exodus ~ Review

When you think about the first few books of the Bible, it can be easy to wonder if they really happened. I believe they happened because I have faith and a belief that the Bible is God’s Holy word. But that isn’t enough for some people. Some people need proof. Obviously we can’t go back in time, so our next best option it to depend on scientific evidence to determine what happened in the past.

We were recently given the chance to review an interesting documentary called, A Filmmaker’s Journey Patterns of Evidence Exodus. I was interested to see what it would say about the biblical story of the Exodus.

Did the Exodus really happen? See for yourself in this documentary.

About the DVD

When filmmaker Timothy Mahoney has a crisis of faith, he decides to go on a journey to search for answers about the Exodus. Over 12 years he travels around the world. The documentary combines scientific investigation with the story of Exodus. It provides evidence that the events we read about in the Bible really could have happened.

The documentary is about 119 minutes long. It is narrated by Kevin Sorbo. Throughout the video there are interviews with leading archaeologists, stunning animations, and amazing reenactments.

There are two DVDs in the package. The first has the actual documentary. The second disk has a lot of bonus features. You will find interviews with the cast, a section about the music used in the film, trailers, and more.

Did the Exodus really happen? You will have to decide for yourself. You can purchase the DVD here. It retails for $19.95, but you can use the coupon code MK1 for $3 off.

How We Used It

Even though documentaries aren’t AJ’s favorite thing to watch, we decided to watch the video together. I thought it would be a great video for her to watch as well. She watched the beginning with me, but soon decided to move onto something else. While there isn’t an age range for the video, kids and teens may find that it doesn’t hold their attention. I ended up finishing the documentary by myself.

What We Thought

This documentary has won quite a few awards at international film festivals. It is well made and there was a lot of work put into it. The result is a well made documentary. There were times that it got a little slow, and some of the scientific interviews lost me a little bit. But overall it was quite interesting. They did an excellent job.

It didn’t change my mind about the biblical account of the Exodus, but it did provide me with a little proof. If you are on the fence about the truth of it, this may be a documentary that you want to see.

Marine Biology ~ Review

A few years ago AJ was looking at one of the catalogs from Apologia Educational Ministries and she saw their old Marie Biology course. She begged me to get it for her. She loves animals and plans to have a career caring for them in some way. At the time she was too young for the course. Technically she is still too young to take the course because it is an advanced biology course and she just started ninth grade. But when we were given the chance to review Apologia Educational Ministries new Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set  and Marine Biology 2nd Edition Audio CDI knew that I couldn’t turn it down!

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set

The advantage set comes with the textbook, the student notebook, and a solutions and test manual. We also received a separate test booklet. In order for your student to successfully complete the course you will need to purchase the Slide Set and the Dissection Set. There is a lot of hands on learning with this course!

About the Textbook

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set
The textbook is amazing! It is over 550 pages. The book is broken down into 16 modules that each take around two weeks to complete. They are:

  1. The Oceans of Our Planet
  2. Life in the Sea
  3. The First Four Kingdoms
  4. Marine Invertebrates I
  5. Marine Invertebrates II
  6. Marine Vertebrates I
  7. Marine Vertebrates II
  8. Marine Ecology
  9. The Intertidal Zone
  10. Estuary Communities
  11. Coral Reefs
  12. Continental Shelf Communities
  13. The Epipelagic Zone
  14. The Deep Ocean
  15. Ocean Resources
  16. Effects of Humans on the Sea

This is a college prep course that is designed to be taken after the student has taken biology. It covers a lot of information and uses advanced vocabulary. But there are plenty of diagrams, pictures, and experiments to help students understand difficult concepts. At the end of the book there is a glossary, reference figures and tables, fill in the blank module summaries, a list of needed lab supplies, and an index. It is a big book that is packed full of information.

What Does a Marine Biology Lesson Look Like?

In a typical day your student would read through four to eight pages in the textbook and answer two (give or take) “On Your Own” questions. They may also do an experiment or two.

All of the experiments have a purpose listed. Some of the experiments are very simple to preform but they teach an important concept. For each experiment there is a list of materials, a question that needs to be answered, instructions on the type of hypothesis the student should write, a detailed procedure, and instructions for a conclusion. I was pleasantly surprised to see such detail. I am confident that students would be able to preform most of the experiments with little help. (Except for the dissections.)

At the end of each module you will find the answers to the “On Your Own” questions. Each one has more than just a simple answer, it goes further in depth to explain the answer. I think this is a great idea because it will let your student check their answers and make sure they are understanding the topics.

There is also a study guide for each module. Each module is a little different, but they all have vocabulary for the student to define and questions for them to answer based on the entire module.

About the Marine Biology Student Notebook

The student notebook is a spiral bound, soft covered book that is just over 500 pages. The beginning of the book has a daily schedule. It is completely broken down and tells the student what pages to read, which questions to answer, and if they need to complete an experiment. While it would be possible to figure the schedule out with just the textbook, I found this very helpful. I could just tell AJ to look at the schedule and check off the box when she was done.

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set
There is a section that explains how to take notes when reading. For each module there are a few pages for the student to write notes. I like that idea because all of their work and study materials are then in one place.

One major advantage of the Student Notebook is that it contains all of the questions from the textbook. Each “On Your Own” question is written and has plenty of room for your student to write their answer. It also has the study guide and the fill in the blank module summary from the book. The Student Notebook isn’t a necessity. Your student could answer the questions on their own paper and copy the module summary, this is just a more convenient option.

The back part of the Student Notebook is the Lab Notebook. It has the same information that the textbook has, purpose, materials, question, hypothesis, and procedure. There are also color photos and diagrams for some of the experiments.  After the procedure, there is a section for the student to fill in information about the experiment. There are sections for their hypothesis, observations, sketches, and conclusions.

While we found the Student Notebook very convenient, there were a few things that we didn’t care for. The paper is very thin. A few pages have already ripped at the spiral binding. AJ likes to write in pen and the ink bled through to the other side. She had to switch to pencil. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it bothered her. Our other complaint is that we would have preferred the labs to be with the study questions instead of in the back of the notebook. Then all of the information for each module would be together. Again, this would not be a deal breaker. I would absolutely by the student notebook.

Solutions and Tests Manual

Apologia Educational Ministries
The Solutions and Tests Manual is a soft covered book that is over 200 pages long. It has detailed answers for each module’s study guide, tests for each module, and the solutions for the tests. There are also four quarterly tests with solutions as well. I know that I wouldn’t be able to grade the tests without the use of this guide.

We also received a small test booklet. It is a 50 page booklet that is stapled together and simply has all of the tests. It is convenient to be able to hand the student the booklet without the answers, but there really isn’t enough room for the student to write their answers.

The tests for this program are fairly difficult. The student is expected to give full vocabulary definitions and answer a variety of questions. Some of the questions are a little confusing and make the student think. If a student passes the test, you can be sure that they really understand the information. These type of tests will help prepare your student for higher level science courses.

AJ is not use to these types of tests. We are slowly transitioning to more difficult tests, but these were a little too difficult right now. Her other classes are not “college prep” level. We will revisit the tests in the future. Right now I have her do a definition matching page that I made up and I reword some of the questions. The textbook tells you to base the grade of your student on their tests and labs with little if any points for their daily work. We have never been big on tests, so I plan to grade a little differently. That’s the beauty of homeschooling, you can do what fits your family.


Marine Biology 2nd Edition Audio CD

The Audio CD is perfect for slow or struggling readers, or those who are auditory learners. It is the textbook read by Marissa Leinart. This isn’t a substitute for the book though. Your student will need to look at the graphics and diagrams and read a few small sections that Marissa Leinart doesn’t read.

Marine Biology 2nd Ed Audio CD
AJ is a slow reader and this was a huge help! Not only did it help her get through her work faster, but it helped with pronunciation of difficult words. Ms. Leinart reads the book very well. It is at a decent pace and her voice is easy to understand.

Our only complaint is that it is not a regular CD. It is an MP3 CD so it can only be listened to on a MP3 compatible CD player or on a computer. We had to listen to it on my computer. It worked out, but it would have been a lot easier to be able to listen to it in her CD player that has better volume.

Sometimes AJ tends to space out when she listens to things. What we did was listen to the CD for a section and then have her read a section. She alternated reading and listening to the textbook. It worked out well and she seems to have retained a lot of the information.

What We Thought about Marine Biology

This was our first time using a science course from Apologia, and I can see why so many people recommend them. The textbook is beautiful. It has so much information that is just waiting to be absorbed. They have a good balance of reading, writing, and hands on learning. The lab experiments have a purpose and are not just busy work. I like that with the exception of the microscope slides and the animals to dissect, most of the labs use easy to find materials.

The other great thing is that the course is customizable for your family. If you are on a strict budget then you can buy just the textbook and the solution guide. Or if you want a little more convenience with everything laid out for your student, you can add in the Student Notebook. If you have a struggling reader or a student who would rather listen to a lesson then the MP3 Audio Book is for you. They even have a DVD option where a teacher teaches the lessons and your student can watch.

We are very thankful that we were picked to review the Marine Biology course. AJ has learned so much and enjoyed the process. Right now we are trying to decide if we want to continue with Marine Biology or if we should put it away for a few years and come back to it when she is a little older. I thought she would do fine with the course even though it is for older students. We have had to take the course slower and adjust a few things. This isn’t an easy course, and it isn’t meant to be. I would not recommend this course for younger (8th – 10th grade) students. Follow the guidelines on their website. Your student really needs a good understanding of basic biology to benefit the most from this course.

If your student is ready for an advanced science course and they love animals, then this is the course for them! There is so much to learn.

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

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set {Apologia Educational Ministries Review}
Crew Disclaimer

A Journey Through Learning Lapbook ~ Review

Last year our plan was to have AJ study modern history. Over the years we have focused a lot on the American Revolution, the Western Expansion, and the Civil War. We have also studied the earlier time periods. Our plan started off well, but soon rabbit trails led us in other directions. She started high school this year, so I wanted her to have at least a basic understanding of the history of the 20th century. When we were given the chance to review An Overview of the 20th Century from A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks I knew that it would be a perfect fit. AJ loves creating lapbooks, and the ones from A Journey Through Learning have always been a hit in the past. We have used a quite a few of their lapbooks and other resources. Our favorite was the Prairie Primer Binder Builder.

What Makes A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks Amazing?

A Journey Through Learning
When you purchase a lapbook from A Journey Through Learning you know you are getting quality. They take the time to make the process of putting the lapbook together as simple as possible. They include step by step instructions on how to create the lapbook and all of the mini books that go inside. There are even pictures that show exactly where each mini book needs to be glued.

A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks are fun and easy to use!

The lapbooks are flexible and easy to customize to fit your student. All of the lapbook that we have completed have come with a study guide about the topic. If you are looking for a quick study, your student can simply read through the study guide and complete the mini books. But you can also stretch the study and go deeper in-depth by adding in books, videos, and other information on the topic. There are sheets included so that the student can keep all of their research together. This lapbook also includes optional worksheets that the student can fill out for a biographical book report and a war study.

About the An Overview of the 20th Century lapbook

Overview of 20th Century Lapbook with Study Guide
This lapbook is geared for kids in grades 2 through 7, but older students could use it as well. It is 72 pages and makes a three folder lapbook. The student will complete 23 mini books focusing on people and events from the 20th century. The mini books include a variety of activities like; labeling, answering questions, coloring maps, drawing flags, a word search, a cross word puzzle, copywork, and defining vocabulary.

After completing this lapbook your student will have a basic understanding of the wars, famous inventions, and the people who changed history in the 20th century.

How We Used An Overview of the 20th Century

Since we were just looking for a quick overview, I just printed everything out and gave AJ one topic each day. She would read through the information and complete the mini book. Some days she would look the topic up online to learn a little bit more information. It was a simple addition to her day that didn’t take very long. She is above the recommended age, so a few of the mini books seemed babyish to her, but overall she enjoyed them.

This study could easily be stretched out for at least a semester. If I would have had it last year I would have used the lapbook as a base and I would have added in both fiction and nonfiction books on the topics for her to read. It could be turned into a great unit study. But I also like that I didn’t have to do that. I could simply print and go, knowing she was learning.

What We Thought

We were very pleased with the lapbook. The study guide had enough information that AJ could learn the basics on her own. It was easy to use and the directions make putting the lapbook together simple. We have enjoyed every lapbook that we have tried from A Journey Through Learning. I plan to add in more of their lapbooks as we study other concepts in the future.

If you are looking for a hands on way for your student to learn history, science, Bible, or almost any topic, lapbooks from A Journey Through Learning might be exactly what you are looking for. Find out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew though by clicking on the graphic below!

Lapbooks for Classical Conversations, Apologia, Inventors & 20th Century {A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks Reviews}
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No-Nonsense Algebra ~ Review

AJ completed Algebra 1 last year. She passed it with an A and really enjoyed it. She is lucky, because math comes easy to her. Once she learns a new concept she can usually work out any similar problem easily. This year she is taking Geometry. There are some algebraic skills required, but just basic ones. (So far.) I don’t want her to forget the harder algebraic skills while she is working with angles and proofs. My plan for this year was to have AJ work on algebraic skills once a week to keep the concepts sharp. So when we were given the chance to review No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials, I thought it would be perfect.

Math Essentials

What is No-Nonsense Algebra?

No-Nonsense Algebra
No-Nonsense Algebra is a soft covered math book with online video lessons. The book is 275 pages long. It includes: the solutions to all of the exercise problems, helpful charts, a glossary, and a final review. The book is broken up into ten chapters.

They are:

  1. Necessary Tools for Algebra (22 lessons)
  2. Solving Equations (9 lessons)
  3. Graphing and Analyzing Linear Equations (6 lessons)
  4. Solving and Graphing Inequalities (7 lessons)
  5. Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities (4 lessons)
  6. Polynomials (13 lessons)
  7. Rational Expressions (10 lessons)
  8. Radical Expressions and Geometry (10 lessons)
  9. Quadratic Equations (6 lessons)
  10. Algebra Word Problems (8 lessons)

What Does a Lesson Look Like?

The pages in the book are simple and not cluttered, so the student won’t get distracted. Lessons in the beginning chapters take up a single page, where lessons further in the book take up two pages. Each lesson follows the same format. They are broken up into four parts.

Introduction – This is the main part of the lesson. It includes basic information about the concept and helpful hints to make solving problems easier. After reading this section you should have a good idea about how to solve the assigned problems.

Examples – In this section one or more problems are worked out. Each step is shown and there are helpful notes when needed to visually show the student how to solve the problems.

Exercises – These are the problems that the student will work out. Each lesson varies on how many questions it has, but I have not seen any with more than 20. The student will need to copy the problems onto a separate paper to work them out. It might be a good idea to use a composition book or spiral notebook to keep all of their math work in one place.

Review – At the end of each lesson (except for lesson 1) there will be 4 review problems for the student to solve. The problems will use concepts that were taught in previous lessons.

Online Lessons

There is a video lesson online for each lesson in the book. Before the student completes the problems they can watch the video lesson for more explanation. The video lessons are taught by Richard W. Fisher. He is an award winning teacher who explains topics very well. He works out each problem and explains why he is doing each step.

No-Nonsense Algebra includes a book and online lessons!


No-Nonsense Algebra includes a book and online lessons!

Your student will need to create an online account using a code in the book to access the video lessons. Once they have an account they can watch the videos in any order and as many times as they want.

No-Nonsense Algebra includes a book and online lessons!The videos are not very fancy. They are simply Mr. Fisher working out the problems while explaining them. He uses problems that are different than the book so the student gets additional examples of how to solve problems using the concept taught in the lesson.  He is nice to listen to, easy to understand. and talks at a good pace.

The book combined with the videos will help your students learn the basics of Algebra!

How We Used No-Nonsense Algebra

Since AJ has already completed Algebra 1 I wasn’t going to make her start at the beginning of this book. A few times a week I would have her pick a lesson from chapters 6 – 10. I would have her watch the video. I had her pause the video after he gave the problem and had AJ see if she could get the correct answer. Then she would watch the teacher work it out.

If she answered all of the questions correctly then she was done with the lesson. If she missed any, then I had her do the last 4 problems from the exercise section. Most math books have the problems get progressively harder, so I had her do the ones at the end to make sure she remembered the concept. Then we checked the solutions. So far she has answered the problems correctly. If she gets them wrong though, I will have her watch the video again and then do the entire set of problems.

I think this is a great way to review concepts.

What We Thought About No-Nonsense Algebra

I think that it is a great program. I like that the student can use it however they want. They can just read the lesson and go on to the problems, or they can watch the video first. I think that the detailed examples in the book and in the video will help the student understand the algebraic concepts.

The book starts off with the basics. I think this will benefit students who are afraid of algebra. They will be able to solidify skills that they learned in earlier math levels.

This is a solid program, but I don’t know if it would be considered a full Algebra 1 course. Requirements  in each state is different. I think it is a little short on lessons, but you could easily supplement a few things to make it a full course. Honestly, the videos by themselves are reason enough to buy the program.

If you need an inexpensive math program that comes with teacher taught videos, then this product is for you! They also offer other math books that you can check out.

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

No-Nonsense Algebra {Math Essentials Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Acts Bible Study ~ Review

For the last few weeks AJ has been using a new Bible Study from Greek ‘n’ Stuff.   We have done quite a few Bible Studies together, but she has not completed many on her own. Greek ‘n’ Stuff has a few different studies to choose from. We picked the NIV version of I Can Study Acts Alone With God Bible Study (52 week study),  because most of our previous studies have focused on the Old Testament.

Greek 'n' Stuff
This year I wanted something different. This study looked like it would be a good fit for AJ.

What is I Can Study Acts Alone With God?

Alone With GodBible Study ActsNew International Version

I Can Study Acts Alone With God is a soft covered spiral bound book written by Karen Mohs. It has 156 pages and covers 52 weeks of lessons. There are short daily lessons Monday through Saturday. It is designed to be used by anyone who is in upper elementary grades or older. It is not just for kids, adults can also learn more about the Bible with this study! Each title is available in either the King James Version (KJV) or the New International Version (NIV).

There isn’t a teacher’s guide or any other book to go along with the study. The directions are written at the beginning of the book and there isn’t an answer key. The student will only need the book, their Bible, and something to write with to do the daily work.

Throughout this study the student will read the entire book of Acts. This will be accomplished by reading a few verses each day. Each person will vary, but lessons are less that fifteen minutes long each day.

What Does a Lesson Look Like?

I Can Study Acts Alone With God ~ Review

Prayer – Each lesson starts by having the student pray for help in studying the Bible.

Memory Verse – There is a memory verse each week that is taken out of the reading for the week. Each day the student is told to either read or recite the memory verse.

Bible Reading – Each day the student will look at the questions the see which verses they need to read. Most days it is just a few. On the last day of week two the student will need to read Acts 1:23 through Acts 1:26.

Questions – Each lesson has between one and four questions to answer. Each week the student will answer an average of 15 questions. Most of the questions are short answer. Some require longer answers or lists. There are even a few multiple choice questions. The verse where the answer can be found is listed after the question. The questions are fact based and usually answer who, what, when, or where.

Think and Pray –  At the end of each week there is a Think and Pray About It section. This section brings up situations where God’s Word needs to be applied. It makes the reader think about God’s Word and how they would apply it in their own life. One of my favorites was from week 6.

It talks about how sometimes instead of protecting us from difficulties, He protects us through them. Then it goes on to ask, “Do you serve God wherever you are and whatever you are doing — or are you expecting God to serve you.

I think it is a great message. I know it really hits home for me with all of the issues I have had with my leg!

Other Information – On the side of the questions there are small tidbits of information. They include definitions, explanations of who a person is, interesting facts, and answers to questions that the student may think of when they are reading.

How We Used – I Can Study Acts Alone With God

When the book arrived I looked through it. It looked like a simple study that AJ was going to be able to do by herself. Since there was not much writing I figures that there wouldn’t be any issues. I showed AJ the book. She thought it looked cool and was anxious to try it out.

We did the first lesson together and she was amazed at how fast it went. Over the next few days I had her do the lessons with me so that I could make sure she knew exactly what to do.

I Can Study Acts Alone With God ~ Review

Then I gave her the book and told her that I expected her to do a lesson each day. She did for a few days, but then she would “forget” or have an excuse as to why it didn’t get done.

I tried to have her catch up, but this is not exactly a program that works well for catching up. You can read and answer the questions for the week, but I think you get so much more out it when you do the little bit each day and reread some of the verses.

Now I have her do a lesson every time that we do school. We don’t follow the days. She may be doing Tuesday’s lesson on Friday. It is working well for us.

What We Think of – I Can Study Acts Alone With God

Overall this is a good study for anyone who wants to learn more about Acts. There are a few things that we really like and a few things that were not a big hit.


  • The study is available to go along with two Bible versions.
  • There is enough room to write answers.
  • Lessons are short but full of information.
  • There is a focus on prayer.
  • It will last an entire year or almost two school years.
  • It fosters a sense of independence.
  • The paper is a good quality and didn’t leak through when she used gel pens.
  • Encourages daily Bible reading and time with God.
  • It is a very in-depth study.


  • The spiral binding keeps coming undone at the top and bottom.
  • AJ found some of the questions confusing.
  • There isn’t an answer key. It would be nice to be able to quickly check her work to make sure she is understanding the lessons without having to read the selections myself. (Since there is not very much to read this isn’t a big deal for me, but it might be for a mom who has to check work for a few kids.)
  • AJ said it was a little bit boring because she had to do the exact same thing each day and the pages were plain. (Colored gel pens helped to bring some color to the dull pages.)

I Can Study Acts Alone With God ~ Review

I really like the I Can Study Acts Alone With God Bible study. I think that I may purchase one for myself in the future. AJ will continue to use the study as her Bible curriculum for school. In the future I plan to use the weekly memory verse for copywork and grammar assignments. I would recommend this study or one of the other studies from Greek ‘n’ Stuff to kids in middle school and older. I think some of the questions are too difficult for kids in elementary school. The study will be a simple addition to your day and will help bring your child closer to God.

Greek ‘n’ Stuff also has studies on Jonah & Ruth, Esther, and I Samuel. They also have Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! in a variety of levels. Learning Greek is a great way to help you further your Bible studies. It is not something that we are interested in at this time, but if you are make sure to read the reviews.

Check out the Greek reviews and the Bible Study reviews by clicking on the graphic below. 

Teach Me Some Greek {Greek 'n' Stuff Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

In the Reign of Terror ~ Review

We love listening to audio books and audio dramas at our house. They are a great way to read a book when you can’t physically read. They are great for car rides, trips, and even for listening to while doing house work. The only issue is that some audio books are mono tone and boring. We often look for audio books where the reader uses voices for the characters, or we look for audio dramas.

Heirloom Audio Productions
One of our favorite go to places for audio dramas is Heirloom Audio Productions. We have had the chance to listen to a few of their audio dramas and have never been disappointed. We were given a chance to review their latest audio drama, In the Reign of Terror. It came at the perfect time. Arriving just a few days before I had surgery, I knew I was going to take it with me in my hospital bag.

What is In the Reign of Terror?

In the Reign of Terror is an audio drama adapted from the book of the same name written by G.A. Henty.  It is two and a half hours long and will have you on the edge of your seat. The goal of Heirloom Audio is to make history come alive, and they exceed that goal with this title.

In the Reign of Terror
The adventure takes place in France during the devastating French Revolution. We follow Harry, a 16 year old boy who is living with an upper class French family. Being in France is a culture shock for him in the beginning, but he adapts. Soon after his arrival though, things change and the family is in danger simply because they were a noble family. Now Harry has to try to escape the soldiers and attempt to keep the family that he grew close to safe. He has to make hard decisions and trust in God. Will the family survive, or will Harry fail? You will have to listen to the audio drama to find out.

In the Reign of Terror is designed for ages six and up. This is the third audio drama that we have listened to of G.A. Henty’s books. They all have some violence because you are dealing with history and wars that took place. I personally think this title was a little more violent than the others. It is done tastefully and I don’t think that the violence is overdone. But I do think that some six year olds may have nightmares after listening to this. Characters do die and there are some fairly scary scenes where you worry if the characters are going to make it. I personally would not have let AJ listen to this until 8 or 9. Of course every child is different, and you know your kids best. I would recommend listening to the CD during the daytime and seeing how your child reacts.

How We Used In the Reign of Terror

Audio Dramas are great in the hospital!

I put the CD and a portable CD player (the nurse was surprised to see that they still made them!) into my hospital bag along with a few audio books. After surgery, when there was nothing on TV and I wanted something to do, I took out the audio drama and listened to it. It was a great way to keep my mind off of the pain and it gave me something to do. I listened to it two times because it was so intense and interesting. I love how it lets you view history from a different perspective. Even though I didn’t get to all of my other audio books, I made time for In the Reign of Terror.

Beyond the CDs

In addition to the CDs with the audio drama we also received access to a study guide for the audio drama and other cool items from Live the Adventure Club . It is a new site that gives you access to the digital items that come with your purchase all in one place. I can listen to the audio drama online, view the script, listen to the sound track, print posters, and more. I am really glad to see a site that will keep everything together for me! There are so many things to explore on the site including; coloring pages, word searches, articles, and badges that kids can earn while listening to the adventure. I am excited to see more of the site.

The Study Guide

I didn’t use the study guide this time. Since it is summer AJ has been busy with camp and other activities and hasn’t listened to the audio drama yet. Once the summer fun calms down I will have her use part of it. The study guide is over 40 pages long, it includes:

  • Background information about the French Revolution and important people.
  • Questions for each track. They are divided into three types:
  • Listening Well – These are simple questions about the plot of the story.
  • Thinking Further – These require more thought and often require the student to give an opinion. They may include additional research and map work. These questions are great for discussions with older children.
  • Defining Words – This section has words that the child (or adult) might need to look up.
  • Recipes to make from the time period
  • Bible Studies – “When God Means Evil for Good” and a few others. These are simple but will make you think!

The study guide is well done. You can use whatever parts work for your family. Whether you are looking for a history study or just want to listen to a good story, In the Reign of Terror has you covered!

What I Thought

I was very satisfied with In the Reign of Terror. The characters were relatable, the story drew me in and kept me waiting to see what would happen next, and the sounds were very realistic. I felt like I was in France with Harry. When I listen to the audio drama I feel like I am at a theatrical production with my eyes closed. The quality is amazing! The titles from Heirloom Audio Productions never disappointed me in the past, and neither did this one. You can read my previous reviews of The Cat of Bubastes  and  The Dragon and the Raven.

Their dramas are a step above any other that I have listened to. I think they are a wonderful way to learn more about history and dig deeper into a time period. I highly recommend it!

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

In the Reign of Terror {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Quik-Sculpting Kit ~ Review

I don’t know about you, but I am not the crafty mom. When AJ was younger I tried. But most of my attempts ended up a waste of time. I need projects that are easy to do and come with simple instructions. We have yet to make a paper mache model of the earth or to finish our castle out of sugar cubes. When I heard about ACTÍVA Products I was determined that AJ and I would be able to create something fun.

ACTÍVA Products
We were given their Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit and had access to a free eBook, ACTÍVA Products’ Favorite Sculpture KIDS CRAFTS. The eBook is available to anyone who signs up for the ACTÍVA newsletter. It has quite a few ideas so you should check it out if you are looking for sculpting craft ideas.

What Was in the Box?

Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit
The Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit had two rigid wrap plaster cloth packages. Each one had plaster cloth that was four inches wide and five yards long. The plaster cloth is wrapped up tightly and resembles the plaster that the doctor uses to wrap a broken bone. The plaster cloth is easy to cut to your desired size, simple to mold, and dries quickly.

Using the Quik-Sculpting Kit from Activa makes crafts quick and simple!

Along with the plaster cloth there was also an eight ounce bag of CelluClay. It is instant paper mache. The projects that we have completed didn’t call for the CelluClay, and there are no directions on how to use it in the box that we received. From my understanding, you just add water to it and sculpt, but it would be great to know how much water!

The last thing in the box was two pages of project ideas and instructions for the rigid wrap. I was a little disappointed with the project sheet because of the way it was printed. The printing was poor quality. It looks like the paper was put in wrong and caused part of the writing to be off of the page and other parts to be difficult to read. I was very thankful that they offered the free eBook. It gave vivid pictures, and easy to read instructions.

Our Original Plans

Our plan was to try out a bunch of project ideas. Unfortunately, right before I received the kit I found out I was having two surgeries. Crafts got pushed to the back burner while I got ready for the surgeries and while I spent a week in the hospital. By the time I was physically able to do a craft project, I didn’t think I would have time to finish one. But thanks to the fact that the plaster cloth is easy to use and dries fast, I was able to complete one. I plan to have AJ do a few more now that I know how easy it is to use!

I think that she will be making a few Christmas presents using this kit. She really likes the bowl with peppermint candy on it.

My Project

I wanted something quick and easy, so I picked the butterfly. The directions said to cut the template out of the box that everything came in, but I wanted to keep the box. I drew a butterfly on a piece of paper and then copied it onto a piece of cardboard. Then I cut it out. (I later found out that there was a template in the free eBook, but I think mine came out ok.)

Using the Quik-Sculpting Kit from Activa makes crafts quick and simple!

The next step was to cut out strips of the rigid wrap plaster cloth. The directions didn’t say how many to cut. I covered the butterfly with the dry strips and then cut about ten more to make sure I had enough.

Using the Quik-Sculpting Kit from Activa makes crafts quick and simple!

Then I filled a bowl with warm water. I dipped the rigid wrap plaster cloth into the water and then placed it on the cardboard. I made sure to cover it all and to cover the sides. If I was to do this project again, I would have done the back as well, but I didn’t this time.

Using the Quik-Sculpting Kit from Activa makes crafts quick and simple!

I was going to just let the project sit and dry because it says it dries in 30 minutes. But I decided to see how microwaving it worked. I was amazed that you could put the rigid wrap plaster cloth project in the oven or microwave to speed up the drying time!

Using the Quik-Sculpting Kit from Activa makes crafts quick and simple!

Once it was dry, I added more pieces of the rigid wrap plaster cloth. I molded some of them to make a 3-D effect. I created the body of the butterfly and some spots on the wings. It was easy to do. I let it dry in the microwave again.

Using the Quik-Sculpting Kit from Activa makes crafts quick and simple!

Then I gathered the materials I wanted to use to embellish the butterfly.

Using the Quik-Sculpting Kit from Activa makes crafts quick and simple!

I painted it, added glitter, added an antenna, and glued on some eyes. Then I let it sit so that the paint would dry.

Using the Quik-Sculpting Kit from Activa makes crafts quick and simple!

What I Thought

I was very happy with the outcome of my project. The entire thing was finished in less than two hours. That includes the time it took for the paint to dry! I would make some changes if I did the same project in the future, but the changes would be minor. I would smooth out the cloth a little more to make it easier to paint, and I would have made the wings in a flapping motion instead of flat.

The rigid wrap plaster cloth was very easy to use. I could cut it to any size that I wanted. I liked that all I had to do was dip it in water and then place it on the project. There was a little bit of a mess so I would have AJ use it outside, but I have her do most craft projects outside.

I wish that there would have been instructions for the CelluClay. I think I will just play around with the clay to water ratio and see how it works.

We will continue to use the rigid wrap plaster cloth for projects in the future. If this non crafty mom can enjoy making a project with the Quick-Sculpting Kit, then it should be fool proof! The kit would be great for numerous school projects and for crafts. The best part is that the kit is very affordable. I highly recommend the Quik-Sculpting Kit.

See what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought and the projects that they created by clicking on the graphic below.

Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit {ACTÍVA Products Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Trust Fund Movie ~ Review

Since my foot is still not healing, there are not very many activities that AJ and I can do together for fun. One activity that we are able to do is watch TV. We were recently given the chance to watch a great movie from  Mapelle Films called, Trust Fund. We were also given the book, Love Was Near. The book is designed to be read after you watch the movie. I thought that they would make a fun family time activity for us. I was right!

Mapelle Films - Great movies

About Trust Fund

Trust Fund is a modern day adaptation of the Prodigal Son story from the Bible. The movie stars Jessica Rothe as Reese. Reese’s life is great until one day her mother tragically dies. Reese and her mother were very close and becoming close with her dad was difficult. They were both mourning the loss of her mother so even though she loved her father, they were not as close.

Reese was an aspiring writer. She didn’t want to go to college, but agreed with her dad to try it for a year. Her dad was fully supporting her, but she was not living within her means. She was quickly realizing that being an adult was a lot harder than it looked.

A modern day version of the prodigal son ,

She was lucky enough to find a publisher for the book she was writing. Having her own money from the advance made her want to become more independent. Her dad didn’t know that she spent all of the money she had received from the advance (and then some.) To encourage his daughter’s writing, he paid for her to go to a writing seminar in Europe. But she didn’t spend very much time writing. She met a guy and “fell in love.” And spent the time she should have been writing, seeing Europe on the back of a motorcycle. Reese wanted to stay in Europe with her new boyfriend, but her dad would not let her. She reluctantly returned home.

By accident, Reese saw some papers on her father’s desk. They showed that her mother had left a trust fund for Reese and her sister. Reese was angry! She thought her father was keeping her money from her. That he was being mean. She did the unthinkable. She took money from her father’s business and lest to Europe. Things there weren’t what she had thought and herd boyfriend ward not who he had said he was.

When Reese’s sister discovered what Reese had done, she wanted their dad to call the police, but he didn’t.

You will need too watch the movie to see what happens. It is a very touching movie about a father’s love.

About the Book – Love Was Near

The book is written in diary form. It is in Reese’s point of view. It shows why she did the things that she did. I really like that she didn’t make up a bunch of excuses. She admits that she made mistakes and even tells why she thought it was OK to do the wrong things in the heat of the moment.

A book to go along with Trust Fund

The book is gull of inspirational scriptures that focus on some of the issues that Reese struggled with in the book and movie. There are also numerous places in the book where you can write in it. Questions include things like, which action was worse, spending all of the money without finishing the book or telling a lie to her father. There are a lot of places where the reader is asked to give their opinion or tell what they would have done in the same situation.

While the book is designed to be used after watching the movie, I feel it would also be a great book for a teenage girl to read and work through on its own.

How We Used Trust Fund and Love Was Near

AJ and I watched the movie together. She thought the movie was good but thought that Reese made some bad decisions. I read through the book in about an hour. I really enjoyed it but decided not to have AJ read it at this time. It talks a lot about relationships with your father, and since she doesn’t have a dad I thought it wasn’t the right book for her at this time.

What We Thought

We both enjoyed the movie. The story line was good, it moved at a nice pace, and the acting was well done. There are some scenes that parents might find inappropriate for younger kids, but I think it would be fine for kids aged 10 and up. Of course use your discretion. The movie doesn’t follow the story in the average cookie cutter way. Instead there are twists and turns to keep you interested. Overall Trust Fund is a good movie with a great message!

The book was great. If AJ’s situation was different she would have read it. It discusses relationships and bad decisions. I would say the appropriate age would vary depending on your child’s maturity level. It encourages them to think through some difficult situations. I appreciate that there are scripture verses sprinkled throughout the book to help your child grow closer to God. I think the journal like feel of the book will keep teens interested in the book.

If you are looking for a great movie, then Trust Fund may be exactly what you are looking for! Love Was Near is a fun book to help you dig deeper into the themes of the movie. Together they make a great pair.

Mapelle Films has also designed a download study guide to help small groups dig deeper into the themes of the movie. So if you are looking for a good movie to watch with the family, or if you are looking for a product to discuss, Trust Fund will fit the bill!

Click on the graphic below to see what other members of the Home School Review Crew thought!