Esther – A Book Review



I love to read exciting stories about strong women, and when they are based on real people that is even better! I was recently given the opportunity to review a new book by New York Times Bestselling Author Angela Hunt, Esther Royal Beauty. It is the first part of a series of books known as Dangerous Beauties.

Esther: Royal Beauty (Dangerous Beauty Series #1)About the Book

When Xerxes, King of Persia, issues a call for beautiful young women, Hadassah, a Jewish orphan living in Susa, is forcibly taken to the palace of the pagan ruler. After months of preparation, the girl known to the Persians as Esther wins the king’s heart and a queen’s crown. But because her situation is uncertain, she keeps her ethnic identity a secret until she learns that an evil and ambitious man has won the king’s permission to exterminate all Jews- young and old, powerful and helpless. Purposely violating an ancient Persian Law, she risks her life in order to save her people… and bund her husband’s heart.

Esther Royal Beauty is a soft covered historical fiction novel that is 337 pages long. The novel is based on the Biblical story of Ester and the author, Angela Hunt, has taken great lengths to ensure historical accuracy of the book.

What I thought

I love the idea of the book and I was expecting an amazing story. I picked it up and started to read, and I just couldn’t get into it. At first I was confused. The book is written in a first person perspective, but it is told from the perspective of two characters, Hadassah (Esther), and Harbonah (one of the King’s eunuchs). It took me by surprise that the first and second chapter contradicted each other and were telling part of the same story. After a few minutes I realized that the second chapter was being told by a different person. After flipping through the rest of the book I realized that at the beginning of each chapter the name of who was telling the story was the name of the chapter. Unfortunately, I found this set up difficult to follow.

I liked to see the different perspectives of the characters, but I personally would have preferred the story to have been just told in third person, or to have stuck to one character’s perspective. The book was full of rich historical accuracy, but I found parts to be boring and too detailed.

The book did become more interesting about halfway through, but it wasn’t something that I found enjoyable to read.

To be fair though, this genera is not what I typically read. Books and movies are funny that way, some people love them and others hate them. I did not hate this book, but it is not one I personally enjoyed.

If you enjoy a book where you get to see the story from different points of view, a book full of rich historical detail, with a strong female lead, a little romance, and a bit of suspense, then this might be the perfect book for you.



World History Detective – Review

History is one of those subjects that I hated in school, so I am always on the look out for products that can bring history to life for AJ. When I was given the chance to review World History Detective Book 1 from The Critical Thinking Co. I was excited. I have always heard wonderful things about The Critical Thinking Co. and this book did not disappoint!

World History Detective Book 1


About the Book

World History Detective Book 1 is a soft covered 362 page work text for students in grades six to twelve. It is broken up into 78 lessons covering Prehistory, Ancient Civilizations, Medieval Civilizations, and Early American History. In the beginning of the book there is a three page teacher overview that explains the type of questions included and why each question type is important. There is a full answer key at the back of the book so everything is right at your fingertips. This book can be used as a stand alone history text, or as a supplement or review for older students.

Each lesson follows a similar layout. There is about a page to a page and a half of reading, followed by about nine questions. The first questions are a mixture of; multiple choice, true/false, fact or opinion, and chronological order questions. Then there are one or two written response questions. The final page of the lesson is a concept map where students are asked to fill in the blank spaces from a word box.

Concept Map

What makes this book unique, is that for almost every question the student is required to give the sentence number where they found their answer.

In addition to the physical book, there is also a website listed in the book where you can download and print off review lessons to use after a group of lessons have been completed.

How We Used It

We are currently studying Ancient Civilizations, and we were planning on using this book as a supplement. After a few lessons, I realized that would be too much reading for AJ, so we put our other studies to the side and focused on this book.

We decided to break each lesson up into two days, mainly because AJ is a slow reader. The reading level wasn’t too hard, but reading so closely was new to her. On the first day she would read through the lesson and look at any maps or time-lines. Then she would do the concept map. The concept map was her favorite part and really helped me to know if she understood her lesson or not. After working on the concept map she would go back and answer the first nine questions. She was able to answer the questions fairly easily. Finding the sentence that supported her answer was a little more difficult for her. In the beginning I would tell her what paragraph she needed to look in. After a few lessons she started to be able to find the supporting sentence on her own most of the time.

On the second day she would reread through the lesson and then answer the written response question. The first day usually took her about 45 minutes and the second day took about 30 minutes. While the first set of questions was fairly straight forward and could be found in the text, the written response required some more thought. Here is an example from lesson 6 on the Babylonian Empire.

What were the two greatest contributions the Babylonians made to future civilizations? Explain how each contribution benefited future civilizations. Please use complete sentences to answer the question.

Often AJ would use the concept map to help her answer the written response question.

Maps and Questions to make you think.

What We Thought

Overall we really liked the book. It taught way more that just history. It taught thinking skills, it helped with her reading, and problem solving skills. There were a few things that we didn’t care for. In the beginning AJ had a hard time writing in the book because it is so thick. When she tried to write on the pages on the left she had to hold the book funny to be able to write in it. The pages are perforated and can be taken out, but we decided to keep them together. The other thing that AJ didn’t care for was the small writing space on the concept maps. AJ writes fairly large and had a little difficulty fitting in the words. That being said, I don’t think most 6th graders would find the spaces too small. The only other issue we had was that there were two lessons in the Prehistory section that went against our beliefs. It was simple to just skip those two lessons and be on our way.

While there were a few things that we didn’t like, there was a lot we did like. I loved that the questions forced AJ to read very closely, not just skim to try and find the answer. AJ loved the concept map! Seeing all of the concepts broken down really helped her to understand the big picture. In fact we have started using concept maps in other subjects since they helped her so much. I think AJ’s favorite part was that there wasn’t a lot of writing. There were only one or two questions in each lesson that required her to write. The maps and time-lines helped a lot. They really helped her to visualize what was going on. The lessons were full of details and AJ learned way more than I was expecting. We plan to continue to use World History Detective Book 1 as a supplement to our history unit study. It was a great addition to our homeschool, and I would recommend it to those who are looking for a easy to follow program that is fairly independent and makes kids think.

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The Crew was able to review a few different products from The Critical Thinking Co.  check out their reviews too!

Critical Thinking Company Review

No Longer A Slumdog – Book Review

I don’t know about you, but when ever I see the commercials on TV about the little children who need help, my heart aches. It is hard to believe that there is so much suffering in the world with everything we have available today. When I was given the opportunity to review the book, No Longer A Slumdog by K.P. Yohannan, I had mixed feelings. The book sounded great, but I didn’t know if I really wanted to read about all of the hurt going on on the other side of the world. After thinking about it, I decided that if others could live it, I could read it. And I am glad that I did. It was eye-opening.

No Longer A Slumdog

About the Book

Those with no voice – the suffering children of Asia- tell their stories. And as you listen to them, you share their anguish and rejoice in their triumphs. The whole world seems to stop as you look on.

Hope is growing in the hearts of those who never knew such a thing existed. In this truly gripping narrative, K.P. Yohannan shares their stories – stories of lives transformed, of families learning to love, of entire communities flourishing with new life. Witness as this next great wave of transformation sweeps the nation.

It is a soft cover book that is 139 pages long. The most amazing part is that EVERYONE can request a free (donations are appreciated) copy of the book.

The book tells about some of the issues that the children in Asia face. It then goes into detail about how the Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope has changed numerous families through their program. They help not only with tangible items, but by sharing all about God’s love for them. The book ends by telling how you can help. They ask for prayer and for you to sponsor a child through their organization for $35 a month.

What I Thought

I like the story behind the book. The GFA Bridge of Hope sounds like it is doing amazing things for the slums of Asia. The hardships and horrible things the families go through are wrong! This book does a great job of showing what life is like for those who are less fortunate. It really makes you thankful for what you have.

It is written mainly in order to gain sponsorships for children, and at times the book comes off as an infomercial trying to get you to give money. It even goes as far as to tell how others have given up things like, daily coffee, and better cable in order to be able to afford to sponsor a child. I agree that these kids need help, and that they need to know Jesus, but I think that giving should come from the heart. If nothing else, this book gives a great look at Asia, and the amazing things that GFA Bridge of Hope is doing.

Learn more about the organization and decide for yourself.

No Longer A Slumdog

The Action Bible – Review

affiliate1I have a reluctant reader, or maybe a stubborn reader would be a better term. AJ is 11 and in 6th grade, she reads well- when she wants to. One thing I have learned is that she needs pictures. She needs a way to visualize what is going on in the story. If there are pictures she may read the same book over and over.
The Action Bible - A way to bring the Bible to life. My Review

One book that doesn’t have pictures is her Bible. We are still reading it almost daily and she is learning a lot, but she has said more than once that she wished it had some pictures. When I was offered the opportunity to review The Action Bible I was thrilled! I thought it would be an amazing tool for her, and I was right!

About The Action Bible

The Action Bible includes over 200 fast-paced narratives in chronological order, making it easy to follow the Bible’s historical flow – and reinforcing the buildup to its thrilling climax.

The stories in The Action Bible communicate biblical truth clearly and forcefully to contemporary readers. This compelling blend of clear writing plus dramatic images offers an appeal that crosses all age boundaries.

Let this epic rendition draw you into all the excitement of the world’s most awesome story.


The Action Bible is a hardback, full color, 750 page book. It is NOT a regular Bible and doesn’t contain all of the chapters that a regular Bible has. It is a Bible in comic book form. The book is full of imperfect human action heroes that God chose to fulfil His divine plan.

The Action Bible - A great way to bring the Bible to life! My Review

How We Used It

Whenever I am reviewing a book I always put it up until I am going to have AJ (or myself) read it. That way it doesn’t get lost. I had The Action Bible sitting on the desk because I wasn’t ready to look at it yet, and the next thing I knew it was gone and so was AJ. I found it and AJ at the same time. She had taken it to read. I found her laying in her bed reading away. She told me it was, “too exciting to put down.” She read through all of the stories that we have been studying from Genesis and Exodus and then read even more. The first night she read it for quite a while. She was reading it with excitement making up voices for the different Bible characters. There were a few moments where she said, “Oh so that is what it meant.”

AJ has been reading The Action Bible often, in fact it has become her new favorite book to read at bedtime.

What we thought

The pictures in this book are amazing. They are vivid, lifelike, and contain stunning detail. If you purchase this book expecting a normal Bible you will be disappointed. Chapters are left out and a few things are out of order. The story of Job came after the Tower of Babble. What I loved was the table of contents, it is broken into little subtopics. You can look up Moses, for example, and find where all of the stories about him are located. At the beginning of each story it gives the place in the Bible that the story is based on.

This book really brings the Bible to life. It doesn’t just tell the stories but shows them as well. Along with the dialog of the characters, there are often Bible verses included in each frame.

Action Bible1

We loved it! I am thrilled with any book that gets AJ to want to read, but this is even better because it helps her to get closer to God. I wouldn’t recommend it as your only Bible, but it is a great supplemental Bible. I think it will really help your child to understand the Bible in a fun way.

The only issue I had with the Bible is that a few of the front pages are loose and falling out. It looks like maybe they weren’t bound correctly. It isn’t too bad, but if I had purchased it I would have exchanged it for a new one. The ones I looked at in the store seemed fine so I think my issue was more than likely a fluke.

The Action Bible has a suggested retail value of $ 26.99, but it is currently on sale for $13.49.

Family Christian has offered one of my readers a chance to win a $25 appreciation certificate. Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win!


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Growing Your Faith – 7th Grade Devotional (Review)


affiliate1*This is a sponsored post, I was compensated in some way for writing it*

This year has been a  breakthrough  year with our Bible study. AJ seems to really be getting it, she enjoys reading the Bible and as we go through the books of the Law she is learning so much. What we are lacking though is a more personal study. It is important to learn Bible history, but we need to add in a character study as well. I wanted something that would help her grow closer to God. Enter the new 30-Day Devotional 7th Grade Growing Your Faith by Lars Rood. AJ is only in 6th grade, but I thought it would still be a good fit. (At the time of this review the book is not yet available online, check your local store)

7th Grade Growing Your Faith - Review

About the Book

This fun 30-day devotional will guide you through some of the biggest changes and challenges of this year, including handling doubt, dealing with all the physical changes, making choices that will build your friendship with Jesus and being smart about what you see and hear and say.

Whether this is your first year of junior high or you’re already trekking through middle school. 7th Grade Growing Your Faith will give you some solid wisdom and advice, along with lots of truths to think about and lots of ideas to put into action.

7th Grade Growing Your Faith is a 72 page soft cover book broken into 30 different devotions. The book is broken into three sections.

  1. Owning Your Faith, Shaping Your Faith – These first ten devotions focus on a few different topics including; why reading the Bible is important, getting closer to Jesus, and having fun while following Jesus.
  2. Maturing in Mind, Shaping Your Thoughts – This second section is my favorite. It covers topics that really make you think. Topics include what is worth watching, listing to, and saying. It covers how to Follow Jesus at school, and how to find a good role model.
  3. Maturing in Body Shaping the Whole You – These final ten devotions wrap up the book and include topics like; talking to your parents, dealing with loneliness, shaping your future, and figuring out the other gender.

Each devotion is broken up the same way in four short sections.

  • Introduction – In this short section the author talks a little bit about his personal experience regarding the topic.  It is between a couple of paragraphs and a page long, usually including a short story from the author’s youth about the topic. These are very interesting and actually help to break the ice when it comes to the more difficult topics.
  • Think About – This section has 3 or 4 questions to think about (and in our case discuss). I love this section because the questions are simple yet thought provoking. You aren’t told this is right and that is wrong, you are asked to think about what you feel. One that really stuck out to me was, “If God has created you with a purpose (and He has), how do you feel about God when you are Lonely?” (page 59)
  • God Thought – This section turns you to the Bible. It may have you read a few verses, a chapter, or even an entire book of the Bible. Then there is a question to think about regarding what you read.
  • Activate – This final section varies in its approach. Some tasks include; talking to people about things, writing lists, or doing something active. Some of these we liked, others we didn’t care for.

How We Used It

AJ isn’t big on reading any book without pictures, so I decided to use the 7th Grade Growing Your Faith in place of our current Bible curriculum. We read the introduction, and then talked about the think about questions. They lead to a few interesting conversations. One question asked how she saw an adult in her life living out their faith. So I asked her to think about me and what I do. Her answer was, “Well you show that you’re a Christian because you are always buying things from the Christian store.” After a little prompting she thought of a few other ways I live my faith!

7th Grade Growing Your Faith

Then she would look up the section in the Bible we were to read, and we would discuss it. Finally we would talk about the Activate section. A few we just discussed. Some we skipped, and some she did as directed. Each devotion took between 45 minutes to and hour. I read the entire book, but AJ still has a little way to go. We plan on finishing the devotional throughout the rest of the school year. The book is very flexible. It can be used independently or with a group. You can do one devotion a day, or even do one a month. It is a great resource to get your (pre) teen closer to God.

What We Thought

7th Grade Growing Your Faith

Overall we really enjoyed the 7th Grade Growing Your Faith 30-day devotional. The lessons are relevant, short enough to fit into our day, and easy to read. The writing style is friendly and fun making each day interesting. Having a male author, I was a little worried how he would be able to relate to young girls. He did so seamlessly.

A few of the lessons didn’t really apply to AJ because she is homeschooled, but even those that didn’t were useful in one way or another. AJ LOVED the fact that there was little to no writing. I enjoyed the meaningful discussions and most importantly the Bible verses to back up the discussions.

The only thing we didn’t care for were some of the activities in the Activate section. They just didn’t fit with our life, but it was simple to skip the ones we didn’t like. The author has made devotions for other grades, and although I haven’t read those, I would recommend getting the book that goes with the grade your child is currently in. A few of the lessons are really tied in to the grade level.

The devotional is very affordable, only $6.99 and in my opinion it is well worth it.

Using Ancient Civilizations and the Bible? – Learn from My Mistakes!


This year we are studying Ancient History using Diana Waring’s Ancient Civilizations and the BibleThe beginning was a little rocky, but now that we have a system down it is amazing how much we are both learning. It is not your normal history study and I think that is exactly why AJ and I are enjoying it so much!

6 mistakes to avoid When using Ancient Civiliztions and the Bible

Before I get into the details let me explain a little bit about the curriculum. It is a chronological history program that appeals to visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. It is a Christian worldview and teaches history from the young earth perspective. (If you don’t agree with young earth it is easy to leave out a few things in the first unit and from then on it is not really mentioned) It is not a textbook but a guide to help you and your student learn about history. There is a teacher’s book, a student book, and three different CDs that are referenced throughout the book.

The book is divided into nine chapters.

  1. Creation and The Flood
  2. The Rise of Civilizations
  3. Egypt and the Exodus
  4. The Children of Israel
  5. Assyria and Babylon : The Mesopotamian Conquerors
  6. The Persians and Medes
  7. Greece and The Hellenists
  8. The Rise of Rome
  9. Jesus Christ, Immanuel

Each chapter is studied for four weeks. Week one is the Introduction. It includes things like listening to audio recordings, reading the article, reading verses in the Bible, and discussions. Week two is Exploration and Discovery. In the second week activities include; vocabulary, timelines, and researching a topic of choice. The third week is Hands-On. In the third week there is mapping, art projects, science experiments, cooking, and music suggestions. The final week, week four is Expression. The final week can really be almost anything that shows understanding of the unit. Some possibilities include; art, music, drama, poetry, dance, and even puppetry. Each week there are a variety of options to fit the student’s learning style.

Even though there are only nine units, there is a great deal of information to learn. AJ and I fell in love with this history program at the beginning of the school year, but I wanted to wait until we had completed a few units until I shared my thoughts.

The first unit was full of learning for both of us. In fact it took us a good six weeks to complete. AJ learned all about creation and the flood, and I learned that using a unit study format for history would require some different thinking and planning on my part.

Here are a few pieces of advice, if you are using or thinking about starting Diana Waring’s  Ancient Civilizations and the Bible.

Stick to the four week schedule

Before school started I went through the first four units and planned things to a tee. I had decided that since we were doing unit studies for both history and science (more on that in an upcoming post) that I didn’t want to do both subjects daily. I decided that we would do science one week and history the next and rotate them back and forth. In order to do that I would simply push two weeks of learning into one. It sounded easy enough, we would just work longer on the one subject and in the end it would all average out. The time was the same and on paper it looked great. In reality it didn’t work out very well.

Week one has a lot of reading and listening. The articles themselves are between eight to ten pages and then when you add in the Bible reading it can be a lot. For the first unit it is 10 chapters in the Bible and more than 20 additional verses. Spread out over two days the reading is completely doable, but squishing it into one in order to complete two weeks of work into one is hard. It made for a grumpy kid, and a frustrated teacher.

In the end we actually spent three weeks doing the work for weeks one and two because it took way longer than I anticipated. If you need to combine weeks, don’t combine weeks one and two, it is just too much work. In the book Diana gives a few different suggestions on what to do if you don’t want to or can’t spend four weeks on a unit. My advice, stick to the four week schedule if possible. It is set up nicely and if you follow the recommendations in the book the days run a lot smoother!

Don’t over plan

Like I said previously, I planned the first unit to a tee. AJ was going to make a game one day, write a poem on another day, and carve an animal out of soap at another time. I figured it was a good variety and she would have fun. The problem was that she had her own ideas. After the reading for week one there is a list of activities to do to show your understanding, and at the bottom of the list is the option to make up your own choice. To be honest, her idea was better than mine. She didn’t want to make a game, she wanted to make a power point presentation. My child who hates to write created a 10 page slide show all about creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Able, and the flood.  It turned out great!

Week two has a research project where your child researches a topic in greater detail. There is a large list of topics to choose from. In order to make things easier, I picked the topic that I thought AJ would like to learn about. I ordered books from the library ahead of time and had everything planned.  Again, she would have picked another topic. My advice is to look ahead to the next unit when you are on week 4 of your current unit. (Or week 3 if you have a slow library.) Have your child pick two or three of the topics that they might want to learn more about and order books from the library on those topics. Then you end up with a variety and when it comes time for the research topic you will be ready. Let your child lead and you may be surprised by what you both learn.

You don’t have to do it all

 This advice is really for any type of unit study, and it is hard if you are a box checker. It is ok to skip a few things if you don’t have the time or desire. Try not to skip the fun stuff too often though because that is what makes this program amazing! Take a look at each week and pick one or two things that you really want to accomplish and go from there.

Don’t worry about the recommended books

It can be hard to find books with a Christian world view at the library, and purchasing all of the recommended books would cost way too much. If you can’t find the recommended books, it is ok. Utilize the internet and even secular materials found at the library. Just search for the topics you need and make sure your child knows that the books may display different beliefs than your own.

Buy the CDs

We didn’t buy the CDs that go along with the curriculum in the beginning. We were on a tight budget and the books were all that we could afford. For the first two units we didn’t have the CDs, but thankfully a family member bought us the main CD as a gift in time for unit three. We got through the first two units fine without the CD, but it really adds so much more information and completes the study. The information on the CDs is different from the information in the book and helps to answer some of the questions. Currently we only have one of the CDs, but I hope to complete the set soon. If at all possible, buy the CDs they really add to the study.

Join the Yahoo Group

There is a Yahoo Group for Diana Waring’s History Revealed series. There you will find so many resources like answer keys for the maps, printable maps, and vocabulary worksheets, and timeline answer keys. This group was a life saver when it came to the mapping. It also has a lot of great ideas about the curriculum.

Ancient Civilizations and the Bible is an amazing history program. We are both learning so much and having fun along the way. I can’t wait to share more of our adventures with the program!

Rasmus and the Vagabond – Review and Giveaway

Review and Giveaway of Rasmus and the Vagabond

I am always on the look out for books that my reluctant reader will enjoy, so when I was offered the chance to review Rasmus and the Vagabond by Astrid Lindgren I gladly accepted. I recently read Pippi Longstocking for the first time are fell in love with the story and Astrid Lingren’s writing style.

About the book

After running away from an orphanage, nine-year-old Rasmus finds the world a cold and unfriendly place until he befriends an extraordinary tramp called Paradise Oscar. Together they meet more adventure than they ever imagined, solve a mystery, and catch the culprits.

Rasmus dreams of finding a family and a home someday. But when he does, will he be able to part with his new friend and life on the road?


About the Author

Astrid Lindgren is the author of dozens of world-famous books. She has thrilled three generations of children with her story telling and holds numerous awards and honors.

Rasmus and the Vagabond review

What We Thought

Rasmus and the Vagabond is 180 pages full of excitement. Simple black and white illustrations are sprinkled throughout the story add to the fun. It is a page turner that we didn’t want to put down! Each chapter is full of adventure that will be enjoyed by boys and girls alike. Unexpected twists and turns leave you wanting more.

The story tells of a boy who feels unwanted and unloved so he goes on a search to find parents who want him. It is a good old-fashioned story of a simpler time. Themes of friendship, family, and honesty fill the book. It is a beautiful classic. We loved everything about this book and I can’t wait to read even more titles from the amazing author, Astrid Lingren.

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing a giveaway for my readers. Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a copy of Rasmus and the Vagabond.

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Harriet Tubman Unit Study

*This post was sponsored by Family Christian. I received some form of compensation for writing this post.*


There are so many wonderful people who have made America the place it is today. Since February is Black History Month we decided to study an amazing woman, Harriet Tubman. Currently in our regular history curriculum we are studying Moses, so what better person is there to study, than the Moses of her people, Harriet Tubman.

Free 19 page unit study on Harriet Tubman

Did you know that Family Christian has a few different resources about Harriet Tubman? They have so many more amazing items than I would have ever guessed. After a quick look at their website I decided to purchase Harriet Tubman Freedom’s Trailblazer. It looked like a fun book geared for kids.

Harriet Tubman Freedom’s Trailblazer is part of the Childhood of Famous Americans series. The books are historical fiction but stick to the spirit and values that influenced the person’s development. The books are written on a reading level that is suitable for kids eight to twelve.

Harriet Tubman: Freedom's Trailblazer
When you are dealing with such a horrible part of history you never know how a book is going to depict the bad parts of history. I don’t want a book that sugar coats history and downplays the violence, but I also don’t want a book that is so full of violence that it scares my child. I think that Harriet Tubman Freedom’s Trailblazer is a happy medium. The book talks about the violence and the horrible things that happened to many of the slaves. It talks about the struggles they faced and makes history come to life in a personal way. You aren’t learning about some random person, but a person who has hopes and dreams. You learn about someone who has a family but doesn’t get to see all of them. It gives a very personal view.

The violence of the time is talked about but not in too much detail. You learn about a slave who was branded with a branding iron when he tried to run away and the possibility of getting half of their foot cut off if they were caught.  The “n” word is used frequently in the book by the slave owners, but I think it really depicts the way the slaves were talked to. There is violence but it is necessary to study about that part of history. The best part of the book is that it shows how Harriet put her trust in God even through horrific times.

I learned a lot about Harriet Tubman by reading this book, so I decided to create a free unit study about it. It is a 19 page study that includes reading comprehension worksheets, suggested activities, and other topics to study. To get the most use out of the study you will need the book, Harriet Tubman Freedom’s Trailblazer. But there are many fun ideas that you can use even without the book.  Click the link below to download your copy.

Harriet Tubman Study

Harriet Tubman DVD

To go along with the book I also purchased the Nest Family Entertainment video, Inspiring Heroes Harriet Tubman. It is a 45 minute animated video about the life of Harriet Tubman. Since the video is only 45 minutes long it doesn’t go into a lot of details about Harriet but it is a great overview of her life and the underground railroad for younger children.  We really like the Inspiring Heroes DVDs because they add a visual aspect to our studies.

Adventures in Odyssey: For God & Country

The final item I purchased was Adventures in Odyssey For God and Country. It is an audio drama depicting twelve different stories on American History. We haven’t listened to the entire thing yet, but we listened to the three part story all about the underground railroad. It didn’t mention Harriet Tubman, but it did give another aspect to the hardships of the underground railroad.

When we put those three resources together I felt we had a great idea about who Harriet Tubman was as a person. I also found a few other resources to round out our study of this amazing woman.

There are two different games about the underground railroad.

  • Scholastic – this one is not as interactive, but it is educational and fun.
  • National Geographic – this one is available online free or on Kindle for a small fee. It has an Oregon Trail feel where you make choices to determine if you will make it to freedom.

Here are some free printable resources

  • Scholastic – There are a lot of worksheets for different grade levels.
  • Word searches – This is a fun word search about the underground railroad.

There are so many wonderful African Americans who played a major part in American history. We should be learning about them as part of history, but take a special effort to learn even more each February. Who are you going to learn more about this Black History month?

This post is being added to the School House Review Crew’s round up of Free Printables. Click the graphic below to find even more free printables.

Free Printables Round-Upl

Motivate Your Child – Review

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I was given the amazing opportunity to review the newest book by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN, Motivate Your Child A Christian Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Who DO What They Need to Do Without Being Told. The two authors are the founders of the National Center for Biblical Parenting and they have authored numerous books.

#Heart parenting

So What is the Book About?

Parenting experts Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller demonstrate how God’s Word gives us the best way to parent, one that builds strong internal motivation in children. When parents change the way they parent, kids change the way they live. This practical book explores a theology of internal motivation and then gives parents real-life solutions to equip their kids for life.
You’ll Learn……

  • how to parent in ways that build internal motivation so kids don’t have to rely on you to get things done.
  • the four promptings of the conscience and how to coordinate your parenting to take advantage of them
  • ways to energize your spiritual training with fun and creativity
  • how to help children respond to mistakes instead of blaming, defending, or justifying.

The book is 268 pages long and divided into two sections. Part one is Moral Development in Children. This section focuses on internal motivation and parenting the conscience. Part two is Spiritual Development in Children. The second section focuses on God’s plan, family time, and connecting kids to the Bible.  Throughout the book practical advice is given and experiences from different families are shared. The book is easy to read and scriptures are all throughout the book to back up the advice that is given. It is a simple read and once I started I didn’t want to put it down.

What did I Think?

This has been an amazing book, but before I talk about the book, I want to talk about what occurred right before I applied to review it.

The name of the book alone caught my eye. In fact, when I first read about the opportunity to review the book I had just yelled at AJ for not doing what she was told for the hundredth time that day. I actually laughed as I scrolled through Facebook and the picture of the book came on my news feed. I was sitting with a few family members and I said, “I can’t even get her to do what she needs to do when I tell her, let alone without being told!” I stated that I wasn’t even going to apply because a book couldn’t help. But, every single day the same picture kept coming up in my news feed. It was the first thing I saw when I turned my computer on. It seemed like the more trouble AJ was giving me with “forgetting” to do her chores, the more the picture popped up. Finally, on the last day, I decided that it must be a sign and I filled out the application half heartedly. I didn’t expect to get picked and then the next thing I knew I had an email stating that I was picked to review the book. Secretly, it was a book I just didn’t want to read. How could a book help my situation when we a not your normal family?

I started reading and right away something changed. I read the first chapter and agreed with everything that was said. The first chapter started out with a family who was frustrated every morning trying to get their kids out the door. Sound familiar? It did to me. Mornings are a HUGE hassle. AJ takes forever. I have to tell her to get up a few times and then no matter how many times I tell her to take a quick shower she is in there forever. As I read on and saw the few things that the parents did that made their mornings smoother, I was hooked. They didn’t do anything amazing, but simple switches led to a better morning for them.

I never write in books, I like to donate them after I am finished. That is not going to happen with this book, by the second chapter I was underlining things, circling things, and even writing notes in the margins about things I wanted to try.

As I continued to read a few amazing quotes really stuck out to me:

  • What children often need is more parenting, not more space – pg 31
  • As children learn obedience, they’re learning to do what’s right. As children learn honor, they’re learning to think about others. pg 87
  •  Bad attitudes, whining and complaining are honor issues. pg 88
  •  One of the signs of maturity is when you do the right thing even when the desire isn’t there. pg 98

There are so many more quotes, Bible verses, and pieces of advice that really touched me, but I can’t list them all.

With each chapter I read I learned so many things, and I started to put a few techniques into place. Now, AJ didn’t turn into a saint, and she is not the perfect child, but I have seen some improvements both in her attitude and the way I am parenting. I notice her chores getting done more often without me telling her and that is a big change. One night she even did the dishes, put the food away,  and wiped off all of the counters (not her job) just to help me out because she knew I was hurting.

There are many other changes that I want to make and how I discipline is one of them. Today she got in trouble and instead of not being able to use electronics for a set amount of time, I told her she wouldn’t be able to use them until she could show me that she could follow the rules. We have a lot of work ahead of us and it is going to be a long road. This book has given me a lot of tools and techniques to get AJ where she needs to be.

Overall it is an amazing book. It is not going to change your kids overnight, but it will provide you with the tools to parent to the heart, work on their conscience, and help your family become closer to God. I would recommend this book to any christian parent. This is one book that I will be keeping and utilizing when I am having a hard time dealing with a pre-teen full of hormones.

President’s Day Resources and Free Printable

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Last year one of our focuses was learning about the Presidents. The goal for our president study was for AJ to get a basic understanding of the significance of each president, learn a little about each one, and be able to name the presidents in the order that they served.



Over a period of two weeks AJ made a President Book. I found a few different printable notebooking pages online but I didn’t find one that I really liked so I decided to make my own. You can download it here. Just print off a sheet for each president you are studying.

Here are a few of the resources we used.

We checked out a lot of books from the library about the Presidents. A few were fairly dull and some were amazing. Here are our favorite books.


We love the DK Eyewitness books, and this one was perfect to supplement our president study. Most of the presidents have at least a page written about them and some had even more. The book we used didn’t have the clip-art CD but that would have been helpful when AJ was making her book.


While the Presidents were our main focus, we also touched on the First Ladies. They are an important part of history and we both found this book fascinating. There were so many wonderful pictures.


Another great book we used was Time for Kids: Presidents of the United States what we liked about this book was that it had a lot of fun facts about the presidents.The reading level was also a bit easier. Each of the books had enough different information that we didn’t get bored reading all three.

After AJ finished her book we used some President flashcards that we found at Target in the “Dollar Spot” I bought two sets and we played go-fish, war (Abraham Lincoln would win over George Washington since 16 is larger than 1), and memory. AJ had a blast and we both learned more about the presidents.


Throughout the year we learned a lot about Abraham Lincoln. One of our favorite videos was the Inspiring Heroes DVD. The video is only about 30 minutes long, but there is so much information delivered in that time. The video comes with a free 48 page coloring and activity book all about Abraham Lincoln. I was able to find the activity book online for free but I can no longer find it. You can purchase it from Nest Learning for under $2 and it is well worth the price. AJ enjoyed the workbook, but it is really geared for kids second to fourth grade in my opinion. There is a video about George Washington as well, but we haven’t watched it yet.

The best part about our study was trying to learn the Animaniacs President Song.

The song isn’t for everyone. It pokes fun of a few presidents and mentions how a few of the presidents drank. It also ends with the Clinton administration. AJ liked it and memorized a good portion of the song.

We downloaded a few apps to AJ’s Kindle Fire so she could practice even more. Our favorite was US Presidents.


The US Presidents is a matching game and every time you get a correct match you are told the President’s name and number. It was free when I posted this.
We do a lot of lapbooks and before AJ made her President’s Book we were going to use this free lapbook created by Heather from Marine Corps and Nomads. It has a lot of great information.
Overall we had a successful President Study. I hope you are able to use some of these resources to make your study a little bit better.

This post will be part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew Round-up of President’s Day Resources. Check out what other Crew members are sharing. (This link will be live on 1-28-15)

Presidents Day Resources