VeritasBible.com ~ Review

I am always looking for ways to make learning fun for AJ. One subject that I don’t want her to dread doing on a daily basis is Bible. I want the time she spends learning more about God’s word to be enjoyable, but I also want her to really be learning. I have heard wonderful things about Veritas Press so when we were given the chance to review a one year family subscription to VeritasBible.com I was eager to get started.

Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review
VeritasBible.com is a fun and interactive way for your child to learn about the Bible. The family subscription lets you have up to five students working on the program. There are three courses that your child can work on, Genesis to Joshua, Judges to Kings, and The Gospels. Each course covers 32 major events in the Bible. With the subscription to VeritasBible.com you have access to all three courses, you can skip around and work on a little of each course, or stick to one. The choice is yours. Each course has enough lessons to last an entire school year.

VeritasBible.com - The best way to learn the Bible!

When you first start on VeritasBible.com your student picks an avatar and then decides the course that they want to start with. During the review period AJ jumped around between the courses, but the course she worked on the most was Genesis to Joshua.

The student follows a path where they need to complete lessons in order to move on. AJ said that the paths reminded her of a video game.

VP7

Each lesson is comprised of videos, games, Bible reading, review, and memory work. Each lesson has about 15 parts but they are all a little different.

In the beginning of the lesson characters from Biblical times introduce the topic in short videos. These are well made and funny. Both AJ an I were giggling a few times. The Bible event is talked about and explained by one of the characters.

After the event is described there is often a section of the Bible that the student is asked to read and answer questions about. Sometimes they may be multiple choice questions, matching questions, or ordering questions. There is instant feedback and the student isn’t able to move on until the correct answer is given.

VeritasBible.com - The Best way to study the Bible

In between the activities there are short videos where the characters explain more about things in the Bible.

The student often is asked to apply knowledge from their own life to the event in the Bible. In this lesson the student is asked which thing would be an example of moral decay. Again, the student can’t move on until the correct answer is given.

VeritasBible.com - The Best way to study the Bible

There is review in every lesson. In this lesson about Noah and the Flood, the student plays a game where they need to answer questions about the Fall in the Garden of Eden. For each question they get correct they earn more time to play a game. The questions aren’t all simple, but because there is so much review AJ is really retaining the information and able to answer almost every question correctly.

VeritasBible.com - The Best way to study the Bible

There are also activities that help the student remember where everyone fits in the story. This activity had her put the people in order on the time line.

VeritasBible.com - The Best way to study the Bible

There are Bible Cards to go with each course that are sold separately. During the lesson the Bible card for the event is read. Since we didn’t purchase the cards I have AJ write down the information from the cards and keep them with her notes. I think they would be a good item to purchase.

VeritasBible.com - The Best way to study the Bible

The lesson ends with a multiple choice quiz about the lesson. The student is shown their grade, but it is not recorded in the system.

VeritasBible.com - The Best way to study the Bible

Most of the lessons also include the memory song. It is a slightly annoying but catchy song that lists all 32 of the events in order. AJ loves the song. I think it is a great way to help remember the order of the events in the Bible.

As you can see, this is a very thorough way to learn about the Bible. I had AJ take notes on each lesson so that she was able to remember all of the details. The student is kept engaged, there are a variety of activities, and plenty of games to make learning fun.

The only issue we had with the program is that because it is so vibrant and full of information, it can take a while to load. When AJ did the program on the desktop computer she never had any problems, but when she used it on the laptop with wireless internet the lessons often loaded slow and had issues. I am sure it was because of our internet, but if you have issues with your wireless internet that may be something you want to consider before purchasing. There is a free trial, and you don’t even need to give a credit card, I recommend that you try is out and see how your kids like it.

One thing that I wish would change about the program is the fact that it has to be done in order. I wish that we could skip to the 11th event, “Sodom and Gamorah” if we wanted without having to do all of the lessons before that.

I am thankful that we were able to review VeritasBible.com AJ and I have both already learned so much. I am making it her Bible curriculum for next year because she loves it and I love that she is really learning. I think that Veritas Press really lived up to all the hype, they really do make amazing products.

Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review
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The Glass Castle ~ Review

AJ is quite particular about the types of books that she enjoys reading or listening to. She has broadened the types of genres that she enjoys over the past few years, but if it isn’t about animals or an exciting adventure then she most likely isn’t going to enjoy it. According to her a book is only good if she can see the story in her head and really feel like she is on an adventure with the characters. When we were asked to review The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins from Shiloh Run Press I was a little hesitant. I didn’t think she would want to read another book when we were so close to the end of the school year. Then I read a phrase about the book, “The setting of Chronicles of Narnia meets the adventure of Alice in Wonderland.” After reading that, I thought it would be something that AJ would enjoy.

The Glass Castle, an exciting adventure story perfect for middle grade kids!

The Glass Castle is a 251 page hard-covered book that is broken into 41 chapters. It is an action and adventure book for middle grade students. There are quite a few moral lessons woven through the book along with a few Bible verses. Even though prayer and God are mentioned a few times throughout the book I personally would not consider it a faith based book. I think that most kids with a fifth grade reading level or above would be able to read it independently.

It was a great book and AJ would give it 5 out of 5 stars. That is a big complement coming from her.

The Glass Castle {Shiloh Run Press Review}
(There are some spoilers below)

The Glass Castle follows the story of 13 year old Avery. She is walking with her brother and feels like she is being followed, and it turned out she was. She ends up being kidnapped and is later told that her brother was taken as well, but that she wouldn’t be able to see him. Avery ends up in a room with a bunch of thirteen year old orphans. The only problem is that Avery isn’t an orphan, or is she?

After some exploring Avery realizes that she knows where she is, not because she had been there before, but because her mother had told her all about it in stories when she was little. Avery thought those stories were just fairy tales, but it turns out that they weren’t. Avery realizes that they are all in the castle of an evil King. For some reason the King had ordered all 13 year old orphans to be destroyed and the kids were all being held in the castle for their own protection. She soon learns that the kids all do work in the castle, and really they almost run it. From dress making to baking, they do it all. These 13 year olds are much wiser than their years. She becomes friends with a girl, Kate, who seems to know much more than any one else.

Avery wants to escape and return home, but she is told her brother will be harmed if she leaves. Just when she is about to try and escape the kids decide to elect a child king to be in charge. A kind boy named Tuck ends up being elected King, and surprising everyone he appoints Avery as the new queen.

She needs to find out more about the castle and why they are all there. Upon exploring the castle she learns that the King is sick and needs an heir to his thrown. But that isn’t all she finds out. Who was the first Queen, and why did her mother know so much about the castle? Who can she trust, and are her feelings for a boy clouding her judgment? Will the kids escape?

Unfortunately, by the end of the book you won’t have the answers to most of those questions. I am all for series of books and cliffhanger endings, but I hate when a book ends and the majority of the problems haven’t been solved. Especially when the next book won’t be available for a few months! I really felt this book needed at least one more chapter to tie in some loose ends and I hope that the next book is able to answer those questions. I look forward to reading the next one, I am sure it will be as good as this one.

I wanted to read a few chapters a day to AJ, but we got busy with school and doctors and just didn’t seem to find to sit down and read the book. I sat aside an entire school day where we did nothing but read the book. It turned out to be a good thing, because we wouldn’t have wanted to put it down after a few chapters. I expected some complaining from AJ, but she didn’t want me to stop reading. I read the book to her in a little more than five hours, and it was a very thrilling experience. From the first chapter to the end we were learning new details, making discoveries, and attempting to figure things out. I’ll admit that I kept reading ahead because the story was so intriguing.

One thing that I really liked about the book was that it was clean. There wasn’t any magic or witches, and while there was some obvious chemistry between a few characters there wasn’t as much as a kiss between them. There is mention of a drunk man and a few people die, but there were no details. I really think that most parents would be comfortable with their child reading The Glass Castle.

If you have a kid who enjoys adventure and mystery, then The Glass Castle may be just the book for them. Mom will probably like it too.

Find out what other reviewers had to say about The Glass Castle by clicking the graphic below.

The Glass Castle {Shiloh Run Press Review}
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Heroes of History ~ Review

I am always looking for a way to change up our school day. Since the next topic we are planning to study is American history after the Civil War, I have been on the look out for books and activities to help AJ learn about that era. When we were given a chance to review a book from YWAM Publishing, I knew that I wanted to pick an influential person to learn about. We were given a physical copy of Heroes of History Theodore Roosevelt: An American Original and a Digital Unit Study to accompany it. Since we reviewed a book from YWAM last year, I knew that we were in for a treat.

Theodore Roosevelt Review

 

Theodore Roosevelt An American Original is a 201 page soft covered book that is broken into 17 chapters. The book starts with a 39 year old Teddy Roosevelt marching up San Juan Hill as part of a Volunteer Cavalry. Then the book goes back in time and starts with him at five years old during the Civil War. His parents were on opposite sides of the war, and that made for a difficult time. His mother was helping out the South while his father was helping the North, even though he wasn’t fighting. The book goes on to tell about how sick Teddy was as a child and how he decided to make his body work by exercising and training. We learn that the Roosevelt family came into a lot of money and that because of that, Teddy and his family went on amazing vacations. He sailed up the Nile River and visited numerous countries in Africa and Europe. We learn about Teddy’s love of animals and his love of taxidermy.

The book then continues to show how he got into politics. It tells the sad way he lost his mother and wife and how he finally came back to society. Then the book talks about his road to the presidency, the obstacles he faced and how he dealt with them.

The book is easy to read and understand, but it does have some advanced vocabulary throughout the chapters. Reading the book alone gives you a great understanding of who Theodore Roosevelt was, but when you combine it with the Digital Unit Study, there is so much to learn.

The Digital Unit Study has options for classroom use, small group use, and for homeschool use. It is broken into two sections. The first section is the real study guide it is 71 pages long and has comprehension questions, social study activities, related themes, and more. The second part of the unit study is the printable pages. It included a fact sheet to fill out about Roosevelt, a world map, map of America, a map of New York, and a time line to fill in. The study guide is full of information to make the book really come to life.

I wanted this book to be our history study. Each week we read through three chapters of the book (except the first chapter that was really short.) and AJ answered the comprehension questions from the study guide. She also looked up different social study terms as we came to them. The Roosevelt family went on a lot of trips. AJ used the maps to chart their journeys. There are dozens of writing prompts, crafts, and ideas for places to visit while reading the book, we haven’t done those yet, but we still have a few chapters left to read.

AJ likes the story and has enjoyed following along with the Roosevelt family’s journeys. I have been reading the book out loud to her and she looks forward to finding out what is coming up next. If she enjoyed reading more, I could see the Heroes of History books being a great spine to our history study next year. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t work for her. I wish it would because the books from YWAM are full of history and bring a person to life. You get to know them so much better than you can in a few pages of a text book.

If you are looking for a book to supplement your history studies, or if you are looking for a good biography, these are great.

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}
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Memoria Press Literature ~ Review

When I was in middle school and high school I really enjoyed literature. We would spend about a month on a book and by the time we were finished we learned so many things. We talked about all kinds of literary terms and often would spend an entire class period marking up passages in the books. Since I loved diving into good books I wanted AJ to have the same kind of experience as I did. Unfortunately, I hadn’t found a great literature curriculum that I could afford, so I decided to make up my own literature guides. I enjoy doing it and she loves them, but they take a long time. I knew I need to find a few well written study guides before next year, but I didn’t know where to look.

 

Memoria Press Literature Guides Review
 

As I began looking for literature curriculum to use with AJ next year, I came across Memoria Press. We enjoyed a history study from them last year, so I thought that AJ would enjoy their literature. A few weeks later I was blessed with the opportunity to review the Eighth Grade Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press. AJ is in 7th grade right now, but the books in the 8th grade set looked like ones that she would really enjoy.

 

Memoria Press Literature Guides Review

 

I was thrilled when I opened the box from Memoria Press. It included Student Study Guides and Teacher Guides for; The Wind In the Willows, As You Like It, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Treasure Island. Each Study Guide was a little bit different.

Treasure Island

Treasure Island Literature Guide

The Student Study Guide for Treasure Island is 89 pages long. It begins with two pages of directions explaining how to use the literature guide and then a two page introduction about the author, Robert Louis Stevenson. The guide is broken into lessons that cover either one or two chapters. Each lesson follows a similar layout.

  • Reading Notes – This section gives information about unknown characters or terms.
  • Vocabulary – In this section your child gives definitions for an average of eight to ten words. Then they are asked to do additional dictionary work for two of the words.
  • Comprehension Questions – Your students answer five or six questions about the reading in complete sentences.
  • Quotations – A quote from the chapter is given and your student writes which character (or if it was the narrator) said the quote.
  • Discussion Questions – A few questions are listed for your student to discuss orally. Some of the questions are opinion based where others focus on morals or the reasoning behind a characters action.
  • Enrichment – The Enrichment section is not found after every chapter. It includes additional activities to go along with the reading. Some of the activities include; drawing, map work, finding definitions, research, and composition activities.

After about every six chapters there is a Mastery Word Review where your student completes vocabulary activities based on vocabulary that they learned in the previous chapters.

At the end of the book there is an Appendix of Nautical Terms. This section is really neat. It not only has terms, but types of knots, parts of a ship, and sailing directions. I think this section would really come in handy while reading the book.

The Teacher Guide is an exact copy of the student guide with all of the answers filled in. The back of the guide includes answers to some of the discussion questions. There are also six reproducible quizzes, a final exam, and answer keys.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Adventures of Tom Sawyer Literature Guide

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Student Study Guide is 79 pages long. While it is similar to the Treasure Island Guide there are some notable differences. This guide starts with a short one page guide about how to use the book and then it goes into a section about how to mark a book. This section made me smile. It is very basic, but it shows the student how to read closely and mark important things in their book.

After the section about marking the book the student is instructed to read the preface of the book and answer some questions about it in the Study Guide.

There are 36 lessons in this book, one for each chapter in the book. Each lesson follows the same layout.

  • Reading Notes
  • Vocabulary – They are only asked to define about 5 words, there is not any extra dictionary work.
  • Comprehension Questions
  • Quotations – This time they are asked who said the quote and who it was spoken to or about.
  • Discussion Questions
  • Focus Passage – In each Focus Passage the student is asked to find a certain paragraph in the chapter and answer questions about it. The first few have simple comprehension type questions about the paragraph. As they move through the book they are asked to list words that describe mood, or for phrases that show certain things about a character. At times they are asked to paraphrase parts of the paragraph or to describe what was going on.

Like Treasure Island, this Teacher Guide has all of the student pages with the answers filled in. It also has six quizzes and a final exam.

As You Like It

As You Like it Literature Guide

The Student Guide for As You Like It is 42 pages long. Since this is a play by Shakespeare the Student Guide is a little different than the others. It begins with a two page introduction to Shakespeare followed by a two page introduction to the play. Following the introduction is a Character Log with the name of twelve characters from the play. The student has to describe each character and their strengths and weaknesses as they read the play.

The rest of the Student Guide is divided into seven lessons, a question about the Epilogue, and 80 short answer review questions.

Each Lesson has:

  • Vocabulary – Ten to fifteen questions where they are only asked for the definitions.
  • Journal Prompts – Three to five activities including some fun activities like; making the family tree of a character, comparing and contrasting characters, diary entries from different characters, monologues, pictures, and more.
  • Quotes – The student is given three or four quotes. The need to tell who spoke it, who it was spoken to, the situation, the meaning, and the reaction.
  • Comprehension Questions – There are about fifteen questions in each lesson. Many of the questions have multiple parts.

The Teacher Guide is similar to the others. It has the Student Guide with all of the answers filled in. Well, almost all of the answers were filled in. The Character Log was left blank. I wish that it would have been filled in because Shakespeare is a hard topic to teach. Having those filled in would have helped me explain things to AJ a little easier. At the back of the guide there are answers to the Review Questions along with a Midterm Exam and a Final Exam. The exams both include required essay questions.

I think that this guide will make teaching Shakespeare a lot easier for me. I have not read this play yet so I think it will be helpful to have the basic answers at my finger tips.

The Wind in the Willows

Wind in the Willows Literature Guide

The Student Guide for The Wind in the Willows is 53 pages long. It has twelve lessons, one for each chapter in the book. This guide didn’t have any directions or introduction. It just starts. Out of all of the guides, this one seems a little all over the place. But it provides quite a bit of variety.

Each lesson is a little different and may have:

  • Reading Notes – These are not already filled in like in Treasure Island or The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Instead the name of a character, a place, or an unknown term is listed. During the reading the student is to fill in information that they find. Often the information was not found in the book and we needed to look it up.
  • Vocabulary – The student only writes a short definition.
  • Comprehension Questions – Some lessons only have a few while others have twelve or more.
  • Quotations – The student lists who said it, when they said it, and who they said it about,
  • Discussion Questions
  • Activities– These range from drawings to reports. There is room right in the guide for most of these activities.
  • Focus Passages

The Teacher Guide is similar to the others and has answers to almost every question. It also includes five quizzes and a final exam.

How We Used It

Since there was no way AJ could finish more than one of these during the review period, we had to pick one to start with. AJ decided to start with The Wind in the Willows, after I told her that Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disney Land was based on a character in the book. I ordered two copies of the book from the library and after receiving abridged and junior additions, we were finally on the way home with two copies of the the original version.

When the box arrived AJ was anxious to see what was in it. At that time I didn’t look at the other guides. We opened the guides for The Wind in the Willows and looked over them.

Memoria Press

I was disappointed that there wasn’t a schedule or pacing guide at all. There wasn’t even any instructions. When I tried to find out how long the study would take I couldn’t find information for this guide, only for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. After looking at that I decided that we would take the study slow. AJ has improved a lot in her reading and writing, but I knew it would be too much for her to read the entire chapter and answer all of the questions at one time.

I decided to have AJ look up the vocabulary words and then we would take turns reading for about thirty minutes. After the reading she did any written work (except for the activities) that she was able to based on her reading. Following that schedule she was able to complete about two lessons and the quiz each week. On the day that she took the quiz I would also have her do a few of the activities from the chapters. At first I was a little uncomfortable taking that long on a book, but AJ was learning a great deal. I felt that the questions were well written and on an eight grade level. One thing that I really appreciated is that the Study Guide gave plenty of room for AJ to write.

What We Thought

The one thing that really frustrated me was that the quizzes and tests are all in the Teacher Guides? The only guide that states that the quizzes and tests are reproducible is the guide for Treasure Island. After reading the copyright on the front of the other guides I assumed that they were not reproducible. Since I didn’t want AJ to have the Teacher Guide I ended up giving her the quizzes orally and that was very time consuming. When I read that the quizzes and tests in Treasure Island were reproducible I assumed that the other ones were probably too. Knowing that would have made the quizzes easier for AJ.

At first I thought that reading four novels in a school year was just not enough. This year I planned to have AJ read eight. I quickly realized that these four Study Guides made for a very complete curriculum. The vocabulary in each one is challenging but doable and I think it will stretch AJ’s abilities. For each book the student focuses on a different element. This makes each guide unique and will keep the work interesting.

AJ’s favorite part was the Quotations section. She enjoyed hunting through the chapter to see who said each quote. I found that having her look for the quotes made her read closer. There were even a few times that she asked to do the work by herself. Normally she doesn’t enjoy study guides unless I create them, but she enjoyed working on The Wind in the Willows.

I love that this set has her starting to read closely and having her mark up the books. I think it is a great skill to learn.

While we read through this book together I think that she should be able to complete the guides for Treasure Island and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer with very little help from me. I was very reluctant to teach her Shakespeare already, but the way the guide is written makes me confident that we will be able to read and understand it.

These guides look like they will make a great literature curriculum. We are going to set the other three novels aside for now and use them next year. I am sure that with just one or two more books added AJ will have a very full year of learning.

If you are looking for a solid curriculum, that is easy for the parent, and has plenty of variety, then I think Memoria Press is something you should check out.

Other Members of the Crew reviewed different levels of the Literature Guides. Find out what they had to say by clicking on the graphic below.

 

Memoria Press Literature Guides Review
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6 Amazing Advent Resources

These advent resources will make your holiday a little brighter.

Christmas is my favorite time of year. Even when I worked in retail, I always looked forward to the holiday season. I love the lights, the songs, the decorations, and the goodies. We love counting down the days until Christmas. Over the last few years our family has used a few different advent products. Some were simple books and others were full studies. Here are our favorites.

Post Contains Affiliate Links

Melk the Christmas Monkey

Melk is a monkey with a message! Melk visits your child each day and shares something about God’s love. (Think Elf on the Shelf but focused on God instead of behavior.)When you purchase the e book you get lessons to do with your child, instructions on how to pose Melk, printable letters from Melk, and instructions for crafts or activities that help explain the topic you are learning about.

Melk taught us a lot last year each day AJ couldn’t wait to see where Melk was hanging out, and what lesson he was going to teach her. All e books from Paradise Praises, including Melk the Christmas Monkey, will be 25% off on Cyber Monday.

Celebrate Jesus Light of the World

This amazing e book is packed full of Christmas fun! It includes daily Bible reading and activities along with copywork and recipes. This book is a fun way to count down the days until Christmas. It is a full advent study that is pretty much open and go. It includes daily Bible reading, copywork, and activities.

We used this a few years ago and had a great time. I am planning on using parts of this book again this year. If you are looking for a complete advent study that is simple and exciting, this is it.

Christmas Around the World

Christmas Around the World is a six week  geography based unit study for elementary aged student. It is a great way to continue with school work and Christmas fun at the same time. Throughout the study your child will learn about 30 different countries. This book includes information about each country, worksheets, crafts and activities.

Birth of Jesus from GrapeVine Bible Studies

We were blessed to review this just a few weeks ago, and I have become a fan of GrapeVine studies. The idea is simple, your child stick figures their way through the Bible and during that time they become more familiar with the Bible and the events that took place. Kids enjoy the lessons because they are able to draw. AJ was actually disappointed when the study was finished. If you are looking for a strictly Bible only study, this would be a great choice!

Through December this study will be 30% off.

Why We Give Gifts at Christmastime and Why I Give an Activity Book

This adorable children’s book explains the reason we give gifts for Christmas in a way that children can easily understand. The activity book has fun puzzles and games, it also includes numerous ideas for gifts that kids can make with just a little help from adults. I was very surprised by the quality of the gift ideas. AJ made quite a few of them the year we used it.

Countdown to Christmas

This is another fun children’s book. The book has a page for each day until Christmas. Each page introduces a new character or object that is important to the Christmas story. Each day you read the book from the beginning stopping after you read one new page. By the day before Christmas your child should be able to retell the entire Christmas story.

The back of the book comes with instructions of how to make a Christmas countdown tree that you can add to daily. This is a great choice for those with younger kids and those who are looking for a very quick book to read from each day.

We have used part or all of each study listed above and have found them to be a great addition to or Christmas fun.

What is your favorite advent related item?

 

 

GrapeVine Bible Study ~ Review

 

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Finding the right Bible study for my 12 year old has been difficult. She needs something that gets her reading the Bible, and helps her understand it, but something that doesn’t require too much writing. Since she dislikes writing, I have found that programs that require a lot of writing are often a struggle. I want her to enjoy our Bible time, not dread it.

 

Grapevine Studies Review
 

I have heard about GrapeVine Studies before, but I thought they were just for younger kids. I was happy to find out that they are for a variety of ages. We were recently given the chance to review Birth of Jesus: Multi-Level from GrapeVine Studies. We received a physical copy of both the student book and the teacher manual.

Stick Figure your way through the Bible with GrapeVine Bible Studies!

 

GrapeVine is a Bible study curriculum where your child draws stick figures as they go through the Bible. Activities vary in each level, but as your child gets older they learn Biblical timelines, geography, and how to use different Bible study tools.

To complete this study you will need a Bible, colored pencils, markers, access to a Bible dictionary, and atlas or map.

Stick Figure your way through the Bible with GrapeVine Bible Studies!

Birth of Jesus: Multi-Level

 

Grapevine Studies Review
 

The Birth of Jesus: Multi-Level is for kids ages 7 and up. Depending on your needs, the study includes suggested schedules for both daily and weekly lessons. It should take 5 weeks to complete. This study covers from the time the Angel Gabriel spoke to Mary until the death of Herod. It contains a timeline of the events and a final review along with four weeks of lessons.

  • The Announcement
  • The Birth of Jesus
  • The Proclamation
  • The Wise Men and Herod

The books are available as physical copies, or e-books. We received the physical copy. It is a stack of loose leaf pages that have been three hole punched, so you can easily put them in a notebook. I decided not to put them in a three ring binder. Instead I kept all of the sheets in the plastic they came in and pulled out the pages she would be using for the week. As each lesson was finished I put it in her binder.

The teacher manual is printed in color and gives a detailed script that you can follow and sample drawings.

How We Used It

The first week your child draws a timeline for events for the entire study. During this time you give basic information about characters and events. This time line was 8 pages long. After AJ finished drawing the timeline we started in with the first lesson. We went with the daily lessons. Each lesson only took about 20 minutes for AJ to complete.

What does a week look like?

Each lesson was spread out over a week. The lesson starts off with a quick review of the lesson from the previous week. The student draws some of the events from the time line and reviews the memory verse.

Using the teacher’s guide you read selected verses from the Bible and discuss them with your children. Then they are told to draw something. During the week we were on lesson 2 AJ was asked to draw seven different scenes from the reading.

  1. Joseph Heard the News
  2. Joseph’s Decision
  3. The Angel and Joseph
  4. Joseph and Mary
  5. The Decree
  6. Bethlehem
  7. Birth of Jesus

An example of what your student can draw is given in the teacher’s guide, but your student is encouraged to use their creativity.

Stick Figure your way through the Bible with GrapeVine Bible Studies!

After reading and illustrating a few scenes your child is then suppose to look up a short list of words in a Bible dictionary.

Stick Figure your way through the Bible with GrapeVine Bible Studies!

There is not a specific place for the student to write the definitions, so AJ just wrote them on a separate sheet of paper.  For some definitions we used a dictionary online because our Illustrated Bible Dictionary didn’t have all of the words. ( I think it’s time to get a better one.) Throughout the study your student will also be asked to label six different areas on a map. AJ decided to label the entire map during lesson 1, but there should have been map work in this lesson.

Stick Figure your way through the Bible with GrapeVine Bible Studies!

Once all of the scenes are illustrated there are review questions. Again there is not a specific place for your child to write these, they can even be done orally. The final page of the lesson has the student draw their favorite part of the lesson and write (or recite) the memory verse of the week.

What We Thought

I like how easy this study was for me, I was able to simply open and go. The teacher’s guide is definitely a requirement and was full of useful information. I love how in-depth the study was. AJ was familiar with the Christmas story, but she didn’t know all of the details. Now she has a deep understanding of what really happened. This would be the perfect study to do in December leading up to Christmas!

The best part of this study is that AJ is learning and enjoying Bible time. The lessons are short enough that I don’t feel rushed to fit them into our schedule, and there was enough repetition that she is remembering the details of the stories even after the study was over.

AJ likes that she gets to draw. Even though I required her to write the memory verses, definitions, and review questions, she didn’t feel like there was too much to do. I  only used this with one student, but it looks like it would be easy to use with a group of students at different levels.

I would highly recommend this study to anyone looking for a simple to use Bible study that kids enjoy. It has been a real blessing for our homeschool and I hope that we are able to use another GrapeVine study soon.

Grapevine Studies Review
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Brinkman Adventures ~ Review

AJ loves being read to and really enjoys audio books, when we were given the chance to review The Brinkman Adventures: Season 3 I thought that AJ would enjoy them. We had never listened to any of the products from Brinkman Adventures  so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

An audio drama adventure that helps bring your child closer to God.

What is Brinkman Adventures?

Brinkman Adventures is an audio drama that tells stories of real life missionaries. Names and some details are changed for safety reasons, but the struggles, triumphs, and stories of God’s love are true. We received a physical copy of season three. It has 12 episodes that come on 4 CDs. The episodes covered in this season are:

  1. God’s Mule
  2. Mountain Mover
  3. The Silent Ambassador
  4. Translating Trouble
  5. Man-Up
  6. Acorns & Oaks
  7. A Saint’s Story Part 1
  8. A Saint’s Story Part 2
  9. Untouched
  10. Busy Bees and a Bullhorn
  11. Missionary Tourist Part 1
  12. Missionary Tourist Part 2

While this is season 3 in the series, you don’t have to listen to season 1 and 2 first. The only issue AJ and I had with not have listening to the previous series is that we didn’t know who the different voices in the story were. We were able to listen, learn, and enjoy each story even without knowing exactly who everyone was in the beginning.

The adventures you go on as you listen to the audio drama really come to life. The amazing sound effects and musical elements add to the suspense in the stories. I was surprised by the incredible details, from different voices and accents to back ground noises in the city, there was so much to take in. AJ said it was so realistic that she felt like she was watching TV with her eyes shut.

How We Used Brinkman Adventures

 

Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review
Our original plan was to simply listen to an episode each day. That didn’t happen! AJ was so into the stories that we would listen as long as we had time for, some times three or four episodes a day. A few of them she wanted to listen to more than once. The best part is that there are more adventures waiting once you finish listening to the episode.

You can go to their website and find out more about the stories that you listened to. Depending on the story, you will find out who the story is based on and additional information. They even tell you which parts of the story were fictionalized. Some of the things we assumed were fictionalized were actually true, and that was fun to find out. Most of the stories contain pictures and videos of the real people or places that you learn about in the story.

After we listened to all of the episodes AJ and I went through the true stories online. We found it very inspirational.

What We Thought of Brinkman Adventures

It is amazing! The stories are fun to listen to and keep you at the edge of your seat, but most importantly, they show characters who are following God. The characters inspire you to be a better person and to do the right thing. I loved that they didn’t come off as preachy, but through the actions and decisions of each character your child is learning.

I would highly recommend this series to anyone looking to add a little adventure in their day! These would be great for road trips too.

Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review
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Galaxy Buck ~ Review and Giveaway

If you are a Buck Denver fan you will be excited to know that Buck is staring in a new video, Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9. We love all of the What’s in the Bible? DVDs so we were anxious to watch this newest video.

Galaxy Buck

About Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9

Buck Denver has a simple dream – to save the galaxy.  Working for the Galactic Mission Board, Buck dreams of carrying God’s love to every corner of the Milky Way!  Except he doesn’t have a starship.  Or a crew.  Or even a captain’s license. He just needs a chance.  But when that chance comes and Buck finds himself leading a real mission into deep space, things don’t go at ALL like he imagined!  If he’s doing what God wants him to do, why is everything going wrong?  From VeggieTales® and What’s in the Bible? creator Phil Vischer, Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9 is a wild, galactic adventure that teaches kids a powerful lesson about trusting God with everything – even our dreams!

The movie is about 40 minutes long and has many of your favorite characters from the What’s in the Bible? series.

What we thought of Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9

AJ and I both enjoyed watching Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9. It was an adorable story that shows God’s love while incorporating humor and fun. Full of humor, laughter and teachable moments. I recommend it to any one who enjoys other videos created by Phil Vischer, he has a way of teaching kids about God in a wonderful way.

It is available on DVD October 20th.

I am very thankful to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing a copy of  Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9 for this giveaway. Enter below for your chance to win.

 

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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification

 

 

When Calls the Heart – Heart of the Family ~ Review

The last year or so I have watched numerous previews for the hit Hallmark series When Calls the Heart. A few months back I watched the season two premier of the series and instantly fell in love with it. Unfortunately, life gets in the way and like most television series I enjoy, I rarely see more than a few episodes. When we were given the chance to review When Calls the Heart, Heart of the Family from FishFlix.com I was excited to catch up with some of my favorite characters. We received a physical copy of the DVD to review.

Elizabeth is in over her head in this When Calls the Heart DVD!

According to the website, When Calls the Heart, Heart of the Family is the third film in the second series of the show. Seeing the word film, I incorrectly assumed that this was a stand alone movie with the characters from When Calls the Heart. While some may argue that it is a film, I honestly felt it was more like a combination of two episodes from the series. If you are unfamiliar with the series you will probably feel lost as to what is going on – but it is a great series, and FishFlix.com has all of season 1 available, so you can easily catch up.

So What is When Calls the Heart, Heart of the Family

The film starts out with Elizabeth returning to Hope Valley. There is a welcome home party for her and she sees Jack, it is obvious the two still have feelings for each other. A few small story lines play out throughout the film with some of the other characters, but the main story line focusses on Elizabeth. She offers to help out a neighbor who has to leave his homestead to look in on an ill family member. Being raised in the city, Elizabeth ends up in over her head. She couldn’t even figure out how to pump water! Jack comes to the rescue and the two end up talking by firelight. A few days later Elizabeth’s former suitor, Charles, is in Hope Valley. Why is he there, and what will Elizabeth do? Well I can’t give it all away! You will have to watch it to find out.

The program is approximately 88 minutes long and includes some interesting behind the scenes interviews with the cast. It is not rated, but completely family friendly. There are a few kissing moments in the show, but that is all. It is even made clear that Jack didn’t stay in the house overnight with Elizabeth, instead he slept in the barn.

What Did We Think?

We decided to watch When Calls the Heart, Heart of the Family as a family. I love the fact that since the movie is from FishFlix.com I don’t have to worry at all whether there will be any inappropriate content. AJ an I both enjoyed the DVD. There were moments of humor, suspense, and even a few sad moments. The only downside was that we were both a little lost at times.

One scene had two younger characters stealing a car. I didn’t recognize them and their names were never stated. That entire scene seemed misplaced, but had I watched the episode prior to the DVD, it may have made perfect sense.

I really enjoy the series, but I would never purchase a film from a season like this. To me it would make so much more sense to just purchase the entire season. It felt like I was given the chance to read a few random chapters in a book. No matter how good those chapters are, reading the whole book would be better.

Members from the review crew reviewed a few different films from FishFlix.com, including the AMAZING movie – Do You Believe? Click on the graphic below to see what other members of the Crew thought.

FishFlix.com Review No 2
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Famous Men of Rome ~ Review

  Famous Men of Rome is a great product, even if you aren't a classical homeschooler!

We were given the opportunity to review the Famous Men of Rome Set from Memoria Press. It is classical year long course about Ancient Rome designed for 4th to 8th grade students. The set comes with a 157 page soft covered book, Famous Men of Rome. The book is broken down into 30 different chapters covering the history of Rome from the tale of Romulus and Remus to the end of the Western Empire. It is full of pictures, some black and white and others in color. The back of the book includes a glossary and full color maps of Ancient Rome. The length of each chapter really varies. Some are as short as 2 and a half pages while others are more than six pages long.

Memoria Press Review
 

To go along with the Famous Men of Rome, we also received a Student Guide. The Student Guide is a 120 page soft covered book. It includes a two page lesson for each chapter, 5 different review lessons, drawing pages to complete activities, maps (in black and white), a blank timeline to fill in, European geography lessons, a pronunciation guide, and additional resources.

Famous Men of Rome Review
The final piece of the Famous Men of Rome Set was the Teacher’s Guide. The Teacher’s Guide is a 172 page soft covered book. It includes a short two page section explaining how to use the guide. The first 120 pages are basically another Student Guide that has all of the answers filled in. The rest of the book contains the 7 different tests and answer keys, 5 to be completed after the review lessons, a final test covering the entire book, and a European geography test.

Weekly lessons from Famous Men of Rome

Each lesson is designed to last a week. The lessons are broken up into four sections; Facts to Know, Vocabulary, Comprehension Questions, and Activities. The Facts to Know section lists the most important facts from the lesson. It is also the section of the lesson that is to be used for memory work and copywork if desired. The Vocabulary section takes words from the text. The student is to try and figure out the meaning of the word from the context that it is use in, if they can’t then they are to look up the word. The Comprehension Questions are questions based on the reading. Most of the questions require a short answer or a list from the reading. The Activity section changes each week. They include locating places on the maps, filling out the timeline, drawing part of the reading, looking up information, and questions from the reading. There are some questions marked throughout the book that can be used as essay questions as well.

How we used Famous Men of Rome

While the lessons are intended to last a week, after the first week we decided to speed up the pace. We school 4 days a week and completed two lessons a week. The first day we would go over all of the Facts to Know sections from the previous lessons. Then AJ and I would read the first half of the chapter. She would answer any vocabulary or comprehension questions that she could answer from the first half of the chapter. Then she would choose 2 or 3 activities to complete, usually map work, timeline work, or drawing a picture.

On the second day we would go over all of the Facts to Know sections so far then finish up the reading. When she was finished she would fill out any unanswered vocabulary or comprehension sections. The reading time varied depending on the length of the chapter and her willingness to read, but the book work part never took longer than about 20 minutes.

What we thought about Famous Men of Rome

We are NOT classical homeschoolers. We don’t do memory work and rarely use text books. We enjoy reading great stories and learning in a hands on way. I didn’t know how AJ would take to trying to memorize dates and places, but I was pleasantly surprised. She really enjoyed reading the stories. They were exciting, full of drama, and in her words, crazy. The part she liked the best was the Facts to Know section. She loved trying to learn all of the facts. She remembered way more than I expected, and even took it upon herself to create flashcards for some of the ones she was having trouble with.

We both liked that the book work part of the lessons was short and sweet. The activities were varied enough to keep her interest and there was not too much writing. I love the fact that the vocabulary section came with answers. So many times we struggle with the vocabulary section because all dictionaries are a little different. It was nice to have the correct definitions at my fingertips.

My favorite part of the entire set was the pronunciation guide.  It was written where AJ could easily figure out how to pronounce the different Roman names. I can’t ever seem to get names right, so I found that section very helpful.

Famous Men of Rome includes some European Geography

The geography section was ok. By the looks of the book more geography is introduced in later chapters, but in my opinion you would really need more geography to have a solid grasp.

The major complaint I had was  the lack of instruction for the teacher. As I mentioned before, there is a two page section that tells you how to use the guide, but it isn’t very useful. The book doesn’t tell you how long a lesson should take, or give any suggested schedule. While I appreciate the answers, I prefer a teacher’s guide that has more to it.

The other issue I had was with the tests. The tests are in the Teacher’s Manuel, but they are not perforated for easy removal. They look difficult to remove. Since the answer key is right behind the test, giving the student the book really isn’t an option.

Overall we liked the Famous Men of Rome Set and I would recommend it to those who want to study history in a classical way. It is interesting, doesn’t have too much busy work, and AJ enjoyed it. We are planning on continuing with the books next year, but we will more than likely skip some of the vocabulary and continue with our faster pace. The stories are great and I feel that AJ has already learned so much from them.

Memoria Press Review
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