Weave Your Word in Me ~ Review

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

Kid Niche Christian Books

What is Weave Your Word in Me?

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

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

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

The Lessons

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

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

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

How We Used It

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

What We Thought

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

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

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

Weave Your Word in Me {Kid Niche Christian Books Reviews}
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Super Cool Evangelism Tools ~ Review

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

Let The Little Children Come

What Comes in the Sampler Pack?

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

 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks

Animated Tracts

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

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

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

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

Pop-up Tracts

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

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

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

FlipAbouts

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

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

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

Other Cool Evangelism Tools

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

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

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

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

What We Thought about these Cool Evangelism Tools

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

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

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

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Sex By Design ~ Review

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

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

What is Sex by Design

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

The Film Series

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

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

Parent and Teen Guidebooks

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

Abby Ludvigson Sex by Design

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

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

Online Resources

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

How We Used Sex By Design

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

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

What We Thought about Sex By Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sex by Design {Abby Ludvigson Review}
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Brinkman Adventures Season 4 ~ Review

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

Brinkman Adventures

About Season 4

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

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

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

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

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

How We Used Brinkman Adventures

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

What We Thought

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

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

Brinkman Adventures Season 4
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Captain Bayley’s Heir ~ Review

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

Captain Bayley's Heir

About Captain Bayley’s Heir

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

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

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

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

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

About the Study Guide

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

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

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

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

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

Captain Bayley’s Heir ~ What We Thought

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

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

Captain Bayley's Heir {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
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Imagine The Great Flood ~ Book Review

I am always on the look out for exciting books that portray strong values. I especially enjoy it when those books are based on biblical events. Reading books based on the events in the Bible gives us the chance to see how characters might have felt in certain situations. While fiction can’t and shouldn’t take the place of the Bible, it can give us some perspective. We were recently given the chance to review a book from
Barbour Publishing based on the story of Noah’s Ark. The book is Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich.

About the Book

Imagine. . .The Great Flood is a 110 page soft covered Christian kids book. It is geared for kids ages 8 to 12. The writing in the book is large enough for younger readers to easily see, but there are not any pictures. I feel that some of the vocabulary ( words like trajectory and plummeting) used in the book may be a little difficult for some 8 year olds to understand. But with a little help they won’t want to put the book down.  Imagine. . . The Great Flood is the first book in the Imagine series, a series that aims to bring the Bible to life for kids.

IMAGINE... The Great Flood

About the Story

Imagine. . .The Great Flood begins with ten year old Corey finding out that his family was moving to Florida. He wasn’t happy with the idea of leaving his friends or his school. His mom told Corey that he needed to trust and rely on God. Later that day Corey’s dog started running and Corey began to chase him. The next thing Corey knew, his head was hurting and the world around him disappeared.

When he opened his eyes, Corey saw two lions and met a man named Shem. As he looked around, he saw a great big boat. He soon found out it was Noah’s ark. Corey knew the story of Noah and his ark, but he was confused as to how he got there. He ended up helping Noah and his family on the ark. Corey learned that getting all of the animals on the ark wasn’t an easy task. They faced numerous obstacles because the others thought Noah and his family were crazy for building a boat. They had never seen rain so the idea of a great flood was unconceivable.

Things became more difficult when Corey met the evil Elizar. He practiced dark magic and didn’t want Noah to succeed. Through out the book Elizar tries to stop Noah and tries to tempt Corey with his dark magic. Corey finds himself in quite a few dangerous situations where he has to trust in God. In the end, Noah finishes his ark and Corey ends up home safe. He meets new friends and learns that moving wasn’t all bad.

One of my favorite quotes from the book was from page 109.

Mom was right. Things change. But God doesn’t.

Imagine. . .The Great Flood ~ What We Thought

AJ and I both read through the book. It took me about 45 minutes to finish it, while it took AJ a few days reading a little at a time. Even though we already knew the story of Noah’s Ark, this story kept us interested. We both really enjoyed the book. After reading through the book we reread the story of Noah’s Ark in the Bible. It was nice to compare the two. I like how they stuck to the facts that are in the Bible but added in things to make the people and events seem very realistic. The author’s use of adjectives lets the reader easily picture the events of the story.  The story moves at a fast pace and there are cliff hangers at the end of most of the chapters. I look forward to the next book in the series, Imagine… The Ten Plagues. It comes out in March 2018.

AJ’s only complaint was that there wasn’t any pictures. Most books geared for 8 to 12 year olds have pictures, and I think this book could benefit from some.

If you are looking for an adventure filled book for young readers, then Imagine. . .The Great Flood may be exactly what you are looking for. Click on the graphic below to see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought about Imagine. . .The Great Flood .

Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich {Barbour Publishing}
 

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Unauthorized ~ A Game Review

Our family really enjoys playing games together. It is a great opportunity to spend time together and practice logical skills. We have reviewed a few products from Chara Games in the past, and enjoyed them. So when we were given the chance to check out their new game, Unauthorized, I was excited.

What is Unauthorized?

Unauthorized is a fast paced card game that is designed to be played with six to twelve people. It is for ages 12 and up. While each game is a little different, game play lasts about 30 minutes. The game takes deduction and reasoning skills.

UNAUTHORIZED
The idea behind the game is simple, you are either going to build the underground church or crush it. It sounds confusing, but once you get started it is easier.

One player is picked to be the pastor and another is picked to be the police. The pastor is loyal to the church, while the police person is loyal to the state. All of the other players are neutral characters. In games with 8 or more players two players are police, and in games with 10 or more players two players are pastors.

UNAUTHORIZED
Each player is dealt a set of cards. The police will receive all red cards, which show loyalty to the state. The pastor will receive all green cards, which show loyalty to the church. The other players will receive a mixture of red and green cards. There are also some wild cards that are half red and half green. The player’s hand will determine their loyalty. If they have more green cards in their hand they are loyal to the church. If there are more red cards in their hand they are loyal to the state.

Game Play

There are four rounds. During round one each player plays two cards down based on their current loyalty. In rounds two through four players pass one of the cards in their hand to another player and then play one card down based on their current loyalty. Getting a new card can switch your loyalty, and that’s the idea.

UNAUTHORIZED
After the cards have been played, each player then takes their turn. The player has a choice of completing one of four actions.

  1. Role Power – Each player card has a role power listed on it. Some of them include; switching a card with someone else, playing a card from your hand on another player’s pile, imprisoning people, or taking and taking a card out of someone else’s pile. Again, the action would have to benefit your current loyalty.
  2. Speak to a Neighbor – This lets you look at a neighbor’s hand. This comes in handy when you are going to pass a card on to the person.
  3. Seek Parole – If you are put in jail, you have limited options on your turn. To get out of jail you need to seek parole by drawing a card. If you get a red card, you are out of jail. But if you pick a green card you are forced to stay in jail.
  4. Conduct a Public Execution – This can only be preformed by the person playing the police, and can only be done once in a game. The police person can pick a person to kick out of the game.

Once each player has played and passed their cards, and picked an action to complete, the round is over. The deal is then passed to another player and the next round begins.

When all of the rounds are over each player’s loyalty is determined. If more are loyal to the state, the state wins. If more are loyal to the church wins. There isn’t an individual winner.

How We Played

Unfortunately, we were not able to get six people to play. I thought I would be able to get five people together, but with having so many appointments after my surgery, it was difficult to make the time for everyone to get together. We ended up playing with three people. This is not ideal, and I know the game would be way more action packed and entertaining with more people. But we worked with what we had.

Each person was dealt two hands and played each one independent of the other. We have done this with other card games. As long as you play focused on the hand you are currently playing, not on what you know the other hand has, it works out. We dealt one player a police and a neutral, one a pastor and a neutral, and one two neutrals.

A few times having the two hands confused AJ a little bit, but overall the game worked out. Each time we played it became a little easier and the switching loyalties became easier to get use to. The only odd thing is that every time we played, the church won.

What We Thought

We were completely confused on how to play after reading the directions. After we set up the game we didn’t understand how to actually play. We ended up watching the video online that explained exactly how to play and then we easily understood the concept. I really wish that the written directions were as easy to understand as the video. Just adding a few more details to the instructions would make it a lot easier to understand.

The gameplay was a little confusing at some points. Switching dealers each round and passing cards to different players made it so we had to keep the directions out. There were a few times we had to stop the game and reread the directions to determine what we were suppose to do next.

Here is the video to help you understand a little bit more about the game.

Once we really understood the game, it was fairly simple to play. Trying to switch the loyalty of other players was exciting and it kept the game moving. It would be great for a large group of people. It is quick enough to keep interest, and t a single winner or loser, it is a group win. This game teaches a lot of logical thinking skills. The cards seem very durable, and look like they will withstand many years of game play. Now I just have to try and get more people to play with us.

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

Unauthorized {Chara Games Reviews}
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Marine Biology ~ Review

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

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set

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

About the Textbook

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

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

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

What Does a Marine Biology Lesson Look Like?

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

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

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

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

About the Marine Biology Student Notebook

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

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

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

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

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

Solutions and Tests Manual

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

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

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

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

 

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Audio CD

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

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

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

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

What We Thought about Marine Biology

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

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

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

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

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

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set {Apologia Educational Ministries Review}
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A Journey Through Learning Lapbook ~ Review

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

What Makes A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks Amazing?

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

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

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

About the An Overview of the 20th Century lapbook

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

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

How We Used An Overview of the 20th Century

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

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

What We Thought

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

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

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

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

Math Essentials

What is No-Nonsense Algebra?

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

They are:

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

What Does a Lesson Look Like?

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

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

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

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

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

Online Lessons

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

No-Nonsense Algebra includes a book and online lessons!

 

No-Nonsense Algebra includes a book and online lessons!

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

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

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

How We Used No-Nonsense Algebra

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

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

I think this is a great way to review concepts.

What We Thought About No-Nonsense Algebra

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

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

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

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

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

No-Nonsense Algebra {Math Essentials Reviews}
 

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