Review: Library and Educational Services LLC

Despite recently given, well-meaning advice, one can never have too many books. And thanks to Library and Educational Services LLC our investment in our children’s love of literature and learning just became easier!

“Library and Educational Services is a wholesaler of books, CDs, and DVDs. We have been selling primarily to Christian schools, churches, specialty stores and resellers for over 40 years. We specialize in materials for children. All of our prices are 30% to 70% (or even more) off publishers’ list prices every day. We give homeschools the same discount other schools receive.
 
We carefully review all items we carry so that they are not contrary to Biblical standards and values.”

Recently, our family was given the opportunity to review Library and Educational Services LLC and learn just how easy it was to find literature for our family’s learning adventure. We were offered a first-hand look at their vast selection of reinforced hardcover library binding nonfiction book series. With over two hundred titles to choose from, in a wide range of age categories, we were excited to explore. In addition to an assortment of reinforced hardcover books, our family was offered a book from the best-selling paperback series Who Was…, Who Was Jim Henson, and a CD, Trapped in Aesop’s Fables!, from the Lifehouse Theater series.

Given a link to Library and Educational Services, our family was able to immediately access their website and begin exploring the multitude of titles available for purchase. Browsing was effortless. Resources could be found by topic, grade, medium, or simply by searching for specific reads. Having been offered a book from the Who Was… series, our family began by choosing a title from this category first; selecting Who Was Jim Henson. Afterward, we took a moment to choose our CD from Lifehouse Theater and selected Trapped in Aesop’s Fables! Finally, we moved on to exploring their range of reinforced hardcover library binding nonfiction books. With so many titles to choose from it was hard to narrow down our choices. We decided to order World War II: Essential Histories (a set of six books covering the war) and Awfully Ancient (a set of three books which comically explore various aspects of ancient history).
Our order totaled eleven items with an invoice of approximately seventy dollars, listing a savings of over a hundred and fifteen dollars on the resources themselves. We completed the process of checking out and awaited the arrival of our books. Within a week and a half, our box arrived and we were ready to explore our chosen resources.

Our books arrived in a single box, packed carefully. After taking a moment to unbox them and share a few photos our new finds on Instagram – Yes, I am that kind of mom. – I determined to not force the books on our children, but instead strategically place them in a prominent location and see how the kids responded. My efforts were well rewarded. Our second oldest daughter quickly discovered our books had arrived and promptly began reading aloud portions of the Awfully Ancient series to her siblings. Thus far, all of the resources have been a hit.

This was our family’s first experience using Library and Educational Services and it was lovely. We were impressed with the wide variety of materials offered at great prices and the ease of the ordering process; in addition to being pleased with the quality of the materials we received.
Who Was Jim Henson is of the same quality as other books we’ve previously viewed in the series and an enjoyable read. Trapped in Aesop’s Fables! is beautifully recorded. All of our selections of reinforced hardcover library binding nonfiction books lived up to their description. The binding is sturdy, offering longevity to families who might have young hands holding books, without the frustrating habit some reads have of binding which is too tight to properly read the marginal text. World War II: Essential Histories proves to be a handy resource for deeper studies on this topic, while Awfully Ancient has by far been our favorite choice. Our students found the series engaging, funny, and educational. They were an instant hit.

With so many resources available through Library and Educational Services it will be a challenge to determine which books to explore next! We were quite pleased to find a large selection of MasterBooks homeschool curriculum available, and you KNOW how much we love MasterBooks. In addition, Adams’ Chart of History, Writing Strands, and the Blast Back series – just to name a few – are all certainly worth a closer look. Library and Educational Services even lists coloring books amongst their catalog, as well as games and crafts. There is so much to enjoy!

I am so glad we had an opportunity to review Library and Educational Services LLC. I would highly recommend this resource to anyone looking to build their home libraries and supply their children with good, clean materials. The selection available is remarkable and the prices just can’t be beat. Now, if only I had the budget to buy everything I want…

If you’d like to learn more about Library and Educational Services LLC please visit them at their website and on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, or Instagram!

To read additional reviews like this one, and gain more insight into this fantastic read, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

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Review: Nothing by Natalee Creech

It has been said a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps this is why picture books continue to draw people in, no matter our age. When we find a book which perfectly blends the magic of illustration with the gift of words, we know we’ve found a keeper. A recent family find, Nothing by Natalee Creech, published through WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, not only fits the bill but is using the medium of picture books to share the Love of God. It doesn’t get much better!

Worthy Publishing Group is an established book company whose mission is, “To help people experience the heart of God.” Of their vast selection of titles, WorthyKids creates vibrant children’s literature including Nothing by Natalee Creech. Together, former teacher turned librarian, Ms. Creech, and talented illustrator, Joseph Cowman, bring to life this beautiful picture book expressing the heart of Romans 8:38-39.

“NOTHING can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: note death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.”

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Nothing is a hardbound, full-color picture book with over thirty pages of beautifully created illustrations. Readers will find this to be a book of highest quality. From the dust jacket to the pages within, Nothing is a well-crafted read. Suggested for children aged four to seven, Ms. Creech’s rhymes are sure to delight and teach the depth of this passage, while Mr. Cowman’s art will draw them in.

I no longer have littles in our home. (There are days I am still coming to terms with this sad fact.) However, a good picture book should always be appreciated, no matter our age! I specifically wished to review Nothing as my husband is an illustrator and the cover of the book immediately caught my attention. I also have the privilege of having little people visit me on a regular basis and having new picture books to share with them is a treat. Nothing was no exception.

Upon receiving our read, I was immediately impressed with the quality of the book. The illustrations were everything I previewed online and more. The cover and dust jacket are simply magnificent. A mix of mat and high gloss layers, with a rich color palette, this book pulls you in and begs to be read. The pages within are well bound, easy to turn, and equally charming to behold. And while the illustrations are worthy of many moments of admiration, the text itself is no less lovely. Through her gift of rhyme, Ms. Creech reminds readers there is nowhere we can go where we are separated from the love of our God. Her ability as a writer, her heart for children, and her love of the Lord shine through wonderfully. Readers could visit this book regularly and never tire.

We mentioned Nothing is suggest for children aged four to seven, but we would slightly disagree. While we find the reading level to be accurate; frankly, we would recommend this read to anyone who has an interest in beautiful picture books and a heart for poetry. Nothing might be intended for the young, but will bless those of any age. Myself and my children, ages ranging from seventeen to twelve, all agree; this is a beautiful book.

From time to time, everyone should be reminded that nothing separates us from the love of Christ. Even us adults. Especially when we are deceived into thinking we are unlovable or our mistakes too big to be forgiven. Nothing is a heartfelt, touching reminder for all of us, from the young to the old, that we are loved beyond anything we could imagine.

If you’d like to learn more about Nothing by Natalee Creech or WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group please visit them at their website and on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, or Instagram!

To read additional reviews like this one, and gain more insight into this fantastic read, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

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Review: Tied 2 Teaching STEM Activities

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Our family is always on the lookout for fun, new activities we can add to our learning adventure. Even though our children aren’t as young as they used to be, hands-on activities and group involvement is something we treasure. With the help of Tied 2 Teaching and STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading we’re appreciating a change in our morning routine and exploring a world of fun.

Tied 2 Teaching is an online teaching resource with a multitude of printable bundles available for purchase. There you’ll find fun educational materials ranging from history and mathematics to holiday exploration. Just one of their many tools is STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading. STEM Activities comes with an entire year of opportunity, including over sixty-five challenges from twelve monthly bundles. Students are free to choose from either STEM Design Challenges or Building Block STEM Challenges; both include “Close Reading” which gives students a better understanding of real-life application and offer fun insight into the concept being learned.

For our adventure, our family was given a PDF download of the entire bundle. We chose to include two challenges per week into our routine, allowing one day between to gather materials and manage any printing needed. Mondays and Wednesdays were set aside for our activities; with approximately forty-five minutes given to fully explore the topic at hand. While I highly recommended all our children participate in each STEM challenge, I did not require them to do so. I wanted this to be a fun, optional learning adventure. Three of our kids gladly joined in the fun; our high school senior, junior, and my sixth grade son had a blast. Each morning designated, all materials were openly placed on the learning table for our children to explore. A few of the STEM activities we chose were “Design a House of Cards”, “Construct the Eiffel Tower”, “Design a Paper Airplane”, “Design a Balloon Tower”, and more!

We began with opening the day’s chosen bundle and clicking on the included “Close Reading” link. We were quickly taken to the Wonderopolis website where we could fully explore the topic and complete the day’s reading. We learned a great many fun new facts from each. We then tackled the challenge at hand. Some were a little more challenging than others. Who knew building a house of cards could be a tough job? Others were simple, but allowed for creative involvement. Each challenge included not only a physical activity, but printed sheets which helped us formulate a plan before moving forward with our physical activity and follow-up sheets which encouraged us to take a moment to review what we learned and might do differently next time.

There was so much we gained by using Tied 2 Teaching. We discovered we enjoy STEM activities which involve building projects. We appreciated that all links were provided and easy to access and that printable materials were available for us to use as needed. The challenges were fun, creative, simple to follow, and encouraged our family to work together.

Suggested for grades third through sixth, STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading fits the recommended category. However, we found our older students truly enjoyed the fun of each activity. We, too, learned a few new facts and always appreciate a good challenge. We also believe it to be well within the scope of slightly younger students who might appreciate a little educational push. Approached as family activity, it will help encourage working together and offer the ability to make some memories.

Always on the lookout for fun learning activities, we’re pleased to now be including STEM Activities into our regular Morning Table routine. With a multitude of activities to chose from, we still have many more to go. We can’t wait to see what we’re doing next!

If you’d like to learn more about STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading or Tied 2 Teaching, please visit them at their website and on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest. To read additional reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Tied 2 Teaching has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

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Review: Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation”

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If you’re like us, you occasionally enjoy incorporating media in your learning day. When that same media helps us draw closer to the Lord and gives us a deeper understanding of the world He created, you know we’re jumping for joy. This past month, we had the opportunity to review Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” by Drive Thru History® and we’re incredibly excited to share this resource with you!

Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” is a beautifully boxed DVD set which includes 3 DVD’s, with a total of 18 episodes, and a complete study guide. Throughout Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation”, our host, Dave Stotts, takes us on a journey similar to one Jesus’ disciples would have taken as they spread the Gospel throughout the world, carrying out Jesus’ instructions. Used in tandem with each episode, the included study guide will prompt further discussion with thoughtful questions and illustrations to spark the mind.

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Rather than include Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” in our daily homeschool studies, we instead chose to incorporate the episodes into family time at the end of each day. Snacks in hand, we gathered around the television and watched an episode each evening, Monday through Friday during the course of the review. Each episode lasting no more than twenty-five minutes in length, this was a beautiful way to end our day together.

Our immediate impression was of the care which was taken in creating such quality material. The boxed set itself was lovely. The study guide was clearly laid out, with brief questions all were encouraged to participate in answering. The episodes themselves were fantastic. Cinematically, the videos were incredible. The quality was beyond expectation and overflowing with professional graphics. Frankly, we’ve never seen a history series better made!

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As our review took place leading up to the month of Easter, Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” came at a good time. Our first episode opened with a quick review of where we left off in Drive Thru History® “The Gospels” and proceeded to walk us through an amazing adventure sharing the spread of the Gospel after Jesus’ ascension. As we progressed through each episode, we were shown such incredible sites as Stephen’s Church and Monastery, the harbor at Joppa, the ruins in Corinth, Ephesus, Malta and more. From Pentecost to the seven churches of Revelation, we followed the Gospel message being taken out into the world and the sacrifice of those who spread the message of Jesus.

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We truly enjoyed reviewing Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation”. Dave Stotts did a fantastic job as guide; finding a perfect blend of respect and lighthearted, engaging information which encouraged our family to dig deeper and learn more about the spread of God’s Word. Each episode was filled with beautiful locations, amazing historical information, and Spiritual encouragement. This has been a blessed month.

Our only regret in doing this review is that there were only 18 episodes. We would have gladly sat through several more hours of the series. Our consolation is that four other series are available for us to review and enjoy: Drive Thru History® “The Holy Land”Drive Thru History® “American History”, Drive Thru History® “The Gospels”, and Drive Thru History® “Ancient History”.

If you’d like to learn more about Drive Thru History®, along with Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation”, please visit them at their website. You can also find Drive Thru History®. on social media sites such as FacebookYouTube, and Instagram.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Drive Thru History® has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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Children’s Books – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. But Mostly The Ugly.

My wife, thankfully, is a voracious reader. I say, “thankfully”, because someone has to vet all the literature our children read; and they read a lot. The thing is, there’s a lot of ugly stuff out there, and it’s produced by a secular entertainment industry which cares nothing for the well-being of children. All they care about is pushing the envelope in order to tantalize young minds. In the end, it’s all about appealing to the basest of human nature in order to sell a product whilst promoting a worldview untethered from moral restraints. What’s worse is that the entertainment industry is propped up by secular critics who, quite frankly, are shills for their material (whether for ideological or for pecuniary reasons).

Not all critics, however, are quick to embrace the trend toward dark children’s literature. Meghan Cox Gurdon has made the case more than once for “good taste in children’s books“. You can read her well-argued position at the Wall Street Journal. Her arguments are so good that I can’t improve on them, so I’ll simply quote her to give you an idea where she’s at.

Gurdon observes, “How dark is contemporary fiction for teens? Darker than when you were a child, my dear: So dark that kidnapping and pederasty and incest and brutal beatings are now just part of the run of things in novels directed, broadly speaking, at children from the ages of 12 to 18.

Some of her detractors have suggested that reading about such subjects does not lead one to participate in such things, to which she responds, “Reading about homicide doesn’t turn a man into a murderer; reading about cheating on exams won’t make a kid break the honor code. But the calculus that many parents make is less crude than that: It has to do with a child’s happiness, moral development and tenderness of heart. Entertainment does not merely gratify taste, after all, but creates it.

Gurdon also notes that an “argument in favor of such novels is that they validate the teen experience, giving voice to tortured adolescents who would otherwise be voiceless.” Gurdon responds to this by suggesting that “it is also possible—indeed, likely—that books focusing on pathologies help normalize them and, in the case of self-harm, may even spread their plausibility and likelihood to young people who might otherwise never have imagined such extreme measures.

When addressing the literary world’s view of this trend, Gurdon observes, “literary culture is not sympathetic to adults who object either to the words or storylines in young-adult books.” Gurdon goes on to share about an editor who “bemoaned the need, in order to get the book into schools, to strip expletives from Chris Lynch’s 2005 novel, ‘Inexcusable,’ which revolves around a thuggish jock and the rape he commits. ‘I don’t, as a rule, like to do this on young adult books,’ the editor grumbled … I don’t want to acknowledge those f—ing gatekeepers.’ By f—ing gatekeepers (the letter-writing editor spelled it out), she meant those who think it’s appropriate to guide what young people read. In the book trade, this is known as ‘banning.’ In the parenting trade, however, we call this ‘judgment’ or ‘taste.’ It is a dereliction of duty not to make distinctions in every other aspect of a young person’s life between more and less desirable options. Yet let a gatekeeper object to a book and the industry pulls up its petticoats and shrieks ‘censorship!’

In a recent Imprimis article (July/August 2013 issue) adapted from a speech given by Gurdon at Hillsdale College on March 12, 2013, she again shared about those on the secular Left who view her efforts as repressing freedom of expression. This objection is, of course, an hypocritical double-standard. In fact, Gurdon notes in her speech that such secularists “have their own list of books they claim are tinged with racism or jingoism or that depict [GASP!] traditional gender roles.” Gurdon’s larger point is that “the self-proclaimed anti-book-banners on the Left agree that books influence children,” insofar as they demonstrate this by preferring some books to others. This unavoidable elephant in the room is a damning indictment against irresponsible persons who would despoil children’s innocence by promoting an endless stream of material which presents nothing more than (if I can borrow from Dennis Prager) “a proctologist view” of the world.

Rather than continuing, I would invite you to search out Gurdon’s articles on the subject and read through them for yourselves. Allow me to share the ending words of her Hillsdale College speech:

Let me close with Saint Paul the Apostle in Philippians 4:8:

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.

 And let us think about these words when we go shopping for books for our children.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

FG

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Our October Reads

 

our_october_readsOctober has come and gone. While we most assuredly made time for great literature, this month had us occupied with reading of a different sort. Political material! It made for many a fun conversation, and we all learned a great deal about what is going on in our state and country. In between discussions, events, and family gatherings you could find us in our respective corners digging into this month’s incredible reads.

We’ve broken down our list into categories and included our personal rating from zero to five stars. To read more about a particular book, simply click the title!

Learning Resources:

  • Walden (Henry David Thoreau) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- A vivid account of the time that Henry D. Thoreau lived alone in a secluded cabin at Walden Pond. For the student and for the general reader, this is the ideal presentation of Thoreau’s great document of social criticism and dissent.
  • Narrative on the Life of Frederick Douglass (Frederick Douglass) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Frederick Douglass’s Narrative, first published in 1845, is an enlightening and incendiary text. Born into slavery, Douglass became the preeminent spokesman for his people during his life; his narrative is an unparalleled account of the dehumanizing effects of slavery and Douglass’s own triumph over it.
  • Historium (Richard Wilkinson and Jo Nelson) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- There are more than 160 historical artifacts to be discovered in Welcome to the Museum: Historium. Wander the galleries of this museum whenever you wish—it’s open 365 days a year!—and discover a collection of curated objects on every page, accompanied by informative text. Each chapter features a different ancient civilization, from the Silla dynasty of Korea to ancient Rome.

Children’s Books:

  • Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems (J. Patrick Lewis & Douglas Florian) ⭐️⭐️⭐️- The U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate and an award-winning children’s poet join their prolific forces in this picture book of poems about cars. But they’re not just any cars…
  • The Night Gardener (The Fan Brothers) ⭐️⭐️⭐️- One day, William discovers that the tree outside his window has been sculpted into a wise owl. In the following days, more topiaries appear, and each one is more beautiful than the last. Soon, William’s gray little town is full of color and life. And though the mysterious night gardener disappears as suddenly as he appeared, William—and his town—are changed forever.
  • The Little Gardener (Emily Hughes) ⭐️⭐️- There was once a little gardener and his garden meant everything to him. He worked hard, very hard, but he was just too little (or at least he felt he was). A story that teaches us just how important it is to persist and try, no matter what the odds.
  • The Alphabet Primer Series (BabyLit Books) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️-

How are we rating these reads? Good question! If the book has a five, whether learning or for fun, it’s clean and we want it on our bookshelf permanently. Four stars are sorely tempting us, but as our local library carries them we’re in luck. Three stars are worth a look, but we don’t see ourselves reading them too often. Two stars were entertaining, but once was enough. One star was acceptable. And zero. Well, it’s zero.

What to be on the lookout for… 

  • Historium, part of the Welcome to the Museum Series, is fabulous. We’re in love with each of the books. The artwork is beautifully done, and the pages within offer hours of learning fun.
  • Our family likes to collect picture books. This month’s selections were a great deal of fun. The Night Gardener was incredibly sweet. The Alphabet Primers from BabyLit had us wishing we still had little ones. But we not going to let that stop us. A great many books from this series will more than likely find their way onto this mama’s bookshelf in the very near future.
  • Walden was a lovely surprise. We weren’t sure what to expect, and I didn’t know how much the kids would appreciate the essays within. Surprisingly my children loved it! They found the language beautiful and Thoreau’s descriptions and thoughts meaningful.

The weather is finally cooling down, and we’ve stocked up on ingredients for hot cocoa. This is the perfect weather for curling up with a good book and immersing ourselves in a story. Join us again during the month of November as we explore a world of books and the adventure of reading. What will we read next?

We’re curious… Do your literature selections tend to correspond to other areas of learning?

“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.”
~ Psalm 101:3

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Our September Reads

our_september_reads_2018Fall has officially arrived! – Well, in theory. – Here in SoCal we’re trying to wrap our minds around the fact that it’s fall while still enjoying our swimming pools and sipping lemonade. Learning is well underway, with more activities than ever crowding our calendars and keeping us on our toes. In the midst of all the adventure, it’s time to share the few reads we’ve enjoyed during September. The month’s list is short, but sweet. And each one of them a blessing in one way or another.

We’ve broken down our list into categories and included our personal rating from zero to five stars. To read more about a particular book, simply click the title!

Learning Resources:

Children’s Books:

How are we rating these reads? Good question! If the book has a five, whether learning or for fun, it’s clean and we want it on our bookshelf permanently. Four stars are sorely tempting us, but as our local library carries them we’re in luck. Three stars are worth a look, but we don’t see ourselves reading them too often. Two stars were entertaining, but once was enough. One star was acceptable. And zero. Well, it’s zero.

What to be on the lookout for… 

  • Politics According to the Bible is an outstanding resource. This was a suggestion through our pastor, and we can’t say enough good things about this book. We have chosen to adopt this as a portion of our oldest daughter’s senior program, and couldn’t be more pleased by what she is learning. We highly recommend this selection.
  • Scarlet Letter was chosen in connection with our history lessons, and has provided a passageway into wonderful conversation and additional learning. While War of the Worlds was a book club choice which offered a fun look into the world of science fiction.
  • The Atlas of Fairy Tales was truly charming, although not what I anticipated. I was given the impression the book itself would be – well – maps! Instead what we found were re-tellings of classic fairy tale stories. Cute, but not “atlas-like” in any regard.

With the start of a new learning year and the return of scheduled activities, our family often notices a smaller collection of reads. However, we’re confident things will pick back up with an entirely new stockpile of books. Join us again during the month of October as we explore a world of books and the adventure of reading. What will we read next?

We’re curious… Does your family determine reading selections which correspond with the seasons/holidays?

“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.”
~ Psalm 101:3

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Review: Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric Complete Program by Roman Roads Media

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“Asking ‘Why rhetoric?’ is similar to asking ‘Why logic?’ Again, the answer is self-evident. Without logic, the question couldn’t exist. Without rhetoric, the question couldn’t be well answered. The question, then, is not ‘Why should we study rhetoric?’ The more appropriate question is, ‘How could we not study rhetoric?'”

We love developing new skills. With the help of Roman Roads Media and Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric Complete Program our family is on a new adventure learning the fine art of effective communication.

Roman Roads Media specializes in classical curriculum for home and classroom use. Amongst their incredible line of resources families can find materials for teaching logic, western culture, latin, poetry, history, and rhetoric. To assist us in our studies, we chose to take a closer look at Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric, recommended for high school students and above.

The complete program includes five key components:

  • A Fitting Words Textbookroman_roads_3
  • A Student Workbook, including exercises and activities for each lesson, and six Speech Judging Sheets.
  • An Answer Key, including answers to every exercise and exam.
  • A Fitting Words Exam Pack, including nine exam reviews and nine exams. Exams being two to four pages in length, primarily consisting of essay questions.
  • And a Fitting Words video course, – Streaming or Blu-Ray/DVD + Streaming – in which students receive in-depth teaching from the author for every lesson. Students are given numerous examples, illustrations, and video clips demonstrating good oratory from history, extra activities, and more.

As the curriculum is recommended for high school students and above, I determined this would be a perfect fit for my high school senior. While I do have another student in high school, I wished to use my oldest daughter as a gauge for whether her younger siblings would benefit from the curriculum earlier in their learning program. As I had never taken a classical rhetoric course myself, I thought it would be fun to join her in her studies. One afternoon a week we sit down together and complete a given lesson; our time lasting approximately two hours. This schedule best suits our routine and needs; however the program could easily be completed throughout the course of the week should a family desire to do so. Having received the curriculum a month ago, we have thus far completed the entirety of Unit One and will continue on until the finish of the course at the close of our year.

Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric has proven to be a well-organized, wonderful resource for us. The curriculum is simple to understand, thought-provoking, engaging, and enjoyable. Video lessons are brief yet highly educational; insightful and Biblically sound. The given exercises are more than manageable and often fun verbal prompts for discussion. While we consider ourselves fairly well-read, we’ve been encouraged to study works we had yet to explore such as selections from Quintilian and Plato’s Gorgias. We’ve developed memorization by studying Scripture and key speeches given throughout the Bible.

Having used the course for several weeks, we are confident this was the right choice for our family and accurately assessed for high school students and above. We’ve found the lessons to be achievable for my oldest daughter, while encouraging her to study further. Our high school sophomore has expressed a desire to join in our lessons and she will be doing so from this point on.

While Fitting Words does a beautiful job teaching rhetoric, we felt the curriculum was a perfect fit because we had already laid a strong foundation in logic and apologetics. While these studies are by no means required in order to use Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric, students might find they enhance the learning experience and compliment the lessons. Thankfully, Roman Roads also offers a course in Logic to assist families in teaching this skill.

“Rhetoric is the art of using words well, and is measured by our ability to teach men the truth, to move men to goodness, and to delight men with verbal beauty. Effective speaking and writing is informative, powerful, and elegant.”

Fitting Words is a thorough course in rhetoric, and we are enjoying the multitude of benefits it offers. We are excited to continue on with our studies and develop this lovely skill. Thanks to Roman Roads Media and Fitting Words our family is on a new adventure learning the fine art of effective communication.

If you’d like to learn more about Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric Complete Program or Roman Roads Media, please visit them at their website and on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. To read additional reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Roman Roads Media has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

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Our July Reads

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Our family has officially classified July as the busiest month of the year. With three birthdays, a comic convention, the end of our summer reading program, and a holiday thrown in it is amazing we’ve managed to get much reading done. Did we forget to mention we also returned to formal learning? But where there is a will, there is a way. And reading time was most definitely found!

We’ve broken down this month’s list into categories and included our personal rating from zero to five stars. To read more about a particular book, simply click the title!

Picture Books:

  • The Little Old Man Who Could Not Read (Irma Simonton Black & Seymourlittle_old_man_who_could_not_read Fleishman) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – An old toy maker never wanted to learn to read until his wife went away on a visit and he had to do the grocery shopping by himself.
  • Science Verse (Jon Scieszka) ⭐⭐ – What if a boring lesson about the food chain becomes a sing-along about predators and prey? A twinkle-twinkle little star transforms into a twinkle-less, sunshine-eating-and rhyming Black Hole? What if amoebas, combustion, metamorphosis, viruses, the creation of the universe are all irresistible, laugh-out-loud poetry?

Learning Resources:

  • A Ticket Around the World (Natalia Diaz & Melissa Owens) ⭐⭐⭐ – Join a young boy as he hops around the globe, visiting friends in 13 different countries spanning all six populated continents. Along the way, he introduces us to each friend’s environment and customs, and shares interesting facts about each country’s culture, language, food, geography, wildlife, landmarks and more.
  • When on Earth? (DK Publishing) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – In more than 60 specially commissioned maps, this one-of-a-kind history book shows where, when, and how history happened.

General Reading:

  • Shelf Life: Stories by the Book (Gary Paulsen) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Newbery Honor author Gary Paulsen has long been an ardent supporter of books, reading, and literacy programs. To further the cause of ProLiteracy Worldwide, he asked prominent authors to write an original story; the only restriction was that each story was to include mention of a book.

How are we rating these reads? Good question! If the book has a five, whether learning or for fun, it’s clean and we want it on our bookshelf permanently. Four stars are sorely tempting us, but as our local library carries them we’re in luck. Three stars are worth a look, but we don’t see ourselves reading them too often. Two stars were entertaining, but once was enough. One star was acceptable. And zero. Well, it’s zero.

What to be on the lookout for… 

  • The Little Old Man Who Could Not Read is a classic for a reason. This book is everything charming and lovely; with a special message for kids who might be struggling with a desire to read.
  • Science Verse is funny, but please note this is not written from a Biblical worldview.
  • Shelf Life was a neat read, and a lesson in the telling of short stories.

Our local summer reading program has officially wrapped up for the year, and we’re a little sorry to see it go. With a return to formal book studies, however, we’ll see an increase in classical literature and more fun on the way. Join us again during the month of August as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading. What will we read next?

“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.”
~ Psalm 101:3

Your Turn!: When does your family plan to return to formal studies and book work?

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Review: Bible Study Guide for All Ages

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We love studying the Bible. So when we have an opportunity to discover new resources to learn God’s Word, we jump at the chance of a new adventure. Thanks to a review of Bible Study Guide for All Ages and their Advanced (5th & 6th grade) pages, we’re gaining a better understanding of Scripture and having tons of fun.

“The Bible Study Guide is a Bible curriculum that takes all ages through the Bible at the same time, studying some Old Testament and some New Testament each year.
Students learn the “big picture” of the story of the Bible, detailed knowledge of the Bible and, best of all, how to apply it to their lives.”
~ Bible Study Guide for All Ages

To get a full picture of what Bible Study Guide for All Ages offers, our family was provided an opportunity to review several unique resources to help us in our daily lessons. We chose to get a closer look at the Advanced Student Pages, recommended for grades fifth and sixth. We were given a physical set of the Advanced Student Pages, an Advanced Teacher KeyBible Book Summary Cards, Wall Maps and Timeline, and a Label Book.

Our family has been on summer break for the past few weeks, but Bible is an area of learning we never put on hold. Several days a week, the goal was to find a quiet spot in the house and focus on our studies. Before beginning our lessons, it was necessary to take an afternoon to look through all of the provided material and familiarize myself with the program. The Wall Maps and Timeline in particular needed special attention, as preparations had to be made in order to begin our first lessons. Once this was accomplished, daily learning progressed smoothly with preparation taking minutes and lessons being approximately twenty to thirty minutes in length; including wall map, timeline, and Bible Card portions of each lesson.

Lessons in Bible Study Guide for All Ages contain a number of daily activities. Lesson sheets are double-sided, printed on a legal-sized pad. On the first side, students are guided through either map studies or a timeline study based on the Bible lesson; alternating between the two from one lesson to another.  After searching out and reading the lesson’s Bible passage, children are then taken through a series of Bible activities such as “Remember It”, which asks questions based on the reading; “Memory Workout”; “Guess What”, offering fun background information and trivia; Timeline or Map activities; “Apply It”; and “Get Active”, which offers practical tips for applying the lesson. The back side of each lesson includes a large comic strip of the day’s lesson, in which children are guided through a series of steps to complete the comic to tell the Bible story.

The Wall Maps and Timeline set includes three large maps and a large timeline. These tools are used daily as students progress through their lessons and learn about Scripture. To assist us, we were given a Label Book which included tips on labeling our charts and specific labels for each lesson. Labels are clearly identified with corresponding lessons, and those which will be reused through the entire course. Labels require minor preparation, such as being cut out and ready for placing on charts as directed in The Advanced Teacher Key.

The Advanced Teacher Key assists parents/educators with helping children fill in their daily lesson sheets and offers helpful information to make the most of each activity. For families who choose to use the large wall maps and timeline, the Advanced Teacher Key gives specific detail as to which labels will be needed for each lesson, and when to place them on the appropriate chart. Together with the Bible Book Summary Cards, which lay out specific details regarding each book of the Bible, students are given a full picture of Scripture covered.

Using Bible Study Guide for All Ages was simple and well-organized. The program runs smoothly and seamlessly, requiring very little preparation. The variety of activities for each lesson were helpful in keeping lessons from becoming monotonous or dull. We liked the map and timeline selections in the advanced student pages, but found after several lessons that we preferred doing all such work on our lesson page itself and not using the wall maps further. However, we could see the benefit in having a large, present reminder of lessons throughout the day. The comic portion of each study was a lot of fun, and an activity we looked forward to completing each day. With a suggested age category for the Advanced Student Pages being fifth and sixth grade, we believe this to be a good fit. The lessons were too simple for all of our older children, in junior and senior high, but it was a fun experience encouraging our youngest in his studies.

While we enjoyed the overall program, we would have liked to see the curriculum begin with Genesis 1, instead of beginning with later chapters on Abraham. It is important not to assume children have an understanding of Creation nor the fall of mankind, which is essential to a solid Biblical foundation. Parents might wish to be aware that at this stage in learning the curriculum is intended to help children better understand Scripture and its place in history, and will not be an in-depth Bible study. Considering these factors, we found Bible Study Guide for All Ages to be a good survey of the Bible, helping us gain a big picture of God’s work.

 

We love studying God’s Word and learning more about the world He created. Reviewing Bible Study Guide for All Ages and their Advanced pages has been a learning experience and a lot of fun. If you’d like to learn more about Advanced Curriculum or Bible Study Guide for All Ages, please visit them at their website and on Facebook and Twitter. To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Bible Study Guide for All Ages has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

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Your Turn!: Are timelines a part of your daily Bible study?

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