Review: The Great Escape by M.J.Thomas

https://thehomeschoolmomblog.wordpress.comIt’s here. It’s finally here! You’ll forgive us if we’re jumping for joy and ridiculously excited to share with you The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls (Book #3): The Great Escape, the newest release in The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series from M.J. Thomas and Worthy Kids/Ideals. Our copy arrived a few days ago and we can’t put it down.

Worthy Publishing Group is an established book company whose mission is, “To help people experience the heart of God.” Of their five distinct imprints and vast selection of titles, Worthy Kids/Ideals creates vibrant children’s literature including The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. The series began with THESE two amazing stories, and is followed by The Great Escape.

“Join Peter, Mary, and their dog Hank as they discover ancient scrolls and travel back in time to stories in the Bible. They find a world filled with wonder, adventure, and danger. They must search for clues to solve the secret of the scrolls … or they will be stuck there forever… Perfect for emerging readers ages 6 – 9, homeschooling families, and lovers of adventure, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls brings beloved Bible stories to adventurous life.”
~ Secret of the Hidden Scrolls

In our newest story, The Great Escape, Peter, Mary and Hank find themselves transported to the deserts of Ancient Egypt where they meet the Pharaoh’s daughter and experience firsthand the ten plagues God brought upon the land in order to free His people. Along the way they meet an old enemy hiding behind a new identity; one who will stop at nothing to prevent the children from completing their mission and returning home. Together the children discover, “GOD IS POWERFUL AND WILL SET YOU FREE”! Hidden Scrolls

I’ll be honest. One of the main reasons this mama is so excited for the release of Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Great Escape is that now my eleven-year-old son can stop asking me – every. five. minutes. – when his book will finally be here. While the official release date was the first week of April, an advanced copy was kindly sent our way just a tad early. Thus the minute the calendar said March, the mailman’s deliveries were met with anticipation. The moment it arrived he pounced on it and barely let it go long enough for his mum to read it herself. What a fantastic problem, don’t you agree? I love watching my children enjoy good, Bible based literature and Secret of the Hidden Scrolls is everything lovely.

Specifically targeted for 6-9 year olds, homeschoolers, and those who love adventure, our family has found Secret of the Hidden Scrolls to be a perfect fit. Our son was able to finish his first read-through in approximately one hour. (I say his first because, since, he’s read through it several more times. Which goes to show just how much we love this series!)  We were especially blessed to find we received a signed copy of the The Great Escape, which meant the world to my son. As with the first two books in the series, we appreciated the inclusion at the back of the book complete with specific references to Scripture covered and notes on the story itself.

Hidden+Scroll+Activity+Sheet_ScrollStealerIn addition to enjoying this fantastic read, we made sure to visit The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls‘ website. There we were able to sign up to be part of the Secret of the Hidden Scrolls Club. We just know it’s going to be fun! We were also able to enjoy the Activities page and read the Story Behind the Story. (For those just discovering this series, Secret of the Hidden Scrolls website is also the perfect place to preview each story or order a set for the family!)

We are absolutely excited about this book, and the entire Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series. Now, just like Mr. Thomas’ son, Peter, we’re anxiously awaiting another one! We’re not sure when it’s coming, but we feel certain another read is on its way. Until then, it looks like we’ll just have to re-read and be patient.

If you’d like to learn more about The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls by M.J. Thomas or WorthyKids/Ideals please visit them at their website and on FacebookTwitter or Instagram!

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Your Turn!: In The Great Escape, Peter and Mary discover firsthand what it must have been like enduring each of the ten Egyptian plagues. Given the last plague as the worst, which of the other nine plagues would have affected you most?

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Review: Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason

“To demonstrate the veracity of Scripture, this book will address every alleged Bible contradiction that I have seen posted on the Internet. Whereas there may be a few obscure claims of contradictions that I have not seen, this list covers the most often used examples…”
~ Jason Lisle

review_keeping_faith_in_an_age_of_reasonWe’re coming to the end of another school year in a few short weeks. While half of me is wondering where in the world the time has gone, the other half is already gearing up for another fun learning adventure. As we prepare our routine and curriculum, the first area of study which occupies my attention is Bible and logic. We’ve spent this year laying a solid foundation in fallacy detecting. With the help of Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason from Jason Lisle and Master Books, it looks like our studies will just keep on getting better.

Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason is a thorough study of over four hundred alleged Bible contradictions circling the world-wide web, and solid answers to each claim. Backed by Scripture reference, Mr. Lisle does an outstanding job of helping the reader define terms, understand common fallacies, and delve deeper into the Word of God. Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason is broken down into helpful categories including: Quantitative Differences; Names, Places, and Genealogies; Timing of Events; Cause and Effect; Differences in Details; and Yes or No?. While readers are welcome to read through each section in order, the beauty of this resource is that there is no wrong way to study these claims. There is no priority of one claim over another, nor a specific order in which they must be read; readers are encouraged to prioritize each selection according to their needs and still gain a great deal of wisdom.

As I launch into planning the upcoming school year, this resource will definitely be playing a key role in our daily Bible lessons. While no age is specified for this particular resource, having giving the book a thorough read, I believe Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason will be best appreciated and beneficial to those above elementary levels of education. Our plan is to have our three girls – in high school and junior high – join me in reading through a short set of claims with open Bibles at the ready. The goal will be to methodically work through two to three ‘contradictions’ daily; spending approximately twenty to thirty minutes during our time together.

Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason is exactly what I was looking for in the next step of our learning adventure. I appreciate Mr. Lisle’s introduction to common fallacies. It’s as if this book picks right up from where we are leaving off this learning year. I like that each claim stands on its own – allowing us the freedom to move within the text at our own discretion. I love that each claim lists only Bible references; encouraging our children to not take anyone’s claims as truth, but to seek out Scripture for themselves. Keeping Faith in the Age of Reason is incredible! While, in truth, we have other resources of this nature which lay out alleged Bible contradictions, my husband and I both agree this book exceeds them all.

Building on our foundation of fallacy detecting, this fantastic resource will help my children better understand Scripture, strengthen their faith, and arm them with the answers they need. I am excited to be adding Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason to our learning routine next year, and know we will be blessed by this thorough study of God’s Word. With our most important lessons ready to go, I am now able to better focus attention on the remainder of our learning adventure. As always, this coming year is going to be amazing!

If you’d like to learn more about Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason and Master Books please visit them at their website – where you can download a preview of this incredible resource – and on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube!

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Your Turn!: How do logic, apologetics, and catechism play a role in your family’s learning routine?

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Our March Reads

our_march_reads

It has been a fun month of reading, learning, and increasing in wisdom. March’s list had a few book club reads, picture books, and others which added to our learning fun. As usual, all of our reads were an adventure!

We’ve broken down the 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 Word Collector (Peter Reynolds) ⭐⭐⭐ – Jerome discovers the magic of the words all around him — short and sweet words, two-syllable treats, and multisyllable words that sound like little songs. Words that connect, transform, and empower.

Books as Learning Resources:

  • Curious Kid’s Nature Guide (Fiona Cohen) ⭐⭐⭐ – Filled with fun facts and 100 full-color, beautiful, and scientifically accurate illustrations, this nature guide will inspire kids to go outdoors and discover the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest.
  • The Brick Bible: The Old Testament (Brendan Powell Smith) ⭐⭐⭐ – Brendan Powell Smith has spent the last decade creating nearly 5,000 scenes from the Bible—with Legos
  • The Brick Bible: The New Testament (Brendan Powell Smith) ⭐⭐⭐- Over 1,000 “brick” photographs depicting the narrative story of the New Testament.

Books for Fun:

  • A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine ‘L Engle) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Meg’s father had been experimenting with the fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him.
  • The Book of Joy (Douglas Carlton Abrams) ⭐ – Two great spiritual masters share their own hard-won wisdom about living with joy even in the face of adversity.
  • A Thousand White Women (Jim Fergus) ⭐ – The story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians.

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 Brick Bibles were fun; it was great seeing the creativity which went into each panel. A Wrinkle in Time was a book club read and always a treat. It’s one of my favorite childhood series. The Book of Joy was another book club read of mine, and rather a disappointment. It was an interesting concept and I enjoyed hearing the exchange between the two gentlemen; however, I found the book itself to be lacking. Several references to scientific studies failed to have citation and no strong foundation was laid for the overall concept. I had hoped for more. A Thousand White Women was yet another mom book club read for the month. The historical fiction was brilliant, and wonderfully written. But, please note, this book is not meant for children. There are several references to intimacy and some language used; which is a shame as the story itself could have stood on its own two feet.

You may have noticed a few changes to our review format. It’s a work in progress, but one we hope will work better for you readers and us. Join us again next month as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading. Aren’t books so much fun?!

Your Turn!: Some words sound appealing to the ear. Do you have any favorite words?

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Review: The 10 Minute Bible Journey

10_minute_bible_journeyIf your family is anything like ours, you enjoy finding new homeschool resources which inspire further learning and build a stronger Biblical foundation in your home. We’ve recently discovered a new tool which is blessing our morning routine. The 10 Minute Bible Journey by Master Books is everything we could ask for in a Bible study, and more!

The 10 Minute Bible Journey is a fast-paced, apologetics-infused synopsis of God’s Word!

Study 52 accounts that weave the chronological, gospel-centered storyline of the most strategic and amazing events from Creation to Heaven. Filled with vibrant, full-color images, an illustrated fold-out timeline, and exciting “faith facts” that confirm the Bible is true, this book is designed to help Christians of all ages spring to a new level in their understanding of God’s Word and their relationship with Jesus Christ.
~ Master Books

I had originally obtained a digital download of this resource, but immediately knew a physical copy would be desired. Within a few weeks a hardback, full-color copy arrived at our door. Not wanting to waste any time, we immediately added The 10 Minute Bible Journey to our morning routine and the adventure began.

Every weekday morning since, we have begun our day with prayer and a daily Bible Journey. Journeys contain key concepts being covered, an apologetic lesson centered on a chronologically told Bible story, primary passages for families to read, an included key verse, a prayer, and a full-color illustration. No specific age range was given for The 10 Minute Bible Journey, however we find the resource works well for all our children, ages ranging from eleven to sixteen. Our youngest is well able to understand the lessons, while even us adults are gleaning a few new facts while reading. Each day’s lesson could well be completed within the parameters of ten minutes, but our family finds the lessons are a springboard for deeper conversation. Thus, our Bible Journeys extend slightly beyond this time frame, taking anywhere from fifteen to twenty minutes. And, truthfully, I couldn’t be more pleased with these results.

Included in The 10 Minute Bible Journey is a thoughtful “Creation to Forever” Timeline we’ve found very helpful while progressing through our chronological studies. In addition, a “Summary First” Bible Read-through Plan has been inserted in the back of the book. Families can follow this chronological reading plan in order to read through the Bible in one year. “Tips for Family or Small Group Studies” help make the most of this wonderful resource. And “Endnotes” – filled with additional resources, links, and thoughts on each day’s lesson – help us dig deeper into our journey.

With only fifty-two lessons one might easily complete this book within a short time frame. While our family will indeed finish our initial read-through shortly, I am looking forward to starting over from the beginning and taking each journey at a slower pace. We could easily stretch each Journey into a week’s adventure, gleaning the most out of these fantastic lessons and included resources.

Merely upon looking through The 10 Minute Bible Journey I knew the Lord would use this resource to bless our family, and I was not disappointed. Our daily journeys are being used to teach all of us important Bible lessons and help us have a deeper understanding of our Savior. Our morning routine just keeps getting better!

If you’d like to learn more about The 10 Minute Bible Journey and Master Books please visit them at their website where you can a preview of this incredible resource, and on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube!

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Your Turn!: On average, how much time does your family spend on Bible each morning?

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Our February Reads

our_february_reads

It has been a love-ly month of reading, learning, and increasing in wisdom. February’s list has a new read we highly recommend for homeschoolers, a few which developed personal skill, and others which added to our learning fun. As usual, all of our reads were an adventure!

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

Books for Homeschooling Encouragement:

  • Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask (Israel Wayne)answers_for_homeschooling ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – You’ve made the decision to homeschool. Suddenly, you find that some of those who were once in your corner supporting you are now questioning your competency as a parent and maybe even your sanity. This book equips you to answer the critic in your life with resolve and confidence.

Books Personal Skill Development:

  • Cool Crocheting for Kids (Alex Kuskowski) ⭐⭐⭐- Learn about the basics of fiber arts while creating cool stuff. The Cool Crocheting for Kids title teaches the first steps of how to crochet. Activities will help kids use what they learned to make a beaded bracelet, a fun hat, a cute clutch and more.extraordinary_hand_lettering
  • Extraordinary Hand Letter: Creative Lettering Ideas for Celebrations, Events, Decor & More (Doris Wai) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Extraordinary Hand Lettering opens your eyes to the endless possibilities in the world of creative lettering, showing you how to work with types of surfaces, such as wood, glass and acrylic, chalk, and even mirrors.
  • The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering: Create & Develop Your Own Style (Valerie McKeehan) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Valerie McKeehan, an Etsy standout whose work has been featured in magazines and websites from Good Housekeeping to RealSimple.com, teaches us everything we need to know to create gorgeous hand-drawn chalk designs. The book is also a practice space, with three foldout “chalkboards”—the inside cover and foldout back cover are lined with blackboard paper.

Books as Learning Resources:

  • Atlas of Miniature Adventures (Emily Hawkins) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Discover the world’s smallest adventures with this beautifully illustrated journey around the world from the award-winning team behind Atlas of Adventures.bees_whatonearth
  • Bees (What on Earth?) (Andrea Quigley & Pau Morgan) ⭐⭐⭐ – With links to culture, history, arts and crafts, as well as the science behind the topic, this book will help both parents and teachers to encourage children to engage with the natural world through exploration, creativity, and investigation.
  • Lonely Planet How Animals Build (Moira Butterfield & Tim Hutchinson) ⭐⭐⭐ – “From birds, to mice, and even underwater creatures, this book covers a vast array of examples from the animal kingdom and is sure to hold a surprise or two.”

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… (1) If you’ll remember from earlier this month, we did a review of Answers for Homeschooling in detail. We honestly can’t say enough good things about this book. Get it; it’s fantastic! (2) I have no artistic ability, whatsoever, but I do appreciate typography in a big way. Thus, I’m attempting to learn and these resources are huge help. Now, to get a chalkboard large enough to have some fun… (3) The Atlas series is visually fun; one of the main reasons we keep coming back to it. It being a great way to learn doesn’t hurt either. (4) How Animals Build seemed like a great title, and we weren’t disappointed. It is a lift-the-flap picture book, but don’t discount it’s content; there is much to gain from this thin read. (5) And, while I am crazy scared of bees having been bitten in my mouth before, I can’t seem to stop picking up books on these amazing, little creatures. Bees (What on Earth?) is a wonderful resource for learning.

You may have noticed a few changes to our review format. It’s a work in progress, but one we hope will work better for you readers and us. Join us again next month as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading. Aren’t books so much fun?!

Your Turn!: I have zero creativity in my bones, unless you count organization as an art. What creative skill are you working on developing right now?

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Review: Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask

“What makes this book special,… is the fact that we want to equip you to have confidence in your decision to home educate, and we want to prepare you to defend your choice to the skeptics you will inevitably face along the way.”
~ Israel Wayne

review_answersforhomeschoolingThere are a multitude of questions homeschoolers are faced with. And while some of those questions come from concerned family and friends, there are an equal number of questions we ask of ourselves. Today, we’re excited to share with you Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask. For the critics around you, and the critic within, this new book by Israel Wayne is sure to help provide answers and offer encouragement.

Israel Wayne is a veteran in the world of homeschooling. Having been homeschooled himself, Mr. Wayne is a much sought after speaker for homeschooling conferences and the author of several homeschooling books. Helping families gain a better understanding of the how of home education, Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask systematically leads the reader through twenty-five chapters outlining the most pertinent questions homeschoolers face and gives us Biblical wisdom in answering them. Topics include “Is Homeschooling Legal?”, “How Can You Afford to Homeschool?”, “What Does Dad Do in Homeschooling?”, “Is Homeschooling Elitist?”, and more.

For those readers who might be new to our blog, we appreciate all of Mr. Wayne’s books. Thus, when offered an opportunity to preview and review Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask, we naturally jumped at the chance. In addition to a printed, paperback copy of the book upon publication, we were also given a PDF of Answers for Homeschooling so that we might enjoy the book immediately. While I had intended to read the book over the course of a week, once I began I found I had no inclination to stop. I finished the book in one sitting. For those who are new to homeschooling or perhaps struggling with gaining a better understanding of how to answer these homeschooling questions, we would recommend progressing through the Answers_for_Homeschoolingbook more slowly as there is much to digest.

As experienced homeschoolers, we were able to appreciate Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask as confirmation of what the Lord has already shown us, a refresher in how to better answer questions we face, and fascinating history on the adventure of learning and homeschooling. Of particular interest to us were the chapters “Is That How It’s Done in Public School?”, “Isn’t Sheltering a Child Harmful?”, “What About Being Salt and Light in Public School?”, and “Do You Know What Causes That?”. These chapters touched on issues we come across on a regular basis even though we’ve been homeschooling for several years. Readers will find every chapter engaging, simple to follow, and helpful.

Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask is an exceptional addition to Mr. Wayne’s selection of homeschool books. Being released this month, Answers for Homeschooling is a book we’d love to see in the hands of every homeschooling family. Whether new, struggling, or merely needing answers for those skeptics in your own learning adventure, Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask offers something for everyone. We pray the Lord blesses this book, and uses it to reach many for His glory and their benefit.

If you’d like to learn more about Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask and Master Books please visit them at their website, and on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube!

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Your Turn!: Which homeschooling question do you most commonly face?

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Our January Reads

our_january_readsThe new year is underway and it’s been a while since we’ve shared what’s recently hit our reading shelf. It has been a wonderful few months of reading, learning, and increasing in wisdom. Our list has a few reads which were recommended for personal development, and others which added to our learning fun. All were an adventure!

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

Books for Adults

  • Of Mess and Moxie (Jen Hatmaker) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐- Jen Hatmaker, beloved author,mess_and_moxie Big Sister Emeritus, and Chief BFF, offers another round of hilarious tales, frank honesty, and hope for the woman who has forgotten her moxie.
  • People of the Book (Geraldine Brooks) ⭐⭐⭐ – From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of March, the journey of a rare illuminated manuscript through centuries of exile and war.
  • Man’s Search for Meaning (Viktor E. Frankl) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival.

Learning Books for the Family

  • Welcome to New Zealand: A Nature Journal (Sandra Morris) ⭐⭐⭐ – A gorgeous guide to creating a nature journal that will inspire kids around the world to chronicle what they see in their own backyards.
  • Stupendous Science: 70 Super Cool Experiments You Can Do At Home (Rob Beattie & Sam Peet) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Learn to make ice cream with salt, a book_of_bonessmartphone projector, a lava lamp and more with this brilliant book of simple home experiments!
  • Seek and Find: National Parks ⭐⭐ – Travel through twelve of the most-visited national parks in North America.
  • Storyworlds: Nature (Thomas Hegbrook) ⭐⭐- Explore the beauty and wonder of nature in this wordless picture book-and let your imagination bring everything to life!
  • In Focus, 360 Degrees (Libby Walden) ⭐⭐⭐⭐- Ten illustrators take a complete look at the world around us, traveling the globe to find a fresh perspective.
  • Atlas of Dinosaur Adventures (Emily Hawkins) ⭐⭐⭐- From the team behind the best-selling Atlas of Adventures comes this prehistoric journey of discovery.
  • Maps (Aleksandra Mizielinska & Daniel Mizielinski) ⭐⭐⭐⭐- Much more than an ordinary atlas, this book of maps is a visual feast for readers of all ages, with lavishly drawn illustrations from the incomparable Mizielinskis.
  • The Book of Bones: 10 Record Breaking Animals(Gabrielle Balkan)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐- It’s a book of world records… of bones! Guess whose bones are the longest, shortest, heaviest, spikiest, and more. With touchable skeletons!

Storybooks

  • The Wonderling (Mira Bartok) ⭐⭐- Mira Bartok tells the story of Arthur, a shy, fox-like foundling with only one ear and a desperate desire to belong, as he seeks his destiny.
  • Brave Red, Smart Frog (Emily Jenkins) ⭐⭐⭐- Step into a wintry forest where seven iconic fairy tales unfold, retold with keen insight and touches of humor. language_of_thorns
  • The Book of Dragons (E. Nesbit) ⭐⭐- Dragons — of all sorts — make for marvelous fun, and this collection of madcap tales is filled with them.
  • The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine (Mark Twain & Philip Stead) ⭐- A never-before-published, previously unfinished Mark Twain children’s story is brought to life by Caldecott Medal winners Philip Stead and Erin Stead.
  • The Language of Thorns (Leigh Bardugo) ⭐⭐⭐- Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.
  • The Magic of Misfits (Neil Patrick Harris) ⭐⭐- From beloved award-winning actor, Neil Patrick Harris, comes the magical first book in a new series with plenty of tricks up its sleeve.
  • The Glass Town Game (Catherynne M. Valente) ⭐⭐⭐⭐- Charlotte and Emily Brontë must enter a fantasy world that they invented in order to rescue their siblings in this adventurous and fiercely intelligent novel.
  • Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman) – Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

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 interesting. And zero. Well, it’s zero.

What to be on the lookout for… Generally I enjoy Neil Gaiman books, but this one is especially dark and odd. The Magic of Misfits was a well-told story. I enjoyed it. Please note there is a character with two dads; it is not essential to the story but there none the less. The Atlas of Dinosaur Adventures was beautiful, but one should expect, “…millions of years ago…”. People of the Book was incredible! However, it did have a little language and, while no great detail is given, an affair is touched upon. Of Mess and Moxie is a riot, but not one for your teenage daughters. And, finally, The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine. It said Mark Twain. It also said previously unpublished. Maybe unpublished for a reason?

You may have noticed a few changes to our review format. It’s a work in progress, but one we hope will work better for you readers and us! Join us again next month as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading!

Your Turn!: What’s sitting on your bookshelf, waiting to be read this coming month?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

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Review: The Thrifty Time Travelers Series

TTT_BlogTour_18

“What follows is the guidebook, exactly as it was discovered on a sidewalk outside Frank’s Pizza in Manhattan in AD 2018.”
~ The Thrifty Guide to  Ancient Rome (Uncorrected Text)

I love books. I love history. I love hearing my kids laugh. So when I have an opportunity to combine all three into a fun afternoon of reading, you know I’m going to be all over it. This month we had the opportunity to review The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome: A Handbook for Time Travelers and The Thrifty Guide to the American Revolution: A Handbook for Time Travelers by Penguin Random House and Jonathan W. Stokes and we can’t wait to share this funny, educational book series with you. We’re still cracking up laughing and enjoying the multitude of lessons to be found within their pages!

Set in the distant future, The Thrifty Guides are a humorous look at what happens when we travel back in time to discover the history of the world. Both are written from the perspective of Time Corp, presenting a complete vacation package for tourists. Each book seeks to help you make the most of your trip offering locations you might wish to visit, events you could participate in, and people to have lunch with. Currently three Thrifty Guides are available: The Thrifty Guide to the American Revolution, The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome, and The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Greece.

We received an advanced reader edition of both The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome and The Thrifty Guide to the American Revolution, along with a clever “Passport for Time Travelers” which included passport stickers for both our travels and an additional passport sticker for The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Greece. Suggested as early reader novels, our ten-year-old son was given these books to be used during his reading time after Mom had ensured the books were both clean and met family standards.

 

Ancient RomeThe Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome: A Handbook for Time Travelers is a snappy, informative travel guide that comes in the package with your time machine purchase in the year 2163. It contains information vital to the sensible time traveler:

  • Where can I find a decent hotel room in ancient Rome for under five sesterces a day? Is horse parking included?
  • What do I do if I’m attacked by barbarians?
  • What are my legal options if I’m fed to the lions at the Colosseum?
Designed as a parody of Fodor’s, complete with humorous maps, reviews of top attractions (Julius Caesar’s assassination is a must-see!), and tips on who to have lunch with (Hannibal, assuming he doesn’t kill you). If you had a time travel machine and could take a vacation anywhere in history, this is the only guidebook you would need.
Chapters include Roman Entertainment, Julius Caesar, The Roman Civil War, Quality Time with Cleopatra, and more! Our favorite portions of this book are “Important Warning Before Time Traveling”, “Top Five Ways to Die in Rome”, “How to Pilot a Horse”, and “Cleopatra’s Perfectly Normal Family Tree”. “People to Have Lunch With:…” is especially funny, and “Friendly Message from Your Corporate Overlord at Time Corp” is sure to have you rolling.

American RevolutionThe Thrifty Guide to the American Revolution: A Handbook for Time Travelers is a snappy, informative travel guide that comes in the package with your time machine purchase in the year 2163. It contains information vital to the sensible time traveler:

  • Where can I find a decent hotel room in colonial New England? Are credit cards accepted?
  • How can I join the Boston Tea Party without winding up in a British prison?
  • What do I do if I’m being shot at by a cannon?
Designed as a parody of Fodor’s, complete with humorous maps, reviews of places to stay and top attractions (Don’t miss Paul Revere’s midnight ride!), and tips on who to have lunch with (Alexander Hamilton, naturally). If you had a time travel machine and could take a vacation anywhere in history, this is the only guidebook you would need.

Chapters include The Boston Tea Party, The Battles of Lexington and Concord, The Siege of Boston, The Declaration of Independence, The Battle of Cowpens, and more! Fun  features we enjoyed are “Your Odds of Being Hit by a Musket Ball” and “Your Odds of Being Hit by a Rifle”, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting… to Be Shot by a Cannon”, “A Message From the Good People at the Time Patrol”, and “Letters From Time Corp’s Complaint Department”. Thrifty_Guides

Written by former teacher and rising Hollywood screenwriter, Jonathan Stokes, The Thrifty Guides were very funny, simple to read, and educational. There were a ton of fun facts, silly illustrations, and interesting notions on the concept of time travel. We enjoyed them tremendously and couldn’t wait to tell you all about these wonderful books. If you’re a fan of history, or happen to be studying any of these areas in your learning adventures, you’ll definitely want to give these books a try.

On sale now, you’ll find The Thrifty Guides to be a wonderful addition to your learning bookshelf. We had a great deal of fun reading both The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome and The Thrifty Guide to the American Revolution, and look forward to searching out The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Greece soon!

FTC Disclaimer

Your Turn!: If you could travel back in time to any era, which would it be?

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Review: The Electric Pickle

The_Electric_PickleI love reading other people’s blogs, don’t you? I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the loveliest people and being introduced to a world of possibility. On occasion, I also benefit from exposure to choice resources which change the course of our learning year. The Electric Pickle: 50 Experiments from the Periodic Table, from Aluminum to Zinc by Joey Green and Chicago Review Press is changing the face of our chemistry lessons, and we couldn’t be more pleased!

The Electric Pickle by Joey Green is a unique learning resource. With each fun experiment we are reminded science does not require a fancy lab or expensive equipment in order to accomplish serious learning. The Electric Pickle seeks to bring chemistry to life through amazing reactions and stimulating activities. This resourceful handbook is perfect for learners of all ages, organized so even younger students are able to participate and enjoy. Written by Joey Green, author of more than 50 books, The Electric Pickle is a fascinating guide to the world of periodic elements.

While perusing our online friends’ blogs and their incredible homeschooling adventures, we happened upon a review of this fantastic resource. Imagine our surprise when publisher, Chicago Review Press, kindly offered us our own copy for review! We were excited to add The Electric Pickle to our weekly chemistry lessons and put the handbook to the test. Twice a week we delved in our lessons; all four children present and excited to learn. We progressed through experiments on elements such as Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, and more. Each lesson included a quick safety reminder, a list of necessary materials, and instructions. Lessons were followed by a quick explanation of what is happening during the experiment, why the experiment works and a few wacky facts about the particular element being studied.

From the start, our experience with The Electric Pickle was fruitful. Unlike previous attempts with experiments, we found the included list of materials easy to locate. (Most could be found within our home, others purchased at a local hardware store.) Several of the periodic elements included more than one experiment, giving us more options and added fun. Each experiment included a full-color image of all materials needed which was especially helpful when making purchases, and the easy to understand instructions made experiments simple to work through. Each element was enjoyable to explore, with experiments which livened up our learning and engaged our students.

The Electric Pickle to be an incredibly fun and educational resource. All our learners have enjoyed exploring, from our oldest in high school to our youngest in fifth grade. While our favorite experiments include explosive reactions, even the more subtle adventures prove engaging. Experiments are easy to prep and simple to follow. All are fun. Thus far, The Electric Pickle has proven to be the best chemistry exploration we’ve experienced. The included experiments far exceed any we’ve attempted in any other resource, and “Wacky Facts” keep us actively digging deeper. The Electric Pickle has become one of our favorite resources for science exploration and one we anticipate recommending to all our friends.

We’ve always appreciated perusing other homeschooling and parenting blogs, but when our reading leads to the discovery of a fantastic resource for our family we’re overjoyed. The Electric Pickle: 50 Experiments from the Periodic Table, from Aluminum to Zinc has definitely changed the face of our chemistry lessons, and we’re excited to continue exploring the wonderful world of science.

If you’d like to learn more about The Electric Pickle: 50 Experiments from the Periodic Table, from Aluminum to Zinc or Chicago Review Press please visit them at their website, and on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

FTC Disclaimer

Your Turn!: I feel foolish saying this, but until I was an adult I didn’t know Krypton was a genuine element. Did you?

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Our November Reads

Our_November_Reads

November is over and we still can’t believe Christmas is just around the corner. Where has this year gone? It has been a fantastic adventure of reading, learning, and increasing in wisdom. Before we finish dusting off the ornaments and immerse ourselves in holiday cheer, we’re taking a few moments to share our list of reads during this past month. November’s list has a few reads which were recommended for personal development, and others which added to our learning fun.

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie) – Learn the six ways to make people like you, the twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, and the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.
    It would seem generations of people grew up reading this book. I was not one of them. In fact, I had never heard of it. That said, I found the book enjoyable if a simple read. Most of the tips included seem common knowledge, but perhaps at one point in time they were revolutionary?
  2. The Power of Habit (Charles Duhigg) – Award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed.
    This was another interesting read I was referred to from an online “friend”. I found it fascinating to read, and enjoyed it tremendously. 
  3. What Is… (Series by Penguin Random House) – Covering everything from revolutionary battles to natural disasters, social movements to witch trials, Penguin’s What Was? series dives into our world’s most important historical events.
    A favorite series in our home and learning. As we’re currently studying the American Revolution, this was our current focus. This series makes learning fun for the younger of our children and yet gives them plenty to think on.
  4. Benjamin Franklin’s Wise Words: How to Work Smart, Play Well, and Make Real Friends (KM Kistyal) – This book presents 50 of Benjamin Franklin’s famous “wise words” from Poor Richard’s Almanack, his personal letters, and other writings, with sage advice on everything… Sayings are paired with hilarious illustrations and witty translations for modern audiences.
    I’ll be honest, yet again it was the illustrations which caught my eye. However the pages within are gems. I see us returning to it repeatedly.
  5. Brave Red, Smart Frog (Emily Jenkins) – Step into a wintry forest where seven iconic fairy tales unfold, retold with keen insight and touches of humor.
    Our family is a fan of fairy tales; we can’t get enough of them. This book was charming; filled with lovely illustrations and quaint stories. I might have to purchase this one.
  6. The Book of Dragons (E. Nesbit) – Dragons — of all sorts — make for marvelous fun, and this collection of madcap tales is filled with them. Some of the legendary monsters are funny and mischievous, others are downright frightening, and a number of them are wild and unpredictable.
    More fairy tales! This book is a classic, and entirely fun.
  7. The Earth Book (Jonathan Litton) – Explore the incredible place we call home! Marvel at the physical planet, learn how the weather works, meet some of the most influential people from the past and present, and much more.
    In this circumstance I will again confess the illustrations caught me. And while I still stand by the beauty of the visuals within, I will admit the worldview dimmed the loveliness of the book. Skip over the nonsense, if you would – detailing man’s evolving from monkies, and more – and partake in the fabulous other lessons included. 

While we gather our books from the local library, the bulk of our month’s list came from readers like you and acquaintances from online forums. We’ve enjoyed hearing and seeing new books being discovered; encouraging us to do a little searching of our own.

We’ll be taking a break from our regularly scheduled book list during the month of December in order to fully enjoy the Christmas holiday, and to share a special new series the Lord has placed on our hearts! Be sure to join us, and then check back here again in January as we share another round of fabulous, and sometimes not so fabulous, reads.

Your Turn!: How do you feel about self-help books?

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