Getting the Most From Our Reads

getting_the_most_our_readsSurprisingly, I read as much young adult fiction as my children do. I enjoy the genre and especially appreciate being able to share these books with my kiddos. Our family also delights in classic literature. We laugh, cry, and share some wonderful memories centered on great books. Together we’re getting the most from our reads.

In our family, reading books extends beyond the page. We soak up the words and make them come to life. Through conversation, play, and more, we use these steps to help us:

Read – No matter how we choose to read, sharing a book with our child can be fun. We pick one of the following methods and go to town:

  • Together – We snuggle on the couch, gather round the table, or cuddle in bed at night. No matter when or how, we enjoy the read as a family.
  • Alone – Some of our books make the rounds. Mom reads it first – making sure it’s a clean read – then it goes through the crowd, usually from the fastest reader down.

Story Coaster – After we finish our book, we hit the plot points. Were my younger children able to follow along? I use this time to ensure they understood who the main characters were and the focus of the story; reviewing vocabulary and literary terminology I wish for them to learn. Only a short amount of time is given to this, but it is well worth the few moments and our children have learned much in this practice.

Reenact – Depending on our chosen book, acting out portions of the story is included. While reading Little House on the Prairie, we might build a cabin with Lincoln Logs or do a little baking. Most stories inspire some form of hands-on activity to partake in.

Discuss – While the reading, in-and-of itself, is always a treat, I rarely leave a book without taking a moment to check in with my kids. I want to hear their thoughts on the read and cover important ground which the Lord has prompted me to share. This takes our book to a new level, moving past what’s on the page and encourages our children to correspond the story to reality.
A key-note: We launch conversations with open-ended questions. The goal is to get our children to talk, not merely answer “Yes” or “No”. We ask what our children liked/disliked about the book; what they learned; their favorite character/portion of the story; and their take on the book in general. As our children mature, we discuss world views which might be present. (One series which comes to mind is Hunger Games. These books launched many wonderful conversations about government and reform. The writing was not at its best, but the benefits from our talks was well worth the poor literature.)

Watch – If there’s a movie, we’re more than likely going to watch it. This launches entirely new discussions on difference between the two, which they liked better, and more. Plus, who doesn’t like a good movie?

Play – Did you know many popular books, authors, and publishers have websites filled with games and activities? For added fun, we enjoy hopping on to one of these sites and playing games which relate to our read. Our favorites are the The Chronicles of Narnia, Mysterious Benedict Society, and Harry Potter websites.

For those with littler children, or are unsure of where to start in their literary adventure, we highly recommend Five in a Row. With FIAR all the work is done for you! Each week, you follow a suggested read and enjoy the multitude of activities available. Included are questions to discuss with your children and additional resources. Once you’ve grown comfortable with the format, branch out and choose your own books.

We love great literature. By discussing these books and bringing them to life, we are creating wonderful memories and life-long lessons for our children to remember forever. Our books jump off the page and we get the most from our reads.

Now we’re curious… What is your favorite part of reading a book?

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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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Our July Reads

our_july_reads_2018

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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Our June Reads

 

our_june_reads_2018It’s summer time! Instead of things slowing down, they’ve amped up higher than ever with a ton of fun activities and even more incredible reads. Summer reading programs have begun, and this year we’re participating in two separate libraries; reaping the rewards of great literature. June’s list has a few new books to hit the market, 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:

  • Photicular Books (Workman Publishing Company) ⭐⭐⭐ – Photicular technology. Each full-color image is like a 3-D movie on the page, delivering a rich, fluid, immersive visual experience. The result is breathtaking. The cheetah bounds. The gazelle leaps. The African elephant snaps its ears. The gorilla munches the ocean_puzzlesleaves off a branch. It’s mesmerizing, as visually immediate as a National Geographic or Animal Planet special.
  • Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor (Robert Burleigh) ⭐⭐ – Filled with gorgeous illustrations by acclaimed artist Raúl Colón, this illustrated biography shares the story of female scientist, Marie Tharp, a pioneering woman scientist and the first person to ever successfully map the ocean floor.
  • Ocean Puzzles (Dr. Gareth Moore) ⭐⭐⭐ – Ahoy! You’re an accidental pilot aboard a submarine that’s sinking fast! Solve the puzzles to take control and navigate safely back to land. Devised by an expert on brain training, these mental gymnastics—and a friendly dolphin—will see you through your ocean adventure! You can’t skip a puzzle, but there are hints to help and full answers to get you on your way.
  • The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea (Helaine Becker) ⭐⭐ – The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea shows how the ocean works and why this immense ecosystem needs our protection. Experiments using everyday materials help explain scientific concepts, such as why the ocean is salty, how temperature affects water density and why fish don’t get waterlogged.atlas_obscura

Learning Resources:

Books for Mum:

  • The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (Casia Lisa) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – guernsey_literaryJanuary 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.

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 photicular books were amazing to view. Learning how these books are made was even more fascinating.
  • One of our libraries is focusing on an ocean theme this summer, thus the increase in literature on this topic. Ocean Puzzles is an incredible picture book; one in a series. The included puzzles will challenge your children to think hard.
  • I never thought I would be a collector of anything. However, I’ve discovered I love maps/globes and encyclopedia of information. Atlas Obscura is amazing! I borrowed our copy from the local library. But, it’s on my growing list of “need to own”.
  • We’re studying Botany this coming learning year, which is why we purchased The Botany Coloring Book, but, frankly, it’s amazing! If you’ve yet to see it, check it out! It’s incredible.
  • The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society was a suggestion from my oldest girl. It seems a movie is coming out in a couple of months and, being a period piece, she was drawn into the story. It was a great read, but probably not one for the kids. There is a little – a very little – bit of language, and the subject matter being post-WWII the read was a sobering one. I am very much looking forward to the movie, which I can ClearPlay to ensure anything inappropriate be removed; allowing for our family’s enjoyment.

Coming soon… Comic Con, a day trip, heading back to daily book lessons, and so much more. Homeschooling keeps us busy exploring and learning through life experiences. Join us again during the month of July 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!: Is your family signed up for a summer reading program?

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Our May Reads

our_may_reads

How can it possibly be the end of May? Didn’t this month just begin! No matter how often I tell myself things will slow down near the end of the school year, we never seem to make it. In fact, it always seems more busy than ever. This has been a fun month of reading, learning, exploring, and increasing in wisdom. May’s list has a few new books to hit the market, 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:

  • A Year Full of Stories (Angela McAllister) ⭐⭐⭐ – This treasury of 52 stories collects together a rich resource of myths, fairy tales and legends from around the curious_crittersworld, with a story for every week of the year.
  • Hippos Can’t Swim and Other Fun Facts (Laura Lyn DiSiena & Hannah Eliot) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This hilarious book is full of fun facts about all sorts of animals, from sleepy ants to jellyfish that glow!
  • Curious Critters (David FitzSimmons) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Enjoy amazing close-up images of twenty-one common yet often overlooked North American animals. Whimsical but educational narratives accompanying each animal highlight fascinating natural history information.

Learning Resources:

  • Quick Answers to Tough Questions (Bryan Osborne & Bodie Hodge) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Leading readers through six main areas of discussion, apologists Bryan and Bodie have dedicated themselves to teaching the Word of God and presenting the gospel message.
  • Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities (Amy Stewart) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐- Stewart takes on over two hundred of Mother Nature’s most appalling creations. It’s an A to Z of plants that kill, maim, intoxicate, and otherwise offend.
  • The Big, Bad Book of Botany (Michael Largo) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Organized alphabetically, The Big, Bad Book of Botany combines the latest in biological wicked_plantsinformation with bizarre facts about the plant kingdom’s oddest members, including a species that is more poisonous than a cobra and a prehistoric plant that actually “walked.”
  • Wild Animals of the South (Dieter Braun) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Famous German illustrator Dieter Braun offers his readers an accurate representation of animals from the southern hemisphere in this gorgeously illustrated volume.
  • Wild Animals of the North (Dieter Braun)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – From the polar bears of the Arctic to the North American pumas and pandas in Asia, North takes children on an exciting journey of discovery. The stunning and accurate drawings show these animals in all their natural majesty and the witty and charming descriptions will teach children all about their new favorite animals!
  • Smart About Sharks (Owen Davey)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Owen Davey returns to nonfiction to explain the mysteries of those denizens of the deep. Some deadly, some not-so-deadly, and almost all just generally misunderstood.
  • Natural World: A Visual Compendium of Wonders from Nature (Amanda Wood & Mike Jolley) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Natural World explores and explains why living things look and behave the way they do in a series of visually compelling information charts.
  • Under Water/Under Earth (Aleksandra Mizielinska & Daniel Mizielinski) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Dive below the surface and find out what happens under earth and under sea—from early submarines and deep-sea life to burrowing animals and man-made tunnels.
  • 50 Cities of the U.S.A. (Gabrielle Balkan) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Explore skyscraper streets, museum miles, local food trucks and city parks of the United States of America and discover more than 2,000 facts that celebrate the people, culture, and diversity that have helped make America what it is today.

Books for Fun:

  • Remnant Trilogy (Tim Chaffey & K. Marie Adams) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – A three-book series surrounding the life of Noah. We are given a thoughtful look at this incredible man of God and taken on a journey in Biblical truths.

Book Club Reads:

  • Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – For Guy Montag, a career fireman fantastic_voyagefor whom kerosene is perfume, this is not just an official slogan. It is a mantra, a duty, a way of life in a tightly monitored world where thinking is dangerous and books are forbidden.
  • Fantastic Voyage (Isaac Asimov) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Four men and a woman are reduced to a microscopic fraction of their original size, sent in a miniaturized atomic sub through a dying man’s carotid artery to destroy a blood clot in his brain. If they fail, the entire world will be doomed.

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… All of these books were fantastic; there wasn’t a single one we disliked or regretted picking up.
We are absolutely in love with just about everything coming out of Flying Eye BooksWild About Sharks, Wild Animals… The illustrations are absolutely fabulous, and the pages within hold a wealth of information.
The Big, Bad Book of Botany is a fantastic resource to have on hand, along with another in the series we’ve recommended, The Big, Bad Book of BeastsOwning both is definitely one of my goals for this coming year. For now, I’ve kidnapped a copy from the local library.
And, finally, Master Books – Quick Answers… and Remnant Trilogy. Visit their website, peruse their resources, and download samples of their incredible curriculum. I wish I had discovered this company years ago. There are not enough adjectives to describe this fantastic Bible-based company or their resources.

Our local summer reading program begins this coming week – which always means a ton of good reads – and we’ll be gearing up for another year of homeschool adventures in just a short month. Join us again during the month of June 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!: Are you currently part of a book club?

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Review: The Remnant Trilogy

review_noah

Summer break is upon us, and that can only mean one thing… Great summer reads. Fiction, non-fiction, biographies, and so much more! For an entire season, we focus on reading as many incredible books as we can fit into our free days and during our trips to outdoor adventures. For this mum, the reading marathon started off with the incredible Remnant Trilogy from Tim Chaffey, K. Marie Adams, and Master Books. What an amazing way to begin!

The Remnant Trilogy is a three-book series surrounding the life of Noah. Through the Remnant Trilogy we are given a thoughtful look at this incredible man of God and taken on a journey in Biblical truths.

Noah: Man of DestinyDiscover the rich background of Noah and his family members as portrayed at the Ark Encounter. Witness the struggle of a righteous man’s battle against a culture that thought of evil continually. Explore what it may have been like for a righteous man to relate to God before the Bible was written. (Master Books)

Noah: Man of Resolve – Packed with action, adventure, and heartbreak, the second installment of the Remnant Trilogy continues the imaginative and respectful look at the life of this hero of the faith as God shapes him into the man who eventually saves humanity’s future. (Master Books)

Noah: Man of God – Adventure, wonder, and biblical history await readers on this riveting journey through the pre-Flood world, leading to an epic confrontation between the Creator’s faithful preacher of righteousness and the serpent’s priestess and her legions of darkness. Noah: Man of God weaves together the storylines from the first two books and delivers an unforgettable conclusion to The Remnant Trilogy. (Master Books)

“Most people think of Noah as the man who built a large ship and spent months caring for thousands of animals. But who was he and what events shaped who he would become? We wrote this novel to challenge Christians to look closely at the life of a man who walked with God.”
~ Tim Chaffey & K. Marie Adams

Our family was blessed with a PDF copy of the entire Remnant Trilogy for review. Each book is approximately three hundred pages in length and includes a number of incredible resources at the back of each volume. Additional sections included a glimpse of the coming novel and “Behind the Fiction”. In “Behind the Fiction” we are given three areas to consider: “Answering Questions Raised By the Novel”, “Encounter This”, and “Borrowed From the Bible”. “Encounter This” gives an inside look at the Ark Encounter itself, and how the authors of the Remnant Series had the opportunity to work behind the scenes for the past few years. In “Borrowed From the Bible” the authors shed light on certain events and customs found in the novel which are similar to those found in the Bible.

While I will offer the Remnant Trilogy to my older children to read in the near future, I first wished to read through the series myself. I find I tend to be a quick reader; thus each novel  took me approximately four to five hours to finish. Perusing the additional resources was a slower process, and one well worth the effort. I spent an average of one-and-a-half hours reading through the materials in each volume. A once-through was a good foundation, but truly feel these materials are worth a second or third look and will more than likely be revisiting them in the future.

The Remnant Trilogy was a great read! From beginning to end the series was entertaining, enjoyable, and simple to follow. The stories included fun and unexpected moments of humor. I particularly enjoyed the authors’ inclusion of “bean brew” and “leaf brew”. The thought of Noah needing coffee to get his day going was cute. Throughout the stories we are given glimpses of Biblical truths and brought back to the beauty of God’s Word. These moments were seamlessly woven into the story itself and beautifully accomplished. My favorite portion of each novel, however, was the additional materials at the end. I love how the authors chose to use the medium of a story to increase us in wisdom and teach Scripture, answering tough questions we face on a day-to-day basis. Altogether, the Remnant Trilogy makes for a wonderful read, and a fantastic learning opportunity.

Summer has just begun. If the Remnant Trilogy is any indication of what the remainder of our reading marathon will be like, we’re in for a treat.

If you’d like to learn more about The Remnant Trilogy and Master Books please visit them at their website – where you can download a preview or place your order for this incredible resource – and on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube!

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Your Turn!: Which do you prefer, “bean brew” or “leaf brew”?

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Review: Teach Them Diligently

review_teach_them_diligently

I appreciate discovering new reads which edify our family and encourage us in the faith. Throughout the learning year, and especially during seasons of downtime meant to refresh the mind and body, we want to fill ourselves with the Word of God and ask the Lord to show us His continued path for our family. Teach Them Diligently from Master Books is a beautiful reminder of God’s calling for parents, and a lovely way to start our summer break!

Teach Them Diligently is an edifying, encouraging read written from the heart of one parent to another. Leslie Nunnery takes us through a series of chapters and a multitude of Scripture, reminding us of the God-given gift of parenting. Together we cover topics such as the privilege of the position, preparing the parent, discipleship-focused parenting, and the importance of our conversations. Each chapter finishes with a gentle opportunity to reflect on what the Lord is teaching, offering our thanks and seeking His face. The result is a beautiful, mindful evaluation of our role as Mom and Dad.

“…It’s easy to say we trust Christ for everything, but are we living that truth?… Learn the practical view of discipleship parenting, what God expects from parents, and how to put these truths into action. See how parenting with the vision of teaching them diligently will intentionally bear fruit and affect change in your own life as well. Move beyond giving lip-service to what you believe, and make the conscious choice to rely on the wisdom of God’s holy instruction for your life and parenting…”
~ Master Books

Our family was blessed with a PDF copy of Teach Them Diligently for review. Always ready to hear what the Lord desires to teach me as both mom and educator, I couldn’t wait to dig into this book. After a particularly full day – one in which I most definitely needed a refilling of the Spirit – I put aside my never-ending to-do list, found a comfortable spot on a window seat, and asked the Lord to speak. With a little over one hundred engaging pages,review_teach_them_insert I found myself finishing Teach Them Diligently in less than a couple of hours. It was time well spent.

I found Teach Them Diligently to be a refreshing read. This was a wonderful reminder to remain faithful in our call to God as parents. I was edified through the multitude of Scripture presented, and reminded that in order to correctly train up my people I must first be righteous before my Father in heaven.

Personally, I recommend Teach Them Diligently be read by all Christian parents. From where I sit, it has just been added as one of my top ten gifts for all the parents we know. I think this lays a beautiful foundation for parents new to the faith and those having their first babies. For the rest of us who’ve been doing this for a bit, it is a fantastic reminder that our job is not yet done.

If you’d like to learn more about Teach Them Diligently and Master Books please visit them at their website – where you can download a preview or place your order for this incredible resource – and on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube!

FTC Disclaimer

Your Turn!: In what specific areas of parenting has the Lord shown you diligence might be currently needed?

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Review: Quick Answers to Tough Questions

review_quickanswersWe may have mentioned one or twice that our learning year is almost at an end. On one hand we’re winding down and preparing for a brief season of relaxation. On the other… Mom is busy planning for next year, and doing a great deal of praying over our curriculum choices. The first area of consideration is always Biblical studies and logic. While the Lord has clearly given us direction for our girls, my son’s lessons were still in question. That is until we had the privilege of reviewing Quick Answers to Tough Questions from Bryan Osborne, Bodie Hodge, and Master Books.

Quick Answers to Tough Questions provides Christians with simple, precise, quick answers to important questions we face on a frequent basis. Topics include creation, evolution, the age of the earth, Noah’s Ark, death, suffering, and more. Leading readers through six main areas of discussion, apologists Bryan and Bodie have dedicated themselves to teaching the Word of God and presenting the gospel message.

“Biblical history and a biblical worldview help us to understand the past, present, and future. Too many believers have fallen victim to those who say that the Bible’s history is false or that science has disproved it. Equip yourself to address the skeptical questions and comments of believers and unbelievers alike and successfully stand strong in your defense of the inerrancy and truth of God’s Word.”

Our family was incredibly blessed with a printed, paper-backed copy of Quick Answers to Tough Questions for review. While excited to read this book for myself, my main objective quickanswers_quicklook1was to identify whether this would be a good fit for our son’s learning adventure next year, when he will be entering sixth grade. I wished to approximate the length of our lessons and map out an organized routine. For my own reading, I progressed through several lessons a day noting any difficulty in vocabulary and possibility of deeper study. I was pleased to find I was able to read through each lesson in a matter of minutes, while most lessons provided plenty of additional study. Biblical references abound, and that is always a plus in my book!

While no specific age category has been suggested for the read, after our assessment, we believe this resource would be of benefit for those ten and up or younger students with high vocabulary skills. This will be a perfect fit for our son; slightly challenging, but not overwhelming. Each lesson was only two pages in length. Setting aside time for the possibility of additional questions our son might have or complimentary topics we wish to explore, we are planning for a twenty to thirty minute Bible study time each morning of our learning week.

Friends, we couldn’t be more pleased with this resource! We love the organized quickanswers_quicklook2progression of topics and questions being presented. Lessons are simple, yet offer so much wisdom. As we mentioned, Biblical references are many; offering not just opinion, but truth from the Word of God. We love that each question presented is one we as adults face on a regular basis, helping prepare our children for questions they too might face. As an educator, I appreciate the ability to delve deeper into many of these topical questions regarding scientific study and historic figures mentioned in the lessons. Given the bonus section, “More Answers”, at the back of the book which offers additional reading for study, we feel certain this resource will be well used during the coming year.

We love discovering new educational resources, especially those which build our faith and edify our family. Quick Answers to Tough Questions is a fantastic resource and one which we can’t wait to implement in the coming year. With Biblical studies and logic squared away, we’re excited to continue planning the rest of the coming year’s learning routine. Each season is an adventure, and we can’t wait to see what the Lord is going to do next!

If you’d like to learn more about Quick Answers to Tough Questions and Master Books please visit them at their website – where you can download a preview or place your order for this incredible resource – and on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube!

FTC Disclaimer

Your Turn!: How big a role do apologetics and logic play in your learning routine?

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Our April Reads

The Plant Hunters: The Adventures of the World's Greatest Botanical ExplorersApril flew by before we could blink. As we’re beginning to wind down our learning year in the next few weeks, we’re looking forward to a little downtime which we will gladly fill with a hefty stack of reading material. This has been a fun month of reading, learning, and increasing in wisdom. April’s list has a few new books to hit the market, 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:

  • Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 (B.C.R.Fegan) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐- The magical donteverlookHotel of Hoo is a mysterious place with some very unusual occupants. As our guests explore the strange hotel, they are invited to experience everything it has to offer with just one warning… don’t ever look behind door 32.
  • Unplugged (Steve Antony) ⭐⭐⭐⭐- Meet Blip. Blip loves being plugged into her computer. When a blackout occurs, Blip trips over her wire and tumbles outside.
    Suddenly, Blip’s gray world is filled with color and excitement. She plays with her new friends and has adventures all day long. When Blip finally returns home, she realizes that the world can be even brighter once you unplug.

Learning Resources:

  • Thrifty Guide to Time Travel… (Jonathan Stokes) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐- The only guidebook you need for your next time travel vacation! The Thrifty Guides are a snappy, informative travel guide containing information vital to the sensible time traveler.
  • Nature Anatomy (Julia Rothman) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐- Acclaimed illustrator Julia Rothman celebrates the diverse curiosities and beauty of the natural world in this exciting new volume. With whimsically hip illustrations, every page is an extraordinary look at all kinds of subjects, from mineral formation and the inside of a volcano to what makes sunsets, monarch butterfly migration, the ecosystem of a rotting log, the parts of a bird, the anatomy of a jellyfish, and much, much more.
  • The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Great Escape (M.J. Thomas) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐- In The Great Escape, Peter, Mary, and Hank journey to the pyramid-studded desert of ancient Egypt. When the trio become friends with Pharaoh’s daughter, they greatescapewitness first-hand as Moses petitions Pharaoh for the Israelites’ freedom. Plagues wreak havoc as the group races to decode the scroll, gets chased by a panther, and battles Pharaoh’s cunning advisor, the Great Magician. Young readers will anxiously follow along as Peter and Mary’s thrilling adventures bring the biblical story of Exodus to life.
  • Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason (Jason Lisle) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – A popular list of 439 alleged Bible contradictions has been circulating on the Internet for years. Many critics refer to this list as the definitive proof that the Bible is flawed. But apparently none of them bothered to actually check. Interestingly, not one of these 439 claims is a genuine contradiction. This shows that critics generally do not perform careful scholarship.

Books for Fun:

  • Ready Player One (Ernest Cline) ⭐⭐- In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize.

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… Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 is everything charming! Parents should be advised there are a lot of fantastical creatures in this book – which we LOVE – but we understand not all parents wish to explore fantasy or fairy tales with their children. We absolutely adore this new read and share it with every little person who comes over to visit.
Several of our learning resources have been read previously, but they are so good we revisit them on a continual basis. Clicking their titles will take you directly to reviews. Each is a title our family owns and highly recommends.
Ready Player One… I’ll be honest. I truly enjoyed this book and didn’t think I would. However it does have language in it which means passing it off to my kids won’t be happening any time soon; which saddens me as everything else about this book is classic. I’m an eighties kid and this book spoke to my childhood. Unfortunately, as is generally the case, the movie is hideous in comparison. What a shame.

As we wind down our year, we’re noticing learning resource books have lessened. That seems a shame. Be assured this will not remain true for long! Our local summer reading program is just around the corner – which always means a ton of good reads – and we’ll be gearing up for another year of homeschool adventures in just a short month. Join us again during the month of May 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!: Are fairy tales/fantasy reads allowed in your home; why or why not?

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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!

FTC Disclaimer

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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