Review: The World’s Story 1: The Ancients

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I have a confession. I have not been happy with our history curriculum choice. It came highly recommended, it had a ton of hands-on activities, and it covered a great deal of information. What was the problem? Not once did it mention the Bible, nor God’s plan for the world He created. I found myself constantly needing to add my own supplements to the lessons and, on occasion, re-word selections entirely. Now, thanks to The World’s Story 1: The Ancients from Master Books, we have the opportunity to explore history like never before, and this mama couldn’t be more pleased!

The World’s Story 1: The Ancients tells the fascinating story of ancient civilizations of the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas from a strong Biblical perspective. Featuring an engaging historical narrative, The Ancients covers Biblical history, educating students about civilizations mentioned in the Bible, up to the development of the early Church. Designed for grades sixth through eighth, The Ancients is the first in a three-volume series in The World’s Story.

“I like to say that if we do not learn history, it is impossible to learn from history. If we do not learn from history, we cannot change the future. We need to learn the mistakes of the past so that we do not repeat them; we need to understand the lessons of the past so that we can make better decisions.”
~ Angela O’Dell

Our family was offered a PDF copy of both student text and teacher guide of The World’s Story 1: The Ancients, which was especially beneficial as I could print multiple copies of any worksheets needed; essential in a home where history is studied as a family unit. The student textbook contains twenty-eight chapters covering creation through the end of the Roman empire. Each chapter includes a brief reading, Biblical references, map work, opportunities for analysis and connection to the world in which they live today, photos, and much more. The teacher guide includes weekly lesson schedules, student activity sheets, review, answer keys, and more. A comprehensive introduction review_worldstory1_studentpagesassists parents in making the most of this curriculum, including tips for struggling learners and teaching multiple ages.

This was a fantastic opportunity for me to gain an overview of the curriculum itself; determining whether it would be a good fit in the future, giving a feel for the material, and where the Lord might be directing our lessons. The World’s Story 1: The Ancients is the first in a coming series of three. The World’s Story 2: The Middle Ages will be available soon; with The World’s Story 3: The Modern Age being released Spring 2019. A review of The Ancients would determine whether an investment in further volumes would be something of interest.

Over the course of a week, I spent several hours a day studying both the student text and teacher guide. The curriculum itself did not mandate this, by any means. The Ancients is a well constructed course, with many helps to assist both student and parent in their daily lessons. Under normal circumstances, an hour’s reading through the introductory passages and helps would have sufficed to begin the course. My main objective was to compare The World’s Story with our current curriculum with a remarkably similar name, thus more time was given for this review. I found the curriculum to be a perfect fit for the suggested age category, with the possibility of being extended further for older students.

I cannot say enough lovely things about this curriculum. I appreciated the introduction and the care taken in explaining the importance of studying ancient history. Not all students have an appreciation for this and the author did a fantastic job laying a foundation for the lessons. We loved that the Bible is the ultimate guide in using this curriculum, leading students back to God continually. Our previous curriculum – while well-organized and hands-on – missed the key element of a strong Biblical foundation and continual Scriptural reference. review_worldstory1_teacherpagesWe’re incredibly excited that we are given a full, accurate account of the world’s beginning and a better understanding of God’s plan for His people. We’re quite pleased with the amount, and diversity, of activities included in the curriculum. The World’s Story far exceeds anything we could have anticipated. Families can expect to explore art studies, artifacts study, map work, copy work, narration, sketching, hands-on activities, timelines, “Dig Deeper” selections which include additional research prompts, and so much more! And the best part? Everything is included in the set. No more buying of additional quiz/test books or answer keys. This set is all we needed to start our adventure in history.

While a particular curriculum selection might fit our family overall, we inevitably need to tweak the details and rearrange lessons to best meet our needs. I was pleased to discover author Angela O’Dell had already anticipated this and created the material for such a purpose. Aside from exchanging a few written exercises for verbal, this curriculum is a fantastic fit. One thing we might note is that The World’s Story does not include suggested literature selections related to each chapter. However, in each “Dig Deeper!” exercise, several areas of further study are suggested which would help direct in choosing additional reading.

With the help of The World’s Story 1: The Ancients and Master Books this mum has gone from discouraged to excited about this coming year’s study of history. I can’t wait to dig into our lessons, knowing everything we’re learning is directing our children back to God’s Word and His plan for our family. I am overjoyed by the amount of fun, educational adventure we’re going to have this year, and it’s all thanks to this remarkable addition to our learning routine!

If you’d like to learn more about The World’s Story 1: The Ancients 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!: How “hands-on” is history in your home, and how has it changed as your children began high school years?

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A Simplified Life

Simplified_LifeBefore summer gets away from me and life once again becomes crowded with too many homeschooling resources, parent-taxi responsibilities, and an overburdened calendar, it’s time to take a moment to breathe and simplify life. Perhaps you’re feeling like me and could use a little encouragement. Join us in reviewing this fun, simple to follow series!

With these basic, easy steps, we hope to help simplify life. Join us as we share our thoughts on how to simplify all areas of our lives, homes, and learning.

A Simplified Life: Menu Planning
A Simplified Life: Chores
A Simplified Life: Homeschooling
A Simplified Life: Educational Resources
A Simplified Life: Extra Curricular Activities
A Simplified Life: Free Printables

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Two Shall Be One

The following is an excerpt from our ‘Homeschooling 101’ series, written to help encourage families who are new to the world of home education. We pray this post blesses you and reminds each of us that homeschooling is a family endeavor, not something ‘mommy does with the kids’. 

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two_shall_be_oneGenerally speaking, most of us mommies do the teaching in our homes. We pick the curriculum, we pick the method by which we teach, we decide which activities we will be involved in, and we do all the instructing. Does anyone see a problem with this scenario? Where is father in all of this? Shouldn’t he have a say in the education of his children?

A piece of advice I try to give new homeschooling families is include pop in your homeschooling. While dad might need to work all day, not being available to do actual instructing, there are many ways in which he can still be an active part of your children’s education:

  • He can pray for his family.
  • He can offer advice on which curriculum should be chosen.
  • He can discuss what the children learned at the end of each day.
  • He can be a sounding board for ideas.
  • If available, he can teach classes.

When we first began homeschooling, my husband was a great sounding board for ideas. Everything that came to my attention we discussed together. How did he think we should homeschool; do we use a classical method, an unschooling approach, or should we be eclectic? What should be the focus of our learning? He was instrumental in helping us to narrow down the goals of our family’s learning.

Homeschooling101

At the beginning of each year, I make a point of discussing everything with my husband. We talk about any new changes, new directions, new goals, and new ideas we’d like to try out. During these discussions, he makes a point of letting me know how he’d like to be involved in our children’s learning. This year he is participating in PE and helping with government/economics.

Sometimes we talk about things as they come up, others at the end of the night. The most fun way to have our conversations? A date night! We make a special coffee date and together plan out the coming year for our family.

Knowing my husband is 100% behind what we do gives me great peace of mind. I am not in this alone, I am not doing this on my own strength. We are in this together for the long haul, raising and training our children. If you don’t already, consider making your husband an active part of your homeschooling. No matter how “small” the contribution, it will be well worth the effort.

“AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.”
~ Mark 10:8

Your Turn!: How do you encourage your husband to participate in the homeschooling of your children?

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Review: Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 from The Critical Thinking Co.™

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When our family first began homeschooling, I found myself overwhelmed by the wealth of information available. I was undecided regarding personal goals for our children or which method of homeschooling was best. Through prayer and my husband’s leading, we determined there were three goals we were seeking for our children. We wanted them to read well, so that they might take in the Word of God; write well, so that they could communicate what the Lord was speaking to them; and think well, in order to analyze the world in which they live and serve the Lord righteously. During this past month, our family had the pleasure of reviewing Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 from The Critical Thinking Co.™ which is helping us maintain these goals and encouraging our children to put on their thinking caps!

Producing quality products since 1958, The Critical Thinking Co.™ has a vast selection ofreview_criticalthinking_sample2 resources designed to help teach children critical thinking. Through the medium of math, vocabulary, reading, writing, science, and more, students are taught to analyze information and gain a deeper understanding of the world in which they live. Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 is one of several in the Critical Thinking Detective Lineup. A 32-page paperback workbook, Book 1 leads students through a series of detective cases challenging them to analyze data and develop observation skills. Designed for grades four through twelve, students will find each case fun to solve. 

“If we teach children everything we know, their knowledge is limited to ours. If we teach children to think, their knowledge is limitless.”
– Michael Baker, President

Our family was given a physical copy of Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 to review with our son. Little Man is eleven now; the perfect age to ensure those critical thinking skills are being formed and solidified. The thin paperback had an appealing cover which attracted his attention and increased his interest in the book. Each lesson began with a short mystery, followed by four suspects’ accounts of the case. Based on the details of the mystery and the information given, our son needed to determine which suspects were innocent and which was the guilty party. To assist him, each mystery included a suspect sheet upon which he could record a person’s name and reasons why he believed them to be innocent or guilty, along with sentence numbers to support his reasoning. My goal was to incorporate one to two lessons per day into our routine, completing a minimum of four cases per week over the course of several weeks.

During our first lesson, I worked closely with my son to ensure he understood what was being asked of him. I offered assistance if needed, and helped him with writing down his review_criticalthinking_sample1thoughts. After a few cases, we chose to work through occasional cases verbally. My son would read the mystery and build a solid case for each suspect’s innocence or guilt, then he would ask for my attention and proceed to lay out his case. Afterwards we would check the answer sheet included in the back of the book and discover if he was correct. Our initial lessons took approximately fifteen to twenty minutes, provided my son stayed on task. The remainder of our lessons around ten minutes in length.

Working through Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 was simple. The curriculum was well laid out, with fun graphics of each suspect. The overall format was organized, methodical, review_criticalthinking_wJAGand helpful. While my son was able to solve most of the mysteries without difficulty, we did find a few of the cases harder to solve than others mostly due to a miscommunication in vocabulary. While we understood a suspect’s words to have one meaning, upon looking at the answer sheet we discovered his words had a different connotation. This frustrated my son at first, however it proved to be a good lesson in understanding proper communication and learning to look at words carefully to find double meaning. Upon completion, I appreciate how Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 has helped teach our son to slow down and focus on the details of a story and the importance of context clues. The cases themselves were quite funny, with suspects stealing potted plants from storefront windows and kittens snagging the neighbor’s barbecue.

We love discovering new curriculum. We’re overjoyed when we come across resources which help us achieve our goals in reading well, writing well, and thinking well. Critical Thinking Detective has been an exercise in all three, and we’re blessed in having had the experience. Now, on to Book Two!

If you’d like to learn more about Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 or The Critical Thinking Co.™, please visit them at their website and on FacebookPinterest, Twitter or Google+. Be sure to take advantage of this limited time offer: A FREE set of critical thinking puzzles valued at over $75! Find resources you’d like to purchase? Receive free shipping and 15% off any size order now until the end of 2018 by using coupon code TOSCREW18.
To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what The Critical Thinking Co. has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

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Your Turn!: Are you currently using a curriculum to help develop critical thinking skills?

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“I’m Not Interested!”: When Kids Don’t Like the Lesson

I'm_Not_InterestedHe’s just sitting there. It’s not as if he doesn’t understand what is being taught, but his eyes are glazed over and he’s slumped in his seat. If he had a choice, he’d rather do almost anything else. She’s staring me down; frustration, irritation, and a genuine lack of enthusiasm radiating from her rigid form. Sure, she could do it, but why? Why study hours of seemingly pointless details. What’s wrong with both of these situations? Neither child is interested and they are clearly making it known. It’s not that they don’t want to study anything, they just don’t want to study that. No matter how I try to twist the lesson to make it more appealing, this child won’t engage. What’s a mom to do when their child just isn’t interested?

I wish I was the ultimate teacher; able to make all children not only learn anything taught, but also like what they are learning. Unfortunately, I too, often have to find creative ways to encourage my children to learn. Oh, sure, there are some things they’d jump at the chance to do, but others take a lot more persuasion, and even that doesn’t always work.

When our children show no interest, none whatsoever, in a subject, do we force it upon them? If the thought of having to write research papers fills our children with dread, do we still make them do it? If algebra sickens them, do we push them through the equations anyway? So much of life isn’t black-and-white. There aren’t easy responses to these questions; no pat answers. Each family must pray about the individual situation and ask the Lord to give them wisdom in how best to handle it. But, here are a few things we’ve learned…

The Littles – For those with little kids balking at the notion of having to learn undesired subjects, perhaps it is our method of teaching which is hindering their desire to move forward. It might also be likely that we are introducing topics at too early an age. One further thought is that our children really don’t understand what they are going to learn. Sure, they hear the words – Language Arts – but they don’t correlate that with the telling of stories and crafting of words. Sometimes it takes a creative moment on the parent’s behalf to make the topic sound worthwhile.

The Middles – The workload is starting to increase and our children are beginning to take notice. They don’t like the idea of having to learn more subjects or take on more work. Things they used to enjoy have now become a chore. Did we increase their load too soon or all at once? Perhaps we forgot to take the time to make the topic more interesting, assuming they were big enough now to simply tackle any project plopped in front of them. We mustn’t let our middle children get lost in the mix or forget to make learning fun.

The Big Guys – Subjects like algebra, biology, and composition are looming in front of their eyes, all with loads of work attached. Our child insists they don’t want to take that chemistry class, failing to see the need for learning the periodic table of elements. Here is where things get tough. Do you force them to take all those college prep classes, no matter what they have to say to the contrary? Do you let them decide for themselves what they wish to study?
Each family needs to make these decisions for themselves and it’s not always an easy task. Through prayer, council, and wisdom we must decide for each child what is best. For some, they need the push to study topics not readily desired. Others would only be stressed and hate learning altogether if shoved.
No matter our decision, I would still encourage us to find fun ways to make learning fun. However, at this stage, we also need to stretch our children. They ought to learn life isn’t always fun, easy, convenient, or made to order. Homeschooling offers us many options, and we are grateful for all of them, but we are attempting to raise responsible adults. And, not all responsibility is fun or wanted.

Do we force learning on our children? Oh, sometimes. We want to try new things with them, expand their horizons, and help them get a well-rounded education. We also need to remember to be careful in our desire to stretch our children. We want them to be challenged, we don’t want them to be broken.

“An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”
~ Proverbs 18:15

Your Turn!: Have you ever forced your child to learn a particular subject/topic and then later regretted it? Have you ever forced your child and later had them thank you for the opportunity? Share your story with us!

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Is Catechism Only for Catholics?

is_catechism_only_for_catholicsIt happened while I was scrolling through my Instagram feed. I had found five minutes to call my own, and used it to peek in on a few homeschool friends who never fail to inspire and edify. As I was passing out hearts to all the lovely images greeting my eye, one post in particular had me pausing and taking a second look. A fellow mama was extolling the beauty discovered in a new catechism curriculum, and this got me thinking. Is catechism only for Catholics, or should I be teaching this too?

cat·e·chism
noun

a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers, used for the instruction of Christians.

Now, you’ll kindly forgive my ignorance. Catechism has never been a subject ever discussed in any of the churches I’ve attended. Not once. I was familiar with the traditional Catholic practice, but not within my own non-denominational establishment. We firmly believe in teaching the Bible and worldview apologetics, but the word catechism was something specifically associated with being Catholic.

Didn’t I feel sheepish and slightly bothered I had never come across this concept in all my years attending church, nor in the homeschooling community itself. How was this possible? Never one to let that stop me, I spent the next week doing as much research as possible on the topic; praying about what the Lord wanted for our family. Two weeks later, after confirmation from the Lord, we began our studies.

God is good, and works in mysterious ways. It seems while we might not have been going through a specific set of questions and answers – formal catechism – our family had been learning these concepts for years! As we began our study and proceeded to memorize exact responses to questions, it reaffirmed we have been on the right track all along teaching our children basic Bible doctrine and tenets of our faith. The Lord is truly amazing.

We might be new to the concept of formal catechism, but we’re quickly learning its rich history and the benefit of including this in our homeschool studies. Side-by-side, we quiz each other and encourage one another in our memorization. By the Lord’s leading we are strengthening our Biblical skills and drawing closer to Him.

Isn’t it amazing what five minutes of encouragement can do?

Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
~ Proverbs 22:6

Your Turn!: Share your favorite resources for teaching catechism! We’d love to learn more.

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Why Am I Two Steps Ahead?

why_am_i_two_steps_aheadI can’t help it, really I can’t. Once the end of our learning year seems to be in sight, I am already starting to think of what comes next. I don’t wait for the year to finish, I don’t wait for summer time; I start planning the minute the urge takes over. It looks like this year is no different. We hadn’t even finished our third quarter and I was already two steps ahead.

By nature, I tend to be an overly organized person. I also tend to obsess over things and continually think over them until I’ve made myself crazy. When I consider what next year might bring, it helps to start writing things out and narrowing down decisions. This gives me plenty of time to thoroughly inspect new ideas or activities and test out concepts to see if they work practically. It also helps in being able to do research, if some of our new interests require a financial investment or a great deal of time. Once ideas are written down, I don’t have to worry about forgetting a truly awesome idea or keeping information in my head. It’s down on paper and I have plenty of time to get to it.

I also tend to write down thoughts on how our routine is currently working. Is our day Bookshelf_Feb2010running smoothly? Will our day need to be adjusted next year to accommodate our children’s needs or household schedules? What is working well this year that I don’t want to change? What is not working and needs to be revamped? Which things need a complete replacement?

Planning ahead has also helped me in mapping out our children’s educational futures. By looking in the direction our children are headed, I have a better idea of how their learning should be planned out now. If my child wants to be a zoologist, I don’t want to wait until her junior year of high school to start bumping up her science courses; that is something we need to start looking at in junior high.

The only downside I see to being two steps ahead (or three, or four), is that I get anxious to start. I become excited over new projects, new school books, new routines, and new opportunities to learn. While I understand the current year needs to be completed, I’m chomping at the bit to move on.

Above all else, I am continually praying for our coming year. No matter what new changes – and there are going to be some awesome ones – come our way, I want to make sure we are following the path He has laid before us. If I do this on my own, I know I am going to fail. With Him, this next year looks to be an excellent one!

The heart of man plans his way,
    but the Lord establishes his steps.”
~ Proverbs 16:9

Your Turn!: When do you begin looking at next year’s routine?

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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!

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

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Working Out Their Own Faith

working_out_their_own_faithOur family recently had the opportunity to visit with friends at their daughter’s birthday party. The kids had a blast, and we were able to catch up on recent happenings. But instead of walking away feeling refreshed and encouraged, I found myself thoughtful and frustrated. During our short visit, the father had expressed to my husband how he hoped we had enjoyed the young years while they had lasted. His reasoning? He went on to explain that all children need to work out their own faith and go through their own gospel experience. Now that our children were teens, we would lose our children to the world and they would rebel.

While I believe his heart was in the right place – he meant to impart wisdom – his words rubbed me raw. Do all children need to accept God on their own? YES! While it might sound like a cliché; God does not have any grandchildren. We don’t piggyback on our parent’s faith. We need to have our own. What I do not believe is that all children need to go through a hard, rebellious stage before accepting Christ as Savior. While there are no foolproof ways to keep our children from rebelling, there are steps we can take which help them make the right choices. Not all children go through this stage.

So, how do we go about preventing rebellion? I honestly think it all boils down to relationship. When our children know we love them and our choices reflect this love, they are less likely to rebel. When our children love us in return, they will do everything in their power to please us and bring us joy.

The key to squashing rebellion is love. We ought to be loving on our kids constantly and allowing them to love on us. We have open communication with lots of talk about why decisions are made in our home. Love is not casual permissiveness. (We don’t just give them what they want.) Love sometimes means correction, discipline, and consequences. When we love on our kids to this extent, we know who their friends are and their friends’ families. We know who is offering influence and we curb those choices; explaining them to our kids and why.

I believe that when our children see the evidence of love in our relationship with God, in our marriages, and for them, they will naturally want to please us. This love also opens doors for how they view God. Through our conversations, our actions, and our affection, our children see faith in action. They will see the blessings that come with a life lived for Him. They will see the distinction between those who rebel and those who obey. Our children will naturally come to their faith and without necessarily having to experience a tragic testimony.

Does this mean our children are perfect? Heavens, no! We aren’t perfected yet so why would be expected this of them? What this does mean, is that they will not willfully go out and hurt themselves, us, or God. While they might make mistakes, they are not doing so out of mutinous emotion.

I can always tell when I am failing to love on my children as much as I ought. Our children question my authority, they act out, and they have a hard time controlling their own emotions. This is a wake up call for me. I have somehow dropped the ball and need to bring things back into perspective. Once I get things back into focus, our children naturally resume their loving nature. The problem is usually me!

If I learned one thing from that afternoon with our friends, it was this… Unless I want my children to contribute to this statistic, I need to be proactive. I have a choice. I can allow this to happen or I can strive to prevent it. The only way I can see that happening is through strong doses of love. Supernatural, unconditional love; which only comes from the Father. With His help will my children be victorious in working out their faith.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
~ Proverbs 22:6

Your Turn!: Do you know a family whose children have yet to rebel? What do you think was the key to their success?

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Review: Heroes of History – Ronald Reagan by YWAM Publishing

review_reaganWhen our children were little, unit studies were a regular portion of our routine. We had lessons surrounding good literature, sessions focused on character study and more. As the kids got bigger such studies made less of a showing; until recently. This month, our family had an opportunity to review Ronald Reagan: Destiny at His Side in the Heroes in History Series from YWAM Publishing, and this mom couldn’t be more thrilled with the incredible learning adventures these lessons are bringing to the table.

YWAM Publishing is a division of Youth With A Mission. YWAM Publishing produces materials covering a range of topics such as Missions, Homeschooling, Christian Living, and more. From printed material to audio books and MP3 downloads, you’ll find a multitude of resources available. Of particular interest to our family are Christian Heroes: Then & Now and Heroes of History, which focus on bringing the shaping of history to life with remarkable true stories and trusting God to accomplish extraordinary exploits for His kingdom.

Choosing from the vast selection of historical figures to focus our attentions was not easy. There are many remarkable people we would enjoy learning more about. Due to his recent reagan_ca
passing, we were tempted to study more on Billy Graham: American’s Pastor. Several historic American figures were incredibly tempting: John Adams: Independence Forever, Abraham Lincoln: A New Birth of Freedom, George Washington:True Patriot and more. However, after much consideration, we opted to study Ronald Reagan: Destiny at His Side. With recent activity in California politics, our oldest daughter entering her senior year in a few short weeks, and a general knowledge of this gentleman, we thought this would be an excellent historical study to end our learning year.

Having never had the pleasure of reading through any of the Heroes of History series, this was an adventure for our family. We received a lovely paperback book to review; read aloud during group history time and studied two days a week in our home for approximately two hours. Ideally, all four of our children – ranging from my junior in high school to my fifth-grade son – would be present. After our reading, activities would be chosen which would bring chapters to life and give deeper insight into President Reagan’s life.

To assist with choosing beneficial activities, we were also given a lovely, digital Ronald Reagan Unit Study to review! Unit Study Guides are adaptable to include Small Groups, Classroom use, and Homeschool. The homeschooling overview being the best fit for our current needs. Each guide includes adaptations for the parents’ role including parent-directed study, student-directed study, and working with children of varying ability levels reagan_outlineand learning styles. Within the study guide itself the unit is broken down into categories such as Key Quotes, Display Corner, Chapter Questions, Student Explorations, Community Links, Social Studies, Related Themes to Explore, and Culminating Events; each with many suggested activities. At the end of the study guide is an exhaustive list of books and resources for further study, answers to chapter questions, and social studies reproducible pages. Our Unit Study Guide covered a multitude of learning areas: history, geography, essay writing, creative writing, reading comprehension, public speaking drama and art.

Our reading of Ronald Reagan: Destiny at His Side was a breeze. The chapters were short, fun, and easy to follow. The book covered the life of President Reagan from his youth to his death, and the impact his life made on the world. Our read was enjoyable and educational. I’m ashamed to admit I had not remembered an attempt was on his life – although as we were reading I vaguely recalled hearing about this – nor did I knowreagan_wksht much about his background other than his having been an actor. It was fascinating learning about his history as a sports announcer and life guard. Looking through the unit study, I was absolutely amazed! The guide is incredibly comprehensive with many activities and options to explore. From a teaching perspective, I appreciated the helpful tips on how to make the most of this curriculum and the chapter questions. I especially liked the biography time periods, curriculum timeline, and character qualities chart; these visuals make it easier to plan future unit studies. Student explorations offered hands-on projects, audio/visual projects, arts, and crafts which were suitable for all our children. Having a display corner was especially appealing. Listening to old radio programs is a family pastime, so it was fun to find this activity already listed in the study guide. We had the opportunity to can food, create maps, construct journals, and so much more.

While our first reading of Ronald Reagan: Destiny at His Side went quickly, with a select amount of activity chosen, I would like to revisit this sometime in the coming year and progress through the unit study with greater depth. Given the vast selection of activities and learning areas to explore, we could easily spend several months on this unit alone!

It has indeed been a while since our family has had the pleasure of exploring a unit study. YWAM and Heroes of History have been a fun adventure, and reminded us of the benefits of this learning method. As we look to planning the coming year, we’re excited to see which other studies might fit into our year. There is so much goodness to explore!

If you’d like to learn more about Ronald Reagan: Destiny at His Side, Heroes of History, Christian Heroes: Now & Then, or YWAM Publishing, please visit them at their website and on FacebookPinterest, Twitter or their Blog. To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what YWAM Publishing has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

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Your Turn!: Which series interests you most; Christian Heroes: Then & Now or Heroes of History?

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