I invited my friend Mikilana and her children ages 10 to 18 to listen to For The Temple from Heirloom Audio. We had a blast listening to this Christian audio drama!
We listened to both CDs back to back without interruption. It was an exciting radio theater experience with excellent acting, realistic sound effects, and an engaging story that kept us interested.
After we listened to For the Temple, I asked my friends what they thought.
First of all, we all agreed that it was a great story, but a very sad time in history. After all, when Jesus prophesied about the destruction of Jerusalem, He wept.
Peter found the audio drama Interesting, especially looking at each perspective: the Romans and the Jews.
Hallel liked the narrator's voice because he was very expressive and pleasant to listen to. He also found the story a little confusing. However, the history itself during that time is quite confusing.
Gracie loved it and thought the story was very exciting.
Victoria described it as "Action-packed, historically informative, and able to draw me into the story."
Hosanna agreed with Hallel. She thought the radio theater audio showed an Interesting perspective. She said, "I never really thought of it in both ways—seeing from both a Roman and Jewish perspective."
As mothers, Mikilana and I both appreciated the Christian message and wholesomeness of the story. We both have purchased many of GA Henty's books so were excited to hear another one of his story dramatized.
I love SchoolhouseTeachers.com which makes me so excited to review the Ultimate Annual Yearly Membership where I can use online courses and electives to my heart's delight. You can download so many courses at SchoohouseTeachers.com, storing them on your computer or just printing as you go. There are also online courses where your children can access the course and teacher on your computer, laptop, or phone. Students are able to go at their own pace. Oh, and did I mention, one family membership includes everyone! That's such a huge savings on curriculum.
At first I felt overwhelmed by all the choices. Should I go to High School Homeschool Courses? Or Elementary Homeschool Courses? Or check out the Middle School Homeschool Courses? Or do I need Homeschool Parent Support?
Where did I go first?
To Preschool Playground of course. After all, I'm a grandmother.
With over 400 options available from preschool to high school and new courses added regularly, I find myself spending hours browsing. It's like being in a homeschool curriculum store. EXCEPT--I can use any curriculum I want to at no extra expense. Wow!
We enjoyed Preventing and Responding to Emergencies, a course for 5th-6th graders teaching them practical ways to help out in emergency situations. Created by homeschool mom Jenny Underwood, there are nine lessons. With practical explanations and instructions, she teaches how to respond to cuts, snake bites, spider bites, hypothermia, broken bones, muscle sprains, poisoning, electric shock, drowning, heat exhaustion, burns, and frostbite. My favorite part was putting together the first aid kit.
Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women from Zondervan would make a great gift for any Christian girl on your list. These devotions for young women will help them grow in their faith and learn the truth about what Christianity teaches about womanhood.
As the mother of four daughters, I am concerned that young women know what God created them to be and how to walk in all He has for them. I don't want them to embrace the world's ways, but I don't want them to live beneath their potential.
I believe God loves women! I believe that the call on our lives to glorify God as women is just as important as God's call to men and that if we fail to embrace it, the world be suffer and ache.
This devotional book speaks to the heart of young women to commend them, inspire them, and urge them to live lives worthy of the calling they have received from Jesus.
My daughter and I each went through the devotional on our own. I started at the beginning and she started in the middle of the book. One day at a time, we made our way through the book. After a few weeks, we sat down to talk about it. We agreed it would be a wonderful gift for a new believer, as well as a teenager.
Each devotion starts with a verse followed by an inspirational application of the verse to daily life. There are a few lines at the bottom for journaling.
One of my favorite days was Day 18. The verse was Genesis 7:7: "And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood." The devotion goes on to ask whether we ever feel like we're drowning or overwhelmed with life's pressures. Yes! my heart cried out. I can feel that way. The devotion went on to call us to the shelter and safety of Jesus. Yes! my heart cried out again.
Yes, this book is written for young women ages 13 to 18, but as all of us (who are all over 18 and me by quite a lot) found out: this book works for women of any age. There are timeless truths that minister to those issues that hit us at every age and season in life.
Though my diaper days are over, I was thrilled to review "Balancing Diapers & Deadlines" from Lisa Tanner Writing.
Well, I'm glad you asked.
I started up a business when my youngest was in middle school and I wish I had gone through this course, first. You see, my children didn't understand what I was doing or why. I had a hard time and went years without accomplishing anything for my business.
As I finished up the first lesson, I said, "Why oh why didn't I do that?" Lisa shared three ways to get your family on board in the beginning: explain the changes that will take place, share the reasons why you are starting a business, and talk about your business. Instead, in my house, my children were resentful so I didn't put time into the business or ever talk about it with them. Big mistake!
Next, Lisa shared about creating flexible routines. Another "Wow! Why didn't I do it the way she suggests moment!" She even shares how to teach your children to be flexible. By this point in the course, I was so impressed!
We enjoyed joining the Brinkman Adventures when we listened to Season 6: Underground Rising.
Before I tell you all about Season 6, I want to give you some background information on me. You see, I am a real Corrie ten Boom fan. She was a true hero during World War II, hiding Jews and working with the Dutch Resistance.
Knowing this about me, you have to realize that I was absolutely thrilled that the topic was the Dutch Resistance during World War II.
Let me make a few things clear about Brinkman Adventures Season 6: the acting is awesome, the screen writing is excellent, and the story catches you up into the excitement of World War II.
My favorite part was the way the story started with the children visiting their grandmother. She begins to tell the story of her brave husband, her courageous friends, and herself fighting the Nazis during World War II. Every once in awhile she reappears in the story to make a comment or explain something more clearly. This made the story so much more personal.
This radio show is based on a true story. In fact, I was so excited to see on the Real Stories pages of the website supplemental information on each episode. We saw photos of Reng and Lynn VanKesteren and learned more about the main characters in the radio episode. I love the picture and saved the link so I can listen to a podcast with the couple later. How exciting!
The Real Stories page also contained a recipe for oliebollen, or Dutch doughnuts. For each of the other episodes 56-60, there is information and a link to a podcast to listen to.
In fact, I found the podcast page on the Brinkman Adventures website. Lots of great podcasts to listen to. You can listen to them here.
CashCrunch Careers from CashCrunch Games helps people of all ages answer the question, "What do you want to do when you grow up?' Choosing a vocation and career can be a scary, overwhelming process.
One thing I loved about the website was the information on the Careers webpage about various careers. They list 17 different career segments (like Architecture & Construction, Education & Training, Finance, or Health Science). You can click on any of the career areas to learn more about all the different careers to choose from. There is a wealth of information on this website about careers.
CashCrunch also has free games you can play on their site. These games help middle school and high school students learn more about managing money. You can play them here.
I was very excited to be able to take a carer survey from CashCrunch Careers. In addition, my daughter Shine and my young friend Marielle took the career surveys.
When I took the career survey, the results gave me a wide variety of fields to choose from including human resources manager, education administration elementary and secondary, education administration post-secondary, cost estimator, lodging manager, and public relations managers. I had to laugh because they all describe the different hats I wear as a homeschooling mom, pastor's wife, and homemaker.
There is also a video that explains the survey and results to help you better understand your survey results. That was helpful.
Impressive! That's the word that came to my mind the first time I saw the Printable Books of the Bible Summary Sheets from Teach Sunday School. What a great way to teach our children the Books of the Bible at home or in Sunday School at church.
Okay, there is so much information at your fingertips with these Bible at a Glance printables. They are packed with information.
I love these sheets because they are a great resource for Bible teachers of any kind--Sunday school teachers, homeshcool moms, Bible study leaders, or pastors.
I printed mine and have them in a notebook for reference. So, here is the way I will use them in my Bible teaching. When I start a new book of the Bible, I will pass out a copy of these sheets to my children and we will go over the basic facts together that are on the sheet.
For the review, we each grabbed a sheet based on what we are studying in our Quiet Times and read it over. We all agreed that it made a significant difference in understanding the book we were studying.
God's Timing was perfect. Forensic Faith For Kids from David C Cook and Case Makers Academy came in the mail at just the right time.
You see, we are studying apologetics in our homeschool co-op and one girl was interested in taking the course, but the reading was just too hard.
I was so excited to tell her about the book and asked her if she wanted to read a chapter to see if she liked it.
She said down and read a chapter. And kept reading. She loved it!
When she left, she wanted to take it with her, but I told her I still had to review it myself.
A few days later, I sat down to review the book and couldn't stop reading. It was enchanting, delightful, and engaging. Okay, I love mysteries whether cozy mysteries for grown-ups or easy reading mysteries for kids.
I loved the people in the story. I love how they handled weaving in apologetics and I loved the little Corgi. Yes, I'm just a kid at heart. But, I'm also a pastor's wife with a deep desire to see children walk confidently in their faith. Forensic Faith For Kids is a great way to teach children the whys behind their faith.
We were so excited to get Heirloom Audio's newest G.A. Henty adventure, St. Bartholomew's Eve, and it did not disappoint.
I invited my young friends Hallel 17, Hosanna 16, Victoria 15, Peter 13, and Grace 11 to listen with me.
We all sat in my family room for over two hours listening. All of us were attentive because we wanted to know what happened next. Between CDs, we grabbed food and then popped the second one in.
Why were we so fully engaged.
This radio drama was excellent in every way. The acting, sound effects, and story line were amazing! We were drawn to the characters and cried when we lost some friends in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. There was depth to the characters and surprises in the plot.
This is a tragic, yet heroic tale from history. What a privilege to listen to radio theater together so we could really understand the events leading up to the tragic event.
"I loved it!" each child responded enthusiastically when we discussed it afterward. This radio drama was full of action and adventure, along with virtuous characters who honor Christ. Plus bad guys. How could we not love it!
Discussion that Followed the Audio
"What a beautiful book!" I said aloud as I pulled Alaska By The Way by Joy Budensiek from By The Way out of the brown package. Usually I put a new book in the review pile, but it was so pretty and it was a travel book, so I had to sit down and look through this lovely book from the By The Way Book Series. After looking at all the beautiful photographs and illustrations, I read the whole book in one sitting. I loved it!
Deciding it was too old to read to my three-year-old grandson, I put it aside. However, he found it and after flipping through the pages, asked me to read it to him. He stayed attentive and interested through the whole book. Several people read it (adults, older children, younger children) and every one agreed it was an awesome book.
Why was Alaska By The Way so amazing?
We get to join a family on their trip to Alaska. We join them on the ferry, visit coastal villages, and explore the world inside the Arctic Circle. We learn about Alaska history, culture, geography, and wildlife. The family visits cities and villages while enjoying the lovely scenery along the way, as well as the wildlife.
Since I love to travel, I was fascinated by the book and the children's adventures in the untamed Arctic land of Alaska.
Barbour Publishing Kingdom Files series is a great way to teach children about people in the Bible. We were so excited to read Who is Jonah? and Who is Mary, Mother of Jesus? Both books are by Matt Koceich.
This is not your typical biography because it is a Kingdom File.
Each biography starts with a Fact File covering the basics of the person's life. In "Who Was Jonah?," we learned that Jonah was a prophet from Gath-Hepher, just north of Nazareth. He was active in ministry from 786 B.C. to 746 B.C. God called him to preach to his nation Israel's greatest enemies, the Assyrians whose capital was Nineveh. The Fact File also had a map and small timeline. We learned that Mary was from Nazareth, gave birth to Jesus, and prayed with believers to receive the Holy Spirit.
Both biographies were interesting and readable. I enjoyed reading them on my own. My grandson enjoyed them, too. Sketches and maps made it more fun. My grandson like the clue boxes the best. The clue boxes, scattered throughout the biography section contained were like little devotionals giving insight into what was happening and inspiring children to think deeply. I would say,, "Here's a clue!" and we would get excited!
At the end of the book, there were ten Power Ups. Each Power Up contained a short application lesson along with a memory verses. They were very practical and geared to children.
Though this book was geared for children, I found that I was inspired by both Kingdom File biographies. They made Jonah and Mary come alive for me in a new way. I am excited to add Who Was Jonah? and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus to our homeschooling library.
What Makes These Books So Great?
My favorite curriculum: living books and classic literature.
I love books!
Our homeschooling is centered on timeless novels and works.
We love to snuggle up and read a good book like Swiss Family Robinson or A Christmas Carol aloud.
Everyone in our family is always in the middle of a good book. It might be an inspirational classic like Hinds Feet on High Places. Or a Golden Age cozy mystery by Agatha Christie or G.K. Chesterton. It might be a well-worn book that's been read over and over again like Ben Hur or Little Women.
We love books! However, we had wasted time reading some poorly written novels or books with unwholesome content. Over the years, I have weeded out the bad, discovered hidden gems in used book stores, and put together my own reading lists for my children to read whatever they want to read. I have lined my bookshelves with these living books and novels.
And I am always updating and adding to these lists.
Where to Find These Lists
"I'm interested in homeschooling my own children after talking to your son," a young man said to my friend Laura.
This son was a distractable student and Laura was excited to hear what he had to say to others about about homeschooling. She was excited to know that he was very grateful for the time Laura had invested in his education.
What about other grads? Were they thankful, too?
Most of the homeschooler grads I know want to homeschool their own kids one day. Or they do already.
I asked a few homeschoolers and homeschool grads to share why they are thankful that they are being homeschooled or were homeschooled in the past.
I told them to be brief.
Let there answers reassure you that it is worth the sacrifice to educate our children at home.
One thing I really appreciated about homeschooling was the flexibility in the school-day schedule. I wasn't forced to work exactly one hour on math, one hour on science, one hour on writing, etc. It freed me to finish quickly if I could or take more time to understand a difficult subject. The only thing my mom made us time was reading. She required us to read a book at least an hour a day. Homeschooling also allowed me to get a little more sleep than most public schoolers probably would and it allowed me to have a relaxing morning routine. (After all, I didn't have to wait for a bus to drive me to classes!) In high school, I was able to wake up at 6, have my quiet time, go for a run, and shower before starting my first subject. That helped me cultivate the habit of spending time with Jesus to start my day. In those precious times of intimate quiet with the Lord, I fell in love with Him. If you're homeschooled, don't waste this opportunity to make Jesus the center of your schedule. You won't regret it.
I love homeschooling. It's real life. It's a lifestyle of learning. It's families growing closer. It children growing up to be world changers. It's the opportunity to explore so many possibilities. It's a blast!
My husband and I are firmly committed to our local church. We have lived this way since we both gave our hearts to Christ as teenagers.
We love ministry! As our children grow up, they join us in ministry. They help in the nursery, teach Sunday school, mix sound, play on the worship team, sing on the worship team, mentor other believers, lead Bible studies, and serve in practical ways all before they turn 18.
Shouldn't they get some high school credit for that?
I believe that they should!
Teens lean so much with hands-on ministry. Our teens have learned about sound technology, singing, music, child development, counseling, mentoring, web design, making flyers, creating brochures, leading meetings, building, decorating, hosting conferences, speaking at conferences, and more!
Ministry has not just been an opportunity to serve others and the Lord, it has been an open door to knowledge and wisdom they will reap the benefits of for years to come.
So how do you turn ministry into high school credit?
I remember those days. Our little ones were two and four. We had close family friends with children approximately the same age.
What fun memories we have of going on adventures together with both families (a total of nine children).
We set ourselves up for success because we wanted field trips to be enjoyable for the whole family.
Here are some of the things we did.
We often went as families to more involved field trips like Sea World because then there were more hands to help with the little ones.
We brought big strollers with lots of storage room. Often the children would walk and the strollers were simply backpacks on wheels.
We made a flexible plan before we went. For example, if we were going to Sea World, we sat down with the map the day before and made a plan of where we would go and what we would do. Of course, plans shouldn't be set in cement. Often they changed, but having an itinerary took away the "where should we go next?" discussions that waste time and make toddlers and preschoolers cranky.
We made sure to do at least one or two things the little ones would love early in the day so they could enjoy those things when they were at their best.
We got an early start. Little children do best in the hours before lunch so we made the most of them. Packing the car the night before helped a lot. We would load up everything but the cooler, making sure the diaper bag was full of diapers, wipes (which double as napkins), and suntan lotion (hey! we live in Florida).