Thursday, September 29, 2016

Very Special Deal Ending Soon!

This post contains affiliate links.

Hurry! Quick! is offering 2 years for the price of 1! This is an amazing deal but is only valid through September 30, 2016 so you have to ask fast! I've told you about our love for this all inclusive website for a couple of years now, but let me remind you why we love it.

It is a website chock full of downloads, lessons, worksheets, videos, planners, and more. With your membership, you receive anytime access to student planners, the Hey Mama! planner, unit studies, and full lessons for nearly every subject and grade level. You can find available lessons by subject (Art, Bible, Computer and Technology, Art and Drama, Electives, History, Foreign Languages, and much more) or by grade level.

This year we've utilized the planners (I love to plan!). The kids have both done age appropriate Government lessons. Speedy is currently doing Lighting the Way which is a course on missionaries using worksheets and Torchlighters videos (which are also included). Apple has been doing a mishmash of different lessons as we look to find what fits her best right now. Since we have access to the whole website, we can swap around as much as needed. There are also classes like Graphic Design that I hope to use myself.

The price for is already very affordable. This special sale makes it a no brainer! Sign up today for 2 years for the price of 1! Still not convinced? Find out more information here...

Hello Yellow

If you homeschool, you know one of the MOST important items to have on hand is a great pencil sharpener. Our favorite is from Classroom Friendly Supplies, and they sent us the new Hello Yellow sharpener for review. This bright yellow pencil sharpener is just like their previous models but in a happy new color.

The Classroom Friendly Supplies sharpener is easy to use. It has a traditional hand crank, but don't worry! It isn't very loud. The front of the sharpener features a unique "lock" to hold the pencil in place. You squeeze the black tabs on the front and pull out the clamp section. Slide in your pencil and start sharpening! As you turn the hand crank, the clamp section slowly moves back in. When it is flush with the body of the sharpener, your pencil is ready! It is easy to use one hand to hold the top of the sharpener while using the other hand to turn the crank.

When you are finished, you simply release your pencil from the clamp. All pencils come out perfectly sharpened. The clear plastic drawer makes it easy to see when your pencil shavings need to be emptied. It slides in and out easily for proper disposal. We've used our Firehouse Red Classroom Friendly Sharpener for over a year and a half. About a month ago, we started having some issues with it. I was afraid we'd killed it! However, I watched the video on their website about removing lead just to be sure it couldn't be fixed. Turns out a large piece of colored pencil lead was stuck inside the blade. I had it out and the sharpener put back together in just a few minutes. Then it worked just like new! I was so happy we didn't have to replace our favorite pencil sharpener.

Classroom Friendly Supplies offers this Hello Yellow sharpener for $24.95 (as of 9/26/16). Packs of 3 can be purchased at a discounted price. They also offer replacement blades so you never need to replace the whole sharpener! With the addition of Hello Yellow the sharpeners are now available in 7 colors! If you are tired of replacing your classroom pencil sharpener every few months, this is the investment you need to make!

From now until the end of November 2016, Classroom Friendly Supplies will donate $1 from the sale of every Hello Yellow sharpener to Childhood Cancer Awareness.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Take a Trip Back in Time to Egypt {Review}

Over the last two years, you may have gotten tired of hearing about Heirloom Audio Productions. I wouldn't keep raving about them if they weren't so awesome! The Cat of Bubastes is their latest offering, and I think it is our favorite one yet. This story set in ancient Egypt is based on G.A. Henty's adventure by the same name. The plot focuses on the family of an Egyptian priest and 2 slaves that have recently come to live with them. The story is divided onto 2 CDs and is 2 hours long. 

This particular audio theater production had less battles than previous ones from Heirloom Audio, but there was still plenty of adventure! The tale meandered through several settings and involved everything from a crocodile to Moses to hunting to an important cat. Two of the main characters were Chebron (son of the priest) and Jethro (one of the slaves), and they seemed to have something exciting happen everywhere they went! The best part of the story is when the family begins to realize they have been worshipping the wrong things, and they start to learn more about God. One reason we love this company so much is because they always tell tales that incorporate faith and redemption.

Along with the 2 disc CD set, we also received several downloads. The download we've used the most has been the study guide for The Cat of Bubastes. I actually printed the 47 page study guide for this adventure (yay for a laser printer!). I punched holes and put it in a folder. I've had Apple working on the study guide. It was timely because she needed a break from the history study she was working on this semester. The study guide includes 1 page of questions and vocabulary for each track of each disc. That's a total of 29 pages, and then there are Bible Study pages and additional history information pages. We listened to the audio disc in the car together, and now Apple is working through the study guide during our class time.

In our downloads, we also received the original G.A. Henty The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt that is 350 pages. There were also files for the soundtrack, a cast poster, the audio drama, and a quote poster with 1 Chronicles 17:20. The Heirloom Audio Productions always come with good quality downloads that turn an audiobook into a whole learning package. Since this is the 6th historic production, you could always do a whole year of history based off the Heirloom Audio CDs and study guides! Or you could pick adventures that supplement time periods and places your kids are already studying. While the stories are fictional, they always include some historically accurate information. The Cat of Bubastes includes a short bit about Moses, and it also talks about the Jews sent to live in Geshon. That all coincided with the Bible studies from the Old Testament that Apple and Speedy have been working through. 

We get excited everytime we see that a new Heirloom Audio Production is in the works. These high quality productions always include a cast of familiar names and The Cat of Bubastes is no exception. From Brian Blessed to Anthony Daniels, the voices are strong and add to the excitement of the adventure. This audio drama is recommended for ages 6 and up and is sure to be enjoyed by the whole family. Audiobooks are a great way to sneak some extra learning to time in the car.

See what other Crew members thought of The Cat of Bubastes:
Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes
Connect on social media:
Instagram: @HeirloomAudioOfficial 

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, September 26, 2016


Isn't it funny how we can plan to tackle a problem, and it seems like it will be a piece of cake, but then it's like trying to climb Mt. Everest? I'm so feeling that this week. I told you last week I've been doing some praying about my priorities and how they line up with real life. So this week my plan was to tackle some heart issues we have happening in our house.

Some certain shorter people in this house have been taking advantage of the fact that mom and dad are busy people. It seems we've all fallen in the habit of not following through. As in, I tell them to do something, they say okay but only half do it, and I'm too busy to check and make sure it's done properly. So in my mind last week this seemed like an easy problem to fix. I pay attention. I make sure they are paying attention. We immediately correct issues. A couple of days and everybody is back to being reasonable people.

Ha. Ha. Ha. A week has passed, and it is harder EVERY DAY. They like not fully doing things. Punishment is short lived and apparently not so bad in their minds. Every day I push a little more and every day they are pushing back a lot. Whew. There has been a lot of praying in my house. Silent praying in the morning alone. Out loud praying that Jesus gives me strength when I'm in the midst of a power struggle with one or the other child.

I just feel like this is what the enemy wants. Broken families. Broken homes and relationships. Animosity between parents and children. A lack of focus. A lack of priorities. A lack of time/ patience/ want to/ integrity/ faith/ peace.

So even though it is oh so hard. Even though I want to throw in the towel and bury myself in work. Even though I want to pretend things are hunky dory. I'll keep praying and pushing and praying and showing the example. I'll keep working on their hearts because that's my job. I can go to bed exhausted every night with hope because tomorrow is a new day, and it might be the day of the break through!

It seems like everyone I speak to lately is in some similar battle. Are you struggling in a certain area at home? Anyone have a great verse to take into these battles with us?

I use this one all the time, but it is appropriate here too....

Isaiah 40:31
31 IBut those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Merciful Mother Teresa {Review}

Mother Teresa left a lasting impression on the world. A Call to Mercy: Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve tells much of her story in her own words and in the words of those who knew her. While I am not Catholic, I appreciate the work and life of Mother Teresa, and I have enjoyed reading this book.

This is a long book, more than 300 pages, and it is broken into chapters. Each one deals with a particular aspect of the work she accomplished. Although after awhile it becomes clear her one goal was to bring God's love to people through humble acts. She worked diligently for the homeless, to provide shelter, food, water, and love. Over and over she is quoted as talking about the homeless not only as people with no shelter but as people with no love. She didn't want anyone to feel alone or forgotten.

I think all of her dedication to children is what struck me the most. She worked tirelessly against abortion. She worked to remove children from deplorable conditions. She worked to heal families. Jesus called us to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). Mother Teresa did just that. She didn't preach long sermons, she showed the love of Jesus through caring for those who are considered the least among us.

These days it seems many preachers spend their Sunday mornings preaching about love. They never go any further. They don't discuss ways to show God's love to people. It seems Mother Teresa never struggled with ways to love people. She just did whatever was practical whether it was praying for them, giving them a drink, or taking them to a safe place.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Pray-ers Book 1 #Christianfiction

CTM Publishing Atlanta sent me a copy of The Pray-ers/ Book 1 Troubles for review. This book by Mark S. Mirza is a fictional story with three plots. The book moves back and forth between three different time periods and main characters. The story focuses on the battle between angels and demons. The book is chock full of Bible references as the fictional story unfolds.

The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles

I received a physical copy of this book, and I'm glad I did! It took me quite a while to read the 372 pages. There is so much information, so many Bible verses, and so much to consider while reading this story. First, I always feel it is important to cover myself in prayer before and while reading a book like this. Hubby and I have read similar books in the past. I just think it's a good idea to be strong in your faith and in your Bible knowledge before reading a fictional account that could impact the way you view principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness (Eph 6:12). I also wish I'd had more time to compare the story with the Bible references. I did look up a few as I was reading, but to get the book finished for this review, I had to stop. I do hope to go back and do more of that later.

So one part of the story is about Epaphras (Colossians 4:12-13) and Thales in the First Century. Epaphras was a friend to Paul, and Thales is his nephew who takes over shepherding believers in Colassae. The portion of the story in the Nineteenth Century focuses on a circuit riding preacher named Brother Andew Rich. The Current Era of the book is all about Dr. Dale who is a track and cross country coach at a university. All of the main characters are in a situation that requires them to lean on God, and all three are known for the praying habits. These men not only pray to God, they pray scripture back to Him. They rely on prayer all day every day and in every situation.

Throughout the story, demons are working behind the scenes to ruin the lives of these men. They want nothing more than to turn the "pray-ers" away from God. Their power is limited but the hierarchy of evil ones are working hard to disrupt things for the characters throughout time. There is a four page Preface to the book which gives information about the author's intent and reasoning. I appreciate those pages because they gave some insight into the author's choices. It's important to keep in mind that this book references Scripture, some historical figures, and some real songs and events but it is a fictional story line.

The scenarios of each of the main characters are relatable. Many things that happen in the book reminded me of situations from my own life or the lives of friends or family. The characters come across as true and well rounded. The ideas about praying, praying Scripture, and relying on Christian friends are all relevant to my life right now, and I suspect the life of many Christians. The book ends rather abruptly as Book 2 of the series will pick up on the same stories. It should be released around the end of 2016 and it will focus on "Spiritual Warfare" where this book focused on "Troubles".

It's hard to say if I would recommend this book to you or not. I think it is more than obvious that Mark S. Mirza is well versed in Scripture and has a heart for the Lord. I think he has written this book to convey the importance of prayer and of knowledge of God's Word. I think his use of a fiction story will draw some people in much quicker than a Christian self help book. However I think books like this should be read cautiously. I think readers should be very strong in their faith, and their overall knowledge of Scripture as a whole text. This book incorporates a lot of verses and parts of verses out of the Biblical context. That's not necessarily a wrong thing to do, but it is important as a reader to know the whole story of the Bible and not just key words and phrases. Our personal view of angels and demons should come from God's Word. We should have our beliefs in those areas fixed before reading a fictional book that might sway our image. I feel firm in my faith and my beliefs so I felt okay about reading this book myself, but as I stated before, I kept myself in prayer while reading it.

I do think I will read Book 2 when it comes out. I want to know the end of the stories!

See what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of The Pray-ers:
The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles

Connect on social media:
Twitter: @ThePrayersNovel

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Rifles, Tomahawks, and Knives #homeschoolhistory

Sometimes getting active boys excited about school can be challenging. When we received The Fight for Freedom for review, Speedy was intrigued right away. The Student Textbook has a cannon on the front so it's an attention grabber right from the start. This collection of biographies from the Revolution is for grades 4th-6th and is published by MasterBooks. We received the Student Textbook, the Teacher Guide that includes Student Worksheets, and access to some Uncle Rick audiofiles.

There are 34 chapters in The Fight for Freedom. Each one focuses on a key individual or group of individuals from the Revolutionary War period. It begins with George Washington and ends with George Whitefield and Richard Allen (the Black Robe Regiment). Each chapter is 6-12 pages long and includes much information via text and pictures. The text gives information about the history of the individual along with their role in the battles. There are also relavent Bible verses included along with side stories to enhance the history lessons. The student text is 296 pages long and includes a Table of Contents, Bibliography, and End Notes.

The Teacher's Guide gives a suggested pace for 5 day school weeks and 4 day school weeks. The total number of weeks on the suggested schedule is 36. Speedy (4th grade) has been reading the suggested section of the chapter 3 times per week and doing the corresponding questions for the section (3-4 per day). Then on day 4 he listens to the Uncle Rick audio and chooses one of the projects to complete. The questions are very easy and correspond directly to the text. The projects are fairly simple. Some involve pretending, some are writing letters, and some are making an item like a quill pen. All of the worksheets are included in the Teacher's Guide, and there is one for each chapter. The Teacher's Guide is 114 pages, and it includes the "Introduction: How to Use this Guide". The answers are included in the back. There are also 4 quizzes to use quarterly. There is also a Bibliography and a Recommended Resources section. This Teacher's Guide is one of the easiest to follow that I've seen. Everything is laid out well and organized. Since Speedy is reading his lessons on his own, I really only have to grade his worksheet and project each week. So easy!

The Teacher's Guide does give permission to make up to 10 copies of the worksheets for a class, but I've allowed Speedy to write in my book since he's the only student using it. We have the Uncle Rick audio selections downloaded to our computer, and he listens to the corresponding lesson on Thursdays. These are just additional little lessons to go with each chapter. Since we are an audiobook loving family, the audio files have been readily welcomed into Speedy's lesson time. The questions for each chapter follow right along with the reading. He has been doing a great job with each lesson, the questions, and the projects. Since he's been so interested, he's even opted to do more than 1 project on some occasions!

This curriculum is part of the History for Patriots line by Rick and Marilyn Boyer. They also offer a similar curriculum titled America's Struggle to Become a Nation (Timeline of the Revolution) for the same age range. Speedy has been so interested in The Fight for Freedom, I am putting the other study on his wishlist for next year! He calls his current study his Revolution class, and I haven't had to remind or beg him to do it even once. He tells us about his lessons when he is finished with them. He has been discussing a career in the military, and this study on brave men and women of the Revolution has just stoked that fire. Of course, I appreciate the emphasis on  Bible verses and the morals of each person.

Does this sound like a study your son or daughter would enjoy? I have been given the opportunity to give away one Student Textbook and Teacher's Guide for The Fight for Freedom. Enter via the Giveaway Tools widget for your chance to win.