February 29, 2016

Faith Builders Bible from Zonderkidz {Product Review}

We were recently given the opportunity to review Faith Builders Bible from Zonderkidz, a brick-building toy themed Bible for ages 5+. Considering my family is a LEGO family and that we regularly read from our Bibles, I was curious to see if this would be a version of a children's Bible the boys would enjoy. 
Faith Builders Bible by Zonderkidz: Product Review

Product Summary

Zonderkidz is the children's division of Zondervan publishing company. Zonderkidz is dedicated to offering everything from novels to devotionals to Bibles designed to keep your child immersed and interested in God's word. One of their newest products is the Faith Builders Bible.

Faith Builders Bible was designed with the brick-building toy lover in mind! There are 24 full-color illustration pages all with a brick building theme--to make the Word of God more...hands-on! The Bible encourages the young readers to replicate the scripture themed brick building creations for themselves. This edition of the bible is the complete New International Readers Version (NIrV) designed for early readers, and ESL readers.

Faith Builders Bible is hardcover, measures 8 1/2" x 5 1/2", and retails for $24.99. 

We were given the Faith Builders Bible to review with Little Britches, age 10.

How Did We Use This Product?

Because we use bibles daily in our homeschool for our biblical studies, this product was put to use straight away! I had my oldest use it for all his scripture reading for a week, and he happily did so. 
The other aspect of the bible that we checked out were all the brick-building illustrations. Little Britches looked through them all and then pulled out his big tub of LEGOS to give a few of them a try. 
A multi-colored giraffe!
Little Britches was intrigued by all the bible scene creations and has decided he's going to attempt a few more. 

Our Thoughts on the Book

I think the cover of the book is very eye catching and the LEGO themed cover drew my boys in right away. They practically snatched it once I opened the package, eager to check it out. "A LEGO BIBLE!" they both happily cheered. I told them I wanted to look at it first, but would let them look at it very soon. 
The boys reached for it right away to touch it!
Our family's preferred bible translation is NKJV and this one was a NIrV (New International Reader's Version). We try to avoid the NIV for personal reasons, so I wasn't very hot on this being a NIV. Neither my husband nor I are big fans of the readers versions, as they seem to drastically "simplify" God's word, and that's not something that we are comfortable with--especially if it's going to be for our kids to use. Maybe that seems odd, but we were both taught right from the King James or New King James version of the Bible without needing it simplified for us. It wasn't difficult and I used a dictionary when I had a word I stumbled on. We both agree that we learned more having to look up words on our own than having someone else tell us a synonym. I also have found that the readers versions sometimes pick words that the original Hebrew or Greek doesn't match in regards to meaning. I use a concordance a lot, so I've found this to be true time and time again. (even in the NKJV it happens). 

That being said, I decided to go through it and use this Bible in conjunction with one of my own so that I could keep an eye on the translation text.

How is it different? 
Here are a few examples...

Example 1:
Genesis 1:2 "The earth didn't have any shape. And it was empty. There was darkness over the surface of the waves. At that time, the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." (Faith Builders Bible-NIrV)

Genesis 1:2 "The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." (NKJV)

Example 2:
Matthew 1:18 "This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about. His mother Mary and Joseph had promised to get married. But before they started to live together, it became clear that she was going to have a baby. She became pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Faith Builders Bible--NIrV)

Matthew 1:18 "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit." (NKJV)

These are both good examples to show how the version is designed for those who have a "hard time understanding" other versions of the Bible. In general, they take out a larger word and replace it with shorter words or series of shorter words to explain what the big words meant. 

Completely unnecessary in my opinion, and not something that I really think is a good idea. HOWEVER, it IS very helpful when reading the Psalms and Proverbs. Those are the best books of the bible for easy reading versions. 

The boys did like the LEGO photos in the Bible and had fun replicating a couple animals from the picture of Noah's ark. Little Britches is trying to figure out how to do the one of the fruit of the spirit, but has said he doesn't have enough of the same colored pieces. 
As an aside: Some of the illustrations had things that our family doesn't agree with according to our belief system: images of the cross, Noah with only a pair of each kind of animals (some kinds had 7 pair!), not quite right nativity scene, and then a much too simplified explanation on becoming saved. But these are things that most Christians don't and wouldn't have any issues with. But I know that some people might want to know about it, so I am mentioning it here. This totally boils down to personal beliefs though, so everyone would have a different viewpoint on it.

I also did appreciate the font that was used. It is very good for reading--especially for younger eyes still working on sounding out words. Little Britches said it was a good font and size to read.

Another extra tidbit--if a passage of scripture was found elsewhere in the Bible--like when the NT quotes the OT, it was written right into the passage using parentheses.
And lastly, I was expecting this version to have extra notes, or photos or something relating scripture to brick building. More than just the illustrations they included. And I think the boys would have appreciated some kind of brick-building guide for making some of the creations, instead of having to come up with it all by looking at the photos. But I'm sure there is a reason why they didn't do that...probably conflicts with LEGO or something.

In summary, the main reason I didn't LOVE this Bible was that it was a NIrV and not the NKJV that our family uses all the time. If it was available in NKJV, I am sure that I would give it two big thumbs up!

Would I Recommend This Product?

If the version or style of the text of the Bible isn't that important to you, and you want an easy to read bible for children, I would say that this Bible might be a good fit! I think that it will work for both genders, however, my boys said it was more for boys because it was blue and had LEGO pictures. Obviously they are not accurate in their assumption. LOL. 

If version and scripture accuracy is important, than I would probably pass on this bible as it is more of a loose translation to make it "easier" for reading. That's what it was DESIGNED to be for and it does it well. It just isn't what I want in a Bible for my kids to use on a regular basis. If you were hoping for some kind of devotions or tidbits tying brick building into scripture (like I thought there would be), then no you won't find that.

Will we continue to use this product?
It will be a good one to pull out whenever some wording in our NKJV might be a bit beyond the boy's understanding--when there are LOTS of more complicated phrases and such. We own many translations, and this will just be another one in our stack to reference when needed.

Want to Know More?

We reviewed Faith Builders Bible from Zonderkidz. You have read our thoughts on it, but what did other families using this bible think about it? 
Faith Builders Bible {Zonderkidz Review}
This is a Bible that the boys enjoy using--but almost exclusively because of the colorful illustrated photos showing various brick-building creations, not the actual bible itself. As expected, I am still not a big fan of the NIrV, but I already knew that going in. We will be sticking with the NKJV that we already have and use frequently.
If you want to stay in touch with all things Zonderkidz, make sure you check them out on these social media outlets:


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February 24, 2016

Fresh from the Bookshelf: Staircase to the Moon by Elizabeth Haran {Book Review}

By now, most of my regular readers know that I am a sucker for a good historical fiction book. Westerns and war era novels are my most favorite. Oh, and ones that take place somewhere that ISN'T America. Needless to say when I discovered a soon to be released e-book Staircase to the Moon by Elizabeth Harden (new author to me!) that takes place in Australia, on an isolated station in Kimberly during the pre-WW1 years, I knew I needed to check it out! I only hoped it would live up to my standards of a great historical fiction book!

Staircase to the Moon by Elizabeth Haran: eBook Review

The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

About the Book

Perth, Australia 1913
Emily is a seamstress working with her father and three brothers in a tailor shop. Emily has a problem. She has no life. Living with a strict father and three overbearing brothers has ruined any chance she has of getting to do what SHE wants to do. She is chomping at the bit. Dying to break free, but resolutely sure she's never going to be able to. But one day her brothers inform her that they have arranged a marriage for her--to a man more than twice her age! This is the straw that breaks the camels back and she snaps, secretly making a run for it to a cattle station far away in Kimberly to work as a private seamstress for a large wealthy ranch family that welcomes her with open arms.

Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, freedom likes she's never known, and new friends who shower her with meaningful friendships and companionship, Emily is finally happy. But suddenly war breaks out in Europe. Will everything she has come to love come crashing down around her? Or will she be able to beat the odds and find more happiness than she could have ever dreamed?

My Thoughts About the Book

I didn't know what to expect with Staircase to the Moon, as the author was new to me. I was intrigued by the summary and that it takes place in Australia pre-WW1. As I started the book, I was drawn rapidly into the story and life of Emily. What a childhood she must have had with her three brothers and father watching every move she made. I laughed at the part where she shares the moment her brothers "discover" that she's a developing girl. How simply embarrassing it would have been for everyone!

I enjoyed watching Emily's character develop as she pulls herself up by the bootstraps and decides to take the running of her life into her own hands. I can't imagine setting out the way she did during that time into the unknown isolated wilds of Kimberly Australia! 

The whole time I was reading this book, I was bringing to mind the movie Australia as it too takes place on an isolated ranch with a city girl trying to help make ends meet against the odds.

I totally called the ending, but I shed tears during that last chapter. I haven't cried for a book in forever! 

There are 2 places where there is a curse word (I think just two), but no violence and no sex (though one of Emily's dates puts his hand on her thigh at dinner...she dumped her soup on him).

I enjoyed having the tie-in of the war and "living" the war through the letters that were being written by the family members overseas to those back in Australia on the ranch. I felt the homelife was portrayed pretty real, even down to the despair of the mother as she receives those dreaded war telegrams that changed so many peoples' lives in an instant during wartimes.

I also think the mentions of the racism that there was during that time against the Aboriginal and Chinese peoples gave another level of depth to the story too.

Oh, as a side, the interaction between the Chinese man Hop-Sing and Emily had me grinning and chuckling several times. I loved how they had a love/hate relationship throughout the book that morphed and changed as they both grew to know each other better. What a character that Hop Sing was!

This was a great book and I really really liked it! I mean, it's not every day that I am brought to tears!
I will definitely be seeking out more books by Elizabeth Haran and will be recommending this one to my friends and fellow readers.
Staircase to the Moon
by Elizabeth Haran
Available exclusively in eBook form

Professional Reader

I am sorry that this book is not available in print form, for it would be a great asset for any library. I wasn't sure how I would like it, but it exceeded my expectations and was a great read! I can't wait to snag some of the authors other books, and I suggest you give them a try too!

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February 23, 2016

Fresh from the Bookshelf: Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble {Book Review}

I don't usually go for contemporary settings in the novels that I read. I adore history, so regularly reach for novels of the days past. There is one author, however, that gets me out of my historical novel box. Colleen Coble has written several excellent novels in the Inspirational Fiction genre, and her series Lonestar Series and Hope Beach Series are books that I thoroughly enjoyed! I absolutely enjoyed the first book of her newest series the Sunset Cove series, The Inn at Ocean's Edge with it's mystery plot (another thing out of the box for me) and have been eagerly awaiting book two Mermaid Moon. I was excited to have a chance to review it for NetGalley and the Fiction Guild and dove right in as soon as it arrived---would it be as good as the first book in the series?

Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble: Book Review
The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

About the Book

We were introduced to the beauty of Sunset Cove, Maine in the first book The Inn at Ocean's Edge. This book picks up after the second book. Several of the first book's characters show up and play a part in this novel, but the focus of the story is on Mallory Davis and Kevin O'Connor.

Mallory and Kevin are childhood sweethearts who had a falling out many years earlier, which led to Mallory leaving their hometown and starting a new life. But she's back after her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route. Though she hasn't spoken to him in years, the first person she calls for help is Kevin, who is now a law officer and game warden, even though they haven't spoken since she left town. 

Mallory is beginning to receive threats on her own life and that of her teenage daughter--somewhere in all of this is a tangled web of truth and lies with Mallory and Kevin frantically searching to uncover the reasons behind the supposed murder. Through the middle of it all, they are also forced to examine what really happened to their relationship so many years ago...can something so broken ever be healed?

My Thoughts

Colleen Coble has not let me down! Once again, I was drawn into the complexity of the story as I raced to solve the mystery before the characters do. I enjoyed hearing from past characters and seeing the roles they played in this new book. I enjoyed the parts that talked about the handmade jewelry that Mallory made and the descriptions of the beautiful stones. I even looked up what tourmaline looked like so that I could envision her creations better. I would love to see one of her pieces in "real life" as I adore sea glass!

Both of the main characters were given a good amount of background text, so I felt I understood them and the reasons behind the choices they made. Sometimes authors let their characters get away from them, but not Ms. Coble! I really enjoyed the additional character of Sadie, Kevin's blind daughter. She really allows the reader to see a more intimate side of Kevin as he interacts with her and her special needs.

The mystery in the story was well done. Although I solved part of it, I was still surprised when the lead perpetrator was finally revealed. The one mystery I had solved a long time before it was revealed in the book was the answer to who Mallory's birth mother was. I had that one pegged pretty early and was tickled to see I was right. 

Another aspect of Ms. Coble's books that I like, is that the plot is like an onion. You keep peeling back a layer here and a layer there and you go deeper and deeper into the story. Just when you think you have it figured out, she peels another layer and gives you more. I love stories like that, don't you?

This book gets a definite 4 1/2 out of 5 stars and I can say it is one of the best books I've read the last few months. I don't usually go for mysteries or contemporary settings, but I am definitely wiling to go outside the box for another Colleen Coble book! 

If you like a good mystery this will be a treat for you! If you also like the added benefit of the mystery being an inspirational fiction, you really should give the Sunset Cove series a try! Do you need to start with The Inn at Ocean's Edge? No not really, but since some of the characters do carry over, and because it's a great book too, why not start at the beginning?

Here are some other great books from Colleen Coble!

Mermaid Moon (Sunset Cover Series #2)
by Colleen Coble
Available in Paperback and Kindle

Professional Reader
Mermaid Moon was an excellent book! I now can't wait for book 3 in the series Twilight at Blueberry Barrens which comes out Fall 2016. Doesn't that title just sound delightful? I hope you will check out Colleen Coble as an author if you haven't already--all of her books are just exceptional!

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February 19, 2016

Random 5 for Friday~2/19/206

Here we are at Friday yet again, and things on the farm have been busy this week! Join me as I ramble a bit about our lives in today's Random 5 for Friday!
The Pebble Pond
1. Our week began with SNOW! We enjoyed about 6" of snow which made it quite beautiful here on the farm! And the boys adored having more snow to play in...only wishing they hadn't broken their sled, while playing in our last snowstorm! The snow lasted through about Wednesday, though it had already started to melt thanks to the consistently rising temperatures as the week continued.

2. Next came a well-check for Little Britches! He turned 10 last week, so I scheduled him for his annual checkup. It's always fun to guess what their stats are. As of right now, he's 4'7" tall and weighs 89 lbs. He's my big boy! He also appears to be in superb health......

3. There is a big but to all of this...you see, after his appointment, we had to get him scheduled to take a Lyme Disease test. He was bitten by a deer tick earlier the previous week, and my husband asked for me to get him in there. So we are now praying that the test will come back negative and we can move on!

4. I have been dealing with some of the most dreadful anxiety this week. Ever. Bracing myself for the call from the doctor that will either be okay, or change our lives and what we do. At one point on Wednesday, I was such an absolute mess! And I don't get to be a mess very easily. But Satan was filling me full of worst case scenarios and major what-ifs. Just burdening me and weighing me down under their load of worry and fear. I just had to rush to the bedroom, hit my knees, and give it all to my heavenly Father. I cried until I couldn't cry anymore. I recited scripture after scripture about God's mercy and love and everlasting faithfulness. With tears running down my face, I told Him that I trusted Him with my son's life and that my faith will stand no matter what happens. Let me tell you...the weight that was lifted from my shoulders when I stood back up, is indescribable...unless you yourself have been there too. But we still wait. I imagine we will know next week sometime. Until then, I continue to "oil up" my boy and give him all sorts of good immune boosters. They can only help! Since my moment with God, I've been fine. He has given me that peace that passeth all understanding and I know He's by my side in the middle of this.

5. It's been spicy today! We have an International night tomorrow after church, and several members are hosting tables. Each table represents another country from around the world and the host will share samples of foods as well as decorate their table however they like. We were torn between Israel, Italy, and Mexico...but Love-Of-My-Life declared Mexico to be our country. Today I've been busy preparing our foods for tomorrow! I went out and purchased some red, white, and green decorations to coordinate with the Mexican flag. I found some authentic recipes, so I will let you know how they worked out!

And one extra bit of information...Baby Britches read his first REAL book today after reading his Reader One again. He read Biscuit with just minimal guidance and he was very happy indeed! Hard to believe this is the same child who was getting so frustrated at the end of 2015! I'm so glad I decided to make that switch!

A scripture from Scripture Pictures that really helped me stay with it this week!
Have a simply blessed weekend with your family and friends!
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February 17, 2016

US Elections Lap-Pak by Home School in the Woods {Curriculum Review}

I have discovered that my boys do well with unit studies and lapbooks. Not only do they enjoy being able to pull out the completed project to show friends and family, but they enjoy the process that involves coloring, cutting and pasting. We were recently given the opportunity to review the HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections by Home School In The Woods and I had a feeling that this was going to be a great way to introduce the subject of US Government and the electoral process to my oldest son--something very apropos for a presidential election year!
U.S. Elections Lapbook Product Review

Product Summary

U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak  Review
Home School in The Woods is a multi-award winning company that is dedicated to providing materials to make history come ALIVE in your classroom! Steering clear of the typical history textbook, Home School in The Woods chooses to help your child make living and real connections with the men, women, places, and events they experience through their history experience, with hands on materials. One of the ways they do this is through their Lap-Pak units. Following the concept of lapbooking, Home School In the Woods has newly designed unit studies for teaching history to children grades K-8.

One of the newest of these products is the HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections. This lapbook unit introduces your student to the presidential election process by briefly taking your child back to the foundation of our government structure, through important parts of a presidential campaign, and then to how we choose a new president. This product is designed for grades 3-8 and is available as a downloadable version ($18.95) or a CD version ($19.95).

The Lap-Pak activities include:

* Definition of “Election”
* Different Forms of Government
* The American Experiment
* The Three Branches of Government
* Suffrage
* Who Do We Vote For?
* Terms of Office
* A “Handful” of Political Parties
* Caucuses & Primaries
* National Conventions
* The Presidential Campaign: Platform
* The Presidential Campaign: Stump Speaking
* The Presidential Campaign: Media — News Source
* The Presidential Campaign: Campaign Advertising — Spreading the Word!
* Raising Money
* Statistics
* Election Day
* The Electoral College
* Inauguration Day
* The Electoral Race!
* The “Vocabinet”

We were given the downloadable version to review with Little Britches, age 10.

Using the Product

The first step of using the product was to download the link I was provided. This gave a folder that contained images, mp3s, pdfs, and a "start".
I began at the beginning--the start, of course! This page gave me a great idea on how to use the product and explained it very well.

One of the first things I did was check out the "Directions for Printing the Reading Text". It allowed me to determined what to do with the informational text. It was possible to print it and turn it into a booklet that went with the lapbook, or simply print it out to go in a binder. Since it was for me, I decided to go with the binder and went ahead and printed out the full unit study reading.

I discovered by reading the start page, that I even had the option to have the reading text READ to my student for me via audio links. I liked this idea, but decided that unless I really needed to do something else, I would be the principle reader.

I checked out the project directions next. This gave me an idea on whether I wanted to do the unit as designed for a lapbook, or if I wanted to go with a notebooking style. I decided to stick with our tried and true winner of lapbooking, so I began printing out the first few lessons.

Each lesson is labeled by a title, and the title is alphabetical in a list of pdf files, so you simply find the ones you want and then print them out. To make it a lot easier, I FIRST printed out the information regarding putting each lesson's lapbook portion together. This told me whether I needed to print something multiple times, the type of paper I needed, and how it was going to be used. This saved a lot of trial and error.

I decided to start by printing the first 5 lessons. To save time, I also pre-cut a lot of it. Not that Little Britches couldn't on his own, but because this would make it easier for us to complete a lesson within a time frame. Once I had the first few lessons done, I paper clipped them all together in order.

The next step was to put together the lapbook's base, which was easy to do using the color directions provided. I pulled the directions up on my laptop while attaching everything and it was easy to complete. I have made lapbooks before, so I had a general idea of what to do.

After I had the first few lesson components together, I knew I could just get started. We started this on a Monday and I decided based on the reading for each lesson that we would complete 1-2 lessons a session depending on the lesson's length and the complexity of the lapbook components. The first few lessons had pretty lengthy readings, so we did just one lesson a day.

When we began, I gave an introduction on the topic and why I felt it was perfect for the time. Little Britches was rather excited when he discovered it was going to be a lapbook--"I really like putting lapbooks together!" As I decided in advance, we completed one lesson a day for the first week.

The lapbook recommends waiting until the very end to put all the pieces of the lapbook together (following their directions for placement), but I like to see how the lapbook progresses, so after completing each week, we attached the elements we had finished.

Here are some photos of us working through the lapbook:

We worked through one reading passage (I read aloud), and 1-2 lapbook coordinating components per day and we completed our entire lapbook within our review period. The unit took about 15-20 minutes per day over 4-5 days a week.

Our Thoughts On The Product

Little Britches:
"I love lapbooks because they are short lessons and it's fun to look on the whole thing when it's done. It was interesting to learn about how elections are done and now I understand more watching TV with my Papaw right now because he likes politics shows."

There are so many great things about this product to mention, but I will try to focus on the things that I like the most.

1. I really enjoy having all the information already provided for me. The notes are there for me to read (or let him read) and then we simply can talk about it and complete the lapbook piece for it. Sometimes unit studies can be discouraging when you have to go round up all the resources yourself.

2. The instructions for using the product were very detailed, but allowed for some leeway--like letting your child write something out instead of printing it for them. It was easy to follow along with the printing directions to know what kind of paper I needed to use and how it all fit together.

3. It worked well having short lessons. My son learns best with concise lessons. I handed him the lapbook components and then read aloud while he colored or cut the pieces. Each piece only took us about 15-20 minutes, but the information was very comprehensive.

4. Good for different learning types and ages. This product provided the lesson that could be worked on independently by the student or used as a read aloud. The lesson was in visual form to be printed or read, and audio form to be listened to. Thus, this makes it a good product for a larger spectrum of ages. I felt my reading aloud was a great fit for my 4th grader. If he had been older, I would have had him read, or better yet, listen to the audio clips. Because the lesson information is provided, it would be easy to fit it to your child's needs.

5. I appreciated that the information was presented without bias. Because it's an election/politics lapbook, there is always a chance for a bias. But this information was strictly taken from the federal and state level laws and also focused on the Constitution. A simple play-by-play about how an election works logistically.

6. Lapbooks are great for using as a portfolio of sorts. Now that we have completed the lapbook, I can easily store it in my files and have Little Britches reference it later in our studies. There won't be any extra papers anywhere to worry about.

7. It's all digital. Now that I have this lapbook, I will be able to pull it out and use the same information for my younger son at a later date--and it's all saved on my flash drive! There is a definite bonus to having it all as a download.

8. The supplies are standard for any classroom. I love that everything that is required is available easily! The main supplies are colored papers, cardstock, crayons and scissors. Sometimes you need brads for moving parts. I never have to go buy anything for these projects!

There are two that I would put forth as the main ones.

*If you don't have a good printer, then you will be in trouble because all the pieces of this lapbook get printed out. There is a lot of paper and ink being used just for the lapbook components. Fortunately, we have a good printer and I restocked my ink. I also have a lot of different types of paper which is a plus for lapbook work.

*There is a lot of prep work that goes into a lapbook. If you have a child that isn't a strong cutter, you will need to do the cutting in advance, or allow for a lot more time. There are also pieces to be printed on numerous different sheets of paper, so you need to spend a good amount of time getting everything ready to use. Unless you prepare every piece for the lapbook, it's NOT an open and go. Some of the lessons I prepared in advance, and some of them I let Little Britches do the cutting.

Will we continue to use this product?
Well, we actually were able to finish the whole lapbook, which is great! But I definitely plan on investigating some of the other lapbooks this company has because this one worked so well for us!

Would I Recommend This Product?

HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections is a great product for the child that does better with short concise lessons, and needs things to manipulate and move to keep them focused. This is a great product if you are trying to teach multiple age groups under one topic. The lap-PAK is great for someone who doesn't mind having to do quite a bit of prep work for a lesson. This is also a great product if you need something that is already researched for you. The lapbook promotes more creativity than typical activities as there are some open ended activities, and there are movable pieces and coloring involved.

I wouldn't recommend this product if you like an open-and-go product with little prep work. It also might not be a good choice if you have a child that doesn't work well with putting together projects. Someone who is more of a classical or traditional style teaching method, won't like that there aren't simple reading and writing activities. I also recommend that you observe the age range because this product is definitely for the 3rd-8th grade level child. I believe that the price is very reasonable for the quality and comprehensiveness of the unit--and because you can use the product over and over with future children since it is downloadable.

If You Want To Know More...

We reviewed the HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections ($18.95-downloadable) by Home School In The Woods. You have seen how we used it and read our thoughts on it...but what did the other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew think?
U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak  Review

You can learn more about Home School In the Woods by following them on these social media outlets:





Little Britches really enjoyed learning about how an election process works, and I enjoyed revisiting the topic as well. It is great to hear him use his new knowledge as he discusses what he sees about the current 2016 election year with his Papaw and I know it will be nice to have this lapbook to refer back to later! Working through this with him, showed me again how much he enjoys these type of units. I am definitely going to be checking out some of the other products available from Home School In the Woods!
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February 12, 2016

Random 5 for Friday~ 2/12/2016

It's been awhile, but I wanted to share some randomness...
The Pebble Pond

1. This week my oldest (aka. Little Britches) turned the big 1-0! I can't believe that my darling little boy could possibly be that old! Where has time gone?? It seems like just yesterday I brought him home from the hospital. So adorable and bald. Oh so bald. Then I blinked and he grew up. Sigh. I hope the next 10 years don't go as fast.


2. For this birthday, we decided to let him experience the joys of a "real" professional tractor pull, so we bought tickets for the National Tractor and Truck Pull Championships in Louisville, KY. We attended this last night after a whole day exploring the National Farm Machinery show. Yes. Very redneck. But these boys just simply think it's the best thing ever. So does their daddy. Mommy just enjoys being with the boys more than anything else. 

Possibly the coolest thing at the Farm show. A Transformer made of Kioti Tractor parts!

Waiting for the pull to get started
3. So what does mommy do at these hardcore country boy things? She takes pictures, and collects the freebies. LOL. I stock up on grocery bags, pens, and pencils from all the vendors! Woot! Talk about feeding my pen fetish! LOL
See? A lovely collection!
4. Besides. This convention just makes me eager for MY convention. The Great Homeschool Convention. The Midwest Convention in Cincinnati, OH. That's coming up March 31-April 2. Oh yeah. Now THAT convention will be my reward for going to this one with them. Of course none of them volunteer to go to mine with me. Why IS that? LOL.

5. We get to enjoy a fun weekend. My brother surprised my oldest by coming down to stay with us this weekend as a bit of birthday fun. Little Britches was surprised and very pleased. But even more fun is that my sweet niece and sister-in-law flew in from AZ to spend 10 days here in KY with us! And my nephew and my other sister-in-law are coming in this evening from Cincinnati too! It's going to be a simply delightful weekend full of family and love!
I always love spending time with my darling nephew!
I hope you and yours have a most wonderful and blessed weekend! We are going to stay warm inside, because the weather outside is "freightful" and the fire is so delightful! I have a busy week ahead and I promise to get cracking on my posting this week! I've got book reviews (6!), a curriculum review (we loved it!), and a few recipes to write up (yummy!). So stay tuned!
A beautiful graphic from Scripture Pictures

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February 3, 2016

Fresh from the Bookshelf~ The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson {Book Review}

I have always enjoyed a good fairy tale. I also love "twisted" tales where an author takes a traditional well-known story and then gives it a new coat of paint. There are quite a few of them out right now as part of the Young Adult literature genre, and I have read a number of them. When I had the chance to review The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson as part of the Fiction Guild, I was very eager to read this second book in the Medieval Fairy Tale Romance series!
The Golden Braid (Book Review)

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About the Book

The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson is a delightful retelling of the beloved story Rapunzel. This version of the fairy tale is set in Medieval times which is a perfect setting. In this version, Rapunzel (age 17) is not a damsel in distress! Rather she can throw a knife better than most men! She also can paint beautifully and sing the beasts to sleep. But there are two things she can't do: learn to read and marry.

Her mother is fiercely devoted to Rapunzel and suspicious of every man who even takes a second glance at her daughter. She constantly is warning her daughter that no man should ever be trusted--and upon learning her