Friday, April 29, 2011

I Can Study Jonah & Ruth Alone With God - A Review

Product:  I Can Study Jonah & Ruth Alone With God 
Available in KJV or NIV

Price:  $8.95

Company:  Greek 'n' Stuff

Author:  Karen Mohs

Age Range:  Reading independently for quiet time study

I used with my 12, 9 and 2 year olds as a group lesson.

Other Products Available:
Hey Andrew, Teach Me Some Greek
Latin's Not So Tough

Brief Introduction: (from the website)

    Jonah and Ruth - KJV
  • Jonah learns to obey God
  • Ruth chooses God and is blessed
  • Thirteen weekly lessons
  • Clear, straightforward questions
  • Memory verses
  • Interesting insights
  • Life applications
  • Sample pages! When finished, click on BACK to return.
  • King James Version
  • $8.95 (US)

Sample Page:

In-Depth Look:
This Bible study has thirteen lessons, each with six parts.  It also includes a sample schedule.
1) Pray
2) Read or recite the memory verse
3) Read the Bible passage.
4) Answer the questions.
5) Read "Think and Pray About It"
6) Pray for help with the principle in #5.

 This Bible study is very simple.  A child of about 8 years and up could easily work his way through this book on his own.  However, I decided to complete the book as a family.

Each lesson is divided into 6 parts.  One for each day of the week, except for Sunday.  Each day that week, your child will read the same Bible passage and work on memorizing the same Bible verse.  He will also answer a few basic questions.  The questions give the passage, in case your child needs to look up the answer.  Scattered throughout are little tidbits of information, thoughts to ponder, and mini history lessons.
Lessons 1-5 work their way through the Book of Jonah.  The remaining lessons work through the Book of Ruth, one of my favorite stories in the Bible.  One of my other favorites, Esther, is also available as an Alone with God study guide.

You won't have to worry about doctrinal issues, that something might be said that your family won't agree with.  It doesn't discuss doctrine, just facts.  For example, in Lesson Eleven's study of Ruth 4:1-8, here are some of the questions.

1. Where did Boaz go and what did he do there? (Ruth 4:1)

2. Who passed by? (Ruth 4:1)
    What did Boaz ask him to do? (Ruth 4:1)

3. Boaz and the nearest kinsman sat at the city gate together. How many elders did Boaz ask to join them? (Ruth 4:2)

This book will give your child a complete overview of both Jonah and Ruth.  They will complete both whole books of the Bible, by the time they finish the study guide.  The lessons are short and simple.  The informational sidebars are interesting and educational.  The "Think and Pray About It" boxes really give you something to ponder and pray about.

I liked the study guide.  My daughters liked the study guide.  I now have an even greater admiration for Ruth.

Read more reviews here.

Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge to review, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Writing Tales - A Review

Product:  Writing Tales Level One

               Writing Tales Level Two

Price:  Level One Student Workbook - $19.95
                           Teacher's Guide -       24.95

          Level Two Student Workbook - $24.95
                           Teacher's Guide -       32.95


Author:  Amy H. Olsen

Age Range:  Level One - 3rd and 4th grade
                   Level Two - 4th - 6th grade

Sample Pages:  For level one and two 

Brief Intro (from the website):

 Writing Tales was born out of the author's experience teaching a writing class to 3rd and 4th grade students in a classical co-operative.  A desire to teach writing from the classical approach led to a need to make the subject more accessible and enjoyable, and a curriculum was born.         

At the end of the 30 lessons, the student that finishes Writing Tales will have a treasure chest of fifteen well-written fables and fairy tales of their very own.

In-Depth Look: 

Well, I am just going to through it out there. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this program.  This is the way that I want to teach my children.  How I wish I had been exposed to the classical method years ago, when my oldest was just starting out.

Amy Olsen has done all of the leg work for you.    The teacher's guide spells everything out.  It tells about the story of the week.  Gives a daily lesson plan.  Shows the answers to the questions.  Includes ideas for games to review skills.  It even includes lesson plans for using the book in a co-op situation.
The teacher's guide is huge.  It has the lesson plans for a family situation.  Then it has the plans for a co-op situation.  Next are all the answers.  Then all the "extra" stuff like printables for the games.

It is very helpful, user friendly, and self-explanatory.  A wonderful resource.

The student guide is a winner before you even open it, because it is SPIRAL-BOUND.  I love spiral-bound books.  

Once you open the book, it only gets better.  Each lesson begins with a tale, a tale with great story-telling value and an important moral.  Some of the tales in Volume 2 are -
The King, the Falcon, and the Drinking-Cup
The Little Red Hen
Sir Walter Raleigh

Each lesson has a similar format.  Discussing the story, story ordering, copywork, vocabulary, types of sentences, oral narration.  Plus spelling practice, grammar, writing the tales with a rough draft and final draft, outlining, creative details in story telling. 

Each week, your child will get a familiar feel from the book.  They will have an idea what to expect.  I think this routine is a good thing.  But even within this routine, there is much variety and so many creative activities that your child won't have a chance to get bored.  

Two of my favorite aspects are the copy-work and the writing lessons.  

I like the copy-work because it causes your child to slow down and do their best.  To really concentrate on how their writing looks, and what their absolute best looks like.

The reason that the writing lessons are my other favorite thing is a little more in-depth.  Have you ever heard the philosophy that in order to learn how to be a great artist, you should practice by copying the works of great artists?  Well, it is the same with writing.  To be a great writer, you can read and write from great authors.  After reading a lesson's tale, your child will then write the story as accurately as he can from memory.  No peeking back at the original story.  Later, he will edit his work.  Then,  he will practice on any misspelled words.  Next, have him add some creative details, taking liberties with the story as long as the gist of the story doesn't change.  For example, in the Tortoise and the Hare, you can name the Tortoise, Sally and let the Hare pull out a sleeping bag while napping.  But, for goodness sake, don't mix up the story and let the Hare win. And then last thing, your child will do a final draft - all edits made and creative details added.

I LOVE these books.  I plan to continue using these books long after the review period is done.

Read more reviews here.

Disclaimer: I received this program free of charge to review, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Grandma's Attic - FIRST WildCard Review

My daughters and I absolutely loved these books.  They are currently our favorite pick for read-alouds.  Great books!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

David C. Cook (April 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Arleta Richardson grew up in a Chicago hotel under her grandmother’s care. As they sat overlooking the shores of Lake Michigan, her grandmother shared memories of her childhood on a Michigan farm. These treasured family stories became the basis for the Grandma’s Attic Series.


Remember when you were a child, when the entire world was new, and the smallest object a thing of wonder? Arleta Richardson remembered: the funny wearable wire contraption hidden in the dusty attic, the century-old schoolchild’s slate that belonged to Grandma, an ancient trunk filled with quilt pieces—each with its own special story—and the button basket, a miracle of mysteries. But best of all she remembered her remarkable grandmother who made magic of all she touched, bringing the past alive as only a born storyteller could.

So step inside the attic of Richardson’s grandmother. These stories will keep you laughing while teaching you valuable lessons. These marvelous tales faithfully recalled for the delight of young and old alike are a touchstone to another day when life was simpler, perhaps richer, and when the treasures of family life and love were passed from generation to generation by a child’s questions and the legends that followed enlarged our faith. These timeless stories were originally released in 1974 and then revised in 1999. They are being re-released with new artwork that will appeal to a new generation of girls.

Product Details:

In Grandma's Attic:

List Price: $6.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781403790
ISBN-13: 978-0781403795

More Stories from Grandma's Attic:

List Price: $6.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; 3 edition (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780781403801
ISBN-13: 978-0781403801
ASIN: 0781403804


In Grandma’s Attic – Chapter 1

Pride Goes Before a Fall

“Grandma, what is this?”

Grandma looked up from her work. “Good lands, child, where did you find that?”

“In the attic,” I replied. “What is it, Grandma?”

Grandma chuckled and answered, “That’s a hoop. The kind that ladies wore under their skirts when I was a little girl.”

“Did you ever wear one, Grandma?” I asked.

Grandma laughed. “Indeed I did,” she said. “In fact, I wore that very one.”

Here, I decided, must be a story. I pulled up the footstool and prepared to listen. Grandma looked at the old hoop fondly.

“I only wore it once,” she began. “But I kept it to remind me how painful pride can be.”

I was about eight years old when that hoop came into my life. For months I had been begging Ma to let me have a hoopskirt like the big girls wore. Of course that was out of the question. What would a little girl, not even out of calicoes, be doing with a hoopskirt? Nevertheless, I could envision myself walking haughtily to school with the hoopskirt and all the girls watching enviously as I took my seat in the front of the room.

This dream was shared by my best friend and seatmate, Sarah Jane. Together we spent many hours picturing ourselves as fashionable young ladies in ruffles and petticoats. But try as we would, we could not come up with a single plan for getting a hoopskirt of our very own.

Finally, one day in early spring, Sarah Jane met me at the school grounds with exciting news. An older cousin had come to their house to visit, and she had two old hoops that she didn’t want any longer. Sarah Jane and I could have them to play with, she said. Play with, indeed! Little did that cousin know that we didn’t want to play with them. Here was the answer to our dreams. All day, under cover of our books, Sarah Jane and I planned how we would wear those hoops to church on Sunday.

There was a small problem: How would I get that hoop into the house without Ma knowing about it? And how could either of us get out of the house with them on without anyone seeing us? It was finally decided that I would stop by Sarah Jane’s house on Sunday morning. We would have some excuse for walking to church, and after her family had left, we would put on our hoops and prepare to make a grand entrance at the church.

“Be sure to wear your fullest skirt,” Sarah Jane reminded me. “And be here early. They’re all sure to look at us this Sunday!”

If we had only known how true that would be! But of course, we were happily unaware of the disaster that lay ahead.

Sunday morning came at last, and I astonished my family by the speed with which I finished my chores and was ready to leave for church.

“I’m going with Sarah Jane this morning,” I announced, and set out quickly before anyone could protest.

All went according to plan. Sarah Jane’s family went on in the buggy, cautioning us to hurry and not be late for service. We did have a bit of trouble fastening the hoops around our waists and getting our skirts pulled down to cover them. But when we were finally ready, we agreed that there could not be two finer-looking young ladies in the county than us.

Quickly we set out for church, our hoopskirts swinging as we walked. Everyone had gone in when we arrived, so we were assured the grand entry we desired. Proudly, with small noses tipped up, we sauntered to the front of the church and took our seats.

Alas! No one had ever told us the hazards of sitting down in a hoopskirt without careful practice! The gasps we heard were not of admiration as we had anticipated—far from it! For when we sat down, those dreadful hoops flew straight up in the air! Our skirts covered our faces, and the startled minister was treated to the sight of two pairs of white pantalets and flying petticoats.

Sarah Jane and I were too startled to know how to disentangle ourselves, but our mothers were not. Ma quickly snatched me from the seat and marched me out the door.

The trip home was a silent one. My dread grew with each step. What terrible punishment would I receive at the hands of an embarrassed and upset parent? Although I didn’t dare look at her, I knew she was upset because she was shaking. It was to be many years before I learned that Ma was shaking from laughter, and not from anger!

Nevertheless, punishment was in order. My Sunday afternoon was spent with the big Bible and Pa’s concordance. My task was to copy each verse I could find that had to do with being proud. That day I was a sorry little girl who learned a lesson about pride going before a fall.

“And you were never proud again, Grandma?” I asked after she finished the story.

Grandma thought soberly for a moment. “Yes,” she replied. “I was proud again. Many times. It was not until I was a young lady and the Lord saved me that I had the pride taken from my heart. But many times when I am tempted to be proud, I remember that horrid hoopskirt and decide that a proud heart is an abomination to the Lord!”


More Stories From Grandma’s Attic

Chapter 1

The Nuisance in Ma’s Kitchen

When Grandma called from the backyard, I knew I was in for it. She was using her would-you-look-at-this voice, which usually meant I was responsible for something.

“What, Grandma?” I asked once I reached the spot where she was hanging up the washing.

“Would you look at this?” she asked. “I just went into the kitchen for more clothespins and came back out to find this.”

I looked where she was pointing. One of my kittens had crawled into the clothes basket and lay sound asleep on a clean sheet.

“If you’re going to have kittens around the house, you’ll have to keep an eye on them. Otherwise leave them in the barn where they belong. It’s hard enough to wash sheets once without doing them over again.”

Grandma headed toward the house with the soiled sheet, and I took the kitten back to the barn. But I didn’t agree that it belonged there. I would much rather have had the whole family of kittens in the house with me. Later I mentioned this to Grandma.

“I know,” she said. “I felt the same way when I was your age. If it had been up to me, I would have moved every animal on the place into the house every time it rained or snowed.”

“Didn’t your folks let any pets in the house?” I asked.

“Most of our animals weren’t pets,” Grandma admitted. “But there were a few times when they were allowed in. If an animal needed special care, it stayed in the kitchen. I really enjoyed those times, especially if it was one I could help with.”

“Tell me about one,” I said, encouraging her to tell me another story about her childhood.

“I remember one cold spring,” she began, “when Pa came in from the barn carrying a tiny goat.”

“I’m not sure we can save this one.” Pa held the baby goat up for us to see. “The nanny had twins last night, and she’ll only let one come near her. I’m afraid this one’s almost gone.”

Ma agreed and hurried to find an old blanket and a box for a bed. She opened the oven door, put the box on it, and gently took the little goat and laid it on the blanket. It didn’t move at all. It just lay there, barely breathing.

“Oh, Ma,” I said. “Do you think it will live? Shouldn’t we give it something to eat?”

“It’s too weak to eat right now,” Ma replied. “Let it rest and get warm. Then we’ll try to feed it.”

Fortunately it was Saturday, and I didn’t have to go to school. I sat on the floor next to the oven and watched the goat. Sometimes it seemed as though it had stopped breathing, and I would call Ma to look.

“It’s still alive,” she assured me. “It just isn’t strong enough to move yet. You wait there and watch if you want to, but don’t call me again unless it opens its eyes.”

When Pa and my brothers came in for dinner, Reuben stopped and looked down at the tiny animal. “Doesn’t look like much, does it?”

I burst into tears. “It does so!” I howled. “It looks just fine! Ma says it’s going to open its eyes. Don’t discourage it!”

Reuben backed off in surprise, and Pa came over to comfort me. “Now, Reuben wasn’t trying to harm that goat. He just meant that it doesn’t … look like a whole lot.”

I started to cry again, and Ma tried to soothe me. “Crying isn’t going to help that goat one bit,” she said. “When it gets stronger, it will want something to eat. I’ll put some milk on to heat while we have dinner.”

I couldn’t leave my post long enough to go to the table, so Ma let me hold my plate in my lap. I ate dinner watching the goat. Suddenly it quivered and opened its mouth. “It’s moving, Ma!” I shouted. “You’d better bring the milk!”

Ma soaked a rag in the milk, and I held it while the little goat sucked it greedily. By the time it had fallen asleep again, I was convinced that it would be just fine.

And it was! By evening the little goat was standing on its wobbly legs and began to baa loudly for more to eat. “Pa, maybe you’d better bring its box into my room,” I suggested at bedtime.

“Whatever for?” Pa asked. “It will keep warm right here by the stove. We’ll look after it during the night. Don’t worry.”

“And we aren’t bringing your bed out here,” Ma added, anticipating my next suggestion. “You’ll have enough to do, watching that goat during the day.”

Of course Ma was right. As the goat got stronger, he began to look for things to do. At first he was content to grab anything within reach and pull it. Dish towels, apron strings, and tablecloth corners all fascinated him. I kept busy trying to move things out of his way.

From the beginning the little goat took a special liking to Ma, but she was not flattered. “I can’t move six inches in this kitchen without stumbling over that animal,” she sputtered. “He can be sound asleep in his box one minute and sitting on my feet the next. I don’t know how much longer I can tolerate him in here.”

As it turned out, it wasn’t much longer. The next Monday, Ma prepared to do the washing in the washtub Pa had placed on two chairs near the woodpile. Ma always soaked the clothes in cold water first, then transferred them to the boiler on the stove.

I was in my room when I heard her shouting, “Now you put that down! Come back here!”

I ran to the kitchen door and watched as the goat circled the table with one of Pa’s shirts in his mouth. Ma was right behind him, but he managed to stay a few feet ahead of her.

“Step on the shirt, Ma!” I shouted as I ran into the room. “Then he’ll have to stop!”

I started around the table the other way, hoping to head him off. But the goat seemed to realize that he was outnumbered, for he suddenly turned and ran toward the chairs that held the washtub.

“Oh, no!” Ma cried. “Not that way!”

But it was too late! Tub, water, and clothes splashed to the floor. The goat danced stiff-legged through the soggy mess with a surprised look on his face.

“That’s enough!” Ma said. “I’ve had all I need of that goat. Take him out and tie him in the yard, Mabel. Then bring me the mop, please.”

I knew better than to say anything, but I was worried about what would happen to the goat. If he couldn’t come back in the kitchen, where would he sleep?

Pa had the answer to that. “He’ll go to the barn tonight.”

“But, Pa,” I protested, “he’s too little to sleep in the barn. Besides, he’ll think we don’t like him anymore!”

“He’ll think right,” Ma said. “He’s a menace, and he’s not staying in my kitchen another day.”

“But I like him,” I replied. “I feel sorry for him out there alone. If he has to sleep in the barn, let me go out and sleep with him!”

My two brothers looked at me in amazement.

“You?” Roy exclaimed. “You won’t even walk past the barn after dark, let alone go in!”

Everyone knew he was right. I had never been very brave about going outside after dark. But I was more concerned about the little goat than I was about myself.

“I don’t care,” I said stubbornly. “He’ll be scared out there, and he’s littler than I am.”

Ma didn’t say anything, probably because she thought I’d change my mind before dark. But I didn’t. When Pa started for the barn that evening, I was ready to go with him. Ma saw that I was determined, so she brought me a blanket.

“You’d better wrap up in this,” she said. “The hay is warm, but it’s pretty scratchy.”

I took the blanket and followed Pa and the goat out to the barn. The more I thought about the long, dark night, the less it seemed like a good idea, but I wasn’t going to give in or admit that I was afraid.

Pa found a good place for me to sleep. “This is nice and soft and out of the draft. You’ll be fine here.”

I rolled up in the blanket, hugging the goat close to me as I watched Pa check the animals. The light from the lantern cast long, scary shadows through the barn, and I thought about asking Pa if he would stay with me. I knew better, though, and all too soon he was ready to leave.

“Good night, Mabel. Sleep well,” he said as he closed the barn door behind him. I doubted that I would sleep at all. If it hadn’t been for the goat and my brothers who would laugh at me, I would have returned to the house at once. Instead I closed my eyes tightly and began to say my prayers. In a few moments the barn door opened, and Reuben’s voice called to me.

“Mabel,” he said, “it’s just me.” He came over to where I lay, and I saw that he had a blanket under his arm. “I thought I’d sleep out here tonight too. I haven’t slept in the barn for a long time. You don’t mind, do you?”

“Oh, no. That’s fine.” I turned over and fell asleep at once.

When I awoke in the morning, the goat and Reuben were both gone. Soon I found the goat curled up by his mother.

“Will you be sleeping in the barn again tonight?” Ma asked me at breakfast.

“No, I don’t think so,” I said. “I’ll take care of the goat during the day, but I guess his mother can watch him at night.”

Grandma laughed at the memory. “After I grew up, I told Reuben how grateful I was that he came out to stay with me. I wonder how my family ever put up with all my foolishness.”

Grandma went back into the house, and I wandered out to the barn to see the little kittens. I decided I wouldn’t be brave enough to spend the night there even if I had a big brother to keep me company!

Friday, April 22, 2011

See the Light - A Review

Product:  Art Class DVD 1

Price:  FREE

Part of a 9 DVD set called Art Class, retailing for $99

To Purchase Free DVD:   Volume 1 or watch online

To Purchase Complete Set:  Art Class
An online subscription is also available for $10/month

Instructor:  Master Artist Pat Krepley

Company:  See the Light - Drawing Children to Him

Age Range:   early elementary and up

Other Products:  A Variety of art DVDs

Course outline of Volume 1: Lessons 1-4  (from the website)

TOOLS OF THE TRADE — Learn the basics of what makes a drawing. Master Artist Pat Knepley demonstrates what you
need to have on hand in your drawing “toolkit” to always be ready to draw.

IT ALL STARTS WITH A LINE — The most fundamental element of all drawing is the line – but not all lines are alike!
Learn about different line qualities and the most essential skill of drawing – contour drawing.

Train your eyes and hands to be synchronized! You’ll learn some tips to place items in a drawing – or “composition” – to get the
best results!

DRAW WHAT YOU SEE — You’ll take a common everyday item – a shoe – as your subject for a completed contour
drawing. This is a true test of whether you draw what you SEE or what you KNOW!

with See The Light chalk artist Gloria Kohlmann

In-Depth Look:

We received Art Lessons DVD 1 for review.  I was curious to see how it would work out to have a personal art teacher on our TV.  My children worked their way through the 4 art lessons by  Pat Krepley.  Well, really 1 lesson on what supplies we would need and 3 lessons on drawing.  Then they watched the bonus lesson on chalk drawing by Gloria Kohlmann.

The instructors were pleasant. The video and sound quality were good.  The lessons were short and concise, focusing on one skill at a time.  It was very user-friendly and student oriented.  My children were able to sit down and do the lessons completely on their own.

The lessons on this disc were very basic.  Quite simple.  It didn't challenge my children very much.  But they did the lessons and did them well.  And they learned something along the way.  Besides, as I told my girls, you have to start somewhere.  You start with the basics and work your way up.  This is just the first few lessons of a complete series, that gets increasingly more in-depth.

The chalk lesson was really cool.  The way they shaded the different colors around was so neat.  And the finished pictures looked very nice.

This is a Christian program.  Each lesson has a mini Bible lesson in it.

Like I mentioned before, the first DVD is free for the asking.  It is a good place for a beginner to start.  And since it is free, it is a good way for the parent to get a feel for the program and see if it would be a good fit their children.

Have fun drawing!

Disclaimer: I received this DVD free of charge to review, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

That's When I Talk to God - FIRST Wild Card Tour

It is so important to teach our children to pray.  Not just to pray, but how and when to pray.  How - Talk to God like you would talk to a friend, like you would talk to your Daddy.  When - Anytime whatsoever.  That is the lesson that this sweet little girl learns in That's When I Talk to God.

Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge, as part of the FIRST Wild Card Tour. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card authors are:

Dan and Ali Morrow

and Illustrated by

Cory Godbey

and the book:

David C. Cook (April 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Dan and Ali Morrow are parents of two wonderful daughters. When they’re not writing children’s books, they like to go on adventures around their Colorado home. They are the authors of That’s Where God Is (2010), their first children’s release.

Visit the authors' website.


Cory Godbey illustrates, animates, and writes for Portland Studios, a creative firm dedicated to telling great stories and pursuing excellence in art.

He has contributed to projects such as Zune Arts, Flight graphic novel anthologies, and has worked with many major publishers.

Recently, Cory was accepted in the acclaimed Society of Illustrators Annual.

Cory seeks to tell stories with his work.

He also likes drawing monsters.

Visit the illustrator'swebsite.


Targeted to children four to eight, That’s When I Talk to God mirrors the day of the typical child, creating an opportunity for readers to put the practices in the story to use in their own lives. Through beautiful illustrations and an engaging, familiar character, readers can relate to That’s When I Talk to God. Children will learn to go to God with their fears, their joys, their questions, and their desires. They will also learn the hows, whens, and whys of praying to the Lord in a way they can easily apply to their own experiences. And adults will be reminded to communicate the benefit, simplicity, and beauty of prayer.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 36 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434700186
ISBN-13: 978-1434700186

AND NOW...THE FIRST FEW PAGES (Click on the pictures to enlarge them!):

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Regret Free Parenting - A Review

Regret Free Parenting - Raise Good Kids and Know You're Doing it Right
    by Catherine Hickem, LCSW, founder of Intentional Moms

 I have to be honest.  I was a bit put off by the title of this book.  Regret free parenting.  Yeah, right.  I already have my share of regrets.  And I had no desire to read a book that was going to slap it in my face.  That was going to make me feel worse about than I already do.  So for that reason, I almost decided not to choose this book for review.  But God had other plans and led me to pick this book anyways. 

It was nothing like I feared it would be.  Catherine Hickem didn't write this book to put us on a guilt-trip.  She didn't write it make us feel like a failure.  Quite the opposite.  She makes it very clear that we won't be perfect parents, never making a single mistake.  But we can be intentional parents, following God's plan for us and our children. 

She offers insight into things from our own childhoods that might be affecting our parenting skills and style now.  She gives practical tips about we can do the best we can to raise the best children we can, by God's grace and with God's help.
One of my favorite lessons was about trusting your mom's intuition and recognizing your own value.  God has made you the mom of your children, and as such He will provide everything you need to raise those children.  Trust your intuition, listen to that still small voice.  Don't value others' opinions over your own.  Don't think the "experts" know what is best for your family.  You are their mother.

One of my other favorites was about learning from our pasts.  Don't bring the pains of your childhood into your children's childhoods.  Don't pass it on.  Only look back for one of two reasons.  Either to remember God's blessings in your life or to learn from your past experiences.

I learned a lot about myself and was given hope and reassurance.  I was encouraged to listen for God's still small voice and to trust God completely with the care and raising of my children.

Regret Free Parenting is a winner in my book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kinderbach - A Review

Product:  KinderBach

Price:  $95.88/year ($7.99/month) or $19.99/month for online program

Also available on DVD for an additional fee

Teacher:  Karri Gregor

Want to try it first?

Age Range:  Ages 3 to 7

Brief Intro:  From the website
"KinderBach uses playful characters to teach note reading, rhythm, singing, and composition.  Give your children the best foundation for brain development, all from the comfort of your own home!"

In-Depth Look:
Music is such an important part of life.  But music lessons can be very expensive and time consuming.  And many instructors won't accept students until a certain age.

That is where KinderBach comes in.  You can teach your child music in the comfort of your own home, at whatever time of day is convenient to you, for only $7.99 month (less than the cost of one private lesson), and you can start your child as young as 3 years old.

Karri Gregor, the founder of KinderBach, is an author, illustrator and music educator. She has an extensive background in music, visual arts and drama. She was raised with a love of music and wanted the same foundation for her children. But when she couldn't find a piano teacher that would take a student younger than 7, she decided to begin teaching her own children.

Later, she started teaching other younger students as well. She would tape the lessons so that those who missed a class could keep up. When Karri's family moved, she lost all of her students. So they had the idea to begin teaching with videos, so that she wouldn't have to worry about losing her students again. And she could also use her interest in the arts to "spice" up the videos.

KinderBach is available on DVD.  But the online version is much cheaper.

The sessions are divided into 4 lessons per week.  Each lesson includes a short video clip of Karri Gregor. Some include short little crafts, coloring pages, etc to print out.  Scattered throughout are clips of Karri playing songs on the keyboard, for your student to play along with.

You can download all of the pdfs, so that they are accessible to print as needed.  This is the easiest way to do it.  If you feel adventurous, you can print them all out at once and keep in a folder until you are ready for them.

The program is very cute, user-friendly, and engaging.  Karri is a delightful hostess:  friendly, upbeat, encouraging.  The lessons take it step-by-step, gradually increasing in difficulty as your child gains skills and confidence.

Since my daughter is 9, she found a lot of the little activities to be too easy and too young for her.  This is understandable as the recommended age is 3 to 7.  I think a 3-to-7 year old would love the program.  My daughter reviewed the program last year when she was 7, and she enjoyed most of the worksheets. 

My daughter's favorite part of the program is actually playing the songs on the keyboard.  They are just the right skill level for a beginner.  Starting with the basics, and gradually working their way up.   The songs are cute and catchy and easy to play.  I catch my daughter singing the songs at random times during they day.

We set our laptop up near our keyboard, so that we could easily go back and forth between the video lessons and the song playing. If your computer and piano are not near each other, it will be a little more of a back and forth thing, if you do more than one lesson at a time. You can also consider purchasing the DVDs.

I am impressed with this program.  It is a great introduction to the keyboard/piano for the little ones.

On the website, you will find FREE online lessons, a sample e-book, coloring pages and a song download. That is a good place to start.

To read more reviews, click here.  (once available)

Disclaimer: I received a membership to free of charge to review, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Kabongo - A Review

Product:  GoGo Kabongo

Price:  Laughter Lake Habitat - FREE
          Galaxy Gardens - $4.95 (FREE for a limited time)
          Twister Tops - $4.95

Company:  Kabongo, Inc.

Want to Play?  GoGo Kabongo

Age Range: Ages 4-7

Brief Intro: (from the website)
Launch reading skills with online brain games kids love. Explore a fantastical world where surprises hide around every corner and skating is a way of life with GoGo Kabongo's free online learning games.

In-Depth Look:

GoGo Kabongo is recommended for ages 4-7.  I signed my 9 year old up for the program, thinking that she just might enjoy it also.  She enjoyed it for a few days, thought it was fun.  But then she decided that it was indeed too young for her.  But when I asked her if she thought a younger child would enjoy it, she said they would like it a lot.  Her favorite game is Photo Safari.

I also had my 12 year old play it a little while, just to get her thoughts and opinions about the game.  She also thought that a young child would enjoy this site a lot.  Her favorite pick is the "Make Your Own Comic".

The game is geared towards the younger set, 4 to 7 years of age.  It focuses on preschool and lower elementary skills.  Finding the specified letters or shapes.  Phonics.  Duplicating a memorized pattern.  Missing puzzle pieces.  Reading comprehension.  Following directions.  Games start out simple and progressively get more complicated.  Playing games earns rewards.  Your child will have three choices for their prize.  To add a piece to their skate park, to gain a piece of decoration for their tree-house, or to gain a comic maker sticker.

The main hub of the game is the tree-house.  This is where you decorate with the items that you earn as prizes, try out the comic maker, use the avatar maker, and visit the skate park.

From here, use the map to choose from the 3 possible habitats.  

Laughter Lake with 3 games:  Going Buggy, Critter Sizer, and Scuba Dude

Twister Top with 3 games:  Desert Dash, Crazy Maze, and Design a Door

Galaxy Gardens with 3 games:  Photo Safari, Robo Bobo, and Rocket Racer

Your child's guides are friendly looking monsters with big smiles.  They will give instructions and assistance along the way.  My 9yo did find it frustrating that the guides gave the directions to a game EVERY TIME she played.  She would have preferred to hear it only the first time.  Maybe an option to click for directions, instead of automatically having to listen to them every time.

As a courtesy to the parents, Kabongo sends a weekly email progress report.  It shows what games your child played, what level he is on, and what skills he practiced.  

This is a very cute game.  Easy to learn.  Easy to navigate.  It teaches some fundamental skills to the preschool and early elementary set.  It is fun and rewarding for the younger kids.

It is also priced very reasonably.  The first habitat is free.  The next two are only $4.95 each.

A great site!

To read more reviews, click here. 

Disclaimer: I received the use of Kabongo free of charge, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Z-Guide to the Movies CD (Kit Kitteredge) - A Review

Product:  Z-Guide to the Movies CD for Kit Kitteredge

Price:   $12.99

Company:  Zeezok Publishing

Age Range:  Elementary - Junior High

Other Z-Guide Products are Available

Brief Intro: (from Zeezok)
"Each Z-Guide contains a topic overview, movie synopsis, and ten learning activities for an in-depth study of the film . . . The goal of the Z-Guide is not just supplemental educational activities for specific historical topics, but to also teach the viewer to think critically."

Topics Covered:
The Great Depression
Hobo Life

In-Depth Look:

When Zeezok asked which Z-guide I would like to review, I chose the one for American Girl's DVD of Kit Kitteredge. It was one of the guides geared towards the elementary age.  Plus the fact that I know my daughters love all of the American Girl movies.  So this would definitely be the one that interested them the most.

The Z-Guide comes with a 5-day schedule of suggested use.

The first thing we did was to read the "Topic Overview" as a group. I found this very interesting.  It sets up the time period of the movie.  Not so much what happens in the movie, but what is happening in "real-life" during this era.  In our case, the era of the Great Depression.  It explains a little about how it happened, with mentions of things such as Black Thursday.  Some detail about how the government, specifically F.D.R.'s New Deal, tried to improve the situation.  And some of the consequences that America, now a welfare nation, is still dealing with now.  I always enjoy reading a little about the "story surrounding a story".

Next, I read over the "Movie Synopsis". This tells a lot about the movie.  A whole lot.  And it does give away some of the twists and turns in the show.  Because my daughters have seen the movie a few times already, this wouldn't be a problem.  But if your children are watching the movie for the very first-time, use your own judgment as to how much you wish to reveal. 

Now it was time to watch the show.  It is such an awesome movie, centering on the importance of families sticking together and working as a team during difficult times.  A reminder that "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."  And boy, was the Great Depression ever a difficult time! 

Activity 1 is "Movie Review Questions".  Ours had 25 questions, with the instructions to answer the questions while watching the movie. The sheet includes instructions for scoring.  But I chose to read the questions out loud as we went along and had the girls answer orally.  After trying it that way, it wasn't a big hit for us.  We found it to be a distraction from the movie.  Had we never seen the movie, I think it would have been an even greater distraction.  Next time, I would do it this way.  Read the questions ahead of time.  Watch the movie through.  See how many questions the girls could remember the answers to.  Then maybe watch the movie again the next day, with the goal of answering the rest of the questions.

The Z-Guide includes 9 additional activities.  Pick one or pick them all.  I liked the variety, ranging from creative writing to family discussion questions to more in-depth research questions.  My favorite was the page of hobo signs.  After printing out a chart of some of the more common hobo signs, my girls deciphered the codes to read the messages.  Then they made their own "secret message" using some of the symbols that they had learned.  Rest assured, the guide includes an answer key.

We borrowed a few books about the Great Depression to continue our study.  Between the movie, the Z-Guide, and the books from the library, we have an awesome unit study going on.

I  think this is a really neat product.  Zeezok has several Z-Guides available to use with some really great movies.  Enjoy a great movie with your kids.  Then take it to another level with some great ideas and activities to get your creative juices flowing.  Gain greater insight into the history and time period of the show.  It makes the history come alive, with life lessons that you will value.

To read other reviews, click here

Disclaimer: I received this Z-Guide free of charge, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.