Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Amy Carmichael Book REVIEW

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

I just love the Christian biographies that YWAM Publishing produces.  Our newest read aloud was from the Christian Heroes: Then & Now seriesAmy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems by Janet & Geoff Benge was truly a "gem" to read.  I think it is my favorite one so far.  I received a paperback cover of this 203-page book.  It is a simple read and perfect for independent readers (approx age 8 and older) or as a read-aloud which is how we used ours for the most part.  The cover is a nice quality glossy coated paper and the pages are of easy to read font.  I also received a digital copy of the study guide which we also love!  This book is also available as an audiobook CD, audiobook MP3, Nook edition, Kindle edition, and YWAM direct ebook download.

Easy to read font

We mostly used this as a read-aloud, but with Little Bug loving to read so much she insisted on reading part herself.  Her patience or lack thereof never let her read much at once, but it was good practice for her (she was an early reader at the Kindergarten level and is just now finishing up 1st grade). It is a pretty quick read for an adult or advanced reader and a simple read for chapter book readers (should be an easy read for 3rd grade and up).

She loves to read

Amy Carmichael was born in Ireland in 1967 to a fairly wealthy family.  She was schooled in an English boarding school but soon had to return home when financial circumstances changed due to the innovation of steamboats and the decreased need for their product (flour) locally.  It was cheaper to buy the flour that was shipped in from North America.  She was one of 7 children and her and her two other brothers who were also in boarding schools had to be called home when the money shortage occurred.  She was a precocious, bold child who was easily bored with simple, mundane things.  She enjoyed adventure and changing scenery.

Biography from study guide

It was no wonder when she felt the call to missionary work.  One day after church her and her brothers ended up helping and escorting a less than accepted "shawlie" woman to her destination (shawlies was the term used for the poor who worked tirelessly in the linen mills).  Others from her church looked on in disgust and at first, Amy was embarrassed.  Then God got a hold of her heart and she decided she would serve others in any way that God called her to.  She began by starting bible studies with the local children from the "wrong side of the tracks."

Digital study guide homepage

Throughout all of her endeavors, God slowly grew Amy into a missionary who learned to listen to and trust Him.  Her initial station was supposed to be in China but her health dictated otherwise and she was unable to go when a doctor refused to give the okay with her health problems.  She ended up going to Japan but then God soon moved her on from there also.  Unknown to her at the time, Amy's final destination would be India where she ended up spending the rest of her life ministering to the people and children of that country.

Digital study guide includes guides and unit study with two parts

Amy ended up setting up a mission that housed over a hundred young girls and women and then later grew to house over eighty young boys and men.  Her life story is full of exciting adventures and God's mercy, grace, and provision. She never believed in begging for money and God always provided for what was needed in abundance.  Once even before she had prayed for the need!  I was continually fascinated with her determination and perseverance and God's constant provision always at the right time.

The digital study guide is invaluable in my opinion.  We have reviewed several of these books in the past and I have always LOVED the study guides.  They are very thorough and are easy to use and follow. You can complete all the activities or just pick and choose what works for your family.  It includes so much more than just a simple study guide.  In addition to chapter questions, it includes activities that cover creative writing, drama, movie critiquing, reading comprehension, essay writing, and history and geography concepts.

Sample guide TOC from digital study guide

Digital Study guide TOC

Curriculum areas covered in study guide

It really goes without saying that we give Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems a double thumbs up.  I highly recommend that you also purchase the available study guide.  You can connect with YWAM Publishing on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST.

Please also be sure to check out reviews from my fellow Crew members on this book and others available by clicking on the graphic link below.  You will be so blessed by these books!  You can also check out my other YWAM reviews at the following links:

32 Heroes of History {YWAM Publishing Reviews}

Monday, March 23, 2020

Homeschool Resources During Covid-19

This is not a sponsored post and there are no affiliate links.  I am just sharing some fun resources I either use, have used, or have come across recently.

We are living in a new time.  Never in my lifetime have we experienced what we are experiencing now with Covid-19.  I don't know how it is where you are but currently, we are under a "Shelter in Place" order.  We are not completely confined to our homes but asked to only leave or be out in public if you absolutely must.  We are still allowed to do grocery shopping and some still have to go to work.  Many places are temporarily closed.

Part of the silver lining in this crazy time is that a lot of online resources are either deeply discounting their products or allow free access temporarily.  Our local schools are shut down and even the public school students are currently being "homeschooled."  Below I will list links to a few I have found out about recently.  If you know of any others please share them in the comments for others to also check out.  You can also click on my Homeschooling Resources tab for some additional sites.  Happy schooling!

  • is currently offering a free 30-day trial to its full online curriculum for ages 2-8.
  • isn't currently offering any specials but they do offer some of their online curricula for free.
  • Adventure Academy (from the creators of ABCmouse) is offering your first 30 days free for its online learning program for ages 8-13.
  • rightnow MEDIA is currently offering free limited access to its online media streaming library.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Connections Stationary Kit REVIEW

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Second to reading, Little Bug loves to draw and write.  She was SO excited to get the Connections Stationary Kit (misspelled on purpose) from Byron's Games.  It came in a very nice, heavy duty cardboard box that works perfectly to house the contents.  There are cubbies that hold the contents nice and snug.  Included in this letter writing kit for kids is a nice writing pen, heavy duty printed letter paper (25 sheets), envelopes (25), a "thank you" rubber stamper, 2 ink pads, and several sheets of stickers (36 stickers).  It is recommended for ages 6+ but would certainly be useful for those younger (with supervision).

Kit contents

The history behind this company is so fascinating!  It all started when 6-year-old Byron had to have an extended hospital stay.  He wanted kids to be able to not be bored and have something fun to do.  He first created a geography game (Continent Race) and then this stationery set.  What an ingenious little boy.  Be sure to read all about his story at Byron's Games.  A portion of the proceeds from the sales goes towards helping select charities.

I really didn't think she would be quite that excited about a stationery kit, but she is in love with this kit.  She has written her thank you letters and created some pictures for special people in her life.  She keeps brainstorming ideas for what she can write.  The kit has helped her to see how to write a letter with proper form and sign off of a letter.  She has learned how to write her return address and to address the envelope to whom she is sending it to.

A special picture for her cousin

Thank you letters

So much fun to write letters

The Connections Stationary Kit can be used for more than just letters.  Little Bug has drawn some pictures and if you purchase additional stamps (from a craft store or somewhere) your little one can enjoy more creativity with the set.  Sending an encouraging note or picture to a friend is fun!

Fun stickers to put on letters and/or envelopes

We give Connections Stationary Kit a big thumbs up!  Little Bug has just loved having her own stationery.  You can connect with Byron's Games on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and INSTAGRAM.

Be sure to check out the reviews from my fellow Crew members on this kit and also the Continent Race game (also available as a free app now!) by clicking on the graphic link below.  We just might have to invest in the Continent Race Game since we are working on geography right now also.

Continent Race & Connections Stationery Kit {Byron's Games}

Friday, March 13, 2020

Missionary Darrell Champlin REVIEW

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

As a family, we do enjoy read alouds.  When we had the chance to review another missionary story I had to say, "yes."  Venturing with God in Congo from Conjurske Publications is a story about Darrell Champlin, his family, and their missionary adventures.  I received a hardcover copy of this 290-page book.  The story basically covers Darrell's travels from the 1950s and 1960s.

Timeline of important events

Darrell was born in 1932 and his wife, Louise, was born in 1928.  They were married in 1951 and had 4 children (3 boys-David, Jonathan, and Ethan, and 1 girl - Deborah).  Darrell was born in Utah during a time when it was the dream of every parent that their children would be missionaries for the Lord.  Louise was born in Florida but her family had served as missionaries in the Congo from 1917 to 2000 so she was pretty much raised on the mission field.

The Champlins ministered in the Congo off and on from about 1954 to 1964 when they had to evacuate due to war.  They ended up relocating to Suriname, South America where they served as missionaries for many years.  They were able to eventually go back for visits to the Congo but their main mission field remained in Suriname.

The quality of the book is nice.  The hardcover is sturdy with solid binding and the pages are of a nice, slightly thicker quality paper.  The cover art is catchy and colorful.  The font was a little small for my liking, but still easily readable.  I like that at the beginning of the book there is a page about pronunciation tips for the foreign words and a brief timeline of important events.  There is even a simple map of the Congo to refer to.

Pronunciation tips

The book is a compilation of Darrell's memoirs and each chapter consists of a story of something that happened while on the mission field.  There is intrigue, danger, sadness, and excitement as they encounter God over and over again in their missionary endeavors.  God shows up over and over again for them in their ministry.  These true-life stories are great for encouraging your family and especially if you have any mission-minded family members.  I enjoyed the interjection of scripture throughout the stories showing just how God is true to his word.  Reading about the Rogue Elephant and then seeing the picture of the skull in the included Photo Gallery was neat.  There are not many pictures included but they were appreciated by us.

Part of the photo gallery in the book

Story after story that just draws you into their world of what it must have been like to be on that mission field.  Their dedication as a family is fascinating.  Darrell's writing style is simple yet effective in sharing their experiences and invoking all kinds of emotions on the reader.  What it must have been like to experience things like the flies, ants, scorpions, snakes, and other pests in the jungle.  Dealing with the opposition of a satanic culture steeped with witch doctors and superstitions.  Living in a thatch roof hut with mud walls, open air windows, and a dirt floor.  Knowing that a leopard stalked you at night while you were sleeping (Leopard at the Window) and but for the grace of God you and your family awoke unscathed the next morning.  Perhaps the most emotional for me was the chapter, Terror in Congo, where he shares the story of the invasion and evacuation from the war torn area they were in.

Some of the stories were, I felt, a little too much for little ones so you might want to save this book for ages 12 and up or just skip over the more dramatic and graphic stories.  There is a lot of good to glean from the stories and God's grace, protection, and provision are apparent throughout.

I give Venturing with God in Congo a thumbs up.  The individual short story chapters make it perfect as a read aloud and keep the interest of those listening.  The stories speak to the Champlin's perseverance and dedication to the mission field.  Going on the mission field is one thing but taking your whole family and working through all the challenges it brings together as a family makes for a special, encouraging story.  What a wonderful example to learn from and experience through Darrell's storytelling of his missionary adventures.

You can connect with Conjurske Publications on FACEBOOK.  Their goal is to publish good Christian literature from the past for preservation and learning.  I like their mission statement, "Our mission is simple: to reprint the greatest Christian literature from the past several centuries and present it to Christians across the globe today.

Please also be sure to check out the reviews from my fellow Crew members by clicking on the graphic link below.  Happy reading!

Venturing with God in Congo {Conjurske Publications Reviews}

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Spring Rains

It's not even officially spring yet and the rain continues.  I'm not sure I'm looking forward to our "rainy" season because we have already had so much rain.  It seems our back yard has remained flooded for most of the past few months.  It finally just gets to drying up a little and bam, more rain!  The ducks are LOVING it, me not so much.

I'm not even sure what this will all mean for planting the garden yet, but I'm glad for the raised beds.  I know it has kept me from spraying the fruit trees so I am sad if that means no fruit again.  I must get out this week and try to get some spraying done.  I also have not put down the stuff to help control the weeds in the flower gardens.  So much to do and the weather keeps delaying what must get done.  There is more rain coming Saturday, a day that I desperately need to get some outdoor work done.

Hopefully, it will all work out.  Hopefully, the garden will get planted on time.  Hopefully, this rain will subside enough to get the necessary work done.  I hope you are staying dry where ever you are.  Rain is good.  Too much is not.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Boxcar Children Early Reader REVIEW

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Have I mentioned before how much Little Bug loves to read?  That girl just LOVES books!  When we received The Boxcar Children Early Reader Set published by Albert Whitman & Company for review she about jumped out of her skin.  We received 4 hardcover books of The Boxcar Children Time to Read ™ Level 2 series based on the book by Gertrude Chandler Warner.  I have fond memories from MANY years ago in my grade school years when I had a teacher that read books to us.  One of the many books I enjoyed was The Boxcar Children.  I was excited to see that they have come up with a series for this wonderful book and have now expanded into an early reader set for ages 5-7 years old (K - 2nd grade).  The books are very nice quality and the pages are 
thick, semi-gloss paper.

Time to Read early reader program levels

The Time to Read ™ early reader program includes 3 levels of reading; Level 1 Beginning to Read, Level 2 Reading with Help, and Level 3 Reading Independently.  The books we received are Level 2 which are below Little Bug's level but I knew she would love the books and I don't believe you can ever read too much.  The program is not based on age or grade as much as it is focused on reading readiness and preparing young readers to succeed in their reading endeavors.

The series I received included The Boxcar Children, Surprise Island, Mystery Ranch, and The Yellow House Mystery.  There is drama, suspense, independence, and excitement throughout the series.  In the first book, The Boxcar Children, we are introduced to our main characters (the Alden family) Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny.  Henry and Jessie are the two oldest.  The Aldens are orphans, their parents recently died and they are determined to stay together and find a place to live.  They find an old boxcar in the woods and decide to make it home.  They do have a grandfather (Henry) but they are convinced that he is mean and does not like them.  Read the book to find out who their furry friend Watch is and if grandfather really is so mean or not.  How will they live?  Violet gets sick.  What does Dr. Moore do that helps them?  Will they be OK?  Get the book to read about what happens to the Aldens.

In Surprise Island, the children are brought to a special island by their grandfather, Henry.  As you will see throughout the series the children are very independent and fend for themselves quite well.  They are left on the island to explore and enjoy.  Who is the mystery man they meet and who is he to the Alden children?  Do the children get along with Captain Daniel, the man who oversees the island?  Join them in their adventures as they settle into the barn for their summer home and set up their own museum.  Read to the end to find out why they called their summer place Surprise Island.

The adventures continue in Mystery Ranch when the Alden kids visit their Aunt Jane on her ranch.  Aunt Jane is sad and lonely, but Watch is able to cheer her a little bit.  Will Aunt Jane have to sell the ranch?  What did Benny find?  Who is the mystery man, Mr. Carter and why is he interested in the ranch?  Will Aunt Jane have to sell her ranch and who is her new friend in the end?  Get your copy to find out!

The fourth book in our series, The Yellow House Mystery, continues with the Alden children and their adventures.  The mysterious "yellow house" is on Surprise Island.  The children ask to explore the house and ask their Grandfather Henry about it.  There was a man named Bill who used to take care of the island for him but he disappeared after Grandfather loaned him some money.  Why did Bill disappear?  Is he OK?  What did he do with the money?  Follow the Aldens on their adventure as they follow the clues to find out if Bill is still alive, where he might have gone, and why he left Surprise Island.  Benny finds an important clue and they go off on another fun adventure to find the answers to their questions.

Sample page from The Boxcar Children

We really like this series.  The books are high quality and the graphics are colorful and engaging.  The font is large and easy to read and the stories definitely keep Little Bug's interest.  She can't wait for us to get more in the series.  There are currently 7 books available in this mystery adventure series with an 8th one planned this year.  Since these were easy for her to read I let her read them out loud to me and then asked her questions about what she read.  She had great comprehension and the stories kept her easily engaged.  We highly recommend The Boxcar Children Early Reader Set. Little Bug says, "these are my absolute favorite books!"

You can connect with Albert Whitman & Company on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, and YOUTUBE.  Please be sure to read the reviews from my fellow Crew members on this wonderful series by clicking on the graphic link below.  Happy reading!
The Boxcar Children Early Reader Set {Albert Whitman & Company Reviews}

Friday, March 6, 2020

So You Want to Get Some Chickens?

I don't know about where you are, but around here it's chick season again.  It's the time of year people are ready to start their flock or add to their existing flock.  If you are new to chickens then you might be wondering where you should start.  There is so much information out there about raising chickens and you will soon find that we all have our "opinions" on the best way to go about doing it.  My best initial advice is to research, research, research.  Then research some more!  Seriously, the more you can find out the better you will be at deciding what works best for you and your "farm."

Be on the lookout for a series of articles coming up where I will try my best to share what I have learned over the past 6 years of raising our chickens.  We started with just 8 straight run chicks and a small 4' x 8' coop and have now upgraded to 5 coops of various sizes and generally 45-50 chickens at any given time.  Oh, and we added 2 ducks last year.  It has been an educational and fun ride and I now understand the meaning of "chicken math."

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Pilgrim's Rock, LLC Online Apologetics Course REVIEW

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Christian Apologetics is key when it comes to defending our faith.  I have stressed this in our homeschool for years now.  I loved having the chance to review another wonderful resource, The Unbreakable Faith Course online course, and the two textbooks, God the Reason and The Box, from Pilgrim's Rock, LLC.  I received 2 years of access to this 36-week online course and PDF copies of each book.  It qualifies for 1 unit High School credit if you purchase that option and take it as directed in the syllabus which is accessible in your online course.  It is also a wonderful study for adults who want a good foundation in apologetics.  The course can be used for individual study, group study including co-ops and also for a church or college ministry.

Course syllabus

The syllabus contains all the information you need to complete the course including contact information for Dr. Craig Biehl.  It includes the course description, student learning outcomes, course requirements including grading and a grading scale, and a course calendar.

For High School credit there are approximately 80 hours of coursework that includes watching the videos, study time, quiz/exam time, and reading time.  The course is broken down into 6 parts that include 14 main videos (38 videos total - some of the videos have multiple parts that are each approximately 10-12 minutes long) and 5 quizzes broken down into the following sections:

  • Introduction to Apologetics; The Implications of God Having No Beginning or Needs
  • The Implications of God as Unable to Be Known Unless He Reveals Himself, Infinite, and Unchanging
  • The Implications of God as an Undivided Unity, Spirit, Perfect in Knowledge, and Perfectly Wise
  • The Implications of God as True and Truthful, Good and Love, Holy, and Righteous
  • The Implications of God as Infinitely Powerful and Sovereign; The Unbelieving and Believing Worldview
  • Final Exam
Sample of Part 1 assignments

My thought was to go through the course with my High Schooler and then have him take the quizzes and exam for credit.  We watch the videos together and discuss the topic(s) covered.  I use the books as read alouds to be sure we are covering the whole book and not just parts of it (if you know what I mean).  It is helping to reinforce what we have already covered in other apologetics lessons but it definitely has a different approach to it that is causing us to look at things from a different perspective that I like.  I really like the heart of the creator, Dr. Craig Biehl.  "Pilgrim’s Rock exists to exalt the infinite excellence of God and the Gospel, boost joy, comfort, and faith in Christ and Scripture, and immunize believers against the unreasonable arguments of unbelief." 

The Box (Answering the Faith of Unbelief) consists of a conversation between Mr. A and Mr. C.  Mr. A is the atheist and Mr. C is the Christian.  Mr. C uses the box as an example of our finite wisdom.  We don't and can't know everything and to presuppose that God doesn't exist means that "we believe that we must know everything in the universe and beyond."  I like what he said at the end of Chapter 4, "Some of the soundest logical arguments are false because they are built on faulty premises or assumptions."

God the Reason (How Infinite Excellence Gives Unbreakable Faith) consists of a great resource for a strong foundation in a Biblical Worldview.  Within the 15 chapters Craig breaks it down into the following topics: In the Beginning God, God Needs Nothing, God Cannot Be Known Unless He Reveals Himself, God is Boundless Perfection, God Does Not Change, God is Undivided, God is Spirit, God Knows Everything, God is Wise, God is True and Truthful, God is Good and Love, God is Holy, God is Righteous, God is Infinitely Powerful, and God Rules Over All.

We had some challenges with this review in that we got a little bit of a late start and then we had flu hit our house hard the last week before it was due.  I am enjoying the course and really like the foundation it is laying for my son to be thinking from a more biblical worldview and the approach that Dr. Biehl uses in his teaching.  I especially like the inclusion of the classic hymns in the videos.  We are just now into Part 2 and I am excited to get through the course.  You can complete the course in whatever time frame fits your schedule.  We try to cover something at least 3 times weekly if not 5.  You can see from the sample above what Part 1 looks like.  It actually has a total of 9 videos to view, all of The Box to read and several chapters of God the Reason before taking the first quiz.

Online course progress

I also like that you must complete each assignment before going on to the next.  It will not let you progress forward until you have completed the current assignment.  This is great for me because my high schooler likes to skip around a lot and then things tend to get confusing.  This forces him to take it one thing at a time and to complete things in order.  I found the course easy to navigate online and the syllabus and course directives were all very clear to understand.  It is a win for us and we give The Unbreakable Faith Course online course, and the two textbooks, God the Reason and The Box a big thumbs up.

You can connect with Pilgrim's Rock, LLC on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, and YOUTUBE.  Also, be sure to click on the graphic link below to see what my fellow Crew members thought of this wonderful resource.

The Unbreakable Faith Course {Pilgrim's Rock, LLC Reviews}
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...