Thursday, September 29, 2016

Homeschool Review: Cat of Bubastes #hsreviews #HeirloomAudio #TheCatOfBubastes #LiveTheAdventure #BringingHentyBack #AudioAdventures

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes


As you know, I've had the opportunity and privilege to review quite a few of the Heirloom Audio Productions titles over the years and there's something that I absolutely LOVE about each one of them.  That's still true, but I have to tell you that this newest one is my absolute, all-time favorite.  Y'all!  Oh.My.Stars.  The Cat of Bubastes is simply phenomenal.  It's full of plot twists and battles, secrets and adventure that all point kids and adults to the One True GOD.  It is so good.  So very, very good.

As with all of the Heirloom audio dramas, the story unfolds as told by adventurer G.A. Henty.  In The Cat of Bubastes, Henty is writing a letter to friends Ned and Gerald to relay his latest adventure through the lands of Egypt and share a story that he learned while there.  Although I had never heard the story of The Cat of Bubastes, I was completely enthralled as it unfolded through audio theatre.  From the very beginning of the audio drama, I was intrigued as Prince Amuba and his companion/protector Jethro were imprisoned and taken to Egypt as slaves.  There are pyramids and big stone cats that teach the listener about the gods of the Egyptians and there are characters who share mercy and grace as they learn together about the One True GOD of us all.  As you listen, you learn all kinds of interesting facts about the early Egyptians -- and you learn about how GOD moved through his people the Israelites to touch the hearts of all.

Through the absolute mercy of GOD, Amuba and Jethro end up serving in the house of the High Priest Ameres as companions to his children Chebron and Mysa.  The friendship that unfolds is GOD's perfect way of setting the stage for what will come.  I don't want to give away the story line to you, but I want you to know that GOD's Hand is seen throughout.  HIS timing is always perfect.  Through a series of crazy events that involve the death of a cat and children on the run, Amuba, Jethro, and Chebron end up deep in hiding as they attempt to find Mysa and her friend Ruth and rescue them from the hands of a tyrant.

And then when Moses appears . . . let me just tell you that I simply broke out into chills from head to toe.  Wow to the Wow to see/hear Biblical history interwoven in such a fascinating way.  My very favorite line from the entire drama comes almost all the way at the end when the friends are discussing the part that "luck" played in their escape.  The poignant truth that GOD is in control is stated like this:

At the critical moment  you were rescued by the one man in all of Egypt who had the will, the desire, and the courage to rescue you.  That is not chance.

And isn't that the truth in all of our lives.  At THE critical moment, JESUS rescued us.  HE had the will,  HE had the desire, and praise GOD, HE had the courage.  There is no "chance" in that, my friends.  Only LOVE.

You know, we've listened to and learned from each of the audio dramas that we've been able to review (Under Drake's FlagIn Freedom's Cause, With Lee in VirginiaThe Dragon and the Raven and Beric the Briton) and each one just gets better and better.  Each time we finish one, I think there's no way they can get any better than this.  Yet it always does.  Heirloom Audio Productions offers an unsurpassed quality of Christian entertainment that is sure to bless families with children of all ages.  Heroes that you can count on to share moral values, strong character, and uphold the highest standards of integrity are provided in each audiodrama.  You can feel good about what your children are listening to with Heirloom Audio Productions.

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of BubastesAs with all of the Heirloom Audio Productions, the available "extras" will bless your family almost as much as the radio theatre itself.  We were privileged once again to have access to the accompanying Study Guide (47 pages) that you can use to turn the "listening" into even more of a lesson.  I like reading through the Listening Well and Thinking Further questions because they help direct our focus to what we should be hearing and gleaning from the recording as we listen to the CDs, but I've just got to tell you that this go around the Expand Your Learning is super good, too.  We studied Ancient Egypt years ago as a family and this served as a great refresher course for us all.  The included Bible studies are spot on and the historical background section (and recipes) make learning fun.  THIS is how I like to homeschool.

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of BubastesFor purposes of review, we were also given access to the Live the Adventure e-Newsletter that encourages us to see the history of the world through the hand of GOD.  It is well worth reviewing and reading.  We have also enjoyed listening to yet another beautiful soundtrack by composer John Campbell (33 mp3 tracks that comprise the beautiful background music that plays during the adventure story).  I find it so calming to have it streaming in the background of my day -- although it's surely not as exciting as G.A. Henty's story.

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes
I was also excited to once again receive an eBook copy of  The Cat of Bubastes:  A Tale of Ancient Egypt by G.A. Henty (350-pages).  I plan to begin reading it in October since it is a story I had not heard before.  I look forward to comparing it to the audio drama and discussing it with my high schoolers.    These and other resources are available to you as well when you purchase your own copy of Heirloom Audio's The Cat of Bubastes Christian radio theatre production.



Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

For more information about this drama or any of the others lovingly produced by Heirloom Audio Productions, please visit the following Social Media sites:

Heirloom Audio Productions Facebook
The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty Facebook
Instagram: @HeirloomAudioOfficial 




Crew Disclaimer


I was given the opportunity to review The Cat of Bubastes from Heirloom Audio Productions as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this and other puzzles as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes
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Sunday, September 25, 2016

My Hope and Confidence {Scripture & a Snapshot}



That's my boy.  But even better?  He is HIS.


I'm joining with my friend Jennifer over at a glimpse of our life as we give glory to GOD through our photos.


Scripture and Snapshot
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Homeschool Review: The Pray-ers / Book1 "Troubles" #hsreviews #prayersnovel #christianfiction


When the opportunity to review The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles written by Mark S. Mirza and published by CTM Publishing Atlanta arose, I was quick to jump right on it.  I mean, I like to read and I like prayer, so I thought it would be a perfectly simple task to get through the pages of the book.  And then the book arrived.  Beginning with the opening pages that describe what the book is -- and what it isn't -- and continuing throughout the chapters, I have been challenged.  That simple task?  Not so simple.  Because, if anything, reading a book about people who pray -- people who TRULY devote their lives to prayer and not just the hit-and-miss prayers at supper and in times of distress -- will make you take stock of your prayer life in a completely new way.  And you may not like what you see.

The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles

For review purposes, I received the physical paperback book (you KNOW I love the feel of paper in my hands) and there is an ePub available for download if reading digitally is your cup of tea.  Either way, I want to recommend that you get a copy and begin reading as soon as possible.  Just know it will challenge what you know about yourself -- and how you feel about the time spent on your knees or in your closet before the FATHER.  The Pray-ers is a novel, but it is so much more than that.  It's Christian fiction packed with Christian truth.  It's also a guide to prayer and an encouragement tool for people who want to do more than say a short prayer as they rush out the door or head off to bed.  This book aims to teach what prayer is.  It will encourage you to become a PRAY-er:  one who PRAYS Heaven down.  And shouldn't we all?  Not only is The Pray-ers all of those things, but it is a reference manual for Scripture that points you directly to GOD's Word on every page.

Unlike the way I read most novels, I read The Pray-ers with pen in hand.  I did that so that I could underline passages that spoke directly to my heart because I knew that I needed to remember.  I also read it with my Bible close at hand so that I could look up and mark the Scriptures referenced as I read.  (See what I mean?  Prayer and Bible study all written right into the pages together.  Talk about good for the soul.)


Considered historical fiction (but don't let that throw you off), The Pray-ers takes the reader on a journey that interweaves three different eras of history through the eyes of both demons and angels as they attempt to distract or develop a relationship with Christian men from each era.  These men, the Pray-ers,  (1st Century) Christian Epaphras, (19th Century) preacher Brother Alexander Rich, and (Current Era) Coach Dale Riley, teach us how to pray as we read the words they utter to the FATHER.   Their relationship with the KING of KINGS reminds us of what we can all have.  The story line is not complex although it does take just a bit to understand the flow of the book due to the non-capitalization of the names of those characters from the demon underworld.  I delight in the fact that author Mark Mirza chose to uphold his conviction that demons deserve no respect even through the conventions of capitalization and that he reminds his readers not to allow their focus to become too centered on the demons but instead on the fact that faith overcomes the world.  We take away from The Pray-ers first and foremost that our life must be about trust in GOD.
The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles
Book Two in the series is expected to be published for Christmas 2016 and will focus on Spiritual Warfare -- what it is and what it is not.  For more information about The Pray-ers series, please jump over to the following Social Media pages:
Facebook
Twitter



Crew Disclaimer


I was given the opportunity to review  The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles  as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of the book (or just click on the banner below.)

The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles
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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Songs of Joy {Scripture & a Snapshot}




This is just part of the beauty painted across the sky last night.  Isn't GOD amazing??



I'm joining with my friend Jennifer over at a glimpse of our life as we give glory to GOD through our photos.


Scripture and Snapshot
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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Homeschool Review: Getting Started with French {Armfield AcademicPress} #hsreviews #homeschoolforeignlanguage #foreignlanguage #frenchcurriculum


In our state, two foreign language credits are required for graduation so I always look for interesting ways that address the individual learning styles of each of my children to fulfill that requirement.   I let them decide which languages they would like to study and which method of learning they would like to pursue.  The Princess chose French for her sophomore year and she requested that there be both written and audio components to her study.  It was perfect timing for us to receive Getting Started with French from Armfield Academic Press for review.  And even better than perfect timing?  Getting Started with French is perfect for my girl.  It offers everything she requested AND keeps her interested yet challenged.

Introducing Getting Started with French {Armfield Academic Press}

Written to help homeschooled and self-taught students learn beginning French, Getting Started with French offers a one-thing-at-a-time approach to language that explains exactly what is to be learned as it is to be learned.  No French teacher/expert is required.  It is self-paced, self-explanatory, self-contained, and inexpensive.  YAY for all of that!  My girl appreciates the ability to work at her own pace and be able to repeat lessons as needed.  She told me just last night that this really is the best foreign language curriculum that she has ever used and was explaining how very much she enjoys learning and practicing the beautiful French language this way.  The 281-page softcover textbook has become her friend.  (And because it is non-consumable and can be used with multiple students, it is sure to be a friend to all homeschooling moms, as well.)  My girl enjoys working through the pages of the text and can't wait to listen to the pronunciation recordings that help her speak "properly" along the way.  (They are FREE and the link to download them is included in the text.)

So how does it work?  This Beginning French course is divided into 172 lessons.  Each lesson begins with a new word or words and/or new concepts like "how to express purpose" or "how to form plurals."  Students learn the word(s), their definitions, and how to properly use them in sentences and conversations.  Each lesson also offers special audio commentary (from the authors --- REAL language teachers) that offer detailed explanations of the material in case your student doesn't quite grasp what they've read.  Lessons are followed by short translation exercises (only 10 translations per lesson) that my daughter writes out in a separate French notebook.  {Her notebook is red to coordinate with the textbook cover and the French flag.  She gets that honest.  Do any of your kids do the same?}  The text is written to her in words that she understands.  It is conversational in tone and guides students to do their very best.


After completing the translation exercises, students are directed to check their answers with the Answer Key provided in the back of the book.  There are quite a few jewels tucked away in the back of the book.  First, there's a congratulatory page of General Advice that explain again that this book was designed to cover the very beginning stages of learning French.  Students are reminded that there is still quite a bit that they do not know and they are encouraged to keep studying and keep learning as they cultivate authentic growth and pronunciation.  I like that.  I like for my daughter to be gently pushed to further her education -- without me having to be the one to do the pushing.

Immediately following the Answer Key (for all 172 lessons), there is a Pronunciation Guide for vowels and consonants and a Glossary of the new words learned.  It really is a gem of a find back there and my girl makes use of it often.  She's already trying to decide which "Getting Started" language she wants to use for her second credit.  Choices are Getting Started with Latin, Getting Started with Spanish, and coming soon, Getting Started with Russian.  I think that one would be phenomenal since her great uncle actually lives in Russia.

I asked the Princess what else she would like for me to share with you about her studies with Getting Started with French and this is what she said:

I've actually learned from it.  I've tried several courses over the years, but they ended up being more fluff than language.  This one is real and I'm learning more every day.

Now I don't know about you, but I count that as pretty high praise.  When my students ENJOY what they are studying and LEARN as they go, that's a WIN for me.  That is what it's all about.  For more information about the Armfield Academic Press family of language studies, please make sure and visit the following Social Media page:

Facebook


You're going to find just what you need to "Get Started" with languages.  Let me know which one your family can't wait to learn.  I'm always interested to know what's going on in other homeschool families like ours.  




Crew Disclaimer


I was given the opportunity to review Getting Started with French from Armfield Academic Press as a member of the Homeschool ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Homeschool ReviewCrew thought of this (or just click on the banner below.)

Introducing Getting Started with French {Armfield Academic Press}
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Friday, September 9, 2016

Schoolhouse Review: CHSH-Teach.com #hsreviews #CHSH #homeschool #homeschoolresources

Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}

If you know me at all, then you know that what I like most about homeschooling is that I can engage my kids in individualized learning with every single thing that we do.  I can dive deep in the subjects that fascinate each of them -- and I can make sure to add extra information where they struggle.  The CHSH Download Club from CHSH-Teach.com has been a great resource for us this year as I work to design courses that not only meet state requirements, but also interest my 10th and 12th graders.  It's not always easy to put together classes that will do both of those things, but I certainly aim to please.

Formerly known as the Christian Home School Hub, CHSH-Teach.com offers enriching activities, worksheets, and curricula for students in Pre-K through 12th grades as well as sharing a calendar of daily tidbits of information and descriptions of historical events that just make learning fun.    There are pages and pages of educational resources (over 50,000 downloadable pages and pdfs) that cover Math and Science, Social Studies and Health, Bible and Character Studies, Language Arts and Foreign Languages, Art, Music, and even Electives for students of all ages.  If you want/need something specific, it is there.

Super user-friendly, you can browse through the CHSH Download Club to find everything you want and need by the categories of Subject and Grade OR you can search for seasonal items of interest month by month.  If you want to study along as you watch the Summer Olympics, resources are available in July/August and if you want to focus on trains, you just back right up to May/June.  There are Organizational tips and charts and pages to help you get your homeschool life together and there are textbooks and readers from times long gone (1800s - early 1900s), fun pages of coloring and word mazes and puzzles, and even sections with lapbooking/notebooking plans.  There are character studies and Literature Guides (need a unit on Shakespeare?  It's here!) and resources for all of your bodily systems.  And that's just the High School stuff!

When the opportunity for me to review CHSH-Teach.com arose, I honestly had absolutely NO IDEA just how much there would be for me to choose from and use with my children.  This site is an overwhelming boon of educational resources full of information and inspiration to homeschoolers.

Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}


Now that you know a little bit about CHSH-Teach.com, let me tell you how we are using it at Long Leaf Academy.  For starters, I wanted to make sure that my high schoolers were fluent in all things Government.  Civics is a required course in our public high schools -- but it's typically only a one semester class.  In my opinion, there is no way to do Civics justice in just one semester.  I want my children to be prepared for voting when their turn arrives.  I want them to understand the history behind their voting privilege and I want them to make informed decisions BEFORE they go to the polls.  I want my children to be civic-minded and involved in day-to-day government and I do not want them to fall prey to advertising sound bites.  Enter the CHSH Download Club.  Oh, my stars is there good stuff here.

A most wonderful way to assure that they listen critically and vote with integrity is to have them do an in-depth analysis of each political candidate.  What better time than during the current Presidential election?  Utilizing these printouts, both the Eagle Scout and the Princess are able to research campaigns and campaign strategy, legitimately understand where the candidates stand on important issues, and effectively delve into the soundbites presented through print media, radio, and television advertising.  They are able to look at all angles of a candidate's career and personality and draw astute conclusions about who and what is presented.  I like that my kids can see the difference between politically correct "smoke and mirrors" and realize when a candidate speaks from the heart with true passion.


And that's just scratching the surface.  We are working through an entire unit on Federalism and learning the difference between the expressed and implied powers, reserved powers, and concurrent powers of our government.  They are reading American Government and American History textbooks and sharing what they learn with one another.  We are able to examine books from bygone eras and see how students "used" to learn versus what they are learning in classrooms today.  I'm enjoying pulling the appropriate educational materials together as I develop a personalized course of study for my kids.  Founder Lynda Ackert is phenomenal and makes it easy with CHSH-Teach.com and I am most appreciative that she has organized all of these resources within a Christian framework.  I know that I am safe sharing these materials with my friends and family.

For more information about the CHSH Download Club from CHSH-Teach.com, please check out the following Social Media pages:

Facebook Group
Facebook Page
Twitter
Pinterest
Google + Group
Google + Business Page



As you can see, it's easy to find out more about this great resource.  Lynda has made it easy to ask questions, get answers, and begin incorporating the materials into your school day.  So, what are you waiting for?  It's time to get started.



Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review CHSH Download Club from CHSH-Teach.com as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}
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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Schoolhouse Review: Spiritual Circle Journal #hsreviews #spiritualcirclejournal #journal #prayerjournal #spiritualcirclejournalforkids #kidsjournal


I want to be a Prayer Warrior AND I want it for my kids as well.  At this young age of {ahem} 48, I still need tools to guide me as I figure it all out.  I like physical helps that I can hold in my hands, write on, pray over, and dig into.  Written for children ages 8 and up, the Spiritual Circle Journal for Teens & Kids is an excellent tool for children, teens, young adults, and even "mature" adults like me that offers a hands-on approach so that kids can have a closer walk with GOD.  A consumable journal with a workbook feel, this Spiritual Circle Journal contains 66 pre-printed pages with blank graphics for Bible students of all ages to use as they learn to fall in love with JESUS over and over.  

Using 9 different journaling prayer prompts, the Journal blesses its user as it walks them through a very special Quiet Time with GOD and begins a study in character development that is unparalleled.  My high school Sophomore is being blessed with it this year and is incorporating it with both Bible and Writing portions of her school day.  It has become nourishing spiritual food that offers focus and helps her remember her worth as a child of the KING.  

Spiritual Circle Journal

Beginning with  "what are you thinking about today?" and "how can you turn that over to GOD?"  and continuing through words of confession, specific calls to notice GOD moving around you, prayer, adoration, and learning to take action, the Journal gently guides students through a very personal and private time with the FATHER.  As they share what they are learning through devotionals, Bible reading, Sunday School, and worship, they become aware of light-bulb moments and focus on GOD at work in their lives.  Oh, YES! YES!  YES!!  Isn't that exactly what you want for you and yours?  This Journal speaks to my very soul and calls me into a deeper relationship with my DADDY.  As a parent, as a homeschool mom, as a children's and middle school minister, I am finding that the Spiritual Circle Journal leads me directly to the cross and I want this for all of the children and middle schoolers in my care.  There are even pages included at the beginning of the Journal that explain how to make GOD real and relevant and set kids up for success as they live an examined life.  This section is so much more than a Leader Guide.  It has proven to be a roadmap of spiritual maturity for me and the fresh reminder that I needed to re-examine my focus in ministry and in life.

Because the journey is so very personal and the private time so intense, you will definitely want a copy of this consumable Journal for each of your children.  They will NEED to be able to share their thoughts and moments of praise in a special place all their very own.  But I need to forewarn you, you are going to see such a change of heart in your children as they meet with GOD that you are going to want a copy of this cool Journal for your very own.  And you are most welcome to order a Spiritual Circle Journal for Kids & Teens -- or you can order the Adult Spiritual Circle Journal for yourself.   Either one will do your heart good.  

Spiritual Circle Journal

I want to show you just a few of the prayer graphics included and have carefully chosen those that would be okay to share.  Please understand that I in no way intend to share the very personal nature of my daughter's prayer Journal, but I did want to be able to show you just a bit about how it is being used in our home.   

Each graphic follows a specific key (found in the front of the Journal) that directs students how to respond.  For example, the heart offers a chance to get your heart right with GOD as you ask for forgiveness.  The book satchel is a place to share prayer needs and concerns -- those things that bother and worry you.


The pinned note gives you space to thank GOD and offer praise to HIM and the tennis shoe helps you realize where your feet need to go as you follow CHRIST.


The pages can be personalized with color, if desired, or left, as is, for writing space alone.  It is truly "in the eyes of the beholder" to make them exactly what they want it to be.  The white space works well for those who distract easily while offering a blank canvas for those with creative flair.  Isn't that perfect?   But what I absolutely love most is the fact that the Journal offers a place to just be yourself before GOD and strengthen your relationship with HIM.  An easy-to-use tool that works well for children, teens, and adults and meets them right where they are, the Journal really is perfect.  It's easy to start using and will offer spiritual development and maturity along the way.  Students may start off quickly filling out the pages, but they will learn to languish in the conversations with GOD as they go.  That's a winner in my book.  How about yours?

For more information about the family of Spiritual Circle Journals, please check out the following Social Media pages:




Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Spiritual Circle Journal for Teens & Kids as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Spiritual Circle Journal



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