Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Magic Stories–A Magical Supplementary Reading Resource! A Homeschool Review Crew Review.

The Magic Stories {Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. Reviews}

I was raised in a reading family. My parents read all of the time and, because they modelled good reading habits, my brother, sister and I read all of the time. That’s why I try to read in front of my kids and teach my kids to enjoy reading. Unfortunately my youngest has a very difficult time reading. He wants to read and loves begin read to, but actual reading is very hard for him. Because it is difficult he doesn’t attempt to read unless it is something really interesting or exciting. That’s why I was so excited to be chosen to review The Magic Stories from Allsaid & Dunn, LLC, publishers of The Reading Game and authors of the Wordly Wise series.

When I was researching this downloadable pdf product I knew that, do to it being written on a 2nd or 3rd grade level that it would be a little above Jacob’s reading level but I thought it would be a great above level reading activity. Thankfully, Jacob loves the stories and, therefore, has loved reading them even though they have been challenging for him.

The Magic Stories {Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. Reviews}

The main thing that interested me when I was looking over this product was that all of the books had to with something magical. Now, I’m not talking about black magic or witchcraft here. It is more crazy and mysterious things like a magic hole that appears at different times in different places as in book one. The six books are:

  1. The Magic Hole
  2. The Magic Ax
  3. The Magic Joke
  4. The Magic Hotdog
  5. The Magic Boots
  6. The Magic Box

Each can be read on virtually any electronic device including a tablet and computer screen. Jacob and I have been reading them off of my phone. They can also be printed out to form a book if needed.

Each short story is a fantastic tale that has a moral lesson. We were hooked on the first book that talks about a man by the name of Ping Ho and a hole that appears at the strangest times. At first this hole seemed disastrous to the family but, as the story develops, we find that it is what makes Ping Ho and his family rich.

The rest of the books are equally as fascinating. Each book also comes with a set of “naughty cards” that can be printed out and cut into flashcards. Each card contains a word from the story that the child probably doesn’t know and can be used to drill with the child. Since the whole book was above level reading for Jacob we didn’t use these as much but they are super neat to have and we’ll be sure to review them later.

The Magic Stories {Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. Reviews}

Another great resource for each book is the worksheets. There are four worksheets for each book. A maze sheet, a finish the sentence page, an “imagine” sheet, and a finish the story sheet. I love how the worksheets help with reading comprehension and with creative writing in really interesting ways.

I am so glad that we were chosen for this review. The stories are very engaging and Jacob has loved them so far. They is really excited to find out what is happening next. I love the interesting worksheets and the flashcards. This is a winner for us.

To find out more about The Magic Stories just click on any one of the highlighted links above. To find what other members of The Homeschool Review Crew had to say about The Magic Stories click on the banner below. Happy Reading!

The Magic Stories {Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Yes! We Are “That Family”!

Family Safari 1

You know what family I mean. The family that everyone talks about. The family that is wacky and does things differently. '

It shouldn’t come as a surprise. I think that we have been different since the beginning. Sarah and I dated for three years and … Eek … there is 10 years difference between us.

Then God blessed us with an awesome son that was diagnosed with cancer at 15 months old and has an artificial eye. That was 20 years ago and he has been cancer free ever since. Five years later we were blessed with our second child and then, after another five years, we were blessed with our third.

In the meantime we became full time missionaries and became a homeschooling family. As you can see we do things just a little bit differently around here.

However, that’s not all! A year ago God showed us the perfect house he wanted us to have. We moved in and soon became foster parents to three awesome young men. Well, today we made it official. They are ours!

We also have another wonderful young man living with us that we call our son as well. So, within one year we went from a family of five to a family of nine!

Yes! We are “that family”! We are crazy! We are wacky! But we are all very much loved by one another. It hasn’t always been easy, but throughout the process we have never doubted God’s plan.

Thank you God! And thank you all for your prayers. Please continue to pray for us! This ridiculous family sure does need it! Also pray for some decisions that need to be made in the next few weeks. If you thought we were crazy before wait until you see what we think God wants us to do now!

Family Safari 2

Wow! Wow! Wow! Let The Little Children Come is Amazing–A Homeschool Review Crew Review!

Let The Little Children Come

As I sit here beginning to write this review and thinking about this product I have tears in my eyes. The tools that I have used from the Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack from Let the Little Children Come has changed lives forever! Before I get too mushy though, let me explain what is going on.

A few weeks ago I talked about another product from Let the Little Children Come. Because they were sending us two different products for two different reviews they mailed both at the same time to save money. So, the Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack was sent in time for me to use in my end of summer ministries including my trip to Canada to teach at Mill Stream Bible Camp. They were a hit! The kids loved them and these great products were used to tell children about the Lord!

 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks
 

Before I tell you what is included in this great pack of evangelism tools, let me tell you a little story. When people tell you that things come and go in cycles believe them. They really do. Even in the computer age where kids are fixated with iPhones and tablets, they can still be fascinated with old things. When I first received these items, my first thought was that these things were cool when I was a kid but I wonder how todays modern kids would respond to them. Well, as I said they were amazed. They had never seen things like this before. Things that actually looked like they were moving even without being on an electronic device. That made them seem “cool” to the kids and they all crowded around while they I was demonstrating them.

So what are these amazing tools. Well, we got three Animated Tracts, two Pop-up Tracts, two “FlipAbouts”, two Evangelistic Bracelets and a Wordless Book.

 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks

Now, most of the kids that I ministered to had seen the evangelism bracelets and the Wordless Books. I use these awesome items all of the time to demonstrate how the dark color represents sin – we all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory – and how sin separates us from God. Because we are separated from God, we can’t get to Heaven – represented by the Gold color because Heaven has streets of Gold. Jesus, however, didn’t want us to die in our sins, He wanted us to go to Heaven, so He came down to earth, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross for our sins to take our punishment – Red. If we believe that He died for our sins and receive his free gift of eternal life then our sins will be washed away and we will be white like snow – white. While we are still on earth, however, we need to continue to grow in Christ – green – by reading our Bible, praying, going to church and obeying what God tells us to do.

These items are excellent tools to where around your wrist or carry in your pocket to tell others about God and about Jesus dying on the cross for us.

 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks

However, it was the other items that really fascinated the kids and kept their attention. Items such as the flip books that magically “flip” to reveal different pictures that talk about salvation.


 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks

The Pop-up Tracts were also popular. Who would have thought that a simple but scripturally based tract that had pop-up pictures would be so attention getting. Those were big years ago for today’s kids they are new and different.


 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks

The items that kids just couldn’t put down, however, were the Animated Tracts. I don’t have a video of those, but I know you have seen them. They are the ones where you have a little piece of see through plastic with black lines on it. When you put it in front of a special picture and wiggle it back and forth it looks like the picture is moving. That really fascinated the kids! Who would have thought? That was the tract that was used to lead two kids to the Lord! What a blessing!
I am going to continue using the items from the Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack over and over again! They are that great. In fact, all of the items from Let the Little Children Come are great. I am going to continue to go back to that company for evangelism tools over and over again. To find out more about their products just click on any one of the highlighted links above. To find what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about these items click on the banner below. I pray that God will use you to tell many others about Jesus by using these great tools!



Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools {Let the Little Children Come Reviews}


Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Weave Your Word in Me–Part 1–A Homeschool Review Crew Review

Kid Niche Christian Books

I think that most of you know this, but just in case you don’t, my wife and I are full time missionaries. We work with low income folks in the town that we live in. Our ministry has changed throughout the years, but one thing that has always been constant is that we have worked with kids in some manner or another. Usually they are our main focus. So, finding good Bible studies, devotionals, and curriculum is very important to us. When I saw that the Homeschool Review Crew was going to have a chance to review Weave Your Word in Me –- Part 1 by Kid Niche Christian Books I was very excited to try it and see what it was all about. I am very pleased with what I found.

I’m not sure what they do in Part 2 but I love what they did in Part 1. All of this 36 lesson Bible study for 4th –6th grade students is based on the first four verses of a poetic prayer modeled after the Lord’s Prayer. Now, before you look at the word “modeled”, yell “I want a real Bible study” and throw your computer out the window (which you would very much regret later), let me tell you that this is a very solid Bible study based on the actual Word of God not a paraphrase or watered down version of the Bible. The poem is kind of a tool to guide us through the scripture.

As I said, this is a very scriptural based Bible study that is only part one of a larger Bible study that has a total of 80 lessons. It is compatible with most major translations of the Bible including the KJV, NIV, ESV, NASB, NKJV, and the NABRE. The whole thing is broken up into for parts:

  1. God the Father
  2. God the Son
  3. What God Wants
  4. God the Holy Spirit

Part one focuses only on God the Father and God the Son. The First 14 lessons talk about God the Father and how he likes to communicate with us through prayer. How we should come to him humbly and with respect, and how God loves and cares for us. Part two focuses on Jesus’ Birth, life, ministry and death and how we can receive Jesus and become his child.

*******

Now, here’s what I really, really, like about this Bible Study. Each lesson is short, but is packed with excellent stuff. For example, Lesson 1 – Meet God the Father – uses scripture from Matthew, Isaiah, Genesis and Psalm to explain to the child that God is our Father, He made us, knew all about us in our mother’s womb, and that He will never forsake us. The child reads the verse, and answers a couple of questions. Usually the questions are fill in the blank or short questions like Describe what … or How is God like …or What did God do … – those types of questions. They are easy enough to do, but, at the same time, make the child think.

This is actually perfect for Jacob and I. Because Jacob is a delayed in his reading but is very intelligent otherwise, it is easy for me to read the scripture and the questions to him and have then have him answer. The short lessons of 7 questions or so are excellent for his attention span. And the Biblical application is absolutely awesome. It is recommended that we do about three lessons a week so we should be done after about 12 weeks.

I really, really like Weave Your Word in Me –- Part 1 and would love to see Part 2. I know it is going to be equally as well done and equally as interesting. To find out more about Weave Your Word in Me –- Part 1 or Kid Niche Christian Books just click on any one of the highlighted links above. Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed this Bible study and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below. This is a keeper and I know you will really like it. Happy Homeschooling!

Weave Your Word in Me {Kid Niche Christian Books Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Our Unit Study of Trees–Part 1–Coniferous




Recently I was introduced to a great new method of homeschooling that really seemed right for my kids. It’s all about getting outside and doing a lot more hands-on stuff instead of just studying dry old textbooks and doing a lot of filling in the blanks.
So far it has really worked with our family so I wanted to share some of what we are doing. Today was the first day of our study of trees so I thought it was a great day to start.

It began with a discussion of the two different types of trees – Coniferous and Deciduous. We then began looking in our yard for Coniferous trees and, thanks to buying a house on a very wooded lot, we found three totally distinct types of evergreens. We took some pictures and gathered some samples and this is what we found on our first day then we ran inside to identify the three trees. After some searching we found this wonderful site that helped us ID what we had found - http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/tree-key/ . It took us a while to ID the Hemlock but we finally did using some other websites.

All in all we had a great first day and are looking forward to tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Eastern Hemlock


Trees 1Trees 9
Eastern Red Cedar

Trees 3Trees 5
Eastern White Pine

Trees 4Trees 7

Keep checking back for some pictures of our lapbook (Jacob) and notebook (Joshua) and, of course, pictures of deciduous trees. Sometime in the future I will reveal more about the inspiration for our new study as well. Until then, maybe this will inspire you to get out and explore!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I Can’t Believe How Well Jacob is Reading with Reading Eggs–A Homeschool Review Crew Review!

Reading Eggs

We have had a lot of difficulty teaching our youngest biological child to read. Most of you know that he is on the autism spectrum but is smart as a whip in most areas. Reading however is not one of those areas. We have tried all of the usual approaches over the years and some unusual ones as well. Nothing seemed to click with him. I remembered that a long time ago we reviewed and used Reading Eggs for a while and he loved it and seemed to excel. Somehow, though, we got sidetracked and thought something else might work better. Well, wouldn’t you know it, through the Homeschool Review Crew we were given the chance to review it once again and I took the chance. After all, why try to reinvent the wheel? If it worked once, maybe it will work again.

Reading Eggs

The first thing that I noticed was that it seems that it has changed! The Reading Eggs program itself hasn’t changed, but it has added a few new things that I either didn’t notice or it wasn’t there before. I noticed a program, Reading Eggs Jr, for 2-4 year olds, that will help kids begin to learn to read even earlier and another, Reading Eggspress, for children 7-13, that will continue to help kids after they have completed the Reading Eggs program. There is even a new program that will help kids with math called Mathseeds! I’ll talk about those programs briefly just a little bit later but lets talk about Reading Eggs, their main program and the one that has helped Jacob tremendously.

And, yes we picked up where we left off with Reading Eggs. Jacob loves it just as much as he did before, and he is once again excelling in reading. Since it had been some time since we used it, we began with the placement test to see on what map he should begin on. You see, Reading Eggs has different maps that each contain ten lessons. Each lesson introduces a new sound. In a recent lesson that Jacob completed the “ix” sound was introduced. Jacob had to go through about 12 different games that mostly had to do with “ix” but sometimes reviewed something from a previous lesson. One of the things that he had to do was click on two of the awesome animated characters. One was in a barn loft hoisting one bale of hay with a letter on it. The other was on the ground tugging on another bale that had two more letters on it. As Jacob clicked on the characters the bales would come closer together. Each time Jacob could hear the sounds of the letters until the bales finally came together and the word was actually revealed and the sounds blended together to say the word. Another game had him putting fish with words on them in the correct boat. Still another game had him putting a sentence together using bricks. Finally, at the end of the lesson, he gets to read a book that contains words that had the “ix” sound in it or another sound that he had previously learned. Each lesson builds on the one before it. Jacob is loving it! He has learned so much already in this short review time and is becoming more confident in his reading. He wants to do two or three lessons a day which is fine with me.

And those are just the regular lessons. There are also other awesome added features that help him learn without him even knowing it. We haven’t even had time to try them all out! He can create his own story. He can play games. Each time he does well in the regular lessons he gets reward eggs. He can use his reward eggs to buy furniture for his house or to buy clothes for the avatar he created at the beginning or to play some cool games. There is also a spelling section that will help him learn to spell, a driving test area that helps him review sight words, letters and sounds and content words, printables that you can print out and much more. I am really excited to see him try more and excel.

Reading Eggs*

I mentioned some of the other programs before. I really like the progression that Reading Eggs has made with it’s programs. Each program, Reading Eggs Jr.,  Reading Eggs, and Reading Eggspress, is designed so that a student can go seamlessly through the program and become an excellent reader (or should I say “eggcellent” reader).

And, as I was writing this review, we just got an email that the new homeschool guides are available for homeschoolers. They can be printed out and used for kindergarten to second grade parents to use as a complete curriculum using some of the great books from the Reading Eggs library. It covers language arts, math, science and social studies!

This is a winner for us, and, as I said before, we are not going to try to reinvent the wheel anymore. We are sticking with Reading Eggs.  I know that you will really enjoy it as well but don’t take my word for it, try it yourself. The creators of Reading Eggs have allowed us to offer a Free 4 week trial that you can use to see if you like to program. Just click on the highlighted link that says “Free 4 week trial” to find out more. To look around and see all that Reading Eggs has to offer just click on any one of the other highlighted links above. Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed Reading Eggs as well and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below. Happy Reading!


Reading Eggs

Crew Disclaimer



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Our 2017 Summer Adventures–Part 1–Trip to Pennsylvania!

Life has been a real adventure for the past few months. Many of you know that we bought a new home at the beginning of the year, and, since then, have welcomed four new members into our family. Three are teen brothers that we love dearly and are soon to become their legal guardians. One is a fantastic young man who is a friend of my oldest son. He found himself in a bit of trouble and was homeless, so we welcomed him into our home as well. Poor Sarah can’t seem to get a break. She now has 8 males living with her!

When we first embraced these awesome young men and took them into our family we realized that they hadn’t had the some of the opportunities to travel and see other things. In fact, the three brothers had barely been out of the state of Tennessee. One had never been outside of the state. We were very excited to be able to show them what life was like elsewhere. Our first small adventure was to a weekend retreat in Kentucky.

About a month ago, though, we were able to take them up to Pennsylvania to our missions annual conference. It was a blast! They had so much fun seeing new things. One of the things that they really liked was The Virginia Safari Park and Zoo. I’m going to write more about that later, but in this post I wanted to share some pictures from our trip up to conference.

Most of the pictures are from Gettysburg. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend there - really only a couple of hours, but we found that at least one of the boys, Robert, loved being there. When I told him later that it seemed like he really liked history, he commented that he liked going to historic places and learning about them there, but didn’t like reading about history from a textbook. That’s the way a lot of us like to learn, so visits to some historic places may be in our future! Enjoy the pictures. I hope you see the enthusiasm that the boy’s had in seeing new places.

PA Trip 1PA Trip 2PA Trip 3PA Trip 5PA Trip 7PA Trip 4