Sunday, December 30, 2012

Okay, It's Better Late than Never!

I have been very negligent this year in sending out holiday greetings to everyone. Please don't feel bad, blog readers, it hasn't just been you all. No one has received a Christmas card or letter from us. I guess it will have to be a "beginning of the year" letter that we send out this year. Anyway, since tomorrow is New Year's Eve and since Christmas and New Year's is considered the "Holiday Season" then I guess it will be okay to wish everyone a...


Friday, December 21, 2012

Autism and the Media

Just like the rest of you, I was completely taken aback and distressed by the Sandy Hook tragedy this past Friday. I grieved for the families, cried, and hugged my own children.

After a couple of days, though, something else was added to my sadness for the victims and their families. Almost immediately the media began to latch on to the fact that someone said that the shooter had Asperger's Syndrome and suddenly the talk was all about autism and mental illness. People began to almost demonize children and adults who are on the autism spectrum - specifically who have Asperger's. I even read comments where children like this should be locked away and that people with this type of mental illness should never be trusted. Autism, by the way, is classified as a neurological disorder, NOT a mental illness.

People also began to demonize the mother because she supposedly took her son out of school to homeschool him for a little while and she taught her son to shoot. Well, I guess that means that Sarah and I are horrible parents. Not only do we homeschool our two autism spectrum children (along with their older brother) but we also teach them to shoot! Many of you know that my two oldest children, John Allen and Joshua (our Asperger's Syndrome child) are excellent marksmen and have done very well at shooting competitions. John Allen won an award for being the best shooter at a state competition a couple of years ago and Joshua is probably just as good as John Allen was (if not better) at his age.

I hurt for my children and other autistic children and their parents when I hear people say how terrible this mother was and what terrible choices she made for her son. It seems like whenever they say this the terms "Asperger's Syndrome" and "mental illness" are used almost interchangeably. Let me just state that there have also been many experts that have said that Asperger's Syndrome is not a mental illness and that their is absolutely nothing in the definition of an Asperger's child that talks about violence of this nature. Asperger's Syndrome DID NOT cause Adam Lanza to do the things that he did! By continuing to perpetuate this notion, the media and others are causing unwanted fear toward our children. As on of my friends who also has an Asperger's child put it, "Years of work on the part of so many to educate the general population about autism, and then such careless and ignorant statements from the press take us 100 steps back for the 10 taken forward."

I pray that folks are now not going to look down on my children and other autistic children. Are they going to be allowed to participate in the things that they love to do? Are people going to include them in activities? Or, are they going to be shunned because some individuals will think, "heaven forbid, we don't want those type children mixing with our children. They could snap, become violent at any moment, and hurt someone."

Just the other day my wife posted on Facebook about a conversation that she had with Joshua. It went something like this...

I was watching the news last night and it was talking about the shooter of the Newtown, CT shooting and how he had autism/Aspergers. Joshua, my 12 yr old Aspergers son, said "Mom I am afraid. I have Aspergers and I hope my Aspergers doesn't make me do something like that." My heart broke. I tried to explain to him Aspergers didn't make the young man shoot others. He had other problems and issues. I wished the media would become better informed before they started stereotyping certain groups. This causes more harm than good when you don't know what you are talking about!! There are a lot of precious, loving and compassionate Aspergers children and adults who don't deserve to be stereotyped because of one persons senseless act. After we talked I prayed over Joshua and told him that he was fearfully and wonderfully made and that mommy and daddy loved him and would do all that they could to help him to be what God has created him to Aspergers young man after God's own heart.

My heart goes out to the victims and their families as well as the other children and teachers that were involved in this terrible tragedy. As each day goes by and they hold each funeral, I pray for those dear parents, relatives and friends who will never see their loved ones again this side of Heaven. I can't imagine losing a child. The grief must be unfathomable.

I pray, also, that the recent media coverage doesn't, indeed, stereotype children and adults who are on the autism spectrum. I pray that people will look at them and realize that, just as God is working in every one's life, God is working in their lives to make them everything that He has created them to be...young men and women after His own heart.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Memories from my past...The Kent Family Chronicles

I started posting the following on Facebook earlier this evening, and when it got to the length that it began to look like a blogpost, I...well...decided to turn it into a blogpost! Here it is.
I was at one of my favorite used book stores, Mr. K's in Oak Ridge, the other day when what should I find in their free book bin but almost the entire set of The Kent Family Chronicles by John Jakes. I remember fighting over each new volume with my brother, David, when they were released. Those were good books.

It was one of my classmates who got me interested in those books when they were reading them in Miss Mogart's PA History class in 9th grade. I remember asking her about what she was reading and then began reading them myself.

 I was never good at remembering dates and things like that in school, but I have always loved history - especially U.S. history. It didn't hurt that the Bicentennial was around that time and U.S. history was really big. My dad was a big history buff as well and always took us to places like Gettysburg, Williamsburg, and Boston/Plymouth for vacations.

Anyway, guess who grabbed up the books, to my wife's chagrin, and has started to reread them? They are still as good as they were back then. Perhaps not something I would pick up and read today unless they were something like this from my youth. There's a little bit of language in them but not too bad. There are a few inappropriate sections but nothing too graphic. They are certainly not like some of the modern garbage that is now being published. If I can recall, the history was fairly accurate as well. Of course, it's fiction, so not all of it will be exactly true, but, for the most part, the history isn't watered down or "rewritten". I believe that the Bicentennial was before political correctness was invented.
At any rate, if you are a big history buff like me, I would recommend looking into them. I wouldn't recommend them to a child under high school age, but I began reading them in ninth grade and didn't have any problem with either the reading level or the language/inappropriateness. Kids today are exposed to much more graphic things on a daily basis than kids were in 1976 so, unless you are extremely careful about what your teen reads and don't allow any questionable things at all, then I think you would be safe with these. If I come across anything major that I haven't remembered from reading them 35 years ago then I will revise this and let you know. Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my fantastic,
special, wonderful, son
He is 12 years old today!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving Meal Video!

My beautiful wife, Sarah, made a video using some of the great pictures that Nathan Lee took at the recent Thanksgiving meal that The Good Samaritan Center invited us to help out with. I thought I would share it with you. You did a beautiful job my princess! Thank you to all that prayed for or helped in any way with The Good Samaritan/Good News Mission Thanksgiving meal.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Forget Black Friday! Shop on line and help Good News Mission as well!


Announcement! Announcement! Announcement!

Sarah and I recently joined a H-U-G-E affiliate group called the Big N Marketplace. We are now affiliates for nearly 250 stores. Everything from the big name stores like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Circuit City, Target, and K-Mart to name brand stores like Disney Store, GAP, Hanes, and Navy to less known specialty stores like Gamefly, Family Christian, Coffees of Hawaii, The Children's Place, and Bedhead Pajama's, to homeschool stores (ABC Mouse, Reading Eggs) to travel sites and hotel chains to credit cards to restaurant gift name it and you can pretty much find it!

Have you ever wanted to support us or Good News Mission but didn't think you could afford doing so? Well, just shop through our Big N Marketplace stores and buy what you would normally buy anyway, and you'll be helping us out.

Before getting up early and waiting in long lines on Black Friday check out our Big N Marketplace site. Before ordering online on Cyber Monday check out our Big N Marketplace.

All you have to do is click here - 

You can skip the first page - unless you're really interested of course Smiley - and go straight to the second page. To get there just click on the link at the top that says "To go to Tim Tinkel's IMD Resource page, click here" . Then, on the second page, click on the shopping bag in the to left hand corner. That will get you to all of the stores. Different stores pay us different commissions. Just click on one of the stores and it takes you to their regular website. The only difference is that when you click on it from our website it electronically gives us the credit for any sale and they'll send us a commission.

Prices are no different than what they normally would be, in fact, they may even be cheaper. Also, all of the coupons, discounts, gift cards, etc. that you would normally use at a particular store can still be used. Remember, you are at the stores regular website.

Something else that you may want to know is that we will not know who purchased something, what was purchased or any personal information. We just get a commission check.

So, why fight traffic and crowds when you can get all of your Christmas gifts and more shipped right to your door? Do your shopping through our Big N Marketplace and help us and our ministry. Thanks ahead of time!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ministry Highlight - It's A Wrap! Over 800 Fed!

This year we were able to team up with another local ministry for our annual holiday meal. The Good Samaritan Center is a fantastic organization that services the low income folks of our community with monthly food boxes and meets other needs. They felt God leading them to have a Thanksgiving meal similar to our Christmas meal and wanted to know if we would be willing to join them. Because we service so many of the same individuals and often work together, we heartily agreed. Approximately 100 volunteers were able to feed over 800 individuals this year. It was split almost evenly between 400 folks that ate in at the community center and 400 shut-ins and other folks to which we delivered meals. Thank you, Lord, for supplying the wonderful volunteers set up, cook and serve; for the generous folks who provided mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, desserts, green beans, rolls and more; for the folks who opened up their businesses to cook the 40 turkeys; for the drivers who provided rides and delivered to shut-ins and others who were not able to come to eat at the community center; and for all that prayed for the event.

Volunteers of all ages came...
to debone turkeys,...
prepare take-outs,...

and deliver to shut-ins.
Local pastors came to give the Gospel,...
individuals came to entertain,...
and even more volunteers came to help serve...

even more individuals.
Praise be to God!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Growing Up Wild!


At first glance, after reading the post title Growing up Wild, you might think by the title that this post is going to be about the Tinkel boys Smiley ! I can definitely see why you might think that. However, this is about another fantastic missionary family that just happens to have the last name of "Wild". Before I talk about them, though, let me just cut to the chase with no fluffy opening like I usually write.

Although I am a big softy, homeschool materials aren't usually items that bring me to tears. This one did! You see, Sarah and I, even before we got married, prayed about what God would have us do with our lives. Even before marriage, I thought that God might be leading me onto the mission field. Sarah had a similar vision for her life so, after marriage, we prayed that way. We always thought that God would place us on the foreign mission field but, instead, He chose a small town in Tennessee for us to minister to low income folks. Perhaps it was because He knew we would have three very unique sons, two of which are on the autism spectrum. Whatever the reason, we are content with what God has given us.

That doesn't stop us from dreaming about the future and what God might have us do in our later years. We still have a burden for lost souls all over the world. These verses from Romans 10 still stir our hearts:

14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
Those verses were verses that God used to stir the hearts of Mike and Elizabeth Wild and eventually lead them to minister to a remote tribal group in Papua, Indonesia called the Wano people. While there, they began filming their four sons and the many adventures they had as missionary children growing up in a foreign land. They explained that at first, it was just a creative outlet during their spare time. Soon, however, they began to wonder if there creative endeavor could actually be used as "a tool to influence an army of future missionaries that would take the Gospel to the remaining unreached people groups of the world." That is how Growing up Wild began.

Growing up Wild is really very simple. The Wild parents filmed their four boys learning about the different world and culture around them, ministering, going about their daily activities, and just having fun. They then took those many home movies and made 15 short lessons with activity suggestions for each.
I think that the first thing that caught my attention was the beautiful music that was composed just for this series. Then, how can I not mention the awesome scenery that is in each episode. We received Volume One and Volume Four of the five volumes of Growing up Wild that have been produced so far.
Volume One includes:
Home Sweet Hut - discusses homes and family life in the Wano tribe, how the Wild brother's home is different than a regular Wano home, and how it is different than the typical home in the United States.
Supply Trip - talks about how living in a remote location makes it challenging when it comes to shopping for every day things. You can't just hop into a car and drive to the local Wal-Mart. Instead, you must plan for months in advance and shop for supplies that will last for a long time.
Sun and Water - teaches how they have learned to harness the sun and water to become useful things for the Wild home.
Volume Four includes:
Amazing World Around us - talks about the different mammals, reptiles and insects that you find in the jungle.
Adventures in Culture - describes how different the way of thinking and the way of life is in the Wano tribe. WARNING - this episode includes a scene where two of the Wild brothers get their noses pierced!
Tribal Calling - describes how God called the Wilds to work with the Wano people.
Each episode is fascinating and very well done. The activity guides, included on a separate DVD, are equally as well done. I love the way the Wild parents have weaved different school subjects into the activity guides. You might be drawing the world around you as one activity, filling in a Ven Diagram in another, or encouraged to talk to an elder in another. My boys, especially Joshua have absolutely loved all of the episodes. Although we have watched each one, though, we have only worked on the activities that are included with volume one so far. We can't wait to delve into the activities that will be included in the fourth volume.
Every one in the Tinkel family would have to give Growing up Wild 10 thumbs up (two for each member of the family!). We really did love each episode. It makes you want to jump up and go to live with, work with and minister to people of another culture. The episodes are fascinating, educational and heart stirring all in one. You can really tell that the Wild family has a heart for the Wano people. Oh that God would give us all the same types of hearts for the people around us. Hearts that love and accept people even when they are different than us and long to teach those people about the saving grace of Jesus.
I don't think that I have ever been more serious than this. You really need to purchase these videos for you children. At $18.99 for each volume separately or $80.99 for the entire set, they are very affordable. I can't wait until we receive the other three volumes to complete our set. Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above to learn more about how to buy these awesome videos.
As usual many of the other TOS Review Crew members reviewed Growing Up Wild and you can find what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Home Educating.
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received Vol. 1 and Vol.4 of Growing Up Wild for free in order to use and give my honest review on this blog.


Monday, November 12, 2012

I've been nominated! Please Vote For Me!

Join Me at The Homeschool Post! 

I'm a day late and a dollar short on this post. Actually about a week late because the voting has been going on for a week already. However, I've been nominated for the Best Homeschool Dad Blog award on the HSBA website. HSBA has been hosting these awards for quite a few years now and they have become a pretty big thing in the homeschool blog world.

I am very honored to be nominated again and would love to have you vote. Just click here and it will take you straight to the voting page. My blog is the fourth one down on the list. You can vote once a day on each internet accessible device that you own. So, vote on your desktop, laptop, tablet, kindle, nook, phone every day until Thursday! Thanks ahead of time!

EIW - PAL - Just Call me a Slacker!


Yep, you read correctly! Just call me a slacker. Once again I'm handing a review off to my wife. That's twice this year! Once a couple of weeks ago on another review and now on this one. Before you begin to stone me, though, maybe I should explain.

I am the main homeschooler in our home. I am responsible for John Allen, our oldest in high school and for Joshua our asperger's syndrome 11 year old in elementary school. Sarah, though, has always been gracious in helping me and she has always been the one to teach the boys when they are in kindergarten. Last year we tried to begin our youngest, Jacob, in kindergarten but found out after a few weeks that he just wasn't quite ready. We continued to work with him a little bit but nothing full time. This year, however, we knew he was ready and were overjoyed when we found out that we would be reviewing EIW's (Excellence in Writing) new PAL (Primary Arts of Language) program for kindergarten through second grade students. We have reviewed EIW's excellent writing program with my oldest and it is one of those "keepers". "Keepers" are the review items that we keep on using even after our review time is over. With the dozens of items that we have reviewed over the years, trust me, if an item is a "keeper" then it has to be good.

So with EIW producing one "keeper" for us then we had high expectations for their new PAL Program. However, since, Sarah is the main person who used it with Jacob, I am going to do one of those question and answer "reporter on the street" type reviews. I'll ask Sarah a question, and then record her answer. Here goes!

What items did we receive to review?

I can answer this one without my dear wife's help. We generously received everything in both the PAL Reading Program and the PAL Writing Program. Here's what's included with each (copied from the website because, after all, I am a slacker Smiley and didn't want to type it all out! Smiley ):

The Primary Arts of Language: Reading Complete Package includes:
  • Primary Arts of Language: Reading Teacher’s Manual
  • Primary Arts of Language: Reading DVD-ROM

    • Includes the following:
    • Instructional Video by Jill Pike
    • The Four Language Arts MP3 Audio by Andrew Pudewa
    • Nurturing Competent Communicators MP3 Audio by Andrew Pudewa
    • Poetry as an Integrator MP3 Audio by Anna Ingham
    • Intro to the Blended Sound Sight Program MP3 Audio by Anna Ingham
    • Primary Arts of Language: Reading Student Book (e-book)
  • Primary Arts of Language: Phonetic Games

  • The Primary Arts of Language: Writing Complete Package includes:
  • Primary Arts of Language: Writing Teacher’s Manual
  • Primary Arts of Language: Writing DVD-ROM
    • Includes the following:
    • Instructional Video by Jill Pike
    • Reading Comprehension MP3 Audio by Adam Andrews
    • Dictation, Narration, and Public Speaking MP3 Audio by Andrew Pudewa
    • The Four Language Arts MP3 Audio by Andrew Pudewa
    • Primary Arts of Language: Writing Student Books (e-book)
  • All About Spelling Basic Interactive Kit
  • All About Spelling Level 1 (Teacher’s Manual and One Student Material Packet) By Marie Rippel
  • Bonus e-audio downloads:

    • Units 1 & 2 in the K–2 Classroom MP3 Audio by Shirley George
    • Unit 3 in the K–2 Classroom MP3 Audio by Shirley George
    • Preparing the K-2 Writing Environment MP3 Audio by Richelle Palmer

    Is it quality made and attractive looking material?

    The material is very well made and looks very attractive. It is not cheaply made at all. The covers of the books were glossy, sturdy covers and the disks were professionally made. EIW is not a fly by night company. Even the things that are printed out look great and are appealing to the child.


    How easy is it for the teacher to get used to and use program?

    It took a little bit of getting used to but after you got used to using the material and the way it flowed it was very easy to use. It was almost like a "curriculum for dummies"! All you have to do is follow what it says. Everything is explained very well and the lesson plans are presented and explained well. However, ease of use does not mean that it is a skimpy program. It is very thorough and well planned out. You can tell that the authors of the program did their research. And, they weren't afraid to pull in other sources that complimented their program like the All About Spelling program.

    Is there much preparation?

    There is some preparation but not an overwhelming amount. There are games that have to be made and some pages that need to be copied but everything is included in either the large spiral bound teachers manuals or on the CD's. The games are a very important part of the curriculum. They are "file folder games" that I just copy from the huge game book. After mounting the game on a regular file folder I laminate it using contact paper. Once the original game is made then you add the small pieces. You add pieces to the games almost every day because each day builds on the previous day.

    Tell me about a typical day using EIW's PAL Program.

    They always start the day with a poem or reading. This program is very phonics oriented. However, where some programs start out with the child learning the vowel and consonant sounds, this program has the child learning consonant and vowel blends. After learning a blend, you play a game that reinforces the sounds learned that day.

    Later, I read a story and ask questions about what I just read. This makes them use thinking skills, reasoning and helps them with listening comprehension.

    This program really appeals to different learning styles. Each day there are tactile activities, listening activities and visual activities. Jacob may write letters on a wipe erase board one day but then make them using shaving cream on a table the next day. Some days may include cutting and pasting activities as well. Almost every day there is a worksheet that reinforces visual skills. However, these aren't disjointed activities, they all have something to do with what is being learned that day and each day builds on what was previously learned.

    Also, the curriculum is designed so that if a child is having difficulty with a concept or is getting frustrated, you can just stop and pick it up again the next day. The program is very flexible and not rigid whatsoever. You can go as quickly or as slowly as you and the child needs.


    Is Jacob learning and does he enjoy it?

    Yes! We have tried other things with him and this seems to be the one program that fits his learning style and needs. The other programs have been good programs, but for some reason this one really clicks with him. He loves making the "squeally e" and other sounds, and he loves playing the games. Feeding "Mugs" his bones is one of his favorite activities. Placing the stickers on the "Phonics Farm" folder is also a highlight of the day. The tactile activities are also some of his favorites. Writing on the wipe erase board and with shaving cream has helped him use his large motor skills and also learn his letters.

    Do you like it?

    I love using it. It is very easy to use and is fun not only for the child but for me as well. I enjoy watching him play the games and spending time with him. It isn't a battle or a struggle to get him to work because he really enjoys it. When the child enjoys a curriculum it is so much easier for the teacher to use. We haven't used many of the readers yet, but what we have used is very entertaining and fun. We also aren't far enough into the curriculum to have used the All About Spelling books but we have used that before with Joshua and I know Jacob is going to enjoy it as well.

    Overall what rating would you give EIW's PAL Program?

    We absolutely love this program. There are not enough thumbs-up or stars to give this program. It is definitely a keeper.

    How much does all of this cost?

    Well, I can go ahead and answer that one as well. Believe it or not, the Primary Arts of Language: Writing Complete Package is just $89 and the Primary Arts of Language: Reading Complete Package is only $69. Trust me, I have reviewed a lot of things and been to homeschool conventions and priced a lot of other packages and these are great prices. Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above to find out more.

    As usual, many other members of the TOS Review Crew reviewed the EIW PAL program and you can find what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Homeschooling!

    Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew I was sent Excellence in Writings complete Primarey Arts of Language Writing Program and Reading Program in order to try out and give an honest review on this blog.

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

    Too Wise to Be Mistaken, Too Good to Be Unkind

    I think I've mentioned just a few times that our family loves to read. Well, recently I was excited when we were given several choices of books from Grace & Truth Books to choose from for a TOS Review Crew review. I looked through the list and listed a couple of books that I thought the boys would like as my first and second choices. I saw the book Too Wise to Be Mistaken, Too Good to Be Unkind: Christian Parents Contend With Autism by Cathy Steere and listed it as my third choice because two of our children are on the autism spectrum. I really didn't want to review it because we already have several books on autism and I really wasn't up to reviewing another, but, since it was on the list I decided to include it but really didn't expect (and deep down was hoping not) to be chosen to review it.
    Well, lo and behold, wouldn't you know that my first and second choices were, indeed, passed over and I was notified that we would be reviewing Too Wise to Be Mistaken, Too Good to Be Unkind: Christian Parents Contend With Autism. I was a little disappointed, but, after all, I had included it as my third choice. It was really my fault. I'd have to put up with it.
    God has a sense of humor. He always knows what is good for us even when we don't. This is actually an excellent book for our family. God knew what we needed.

    So, what is it about Too Wise to Be Mistaken, Too Good to Be Unkind is so different than the other books on autism that we have? As I was thinking about that question I realized what it was. Just as any parent, parents of a disabled child love their child so much that they would do anything to fix their hurts. I know that when our oldest was diagnosed with cancer we ran out and researched every thing that we could about the type of tumor that John Allen was diagnosed with. That, again, happened when Joshua was diagnosed with aspergers syndrome. We bought book after book on autism and sensory difficulties. The only problem was, all of the books that we purchased were books on describing what an autistic child was like and how to help him. They were all good books, but they were all academic - "here's what they're like, here's how to help them" type books. Although I wanted to help my children, all of the advice and information just started to run together after a while.
    As I read through Cathy Steere's book I realized that something was different. I couldn't put my finger on it at first, but finally I understood why. Cathy didn't write a book with a lot of information, she wrote a book that told her story. It was about herself; her husband, David; their youngest son, Elliot; and their autistic son, Drew. It was their story. It starts from the time Drew was born and continues through the time when they first realized something was wrong. It goes on to talk about the time Drew was diagnosed and continues talking about their life up to the time the book was finished. As I read through the book, though, I realized it wasn't just their story - it was also our story. At each stage in their journey I could see our family. I nodded my head in agreement when she was describing the things that her son did when he was younger. I cried with her when she realized that her son probably had autism. My heart wrenched with hers as she realized why her son had acted in different ways. I felt guilt when she felt guilt for the way she responded to things that her son did. I grieved, became frustrated, rejoiced with them through the different stages in their autism walk. Why did I have these emotions? Because I went through the same thing and it was like reliving our experience. At the same time, though, it was refreshing to realize that we aren't the only ones. There is someone else out there that understands. Someone that's been through the same thing we have.
    Joshua - between me and Sarah and Jacob - in front. Our two awesome autism spectrum sons (along with their awesome older brother and cancer survivor John Allen).
    The "this is what to look for and this is what to do" stuff is there, but it's there because it's part of the story. Someone can still learn about the do's and do not's of autism,  however, instead of dry facts you learn from, it's living experience that you learn from. There are ways to help my boys that I even learned that I am going to do further research on.
    This book is a heart wrenching but wonderful book all wrapped up into one. Heart wrenching because you actually see what a family with an autistic child goes through, but wonderful because it also shows that there is hope and there are people to help you. I would recommend this book to anyone. With statistics saying that 1 in 100 (or even less than 100) children being born today will be diagnosed with some form of autism, if you haven't been personally touched by someone on the autism spectrum chances are that someday you will be. This book gives a great perspective as to what living with an autistic child is like. If you have been blessed (and, yes, I consider it a blessing) with a child on the spectrum, then To Wise to Be Mistaken, Too Good to Be Unkind, I feel will be a very therapeutic book for you. I know it was (and still is) for me. As I mentioned before, I even learned some new things that I am going to further research.
    Really there is nothing that I can think of that should hinder you from reading this book. The price of $9.75 for the physical glossy covered, paper back book or $5.50 for the ebook can't be beat. Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above to get to the Grace & Truth Books website.
    Oh, and do you remember those other books that I put down as my first and second choice? Well, other members of the TOS Review Crew reviewed those and other wonderful books published by Grace and Truth Books and you can find what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Homeschooling!
    Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew I was sent a free copy of Too Wise to Be Mistaken, Too Good to be Unkind in order to read and give my honest review on this blog. 

    Monday, November 5, 2012

    Autumn Fun!

    Autumn is always a special time for the Tinkel family. Not only is it very beautiful in the mountains of Tennessee, but we also have a tremendous amount of fun. Just within the past couple of weeks we enjoyed a corn maze with our church, Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains with the family and, of course, Halloween. Here are some of the highlights captured in pictures.

    Autumn Acres is always something that we look forward to every fall. We have been to many corn maze/pumpkin patch farms over the years and this one is one of the best. We always have a great time. Here are the boys with one of their friends, Danny. Oh, and by the way, John Allen's pants were really long enough for him. I have no idea where the "high water" look came from!

    The Smoky Mountains in the fall are BEAUTIFUL with a capital B! We love stopping at Cades Cove for a picnic and then driving through the loop. This year we saw dozens of deer, many turkeys (my sons not included!) and even a bear. It's even more fun when you can treasure it with extended family. This time around we enjoyed the company of Sarah's mom and nephew. Yes, the trees and the stream in the background is real. It's not one of those photography backgrounds in a studio. Have I mentioned that the Smokys are beautiful?

    We are not big Halloween people. Usually we spend the evening helping our church with trunk-or-treat or having a special even at the mission that we direct. This year, however, we just decided to spend it as a family. The kids didn't sweat over dressing up (all three costumes were put together with things around the house with less than $10 worth of accessories purchased) and we went to a just a few places. Still the kids got quite a bit of candy and, of course, Mom and Dad had to collect a "candy tax" (all chocolate) for driving the kids around. As you can see, Jacob had a bit of a hard time deciding what he was going to be. Should he dress up like big brother with a crazy wig and glasses, or should he dress up as John Cena, his favorite WWE wrestler? John Cena won. So much for big brother's influence!

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012

    Beloved Books - The Sugar Creek Gang on CD!

    I've mentioned a zillion times on my blog that, growing up, everyone in my family was an avid reader. We loved books. I know my love for books came from seeing my parents always reading. Because of that, I always had a book in my hand as well. It started out with The Bobbsey Twins and The Boxcar Children and soon advanced to Phyllis Whitney Mysteries and The Hardy Boys. I remember my brother and I reading the Bicentennial Series and fighting to be the first one to read each book when it was released.

    One of the many wonderful qualities that my wife has is that she is an avid reader as well. So, our home is full of books. We really have no more room for books in our small home but can a person really have too many books? I think that when children see their parents reading and are surrounded by books, they grow to love books and become voracious readers themselves.


    From the time that they were babies, we have endeavored to instill a love for reading into our boys. We have read books to them, listened to books on tape, and, of course, given them books to read as part of homeschool. One of the first homeschool products we were given to review on The Schoolhouse Review Crew were some books on CD that the kids absolutely loved. We listened to them while traveling one year on vacation and all of us (including my mother-in-law) laughed so hard our sides hurt. So, when I heard that Beloved Books was going to send us a whole volume of Sugar Creek Gang books on CD, I was thrilled! We have quite a few of the Sugar Creek Gang books on our shelves but they are just a little bit above Joshua, my middle child's, reading level. I was hoping that he would enjoy these books on tape and I was not disappointed. He loves them! Just this evening as I was writing this review, my oldest came in and asked what I was writing about. When I told him he commented about how much Joshua has talked about this series of books on CD. I like them too. Let me tell you why.

    Number 1 - They are Christian based. According to the back of the CD package Paul Hutchins, the author of the Sugar Creek Gang series of books, originally began as an evangelist. His ministry was cut short by illness, but while recuperating he tried his hand at writing and found that he had a great talent for it. That's how the Sugar Creek Gang began.

    Well, I never like it when someone has a serious illness, but I am always amazed how God uses things in peoples for His Glory. I am sure glad that Paul Hutchins began writing these books. They have always been favorites of mine, mostly because of their Christian values. In this day and age so many books for children come out with disrespectful characters that are always trying to get even with someone else. Sometimes, even the "good" characters are made to feel like they have to fight evil with evil. That's not the way God intended, and that's not what I want my children to learn. There are enough natural evil influences in our world without getting extra bad influences in books.

    You never have to worry about those types of influences in The Sugar Creek Gang. I have always been impressed at how Christian principles are taught in these books. Having two disabled children and another who is a cancer survivor with an artificial eye, we have had our share of dirty looks and teasing from others. In these books kids are taught to be kind to others no matter what their situation in life. Paul Hutchins uses hymns, Christian poems and of course, the Bible and interweaves them with nature and adventure in every one of his books. I would be hard pressed to tell you anything questionable about these books at all. You will not be disappointed.

    Number 2 - They are extremely well done. Although these recordings were done some time ago, they aren't the grainy, old fashioned sounding recordings that you sometimes get with radio recordings of old. You wouldn't be able to tell if these were recorded yesterday or 30 years ago.

    Several years ago, Paul Ramseyer had the desire to record the Sugar Creek Gang books and put them on radio. They were originally recorded and broadcast on Northwestern College Radio in St. Paul Minnesota for their "Adventure Time" broadcasts. Now, let me tell you. Sometimes when you hear about a "book on tape" you wonder if it is going to be some dry, boring, monotone person doing the recording. Are they going to just read the book like someone reading aloud in a class? Are you going to fall asleep listening? Well, let me rest your worries. These audios are anything but boring! Paul Ramseyer put emotion and excitement into each story. The recordings were a hit when they first came out, and, even in this computer game - kids stuck in front of a screen world, they are still a hit today. At least they were with Joshua. He was intrigued and hooked from the very first word that came out of Paul Ramseyers mouth. He really put passion into the recordings. They were something that he felt passionately about and you can tell. Beloved Books has also made sure that when they produced them on a CD for others to purchase that it was done in a quality manner. They are very well done!


    Number 3 - They are educational. Remember I mentioned that there is a lot of nature in this book. Well, not only do a lot of the things that happen in the Sugar Creek Gang books happen outside, but the author interweaves nature lore throughout his books as well! And of course they also have the aforementioned Christian hymns and poems intermingled that will educate the reader too. Imagine that, a book that is not just fun to read but educational as well.

    But, that's not the real reason I mentioned that they are educational. I was intrigued with the fact that, out of the six Sugar Creek Gang books included in Volume 1, we owned at least four of them:

    • The Swamp Robber - check - we own it
    • The Killer Bear - check
    • The Winter Rescue - check
    • The Lost Campers - check
    • Chicago Adventure
    • The Secret Hideout - thought we did but can't find it.
    After I realized how many of them we own, I thought it would be perfect for Joshua to follow along in the book while it is being read. We own the original books, which, by the way can still be purchased. There are revised editions available, but these recordings are done by reading the originals so I didn't have to worry about things being different between the book and the CD. This worked for a little while. Joshua was able to follow along with ease. Then, later, he came to me with an apologetic look on his face explaining that he really meant to follow along, but they were so exciting that he would lose track of where he was and finally just put the book down and got lost in the recording. So much for good ideas!

    Finally, Number 4 - They are a great bargain. I know of books on tape that can cost nearly $20 a piece - even for not-so-long books. Right now Beloved Books has six volumes of the Sugar Creek Gang series with six books on each volume and each volume is just $54.95 each! That's less than $10 a book! Or, you can buy the entire series for just $279.70. Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above to find out more.

    As usual many of the other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed Beloved Book's Sugar Creek Gang on CD and you can find out what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Homeschooling!

    Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I was given a free set of  Sugar Creek Gang Volume One books on CD from Beloved Books in order to try out and give my honest review on this blog.

    Saturday, October 27, 2012

    How is the Tinkel Family Like Russia?

    There are several things that are different between BCM in the United States and BCM in Canada. Language and culture are two of the obvious things that I can think of. There are, however, several similarities as well, and those are the things that I want to focus on today. I especially want to focus on things that BCM does in Russia and things that we do here in our small town in Tennessee.

    Of course one of the major things are children's ministry. Although BCM now stands for Bible Centered Ministries, it originally stood for Bible Club Movement. Bible Clubs to children was the original purpose of BCM and it is still a main focus. Just as we minister to children here at Good News Mission, so do BCM's missionaries in Russia.

    A similarity that isn't as well known, though, is that, just like our missionaries in Russia, we do teacher training. BCM realized a long time ago that, no matter how many missionaries we recruit around the world, we wouldn't be able to reach all of the world's children. We had to duplicate ourselves. That's why BCM has developed a couple of different teacher training programs - Sharing Christ With Kids and In Step With the Master Teacher. Sarah and I, along with a fellow missionary of ours, have partnered with churches and other organizations to train others on how to better reach children for the Lord.

    We would love to do as many teacher trainings in the Southeast as they do in Russia. If you are interested in hosting a teacher training at your church or maybe even your home, please click on any of the links above or contact us by clicking on one of these links - email or To find out more about BCM International please click here.

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    Proud Parent Pictures - Come Look!

    Okay, so I tricked you a little. These aren't pictures of my biological children, but pictures of my Compassion International kids. We sponsor six of them - one financially and five as correspondence sponsors. What is a correspondence sponsor? A correspondence sponsor writes to kids who don't have any one else to write to them. Many times companies give large blocks of money to sponsor several children but, since no one person is actual their sponsor, the kids have no one that writes to them. Other times it's just individuals who want to sponsor a child, but for some reason can't write to the child themselves. That's where the correspondence sponsor comes in. As correspondence sponsors, we know that we aren't the financial sponsor, but the kids don't know that. They think we are the financial sponsor as well. Compassion doesn't tell them any differently because it would be too confusing to most of them.

    It really doesn't matter if they are correspondence children or children that we financially support, we love them just the same. Recently we got updated pictures of three of our correspondence children. All three are very special to us in their own way. Let me tell you why...

    Feyber wasn't the first child that we sponsored, our special Marcelo from Bolivia was. However, Feyber was the first correspondence child that we received so he is very dear to our hearts. He is from Colombia and we have been sponsoring him for almost three years now. He is a fantastic boy who has to put up with a bunch of sisters and no brothers! His birthday is just five days after our oldest son's birthday. And I mean just five days! They are five days apart in age. Please pray for Feyber and his family.
    Although Somi is our third Compassion child, he is the first one from a non South American country so he is very special to us as well. Somi is from Indonesia and lives in a remote village in a round hut with his family. It has been a real learning experience for the boys as we learn about how Somi lives. He is a very special boy and we are so proud of the way he prays and helps lead music in his Compassion project.
    If you know the history of our sponsoring children with Compassion International, you may wonder why Yvone is special. After all, she is our six child and we already sponsor another child (Emmanuel) from Africa. However, if you really knew our history of sponsorship, you would know why Yvone is special. It's because she is our only girl. Yep! We have five boys and just one young lady - Yvone. When we first began to sponsor with Compassion, we chose boys because we have three boys of our own. Our boys have always been very active in writing to our sponsored children, reading their letters and studying where they are from so we picked boys because we thought they could relate to them. Finally we decided to sponsor a girl and God gave us Yvone. She is special and calls us her Father and Mother. We love our special girl from Rwanda.
    It is so much fun sponsoring children with Compassion International. It is also exciting when we get updated pictures of them. We love seeing how much they have grown and changed in the two years since the last photograph was sent to us. Sponsoring is also special to us because we know that we are helping children that are far less fortunate than we will probably ever be. If you would like to sponsor a child with Compassion International just click here - ad it will take you to the US Compassion International site. If you are not from the United States, there are directions on the US Compassion site on how to get to the Compassion site that services your area. Please prayerfully consider sponsoring a child. You won't regret it!

    Monday, October 22, 2012

    There's Nothing Taxing About the National Tax Training School!

    Okay, my parents told me to never tell a lie so I am going to admit this up front - I, Tim Tinkel, know nothing about Federal Income National Tax Course ! Smiley Yep!You read correctly. After six weeks of reviewing it, I know nothing about it. Well, all right, you caught me in a little white lie. I have looked it over a little and I've heard Sarah talk about it a lot. You see, when asked if we wanted to review this adult level course by the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I asked my wife if she would be interested and she jumped at the chance. She has been wanting to go back to school for a long time and this would be a good course to start out with. It's an on your own no time schedule course that has to do with how to prepare taxes. The only requirements are that the course has to be completed within one year. Also, since we are full time missionaries and deal with low income folks, learning how to prepare taxes would fit in perfectly with what we do. So, Sarah has been the one using this course and thoroughly enjoying it. Therefore, from here on out it is going to be Sarah and I writing this review in an interview type format!

    Me: Are the materials that were sent to you quality materials?

    Sarah: Yes! I received a large three ring binder that included twenty lesson assignments (plus an ethics section), self check practice problems and examination problems. The letter enclosed with it said that I would receive the Final Examination, State Tax Guide, Case Studies Portfolio, "Building, Marketing, & Operating a Profitable Tax Practice" book, Federal Tax Reference handbook, and the California Supplement (if applicable) after I complete lesson 17. However, since I am reviewing these materials they sent them to me earlier than they would usually send them to a regular student. They were also of very professionally done.

    Me: Tell me about how this course is set up.

    Sarah: There are twenty lessons that take about eight hours each to complete. After the lesson is completed there is a practice "self examination" test that you can take in your book or, they have just come out with online version. Either version can be taken as many times as you want. You then take the actual test, again, in your book or on the computer. Either test is un-timed, but after the written test is sent into the The National Tax Training School or the submit button is pressed on the computer, you can not retake the test.

    Me: Were the materials easy to use.

    Sarah: Yes! The Federal Income National Tax Course is like "tax preparation for dummies". It's written to where anyone could understand it, even if have never understood the tax system before. It is very concise and it's a lot of material but very easy to read and digest. I was worried that it was going to be hard at first. When you first receive it it is a bit intimidating because it is in a huge three ring binder and it seems like there is a lot of material but, after I began working through it, I wasn't intimidated at all.


    Me: What are some of the things you've learned so far?

    Sarah: So far I've learned about general principles, exemptions-filing status, tax computation, and a lot more. I'm looking forward to learning more about how to help the people we work with prepare their taxes. The Deductions and the Tax Credit sections are two of the lessons that I am anxious to read. I'm wanting to know about ways to get more money back on income tax returns both for us and for the families that come to us for help.

    Me: What will you be able to do with course after you have completed it?

    Sarah: I will get a certificate from the The National Tax Training School upon successful completion of the Federal Income National Tax Course that will help me set up a full-time or spare-time tax practice if I choose to. It is fully accredited and recognized (Tim's listed the organizations below). Depending on which course the student purchases, there is also *1-3 years of post-graduate support that they will receive.

    Me: Is there anything else you would like to say about this course?

    Sarah: I have really enjoyed it so far and am looking forward to finishing it. As I mentioned before I have found this to be very professionally done and easy to understand. I would recommend this course to anyone that has an interest in knowing how to do their own taxes or who would like to start their own tax preparation business. The computer part of the course is brand new and they are still working out the bugs. Soon, however, you will be able to take the whole course on-line if you would like.


    Okay, now this is just me, Tim, talking. Do you think that you'll have to take out a loan on your taxes to pay for a course like this (Is that even possible? I'll have to ask Sarah.)? Nope! If you want just one year of post-graduate support the cost is $495. If you want three years of post-graduate support the cost is $795. Don't let the price scare you, though. Each plan has payment options for you to choose from. Oops! *I just looked at their website and they've changed their post-graduate support to two and four years instead of one and two years! Even more of a reason to apply! Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above for more information.

    Many of the other Schoolhouse Review Crew members reviewed the Federal Income National Tax Course as well and you can find what they had to say by clicking here.

    Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I was sent the Federal Income National Tax Course for free in order to use and give an honest review on this blog.