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With seven boys of various ages and with various backgrounds living in our home it is hard to come up with a way to creatively teach Christian values. Today’s society twists values and morals into things that God never ever intended. There are no absolute truths anymore – everything is relative. Little did I know that there was a comic book series, perfect for boys (and girls), that teaches real Biblical truth! It’s not really in comic book form but is in softback book form but it is just as good as any comic book series that I ever read as a youth. And, it’s from Focus on the Family – a company that you know you can trust. It’s called Captain Absolutely and is based on a character from the popular radio and video program Focus On The Family.
It all begins as two friends are working together in the library when one friend drops a sunflower seed into a computer that just happens to be connected to the city’s central computer that is run by nuclear power. Chaos ensues when an explosion occurs and one friend becomes trapped in a room full of Bibles while the other friend finds himself in the philosophy section of the Bible. After a night of reading they are rescued however they are no longer Josiah King and Darren Gray but they are Captain Absolutely and his arch nemesis Dr. Relative!
Thru a very clever and imaginative storyline Biblical truths are taught. My kids love it. Even my non-reading foster sons are attracted to it because of it’s colorful pictures and comic book format. It truly rivals many of the popular comic book series of today and yesterday (and I should know, I was a big comic book kid when I was younger). I love the fact that they are learning solid truths and learning not to follow what the world or todays philosophy says but to follow what God says. It is a win for everyone! One by one my kids are reading this and really learning. They didn’t get to read it until I was done with it first, though!
I had no doubt that Captain Absolutely would teach solid scriptural truths because of it’s publisher, Focus On The Family. My kids (and I) have watched their videos and listened to their radio broadcasts for years and know them to be trustworthy. I know you can trust them and that your children will really enjoy this as well! To find out more about Captain Absolutely or about Focus On The Family just click on any one of the highlighted links above. Other members of the homeschool review crew also reviewed Captain Absolutely and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below. You can also find out more by clicking on one of their social media links listed below. Happy Reading!
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The Tanglewood Report - May 12, 2017
Authorities from the local middle school in Livingston, TN have reported that they were able to cancel a non-binding contract with the Jojo Fumigation Service after a strange odor, that reportedly had effected the school for a little over a month, after the smell miraculously disappeared earlier today. The fumigation was to have happened today because this was the day that most eighth graders would be away because of a so called “lay out day”. The eighth grade wing seems to be where the odor is coming from.
School officials claim that the odor did indeed begin about a month ago. Students and faculty all agree that the odor is a mixture of the smell of mushrooms and dirty socks and strangely began around the eighth grade classroom area but quickly effected the entire school. Many students have been going home sick every day which has created chaos with the school nurse.
“Man, I distinctly remember the day that it started.” claims 8th grade student Parker Story aka Porkloin. “I remember because it was the day my best friend Robert Blackwell aka Robert Tinkwell came back to school after being away for most of the school year. Ugh! It was terrible! It smelled like old socks that had been on someone’s feet for over a week and rotten mushrooms! It also strangely reminded me of Baby Groot.”
Porkloin Story Robert Blackwell (Tinkwell) Baby Groot
Porkloin Story’s girlfriend, Mackenzie Owens, who does not attend Livingston Middle School, told this reporter that she was very glad that the smell had gone away because Porkloin was beginning to carry the toxic fumes with him. “It was as if Porkloin was spending a lot of time with the culprit of this smell. It was really creepy!” she claimed.
School officials are said to be very thankful that they are saving all of the money. They have already spent thousands on investigating the horrible smell that seems to only occur when school is in session. Weekend Janitors are said to have smelled the remnants of the fumes, but when windows and doors are let open the odor seems to go away.
The workers at Jojo’s Fumigation are not so happy though. Jojo’s assistant Wiggles (who is a very delicate creature but loved by all) said that Jojo doesn’t pay her enough and that “He’s always jumping around and going from one project to the next. He makes me so tired that all I want to do is lay in bed and sleep all day!”
Jojo’s hippy secretary Mountain, a catlike hairy looking person, is also dissatisfied. “Just more paperwork for meow, ummm, I mean me.” she mewed.
Fortunately all is not lost for Jojo and his crew. They still must investigate another strange odor that has effected the school district. This time it is over at the highschool. Officials there say that it is a weird concoction that smells like llamas. Oddly enough, the creature pictured below has been seen roaming the grounds for the past few months.
This creature has also been seen near Tanglewood Lane and at the ballpark in Livingston. If you happen to see it call authorities immediately.
~ Tatiana Tinkwell Reporting
Tune in again tomorrow for a special report on an alien like “whitedolphaunicorn” that has been spotted in the area.
I know I’ve said this many times but I never know who might be a new reader so I’m going to say it again. We love to read. My parents were readers as were Sarah’s so we both grew up loving books and reading a lot. We still read a lot and we pray that by the kids seeing us read they will also become readers. Our biological kids also love to read. I thank some of the great living book curriculums that we have used over the years for that. I am praying that all of our boys that were born of our heart and not born of our womb will learn to love to read as well. At any rate, we love it when a good book comes our way. I had heard about Lamplighter Publishing before and had heard nothing but positive things about them, however, we have never tried any of their products. So, I was excited when we were offered to review the novel The Secret Bridge by Amy Le Feuvre.
I know that you all have heard about the importance of first impressions and the positive or negative impact that it can make on a person. Well, let me tell you that from the moment we received the package that the book came in I was impressed. Lamplighter Publishing doesn’t package their books just any old package. I have received books in the mail that were just slipped down into one of those bubble mail envelopes. Well, that’s not what this quality company does. They mail their books in a special hard cardboard box. Inside of the box the book is well protected and very elegantly wrapped in brown paper to protect it even further.
So, why does a book need to be protected like that? If you ask that, you, like us until this deliver, have never owned a Lamplighter book. These are like no other books! The books themselves are beautiful! I had to just go to the Lamplighter website because I could swear that this book is leather bound. However, the website says that it is an “leather-toned embossed cover”. Whatever it is, I have never owned a book like this before. They don’t hold back on their book covers at all. It has the look and feel of a book from an expensive top notch elegant book publisher. Well, this is definitely a book from an elegant top notch publisher, but, I’ll let you in on a little secret, they aren’t expensive. In fact, I don’t know how they can publish and package a gorgeous book like this at such an inexpensive price and still feed their families.
However, I digress!
On to the story line! The two boys that I wanted to read this to, Jacob and Joshua, are both on the autism spectrum but have different problems when it comes to reading. I have found, though, that if I read a book aloud to them I can conquer both problems at one time. However, I was reading another book to them at the time, so I decided to just read The Secret Bridge myself.
I loved it! Amy le Feuvre is an awesome writer and keeps you spellbound. I couldn’t put the book down! The Secret Bridge is about young Bridgett Channing. A mysterious young lady with a mysterious past. At the beginning of the book she finds herself homeless and destitute until Godfrey Bullingham comes along. Now, after reading that brief description, you might think that this is just another one of those historic romance novels. Well, this book was written in 1899 so it definitely has history, and it does involve some romance, however, it is not just “one of those” novels. It also has intrigue, adventure, suspense, and, as I mentioned before, a lot of mystery. The storyline hooks you at the beginning and never lets you go until the end. Each page brings on something new so that you absolutely can’t put it down until you find out what is going to happen next. And, the ending is pretty shocking!
What I really like about this book, though, is that it is a Christian book. Christian morals are wrapped all throughout this novel. The editor has tried to keep the language and the punctuation as close to the original as possible and there are footnotes all through the book that defines an unusual word or further explains an unusual situation that may be unique to that time period. More often than not, though, the footnotes give Bible references to what is going on in the book. It is all so cleverly intertwined that you don’t realize that you are being taught a Bible lesson as while you are reading. Well, you may realize it, but it certainly isn’t going to be a dry Bible lesson. As I mentioned, it is woven into the storyline so perfectly that it isn’t dry and boring at all but is part of the adventure. I can’t wait to read it to my kids!
Shhh. . . don’t tell my wife, but I just noticed on the Lamplighter Publishing website another book by Amy Le Feuvre that I am going to order as soon as I am done writing this. That is how much I love Lamplighter Publishing. I really would like to continue buying books from their Lamplighter Collection for my library. If all of the historical books are this good then I want to buy every one of them.’
To find out more about Lamplighter Publishing and The Secret Bridge just click on any one of the highlighted links above. I know you will not be disappointed. You can also check out Lamplighter Publishing on their social media pages listed below. Many other members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed The Secret Bridge and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below. Happy Reading!
I have mentioned it before in my reviews that we love history. Because of that, we have explored many different curriculum options. One option that has always seems to come up is Drive Thru History®. I have heard wonderful things about them but we have never had the chance to really use any of their great videos. When it was announced that I might get the chance to review of their video series I was super excited. However, it wasn’t the history part that made me excited, but it was what the series, Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”, was about. I don’t usual quote from a company’s website in my review but this time I am because when doing my research on the series before I was selected for the review, this really caught my eye:
Dave travels to over 50 ancient sites in Israel to deliver the Gospels in a fresh way, show the evidence for the truth of scripture, and encourage families to get excited about reading the Bible again.
Most of you know that my wife and I are full time missionaries and work with low income families in our community. We do Bible studies, mentor, provide rides and help with food banks, and a lot more things where we try to show Christ the families that we work with. A couple of years ago God led me to begin a Bible study for teen boys. The boys that God has led to our study are kind of a rough lot. They have been through a lot of things in life and have a lot of questions. Many of them question the Bible and it’s validity. They want proof! When I read the above statement I thought that this would be a fantastic study for my boys. I was not disappointed! It has been wonderful.
Before I tell you about the great discussions we have had, let me tell you what is included in the series. This series once again features Dave Stotts who is hilarious and very entertaining. He really makes the videos fun to watch. The Special Edition set that we received (pictured above) comes with three DVD’s and super nice study guide that also serves as a case for the DVD’s. On the DVD’s are 18 lessons that cover every aspect of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) in 18 approximately 30 minute long videos that cover Jesus’s life and ministry from before birth to his resurrection. Here are the 18 Episodes and what they cover:
Episode 1: The Historical Landscape
Episode 2: The Announcements
Episode 3: Jesus is Born
Episode 4: Jesus Grows Up
Episode 5: Jesus Starts His Ministry
Episode 6: Jesus Returns to Galilee
Episode 7: Jesus Begins His Miracles
Episode 8: Jesus Teaches with Authority
Episode 9: The Sermon on the Mount
Episode 10: Jesus Travels the Sea of Galilee
Episode 11: Jesus Travels North
Episode 12: A Final Trip to Jerusalem
Episode 13: Jesus Arrives in Jerusalem
Episode 14: The Last Supper
Episode 15: The Trial of Jesus
Episode 16: The Crucifixion of Jesus
Episode 17: The Resurrection of Jesus
Episode 18: Who is Jesus?
The episodes are indeed fascinating as well as funny (as I mentioned before). Dave travels to over 50 places in Israel and surroundings areas to give you historical information and to show you exactly where different events in the Bible happened. I haven’t been able to watch all of the videos yet, but so far we have seen dozens of fascinating places that really help us understand what the times were like and help us put into perspective Jesus’ life and miracles. Just recently we were fascinated with the palaces of Herod and how powerful of a man he was. When Dave talked about the supposed place where Jesus was born we were in awe. Those are just two of the many spots he travels to and really helps us understand scripture even more. I’ll talk about that late, but first let me tell you about the accompanying study guide.
I’m going to cut right to the chase on this review. No chit chat or anything. And, despite what this review is about, this is not a puzzling review to write at all. Why is it not puzzling? Because this has got to be one of my favorite items ever that I’ve reviewed since being on the Homeschool Review Crew. And, I’ve been on it for all but about a year and a half of the past 8 years or so. What great item is it? The Daily Bible Jigsaw app. from Planet 316! Sarah and I, and even the kids, have loved this.
So what is it? It’s a super cool app for your phone or tablet or even your computer (through Facebook) where you put together beautiful 30 piece jigsaw puzzles. After you have put together the puzzle it displays a Bible verse on it that you can share on Facebook. Take a look at the picture below and you’ll see what I mean.
Never done a jigsaw puzzle on your phone or computer? Well, neither had I but it is super easy to do. You just click on a piece by hovering over it and holding down your mouse curser and move it to another piece. If they fit then they will click together. Then you just pick up another piece to and continue. If you need to rotate the piece so that it is going the right direction you just click on it and it will rotate 90%. Just keep clicking until you get it where you want. When you get the whole puzzle together then the verse will display on it. Take a look at the completed puzzle below to see what I mean.
You can then share it on Facebook if you like so that it will bless and uplift others.
Okay, now I know that there are some people that are great at jigsaw puzzles and some people that are not so great. This has app has something for everyone!
If you are not so great at jigsaw puzzles there are a lot of helps that you can use.
I really like the help where only the edges are shown. When I press on it all of the center pieces are removed and the edge pieces are left. That’s the way Grandpa and I used to do those huge jigsaw puzzles when I was young. Anyway, after the edge pieces are all in place then the center pieces reappear.
Unfortunately, the center pieces just reappear haphazardly right in the middle of the puzzle. That makes the puzzle difficult to complete. Never fear, there is also a help that “sweeps” all of the unused pieces to the sides so that you can get a clear view of the center. You can use this at any time to move all the pieces to the sides of the mat.
I mentioned my Grandpa a second ago. There was always a jigsaw puzzle going on the card table in the living room of his house. To help us know what the puzzle was to look like we always had the box top showing so that we could look at it. Never fear! You can do the same thing with the Daily Bible Jigsaw. There is a help that allows you to take a peak at what the completed puzzle looks like.
Still having trouble? Well the next to helps are extra useful if you are having a hard time.
With the first you can click on the rotate help button and rotate all of the pieces to their correct position. They will stay that way the entire time so that you won’t have to rotate them on your own and there is no confusion as to how each piece is to be positioned.
If you are still having difficulty you can press on the magnet help and two pieces will automatically come together.
Now, mind you, you have to pay coins for these helps, but it isn’t difficult to get coins. Like all free online apps, the creators have to make money somewhere. Otherwise they can’t keep producing great games. Planet 316 is no different. You can either purchase coins or you can watch a quick advertisement video to earn coins. The creators gave me a bunch of coins to use during the review period, but I probably wouldn’t have needed them because you can watch two videos in a row to earn 2 coins each time you watch. After that, you have to wait about five minutes to watch a couple of more videos.
Wow! Wow! Wow!
Okay. Before I tell you what is “Wow! Wow! Wow!” I need to tell you a story. It’s a sad, sad, story. It begins when a father asks his son, John Allen, by now a young man in his early 20’s, if he would like to review a really neat online Web Design course by CompuScholar, Inc. John Allen has always enjoyed working with the computer and, in fact, when he was in high school, helped review another course by the same company. Back then the company was known as “Homeschool Programming” and included books in the learning process. Now, though, as I mentioned, they are known as CompuScholar, Inc. and their courses are all online. Well, anyway, dear old Dad registered John Allen for the course using the very easy registration process and was thinking that John Allen was merrily working his way through the course when, lo and behold, when Dad went to check on the progress about half way through the review period, he found that John Allen had not been working through the course because of extra hours of work and other outside obligations. Well, after scolding said son for not mentioning this to his dear old and now panicking Dad, his father decided that it was partially his fault for not checking up on him sooner. So, Dad rolls up his sleeves and decides to just take the course himself. After all, since the Web Design course is written for kids in 6-12th grades (middle school and high school) Dad thought it would be easy but also expected it to be boring since this was not really his thing. Well, although Dad did not get through as much as some other reviewers probably did, Dad did get through quite a bit and is loving the course. The following is dear old Dad’s review (aka me). I hope you enjoy it.
As I mentioned above, the course is written for kids in grades 6-12. CompuScholar. Inc. suggests that, although no programming skills are needed, familiarity and ease of using the computer is recommended. As they mentioned to we reviewers, if a family is petrified of computers and needs to take their computer to Geek Squad every week to clean off viruses then this may not be a good fit for them. Really, though, although I can maintain my blog pretty well, I have no other programming skills at all (except for an ancient college computer class back in the early 80’s soon after desk tops were introduced so I really don’t think that counts anymore) and I found the course fairly easy to navigate and very interesting.
The registration was equally as easy. This course can be used in a classroom setting, so a number of students can be registered and tracked if that is what you purchased, but, of course, this is not what we used it as. I did, however, register myself as the teacher and registered John Allen as the student (which of course, to my dismay he never used) and the process was simple.
The course itself is easy to use but, now this is where the “Wow! Wow! Wow!” comes in, you learn so much! Don’t worry, all of the information is given to you in small bits and pieces, and is given to you in several different ways. In this course there are 28 Chapters. In each chapter their are three or four lessons, a project, and a chapter exam. Each lesson has taken approximately 30-45 min. for me to complete. So, depending on how quickly you get a lesson done and/or how many lessons you want to do in a day, you could complete this course in one semester of homeschooling or if you just do one lesson/project/chapter test a day, then it would take you about a whole homeschool year to complete.
Let me describe a typical Chapter to you. You begin by watching a video of the lesson. As I said above, the whole process of developing a web page from beginning to end is taught in bite size pieces. For example, Chapter Two: Your First Web Page, you begin to learn how to prepare your computer to use HTML. Lesson One talks about Root Directories, Lesson Two teaches about Home Pages, Lesson Three teaches essential HTML Symbols and in Lesson Four you learn about HTML File Layout. In each lesson you first watch a video. After the video you read the lesson text. I really like this approach because it reaches both the auditory learner and the visual learner. After watching the video and reading the text there is a lesson quiz that has five multiple choice questions. For each quiz you are given three chances before you have to submit your answers to be graded. After the lessons in each chapter there is an activity where you practice what you have learned. In Chapter Two the activity is called “Body Text Experiments” and, as the name applies, has to do with Body Texts. The experiments are always explained fully and I have had no difficulty understanding them. Finally there is a Chapter Text which is also multiple choice. The quizzes, activity and chapter test are weighted and each grade represents a part of your total grade for that chapter. It is very easy to navigate through everything. All you have to do is click on the next icon and you are there.
That’s it for a complete chapter. They are very easy to figure out and to do. By the time you are done with all of the lessons you will have learned how to create a multi page website complete with graphics and audio visual content. What the course does is take you through developing a practice website about Raptors so that you can use what you learned in the practice website to build your own website.
The teachers guides are equally simple to use. Each lesson has it’s own teachers guide that goes over what is taught in the lesson. It also has added helps for the teacher that is overseeing the course. While the information is helpful, it is not necessarily needed to complete the course. There is also an answer key for the teacher to use as well. Because I am taking the course using my teacher password, I have not been able to really use the other features that are included like the gradebook feature but I hope to be able to use it soon because I am going to really push John Allen and some of my other boys to take this course.
As you can see, I am really impressed with this course. I am learning so much and loving it! To find out more about the Web Design course by CompuScholar, Inc. just click on any one of the highlighted links above. Many of the other members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed other courses by CompuScholar, including their Digital Savvy course, and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below. Happy Computing!
Today is done. What will tomorrow bring?
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
As I sit here and contemplate what a crazy day it's been, I can't help but thank God for his blessings and for using Sarah Trull Tinkel and me in ways that I often don't understand.
It all began while I was doing my devotions and praying this morning. I got a call from the social worker for our foster boys asking if we could pick up their brother a day early to come and live with us. Originally we thought that they were going to wait until the end of the school year for Robert to come and live with us. Then, last week, we were told it would be Thursday. However, the boy's home where he was at needed another bed so they asked us to pick him up today. I quickly went to tell Sarah then went to finish the review that I was working on.
While finishing the review, I got a call from a strange number listed as a Nevada number. My caller ID said it was listed as a spam number so I didn't answer. A few minutes later the same number came up on my phone again. I thought I swiped my phone to reject the call but apparently answered it. I heard a voice coming from the phone so I picked it up to ask who it was. It ended up being one of John Allen's friends who had gotten into some trouble and had spent the night in jail. We consider him like a son. We quickly jumped in the car to make arrangements for him to get out of jail. He is staying with us for the night and Sarah is going to go to court with him in the morning. Please be praying for our young friend. Because we live in a small town, I’m not going to mention his name but God knows the whole situation.
While we were dealing with him, a friend who volunteers at a local food bank called to say that they had a lot of food today and suggested we come by. Knowing that we would have a full house of seven wonderful young men to feed, we gladly stopped by. While there I was introduced to a man and asked if I would pray with him. We ended up talking for about an hour while he told me his life story including his running from God. He knew that God was calling him back. Through tears we prayed together and I promised that I would be in contact with him again. Please be praying for Chuck.
After picking up David and Skiler, stopping by McDonald’s to get everyone something to eat off of the dollar menu, and going home to unload the McDonalds food and food bank food, we were finally on our way to pick up Robert in the boy’s home an hour away.
Robert quickly got settled in and soon all of the boy’s wanted to go to the city park to play basketball. They had heard of Sarah’s basketball skills (she played in college) and invited her to come. I watched from the car since, as many of you know, I am not an athlete. Soon, a young man came over to the car. I quickly recognized him as a boy who used to come to our day camps a few years ago with his brother and sister. He apologized for not coming to any of our events for the past couple year or so and explained that the reason was that his mom had left them and he and his sister were now living with their father. The two youngest brothers who were too young to come to day camps were living with their father (a different father from the two oldest) and the middle brother who had still another father, was living with the mom in a homeless shelter in Nashville. After talking for some time with him, I found out where he was living and invited him to come to our teen boy’s Bible study on Thursday nights. Please be in prayer for Christian, his sister and his three younger brothers. It is a tough situation.
Finally, while I was talking to Christian, I look up to see Sarah and another boy sprawled out on the court. Yes, Sarah and the boy had gotten tripped up and their was a wipe out. As I type, Sarah is beside me in the bed and Jacob, our youngest is between us after he got sick and threw up in the bathroom. Please pray for both Sarah, who is aching from the fall and Jacob.
So, I am here contemplating and listening to the sound of a full house of boys and young men settling down for the night. As I do I wonder what tomorrow will bring but know that whatever it is God will be with us.
Thanks for all of your prayers.
The end of the bowling season seems to be Joshua’s time to excel. Last year he had a fantastic finish to his first year of bowling. He far exceeded his goals at the Tennessee State Junior Bowling Championships. This year he did even better! Not only did he have a great tournament but he bowled his highest ever single game with a score of 228! And, this year he was in the top 10 in every single category. No, make that the top 6 in every single category and in three out of the five categories he was in the top 5! Below are all the details.
Team – His four man team placed 5th out of 35 teams in their division.
Doubles – He and his partner placed 6th out of 58 doubles teams in their division.
Singles – He placed 5th out of 72 bowlers in his division.
All Events Handicapped – He placed 6 out of 73 bowlers in his division.
All Events Scratch – He placed 3 out of 73 bowlers in his division!
And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, Matthew 6:28
The other day I mentioned how much we enjoy watching the birds all year long but especially in the spring. God has blessed us with many different types of birds that have come to the feeders that we have in the yard of our new house.
God has also blessed us with many different types of flowering plants and trees. When we lived at the mission house a few years ago we did a lot of planting. We enjoyed planting all kinds of flowers, bushes and trees. When the mission and house were sold, Sarah said that she wouldn’t plant again until we owned our own home. Well, now that we own our own home, Sarah is thinking about planting again. However, the previous owners have done such a great job of landscaping that we are waiting to see what flowers and blooms this spring before we decide what we are going to add. We have loved watching more and more beautiful things bloom each day. Below are some of the things that we have enjoyed seeing thus far. Thank you Lord for all of your blessings!