Thursday, March 30, 2017

We Love The Manhood Journey Father’s Starter Kit–A Homeschool Review Crew Review


Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio

When I was given the opportunity to possibly review the Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit from Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio I debated about whether to ask for it or not. After all, I had just reviewed it about a year ago and used it with my Teen Boy’s Bible Study. Unfortunately, though, that was also the time when three of the boy’s were taken and put in foster care and didn’t have a chance to go through the study. We are very blessed to be able to call those three boys our sons now and I thought it would be an awesome idea to take them through the study as well. I had all of the material, but since we have moved, it has been lost in the shuffle so I was very excited when we were chosen once again to review it.

I absolutely love the Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit and the author. I didn’t have any reason to contact him for any reason this time, but I had a few questions the first time around and he was so helpful and personally responded to my questions and even gave me some personal tips on how to use it with the group of boys that were attending the study at the time. The author and material are fantastic.

The Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit consists of five parts:

  • The Manhood Journey introductory CD.
  • The Manhood Journey Embarking Group Guide
  • The Manhood Journey 1 on 1 Guide
  • A Pack of 10 Manhood Journey Maprochures
  • A complementary copy of Wise Guys: Unlocking Hidden Wisdom From the Men Around You by Kent Evans


Father's Starter Kit | Manhood Journey

There are actually six modules in Manhood Journey. Embarking is the first module and although the other five modules can be done in any order, it is recommended that Embarking be done first since it sets the tone for the other modules. All of the studies should be done with boy’s ages 8 through there teen years and their fathers if possible, but, if the actual father is absent from the boy’s life for some reason, another male figure that acts as the father, such as an uncle or mentor, can attend.

The Embarking study itself is a six week study that, as I said, is an introduction to the other modules. It talks about the five major things that should go into a boy’s (or man’s) life to make him a Godly man. They are called the “Five Big Rocks” and there is a fantastic object lesson in the first week’s study that introduces the whole concept. If the five big rocks of Trust God, Know His Word, Pray Fervently, Build Relationships, and Serve Others, are in a man’s life then all of the other less significant things will fall into place. The other five lessons cover those “rocks” in detail.

The Manhood Journey Embarking Group Guide is excellently written with an introduction and opening time, Bible and discussion times, and a closing time with Father/Son homework. Everything that you need is included in the Group Guide down to the questions that you ask the fathers/and or sons. Even the Bible verses, in the NIV version (unless otherwise indicated) are written out for the leader. I really love the discussion time. The verses are right to the point and the questions are thought provoking but also fun. Some of the questions could be a little difficult for younger children, but can easily be adjusted. This group time can easily be done in about an hour.

Another thing that I really like is the Manhood Journey 1 on 1 Guide. It is to be used during the week, between group studies, by the father and son. It involves a message to the dad before they begin. It then goes on to give a review of the previous week’s lesson and then a further discussion of the lesson. Again, everything is written out in detail including the verses and the questions. If the father wants to go into more detail with his son, there is also a “Digging Deeper” section. Although this guide is for the father and son to use during the week, between the group studies, it can also be used by a father and son by itself if there is no group study available to attend. I really like that.


Father's Starter Kit | Manhood Journey

The Introductory CD and the Mapbrouchures are just supplementary material that go along with all of the modules. The Introductory CD is simply an introduction to all of the modules while the Mapbrochure is a fold out map that can be hung on the wall to track your progress as you work your way through all six of the modules in the Manhood Journey studies.

Wise Guys: Unlocking Hidden Wisdom From the Men Around You – is an excellent bonus book that was written by the author of the Manhood Journey studies, Kent Evans. This 200+ page book talks about how a man of any age can seek out and use wisdom from other men who have walked through life before them. It is filled with humor and a lot of wisdom. I would recommend this book for anyone whether you are going through the Manhood Journey study or not.

We absolutely love the the Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit from Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio. Although we are not completely done with the six modules, we have loved what we have done so far. To find out more about this awesome product just click on any one of the highlighted links above. To find what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew have said about this product just click on the banner below. You can also connect with them through social media. Those links are listed below as well.

Social Media Links:
Manhood Journey
Twitter:  @manhoodjourney
City on a Hill



Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit {Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio Reviews}

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

God Has Truly Supplied All of Our Needs!


front window picture 1

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19 | NIV |

God has indeed blessed us and met our needs. The house he has given us is a real blessing and we want to use it for his glory. Not only does it have enough room for my ever increasing family – soon there will be 6 awesome boys living in our home – but it also has enough room and is a beautiful location for ministry.

The view from our huge front window is absolutely gorgeous. We placed some of our bird feeders in our front yard the other day and the birds have already found it and they are swarming it.

God knew our needs and has truly blessed us with a beautiful home for our family, a wonderful location for ministry, and an awesome place of relaxation.

Thank you Lord for your wonderful blessings. Thank you for taking care of our needs by giving us overly and abundantly more than we deserve. Please help us to always use our home for your glory. ~ Amen

front window picture 2

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bessie’s Pillow–A Homeschool Review Crew Book Review


Strong Learning, Inc.


We absolutely love history at our house. I was blessed to be raised by a father who loved history and I have tried to instill a love of history to my children as well. So, when we got the chance to review Bessie's Pillow from Strong Learning, Inc. we were very excited. We weren’t disappointed!

Have you ever had something in your family passed down from generation to generation that intrigued you? You might have wondered what the history or the significance of the object was? That is sort of what Bessie’s Pillow is all about. However it’s not just about the pillow but it is about 18 year old Boshka Markman (Bessie) who immigrated from Lithuania in 1906 to escape the persecution that many other Jewish people were experiencing in Europe.

Let me tell you, from the very beginning of this book my middle child, Joshua, was hooked. He practically begged for me to continue reading it to him since we used this as a read aloud for he and his younger brother Jacob. The book is super well written by Bessie’s granddaughter, Linda Bress Silbert and covers not only her immigration experience but her first years in America, her marriage and her family.


Bessie's Pillow

However, this is not just a fantastic biography, but it also comes with a study guide and some fascinating resources that make the story really come to life! I don’t know about you, but when I become entrenched in a historical novel that I really love, I want to immerse myself in that time period. Well, with the resources that come with Bessie’s Pillow you can actually see, hear and almost smell what it was like during that time period. There are movie clips, pictures and links to other sites that have to do with many topics that have to do with immigration and life in America during the 1900’s.

The online teacher’s study guide is also excellent. It includes questions and discussion topics for Language Arts, Social Studies, and, of course, History. It also has a fantastic time line that can be printed out and used while reading the book. The glossary of terms was also very helpful since many Russian and Jewish terms were used throughout the book that may be unfamiliar to the reader.

That’s not even all, though. The book itself has a fantastic section that gives more detail about many of the things mentioned in the book and what it was like living during that time period. There are also many pictures of Bessie and her family down through the years.

I know that you can tell by this review that we really, really love this book. It has become a favorite of Joshua and is also a favorite of mine. This 276 page novel can be used by all ages but an elementary ages child might need a little more help to understand some of the things that are happening and some of the language. To find out more about Bessie's Pillow from Strong Learning, Inc. click on any one of the links above. To find what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought about novel click on the banner below. You can also connect with the folks from Bessies Pillow on social media using the links provided below. Happy reading!

Twitter:  @BessiesPillow


Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews}
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Celebrating Manhood: a rite of passage guide–An Awesome Homeschool Review Crew Review


Home School Adventure Company

It’s interesting that this review should come up when it did. Really, it’s no coincidence but it is God’s timing. I am always amazed by it. But, I digress. The reason that I am amazed by God’s timing with this review is because of the adventurous time in life that we are in. We have three biological sons – or, as Sarah, my wife would say – we have three son’s that were born of her body, and, just recently, two of three teen brothers came to live with us as our foster sons. The third will be coming in a month or so. Sarah calls these three sons sons that were born of her heart.

I had always heard of “rites of passage” events and rituals that happened in other countries, but I had never really thought of having a special “manhood” event for my children until a couple of years ago when I read about one event that a family had for their son. Still, there were no details on how to really put one together so I struggled with how I would put together such an event for my, at that time, three boys. Having such an event came to my mind again while we were making preparations to open our home to these awesome brothers who have now become three more sons but I still had no idea how to put one together . . . until, that is, I found out that I was going to review Celebrating Manhood: a rite of passage guide from Home School Adventure Co.

This small downloadable ebook is wonderful and has given me a pattern as to how to lead manhood event with my sons. It was actually written by a mother who wanted to have such an event for her son, yet knew that she couldn’t really participate since it was an event for other men to advise her child. So, she developed a method where she could be “unobtrusively involved” as she calls it in the book.


Celebrating Manhood a Rite of Passage Guide

It is really quite simple. I will try to give you the basic concept without giving too many details because, after all, we are encouraging you to by the book and not to say so much that you can take what I wrote in this review and use it to plan your own event. Basically, several men are invited to the special event. One or two very easy activities are prepared to break the ice and get the evening started. Each man gives a blessing to the boy. They eat a meal together. Then there is a question and answer time with questions already prepared for the men to answer about their lives and advice that they would give to the special boy who is just beginning his journey into manhood.

I hate that my description is so vague, but, as I said, I don’t want you all to be able to take away an outline as to how to do it yourself. Really, even if you could figure it out yourself, I would encourage you to buy Celebrating Manhood: a rite of passage guide because it is much more than a book that tells you how to do it, it includes everything you need to plan the special event. From a template for the invitations, to ideas about activities, to guidelines for the special party, to special made question cards with the awesome questions already printed on them that are ready to be printed out from your computer. Everything is there for you to use.

I am so looking forward to using this guide to plan Celebrating Manhood events for all of my boys. I think that it will be special for my biological sons because it will allow men other than me to give them advice. I think it will be particularly special for my foster sons because of the very difficult life that they have had to live. They need to hear some advice from some Godly men – some that they know well and others that they don’t. I know that these events are going to be fun and very special for each of the boys.

To find out more about Celebrating Manhood: a rite of passage guide just click on any one of the highlighted links above. Many other members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed this and other items from Home School Adventure Co. and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below. Below you will also find the social media links for this great company.

Twitter:  @HomeSchoolAdven


Resources with a Biblical Worldview{Home School Adventure Co. Reviews}
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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Eclectic Foundations! We’ve Finally Found Something that Works! A Homeschool Review Crew Review.

Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations }
Most of you all know about our struggles with teaching our youngest son, Jacob, to read. Several things have helped, but nothing has really done the trick. Nothing has seemed to really motivates him to learn – or for that matter me to teach him better reading skills. He has always had the basics down. He knows his letter sounds. It’s just a matter of teaching him to blend those sounds together. Basically just practice, practice, practice. Finding a curriculum that is easy to teach (motivates me), fun to use (motivates him), and provides the practice has been difficult. Until, that is, Eclectic Foundations and their Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level B program entered our home! It is easy, fun, and provides the practice he needs plus more!
I love the fact that it is easy to use! There is almost no preparation at all and it doesn’t take long to teach. In fact, every lesson in the Teacher’s Guide is just one page. It tells you exactly what to use, exactly what to say, exactly what to focus on! It is extremely easy which with my busy lifestyle is very much needed!
Each lesson has five areas that are taught:
McGuffey’s Reader – Yes, we use the old, tried and true McGuffey’s Reader. We were blessed to receive a copy of McGuffey’s First Reader with the material that was sent to us. If you are not familiar with the McGuffey’s Readers, let me tell you that they are advanced. Just because it says First Reader does not mean it is the typical first grade reading book. At the beginning it may be easy, but at the end you are reading words beyond what a typical first grader would read.
At the top of each lesson there is a picture. Underneath there are practice words and a short story. Jacob reads the practice words that are introduced and then the story. Then I ask some questions about the story and the picture. I say “picture” because some of the questions are about the picture itself to help him use his imagination and think about what might happen next. It all takes a very short time and is more fun than a chore.
Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations }
Phonics – We were also sent a an Eclectic Foundations Language Arts B Student Workbook. It is equally easy to use and has several sections but first I’ll talk about the phonics section.
At the top of the page there is a list of words that are similar – such as silent e words. The student is to read the 10 to 12 or so words and continue to review the words he has trouble with until he can read them fluently. We were also provided with a laminated Phonics Practice Sheet Level B book with laminated reusable pages where the student is to print the words as he says them. I love this tactile method that is used to help them concrete the learning of the words.
Handwriting/Copy work – Yep, I said “handwriting”, and I am not talking about printing either, I am actually talking about cursive writing! They start off very simply with a letter a day and then work on connecting letters and copy work. I love that they are teaching cursive writing at an early age but must say that I have not tried this with Jacob yet. He also has small motor problems and I am not quite sure he is ready for this yet. I may try soon, though, because it is said that the smoothness of cursive writing is actually better for kids who have small motor problems.
Poetry – I also like the fact that kids are learning good poetry in this curriculum! And we aren’t just talking about simple little made up poems. Jacob is learning poetry written by Robert Lewis Stevenson, George McDonald and more. Each poem is in the student workbook. We’ll read the poem, and talk about the way a poem is put together and about the poem itself. For example, during the first few lessons Jacob was asked to circle the rhyming words of Robert Lewis Stevenson’s “A Good Play” poem. We then discussed each stanza.
Grammar – From the very first lesson the student is learning grammar. Often we just discuss grammar using the questions and examples provided in the teacher text, sometimes there is an exercise in the student workbook to be done, and other times we use the provided McGuffey Word Cards to discuss parts of speech. Again, I love the mix of tactile (in some lessons the student is to color the word cards red for a noun, green for verb, etc.), oral (often the student has to orally answer grammar questions) and auditory (many times the teacher describes and explains grammar concepts).
That is it! It may seem like a lot, but really it doesn’t take long at all and it goes by quickly. We are both loving it. I think we finally found what is really going to work for us! It’s simple for the teacher, fun for the student, and provides the practice needed.
To find out more about Eclectic Foundations and Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level B, just click on any one of the highlighted links. Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed other levels of this program and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below. Eclectic Foundations can also be found on Facebook at Happy Homeschooling!
Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations Reviews}
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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Smoky Mountains–Here We Come! A Homeschool Review Crew Review.



Nature Books With A Biblical Worldview {By the Way Book Series Reviews}

When I was growing up I lived in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Then, for 19 years I lived in Florida and loved it. About 19 years ago, however, we moved to Tennessee and I found myself back in the mountains. I do love the mountains and, one of our favorite places to go as a family is to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We have so, so many great memories from our trips their over the years. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to go back for the past couple of years. When I found out that we were going to be able to review Smoky Mountains ~ Here We Come! from the By the Way Book Series I was really excited. I was hoping that this would be a great “reintroduction” to the park for us and I was not disappointed. It has turned out to be that and much, much, more!

You might think that the By the Way Book Series is all about travel and the interesting things that you would see when you went to see the exciting places and states that are featured in these books. However, as I mentioned above, they are much more than that. Smoky Mountains ~ Here We Come! Did talk about the exciting places that are featured in the national park, but it also was filled with history, nature, science, all while giving the readers (and listeners) a Christian World View.

And, the story is so interesting! Lexi and her brother Alex have been dropped off to stay with their Uncle Ted for a few days. Uncle Ted is a park ranger for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Boy what a three days it ended up being! Now, you may think that, based on the story line and great illustrations, this book would be geared toward young children. Actually, though, it is recommended for the whole family and I really learned a lot! Through their adventure of learning about such great areas of the park as Cataloochee, Abram’s Falls, Cades Cove and Cherokee, I learned the history of the Indians that used to live in the area; I learned about the Civil War; I found out fascinating things about the Appalachian people that lived their; and, of course, I learned the history of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park as well. And those are just a few of the historic things that you will find in this little short 48 page book!

Nature Books With A Biblical Worldview {By the Way Book Series Reviews}

But that’s not all! The nature studies are fascinating. The author of the series, Joy Budensiek, not only tells you about the great God made things that you will find in the area, but she weaves interesting facts about them as well. We learned about Salamanders (did you know that the Smoky Mountains have more species of salamanders than any other place in the world), we found out about fireflies, we discovered interesting facts about the different types of trees that live in the park, and, of course, the bears, deer and elk!

But that still isn’t all! There are other tidbits thrown in like learning about geocaching and the dulcimer (one of my favorite instruments ~ can you convince Sarah to get me one?).  My favorite part would have to be that through all of this God, a Christian worldview and faith are intertwined. Often it is without you even really realizing it.

I loved the verses that are very timely and appropriately put that point the reader and listener to God. My kids loved the fascinating “Did You Know” sections. We all loved the great things that we never knew about some of the places that we have seen over and over again and love very much. This book was excellent.

As you can see we loved Smoky Mountains ~ Here We Come! We can’t wait to try some of the other books in the By the Way Book Series. We’re thinking about the Pennsylvania one next. Or maybe the one about Colorado since we’ve always wanted to go out west. Oh! And the Florida one looks interesting since I lived there for all of those year. Ugh! I digress! Anyway, click on any one of the highlighted links above to learn more about all of the fantastic and educational books in this series (with more to come)! Many of the other members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed different books from this series and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below. You can also check out the By the Way Book Series on Facebook by clicking here. Happy Homeschooling!


Nature Books With A Biblical Worldview {By the Way Book Series Reviews}
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