Around Here and New Reviews


We have been very busy around our house lately. This week marked our first week back to full school days and co-op! It has been nice to get back into a routine. Our daughter turns thirteen next week (how did that happen?) and for her gift we painted her room and dresser and got her a new bedding set. I painted the dresser all black except one drawer that I did in zebra print. It turned out so fun! Our house is showing the upheaval that always comes with painting. I’m not sure why painting one room means the whole house needs to turn into a mess! Smile

I’ve also been busy with my duties for Home Educating Family Magazine. I have had a bunch of new reviews come out over the past few weeks. If you are interested, you can find the links below. I also have written a couple of articles for the magazine for the next issue as well as a blog post. I am so excited about being part of Home Educating Family! I also have a couple of new things in the works for my store at Crestview Heights Academy, but they are bigger projects than I usually take on and are taking some time. I can’t wait to show them to you!

Here are my newest reviews:

Explode the Code Book One

Some children seem to learn to read as naturally as they learn to crawl or talk. For others, a sequential phonetic approach is necessary to launch them as readers. This was the case for my son. We have used a combination of programs to help support his early reading, and Explode the Code is one of the best of these resources.

Explode the Code is a series of simple, sequential phonics workbooks that help children learn to use phonetic sounds for reading. The curriculum begins with a series of pre-reading workbooks entitled Get Ready for the Code, followed by eight Explode the Code workbooks that cover phonics instruction from short vowels through diphthongs, digraphs, and endings. You can also purchase a half book for Explode the Code books one through six that provide extra practice as well as several Beyond the Code books that work specifically with reading comprehension. Teacher’s guides are also available…. (Find the rest of the review at Home Educating Family)


Creative Curriculum Extenders

Language arts is not a favorite subject at our house. I have teasingly said that I have “movers and shakers,” but it is true that my children do not enjoy subjects that require a great deal of sitting or writing.  Creative Curriculum Extenders: Differentiated Projects for the Language Arts Classroom offers a wealth of activities that makes our language arts time more fun for everyone.

Creative Curriculum Extenders contains projects for ten different genre: autobiography, researching and informing, poetry, novels, and fairy tales as well as nonfiction, descriptive, narrative, persuasive, and expository communications. One of my favorites, under the autobiography genre, is writing a review of your life including pros, cons and a star rating! Other projects include composing songs, creating models, using power point, conducting interviews, plus many, many more…..


Hours in the Out of Doors

Discovering Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophies revolutionized my homeschool teaching methods. Her common sense approach to education refreshed our curriculum. While many of her ideas were easy for me to implement, I floundered when attempting Charlotte Mason’s methods for teaching science. Simply Charlotte Mason came to my rescue with Hours in the Out of Doors. This title, available in both print and e-book, “held my hand” as I planned a Charlotte Mason style nature study curriculum….

Did Adam Have a Belly Button?

“You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.” This familiar slogan aptly describes Did Adam Have a Bellybutton? Ken Ham adapted several of his Answers…with Ken Ham radio scripts into a book with a one page question-and-answer format.

Did Adam Have a Bellybutton? is divided into four sections: the book of Genesis, creation evangelism, evolution vs. creation, and the state of the world.  The book of Genesis section includes questions about the garden of Eden, the fall, Noah’s flood, and flood legends in other cultures. Creation evangelism discusses biblical examples of evangelism, evangelistic methods, the mission field, and the new millennium. Evolution vs. creation has questions about compromising, evidences for creation, evidence of a young earth, evolutionary arguments, and the fossil record. The final section talks about death and disease, racism, families, and schools….


Draw Write Now

When it comes to drawing, my personal raw talent amounts to creating an excellent stick figure! As a homeschool mom, I simply cannot be an expert in every subject I need or want my children to learn. There are a variety of ways that I address this issue, including finding excellent resources for those subjects in which I am not proficient. The Draw Write Now Boxed Set is just such a resource.

My son loves to draw. As a younger child, he was content with his own work and my stick figure drawings, but at nine he craves better drawing instructions. The step-by-step instructions in the Draw Write Nowseries are ideal for him. Each book in the eight volume series contains more than twenty drawing lessons arranged according to three themes per book. Some of the themes include Americana, Christopher Columbus, animals, weather, and storybook characters….


Betty Lukens’ Bible Felts

My husband and I believe it is very important for our children to have a good understanding of the Bible. We use a variety of resources to accomplish this goal. One of my favorites is Betty Lukens Through the Bible in Felt Small Deluxe Set.

Through the Bible in Felt Small Deluxe Set includes more than 600 felt pieces, three backgrounds mounted on sturdy cardboard, four overlays, a teacher’s manual, and a cardboard box filing system. The figures and objects cover every Bible story that we have studied, including twelve separate figures of Jesus for various purposes. The largest of the people figures measure about 6 1/2 inches tall. The backgrounds include an indoor scene, a purple backdrop, and a water-and-sky scene. The overlays transform one of the backdrops into a hillside, shore, desert, or throne room. The filing box system is made up of a large, flat, sturdy cardboard box and several flat sheets with the numbered outlines of the felt pieces traced on them. The felt pieces are numbered to allow for an easy return to their proper location…


Did Eve Really Have an Extra Rib?

With so many books, magazines, and television programs that subscribe to an evolutionary worldview, information against the biblical account of creation is hard to avoid. As our children become teenagers and make more of their own choices, it is inevitable that they will encounter this type of information. Did Eve Really Have an Extra Rib? is a question-and-answer book from Ken Ham that gives practical, biblical, and scientific answers to questions about evolution in an easy-to-read style. It includes more than 160 answers to tough questions….

Hints on Child Training

Can a parenting book originally written in the late 1800s be useful for parents in today’s society? Though written before television, video games, and the internet, Hints on Child Training is a common sense guide to parenting that is just as relevant for today’s families. According to the book’s introduction, H.C. Trumbull was one of America’s most prominent Christian authors, whose goal was to see peace and order in homes. As a parent, I am always looking for ways to create more peace and order in my home!

If you have read any of Charlotte Mason’s writings, you are likely to experience deja vu while reading Hints on Child Training. Mr. Trumbull’s approach to parenting has the same rational, practical, and attainable feel that Ms. Mason’s writings have for education. However, you do not need to be a Charlotte Mason educator in order to discover delightful nuggets of truth within the pages of Hints on Child Training


American History Stories

Our family is always looking for resources to help make history more interesting. I especially enjoy finding items that help us make use of the time we spend driving to various activities. American History Stories is a collection of short stories, poems, and song lyrics originally part of a four volume series by Mara L. Pratt originally published in 1890. Jim Hodges reads all 199 chapters aloud and makes them available as one collection. American History Stories includes more than fourteen hours of MP3 files that can be purchased on CD or as digital downloads. The tales begin with the early Native Americans and continue with stories about the explorers, the early American colonies, the American Revolutionary War, and the American Civil War….

Four Letter Words

The title of Four Letter Words captured my attention immediately. Written by Bill Giovannetti, a pastor and theology professor, and subtitled “Conversations on Faith’s Beauty and Logic”, the title seems a bit out of place–until you begin reading. The two-fold explanation for the title is creative and logical. First, the title of each chapter is a “four letter word”, such as wait, pain, or word. Secondly, Giovannetti takes this idea further by discussing the fact that the world hears us speak about the absolute moral truth in the Bible and interprets it as if we are speaking in four letter words….


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