Thursday, August 31, 2017

Patterns of Evidence: Review and Giveway

I had never personally seen Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus before, but I had heard a great deal about it. So when I was given the chance to do a review and offer a giveaway, of course I eagerly agreed. I had been really wanting to see it, so this was a great time.

Mr. B is very intrigued with the Old Testament, and he loves anything like this that seeks to prove, beyond doubt, that the accounts told in the Bible are true accounts that really did happen, and not simple stories. This movie begins at the end of Genesis with Joseph's rise to power, and it takes us on an archaeological journey through evidence from various places to the time in Caanan when the Israelites were first taking those cities.

We found this movie to be completely fascinating and eye opening. We were intrigued, our attention captured from the first frames. The format is very much a compare and contrast. The host, Time Mahoney, allows all sorts of theories and points of view to come into play, and gives those who disagree with the truth of the Bible to make their case. I like how the evidence is laid out, much like you'd see in a court case really, and you are left to rightly divide that evidence as you see fit. You have the free will to make your own conclusions from the information presented.

I highly recommend you watch the follow trailer, and then hop on over to their store to order the DVD for yourself. If you use the code MK1, you will enjoy $3.00 off!

Be sure to enter my Giveaway for a chance to win one for yourself! Continental US winners only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

God's Crime Scene for Kids' Mystery Investigation Kit Giveaway

Join your children in learning how to determine the most reasonable cause for everything we see in creation with a real-life detective! In God's Crime Scene for Kids, J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason's mystery. Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother's attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective's Academy. Your kids will look at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator and ultimately learn how to make their own case for God's existence.

Help your kids become detectives who investigate creation for signs of God and His creativity by entering to win the Mystery Investigation Kit!

Hone your reasoning skills as you investigate evidence in the universe to determine the most reasonable cause for everything we see in creation.
In this companion to Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother's attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective's Academy. Along the way, they develop the skills needed to investigate the mystery and the evidence of God's existence. The cadets learn logical-thinking skills as they examine the contents of a mysterious box and the vast universe.
In God's Crime Scene for Kids, real-life detective J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason's mystery, and at the same time looks at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator. Ultimately, kids will learn how to make their own case for God's existence.

About the authors:

J. Warner and Susie Wallace have been training young people in the church setting for over a decade. J. Warner is a cold-case homicide detective who has been featured on Dateline, FOX News, Court TV and other crime-related television shows. A former atheist, he is the author of "Cold-Case Christianity: God's CrimeScene," "Forensic Faith," and "Cold-Case Christianity for Kids." He has a master's degree in theology and is the founder of Susie has a master's degree in speech pathology and co-writes (and edits) all the kids books in this series. J. Warner and Susie have four children and live in southern California.
Find out more about J. Warner and at

My Thoughts: WE LOVE THIS! This is such a fun way to really dissect facts, and learn to "rightly divide." Mr. B loves all things "universe" so this was a GREAT fit for us. You will look at evidence that proves God's Almighty hand at work creating everything we see and know. At the end, your kids are confident and knowledgeable enough to make their own arguments! 
** I received this free in exchange for my honest review. I wasn't required to write a positive review, and all opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.**

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 31. The winner will be announced September 1 on the Litfuse blog.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Lapbooking our way 20th Century History {{REVIEW}}

A Journey Through Learning
We love history in our homeschool, and over the years we've really focused a lot on the Middle Ages and early American history. The 20th century, and more recent history, hasn't been a topic we've delved into much, so we were really excited to receive An Overview of the 20th Century for grades 2-7 by A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks
An Overview of the 20th Century is a standalone history product that features a great study guide and directions to complete a lapbook that is a whopping 3 folders in size! The main components of the lapbook are mini books. 

Topics included are:

Henry Ford

Panama Canal


Wright Brothers

World War 1

Charles Lindbergh

Roaring 20s

Great Depression

Hoover Dam

World War 2


Life in the 50s

The Cold War

Civil Rights

First Man on the Moon

John F. Kennedy

Vietnam War

Persian Gulf War


20th Century Technology
And if you are interested, you can also purchase coordinating copy work in both cursive and print
For this review, we received one digital download of Learning Lapbook with Study Guide.
Overview of 20th Century Lapbook with Study Guide
How we used this:

I didn't have a set plan in place of how many lessons we were going to do weekly. I decided to play it by ear, and let him explore interested topics more if he wanted. We started at the beginning with the Wright Brothers. Mr. B loves airplanes, so he loved reading about the first people to fly. He was also thrilled to know his father and I traveled to the Kitty Hawk area, years ago, and he was highly impressed with the fact they were born in Ohio-since we go to Ohio frequently.  He went to the included link in the text, and labeled the airplane. Then we spent a few days looking at how planes have changed over the years, watching the planes land at the nearby airport, and making paper planes with a variety of paper plane kits he has. 

Next, we moved on to Henry Ford. You know me, and I like to go in depth with things when the notion hits, so we spent a good deal of time with Mr. Ford. The included text tells us that Henry Ford was born in Greenfield, MI so Mr. B wanted to find Greenfield on a printed map, and include that in his lesson. So we did. We also looked to see how much $86,000 was in 1899 compared today. We found out that with an inflation rate of 2.87% per year, $100 in 1899 would be about 2814.05 in 2017, for a grand total of $2,420,082.40! So Henry Ford blew through the equivalent of 2.4 million dollars! 

We were to find a 1900 "Delivery Wagon" photo, and glue it to the page. We had some difficulty figuring out what was the right thing, but ultimately Mr. B decided on this photo: 

On to Week 3 we started in with the Panama Canal. Again, we located the Panama Canal on the map, and he wanted to include that with his lessons. I was shocked to know they had to spend two years to rid the area of disease before they could even begin construction! Think about it, before the canal, a ship had to sail ALL the way around South America just to go from Virginia to California! Isn't that mindblowing?! Well, it is to me, at least! 

We didn't spend a great deal of time with the Panama Canal, since I plan to revisit it more at a later time. And I want to focus on WWI in a LOT of detail later, so we skipped on over to "Women Gain the Right to Vote." Women won the right to vote in 1920, and my grandmother was born in 1919. Brayden was amazed to learn she was born before the ratification of Women's Suffrage. Along with this, we skipped over to The Great Depression, so we could talk about how our own family lived and survived through such horrible times. You see, that same grandmother was married around 1934-right in the middle of The Great Depression. So these two worked hand in hand for us. 

One could easily focus on one point in the Table of Contents each week, or even 2 or 3 per week. We chose to take a slower route, to really get a lot of out it. We are set to being The Roaring Twenties and Charles Lindbergh this week, and I know Mr. B is really looking forward to that.


Overall, this is a good stand alone product for a quick run down of history parts. I wouldn't use it as a main source of curriculum, but it's a good supplement that would go nicely in an end of the year portfolio. I wish there were more activities for each topic, but you can easily add your own to go deeper into the topics of your choice. We plan to keep coming back to this, and adding to our lapbook as our year progresses! 

Does Journey Through Learning Lapbooks Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?
This is a physical product, so you can use it as you need.  There is no time constraint, and no worries on memberships or anything like that. Each lesson is standalone, so you can move around as you want. 

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

There are NO hidden fees. This is a physical product. This is geared to grades 2-7. For older grades, I would probably add a little more oomph into each lesson.  

3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long? 

Each lesson is really short, as are the included activities. There's a lot of variety, and you can really jazz it up for autism and ADHD. I preferred to add more activities on our own, but Mr. B would have enjoyed just doing the shorter activities with each lesson, too. 

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.

I added things to include other subjects, like figuring out how much 1899's $86,000 would be today, finding locations on a map, etc. This does cover a wide range of historical events. 

Please check out what others from The Homeschool Review Crew have to say! 
Lapbooks for Classical Conversations, Apologia, Inventors & 20th Century {A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

The Great American Eclipse

I plan to write a longer post, later today. But for now, I had to share these photos. Words can't even begin to describe how amazing this experience was for us!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Early Learning with Phonics Museum App {REVIEW}

Veritas Press
We were recently given the chance to review a very fun, and cute App by Veritas Press. Phonics Museum App  is a really cute, fun way for your early learner child to develop phonics awareness and understanding, and it is now available through the app store. Phonics Museum blends games and multi-sensory learning to your fingertips!

Veritas Press Phonics Museum
For this review, we received full access to the app for one year. Membership is 9.99/month, or $99/year.
How we used this:

I set up accounts for both Mr. B and Little Princess, his little sister. She is 4.5, and also has autism. I also sat up a 3rd account so I could play around myself. These games are a lot of fun, and I actually got caught up playing them myself haha!

Game play is pretty easy to navigate, and the app gives clear instructions. I would suggest helping younger kids. Mr. B had no issues setting us his own character, and navigating the virtual land, but Little Princess needed more guidance.

First you create your own avatar. Of course, I never took a pic of that. After that, you go to the Phonics Museum lobby area. To the left is a game pad icon. That's the "Free Play Room." There, your child can listen to all the little songs they learn in the games, as they play them.

The Elevator is how your child moves between the floors of the museum. They must learn the numbers, as they play, so you're getting number awareness with phonics!

The first floor is focused on the letter A. And it teaches your child how to play. Your child will find letters in paintings, such as a painting of Apples. "A a a a a a Apple!" By exploring the museum, your child will learn letters and sounds, while learning to read. And, they will develop a true love of learning to read, while playing these fun little games. 

Why does this work so well?

Phonics museum blends fun games with live teaching videos. Mrs. Biddle is an energetic, quirky teacher that Mr. B and Little Princess now ADORE! Mr. B of course can read, but he still enjoyed watching the short videos and playing the games. Little Princess would replay the videos over and over and over again. Often, she replays her favorite of the day a dozen times or more. That's one aspect of the app that I really like. Your child can replay the videos as they need to, or as you feel they should.  But, your child can not "fast forward" or "rewind." I do wish we could do these, since Mr. B wasn't too interested in some of the videos due to his age and academic level, and Little Princess already knew some. But the fact your child can't skip ahead is great, too because this makes sure they complete the tasks.

I really like how each activity is numbered. This makes it easy for your child, especially special needs kids like Mr. B and Little Princess who need a visual chart, to know what to do next. AND, you get the added benefit of number sense being thrown in for good measure.

The paintings stay "locked" until your child finishes the activities for the one before. That's great incentive for them to work through the app so they can see all of the paintings.

Overall, this is a fun app that both Mr. B and Little Princess enjoy. Little Princess, though non verbal, will still sing these songs and repeat them daily. She will point to an Apple and say "A a a a a Apple!" So I know she's learning a lot from this.

Phonics Museum App {Veritas Press Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Action Storybook Bible Contest by David C Cook


Now is your chance to have DC and Marvel illustrator Sergio Cariello make your child's dream come true!


David C Cook is proud to introduce the newest book in the Action Bible collection: The Action Storybook Bible (coming October 2017). Pre-order The Action Storybook Bible from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or to reserve your copy today. Plus click the graphic below to enter to have a chance to win an illustration of your child as a super hero by Action Bible artist Sergio Cariello (who has also illustrated comics for DC and Marvel!).

The giveaway is open until September 11, 2017, 5:00pm MST. Your entry must be received by then to be eligible. Five winners will be chosen at random from eligible entrants.


Families see the Bible in motion and put their faith into action! The Action Storybook Bible invites families with young children to explore God's redemptive story together. An entry point into the world of The Action Bible, it tells of the amazing creation story, powerful kings who reigned over ancient Israel, God's miraculous gift of eternal life through Jesus, and more! God's promise for the world is displayed throughout every page. Discover your family's place in God's incredible story and together put your faith into action! Interactive features include:
  • Fifteen key episodes from God's Word-each one loaded with several stories along with over 350 brand-new illustrations throughout.
  • Short and easy readings-for children ages eight and under with rich, colorful images.
  • Life, Faith, Action! features-conclude every episode and invite families to talk about how God moves in the stories, how to see God in life today, how to put faith into action, and how to easily talk to God with a suggested prayer.
  • Hall of Fame visual index-the place to look up favorite Bible characters by discovering their icon connections and finding them in the stories.

Learn more and purchase a copy here.

Monday, August 14, 2017


Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017
Curriculum. That's a dreaded word this time of year it seems. Families all around are scratching their heads wondering what to buy, what not to buy, what will work, etc. What editions do they need to upgrade, what can they pass along to a younger child, and so many more questions.

I only have Mr. B, so I can't say too much about passing curricula on to other kids, but I can speak from a special needs point of view. It seems like our brand of special needs is often overlooked. We aren't the severely academically challenged, so the "special needs packages" don't work for us. And I have to tell you, those pre-formed packages really tick me off in way I don't think I could properly convey. Most companies just slap a "special needs" label on K-2nd...maybe 3rd....grade material and call it a day. Seriously? Why? Just....WHY? Why insult us in that way?! Sure, my son may have difficulty writing sentences properly, or forming a full paragraph. But does that mean he also desires the subject material of a 2nd grader? "See Spot run." can only get you so far in life people! Something needs to be done about this. That was my issue with public school. They wanted to more or less hold him down. They actually told me they never really expected him to read, write, form a solid paragraph, etc. When I called concerned because he was 9 and not writing 4 sentence paragraphs, they told me it was ok...he was special needs, and it was required. WHAT?! I mean...WHAT?! I don't care what is and isn't required, no ceiling is to be placed on my child's learning potential! No cap is to be placed on what he can and cannot achieve. That's just ridiculous, and sadly...that's the same feeling I get when I see pre-made "special needs packages." It truly infuriates me. That is why I work so hard on these reviews to make sure you get a true sense of how they work, how they can be adapted to a special need lifestyle, and if anything could make it better. OR, if something just flat out doesn't work, why not? What could change could be made to make it work?

This is what we are using as our main core this year, and why. Keep in mind, we will work in review items as needed, or change it up if Mr. B becomes bored.

Language Arts: WinterPromise LA6. I chose LA6, because academically the level just fits better, and because of the overall theme. Mr. B is really into all things universe/solar system/outer space right now. The theme of this is about space aliens. So far, Mr. B is eating it up! He loves it! He loves how he's made a space adventurer in the lessons. For example, in the first lesson of spelling, his pencil is now known as an E-Liminator lol. He was murmuring to himself about how those evil space aliens weren't going to beat him. That's the kind of engagement I want to see in my son. He truly learns more like that.

Reading: We plan to use the Sea and Sky reading package from WinterPromise this year. It goes along with the LA6 and everything is already planned out for us. I wish there was more in the way of reading comprehension guides to go with this. I would love to see some included worksheets in the LA6 set to cover this (or your chosen package) but that's not the case. So I plan to look for study guides, etc. to accompany the books. Right now, we're on A Strange Intruder. It's not exactly his favorite to read on his own, but he loves to be read to. So I will gladly read to him according to the daily schedule.

Social Studies: Speaking of Sea and Sky, we have that. It covers more than just history, bringing in some science and geography too. But I plan to keep it mainly a social studies only requirement for him this year since the science part is meteorology and astronomy, and we've exhausted those already. I chose this because of the themes of weather, space, and airplanes. He loves it so far. The Captains Log is a lot of fun, and I like how detailed the plans are.

We are also using MasterBooks Biographies of the Revolution. When he finishes that, I plan to purchase MasterBooks World History Vol. 1. Mr. B Loves history, so I know these will be big hits.

Some may say, WHOA, that's WAY too much. BUT, Sea & Sky is ranged from 4th to around 9th. We have the younger reader set AND the older reader set that was bought for him by a family member. So we can really spread this out for a while, and use it to the fullest over the next few years.

Math: We are going to continue with CTC and UnLock Math this year, supplementing with Math Essentials. He's not quite up to the level of using Math Essentials as a full curriculum, so we will plug in as we can. I will use a selection of workbooks and printed worksheets for extra practice, and we will move slowly when needed.

Science:  I'm going to use Apologia and Masterbooks. I am doing this because I'm not 100% sure where he is level wise here. MasterBooks I know will be a breeze for him because it's 4th-6th grade zoology, but it's kind of reading intensive at times, at least for him. The Apologia is going to be used as a challenge for him. We have been using Apologia Marine Biology, and he LOVES it. And I have Swimming Creatures that he's going to use after this review, and General Science.

I like Apologia because the student journal is really great. He likes using it, and sees it more as a fun activity than actual school work. Masterbooks is great because the lessons are short, and the lesson plans are very easy to use.

As you can see, none of these are labeled Special Needs, but we are easily able to adapt them to his level rather choose a package that is more infantile in nature. I prefer things that are already planned for us, and planned in a way that is easy to understand and follow. I need in your face, right there plans to follow because I don't have time to go searching for stuff. All of these programs are great for us, and in my opinion, perfect for our needs. They are a blend of Charlotte Mason and traditional methods, for the most part, and most combine a multi-sensory approach or hands on. That's what works for us! Let me know in the comments what your plans are for the year!

Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017


Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017

It's that time of year again, friends! Time for the Homeschool Review Crew 5 Day Back to School Blog Hop! Here, you'll find a whole host of bloggers who will be writing about various themes of back to school goodness! Be sure to check it out! 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

No-Nonsense Algebra with Math Essentials (REVIEW)

Math Essentials
Math can be a daunting subject for even the most seasoned veteran homeschooler. I can't count how many times I've helped parents overcome their fear of math. Math Essentials has taken some of that fear away with their No-Nonsense Algebra workbook.

This book starts with a pre-algebra review, and progresses through the ins and outs of Algebra. Included with the book are free online video tutorials to help your child get the most out of this complete Algebra book.

For this review, we received one physical copy. 
No-Nonsense Algebra
How we used this:

This could certainly be a full algebra course. This book is thick and full with practice work. Each lesson is broken down into short, and easy to understand components. I love that. It's easy to get lost in the process, but Math Essentials No-Nonsense Algebra takes that process and breaks it down into its smallest parts for easy understanding. 

Ignore the fact I really need to work on my nails...

Like I said before, this book is thick. I truly wasn't expecting it to be this full. I do wish there was more in the way of practice on each lesson. For example, on the picture below, I'd like to have another page just of that to use for practice, or even two pages per lesson. I think that would make for a much more comprehensive book. With that said, review is seen throughout the book, so previous lessons are reviewed, but I'd just like more review at the time.

The pages have easy to understand and read instructions. There's no flashy stuff to distract your student. It's very straight forward. There's not a ton of empty space for use as a workspace, so you may need some scratch paper.

I had Mr. B work on these first few lessons more because he had some issues with it. We used the included online video tutorial, and then I just hand wrote out some more problems for him to do to try and get more practice in. I wanted to make sure the "easy" stuff was solidly mastered before moving on.

I thought I'd show some from the middle of the book, as well. This way you can see a little more. Each lesson is presented the same way. There's your actual lesson part, then the review. Some of this is very new to Mr. B, so I had him work at a slower pace at the start in order to lay down a solid foundation. You can see there is ample instruction and samples to see. Each lesson builds on the next, and your child reviews previous material all through the lessons.

I really like these tid bits of encouragement or useful tips. These are interspersed throughout the book. It's a nice addition that allows your student to stop and pause, and think about what they are doing, and how. I can see these helpful hints being useful across the spectrum on schoolwork, not just with this subject and product.

Overall, we plan to continue using this as a mix between a main core and a heavily used supplement. I like the layout of the book, and the fact it's not overly flashy and distracting. I'm not sure if we will fully progress into the main algebra part this year, since that's still a bit advanced for him. I like the shorter lessons that are more concise and easy to understand. I would highly recommend this to others, especially those whose children have trouble focusing for long periods of time.

Does Math Essentials No-Nonsense Algebra Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

This a physical book, so there's no time constraints that you'd find with a fully online program. I would not skip ahead at all because the lessons build upon each other. It would be very easy to skip ahead if your child has already mastered Pre-Algebra. 

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

This is good for middle and high school levels, or even as a refresher before college algebra. I know this would have been very useful for me when I went back to school after a number of years away from the classroom. There are no hidden fees. 
3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?

The name says it all, "No-Nonsense." There's nothing flashy or extravagant that could clutter to pages, or be a distraction. Lessons are pretty short. Mr. B can do a lesson in 15 minutes or so. As far as boring and engaging, there's no game like feel or anything like that. 

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.

This is simply just Algebra. 

Other members of The Homeschool Review Crew were given copies of No-Nonsense Algebra. Please click the banner below to see what they have to say! 
No-Nonsense Algebra {Math Essentials Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer