Monday, September 18, 2017

A Review of Imagine...The Great Flood by Matt Koceich from Barbour Publishing

Finding good, clean fiction books for children to read can be harder than you think.  This is why I was excited when we recently got the chance to review Imagine...The Great Flood by Matt Koceich from Barbour Publishing.  Barbour Publishing is a Christian publishing company that has been around since the early 1980's and they release more than 150 Christian titles every year.
IMAGINE... The Great Flood, Imagine, Imagine Series, I Survived, Matt Kocheich, Bible Adventure, Bible Stories, Noah's Ark, Great Flood, Middle Grade Fiction, Christian Kids Books, Christian Kids Series, Clean Reading for Kids, Kids Fiction, Kids Book Series, Biblical Fiction for Kids, Christian Fiction for Kids, Adventures in Odyssey, Bible Stories for Kids, Clean Books for Kids
Imagine...The Great Flood is a Christian fiction book for children ages 8-12.  It has 110 pages.  This is the first book in a new series from Matt Koceich.  He is an author, teacher, and missionary.  His goal in this Imagine series is to bring the events of the Bible to life for kids as they wonder what it might have been like to live thorough the events of the Bible.
Barbour Publishing
In Imagine...The Great Flood, we meet Corey.  He is a ten year old boy who has just found out that his world will change drastically.  His family will be moving from Texas to Florida for his dad's new job  Corey is not very excited to be leaving everything he knows for a new city, a new school, new friends, a new house, and a new state.  Corey's mom tries to reassure him by reminding him that while everything around him changes, God doesn't change.  As Corey thinks about this, his dog Molly takes off into the woods and that is where the real adventure begins.
Corey chases after Molly, but trips and falls in the process.  When he collects himself after the fall, he quickly realizes this is not the same woods he was just in.  Corey soon meets Shem who is collecting animals for his father's ark.  Corey realizes that this is Noah's ark and he begins helping Shem.  It is in helping collect animals that Corey learns the dangers that Noah and his sons faced while they were preparing for the flood.  Corey comes face to face with the giant Nephilims, who are not friendly and not happy.  This is also where Corey really has to rely on God for help.  He realizes that his worry about moving to Florida was pretty small compared to the worry and fear Noah and his sons faced while preparing the ark for the flood.  You will have to read the book to find out all the details of what happened to Corey when he helped Shem and if Corey ever got back to his family in time to move with them.

Little Miss, who is in 4th grade, read this book aloud to me for school in one week.  I broke the book down so that she read about 3 chapters a day.  She needed help to pronounce a few of the words in the book, but other than that she was able to read it without any problems.  She had a hard time putting it down once she got a couple of chapters in because she felt like there was no good place to stop.  This book did a great job of holding her attention.  It also gave us the chance to discuss the difference between fiction and non-fiction, what the Bible says about the story of Noah's ark, and how we can use our imagination to honor God.  I like that we could think about this fun adventure story, but go back and read the real Bible story for it too.  The only complaint Little Miss had about this book was that it should have featured a girl character too.
We enjoyed reading Imagine...The Great Flood by Matt Koceich and we definitely recommend it for a quick, fun book to read. We can't wait for the next book in the Imagine Series to come out so we can read it too.  You can learn more Barbour Publishing and all they have to offer on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  You can learn more Imagine...The Great Flood by Matt Koceich here.  You can also read what other families from the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this book by clicking the banner below.
Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich {Barbour Publishing}

Friday, September 15, 2017

DIY Wood Chair Makeover

About a month ago I was out running errands with the kids.  On our way home we found a couple of garage sales and decided to stop.  My theory is that it never hurts to look, right?  Sometimes we find a great deal and sometimes we just walk away.  On this particular day I happened across a solid wood chair.  It looks like at one time it matched a dining room set, but it was sitting all alone and marked just $2.  I couldn't pass it up.  It was the perfect piece for a little makeover.  I figured a little sanding and painting would refresh this chair.  Since I had no attachment to the chair, there were no matches to the chair, and I got it so cheap, I didn't have any issues giving it a makeover.  I cleaned it up and sanded off some of the varnish and smoothness since I wanted to the chair to have a rustic feel.  Then I gave it a nice coat of primer and finally I painted it using this new Rustoleum Chalked Ultra Matte Paint in Calypso Blue.  Once it was dry I sanded a few areas to make it more rustic.  Then I coated it with Rustoleum Chalked Protective Top Coat in Matte Clear to help seal it and it was finished.  When I bought it, I thought I might use it for a computer chair, but after I made it over my hubby suggested putting it in our bedroom since it would be a great accent piece in there.
A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Chair Makeover, DIY, Rustoleum Chalked Paint, makeover,

A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Chair Makeover, DIY, Rustoleum Chalked Paint, makeover,

A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Chair Makeover, DIY, Rustoleum Chalked Paint, makeover,

A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Chair Makeover, DIY, Rustoleum Chalked Paint, makeover,

A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Chair Makeover, DIY, Rustoleum Chalked Paint, makeover,

A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Chair Makeover, DIY, Rustoleum Chalked Paint, makeover,

A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Chair Makeover, DIY, Rustoleum Chalked Paint, makeover,

A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Chair Makeover, DIY, Rustoleum Chalked Paint, makeover,

A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Chair Makeover, DIY, Rustoleum Chalked Paint, makeover,

A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Chair Makeover, DIY, Rustoleum Chalked Paint, makeover,
What do you think?  Have you ever made over any furniture?  I would love to hear about it.  I would definitely recommend the Rustoleum Chalked Ultra Matte Paint and Rustoleum Chalked Protective Top Coat.  They were easy to use, it dries nicely, and it comes in many colors.

*This is not a sponsored post.  I was not given any products to use or asked to use any specific products.  I just chose to share with products I did use in case you would like to look for them for your projects.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Review of Carole P. Roman Books

We are a huge fan of books here in our house, especially if they are educational.  So it shouldn't be a surprise that we would jump at the chance to review books.  We were super excited to receive If You Were Me and Lived in...Colonial America and Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag by Carole P. Roman to review.  She was also very generous and sent us copies of I Want to Do Yoga Too and Can a Princess Be a Firefighter? to read as well.
Books by Carole P Roman, Cultural books, history books, children's history, children's education
We got our first chance to know Carole P. Roman books last year in this review.  We fell in love with her books because they are interesting and educational.  They are written so that kids can understand them, but they are also full of information that everyone can learn.  Even though it can be difficult to find quality books about different time periods that multiple ages of children can read and understand, you don't have to worry about that with these books.
Books by Carole P Roman
The If You Were Me and Lived in…Colonial America is part of Carole's Historical series.  It is a non-fiction series that encourages readers to explore what life might have been like if you lived in a different time period in countries around the world.  This series is written from the point of view of a young student so that readers can feel like they are part of the country they are reading about.  So far this series includes 10 different titles which allows readers to visit Greece, Italy, England, Colonial America, China, The Middle Ages, Europe, the Mali Empire, Viking, Europe, and the American West.  The book we received had around 60 pages.  The books tell where the country or area of the world can be found.  Then the books tell facts about what life may have included for you if you lived during the time period.  It tells facts like what kind of housing you might have lived in, what kind of government existed, the kinds of food you would have ate, where you would have went to school and what you would have learned there, and much more.  Each book also had a glossary that defined terms used throughout the book and gave the proper pronunciation of the glossary terms.  The books also listed and discussed important people from the time period it represented.  At the end of each book the author lists her blog so you can go to it and find resources to use with some of the books.  The resources on the blog are worksheets, coloring pages, topics for essays, and critical thinking questions.
Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag is part of Carole's Early Chapter Reader Books - Oh Susannah Series.  This series features Susannah Logan, a third grade girl.  This series currently only has 2 books, but I am sure more are coming.  In Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag, Susannah has lots of problems and feels like she has no solutions to any of them.  It starts with unfinished homework that she just shoves down in her backpack.  Then there is the sleepover invitation that gets shoved in the backpack.  A library book, a banana, and more get shoved down in the backpack, but soon the backpack can't hold it all and Susannah can't hide it.  Her parents help her deal with her problems once Susannah finally feels like she can tell them what is going on.
I gave Little Miss, my 4th grader, If You Were Me and Lived in...Colonial America to read.  For her history this year, she will be learning what early life in America was like.  She did read this book out loud to me over a couple of mornings.  I asked her questions about what she was reading to check her understanding and she was always able to answer pretty quickly.  Little Miss enjoyed reading this book about Colonial America and thought that life would have been harder back then without all of our modern appliances.  She decided that she would not like to wear what they wore because that would not leave her room to put her touches on her fashion.  We will use this book again later on in the year as a reference for life in the early colonies.
Little Miss also read Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag  out loud.  She really liked this story.  She said there has been times when she felt like Susannah and it was a great opportunity for us to discuss what to do when you feel overwhelmed.  Little Miss was a little shocked when I told her that there are many times I feel like Susannah too.  This book not only helped Little Miss, but it was a great reminder for me that not only do I need to make sure I keep things under control so I don't get overwhelmed, but I also need to check with Little Miss regularly so that she isn't shoving things down and getting overwhelmed.  This story was very touching for us.
I Want to Do Yoga Too and Can a Princess Be a Firefighter? are a part of Carole's Bedtime Stories Series.  There are four books in this series.  These are easy story books with lots of pictures and simple stories.  I Want to Do Yoga Too is all about little Hallie who wants to go to yoga with her mommy.  She wants to do everything just like mommy does.  Hallie doesn't even realize that she is doing yoga when Robin, the child care worker, shows her how to be a tree, butterfly, airplane, and cobra.  She is excited that she can be like her mommy.  Can a Princess Be a Firefighter? is a sweet little story about wanting to be a princess, but do other things too.  The little girl asks her mom if she can be a princess and a firefighter which starts a conversation.  The mom explains that there are tons of careers the little girl can have and she can have more than one.  In the end the mom reminds the little girl that no matter what career she chooses, she will always be a princess to her mom.  Little Miss loved both of these books too.  They were just fun to read.  She read them and then she had Daddy read them to her before bed too.  

We highly recommend the books we received from Carole P. Roman.  She is a favorite author in this house and we look forward to reading many more of her books.  You can find out more about this author and all her books on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Good Reads.  Check out all the books she has to offer.  You can also read the reviews from my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew by clicking the banner below to learn about her other books because we all got to review different books.
Oh Susannah, Bedtime Stories, Captain No Beard, If you were Me ... {Carole P. Roman Reviews}

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Review of Charlotte's Web E-Guide from Progeny Press

Charlotte's Web is my favorite children's fiction book.  I loved reading this book as a child and I love reading it with my kids.  I have not read it with my daughter yet, but it was on my list of books to tackle this year.  So when we got the opportunity to review the Charlotte's Web E-Guide from Progeny Press, I knew it was time to read my favorite book with Little Miss.
Charlotte's Web - E-Guide, Christian, literature, reading comprehension, writing, critical analysis, biblical, vocabulary, faith based, study guide, language, english, unit study, classics, classical, living books
Progeny Press is a company that started out when Michael and Rebecca Gilleland were homeschooling their own children and saw a need for quality study guides with a Christian perspective for Classical Literature.  They started out by writing 18 study guides and today they offer well over 100 study guides in several different formats.  The study guides that they write are designed to teach children to analyze what they read while checking their comprehension. Progeny Press has  study guides for lower elementary right up through high school which is why they have become one of our favorite resources for enhancing our language arts.
Since we have reviewed a Progeny Press study guide before, we kind of knew what to expect from them.  When I received the download of our Charlotte's Web E-Guide which is designed for grades 4-6, I downloaded it and got the book from the library.  While I scrolled through the 55 page study guide, I had Little Miss start reading the book aloud to me.  The study guide begins with a "Note to Instructor" that clearly explained how to use the study guide, what additional resources may be needed, and it gave a suggested schedule for reading.  They suggested reading a large portion of the book before beginning work on the questions.  The guide included an about the author page, an about the illustrator page, a synopsis, and ideas for pre-reading activities.  Then the guide had all the study questions, vocabulary, and deep thinking questions.  It did a good job of breaking the book into manageable sections of 3-4 chapters of reading.  Then after you read the chapters you did the study guide work.  There were vocabulary questions for each section of the book, questions that checked comprehension, questions for thinking about the story, and digging deeper questions for each section.. Some sections of the study guide had Bible references and asked the student to look up a passage in the Bible and then relate it to the story.  The study guide also included post-reading activity suggestions and a list of additional resources.  This E-Guide is available for just $17.99.
After Little Miss had read a couple of chapters of Charlotte's Web, I had her complete the corresponding questions in the study guide.  Since she is a little older now, I let her work on this guide by opening it with Adobe Acrobat which makes it interactive.  She could just type her answers right on the computer and I didn't have to print all of the pages of the study guide.  She really enjoyed working on the study guide this way because she could easily find her place and scroll to answer the questions for the chapters she read.  When she would finish her work for that day, I would save the study guide.  It was also easier for me to grade because I could open two windows side by side and see both her work in the study guide and the answer key.  This was really good guide for her to work on because she knew she was going to have to think in detail about what she was reading.  She knew she couldn't just give quick answers for all of the questions because some of them asked for more detail and her opinion.  She said this study guide was harder than the last one she worked on, but she liked it better because it did challenge her to think more about the story and think about what the characters were feeling and why.  I really appreciated this study guide because it asked multiple levels of questions.  Some were just surface questions that checked to see if she read and other questions were in-depth so that she truly had to think and reason to answer them.  I also liked the interactive aspect of this study guide because it made it so that Little Miss didn't lose pages of the guide and we could easily find where she left off with the work.  I felt like this was a very thorough and well written study guide.  Little Miss is over halfway through the study guide and on Chapter 14 of the book.  She will be finishing up both in the next week or so.
This is a screenshot of how I graded the study guide side by side.
I will definitely be checking out Progeny Press for other study guides at other levels especially since I have both an upper elementary student and a high school student in our school.  You can find Progeny Press at their website, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.  You can find Charlotte's Web E-guide we received here.  Please make sure to go and check out all that Progeny Press has to offer since they do offer so many guides for so many levels.  There are many, many titles to choose from with Progeny Press.  Please check out the reviews from my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew by clicking on the banner below.  The Crew is reviewing many of the E-guides that Progeny Press offers.  I know I will be checking out the reviews so I can see what books we need to add to our list for reading.  
Study Guides for Literature {Progeny Press Reviews}

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Dear Florida

We are praying fervently for Florida and those in the path of Hurricane Irma.  We have family in Florida and pray they are safe through it all.  We are also praying for other areas of the country that are dealing with natural disasters too.

Stay safe!!!
A Glimpse of Normal

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Review of the Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Box-Tract from Let the Little Children Come

Presenting the Gospel to children at Halloween isn't something we always think about, but it is something that would be nice to do.  This is why I wanted an opportunity to review the Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Box-Tract from Let the Little Children Come.  This Halloween Tract is perfect for sharing the Gospel message with children in multiple ways this fall.
Let the Little Children Come Halloween Tract, halloween tract, share the gospel with children, child evangelism
Let the Little Children Come is a company that is on a mission to provide effective and useful child evangelism tools and resources to share the Gospel message with children.  They offer several different tracts, salvation bracelets, and other items designed specifically to help you teach children the Gospel message which is salvation through Jesus Christ.
The Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Box-Tract that we received came in a flat packed package of 20 tracts.  These cute little punch out pumpkins are easy to assemble and have plenty of room on the inside to add in candy, small toys, or small trinkets to give out to children.  On the inside they have numbered petals which tell the Gospel message and how to get saved.  They are fun, colorful, and an easy way to talk to children about Jesus.  There are instructions on each individual tract of how to put the pumpkin together.  The first time you put a pumpkin together it will take you a little longer, but once you get the hang of how they go together, it will only take a couple of minutes to complete each one.

When we received these tracts, the first thing we noticed was how colorful they are.  They are orange on the outside, like a pumpkin of course, but multicolored on the inside.  As we read through the tract, both of my kids said this was very similar to how the Gospel was taught to them.  We all agreed that it is a very simple, but truthful way of presenting the salvation message to children.  We also really appreciated the prayer on petal 6 that you can lead a child through if they are ready to accept Jesus.  We liked this feature because sometimes when you are talking to children about Jesus and they get excited about accepting Jesus it is emotional and having a prayer to lead them through just makes it easier.  Then I put one of the pumpkins together to see how easy it went together and how it would look together.  We brainstormed some things you could put in it - candy, small toys, erasers, small trinkets, and coins.  We also brainstormed some of the ways we could use these even though these are designed to be Halloween Tracts.  We obviously came up with handing them out at Halloween, but since we live in the boonies and we don't get trick-or-treaters, we came up with other options.  They would be great for Trunk-or-Treat events, Sunday School Classes, Children's Church, Harvest Parties, Kids Clubs, sporting events, parades, or outreach events just to name a few.  I will be donating our tracts to our friends who pastor a church and they have a big Trunk-or-Treat event for Halloween.  I know they will love having these tracts they can pass out to share the Gospel.

If you have the opportunity to reach out to kids in any way for Fall, we would definitely recommend using these tracts.  They come in packs of 20 for just $15.95.  If you order more for larger groups they do give discounts.  You can find out more about Let the Little Children Come on their website or on Facebook.  You can find out more about the tracts we received by clicking here.  Also you can get more ideas of how to use these tracts by clicking the banner below and reading the reviews of my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew.
Is There Anything Better Than Candy?  {Let The Little Children Come Reviews}

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Review of Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set from Apologia Educational Ministries

Picking out science classes for high school can tough especially when your student is not a huge science fan.  I have been looking for science curriculum that would be personally interesting to Buddy so that science would not seem like such a chore to him.  This is why I was excited to receive Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set from Apologia Educational Ministries to review recently.  Apologia Educational Ministries was also kind enough to send along their Marine Biology 2nd Edition Audio CD, read by Marissa Leinart, to accompany this curriculum and for us to use.
Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set, Homeschool Marine Biology from Apologia
Apologia Educational Ministries is the #1 publisher of creation-based science and Bible curriculum.  They believe in homeschooling, being able to defend the Christian faith, and that every academic subject can be taught from a biblical worldview.  They publish materials and curriculum for many different academic subjects covering grades K-12.  They also offer resources for homeschooling families and even have an Online Academy that students can attend to.  Apologia has been a company we have used for years and one that we truly appreciate because of the view they offer.
The Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set we received includes the textbook, a student notebook, along with the tests and solutions manual for the textbook.  The textbook is a hard-backed book that has 557 pages.  It features 16 modules that take about 2 weeks each to complete if you follow their recommended pace.  The modules include:
  • The Oceans of Our Planet
  • Life in the Sea
  • The First Four Kingdoms
  • Marine Invertebrates I
  • Marine Invertebrates II
  • Marine Vertebrates I
  • Marine Vertebrates II
  • Marine Ecology
  • The Intertidal Zone
  • Estuary Communities
  • Coral Reefs
  • Continental Shelf Communities
  • The Epipelagic Zone
  • The Deep Ocean
  • Ocean Resources
  • Effects of Humans on the Sea
The book also has a glossary, an appendix with many helpful reference resources in it, the module summaries, and a list of lab supplies.  It also has an index for looking up subjects quickly.  In addition this book is filled with beautiful pictures, highlighted vocabulary words, and experiments for each module.  The student notebook we received has a suggested daily schedule for working through this curriculum.  It also has an area for notes from each module and personal thoughts on each module.  It includes the On Your Own Questions, Study Guide Questions, and Summary of the Module that is also in the textbook.  It also has a Lab Notebook that includes the experiments, questions, and a conclusion of each experiment from the textbook.  There is also a special section on Presenting Your Research where it helps students create a presentation project for Marine Biology.  The test and solutions manual has a blank test for each module and quarterly tests for the textbook.  It also gives the test answers along with answers to the study guide questions and the answers to the module summaries.  We also received the Marine Biology 2nd Edition Audio CD, read by Marissa Leinart to review.  This audio CD is filled with mp3 tracks of each section of reading in the textbook.  The tracks we listened to for Module 2 were matched the textbook exactly word for word.  It is great for auditory learners or those that might struggle in reading the textbook.

Like I stated at the beginning, Buddy is not a huge science fan.  So I have chosen to go a non-traditional route for his high school science.  I am currently choosing to have him study subjects that interest him which is why I wanted this Marine Biology for him.  This curriculum is recommended for students that have already finished Biology and even though he has not done this yet, I still thought this would be a good fit for him.  He has had Algebra I which is also recommended for taking this course.  He is very interested in fish, the outdoors, and the water so that is why I thought he would do better at this science.  I know there may be times when we will have to stop and back track to find out some background Biology information for him and I am okay with doing that.  So all that being said let me tell you how we used it.  We started right at the beginning of this curriculum in module one.  Since we were on summer break part of the time for this review we went at a little slower pace.  Buddy used this curriculum 3 days a week.  He would spend time reading the module and then answer any questions for it in the student notebook.  We read through and discussed the experiments, but did not actually try them since we were on summer break.  We will work on the experiments now that school has started.  Hubby loves to do the science experiments with the kids so he will work on them with Buddy.  Once Buddy read all of the reading for module one he completed the study guide and module summary.  Then he took the test for Module One and he did very well.  He completed module two in the same way and he is currently working through module three.  We used our audio CD to listen to parts of module 2.  She read the text word for word clearly and concisely.  It was okay to listen to, but Buddy is not good at focusing while being read to so he prefers to read the material himself.  The audio CD will be handy if he is not feeling well, but we still want to do school.  I appreciate having it on hand to use as I can listen to it in advance to know what he will be reading.
Buddy's answers to the "On Your Own" questions
Area for notes for the module
This is what the experiments look like in the Lab Notebook section.
Buddy likes the way this curriculum is laid out and that it gives a set schedule to follow.  I also appreciate this because it frees up my time to plan out other subjects.  He said that he is looking forward to getting into further modules because the first couple that he has went through so far are pretty basic.  He can't wait to start reading and learning about all the marine animals, but he knows he has to get through the basics first.  I am glad that this curriculum does cover the basics that he should have learned in Biology, but only touched on in his Physical Science course.  Buddy does enjoy using the Student Notebook.  He likes having a place to write notes and having the questions all in one place instead of having to flip around in the textbook.  I really like the lab notebook part of the workbook because it has everything listed out for each lab in one place.  It also guides him through the different phases of scientific experiments.  Buddy was not a huge fan of the audio CD, but it is only because he has a hard time focusing on what is being read when he is not the one reading.  I like the audio CD because I can listen to his chapters ahead of time and know what he should be reading about.  Buddy is looking forward to working through this Marine Biology course.  He is glad it will count as a full science credit for his transcript.  We definitely recommend this science curriculum from Apologia.  It honors God, teaches students, and is interesting.  You can find out more about all the products Apologia Educational Ministries has to offer on their website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest pages.  You can find out more about and download a sample of the Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set we received here.  You can find the audio CD we received here.  As always you can see what my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew are saying about this curriculum by clicking on the banner below.
Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set {Apologia Educational Ministries Review}