If You Were Me and Lived In... ~ Book Review

We reviewed four books by Carole P. Roman. The books we reviewed are as follows:

About the books:


If You Were Me and Lived In…Mexico, South Korea, France, and Norway all talk about the capital of the country, where you would take people to visit when they visit the country, what your name may be, and some of the foods you may eat.

All four of these books introduce children to culture around the world.

How we used the books:

These books arrived the same day we were headed to a fundraiser for some friends who are adopting a little boy from South Korea. We read the South Korea book before heading to the fundraiser to learn more about the culture. Our friends have already adopted one little boy from South Korea who is a year older than my two year old daughter. She loves her friend and really loved looking at the book. I explained to her how this book was about the same area that “L” was born. I also explained that his baby brother was there waiting for him and his parents to go get him. My older children (11,10, and 8) also enjoyed learning more about the place that our friends had (and are) adopting from.

I read through the rest of the books with my 2 year old during the following week. My other children read these books to themselves. We would discuss the different countries that they read about and I would answer any questions they had about the country.

What we thought about the books:

Even though the target age group for these books is Pre-K to under 10, my boys who are 10 and 11 really enjoyed reading these books. They are really easy to read and understand. My 2 year old loved the colorful pictures in the books. My 8 year old girl said she liked reading about how people in different countries live and what they eat. My boys said they just liked reading books and needed something to read, but the books are interesting too.

One thing I really liked about the books was on the last page each book has a pronunciation page of the words that are used in the book. It made it easier to read the book when you could see how the word is suppose to be pronounced. I also liked the picture on the front of each book shows Earth with the country highlighted on the planet so the child can see exactly where the country is located.

These books are geared to younger children, but are enjoyed by all ages. You can purchase the books (South Korea, Mexico, Norway,and France) for under $9.00 each for the paperback version.  They are all also available for Kindle and Nook.

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.



Vocabulary Spelling City ~ Review

Having used the free (basic) version of VocabularySpellingCity, I was excited to try out the premium membership. My kids really didn’t do much with the free version, so I never made the jump to purchase the premium. Being able to review it, I was hoping it would get my kids to like playing it more often. We were given a one year premium membership for up to 5 children to try out. This program is offered to public, private, and homeschools.

What is it? VocabularySpellingCity is an “award winning game-based learning tool for vocabulary, spelling, writing, and language arts.” 

What is the difference between the basic and the premium? First of all, in the basic version, you are only given access to a few items, such as the teacher homepage, importing lists, and any free games. With the premium membership, you are given access to more games, individual student log-ins, record keeping, progress tracking, and so much more.

VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership Features

How does it work? It is very easy to set up a teacher account. Once you are logged in as the teacher, you can set up your student accounts and import or create spelling lists. After setting up your students accounts and importing or creating a list, you are then able to create an assignment list for each student to complete. You, the teacher, can decide what games and assignments you want your student to complete. They are also able to play any of the other games while working on their assignment list. When you create an assignment list for your student, you can go back into the teacher account and check on their progress.

One of the more useful areas is the teacher resources area. They have many areas that are linked to games and other resources. For instance, if you are working on parts of speech for the week, you are able to click on the parts of speech link and it will pull up video lessons, games, sample word lists, and enrichment strategies.

teacher resources

Okay, so now that you know what it is and what the website has to offer, you may be wondering how I used it with my children. After setting up my children’s accounts, I went ahead and created an assignment list for my 3rd grade daughter. For her assignments, I was able to import a 3rd grade Abeka spelling list. I gave her about six different things for her to work on, such as speedy speller, parts of speech, and flash cards (see below).

Having an old Windows XP computer combined with living in the country and being at the end of the line for internet, we did run into problems with the games loading slowly. I have an iPod touch, so I was able to get the free app so the kids wouldn’t get frustrated with the computer. The app works great and it did speed up the games a bit when the kids played on the app versus the computer.  Just a note ~ not all of the games are available on the app.

For my 5th grade son, I created a spelling word list that we were currently working on. I created an assignment list for him and he was working on his list when we ran into problems with one of the games (Letter Fall). The game is not available on the app and our computer ran so slow that he was not able to play the game. One of the features that I would love to see is to be able to go into the assignment list and edit the games/activities you have chosen for the student. You are able to delete the assignments, but then the student has to start all over with their progress.

What we thought? My kids didn’t like having to play on the computer. They loved playing on the app, though. I would love to see more of the games added to the app and, as I mentioned above, edit game feature to the assignments. Overall, we liked what the premium membership has to offer and will most likely continue to use the program.

VocabularySpellingCity premium membership is available for $29.99 for up to 5 students and can be used with children in grades K-12.

Click here to see more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.



Fair Time

We went to the NC State Fair this past Saturday and had a great time.

My youngest daughter is obsessed with horses and was so excited to ride a real live pony. 

My sons had their first ever roller coaster ride. My oldest also rode the super shot- the ride takes you way up and then it drops you and you feel like you are falling. He had a great time. 

I rode the tea cups with my youngest son and daughter and they both had a blast. My older daughter went on the train and boat rides with her sister. She likes the calm rides. 

We had a great time. We can't wait for next year. 


God's World News ~ Review of News Current

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Having not been familiar with God's World News, I was excited to be able to review the News Current edition which is geared for students in 5th and 6th grades. Both of my boys love getting mail. They both love reading. This was a great review for them. And they were excited when the first issue came in the mail.

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Our television broke earlier this summer and we have not had the resources to replace it. We do run a Christian radio station at all times (mainly for music) and my boys are hearing some news (during the news breaks every hour) from the radio. My oldest son, who is in 6th grade, will mention something that he heard about some of the current events. Sometimes he understands what it means and sometimes I have to explain what the newscaster meant. I try to not give him too much information unless he keeps asking. Sometimes, we sit down at the computer to look something up that he has heard in the news and learn about it. I have to be careful what websites to go to when I do that.

God's World News magazines are geared to children from pre-k all the way through the high school years. Each magazine has articles that are age appropriate. As a parent, it is great that I can hand my child a news magazine and not have to worry about any vulgar message being delivered by the magazine.

The edition we received, News Current, "emphasizes news, knowledge, and wisdom." Each magazine contains the following:

  • Editorials
  • Lessons
  • Map-It
  • News Graphics
  • Weeding Words
  • Quizzes
  • Web Content

When the first issue arrived, I did read through the magazine before handing to my son(s). Since, I had never seen an issue, I wanted to be able to read it through and see what the magazine was like. I also wanted to read it to be able to answer any questions that my sons may have after reading it themselves. The articles are well written and my boys did not have any trouble understanding them.

We also received a large wall map with our subscription. This map was created especially for the magazine. In the articles in the magazine, when a location is mentioned, it gives you the coordinates that matches the map so your child is able to find the location on the map.

After I read through the magazine, I had each of my boys, 5th and 6th grade, read through the magazine. We then were able to discuss a few of the articles during our regular history time. We have received three magazines (and the map) so far and they have enjoyed reading (and discussing) each one. They look forward to receiving the next magazine in the mail next month. They have said their favorite thing in the magazine is the cartoons. :) I liked the articles that had a little clip called Bible 2 Life next to the article. It gives a Bible verse and a little story about how we should react to different scenarios in our life.

When you subscribe, there are some extra resources available:

A subscription to the magazine is available for $28 per year on the God's News World website. You will receive 10 magazines, one every month except May and December.

Click here to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.


Raleigh North Carolina Free Field Trip

Back in August, I wrote this post about free and almost free field trips in and around Eastern North Carolina. I failed to mention that there are two great museums in Raleigh that are free to visit (during the week, you do have to pay for parking).

My boys love to visit the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Their favorite subject is science. We have visited this museum a few times in the past year. There is evolution posted on many of the exhibits, but since we are a Christian family, my boys have learned that evolution is not true and we are able to discuss the different view points in each exhibit.

 The science museum is huge and you could spend hours looking through all of the exhibits. The building is four stories tall and also has many animals to look at, including a butterfly exhibit you can walk through. Attached to the science center is the Nature Research Center. Here you can find many hands on science research activities and also watch some scientists at work. Here is a map of the Museum of Natural Sciences and Nature Research Center.

Another free museum that is right next to the science museum is the North Carolina Museum of History. This is another place that one could spend hours visiting. We usually visit one museum in the morning, have lunch, and visit the other museum in the afternoon. There are only two stories that are accessible to visitors, but there is so much information on the history of North Carolina. This is a great place to visit when your child is learning about North Carolina history. The main exhibit on the first floor, tells about the history from the beginning (Native Americans) through the 20th century. There are a lot of hands on activities throughout the exhibit. One of the other exhibits that my kids like to visit is the sports hall of fameHere is a map of the exhibits.

Both of these museums are open from 9-5 Monday through Saturday and noon-5 on Sundays. Parking is only free on the weekends.

A couple more places to visit in the Raleigh area would be the State Capitol and also Marbles Museum which offers a discount to homeschool families.


YWAM Publishing ~ Review

We were given the opportunity to review Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose from YWAM Publishing.  (YWAM stands for Youth With A Mission and was founded in 1960.) We also reviewed the unit study that goes along with the book. 

Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose is available for $6.99 and the unit study guide is available for $7.49. These are both recommended for ages 10 and up. The book is available in print, Nook, or Kindle format, while the unit study is available in print only.


About the book:
Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose tells the story of Jim Elliot and his missionary friends as they try to minister to the Auca people in the Oriente jungle in Ecuador. The books starts by telling about Jim leaving to go on his first missionary trip. It also tells how he met his wife and how they ended up being missionaries in Ecuador. The last part of the books tells about their lives in Ecuador, their contact with the Auca Indians, and the missionaries deaths.
The unit study guide is 62 pages long and is packed with many ways to use the book. There are eight chapters which are as follows:
  1. Key Bible Verses
  2. Display Corner
  3. Chapter Questions
  4. Student Explorations
  5. Community Links
  6. Social Studies
  7. Related Themes to Explore
  8. Culminating Event

How we used the book and unit study:
Since my children were familiar with the story of Nate Saint and have watched the End of the Spear movie, it was easy for them to be interested in the life of Jim Elliot. We read the book together as a read aloud each day. I would ask them the chapter questions from the unit study guide at the end of each chapter. We also looked up facts about Ecuador. I had each of my children, ages 11, 10, and almost 8, pick one of the verses to memorize during the review period.

What we thought about the book and unit study:
My boys, 11 and 10, were very interested to listen to the story of Jim Elliot. They enjoyed learning about the country. They also enjoyed hearing about Jim’s life, what led him to become a missionary to the Auca Indians, and how he was determined to reach people that had never been reached with God’s Word. They loved having the unit study guide to help them understand the book better. They memorized their verses and answered the questions. They want to work on making a display about Ecuador next. My 8 year old daughter also enjoyed hearing about Jim’s life.

My boys have asked me to buy them more books from YWAM Publishing. They thought the book was well written and they want to learn about more people.

To see what other crew members thought about YWAM Publishing, click here.



October plans

This month is going to be a bit busier than most months. My oldest daughter's birthday is this month. The fair is also this month. The days become cooler this month, which means more time spent outside.

Next week, we plan to take a mini fall break for my daughter's birthday on the 18th. We have field trips planned for Thursday (17th) and Friday (18th). We will be getting together with other homeschoolers for park day on Tuesday (22nd) and going to the fair that evening. 

The next week will be busy, but a lot of fun for us! 


Zondervan Homeschool Mom’s Bible ~ Review

I am always on the lookout for great KJV homeschool mom’s devotionals. I was so excited when I learned that  Zondervan was going to be coming out with a KJV Homeschool Mom’s Bible.  It was actually being released near my birthday. I was so happy when I was picked to review this Bible (I was going to get it as a birthday present anyway).

This Bible is a beautiful hardcover Bible with a protective jacket.  Included is the whole Bible, page long devotionals sprinkled throughout, and a topical index at the back.  The forward is written by Vickie Farris, wife of HSLDA founder Dr. Michael Farris. The short 365 devotionals were written by Janet Tatman (Alpha Omega Publications Daily Focus writer) who has homeschooled four children for 25 years. 

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Each devotional is only one page long. It starts with a Bible verse and ends with a short prayer. These are just the right length for a busy homeschool mom.

Here is a short sample from my birthday, September 8:

Title: Holding Grudges

Verse: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14

Prayer at end of devotion: Lord, I know I should forgive the wrong done to me, but something within me wants to hold on to this pain. I realize that keeping this hurt will only make this situation worse. Help me follow your example and release this pain by forgiving. In Jesus’ name, amen.

I used this Bible during my morning devotion time. It is sometimes difficult for me to find time to read the Bible and have a devotion. I really liked that the devotions are interspersed throughout the Bible which made it easy to get it all in before the kids got up. I also liked that they were written with the homeschool mom in mind who may feel like she wants to give up. These devotionals are encouraging and uplifting. If you are wanting to read about a particular subject, like failure or marriage, you can just look up the corresponding devotional(s) in the topical index.

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Another thing I liked, was that at the end of the devotional, it told you what page the next devotional was on. I used some bookmarks that I made to keep up with each devotional page. After reading the devotional, I would place my bookmark at the next devotional so I could find it easily in the morning.

Here are the bookmarks that I made for my Bible. Each one has a flower and a Bible verse on it. I printed them out and laminated them to make them last long.

I would definitely recommend the Homeschool Mom’s Bible to any homeschool mom. It is available for $34.99. It is also available in the NIV also.

Click here to read more reviews from the Homeschool Crew.




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