Friday, October 30, 2009

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine $7.95 and 10 FREE gifts!!!

For many years now I have loved The Old Schoolhouse Magazine! And it is NOT because I am a part of the TOS Crew!!!  TOS has blessed my family, myself and my homeschool for many years now. Long before the crew was a glimmer in their eyes! If you have toyed with the thought of subscribing, now really is a great time! Times are tough for so many, especially families living on one income! I usually have paid $39 for 2 years. Right now their special is $7.95 for 1 year, plus 10 free gifts. Please see the ad below to see how to redeem this offer!!!

Happy Homeschooling!!!

We are a magazine with a heart for homeschooling.

Through the years, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine has reached thousands of homeschooling families like yours around the world--each with different homeschooling styles and needs, but the same goal of providing the best education possible for your children.

Each family is unique and TOS Magazine provides a variety of content from experts and homeschooing families just like yours. They share their triumphs and trials, ideas and resources.

Now, you can enjoy a one-year subscription for only $7.95!

The Real Deal--Get at least $100 worth of gifts for FREE! are tight economic times. Many homeschooling families are sacrificing extra income to provide an education for their children.

At TOS Magazine we support and stand with you, in your convictions and in this economy. That is why we are delivering big savings on subscriptions and at least $100 worth of free gifts!

Subscribe or renew for one year (U.S., print) and pay only $7.95. PLUS, receive 10 FREE gifts--while supplies last!

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How do you get the 68% savings and 10 free gifts of your choice?

It is so easy to get all of these goodies!

Here's what you need to do

  1. Place the one-year, print (U.S.) subscription in your cart. Or you can purchase a one-year subscription plus current issue (U.S.) for only $5.00 more. Or purchase a gift sub for friends!

  2. Enter coupon code 10GIFTS at checkout.

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  4. We will email you a gift selection form after your purchase.

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  6. We'll U.S. mail you 10 gift cards which can be redeemed for the gifts via U.S. mail, though several companies will allow you to redeem online or by phone. All of the companies will pay the shipping to get the product to you--no strings attached.

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With your renewal, you'll receive a FREE copy of Dreams and Designs--Homemade Supplies to Complement Your Homeschool! This bonus E-Book is in addition to the 10 FREE gifts! Renew now!

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Do you know someone with whom you would like to share this fantastic deal?

Our Winter 2009 issue is absolutely packed with
articles on support groups, preschoolers, and
tips and tricks for teaching writing!

Winter is a wonderful time to get cozy and catch up on YOUR homeschool reading.
You'll find all the support and information you need to get re-energized for the upcoming new year inside each issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.

Just take a look at what's inside the crisp, cool cover of the
Winter 2009 issue:

  • Speech & Debate by Chris Jeub

  • The Fast Track to Memorization by Carol Barnier

  • Conflict in a Homeschool Group by Carol Topp

  • World War I: The War to End All Wars, a Unit Study by Jennifer Steward

  • The Spiritual Instruction of Preschoolers by Mike and Carolyn Riggs

  • Leadership Education for Followers: "Freedomship Education" Defined by Andrea Newitt

  • Top 10 Tips for Teaching Writing by Fran Santoro Hamilton

  • Support Groups: Cultivating a Garden of Friendship by Cheryl A. Bastian

  • Three Keys to Teaching Writing by Danielle Olander

  • The Three Flavors of Speech Communication by JoJo Tabares

  • The Princess or the Pack Mule by Denise Mira

  • Preschool: Start at the Very Beginning by Kendra Fletcher

  • Helping the Reluctant Writer by Lee Roddy

  • Homeschooling: Growing and Thriving in the 21st Century by Amelia Harper

  • Mix It Up . . . From Scratch! by Lisa Barthuly

  • When "No" Is Beautiful--And When God Changes It by Melissa Culver

  • Contemporary Classical Education: It Really Can Work for You! by Andrea Newitt

  • Magnetic Books by Jan Bloom

  • Ten Writing Tips by Ruth Beechick

  • Seven Gifts to Give Yourself by Molly Green

"Every issue is just like attending a homeschool conference--motivation galore! I receive many homeschool magazines, etc., but yours really stands heads above the rest."
--Katrina V.
Spring 2007

". . . The pages of TOS overflow with ideas and thoughts that make me feel right at home . . . I've always been annoyed by magazines that are full of advertising, but with TOS, I find resources that make sense for real life . . . You have helped me to have the best year of homeschool I've had yet!"
Spring 2007

Why should you subscribe or renew NOW?

  • The 10 FREE gifts are gone at  midnight on October 30!

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  • You'll receive a FREE copy of Dreams and Designs with your renewal!

  • The Winter issue and your next 3 issues will be right there to provide you with information, ideas, advice, and encouragement for the coming year!


 Hurry! Friday, October 30, the
 10 FREE gifts 
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Remember, use coupon code 10GIFTS to get the special price and 10 gifts.

Share this offer with a friend!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vantage Learning

Recently we had a homeschool graduate and  college student over for dinner. I quizzed her a bit, around the dinner table, about what she felt was the most important skill academically to have in college. She shared with us, that the ability to communicate, whether that is verbally or in written form, is essential in order to excel. And the skill of writing a paper and other types of reports and communications are the most important skill. Actually what she was sharing is that she wished that she had a stronger foundation in that area.

With that piece of knowledge, we began our school year with the desire to strengthen that skill in each of the children.

Imagine my excitement when I learned that I would be reviewing MyAccess from My Vantage Learning. MyAccess is an online writing program. As part of the crew, I was given a one year membership for all of my children and myself.

Here is what they say about their program:
    "My Access will help you develop the strong writing skills and confidence you need to be successful in both your academic and professional efforts. A completely web-based solution to improve your writing.  My Access requires no software and is accessible anywhere you have a computer and an internet connection- at home, at school, at work, or at the library."

Everyone on the crew received the 'Home Edition'  here is what they say about their "Home Edition":
      "My Access Home Edition fits neatly into any language arts curriculum, whether you're homeschooling your own children, tutoring students after school, or just trying to help a child improve his or her academic confidence."

  I have used the  program with my 14 year old and myself. I wanted to have a working knowledge of both the student and the teacher/parent applications. You can view demos of both the student and parent accounts here.

I have been very happy with the product! Here is how it works.....

You will set up an account for yourself and for your student. In the parent/teacher account you will pick the age range of your student. From the teacher account you will be able to set assignments. You will also be able to see the progress of each of your students. You are  able to print out the reports that your student writes. As well as the performance report for each assignment.

Once a child submits an assignment, they are graded. They will rank somewhere between Below Proficient-Proficient and Advanced. They are also given a Holistic Writing Score.

The child is then given an opportunity to revise their submission. Based on the mistakes made, the program will give them tips and pointers on how to correct their paper.

While this program is not an all inclusive writing program. There is a teaching session during each assignment. When your student clicks into the 'assignment' they will have the option to select 'Earn Points', which will take them to the writing course. They will earn points as they work through the course. Or they can choose 'Begin Writing' which will let them start their draft.

There is also a tab called 'Activities'. Under this tab you will find extra skill building activities that build on the writing course.

Within the writing course, the student is taken through a scenario where they are a new reporter following a reporter on assignment. While they are tagging along they learn the steps needed to create an interesting story.

In addition to the pre-designed assignments that come with your program, you also have the ability to assign a custom report. So if they have just read a book and need to write a book report, you can use this program to do that.

If you feel at all inadequate in teaching writing or simply need some help in this area. My Access would be an awesome addition to your homeschool
repertoire .

You can order a one year subscription for either 3 students and a parent or 6 students and a parent.
The cost for the entire year for 3 students is-$99.95
                                and for 6 students it is-$129.95

Don't forget to check out the crew blog and see what my crew mates have to say about My Access.

Christian Music

We are a ver conservative Christian family. We strive to do all we can to live a modest and godly life. And in this world, that can sometimes be quite difficult.

I am not a seamstress, which means we must search for clothes we deem appropriate. In this time of Hannah Montana and baggy clothes, not to mention the provactive clothing they try to sell preteen and teen girls this is not easy to accomplish. It is, however, well worth the effort.

Another area where we are quite conservative is our music choices. Many years ago, I had made the decision that we would listen to  conservative Christian Music primarily. We would not listen to the radio, we would purchase the music we would like to listen to, and we would make sure that it was God honoring, and not worldy in nature.

I have seen a difference in myself after switching over to conservative Christian music. I also see a difference in my kids. They were small when I made the choice. And now that they are teens, I can see that they do not fall into many of the same traps I see other young people fall into. Not to mention some of the traps I fell into as a young person. And they love the music that we listen to. Actually, they request it. It is on theri Ipods and MP3 players! On our family trip to Disneyworld, they each had headphones listening to the music of their choice... conserative Christian music!

We now have an awesome resource at our fingertips!

Our church has established an internet radio site. Please visit to find 24 hour God honoring Christian Music!  This amazing resource if FREE!!! I pray that your family will be blessed by this  new ministry!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Virginia Soaps and Scents

As a member of TOS Homeschool Crew we received a complimentary sampler from Virginia Soaps and Scents, in order to complete this review.  I had read about them in The Old Schoolhouse magazine and had been interested in trying their products. So, I was excited to hear that I would be reviewing them this year!

I have a friend who began making soaps, so I am a little bit familiar with hand made soaps. Well, only familiar enough to know that I like them. I watched part of the soap making process and  it looks very labor intensive... a labor of love.

In our sampler we received 'bed and breakfast' size versions of the larger bar. The bar you purchase is 4 times the size of what I held in my hand and weighs in at 4.75 ounces.

Virginia Soaps and Scents has based their business on their 'Handcrafted Olive Oil Soap'. I have learned that this is a real soap, not a detergent. Most of what you would find on the shelves in the stores are detergent bars rather than soap. They use all natural ingredients with no added chemicals for hardening or lathering properties.  The bars are extremely hard and long lasting due to the recipe they created. The bars do have a fluffy lather from the generous amount of coconut oil that is added. 

I received  Fresh Orange, Coconut Lemon grass and Oatmeal, Milk and Honey.
Now, I have only tried the Fresh Orange bar of soap. That is because it is indeed long lasting. I did not want to open and use all of them at once. However, I have smelled the other scents and they also are very pleasant. I really enjoy the fragrance. It is not too over powering and not too faint. It is just... right!

You can purchase one bar for $4.50. However they have several different discounts offered;
             3 bars for $12
     Buy 4 get 1 FREE
                Buy 10 Bars  for $35

The next item I received was a sample Shampoo Bar. I received the Ginger Lime Scent, though it is also available in Cherry Almond and Coconut Lemongrass.  They even have one specially formulated for Oily Hair in the scent of Tangerine Grapefruit.  Their shampoo bar contains no added color. It is also olive oil based  but also contains castor oil which helps to hold in moisture. I was very curious about the shampoo bar, it is so different than what we are accustom to using. The full size shampoo bar is 5.5 oz.  It will give you the same number of shampoos as a 32 oz. bottle of shampoo. They also recommend that you can use it all over if you have dry skin, and that it is also great to shave with.  I did try the bar. I liked it the more that I used it.  It did clean my hair.... it even had a "squeak" to it!  The Shampoo Bars are available for $5.50 or 2 for $10.

The last thing that we received was the Laundry Soap Kit. Now I am going to be honest with you, I have been making my own laundry soap for quite some time. So this was not foriegn to me.  I did try their product and it made up a nice batch of Laundry Soap. My clothes came out clean! And with 5 kids  I have plenty of laundry to try it on !!

You have two options with the Laundry Soap. You can purchase it in the kit form, as they gave it to us. Which includes the grated cleaning soap and a pre measured amount of Borax and Washing Soda.  That will make two gallons of a gel form soap. The cost for that is $4.95. Or you can purchase the cleaning bar, which is just the soap, ungrated. And you would then add Borax and Washing Soda to it, and follow the same recipe. The cleaning Bar costs $3.95. And it will make 2 batches.  Each batch should give you between 64 and 72 loads of laundry.

I really have enjoyed using all of the products from Virginia Soaps & Scents.  I find all of their prices very reasonable. If you put a priority on high quality products that do not contain chemicals, then this is the company for you. I do not think you will find a higher quality, more reasonably priced product.

On a side note, this is a long time Christian Homeschooling Family. It is a joy to support like minded families!

Please take some time to peruse their site. And as always, please visit the crew blog to see what others have to say about Virginia Soaps & Scents.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Amazing Bible Timeline and Charts

I have had the Amazing Bible Timeline on my wish-list for some time. I saw an advertisement for it, and thought it would be an awesome tool for our homeschool.

When I heard that I would be receiving a free timeline as a member of TOS Homeschool Crew to review, I was thrilled.

We had started to implement it in our daily study, looking up what we are reading in our bible, looking on the timeline to see what was going on during the same period of time.

The timeline is a perfect size to fit on our dining room table underneath the clear vinyl I already have in place. So, in addition to including it in our bible study time, we also looked at it as we sat around our dining room table. Much like the photo below.

I think that a table is the best placement for this tool, it makes it easy for children and adults to gather around and see what you are studying. It's unique design allows for 6000 years of time to be showcased all at once, see the photo below

I felt as though we have been only skimming the surface of what this timeline has to offer, when I received a strange email in my email box. It's subject was "Wow!  Let's Clear This Up Right Now" and it was from the people that sent us The Amazing Bible Timeline.

Prior to receiving this email, I really had enjoyed using the timeline, and it was after clicking through the link they shared that my stomach started to turn.

I do not like to be deceived. And I feel as though that has happened with this product. This email brought to my attention that there was an LDS (Latter Day Saints) version of the timeline. In fact, upon further investigation, they have a separate website strictly for the LDS Timeline.

I decided to really look at my timeline and sure enough, I did find a reference quoted from the book of Mormon. Now, when you read their answers to why there are LDS dates on the Timeline they state that the film for the original timeline had been destroyed in 2000 and they had to use the LDS timeline to reprint it, and go through and remove all the LDS info. While that might seem ok, however it has been 9 years and the corrections still have not been made and that upsets me.

They also did note when Brigham Young moved the Mormons to Utah. That did not bother me, as he is actually one of my ancestors, and it is nice to put it in context. However, I do have issue with studying something quoting the Book of Mormon, as this is not my faith!

I have included several links below for you to do your own research.

This first one, is a link to their FAQ included with their email:

Here is the link to the NON LDS Timeline website:  I no longer see their list of resources on these pages. I know that I did read them when we first received the product, but have not been able to locate them on the site now.


Here is the link to the LDS Site listing their resources:


Timeline is $29.97 plus $6 shipping and handling. They also offer you a full refund if you are unhappy with the product. If this is something that interests you for your family, please research the websites and decide if it will make a good fit.


Please visit the crew blog to see what the other crew members have to say about this resource.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

November is Epilepsy Awareness Month

I can remember the day, like it was yesterday. Although it was nearly 17 years ago. It was the day I was told that what I was witnessing, was my 6 month old baby having seizures. And that he has been having them since he was 4 months old.

Are you kidding me??? When did I get run over by this MAC truck? When did the room start spinning? How did this happen?

You know when I was growing up, our family, and I mean my extended family, really did enjoy good health. And relative good fortune. I think if you were to ask all of my cousins..... we would all say we had a grand time with each other growing up. We were all overall healthy kids. Playing sports, hanging out with friends, and basically living care free lives.

When we thought about having a family, I never in my wildest dreams thought one of my children, let alone 4 of them, would struggle with any health problems.

The Lord had a way of preparing me, although at the time I did not realize it. I remember seeing a segment on one of the news magazine shows, about having a neo natal unit in the hospital where you deliver raises your child chance at survival if there were to be an emergency. We did choose a hospital with a neo natal unit. We did not need, but we wanted to be sure our child would have all that he or she would need.

Enter our oldest child.... he was a healthy baby boy, no complications or signs of distress. The first four months were wonderful. He was meeting all his developmental milestones. And then we started noticing something strange.

The doctor assumed we were the 'typical' first time parents, over cautious. He was wrong! What we were seeing were seizures. It took 2 months to get a diagnosis. It was not until he was having a status epilepticus event (prolonged seizure) that we received a diagnosis.

Our lives, and his, would never be the same. Our dear boy has struggled with seizures his whole life. In his 17  years, he has probably had a total of 3 seizure free years. 2 while on the ketogenic diet, and one last year. In spite of the many years he has been plagued with seizures, he is one happy boy, who loves the Lord.

I know that the Lord has had His hand on our boy, on our family all of these 17 years. Helping us, by placing things in our path that we needed. I am so thankful.

I am thankful for the lessons that I have learned from my son. I have learned the true meaning of unconditional love. I have learned to live in the moment. To be present in whatever it is we are doing... whether it is good or bad... Living that way allows you to experience the purest joy... the joy of a child... the joy that my boy experiences.

 And above all we have learned to lean solely on the Lord. Leaning on the Lord through our rough years have made the burden light. For that I am thankful. I am thankful for the love my son has for the Lord. I love to listen to him tell me about his Sunday School Lessons. Or how his heart was stirred in preaching. Or to watch him be so moved, that he goes forward at the end of a service, to have time with the Lord in prayer.

If the Lord did not bless us with a son with these specific needs, I am not sure what kind of parent I would be. I fear that I would be one of those keeping up with the Joneses types.  Trials of any kind, especially long term health trials have a way of putting that into perspective.

On a side note-4 of our 5 children have had to deal with epilepsy. Currently only our oldest is still battling seizures. We are thankful that 3 of our children have been able to receive treatment (the ketogenic diet) and have been able to resume life...with seizures being nothing more than a bump in the road for them.  Our oldest is still in the throws of epilepsy. I am thankful to have the arms of our Lord to lean on.

November is Epilepsy Awareness Month. Take some time and learn about Epilepsy.

Here are some facts most people don't know about Epilepsy;

Epilepsy Facts

  • Epilepsy affects over 3 million Americans of all ages – more than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson’s disease combined. Almost 500 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed every day in the United States. Epilepsy affects 50,000,000 people worldwide.

  • In two-thirds of patients diagnosed with epilepsy, the cause is unknown.

  • Epilepsy can develop at any age and can be a result of genetics, stroke, head injury, and many other factors.

  • In over thirty percent of patients, seizures cannot be controlled with treatment. Uncontrolled seizures may lead to brain damage and death. Many more have only partial control of their seizures.

  • The severe epilepsy syndromes of childhood can cause developmental delay and brain damage, leading to a lifetime of dependency and continually accruing costs—both medical and societal.

  • It is estimated that up to 50,000 deaths occur annually in the U.S. from status epilepticus (prolonged seizures), Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), and other seizure-related causes such as drowning and other accidents.

  • The mortality rate among people with epilepsy is two to three times higher than the general population and the risk of sudden death is twenty-four times greater.


If you would like to help further research for a cure for epilepsy, please visit Citizen's United for Research in Epilepsy for information on how to help!


Thank you for taking the time to learn more about epilepsy!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What Happens When 30 Homeschoolers Go To the Park During School Hours????

***Please Note: If you are reading this on facebook, please scroll to bottom of post and click "View Original Post"

A group of homeschoolers from our church had a field trip today. We went to an exotic feline breeding compound and then to a local park for a picnic and fellowship. There were just about 30 of us in attendance. Kids ranged in ages from 3 1/2 months to a several high schoolers!

We visited a local park that has a 'lake' for fishing, with lots of geese and ducks. The kids enjoyed feeding them and talking to them... and 'playing' on the shoreline while the ducks congregated all around.

After lunch, while the kids were playing in the play area. A few mom's were with them in the play area, and a few of us other mom's and one of my boys and the baby were sitting and chatting at the picnic table, in eye sight of the others.... everyone playing nicely together I might add! And lo and behold the "park police" happen upon our group.

Let me tell you, once we saw them get out of their squad car... yes squad car, this is a rather large park....  us mom's descended upon the play area...... one of the mom's that was now speaking with the officer's looked at us coming and thought..."Here comes my back up!"  Grin

Their claim was that there was a complaint that we were throwing rocks at the ducks in the lake. Which we were not.  Our thoughts, were more along the lines of they were curious why these teenagers.. (Mine were among the oldest kids there) were out of school.  We spoke with the officers, and were polite..... explained we were feeding the birds bread.. not throwing rocks.... LOL..... my word..... I was thinking.... where's my HSDLA card....

When the officers, just stood there, not really leaving, just  like they were looking for more info. One of the mom's had asked the officer, do we look like we are causing trouble? He said no. Then he seemed to pause as if thinking about what to say..... he then explained that there are posted signs that say do not feed the birds.... we apologized and promised to 'keep an eye' on our children. And they returned to their squad car. (side note, they had claimed to have posted signs every one hundred feet... we did not see a single sign)

A few moments later we saw the police officers across the lake speaking with some young people (18-22 years old) and procede to pat them down.  This was a good lesson for our children to experience. We have chosen to dress distinctly modest and not worldly. And in this situation, I believe that it served us well. We had a neat appearance and pleasant demeanor, which left the officers with a positive experience with homeschoolers, and with Christians.

This was a field trip I had planned for our group.... one of the mom's shared with me these parting thoughts..... " Thanks for such an exciting field trip.... we will never forget this one!"

So, if your life is lacking excitement, go on a field trip with your local Christian Homeschool group, you never know what might happen!


Happy Homeschooling!!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sarah's Wish

**Note: if you are reading this on facebook, please scroll to the bottom and click "original post".
I was so very fortunate to receive a complimentary and autographed copy of Sarah's Wish, by Jim Baumgardner to review, as a member of The Homeschool Crew. Sarah's Wish is the first book in a Christian Historical Fiction Series.

Before I tell you about the book, I want to share with you my thoughts about the author Jim Baumgardner. During the review process, we as the crew, often will receive a few emails from the publisher/author/creator of what we are reviewing. Mr. Baumgardner has been a joy! In fact he has been a hoot! LOL!
The emails that he sent us have actually had me giggling right out loud! And the good thing about that, is that his wit is sprinkled throughout the story Sarah's Wish.

Here is how Mr. Baumgardner introduced himself to the crew:

"I am a 62-year-old grandfather of nine grandchildren, all homeschooled by my two daughters and one daughter-in-law. The Sarah Books are authored by me for my grandchildren.  I say that so that you will know these books do n ot have any sex, profanity, or anything that would be offensive to young readers. I would never subject my grandchildren to such writing. "

I have to tell you, I just loved this book!

I'll be honest with you, when I began reading the book, I did not read the back of the book, I just opened it up and read it. At least, that is how I started reading it... you'll have to keep reading to see how I finished the book!  Anyhow, I loved reading the book only knowing the setting, and not the premise. The only bit of information I had  was that it was set in 1858, Ohio.

As I read the book, it reminded me of a Stephen Spielberg film. Think Indiana Jones... when you sit down to watch one of the Indy movies, within the first five minutes of the film, some major action scene unfolds and you are totally immersed in the story.

That is exactly how Sarah's Wish begins. And before you know it, you have a hard time putting the book down, you want to know what is going to happen to sweet Sarah next.  And because I did not read the "sleeve" information, I was reading in anticipation of  what I thought would come next. And I loved that!  However, I feel that it would be a bit of an injustice to not share some of what I found in the story with you.

***Spoiler Alert***
Don't read this section if you do not want to know about the story. Scroll down to the next set of ****.

As I mentioned earlier, the story takes place in 1858, Ohio. Just prior to The Civil War. Sarah is orphaned and left with the

responsibility of delivering 'the packages' that had just arrived at their home. Her mother had always told her that they must not tell anyone about 'the packages'. It must be kept secret. What are these packages??

We quickly learn that 'packages' were runaway slaves traveling along the Underground Railroad. They used this name as to not tip off the slave catchers.

Sarah's Wish is indeed about Sarah's Wish, however this is historical fiction. So, the setting of the Underground  Railroad, and Sarah's heart to help these dear souls to find freedom are throughout the story. Along with the adventures of Sarah and the people in her life.

End of Spoiler!!!************

The characters in the story are vivid indeed, especially Granny Evans. She speaks with sayings that I have heard, or remind me of something that my grandfather from Georgia would say! And I love those colloquialisms. Doc Baum, the town doctor is the great, great grandfather of the author,  Jim Baumgardner. Talk about having a connection.

An aspect that I really like about this book is that it is unabashedly Christian. When you are reading it you know where each of the characters stand.    As Sarah is on her journey, praying for her wish, each time she is feeling low, a butterfly flitters by and lifts her spirits. Reminding her to keep her faith!

This book as been a hit in my house! I now have a wish of my own! The rest of the books in the Sarah series have been placed on my "wish-list"! As I told you at the beginning of this review. I started out reading this book. However, I quickly discovered that my book was not only autographed to me... there is also a link to download an audio version of the book!!! Wahoo!! So I ended up listening to the whole thing ( listened to the parts I already read) on my computer! I was drawn in to the story! It was amazing. Very similar to the old time radio shows! (As mentioned in the beginning of the book!)

As many of you know, I have several special needs in my house. So it is such a blessing to have quality Christian Historical Fiction in audio form, in order to help my struggling readers enjoy this amazing story!

Because this is historical fiction, there are phrases and words that are no longer in our vernacular, so Mr. Baumgardner has included a glossary of terms. While there are terms that are included in this story, that are offensive, we must look at the time frame of our history that we are discussing. And I have to tell you that it was handled very well. I commend Mr. Baumgardner for painting what I think is a good picture of that time period. ( considering I was not alive then )

Sarah's Wish is available at for $9.99. You, too, can have your copy autographed! You will also find the other books in the Sarah Series available for individual purchase or bundles.

There is also a free monthly email newsletter available called "Sarah's Web Newsletter. You will find history facts, a question of the month among other fun tidbits. You can sign up for that on Sarah's Website.

When you visit the website, read the books, and look at the newsletter, you can see that the Sarah Series is a labor of love. I would like to thank Mr. Baumgardner for introducing us to Sarah!

If you would like to see what the rest of the crew has to say, please visit the crew blog!

******This just in******

We have a special offer for the readers of our blogs. If you are interested in the Sarah Series, Mr. Baumgardner has offered you a special. Here it is:

Mail Order Only:

Sarah’s Wish – 126 pages $8.50 retail: $10.99 save $2.49

Sarah’s Promise – 245 pages $10.50 retail: $14.99 save $4.49

Sarah’s Escape – 304 pages $15.50 retail: $21.99 save $6.49

Extra special offer: Purchase all of the items above and add an extra copy of Sarah’s Wish for $4.00. You can give it to a friend. They will think you are great!

If you are interested in this offer, please send me an email at Jsouthern93(at)gmail(dot)com. And I will email you the required order form.

Mr. Baumgardner sent us this offer after our reviews were posted. I wanted to share it with you. However, with this offer, we may be eligible to recieve and additional free book. Please, know that I wrote my review prior to this offer. The review reflects my honest opinions.

Friday, October 16, 2009

FREE Autmun Unit Study and Lap Book!

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If you have been around me very long at all, there are a few things you know about me when it comes to the topic of homeschooling. 1st, I LOVE it!!  We all know that it can be alot of work. But boy is it worth it! 2nd, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine! I have been sharing with my friends at least since 2005 what an awesome resource this magazine is!!! 3rd, I love to find freebies ( and shrare them with others) in order to keep the cost of home educating my family (and yours) down!! In this handy post you will find all the things I love in one place!!!!

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has made available an Autmn Unit Study by Amanda Bennett. If you are familiar with Unit Studies, then you are probably familiar with Amanda Bennett! Her work is amazing!

Here is what The Old Schoolhouse has to say about their offer........

Here at The Old Schoolhouse Magazine®, we just love sharing with our friends. So when we have something new that we can give to you FREE to share with your friends, we just have to get it to you.

We want you to enjoy a completely free autumn unit study lap book from Amanda Bennett and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine®. It is over 80 pages of activities and resources.

This free autumn unit study can be downloaded through our store at:
Free Autmun Download


If that wasn't enough, the kind people at The Old Schoolhouse Magazine have written an encouaging article with and added bonus! I coupon code you will not want to miss!! You can find that here.

Please enjoy these awesome resources from The Old Schoolhouse, and have a Happy Homeschooling Day!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Guardian Angel Publishing

Guardian Angel Publishing

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As part of The Homeschool Crew, Guardian Angel Publishing sent me 4 e-books for me to use with my family and review. You may not be a huge fan of e-books, have no fear, this books are available in print as well as in the e-book format. We love books in our house, so I am always excited to find books that we have never seen before! Here is what they sent us;

The Sum of Our Parts: No Bones About It, by Bill KirkThis is a cute book that teaches you all about the bones inside your body. Now this could be a very dry subject, but not with this book! They have silly sometimes "creepy" illustrations, that my kids just loved! And they have rhymes to help teach you and help you to remember all those bones!!!

Gifts from God, by Cynthia ReegThis is a beautiful book. It has very vivid photos, as you can see from the cover art. On the inside pages you will find verses on one page and an easy reader sentence on the other page. This would be a book I could see cuddling up on the couch with a wee one to read.

Earthquake, by Susan J. Berger.  As a Southern Californian family, earthquakes are definitely something we need to be informed about. And this book is a handy little resource to do just that. First it teaches you the ins and outs ( and the ups and downs) of earthquakes. You will also find all sections on earthquake preparedness. And one thing I have learned living in Southern California, is that you need to be prepared!  Again, this is a subject matter that could be very dry and boring, however, the author has succeeded in making this a fun book for the whole family!

Hamster Holidays Noun and Adjective Adventures, by Cynthia Reeg
This is a cute and clever story that helps children grasp what nouns and adjectives are and how they work in sentences. They do this by color coding all the nouns blue and all the adjectives red. The downside of that, is that you can't use the story to test your knowledge. However, after the child reads this cute story, they can sharpen their skills by reading other story books. In the back of the book there are word activities, including a word search and crossword puzzle.

At Guardian Angel Publishing, they have so many titles to choose from. If you are not interested in any of these titles, there is bound to be one that catches your eye!  All books are available in e-book and print. Some are also available in cd. All of the e-books I checked were available for $5 to download. The print versions I looked up were available from $11.95 and below.

If you would like to see what the rest of the crew thought about this company, please visit the crew blog.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bonnie Terry Learning

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As part of The Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of Ten Minutes to Better Study Skills, by Bonnie Terry, M.Ed.for the purpose of review.

I have a son who has ADHD and is very easily distracted. So, when it comes to writing, whether we are talking about a book report, or an essay, he struggles with staying focused and putting his thoughts together.

Ten Minutes to Better Study Skills has forms throughout the spiral bound book, that assist the student with taking notes and arranging thoughts. Something about using these forms made it easier for my son to move through the assignments.  There are forms for book reports, note taking, story or book organizer (helps them put their thoughts together), Cause and effect, compare and contrast, plus many more. We did not get a chance to use all of them, however the ones we did use, I found very helpful.

What I really liked was located in the back of the book. It is a reference guide for studying and writing. You will find test taking tips, paragraph and essay writing tips. Plus spelling patterns and grammar rules. It comes in handy to have these at our fingertips! At least that is what my son said!

Bonnie Terry has a plethora of products available to help the struggling learner! Whether your child struggles with reading, writing, spelling, math or study skills, Bonnie Terry has help for you. Please check out her website to see her full selection.

You can purchase Ten Minutes to Better Study Skills for $37 with free shipping, ($12.95 value).  I am a bit money conscience, so I must admit the $37 price tag did scare me a bit. However, I will say, now that I have seen the product, if you truly have a child who has a hard time organizing his thoughts, this book may be your answer. Check out her website and read all about the program.

Happy Homeschooling!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Multisensory Teaching

Earlier this week I had the privilege of attending a mini homeschool conference. We had the benefit of hearing Marion Soderholm speak. Marion is a Learning Disabilities Specialist and a homeschool mom. She has
graduated her son and daughter to college and beyond. You can visit her website at . Even if you have children that are “typical” learners, you will benefit from Marion’s experience. Marion spoke about Multisensory Teaching/ Learning.

The Four Ways to Teach/ The Four Main Types of Learners

I. SHOW the concept to your student. Visual, they must SEE it!
II. EXPLAIN the concept to your student.
Auditory, they must HEAR it!!
III. DO a project, etc. with your student.
Motor, they must DO it!!
IV. ASK your student to explain back to you what
you just taught. Verbal, they must SAY it!!

As Marion spoke she reminded us to “pay attention to what God’s saying to you”. This is good advice. It is so easy to be driven to distraction with all that is going on around us. T.V., internet, radio, sports, classes, chores, telephones, school, shopping….

Are we taking the time to really listen to what the Lord is saying to us? What is your purpose? What is your plan? As you are working with your student, what does that child need? What kind of learner are they? Are you teaching to their need, or to your preference? Are you looking at how the Lord designed them? How he uniquely wired their brain?

Marion often quotes, Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an
expected end.” This reminds us that each one of God’s children has a purpose.

Listening to Marion speak, reminding me of something that I learned while I was using KONOS with my children. I remembered a quote that Jessica Hulcy shared with us, “God put the wiggle in the children. Don’t you dare try to take it out” Henrietta Spears. (1890-1963) Jessica Hulcy shared with us over and over what she called the 5 “D’s” of Learning. And it goes hand in
hand with what Marion was talking to us about.
I. DO- to captivate attention
II. Discover-to foster thinking
III. Dramatize- to visualize
IV. Dialogue- to internalize
V. Drill-to crystallize
While some of those are the same as Marion, what I am hoping you walk away with, is that there are many times we need to think outside the box. I have found with my children, if we can be active while learning, it helps to bring our subject matter to life. You can do art type projects to go with your subjects. Or take a field trip to a location where they can see something first hand. How about literally eating a feast the way someone they are studying in history would eat? Large timelines and maps also help with points of reference.Watching videos about your subject is another way to make it come to life. While learning about hand dominance, how about going through the day using the non dominant hand. Or while learning certain parts of speech, try having a conversation without using that part of speech. Mad Libs is another fun way to learn parts of speech. Have fun with your children while they embrace all that God’s Creation has to offer them.


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As part of The Homeschool Crew, we were sent several products at no charge  from Educational Diagonostic Prescriptive Services for the purpose of reviewing. I received, Write with the Best Volumes 1 & 2, Roots and Fruits and The Complete Career, College and High School Guide for Homeschoolers.
Each are authored by Jill J. Dixon, B.S.Ed., M. Ed.

I began using Write with the Best Vol. 1 with my kids. It is geared for grades 3-12!! I love the fact that I can teach all my kids at the same time. That is the way our house does most of our schooling, so this fits our style.  I will touch on that a bit later in this review.

WWTB Vol. 1's goal is to "zero in on the skills that produce excellent writing and to teach students to use these same skills."  The curriculum teaches grammar and parts of speech throughout the curriculum, while also "following in the steps" of writers of great works of literature. In other words, you will be modeling the writing of some of the great literary writers.

The program was designed to take a semester to teach. However, if this is your first venture into the world of writing with your child/ren then you can take it a bit slower and have it take a full year.

The author actually encourages you to make sure that your child/ren masters the skills taught in each section before they move onto the next section. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!

So how exactly does this program work? Your child will read a passage from a great literary work. Then they will use that to learn how to properly write themselves.
For example, in the area of descriptive writing, first they will read a passage from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne and then learn to write about describing an object. In the next unit they will read, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens and then learn to write about describing a place.
There are a total of nine units in Vol. 1, including;
Describing a Character
Writing a Dialogue,
Writing a Short Story,
Writing a Fable,
Writing a Friendly Letter
Writing Poetry-Rhyming Verse
Writing Poetry-A Ballad on Narrative Poem

As you work through the program, the author shares with you what to expect from beginning writers vs. what to expect with writers with some writing experience under their belt.  This is how you will be able to tailor this program for all the children you have in the house. I found it very helpful to refer to as I moved through the program.

Write With the Best Vol. 1, is available in 3 formats.
E-Book- $19.99 (for a limited time on sale for $14.95)
Pages Only- $22.45
3 Ring Binder- $24.95


Write With the Best Vol. 2 picks up where Vol. 1 leaves off. It follows the same format as it did in Vol. 1. There are also 9 units in Vol. 2;
~Writing Poetry- Free Verse
~Writing a Business Letter
~Taking Notes-Outlines-
    Writing Summaries
~Writing Essays-Persuasive and     Expository
~Writing a Literary Critique and      a Book Review
~Writing a Newspaper Article
~Writing a Speech
~Writing a Dramatic Monologue

Write With the Best is for grades 6-12. However, I feel that if you finish up Vol. 1 you will be able to go write to Vol. 2 even if your child is not quite in the 6th grade.  Vol. 2 is also available in 3 formats;
E-book-$24.95 ( for a limited time on sale for $18.65)
Pages Only-$27.45
3 Ring Binder-$29.95


Roots and Fruits- A Comprehensive Vocabulary Curriculum covering Grades K through 12. Uses English Forms of Greek and Latin Roots and Prefixes. 673 Roots and Prefixes-1716 Vocabulary Words. In 15 minutes a Day.

That mouthful is straight off the cover!! Once again with Roots and Fruits, this one program can be used with all your children, with differentiated games for elementary students vs. middle and high school students.

Again, the author gives you detailed instruction on how to teach each level of student. A weekly schedule is given for you to follow and several pages of games and activities that will be used throughout the week.  The Roots  are listed
alphabetically that helps with finding the roots.

We have just begun to work with Roots and Fruits as we have spent most of our time on Writing With the Best. However, I am intrigued by this program.
What I think will be great for our family, is the fact that there are so many games and hands on activities. Something that my family needs for retention!

Roots and Fruits is also available in several versions;
E-book-$14.98 ( for a limited time on sale for $11.25)
Pages Only-$17.48


The Complete Career, College, and High School Guide for HomeschoolersIncludes Middle School through Adult. I have only had time to begin to peruse the pages of this guide. This is another one that I am really looking forward to digging into.

Once again, there is a step by step detailed process laid out on how to use this guide. You begin with taking 4 self administered assessments which will take 45 minutes to an hour and half. Once finished and scored you can move on to a list of jobs, careers and majors. Once you have worked through the several step process to figure out what matches your assessment.

The next step is "High School Planning".  You will find lists of possible middle school and high school classes, volunteer service opportunities. There are a few transcript samples, as well as worksheets to help plan high school for your student.

What I have found to be the most helpful at this point, are the sections, that help parents to keep their focus and priority. To remember that we are not just training up children with grade point averages. We are raising young men and women and we need to continue to nurture their heart and build their character!  I appreciate that this author has this perspective and infuses it throughout this guide.

You can order this in an Ebook- $34.95 (for a limited on sale for $26.20)
                            Soft Cover-  $39.95


When you order an E-book, EDUDPS has a reader that is automatically downloaded in order to keep their product secure. Crew members were sent Ebooks, I was able to download the books just fine, however, I was having trouble printing. I was unable to print any of the books. I was in contact with the company, I let them know what I was dealing with. Theodore with the company was a huge blessing. He spent many hours, trying to dissect the problem. It was something that had never occured before, and only 1 other crew member was having the same problem. In the end, he sent me the print copies of the books. I wanted to share this story with you, so you would know that you would be dealing with a company that cares! And they will make sure that you are satisfied with your purchase!

If you would like to see what the rest of the crew thought about EDUDPS products please visit the crew blog.