Explore Dinosaur National Monument from Awesome Science: Moms of Master Books Review

My girls love learning about dinosaurs! They are ages 9, 7, and 5 and we have often enjoyed a trip to our local children’s museum to see life-size sculptures and have a chance to dig for fossils. I love giving them more opportunities to learn about these incredible creatures from the past and they just devour all the information I can give them.

Awesome Science’s newest DVD, Explore Dinosaur National Monument from Master Books (an imprint of New Leaf Publishing) is a great addition to our collection of dinosaur information. It’s fun and engaging style really interests my oldest daughter especially. My younger two are not quite old enough to appreciate the great amount of scientific information provided, but they did enjoy seeing much of Dinosaur National Monument. 
Noah Justice is a dynamic communicator. My girls enjoy having a younger person explaining and teaching about history and science from a biblical perspective. I was recently asked how I expected my girls to handle learning about evolution in college when all they ever knew was Creation. I was excited to explain that my girls do know about evolution and understand both viewpoints to an extent. I’m not afraid of my girls hearing or learning about those who choose to remove God from the equation of Creation. I want them to be equipped and I want them to come to their own conclusions and beliefs because of their study of the evidence rather than try to force them to accept what I believe just because I believe it. Awesome Science just one of the items in my tool kit for teaching my girls how to incorporate the Bible into their understanding of science as well as what and why secular scientists believe and teach what they do. 
One of the best things about this DVD and others in the series is how my daughters get to experience some of the great wonders of America which they may not see anytime soon. Living on the East Coast makes traveling to some of these locations very difficult. We might one day get to travel to Utah and some of the other areas west of the Mississippi River, but until then we will enjoy learning with resources such as these. 
This incredible DVD series isn’t just for children either. I’m often saddened by just how angry and vehement those who hold an opposing view of creation react and find myself unable to have a real conversation about science because of it. I’m not afraid to share my beliefs, but I do not care to converse with someone who fires hateful responses in my direction because I believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God. I’m very grateful to have the resources from Master Books which I do to help me learn for myself how I can balance my trust in the Word of God with evidence from science. I hope to one day have meaningful conversations with some of my friends on the matter and I want to be as equipped as possible. 

It’s Not Greek to Me!: Moms of Master Books Review

I have been so excited about reviewing this new DVD from Master Books! It’s Not Greek to Me by Todd Friel came in the mail when my girls were right in the middle of a horrible summer fever, so we didn’t get to start it right away, but even in her feverish state Rose perked up when she saw it. 

My eight-year-old Roe has been pestering me for a while to learn biblical Greek. I’m not at all opposed to this, but I didn’t want to get into a full curriculum at her age and really didn’t know where to begin. Her interest came when she realized this was one of the classes her grandfather teaches at seminary. In 2nd grade he taught her to write her name in Greek and she does this all the time! This is a great course for beginners. Todd Friel explains that this is perfect for the everyday layman in the church as well as those who will be going on to study biblical Greek in a scholastic setting. While this is geared towards a slightly older age bracket, my daughter has really enjoyed it so far. We’re just taking it slow and repeating lessons before moving on.

So here is Rose, completely natural, I promise! She is wholeheartedly focused and genuinely enjoys these lessons. Friel is quite humorous, but I wasn’t certain she would catch all he said. Her favorite line in the introductory lesson was when he was talking about the benefits of learning biblical Greek and stated, “You’ll learn English gooder!” She really got a kick out of that. You can see she is intent. She was so intent in fact she didn’t even realize I was taking pictures.

We had some other students join our class as well. The dollies were actually already seated here, but Rose asked if they could stay while she watched when she realize I was starting to pick them up. These sweet little girls were also very studious although they didn’t want to take any notes.

Rose uses the note pages from the separately available Intro to Biblical Greek Parent Lesson Planner. This is excellent and well worth the price. Included is not only plans for how often to work through the DVDs, but also note pages and practice sheets to ensure retention. I strongly recommend purchasing this guide along with the DVD in order to get the maximum usefulness and benefit.

I honestly wasn’t sure how well this would go over with Rose. She was so very excited to have the chance to learn Greek, but as I stated before, this is geared for students a little older. However, Friel’s manner is very engaging and he is as clear at teaching as he is entertaining. She begs me to do more lessons, but I’m trying not to go too quickly with her. I’m surprised just how much she is really enjoying this. I appreciate that Friel expresses this is a beginners course, something to precede full-on Greek training. I have no idea if she’ll want to go further with this language, but it is an excellent place to start and to see if it is something that interested your student.

I also think this is excellent for anyone who simply wants to know more about the Greek language for your own personal study. After seeing the first few lessons with Rose I’m planning on joining her in these lessons. I said before that my dad teaches Greek. I remember having the same desire to learn as Rose when I was younger, but just felt too overwhelmed with all. I believe we will both enjoy our toe-dip into this ancient biblical language.

Disclaimer: I received It’s Not Greek to Me as well as the Parent Lesson Planner as part of the Moms of Master Books Team. I was not required to give a positive review. I was not compensated in any other way. 

Awesome Science DVD’s: Review

I was soooooo very excited for the opportunity to review some of the Awesome Science videos! I’ve been eyeing these for a while, but my girls were not quite old enough to really understand them yet. My oldest, now 8, has really loved learning more of science and how it relates to the Bible, like how mountain ranges formed during the global flood and what started the ice age. We’ve also been learning about ancient cultures and religions and we have talked more about why some people do not believe God created the earth. We have always been very open in our explanations and I can do this more confidently with resources from Master Books.

The two newest titles in the Awesome Science series are Explore Rocky Mountain National Park and Explore Glacier National Park. All of the DVDs in this series aim to show how observational science and historical biblical accounts can coexist. It is important to know that no matter what evolutionary science may claim, the Bible does not contradict science. Quite the contrary, if one starts with a biblical worldview scientific evidence in fact supports the historical accounts.

So much information available regarding the geological formation of the earth either completely ignores Scripture or goes even further to say anyone who believes the biblical account of Creation is ignorant at best. I love having solid information at my fingertips to share with my girls.

Noah Justice is the articulate and energetic hosts for each episode. Most videos for kids have adults presenting information, which is fine, but Noah’s excitement is contagious and we love it! I very much appreciate the respectful way which he presents both sides of the debate, showing how much of the evolutionary belief is found to be lacking. Consistent references to Scripture and empirical scientific evidence help us to further understand explanations which make more sense than those who seek to find a way for creation apart for God.

Rose is eight and loves this series. She’s already asked to get more of the videos soon! Beth is six and while she enjoyed them, she does better if we just watch a short section. Grace is four and honestly lasted about as long as the opening music! These are excellent videos, but very much geared towards older elementary children. They very much enjoyed the bloopers of Noah, especially falling down the sand dunes! They love to laugh and really enjoyed this part.

My favorite part was that the gospel was clearly presented at the end of each video. You see, all this information is good and important, but if we are still without a relationship with Jesus, none of it really matters anyway. That is the beauty of these videos. They are not intended to be a source of ammunition we intend to volley at the opposite side. They instead seek to points us to the Creator of the universe, arming us with truth to stand against the falsehoods thrown at us daily.

Check out what my fellow Moms of Master Books had to say about these videos! 

Disclaimer: I received the Explore Rocky Mountain National Park and Explore Glacier National Park DVDs as part of the Moms of Master Books Team. I was not required to give a positive review. I was not compensated in any other way. 

Mrs. Kate Carpenter’s Hug-a-Bug-a-Boo DVD: Review and Giveaway!

Mrs. Kate Carpenter has been a friend of our Family for a long time. Not only is she a dear friend, she is also an amazing song-write and singer! Her fun folk tunes engage audiences of all ages. We had the chance to have her in concert at our church a few weeks ago and the girls were so excited to see Mrs. Kate in person! If you didn’t read it yet, check out the field-trip post!

Hug-a-Bug-a-Boo is Mrs. Kate’s newest DVD release. We own several of her DVD’s as well as her first DVD. I’m glad it’s not a VHS because we would have worn it out by now! Mrs. Kate uses song to teach kids about manners, positive behavior, nature, and more. She even has a potty-training song included which leaves all of us laughing. Mrs. Kate and her guitar will have you humming and dancing as you follow along with the motions to the catchy tunes.

My girls love these songs. Some they knew already and others were new. One of my new favorite songs was Habit the Rabbit. Habit teaches kids all sorts of important manners such as not interrupting (except for emergencies!) and texting while interacting with others.

My girls favorite new song from the DVD Colibri  which is Spanish for hummingbird. We have thoroughly enjoyed the hummingbirds around our feeder this past summer and this fun little song has left us anxious to see them again next year!

I love that Mrs. Kate’s faith comes through in all her music. Even if the songs do not come directly from Scripture her heart for Jesus shines through with every note. She often has the opportunity to present anti-drug and anti-bullying programs in schools, both public and private as well as community groups and libraries.

And now for the awesome giveaway! 

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Praise Moves for Children from Praise Moves: Review

One are that is sometimes hard for me to fit into our homeschool day is intentional exercise and movement. My girls would much rather be reading or playing pretend rather than get active. We do get outside and run around, but before long we’re ready to come back into the house. I’ll also be honest and say intense exercise just isn’t my thing so I don’t always think to seek out ways to get my daughters intensely active. PraiseMoves is helping to change this!

A few months ago I had the opportunity to try out Morning and Evening PraiseMoves which was a great blessing on so many levels. I typically tried to exercise in the early mornings or evenings while the kids were in bed, but some days my young daughters would be around. It didn’t take long for them to join in! Grace especially seemed fascinated by the new “extercise” Mommy was trying out! She is your typical flexible three-year-old and can quickly maneuver into postures I still am struggling with completing accurately. Not to mention she is enormously adorable when she says things like, “I really love to extercise with you Mommy. Can I use your mat too?” Of course you can sweetheart!

I was very excited for my girls to tryout Praise Moves for Chrildren. Just as I have been encouraged to try out yoga, I’ve also been encouraged to give it a go with my girls. I’m very much aware of the roots of yoga and did not want my girls to have any part of it. Although I’ve been teased for my stance even by Christians, I have stood firm, knowing the latest trend does not always lead to a good end. My girls have been so greatly blessed by this sweet exercise DVD. They enjoy it and feel as if they are dancing while exercising.

There are two separate work-outs in addition to instruction on how to correctly form each posture. The girls were ready to jump right in and get active! I made sure they worse loose clothing and they chose to be barefoot. I only have one mat, so we just went with the carpeted floor which worked just fine until part-way through when the girls remembered seeing me use a mat. I quickly pulled it out and all three shared the same one. I’m sure glad it was long!
Rose and Beth were a little shy at first even though it was just me in the room with them! I think they were nervous about doing something incorrectly and looking funny. The wonderful thing is that soon after they stared they were quoting Scripture and forgot all about being unsure of themselves! I found it interesting how self-conscious they seemed to be and I realized I have the same tendency. I don’t typically enjoy exercising in front of anyone else, including my husband, unless it is something simple like a walk. Praise Moves is so wonderful in that it takes my mind off of me and focuses it on God instead. I don’t think so much about how I look or if I’m doing things right, but simply dwell on the Scripture while I work out. 
Oh to be so flexible again! Grace can bend and stretch in ways I can’t even begin to try! I’m sure this has to do with the limberness of young children and I hope Praise Moves can help her keep this flexibility. It was fun to see her bend and stretch without any struggle at all!
This was Rose and Beth’s favorite posture, the prayer warrior! This was a more difficult posture for Beth who is 6, but she allowed me to turn her foot and adjust her body until she was more correctly aligned. Rose who is 8 had no trouble with this one. By this time in the DVD little 3-year-old Grace decided she was done and was playing with some alphabet letters on the floor. The girls didn’t even seem to notice she was there as they were so focused on what they were doing!
I absolutely love this picture of Beth lifting her eyes towards heaven as she exercises because that is what Praise Moves is really all about. Yes it is healthy exercise, but it is just so much more. Laurette Willis consistently points the children towards thinking about Christ and His Word while also promoting a healthy accept who they are in Christ, encouraging them to view their bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit. I usually will exercise with the girls. There is nothing childish or too easy about this DVD and it excellent for me to model the habits I want to see in them. Not to mention giving me time to center on Christ myself! 
Other titles available for children are Power Moves Kids and the PraiseMoves Kids TV Show. Even with just my short time using PraiseMoves for my children and myself and I can tell you with confidence these would both be excellent 
If you are looking for a new way to exercise with your kids give this a try. They’ll have fun, learn Scripture, and be healthy all at the same time! 
Disclaimer: I received the PraiseMoves for Children in exchange for an honest review.  I was not required to give a positive review. I was not compensated in any other way. 

Understanding Child Brain Development from Family Hope Center: Review

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The brain is an amazing thing. It still holds so many mysteries for doctors, researchers, and therapists, yet amazing understanding of our central processing organ has developed over the last few decades. So much understanding of new ways to manage and treat abnormalities are being understood so families can succeed. Not too many years ago we would in our history a push to lock away those who did not function “normally” in society. We still refer to many issues as illnesses, indicating medication alone is needed to treat the individual. Family Hope Center has a different approach, a unique approach…a successful approach

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The DVD Understanding Child Brain Development will take you on a journey to understand the workings of the brain. Because Family Hope Center looks at different developmental issues as an injury rather than an illness their therapy is much different, yet you cannot begin to understand the treatment programs until you understand the how and why of brain function. This DVD gives hope to families who may have felt hopeless otherwise. 

Although my daughters are not affected by any developmental delays, this has been a profoundly interesting seminar giving me great insight into how the brain actually functions. Matt and Carol Newell have taken complex research and science and presented it in a format which is understandable and manageable for those of us not familiar with the inner-workings of the mind. Terms like mid-brain and pons are now words I understand and can talk intelligently about. As I watched this DVD many families with kids who struggle came to mind and I would love for them to view this. I have had so many conversations with parents who feel hopeless as their child is evaluated and medicated each year with little to no progress academically. This DVD shows another way, a way without medication and away towards healing. 

There were two particular parts of the DVD which intrigued me in particular. The first was the effect of crawling. Our society pushes children to move very quickly through the crawling phase through the use of walkers, exer-saucers, and doorway jumpers. While my kids used those, they were often on the floor crawling around, yet some children get very little time doing this. One of the interesting treatments used to help heal the injured area of the brain is to practice crawling. I was completely fascinated by this news. 

The second thing which intrigued me was the reference to research by Dr. Masaru Emoto about how water molecules are affected by different outside forces. Seeing highspeed photographs of frozen water crystals after water had been exposed to television radiation and microwaved has given me pause. If you haven’t heard of this yet, take some time to research. I’m not in any way advocating all of his theories, but it is a very fascinating topic and makes me wonder how much harm we may be doing our bodies because of technology.

Take a moment to watch an introduction from Andrew Pudewa from the Institute for Excellence in Writing.

I would encourage all parents, no matter the state of your child’s abilities, to view this DVD. It will definitely open your eyes to what is going on within your child. It costs $19.00 and can be ordered by calling 610-397-1737 or online Understanding Child Brain Development from IEW. 

Check out more reviews from my Crewmates by clicking below!
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Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura from Legacy Documentaries: Review

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Did you grow up watching Little House on the Prarie? The series ended when I was only 3, but I remember well watching reruns. My absolute favorite episode was when Almanzo started driving Laura to her first teaching job. Although Laura had pined for Almazon since she first laid eyes on him, this was the first time when he showed interest in her. Watching the television series instilled in me a desire to read the novels. Although I never completed the entire series, I thoroughly enjoyed the stories of a simpler time and the closeness of family. 
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One of the books I have yet to read is Farmer Boy. The documentary Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura from Legacy Documentaries takes the viewer through the journey of Almanzo’s life. This beautiful documentary, narrated by Dean Butler who played Almanzo on the well-known series, is $21.95 and well worth the cost. While this will very much appeal to those who read the Little House series (typically 8-13 year-olds) the entire family can enjoy this documentary. 

There were many aspects which I liked about this DVD. One was being able to take a first-hand look at the Wilder Homestead where Almanzo grew up. Since this is located in New York we cannot take a day trip there, so this is the next best thing! We thoroughly enjoy exploring historical sites on our vacations and this is one I hope we get to visit one day. I didn’t even know it existed until I watched the documentary. 
Something else I liked was the inclusion of passages from Farmer Boy as well as illustrations from the novel. The connections between the literature as well as the actual homestead showed the real-life setting in a lovely way. Historical actors portrayed various individuals within the Wilder family as a narrator read from poignant moments in the novel bringing new life to the beloved story. 
There are two chapters on the DVD and the second was just as enjoyable as the first. It explores in more detail the Wilder Homestead which you can visit. Various rooms are showcased as well as various events available throughout the year at the Homestead. This has made me not only want to take a trip to Malone, NY, but also the other Laura Ingalls Wilder historical sites around the country.
 photo legacyoflauraingallswilder_zpsafffba0c.jpgI’m a documentary nerd. I absolutely love a good documentary showing me history as well as telling me about it. The one thing I miss about not having cable in our home is the History Channel. This was a lot of fun to review because it has been a while since I’ve seen a well-done, interesting-to-me documentary. I highly recommend this for the entire family as well as Little House on the Prairie: Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder also produced by Legacy Documentaries, especially if you are planning a unit using the series. 

Check out more reviews of these two documentaries from my Crewmates!
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Teaching the Classics from Institute for Excellence in Writing: Review

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My favorite subject to teach is literature. In high school I couldn’t wait to go to my senior English class. Mrs. Moore had extremely high expectations, but she inspired me. She clearly loved literature with a passion, taught dynamically, and invested herself wholeheartedly in her students. She was a big part of why I pursued my own degree in education, focusing on teaching English to middle school kids. I am currently blessed beyond measure to teach a small group of middle school homeschoolers one day a week from September to May. I love this and am always looking for new ways to teach literature to my students. Since I am given permission to create my own units and choose which literature we study, I have great freedom to teach what I love.
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I always felt literature had much more to offer students than mere literature studies have to offer. Adam and Missy Andrews agree, and have created a wonderful seminar published by Institute for Excellence in Writing called Teaching the Classics: A Socratic Method for Literary Education intended to teach you, the teacher. For $89.00 you receive this seminar taught at your convenience in your own home and includes all 6 sessions on 4 DVDs as well a workbook to use throughout the lessons. It is recorded during an actual seminar setting and you feel as if you are there. Andrew Moore’s dynamic style is engaging to watch and immediately drew me into the presentation.

Using actual literary examples Adam Andrews teaches a new way to look at teaching literature which breaks far away from the typical unit study of literature containing comprehension questions, vocabulary, and hands-on-activity. Adam begins by providing compelling arguments for the need to teach excellent literature in a way which benefits the student and creates a life-long learner. Although he didn’t need to sell me personally on this, I enjoyed his excellent debate for the need to provide young learners with a rich education in literature.

I was pleased to see this seminar shows how to teach the way I have always wanted to and aim to teach my students currently. I also love this is not simply for older students delving into great works of literature, but can be applied to even picture books with simplified questions. The biggest weakness I have when teaching is creating questions which require my students to think, not merely recall facts. I intend to greatly use the Socratic list of questions included in the workbook. While I have attempted to create questions which make my students think, I always felt as if I were falling short. There is value in comprehension questions, but they need to be followed by Socratic questions in order to stretch the student into deeper thinking.

I was also pleased with the description of conflicts. I learned a new conflict which I do not remember being taught in college or in my research as I structured my classes. This is particularly important to me because I discuss types of conflicts extensively with my students as this always promotes deeper thinking and excellent discussion.

I really like each teaching section is followed by a piece of “great literature” is read which gives opportunity for you to practically work through what is taught. This practical application allows the opportunity for you, the student, to see how this works in real-life. Literature by authors such as Beatrix Potter, Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, and Harper Lee are used for practice.

The basic elements of literature are discussed in order to teach the best way to teach great literature. The explanation of authorship, style, plot, conflict, setting, character, and theme were incredibly thorough and useful. I have gained some new insights in how to express them to my students as I introduce them as I teach.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the seminar…

We need to “…understand the world from which the story came.”

On the application of using the Socratic List…”Now we have students who are thinkers”

About the Socratic List “Familiarity of these questions gained by long, continuous use, will make the understanding of difficult works easy.”

“The characters are the main link between the imaginary world and the author. The strength of the characters in the story and the author’s description of them…are the best way for the reader to enter the author’s world”

This is an excellent course no matter what level you are teaching. It will adequately equip you to create life-long readers who know how to think through literature beyond rote comprehension questions. Just based on this one course I have decided to further explore the writing curriculum at IEW for my girls.

Check out more reviews of this product and more from Institute for Excellence in Writing from my Crewmates!


Signing Time: Review and a Freebie!

When my oldest daughter was about 8 months old she finished her puffed star snack, looked directly at me, and started touching her finger tips together. I found this a little odd because she seemed to be trying to tell me something, but for the life of me I didn’t have a clue! My husband walked into the room and said, “She wants some more snack.” When I questioned him on how he knew what she wanted and what in the world it had to do with her hands he explained that the pair of sisters I had been teaching piano to had been teaching her signs. I would teach one piano and they would teach her sign language. I was shocked and delighted! I had them teach me a few basic baby signs and we used just the basics with my girls from about 6 months on: more, yes, and all done. I think there may have been more, but those are the ones I remember! This picture of Grace saying, “All Done!” Very emphatically with her hands after taking one bite of carrots at about 9 months!

My oldest daughter has been asking me to learn more about sign language. When Two-Little Hands gave me the opportunity to review Volume 13:Welcome to School I was excited and so were my girls! This DVD teaches many of the common signs of things found in school. The signs formally taught on this DVD are: Crayons, Scissors, Paper, Glue, Pen, Pencil, Table, Chair, Backpack, School, Line Up, Pay attention, Learn, Remember, Smart, Principal, Teacher, Class, Student, Name, World, Numbers, Count, Draw, Paint, Read, Quiet, and Rest. In addition to these formal signs Rachel, the Signing Time teacher, uses a number of other signs as she talks and sings. Rose (seven-years-old) picked up on a lot of those while Grace (three-years-old) and Beth (five-years-old) mostly focused on the formally taught sings.

The first thing that struck me about the DVD was how quickly it engaged my girls. Like many families we choose to limit the amount of time our girls are focused on a screen. There are many reasons for this, but one in particular is the lack of participation and interaction required is typically minimal even with educational shows. With signing time my girls all worked hard to sign well and talked with one another as well. Rose especially encouraged and helped her younger sisters.


The girls asked to watch this every single day. I’m not kidding! They love it that much! Not only that, they started signing to one another and to me to ask for things. It has been a really fun thing to watch.

It’s really neat to see my seven, five, and three-year-old learning together and able to successfully learn at the same time. It is also rare to find a DVD which all three enjoy equally. Usually what interests one bores the other. All I have to say is, “It’s Signing Time!” They run and sit as quickly as they can while they wait for me to get it started.

The girls also really enjoyed the extra features as well, especially watching the voice-over recordings. It was a good experience for them to see the production side of programs. I also like the extras include more signs to learn. Rose is really into Bonus Features right now!

This is a quick video of my girls’ completely absorbed in Signing Time! Take a minute to watch and you’ll see just how fun this has been for them!


And NOW for the freebie! As an exclusive gift for my readers is the Homeschool Guide e-book! Click the image to start your download! This exclusive guide is a great start to help you see just how easily Signing Time can fit into your homeschool day. 
I received Signing Time: Welcome to School in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. No other compensation was received.