Adventures in the Physical World: Level 2 – A MasterBooks Review

I remember how curious my daughters were when they were in the early elementary years. Why is the sky blue? Why can’t I see the wind? Why…why…why… One of my favorite aspects of homeschooling is being able to dig deep and find the answers to some of their questions, to inspire them to want to ask why! They are still curious and ask lots of questions, but often do their own research instead of seeking me out. So how do you foster these inquisitive little minds early on and engage them so they stay curious? Masterbooks has a new title, Adventures in the Physical World: Level 2, that provides short lesson (20 minutes), just 3 days a week that will engage and delight your young learner!

I think the cover is just gorgeous! The inside is just as beautiful, filled with bright colors, but not so much as to cause distraction. Rather the vibrant illustrations and photographs are strategically placed to induce curiosity and delight. I very much appreciate the straight-forward schedule as well as the weekly list of supplies needed. They should be easy to find around the house, but having it all collected in one place is fantastic! Anything to make a homeschool mom’s life easier is a win in my book!

A wide range of science topics is covered including chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, meteorology, and more! I like how each area allows young learners to dip their toes into the world of curiosities around them. This is quite appropriate for younger elementary students who are ready to start engaging with the world in a scientific manner.

As with all titles from MasterBooks you can be assured that this is grounded in the truth of God’s Word. One of the early units on Kinetic energy encourages children to point out examples of kinetic energy in the retelling of Noah building the ark. What a cool way to look at scientific principals built into creation from the start!

While my own kids have grown past this level of science, I highly recommend this title to those with kids in kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade. This definitely requires a bit more writing than earlier titles, so make sure your student it ready for that aspect!

DisclaimerI received a digital copy of Adventures in the Physical World: Level 2 from New Leaf Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions here are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Passport to America: A MasterBooks Review

Our family has used MasterBooks resources for a good portion of our homeschooling. From preschool through high school we have so many titles rich in history, science, and biblical truth. Their latest geography title, Passport to America, is a new favorite!

Grace is using the companion title, Passport to the World, as a part of her world geography studies this year. I was excited to see a book focusing on each of the states presented as well!

This lively and colorful book packs a ton of information on each state in just two pages. I really like that each license plate is shown as well as a number of interesting facts. In addition to the state flags, birds, and other symbols you will learn about land features and a food specific to each state. I was pleased to see 5-Way Skyline Chili featured in Ohio! One of my favorite memories of visiting my aunt and cousins there was eating chili over spaghetti. It may seem odd to my friends here in the south, but boy is it delicious!

I also was happy to see the opening pages featuring the story of America featured the indigenous people groups who lived here. I want my children to learn factual history and recognize that history features everything from Creation, not just when European explorers first landed here.

On the final page is an encouragement for children to pray for each state as they study it. Students are encouraged to find out something happening in that state and to pray for the people who live there. What an amazing find. I have not seen another books, even from Christian companies, encourage prayer in this way.

If you are looking for an excellent guide for your curious kid, planning your next road trip or launching a study of the United States, Passport to America is an excellent tool!

DisclaimerI received a digital copy of Passport to America from New Leaf Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions here are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. 

The World’s Story 3 Set: A NLPG Book Review Crew Review

My favorite part about homeschooling is just how rich our history and literature studies are. My love of these two subjects comes from my parents. They read aloud to me from before I can remember and dad would tell me stories of the people from history. Knowing I wanted these two subjects at the heart of all we learned, I chose a curriculum which focused on this. It has a Charlotte Mason feeling and I love almost everything about it! The one exception was the elementary world history book. Although a classic within the homeschool community, it does not have what I consider a Christian worldview. I used it twice before with Rose and Beth. My husband would hear me correcting some of the language (such as savages or negro) and questioned me as to why I used it. I told him I hadn’t yet found a comprehensive replacement. I wanted something Christian, readable for a 3rd grader, and covering the span of Creation to modern-day, but had not yet found a good substitution. 

Rather than the older text Grace has been using the World’s Story this year for her history spine. This is intended to be used for middle school, but we use the text portion only have have found it to be thoroughly wonderful for 3rd grade! Grace is a bit advanced in her reading level, so she reads much of the text on her own, but the conversational nature of this text would make this an ideal read-aloud for Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. Living books are at the core of this methodology and this text fits right into our way of learning. 

This text covers what is the modern age from European exploration to present day. That is a lot to cover in a year, but I’m very pleased with how it is laid out. It is full of beautiful pictures, artwork, maps, diagrams, and illustrations to help children see a full breadth of history, why it matters to us, and how it fits into God’s plan. I appreciate the thoughtful way history is presented. Not everything is positive, but those topics which are harder to deal with are not dealt with so deeply as to trouble younger students. 

There are wonderful questions in the student book to help guide your student with narration, a wonderful practice which helps children learn how to summarize what they have read. The teacher guide has a layout of what to complete each day for a year. In addition it also includes activity pages, review sheets, research work pages, and… answer keys! Yay! Answer keys really do make homeschooling multiple ages at the same time so much easier. I appreciate that the worksheets are brief, but with high quality, thoughtful questions. There is no busy work here!  

If you are looking for a readable world history text that will engage your kids, this is a great choice! Elementary students will gain much from the text and your middle schoolers will thrive with the added learning materials. 

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the New Book Review Crew at NLPG in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

My Story 1: A New Book Review Crew at NLPG Review

 When we started homeschooling in 2011 I remember looking around for what I remembered as a traditional social studies when I was in grade school. What I found was a lot of textbooks from traditional schools and very little written for the homeschool family. The traditional textbooks were okay for what they were, but what I really wanted was something written from a Christian perspective that did not feel like it was geared towards kids in the 1950s.
My Story 1 from Master Books is exactly what I was looking for 7 years ago and I was thrilled to have the chance to check it out! 
Each page of this curriculum is beautiful to behold. I love how vibrant the photos are and the composition of each page is clean and eye-catching. Many cultures from around the world are represented and valued. Each lesson includes simple writing, drawing, and discussion activities to supplement the written information. It reads in a familiar, story-like way which will surely delight children. I particularly like the journal prompts which strive to help students think beyond facts and infer new ideas.
I really love that the family unit is central to this social studies course. When the world is trying to downplay the importance of family, Master Books once again strives to support parents and teach the biblical basis for the traditional family unit. Also woven throughout are Scripture verses to show God’s hand in all that we see in the world around us. 

My own kids are a little older than the target age group (1st grade). There is a second book for the following year which continues in the same learning style. I really wish I had this available when the girls were younger and highly recommend it. I love how this broader social studies curriculum will prepare students for America’s Story and The World’s Story in following years.  

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the New Book Review Crew at NLPG in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

The Memorization Study Bible: A New Book Review Crew at NLPG Review

One of the most important disciplines of our Christian faith is memorization. Unfortunately, it may very well by the least practiced. I sadly must confess it is not a discipline I have practiced as often as I should. For some people memorization comes easily, but I am not one of those people. I find memorization of anything difficult and tedious. Sadly our facts-in-an-instant society does not help any. We don’t feel a need to memorize because we have such easy access to Scripture. Since this is the case, does it even matter? It does indeed! 

The Memorization Study Bible by Thomas Meyer from New Leaf Publishing Group is truly a unique resource for effective memorization. I greatly appreciate how the author supports the importance of Scripture memorization with Scripture. Looking at both Old Testament and New Testament verses I was reminded of the commands given to early believers which should not go by the wayside. If I truly believe the Bible is as applicable today as it was when it was first written, I must abide by these same commands.

Thankfully this book doesn’t merely state the need to memorize, but also gives resources to do so effectively! The author’s own personal technique is clearly outlined in a usable way. This particular Bible does not appear as most do because it is intended to be used as a tool for memorization. It’s unique layout intends to make the memorization techniques outlined easy to implement.The entire New Testament is broken down in small line segments in order to help aid your memory. 

I especially like the introductory page for each book which gives a brief historical background, themes, and purposes. There are also several appendices which include passages with which to begin memorizing as well as the historical development and traditional memorization techniques of both the Jews and Christians. I found these sections to be particularly fascinating. 

The only disappointment I had was that only one Bible version is available. Other than that, I think this is an incredible resource and highly recommend it as a unique and important study Bible.
Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the New Book Review Crew at NLPG in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

The World’s Story 1: The Ancients – A New Book Review Crew at NLPG review

History…possibly the most important subject taught in school. Although mathematics and reading are vital to function in everyday society, history is the story of who we are as a people and how we came to be where we are. Many in the world today are looking to gloss over hard things in history, pretending it never really happened. Some countries even have leadership which denies certain provable and documented aspects of history. We need quality resources like The World’s Story 1: The Ancients by Angela O’Dell from Master Books.
The World's Story 1: The Ancients
The very first year we homeschooled our curriculum covered the story of the Pilgrims in very great detail. This was first grade. It became increasingly apparent to me that I was given a very minimalist view of history, one that did not include the God of this universe. My dad loves history and he supplemented my school learning with wonderful facts and stories. I decided I wanted to teach my children as my dad taught me, with living history. The problem I came across was a lack of God-centric living world history books. The most commonly used world history book in homeschool circles started with evolutionary teaching and put all religions on an equal playing field. We are very open about other religions on our home, but we do not say they are equal and viable options. While I have used this book, and others, I always have had to stop and teach the biblical view of false religions. Yes, it has provided some excellent conversations, but I felt there must be a better way! I was right.

This history book is by far my favorite I have ever read. So much so I’m reading it through for myself first which I honestly don’t do that often! Angela O’Dell writes in a beautifully conversational way, just what those of us who love living history like. Beautifully vibrant art graces nearly every page and delights your eyes. The most important aspect, however, is that the author believes the Bible is the true, historical account of God’s story, preserved by Him through time. She does not shy away from hard things like evolution, ancient mythology, or even the belief some hold onto of early alien visitations! The key to teaching and learning these hard things is to do so with the Bible beside you as your guide. 

One concern I have with some history books which are labeled as Christian is the decided European perspective. They basically center their teachings in the Europe. While European history is important, so are African, Asian, and Ancient American histories. I really love the inclusion of all of these cultures which gives a very different view of what was happening world-wide after the tower of Babel than any other world history book I have viewed. 

This coming fall Grace will dive into world history with me. She will officially be in 3rd grade and we will still be using our core curriculum. The difference from her sisters will be that we have a solid Bible-centered history text to draw from and I can’t wait to dive in with her! 

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the New Book Review Crew at NLPG in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Gospel Reset: A New Book Review Crew at NLPG review

Have you noticed that our society has changed rapidly? It seems that almost daily something new an different is the trend and it is hard to keep up. One thing that never changes is the truth of God’s Word. Paul talks about reaching others for Christ by determining how to relate to those around him in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. Romans 12:2 then guides us to remember to be conformed to God’s will rather than the world’s. The pairing of these two ideas is the theme behind Ken Ham‘s new book from New Leaf Publishing Group, Gospel Reset: Salvation Made Relevant.

Ham does an excellent job of outlining the reason for a change in how we take the gospel to our culture. In all honesty, reaching the lost has become a bit of a cross-cultural experience for those of us who grew up in solidly Christian homes. Where as the generation before me had a basic understanding of and respect for the Bible, my generation generally does not. 

The most insightful moments of how the culture has changed were the percentage graphs broken up by age. One of the reasons this really hit me was that the small congregation my husband pastors is generally older and we are often trying to answer the question why there aren’t more young people in the church. These graphics give a clear, visual understanding as to the shift in culture based on generational breakdowns. 

The conclusion is that we must reset our thinking and presentation of the gospel in order to meet the masses where they are, a place of very little knowledge or understanding of the God of the Bible. I think the greatest benefit of this book is opening the eyes of the generations who continue to lament the overall social change of the American landscape, but still assume the average person has a basic working knowledge of the Bible. This is simply not true. My one disappointment was that there was only one chapter dedicated to how to do this now. The information presented in this chapter was excellent and I agreed 100%, I would just like to have had more. 

I personally think this is an excellent tool for anyone within an aging congregation. The first step to fixing any problem is fully understanding the problem. The significant problem now is not knowing how to effectively share the gospel to a generation who has no working knowledge of the Bible. We need to know the Word of God so we can share it with the world!

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the New Book Review Crew at NLPG in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Deceivers: A New Book Review Crew at New Leaf Publishing Review

We live in a world of deception. The prince of this world thrives upon deception and our culture has done more than merely accept it, it is glorified and honored through media and pop culture. So how do we wade through the mire of lies and falsehood presented to us in a constant stream? Deceivers: Exposing Evil Seducers & Their Last Days Deception, a new title from New Leaf Publishing Group, is a collection edited by Terry James and written by a variety of authors. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of religious and social deceptions around us offering unique perspectives and approaches.

Sometimes we have a hard time discerning truth in our culture. A good lie sounds appealing, it is something we want to accept. It usually contains an element of truth, but is wrapped up in packing of falsehood. It is especially difficult if you do not have years of experience walking out your faith. In these pages you will identify the deceit presented as “religion” and be better equipped to recognize it. 

Prepare yourself: A lot of incredibly trendy names from the 1990s through today and named as falsely teaching the gospel in the first chapter. While I am in no way opposed to this naming I felt the it was perhaps too focused on this. I was not surprised by who was listed or what was stated because I already had come to those conclusions myself. If someone is coming out of the emergent church movement or prosperity gospel movements this could be extremely helpful, but I would have appreciated a bit more Scripture to help back up the statements. 
Subsequent chapters contain a bit more practical information although I am cautious to accept all that is written here as absolute fact, especially the chapter concerning prophecies. It is very important to study biblical prophecy of the end times and it is equally important to recognize we are living in the “last days”, but I believe the authors of prophecy, especially in the New Testament, firmly believed they too were seeing signs of the end times and that Christ’s return was imminent. I’m cautious anytime a current teacher assigns particular current events to specific prophecies in Scripture. They may be correct, but they may not. 
The chapters I liked best were ch 4-6: Cultural Craftiness,  Tracking Truth in Deceptive Times, and The Schoolroom Seducers. These particular chapters contained the most practical information as well as what I felt was the most biblical backing without adding personal opinion as fact to the mix. 

One chapter left me feeling rather uncomfortable and a bit confused. It focused heavily on UFO sightings and reports of animal mutilation. The final conclusions in this chapter were that all of these events are actually satanic occurrences carried out by the ancient false gods of the Old Testament and many ancient cultures that require blood sacrifice. I believe the author of this chapter contends that this is part of the spiritual warfare occurring in a realm just beyond our own we cannot fully behold. I absolutely believe in spiritual warfare as the Bible teaches, but this particular chapter left me with little conclusion to the UFO sightings and supposed abductions. 

Overall there is some good information in this book, but I was not as pleased with it as I usually am with titles from New Leaf Publishing. Too many chapters dealt with author opinions, but stated as fact without much for biblical backing. I would be cautious to recommend this particular book in its entirety even though some chapters were useful and of great benefit. 

Chemistry: A New Book Review Crew at NLPG review

My worst memory of high school was my chemistry class. Honestly, I don’t remember very much about this course except that I hated going to the point that I would make myself sick. My teacher was from another country as a part of a teacher-exchange program. He told my honors class we were stupid idiots multiple times a day, every day, for an entire year. I was afraid to ask questions and he gave us spelling tests because he said American schools were stupid. Yea, I didn’t come out of that learning very much chemistry! 
Currently my daughters are taking a weekly science class which makes my heart extremely happy. One less thing off my plate, they are learning in a safe and God-fearing environment, and they are collaborating with peers with the one subject I think that particular skill is highly valuable. Still, this class ends with Middle School and I am looking ahead to what we will do for high school. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to review the student edition go Chemistry by  Dr. Dennis Englin from Master Books (A Division of New Leaf Publishing Group).

First of all, this book is intriguingly beautiful! The cover is only the beginning. When my youngest daughter saw this she said, “Oh! Are you going to learn how to make clouds?” Let me assure you the inside of the text is just as lovely! The illustrations and photographs are gorgeous! 
The content of this text is as lovely as the illustrations. Beyond a few element symbols, whatever I learned during that horrific year of chemistry did not stick. I was a little bit intimidated opening this book initially. What if I was completely confused? There is no way I could guide my daughter through this course on the knowledge I have. I shouldn’t have been nervous at all! The conversational style of writing really kept me interested! I haven’t gotten through the complete text yet, but I plan to by the end of the summer! 
There are experiments throughout each unit to help understand the concepts. Hands-on is always the best way! These experiments can absolutely be done in the home, but being a high school level course, expect the need to purchase high-school level equipment. Some of the items will be found around the house like food coloring and vinegar, but other such as balances and weights or a molecular model kit will probably need to be purchased. I personally feel this to be a valuable investment which will aid your student’s learning as much as math manipulatives do in early math instruction. Don’t skimp on the important things! 
The teacher guide provides lesson plans, scheduling help, quizzes, and tests to give a full years-worth of high quality high school science. You can rest assured your student will have a wonderful foundation of chemistry once completed. 
As with all of the Master Books’ materials the quality of the science taught is paired with a biblical worldview of creation. This is as important to our family as the quality of the material. Biblical connections and seeing creation through that lens while still providing interesting and quality material is sometimes difficult to find. You will be very pleased with this particular study through chemistry! 
Disclaimer: I received this title in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. 

Teach Them Diligently by Leslie Nunnery: A NLPG Review Crew Review

I’m not sure if every generation feels this way, but raising kids seems harder than ever. Parents are constantly undermined at every turn. The values we instill at home and in church are mocked outside those walls. The availability of depravity is at an all-time high with an ease of accessibility which boggles, and terrifies, the mind. So what do we do?
We pray, arm ourselves with the truth, and teach our children diligently.  
 The newest title from New Leaf Publishing Group, Teach Them Diligently: Raising Children of Promise by Leslie Nunnery, is an excellent resource for any parent of this age. This timely book will encourage you to grow closer to the Lord as you continue to move forward on your parenting journey. It is not a how-to book in a formulaic way so as to produce perfect parents. Rather you will find within these pages practical ways to intentionally disciple the precious little humans entrusted to your care for such a time as this. 
You will be encouraged by what God’s Word has to say about parenting and how to keep this perspective in a society which constantly diminishes the role and authority of parents. Nunnery reminds us that parenthood is a calling. Wow…that is something I need to hear on the hard days that feel as if they will never end. We were never promised an easy road in life or parenting, but we do have the Holy Spirit to guide and direct our paths. The most important part about this book is how Nunnery urges the reader to search their heart before the Lord and make sure they are parenting in the right spirit, recognizing this as perhaps the most important part of the parenting mandate in Scripture. 

Just as important as teaching our children is listening to our children, hearing what the Lord is doing in their little hearts and helping them along their own life journey. I love that this particular part of parenting is addressed as one of the most important parts of parenting throughout the chapters. Also sharing with our children our own stories and testimonies of faith. We must be faithful in giving God the glory for His goodness and generosity to us in front of our children. The author tells a story her parents shared with her when she was growing up that greatly impacted her about God’s provision in what seemed to be a very small matter and how this story impacted her own faith. We strive to do the same and it is good to be reminded why it matters!

This is one of the deepest, most beneficial books on parenting I have come across because it has nothing to do with behavior or rules, although both are aspects of parenting. This book is all about my heart before the Lord, making certain my ways are straight so I can effectively disciple my children. I know many, many parents of my generation who were raised attending church, but have drifted away from belief in God. While every child must choose for themselves whether or not to follow the Lord, I cannot help but wonder how many parents never dealt with their own hearts first or never intentionally discipled in the home. 

My prayer is that I may never be as stumbling block to the faith of my children. This beautiful book will help that be your prayer as well. 

Disclaimer: I received this title as a part of the New Book Review Crew at NLPG in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.