Friday, October 28, 2016

Arbordale Publishing *Review


One of our favorite publishers for educational children's books is Arbordale Publishing. They have a great selection of books that are very helpful to homeschooling. With a limited time this fall I just chose two of their books to review.
Tuktuk Tundra Tale and Animal Legs from their fall releases fit in perfectly with what we were currently studying.
Much more than picture books, Arbordale books have helpful activity pages at the back of the book for additional learning. You can find even more activities free online.



Tuk Tuk Tundra Tale
By Robin Currie
Illustrated by Phyllis Saroff

This fun book centers on a lemming who found a lost boot, or a furry kamik. He wants to use it for his home for the winter, but he finds many other arctic animals along the way that think they would like to have the kamik for themselves. The little lemming is a sneaky little guy and manages to convince each of the other animals that the kamik isn't for them. He finds a a polar bear, arctic fox, and a caribou all ready to take his boot!

Though told in story mode, this book is very educational as well as fun. The activity section of the book talks about the polar seasons, arctic skies, and some fun facts about the animals who live in the arctic. They title this section "For Creative Minds", and it also has a vocabulary section that helps to further define some of the words used in the story.



Animal Legs
By Mary Holland
Excellent science title, looking at animal legs!
Did you know that backswimmer insects have three pair of legs and each set has a different job to do?
These fun insects as well as caterpillars and praying mantis are shown in all of their splendor thanks to photography by Mary Holland.
Mary explains what is special about the animals legs. Some frogs have sticky toe pads that help them hang on. Hawks have strong talons on their feet for grasping prey. Skunks, turtles, otters are just a few of the amazing animals who have something special about their legs and feet.
My two year old was mesmerized by the pictures of the animals, even if she didn't really understand the amazement of their legs.

The For Creative Mind section takes a look at special feet and what the legs can do. There is a match up activity to match the photo with what the animal an do. (just be sure to cover up the answers at the bottom of the page).
Matching the animal feet to the animal was a fun activity as well. We have enjoyed this series of animals by Mary Holland including Animal Mouths and Animal Eyes.




Twitter: @Arbordalekids
Facebook: Arbordale Kids
Tumblr: Arbordale Kids


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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Beautiful Picture books by Britta Teckentrup *Review


Britta Teckentrup is a beloved author and illustrator born in Hamburg. Her style is unique and simple in these two beautiful children's books.
Geared to ages 4-8 Oskar loves is about a crow and all of the things he loves. He loves all types of descriptive, tangible things like soft green grass, deep blue ocean and sweet red cherries. Perfect for working with preschoolers and their colors. Oskar also loves the smell of spring, losing himself in books, and walking in moonlight. Each thing Oskar loves is printed on one page, with the illustration on the connecting page. They are simple things, yet really make the reader stop and embrace the world around them. Beautiful story!






I also was able to read Britta Teckentrup previous release Before I Wake Up... This is a gorgeous book about all of the dreams a little girl has before she wakes up. She imagines worlds, along with her friend the lion, to have a full out adventure while she sleeps. Bretta uses a collage like art work in this book and my photos don't do it justice. I love that there are even a couple pages with just illustration and no words. This is one of those books where the illustrations really tell the story.
The lion in the story helps the little girl to feel safe as they travel through storms. They sing together and that makes them strong.


The little girl diving into the ocean with the Jelly Fish is one of my favorite illustrations. The lion sits in the boat on the top of the water while the little girl explores.
She is 'so full of emotion', which is what these illustrations really bring to light. Emotion!




The publishers are outstanding in their binding the books. They are not going to fall apart with the excellent stitching. These books will hold up for many years to pass along to others.



Follow Britta on Twitter @bteckentrup  and many thanks to @Prestel_us Prestel Publishing for these beautiful hardcopy books!




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The Beginner's Bible NIRV *Review #Zonderkidz


Since my children have been little we have shared some version of The Beginners's Bible with them. We start with a board book version, then move on to toddler, and then we move up to the NIrV The Beginner's Bible for early readers. Allowing our kids to have a full version Bible all their own as a young child, really helps them to feel like they are special.



Easy to read language, and larger print gives kids a complete version of the Bible that they can actual read and relate to.


Organized just like Mom and Dad's Bibles with headings, chapter and verse numbers. Full text for detailed passages.


Over 20 full color illustrations through out the Bible. These are the traditional Beginner's Bible illustrations that my children have grown to love.

The only thing I would change would be having the illustrations in the same book of the Bible that they are representing. As I read about Elijah for example, to have the illustration match up with Elijah, rather than a illustration of Jesus. Not that Jesus isn't throughout the entire Bible, it just would make more sense if the illustration were a bit more organized.

There is a dictionary at the back to use as a means to learning some of the bigger words and topics in the Bible. This will help kids get used to using a concordance as well. Always good to have a reference to look to.


With Christmas coming, I can't think of a better gift to give to the kids in your life than their own Bible from Zonderkidz. Be sure to check this Beginner's Bible and others online at Zondervan



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Middlebury Interactive Languages Chinese *Review


Spanish, French, German or Chinese {Middlebury Interactive Languages}


My daughter has a couple friends who are adopted from China, and she was thrilled to have the chance to study middle school Chinese from Middlebury Interactive Languages.
One of her friend's Mom has her take weekly Chinese classes to help them retain their language and culture. I think that is just fantastic. Chinese is a very difficult language as my 12 year old and I found in working with this program. It was fun for Shiloh to have someone to practice the words she was learning on someone just a little more advanced than her.
This first middle school Chinese is similar to a High School first semester Chinese. It utilizes speaking, reading, writing and listening for a great submersion into the language.
Spanish, French, German or Chinese {Middlebury Interactive Languages}
Seeing the Chinese words written as we learned new vocabulary was a bit daunting as it is so different than our letters. We did not have to memorize any specific characters which was good. I liked how it had them though, so that as we continued to learn the words, we could maybe pick up some characters. Have I said Chinese is a tough language. Smile.
It is awesome though I feel we should have started in the elementary level . The Middlebury Interactive program contains 18 weeks of content, for a full semester. It is self paced however so you may need to monitor on occasion to make sure they are getting through enough lessons. That shouldn't be a problem though, maybe getting through too many might.

You will need headphones with a microphone to record the student speaking Chinese. This helps them be able to hear how they sound in relation to the program.

There are several activities done within the lessons. The student learns new words, pronounces them, matches words to pictures, takes quizzes and other activities. There is a good amount of variety to keep my daughter engaged in learning.

Not only is vocabulary reinforced through the lessons, so are grammar patterns. With any language, you run into putting the words in the right order. This program is much more than just learning a few Chinese words. It teaches basic conversation, as well as some cultural understanding.

I do wish that we could have had a placement test to see the best place to start. My daughter is just in the 6th grade and I felt that though this was middle school, it was a bit hard for her. She really loved learning the Chinese, but I think she would have excelled a bit more if we would have started with an elementary level program. This one is perfect for your beginner 8th grader and up I believe.

Spanish, French, German or Chinese {Middlebury Interactive Languages}
They also offer German, French and Spanish as a variety of levels. I love that you can get the kids set up with Middlebury and you don't have to know the language yourself to teach. My 1 or 2 years of French in high school isn't going to be enough to work with my kids in learning a foreign language.


Find Middlebury Interactive Languages on these Social Media Sites


Social Media Links:Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Middlebury-Interactive-Languages-141015515949753/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MiddInteractive   @middinteractive
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/middinteractive/

See what the other reviewers thought of Chinese and the other languages by clicking on the banner below.

Spanish, French, German or Chinese {Middlebury Interactive Languages}


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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

If You Were Me and Lived in... Carole P. Roman Series *Review


If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

If You Were Me and Lived in.. series, brought to you by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com, has made our study of history all the more enjoyable.
Admittedly, I am not a big history buff and when my kids have questions about history I love that I can refer them to If You Were Me and Lived in...Ancient China: The Han Dynasty,
If You Were Me and Lived in...Ancient Greece (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 1) and If You Were Me and Lived in... Elizabethan England (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 3) among others.


If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}
(Carole P. Roman)

I enjoy learning about Ancient History much more than just the recent past. The Elizabethan Age is considered the time after the Middle Ages, when Elizabeth I was Queen of England. It was a great time for art and literature as well, a part of history I really love to focus on when we study. I like how this book gives suggestions to the reader on how their life may have been like if they had grown up at this time. Perhaps being named Mary or Henry, and an apprentice baker in the family business. Focusing on more of the middle, or lower class, Carole P. Roman takes the reader step by step of how they would have lived during this time.


If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}
I found this really very interesting, and gave me a great gratitude for the life I live now! My kids always tend to love hearing stories about the times of Kings and Queens, often their play will even mimic what we read.
Some fun facts I learned were that some houses were made in the shape of an E to honor Queen Elizabeth. Also nobody drank water! They drank ale and cider. I thought that was interesting. They also didn't use forks, which really made my kids want to recreate that portion of the story!
The end of the book has a section titled Important People to Know in the Elizabethan Era. It has a illustration and a paragraph of eight important people during that time.


If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

If You Were Me and Lived in ... Ancient China had Mateya Arkova from Bulgaria as it's illustrator. I really loved the pastel illustrations she had for this book. This and the next one we reviewed were both illustrated by her and really added to the adventure.
So Ancient China was nineteen hundred years ago, or around 150 A.D. The Han Dynasty was the longest dynasty, lasting four hundred years. During this time, paper, porcelain were invented.
This book has the reader as a child of a doctor to the emperor, so a little more on the upper class level than the Elizabethan book was. Many of the homes were very similar though, just larger the wealthier you were. There was ancestor worship in Ancient China and part of their home was set up as a shrine to that. Kitchens were typically in another building next to the house. I loved how the book talked about silk being made, and this gave us a good jumping off point to dig a little deeper into the making of silk currently.

This is a very good sized book at 64 pages for the story. It also has a glossary and a couple pages about important people in Ancient China.

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

The last book we reviewed in the series was If You Were Me and Lived in... Ancient Greece. Athens is one of the oldest cities still inhabited today. Ancient Greece time frame was prior to the birth of Christ, and is called the Classical Period.
The Greeks did worship many gods, and this is where we get our Greek Mythology from.
I found it interesting that the Greeks didn't have a word for family like ours, instead it was "oikos" which  means household. Doesn't sound like they were as tight knit does it?
Ancient Greece was divided into several cities that the people identified with more than being from Greece. The book looks at a few of these cities and explains what it would have been like to live in them.
The end of the book has a section on the gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece as well as a glossary.

These books are an excellent addition to your history study, to help your student really get a grasp for what it would be like if they actually lived there during this time period.
Great spring boards for additional study as well.

Click the banner below to see what other books are in this series and see what our reviewers thought!
If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

Find Carole on these Social Media Sites


Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CarolePRomanAwardWinningAuthorAndBooks
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/caroleproman/
Good Reads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5854108.Carole_P_Roman
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/caroleproman

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Good Good Father Children's Book *Review




If you have been to a contemporary worship service, or listen to a Christian radio station, you probably have heard Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin. A beautiful song about our God and what a good father He is to us. The thought of our father being so good, lends itself well to a children's book with the same title. Written by Chris Tomlin and lyrics writer Pat Barrett.

This story is about a bear named Tucker who wants to help out the friends in his town. He is encouraged to go visit the King for advise, but to take a gift to him. Each group of animals he encounters along the way gives him an additional gift to take to the King. The king's door is always open, oh how wonderful that is as our God's door is always open as well.
As you gather, none of the gifts are actually needed for the King, but little Tucker himself is the best gift of all.


Such a darling book relating Tucker and the King to us and our heavenly King. My two year old loved seeing the pictures of the animals, and my older children loved making the comparisons to what they know about their Father in Heaven.

Darling book that will make you want to put on the song after you read the book! Sing along and recall what a Good Good Father we have.




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40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood Devotions and Coloring Book *Review




Wouldn't it be marvelous if mothering came with a concrete set of instructions
---an easy recipe we could follow? Instead, motherhood challenges women to find their faith, their true selves, and their family through daily doses of trial and error. It is a brilliant and healing time of life that is full of joy, pain, and beauty with a small side of crisis (and humor). What mothers do not know, they learn. And through this lifelong process of learning, they nurture and care for the most precious gifts on earth: children.
In a modern society where moms often have a full and busy plate, these 10 minute daily devotions focus on six key topics of motherhood:
* Self-acceptance
* Self-care
* Reconciling with grief, hope and expectations
* Generosity
* Presence
* Forgiveness


Each devo also has a doodling page to color. Nothing too intense that you will be spending hours on, because who has that time! Just something to warrant getting those colored pencils out and having a bit of creative time.

Each day begins with a verse. The devotional relates to the verse as well. Like this example from Philippians on day 10. The verse is talking about gentleness, and the devo also speaks to that. I like how they are connected. I have read many devotionals in the past where the verse and the devotional were miles apart and I had no clue how they even related.


I know from reading the introduction, and having a scripture on each page that this is a Christian devotional. Given that knowledge, I didn't really like the 'new age' feel to some of the devotions. Discussing becoming a 'higher version' or ourselves, "releasing toxicity", and "positive energy" for a few examples. It may just be how the author chooses to word things. She does mention God, and in each prayer at the end she mentions Jesus.

You can see what other reviewers thought by clicking on the landing page link below.



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Monday, October 24, 2016

NKJV Reader's Bible *Review






NKJV Reader's Bible has been a great asset to my daily Bible reading time. It flows so smoothly from chapter to chapter without any number connotation. I felt like it read more like the Holy Spirit would have breathed it into the author, given the original Word was not broken up into chapters and verses. I researched online to find that it was in 1227 that the Bible was divided into chapters, for the sake of convenience. The verse connotation was  not added until 1551. These were added in simply for ease in quoting and for reference. Admittedly it is much easier to quote a reference with an 'address' to refer to. Makes it much easier to find a verse in a large book such as Isaiah when you have the chapter and verse to quote.



The divisions are human made though, and often you will be reading and go into a new chapter, yet the thought that was being conveyed, continues. There are some places that the breaks could have been done differently. This is why I am really loving reading the NKJV Reader's Bible for my private devotion time.

The chapter is noted at the bottom of the page so you can still use it to follow along with at church. The chapter begins anew with a bolded, larger print letter.

I compared both my NKJV Bible and the Reader's Bible and they were accurate as far as the language. Word for word, just without the numbers.


Complete with helpful maps at the back of the bible.




This is a stunning Bible! It is imitation leather and is approximately 8.5 by 6. There is even a small margin on the sides if you wanted to take notes. I have opted to keep this Bible free of writing, underlining, or note taking. I have other Bibles that are more geared for that. I wanted this as a nice, clean, easy to read copy that is focused solely on the Word of God.



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