12 September 2019

God Gave Us the Bible 45 Favorite Stories for Little Ones by Lisa Tawn Bergren

God Gave Us the Bible introduces kids to the STORY of stories--the love story between God and his people. Ideal for readers aged 3 to 7, written in a framework where Little Cub and her animal friends reflect many of the questions young readers have about Bible stories. The book features forty-five Bible stories and concepts that every child should know/be introduced to, like Noah and the Ark, the Birth of Jesus, and Jesus Feeds the 5,000 in a very warm, conversational, reassuring manner.

My Thoughts:

A cute Bible story book told from a Mama Bear. Mama Bear reads to the other kids that live in the woods.

The stories start in Genesis with Creation and goes to the book of Acts. Throughout the story you have the animal kids asking questions; like what is a parable? You have portions where the kids comment on a story or Mama Bear explaining the story for them to comprehend it at their level. I love this as it really gives you an opportunity to share more about the stories they are reading.

The stories are just a small portion of the stories from the Bible. Overall I haven’t seen anything in the stories that make me cringe as it keeps the Bible stories intact. The age range is 3-7.

The illustrations created by David Hohn are delightful and will capture your attention with the details.

Overall this is a delightful Bible story book for kids.

I received a free copy of this product from WaterBrook Multnomah 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 information accordance with the FTC Regulations.

11 September 2019

Wordless Wednesday

Easy Grammar Systems & Daily GRAMS: Grade 7 Review

We have been using Easy Grammar Systems and their Daily GRAMS: Grade 7 for the last few weeks. Daily GRAMS has been a part of my son’s school for the last few years when we started with Daily GRAMS:  Grade 3. We have been very pleased with Daily GRAMS and use it as a supplement to our language arts program. The best part is that my son actually likes Daily GRAMS and doesn’t complain about it. The lessons are straight forward and you don’t feel inundated with unnecessary busy work.

Daily GRAMS has five volumes. The first volume starts in 3rd grade and goes up to 7th grade. Each book has 180 lessons that consist of a one page lesson. The lessons are around 5-10 minutes each day.
This is not a complete grammar curriculum but more for reviewing and practicing grammar skills. Its intent assumes that you have already been taught the grammar concepts that are in each of the 5 questions that may have other problems within the main 5 questions. My son started with Daily GRAMS:  Grade 3 and I have noticed that each grade-level workbook becomes progressively more difficult. If you want the grammar taught then you should consider the Easy Grammar books.

Daily GRAMS is available three ways: as a physical workbook with the option of the student workbook with our without the teacher edition (which has the answer key in the back) or you can purchase it as a downloadable eBook. 

The format is the same for each of the 180 lessons:

Sentence 1: Capitalization mistakes have a complete sentence that is missing capitalization from beginning of a sentence, names of people, states, address, and other capitalizations concepts. You can use your own system of how you want them to correct/edit the sentences. You can mark it up with edit marks or have them write the sentence correctly under the sentence.

Sentence 2: Punctuation errors.Having used all the Daily GRAMS up to this point we have covered period, question mark, exclamation point, comma, semicolon, colon, dash, hyphen, parentheses, brackets, braces, apostrophe, quotation marks, and ellipsis. Each year you are doing all puncuations that are common in English grammar. You can mark it up with edit marks or have them write the sentence correctly under the sentence.

Sentence 3 & 4: is what they call General Concepts. It could be looking for parts of speech from circling the correct word, noun, verb, indicating if it’s an irregular, or a regular verb. It covers everything from adjectives, friendly letter, dictionary guided words, and other grammar concepts. Some of them you have to write out. Others may be filling in the blank or multiply choice questions.

Sentence 5: Sentence combining is where you are given several complete sentences that you have to combine them by making one complete sentence. You will write this out in the space provided.
In the back of the workbook is your answer key if you have the Teacher Edition. It’s laid out very simple Day 1: and numbered for each question. There are questions that the answers may vary and it will state that along with some answers.

A completed lesson. NO hassle as it's straight forward

I absolutely love that it is easy and straight forward that helps with mastering skills in grammar. There have been times that my son and I have gotten stumped or couldn’t recall a certain concept and we have had to look it up to figure it out. Thank goodness for the answer key, grammar books and the internet! Yes, this can be challenging and I love the variety of grammar it goes over.

I do want to clarify that this isn’t a teaching book and should be used as reviewing so I don’t expect anything more from it. I have had folks tell me that it is hard to understand because it doesn’t teach the grammar? It’s not Daily GRAMS fault as the book doesn’t teach the concept but reviews it. That is were Easy Grammar comes in. I have never used any of the other books and I’m quite curious to use them. I plan on using one of the Easy Grammar with my special needs daughter when she finishes her current grammar curriculum.

How did I use Daily GRAMS: Grade 7 in my homeschool?

Like I mentioned earlier Daily GRAMS has been part of our homeschool for the last 4 years. I started Daily GRAMS: Grade 3 when my son was in 4th grade. He needed some review in certain concepts. After looking at it at our local convention I felt that I wouldn’t start at his grade level because I wasn’t sure if it would be too difficult for him. 

This year he is in 8th grade now. My son works through 4 to 5 lessons a week. My son likes that the lessons are no more than 10 minutes. I love that even with 10 minutes that some of the lessons are challenging and he has to think when working through the problems. Another thing I really appreciate is that life gets busy we can skip a day or two and not feel behind. Sometimes he will do two lessons in a day.

My son's completed lesson Day 21

My son says, I've been using Daily GRAMS for several years and I don't mind doing the lessons. They don't take me long to do." "Some of the questions are challenging and I need help but I still like it for a school assignment." 

Day 45 lesson

 It’s an open and go curriculum on my end. It literally takes no planning on my end. Every year we have taken this into the summer months to complete it. My son doesn’t mind and will do the lessons without complaining.

My son is now pretty independent doing Daily GRAMS. There are times he pulls out our grammar book to make sure he understands what something means or he ask for my help. There are times he may need a dictionary or thesaurus. Other times I let him use those resources on the internet. 

He will do his Daily GRAMS usually right before his main language arts programs. I have him mark up the capitalization and punctuation with edit marks. He writes out the sentences and fills in the words where it is required. After he completes his lesson we check the answers and go over any mistakes immediately.   
My son working on one of his lessons

I’ve been really pleased with Daily GRAMS throughout the years. I tested my son in 3rd grade and his grammar skills needed some help and that testing is what led me to looking into Daily GRAMS. Now when I test my son he always scores higher than his grade level in grammar and I really contribute his scores to Daily GRAMS throughout the years. Our state doesn't require testing but it has helped me see where I need to work on with his skills. The repetitive skills have developed him to be more confident and he has mastered many grammar concepts with the consistent 5 days a week reviews from Daily GRAMS.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EasyGrammarSystems/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Easygrammar
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/easygrammarsystems/

Other members from The Homeschool Review Crew are reviewing Easy Grammar, Easy Grammar Plus, Daily GRAMS, and the Easy Grammar Ultimate Series. I’m just 1 of 70 so stop by and find out more information about Easy Grammar Systems products. I've been pleased with Daily GRAMS: Grade 7.


05 September 2019

Bibleforce: The First Heroes Devotional Book Review & Giveaway

BibleForce Devotional includes 100 devotions based on the heroes of the Bible with the popular comic-style action art, facts about each hero, Scriptures, and action items that help kids connect God's Word to their lives today. As kids read about the heroes of the Bible, they'll see ways they can be heroes for God as well.

BibleForce Devotional offers a fresh, bright graphic-novel style that will interest boys and girls alike and will be the perfect way to engage young readers who want an active, exciting devotional. It's a great book to read together and is simple enough for young readers to read on their own. Kids won't be able to put down this book! Jump into the story of God's Word, and become an amazing hero for God today with BibleForce Devotional!

My Thoughts: 

This is an interesting devotional and should appeal to boys and girls alike. It doesn’t have the full Bible but more the popular stories that you would expect in a kids Bible or devotional. The cover is a hardback book with full colored graphics on every page. This is the same as the Bibleforce Bible if you have seen that already. Each story highlights an amazing person that followed God in the Bible.

There is a Table of Contents at the beginning of the devotional with the page number and is divided by Old Testament and New Testament. There is also a brief introduction explaining the sections in the devotional.

The layout is the same with each devotional. Here are just a few of the nuggets in this devotional. 

Fun Facts-this will give you some interesting information about the Bible story or the hero. It might tell you how God used them or where they lived or some inspiring information. 

Hero Training-This is going above and beyond to help apply the words to your own life. It may give you other scriptures to look up in the Bible. It’s to help you train you spiritual and faith muscles as the devotional calls it. 

Be a Hero!-Put your faith in action. This gives you some suggestions to live out your faith with what you are learning. There are ideas, activities, and suggested everyday ways to put your faith in action.

Each of the devotional are on two pages. The Bible devotional is written in graphic comic layout. The illustrations are well done and will surely capture the reader’s attention.

The back of the devotion has a time line, “What Happened When?” starting with creation to the book of Revelation. There is also a full colored map of “The World of the Bible.”

The Bible stories are short and are missing a lot of information. I would not recommend this as the only Bible reading kids get everyday but more of a supplement. 

Overall if it gets a kid interested in reading the Word then I think that is a great start or even if they are just reading this as it's attended as a devotional with daily Bible readings. 

You can enter to win your own copy by clicking on the graphic below or you can purchase it here

I received a free copy of this product from WaterBrook Multnomah 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 information accordance with the FTC Regulations.

04 September 2019

Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades Review

Zeezok Publishing has a wonderful middle school curriculum for teaching music appreciation with Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades.

Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades is intended for grades 5th – 8th grade. It also meets the national standards requirements for music appreciation if you follow the curriculum and do the required activities. This is the second book in the series. You can read about the first one that is geared for elementary grades from a review when we used it a few years back.  

Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades includes:

Student Workbook
Frederick Chopin, the Early Years
Frederick Chopin, the Later Years
Robert Schumann and the Mascot Ziff
Robert Wagner, the Adventures of Robert Wagner
Stephen Foster and His Little Dog Tray
Johannes Brahms, the Young Brahms
Peter Tchaikovsky, the Story of Peter Tchaikovsky
Peter Tchaikovsky and the Nutcracker Ballet
Edward MacDowell and His Cabin in the Pines
You can also purchase a lapbook and coloring books to use with this set.

Student Workbook
The Student Work is a softbound book with 307 perforated pages and also has 3-holed punched to put into a 3-ring binder if you wanted too. It has all your activities for each of the composers. Each composer has four weeks of studies and activities. Chopin has five weeks. This is a complete year that you could easily add music lessons to make this into a full high school credit.
Each composer has a weekly outline with clear instructions of what needs to be completed.

The Student Workbook is also the teacher guide. At the beginning of each composer it has a weekly schedule that includes what you will read in the reader and all the activities that need to be completed during the week. It has the answers to each of the questions at the end of each composer. The book is colored tabbed so you can find the composers quickly.
Completed comprehensive Questions worksheet

A variety of activities as you can see in this almost complete page.

Another completed student worksheet

The activities in the Student Workbook are a mixture of activities from comprehension questions, multiply choice, matching, fills in the blank, true false questions, quizzes, and several exercises like naming the musical notes, learn how to listen, and more. Each composer has sections like Tidbits of Interest, Character Qualities, Components of Music, Basic Music Theory, and more. 
There is a plethora of information throughout from writing out your family tree, recipes, and finding out about the world during the composer’s lifetime.
Another neat feature is the use of the website, app, or QR app to listen to the composers and go to videos, or other interesting information. 
QR Codes to scan for the music of each composer is provided in the book or online,

A photo of the music being played on my phone

We used the QR codes to listen to the composer’s music.  (The student book has some suggestions of what QR apps to use if you don’t already have on.) The links are not only about the music as we could see a map of certain places like Central Park. I liked this feature much better than the first book that used the CDs.
This took us to a map of Central Park

My son wanted to learn about American composers and we started with Edward MacDowell. One interesting place we learned about was the MacDowell Colony it was a little over 6 minutes long video talking about this community build on the original MacDowell farm in Peterboro, New Hampshire. It’s an artist retreat from music, writers, visual arts, and other artistic fields. We found this place intriguing and had to take a rabbit trail to learn more about it.
MacDowell Colony intrigued my son and me. We had to look up more information on this!

The reading books are a mixture of softbound and hardback books; we received one as an e-book. If you order it will be a physical book that you will receive.
The readers vary in length and lay out the life of each of the composers. All of the books have detailed black and white illustrations. Another feature in the readers is the sheet music of the composers.
How did I use Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades in my homeschool?
I used this with my 8th grader who used the Music Appreciation: Book 1 for the Elementary Grades a few years ago.
A good sign when your son reads ahead a few chapters
My son looked over the books and wanted to learn about American composers first. I already knew this was an open and go curriculum that didn’t require any planning on my end. I read the first few pages and made sure my QR reader worked with the codes in the book and we were set to go.
We started with Edward MacDowell. My son has actually been very independent with this as I was out of town some. He decided to read the book while I was gone and afterwards we would tackle the Student Workbook together.
He had read 3 chapters in a few days. He told me that he looked at the Student Workbook before he read each chapter and decided that he felt confident enough to do the workbook alone. He downloaded a QR reader on his phone to complete the activities. He just didn’t do the quizzes and some of the comprehensive questions until I was home. That was a nice surprise for me when I came home. It also showed me that he must have liked it to read ahead and to work on the workbook himself. That wasn’t intended as I feel that to get the most out of this it should be parent led. However my son did awesome with doing this himself!
The Comprehensive Questions are challenging
Once I was all settled in he caught me up to speed on the book and we completed the Student Workbook portions that need my attention. From there we took turns reading out loud and worked on the Student Workbook together. We had a few rabbit trails like we wanted to learn more about the MacDowell Colony and looked up more information about it. We probably worked at more of an accelerated pace and completed a week in just 3 days since we were in summer school mode. Now that we are in school we will do this each day.

Starting on the next American Composer except, my son likes to look at the end of the story first!

He just started on Stephen Foster and His Little Dog Tray and we will continue working through this book and the activities. I was glad that we can do this one together. I love the folk stories and the songs like Swing Low, Oh! Susanna, and Go Down Moses. Afterwards we will start at the beginning of the Student Workbook and work our way through each of the composers the rest of the year.

My son has been learning how to play his keyboard the last several months and still playing his guitar. He is learning more music theory with this curriculum and with the keyboard lessons. Having these together I’m going to give him a high school credit for this course. This is a wonderful homeschool music program.

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I am only 1 of 60 who are reviewing Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades from Zeezok Publishing. Don’t forget to click on the graphic below to learn more.


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