Product Review: Connections Stationary Kit

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Grasshopper, who you met earlier today in a Meet the Family post, enjoys writing letters. His favorite person to write to was my dad, and even though Grandpa died earlier this year, I want my son to still enjoy writing letters. It was for this reason I asked to review the Connections Stationary Kit (the misspelling is intentional) from Byron’s Games.

FC65F60D-5689-4E9A-9CED-0C42F2AB5EB1Grasshopper was really excited to see the kit when it arrived, and for good reason. It includes everything your child needs to write and send letters (except the stamps). Included in the box is 

  • 25 printed sheets of stationery paper
  • 25 matching envelopes 
  • 36 envelope-seal stickers
  • 2 ink pads (pink and blue)
  • 1 “thank you” rubber stamp
  • 1 pen

I was very impressed when I first opened up the kit. The box feels very high quality, and inside everything is neatly placed in its spot. It comes with a plastic tray very much like what you’d find inside a board game, so that all the items can stack inside the box while not being disastrous and “ugly.” This tray also helps keep the kit organized even as your child uses some of the supplies. The paper and envelopes themselves are also very high quality. It’s not just printed computer paper in there; the stationery paper is thick (no bleed through from the pen), but not like card stock. If you’ve ever used purchased stationery, you know what I’m talking about. 

5D05884D-4D26-41C8-8F32-C65D3D5C392CGrasshopper wrote letters to my parents (mom and stepdad) on one sheet, which we forgot to photograph before mailing. He also wrote a note to one of his dance friends, thanking her and her family for coming over for dinner (before coronavirus!). He hand delivered that letter. This is the note you see in the graphic above. The envelope is the actual one he used; I just covered up her name for privacy (which is the reason for the off-colored box). This particular little girl (she’s 6) has a huge crush on my son, so he indulged her a little bit by using a heart sticker on the back of the envelope.

We treated the letter writing a bit like copy work. We worked together to dictate a letter, which I wrote down on regular paper. Grasshopper then took a piece of his stationery and the page I wrote, then copied the letter down on the nice paper. On top of being a good way for him to practice his handwriting skills, it made him feel good when he was able to successfully write a legible note that made sense.

My son has really enjoyed using this kit. He’s been very picky about who is “worthy” of a letter because of the limited number of sheets he has, but that’s not automatically a bad thing; he’s using discernment and being very careful about not wasting his resources. 

Byron’s Games also makes the Continent Race game, and some of my fellow crew members are reviewing that this week as well. If you’re looking for a fun way to teach or reinforce geography, I recommend you head over to the Crew blog to find out more. 

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

Venturing with God in Congo (book review)

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way.

I love the work that missionaries do, so I was pleased to accept a review for Venturing with God in Congo, a book from Conjurske Publishing.

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The book is a very nice feeling, matte finish hardcover book spanning 290 pages. Even my non-reading 4-year-old was fascinated by the cover. “What are those eyes?” “Is that a python?!” So even though you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, I’d say the publishers nailed it with this cover. And the inside is just a beautiful as the outside, with an African savannah scene on the end pages and easy-to-read font for the text.

DDBD38E9-7B50-4E7E-A098-540C3B88C2DCThe book opens with a quote from Darrell Champlin (the main subject of the book and late husband of the author, Louise Champlin) about missions, followed by the table of contents, pronunciation tips for the foreign (Lingala) words, a timeline of events, and map of Congo.

514EA17E-FFC7-43C3-8F98-9A401F66BFFCUnfortunately, I’ve been very busy lately, so I assigned this review to Scorpion. Being a 13-year-old boy, he wasn’t especially wordy, but here is his review:

Venturing with God in Congo is a fascinating book about Darrel Champlin, his family, and how they grew to become some of the most famous men and women in the Congo. It takes place in the mid-1950s and 1960s. It goes into great detail on all of the wonders of the great African jungles, which I personally love.

2048057F-812F-44A5-AAD5-B38D0294DDA9It has a photo gallery with real photographs from their adventures. It’s full of fantastic adventures and riveting storytelling, combining to make this an amazing, inspiring book. I would recommend this book for any young missionary, or just as a fun read. Please enjoy Venturing with God in Congo.

After looking briefly over the book and reading my son’s thoughts on it, I am looking forward to reading it myself!

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

 

 


As with all Homeschool Review Crew reviews, there are loads more people talking about this book this week. Please click over to the Review Crew site to find out more.

The Continuing Adventures of Captain No Beard (book review)

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way.

A couple of years ago, my two littlest kids (at the time) and I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing the first book in the Captain No Beard series. When the opportunity presented itself recently to choose 4 books from Carole P. Roman’s assorted series, there wasn’t even a question regarding what to choose: more of the Captain No Beard adventures! These are definitely our favorite books by Carole P. Roman.

My kids (ages 4 and 7) have asked to read these books over and over again, and because they are so fun, I absolutely obliged them. 

101F72A8-55F5-4FC2-BDE8-19F05BE17616Book 2 is Pepper Parrot’s Problem with Patience, and in it Pepper, a new character, has trouble telling her left from right. This causes her much grief, to the point the other characters can barely stand to be around her from all the wailing (screeching, really, since she’s a bird). With a bit of guidance and the old “your left hand makes an L” trick, Pepper learns to tell the difference and more importantly, how to show herself grace when things aren’t as easy as she wishes they were. 

2488FAE4-17A3-4E2D-A2BC-63AEF211E23EBook 3 is Stuck in the Doldrums, and this book takes the crew to the beach. While there, Alexander, aka Captain No Beard, has no problem reminding everyone that he is the captain… he is too bossy! The entire crew gets frustrated with him, prompting him to stomp off on his own. When his ship is attacked, he needs his crew more than ever, and realizes that even though he’s the Captain, each member is important.

8C2EB50E-2327-4126-B636-8FC53EE99BEFBook 4 is Strangers on the High Seas, and we meet baby Cayla for the first time. Captain No Beard doesn’t want much to do with her, but when the Flying Dragon (his ship) is attacked, Cayla has just the weapon to save them all.

6BEF2B1B-050F-40F7-A62C-99AE38C53F61The final book we received is book 5, The Treasure of Snake Island. It starts out on a “red sky” morning, and Polly (formerly Pepper) tells the other pirates that this means the afternoon will most certainly be stormy. She knows this because she read about it in a book. Once the storm calms, the conversation turns to snakes, which First Mate Hallie tells the crew she really doesn’t like. Paying her no mind, Captain No Beard pulls out his map and discovers they are near Snake Island. The crew finds the island and docks the ship, then gets off and begins searching for the famous “treasure of Snake Island.” They find the X and start digging, and as the story ends back in Alexander’s bedroom (as all the Captain No Beard books do, because the crew is really his stuffed animals and the ship is his bed), he, Hallie, and Cayla find the treasure chest, and it is full of books!

My boys and I have loved reading these books together the past few weeks, and I’m so glad to have been able to add them to our home library.

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

 

 

 

Carole P. Roman writes lots of children’s books, not just Captain No Beard. Members of the Homeschool Review Crew are promoting a wide variety of them, so make sure to check out the other reviews!

Step into Reading (book review)

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

I wrote recently about Grasshopper and how he’s finally getting excited about reading. To go along with that, I was excited to be able to offer him The Boxcar Children Early Reader Set from Albert Whitman & Company.

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For this review, we received four beautiful, case-laminate hardcover books: The Boxcar Children, Surprise Island, The Yellow House Mystery, and Mystery Ranch. Each one is based on the original Boxcar Children books by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Because Grasshopper is still not fully comfortable enough reading on his own yet, we read them together. To get him warmed up, I read the first page, but then he took over and flew through the books with flying colors.

The first book, The Boxcar Children, sets up the whole series. It tells the story of Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden, and explains that they are orphans. The opening scene is of the four hungry children outside a bakery looking for some food and a place to spend the night. That ends up not working long term (or really even short term), so the children move on quickly. They find an abandoned train car, and while Henry works for Doctor Moore, Jessie and the others make the boxcar “home.” Doctor Moore learns more about Henry and his siblings, that they are orphans who are avoiding their grandfather (the only family they have) because they think he is mean. One day, Doctor Moore introduces the children to his friend, Mr. Henry. The kids think this is hilarious – Henry, Mr. Henry. As time goes on, Mr. Henry earns their trust and only then is revealed to actually be James Henry Alden – the children’s grandfather. The kids are thrilled that their grandfather is not mean after all, and they go to live with him. The book ends with them all at his house, and he’s brought their boxcar to his backyard for the children.

The other three books don’t seem to need to go in any particular order, so we read them in Grasshopper’s preferred order.

In Surprise Island, Grandfather gives the children a big surprise: their family owns an island, and they get to spend the summer there on their own! Grandfather shows them the barn where they live for the summer, then he gets on the boat and goes back home. The children are excited to have many adventures on the island! They end up finding many things from clams to shells to broken pottery, to… their cousin Joe. When Grandfather comes for them at the end of the summer, it’s decided that Joe will live them from now on.

We revisit Surprise Island in The Yellow House Mystery. This time, the children find an old yellow house and when they ask Grandfather about it, he tells them that his friend Bill used to love there, but he just up and disappeared one day. The children explore the house, where they find a note that alludes to the fact that Bill borrowed some money from Grandfather, lent it to someone else, and then couldn’t repay the funds. The note says where to find the repayment, so the kids go on an adventure to that location. When they get there, they find Bill! And the box where the money was supposed to be, and though many years have passed, the money is still there. Bill is excited to be able to repay Grandfather and move back into the yellow house.

Mystery Ranch finds the Aldens at Grandfather’s sister’s ranch in Centerville. Aunt Jane is sick and lonely, so Grandfather suggests the children visit her so they can cheer her up. On the train ride there, Benny meets a nice man who shows him their travels on a map. To their surprise, this Mystery Man gets off at the same stop as them. But then they don’t see him again. After many days of taking care of Aunt Jane and her ranch house, she reveals to them that some men have tried to buy her home from her. They also find a hut on the land that looks like it has been occupied recently. They take this information to the sheriff, who introduces them to Mr. Carter – the Mystery Man! It turns out that Aunt Jane’s ranch is also home to some rare rocks, and Mr. Carter is an expert in such stones and has been hired by Grandfather. He determines that Aunt Jane’s rocks are indeed valuable, so a team is brought in to excavate, which saves the ranch.

We have really loved having these books to read. They are perfect for the stage Grasshopper is at now, and I am thrilled that he is excited to read books! And I imagine that in 3-6 months, when he is ready for his first novel, we’ll be getting a Boxcar Children mystery from the library!

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

 

 

 

Please be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew for more information and reviews on these charming books.

Learning to Read: review of PRIDE Reading

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

This post contains affiliate links.

Reading is usually a very difficult thing for students to learn. I’m on my third go-round, and it’s the second time it’s been tough (my second son practically taught himself). With Grasshopper, my 7-year-old, we’ve tried many different programs with varying degrees of success over the past year or two. Our most recent curriculum is PRIDE Reading Program, and for the first time, it seems like he’s making real progress. 

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When we first got word that we’d been chosen for this review, I sat down with him and did the placement test. This was basically going over letter names, sounds, and blends to see what your child already knows so that you can order the right level for them. He tested at the PRIDE Yellow Book Program Kit – Level 1. This is the second out of four levels. The first is Beginning Consonants, followed by Yellow, Orange, and Red levels (numbered 1-3).

I told my son about the new reading program while we were waiting on the mail, and though he’s been a very reluctant reader thus far, he showed some enthusiasm for trying it. He was so excited that even though it was Saturday when it arrived, he wanted to do the first lesson right away. I never expected that from him out of a reading program!

Before I dive too deeply into the lessons, let’s go over what you get in the kit. Each of these items is available for individual purchase, but you really need the whole kit to really teach the program properly.

393D9159-C521-464F-9E56-E75A3E1ADAC1First is the teacher guide. This is available only online; there’s no physical book, so you need to make sure you have internet access. It has a good mobile version, though, so your phone or tablet will work just fine. (I usually used my iPhone.) The teacher guide is vital. You should not try to teach without it. It goes through every single step of the lesson, telling you just what to say and how to guide your student through the activities.

The student book is a physical, spiral bound book with all the different pages needed for the program. There are reading pages, writing pages, and games. The back cover is also utilized, which leads me to 

Letter Tiles. These are very sturdy, high quality, cardboard squares. You have to punch them out like you would the tiles in a new game, and then store them in a bag. There are single letters as well as prefixes, suffixes, and blends.

The sound cards are like a deck of cards, but instead of game values they have letters (same as the letter tiles) in various singles and combinations. 

The final component of the Yellow Kit is the PRIDE Activity kit. This includes a whiteboard with two markers (black and red) and an eraser, a reading tracker (a piece of translucent plastic, gray on the top and bottom and yellow in the middle, to help your student not mix up lines while they’re reading), a game die, and a canvas zipper pouch to keep everything in.

5008E9B7-9413-4A62-814E-DE921B9D44EBThe lessons are completely “open and go.” After you, the teacher, complete the PRIDE Reading training (which took me just about an hour, and I did during the week we were waiting on the mail), all you have to do is gather the supplies (everything I listed above), open the teacher manual on the website, and go through the steps. When you’ve completed each step (there have been about 10 in each lesson we’ve done so far), you verify that your student has completed the module to your satisfaction, and then the next lesson is unlocked.
The lessons (modules) contain a variety of activities, but many are the same each time. You always start by reviewing the letter names and sounds of every consonant plus the vowels that have been studied up to that point. Then there are a few different activities that rotate somewhat from lesson to lesson. These include spelling activities (spelling words on the back cover of the workbook using the letter tiles), phonemic awareness (say a word, then repeat the word but change one of the sounds), blending (divide the consonant sound cards into two stacks with a vowel in the middle and have your student read the words, some of which won’t be real), and more.
Then you move on to “red words.” These are words that can’t be sounded out in English (like “said”), so students must STOP! and focus  on the word in order to read it. You write the word on the whiteboard using the provided red marker, introduce the word, the have the student write, read, and spell the word out loud until they’re comfortable with it.

After red words (of which there was one new one per module), students read. Sometimes they read a list of words, sometimes it’s sentence to two, and sometimes it’s a full story. On the days they read a story, students learn to read silently. My son didn’t especially enjoy this, but it’s such a vital skill that I’m glad it was taught. When your student is reading silently, you have them stop periodically and answer comprehension questions so you can be sure they’ve read properly.

C04B3526-59C1-40AC-B7A5-683FB3FEE093The final steps of each module are writing. This is done by dictation. You say a sound, the student writes the letter. You say a word, the student writes it down, correctly spelled. You say a sentence, the student writes it down. 

There are 3 modules in each lesson: introduction, practice, and reinforcement. These should be done over a total of 3-5 days. Because of time constraints with dance class and a needy toddler, we ended up needing to take 2 days for each 10-step module most of the time. I would’ve loved to move through more quickly, but it just wouldn’t happen for us.

When I first saw the initial lesson, I worried it would be too much for Grasshopper, but I was wrong. He is easily (but not too easily) able to work through every part of every lesson. His enthusiasm hasn’t waned one bit since we first started. And now, he’s finally excited about reading and has actually started to read things on his own. He even finished his first “step into reading level 2” book recently! I couldn’t be happier with PRIDE Reading Program, and I know Grasshopper feels the same.

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

 

 


Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew are telling about their experiences with PRIDE Reading Program this week too. Make sure to click through to read those reviews!

Christian Apologetics: a TOS review

DISCLAIMER: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange fir my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way.

 
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working through The Unbreakable Faith Course from Pilgrim’s Rock, LLC. As you can surmise from my post title, this is a course on Christian Apologetics (defending the faith), and it is very well done.

6F192806-43F5-4305-9640-2654E0232C24The course consists of video lessons and two textbooks: The Box and God the Reason, both written by series creator Craig Biehl. The books (called “textbooks,” but formatted like and as easy to read as novels) are available either as physical copies or PDF ebooks. The video lessons are online. The course is self-paced, but required to be completed within 36 weeks (one standard school year). The course is designed for teens 15+ and adults, and complete enough to earn your teen one high school credit. 

B2EC8C51-1871-4165-B551-6CF8157E33EEThe course has 6 parts, each one with required reading from the texts and several videos. There is a quiz at the end of each part. Like any high school or college course, the best place to start is with the syllabus, and The Unbreakable Faith Course has a very complete one that goes over the expectations, grading scale, and course calendar very clearly.

The first assignment was to read The Box in its entirety. This was easily done because, like I mentioned before, it reads like a novel. The book forms the foundation of the course, and is interesting to read because it has many “conversations” between two characters, called Mr. A (atheist) and Mr. C (Christian). There are some interesting points made by Mr. C, but the one I found most compelling was that atheism requires just as much, if not more, faith as Christianity. The only difference is where that faith lies.

AC112BB1-C59D-4079-BB3B-5095DA77F824Once you finish reading The Box, you work through God the Reason and the video lessons. The videos are usually in the 10-13 minute range, and I usually watched either after the kids were in bed or while I was cooking dinner. Those are typically the only times I had a few minutes to myself (as other moms understand!). The information contained therein was really solid, and I enjoyed the singing of hymns at the beginning and end of each one.

Overall, I think this is a very complete course, and definitely doesn’t skimp on information. I can understand how it earns a full credit for high schoolers!

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

 

 


Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew are reviewing The Unbreakable Faith Course this week too. Head over to the Crew blog to find links to those reviews; if you’re even a little curious about this course, you don’t want to miss the other reviews! 

Review: SchoolhouseTeachers.com (2019)

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way.

After a year off, I am so excited to be part of the Homeschool Review Crew again! For my first review of 2020, I’ve had the absolute pleasure of reacquainting myself with SchoolhouseTeachers.com. In case you’re unfamiliar, it’s the all-in-one homeschool curriculum website run by The Old Schoolhouse homeschool magazine. When I say “all-in-one,” I really mean it, too. With my Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership, I’ve been able to find things for all three of my school-age sons (10th grade, 8th grade, and 2nd grade) to do.

There are so many ways to dig around and find things on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. If you’re trying to plan “circle time” with a wide age range of children, you can search by topic. If you’re putting together individual  curricula for different children, you can search by age/grade.

For now, let’s take a short rundown of what each of my children used on SchoolhouseTeachers.com during the past month.

10th Grade:

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In order to find something for my oldest son, I first looked over SchoolhouseTeachers.com “by grade level.”  Then I considered his interests as well as what “holes” I thought needed filled in his school year. Using those two criteria, I found the perfect course for him: The National Debt. This is a 24-page PDF that I downloaded to my iPad and sent him via email so he could have it on his own tablet to work through. The course includes reading, vocabulary, and written exercises. When he’d finished the reading on his first day of this study, I found myself really impressed with him because he came out from studying and told me all about not just the course, but also some independent research he’d done based on the course. I love that he took the initiative to go above and beyond what was presented in order to further his understanding of the topic.

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46EBC1D0-3BE8-4BEA-8557-763B7C0A0F568th Grade:

For my second son, I followed a similar path in finding something for him. I chose a biography of Nikola Tesla. He’d learned a bit about Tesla through conversation and movies watched with his dad, so I knew this would pique his interest. The biography is on World Books, which is included as part of the SchoolhouseTeachers.com membership. In order to access the huge library of World Books, you login to that website using the username and password found on the members-only information page of SchoolhouseTeachers.com

In accessing this part of the website (World Books), I had the opportunity to deal with the customer service department at SchoolhouseTeachers.com. I’d logged into World Books a few days before and emailed the link of the book to my son, but then when we tried to access it later, the login credentials didn’t work. Using the instant chat help feature, a very helpful person got me all squared away. Having that chat feature was really convenient and very effective.

2nd Grade:

F5782F97-CE00-4863-993D-FF1A2406C068My 7-year-old is a very inquisitive child. He loves being read to and learning about many things. Even though we’ve never used a formal curriculum with him, I have no concerns about his education at this stage (except for his reading) because of his curiousness. That said, it took me a bit of time to find something for him. The reading/spelling curricula for his age was a bit beyond him (he’s below grade level in reading but at or above in all other subjects). Combine that with it having been winter break (during which we were very busy with Nutcracker), and I wanted something light for him and I to do together. I found just the thing with the All About Inventions unit study. This teaches children about 15 fairly modern inventions, from bubblegum to Lincoln logs and fruit roll ups to laundry detergent. Each invention is given a short history (just a paragraph or two – enough to explain them to young children, but not to overwhelm them.) At the end of the short histories are a couple of activity pages for kids.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com has more than just classwork, though. They have planning resources (printable planners for kids and moms – and dads – of all ages), a report card generator, college and career planning, and much, much more. There are over 450 classes available, plus videos, ebooks, and interactive content. And the best part is that you get all this for one price for you entire household – not per student. For the single price of $179 per year (or $19.95 per month or $39.95 per quarter), you get access to everything SchoolhouseTeachers.com has to offer. But if you head over there this month (January 2020), you’ll find a coupon code to get your annual membership for just $99 (or $12 monthly), and that price is guaranteed as long as you keep your membership active. 

As much as I love and endorse SchoolhouseTeachers.com, though, I encourage you not to just take my word here. Head over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to find access to over 100 more reviews (and if reading isn’t your thing, some of those reviews are YouTube vlog reviews, and some are very short social media reviews).

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

Tree Frogs documentary

As part of the older boys’ honeschooling, they each have to complete 2 semester-long projects each year. This teaches them time management as well as gives them the chance to really explore a personal interest on a deep level. 

For his first semester project this school year, Seahawk made a documentary about tree frogs. He used mostly stock images coupled with information he found from several different sources. Small Fry acted as his narrator. The film was made using Adobe Spark Video on my iPad. I hope you enjoy the “show”!

 

Heirloom Audio review (guest post)

I have a guest review to share today from my older boys. Munchkin and Seahawk will each be sharing their thoughts on the newest production from Heirloom Audio, which is called St. Bartholemew’s Eve. They’ve been listening to this as their history lessons for the past couple of weeks, and this review is the final assignment for that “unit.”

There might be some overlap because both boys are reviewing the same thing, but I wanted to make sure to let them both have a turn. I’m not changing anything except their grammar and punctuation as needed (which wasn’t bad). 

Munchkin (12 years old)

St. Bartholomew’s Eve starts with a boy named Philip. He is in France talking about the Huguenot cause with his aunt. They go riding.

Next, Philip is training to sword fight. He also learns to use pistols for extra protection in battle. His cousin tells him that it is time for battle. The battle is long, but The Huguenots eventually retreat.

Now, they go to the city to rescue Philip’s friends. They meet a boy named Argento. He shows them where the city officials live. They capture the president and other city officials. They give the president one hour to come back with Philip’s friends. After Philip’s friends are safe, he warns the president to not harm anyone else in the city.

Another battle ensues, and when the Huguenots are on the verge of defeat, Philip fires his pistols and the Catholics retreat. He then hears word that the president is harming people in the city again.The Huguenots lay siege on the city, and Philip goes in to rescue Argento. Philip then notices that there are X’s on the doors of all the Huguenots. He then goes to rescue Argento’s parents.They disguise as Catholics, but are captured and rescued by Philip’s friends. They escape. When they arrrive at the chateau, there is a battle. The Huguenots win. They escape. Then they go to Paris to make peace with the king, but are betrayed and slaughtered.

I liked St. Bartholomew’s Eve. Of all the audio dramas so far, it has been one of the best. My favorite part where they meet Argento. I liked this part because I like Argento.

My least favorite part is the beginning.I didn’t like the beginning because it was not exciting enough.

There are my thoughts about St. Bartholomew’s Eve.

Seahawk (14 years old)

Phillip is a British nobleman. He is in France meeting his cousin about the persecution of the Protestant Christians in France. They are in the middle of a war with the Catholics over the right to worship God in the way they deem correct. He and his cousins are the commanders of the Protestant Huguenots.

Our story begins with Philip talking to his aunt. She then sends a servant to fetch his cousin while they discuss the Huguenot cause. He and his cousin then go riding.

Philip stays with them for several months while he practices fighting and strategy. Some time later, he and his cousin hear word that Huguenot city has been oppressed, so they ride to meet the other officers in a small town in the north of France. In this meeting, Philip, his cousin, and several other officials of the Huguenot army are making plans to meet the prince in a town outside Paris to organize an invasion of the city. However, on further examination, this proves more difficult than anticipated, so Philip proposes another plan. Instead of attacking Paris, attack a Catholic stronghold in the west of France where there is a high population of oppressed Huguenots willing to take up arms to help recapture their city from the Catholics.

They go on to win several battles and are then called to Paris to make peace with the king. While all of their major leaders are at home the next night, the Catholic soldiers mark the Protestants’ doors and massacre them all. Philip and his friends get away with the exception of his cousin. 

I like this one kind of a lot. It has a very similar feel to In Freedom’s Cause, and that is one of my favorites. What I mean by “similar feel” is the order that things happen and the way they are framed. In this one, it is a lot of leaders interacting with each other, and more of them making plans as opposed to just chaos. I like this versus the other Heirloom stories because you can connect with the characters more easily and see the way they think. It helps you be able to predict where it will go, and it is fun to see it play out. For example, somewhere in the first disc there is a scene in which Philip and his cousin are lying in hospital beds. One of the higher ranking officers walks in to congratulate them for their success in battle. He also knights them both. Knowing Philip from having listened so far, me and Munchkin paused the CD and tried to predict how this would go down. We predicted that Philip would decline the knightship and he did. 

One of my favorite things about these is it’s a fun way to learn important historic stories. I think that all of them have their strengths and weaknesses but they are very well done as a rule. 

 

St. Bartholomew's Eve {Heirloom Audio Reviews}
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Jonah and Mary (book review)

A few years ago, Munchkin (who turns 12 this week) loved to read. Recently he’s been exploring other ways of expressing himself and finding his interests though. He currently enjoys drawing maps from memory. Through these other explorations, I don’t want him to completely abandon reading, though, so when the opportunity to review a book or two comes up, I always ask him if he’s interested. When it came to Who was Jonah? and Who was Mary, Mother of Jesus? from Barbour Publishing he said that he was definitely interested, so I’m going to leave the rest of this post to him.

Who was Jonah?

This book is about 80 pages and the type is fairly large, so it was easy to read. As you might guess from the title, it is a biography of the Biblical Jonah. It starts right before God tells him to go to Nineveh. It drops you right into the action, and follows the same action as is in the Bible right up until the end. It has Bible verses to help support what the author is saying. 

This book was pretty good. I found it fun to read. I’ve read another book by this author (Matt Koceich) before, and I really liked it, so I thought I would like this one too and I was right. I really like biographies, so this was a good book for me.

Who was Mary, Mother of Jesus?

This book was a very similar length and format to Jonah, but it’s all about Mary. It starts by explaining Mary’s special role in history, including the prophecy from Isaiah 7. The “real” story starts in chapter 2, where Mr. Koceich talks about the census and birth of Jesus. Each chapter takes a memorable Bible story (the wise men, 12 year old Jesus at the temple, the wedding in Cana, Jesus’s crucifixion) and explains Mary’s role in each. Like the Jonah book, it gives Bible verse references throughout to support what is being said.

I liked this book too. It was interesting to read familiar stories from a slightly different point of view. It wasn’t quite as fun as Jonah, but I still enjoyed it a lot. 

What Both Books had in Common 

In each book, there were little bits of extra information sprinkled throughout in gray boxes labeled “Clues.” These were mostly things that show God working in the life of both the subject of the book and how we can apply that today. For example, in Mary, one of the Clues says

Mary’s song reminds us to always praise God, for He is worthy. God gives us grace. He fills our hearts and always keeps His promises.

At the end of the main part of the book are “Power-Ups.” These are short (2 page) devotions based on the life of the person whose book it is. Each one includes a memory verse. 

Other Stuff

These two books are part of a series called Kingdom Files. So far, there are 5 books in the series: the two I reviewed, Jesus, David, and Esther. Each one is $4.99. I would like to read them all at some point.

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

 

 

and Munchkin 

Kingdom Files {Barbour Publishing Reviews}
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