Friday, October 18, 2019

WorthyKids - Secret of the Hidden Scrolls Series Review

The Bible is definitely not a boring book to read in many parts.  We recently had a chance to review new titles released in The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series from WorthyKids and written by M.J. Thomas.  We we able to review Book 5 - The Shepherd's Stone and Book 6 - The Lion's Roar.

Created for elementary reading level, about ages 6 - 9, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series brings Bible stories to life.  This Christian children's series places your children in the Biblical events in a fun, and un-scary way.  Peter and Mary think they are spending time with their boring Great-Uncle, only to discover that he is an archaeologist that has discovered hidden scrolls that allow them to travel and solve clues.  Boredom solved and the excitement and adventure has begun.

Book 5 - The Shepherd's Stone, Peter, Mary, and Hank travel through time to Bethlehem, and with the help of ancient scrolls meet a young shepherd named David.  They follow along side of David onto the battlefield, with Mary in disguise.  David reminds them many times that God is on their side and will walk with them.  This became apparent when the trio faced a bear on the way to bring food to the battlefield.  When they got to the battlefield, they were able to see a giant soldier on the Philistine side named Goliath.  The trio are called to see King Saul, where David volunteers to handle Goliath.  He again repeats that God is on his side. Peter and Mary must solve the secret of the scroll before the solider of the Darkness gets to them.  They see David battle Goliath, and with David's help and God's they solve the scroll in time.

In Book 6 - The Lion's Road, Peter, Mary, and Hank are back traveling again to ancient Babylon.  They meet two young men Shadrach and Daniel.  They discover all the challenges that have been put in front of these men as they try to faithfully serve the true God while being enslaved in a pagan and corrupt culture.  As they battle a high priest who want to send them into a lion's den to their death, will they be able to solve the scroll yet again in this treacherous situation they have landed?  Will the Dark Soldier win this time, or does God really have their backs? 

Throughout this entire series, kids are reminded to rely on God for strength.  That no matter the problem, there is help.  They just need to have faith.  I know that many young kids have their youth Bibles with illustrations and short Bible stories to keep their attention.  As kids get older, they need to look at Biblical accounts more in-depth.  The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series, is a great way for young Bible students to read Bible accounts in an easy to understand format.   It really shows kids the real action side of the Bible accounts that they are learning about, and takes the "boredom" out of their Bible study.

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series is an easier chapter book series for elementary aged students.  Kids that are older with special needs will also enjoy this series.  I enjoyed the constant reminder of reliance on God for help in our lives.  They make great books to assign for Bible study and also family read-aloud books where you can discuss what is happening together.

The books are well made and contain illustrations throughout the book, which really help the story to come to life in your child's mind.  I personally think that The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series would make a great television series for kids to watch.  They really provide clean entertainment for families in this world full of questionable material and ideas.

We really are not working on either of the time periods that I mentioned above.  So we just used these stories as assigned reading material.  Lydia and Caty both enjoyed the stories.  At the end of both books, there is a list of the scriptural references so that your family can look up the event or story and read it directly from their own Bible.  

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series Book 5 - The Shepherd's Stone and Book 6 - The Lion's Road.  Click on the link below to see how they used these books in their homes, and what they thought of them. 

Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Shepherd's Stone (Book 5) & The Lion's Roar (Book 6) {WorthyKids Books Reviews}
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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Brain Blox - Fun Family Chess Review

A few years ago Caty decided she didn't like chess because of the amount of rules.  I was hesitant about asking Caty to play chess with me when I found out we were getting to review Fun Family Chess from Brain Blox.  During the review period, she decided that she now loves chess and can't wait to take on more challenging chess partners.
Fun Family Chess brings the fun into learning chess.  This game was created for families with members ages 5 and up.  This game introduces those new to chess of all ages to learning the moves and creating strategies of chess.  It offers a specially created color coded learn-as-you-play method.  Plays are not automatically taught to you, but it gives each person time to strategize each move that they make.

Each Fun Family Chess set includes a wooden chess board with velvet lined storage case, wooden chess pieces with two velvet storage bags, a wooden dice, and two sturdy reference cards.  Also included is a card for a two month free Gold membership to

Fun Family Chess is meant to set you up for success.  The board is clearly labeled for students learning.  Along with the reference cards in the picture above, players really know how pieces move and when.

In the included instruction book, there are brief explanations about various questions you may have about playing the game of chess.  But Brain Blox also gives you access to instructional videos on playing chess.

To start out, you set up the chess board.  We opted to play with the wood dice the first few games.  It gave a new take on chess play.  Caty kept the reference card by the board to make sure she had a place to check herself.  The first few games, this took her guess work out of what piece to play.  Playing this part of Fun Family Chess really helped to build her confidence in playing chess.  

When you roll the die, you are to move the piece that matches the cube.  If you cannot move that piece, then you roll again.

It did get annoying the few times we could not move and had to keep rolling to get a piece that we could move.  But by that time her confidence had built and she had gotten more comfortable with the direction and moving capability of her chess pieces.  She was watching each play that she was making to ensure that she wouldn't lose that piece.  That's when she asked for us to play without the dice and she said she was ready to take on dad (he's the chess player, not me).

Fun Family Chess has been a great addition to our family.  You can use the sturdy, and well built board for not only play with the dice, but also you can play standard chess.  So as you or your student grows in the understanding on how play, they can graduate into higher level chess principles and strategies.  

I really like having access to family friendly how-to videos, instead of needing to search and weed through appropriate videos on youtube.  Fun Family Chess has been super easy to use.  The quality of the board and materials is phenomenal.  It has been a real confidence builder for Caty, and we cannot wait to keep playing.

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review Fun Family Chess from Brain Blox.  Click on the box below to read how they used this product in their homes with their families.

Fun Family Chess {Brain Blox Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Free Printable Fall Bucket List favorite time of the year!  Beautiful colors, hot cider, hot cocoa, hot tea, campfires with cornbread, scarecrows, and pumpkin everything!!  I have our fall bucket list ready to go so that we can get the most out of this beautiful season!  You can download your own copy if you would like!!

Krazy Kuehner Days Fall Bucket List

You'll notice how some of our activities include pears, as well as apples.  Caty is allergic to apples, so we just made a few adjustments so she doesn't feel left out!   Food allergies do not stop us!!

Have a great fall!!

Progeny Press Study Guides Review - Shadow Spinner and Little House on the Prairie

Reading takes us on so many adventures!  The girls and I have been reviewing and getting to experience life on the prairie and life in India while using the Little House on the Prairie Study Guide and Shadow Spinner Study Guide from Progeny Press.  

Progeny Press has written these study guides, E-Guides from a Christian perspective, so applicable scripture memory and questions are included with each chapter.  The mission statement for Progeny Press has caused me to love their materials even more.

"To teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on the scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!"

Progeny Press Study Guides combines literature, critical thinking skills, along with Biblical text.  The Study Guides provide a great way to encourage your student's love of literature, and also give them scriptural reminders about behaviors to discuss. 

When classically educating your child, one thing parents can do is draw out as many educational experiences as possible in literature books.  This can become a time consuming endeavor, but Progeny Press has done all of the work for you.  

In the last few weeks, we have been using both the Shadow Spinner Study Guide  and the Little House on the Prairie Study Guide.  Both are written for students in roughly grades 5 - 8.  You do need the chapter book to read with your study guide materials.  We already owned Little House on the Prairie, and the library had Shadow Spinner for us to borrow.

The download is easy to open and includes both student pages, as well as teacher/answer guide.

Shadow Spinner is the story of Shahrazad who must tell a story to the Sultan nightly, in order to save her life.  If the story is not interesting enough to keep his interest, she could lose her life.  She is running out of tales to tell the Sultan, and must gather new ones that he has not heard.  Will she be able to do this with the help of Marjan?

Caty has been reading through this story, and enjoying it.  Progeny Press study guides can be used at your own pace.  The questions are very though provoking with each chapter.  They encouraged Caty to really think.  But at the same time, due to her learning disabilities, she struggled a bit with writing the answers and really getting her thoughts lined up.  The Shadow Spinner Study Guide really adapt to their learning style by allowing them to move at whatever speed they are most comfortable.  One day I had her just type up her answers to the questions, instead of handwriting out the responses.    

Each book is broken into a certain amount of chapters being matched up with questions.  Included also are questions and activity suggestions that include areas of interest in geography, science, math, and also language arts.  So when using a Progeny Press Study Guide, you are really getting a total study unit.

The Shadow Spinner Study Guide was created to either be printed and kept in a notebook binder, which is what we chose to do or you can easily type into the PDF file and print the pages, if you need them for a record of your studies.

You can see the drop down button choices for students in the photo above.  Those are in the PDF file and allow students to select the answer and print the pages then.

I thought some of the harder questions really forced Caty to think about what she was reading, and not just flying through the book.  Just learning about different writing styles that an author can present while writing really got her.  She wants to write short stories, so this really got her that sometimes writing is more than just throwing a bunch of lines on paper or in a file.  

I really liked questions like the one above.  It made Caty really "read between the lines".  Using this Progeny Press study guide was the deepest she has ever looked at a book.  It made her struggle a bit.  She did not move through the study quickly.  But it definitely gave her a new respect for authors and how to write.

Lydia and I are working our way through the Little House on the Prairie Study Guide.  This classic story will take you through the lives of the Ingalls family.  It is completely different from the television series, which Lydia has seen and enjoys.  

The Little House on the Prairie Study Guide starts out with a brief synopsis on the book and also background about this period in time.  There are mapping activities suggested, and the author of the study guide even suggests the whole family get involved in the study by going camping or even cook a meal over an open fire.  This is an activity that we did do.  We have cast iron pots just for cooking over the grates on our fire pit in backyard.  It's a favorite fall activity.

Just like in the Shadow Spinner Study Guide, the Little House on the Prairie Study Guide also includes vocabulary and grammar studies for studies to go through.  The book is broken down into roughly three "chapters" or sections in each "learning" unit.  You can go through each section as fast as your student needs.  

Since cooking is something that Ma must do daily to keep up with her family, there are even simple recipes included in the Little House on the Prairie Study Guide.

Cornbread is something made often in our house.  I wanted to make it over the campfire, but knew that I would burn it since I do not have a lid for the skillet.

One of the activities in the Little House on the Prairie Study Guide that I really thought was great was working on letter writing and addressing.  This is such a lost art, since everything is sent through email now.  So Lydia was able to practice letter writing during this unit study, which worked out great as she will soon be helping the stable where she rides on a fundraising letter project later this month.

The extra project suggestions throughout the Little House on the Prairie Study Guide were fun for her and included her building a log house in Minecraft and even attending a local program at the library on wolves.

Any of the Progeny Press Study Guides can be adjusted to your student's learning level.  If they are in the suggested grade range, but struggle with critical thinking, pick and choose the questions that you go through with them.  If your student excels, then encourage them to complete all the questions independently.  I verbally covered some questions with Lydia, and had her complete some independently.  

Progeny Press Study Guides can be used by schools, co-ops, homeschools, and even just over a winter/summer break.  They were created for all learning styles and educational environments.  We have been using Progeny Press Study Guides with all of the kids for several years now.  They are a favorite educational tool of mine and I look forward to new ones entering our studies all the time.

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review various Progeny Press Study Guides.  Click on the link below to see how they used these products in their homes and activities that they also done.

Study Guides for Literature {Progeny Press Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Cedar Point, Zoo Visit, Animal Fair, Sturgeon Release and Art

I'm not sure how I will handle life when and if it ever slows down.  Just a few more weeks before Cedar Point closes for the season.  We took the girls on Sunday and it was packed.  Not sure I'm going to like the new Gold Passes they are selling.  We are probably going to skip next year.  But I love that they did squash art again of Snoopy and Woodstock.  I have loved seeing these the last few years.

We watched them make a glass pumpkin.

And enjoyed the petting zoo area.  Caty was enthralled with this swan.

Lunch was fun...hadn't eaten in Johnny Rockets yet.

The funnel cake lines were ridiculous.  So I got up and made them funnel cakes for breakfast on Monday.  They aren't spoiled at all.  I never do anything for

On Monday we had a busy day of activities.  We started at the zoo.  We saw some baby flamingos.

The Tasmanian Devil

Watch the river otters play.

We plan on visiting the zoo almost monthly just to study more intensely specific areas and animals.  This time we studied more about the animals of Tembo Trail.

They had questions sheets to fill out as we went.

Our little Zoo Crew.

And then we headed to the Homeschool Animal Fair.  The girls did projects on Raccoons and the Stone Fish this year.

Caty did her own face paint.

Lydia colored her hair to look like a stonefish.

The state we explored was Connecticut.  We had a funny story to remind ourselves about for this state.  We actually spent a week in Connecticut.  Unfortunately we were snowed in.  When we arrived, a blizzard hit.  I had time to get groceries, and then we were snowed in.  The governor basically closed the state.  Joe worked from the hotel room even, as we watched 18 inches of snow pile up overnight and during the day.  So we did not get to explore much in this state.  Maybe sometime in the future we will get to visit again.  For our state meals we have clam pizza...

Ice Cream sodas

I made burgers and potato salad like they serve at the iconic Louis Burgers in Connecticut.  The kids actually liked this.  Not everyone is a fan of potato salad though.

Our books for the week

On Wednesday, Brayden interviewed for a holiday position at Game Stop.  He studied interview questions for a few days, and I asked him questions also.  To give him extra practice.  He had a resume, and even applied online.  They said he did great, but he wasn't 18 yet.  So they said to come back in the spring.

All of the kids have been using Calvert Homeschool Online program the last few weeks.  Watch for our upcoming review on the subjects that we have been using....

On Thursday I had an appointment for Brayden to discuss future job opportunities, but Lydia also had a chiropractor appt at a new place.  Her back is so out of place.  So I thought, let's make a morning of it.  We went to Hobby Lobby and got some new alcohol ink markers for drawing.  And had coffee/muffins at a coffee shop and worked on drawing using Creating a Masterpiece.  This was fun to do.  Watch for our upcoming review on this product also.

Caty is really into drawing for "Inktober".  She is spending a lot of time drawing and creating.

She even tried out string art on canvases she purchased with her own money.

On Friday after I taught classes, we headed to a local history talk about our area.

Over the weekend we attended a local flea market.  I picked up a few great deals.  Including some brand new kennels for transporting animals to the fair during 4H season.

Another find was from a local author...this looks like a great mystery series.

Caty put her art in the marketplace area for sale.  She has some more ideas for the spring show, including doing caricatures.   It should be much going through her mind.

Lydia worked at the zoo all weekend.  She got the privilege to help release lake sturgeon on Saturday am.  (She was in a couple shots from the news clip that was on a local TV station) Then she worked on zoo grounds on Sunday and also helped with Terracycle sorting.  Busy weekend for her.

It was a slow week in sports.  We had an informational meeting about the upcoming basketball season.  But no practices, since it was between weeks.  That was nice.  But they did have bowling.

I got a chance Friday night to finally go and see the new Downton Abbey movie!!  I was enthralled the entire two hours.  It was great!!  I love that series.

It was a busy week, and as I make the menu for next week and look at the schedule...I may have hyperventilated a bit.  The rest of the month is a flurry of activity and field trips.  We are cramming a few extra outdoor trips in before winter sets in.

Hope everyone had a great week!!

Linking up with other moms at Homeschool Coffee Break!

Homeschool Coffee Break