Friday, May 27, 2011

Amazing Grace: Celtic Hymns & Blessings CD ~ A Review

amazing grace My family was recently given the opportunity to review a music CD entitled Amazing Grace: Celtic Hymns & Blessings produced by David Huntsinger for Discovery House Music.

This soothing CD contains 13 different songs, including Amazing Grace, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Showers of Blessing, and We’re Marching to Zion.  You can see a full listing of the songs on this CD on this page.

My husband and I especially enjoy Celtic music.  We found the sounds of flutes, bagpipes, fiddles and harps on this CD to be quite soothing.  We also enjoyed the mix of instrumental music {instruments only} and vocals.  And my kiddos loved to add their own vocals to the instrumental music…especially when one of their favorite hymns was playing, Amazing Grace :). 

Amazing Grace: Celtic Hymns & Blessings made the perfect background music for dinnertime prep and eating…its soothing musical arrangements and crisp, clean vocals seemed to calm the chaos that can sometimes ensue around dinnertime in our home :).

More Information

Discovery House Music is part of Discovery House Publishers…a publishing house that was founded over 20 years ago.  Discovery House Publishers desires to “produce resources that feed the soul with the Word of God.”

Amazing Grace: Celtic Hymns & Blessings is available for purchase from the Discovery Music website for $9.90 {regular price is $10.99}.

I received this CD for free from Discovery House Music in order to provide an honest and unbiased review.  I did not receive any further compensation for this review.

Read for the Heart ~ A Review

I recently had chance to review another great item published by Apologia ~ Read for the Heart:Whole Books for Wholehearted Families by Sarah Clarkson.

read for the heartThis inspiring 384-page book is chock-full of helpful information regarding how to make reading good books a part of your home atmosphere.

I love how this book is organized.  The first three chapters provide an introduction to both the author and why reading should be an important part of ours and our children’s lives. 

The fourth chapter tells us how to use this book and is aptly titled “A Roadmap for Using This Book”. 

The rest of the chapters in Read for the Heart contain booklists for different genres of literature.  In these chapters Miss Clarkson provides detailed book lists and book reviews for books that she recommends be on your bookshelves.  Each book review includes the author, date of original publication, awards received {if applicable}, illustrator {if applicable}, general age category, a short review, and cautions regarding content {if necessary}.

Each of the books contained in these lists are books that Miss Clarkson has either read personally or books that come highly recommended by trusted sources.  Sarah also cautions that there are many “…excellent, classic books” that are not included in Read for the Heart

The books I list are mostly the beloved companions of my own childhood.  Your reading exploration may begin with the books listed here, but there are hundreds more waiting for your discovery.

Miss Clarkson also includes a number of helpful appendixes at the end of Read for the Heart.  These appendixes provide booklists of Caldecott Medalists, Newbury Medalists, G.A. Henty titles, Landmark History titles, and Trailblazer Series titles. 

My Thoughts

I am a booklover myself, and I endeavor to create booklovers of each of my kiddos.  I sincerely appreciate Sarah Clarkson’s heart for reading, and it definitely shines through on the pages of Read for the Heart.

I enjoyed the way Miss Clarkson wove stories of how books affected her childhood into the pages of Read for the Heart.  Her writing quickly drew me into the book, I had a really hard time putting it down :).

The way that this book has been organized makes it quite simple for me to pick it up and quickly find a booklist that matches my needs, whether I am searching for a wholesome and fun picture book to read with my 4yo, looking for a new family read-aloud, or preparing a booklist for history and biography titles to add to our history studies.

More Information

Read for the Heart is available for purchase on the Apologia website for $17.00.

You can access a preview of the table of contents and a sample chapter from this page.

post banner Click on the banner above to read what my fellow crewmates are saying about Read for the Heart.

I received a free copy of Read for the Heart in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion of the book.  I did not receive any further compensation for my review.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Considering God’s Creation {Eagle’s Wings} ~ A Review

Eagle's Wings

I recently received Considering God’s Creation published by Eagle’s Wings for our family to try.  Considering God’s Creation is a creation-based science curriculum that takes “a creative biblical approach to natural science” and it was written to be used with 2nd to 7th graders.  

The authors of this award-winning science curriculum {Susan Mortimer and Betty Smith} are homeschooling moms who originally created this curriculum for their own children. 

Considering God's CreationConsidering God’s Creation contains 36 lessons and can be used as a stand-alone science curriculum that can be completed in one to three years.  The authors wrote this curriculum with homeschooling families with multiple students in mind.  Their intention was that it be flexible…so that families can adapt it to fit the needs of their kiddos.

Considering God’s Creation covers the following topics:

  • Creation
  • The Universe: Stars, Sun and Planets
  • The Earth
  • Non-Living Things: Rocks and Minerals
  • Weather
  • The Plant Kingdom
  • The Animal Kingdom
  • Animal Anatomy & Physiology
  • Man: Made in God’s Image

Our Experience

The package I received included a 128-page Teacher’s Manual, a 270-page consumable student workbook, and a 23-track cd. 

The consumable student workbook isn’t just a bunch of fill-in-the-blank pages.  Most of the pages require kiddos to do something {cut and paste a little book, play a game, do a bit of detective work, etc.}  The authors recommend that each child store their completed pages in a notebook and from what I have seen so far, my kiddos will have a very impressive science notebook when we have completed Considering God’s Creation.

The 128-page teaching guide is very straight forward and easy to use.

My kiddos absolutely love the audio CD.  The songs on the CD are very simple, yet catchy and they help cement the information that we are learning in Considering God’s Creation in my kiddos’ brains. 

I am extremely pleased with this science curriculum.  I have been looking for a fun and easy-to-use creation-based science curriculum that I can use with all three of my kiddos…and I think I have found what I was looking for in Considering God’s Creation.

More Information

Click here to view sample pages from Considering God’s Creation.

You can also find links to samples from the audio cd on the right sidebar of this page.

The Eagle’s Wings website contains a very helpful FAQ page about the Considering God’s Creation curriculum.

You can purchase Considering God’s Creation {teacher’s manual, one student workbook, and audio cd} for $29.95 from the Eagle’s Wings website.  Additional student workbooks are available on the website for $13.95. 

post banner Click on the banner above to read what my fellow crewmates are saying about Considering God’s Creation.

I received this product for free in order to provide an honest and unbiased review of my family’s experience with this product.  I did not receive any further compensation for this review.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Kid’s Guide to Drawing the Presidents of the USA ~ A Review

One of the first homeschooling catalogs that I received when I was a wanna-be homeschooler over six years ago was a Timberdoodle catalog.  Since then I have come to depend on Timberdoodle for honest and reliable reviews of homeschooling products and a large selection of fun and unique homeschooling items. 

So needless to say, I was very excited when I was given the opportunity to become a part of Timberdoodle’s Blogger Review Team.

a kids guide

A Kid’s Guide to Drawing the Presidents of the USA is the first item that I am reviewing for Timberdoodle.  This series contains 42 library bound {hardcover} books.  Each 32-page book covers the life and times of one President, from George Washington to George Bush.  I received How to Draw the Life and Times of Harry S. Truman to use with my kiddos.

step-by-step drawing instructions How to Draw to Life and Times of Harry S. Truman contains thirteen 2-page chapters and features a  number of visual extras that enhance your learning about Truman, including a number of photographs {some full-color}, a copy of a famous portrait of Truman, and step-by-step drawing instructions for key places, events, and more that relate to the life and times of Truman.

In the first chapter we are given a brief biographical sketch of Harry S. Truman’s life.  In the subsequent chapters we are given a more in-depth look at some of the details surrounding Truman’s life and times.

IMG_1104 In chapter 3 we learn more about Truman’s home state of Missouri and we are provided with full-color photographs of the home that Truman was born in in Lamar, Missouri and a statue of Truman.

In chapter 9 we read about Truman’s transition from Vice President to President after Franklin D. Roosevelt died while serving as President.  We are also given step-by-step pictorial instructions for drawing a 1944 presidential campaign poster featuring Roosevelt and Truman.

In chapter 10 we learn more about one of the important issues that Truman dealt with during his Presidency, the atomic bomb.  In addition to providing photographs of both the plane that dropped the deadly atomic bomb, the Enola Gay, and the A-Bomb Dome Memorial in Hiroshima, this chapter also contains detailed, step-by-step instructions for drawing the Enola Gay.

Every book in this series also contains a timeline, a glossary of words, an index of subjects in the book and suggested websites that you can visit to obtain more information.

Truman ~ accomplished pianist After reading through this book with my kiddos we spent some time discussing which picture we should draw first.  My ds9 decided that he wanted to try to draw an old-fashioned piano that resembled the piano that Truman used when he was learning to play.  The step-by-step drawing instructions were featured in chapter four which was entitled “A Missouri Boy”.

The Enola Gay Dd7 decided that she would rather try her hand at drawing the Enola Gay {with a few of her own embellishments :)}.

My Thoughts

My kiddos love to draw and they especially appreciate drawing books that contain step-by-step instructions for drawing specific items or scenes.  The drawing instructions in How to Draw the Life and Times of Harry S. Truman were simple enough that even my dd7 was able to create a fairly accurate drawing of her chosen subject.

I think any book in this series would be an excellent addition to any bookshelf both as a history resource and and as an art resource. 

More Information

The complete set of 42 hardcover books in this series usually retails for $1060.50 ~ but Timberdoodle is currently selling this set at an extremely discounted rate of $195…that’s a savings of $865.50!

Some of the titles from this series are also offered for individual sale for $9.95, but not every title is available to purchase individually.

The Timberdoodle website includes a number of sample pages from this series on their website.  Their website also contains a very informative 2-minute video that introduces this series and offers a number of suggestions for using these books.

You can request your own copy of Timberdoodle’s free homeschool catalog here.  This catalog is chock-full of information that is helpful to any homeschooler…whether you are wanna-be or newbie homeschooler {like I was} or a veteran homeschooler who is looking to add some new life into your homeschool.

You can also check out Timberdoodle on Facebook.


As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal ~ Entry #14

The Homeschool Mother's Journal


In my life this week…

A friend of ours and her sweet baby girl were needed up this way for some family stuff this week, and we had the privilege of having them stay in our home.  My dd7 has been praying for a baby sister for quite some time, so she was beyond delighted to share our home with these friends. 

My boys were wonderful hosts also…they loved getting out their old baby toys and setting them up around the house for our little friend to play with.  And I must admit, I also loved having a little baby around the house again..and her mama too {of course :)}. 

In our homeschool this week…

We finished up one week earlier than planned…ds9 has two more books on his 3rd grade reading list to finish and I will continue with our read-alouds this summer, but everything else is done!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

On the heels of a week of sunshine…we had a week of rain.  It rained everyday, but thankfully not all day :)  We spent most of our days at home visiting with our guests when they were here and getting schoolwork done. 

Ds9 has a baseball game to play on Saturday, and a baseball game to attend on Sunday afternoon with dh.  The two younger kiddos and I will probably do something fun while dh and ds9 are away but I’m not sure yet what that will be…

My favorite thing this week was…

Hosting our friends…I loved seeing my kiddos interact with our friends.  All three of them were very sweet to the little girl and everyone had a lot of fun together.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

One thing that I am grateful for when it comes to homeschooling is the ability for me to plan our school schedule.  This year I planned for our schoolyear to finish up at the end of May so that we could enjoy the milder weather of June.  I plan to begin our new schoolyear in mid-July which is just about the time that the heat and humidity of summer make it so that you want to spend most afternoons indoors reading good books :).

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…



This has been a week of rain…and a week of rainbows :).  We spotted two rainbows on two different days ~ both were full rainbows that went across the entire sky…and the second one was a double rainbow!

Wordy Qwerty ~ A Review

If you recall, I used a product called Read, Write and Type with my kiddos back in the fall, and wrote a review of our experience on this blog.  Well, our family was recently given the opportunity to review Wordy Qwerty,  the sequel to Read, Write and Type.  This online program was designed to help 2nd and 3rd graders {7 – 10 year olds} with their reading and spelling skills.


According to the Talking Fingers website,

After successfully completing Read, Write & Type!, most 6-7 year olds are able to write any word they can say. But they may not spell them all correctly, because they need to know a bit more about spelling conventions and about how words are constructed in English. This is where Wordy Qwerty comes in. In 20 consecutive lessons, woven together with fun-to-play games and delightful songs that will stay in their heads.

Wordy Qwerty is a research-based program that has 20 lessons, with 6 activities per lesson.  According to the Wordy Qwerty website, “most words follow about 20 spelling rules”.  The 20 lessons in Wordy Qwerty teach these 20 rules using six different activities: Photobucket

In the Pattern activity kiddos learn to recognize patterns in words.

In the Karaoke activity kiddos learn catchy songs and rhymes about each spelling rule.



In the Recycler activity kiddos learn about different vowel combinations that make the same sound.

In the Pop-a-Word activity, kiddos memorize outlaw words {words that don’t follow the rules}.

In the Write Stories activity kiddos practice using the spelling rules by typing sentences that are dictated to them.

In the Read Stories activity kiddos practice what they have learned about spelling rules by reading short, engaging stories.  These stories have words that are missing and kiddos have to choose which word would fit best from a list of three words.

You can read more about the lessons on this page

The Talking Fingers website also offers a product tour of Wordy Qwerty that provides you with a more in-depth look at the activities your child will complete while working through this unique online program.

Our Experience

I chose to use Wordy Qwerty with my ds9 {3rd grade} whom I consider to be a very proficient reader and a natural speller.  I think one of the mistakes that I made with ds9 was that I discontinued phonics lessons with him too early because he grasped reading so quickly.

My 9yo has been using Wordy Qwerty almost daily {4 days/week} since the beginning of April and he just finished the program this week.  Each Wordy Qwerty session took him about 15-20 minutes to complete. 

I am grateful that he strengthened his phonics skills and learned spelling rules on Wordy Qwerty…and he had fun doing it :). 

I would definitely recommend this inexpensive reading and spelling program to any parent who is looking for a fun supplement to their kiddo’s current spelling program.

More Information

The Wordy Qwerty program is available in an online version {that’s what we used} and a Home Edition CD version {also appropriate for homeschoolers}.  The prices for the online version of the software vary, depending upon the number of users that you need.  The price starts at $25.00 for one user ~ see this page for more pricing information.

You can view an online demo of Wordy Qwerty here.

Learn more about Wordy Qwerty on the FAQ page.

You can also access a video clip from Wordy Qwerty from the bottom of this page. 

In order to use either version {online or CD} of this reading software, you do need to have access to a computer.  Read more about system requirements for Wordy Qwerty on their FAQ page.

post banner

Click on the above banner to read what my fellow crewmates are saying about Wordy Qwerty.

I received a free subscription to Wordy Qwerty in order to provide an honest and unbiased opinion of our experience with this product.  I did not receive any further compensation for my review.

Monday, May 16, 2011

90 Days of God’s Goodness ~ A Review

90 days 90 Days of God’s Goodness: Daily Reflections That Shine Light on Personal Darkness by Randy Alcorn is a small, 300+ page hardback book packed with 90 devotions that accomplish what the author set out to do {according to the book’s subtitle}…shine light on personal darkness.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.”  When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!  And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.  For two years now there has been a famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping.  But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.  He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt…

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” 

-Genesis 45:4-8; 50:20

It is with this scripture passage that Randy Alcorn opens the first of 90 devotions in this small yet powerful book.  Each of the 3-4 page devotions opens with a passage of scripture and closes with a short prayer. 

In the middle of these Randy Alcorn shares encouraging words and stories about others who have suffered and reflects on how they endured their trials by turning to God for strength while in the midst of their suffering.

The topics that this small devotional covers are not light-hearted and easy, they are about real life and real suffering.  I found 90 Days of God’s Goodness to be a very encouraging devotional that I highly recommend to every one.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Bright Ideas Press ~ A Review

WonderMaps is a “customizable collection of over 350 maps” that has just been released by Bright Ideas Press:

With WonderMaps’ made-to-order geography materials at your fingertips, there’s no more skipping map studies due to a lack of preparation time and resources!

wondermapsThis amazing digital map software offers a wide variety of maps from which to choose including:

  • 60+ maps of the world
  • 60+ maps of the USA
  • 125 historical maps, including 25 biblical maps
  • The complete map sets from The Mystery of History vols. I–III and All American History vols. I & II
  • historical or modern-day maps
  • outline, reference, political, or topographical maps
  • black-and-white or color maps 

Our Thoughts

Wow!  That’s what I said to myself when I first downloaded this layered map software onto my computer.  To give you just a glimpse at what this product offers, here’s an example of how I am using this map collection.

Next year my kiddos and I are tackling American History in our history studies, and I am beginning to gather notebook pages for my kiddos to complete during our studies.  I like to include maps among these pages because they help give a visual of places and events that we are studying.

opening page

When I get to the WonderMaps home page, I have a couple choices to make:

  • The World, Continents, Regions, Nations
  • The World, Continents, Regions, Nations: Alphabetical Index
  • United States of America
  • United States of America: Alphabetical Index
  • Historical Maps
  • Historical Maps: Chronological Index
  • Thematic Maps
  • Thematic Maps : Thematic Index

I click on Historical Maps and I am given the choice of four time periods {Ancient times, Middle Ages, Renaissance/Reformation, and Revolutions to Rising Times}.  When I click on Revolutions to Rising Times I am given 35 different historical events to choose from, including Revolutionary War Battlesites, Lewis and Clark, Mexican War Battlesites,  US Immigration, and Europe after WWII.  I chose to print the “Revolutionary War Battlesites”  and “Lewis & Clark” maps for our studies next year.

Then I head back to the home page and click on Thematic Maps: Thematic Index.  In this category I have four pages of themes to choose from, beginning with Biblical Maps {Abraham’s Journeys, David’s Journeys, Paul’s Ministry and Letters}, moving on to Chinese Dynasties, Native American themes {Aztec Empire, French & Indian War Battlesites}, Explorers, 14 maps related to American History, World Wars and finally 20th Century Treaties.

I chose to print “Thirteen Colonies Original Land Claims” and “US Immigration I” from the American History category to add to our American History notebooks.


The maps contained in the WonderMaps collection are beautiful too!  Many of the maps are full color and they include features such as names, borders, rivers and cities.  

You can also customize the maps by clicking features on the sidebar of each map page.  For example, you can choose to have a map key {or not}, have city names listed {or not}, and have a modern overlay displayed on historical maps {or not}…and much more.

More Information

Wondermaps is a digital product that is available as a CD or download format from the Bright Ideas Website, either format is $49.95.

You can view a 6-minute tutorial of the WonderMaps software on the Bright Ideas website.

This software requires Adobe Reader version 9.1 or higher.  You can download Adobe Reader for free on the Bright Ideas Website.

post banner Click on the banner above to read what my fellow crewmates are saying about WonderMaps.

I received a free download of this product in order to provide my honest and unbiased opinion of my experience with this product.  I did not receive any further compensation for this review.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal ~ Entry #13

The Homeschool Mother's Journal


In my life this week…

We had some wonderful spring weather this week.  The days were sunny and mild…great for opening up your windows and hanging laundry on the line :).  We took advantage of the awesome weather and spent a lot of time outside.

In our homeschool this week…

Ds9 is on the home stretch…he’s already finished up his math program for the year, and this week he also finished up the main parts of First Language Lessons 3.  Two more weeks to go in WWE2 and Rod & Staff spelling, although I think that the last week of both of these curriculums is review.  We had planned to finish up our school year on May 27th, but we may get done a week early! 

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Can anyone say baseball?  Ds9 had three baseball games this week, including one last Saturday.  No games are scheduled this Saturday though…we’re looking forward to a free weekend :)

My favorite thing this week was…

Getting out in the sunshine and crossing a bunch of yard work tasks off of our list. 

What’s working/not working for us…

I love, love, love The Well-Planned Day planners!  I have used the Family Homeschool Planner for the past two years and this year ds9 has been using the Well-Grounded Middle Schooler planner. 

For next year I purchased student planners for both ds9 and dd7…I love how these planners help my kiddos be a bit more independent in terms of knowing what they need to get done schoolwise each day :)

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

Even though we will be technically finished with our schoolyear in a couple of weeks, I will be sneaking some learning in during the summer.  I have a couple of Childhood of Famous Americans books sitting on our bookshelf right now {about baseball players}, ds9 is really looking forward to reading these for fun this summer :)

I also bought Exploring Creation with Botany for us to use this summer.  My kiddos love all of the wildflowers that make an appearance around our home in the summertime, I think they’ll really enjoy learning more about them from this book.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

GoTrybe ~ A Review

Our family recently had an opportunity to try out GoTrybe, an online fitness website designed especially for kids. 

According to their website, is an online fitness and nutrition community that delivers daily fitness, nutrition, wellness, and motivation content to students and teachers across the US.

GoTrybe is designed to be used by kiddos from kindergarten all the way through highschool.  My ds9 used GoTrybe’s ZooDoos program which is to be used by K-5th graders. 

How It Works

When your kiddo first logs onto GoTrybe, they have the option of creating a personal profile and designing their own avatar, my ds9 especially loved this part :).  Once your kiddo has set up their account to their liking they are ready to go.

GoTrybe offers four different types of daily activities for your kiddos to complete: fitness, nutrition, motivation and wellness. 

In the fitness portion of GoTrybe, kids are able to design their own workout by choosing video workout segments {created for their particular age group} that interest them.  The segment choices include salsa dancing warm-ups, fun hip hop cardio, and kid-friendly yoga.  Your kiddo can also choose predesigned Tybe workouts if they don’t want to put together their own.



The nutrition, motivation and wellness portions consist of short video clips about different topics.  After the clip your kiddo takes a quick multiple choice “quiz” about the information presented in the video.  Some of the topics covered in these clips include: eating breakfast, dehydration, and bicycle safety.

Kiddos earn GoTrybe points each time they complete a daily activity.  These points are used to rank users on the GoTrybe site.  They can also be used to purchase clothing and accessories from the GoTrybe store, and to customize your kiddo’s avatar.

My Thoughts

My kiddos have been having a blast with this unique and fun online program.  It is so funny to see them run down to the basement so they can do their exercise program.  It is even funnier to watch a 9yo, a 7yo, and a 4yo workout together :).

My favorite part of GoTrybe is that it makes exercising and learning how to be healthy fun for my kiddos, and pretty painless for me.  Even though my ds9 is the only one with a GoTrybe account, all three of my kiddos are enjoying the GoTrybe activities, especially the self-designed workouts.

GoTrybe has an extensive FAQ page which will answer most any question you may have about this unique website. 

More Information

You can try out GoTrybe for free with the promo code “GETFIT”.

A one-year membership to GoTrybe is $19.95 after the free trial {regularly $39.95}.

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Click on the banner above to read what my fellow crewmates are saying about GoTrybe.

I received a free membership to GoTrybe in order to provide an honest and unbiased opinion of our experience with this product.  I did not receive any further compensation for this review.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Circle C Beginnings {Kregel Publications} ~ A Review


If you have a beginning reader who loves horses, you may want to check out Kregel Publications’ Circle C Beginnings series by Susan Marlow.  Circle C Beginnings is a series of Christian fiction chapter books written for 6-8 year olds. 

Circle,C,Kregel,Susan,MarlowI received Andi’s Fair Surprise, a sweet little paperback book in Kregel’s Circle C Beginnings series.  The main character in Andi’s Fair Surprise is Andi Carter, a spunky 6-year old girl who lives on her family’s ranch during the late 1800’s. 

In this particular story, Andi and her family are heading to the 1874 California State Fair and Andi doesn’t want to go.  Everyone else has something to enter into the fair…but Andi is too young to take an entry.  However, once Andi gets to the fair, she finds that it is a lot more exciting than she expected. 

Our Thoughts

I chose to use Andi’s Fair Surprise as a read-aloud with my kiddos ages 9, 7 and 4.  I knew that my 7yo would love the story because she is a horse-lovin’ girl, but both of my sons enjoyed the book also. 

When we do read-alouds, I usually limit our reading sessions to one chapter.  However, we ended up completing all ten chapters in Andi’s Fair Surprise in just two lunchtime read-aloud sessions.

There are a whole host of printables available that go along with the Circle C Beginnings books.  For Andi’s Fair Surprise the printables included coloring pages featuring black and white illustrations from the book {which kept my kiddos’ hands busy while they listened to me read}. 

There were also a bunch of other fun worksheets that supplemented Andi’s Fair Surprise: a dot-to-dot page,  some state-fair math pages, a California State Fair map and more.  These worksheets made it so simple to extend my kiddos’ learning, turning Andi’s Fair Surprise from a fun read-aloud into a fun and educational read-aloud.

You can view the activity pages that match the books in the Circle C Beginnings series here.  There is also a link to the supplemental pages on this page.

A link to an excerpt from Andi’s Fair Surprise is available on this page.

My kiddos loved Andi’s Fair Surprise, and they were delighted to learn that there are more Andi books…two of them are already on our shelves waiting to be read :).

More Information

There are currently four books in the Circle C Beginnings series, including Andi’s Fair Surprise.  You can purchase Andi’s Fair Surprise {and the other three books} from Kregel Publications’ website for $4.99 each plus shipping.  

PhotobucketSusan Marlow has also written a series of books about Andi for older readers, ages 9-14 in the Circle C Adventures series.  These books are also available for purchase on Kregel Publications’ website.

post bannerClick on the above banner to read what my fellow crewmates are saying about Kregel Publications.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion of this book.  I did not receive any further compensation for my review.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Yesterday’s Classics ~ A Review

If you use living books in your homeschool, you have probably heard of Yesterday’s Classics.  In fact, I have quite a few Yesterday’s Classics paperbacks on my shelves right now.  


This quote from the Yesterday’s Classics website provides an apt description of this company:

Yesterday's Classics is your headquarters for the best classic literature for children. We republish classic books for children from the golden age of children's literature, the era from 1880 to 1920. Many of the titles we offer have been out of print for decades and so have been hard to find.

As a reviewer for The TOS Homeschool Crew, I recently received an amazing opportunity to review a 225 ebook package {Kindle or Epub format} offered by Yesterday’s Classics.


I have to admit, I always thought that I would never be tempted to forego paperbacks in exchange for an ebook.  In fact, before this review opportunity presented itself, I did not own an e-reader.  But when I saw the book titles that were included in the Yesterday’s Classics ebook list, I decided I had to at least check this product out. 

This enormous Yesterday’s Classics e-book package contains books from 22 different genres of literature.  It includes classic history titles like:

  • Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin
  • This Country of Ours by H.E. Marshall
  • Stories of the Pilgrims by Margaret Pumphrey
  • Viking Tales by Jennie Hall
  • Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall

living science titles like:

  • The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess
  • Among the Forest People by Clara Dillingham Pearson
  • The Storybook of Science by Jean Henri Fabre
  • Plant Life in Field and Garden by Arabella Buckley
  • Parables from Nature by Mrs. Alfred Gatty

classic children’s titles including:

  • A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
  • Tanglewood Tales, Illustrated Edition
  • The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

and many, many more…Many of these titles have been on my wishlist for a long, long time. 

The ebooks in this package appear exactly as they do in book form, illustrations and all. 

This package was a snap to download onto my Kindle.  Once I downloaded the product from the link sent by Yesterday’s Classics onto my computer, I was able to transfer all 225 books to my Kindle in less than an hour…and I was a brand new Kindle owner :).

My Thoughts 

I absolutely love this product!  My bookshelves are already overflowing with books, and with this product I now have access to 200+ excellent books without having to find space for them on my overstuffed shelves :).

One of my most favorite things about this ebook package is how easy it is for me to tote from one place to another.  As long as I remember to bring my Kindle with me, my kiddos and I are never again going to be without a read-aloud. 

Being baseball season, my two younger kiddos and I have found ourselves spending many hours waiting in the van {when it’s cold or rainy} while ds9 is at practice…and the Kindle version of this package has saved the day by providing me with a huge selection of quality read-alouds to choose from.

I have also found many selections that are a perfect fit for our current history and science homeschool studies.  Pulling out my Kindle and pulling up the proper book file is definitely a lot easier, not to mention faster, than searching my bookshelves for the book :).

More Information

You can view a full listing of all of the books included in this amazing package here

When you purchase Yesterday’s Classics Ebook Package you have the option of choosing whether you want the 225 titles to be in either Kindle or Epub format. 

You do not need an e-reader to be able to take advantage of this package.  The files in this package can viewed on your computer, laptop, netbook, smart phone, or tablet {you may need to download an app or e-reader software}.  Yesterday’s Classics provides a full explanation of e-reader software in their “Guide to to E-reader Devices and Software” {scroll down the page on this link to view this section.}

This amazing assortment of classic books in ebook form is only $99.95 through May 31st, 2011!  If you were to buy the paper copy of all of these books you would pay almost $2500.00!   

post bannerClick on the banner above to see what my fellow crewmates are saying about Yesterday’s Classics.

I received this product for free in order to provide my honest and unbiased opinion of Yesterday’s Classics ebook collection.  I did not receive any additional compensation for my review.


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