Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Branching Out and a GIVEAWAY!

{This post contains affiliate links. See full disclosure policy here.}

In the past week, I’ve been doing some guest posting and even my first Google Plus Hangout. I wanted to make sure that my Tree Huggers (aka followers) could find where I’ve been busy in blog land.

First, I did a guest post at My Joy-Filled Life for Sarah’s ABC’s of Homeschooling series. I chose the letter “F” because I had been wanting to do a post about my homeschool filing system and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. If you need some inspiration to tame the Paper Monster in your homeschool, then be sure and click the picture below.

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Next up I did my first ever Google Plus Hangout discussing one of my favorite topics: homeschool planning. Pam from Everyday Snapshots and Mystie from Simply Convivial graciously allowed me to join them for a forty minute discussion of how we plan our homeschools from goal setting for the year to planning out your day. Unfortunately on my end there was some bad weather so my part is a little jumpy, but it’s still worth the watch.

Pam has free planning pages on her blog to go along with the planning that we talk about in the video and that I discuss in my planning series. You can get her free planning pack here. On top of that, as a special deal Pam is offering a 30% discount on the expansion pack to her planning pages from today through Monday April 21st using the code HANGOUT14. If you’re feeling lucky this week, I am also participating in a giveaway for the extension pack planning pages. Enter below to be one of five lucky winners, but be sure and sign up before this Friday, April 18.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Branching out and feeling generous in the tree house,

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Monday, April 7, 2014

The New Kid in Town: Growing Up in God’s Word Bible Curriculum Review

I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. See full legal disclosure here.

As anyone knows, I’m a HUGE fan of Bible Study Guide for All Ages. It’s been the one thing I haven’t changed since we started homeschooling. Recently I was given the opportunity to review a new Bible curriculum on the homeschooling market, and I jumped at the chance. Why if Bible Study Guide is working so well? For a while now I’ve had a niggling sensation that Chipette will soon be ready to delve deeper into her Bible study than what Bible Study Guide provides.  After looking through the samples of Growing Up in God’s Word by Pryor Convictions Media, I was eager to get it in my hands. Since we’re doing an overview of world history this year, I chose Exodus as our study as it would align perfectly with where we were in history at the time.

Growing Up in God's Word

Just the Facts

Bible Studies That Have Been Released (as of this post): Genesis, Exodus, Life of Christ Part 1, Life of Christ Part 2, and Book of Acts Part 1

Lesson Number: 13

Suggested Schedule: To be used five days a week

Components of the Program: Lesson text and discussion, review questions, memory work, map work, research, puzzles, games, activities, and crafts.

Cost: $14.95 per book

My Humble Opinion

  • I loved the discussion questions being interspersed with the Bible citations. You read straight from the Bible and then more information is provided in the book to expand on what was read. I do this a lot on the fly when reading from the Bible to the kids, but it was WONDERFUL to have it all at my fingertips.

Growing Up in God's Word Text and Discussion

  • The built in memory work was a huge plus as well. Not only are scriptures provided for memorization, but different Biblical lists were suggested as well. In the Exodus book, we memorized the sons of Jacob, the Ten Plagues, and the Ten Commandments. There were usually multiple suggestions given for memory work so you could tailor it to your child’s level.
  • I’m a sucker for a good map, so I definitely enjoyed this part. Maps are a must have for me in Bible curriculum, and this book had three different maps in the back to filled out as you go through the curriculum. The maps provided in the back were a little small in my opinion, but I made them bigger when I copied them for Chipette to use.
  • The Biblical research is hands-down my favorite part. I love, love, loved {that’s right, triple love!} the built in research topics. I don’t know why I’d never considered the importance of teaching my kids how to do Biblical research when they come across something in the Bible that they want to know more about or don’t fully understand. I was able to show Chipette how to use a Bible concordance, dictionary, and commentaries. Just a few examples of things we researched in this study. We looked at various theories of what exactly Moses’ speech problem might have been which led to some good hypotheses on Chipette’s part. Chipette’s favorite research topic was the 10 Plague chart which she made to show which Egyptian gods and goddesses correlated with each plague, thus showing God’s power over the Egyptian deities. She loves mythology so this was right up her alley, and if I’m honest, I learned a lot too!

What the Kids Loved

  • The puzzles. There are word searches, fill in the blank, unscrambling, crosswords, etc. in every lesson. My girls love this kind of thing so they enjoyed doing their “Bible homework” as they called it.

Growing Up in God's Word Puzzles

  • The review games. The “Which Plague” game was their favorite because they had index cards with a picture that represented the plague on it. As I described the plague, they had to be the first to hold up the correct card. As they started memorizing the plagues, they were finally able to just hold up numbers to represent the plagues.
  • The Pillar of Fire video link from Lesson 7 was watched repeatedly!

What We Struggled With

  • At times the book seemed a little over Magpie’s head (1st grade), so I probably wouldn’t use it with younger than 2nd or 3rd grade. I printed out coloring sheets for her to color while we read and discussed the Bible passages and that helped her focus. Chipette, however, loved it and wanted to know more and more, which solidified my thoughts that she’s ready to move on to a meatier Bible study.
  • The crafts and hands-on activities just didn’t get done. It’s not the fault of the curriculum, I’m not a crafty, hands-on person for the most part so I didn’t even attempt it. There was plenty in the Bible study, though, that we didn’t even miss it!

All in all, this new product on the homeschooling market looks to fill a really needed niche of a neutral, well-written, in-depth Bible study to bridge the gap between lower elementary (learning the Bible stories) and more intense Biblical analysis in middle school and high school. I am definitely planning on using this for Chipette next year, and I can’t wait to see what other books Pryor Convictions Media publishes in this series!

Check out reviews from my fellow bloggers of the other books in the series:

Genesis

Exodus

Life of Christ Part 1

Life of Christ Part 2

Acts Part 1 (review #1)

Acts Part 1 (review #2)

What do you look for in a great Bible curriculum? Tell me in the comments.

New things are bringing good things to the tree house,

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