Showing posts with label Bible. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bible. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

TOS Crew Review: Apologia's What We Believe Series: Who Is God? And Can I Really Know Him Bk 1

"...student-directed, Bible-based curriculum, your children will learn how to use Scripture as a lens through which to view the world around them—to see everything the way God sees it—and know the truth." 
[from the Apologia website]
I cannot think of a better way to start a review than by quoting the goal for this curriculum series.  As I plan out and look for the next year's learning materials for my children, I always hit a wall when it comes to apologetics/worldview instruction.  I have found some material which we enjoy, but it seems to always leave us a bit disappointed in the end.  I did consider this very book, for this year, but was unsure if it would fit our learning style and needs-so I delayed purchasing it (and good thing too because I have it now to review!).  Boy was I pleasantly surprised when I actually got my hands on this great series (well book one so far).    

Who Is God?

Not only is this a gorgeous book-inside and out, it is well written and provides amble activities, and thought provoking material that directly applies to my child's life.  Best yet, there are several areas which are really Charlotte Mason inspired-and because that is our basic philosophy for learning-it fits our family rather well.  

I cannot stress enough how wonderful it is when a curriculum includes such things as a rich delicious brownie recipe, as well as one for S'more Clusters and more!  I mean, sure-I have several cookbooks/recipes where I can find these things-but just imagine the delight and deliciousness of it all when moving through the chapter to suddenly find yourself staring at a fun, and tasty treat which ties into the lesson! Partner that with the amazing photography, applicable stories [to the child's experiences] used to illustrate the basic nuts and bolts of the main topic, vocabulary and Bible verse memory activities, prayer moments, and the exploration of Godly character traits. Best yet, it includes lessons to help the student apply what the Lord says in His Word vs what the world says.  That is what I love the most about this curriculum.  It asks the child to look at both sides of the fence to find the Truth.  By providing our son with the basic building blocks to create a solid [discussed within this text] foundation [built on the Rock],  we will see the good fruit unfold as he experiences "real world" situations in his life .  By fruit, I inferring that he will know how to reference what he is being told by friends, family, co-workers and the media to what God has to say.  Discernment in today's world is sadly hard to find.  By using this as a part of our growth in Christ, we are providing him with the tools he will require to fight the influx of wrongs out there.  The "Who Is God?" study  is an easy to use, thorough and excellent way to assist us with our son's spiritual walk.  

We are definitely going to continue with this series!

I highly recommend the Who Is God? And Can I Really Know Him to anyone looking for a balanced, interactive and enjoyable apologetics curriculum.  What's more,  Apologia offers not only a possible 2 week lesson plan layout for you to follow, but they include information for downloading notebook pages you can use to further the learning experience (although, being that I consider notebooking pages to be somewhat different than their version-I prefer to call them worksheets.  If you are very CM oriented, you could use these as possible thought provoking narration questions, or turn them into other activities which apply more to CM's methods).  Be sure to download the sample lesson, Table of Contents and the FAQ material, to glean better insight to this wonderful program.   

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$39.00   [very nice hard back edition]
Age range:  6-14

Don't forget to read what my TOS mates have to say about this, and many other fine homeschool products over on our TOS Review Crew homepage.

***Apologia Educational Ministries provided me with a free Who Is God? And Can I Really Know Him book, to use with my children and so that I could write this review.  I did not receive any financial compensation for my honest opinion of this product.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

TOS Crew Review: Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids

Picture it -you are all snuggled up next to your child, reading a story from the Bible-and poof! You come across a word that makes your child's forehead wrinkle [or is that yours?], and their mind freeze.  Usually a swift thinking parent, such as yourself, can give a brief description of the word...but there are those times of befuddlement. With the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids, every time you hit that proverbial road block, you can provide a beautiful example  and/or explanation to clarify the word or concept.  This is a gorgeous, colorful and neatly organized reference book for the whole family.

Definitions of words/terms (750 of them) are listed alphabetically, with the edges of the pages highlighted for that particular letter.  The descriptions are thorough but not overwhelming and not so overly technical, that your child will not be able to grasp the concept.  There are plenty of maps relating to the life and times of the folks in the Old and New Testaments, and charts (love the Parables one which not only details the exact reference in the Bible, but also includes the lesson taught, and occasion it can be used for) listing various needful information. A child could easily become lost in between these pages, due to the engaging content and brightly colored graphics.
Notice the little colorful tabs along the side of the pages to assist in quick location of terms

The Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids is based on verses found in the Holman Christian Standard Bible (I saw some KJV references too), but one can easily substitute with their favorite version if need be.  We personally use the NIV, but I strongly encourage the children to reference other versions too-so this is not an issue with us.  One thing I did notice, (if you are very persnickety about such things, you may want to hold one in your hands and thumb through it before buying) was that some of the artwork [not all of it and the actual photography is not an issue] is atypical of what you find out there in-very white looking characters in many of the drawings/paintings.  Granted, the company that put this together is at the mercy of what is available to use-and in past generations, they were not so careful about being correct to the geographical and ethnic heritage of the characters. I usually just do a mini-discussion with the kids concerning that, and move along.  Since no one is alive today, who actually saw Jesus or his disciples, or the Patriarchs, and so forth-the present day art is always a reflection of how the artist felt they appeared to be.   But that is true with all art-not just Bible related material.  I wanted to point that out because I am sure some are more sensitive to that issue-a "just so you know" tidbit to consider.
Notice the carpenter and his son on the left page 
(referring to Joseph and Jesus)-this is an example of what I mean.
Nothing major, just typical of what you find out there.

Overall, I am very, very impressed with this book. It is a wonderful resource to use for my family, as we make our way through our Bible studies. This is one of the best dictionaries for Bible reference for children I have come across.  I highly recommend this to anyone, including those who are looking for a meaningful and useful gift for their favorite child, Sunday School teacher, missionary-or even for themselves!

**Please note: Lifeway sells a variety of Christian materials-including this dictionary, they do not necessarily publish all of it.  Now, if you are familiar with Beth Moore, this is the place to go.  I have found many great Christian related material through Lifeway.  I encourage you to take some time exploring their site because they offer a lot! If you want to learn more about the publisher, then head to the B and H Publishing Group.

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Illustrated Bible Dictionary direct link
$14.99 hardback
ages 5-10 but really anyone of any age will enjoy this reference book

Be sure to head to our TOS Crew Review homepage to read about this, and many other fine homeschool products.

**Lifeway Christian Resources provided me with a free Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids, to use and enjoy with my family, so that I could write this review. I did not receive any financial compensation for my honest opinion of this product.

Friday, October 15, 2010

TOS Crew Review: William Tyndale: God's Smuggler Ebook from Soli Deo Gloria Resources

Sounds mysterious and almost criminal doesn't it?  "God Smuggler"-well it actually was all that and more. Plus, the penalty for translating and/or smuggling the English version of the Bible into the hands of the "commoners" was death at the stake (with fire, not a potato [sorry just trying to lighten the grim facts here]-so obviously this was a very high price to pay to help spread the Gospel).

So who was this smuggler, and what was the big deal?  Wasn't the Bible always available for the average folk to purchase and read for themselves? Why would anyone care if there was an English version anyway?  Where and when did this all take place?  What is the significance of researching and learning about this event from the past?  Is it still "illegal or life threatening" to own a Bible today?

I can guarantee you this-your children (and perhaps you yourself) will know the answers to those questions and have a greater understanding of the exact details surrounding this God-led step in history, and all in just one week, or there about-as you can stretch it out for as long as need be. 

[image from]

The name William Tyndale should be somewhat familiar to most Christians, and perhaps non-Christians too.  After all, most probably heard of Tyndale House Publishers right? But why should you even consider studying him with you children?  You should, because it changed history and for the better-because of it, the "commoners" all around the world have access to a Bible they can read for themselves. So how can you study him and not take a year to do it?  

Soli Deo Gloria offers a week long, unit study focusing on this great man.  Right off the bat, you are given some good options for ways to introduce William Tyndale to your children (lists of books and DVDs to watch), then it walks you through each day with a variety of ideas,  to go further into depth and learn more. There is no pretense that you must do all the listed suggestions, but rather a more relaxed approach where you are offered enough ideas to keep everyone busy, and focused on Mr. Tyndale for your lesson time. Links to additional sites and activities are duly noted, offering some really good tie-in, hands on projects [like creating a timeline, art ideas, sites with games and quizzes, and even vocabulary work] to cement the information into your young scholars' memories.

This review came along just as we were about to leave for a trip to Hawaii, so I had to whittle the study down to do what we could during the amount of time we had.  I decided to start with one of the suggested books for my son, and so during the plane ride and during down time at the hotel-we read and discussed the story.  Then upon returning, we watched one of the movies and will end our study with another.  We have done some of the coloring sheets (the boy does great if I give him something to "do" whilst I read, so the links to those extras really helped) and the teen did a fun translation activity too.  We have actually looked up some paintings of King Henry VIII to help get a mental picture of the dude that William prayed for, and we will do a few more projects to round out the mini-unit study of Mr. Tyndale.  I plan on pulling it out down further down the road, when my son covers Medieval history, as a refresher.  Both the kids found this to be an interesting side-project (because right now we are in American history); and did enjoy learning about one of the many people who opened the door to get God's Word into the hands of the regular folk.  

If you are looking for something that is easy to do, this is a great option-especially if you are new to the whole concept of the unit study as a way to teach.  Best yet, you can sample William Tyndale: God's Smuggler to see for yourself, if it will suit your family's learning style. 

I have the "run gal" up there due to the fact that you will need to collect some things in order to do this study-but after that-it is an easy project

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Ages: lower elementary to high school
$8.00 Ebook download

Don't forget to see what my TOS mates had to say about this and many other fine homeschool products!  Visit our TOS Crew Review Homepage for more information.

***Soli Deo Gloria Resources provided me with a free William Tyndale: God's Smuggler Ebook to use and enjoy with my family,  so that I could write this review.  No financial compensation was received for my honest opinion of this product.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Seasons of Faith Series by Children's Bible Hour Ministries

When I was growing up (back in the 70s man) I thought those little 45 records with their matching story books, were the "cat's meow"~ I had a couple fairy tale stories that  I practically wore thin as paper, listening to over and over again.  So when I popped one of the CDs from the Seasons of Faith Books series, into my computer [shows you what a couple decades can do for technology] my mind rushed back to my childhood.  The announcer's, Uncle Charlie, narration of the story [which is nice, gives the child the option to listen to these and mull them over unassisted] with the little music zing (to tell the child to turn the page) is very reminiscent of those very story collections. It is a charming addition to each book, except unlike my records with books-these are Christian in nature.

Taking each season, the 4 books tackle some common issues a child may face.  Trusting Jesus as a their Savior, leaning on God for their comfort and peace, forgiveness, and the facts surrounding how to obtain true salvation.

I have to point out, first off, that I find my children tend to pay closer attention when the books contains higher caliber art work, and these most certainly do.  Each artist (Robert Sauber and John White) displayed their artistic differences in each of the 2 books they illustrated.  You can purchase these as a pack or individually, so I have decided to break them down by each book.  I have them in order from our most to least favorite.  Please understand that I love it when I see books that discuss such things-but wonder if at times there is too big of a "stretch of the possibilities" when it comes to trying to stuff a theme as big as some of these, into one little story keep that in mind as I point out some issues.  I also think each family needs to decide if the material aligns with their beliefs.  I did visit their "About Us" page to see where they are coming from and from what I read-it pretty much matches what we believe, and teach to our children.  I do have some concerns which I noted those next to the appropriate books.  I also added some tongue and cheek comments, but the bulk of it reflects our thoughts regarding these stories and our recommending them or not.

Seventy Times Seven was our favorite one.  It stresses a very tangible and believable situation.  Brad inadvertently busts out the Scoops Ice Cream Shop's sign, but is forgiven and does not have to pay for the repairs.  But then his buddy, Doug,  forgets to pay him back the lunch money he lent him, and then returns his favorite baseball cap in tatters (thanks to his puppy using it a chew toy).  Brad displays a familiar response-he decides he is mad at Doug, and fails to forgive him of his offenses.  This hurts Doug, but it also is the "door of opportunity for teaching a lesson" for Mr. Jeffries, the ice cream shop owner. What I love best about the story is when Brad's father (yes!  a parent who doesn't rush to fix/mend or make this punishment go away) backs Mr. Jeffries plan of having Brad come to the shop, to work off the price of the new sign (to teach him about the value of forgiving 70 X 7).  It is a book showing the value of forgiveness; not only for the person who needs it, but then that person's need to extend forgiveness to others who "wrong" him.  Doug's Grandma even replaces the chewed hat, giving Doug one of his own too-so there will be no more borrowing of baseball caps (and if you have ever had lice attack your kid's luscious locks of hair, you know the importance of not sharing hats!)  Excellent execution and story line.

In Braving the Storm, Thomas (there should be a little ' over the a there as it is the Hispanic spelling in the book) is feeling down and out-life has offered him some sour grapes, and by the bunch lately.  Recently uprooted from their home, the fam moves to a trailer on Grannie and Gramps farm. Dad lost his job, brother Manuel was almost killed in a recent car accident, and well-poor Thomas is struggling to make sense of it all.  No friends, no fun...but then Grandpa asks him to help plant a tree (in Nov/Dec no less), and he is puzzled.  I think Gramps actually watched the Weather Channel for a week or so prior to his little "lesson" with Thomas, just so he could highlight the value of leaning on God when you feel lost, lonely, afraid and uncertain.  So there they are, planting this sapling when lunch time arrives.  Off to the trailer, Thomas finds mom, sissy and brother ready to enjoy a deliciously traditional Mexican meal (looked good to me anyhow), when suddenly (or not so suddenly) an odd rainy-sleety  thunderstorm rips through their area.  Rushing to the main house for safety-the family soon learns that not every storm's destructive path is bad for you-that one can learn from it and be stronger.  Just as (I am sure Gramps was hoping) that storm snapped that sapling like a1/8" twig-and yet, the well-rooted tree beside it, stood sturdy and strong. This perfectly illustrates the need for digging your roots deep into the Word, so when hard times come (and boy they do come) you can withstand them.  This is an especially appropriate storyline,  due to what is happening to too many folks right now-as they are losing their homes, security and way of life. It gives the child a chance to see they can get through it, and come out stronger for it, in the end.  Now, if Gramps had only watched the Storm Stories on the Weather Channel-he'd of known that driving around town after an ice and rain storm, is one good way to end up in a ditch. This one gets a high five.

So you had to know-sooner or later we'd come to a glitch in the line-and here is where it starts.  In Race with Midnight, you find that something as involved as Salvation cannot be penned within one book and come out "believable".  Now, if the Lord can make a donkey speak, he certainly can change the heart of a man to accept Christ in an instant...but, more often than not-there has to be some seed planting, watering and doors opening, to provide the platform for folks to readily and willing accept Christ as their Savior.  When I read a story to my son (who is 8) it should be something he can grasp as "doable".  I honestly struggled with this one.  

Becky is heading off to Montana to visit her aunt, uncle and cousin Sarah.  That is fine, and a good way to go with a story...but then mom is is telling the her they haven't trusted Jesus, and she can tell them about Him, I sort of wonder if that puts too much pressure on the child (the one in the story and the one hearing it).  OK, yes-children can tell others of Christ, and what He did for us.  But this story then came across as Becky  being an 11-14 year old Bible scholar at times.  The speech was not typical of your average child, and I would love to see a rewrite to set the stage (perhaps a page with letters the girls had been exchanging for a time prior to the visit, where they are discussing things as big and important as "Salvation") to make it more believable.  I would have liked to see them discuss the fact they Sarah and her folks) sought out a pastor, to assist in answering their questions (because most people would have a lot of them that a child simply could not address) along with those letters [OK that dates me-how about "texting" each other then?].  

So here the girls are running around the ranch on horses (as a mother, I get nervous about that-I guess I would have gone with them, or had a ranch hand nearby to be a chaperon) and then the one horse bolts.  The girls take off on the remaining horse, to snag the loose cannon (kind of reminiscent of the Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Shows of the late 1800s-early 1900s, since they are attempting to reach and grab a racing pony's reigns-not safe! Yes-she falls, luckily without causing permanent brain damage or paralysis).  But then they are this part I actually like-Sarah decides to let her horse guide them back (after all horses are smarter than we think-they have built in GPS systems you know) and here is where Becky points out that if Sarah "...can trust a horse, why can't she trust Jesus too?"   I liked that and the kids agree.  Very good way to cover that issue.  But then she (meaning Sarah) decides after a bit-that yes, she wants to trust God and accept Christ as her Savior.  She tells her mom and dad about it and well-it seemed a bit too quick.  I guess I feel if you tell a child they can lead someone to God (which is a good thing) without making sure they send that person to an older, more experienced person-that you stymie the newly saved person because most children couldn't answer, or adequately administer the care and guidance needed to continue their study of the Word, to remain strong.  The idea is to be there after, so that Satan doesn't come along and do what Jesus pointed out in his parable of the seeds along the path. This is very serious, and if more Christians paid attention to that, we'd not be losing so many, so quickly after they are born again.  So maybe adding a section where they mention speaking to a pastor afterward, to help them continue-would be another wise rewrite.  And I can tell you, not many folks would be so gracious to allow someone (fam or no fam) to come to their house and start talking Jesus. That is a delicate matter that children need to be aware of.  Yes, be not ashamed-but also do not slam doors when you can crack them open with your actions, love and gentle leading.  Moderately OK for us.

You Can't Come In  is our least favorite of the stories.  There is just so much here that out of all of them, it is one I would tend to avoid recommending.  Not that is cannot be fixed, just that the way they handled this story is a bit odd.  One..the title-as my friend put it, it sounds kinda scary.  Already sets the stage for a negative overtone, and actually the message is a positive one.  Two-this kid (who is what?  9-10?) is even more scholarly than Becky from the previous story.  I mean wow!  This kid has the answers and is dishing it out like a Love Brother Love Salvation Show Preacher!  And three-as my son pointed out-if Zack ends up in the pond, and the wagon tips over into it-the nails go flying-how do they have nails to build the fort afterward?  Just a logically thinking kid's observation there. Adam the Preacher Boy, just meets this new kid on the block-Zack.  They hit it off like most kids would at that age, decide to build a fort and rightfully ask Adam's dad for the wood in the garage. With Dad's blessing, off they go to their little hide away (this is when Zack goes flying by on the wagon-and again, as a mother who has witnessed more wagon spills than not-I don't want my kid thinking that is a great way to speed through the neighborhood) to do what young boys do best-build and create a retreat to hang out in.  Adam starts his ditty on how one truly gets to heaven, after pointing out how much he likes his pastor and church. Then Zack fires back the mis-guided, and all too often response, that you can get to heaven by just being or doing good.  It could have been handled in a different way that would not be so hokey.  So using the mud all over Zack analogy (wet clothes, wet dirt equals muddy kid) they try to show the reader that just as Zack's mom yelled at him to not come into the house covered in mud (he would dirty it up)-and his poor attempt to get it off by himself with the hose; you cannot clean yourself of your sins, that only by accepting Christ as your Savior can you be washed clean and go to heaven.  I get that, and so that is not my beef here-what is though, is the fact that the story line basically only addresses that heaven is sinless (obviously-a sinless Creator would not allow for it in his place). It fails to mention that one also wants to accept Christ as their Savior, because they will then be able to spend Eternal Life (which is a mighty long time) with the Trinity in heaven.  It seems like it kind of dropped the ball by not addressing that major perk of belonging to Christ.

Oh, and then the part (number 4) when Zack's folks are discussing how the parents of Adam invited them to church, and are pondering the day's seems totally unbelievable because most non-believers would not be so "open" to this offer-so quickly.  See my notes under the Midnight book, on that subject.  So I will not continue to read this story to my son because it offers up more confusion than clarity.  This was tanked in our opinion.

What I wanted to mention too, is that at the end of each story, there is a page which quotes scripture and offers the reader to accept Christ as their Savior, and I am all for that.  They could serve as great witness tools to prep a future member of the body of Christ. So please understand that all in all-these are not horrible nor are they unusable...just some are better written, and have story lines that match a child's life experiences more closely, than the others.

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CBH Ministries Homepage
They have a really nice website with lots of resources and information-take some time to stroll thru it.
$10 each book or $40.00 for the set
Use the code: FREESHIPAPR15 (good Mar 17-Apr 15) to get free shipping.

Don't forget to read what my TOS mates had to say about this, and many other fine homeschool products, on our TOS Review Crew Homepage

***Children's Bible Hour Ministries provided me with a free set of the Seasons of Faith Books, so that I could read and enjoy this with my family. I have provided my opinion on the product, and did not receive financial compensation for this review.

Friday, October 9, 2009

TOS Crew Review: Amazing Bible History Timeline

Where does one start with a review such as this? I have decided to switch this one up a bit from my normal layout and style, due to some issues that I feel surpass the review of the item in of itself.

Be assured that I try my best to research any product that uses the Bible as its foundation. I want to be sure I understand where the company is coming from. I want to see what documentation they use to reference and create their product with. That is not always an easy task. Thankfully, most will boldly list their Statement of Faith, so that after reading it-I can decide if it aligns ours. I strongly believe this is an extremely personal, God-given right to which every individual is given. So, please do not misunderstand this review as my stating that one particular religion is better than the next. I am not. This review is penned out of our experience with this product and reflects the views of our family-and ours only. I have my own personal beliefs on such matters, but this is not the time nor the place with which to discuss them. I am simply stating what we discovered and how we feel it does or does not fit our family.

That said, I will introduce the product and discuss what the intention of this item is.  I will then note a few things about it that I found did not mesh with our faith, and then leave it at that.  So let's start with the upside of things.  This is a huge, Biblical historical timeline.  It is designed to try to cover most of the world's history from the beginning to present day.  It is laid out in a fashion with with the notations are squeezed into a large square, so that it can fit on your wall or table.  The intention was to try to show how certain people lived during the same time frame of other "famous" people.  How world history is actually intertwined and interconnected-not separate happenings that occurred somewhere "along the same time period".  This is a one look version of your typical linear timelines.  Not a bad concept actually.  It is nice to glance down, follow a line of history and see (by simply raising or lowering your eyes) what else was "going on" then.  It is coated on the print side with varnish-to make it more durable and yet not be hard to ship or roll/store.  It is brightly colored with 4 colors, and "fairly" easy to follow along.  The chart itself has a disclaimer that  states that they understand that it is hard to pinpoint the exact date of certain events; due to things simply not being recorded way back then, or because some dates conflict with other various sources. It is the nature of the beast.  This is one area that most scholars will agree on-you simply cannot state the exact date and time for some events.  I am fine with that, and am pleased they admit that for all to be made aware of.

That is the good stuff.  Now comes the parts that were hard to use, or simply do not mesh with our personal belief or religious training.  We found (at times) the color choices were a bit much -somehow it made our eyes bug out, and the print in some areas was hard to read.  We also felt like we were craning our necks more than we care to.  We are also a family that prefers to have our history all nice and neatly laid out in a pull-out linear timeline design.  I personally do not do good with circle charts, such as this.  I did cross referenced a lot of the early Biblical information, and it was close to or at the same time frame as the notable resources state.  That was encouraging.  Then, as I made my way through the chart, I started to see some things that didn't line up with our religious teachings.   Then I noticed that there seemed to be a gaps in histories of some nations and cultures; while there was a heavier concentration on others. Now, I do realize that if this chart had every detail from all of the major historical events, since the beginning of time, that it would need to be the size of the Indian Ocean. So yes, I get that they had to tone it down a bit-but I kept thinking things were missing. Then I saw a few familiar names, and I knew.  The folks behind the Amazing Bible History Timeline appear to be Mormon, and that is their prerogative, but the absence of notation regarding it was a bit annoying.

What really bothered me-was that the company was not upfront and open about where they were coming from.  I felt a bit mislead and that really left a bad taste in my mouth.  I would have appreciated knowing right from the start what I had before me-and that would have at least given me the ability to approach it with foreknowledge of the company's faith.

With a wee bit of research (because remember, I want to know what they used for their references-and believe you me-I checked out the major ones here)this is the site I found which is also theirs too-
LDS Amazing Bible History Timeline homepage
Here is their background page on their LDS site-now notice the the sources they use.
Background Page
So, there you are-this Bible Timeline has a Mormon bias to it.  If you are a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints-this can be a great resource for you and your has several references to materials that should be familiar to you.  In fact, I am giving my chart to my friend who is Mormon-and she will absolutely love it!

It comes down to how something fits your beliefs and tastes.  We are not members of the LDS church, and so this Amazing Bible History Timeline is not something we will use. I prefer our timelines from sources that agree with our theology, and so we will stick to the ones that do. I cannot be more blunt or plain about it.  It is not a good fit for our family at all.  As for you dear readers, you will have to do your research and make a decision on whether or not the ABHT is a good fit for you- based on your family's religious preference.

I am noting one ring here because for some families it can be a nice addition to their study material

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Amazing Bible History Timeline Homepage
Non-LDS link

$29.97 for Bible Chart (includes free download of Interactive Maps of the Holy Land, a the Digital Timeline)

Comes with a 60 Day money back guarantee. See details on their website. 

To see what my TOS mates had to say about this and many other great homeschooling products, head to our TOS Review Crew Homepage for more reviews.

**Bible Charts and Maps, LLC, provided me with a free Amazing Bible History Timeline in order to test and use it with my family, so that I could write this review.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

TOS Crew Review: Grapevine Studies- Stick Figuring Through the Bible-Biblical Feasts and Holy Days

In our home, I have a huge gap in ages with my two remaining students. My daughter is on the cusp of turning 15, making her a Sophomore in high school this year; and my son-who just turned 8, is entering the second grade. Their skill levels are vastly different-actually, they are on opposite ends of the Grand Canyon! So, how am I to get the same information across in a manner that isn't too complex for my son, nor overly watered down for my teen-and not lose my marbles in the process?

When you are blessed with a family of mixed ages, it soon becomes apparent that you have basically two choices in how you will teach the various subjects to your pupils. You can go the route of covering the material of many subjects, several times a day, to each individual child-which makes for a long day. Or you can combine the subjects which ooze multi-level teaching possibilities, in order to eliminate the redundancy found in the first choice. Thankfully, Bible study is one of the most pliable subjects to cover, regarding such needs. Stick Figuring Through the Bible: Grapevine Studies Series offers up a selection of courses which address this very situation.

Because we have been working through the Old Testament in recent months, we chose the Biblical Feasts and Holy Days, a 13 week course. A few things instantly attracted me to this particular study; such as it is designed to address children ages 7 and up (and adults too), that it doesn't require too much teacher prep, and it utilizes stick figure drawing to help cement the learned concepts. And you read that correctly-stick figure drawings. I highly suspect that author realized anyone (even the most artistically challenged individual) can sketch a one dimensional stick picture, in order to reap the benefits by doing so. I have seen the fruit of using various curricula that emphasizes tapping into all of the learning styles, and this one is no exception. Especially the unique use of such visual aides, to help cement the main concept of the lesson.

After spending some time looking up the verses to be discussed, and making notes when need be-I was able to commence the lesson with ease. My daughter can be rather resistant when it comes to trying new approaches, but this series meshed with her quite nicely; even to the point to where she inquired about the other programs they offered. SOLD! She liked how the study was laid out in a manner that did not linger upon a subject so long, that you lost interest and quickly zoned out-doing only what must be done to "get it over with". I agree with her on that-I like that it provides just enough coverage to give you an decent overview, yet doesn't bog you down with laborious questions or fill-in the blank worksheets. Those products only manage to kill any enthusiasm you may have had at the beginning of the study-not stir up interest. The shorter units are just perfect for families like mine-who become bored from lamenting over one area for an entire year. The Stick Figure Through the Bible approach is quite ingenious too. It gives the student a visual reminder to the story line, while not being too difficult to draw. My daughter (our artist) started morphing the pictures into actual drawings, but regardless-she remembered the content. Which was the point in the first place.

Even though this study is tailored to children 7 and up, I decided to hold off on this with my 8 year old. He was required to listen in whilst playing nearby, and to partake in the discussion, if he felt he has something to say or ask...but he is "on vacation" [his words] so we held off on having him do the workbook. I will save that, and come back to it after another time. I know that by listening in now, he will come to recognize these stories when we go over them again-so all is good.

The Grapevine Studies series is definitely a keeper in this house. I am impressed with the clever way to teach such an important subject, in a manner which is easy and not too tedious; while leaving the responsibility of addressing the specifics of our particular denomination [with the version of the Bible we prefer] to us.

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Grapevine Studies Home Page
$19.95 for Teacher book, $14.95 for Student Workbook (consumable)
Also available as an eBook download (Teacher: $12.95-with choice for group as well), Student: $14.95-with choice for family, group or class)


My readers can get a 30% DISCOUNT, off their purchase.
Use the code: crews when prompted for a discount/coupon code.
Offer expires Sept. 15, 2009.

Be sure to visit the TOS Store as well-they sell many of the Grapevine Studies products too!

Wondering what my fellow mates have to say about this and other fine homeschooling products? Visit our TOS Crew Review Homepage for more insight!

**Grapevine Studies provided us with a free copy of The Grapevine Studies-Stick Figuring Through the Bible-Biblical Feasts and Holidays TE/Student Wkbks in order to test and use it with my family, so I could write this review.