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Families Again
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
I've Been Nominated!
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: General

Join Me at The Homeschool Post!

A fellow TOS Crew member just notified me that she nominated me for a Homeschool Blog Award in the Best Homeschool Dad Blog category! Now I need just two more nominations in order to make it to the actual voting round. I know that this may be tooting my own horn, but if you feel that my blog is worthy, then please click on the above button to go the the Homeschool Blog Awards site to nominate. Nominating ends October 30 and the actual voting (if I have at least 3 nominations) will begin on November 9. That's my birthday! What a birthday gift! I'll keep you posted when I know if I made it.

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Posted by tink38570 at 9:05 PM CDT
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Our Fall 2009 Prayer Letter is Available
Mood:  a-ok

I am so blessed to have a wonderful, talented wife that writes all of our prayer letters. She is not only my best friend but also my helper and supporter. She does a fantastic job with her ladies. God has truly blessed me.

To see the letter, just press here, or click on the prayer letter link to the left.

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Posted by tink38570 at 3:18 PM CDT
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Sunday, 18 October 2009
Sarah's Wish (but not my Sarah!?!?!?!)
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

I think I've told you before about my love of history. I enjoyed history in school, but that's not where I got it. I got it from my family. My family always took the greatest vacations (at least I thought they were) and, somehow, most of these vacations involved historical sites. Some of my fondest memories are of exploring Gettysburg and driving through it's battlefield; walking around Colonial Williamsburg; seeing Plymouth Rock and traveling the streets of Boston; or touring a WWII battleship and submarine docked in a Massachusetts harbor. I remember the history I learned and the pride I felt in 1976 when our country celebrated it's Bicentennial. Even when we visited Disney World I was drawn to the historic sections and shows. 

This love of history carried over to my reading. I loved historical novels and biographies. And I love reading and talking over historical books with my children. That's why I was excited to learn that Jim Baumgardner, the author of the Sarahbooks series, was sending the TOS Homeschool Crew his first novel, Sarah's Wish, for free to read and review.


Sarah's Wish is about a young girl who lives in the mid 1800's and has just become orphaned. But, you'll soon find out that Sarah is not an ordinary little girl - Sarah has a secret. A secret that she promised her mother that she would not tell. If she does, lives could be in danger. And, Sarah has a wish. A wish to have a new family. But, how long will she have to wait? Where will she live? Where will she go in the meantime? And, what will become of her secret?

As well as telling Sarah's story, Jim Baumgardner's book is full of adventures and interesting characters. Character's such as Granny Evan's, a feisty, eccentric, elderly woman who is part of the underground railroad; Dr. Baumgardner (based after the author's great, great grandfather), a kindly physician who thinks he knows what Sarah's secret is; Running Fox, a quiet indian who has a secret of his own; and Mr. and Mrs. Stately, the wealthy couple who could become Sarah's new parents - or could they?

Sarah's Wish is an excellent historical novel that my kid's looked forward to listening to every day and begged for more when it was time to stop. They can't wait for me to order the next book in the series, Sarah's Promise. And, what's more, is it comes with a free (FREE) coupon code to download the audio version of the book. The girl that reads the audio version is outstanding and makes each character come to life. 

Even though this book is written about a young girl, don't let that deceive you. Boy's will enjoy the adventure just as much as girls do. As I said, my boys loved it. The author wrote it for his grandchildren - boys and girls. This book would be an excellent compliment to a study of the mid 1800's or of the underground railroad. Or, you could use it as a basis for a unit study or it's own. As well as excitement, Sarah's Wish is an excellent example of life in that period. 

Sarah's Wish usually sells for $10.99, but you can purchase is from the author's website for $9.99. If you would rather skip the printed version and go straight to the audio book, you can also buy it for $16.99 a savings of $8.00 off of the regular price. You can also purchase Sarah's Promise and the newly released third installment of this series, Sarah's Escape! And he offers free shipping! Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. To find out what some of the other TOS Crew members have to say about Sarah's Wish, you can click here!

Happy Reading!

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Posted by tink38570 at 9:25 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 October 2009 12:04 AM CDT
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Monday, 12 October 2009
Guardian Angel Press
Topic: Homeschool Product Review


I was very blessed to grow up in a reading family. My parents were always reading, and passed on that love of reading to me. Now, as a parent, I try to instill that love in my children as well and have found that one of the best things you can do for your children is read to them from a very young age.

Recently, Guardian Angel Publishing sent me free copies of five of there ebooks to try out and write this review. They ranged from simple picture ebooks - Maybe We are Flamingos, Rainbow Sheep  - to an ebook about a handicapped boy competing at the fair - Andy and Spirit Go to the Fair - to more educational style books - No Bones About It - The Sum of our Parts Series, Earthquake. But, no matter the topic, they were all well written with a moral to the story.




The first book, Maybe We Are Flamingos, was a joy to read to Joshua, my 8 year old. Written by Safari Sue Thurman, Maybe we are Flamingos is about newly hatched Flora and Fernando Flamingo who doubt their identity because they don't look quite like their adult relatives. After some soul searching and a discussion with their mother, they find that they are really Flamingos after all. The writing is very imaginative, and the illustrations by Kevin Scott Collier made my son roll on the floor laughing. This story can be downloaded as an ebook ($5.00) or bought as an ebook on CD ($9.95+SH), Paperback book ($10.95+SH) or as a DVD book video (9.95+SH). Suggested age for readers: 3 (read to age) to 9 (read alone).


PhotobucketRainbow Sheep, written and illustrated by Kim Chatel, is an equally cute book. Rainbow Sheep is about the shepherdess Genevieve and her unique flock of sheep. After a few particularly rainy days, Genevieve decides to climb the tallest hill and tickle away the clouds only to find a very sad rainbow. In her usual friendly way, she cheers her newly found friend up and is in return given a special gift. Kim Chatel has creatively illustrated her book using the art of felting and has included in the back of her book the history of felting along with some felting crafts that your children can create with adult help. Written for readers 4 (read to age) to 10 (read alone) Rainbow Sheep can be purchased as a downloadable ebook ($5.00) an ebook on CD ($9.95+SH), a paperback book ($10.95+SH) or a book DVD ($9.95+SH).


PhotobucketAndy & Spirit Go to the Fair, by Mary Jean Kelso, illustrated by K.C. Snyder is part of the Andy and the Albino Horse series. This series focuses on young Andy, a wheelchair bound boy, and his struggles with his disability. After going through equine therapy, Andy falls in love with an Albino horse by the name of Spirit. Andy & Spirit Go to the Fair, the second book in the series, is about the horse and boys first major riding competition at the Nevada State Fair. I would recommend this beautifully illustrated book to anyone who has a child with a disability or who would like to educate their child on disabilities. Although the Guardian Angel Press website has this book rated "for children of all ages (0-12)", I would recommend this book to children in the upper age range of that scale. Andy & Spirit Go to the Fair is sold for $5.00-downloadable ebook, $9.95+SH-ebook on CD, or $10.95-paperback book edition. The website lists the DVD book video edition coming soon for $9.95+SH. The website also states  "A portion of the proceeds from this book are donated to Healing Reins of Bend, OR. www.healingreins.org, a non-profit organization, and Horseplay of Fernley, NV. http://downshorseplay.googlepages.com "


PhotobucketThe next two books are entertaining but more educational in nature. The first, No Bones About It, written by Bill Kirk and illustrated by Eugene Ruble, is a humorous look at the different bones in the body and why they are important. Written for ages 8-13, each page features a bone from the body with a short poem to help you remember that bone. It also has a "factoids" section with interesting facts about bones and a red box with a random bone pictured. At the end of the book you'll find a labeled skeleton to help you put all of the bones together, and then an unlabeled skeleton with a challenge to see how many of them you can remember. The author also has an "extra credit" challenge to go back and see if you can identify all of the bones that are pictured in the red boxes. This book would be an excellent addition to any biology study or study of the human body for an older child or just an intro to bones for a younger child. Although the publishers have an age range of 8-13 listed, I would use my discretion if I had a child on the lower end of that scale. Some of the pictures, although humorous, could be frightening to a more timid child. No Bones About It sells for $5.00 (pdf downloadable ebook), $9.95+SH (ebook on CD) or $10.95+SH (paperback book).Photobucket

The last book I received was Earthquake!. Earthquake! is filled with fascinating facts about these wonders of nature as well as constrictive information on how to prepare for, how to live through, and how to survive after an earthquake. Written by Susan J. Berger and illustrated by Eugene Ruble, this book also contains "Factoids" throughout the book, but also includes wonderful maps, charts, lists, and instructions for learning about, putting together, or making almost anything that you can think of pertaining to earthquakes. It also includes experiments that help illustrate what an earthquake is like. This book would be helpful for anyone who wants to learn more about earthquakes, but especially for anyone living in an earthquake prone area. Earthquake! is recommended for readers ages 6-9 and sells $5.00 for the downloadable ebook, $9.95+SH for the ebook on CD, and  $11.95+SH for the print book.

I really enjoyed the five books that were sent to me from Guardian Angel Publishing, and am looking forward to reading more from this company. One word of caution, the name of the company may be a bit deceiving. It does suggest that this company is a religious company. Although I found nothing objectionable in any of the books and they were very moral books, they also were not religious. There may be some books that they carry that are Christian oriented, but the five that were sent to me were not. Again, I want to express that I found nothing objectionable with any of them and encourage you to visit their website by clicking on any one of the highlighted areas above. Also, check out what the other TOS Crew members are saying by clicking here. Happy reading! 







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Posted by tink38570 at 11:14 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 October 2009 12:31 AM CDT
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Tuesday, 6 October 2009
Nature Friends
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review
Nature Friend


In my younger days, one of the many things that I wanted to be when I grew up was a forest ranger. I loved spending time in the outdoors just sitting and listening to nature sounds or exploring the woods. This led to reading encyclopedia articles about trees and nature. My sister saw my interest and one year sent me a subscription to a popular kid's nature magazine. I loved it! I read it cover to cover. Little did I know, however, that this magazine was very secular and, therefore, had a very secular world view. Thankfully, back in those days, this magazine didn't overtly emphasize these values. Nevertheless, occasionally something would be subtly added, so much so that I vowed, later in life, that I would never subscribe to this particular magazine for my children. I have searched high and low for a comparable Christian nature magazine that I could order for them but could never find one - until Nature Friend Magazine came along. 

The TOS Homeschool Crew was sent the August and September editions of Nature Friend Magazine and it's separate study guide for free in order to review it on our blogs. This beautifully illustrated and well written magazine was everything that I could have ever wanted. The main magazine has wonderful articles that range from discussing insects, birds, reptiles or some type of mammal to talking about astronomy or doing an interesting experiment. Everything is written from a Christian creationist world view. They do not shy away from their beliefs!

But, fantastic pictures and great articles are only half of the magazine. It also includes fun puzzles that emphasize the things that are featured in the magazine. One of my favorites is the "Invisibles" picture puzzle. That's where smaller pictures are hidden in a large picture. Another similar monthly feature is the scavenger hunt where you have to find a small item that is hidden four or five times among the smaller pictures throughout the magazine. In various issues of Nature Friend you might find a crossword puzzle, a word find, or acrostic as well. There is even a "You Can Draw" section for your budding artist! This section gives step by step instructions on how to draw something from nature. They then invite you to send in your drawing to possibly be featured in an a future issue.

But, as if the regular magazine were not enough, they also offer a monthly "Study Guide" for a separate cost that is inserted into the monthly regular edition of the magazine. The eight page study guide has puzzles and exercises to reinforce what is featured in the regular magazine. It also has extra features that are perfect for a homeschooled student or one that is just fascinated with nature. "The Photo Critique" gives hints on taking great nature photographs, and "A Study In Nature A Lesson In Writing" encourages you to explore the outdoors and write about what you see, feel, hear, and smell. Again, everything is wonderfully written from a Godly point of view.  

Although Nature Friend is a fascinating magazine by itself, we used it as a supplement to Joshua's science lessons. Since Joshua is studying reptiles right now, he loved the article about the snapping turtle caught in a fence, and, because we are avid bird watchers, the articles on owls and the story of the Weaverbird interested him. John Allen is also an avid fan of nature and loved perusing the magazines and reading the articles. Both of them love doing puzzles and the ones from Nature Friends were no exception. Joshua loves the picture searches and John Allen enjoys the more challenging puzzles.

According to the Nature Friend web page, the goal of the magazine is "Helping Children Explore the Wonder's of God's Creation". Here is what they say about the beginnings of the publication:

Nature Friend magazine, begun in 1983, was first published by the Stanley Brubaker family of Goshen, Indiana. It was born out of Mr. Brubaker's desire to encourage children to believe in God as their Creator and to seek out, recognize, and appreciate His handiwork.

This is one magazine that I hope to continue to subscribe to for a long time to come. Both the regular Nature Friend Magazine and the extra study guide are published 12 months out of the year. A year's subscription to the magazine is $36.00 while two year's is $68.00. The extra Study Guide is $24.00 for one year or $48.00 for two years. If you are unsure of the study guide, you can order it for one or two months before committing to a longer period. 

Still not convinced? Go to the Nature Friend website by clicking here, or on any one of the highlighted areas above. The website has samples of the articles, puzzles and many other features from the magazine. You can view a few sample issues online or order the most current issue for $5.00. If you decide to subscribe, the $5.00 will be taken off of the subscription price. So, there really is nothing to lose. Don't wait, check out their website today! And, as usual, happy homeschooling!    


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Posted by tink38570 at 9:14 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, 7 October 2009 10:09 PM CDT
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