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Sunday, 28 November 2010
What's On Your Reading List?
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Family

First let me tell you what the Tinkel family has been reading lately.

I just finished reading Glenn Beck's Common Sense, and Martin Luther by Basil Miller. Loved them both! I'm going to try to begin writing short reviews of the books that I read in order to keep me on my toes, so be looking for my reviews for these two great books in the coming days.

 What am I reading now? Well, I'm still reading 1776 by David McCullough but I've also added The FairTax Book by Neil Boortz and Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford. I began Of Plymouth Plantation some time ago, but put it aside for a while. I picked it back up again because of...you guessed it...Thanksgiving. It's kind of my secondary history book right now until I finish 1776, but since 1776 is going pretty quickly, hopefully I will complete it soon.

What's coming up for me? Well, I just ordered three books on Amazon, and found another at a used book store. I think you'll find at least one of the new books an interesting choice but you'll have to find out  next time what it is. I'm not revealing it yet.

John Allen absolutely flew through the fifth installment of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He liked it, but it's nothing compared to how he raved about The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare! That has become his new number one book. He is now recommending it to everyone. I couldn't believe how he took to it! He will definitely be writing a review on it and I will be putting on here soon. I'm so glad that he has a love for reading!

What is he reading now? Well, he put aside The Cat of Bubastes in order to read the two mentioned above. He loves "The Cat", and is enjoying it once again. He's also reading a Mary Pope Osborne book Ancient Greece and the Olympics for school. The next book that I am going to present to him is Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman. I think he'll like it. I'll let you know.


Joshua is actually reading ~ a little at a time, mind you, but he is reading ~ Benjamin Franklin - Inventor, Statesman, and Patriot by R. Conrad Stein. I was surprised when we first began to read it. It is a little more advanced than the books we usually read. He actually liked it and wanted to read more once we got started. I was really thrilled.

So, what are you all reading? Leave me a comment and let me know. If you are interested in any of the books that I just mentioned. I have created a couple of new widgets in my left hand column connecting to Amazon and Vision Forum. All of the books mentioned above are available from those two distributors. Enjoy and happy reading!

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Posted by tink38570 at 10:38 PM CST
Updated: Monday, 29 November 2010 12:00 AM CST
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Friday, 26 November 2010
Currclick - I'm not just a one dimensional person!
Mood:  happy
Topic: Affiliates


You may think that the only things that I like are BCM International, Compassion International and The Old Schoolhouse (TOS) magazine and store. However, I am not as one dimensional as you might think. There are other things that I like as well. One of them being Currclick.

If you are interested in your child's education at all then you will like this website. It has tons of homeschool resources from dozens of companies. The only thing not big about this site is the cost! They have some of the lowest prices for homeschool downloads that I have seen on the internet. And, to top it off, they are having a humongous sale for Cyber Monday. And, as if it could get any better, they are giving away 20 different homeschool items for free! I have taken advantage of this site for the past two years and have downloaded some fantastic free things that I have used over and over again. Currclick is definitely a great site. Check it out by clicking on the banner or on any one of the hi-lighted links. You won't be disappointed.

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Posted by tink38570 at 1:20 PM CST
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Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Forget Black Friday - The Old Schoolhouse is Having a Fantastic Online Sale!
Mood:  happy
Topic: Affiliates

I'm going to be very honest with you. I don't promote things on my blog unless I really like them. If I don't think they are worthwhile, I won't even bother with them. If you'll notice, I promote The Old Schoolhouse a lot. It's not because I kind of work for them on the TOS Homeschool Crew, I really do like them. They put out great products and are a wonderful company.

TOS is having a fantastic "Black Friday" sale. As an affiliate of The Old Schoolhouse, I get special emails from them announcing promotions. Here's a little bit of the email that I got regarding this special sale:

"The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is extending an extraordinary subscription offer to homeschool families. U.S. and Canadian residents can receive a one-year print subscription and a FREE Homeschooling with Heat tote bag, FREE Schoolhouse Planner of your choice, and FREE E-Book: Cranberry Christmas for just $19.95. One-year subscriptions start with the winter issue. It makes a perfect gift for yourself and a friend. There are a limited number of tote bags available from November 24 through midnight on November 29-once they're gone, they're gone! Hurry and grab this tremendous value today! It's over $80 in free gifts--one of them the gorgeous Cranberries & Cream tote bag."

Trust me. The Old Schoolhouse magazine is a fantastic magazine and, as I've already said, their products are well worth it. While your shopping at The Old Schoolhouse Store, check out the new "Curiosity Files" unit studies. They are fantastic, and I have just a small teeny weeny part in their development (believe me it's small, but I did have a part Laughing). To get to the great sale, just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Have fun shopping!

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Posted by tink38570 at 9:22 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, 24 November 2010 9:37 PM CST
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Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Bright Ideas Press - Once Again We Are Blessed
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

I have written before about John Allen's history curriculum this year. Previously we have used a great curriculum that used "living books" - great historically accurate novels - as it's base and a well written guide that filled in any gaps, provided activities and asked great historical questions. Well, this year, I just didn't want go through trying to find all of the books that JA would be required to read, and there are always a lot. Also, his old curriculum was so intense that it usually took us about a year and a half to complete one year of curriculum. Well, that's ok in the younger grades, but when you are in 8th grade, and you have to cover World History in one year, that type of curriculum just doesn't work.

So, I decided to try to put together my own curriculum this year. I have researched what books others suggest (we're still using good historical novels) and I have pulled a lot of free unit studies off of the internet, and have bought a few resources as well. It worked out fairly well, but I still wasn't satisfied. Until, one day I found out that I would be reviewing Bright Ideas Press once again this year as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. Last year we reviewed a great history/geography resource book that I used extensively with Joshua. This year we were given a few choices to choose from. After much prayer and deliberation, I finally decided to choose three of their historical novel study guides and I'm glad I did.

Bright Ideas Press has a great history program called Illuminations where they, just as our former curriculum does, use "living books" as their base. These guides are studies that are part of their Illuminations curriculum. Once I decided upon that choice, another deliberation arose - which three should I order. There were so many choices, but I ended up choosing:

1. The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare Family Study Guide by Laura Reisinger

2. Ancient Greece and the Olympics by Mary Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce Family Study Guide by Maggie Hogan

3. The Jeweled Astrolabe by Jennifer Johnson Garrity Family Study Guide by Maggie Hogan


Now, let me tell you, two of these study guides are three week long studies and the other is a one week guide and we have just about six weeks to review something. I needed to order the books so that put me a week behind right there. So, there was no way that we were going to get them all done in the alloted time. So, since John Allen picked up The Bronze Bow to read right away, that's the unit study I decided to go with first. Having said that, though, I have looked over each one and can tell you that these are very well done studies.

Each study begins with a brief overview of the book to be read. I like that because it gives the student an idea of where they are going without giving away any surprises. After the introduction, the study is divided into days and you are told what to read and do each day. Nothing is left to chance. No wondering when or if you are to do something. You are given the pages to read, vocabulary words to discuss, and then activities to accomplish. These activities usually include geography/map skill exercises and discussion questions and often include a language arts activity or hands on project. I really liked the hands on projects because that is what Joshua really excels in, so I can file these studies away and use them with him in a few years.

If you have children of various ages studying the same thing, no problem. They also have activities for older students that are more advanced than the younger students. Therefore, you can work with a vast age range of students on the same novel at the same time.

I am really pleased with these studies and am so glad that I chose them. Once again we have been blessed. God knew exactly what we needed and when we needed it. These downloadable "Literature - Family Study Guides" are $14 each and are well worth it. The three that I received to review averaged 30 pages each and everything but the book is included. Answer keys, maps, questions, handouts, etc. were all well done and ready to print out. There are dozens of titles to choose from that include all reading levels. To find out more about these study guides and the rest of the great materials that Bright Ideas Press has to offer you can click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Many of the other products were reviewed by other TOS Homeschool Crew members and you can find out what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Homeschooling!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent, free of charge, three Literature - Family Study Guides by Bright Ideas Press to download, try out and give an honest review on my blog.

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Posted by tink38570 at 8:52 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 23 November 2010 9:55 PM CST
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Sunday, 21 November 2010
My Relative - Ben Franklin!
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

Yep, it's true! I heard from my cousin a couple of months ago. She's really big into genealogy and stuff like that. I dabble in trying to follow my family tree, but that's about the extent of it, but Brenda is really into it. Well, she announced that somehow we are related to Ben Franklin. I don't know how yet. I need to write to her and ask if she could send a copy of her research to me, but, sure enough, that's what she says and I believe her.

So, because of that, I jumped at the chance to review Download-N-Go's new Ben Franklin unit study and learn more about our new cousin. And boy did we learn. Joshua, of course, loves Amanda Bennett's Download-N-Go (DNG) studies, and this one was no exception. This was, though, the first real "history" unit study from DNG that we had done. The others were either science, or just plain fun studies. Now, those have a little of history in them, but this one was all history and we really enjoyed it.

This week long unit study covers everything you can think of about Ben Franklin. His childhood, what lead to his career choices, his home life, his political life, his inventions...I'm telling you it covers everything! But, as usual, Amanda Bennett has managed to make everything go together seamlessly and you don't even realize how much you are learning through the great Youtube clips, websites, worksheets and puzzles that she has you doing each day. This Ben Franklin unit study is a classic example of why I love Amanda Bennett's Download-N-Go series of studies.


Here are just some of the things that you will learn during this five day study:

  • Day 1: Who Was Ben Franklin?
  • Day 2: People and Places in Ben Franklin's Life
  • Day 3: The Accomplishments of Ben Franklin
  • Day 4: Lessons to Learn From Ben Franklin
  • Day 5: Remembering Ben Franklin

Each day is packed full of activities that cover every subject. You could literally use this study, as well as any of the Download-N-Go unit studies as a stand alone curriculum for you k-4th grader and not use anything else if you wanted. At least for the younger grades.

And this study includes the Book Suggestions section with books that fit all reading levels, the lapbook section, and the Fun Family Ideas section at the end.

Now, here's the best part. Usually the Download-N-Go studies are $7.95, but, for a limited time only, Ben Franklin is only $6.25! To purchase this study or to learn more about it, click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. To find out more about this great line of Amanda Bennett studies, click here. And, last but not least, to find out what the other great Download-N-Go reviewers thought about this study, click here. Happy Home Educating.

As a member of The Old Schoolhouse's Download-N-Go review team I was given a free copy of Ben Franklin in order to try out and review on my blog.


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Posted by tink38570 at 9:12 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, 21 November 2010 9:46 PM CST
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