Sunday, June 17, 2018

Book Review: The Memorization Study Bible ~ Thomas Meyer

Professor Thomas Meyer (AKA The Bible Man) has memorized multiple scripture passages and 20 complete books of the Bible; a feat made even more incredible when one realizes he does not have a photographic memory. 

The Memorization Bible is the KJV of the New Testament. Mr. Meyer has organized verses to begin, where possible, with conjunctions or prepositions. There are brief, yet concise, directions explaining how to best memorize for long term memory storage. Emphasis is also placed on writing out the verses as suggested with up to 8 words per line and incorporating both oral and written recitation. Devoting time and energy to this process is a given, but what a gift!

As I age, I feel less capable of memorizing anything significant, yet, this method gives me hope. As both a homeschool parent and Sunday school teacher, I want to memorize God’s Word alongside our children. I tape weekly verses on the window to review while washing dishes, cut strips of verses to use as bookmarks,...whatever will remind me. I look forward to trying this scientific method of memorization with myself, family, and Sunday School class. The best part is, it's another way to immerse oneself in God's Word and hide it in your heart.

Book Review: My Story and the World Around Me 1

My Story and the World Around Me 1 is a large text/workbook/teacher’s guide all-in-one single year course geared towards grades 1-2. Take your child through social studies, starting with his/her family and expand through community, city, and country into other countries/continents around the globe. I appreciate that Mr. Froman and Mr. Froman have incorporated language (Spanish & French words), interactive dialogue/questions, vocabulary, and the element of an adventurous quest into 36 weeks of geography and history lessons. It’s a difficult task to design a meaningful course that can seamlessly switch between current events/geography and Biblically accurate historical events that help children understand why history has a direct impact on today’s world. Where did everyone come from? Why are there different languages around the world?

Designed to be a half hour lesson daily, there is flexibility to work within a routine that best works for your schedule. For us, I’d likely combine 2 lessons to work through three days per school week. My Story and the World Around Me 1 includes eye catching photography, puzzles, copywork, maps, journal questions, reviews, quizzes, and hands on activities. Clicking on the link above will direct you to the Master Books website where you can download a preview of My Story and the World Around Me. I look forward to using this book with future years with our youngest.

Book Review: Language Lessons for a Living Education 2

Language Lessons for a Living Education 2, written by Kristen Pratt, is an all inclusive (includes a recommended list of reading books) 2nd grade language arts course. Phonics, sentence formation, reading comprehension, spelling, types of words (antonyms, synonyms, etc.), worksheets, quizzes, and dictionary-building are a sampling of the course work. Students will be practicing independent reading of age/ability-appropriate books which the parent keeps track of on a chart. Over the school year, scripture memorization, writing, oral narration, review, and vocabulary are practiced/retained.

I love that the “Tell Your Story” sections include illustration boxes for your student to add illustrations to his/her writing. The choice of font used throughout the book draws your child’s attention to the work or question at hand. Overall, it’s an aesthetically appealing book and continues to build on learned concepts.

We’ve used a variety of language arts curricula over the years with our children and there are aspects of each that I would love to see pulled together into one book. While this book is intended to stand alone, I’m going to use it (Language Lessons for a Living Education 3) as a supplement to our current language arts course and see how things progress side by side. I can see my son enjoying the format.

Master Books publishes fantastic homeschool books, such as this, that include various facets of daily subjects under the umbrella of a single topic. I love that so many sides of language learning are included in a single lesson/unit. One book=multi-practice of skills. Clicking on any of the links above will direct you to their website where you can download a preview of Language Lessons, the table of contents, as well as the list of suggested reading books.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Book Review: Faithful Finance ~ Emily Stroud

Faithful Finance is full of sound advice, written by a financial advisor, businesswoman, entrepreneur and full time mom. Sounds like a full plate, doesn't it? Thankfully, she has taken the time to write this book in both a conversational and to-the-point way. Emily lays out steps to help families be more empowered to tackle their current and future financial situations.

I appreciate that her topics are straight forward and applicable in many ways. Here are a few of the topics that I find most important: Create a budget and build up an emergency fund; Be a giver--generously and faithfully; Invest in retirement; Saving for college; Pay yourself first--start a savings plan. There are other topics as well--10 in all.

In this day and age of many feeling the need to have the newest iPhone, take on the highest mortgage a bank offers, etc., it is of utmost importance to take a step back and realize there needs to be a sound financial plan. Emily gives individuals and families a great starting point to get on track.

Book Review: The Transformational Adventure Study Guide

The Transformational Adventure Study Guide is intended to be used within a small group setting. As this is simply a book review for the study guide, it will be focused on how the book is laid out.

There are seven lessons in The Transformational Adventure, each beginning with a video lesson and presumably discussion within your small group. The study guide is an amendment to the program; intended that the participant will use the study guide between video lessons.

Each chapter includes an area to take notes during the video, a selection of Scripture, an area to respond to questions based on the video, and a section to self-study God's word as you search deeper within His word and your soul to understand better what God intends for you. Overall, it appears well laid out and has me interested in looking into the videos themselves.

The authors, Alan and Inda Williams "had it all" and then cancer struck. The complete program takes participants through their story and welcomes you to respond to God's invitation to live your life with meaning and purpose.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Book Review: Praying the Scriptures for your Adult Children

Jodie Berndt has written other books in her "Praying the Scriptures" series of books, but this is the first and only book I have read. While I'd like to read some of the others, I was drawn to this book. As parents, we are 'at that age' where our oldest will be heading to college soon and several friends have already moved into that next stage of life where children are either just leaving for college or jobs, or have already left. I just can't believe how quickly time has flown by since our firstborn was a newborn!
How important it is to not only raise our children in the light of God's Word, but also to continue to pray for them as they prepare to move out on their own. What better heartfelt words to pray than those right out of the Bible. This book goes well beyond this stage (career, marriage, health issues, etc.), but it's just the stage we are personally coming up on that I tend to be focusing on.
I know it will be difficult to take our eldest to college and drive away; makes me tear up even thinking about it! Yet, I/we trust God to work His will in his life; praying Scriptures over him is a reminder that he is God's first. We will never stop being his parents, even if our roll as parents changes.Whether you have a child who is floundering or "knows" where he's going, making Godly choices or is following a wayward path, good health or poor health, experiencing things we never wanted them to dealt with or living out her life for others--Praying the Scriptures offer insights and personal stories from others who are praying for their children. Personalized prayers with Scripture are included at the end of each chapter. May this book be a blessing to you and in your prayer life.

Book Review: Adored - 365 Devotions for Young Women

Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women is a beautiful hard cover devotional book. I'll admit it: I'm drawn to beautiful covers and hard cover books! Considering this is a read-every-day-for-a-year book, it was a wise decision to make it hard cover. Each day's devotion is a Bible verse and a short commentary on the verse and/or how to apply that verse to middle/high school. While I'd prefer more Scripture each day, each Bible verse does carry it's own beauty, wisdom, and truth. Perhaps focusing on a verse a day is just what some young ladies need to grown their desire for God's Word. I'd consider this age-appropriate for grade 7 through grade 10. It does discuss bullying, dating, social media and friendships (among many other topics); depends where your daughter fits into the topics at hand as to whether it will be more or less relevant to her life. The Scripture is always relevant; perhaps not all the topics it's related to (ex. social media).

Book Review: Brave Beauty ~ Lynn Cowell

Brave Beauty, by Lynn Cowell, is a short chapter semi-devotional. It contains 100 mini chapters that talk about or tell stories about relevant things in the life of a middle school-aged girl. There are some self-quizzes and very short fill-in journal entries (not in every chapter though) with thought-provoking questions. Our daughter loves this kind of thing. My only disappointment come with the fact that it isn't really a devotional book. Most chapters reference a verse of Scripture that is applicable to the chapter topic. In addition, each chapter ends with a very short prayer. However, I was disappointed to see so little Scripture in light of the book's purpose (as stated on the back):
-See who God says you are
-Talk about tough stuff
-Discover how people of the Bible handled hard things
-Learn more about God and how He helps us
-Explore how God's words can help us become fearless and brave.

We purchased a devotional book for our daughter to go alongside this book. In all, Brave Beauty addresses topics that 8-12 year-old girls would find relevant and easily opens discussions between friends, and between mother/daughter.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Book Review: My Holy Bible for Girls, Journal Edition

Zondervan has put together this beautiful Bible in a journal format for girls. I didn't know what to expect when asked to review the style of this Bible. However, upon opening the package, I was all smiles. It's a beautiful hard cover Bible with a perfectly girly combination of matte and shiny patterns. I would have loved to receive this anywhere from about age 8-16. Our 10-year-old daughter oohed and ahhed over it.

The elastic strap is securely attached to the back cover. Who doesn't love a pink elastic strap? Sweet! Each page of scripture has a side bar of lined journaling space, adequate for brief note taking or referencing other verses. The pages feel paper-thin, but there is substance to them, so I don't believe a regular ballpoint pen would run through. I don't know that I'd use the new gel pens...although I haven't put that to the test either. Overall, it's super cute and well layed out. An NIV edition, it would be nice to see this style offered in NKJV as well.

All opinions are my own in this review. I love it and hope you will too!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Book Review: Earth Psalms ~ Francine Rivers

      Francine Rivers, a long time favorite author of mine, has published a lovely devotional book entitled Earth Psalms ~ reflections on how God speaks through nature. Karin Stock Buursma has added Scripture, poetry, quotes and hymns to this beautifully bound hardcover book. Photographs of scenery and animals in nature make this into a coffee table type devotional book: Pretty and inviting for others to pick up. Included are 52 devotionals, each with a Scripture reading, one of Francine's personal, insightful stories and statements/questions that give you space to reflect, apply what you've read and connect with God. The publisher even attached a silk bookmark. Overall, this has been a wonderful way to begin my mornings.  I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review and look forward to purchasing further copies as gifts.