Review of The Forbidden Book From New Liberty Videos

Last year, the kids and I were privileged to go to a traveling exhibit that showed us the history of the Bible and the difficulties that were encountered as the Bible was translated and made available for the common man. So when we had the opportunity to review a video about the Bible being preserved and made available for the common man, I was very interested. We received The Forbidden Book from New Liberty Videos.
new liberty video


The Forbidden Book is made for a general audience. There is material covered that younger kids won’t get, and there are some things that might frighten younger kids, so I would recommend a parent preview before kids watch it. I watched the video and have not shown it to the kids yet. I do not think my younger girls- 9 and 10- will “get” some of it. And I do think it would frighten them. The video comes as a physical DVD that can be played on a standard DVD player- or in your computer- and sells for $19.95 on the site.

New Liberty Videos is a company that produces Christian films. The founder, Brian Barkley, has been in the motion picture business for over forty years. After he became a Christian, he began to produce Christian movies. The Forbidden Book is a documentary that demonstrates how the Bible was preserved over the years when superstition and intellectual darkness would have hindered it.

I wanted to preview the movie to determine (1) if the kids would understand and be able to listen and (2) if there would be anything too frightening for them.

The movie jumps right in in the introduction giving facts about the Bible through the ages. Craig Lampe, PhD is a Bible historian who narrates some of the film. He traces the history of the Bible from the very beginning when Moses received the Ten Commandments directly from God through the other physical authors of the Bible. He also talks about the ancient Jewish manuscripts of Scripture. The video then goes on to discuss some of the early church fathers and how they determined which books to put in the Bible.

Then we move into the Dark Ages and what the church was like during that time. With false doctrines- such as that of indulgences sold to cover sins- the church wasn’t exactly in line with Scripture. The video goes on to talk about some the men who stood against these doctrines of the church. In Northern Scotland a group called the Culdees began a Bible college that was maintained throughout the Dark Ages and provided a way to protect the Scriptures during these times.

The video shares the stories of John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, and others who stood for making the Bible available to the common man even when it led to their death. Martin Luther and his desire to focus doctrines on Scripture alone, not on the traditions of the church, is discussed.

Information is given about how we have the books of the Bible that we now have. And there is information about the early translations of the Bible- including the popular King James Bible. The invention of the printing press and the spread of the Bible is discussed.

The video is just under an hour long. The DVD contains the film presented in a regular style and then again in closed caption with the words on the screen.

After watching the film, I haven’t shown it to the kids yet. It is likely that I will show at least the older kids at some point. I don’t think there is anything too disturbing. There are some parts about the martyrs that might be a little frightening for my younger kids- ages 9 and 10. My main reason for hesitating is just that I think it will be difficult to hold their interest.

I enjoy documentaries. I really like historical documentaries. So I was prepared to like The Forbidden Book. The presentation, however, is rather slow. And there are parts of the video that just seemed to just drag out. I was still interested in most of it because the subject matter was very interesting to me. My kids- even my older teens- probably won’t have the draw of being interested in the topic. Because of this, I think that an hour long video might be a bit much for them. If we watch it, I’ll probably split it up into segments.

I did think that the information here was very complete. There was some very good research. I really appreciated the comments from the Bible historian and the sharing of his knowledge about the history of our Bible. And if you are really looking to learn the history of our Bible, you will likely enjoy The Forbidden Book.

The Facts:

Company: New Liberty Videos

Product: The Forbidden Book physical DVD

Age: General ages; may want to preview for younger viewers

Price: $19.95

Crew Disclaimer
Other Review Crew members watched this and other videos from New Liberty Videos. You can check out their reviews by clicking below.

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Blogging Through the Alphabet: Z is for Zoology-Favorite Animal Study Resources

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

All kids love to study animals. Birds, bears, frogs, turtles- animals have lots of kid appeal. In this post I’m sharing some of my favorite animal study resources.


download Exploring Creation book series from Apologia- This series for elementary aged students  includes:Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day , Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day, Land Animals of  the Sixth Day . I reviewed Flying Creatures on the blog here. We’ve loved using it!


The Great Animal Search from Usborne books- There are several animal search books in this series. 516GFCECMML._AA160_Made for elementary aged kids, the books feature animal seek and find pages focused on different animal habitats.


dinosaur-activity-book-cover-4th Dinosaur Activity Book- All kids love dinosaurs. This book for elementary  aged kids has puzzles, mazes, games, and more.


The Complete Zoo Adventure: A Field Trip in a Book -This book can be a great accompaniment for a trip  to the zoo. With all kinds of information about the animals and the zoo, kids can learn before, during, complete-zoo-adventure and after their zoo trip.


World of Animals-This is an incredible animal reference book with information about over 1000 51gfmdAh6cL._AA160_animals. Written from a Christian perspective, it can guide kids to appreciate God’s design of the animals.


Uncovering the Mysterious Woolly Mammoth-This book is written from a creationist perspective and gives kids a view of the ice age and the conditions during that 10-2-296time.


God’s Amazing Creatures and Me! (Devotions for Boys and Girls Ages 6-10)-This is a devotional that uses 10-1-163 information about the amazing creatures that God has made to teach boys and  girls about Him.


Do you have any favorite animal resources around your house?

I’m linking up with Blogging Through the Alphabet with Ben and Me.

blogging through the alphabet sm.

Homeschooling Through the Seasons (of Life)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

As we head into a new season- fall- I’ve been reading (and writing) lots of fun posts about seasonal things to do in our homeschooling. And as I began to think about seasons, I found my mind wandering to the seasons of our homeschooling.

Instead of the seasons with changes in weather and the conditions outside, I’ve been thinking quite a bit of the season of life that our homeschool is in. With two highschoolers and no little people anymore, this has been a little heavy on my mind; and I find myself missing the days of the fun activities that little people enjoy.

Homeschooling, just as everything else in life, seems to go through seasons. And in each season, I’ve learned important things about homeschooling, about my kids, and about myself.


The spring days of our homeschooling were when my oldest children were 2 and 3. I had always wanted to homeschool, and my husband was definitely agreed. So when the kids were still preschoolers, I began to join homeschool support groups so that I could surround myself with other, more experienced moms who could show me the ropes.  Although I didn’t want to do formal instruction with my children at those young ages, we did have a “Gather at the Table Time” (as I called it) a few times a week. We had a letter for the week and a number for the week, and we would say things with that letter and count the number. And we read. We read lots!

In the spring of our homeschool, I learned that very young children don’t need formal instruction. They are like little sponges, absorbing all that they can about everything around them. Surround them with great books and facilitate free playing time, and they will learn more than you could imagine.

In the summer of our homeschooling, I had two young school-aged children and a toddler and a baby. Life was crazy busy. And I had to learn how to juggle the needs of an infant, a determined toddler and two elementary -aged kids. “Doing school” had to become very flexible, as I figured out how to fit everything in- and keep the toddler from swinging from the chandelier!

In the summer of our homeschool, I learned that being a mom had to come first. I was the mom before I was the teacher. And sometimes the baby needs to nurse, and the toddler needs cuddles. I learned that homeschooling can come in many forms- not just sitting at a desk with perfectly arranged workbooks.

We’re in the fall of our homeschooling now. I have two high school students and two upper elementary students. My older two work independently for the most part, and the younger girls and I are enjoying our days together. We still have times that we all read aloud together or do a project together, but I see the days coming when the kids are more and more independent.

As we’re homeschooling through the fall, I’m learning several things. I’m learning, as a parent of teens, that all the time we’ve spent together and the relationships we’ve built are paying off. It reinforces what I learned in the summer- relationships are the most important thing. Academics comes much farther down the list. I’m also learning that different children will learn in different ways and will take different paths. And the path may not be one that’s convenient to me or that I would have chosen. Each of my high school aged kids learns very differently. And what worked for one when she began high school did not work for the other. And so we adapt and adjust.

The winter of our homeschooling is looming. It’s not something I want to think too hard about. The days will come when they will graduate from our homeschool one by one.

I’m not there yet, but I have friends who have been or who are now. I know life will shift dramatically as each one finishes and possibly leaves out to begin college or a career. I can’t tell you exactly how I’ll feel. But I know this. I am more thankful than ever for homeschooling. I am thankful that I can say that I was there every single day. I shared so many moments with these kids that I can head into the winter days with joy- joy in the relationships we have and the time we’ve spent.

I am truly blessed that God has allowed us to homeschool through the seasons of our lives.

Review of Middlebury Interactive Languages

In our homeschool, we begin the study of Latin around 3rd-5th grade. The assumption is that we will cover Latin through elementary school, and then when each of the kids reaches high school, he/she can choose a foreign language of choice for the high school requirement in our state. My older kids both went through three years of Latin, and I began with the younger girls last year. This year we’ve continued that study. But we are also studying geography this year and looking at countries and cultures all around the globe. So when the opportunity arose to try a new to us foreign language program- Middlebury Interactive Languages- I thought the girls might enjoy a brief study of one of the languages of a culture that we will be “visiting” in our studies.

middlebury titleFrom the French Courses offered, we received Elementary French 1: Grades 3-5. We received a six month course- one semester- of this program designed for 3rd-5th graders. The programs can be purchased as a course with an instructor who does the grading and can assist the students or without a teacher, meaning the student watches and learns from online instruction only. We received the “Without Teacher” option which costs $119. This program is online based. The computer system requirements can be found on the FAQ page, which also has an email to use for further technical help. In order to record speaking sections, you need a microphone. We don’t have a headset microphone, but the one in my laptop worked fine.

Middlebury Interactive Languages has been developed as an interactive, online language program using techniques that have been developed and used at physical Middlebury Language Schools for many years. The program uses an immersion approach to teach the languages (meaning only the language is used- no English- and students pick it up by context). The online program offers Spanish, French, German and Chinese languages. Some of the languages are offered for students in K-12th grade. This chart shows which grade levels are offered for which languages.


The language classes are purchased for a six month time period. During this time period, the students are expected to cover a semester’s worth of classes. The online program gives a suggested calendar for your particular class and grade level.


Students in grades 3-5 are recommended to do 2-3 days of study per week. Students can move at their own pace; however, the class subscription will be over at the end of the six months. We did different numbers of lessons each week. Sometimes the lessons were short, and we could cover more. Sometimes the girls got fidgety, and we would stop sooner.

The subscription is for one student, and because the program keeps records of activities completed (more on that later), you would have to pay for a subscription for each child in order to have a record kept for each. Because I do not need to record French as a grade, I let the girls watch the lessons together and then take turns answering questions on the interactive portions.


When you first open the program and log on, your welcome screen will have a place at the bottom that shows you exactly where your child left off and what lesson he/she is on next.



When you choose the lesson, the black and white pictures at the side show the items the child has completed. The colored items are the ones left to complete.


There are different activities that your child will encounter. There are videos that tell a story. For example, our program began with the French retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. As the story unfolds and the child watches the action, certain French words are emphasized. In our first unit, the girls were focusing on greetings. So throughout the story, the greetings that the characters spoke were emphasized.

After the child is presented with a story in French, they are given other interactive things to do. Explore sections allow them to click on pictures and learn the new words. Practice sections test them on the words and phrases they can remember with drag and match activities. Speaking lab sections have the child speak the new words and listen to them played back. With the no teacher option that we are using, there is no one to “grade” the speaking activities, but the child can record the speaking and listen to it. Quizzes are spaced throughout the unit- both word and phrase quizzes and speaking lab quizzes.

As the child completes sections, they can click on the check mark at the top of the page to be told how many are correct. When the activity is a quiz, those grades are recorded in the “Gradebook” that can be accessed at the top of the page, using the menu tab.


The gradebook records the results of the quizzes. Because there is no teacher grading, the speaking labs are just checked off as 100% participation. Because I was letting both girls use the program, they just did the activities together taking turns to drag and drop or to speak.


The menu tab also accesses a Table of Contents. This can be used to look back over the lessons, but activities cannot be repeated. It can be effective in just remembering information that has been presented.

The girls really like the program. We aren’t through and plan to continue using through the remainder of our semester. They enjoy the fact that the words and phrase are presented through stories and songs. The activities interest them, and they look forward to French.

IMG_2401I’m a little more undecided. I’ve noticed that they seem to be able to begin to match words and phrases to pictures without really grasping what the words and phrases mean. It’s just remembering a picture. I know that they are having fun. I’m just not sure how much they are actually retaining.

I do love the immersion approach to language learning. I’ve seen it work before, and I know it can be effective. So I do like that they are listening to stories and songs and learning words in context, rather than spending time just memorizing a list of words. And I like that the information is presented in an appealing way that makes them enjoy  learning.

If I were going to purchase this in the future and had the money to do so, I would probably go ahead and choose the option with a teacher. I think this would be much more valuable in determining whether or not the kids are really understanding and remembering.


The Facts:

Company: Middlebury Interactive Languages

Product: French Courses- Elementary French 1; Grades 3-5

Age Range: K-12 for the entire Middlebury program; Grades 3-5 for our course

Price: $119 Without Teacher $294 With Teacher

Connect with Middlebury Interactive Languages:

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Other Review Crew members reviewed different languages and grade levels, so make sure to click over and read the other reviews.

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Fun Fall Learning Ideas (And a Printable Packet)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

Fall is well on the way. In fact, I’ve been traveling a little north of my home this weekend, and I can tell it’s definitely coming. We’ve been driving in the mountains, looking at the beautiful turning trees, and I’ve been thinking of all things fall. So, in this post, I’ll be sharing some fun fall learning ideas, and I’ll give you the link to a printable packet to go along with the ideas.

fall learning

Leaf Exploration

Fall is a great time to study leaves. There are usually plenty available lying around. Go outdoors with your child and gather some leaves. Choose leaves that are not crunchy and all the way dead yet. Bring your leaves inside and make some observations about them. Look up your leaves online and try to identify them, The Audubon Field Guide is free to use (you do have to register), and you can look up your leaves and try to identify them by color, size, shape. Have your child sketch the leaf to observe it better.

You can take this process a step further and talk to your child about types of trees. What types of trees lose their leaves in the fall? Why do they lose their leaves? This site has some great information about trees.

Apple Prints

For a fun fall craft, try making apple prints with your kids. Take an apple, cut it in half. Dip the apple face down in some paint and stamp the prints on paper. We’ve enjoyed doing this with fall colors so that our papers end up colorful for the season. Try cutting different types of apples to see if there is any difference in the prints they make.


If your child has an interest in types of apples, this webquest would be a great activity. In a webquest, kids are directed to places in the internet to learn certain facts. They learn how to do research and how to record information. In this quest, the kids will be able to learn about all different types of apples and compare them.

Leaf Rubbings

This is another favorite craft. It’s one that never grows old for us. Find some great leaves- not the crunchy ones- and bring them indoors. Place the leaves flat on a table with a piece if white printer paper. Peel a crayon and use the side of the crayon to run over the leaf, making a print. This sometimes takes a while for kids to figure out. If they rub with the tip of the crayon, like in regular coloring, it won’t work.

You could do this activity along with the leaf exploration to help you identify the types of leaves.


Fall Scavenger Hunt

This is a fun activity that involves heading outdoors. Give each child (or team) a list of fall items that can be found in the yard. It’s more fun if you can get the whole family involved. All begin at the same time with a scavenger hunt sheet in hand. Go at the same time and see who can find all of the items on the list the quickest.

Adapt this by pairing younger kids with older ones in teams. And choose things that are in your yard for the kids to find.

Pumpkin Writing

Use the pumpkin- a very traditional sign of fall- as a writing prompt for some creative writing. Tell the kids that you won’t be looking at grammar and punctuation, you just want them to write creatively. Talk about pumpkins and let them think for a while. Then set a timer for about ten minutes and let them write.

Kids can choose to write fiction- a made up story about a pumpkin- or nonfiction, including facts that they know about pumpkins. This page is a great resource for kids who want to know more about this traditional fall icon.


If you’d like some worksheets to go along with these activities, you can click here to access them. (You do need to subscribe to my mailing list. I promise no spam, just weekly updates!).


You can find some more great fall learning ideas from the Schoolhouse Crew carnival (live on 10-22-14).



This Week’s Favorite Read

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

This week I haven’t finished the current book I’m reading for review so I’m sharing an older book that I read and really enjoyed. The Prayer Box is Christian fiction from Lisa Wingate.



Tandi Jo is a single mom who is struggling in every way. She’s hiding from an abusive  relationship. She has no job and not much money, and may soon not have a place to  stay. She’s living in a rental cottage on Cape Hatteras when she finds Iola Anne-the  owner of the cottage and the large house next door- dead. Tandi is given temporary  work to clean out Iola Anne’s house. When she stumbles upon some letters hidden in  boxes in the closet, Tandi begins reading, and Iola Anne’s letters touch Tandi’s heart.  Thanks to the letters and the friendships she’s developing on Cape Hatteras, Tandi  learns that God does love her and has a plan for her life. Read the rest at Leah’s Good  Reads.

Weekly Wrap Up: Before We Go On Vacation

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

This week was another fairly “normal” week of school. I have had a sinus infection and been pretty miserable, but I finally relented and headed to urgent care on Thursday. With an antibiotic and some decongestants, I’m feeling lots better. The doctor also heard some wheezing in my chest, so I’m glad I went ahead.

This next week we’re headed to Kentucky for a trip we’ve wanted to do for quite some time- the Creation Museum. As we’ve used so many great Answers in Genesis resources over the years, I’ve wanted to take the kids. We’re going with my parents this coming week. We’re all super excited for a vacation!



The girls and I were in Target (probably multiple times this week) and saw the Halloween things out in full force. I find it hard to believe it’s already headed toward the end of October! The kids have been planning out their costumes. Our church is doing a trunk or treat this year for the first time, so we’re excited to see how that turns out.



Another thing we’ve really enjoyed this week is a review item- Snake Oil. It’s one of the last Crew reviews for the year- a board game for the family. The girls and I played on Saturday night while the guys were gone, and then the whole family played on Sunday. It’s so much fun, and I can’t wait to review it!



Ashlyne, Rachel, and I crossed the border into South America this week in our My Father’s World. We headed into Brazil and have been reading about the land and the culture. We are all loving this. Ashlyne said the other day that her favorite subject is cultures. I would definitely agree!




This is my cute puppy picture for the week. When Charles was younger, he was terrified of dogs. Even when we got Blondie- almost a year ago- he wasn’t sure about her. But this sweet, sweet dog has won his heart.



Okay, here’s another Target picture. Rachel and I spend lots of time together these days on evenings when the big kids have football/cheer and Ashlyne is at gym. Looking at this picture, I can’t believe how grown up this baby looks!

Football is fast coming to an end. Our varsity played their last game on Friday. They didn’t make it into the playoffs. The JV have done a tremendous job and only have one loss. They’ll be going to championships this coming weekend. Although Charles hasn’t been able to play since his knee was injured, he’s been at every game on the sidelines supporting his team.



I caught Kathryne doing school this week! Seriously I hardly get pictures of her because she works in her room. She’s doing one of my favorites here- the timeline book.




Ashlyne and Rachel jumped back into Saxon math this year. I was a little worried because I felt like last year had been a somewhat wasted math year. And math seems to be the subject that we all struggle with the most. Both of them are doing well, though.

I watched them work a problem this week and was so interested in how they chose to work it. I love to see how my kids are thinking. There was an area problem that we drew out on graph paper- nine squares by nine squares. We were looking at area and at squares and square roots. After the girls both drew the problem on the graph paper, I asked them to figure out how to find 9×9. Ashlyne immediately began counting squares. Rachel immediately started writing this addition problem on her paper. It took me a while to figure out what she was doing. She was adding sets of 18 blocks. Of course, both processes came up with the same answer. It was a good lesson to the girls that thinking through the process is important because usually there is more than one way to solve the problem.




I had my hair cut yesterday. I haven’t changed my hairstyle in…forever. But when I went to get it cut like normal, the girl cutting was good at persuasion. She cut layers with a stack at the back. I love, love, love how much lighter it is on my head. When it is hot, I can feel so much cooler, and it’s super easy to take care of.





The girls and I went to help at the gym today with the fall festival. There were carnival style games, food, and raffles. We actually won a cornhole set and leotard! And it was pretty perfect weather.


fall festival


Tomorrow morning- early- we’re headed out toward the Creation Museum. I’m not looking forward to the ride, but I am excited about the museum.


I’m linking up with Weekly Wrap Up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Weekly Wrap-Up

Review of Standard Deviants Accelerate: A Unique Way for Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers to Learn

Often, no matter how much I like the curriculum that I’ve chosen for my older kids, I feel as if there may be things missing, things they aren’t covering that I wish they would. Or occasionally they just aren’t grasping a concept, and I think it would be great to be able to present it in an alternative way. When I learned about Standard Deviants Accelerate, I was very intrigued and wanted to know more.

We received a full year’s subscription to all of the courses that Standard Deviants Accelerate offers in their Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses. We looked at all of the courses that were offered and tried out just about everything, but there were a few topics that were especially useful to us. So I’ll talk about the many resources that Standard Deviants Accelerate offers, and then I’ll share which were the most useful to us and what we thought.

standard deviantsStandard Deviants has been producing unique educational videos for students for years. In fact, I hadn’t heard of them, but the website says they’ve made videos since the days of VHS tapes! They’ve now taken those, added lots of activities and created a supplemental curriculum program intended primarily for middle school and high school students. (Some of the courses can be used with upper elementary aged kids, so the age range is really 8 and up.) They’ve created a version of this program for classroom teachers and for homeschoolers.

As a homeschool program, the site recommends that this be added to any existing core homeschool curriculum as a supplement or used as a spine with other reading and assignments added in. The classes are each $99 for the year or $24.95 per month for each student. The AP classes are $14.95 per month per student. This page reflects the homeschool class pricing. The following classes are offered:

  • Earth Science (Gr.6+)
  • Nutrition (Gr.6+)
  • Biology (Gr. 7+)
  • Chemistry (Gr. 9+)
  • Arithmetic (Gr.3+)
  • Fundamental Math (Gr.4+)
  • Algebra (Gr. 7+)
  • English Composition (Gr.9+)
  • US History (Gr.9+)
  • AP Biology (Gr.11+)
  • AP Chemistry (Gr.11+)
  • AP US Government and Politics (Gr.11+)
  • AP US History (Gr.11+)
  • AP English Composition (Gr.11+)

The regular classes all follow a similar pattern, and the AP classes all follow a similar pattern. The teacher also has a dashboard where they can see the classes they’ve paid for and sign students up for them. On that dashboard, teachers can also see the grades that students have gotten on graded work. And, for the written assignments that the teacher’s must grade, there are grading rubrics.


sd3After you’ve signed up for the program and paid for the classes you are choosing, you can log in and see you dashboard. The dashboard shows all of the courses you are signed up for. You can see previews of any section in any course. You can add your student to the class by sending them a code in their email. They open the program, enter the code, and are signed up for the course. They can then log into the course from any computer or tablet.

When the student begins each section of the course, they’ll take a pre assesment to see what they know. Some of the pre assessments were questions to answer, some were a group activity to be completed and graded by the teacher. The problem, of course with us, was that there was no group to work in, so this was really an individual activity.

sd8After the pre assessment, the student will continue on to a page where they will watch a video to teach the concept. The videos themselves are what makes this a unique program. The videos are meant to be comical. Information is presented in short burst so that the student doesn’t have to sit and listen to a long lecture. The humor is intended to help kids relate to the information and make it more interesting and engaging.

Under the video is a box where the students can take notes as they listen. They can print the notes or save them to their “locker” to refer to later.

sd13After the video, the student in introduced to vocabulary that will reinforce the concepts from the video. Their is a pronunciation button so that students can hear the word.

sd9After the vocabulary segment is a segment called “diagram” in which the student will drag and drop answers into some type of puzzle or fill-in-the-blank. Only the correct answers will “stick” in the blank.

sd10Then the student is taken to a “quiz” section. This section is graded automatically by the program. The teacher can look at the grade later.

sd11The last section in each segment is the “written answer” section. The written answers are to be graded by the teacher. There are rubrics to guide that grading in the teacher’s dashboard.

sd12The AP classes were very similar. They have only five sections in each AP class. The class is designed to help the student prepare for the AP test in that subject. There is still a pre assessment, videos, vocabulary, and quizzes. And then there is a chapter review that has a group project- again, not very useful for us- a summary of the quiz answers done after each section, and critical thinking questions that the teacher will need to grade.

sd14My main interest in these videos was for Charles. He is a 9th grader. I was especially interested to use the English Composition class for him because (1) he’s not great in writing and (2) his language arts program doesn’t have much writing involved.

From the beginning, he enjoyed the humor of the videos. They were short, which was another big plus for him. They are typically a little less than fifteen minutes long. He usually watched the videos on his Kindle Fire which was much harder for him to take notes on. I was not using the class as a grade, so I didn’t have him do all of the graded assignments, but I did have him try a few to get a feel for what they were.

Charles used the program every day and was finished with it during the review period. The program is meant to be used at the student’s own pace. You could choose to schedule it for only a few days a week if you wanted to make it stretch out longer. And if I had been requiring it as a grade, I probably would have made him do it on my computer so he could take notes to study.

As he continued using the program, I noticed that he was picking up a few things. Overall, though, I think he viewed it as fun, not as learning. And I don’t know that he thought of it as “school” and really paid attention. Some of this was me because I didn’t grade it. But, I also think that the humor sometimes distracted from the learning.

I think Charles will be willing to try some of the other classes. He’s struggling with Algebra 1, and I think it would be helpful for him to go through that course.

IMG_2600I also wanted Kathryne to take a look at some of the videos. I had her look through several subjects just to see the style of learning to tell me if it was something that worked for her. Video learning has never been her thing. But I also wanted her to complete some of the AP classes. Her biology last year was an honors level class, but her science this year is “too easy” she said. So I wanted  her to look at the AP biology class. And, although she won’t cover high school level American history until next year, I wanted her to use the AP US History class.

She worked through both. I think she was pleasantly surprised at her knowledge of science. The courses mostly prepare the students for how to take the test, what to expect. There is some information thrown at the kids. It’s called 30 in 30, 30 bits of information in 30 minutes.

Kathryne was not impressed with the courses. Unlike Charles, she didn’t like the humor, and she found it distracting. Although she completed the review period, I don’t think she’ll use anymore classes.

IMG_2611I didn’t use any courses with the little girls because they are doing several other things right now. I did look through the Arithmetic and Fundamental Math courses, the only ones for their grade levels. I think that the humor would really appeal to them at ages 9 and 10. And, because they are so short, I think we could use a video a few times a week as a supplement to our regular math curriculum.

sd15So, here’s my conclusion. If you have a child who enjoys video and who responds well to the fast-paced style with short lessons, they’ll likely find these interesting. If you have a child who really enjoys more in depth study and who prefers reading, it probably won’t appeal.

If you are looking for lots of depth in the subject, this probably isn’t the program for you. It is intended to be a supplement, as the website says. It was good for Charles because I just wanted him to brush up on and be exposed to a few more writing skills/strategies. It will be good for my younger girls to have some reinforcement in their math skills.

Two things to note: (1) Your subscription is for one student. So even if you’ll have two students who could take the same class, you’ll have the assignment system be able to work for one, unless you subscribe for the second. (2) The website is open about being a secular program, not written from a Christian worldview. They are open about the fact that their science classes will teach evolution. This didn’t bother me because I wasn’t planning on doing much with the biology , and we use a very Christian worldview focused science as our regular curriculum. So I wasn’t too worried about it if I did decide to use it. But I did appreciate the fact that the website was very clear about it.

If you are interested and want to know even more, you can sign up for a live webinar to walk you through the program. I think this is a great idea because it’s hard to know if your child will like it or not before you can see it for yourself.

The Facts:

Company: Standard Deviants Accelerate

Product: Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses

Age Range: 8+ (Most classes are designed for middle and high school but two are for 3rd and 4th grade.)

Price: $99 per student, per course, per year or $24.95 per student, per month; $14.95 per month for AP classes

Connect with Standard Deviants Accelerate:


Crew Disclaimer

Although we all had all of the classes, different families focused on different subjects. So make sure that you click below to see what other Crew members thought about the program.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Why, Exactly, Am I Here? (Hearts at Home Blog Hop- Love Your Purpose)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

When my children were little bitty things, they began learning the children’s catechism. In the first three questions, the catechism pretty much lays out the purpose of man:

Who made you? God. What else did God make? Everything. Why did God make you and everything else? For His own glory.

And the Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it even more succinctly in the first question:

What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

So it seems pretty basic that my ultimate goal in life should be to bring God glory.


As a mom who has always stayed home and homeschooled my kids, it’s hard to really grasp this. My days consist of math problems and making lunch and computer issues and reading aloud and cleaning the toilets. And, in the midst of this, it’s easy to lose site of my chief end, my purpose. I sometimes think to myself- “When I’m through with this, I’ll stop and take time for God.” or “When the kids are older and not so needy, I might have time to read the Bible.” But those things I’m waiting for never come.

But then I realize that I can be fulfilling my purpose right here, where I am. In fact, I think God put me here as a wife and mother and a homeschooler for a reason. And when I look at it that way, I can look at ways to fulfill my purpose in my everyday life.

  • Saying something encouraging when a child is having a bad day with schoolwork.
  • Showing grace when the milk gets spilled.
  • Giving the last scoop of my favorite ice cream to the kid who really wants it.
  • Listening to God’s Word and stories of missionaries and tearing up along with my kids.
  • Playing worship music in the car to a captive audience.
  • Helping a child talk through his feelings of frustration.

In all of these situations I can be fulfilling my chief end, my purpose. And in my mundane, every day life, I can glorify God in the way I act.


I’m linking up with Hearts at Home for Third Thursday Thoughts.

The Power of Purpose

Blogging Through the Alphabet: Y is for Yummy Gluten Free Fall Recipes From Around the Web)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

Fall is fast approaching. We’ve definitely had some cooler temperatures around here this week. And, I’m sad to say, it’s beginning to get dark earlier and earlier. Although fall isn’t my favorite season, there are a few things I really enjoy about fall. One of those is the yummy goodies that you can find all over the internet. It seems that every time I get online, I see delicious yumminess on my computer screen. Having gone gluten free almost two years ago, some of those recipes make me sad because I know I can’t try them. But, thankfully, I’ve been finding many gluten free yummys also. In this Y edition of Blogging Through the Alphabet, I’m sharing them.


Gluten Free Apple Cake Muffins- I have a soft spot for just about any recipe with the word apple. And Gluten Free Goddess- who has so many recipes I love, by the way- has a recipe that I’ve been drooling over.

Gluten-Free Apple Cake Muffins - tender, light and sweet

Gluten Free Vegan Gingersnap Cookies- Although we don’t specifically eat vegan, I do have a daughter who is vegetarian. Often the two overlap, and she enjoys it when I can find yummy vegan recipes. I also have at least one serious gingersnap lover in my house. So this recipe from Healthful Pursuits really caught my eye.


Apple Pie Smoothie- I promise that I’ll include something that isn’t sweet soon. But, like I said before, I love apple recipes. And my kids love smoothies. This recipe from Simply Recipes sounds incredible!

Apple Pie Smoothie on Simply Recipes

Fall Chex Mix- I love Chex Mix because it’s always that perfect combination of sweet and savory. This version from Budget Savvy Diva is fall themed with some seasonal flavors.

Fall Chex Mix Recipe

Mini Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins-Okay, I haven’t made these yet, and the mix of cornbread and pumpkin sounds strange, but they sound good and look delicious in this recipe from Simply Quinoa. And I love using quinoa because it’s versatile and so good for you.

Spiced Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread- I love cream cheese, flavored or plain. And this recipe from Ricki Heller just sounds incredibly yummy. Don’t you just want some on a gluten free bagel?

Gluten Free Apple Blueberry Crisp-I love apple crisp any time of year, but some versions use flour; and I can’t eat them. But this fruit crisp recipe by Carey Jane Clark is a gluten free one and looks like it would be good with any kind of fruit.

 photo apple-crisp1.jpg

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Icing- I’m ending things with another recipe from the Gluten Free Goddess. Cupcakes, maple cream, what more is there to say?

Gluten-free pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese icing.


So there we go. Now I have I have some yummy treats to look forward to as fall approaches.


I’m linking up with Blogging Through the Alphabet at Ben and Me.

blogging through the alphabet sm.