Fun Fall Learning Ideas (And a Printable Packet)

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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:


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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.

Review of the iWitness Book Series: Books That Give Eyewitness Accounts of the Truths of Christianity

Our family has loved everything we’ve ever received from Apologia Educational Ministries.  So when I saw the new series of iWitness books by Doug Powell, I was very intrigued. This set of books provides readers with a unique visual experience as they read more about the New Testament, the Old Testament, and the proofs that archaeology gives that the Bible is true.


We received iWitness Biblical Archaeology, New Testament iWitness, and Old Testament iWitness to review. Each of these books sells for $14.00. They can be read aloud with multiple ages of kids(as we did), but the reading level is about age 11 or higher.

All of the books use the same methods- beautiful, unique illustrations along with credible, reliable sources to explain the information covered in that book and to examine the veracity of Scripture. Each book is written and illustrated by Doug Powell. They are all paperback books of about 60 pages, about 4″ by 8″ in size. But each book covers a different topic. (And there are two additional books scheduled to publish in 2015!) So here is a look at each and how we were able to use them.


iwitness-biblical-archaeology_zpsa3f98043iWitness Biblical Archaeology  begins with an explanation of what archaeology is and why it is important that archaeology studies back up the claims of the Bible. Because the Bible claims to be a history book, not just a fable or myth, it is important that historical finds support the claims of Scripture. The book looks at several events that Biblical history records and examines ways that archaeological finds have supported the information that we read in the Bible. Doug Powell chooses facts that secularists have particularly attacked as untrue.

We enjoyed looking through this book because we have used a Biblically based, Christian worldview history program through most of our homeschooling, and many of the proofs that we read about were ones that we were familiar with.

  • The author examines the belief in a worldwide flood. Some scholars claim that the fact that other cultures have a flood legend makes the Bible account just another legend as well. The author of this book examines these flood stories and compares them to the Biblical account, pointing out that, instead, these legends seem to back up the fact that there was a worldwide flood that affected earth in a catastrophic way. He discusses lists of Sumerian kings that back up the fact that there was some kind of major catastrophe and that after this, the longevity of men was greatly decreased (just as the Bible says).
  • The author also spends some pages examining the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls, scrolls that have proven to be the oldest Old Testament manuscripts ever discovered (a manuscript of Isaiah dates to about 125 BC).
  • In another section the book looks at archaeological evidence of many of the places of Jesus’ life mentioned in the New Testament.


I had my son- age 13- take a look at the Old Testament iWitness. He is reading through the Old Testament this year as part of his schoolwork, so I thought that this would be a good accompaniment to his reading. In this book Doug Powell takes an up close look at the Old Testament- who wrote it, how the contents were decided, how we know it’s accurate.

Charles read through some of this one for me. He had a little difficulty reading it because of the writingold-testament-iwitness_zps0651d71c style and the very “busy” illustrations. He isn’t a strong reader, and he had a good bit of trouble following the words on the page. I told him that he could read small sections at a time. And it really did help when I read sections aloud. There were quite a few things I found especially interesting in this book.

  • I was very interested in information about how the books were chosen to be a part of Scripture. This is called the “Cannon of Scripture” and the author looks at some criteria that the manuscripts found by scholars had to meet in order to be accepted as a part of Scripture.
  • I also read about the “Documentary Hypothesis.” I had never heard this term. But it refers to a hypothesis began by a group of German Biblical scholars in the 1800s. The idea was that there were other authors of the Torah- the first five books of Scripture- than Moses who had historically been viewed as the author. Doug Powell looks at evidence that really seems to disprove this theory and support Moses as author.
  • Another topic I found to be very interesting was the reference to the “Intertestemental Period.” This is the period of about 400 years between the Old Testament and New Testament writings. Some scholars have called this a “silent period,” but that isn’t the case says Doug Powell, as he takes a look at all of the interesting things going on the world during this time that would have affected the Jews, God’s chosen people.


new-testament-iwitness_zps0ef0bdafI shared parts of the New Testament iWitness with my younger girls- ages 9 and 10. We are reading through some of the gospels in our Bible time, and I knew that- although they probably couldn’t read it for themselves- there were probably some interesting facts to consider as we read. Some of the information was over their heads, but with me doing the reading aloud and with some discussion, they were able to get something out of it as well.

In this book, Doug Powell considers how important the New Testament is because it details the life of Christ and gives information about how to live to His followers. He takes a look at things like who wrote the books, why certain books were chosen to be part of Scripture, and how do we know that the New Testament words have been passed down accurately. Here are some things that I could read aloud to them.

  • There is information about the gospels and the similarities and differences in them. Some historical information is given to explain why the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are so similar and seem to include some of the same information.
  • One section I found interesting was an account of why certain books were rejected from the New Testament canon. The author tells us the names of some of these rejected books and what the books contained. The books would have been rejected because they didn’t meet one or more of the criteria for the books of the canon.
  • The author gives readers a good bit of information about how the New Testament books would have been copied through the ages. He talks about the methods of copying, how many copies have probably been made, and reasons we can know that the Bible we read is accurate. Interestingly it seems that some scribes, copying by hand, made intentional errors at times. They thought that they were “fixing” something that had been written inaccurately.

These three iWitness books are a great reference to have. Apologia is always all about giving young people tools to defend their Christian worldview and their belief in the authority of Scriptures. The iWitness books carry on in this by providing very well-documented written material and incredible pictures and illustrations. Because their style is like a graphic novel as opposed to a textbook, the books are appealing to kids and make them want to know the information inside. I’m glad to have these as yet another great Apologia resource to add to our collection.

The Facts:

Company: Apologia Educational Ministries

Product: iWitness Biblical Archaeology, Old Testament iWitness, and New Testament iWitness

Age range: 11 and up

Price: $14 for each book

Connect with Apologia Educational Ministries:

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Coming Soon: The Review of The Family Toolbox, A DVD Set That Gets Parents and Teens Talking

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.

Soon I’ll be receiving and reviewing a great new DVD set that helps to facilitate conversations between parents of their teens and preteens: The Family Toolbox. The Family Toolbox is produced by The National Center for Biblical Parenting.

The goal of The National Center for Biblical Parenting is to help parents move past simple behavior modification and work on reaching the hearts of their children. The provide parent resources such as books, audio presentations, and children’s curriculum. They also provide training materials such as DVD classes and live speakers for churches. And they have an online based Biblical Parenting University that provides online parenting teaching and training.


As a parent of two teens now (That’s hard to believe!), I have seen first hand the power of having conversations with my kids. We’ve always been a family of talkers. We’ve never really laid down the idea of “Do it because I say so, you don’t need to know why.” Instead we’ve tried- as much as is appropriate at the child’s age- to talk about the “why” behind the rule.

This kind of parenting can sometimes feel tedious and time-consuming. It’s much easier to throw out a punishment and ground the kids to their rooms. It takes time to talk instead. Talk about why the rule is important. Talk about why the child broke the rule. Talk about ways to do things differently next time- both for parent and for child. But I am beginning to see the fruits of this kind of parenting.

My kids love to talk. Even my teens. Although other parents often bemoan the fact that their kids won’t talk with them at all anymore or that their kids never want to associate with them, I have 13 and 15 year old kids who want to talk. They sit in my room until very late at night. They want to play games together. They want to pick Netflix shows on t.v. that we can watch together. I really believe that this openness comes from lots of talk in our parenting.

And that’s exactly what The Family Toolbox encourages. This kind of parenting is called heart parenting because it focuses, not just on changing the child’s behavior, but on reaching the child’s heart.

From the description of The Family Toolbox:

The Family Toolbox is a DVD/video-driven program that brings parents and teens together for constructive dialogue around significant issues of discipleship. Conversation is sparked by engaging video clips. Sixteen Life Success Principles are communicated through eight lessons that give parents and teens biblically-based, practical topics for discussion. The format grabs teens and gets them interacting. The Family Toolbox has 8 lessons. Each one has a 1-2 minute scene of a family living life and experiencing common challenges in their relationships. A discussion guide prompts dialogue between parents and teens and a 10-minute teaching session for parents featuring Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN gives practical tools to use right away.

The DVD series consists of eight DVD lessons and a parent guide. The DVDs have one clip to watch with the whole family- about 15 minutes- and one section for parents to watch ahead of time. The parent guide has talking points to use with each DVD.

The Family Toolbox is an excellent, practical tool to begin to reach to heart of your teen and preteen (the ages this is geared toward.) If you’ve never thought of parenting this way and don’t know where to start, this is for you. If you already appreciate the power of conversation in reaching your child’s heart, this is an excellent tool for you.

You can purchase The Family Toolbox for a suggested donation of $79.95 for downloads or a suggested donation of $99.95 for physical DVDs. 

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Disclosure: I received a free copy of this curriculum in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.


This Week’s Favorite Read: Strange Glory:A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Charles Marsh

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I usually prefer fiction to nonfiction. But I do try to keep some balance, wanting to read books that I can actually learn from. I do enjoy biographies and memoirs. I also enjoy history. So this week’s favorite read was a great combination of some of my favorites.

oct11favoritereadThis week’s favorite read is for nonfiction lovers- especially if you enjoy biographies and memoirs. Strange Glory is a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor during the time of the Holocaust. Bonhoeffer stood firm against Hitler when many in the church were supporting him or ignoring him. You can read the rest of my review on Leah’s Good Reads.

Weekly Wrap Up: The Busy Routine

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.

We’ve settled into a busy routine here. It’s hard to believe that we are already in the month of October. And it’s extremely hard for me to believe, but in less than ten days, we’re headed to the Creation Museum! We made plans with my parents back in the early spring to take a trip to the Creation Museum this fall. We already had lodging booked and plans made when my dad had to have emergency gallbladder surgery last week. It seems as if we are going to be able to still go, but he is still recovering. The kids are very excited, and we are all looking forward to the fun.


Our busyness will be slowing as the month ends. There are only two more regular football games and then the championships. Our J.V. team has played very well and only lost one game so far, so they are probably playing. After that we’ll be taking a much needed activity break- at least until the kids miss it and are ready to find something else.

Charles went to the orthopedic doctor this week about his knee (injured in a game at our church youth group last week). The verdict is that it’s still too swollen to MRI and figure out exactly what’s going on. So he’s on crutches until October 27th at least. At that time, they’ll consider whether an MRI can be done. It is possible that he has a torn meniscus. If this is the case, we could potentially be looking at crutches for another three months! (I keep telling him that within three months, I’ll probably kill him, and we won’t have to worry about it.)

On Monday of this week Kathryne didn’t have cheer, so she made homemade gluten free cookies. She was going to surprise me while I was at the library, but I came home sooner than expected. They were still great- even if I wasn’t surprised.


I’ve got a fun job for the month of October. I’m a blogging intern for Blogelina. Blogelina did my Blogger to WordPress transfer back in the spring (after I won it from the Ultimate Blog Party!), and I’ve been very happy with it. And I’m taking an online class from Blogelina right now- Profitable Blogging For Beginners. I’ll link to some of the Blogelina posts. The site has some great information and tutorials for bloggers.

School went on as normal this week. Ashlyne, Rachel, and I completed Week 7 of My Father’s World. We were still in Canada this week, so the girls made leaf prints using maple leaves that they pressed into clay to make a stamp. The painting didn’t work quite as explained in the book, but they still had fun painting and stamping.


Things are going swimmingly for us. But high school math is another story. Kathryne and Charles continue to struggle with Algebra 1 and 2. I dearly wish we had invested in Teaching Textbooks this year instead of putting all the funds into going back to Saxon. They can’t understand Saxon. It’s slightly better with the CD set, but we didn’t buy those for Algebra 2. I’m not good enough at math to sit and figure out their problem quickly when they need help. And, philosophically, I struggle with giving them enough math to get a math credit but also realizing that neither is probably going to pursue a career using higher level math. As a sort of compromise, I’m going to let them use Kahn Academy for their primary math. I would rather a more complete course, but I do feel like this will prepare them for anything else they need math for down the road without stressing them out with difficulty. And the fact that there are videos that teach and show solutions is great!

Ashlyne, Rachel, and I read aloud at night. (I actually read aloud to the whole group at lunch time, but at night I have a different download book that the younger girls and I share. We are reading Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison  (Trophy Newbery) by Lois Lenski. I didn’t plan it- in fact I let the girls choose, and they chose this book-  but it fits perfectly with the book we are doing from Moving Beyond the Page for literature study-The  Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare. I think I’m enjoying both of these as much as the girls.  Indian Captive is the true story of a white girl who was kidnapped by an Indian tribe. There is so much  history, and Lois Lenski does an excellent job portraying both the white people and the Indians so well  that I can feel as if I am there getting to know them.

We finished out the week today with co-op. I helped in the kitchen science class that the little girls are in  during their last class. The experiment they were doing involved oil and water and soap and looked at  what happened with the oil and water mixture when soap was added.



And here is your cute dog picture of the week. Blondie has taken over the pillow that Charles brought into the living room for propping his leg. When I took this picture, I was trying to get Ashlyne to lean back so that I could have a picture of Blondie on the pillow, but Blondie leaned up in to Ashlyne so she could be kissed.



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

Weekly Wrap-Up