Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Review ~ Jim Hodges Productions - The Cat of Bubastes Audio Book

Jim Hodges Productions Review

The history curriculum we are using this year recommended reading The Cat Of Bubastes by G.A. Henty when we got to the part of history covering the ancient Egyptians in 1250 B.C. I got the ebook on Kindle but was a bit overwhelmed when pre-reading chapter 1. So many unfamiliar words!

I was offered the chance to review an audio book from Jim Hodges Productions and The Cat Of Bubastes was one of the choices offered! Even better, we also received a 65 page PDF study guide to go along with it. I love how God provides over and over for our homeschool needs!

 photo cat_lg_zps184b23e3.jpg

Jim Hodges has recorded many of G.A. Henty's famous books into audiobook form word for word, these are not abridged editions. You can read right along with the books themselves if you own them or download them onto a Kindle device. Or you can just listen with no book at all.

Why G.A. Henty's books? Listen to Jim's talk from a previous homeschool convention to see how using these well written books can enhance not only History lessons, but also Geography, Vocabulary, and Character.

The study guide comes in a printable PDF format for $12.00. The audiobook comes either in an MP3 CD format for $25.00 or in download version for $18.00. Note that the MP3 CD will not play in all CD players. It will play in any computer CD ROM drive, a DVD player, or an MP3 compatible player. You can also add it to itunes and listen with an ipod if you have one.

How we used this audio book and study guide.....


The printable PDF Study Guide was a really huge help for us in understanding the story. For each chapter there is a list of vocabulary words to look up. I love how he lists these in the order they appear in the book, not alphabetically. I looked these up in advance so I could stop any time an unfamiliar word was used and explain its meaning as we listened. Next there are questions for each chapter. We did these orally and discussed them together. There is space provided for students to answer on paper if you desire to do so. Lastly there are suggested activities relating to each chapter. Things like mapwork, drawing, Bible references, internet links to pictures etc, foods to try, and writing assignments are a few of the suggested things you can do to enhance learning and understanding of the time period.

The chapters average 30 minutes each so we listen to half a chapter a day, 4 days a week. We started with a whole chapter but it was a bit much as my kids are on the younger side of the age range for this book which is age 10 and up. Mine are 8, 10, and 11.

Here is how this book is broken down.......

TIME (min:)
The King of the Rebu
The Siege of the City
An Easy Servitude
In Lower Egypt
Fowling and Fishing
Hippopotamus and Crocodile
The Conspiracy in the Temple
A Startling Event
The Cat of Bubastes
Dangers Thicken
The Death of Ameres
The Search for Mysa
A Prince of Egypt
Ameres is Revenged
Up the Nile
Out of Egypt
The Desert Journey
Home at Last
The King of the Rebu

Total Time: 11 hrs, 34 minutes

What we thought of The Cat Of Bubastes audio book and study guide.....


Like I mentioned above, the study guide was very useful and I am so thankful it was included with this review.

The audiobook itself was a bit different from what we are used to using. Most audiobooks we get from the library etc. are actually dramatizations, with different voices for the characters, and background music. This recording is the voice of Jim Hodges only. He does all of the reading and voices himself in the same voice. It was confusing for the kids sometimes knowing which character was speaking when. Reading along with the ebook helped with this, and over time they got used to it and could follow the story better.

The only thing I really wish is that this CD would play in our van's CD player. Because it is an MP3 CD we could only play it in our computer because we do not own any other devices that are compatible. The kids LOVE listening to audiobooks when we are driving, so that time would have been an ideal way to use this, but we made do.

If you have wanted to include G.A. Henty books in your homeschool but have been intimidated by them this is an excellent way to get started!

Read more reviews on other audiobooks from Jim Hodges productions by clicking the banner below.

Click to read Crew Reviews
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, September 19, 2014

Random 5 on Friday ~ September 19th 2014

The Pebble Pond

1. I still haven't read through all of my emails from being gone for days. Guess that's a goal for next week. Ugh.

2. There are some real advantages to renting a house for a week instead of staying in motels. The two biggest ones for me are being able to cook our own meals and do laundry there. I get to come home with no laundry piled up! WOOHOO!

3. We had our first field trip with our homeschool group on Tuesday. We went to a local apple orchard. Ill be blogging about that soon, it was such a nice visit!

4. My husband has been wanting a truck for years now. He thinks he found one and tomorrow he will be buying it if it is all the owner says it is. I wonder how he will look in a truck? Hmmm :)

5. Next week something amazing is happening! No spoilers sorry! You will have to check back next week to read all about it!

Have a blessed week!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review ~ My Student Logbook

My Student Logbook Review

My biggest challenge as a homeschool mom of many is keeping up with who did what on which day and if it was finished or not. Not just for schoolwork, also for chores, showers, animal care, etc.   I have tried many different ways of trying to keep track of this, but the perfect system had eluded me until I saw this video from My Student Logbook.

The concept is so simple yet so effective it blew my mind! We were given a My Student Logbook to review. I chose my 11 year old son to use it and test it out. He picked the Vintage Map cover design you see below. There are more designs to choose from for both boys and girls. We chose the undated version because I wanted the freedom to not be bound by dates, but honestly I ended up dating it anyhow so it didn't really matter.

The logbooks were designed to be used by one child in grades 2 and up, because the child needs to be able to read well to use the book properly.

My Student Logbook Review

You can choose a physical book in either a dated or undated format for $15.00 each. You can also purchase a PDF downloadable dated version you can print yourself for your own household only. A single use license is $10.00 and a family use license is $20.00. (Note that if you purchase a PDF version it does not include a cover design and you will need to purchase a new license each year. This is a very affordable option for those of us with large families, but if you have no way of printing and  binding the book yourself, the cost of having it done at an office supply store will be greater than buying a printed logbook. I checked on this.)

The printed logbook comes spiral bound with a clear plastic protective cover and a thick plastic back. It is  very sturdy and should last all year in my opinion. My son loved the cool map design and was eager to start using it.

How did we use My Student Logbook?

 photo IMG_3473_zps1500d3d3.jpgThe logbook comes with setup instructions, but I had already watched the setup video and it took just a few minutes to get it ready to use. I started by listing the subjects that we do together as a family at the top of the list. This includes Bible, history, science, the read aloud book we are using, and English. We sometimes have a review product we are using together so that gets listed there too.

Next I listed his "fun" subjects. At the bottom of the list I added his chores he is responsible for every day. I also included taking a shower on his list. I don't require one every day, especially in winter, but knowing when he last had one has improved his desire to stay clean. He forgets when it was exactly he last showered. This solved another problem I hadn't even thought of! Woohoo!

Now the one problem with this logbook is he also forgets to check off the list himself. So every day at some point I go look at it and ask him if he forgot anything. He is getting better about checking off the boxes the more he uses it, but still forgets often. This is part of his personality, and hopefully it will become a habit soon.

I have him list his daily math grade instead of checking it off so I can keep track of any lessons he may need to repeat since he uses a computer based math program. I also have him list a grade for any spelling tests, but for worksheet days he just checks the box.  Not everything on the list needs a check every day, but its helpful to know when a task was done.

There is a time box to use if needed. I only list a time for things he would spend hours doing if I didn't limit his use (minecraft) and for math fact practice so he does enough every day.

In the back of the logbook there are other pages to list books read, field trips taken, etc. These pages will come in handy when I am making their portfolios for the year!

What did we think of My Student Logbook?

When I asked my son what he liked about using the logbook his first answer was that it helps him remember things and know what to do next. It also helps him because he knows once he has accomplished everything on the list he gets free time to do the things he wants to do. This is what I had hoped to accomplish by using workboxes, but that system alone wasn't enough. By using the two combined we now have a very good organizational system going on here!

This thrills my heart let me tell ya!! I use the workboxes to keep all of his books and stuff for the  subjects that we do not do together so he can find them. As he finishes a box, he checks it off his list and moves on. One morning, on his own, he got up earlier than everyone else and completed his independent work and was done by the time I was making breakfast. If you have a special needs child in your home then you can imagine how I praised the Lord that morning!

My Student Logbook has been the answer to my family's needs and more. My son has been less frustrated with school and chores because he knows what is expected of him each day. Even on crazy days when I am not able to be right there he can get his independent work done on his own. I wish I had this tool all along but oh so thankful I have it now! Our school year has already started off so much smoother than it usually does.

By the way we had to change out that master list 3 times before we got the working list you saw above. I am so glad the book is designed to change as needed! 

I highly recommend My Student Logbook for any homeschool who needs more accountability, organization,  and a smoother homeschool day!

Read reviews from other homeschool families by clicking the banner below.  You can connect with My Student Logbook via.....

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MyStudentLogbook

You Tube -- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMxzpy91vov8a8nDpyp2ihQ

Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway! ~ Treasury of Bible Stories : Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times

 photo 409174_zps2853ee72.jpg

We have been very blessed to review this sweet Bible story book called Treasury of Bible Stories : Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times by Kelly Pulley. This hardback book was written for ages 4-8  with 352 pages is in full color. The illustrations are adorable, they were drawn by Kelly Pulley also. He has illustrated several other books including many from the Beginner Bible series.

What makes this book different from other Bible story books? Every story is written in rhyme, so my poetry loving little girls really enjoyed hearing the stories over and over again. It has found a permanent place on my bedside table with their other favorite bedtime books.

 photo IMG_3469_zpsad5a41b5.jpg

Each story can be read in just a few minutes, so if its an especially sleepy night you can get through a story quickly and then send them off to bed. Some nights we enjoyed more than one.

Some of the rhymes are so catchy I have heard the girls singing them. They like to make songs out of everything they hear. I have caught them just looking through the pictures on their own, they love all the cute little details, especially the animals. My 8 year old can read most of the words on her own, but she gets frustrated easily reading aloud and still prefers me to read it to her. She will read to my 5 year old though, she doesnt correct her because she doesnt know the difference yet.

 photo IMG_3468_zpsbb1afbfc.jpg

You can purchase Treasury of Bible Stories : Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times at Christianbook.com on sale for $14.99, it is regularly $19.99. I get to give away one of these cute books to one of my readers, scroll down to enter below!

 photo TreasuryofBibleStoriesonesheet_zps4a7a940e.jpeg

Watch this little preview to get a better look at the book!

Enter to win a copy of Treasury of Bible Stories : Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times by filling out the Rafflecopter form below. If you are reading this post via email you will need to click here to go to the actual blog to enter. Thank you for entering!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 12, 2014

Random 5 on Friday ~ September 12th 2014

The Pebble Pond

1.Today I turn 41. I remember thinking as a kid that 40 was ridiculously old and I never wanted to be 40 ever! Funny how things change eh? It doesn't even bother me this year, God has given me another year of life to bless others as much as I can. I am equally blessed!

2. We spent the morning at the NC Aquarium, we have been so tired this week we didnt make it any other day. It was an amazing visit! I got my new picture to go up top, Ill work on that when we get home.

3. After the aquarium we headed out for a seafood dinner. I do not like seafood, but I do eat fish so I went along. This is really my husband's belated birthday dinner, not mine! Ill have something better later!

4. I cant believe we have to go home tomorrow. Im so sad! It feels like we wasted the week away sleeping and lying around doing nothing, but I guess thats what vacation is for right? Every other year I got up early and saw the sunrise, walked a mile or two along the beach, and was back before anyone else woke up. This year I am so tired and fatigued its surprising. I guess I needed this vacation more than I knew!

5. I did see one sunrise! I paid for it all day long but I did see one! I made my 17 year old get up and see it too. He said it was well worth it. Thank you God!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Review ~ Heirloom Audio Productions - Under Drake's Flag

Analytical Grammar Review
Do you and your family enjoy listening to audiobooks? My kids and I love them, especially on long car trips. I want to share with you a treasure we were blessed to review from Heirloom Audio Productions. It is intended for ages 6 and up, but my 5 year old sat and listened to it as well as the others.  

 They have brought the classic book, Under Drake's Flag  by G.A. Henty to life, complete with music, sound effects, and talented voices.  This is no ordinary audiobook, this is audio theater, and there is a difference! You can listen to the story summary by clicking here and get a taste of how well done this CD is.

If you have ever read a G.A. Henty book then you already know how interesting and well written his stories are. They are full of adventure, good moral character and Christian values. 

This 2 CD set sells for $29.95 and includes 2 full hours of listening pleasure plus a 14 page study guide booklet. You will also receive a downloadable PDF study guide that goes much more in depth than the booklet. 

 photo Henty-Inside_zps8dcf3bdc.png

Under Drake's Flag takes place in the 1500's when Sir Francis Drake was exploring the world by sea. He became the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe. A young boy named Ned gets the chance of a lifetime to join the ship's crew.

The story tells of Ned's adventures while traveling on and off the ship. The Spanish inquisition is going on during this time and he also faces the possibility of losing his life for his faith.  They go through some very hard and trying times, yet the hand of God providing and caring for Ned can be witnessed throughout the story. The main point of the story I believe is overcoming your fears through faith in God.

How Did We Use Under Drake's Flag?

The day our set came in the mail I couldn't wait to start listening in. It is a 30 minute drive to our church so I saved it for then. In the meantime I read through the study guide. Included are vocabulary words that I knew would help the kids and me to understand the story better, so we looked those up.

For example, Ned's father was a sailor and lost his life at sea, so Ned's mother was fearful of letting her son go. She does allow him to go however, but before he leaves she gives him the gift of a baselard dagger that belonged to his father.

This was the first time we had ever heard of such a thing, so having words to look up beforehand was very helpful. We were able to imagine more clearly the things being told about in the story.

The study guide also includes questions to discuss for each chapter along with the defining words. The Listening Well section has questions to determine how well your child was listening to the story. The Thinking Further questions focus more on getting your child's opinion about things happening in the story.

I decided not to use these after every chapter, but we did discuss them after hearing the whole story through. There is also a Bible Study section at the end with scripture references to enhance the values this story teaches.

What Did We Think of Under Drake's Flag?

All of us loved the story, but my 11 year old son loved it the most of all. He couldn't wait to share it with his best friend! He is an artist and often draws the things he sees or hears. His artwork revealed how well he saw this story in his mind's eye. (I wish he would let me share with you!)

One night while driving home from church a part of the story was playing where the ship is traveling through a hurricane. There was also a thunderstorm going on that night. The combination of the sounds from the CD and the flashing lights in the sky made the story really come to life for us! My son still talks about that night and how cool is was that God had it happen that way.

We are taking a trip to the beach soon and the kids requested to pack these CD's first! I really hope there are more audio dramas from Heirloom Audio Productions coming in the future!

I highly recommend Under Drake's Flag for its high quality and for the story itself!

Connect with this company via.....

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/UnderDrakesFlag

Under Drake's Flag Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Random 5 on Friday ~ September 5th 2014

The Pebble Pond

1.By now we have left for a week at the beach. Ohh how I have anticipated this day all year long! We need this family time and break from the everyday life so much!

2. We will be stopping by the North Carolina Zoo on our way. My 8 year old daughter is looking forward to seeing some real monkeys and gorillas!

3. We will arrive at the beach late at night but I'm sure we will go to the ocean anyhow. My 17 year old has never seen the ocean!

4. Sometime during the week we will also go to the North Carolina Aquarium. My little kids have been before, that is where we take our annual blog header picture every year. (At the top of this page.) This year my 17 year old will get to see all those things and be in the picture too!

5. The week is going to fly by so fast! I am so thankful to God and all of our friends who made this trip possible!