Habakkuk Bible Study – A Review

2020 has been a year that we won’t soon forget. It has been a time of worry and stress. This, added to how my husband’s health has been slowly getting worse, I sometimes wonder why God is being so silent during this time. As faith would have it, I was asked to review Habakkuk: Remembering God’s Faithfulness When He Seems Silent by Dannah Gresh from Moody Publishers.

How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Habakkuk 1:2

If you have never really heard of the book of Habakkuk, don’t worry you are not alone. I had not heard of it before this study was available to me. Habakkuk is a short book, only 3 chapters long and only 2.5 pages long in my bible. My first question when seeing this, what am I going to do for 6 weeks in this short amount of reading? Oh, I have not been disappointed!

What It Is

This is a 6-week bible study focused on the book of Habakkuk. The book is a softcover book with just over 200 pages. There are two parts to this study, How to Pray When You’re Devasted and How to Hear God Through the Hurt. There are three weeks in each of the parts.

Each week starts with a free podcast. You are able to find the podcast on Dannah’s website. These podcasts usually last about 20-30 minutes. After the podcast, there are five meditations for the week. Dannah uses the word meditation because meditation is a combination of prayer and studying.

As we go through the different events that happen, we also have a timeline at the back of the book to write down the events and dates.

How I Used It

I decided for me to get the best use out of this study, I was going to listen to the podcast, and fill in the corresponding study guide, on Mondays. That was all I did on Mondays. Tuesday through Saturday I would go through the meditations. This allowed me to make up a day on Sunday if something prevented me from doing completing each day as I planned.

This was a very easy to follow bible study. There was just enough happening on the pages while still allowing for enough room to write and jot notes. The binding of this book allowed me to lay it flat, or fold it over without causing any damage. The meditations were easy to follow and allowed me to learn more about waiting for God, and even wrestling with Him when times are tough and he is silent.

What I Thought

This bible could not have come at such a greater time! God surely is using Dannah to help us through this time we are facing right now. She sent this book to the printer right as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Really, there could not have been a better time. Even if we didn’t have this pandemic, this study would have still made just as much of an impact on me

We all struggle to hear God at times, especially during the tough times. Did you know that it is ok to wrestle with Him? Honest wrestling with God, not just doubt, honest wrestling. I have done this, and to see examples of others in the bible who have been through the same thing really helped me know that it was ok.

Dannah is using Habakkuk’s story to help us take our struggles and our tough times to bring us closer to God. You will take time to look deep within yourself to find ways to talk and listen to God, even when you think he is not listening because he is silent.

This time is hard, life is hard, we will always have struggles and have some sort of battle we will have to face. Don’t do it alone. Take the time to learn to listen to the one who will help you through. Grab your copy of this bible study and find peace knowing that God is there with you.

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Keeping a Book Journal Instead of Book Reports

Reading is a huge thing for children. We need to teach them to love to read. So how do we do that while still knowing what they are reading? Take out the book reports and give them a book journal instead!

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Book reports suck the fun of reading out of the book. You need to spend the time paying attention so that you can write words on paper, be it the number of words or the number of pages you need to write. Kids start to not want to read because of having to write a book report after reading the book.

So, what do you do instead? How do you know your kids are reading the books they say they are? As I was reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller, I found out about book journals. While this book is written for public school teachers, there is a wealth of information for homeschoolers as well!

Book Journals over Book Reports

I have modified the idea of the book journal from Donalyn Miller to make it work for us. However, I loved her idea of allowing a child to abandon a book that just doesn’t fit for the child. I know that I have found some books that just didn’t work for me to finish, so I agree with allowing our children to do the same.

That is why I have a section in my new book journal that not only allows us to track the books the kids have read, but also write down the books they have started and abandoned. Within this section, I have a notes column. Kids are able to write down notes about the books they have read, but they can also write down notes on the books they abandoned. Who knows, maybe they will come back to these books later.

How Do We Use the Book Journal

This is the fun part, you use it how you want! you can print the pages and just use it as it is. You can put it in a three-ring binder, bind it with a binding machine, or staple it and go. But you can also use it as a notebooking guide. You can take the pages and cut and glue them into a regular notebook. Make your child a whole notebook full of remembering the books they have journeyed through, and keep it for your records of what they have done.

Not only do you have the chance to list the books that have been read, but you also get the chance to write down the books your child wants to read. Let them take control over this. Let them find books they want to read and write them down.

I also take this further by giving space for your child’s favorite quotes from the books they read, their favorite parts of books they have read, their favorite characters from the books they have read, and a list of their favorite books. By having my kids write down these favorites, I know if they read the book or not.

I also have one page to allow children to track the different genres they are reading. This is something new for me. I hadn’t thought about making my kids read different genres, I was just happy to have them reading! This year we are making a few changes to our reading time. Not only do we have daily drop everything and read time, but we are also exploring different books and genres. I can’t wait to see what this will bring forth in my kids!

Grab Your Own Book Journal

I am in love with the book journal I have created. My kids love that I don’t pester them about the books they are reading when I can grab their journal and see for myself.  My kids love the fact that I trust them to pick books they will read. They get ideas and recommendations from me, but ultimately, I leave the choice up to them.

Give your child the freedom of their reading and allow them to love reading, by having them fill out a book journal instead of numerous book reports by grabbing your copy right here.

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Using Kindle Unlimited In Your Homeschool

A thing that I love about homeschooling is the fact that we can use books to help us learn. Reading, even if it is out loud to the children, is a great way to help your children learn. The tough part, your local library is not going to have every book you want to use in your homeschool. The answer, putting your Kindle and Amazon account to use with Kindle Unlimited.

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One thing that I love about Amazon is the Kindle Unlimited account that I have. I never realized how much this account would help with our homeschooling. It has given me options to add more books to our homeschool life.

We have found many great books within Kindle Unlimited that have helped us enrich our homeschool. I want to share a few of them with you so that you can give it a try yourself.

The Green Ember Series

Ok, so I reviewed these books in the physical format and my family LOVED them! We joined the bandwagon and wanted to read them all. Little did I know, I could get all of these books for FREE with my Kindle Unlimited account. If you have doubts about this series, this is the perfect time to sample it and see what you are missing.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

This is a book that my children love! We read it together and watched the movie after. This was the first time that we did a comparison between the book and the movie. Just as I had hoped, the kids loved the book so much more. This is a well-known book and movie, so why not include it in your homeschool journey? If you have not read it before, you are missing out on so much compared to what the movie shows. Not only that, if you don’t want to use this as a read-aloud story, your older elementary children will be able to enjoy it on their own!

Fall Books

I love adding books into our homeschool that workaround the topic we are learning about. Right now we are focused on fall. There are good plenty of books available on Kindle Unlimited that will allow you to focus on fall.

Fall Leaves is a great book that is easy to read. It can be read as a short poem, or as a more in-depth study.  There are two ways to read this book, and my kids loved reading it both ways. This is a fun book to introduce fall to your children.


The Roll-Away Pumpkin is another great book to read during the fall season. This fun little story is about a pumpkin that gets away…the ending is a delicious ending that can solve a problem of a large pumpkin rolling down into the town. This is one that your kids will love!

Pumpkin Jack is a fun story about a pumpkin that doesn’t just disappear. This story takes us through the stages of a pumpkin after it is done being carved for the holiday season. This is a fun story to teach your children about how pumpkins can grow from seeds.

The Lord of the Rings

This was a fun find for me. I love this series and I love this series and being able to introduce this series to my kids is on the top of my list. Not only is this a great movie, but it is also a great book series. I read all of them before I watched the movies, and let me tell you, the books are WAY better! I am thrilled to be able to access these books within our Kindle membership to read to my kids.

The Unhurried Homeschooler

Now, this is a mom book! This is a book that I recommend homeschool moms, new and veteran, read. It has been recommended in groups that I am in, and I honestly could not have loved it more. This will help you focus on your “why” vs trying to check off all the boxes when it comes to homeschooling.

Having access to all sorts of different books with the click of a button means that we are never without a book for our homeschool. Mom and kids can read what they need to have a book on hand to read. I firmly believe that reading is an essential item in teaching anything to my kids, so having access to books for free is a huge bonus for us!

If you are homeschooling and wondering how to get access to all the books, check out Kindle Unlimited and grab those books to allow your child, and yourself to read what you want!

How have you used Kindle Unlimited in your homeschool? Or, if you are just learning about this, how do you plan to use it in your homeschool?

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Letters from Katie Luther – A Book Review

While I was growing up, I was raised Catholic. After branching out on my own and finding a church that allows me to think for myself, for the most part…as long as it follows the bible, I have come to learn more. One of the things I have learned more about is Reformation Day. Because of this, I was super excited to review Letters from Katie Luther by Shirley Casemier from Reformed Free Publishing Association.

Letter from Katie Luther Book Review

What Is It

Katie Luther, Katherine von Bora Luther, the wife of Martin Luther, is the main character of this book. We follow her through letters that she wrote to her friend Ave (ah-vay). While this is not an actual biography, the story itself had a lot of thought and research put into it to make it as accurate as it could be.

The book itself is a paperback book ($14.95) with just under 100 pages. There are a few random black and white photos spread throughout the book to show you some of the places that are being talked about.

Through the letters, we learn much about the life of Katie and Martin Luther. As a new (ish) learner of Reformation Day, Katie’s letters really helped me to understand more about the background of Martin Luther himself through his wife writing to her friend.

How We Used It

While I had all the intentions of reading this to my children to teach them about Reformation Day, and I still do plan to do this, I have claimed this book as mine for the time being. I can relate to Katie. I was Catholic, I “escaped” from that and had my eyes opened. Not only that, but I could relate to Katie dealing with her husband’s “sickness” or mental health issues. I have been dealing with this on a daily basis.

So, for this review, I have been reading the book myself. I have been laughing and crying with Katie and Ave. While I have been enjoying this book, I can tell that it is also written for older children. That is why I have no issue with reading this aloud to my children.

What We Thought

Oh my! That was my initial thought. This was a book I could not put down once I started reading it. The writing made me feel everything that was being described. I could feel the feelings Katie was going through, even without previous experience. I laughed, I cried, I yearned to know more. Even though I know the ending, I still yearned to know more about the daily life of this family.

This is a book great for any family that wants to learn more about Martin Luther and his family. The struggles they faced and the way they relied on God through it all. Breaking away from the “normal” is not easy, but having faith in the real God to guide you through will give you the strength to go on your path. 

If you are looking for a good read this month, one that will lead up to Reformation Day, you will want to grab your own copy of Letters from Katie Luther.

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Walls & Warriors – A Timberdoodle Review

If you know our family, you know we love playing games. I love to be able to start the school day with some fun learning games to get the mind warmed up. Timberdoodle has given us Walls & Warriors to review.

If you remember a few weeks back, we were talking about Color Catch. This is a similar game, a game of logic. It will require thinking to complete each challenge. This is what made me stop and check it out! I love giving my children challenges and making them think with logic.

What Is It

Walls & Warriors is a simple, yet complex game at the same time. You are given starting positions for some of the pieces, and you are required to think of the one correct answer to the problem. This is where the logic comes into play.

Walls & Warriors comes as part of the Timberdoodle 12th Grade Curriculum Kit, but can be used for other ages. Ray Ray is just 12-years-old and has loved this game. What boy doesn’t love a game that requires him from saving the castle from the enemies? Not to mention that mom may love playing it also!

Included with this game are the game board, gamebook with all the challenges, and twelve game pieces. With these pieces, your child will have 80 challenges from starter to wizard. Each level will get a little harder with less help from the gamebook.

How We Used It

Much like Color Catch, we used this as a way to warm up our minds before school. This was a fun way to start our days. Getting our minds warmed up with a fun logic game is a fun way to start the school day. We only needed one or two challenges to be ready for the day.

I have a collection of age-appropriate games that require thinking, logic. We pull these out each day, every child has a game that they pull out when I tell them it is game time. They know that when I tell them it is time to grab a game that they get to have fun before school happens, what they don’t know, they are learning as they are playing the games.

What We Thought Of It

Games are an important part of our homeschool. They take learning and turn it into fun. I love finding games that make our children think. While they think that I am allowing them to play before school, I know that I am turning on their minds and making them think.

This was a fun game, yet the logic and problem-solving skills that went into this game. I could see Ray Ray’s mind busy at work with each new challenge to solve. He is already a very critical thinker, so to see him thinking outside of his normal ways thrilled me!

I would highly recommend Walls & Warriors to add to your homeschool days! You won’t regret it!

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October Book List

October Book List

We are doing something new this year. We are going to be reading picture books based on the month. I am going to share our October Book List before the month starts and at the end of the month, I am going to share what we did with these books.

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October Book List

Where to Find Books

We are getting our book ideas from Read-Aloud Revival (RAR). They have a great list of picture books for each month. This makes this part easy for me. The tough part, reading them and coming up with activities for them. We won’t do activities for all of the books, but we will do something that will center around the theme of the books.

Not only will we be grabbing books from the list on RAR, but I am also grabbing books from Your Morning Baskets and the Fall 3.0 guide. I will be sharing more about this in a week or two.

Our October Book List

This month, we will be reading books like The Pumpkin Runner, Fall Walk, Strega Nona’s Harvest, Seeds Move, and Swirl by Swirl.  With these books, you can see we will be getting ready for the fall and the harvest that happens. 

I am excited to make a few fun printables for the kids to do. I am thinking word finds, and things to do with nature walks. Things that will bring these books to life and allow my kids to see this wonderful transition from summer to autumn.

Want to Join Us?

Do you want to join us on this fun journey this month? I would love to have you join us! Pick some books that are good to go with October, share them, and come back to share what you did with them at the end of the month. Next month, I am hoping to have a theme for you!

If you are planning on joining us, share with me in the comments and let me know! Check back the last week of October to see what we did with our books.

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Autumn Writing Prompts – Grab Yours Free!

Autumn Writing Prompts

It is finally autumn. The days are cooler and we can get outside a lot more without feeling the heat and humidity. We love the changes that come with autumn. So, I decided to take these things we love about this time of the year and make some writing prompts for my kids, and yours to use.

Autumn Writing Prompts

What are Writing Prompts?

Writing prompts are just that, prompts to help your child to write. The writing doesn’t have to be long, perfect, or anything other than based on the topic. I like to use this as a way to warm up their brains before we start school, as a part of our morning baskets. Don’t worry about grading, this is just a time for your child to write and express themselves.

What About Non-Writers?

Even the youngest in the house don’t get to skip this part of our day! If you can’t write, you can draw. If you can’t write, you can narrate. Just because you can’t actually write, doesn’t mean these prompts are too hard for you. They just need to be modified for the younger kids.

How Do You Use Writing Prompts?

Writing prompts can be used in any way you want to use them. You can have them start your school day or to end your day. Use them as a mid-day break. You can use these prompts at any time on any day. Whenever you feel your child needs to do some writing, give them a prompt and let them go!

Where Do You Find Writing Prompts?

Well, I have one just for you! And guess what?? I am giving it to you for free!! If you want 30 Autumn Writing Prompts to get your kids started writing, drawing, or narrating to you, all you have to do is sign up for my newsletter. You can find the sign up right here:

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Anyone Can Homeschool ~ A Book Review

Anyone Can Homeschool

With the times that we are facing, many parents are now wondering about homeschooling. Along with thinking about homeschooling, comes the doubts and fears, trust me, I had them also! If you are in the middle of trying to figure out what you want to do with your kids this school year, or if you have doubts about homeschooling, you will want to check out this review of Anyone Can Homeschool!

I have been homeschooling for over seven years now. But, every year, I still have doubts. Am I doing enough, am I doing too much? Are my kids missing too much? How can I teach them when I haven’t gone to school to teach children? All of these questions are taken into account with the book Anyone Can Homeschool by Nicki Truesdell. I was given a preview of this book for my review. What I share now is my honest opinion.

Anyone Can Homeschool

What Is It

For my review, I was able to read chapters 1-5, 11, and 13. There are two parts to this book. The first part contains chapters 1-10, the second part contains chapters 11-16. The chapters include topics such as Rethinking School, Home Education on a Budget, Special Needs, Chronic Illness in the Family, Getting Started, and The Struggle is Real. All of the topics cover everything that would hold you back from homeschooling and helping you see how able you really are to homeschool your child.

Nicki takes us through all the myths on why you can’t homeschool and she breaks the brick wall. From the first chapter I read, I was hooked. Reading the preview of the book calmed my fears and reminded me that I was doing the best for my kids. Right away I was taken with the statement “Home education is freedom. It’s freedom to set your calendar, choose the curriculum, begin and end your lessons on your own schedule, and decide what’s working for your child. It is the freedom to change up methods and materials when the need arises. It’s the freedom to be the parent, all the time.”

And that leads me to another point. We are the parent, we raised our kids from birth. It was us that taught them to walk and talk. How are we not able to teach them after that? What changes that all of a sudden we are not able to teach our own children? If we taught them to walk and talk, why can’t we teach them to read and write? This is exactly what Nicki talks about in the first chapter. She proceeds to talk to us, I tell you that she talks to us, because that is what it feels like. I feel like she is sitting down and talking to me as I read her pages.

Anyone Can Homeschool

What Did I Think of It

I love how it feels like I am sitting down to a cup of coffee with Nicki as I read the pages. She is so honest about what she is sharing. Her words are like that of an old friend. This gave me encouragement just as it will anyone who is thinking of homeschooling and thinking they can not do it.

This book tackles all the questions you may have as you think about homeschooling. It helps to calm the fears of new homeschooling families and quenches the doubt of veteran homeschooling families who have done this and still worry.

If you are thinking about homeschooling and have doubts, you will want this book. If you have been homeschooling and have doubts, you will want this book. This book will help with all doubts that homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike have.

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1000 Hours Outside Challenge

How many hours do your kids spend outside? How does that relate to the amount of time they spend in front of a screen? We have taken on a challenge that will last a year, it is the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge. Let me tell you more!

What Do You Mean 1000 Hours Outside?

According to the blog, 1000 Hours Outside, children will spend about 1200 hours in front of a screen over the course of one calendar year. So, if they can spend that much time in front of a screen, why can they not spend 1000 hours in a calendar year outside. This challenge is to counteract the effects of screen time for kids. This blog also offers a variety of tracker sheets to help you keep track of how many hours your children spend outside.

My kids were rather unimpressed when I mentioned this challenge to them. However, mom and dad had other ideas. Honestly, if they can spend the time in front of a screen…playing a game, watching a video or TV show, why in the world can they not spend time outside?

What Do You Do Outside?

Well, the original blog talks about an unstructured time to explore outside. This is great, but my kids got a little too used to time inside. I am not afraid to admit this…we had things come up and I just couldn’t watch them outside at our previous location. Literally, life happened. If this has happened to you, don’t be ashamed, just admit it and get ready to change it. We do this all the time when life happens and things change, don’t think it is any different for your kids.

I could kick my kids outside and think that would work, but this didn’t always work well. They would get bored, ask me what they were supposed to do. I got tired of this round and round circle. So, what did I do? I pulled out our Nature Walk ideas from Our Journey Westward. If my kids didn’t know what to do outside, I was going to give them ideas, and learning ideas on top of that!

Get Out There With Them!

Mom (and Dad) this is not just for your kids! You need all that the outdoors offer also! If you are making your kids get outside, why should you not get outside also? Can you imagine what that fresh air and Vitamin D could do for you? This is tough for me…I want to be comfy on the couch and reading a good book, or mindlessly scrolling social media. Ouch…that is just what we want to change in our kids and that is what I would rather be doing!

When I sat down to “complain” about needing to get outside with the kids, I realized that I needed this time as much as them. If I was going to make my kids get rid of extra screen time, why shouldn’t I? That is a hard point I didn’t consider before starting this challenge for the kids. If you are thinking of doing this challenge with your kids, remember, you will need to do it also!

Your Turn!

Get your kids and yourself outside! Take the challenge with us! Keep an eye on the blog and watch our time on our tracker sheets go up. And we are in Minnesota, so these next few months will get tough. However, when the going gets tough, the tough get going!

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All About Reading – A Timberdoodle Review

I am on my last child who needs to learn how to read. I have already learned that there are many ways to teach this, but this time I am trying All About Reading Level 1 with Baby Girl.

~ I received a copy of this from Timberdoodle in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and I was not compensated in any other way. ~

What Is It

All About Reading Level 1 is part of the Kindergarten Curriculum Kit from Timberdoodle. I received a Teacher’s Manual, Student Pack with Activity Book, three readers, Reader Divider Cards and Reading Review Box, Letter Tiles, Magnets, and Tote Bag.

With a little bit of prep work at the beginning, there is little need to prep at the beginning of each lesson. Each lesson in the teacher’s manual starts with a section just for you. This will tell you the objective of the lesson, what you need, and what you need to know before you begin.

At the start of each lesson, you will start with a review of the previous lessons. This review allows your child to keep on track and allows you to see where they need to keep practicing.

After that, you move on to the new teaching. The teacher’s manual takes you step-by-step on how to do the new teaching. You are not alone on this. Not only that, but you will use multiple ways to teach, as this is a multi-sensory curriculum.

How We Used It

I spent my first day reading the beginning of the teacher’s manual and applying the letter tiles to the magnets. I also took the letter cards and word cards and separated them by lesson. This had me ready to open and go for each lesson.

I would sit down with Baby Girl and we would start going through the lesson. While the lessons are short, we would take our time with them, sometimes taking 2 or 3 days to complete the lesson. Even with spreading the lesson out, we would still do the review for that lesson each time.

Baby Girl has a short attention span, so even though the lessons are already short, sometimes it just needed to be shortened even more. Since we didn’t have a magnetic board to use our tiles on, we took those tiles to the fridge. I think this was the best part for Baby Girl!

This was our “reading class” for at least 3 days out of the week. That was the least amount of time we would spend on it, with 4 or 5 being the normal. But, as I mentioned, sometimes we would spread the lesson out. It was fun to have a lot of ways to practice the reading, from word cards, worksheets with different activities and books that the children will be reading within the first three lessons! When teaching to read, reading a book is a huge incentive!

What We Thought Of It

We love this program. I wish I would have tried this with Ray Ray and Little Miss! One thing I did learn was that each child will learn to read at their own pace. So, while going into this with the intention of teaching Baby Girl to read, I also knew that I had to go at her pace.

With this in mind, this is why we split our lessons. When Baby Girl was not feeling it, we would take a break. This is also why would re-do the reviews at the beginning of the lessons. While I wanted to follow her lead, I didn’t want her to forget what we were learning.

Baby Girl was excited to get started. This was just what I wanted. She loved the letter tiles on the fridge and would do the sounding out of those letters for hours. In fact, I found this to be a great way to do our reviews. The other thing she really liked was the splat pencil. Sometimes instead of having her read the words, I would say them and have her “splat” them.

Overall, we are impressed with this curriculum. While we are taking longer to use it, we are still getting the full benefit of it. We are not skipping a step and redoing some as we go. Baby Girl loves doing this and knows that when it is too much, we stop. I feel this is why she still loves it.

If you have a child who is ready to start learning to read this is the curriculum you will want to have.

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