Ronald Reagan: Destiny at His Side – Book Review

I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

We love adding books into our learning whenever we can. When given a chance to pick a book from YWAM Publishing and their Heroes of History, I let Ray Ray pick one. He decided he wanted to learn a little more about Ronald Reagan. For the last few weeks, he has been reading Ronald Reagan: Destiny at His Side.

What It Is

For this review, we got a copy of Ronald Reagan: Destiny at His Side and the digital unit study guide. The book is paperback and just over 220 pages in length. The study guide is packed full of ways to use this book as part of your school curriculum. The beauty of these books, you can use them for school or just for fun reading.

This book starts with an exciting first chapter on the attempted assassination of President Reagan but then brings us back to his beginnings as a child named Dutch. As we read the book, we follow the life of Dutch as he works his way to becoming president. For my history buff son, this was fun and interesting to learn about Ronald Reagan’s life.

Going through the unit study guide, you can find ways to use the Heroes of History series as a complete history curriculum. Books like Meriwether Lewis: Off the Edge of the Map and Abraham Lincoln: A New Birth of Freedom allow you to move through the history of our country through the eyes of those who lived it.

How We Used It

As I mentioned, Ray Ray is my history buff son. He loves to learn on his own about events that have happened, so a standard history curriculum is rather dull for him. I allowed him to pick the book of the person he would like to learn more about and used the unity study guide to use this for his history. With the unit study guide, we took a simple book and were able to add in history, geography, and writing, among other things.

There is no right or wrong way on how to schedule this unit study. I opted to have Ray Ray read a chapter every other day. On the opposite days, he would work on the chapter questions. I had him keep a notebook where he could take notes and write out the answers to the questions. As we went along, I would also grab an idea from the student explorations, either writing or a hands-on project, to have Ray Ray complete.

What We Thought

Ray Ray is in love with this type of history learning. I love that I can pick and chose the different things from the unit study guide to enhance his knowledge of Ronald Reagan. Honestly, even if we were not using this for history, I can see Ray Ray just grabbing one of these books and reading it for the fun of it.

I love that the books are easy to read yet full of information. They are well laid out and work for family read-aloud or independent learning. The unit study guide is full of beautiful ideas that check your understanding of the book and bring it to life.

If you are looking for a change in your history curriculum or a way to add to it, I recommend the Heroes of History series. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out the other reviews right here.

YWAM Publishing

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Famous Figures of Ancient Times – Our Review

I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

History can be boring. But, it doesn’t have to be! We have been using Famous Figures of Ancient Times from Figures in Motion to add some hands-on fun with Little Miss’s history lessons.

What Is It

Famous Figures of Ancient Times is a paperback book containing 21 famous people from ancient times. There is a short description of each person along with a reading list that can go along with the book.

Each of the figures comes in two ways and all the paper is a heavy cardstock. The first version of the character is just a line drawing for your kids to color themselves. The second is a full-color version that just needs to be cut and put together.

The putting together is very easy, as all parts are labeled on the back. You simply match and attach. It is really that easy!

Famous Figures of Ancient Times can be a stand-alone history curriculum or it can be used as a resource to add fun to your current curriculum.

How We Used It

Our current history curriculum has reading that I read aloud to the kids. During this time, Little Miss would get the character that we were learning about that day (if there was one), or would catch up on some that we had already learned about.

After making her figures, Little Miss would be able to go around and create scenes with them to show dad and big brother what she had learned. This was a fun way to see if she was listening while I was reading.

While we used this as an added resource to our current curriculum, you could easily use this as a stand-alone history curriculum. With the information on each figure, you have a great base. There is also a great book list to add more learning for each time period.

What We Thought

The quality of this book was great! The figures are very sturdy and hold up to use after making them. It was fun to see those we were reading about come to life for my daughter. 

I really like that there are two options for each figure, so my daughter can decide if she wants to be creative or just give herself something to do while listening. Seeing that the list of figures included all the major ones from our history curriculum.

Little Miss used to be bored during history, but now she wants to do it first so she can make more figures. This is a great addition to our homeschool history lessons!

Figures in Motion have other time periods also. If you want to see those and see how other homeschool families used Figures in Motion in their homeschool, check it out over here.

Figures in Motion

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Mastering Multiplication with AIM

I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Multiplication can be hard for children to learn, but it is a skill that needs to be learned. When children struggle though, they may just pretend to know the skill to keep moving forward, I know mine do. Math-U-See has come up with Accelerated Individualized Mastery (AIM) for Multiplication with a Bridge to Division to help children who struggle with multiplication.

What Is It

AIM for Multiplication with a Bridge to Division is not a full math curriculum. Instead, it is a way for students 10 and older who are looking to increase their confidence in math and retention of multiplication facts.

AIM for Multiplication with a Bridge to Division uses the Math-U-See manipulatives and varied instructional methods. The lessons are student-centered with the instructor helping to guide.

Not only do we have the manipulatives that make Math-U-See different, but we also have an instructor resource guide, fact check cards, math facts strategy posters, and digital resources like videos and activity pages/worksheets.

How We Used It

Ray Ray is great at school. He has always been above his age in learning. However, multiplication has hit him. He struggles with this part of math. I don’t want him to struggle, so we added this into our school schedule.

The first thing started with was watching some of the videos and reading through the resource guide. This allowed me to get the idea of how we would be doing this. Since this is student-centered and focuses on mastery, I did not “plan” any lessons. Each day, we just do the next thing or focus on mastery when there is a struggle.

We used this every day with our regular school schedule. We made sure to not exceed 15 minutes of practice at one time. Some days we would watch the video introducing the new concepts or practice the new strategies that were presented. If the strategy was not mastered right away, we would spend more time on it. While there are worksheets to help practice with the digital pack, we also made some of our own, it was not hard to do.

What We Thought Of It

I really like the approach of AIM Multiplication with a Bridge to Division. Ray Ray is a visual, hands-on learner. Flashcards have never been a strong practice tool with him before, so learning his multiplication facts a different way has really helped him.

I love that there are many ways to practice each new strategy. It is nice to have the manipulatives, and they were gradually removed from practice, but I could tell he was still picturing them as we worked without them. Since he really enjoys building with similar blocks is a major thing for him. This really made it a fun way for him to practice math.

Ray Ray only had one complaint, the manipulatives didn’t stack as nicely as his blocks would. I had to remind him these were not for building with! But, honestly, if that was his only complaint about math, that is a huge compliment for Math-U-See!

We have not reached the bridge to division section yet, we have been working on the mastery and enjoying the fun games that are in the appendix. I did check this section out, and I really love the way that it is explained. This will really help Ray Ray when we get to this point and I really look forward to seeing more understanding of math in his future!

If your child is struggling with multiplication facts, loves visual and hands-on learning, I would recommend Accelerated Individualized Mastery Multiplication with a Bridge to Division from Math-U-See. 

If you want to see what other families thought of this program, check that out right here.

Math-U-See Accelerated Individualized Mastery (AIM) for Multiplication with a Bridge to Division Reviews

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Learning About Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day

March’s Online Book Club theme was St. Patrick’s Day. The kids and I had a lot of fun not only reading some good books on St. Patrick’s day, but we learned a little about Ireland as well.

I have used affiliate links in this post. To learn more, head over here.

O’Sullivan Stew

Ok, this book has nothing to do with St. Patrick’s day, and very little to do with stew, but it was a great story! We had fun reading this one. Our imaginations were put to work and we were pleasantly surprised by the end of the book.

I loved how this showed bravery and compassion on the part of Kate O’Sullivan. The girls loved seeing a girl as the lead, not only teaching the town what it meant to be a town but also saving her family!

Cute books with great life lessons.

A Fine St. Patrick’s Day

What a cute little book this was! Two towns competing to be the best-decorated town for St. Patrick’s Day. When a man comes looking for help, one town shuts him down while the other drops everything to help.

This book was not only about St. Patrick’s Day but also a great lesson in what matters most, others around us and helping. We enjoyed talking about this book and the lesson we had learned.

Ireland

Since we homeschool, I love to take every opportunity to find learning opportunities. Well, that is doable with Productive Homeschooling’s Notebooking pages. They had a full unit of notebooking pages for Ireland, and many other countries as well.

With some books from the library and these notebooking pages, we were able to add some geography lessons into our book club this month.

At Home: Where Life Happens
The Life We Build
A Net In Time
Homeschool Coffee Break 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

 

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Everybody, Always for Kids – Book Review

I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

“By this, all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” John 13:35

My goal with raising my children is to show they love God by their actions to others. Bob Goff makes it easy to show love, always in the book Everybody, Always For Kids.

What It Is

We got a hardcover copy of the book and a five-day lesson plan of ways to bring the book into our daily lives. The book contains 40 chapters. Each chapter is a new story about how Bob brings love into what he does and shares personal stories about how these worked for him.

The five-day lesson plan picked out five of the stories and had different teaching points, questions to talk about, and ways to make this happen in your life.

How We Used It

There are different ways that you can use this book. You can just read it one story at a time and in order. You can read other stories that seem to fit what you are learning about or dealing with in life at the moment. You can follow the five-day lesson plan and build off of the ideas from there. You can have your kids read the stories, or you can read them aloud together as a family.

We decided to start with the five-day lesson plan. We followed the lesson steps in the lesson plan. We would ask a question first, read the story related to the lesson, ask questions as we were reading, and finish with an activity. After using the lesson plans, we used a similar style while reading the rest of the stories.

What We Thought

The book was a beautiful hardcover book with colorful pictures. The stories were fun to read aloud, and everyone enjoyed listening to me read them. 

My kids loved listening to me read these stories and found it easy to relate to them. It was easy for us to find some new ways to show we are Christians by our actions every day. This book is a beautiful way to learn how to show love in your everyday actions, from being patient to seeing past things and into people’s hearts.

We will be reading these stories over and over again. They are a great reminder that loving everyone isn’t that hard at all.

There are other families who have had a chance to use this book in their homes also. Check out their reviews right here.

Everybody Always for Kids Reviews

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March Online Book Club – St. Patrick’s Day

When did it become March already? This year is moving fast, and I am looking forward to the warmer weather! But, first, let’s talk about the online book club for this month!

Being March, the topic for the online book club is St. Patrick’s Day. While we do have a few books about St. Patrick’s Day picked out, I also grabbed a few books on Ireland.

I figured, as we learn about St. Patrick’s Day this month, it would be fun to learn about Ireland also. This will help us to add some geography to our lessons without adding in a whole new curriculum.

We have four simple books picked out to read this month for the book club. The first two are fiction books that will help us learn about Ireland as a country. The two fun books we have picked out are O’Sullivan Stew by Hudson Talbot and A Fine St. Patrick’s Day by Susan Wojciechowski.

We will be having fun making a stew and using our notebooking pages to help us learn more about this holiday and the country of Ireland. Check back with us at the end of the month to see what we thought of the books and how we had fun with them!

Everyone is welcome to join us in this book club, as long as you keep it family-friendly. Grab some books about St. Patrick’s Day (or Ireland) and have fun with them. Share with us about what you did with them and link up to the linky.

At Home: Where Life Happens
The Life We Build
A Net In Time
Homeschool Coffee Break 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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We look forward to hearing what fun you have this month in our Online Book Club!

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Observant – Five Minute Friday

I am back to do a Five Minute Friday post again! I love these posts, and I love that I am setting aside time to do them again.

This week, the word is Observant. So, here we go, five minutes, no planning, no editing, just writing!

Observant

This is a tough word. There are many other words that could be so much easier for the first time back. 

Over the last year, I have become observant of a lot of things.

I am observant of how my kids are dealing with changes, even though we have homeschooled from the beginning, they are still missing out on things and friends. 

I am observant of my husband and his health. Things have changed, and I need to know what they are and what happened to possibly cause the changes.

I am observant of my time with my family. I want them to know that I am fully present to be with them when they need me the most. 

Finally, I am observant of myself. I have learned that I need to care for myself if I am going to be caring for everyone else. If I am staying up too late, not drinking enough water, or eating crap food, this won’t help me care for everyone else who needs me.

Being observant, in my mind, is making sure that I am quiet and watching. Sometimes asking questions as they come up, but mostly paying attention.

How have you been observant lately?

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Winter – January Online Book Club

How is it really the new year already? It feels like it should still be November or December. But, then again, in Minnesota, we have gotten very little snow so far. This makes it seem earlier in the winter. For this month’s book club, the theme is Winter.

*I have used affiliate links in this post. You can find the full details right here.

It makes perfect sense to have winter be the theme for January. With cold temps and snow falling. We have actually also had a lot of fog and hoar frost this month! It makes it feel like we are in Narnia!

This month we are reading a few fun books that are related to the winter theme. I can’t wait to share with you at the end of the month what we thought about them, and how we had fun reading them and bringing them to life!

Voyage of the Frostheart by Jamie Littler

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

The Mitten by Jan Brett

Blizzard! by Jim Murphy

The Adventures of a South Pole Pig by Chris Kurtz

 

We would love to have you join us in this fun book club adventure! Grab a winter-themed book and let’s share our fun and adventures!

There are other great families joining us also! Check them out right here:

At Home: Where Life Happens
The Life We Build
Homeschool Coffee Break
A Net in Time

 

Celebrations Around the World – December Online Book Club

The month of December is a slow month for school for us. We like to take this time and just let the kids focus on what interests them, a free month for school. However, I did want to have a little focus on Celebrations and I wanted the kids to learn a little more about celebrations that they may not have known about before.

*Affiliate links are included in this post. To find out more, check here.

For this month’s book club book, I picked Celebrations Around the World. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I grabbed this book from the library, because I had never seen it before. I was pleasantly surprised by it and we were able to have a lot of fun learning about different celebrations!

Celebrations Around the World

This cute and colorful book covers many of the popular celebrations from around the world. We were able to read short tidbits about celebrations such as Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. But not only that, we learned about Las Fallas, Midsummer, Bastille Day, Anzac Day, and many more.

The kids had so much fun learning about these celebrations, and want to do some of the celebrations over the next year. While this book gave a good idea of the celebrations, I knew Ray Ray could learn more. I grabbed a few notebooking pages, had him pick two or three new celebrations, and let him get to work doing his own research on them.

I really love being able to use a book with some basic information about new things to allow my children to dive deeper into their own learning of things. This means, they are learning what they want, but still learning how to do the research that they will need in life.

The Best Birthday Cake in the History of Ever!

So, you may have seen my review of this book last week, but I couldn’t write a book post about celebrations without sharing this book! This is a new favorite book of ours. This takes the celebration of Christmas and brings the focus onto Jesus.

My kids loved sharing with our neighbors about the real reason for Christmas by sharing cupcakes…yes, you can share the meaning of Christmas with a simple cupcake! If you want to know how, check out the review right here.

There are a group of bloggers who are sharing with you in this online book club. Make sure you hop over and check them out!

Life on Chickadee Lane
School Days
At Home: Where Life Happens
The Life We Build
Let’s Get Real
Homeschool Coffee Break
Tots and Me
Bossy Homeschool Mom 

Also, if you have shared about a book on celebrations, we would love to see it! Share it below, but please remember to keep it clean.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

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The Best Birthday Cake in the History of Ever! – Book Review

This year has been a year of making new traditions. So many times we can not or should not do what we love to do. I thought this would be a great time to start a new Christmas tradition with the kids, and Little Miss had actually mentioned doing the same thing before I got the email about this cute book.

I was thrilled to review The Best Birthday Cake in the History of Ever! by Jennifer Hill and Mary Walker from Side Door Communications. Check out what we thought of this book!

What Is It

This is a hardcover book with beautiful color illustrations on the pages. Through this book, we are told the story of how this family came up with the idea of a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas Eve.

The story is told in a rhyming way that made it really fun to read. We also have the birthday cake recipe, because this is no ordinary cake. Every ingredient in the cake has a meaning and a purpose. *One note, for those who have children who believe in Santa, this book does not say anything to change their minds. This just brings the focus to Jesus.

Not only do we get the cake recipe, but we also have access to fun activities and free printables to go along with the story.

How We Used It

We sat down as a family and read this book one afternoon. The kids loved the pictures and the story was very intriguing. We loved the meanings behind each and every part of the cake and the party that they threw for Jesus.

After we read the book, we decided that we wanted to make the cake for our friends and neighbors. However, this year we are not doing a party as we would like, we still wanted to spread the message that this book carried.

Instead of making a cake, we did cupcakes (easier to carry and deliver). Also, I did not have the right cake mix or the chocolate chips, so again we improvised and used food coloring to make the white batter red. This kept the message for what we wanted to share.

Instead of making one angel for the cake, we did multiple angels to go on each plate we were delivering. Once everything was ready, we went out and brought the cupcakes to each house. We did not just drop them and go, we told the story behind the meaning of every aspect of the cupcakes.

What We Thought Of It

My kids loved this book. They also fell in love with making the cupcakes and sharing the story about Jesus’ birthday and the meanings of the different aspects of the cupcakes. By doing this activity of sharing what we learned, my kids are beginning their journey as disciples of Jesus. While the houses we went to already know and believe in Jesus, this was a great way for my kids to start talking to others about Jesus.

This will surely become a family tradition that we will do every year. We look forward to doing this again, and the kids actually want to do the sharing with others we didn’t get to with our first batch of Jesus’ birthday cupcakes. We were even told that one of the angels we shared made it to the top of a Christmas tree to remind the family of what we brought to them (and not just the cupcakes!).

If you are looking for a new tradition for this holiday season, I highly recommend grabbing this book and sharing the story of The Best Birthday Cake in the History of Ever!

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