Sunday, April 22, 2012

TOS Review: Inference Jones

While both of my children were able to learn to read quite easily, and both truly enjoy it, I do notice that there are times when they don't read for content.  They quickly read the book, not paying attention to words they don't understand, or to actually comprehending and retelling what they've read.

For these reasons, I was very excited to get to review Inference Jones: Beginning as part of The Old Schoolhouse's Crew Review Team.


I received a pdf file of this book to use for review purposes, however, the book is in workbook format and is sold for $11.99 on The Critical Thinking Company's website.  On their website, CTC offers a sample of some of the pages for customers to review before purchasing.

Inference Jones: Beginning is designed for students in the 3rd and 4th grades and is designed to:
"provide short, fun, and easy-to-use activities that improve critical reading and higher order thinking by developing the student’s ability to draw inferences from written text."  Inference Jones: Beginning -- Website Description

We used the lessons in a group setting, as a read-aloud, with both my 1st and 3rd grader participating successfully.  We liked the easy to read paragraphs, the simple pictures, and the minimal length of time it took us to complete a page.  As a parent, I appreciated the content of the paragraphs.  From being on time, to practice, to having a good attitude, many were concepts we're working on at home.  To have that reinforced in their reading was like an extra bonus!  

We also really liked the questions that were asked of the kids, as they were more in depth than what I would have come up with on my own.  I found that the children really stopped to think about what they had read before answering the questions.  I found that I was stopping to think more about what we'd read than I might have done previously, as well!   

Inference Jones required my children to think about the feelings, emotions, ideas, and concepts that the author was trying to convey.  Using their life experiences, personal knowledge, and social and cultural customs, they were able to infer what they believed the author meant.  And, by inferring the meaning of the text, a greater comprehension of the text was obtained.  I believe it will be a very successful way to grow a confident, comprehending, superior readers! 

We were very happy with the Inference Jones: Beginning workbook and will definitely be using it for part of our Reading curriculum next year -- for BOTH kiddos!

FCC Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I received the Inference Jones: Beginning pdf workbook at no charge to me in exchange for my honest opinion about the product.  All opinions voiced herein are strictly mine.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

TOS Review: God's Great Covenant: NT 1

We've been looking for a good Bible curriculum.  One that is interesting, motivating, and educational.  A curriculum we can't wait to dive into each day.

And, I believe we've found it in Classical Academic Press' God's Great Covenant, New Testament 1:  A Bible Course for Children.   Classical Academic Press does not label this curriculum with an appropriate age/grade level, however I feel it is appropriate for children 2nd-6th, depending on the amount of direct parental involvement.


The layout and font of the Student Text are very pleasing to both my kids, as well as to me.  The book is broken up into 4 units of 36 chapters, and has a very detailed, albeit understandable, introductory section which outlines the historical, cultural, and geographical setting of the New Testament.  The kids will learn about the Gospels using worksheets, memory verses, stories, devotional guides, quizzes, and with a little boy named Simon.  My kids have truly enjoyed following along with Simon as he lives his life during New Testament times awaiting the arrival of the Messiah!


In addition to the Student Text, there is a detailed Teacher's Edition which has the full Student Text, ample space for taking notes, answer keys, and additional information to expound on the historical, cultural, geographical, and theological concepts in the Student Text.  The Teacher's Edition can be used as a teaching tool, for personal learning, and to check and correct the student's worksheets.

What I've really loved are the downloadable audible files that can be purchased to accompany the curriculum.  What kid doesn't love hearing someone OTHER than their own mother read to them?  What mother doesn't enjoy actually listening to the lesson instead of reading it aloud herself?  The audible files are of the Story Time sections in the book, and they are clearly read, making them a joy to listen to.


Overall, this curriculum is exactly what we'd been looking for and we are so enjoying it that I'm sure we'll purchase the God's Great Covenant: Old Testament series from Classical Academic Press.  We look forward to our Bible curriculum each day, and we're sure it will bless your family as well!

God's Great Covenant: New Testament 1 Student Text can be purchased from the Classical Academic Press website for $26.95.  Teacher's Edition, Audio Files, and other great Bible curricula can also be found on their pages.

FCC Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I received a copy of God's Great Covenant: New Testament 1 Student Book and Teacher's Guide at no cost to me in exchange for my honest opinion of the product.  All opinions expressed herein are completely mine.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

We've Got the Fever!

Beautiful Spring day.
Not so beautiful Spring Fever.


A trip to the zoo!

We called it our "Zoological Adventure."

And we were, once again, thankful for the blessing of homeschooling.

For being able to get outside WHEN we want to and HOW we want to!

And we found that it was just what the doctor ordered!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


(This is a post I wrote two years ago.  However, my feelings are the same.  I have spent this week in a reverenced awe of what Good Friday and Easter will mean.  Specifically, what it means to me.  And in that reverence, I haven't had the desire to write a new post.  So, I will let this one speak.  It is a past writing, but the words are fresh -- as are the photographs, and you'll find the words still ring with emotion and meaning.  I pray you find that same emotion and meaning as you celebrate a most blessed day.)  

This year I've really felt my heart preparing for Easter.  I don't mean that the thought of aisles and aisles of stuffed rabbits, baskets, and chocolate were what were making me take pause.  Though I must be honest and say I did pause, and more than once, beside the chocolates and sniff the air...

This year, I felt my heart preparing itself for Christ's last days on earth.
I felt myself journeying to Calvary with my Savior.

It was not something I planned, nor something I was really quite sure what to do with.   I just knew that all I could think about was what Jesus was doing on that day many, many years ago. 

I began by recalling His triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  
     Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields.  Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, "Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!"  Mark 11:8-9

The people hailed Him with palm branches, calling "Hosanna!  Hosanna in the highest!"   Hosanna means "save now," or "save now, I pray."  Seems fitting to call upon the Savior to save us.
Though many things occurred in Jesus' life the week before his death, I began to focus on His betrayal, arrest, beating, and crucifixion.

One of the things that struck me was, knowing what was to come, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsamane that God's will be done.  He was God's only Son, and yet He didn't plead, beg, whine for God's plan to change, even knowing what horrible things lay ahead for Him.
     "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you.  Take this cup from me.  Yet not what I will, but what you will."  Mark 14: 36

'Not what I will, but what You will.'  The prayer that never fails.  A good one for me to remember.

I watched The Passion of The Christ.  For the first time.  And the last.  Reading about our Savior's last days in the Bible is one thing.  Singing about them, another.  But watching it unfold dramatically in front of my own eyes was almost more than I could stand.  I shook.  I cried.  I hid my eyes.  I wept for the cruelty shown.  I felt physically ill.  I have a very hard time understanding how people can be so evil to one another.  And to the Savior?  Unspeakable.  I just kept thinking, "God will judge them.  They will get their just punishment."   But that didn't stop my tears or my trembling.  

And then it came to me.  Sin is sin is sin.  

Let me clarify.  If you are like me, you look around the world and think, "I'm not so bad.  I haven't killed anyone.  I'm honest -- most of the time.  I honor my parents.  I pray, go to church, serve God.  For the most part, I follow The Commandments.  There are people a LOT worse than me."  And on and on and on.

But, my friends, sin is sin is sin.

To God it is all sin.  Because He does not measure sin as we do.  God does not view sin as we do -- viewing and judging our sin against other people's sin.  No, God measures sin against His holiness.

Let me say that again, because I feel it's really important.

God measures our sin against His own holiness.  

And there, my friends, is where we all fall short.  Where we all are sinners.  

And as I watched the movie and let that all sink in, I realized that my sin is no "better" than those centurions who beat Jesus.  Than those who hurled insults upon Him, spat on Him, who nailed Him to a tree and mocked him.
And as He suffered, as He died, His one thought was of me.

Of me.

Of you.

That is the part of the story that breaks me.  Truly breaks me.  But that is not the end of the story.
     ... weeping may remain for a night,
         but rejoicing comes in the morning.   Psalm 30:5b

Because, three days later He rose.  As He said He would, He rose!   And here, in this part of the story, is the hope!  Ahhhh... the hope!!!

     On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' " Then they remembered his words.  Luke 24: 1-8

He lives, my friends, He lives!  And I, having been broken beside Him, am now sweetly surrendered to Him.  For He lives in me.  Forever and ever.  Amen.

I pray that amongst the bunnies, the plastic eggs, and the chocolate, that you find Him.  That you find the hope of His promises.  That you find everlasting life.   Happy Easter, dear ones. 

He is risen!
He is risen, indeed!