Monday, November 17, 2008

Homeschool Library Builder

If you love browsing used book stores, I have a website you'll love:

They have books for as low as $1 and lots that are 75% off the new price. It is a great way to build your home library without growing broke. However, if you are like me, and books are your weakness, beware, you may end up needing another bookshelf. :) I love good books and while we use the library A LOT, I think it is important to have lots of good books available to just pick up and read.

I tend to take the booklists from Sonlight, Winterpromise, Veritas Press, and LOGOS and then add in my own favorites to make our literature list for the year. I used to hate having to read one chapter or part of a book in reading. If the book was good, why couldn't we just read the whole thing? Of course, I loved reading and hopefully all my kids will too.

One other thing that is nice about browsing online is that I can check my book shelves before I order and make sure I'm not getting any duplicates. (Am I the only one who has bought a book I already own?)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Help Me to Teach

Help Me to Teach ( is a subscription website for homeschooling parents, or other teachers, who would like a very comprehensive list of the websites. I felt like I was being given a very organized, experienced homeschool mom's favorites or bookmarks. Many of the sites were ones I have bookmarked in my own, mile long list. I just don't have them neatly organized and easy to sort through. There were also a lot of interesting sites I've never ran across before. (There are over 2500 links). If you enjoy and are good at internet searches this site might seem like a waste of money, but if you want to have someone do the legwork for you-- especially if you are new to homeschooling, this site would be a bargain. Right now is the owner of the site is offering a great deal of 2 years for the price of 1, $29.95 which makes the overall monthly cost very minimal, only $1.25 per month. (Use discount code TOS).

I've also seen during this review process how willing and even eager the owners of the site are to make it very user friendly and to fill in categories that are user suggested with great links. There is a lot of stuff already there, and they are constantly expanding and adding more categories and resources. Each link is also coded Primary, Elementary Student, Secondary Student, or Teacher, which makes it easy to find what you need. I found it easier to just browse through the categories listed than try to do a search. I would also be comfortable turning an older student loose to work through the sites.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fun Children's Nativity Set

I love Nativity Sets and have collected several over the years, including a couple that I would let the kids play with, but none of the" play" sets even compare to the one I was sent by

It comes with 17 hard plastic (PVC) pieces ranging in height from about 5 inches for the stable to 3 inches for the people. It includes Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus and a manger of hay, 3 wisemen, 2 Angels, 2 Shepherds, a camel, a donkey, male and female sheep, a stable, and a palm tree. The box says it is for ages 3+, but Adam (20 months) has really enjoyed playing right along with and the older kids (8,6,3). Jeanisha and Adam have spent hours playing with it and it is probably their favorite toy at the moment. Ryan and Tyler are much more accurate and specific about acting out the story, even sending the wisemen clear across the room to slowly work their way over to the stable.

The included story book is pretty lame, it's only about 1 inch by 3 inches with only text, no pictures. But for us, that hasn't been a big deal because we have several other books telling the nativity story and the kids know the story very well anyway. Our Joseph does tend to fall over if you stand him up on carpet, so he always has to stand propped in the stable and the top came off our tree and needed glued back on. Other than that, the playset is very well made and very sturdy. The only other piece that I think could possibly come off and be a choking hazard is the star above the stable, but ours is very firmly attached. The figures are fun and their are enough that several of the kids can play together.

I'll post some pictures of mine too, but here is a picture from the company website.

So, if you are looking for a fun, kid-friendly nativity, I would highly recommend this one. It has defidently passed the "kid" test.

Novel: The Missing Link: Found

"The Missing Link: Found" is the first book in the Truth Seekers Mystery Series written by Christina and Felice Gerwitz. It is published by, a company that publishes Christian oriented fiction for teens. "The Missing Link" was written by a homeschool mom and her daughter and the kids in the book are very strong Christian homeschooled kids.

The book is a mystery story with a subplot about finding a fossilized man who provides the missing evolutionary link between apes and man. Both viewpoints of creationism and evolution are thoroughly discussed and explained. There was so much of this discussion in the first/middle part of the book that I felt it was overdone. The storyline seemed to be bogged down for awhile, but picked up again after that. There was nothing in the book that went against LDS doctrine, but there was a fair amount of evangelism and there several references to coffee and tea that you wouldn't find in an LDS novel.

Overall, I think most homeschooled Christian teenagers would enjoy this book and read it quite quickly just as a fun, clean novel. It could also be used to springboard a discussion about evolution and creationism as both viewpoints are presented quite well.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Old Schoolhouse Preview and New Promotion

Did you ever dream of getting a horse for Christmas? You can get a sneak peek of TOS Fall issue and see Nancy Carter's first horse! Plus other childhood photos from the 50's through the 80's.

Plus, you can create great holiday memories with a new TOS holiday E-Book that comes FREE ($12.45 value) with a new subscription!

Normally when a person subscribes, their subscription starts with the upcoming issue which can take a while. But, TOS if you subscribe now with their Fall Special, you'll get almost 50% off the cover price for 2 years The current Fall issue as soon as it is ready, 6 Bonus gifts, 12 months of Teacher's Toolbox, which contains a FREE E-Book every month,and the new E-Book, Homespun Holidays for FREE!

This is over $250 worth of product for only $39!!