Monday, February 29, 2016

Zonderkidz Faith Builders Bible Review

What do building bricks like Legos and the Bible have in common?  Everything if you have the Faith Builders Bible from Zonderkidz.  Our family had a chance to review the Faith Builders Bible recently and I can assure you my kids have been having a lot of fun reading their Bible lately.

Faith Builders Bible {Zonderkidz Review}

The Faith Builders Bible from Zonderkidz is a New International Readers Version (NIrV) of the Bible that includes 24 pages of illustrations of brick building so your kids can see examples of their favorite Bible stories built with building bricks like Legos.  It not only features the pages of brick building illustrations, it also includes a table of contents, a dictionary, and an index of Great Bible Stories for quick reference of where to find them.  Our Faith Builders Bible came in a hardcover format.  It normally sells for $24.99.

My kids were very excited for this review,  They love building with building bricks and they each have their own favorite Bible stories.  They had never really thought of building Bible stories with their bricks so when we received the Faith Builders Bible in the mail, they were excited to open it and see what it was all about.
Very excited to get the Faith Builders Bible in the mail
 The kids enjoyed looking through the pages of illustrations to see which Bible stories were featured in building bricks.  My son said that it helped him picture what may have been happening during the Bible stories and it has given him a new way to use his building bricks.  My daughter enjoyed using the building bricks to create scenes and said that by creating the scenes she understood the stories a little better.  Both of my kids are visual learners so when they can see what they are learning about, it sticks with them better and this is one of the things I really appreciated about the Faith Builders Bible. I also enjoyed the fact that while the NIrV Bible is an easier version of the Bible to read, it worked for both of my kids - the 2nd grader and the 7th grader.  They both used this Bible as part of their devotions and were able to get the information they needed from it for their appropriate age level.  As a mom, I was concerned that maybe my daughter who is not as experienced with building bricks as my older son would struggle to build the images and stories represented in this Bible, but she didn't have any issues with that.  She was able to look at the pictures and build the scenes on her level and she was happy about what she built and that she built them on her own - a win for every body and this Bible!  I also really like the fact that each illustration in the Bible also features a "Building Block Verse."  This is a verse that corresponds to whatever is being built and it is a great way for kids to memorize some Scripture.  My favorite thing about the Faith Builders Bible is that it has inspired my kids to play with the building bricks in a new way that keeps them learning about the Bible and God.  As they get better at building the scenes from the Bible, we can start searching through the verses for more details to add to our scenes which will have them studying the Bible more and that is a HUGE goal for our house.



He built a cute little sheep.
Close up of the sheep
  


She built a cross

My daughter built Jesus and Peter on the water.


My son built the Fruit of the Spirit


Faith Builders Bible {Zonderkidz Review}
The box in blue shows the Building Block Verse

In addition to using the Faith Builders Bible for our daily devotions, we plan on using this during our family devotion times.  We plan to continue to use it by my hubby or I reading a passage while the kids work on building scenes to represent what we are reading through.  This will keep them focused on the passage and getting the details out of it.  We also plan to use this Bible in our Sunday School.  We have been trying really hard to get out 4th-6th grade boys class to learn the books of the Bible in order and one of the very first pages in the Bible has this building brick illustration (see the picture below this paragraph) that we plan to use with our Sunday School class.  I think it will help them to have the visual representation of the books of the Bible and further reinforce what we have been teaching.
Building with Books of the Bible Illustration
The Faith Builders Bible from Zonderkidz is a book that will get a lot of use in our own house and in our Sunday School class.  It implements two of our favorite things - the Bible and building bricks.  I am all for books that get our kids thinking about God and His Word and this one definitely does that.  We really liked the full color illustrations of the Bible scenes and that we could use any building bricks we had on hand to build the scenes.  On some of the scenes it would have been nice to have step by step building instructions, but at the same time we liked that each child can use their own creative expression to create the scenes.  We definitely recommend this Bible for any building brick lovers out there.

You can check out Zonderkidz on Facebook or on Twitter.  Also be sure to check out my Review Crew friends and what they thought about the Faith Builders Bible.

Faith Builders Bible {Zonderkidz Review}



Friday, February 26, 2016

15 Things...

I realized this week that I have shared a lot of things about homeschooling lately, a lot of things about menu planning, a lot of things about cutting the craziness of life, but I have not shared a lot of things about me lately.  I am definitely not the most interesting person in the world, but maybe someone out there wants to know something about me.  Hello?  Anyone?  Well if you are still reading here it goes...

  1. Cooking - I love to cook and even though I come up with a lot of recipes I can't share them with you yet.  Why?  Well I don't like to measure so I could give you a list of ingredients, but not the quantities.  I am working on this so I can share recipes with you.
  2. Baking - The only thing I love more than cooking in the kitchen is baking.  I can bake just about anything.
  3. Decorating - Piggy backing on #2 - I have baked and decorated every one of my children's birthday cakes except for one.  It was a beautiful cake from a very talented friend, but I still regret that cake I didn't bake.  p.s. - bonus thing - I can decorate cakes.
    One of the cakes I have made...
  4. Cross Stitching - I cross stitch.  My mom taught me when I was little and it is a craft I still love today.
  5. Scrapping - I scrapbook.  I started back before I got married so I could make us a wedding album and I am still hooked on scrap booking.
  6. Crocheting - I taught myself to crochet one year as my New Year's Resolution.
  7. DIY - I watch way too many DIY shows on Netflix and I love to work on DIY projects.  I have created a few things for my home and have plans to create many more.
    DIY window to chalkboard
  8. Camping - I am SO not an outdoors kind of girl, but every year, several times a year we go camping as a family and I really do have fun.  I think the only thing I really don't like is the packing and unpacking.
  9. Music - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE music.  I have quite the variety that I listen to, but I can't sing.  Not one note.  It is just not a gift that God gave me.  While I can't sing, I do know a lot of song lyrics.  I love finding out the words to the songs.
  10. Reading - I love curling up with a good book.
  11. Coffee - I have a coffee addiction which is funny to me because I use to hate it.  I guess over the years I learned if you can't beat them, join them.  Now there are very few times I turn down coffee.  The struggle is real.
  12. Clumsy - I am a super, SUPER clumsy person.  I have been my whole life.  Some people grow out of being clumsy, but not me.  I trip over air and hurt myself trying to catch things I drop.  I have had some of the oddest injuries, but I guess they make for interesting stories.
  13. Giddy - I get very giddy when I get tired.  I tell the best jokes and laugh the hardest late at night.  I find things very funny as the night gets later and later.  For the record - they are still usually funny the next day too.
  14. Disney - I LOVE Disney - everything about it.  I have been fortunate enough to go to both Disneyland and Disney World and I have been on a Disney Cruise....it was AWESOME!!!
    I want to go on a Disney Cruise again.
  15. Lucky - My hubby always says I am very lucky.  I have won trips off the radio, trips from direct sales companies, items from blogs, concert tickets, a Kindle fire, and more.  I still get shocked every time I win something, because I don't think I am lucky at all.  My hubby says we could scratch the same lottery ticket and he would lose and I would win (I say we would have to play the lottery to win it).
So if you made it through this list, what else do you want to know about me?  

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

HelpTeaching.com Review - A Great Additional Resource for Homeschooling

HelpTeaching Review
As a homeschool parent I have struggled to find worksheets, tests, and quizzes that are already made without having to pay a bunch of money per worksheet or that are actually filled with the content you want to find.  I certainly have struggled to find worksheets, tests, and quizzes that are grade level specific without being way too easy or being way too hard.  It always seems like I can find everything that I am not currently looking for without ever being able to find what I am looking for, until now.  For the past several weeks as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we have been reviewing the Pro Plan at HelpTeaching.com which is full of worksheets, quizzes, and tests for a multitude of school subjects.  You can even create your own tests, quizzes, and worksheets on the online site.  We have found this site to be a valuable resource for our school.
These are the subjects you can find worksheets, lessons, quizzes, and tests for just for 7th grade.
HelpTeaching.com has worksheets, quizzes, and tests for every grade level, K-12, but we focused on the 7th grade content.  I really wanted to see what they had available for older students so we have not spent time checking out the lower grades yet.  Once you sign up for your subscription you can get your student(s) signed up for their accounts.  You can link their accounts by email so you can send them their scheduled assignments, but don't worry they don't have to have an email to work on the site.  Our son does not have his own email yet, but I wanted to see how the scheduled assignments worked so I set up my email as his email and this worked perfectly.  When I would schedule him a lesson or test, an email would pop into my account with a link that he could click and complete what I sent him.  After he finished, I could log onto to HelpTeaching.com and check out the results two different ways - question by question or the entire assignment.  
This is what the screen looks like when you schedule an assignment.  You can see I entered both of my students, but only gave an email to my son as he was the only one using the site right now.
We checked out many different lessons, worksheets, and tests for the 7th grade level.  My son loved all the Social Studies quizzes and begged to take them all because Social Studies is his favorite class.  He also completed some science lessons.  Some of the science lessons included videos in them and they had practice questions when the lesson was done which my son really liked.  We tried some of the language art assignments and quizzes.  My son liked watching the video explanations of the lessons for language arts, he said they did a good job of explaining the concept.  We also tried a math lesson on probability.  
Tests we had scheduled and tried
Lessons we scheduled

I also used the site to create some of my own worksheets and really enjoyed being able to create exactly what I wanted for my worksheets.  I created a worksheet for our Sunday School class that included their Bible verse for the week, what they learned from it, and an area for them to draw what they thought of when they thought about the verse.  I created another worksheet for my son to take with him to Grandma's house when I went out of town.  I wrote out the questions I would normally ask him from our regular curriculum for a book he was reading.  The last worksheet I created was a Spanish test.  For this test I went into the Test Maker and pulled up the subject of Spanish.  Then I went through all the questions that are already on the site and picked out the ones that I knew he had learned Spanish words and phrases for.  
The test and worksheets I created.
One of the things I really like about HelpTeaching.com besides being able to assign the lessons is that the site grades the work for me which is a HUGE plus in my book.  It grades the work in one of two ways.  If your student uses the links for the scheduled assignment their answers are recorded and checked as they work.  If you print off the lesson, worksheet, or test for the student, you can go back in once they are done and put in what answer they picked and it will grade it as you put the answers in.  I liked both methods and I liked being able to go in and check how my son did on the assignments quickly and I could see exactly what problems (if any) he got wrong and which answers he picked.  I also liked that you could see the total score or you could review each question for which answer they picked.  
This area is found under "My Content" and it is where you can choose how you, as the teacher, check the grading.
My son working on HelpTeaching.com 
Overall I was very impressed with the selection of quizzes, tests, worksheets, and lessons included with the Pro Plan from HelpTeaching.com.  I feel like they are a good supplement to any curriculum, but they would probably not work as the entire curriculum unless you were creating a LOT of your own content. My son also liked using the site and his only request was that they would add more Social Studies for 7th grade.  I am definitely going to encourage him to work on the Social Studies for other grades since he enjoyed it so much.  The Pro Plan subscription includes unlimited access to their online Test Maker to create custom tests and worksheets, unlimited access to their online tests and worksheets, the ability to make and save your own tests and worksheets on their site, pre-made premium content, and more for a very reasonable price of $24.95 per year which I would say is very much worth your money.  I received my Pro Plan to review for free, but I would pay $24.95 per year for this subscription especially since I can use it with multiple students for multiple grades.  I recommend that you definitely check it out because there is so much more to the site that I still want to check out and use and I know that you will find items you can use in your school too.
You can connect with HelpTeaching.com on their website, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter.  Please go and check out all they have to offer.  

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to see more reviews on this plan.
HelpTeaching Review

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Typical Day in Our Homeschool

This week I thought I would share with you what a day in our school looks like.  This is a picture journal of sorts and the pictures were not captured on just one single day, but they will walk you through what a typical day looks like for us.  I took the pictures over a few days because my kids got camera shy every time they caught me with the camera out.  Some days they are just super helpful like that.  :)

My days start with reading my Bible, Scripture Writing, and coffee.

I check our curriculum to see what we will work on for the day.  This picture also shows our grade book.  I do all the grading at the end of our school day and record the grades.


These two pictures show how the kids know which books we need each day.

Every day we have readers we have to read.

School on the computer.  We have several different classes we do on the computer.

Reading for history

I teach the materials and then he does the book work while I am working with his sister.

Handwriting - she is learning cursive this year.

Spelling - one of her favorite subjects

She works on her book work while I am teaching my son. 

She is working on a science program on the computer (a review is coming for this one).

She is working on language arts

We have readers for her too.  Some I read to her and she reads some to me.

This year we are getting to try some fun things thanks to the Schoolhouse Review Crew and we get to play while we learn. Here is the sneak peek of that (there is more coming on this later):

 They are using the Faith Builders Bible by Zonderkidz to build scenes from the Bible

That is it.  Pretty simple.  Our days are not typically too complicated and the kids do a great job of working hard.  We typically work through all the reading parts like history, our readers, Bible, and science with my son first thing in the morning and my daughter does her book work then they switch.  My son does his book work and we work through the reading parts for history, readers, Bible, and science with my daughter.  We have a good system going that makes our school day flow well.  

What does a day in your homeschool look like?  I would love to see it or hear about it.  Also this week my fellow Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers are sharing what their days look like too.  Check out my blogging friends by clicking on the picture below (the link will work beginning Friday, February 19).
A Day in Our Homeschool

Friday, February 12, 2016

14 Last Minute Valentine Ideas

Valentine's Day is on Sunday, but I am sure you already knew that.  We don't do anything super huge, over the top for Valentine's Day, but I do take advantage of the day to tell my family that I love them.  Of course I tell them that every day, but on Valentine's they usually let me be a little extra mushy.  So today I am sharing 14 last minute ideas you can do for Valentines for those you love.


  1. Heart Bombs - They go to sleep on February 13th and their bedroom door is empty, plain, boring...you get the idea.  They wake up on February 14th and their door is covered in hearts.  If you want you can put messages just for them on the hearts.
    Heart Bombs
  2. Movie Date - Pop the popcorn, grab your favorite candy and snuggle up for your favorite movie with your family.  
  3. Game Date - Pick your favorite family board game, pop the popcorn, and battle it out to see who the winner is.
    One of our favorite family games
  4. Make Cookies - We love to make cookies together as a family.  These Sour Cream Cut-Out Cookies that I posted about a few years ago are our absolute favorite and as a bonus they are super easy to make.
    Sour Cream Cut-Out Cookies....sooo tasty
  5. Visit a Friend or Relative -Sometimes a visit from a loved one is the best gift you can give.
  6. Nerf War - Yep, break out the Nerf guns, the darts, and the safety glasses.  This idea will have you running around, hiding, and laughing in no time.  May the best family member win!
  7. Impromptu Dance Party - Crank up the tunes and get your groove on!
  8. Make Them Dessert - I love to spoil my family by baking them something.  They love these Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes that I have blogged about before.  These cupcakes are a splurge as far as calories go, but it is a special occasion so go ahead and enjoy a treat.
    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
    Peanut Butter Cupcakes
  9. Create Some Artwork - Every once in awhile we like to sit around the table and draw or paint with water colors.  Everyone creates a "masterpiece" and then we hang them on the wall to enjoy for awhile.
  10. Cook For Them - I love to cook for my family so I try and cook them a special meal for Valentines.  I always try to make it something that we don't have often, but they love so they know I picked it especially for them.
  11. Make Them Coupons - Coupons?  What?  Yes make them some coupons for things that are special to them.  I would make my hubby a coupon for garage time - I take the kids and he works on whatever current project he has going in the garage without interruptions.  I would make my son a coupon for Minecraft time - he gets 30 extra minutes of Minecraft time to use when he chooses without having to do chores to earn the time.  I would make my daughter a coupon for manicures and pedicures while watching a pint-sized chick flick.
  12. Do Their Chores for the Day or Week - I love this when my hubby does the laundry for me for a week or takes care of the dishes for a week.
  13. Write Them a Love Note - Be mushy like you were when you were dating with your spouse and tell your kids how proud you are of them in their own personal note.
  14. Get Them a Little Treat - Get them a little treat, you know one that is special for them.  Maybe it is a cup of coffee from a coffee shop, maybe it is their favorite candy bar, or a bottle of nail polish.  Just get them something little that says "I was thinking of you."  No time to run to the store?  Make them a card with an IOU.  
Let your loved ones know you love them and be mushy on Valentine's, go ahead, you are allowed to be!