Review of the Hamelin Stoop Series

My twin daughters love reading adventure stories. When we were offered a chance to read and review the first two books in The Hamelin Stoop Series, we signed up right away.

On the afternoon that our package from 12 Gates Publishing arrived, we could hardly wait to get started. We spent the first few days wrestling for dibs on the books. Multiple bookmarks recorded our various places in Hamelin Stoop: The Eagle, The Cave, and the Footbridge (Book 1). After a weekend reading marathon a week later, I finished the first book. I had Hamelin Stoop: The Lost Princess and the Jewel of Periluna (Book 2) all to myself for a few days.

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What Love Looks Like

As a teenager, I only attended one youth lock-in, but I remember like it was yesterday. Until a few weeks before the event, I had never even heard of a lock-in. Our youth group leader had the insane idea that all the teens might enjoy hanging out in the church overnight, playing a bunch of games, and having a Bible lesson. He was right. On the day it was announced, I eagerly asked my parents for permission when I got home. As soon as they said “Yes,” I called my boyfriend and invited him to tag along as well. I couldn’t wait!

Lock-in night arrived at last. Since dinner wouldn’t be served at the lock-in, my mom lovingly served me chicken and parsley potatoes. Despite my excitement, I somehow managed to wolf it down. I packed up my pajamas, Bible, sleeping bag, and toothbrush. Just before the event was scheduled to start, Dad drove me to church. A bunch of kids were already there, including my boyfriend. It would be a night to remember.

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Praying Scripture for Our Children

Have you ever met the perfect homeschool mom? Picture her in your mind. Her lavishly decorated home could pass the white glove test any day of the week. Her many children are flawlessly groomed and always well-behaved. She gets up early, studies the Bible for an hour or more, then spends at least five to fifteen minutes praying for her spouse and each child. Every day. Without fail. Rain or shine, sick or well. That could add up to an hour…or two or three…of prayer every day just for her husband and kids. Where does she ever find the time?

While I believe the woman of the previous paragraph is a myth, we all know that we need to pray for our children. This job of parenting and homeschooling is gargantuan, and there is no way we can do it on our own. We need divine assistance.

Last week, I gathered with some homeschool mom friends at the local Moe’s, where we talked about Scripture verses we pray for our kids. I love the idea of praying for my kids using the Word because I can be certain that I’m praying God’s will for them.

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Language Learning with Duolingo

As my girls and I have explored the Eastern Hemisphere with Sonlight Curriculum this year, we have become increasingly fascinated with Asian cultures. My twin daughters had already used Mango Languages, Duolingo, and other online resources to learn a bit of Japanese. Their fascination with Japan is part of what drew us to the Sonlight program this year.

As we explored various Eastern cultures throughout the school year, the girls’ attention gravitated to Singapore. Realizing that one of the official languages there was Chinese, they wanted to learn it. We already had the Chinese edition of the Rosetta Stone software, which I promptly installed on my computer. Along the way, though, I decided to try out Duolingo, a powerful free app designed to help anyone learn whatever language they want to.

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Review of CrossWired Science

When I looked at the crew review calendar a couple of months ago and discovered CrossWired Science, I started to get excited. Though the site had not been released yet at that time, I loved the philosophy behind it. I could hardly wait to see what their program would be like.

CrossWired Science will be a complete creation-based online science curriculum that integrates a number of science disciplines in each of their Global Topics. Sound, and Fluid Dynamics are the first units to be released.

I am so glad our family was chosen to review CrossWired Science. As the twins have explored science using their materials, their enthusiasm and interest in God’s creation have grown.

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License to Learn

When my middle daughter turned fifteen last month, one item topped her wish list—her Learner’s Permit. To her, it was a symbol of growing up, a testament to her blossoming independence, and an official ID.

Months earlier, her older sister had given her the Georgia Drivers Manual. “Miss Independent” had dutifully read through the entire booklet and challenged herself with various online practice tests.

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A Practical Approach to Grammar

At the end of December, I picked up Level 2 of Fix It! Grammar from the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). I suspected that my twins would enjoy this practical approach to grammar and mechanics.

Two months later, though, the Teacher’s Manual was still sitting unopened atop my curriculum stack. It was not unnoticed though. My daughters saw it there and kept inquiring about the Robin Hood book. “When can we use it, Mom?”

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If I Read

I should have known better. When I saw a discounted Kindle book by one of my favorite authors, I should have checked to see if it was the first in a series. Then I could have avoided being drawn in and then left hanging on the last page of If I Run.

Why, oh why, did I read the first few teaser chapters of If I’m Found? I knew I had no time to delve into a second book. After all, what if ended with a cliffhanger too? I naively assumed Terri Blackstock would wrap things up before then.

As I neared the end of the second book, everything seemed to be be coming together. Then it suddenly didn’t. There was one more book—If I Live.

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Review of Drive Thru History®

Visiting historical locations in Israel is an awesome experience. My husband and I took in quite a few amazing sites while spending seven short days in the Holy Land. But what if you and your kids could visit key locations in the order in which they’re mentioned in the Bible? That would be amazing, wouldn’t it?

Since such a trip is not financially feasible for most families, Dave Stotts of Drive Thru History® has put together a full video tour of the New Testament. Last year our family reviewed Drive Thru History® Adventures. Dave led us on a virtual tour of the many locations mentioned in the Gospels. This year we continued our journey through the New Testament with Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation”. For our review, we received three DVDs with a full-color study guide.

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