The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
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Anna’s Friends Parent’s Tote Bundle Review by Ashley KoulakYvonne G Williams
243 East Savoy Street
Lecanto, FL 34461
Identifying my kids' motivational gifts is the parenting tool I never knew I needed! With four different kids come four vastly different personalities. Why would my parenting style really speak to one of my kids but frustrate another? Anna’s Friends Parent’s Tote Bundle not only taught me how to recognize my kids' spiritual gifts but also taught them to as well. Throughout the series, you will get to know all about Anna and her friends, who represent each of the Spiritual Gifts found in Romans 12:6-8. These Spiritual Gifts include exhortation, facilitation, giving, mercy, prophecy, service, and teaching. The bundle comes with a Parent’s Guide, eight chapter books, two color and activity books with some crayons, pencils, and bookmarks. Everything fit nicely into the canvas zip tote bag, in case we took our studies with us.
I found the Parent’s Guide especially helpful. It was easy to read and had a ton of useful information for parents as they are figuring out what motivates their child. Each section had a spiritual gift that it would describe and give the purpose of from a Biblical standpoint. It also gave examples of Bible characters that had that gift, which I loved! There was an ample amount of Biblical evidence to back up the gift and character. As well as how to recognize specific Spiritual Gifts! The Parent’s Guide had examples of behaviors to expect from someone having a specific spiritual gift as well as challenges they may encounter. In some aspects, I have a hard time understanding and being sensitive to my kids’ behaviors, especially when I cannot relate to their feelings- so the tips in the Parent’s Guide really helped me to think outside of the box when dealing with my kids' different Spiritual Gifts. As well as understanding my own! Each section ends with a story about someone in modern-day history that possessed that Spiritual Gift, which really made my kids feel important! People like Bill Gates and Abe Lincoln sharing a gift that one of my kids has helped everyone see how spectacular different gifts are and how God uses them for His Glory.
Anna’s Friends chapter books are well written with an engaging storyline that kids can really identify with. Each chapter book follows one of Anna’s friends as they work their way through situations in life, revealing their Spiritual Gifts. My kids were eager to hear more, and afterward, they started conversations about situations in their lives that Anna’s friends reminded them of. It was amazing how something so simple as a story helped them to see the world with compassion and brainstorm ways they would handle the conflicts mentioned in the books. My 3rd and 4th graders were able to read the chapter books solo as an assignment, but we ended up reading them aloud so our non-readers could enjoy them as well. While the chapter books are around 150 pages each, the letters are larger and there are several pictures, making them less intimidating as chapter books for early readers. The chapter books have two Color Me Love workbooks that go along with them. There were pictures to color, quizzes and various puzzles that refer to the chapter books. My younger kids colored, while the bigger kids enjoyed word searches and answering short quizzes. The entire bundle made it quite easy for us to enjoy all together. No age group was left out of the fun!
Now that we have had some time to learn about the gifts we have been blessed with, and understand how it affects our lives, our days seem smoother and less stressful. My kids feel empowered knowing that God has blessed them with a special gift, and they understand each other a little better now too. I find myself responding to my kids (and myself!) with more grace than I had before, now that I understand what motivates each of us. I highly recommend Anna’s Friends to any person wishing to connect on a deeper level with their child and be more intentional in their parenting. Three cheers for Anna and all her friends!
-Product review by Ashley Koulak, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2019