The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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Crossway Books Review by Tina Rice, Heather Jackowitz, Lisa Hyatt, & Christine Field

One Hundred and One More Devotions for Homeschool Moms
By Jackie Wellwood

Every homeschooling mother needs a daily quiet time with God. If you like a devotional to go along with your quiet time, check out One Hundred and One More Devotions for Homeschool Moms (More Devotions) by Jackie Wellwood. More Devotions is filled with the Word of God, prayer, food for thought, and thought-provoking devotions. Mrs. Wellwood is the mother of seven and has been homeschooling for more than 10 years and uses this insight to write on topics that will lead you to the Word of God, fill you with strength, and, at times, make you laugh and cry. We all have days when things go wrong and the joy of being a wife, mother, and teacher leave us. At times like these, I need a pick-me-up and this is when More Devotions can strengthen me. Each devotion is short, beginning with a verse of Scripture, continuing with commentary or a story, and ending with prayer and thought-provoking suggestions and questions. If you are looking for a devotional written for homeschooling mothers by a homeschooling mother, check out More Devotions. You can purchase this book at your local Christian bookstore. Other books by Jackie Wellwood are The Busy Mom's Guide to Simple Living and One Hundred and One Devotions for Homeschool Moms.

--Product Review by: Tina Rice, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Books Children Love, revised 2002
By Elizabeth Wilson

What a fabulous resource for choosing books to buy or borrow from the library! The newly revised version of Books Children Love has added many new selections since the original publishing in 1987. Based on Charlotte Mason's educational philosophy, the book opens with a foreword by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay that challenges us to read excellent books to our children. Following the forward is an introduction by Elizabeth Wilson that explains her criteria for selecting books. Mrs. Wilson, who has a BA and MA in literature, reads each book in its entirety before considering it for inclusion. Her three criteria are that the book catches and holds the reader's interest, has high literary quality, and does not undermine or attack Judeo-Christian moral and ethical values. She desires to give children an understanding of the world that exists apart from their personal experience by choosing books that entertain, transport us to other lands or times, increase understanding, explore issues, stimulate creativity, provide information, and encourage questions. Almost 300 pages of book recommendations and summaries cover many subject areas: animals, art and architecture, Bible, biography, holidays, crafts, performing arts, plants, history and geography, humor, language, literature, anthologies, poetry, mathematics, music, science and nature, technology, outdoor activities, physical education, research and study skills, special needs, and supplemental teaching resources. The largest selection of books falls under the literature category, which is grouped by three grade levels: Preschool to grade two, grades three and four, and grades five and up. Books are arranged alphabetically within sections by author's last name, except for biographies, which are arranged by the subject's last name. Nice, long summaries give parents all the information they need to make good choices of reading material for their children. This is an excellent resource than no homeschool family should be without!

-- Product Review by: Heather Jackowitz, Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Discovering Jesus in Genesis: covenant promises for covenant kids
By Susan and Richie Hunt

This is a great book to use for devotion time with children ages four through 12. One of the neat things you can do with this book is have your older students read the stories and Scripture with younger siblings. This will help your older child to develop good habits regarding devotion time, and your younger children will enjoy this time spent with an older sibling. The writers of this devotional book have set up an easy to follow format. They start off with a note to parents and then give tips on how to use this book in devotion time. Then the book is broken up into parts and chapters that follow the book of Genesis. The stories are interesting and there are many Scripture references for children to look up in the Bible. At the end of each section is a short question/answer time. This can help you see if the child has an understanding of the concept presented in that section of Genesis. I like the idea that the children in the book often think about God and look to the Lord for answers. There is one part where one of the girls wakes up to the sound of rain, and she reflects upon God and His creation. The book also encourages Scripture memorization and prayer time. The book is actually based on Genesis, but characters are used with whom children can identify. The story starts off with children who are bored and hoping to find something interesting to do - along comes a friendly neighbor who sends them on a "treasure hunt." Of course, the "treasure" is God-given, and the story line is fun to follow. I would recommend this book based on solid Scripture, fun activities (includes songs and recipes), questions to enhance learning, Scripture memorization, and an easy way to instill devotion time in our children.

-- Product Review by: Lisa Hiatt, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

World Proofing Your Kids: Helping Moms Prepare Their Kids to Navigate Today's Turbulent Times (Crossway, 1997)
by Lael Arrington

As a parent, I have had unique, as well as typical, experiences with my children. Unusual tasks, such as discussing the concept of abortion with an adopted child. Distasteful tasks, such as helping preteens heal from the trauma of a near abduction. And predictable tasks, such as helping fathom an answer to the question, "Why did aunty have to die?" A frank and Biblical approach to these issues is critical. I wish I had Lael Arrington's book, World Proofing Your Kids, much earlier! But now that I know if it, I will keep it in my permanent parent reference section of my personal library.

Children develop their worldview in our homes. Are you prepared to pack the suitcases they carry into maturity with solid values and views? Ms. Arrington has been teaching apologetics for years and shares her experience in this must-read book. Packed with teaching strategies, learning activities, and resources, she first explores the history of our modern culture to help us understand how we arrived in such turbulent times. In the second section, she helps us tackle some of the challenging issues, like evolution, animal rights, abortion, and euthanasia. In section three, she encourages us to examine some of our own attitudes towards work, contentment, and leisure. Finally, she tackles citizenship - the peculiar path we tread as earth dwellers that are destined for a promised land.

If you truly want to prepare your children to live in a fallen world, you must take the time to sort through these tough issues. Don't go unarmed. Read this book and converse with confidence!

-- Product Review by: Christine Field, Senior Correspondent, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

The ABCs of Homeschooing
The Organized Home Schooler

Reading Vicki Caruana's books is like sitting down over a cup of coffee with a trusted, respected friend. A new home schooler would particularly benefit from her book, The ABCs of Homeschooling (Crossway 2001). She takes us through the journey of first checking our own attitudes and assumptions. The early chapters encourage us to ask if home schooling is right for our family, help us to articulate why we should do it, how long to do it, how to respond to others about our choice and how to deal with our own doubts. An especially helpful feature of this book is the list of questions at the end of each chapter. Taking the time to actually answer these questions will help plot a course for success.

The middle section of this book is devoted to home schooling basics, such as rules, planning, teaching and organizing. The last section is headed Character and Cooperation and talks about the end result of our efforts and some of the ways we can engage others in this journey, such as co-ops, umbrella schools and home-school partnerships.

If you are on the fence about home schooling, this book will give you a gentle, knowledgeable, persuasive nudge.

The Organized Home Schooler (Crossway 2001) is a goldmine of encouragement and practical ideas to help get your home school in order. I figure this lady must be pretty organized because two of her books were published in the same year! I appreciated the fact that Vicki didn't just say, "You should do such and such," but also helps us to organize our own thinking about how we look at work areas, paperwork and more. She recognizes that every family and each situation is unique and encourages us to look for solutions that will work in our situation. This book is thought-provoking and action inspiring!

-- Product Review by: Christine Field, Senior Correspondent, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

If I Only Had a Green Nose
by Max Lucado (Crossway, 2002)

Do you have a child who struggles with wanting to dress like everyone else or do what everyone else does? This delightful story book will teach a greater lesson than all the lectures in the world!

Punchinello is one of the wooden people who lives in the town of Wemmicksville where the concept of what's cool keeps changing. First, it's cool to have a green nose, then a red nose, then a pink nose, then a yellow nose .... you get the idea. The residents flock to The Nose Coloring Store to keep up with the latest trend. After chasing to keep up with the fashion, Punchinello sees his foolishness and returns to his maker to be sanded down to normal again - a painful, but necessary, process.

The book is delightfully illustrated by Sergio Martinez and is written in Lucado's warm, convicting, powerful style. This is sure to be yet another Lucado children's classic!

--Product Review by Senior Correspondent, Christine Field, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine