The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
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Harvest House Review by Jenefer Igarashi and 5 others

990 Owen Loop North
Eugene OR 97402-9173

Harvest House has been around for 27 years and is respected for taking, head on, the weighty matters and issues of the Evangelical Faith. Their books reflect a desire to not only share Christ, but to plunge into the deeper aspects of our faith.

As a busy homeschool mom, I know that the most important aspect of our home school is to pass on the hope and salvation offered by our Messiah, Jesus. Harvest House is an excellent resource for not only practicality and encouragement (as offered in Life Management for Busy Women by Elizabeth George or Help Me Trust You, Lord by Emilie Barnes), but also for great children's books that reflect the important issues of character, morals, and the message of Christ that Christian families want for their little ones. We are happy to pass on the great finds from Harvest House, and hope you check back often for our latest discoveries that we believe will bless you and your family.

-- Product Review by: Jenefer Igarashi, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

The Power of Christmas Prayer
By Stormie Omartian

The Power of Christmas Prayer is a great little book that takes the reader on a journey surrounding the story of Jesus' birth. However, the focus is on what Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Zacharias, the Shepherd, the Wise Men, Simeon, and Anna must have felt as a result of His miraculous birth.

Stormie Omartian engages the reader with her stories of real people, with real feelings, struggles, hopes, and dreams. Further, she takes the reader on a prayer journey designed to bring to light the fulfillment of God's promise to the world so long ago and what it means to each of us today.

Stormie Omartian is a writer, speaker, and author of 11 best selling books. Her desire is to inspire others to depend on God in all areas of their lives and to provide a message of hope as people seek God's will for their lives.

The Power of Christmas Prayer is a book that I am honored to have added to my library. My husband and I intend to spend time reading through the stories and praying the prayers with our children in preparation for our next Christmas celebration. We also feel this is a book to be shared with others, both believers and non-believers. You'll be blessed as you read The Power of Christmas Prayer. I highly recommend it.

-- Product Review by: Dr. Heather Allen, TOS Senior Analyst, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Keep it Simple for Moms on the Go: Less stress." And More Fun!
By Emilie Barnes

Those of you familiar with Emilie Barnes have come to love her for her candid, straight-to-the-heart, Christ-centered, and encouraging writing.

Keep it Simple for Moms on the Go brings the classic Emilie Barnes style to the "busy woman" in a manner that is perfectly suited for the demanding schedules busy women have.

Keep it Simple does exactly that - the layout of this book is superb, and makes it a perfect choice as a devotional for the year. It is sectioned off in daily bite-sized pieces and there is something encouraging for every week, month, and season.

Keep it Simple touches the heart, includes a daily Bible verse and gives wisdom for living. Each page has a "Simple Pleasures" section, which gives examples of fun, easy ideas to implement and enhance the day. Best of all, this book points us to Jesus.

Homeschool moms, in particular, are going to love this book. Keep it Simple for Moms on the Go brings everything we look for in a daily devotional, plus more encouragement, simplicity, and fun! What a wonderful way to start each day. What a breath of fresh air for homeschool moms everywhere!

-- Product Review by: Jenefer Igarashi, Senior Editor, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Here's another Keep It Simple for Moms on the Go review!

When I became a stay-at-home mother, I was suddenly thrown into an environment for which I had no preparation. I had to learn as I went, and trust me, there were many a humorous (and not so humorous) trial-by-error moments.

Above and beyond the practical skills necessary for managing a home, I needed to learn something new about my relationship with the Lord. I needed to learn that He loves me and that He accepts me even as I blunder in a world where all my weaknesses show. This required that I make time for Him when my life was busier than ever. How could I take the time for devotional reflections with too little sleep, and piles of laundry that threatened to rival the Leaning Tower of Piza? I have learned that since it was as essential as breath and water and food, there must be time. Now sometimes that means I take long stretches to delve into God's Word. But there are days that 15 minutes locked in the bathroom is all I can manage. That is where Emilie Barnes has been a blessing to me. Through many of her books, she taught me that 15 minutes of time can be filled with profitable things.

Mrs. Barnes is now writing devotional books that have short and helpful reflections. She has a heart for busy women, both those at jobs away from home, and those that are busy at home. Having been raised by her widowed mother, and having been a stay-at-home mother, she understands. Her new devotional, Keep It Simple for Moms on the Go, provides a short Bible verse to read, paragraphs of practical encouragement, application ideas called "Simple Pleasures," and a final prayer. Incorporating home organization, decorating, hospitality, child rearing and more, this devotional is a nice blend of prayer and Scripture, and some of the ways that God may use us during each day. This reminds me that all of life is our worship to the King.

You can find this book, and many others by Emilie Barnes, at As a quick devotional time, or as a springboard to deeper study and application, Keep It Simple for Moms on the Go is a light and encouraging devotional for moms today.

-- Product Review by: Diane Wheeler, Senior Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine review staff has been delighted to delve into material presented by the reputable Harvest House Publishers. This company has recently grown by leaps and bounds, no doubt in large part, from the incredible authors they accommodate such as: Kay Arthur, Emilie Barnes, Lori Wick, Elizabeth George, Hank Hanegraaff, Tim and Beverly LaHaye, and a host of others.

How to Study Your Bible
by Kay Arthur

" May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge. Ruth 2:12"

If you want to know God's word, here is a book that will show the way! Kay Arthur introduces the inductive method of Bible study in a concise, easy to learn way that will benefit you and your family for years to come!

Okay, what is the inductive method? Well, as explained by the author, you are probably already familiar with it. If you have taken a biology course, you know that most things are learned best from observation. You can watch a frog develop from a tadpole, see it live on land and then dissect one in lab to see how it looks on the inside. You can then use those observations to compare with other biologists to see if your conclusions match. This same method can easily and effectively be applied to studying the Bible.

Kay Arthur takes you through the entire process beginning with the introduction of inductive study and the importance of Bible study to your life. "When you know what God says, what He means, and how to put His truths into practice, you will be equipped for every circumstance of life." She accomplishes this by taking you through the three basics: observation, interpretation and application and showing you how each one relates to the other and then how to apply them to Bible study.

This method is appropriate for adults and youngsters and I was particularly excited that this could easily be converted into a language arts curriculum! Basic grammar and literature concepts are covered such as verb tense, voice and mood; word origins (using the dictionary); comparison and contrast and so much more! There are helpful appendices in the back and many pictorial aides throughout. As an added benefit, there are ten Discover 4 Yourself: Inductive Bible Studies for Kids books to get you started! We also found fifteen study guides appropriate for adults and older students! Additionally, there is also a NASB Inductive Study Bible available! Having a son challenged with ADD, we are always on the lookout for appropriate material that will entice him to learn and retain more! He has a genuine struggle with memorization but this inductive study is a wonderful tool!

About the Author: Kay Arthur and her husband are the founders of Precept Ministries International ( ). This ministry reaches people through "Precept Upon Precept" Bible studies and Kay's radio and television program Precepts for Life. Kay is the bestselling author of more than 100 books and Bible studies, and is also the active spokeswoman for The New Inductive Study Bible.

--Product Review by Rene Ruby, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

The New Inductive Study Series
By Kay Arthur, David Lawson, Bob Vereen
By Kay Arthur

It is rare and precious to find a Bible study book where the commentary does not get in the way of the text. The best Bible study methods allow us to come right to the Lord Himself. This is the heart of the inductive study method. In the introduction to the book on Ezra/Nehemiah/Esther, the series is described as, "A 15- to 25-minute daily study that takes you systematically through the Bible, book by book, teaching you to observe the text and see for yourself what it says." That is a goal about which I can get excited.

These books will take you through some of the basics of the inductive method of study, such as observing the who, what, when, where, why and how questions in a passage; marking observations in your Bible; and providing helpful background information. Each week has daily readings, questions, and assignments. There is also a "Thought for the Week" that sums up the section studied.

I can also see using this series of books to help my children learn to study the Scriptures for themselves. I like the combination of the inductive methods, the discipline of daily study, and the fact that we can be studying the same material and discussing it together. I really want to make sure that my children know the Word, and don't feel intimidated by the work of Bible study. This series can provide the tools for understanding the Scriptures for the rest of their lives.

The New Inductive Study Series is available through Harvest House Publishers on the web at There are several volumes in the series, including Daniel, Luke, Revelation and Joshua/Judges/Ruth.

Certainly, Christian parents share the desire to have their children love God's Word, and to have it stored in their hearts. Often, it is the tools of study that are missing in their lives that make God's Word a mystery or a chore. The New Inductive Study Series can be an excellent way to teach the tools that open God's Word, a gift that will reap rewards for years and generations to come.

-- Product Review by: Diane Wheeler, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

God's Wisdom for Little Boys
By Jim and Elizabeth George
Illustrated by Judy Luenebrink

What a precious find! If you have a little boy, or have friends or family with a young, little man, this magnificent book is a must-have. I have found several excellent, character building and Christ-centered works to read out loud with my older daughters, but this is the first book that I have ever found specifically intended for little boys, which has all the godly, high character traits that we want to teach our son, presented in a way that is effortless for instruction to the very young.

I brought home this book and held it out to my young five-year-old, and told him that it was our very own "special reading time book." When he saw it, his eyes lit up and he could not wait to sit with mama and read together as he sees me doing with the "big girls." I could not wait to get started either, and you will understand why when you see the cover. The enchanting and cozy illustrations offered in this book by Judy Luenebrink are simply breathtaking, and they draw you right in. But it is not just the illustrations that make this work such a cherished find.

God's Wisdom for Little Boys is simply written with wonderful rhymes, which reflect the wisdom of the Proverbs. Each poem starts with the phrase, "God's Little Boy is:" and then a selection of a godly character trait is offered, such as "Helpful," "Giving," "Wise," "Friendly," "Hard Working," "Obedient," (always a personal favorite!), "Cheerful," "Truthful," "Thrifty," "Self-Controlled," "Diligent," "Content", etc. It then and features a short, fun little message, topping things off by including the correlating Proverb from which it was derived. My son and I snuggled on the couch together and read it through slowly, taking time to look at the great pictures and find the little froggy and dog that appear on each page. We talked about what the words meant (there is a great "Words to Know" section in the back of the book, which explains some of the harder terms), and thought of examples of things that he could do that would show good character in a way that would serve others and honor God.

When we were finished, instead of putting it away in the bookshelf, he toted it around with him everywhere he went, all day long. And that night he fell asleep with it right next to his blonde little head. I love this book because it is something just for him, and something that we can do together that speaks directly to his heart about the things of God. He likes looking through the pictures, and the other day he brought it to me and said that he "loves his book because it reminds him to be good." He also really enjoyed the picture he found of Mr. George and his cute little grandson at the beginning of the book.

I am really thankful that Jim and Elizabeth George have taken time to remember and encourage the very young in the Lord. They have such a wonderful gift of communication. And my highest praise, also, to Mrs. Judy Luenebrink, a genuinely gifted artist who captured all the warmth and love of a home in her truly lovely illustrations within this outstanding book. You will want to remember God's Wisdom for Little Boys to give at birthdays, baby showers, or as a simple, meaningful way to tell a little guy, "You are so special and loved by God; here is something just for you!"

-- Product Review by: Jenefer Igarashi, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

HELP! My Boy is Growing Up!
By Annette Smith

Harvest House Publishers is in Eugene, OR. It was founded in 1974 by Bob Hawkins, Sr. with merely a handful of books and a dream in the founder's heart to have "Books You Can Believe In"! This has grown to a publisher listed in the top five companies, with more than 150 or more new books released yearly, over 600 books already available, and over 40 million sold.

Annette Smith, the author, grew up on a ranch in Texas. She has two young adult children, has been a home healthcare nurse for several years, and has been working at a wilderness program for troubled teens in excess of 10 years. So many readers exclaimed their anticipation and expectation for a boy's sequel to her book, Help! My Little Girl is Growing Up! that Annette decided to do just that!

My goal is to redirect the parental attitude of "Oh,no!" and "Boys are so ____" to "Wow! Boys are great!" said Annette Smith.

She does this with a terrific, loving sense of humor! She notes that "in some ways, boys are a lot like cats. Both species prefer food they can play with, and neither of them takes to water too well." That is, until they begin to hit puberty, and then - oops - but that's another story!

From the chapter entitled Don't Kiss Me in Front of My Friends: "Wise is the parent who celebrates the signs of a son's independence. And blessed is that parent's son. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things." I Corinthians 13:11.

Help! My Boy is Growing Up! is a wonderfully warm, gentle, humorous look at the growth of parents from the welcome news of their eminent newborn son to his boyhood growth, adolescence, and the wisdom necessary to guide a young man's path with his Lord, his church group, ministries, his good friends, and school with care - because as our children grow and develop, we as parents need to grow and develop.

What understanding, encouraging words from a fellow mother also looking toward the Lord to be the best mother she can possibly be! This encouragement would surely be a welcome gift for another couple in your study group or parents of your son's friend in youth meetings. What a boon to your husband or wife, especially if your son finally emerges from the shower room AFTER AN HOUR when last week it seems he was only in there for perhaps five minutes, and that was after you reminded him three times to get clean!

-- Product Review by: Karen Houston, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Publisher's Note: Impressed are we with Harvest House Publishers, a company dedicated to good doctrine and high quality. We took a look at a number of items from Harvest House since they so generously put us on auto-ship, but certain items have really caught our eye. Also, let me mention here just how FRIENDLY this publishing house is. I really appreciate their willingness to answer questions about their newly expanding company and the authors they represent. Kirby The Disgruntled Tree will make you smile. While this is not a "tree hugger" book (thank goodness!), you will find a little girl happily hugging Kirby at the end and for good reason - Kirby learns to be content. It is an excellent storyline for children with good character building topic, written by the highly acclaimed Lori Wick. This is a sweet story with precious illustrations. You'll love it!

Harvest House also has some great books on doctrine. We love the easy-to-understand writings and series they offer that help the reader to defend their faith in Christ. They offer some excellent books that we cannot wait to dive into, such as Fast Facts on Defending Your Faith by two of my favorite authors, John Ankerberg and John Weldon. Reasoning from the Scriptures looks to be another bestseller, by well-versed author, Ron Rhodes. My husband cannot keep his hands off books that teach good doctrine. He's in heaven with Harvest House. Take a look at Harvest House. I think some good things are in store for them!