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Geology and Apologetics Online Course Review

If you are looking for a science class for this school year, I encourage you to check out the classes at Northwest Treasures.

Northwest Treasures offered the Homeschool Review Crew the opportunity to try out two of three online classes:

  • Taking the Mystery Out of Geology
  • Geology and Apologetics
  • Dinosaurs and the Bible

We chose to review Geology and Apologetics course and the introductory video called Taking the Mystery Out of Geology.

Taking the Mystery Out of Geology

Run time: 20 minutes

Grades: 5 – Adult

Taking the Mystery Out of Geology is a 20-minute class taught by Patrick Nurre.  This class is an introduction to the wealth of information Patrick shares with students about how to understand geology from a Biblical perspective.

In this class, students learn new vocabulary and terms that describe in detail what the science of geology is, and what it is not, and the philosophy of it.  Some of these terms include: orogeny, vitrophyere, cirque, science, history, philosophy, uniformitarianism, evolutionism, creationism, geology, fossilization, and more.

Students will also learn the “Biblical Framework” for understanding history and geology together, such as how the Flood and the Ice Age fit together in the geological puzzle.  Students will start with the bible as the foundation.

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”.

This is a short 20 minute study, but it is packed with valuable information.  It is a great place to grow your faith in the truth of the scriptures and to start your learning journey with geology.

Geology and Apologetics

Run Time: 1 hour 36 minutes

Grades: 8 – Adult

Geology and Apologetics online course is a series of 6 videos ranging in length from 10 to 20+/- minutes each for a total run time of 1 hour and 36 minutes and is designed for students in eighth grade and higher.

The lessons in this course will help your students become more confident in defending their faith and the truths found in the scriptures. Each lesson includes discussion questions.

Lessons include:

  1. Lesson One: Knowing the Scriptures in the Secular Geological Age
  2. Lesson Two: Clarifying the Conflict Between Science and the Bible
  3. Lesson Three:The Genealogies and Chronologies of Genesis. Are They Accurate and Reliable?
  4. Lesson Four: Evolutionary Gaps in the Fossil Record, How Serious Are They?
  5. Lesson Five: Dinosaur-to-Bird Evolution, the Story That Never Seems to Die
  6. Lesson Six: Time and Chronology in the Secular Geological Age

The Geology and Apologetics course is taught by Patrick Nurre of Northwest Treasures.  He designed this course to dissect several of the science verses faith conflicts, and to study them from both a Biblical and geological point of view.

Geology as explained by secular science has attacked the Christian faith for far too long, and this battle has left many Christians feeling confused and defeated.   Modern science continues to undermine the biblical worldview of understanding geology and the Christian faith.

One way that modern science undermines our faith, is by assulting the truth that our Father God is the Creator of all things, and created all things just a few thousand years ago.  Modern science disregards the literal reading of Genesis, and disregards the authority and reliability of the Biblical Scriptures.  Instead, it treats the majority of the bible as just myths, including the global flood as described in the book of Genesis.

Our experience:

We were sent a 3 month subscription to Taking the Mystery Out of Geology online course, and a six month subscription to the Geology and Apologetics online course for the purpose of this review.

I watched these videos with my older three sons.  We learned a lot of great information we can apply to understanding the physical world around us from a biblical perspective.

In addition to learning with the videos, our family has had opportunities to apply this biblical outlook when we take family field trips to explore the world that Father God has created.

Our family loves to travel, to take nature walks, hunt for rocks and gems, study the landscape, geography, rivers, mountains, valleys, forests, desert, ocean beaches, natural lakes, fossils, and rock formations all around us.

We have been to some pretty cool places Father God created.  We are blessed to live about half way between the mountains and the ocean.  This has been such a blessing to us because we love exploring!

We started this habit of exploring our surroundings while we dated, and it became something we really enjoyed regularly, and now we have developed and encouraged this passion in our kids too.

We have seen a wide range of landscapes everywhere we have lived, and in every direction we travel.

Spending time together as a family exploring landscapes, rock formations, fossils, nature, and observing what there is to see with our own eyes and ears has helped draw us close together and helped us see the truth of Father God our Creator.

Final Thoughts

Patrick Nurre from Northwest Treasures has spent a lifetime learning and teaching and he has packed his knowledge and passion for truth into these courses.  I like these science courses because Patrick Nurre gives Father God the glory in everything, and He points people back to Him.

It is rare to find a scientist who truly follows God and gives him glory as our Creator.  Mainstream science and the public education system denies the existence of God and his authority in creation.  Those who deny Him will face judgement someday.  There are several verses in the bible that talk about having “No “Excuse” for denying Him.  Here is one of those verses:

Romans 1:18-25 
“What is revealed is God’s anger from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people who in their wickedness keep suppressing the truth; because what is known about God is plain to them, since God has made it plain to them. For ever since the creation of the universe his invisible qualities — both his eternal power and his divine nature — have been clearly seen, because they can be understood from what he has made. Therefore, they have no excuse; because, although they know who God is, they do not glorify him as God or thank him. On the contrary, they have become futile in their thinking; and their undiscerning hearts have become darkened. Claiming to be wise, they have become fools! In fact, they have exchanged the glory of the immortal God for mere images, like a mortal human being, or like birds, animals or reptiles! This is why God has given them up to the vileness of their hearts’ lusts, to the shameful misuse of each other’s bodies.  They have exchanged the truth of God for falsehood, by worshipping and serving created things, rather than the Creator — praised be he for ever. Amen.”

If you are interested in a bible based science course or simply interested in the Geology of where you live, I would encourage you to take these classes.  Patrick Nurre is easy to understand and these courses are a good introduction to help you understand geological concepts.  I would also encourage you to get outside and start exploring and observing, and put together an exploration kit or backpack like the one Patrick Nurre shares here:

More Courses

There are lots of course options available from Northwest Treasures your family might be interested in learning more about. The Dinosaurs and the Bible course looks very interesting and I think this will be the next course my kids would enjoy doing.

My kids have had a big interest in dinosaurs over the years, and we have made special trips to Dinosaur Land, Big Bone Lick State Park and Museum, Grays Fossil Site Excavation and Museum, Dinosaur Exhibitions at both Indianapolis and Greenville Children’s Museums, and also to the bible based Dinosaur Exhibits at the Creation Museum in Kentucky.

Though we have been to many dinosaur exhibits several times (yes kids like to go back and see them again and again), and I have tons of pictures, I only made a video of one of our visits a few years ago.  I need to make a new video, but making videos isn’t one of my strong points.  But I wanted to share it here to peak your interest in learning about dinosaurs from a biblical perspective.  If you are interested in seeing it, you can check out our “Back in Time” dinosaur exhibit video below.

In addition to the online classes, Northwest Treasures also offers physical courses, conferences, and camps that might meet your needs too.  Be sure to check out the high school level Northwest Treasures Curriculum Project, and for younger students the Geology for “Little Eyes” series.

Both online and physical course options from Northwest Treasures are great biblical science resources for homeschool families, bible classes, coops and more.

Social Media

Be sure to check out Northwest Treasures on their social media links for all the latest news and product updates.



Youtube Northwest Treasures:

Youtube Patrick Nurre:

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Love, Honor, and Virtue Book Review

I have an inspiring book to share with you today called Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality from Great Waters Press.

Love, Honor, and Virtue:

Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality

Softcover Paperback Book

96 Pages

Teens through Adults

Biblical sexuality,

Christian Marriage Education


Retails: $9.75 book (other versions available)

About the book:

Moral purity is more difficult today than ever before because of the advancement of technology and the backsliding of our culture.  Today’s generations face a difficult battle in the fight for moral purity.

Even though temptation has been here from the beginning of time, the generations alive today are being hunted, lured, and trapped by satan to sin against God.  Men and boys today are being exposed and ensnared by technology (smart phones, computers, TV’s, DVD’s, movies, etc) in their pocket, technology on their desk, technology in their living rooms and bedrooms, in music, on billboards as they drive, and sex stores and in sexual marketing of products that didn’t exist in previous generations.


  • To The Young Men on the Battlefield
  • Sex Was God’s Idea
  • It’s All Connected
  • The Enemy Perverts God’s Design
  • How Can A Young Man Keep His Way Pure?
  • Recovering From A Fall
  • Guys and Girls
  • The Road Ahead

This book is very direct.  It talks about some hard subjects for some people to talk about including pornography, sex, masturbation and others.  It is written for teens (and their parents) and men.  There is a need to have conversations as early as possible with the younger generation to get them prepared for the battle ahead.  This book gives a Biblical world view to the problems in this battle:

  • Understand God’s design, from biology to morality.
  • Navigate the cultural minefield.
  • Build a foundation for Christ-honoring relationships.
  • Find hope for recovery if they’ve stumbled.

What we thought about this book:

We were sent an autographed copy of Love, Honor, and Virtue for the purpose of this review.  This book is well written and speaks directly to young men and the problems they face in their journey to manhood.  Christian parents will gain a lot of insight to help their sons avoid the traps that satan has set in their path.

We are the parents of five boys and one girl.  We have been open with them about moral dilemmas and problems people face with purity and honoring Father God with a pure heart and sexual purity until marriage.  When ever things in our culture are contrary to what Father God has told us, we point this out and discuss it with our kids. They are aware of their surroundings, aware of the internet, and aware of the tricks satan uses to lure their flesh and hearts desires and how he traps people in their sin and idol worship.

Recently we took a trip to the beach and a battle for sexual purity played out right in front of us.  Our kids already know what to expect at the beach, there are sometimes teen girls, women and men at the beach who intentionally show their body, flirt, and want attention and usally someone at the beach is drinking of alcohol.  There are many women and girls (and boys and men) that don’t do these things, but there are also many there that do.

Sometimes we intentionally go later in the day and we try to avoid spring break and college breaks as much as possible when there are less of these folks there and more grandparents and families at the beach.  It is usually a much more wholesome situation and you can just relax and have fun.

But on this recent trip, part way into our time at the beach, there appeared a young woman in a peach colored bikini and she began posing for pictures and sending them on social media.  She intentionally chose to be next to us, most likely because of our teen boys.  There was plenty of other beach she could have chosen.  She commenced to posing in perverted poses for over an hour.  Our family tried to ignore her, to stay further in the water and face out to sea as much as possible.  We had been having fun for a good hour or more before she showed up.  But it was impossible to ignore her if we turned toward the beach or had to get out of the water to retrieve a drink of water from our bag.

Usually one adult stays near our bag, towels, shoes, and near the edge of the water to keep an eye on everything, while the other adult goes deeper into the water with the kids who want to swim and we trade off as needed.  Sometimes one or more of this kids is more interested in digging in the sand or building a sand castle than in swimming or just needs to take a break.  So it helps to have a parent near by to watch the one (s) out of the water as well as have a parent in the water with the others.

There are no life guards at the beach.  So having one parent stay a little farther back to see the big picture is helpful.  On this particular day, three men on three separate stretches of beach drowned between 10 am and 2 pm, right in the middle of the day.  We were there later in the day and didn’t learn of drownings until the following day.  It is a sad reality and there is risk involved when you swim in the ocean.  So it helps to have one parent stand back and see everyone’s head pop back up if a big wave crashes over one or more of the family.

This young woman intentionally chose to be right there in front of us doing repulsive poses.  She never went swimming.  She was clearly there for a provocative photo shoot at the edge of the water.  For some poses she opened her legs, other poses she pushed up her breasts and leaned back while arching her back and pointing her breasts to the sky, other poses she leaned forward for her butt and crotch in the air to be exposed in provocative poses.  There were two adults (looked like they could be around age 55 to 60) with her and they encouraged her to pose and helped take her pictures and critique them, and with their support she posted them on social media on her phone.  Instead of discouraging provocative behavior, they encouraged it.  This entire scenario seemed straight out of a low budget movie and had she not had that small string covering the very little that it did, it would have been porn with the beach by no stretch of the imagination.

At first I was upset.  Why God?  Why expose my family to this? Why allow this on the day we came to the beach, when we try so hard to teach the kids right and wrong and honor you?  Why this young woman who needs you more than fame or modeling or sleazy attention from gross men who are just going to get their 10 minutes of fun and leave her used, broken, and neglected?   I wanted to go and speak to her and to the adults with her and tell her God loves her and she shouldn’t be showing her body like this.  But my husband wouldn’t let me go say anything this time.

Why now?  Well I felt Father God remind me of the book I was reading about Love, Honor, and Virtue.  He reminded me of the fight for righteousness that I am in as I walk through this life and he is with me, I am not alone.  I cannot protect anyone from these tricks of satan.  Only He can protect them and provide the way of escape.  But I can prepare the kids for the battle for their eyes, hearts, minds, and body.  Being prepared is huge!  Don’t be caught off guard.  The kids can see the truth and it is the truth that sets them free!  It really drove home the message that you don’t have to be remain naive to satan’s schemes and become a victim in this life.  You can be a well prepared equipped warrior in this life.

Satan will use anyone who is willing to do his dirty work and he will trap anyone caught unaware.  He will leave victims on both sides.  We fight not against flesh and blood, but we fight against the rulers of darkness and evil spirits in high places.

I felt sorry for that young woman and the adults with her.  They need God!  They need prayer!  They need set free from the grip of satan!  But I also felt rejuvenated.  We are talking about it, praying, learning scripture and applying it.  We can fight temptation with weapons Father God has provided, even in the moment temptation rears it’s weapons, and with Father’s help we can win the sexual purity battle!

About the Authors:

Hal and Melanie Young are the homeschool parents of six boys and two girls and live in North Carolina.  They have written several books including Raising Real Men.  They are authors, publishers, writers, church and conference speakers.  They have become well loved in the Christian Homeschool Community.

Here is a short interview video with the authors about opportunities to teach purity to your kids:

More about the Raising Ream Men ministry resources:

Final Thoughts

Every family needs the information in this book and to put it into action.

I would encourage homeschool families with kids of all ages and especially teens to get this book and talk about it with your family.  This book would also make a great course for churches, college groups, and bible study groups.

Social Media

Facebook: @raisingrealmen @halandmelanie


Pinterest: @raisingrealmen

Twitter: @raisingrealmen

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Josefina Story Quilt Study Guide Progeny Press Review

We were recently sent a fun study guide to review from Progeny Press called The Josefina Story Quilt – eGuide.

The Josefina Story Quilt – eGuide

Downloadable PDF Study Guide

34 Pages

Grades 1-3

Retails $11.99 e-book (or CD).

This study guide is 34 pages and is designed for kids in 1st through 3rd grades.   The study guide goes along with the book called The Josefina Story Quilt.  The study guide is available for $11.99 as a PDF download, or as a CD on the Progeny Press website.  The reader book is also available for $3.99 on the Progeny Press website, bookstores, and may be available to borrow in your local library.

Table of Contents

  • Note to Instructor
  • Synopsis (summary of the story)
  • About the Author
  • Background Information
  • Before-you-read Activities
  • Vocabulary
  • Looking at the Story: Part One
  • Looking at the Story: Part Two
  • Dig Deeper
  • Crossword Puzzle Review
  • Activities, Arts, and Crafts
  • Suggestions For Further Reading
  • Answer Key

Examples of Study Guide Pages:

Our Experience:

We received the downloadable PDF version of the study guide (e-study guide) for the purpose of this review.  I printed it and put it into a three ring binder.  We were expected to acquire the reader book on our own.  I purchased the book The Josefina Story Quilt from the Progeny Press website for $3.99 plus shipping.

This story is about a young girl named Faith and her pet chicken named Josefina. Her family is moving to California by covered wagon in 1850.  Her father wants her to leave her pet chicken behind, but she convinces the family to let her bring the chicken with them.  The main characters are Faith, Josefina, Pa, Ma, and brother Adam.

The story follows Faith’s family’s journey on the wagon train. While on the journey, Josefina stayed in a cage at the back of the wagon, but on the times Faith let her out, usually big trouble ensued and Faith’s father is ready to get rid of the chicken. But he eventually becomes fond of the chicken after she begins laying eggs and acted as a watchdog to scare away robbers on the trail in the middle of the night.  The family goes through a lot of hardships on the trail including running out of food and water and faced many dangers.

While on the journey, Faith is tasked with making quilt squares that will later become a quilt that keeps the family warm, and the quilt also retells a story with fond memories. Faith decides to make the quilt squares about the journey with her pet chicken.  She makes a quilt square wagon wheel patch, and another for an egg patch.  On the journey she makes over 15+ quilt squares and then she made one for a pine tree to remember where she had to bury her pet chicken after she died.  Though it took a long time, maybe six months or more, eventually the family makes it to their new destination.  When Faith has finished her patches and has enough to make a quilt, her family pitches in and helps her make a blanket quilt for her bed to remember the story of their journey.  From that night forward, every night she sleeps under her Josefina Story Quilt.

Though the story book does not have a Christian focus, the study guide questions use a Christian perspective in evaluating the story.  Kids are encouraged to read bible scriptures and relate them to the events and characters in the story and there is a lot of room to write out their answers as they ponder these ideas.  They are also encouraged to use a dictionary and look up new words. Before you begin there is a map activity and questions about what you might take with you if you were on the wagon train, and a short encyclopedia look-up activity. There is vocabulary multiple choice questions and a word scramble and crossword puzzle.

In addition to reading the book and answering the study guide questions and cross word puzzle, my daughter enjoyed the few suggested activities in the study guide. She enjoyed homemade bread (we purchased locally made homemade bread as it was too hot to bake our own), and she made an art project creating paper quilt squares.

On her own, she also role played and retold the story to me with her Legos.  She had a wagon (her brother later dismantled), a bird (for Josefina), a girl (for Faith), boy, mom, dad, and two robbers.

Final Thoughts

For the purpose of this review, I had my daughter review this study guide with me.  She enjoyed this experience.  She enjoyed the bible study and crossword puzzle, but said she wished there were some more hands on activities in the study guide.  Also the suggestions to further the learning are additional books you can read about the time period.  Though we appreciated the book list, it was not super exciting for her as she would also prefered more hands on activities related to the book and time period.  She would have liked more opportunities to learn further and I plan to put more activities together for her.

There is a lot of writing practice scattered through out the study guide and many of the writing activities seemed more relevant for an older student rather than a 1st – 3rd grader.  However the story book itself was right for the listed age range.  I would say, given that this study guide was produced in 1995, and costs $12 plus buying the book $4 (so at least a $16+ or more investment), that updating the material and activity suggestions would be a good idea.

We plan to revisit this again with our American History studies in the fall.  My plan is to use the book and study guide along with my daughter to teach this story to her younger brothers.  She is practicing some teaching and helping skills and this will be a great book and guide to practice her skills with.

When we revisit this study guide in the fall with all three of the younger kids, we plan to turn it into a unit study.  We will take more time to learn about the history of the Wagon Trains that went Westward, do a lot more arts and crafts, and do science activities about breeds of chickens, learn more about eggs, learn about feathers, mix up some homemade bird food perhaps looking in the yard or a field for grass seeds and things birds can eat, caring for horses, oxen (caring for cows), practice hand sewing projects, and take a field trip to visit a hands on historical farm and a museum.  We will also do some campfire activities outdoors in the back yard when it cools off this fall, and some baking of historical recipes, but it has been too hot this summer to do those.  We may also study the night sky and study the moon and stars.  I found some free resources online to go along with the book and study guide to create a lap book.  I will print those out and get some folders to make the lap books.  My kids love making lap books so this will be a great way to further the learning.  I think my daughter might want to make her own story quilt to use for her bed in the future.

I was looking forward to doing this review because we enjoyed reviewing Sam The Minute Man study guide from Progeny Press a few years ago.  I am cautious about what books we choose to review, so many have pagan and heretic ideals, and there are many to choose from that don’t meet our requirements.  I don’t think you can view wizards, sorcery, reanimating the dead, magic, trans-humanism, gods and goddesses, pagan rituals, and aliens (that are really demons and fallen angels as they are noted in the bible) with a positive Christian spin, that would be delusional and hypocritical no matter how many bible verses you dump on it.  However, there are many historical books and study guides to choose from where applying the bible does give a deeper understanding, and enrich our lives and spiritual outlook.  Overall, we have enjoyed learning literature with historically focused books, and gaining a deeper understanding of Progeny Press study guides.

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Code For Teens Review

The new school year will soon be here, and we have a new computer science curriculum lined up for this fall called  Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide To Programming (Volume 1) that Code for Teens sent us to review.

Code for Teens

The Awesome Beginner’s Guide To Programming

Volume 1: JavaScript


221 pages


Retail $25

Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide To Programing Volume 1: JavaScript is a softcover illustrated 221 page book designed for highschool students and those reading at a sixth grade reading level and above. This course has 10 chapters including vocabulary, follow along projects, quizzes, drills, DIY exercises, reivews, and key concept summaries.

This book is a text book, lab book, and teacher answer key all in one.  Students will need the book, a computer and keyboard, internet access, Google Chrome browser, and access to Google Documents online, or an installed software program such as Microsoft Word.  With the Chrome browser, students will be able to access Chrome’s console to complete the step by step exercises in the book. As a final project in chapter 10, students create their own web game called Hangman.

Students keep track of their progress by creating a “Workbook” within “Google Documents” or on Microsoft Word or similar software program that they can access and use again and again, saving their progress.  Students can check their own work, or have a parent check their work.  This book is designed so that students can work through this course independently.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Hello World!
    Write your first lines of code and make mistakes.
  • Chapter 2: Time to Operate
    Code with numbers and math operators.
  • Chapter 3: Comment on the String Section
    Concatenate strings and make snide comments.
  • Chapter 4: Have Some Functions
    Declare and invoke functions.
  • Chapter 5: Shall I Compare?
    Use booleans, if blocks, conditionals, and comparison operators.
  • Chapter 6: Logically Operational
    Work with null, undefined, and logical operators.
  • Chapter 7: Projects Galore
    Practice methods in lots of short projects.
  • Chapter 8: Hip Hip Array!
    Introduce arrays and do stuff with ’em.
  • Chapter 9: Loop a Round
    Put your code on repeat with loops.
  • Chapter 10: Make a Hangman Game
    Combine concepts from every chapter to build a cool game.
  • Conclusion
  • Answers
  • Glossary of Terms

During this course, students will develop skills for computer programming, problem solving, and learn to think like a computer engineer.  After mastering this course, students are encouraged to continue learning HTML and CSS with Code for Teens (Volume 2) where they will learn learn even more coding skills and learn to build web pages, games, and more.


This is a brand new curriculum for teens published in 2018 by Jeremy Moritz and illustrated by his wife Christine Moritz.  Together they are raising and homeschool educating six children in Kansas City, Kansas.

In addition to writing curriculum, Jeremy is also a Director of Music Theater,  a Choreographer, and a Performer, and he has been involved in over 100+ productions with children and adults.  Christine is a busy mom, a creative artist, and the book mentions she enjoys cooking, power tools, and playing piano.

I am head over heals to so to speak over this couple and their family.  I spent some time watching Jeremy’s Youtube channels where he shares videos of his family and some of the productions he has been involved in.  The videos are not about the curriculum, but about his family and more.  I was so impressed with his family.  They are a beautiful homeschool family, and the photos show real life events, a lived in house, bouncing and playing in the yard, their church, chess tournaments, and really funny kids full of lots of energy.  The videos really capture the life of a large homeschool family.  It is so nice to review curriculum written by homeschool parents and see they are in the midst of life, loving it, living it, breathing it, doing it, for the glory of God.

One of the videos that really impressed me was a video he shared of his engagement to his wife on their wedding slideshow. WOW!  About half way through that video they both share they are in love with God and it was their love for God that drew them to each other.  To hear them talk about what inspired them in each other and what drew them together left me and my kids awe struck!

Another inspiring video is of him and his wife and a skit called Where Do We Start?  It was really interesting to see the author and illustrator as husband and wife and their creativity working together. It is something you just don’t get to see most of the time.

I hope Jeremy and Christine will make more videos that inspire people to learn about Father God, his Word, his Son and salvation, and loving each other and raising a homeschool family.

Our Experience

We were sent Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner’s Guide To Programming Volume 1: JavaScript in exchange for writing an honest review.   I am using this book with my 13 and 15 year old sons for a highschool computer science elective.

I also had my 18 year old son who has previously taken a beginner’s Java language coding course (and several graphic design courses) look over the book with me, because he is more experienced with computers than I am.  He read through the first couple of pages and then went online and learned more about Java and JavaScript as two different coding languages and read up more on both.  Then came back to the book and after reading through the first two chapters in the Code for Teens book, he informed me that he wants to take the course too and will use it when his brothers are finished.  He has asked me to acquire the Volume 2 HTML and CSS  courses as soon as we can. He loves every opportunity to learn.

This book is written very simply and step by step.  Chapters include short lessons that include new vocabulary and concepts, a Follow Along projects you implement as you learn, then a short Quiz, Drills to practice what you learned, Aggregate Review building on what you have learned, DIY activities so you can learn to think for yourself, and a chapter summary called Key Concepts.

A few key points, about why you might consider teaching a computer coding class to your kids:

*Computer coding is a useful and relevant skill in the modern age we live in.

*Computer coders are highly desired in the job market and well paid.

*Learning computer coding is like learning a new language. Some of the computer languages are: Java, JavaScript, Python, C#, PHP, Go, C++, and more.

*JavaScript is the most used computer coding language in websites and mobile apps.

I read through the book myself and it peaked my interest to join the kids and learn right along with them.  There is a lot of vocabulary and concepts that are new to me too.

However, I had a couple of issues with a few sentences in this book.  The author encouraged kids to learn code so they can gain “super powers”.

In the Introduction at the beginning, the author compares acquiring coding skills to super powers, and encourages kids to learn to code so they can have powers such as Harry Potter.  I was shocked, on the one hand, the author is telling parents they didn’t need to teach this course to their kids, just turn them loose with the book and they could learn it on their own, yet to the kids it is referencing the wizard Harry Potter and harnessing their brain to gain power.  There are also a few references in the book to magic wands, magic keys, etc.  He also draws a comparison to knowing code as being mortal/immortal, having magical ideas in your head, having power to control others, and having power to make machines obey your coding commands.  These statements are off the cuff, and seem to be intended as funny jokes to kids, and do not seem intentional to cause harm.  However, it has spiritual significance.

The author has a sense of humor and I get it that he is trying to be funny and keep kids interested in learning.  Had it not been for these few comments about Harry Potter, power, magic, and imagining yourself at Halloween, etc. I would have considered this book near perfect.  But for our family, these are things we don’t participate in and referencing them in curriculum makes us pause and consider if we want to continue learning with the material. We are a faith based homeschool family and are involved hands on with our kids education.  We believe that sorcery is wrong, Father God has forbidden it in the scriptures, and we do not encourage our children to seek out books, movies, or ideas that promote magic and sorcery.

I talked over these points with my kids, and because the majority of the the curriculum is without these kinds of references, and it seems the author was only trying to be funny and is most likely unaware of the spiritual implications of what he is saying, we decided to proceed with using it.  As I said earlier, if it hadn’t been for those few statements, I would have seen the book as a perfect curriculum and would not have had any doubts about using it.  I think using this beginning code book can be a benefit to my kids and myself to learn about coding and how to understand and use JavaScript.  We just have to keep in mind, the spiritual significance of all of this.  The kids and I are working our way through the book and I will have them continue using it with their fall curriculum.

My personal thoughts about coding computers, smart devices, and Ai:

I believe a “PROCEED with CAUTION” sign is advised for Christian families when learning about computers, and we need to understand how they are changing, and how we use them in our every day lives.  I hope more people who love Father God will wake up to the truth that is happening right before their eyes and proceed with caution when it comes to computers, coding, smart phones and smart devices, the internet, and Ai.

The bible tells us that the final kingdom is “trans” human, as it blends clay and iron (man and metal, man and machine), brings about a “one world” religion and government, and is cashless needing only the mark of the beast to buy or sell.  It tells us that the Beast, False Prophet, the Antichrist, and Abbadon (also known as Helios and Apolyon) will soon release a terrible time in history upon mankind.   The increase in computers and Ai machines that people place their trust in will fulfill bible prophesy.  For example, many have already accepted the rfid computer chip to buy and sell and access their personal medical records and passwords. The rfid computer chip can get them into their offices, air planes, trains, expedite hospital admissions, access their bank account to pay for their coffee and purchases, and more.  Another example is of the co-creators of Google, they have opened a church called “The Way” and worship “Ai” as a “god”.  People are putting their faith in Ai to answer their life questions, to run their schedules, to guide their cars, to make purchases, to do facial recognition, to predict risk, to find a mate, to know when you ovulate and when to procreate, to create solutions to social dilemmas, to mix chemical formulations for pharmacy to treat diseases, to predict diseases and life span, to choose life or death for the unborn and the aged, to secure their homes, etc. There is a lot more examples I could share, but hopefully this is enough to raise your eyebrows and sound an alarm bell in your head.

Did you know that in Hebrew, “Ai” was the place other gods were worshiped, they set up temples to these other gods, especially the transgender god Ishtar (Iana, Diana, Easter, Venus, Morning Star, Summer, Sumeria, Liberty, Queen of Heaven, Lucifer) and participated in festivals to various gods, and it made Father God very angry and Israel was judged for it?  Did you know that in Hebrew, “Ai” means “ruin”?  The bible says there is nothing new, these deceptions have all been done before and continue to be done in society and even in the church.  Ai will once again become a heap of ruins, and all those who put their trust in it will be ruined for eternity.

We are living in the end times, and we are warned in the scriptures of a day when folks will be forced to take the “mark” or starve, and forced to worship the “beast” or be killed, and worship the image of the antichrist, the one who replaces Jesus of Nazareth, Yahusha Ha Mashiac, our healer and savior.  This evil one will use technology to create an image that speaks.  He will be trusted for everything and people will believe he will make the world a better place.  He has also been given the “power” to work sorcery, signs, miracles, cause storms and earth quakes, and he will create a false peace and trust.  But he will eventually break that trust and bring terrible events, disease, and war upon the people of the earth.

I encourage you when you and your kids are learning about computers and smart devices, computer languages and design, to understand its place in bible prophesy and proceed with caution and use discernment to test the spirit, pray, and understand the big spiritual picture.

Final Thoughts

I would encourage Homeschool parents who are interested in teaching their kids about coding computers to check out this curriculum and perhaps learn how to code right along with their kids.  I know this book is designed so parents don’t have to teach it and kids can teach it to themselves, but perhaps one of the best relationship building things you can do with your kids is to work through the curriculum together and talk about what you are learning, talk about how it lines up with history, with current events and the bible, and grow in your relationship and your spiritual walk.

You can read the Introduction and First Chapter for FREE at Code For Teens.

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Bible Study Guide For All Ages Review

Are you considering a bible study curriculum for your kids?  How about a bible study that everyone can do together, no matter how young or old they are?  Then you might check into the Bible Study Guide for All Ages.

We were recently sent several of their products to review in our home:

The Bible Study Guide for All Ages has products for all ages and they can be used with any version of the bible.  There are several levels to choose from and each level covers the same lesson at a deeper (higher skill) level depending on age and skill level of the learner. There are levels for Teens and Parents/Adults, and a Primary (1st and 2nd grade) level too.  However, I am only sharing today about the three levels (Lessons 1-26 of Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced) and the cards, maps, and timelines that we looked over for the purpose of this review.

Beginner Student Pages (3-K) 

The Beginner Level includes several activities for young learners.

  • Coloring
  • Listening
  • Memory Work
  • Review
  • Introductory Learning Activities

The Beginner Student Pages set includes a workbook with 26 one-page lessons (front and back).  You can easily tear off each page as needed or leave them in the book to be completed.  This is a large book with legal size 8.5” x 14” pages.  These books are consumables and so each student needs their own book.

Beginner Timeline:

Time Line helps students understand the chronology of the Bible.  The Beginner Time Line (for ages 3-K) is 34 full-color, 8.5″ x 11″ pictures on sturdy card stock with one question about each picture. The visual aid teaches young students one simple fact about major people and events in the Bible. It also teaches them the order in which those people and events appear in the Bible.

Intermediate Student Pages (3rd & 4th grade) 

The Intermediate Level contains lots of skills and activities including:

  • Memory work
  • Review
  • Bible story/text
  • Time line
  • Map drills
  • Application activities

The Student Pages of interactive activities follows the same format for each lesson.  The kids will see the same headings that reinforce the learning pattern as they work through each lesson:

  • Remember It? (review of previous lesson)
  • Memory Workout
  • Guess What
  • Timeline
  • Get Active
  • Apply It

The Intermediate Student Pages set is constructed the same as the Beginner Level.   This workbook includes 26 one-page lessons (front and back) and you can complete them in the book or remove them one lesson at a time as needed.  The pages are 8.5” x 14” (legal size).  These are consumable workbooks and each student needs their own book.

Advanced Student Pages (5th & 6th grade) 

The Advanced Level contains lots of activities like the Intermediate Level, but just at a more in-depth understanding.

The Student Pages format for the Advanced Level is:

  • Remember It? (quick review of previous lesson)
  • Memory Workout
  • Guess What
  • Timeline
  • Apply It
  • Get Active

The Advanced Student Pages sets is a workbook of lessons and activities that includes 26 one-page lessons (front and back).  The pages are lightly glue-bound in the binding and you can complete them in the book or easily tear off each page if desired. The size of each page is 8.5” x 14” (legal size).  These are consumable workbooks and each student will need their own book.

Teacher Key (Contains Advanced, Intermediate, and Beginner Level Guide and Answer Keys):

The Advanced Teacher Key has all the answers to each of the lessons for the Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced levels, instructions and tips for using the Unlabeled Wall Maps and Time Line and additional background information.

It is not required to purchase the Teacher Key for using the Student Pages sets, but it is very helpful to the parent, and it is recommended when using with groups.

Bible Book Summary Cards

This video explains more about how to use the Bible Book Summary Cards along with the bible study lessons.

Wall Maps and Timeline Set (Unlabeled)

The Wall Maps and Timeline set includes a timeline, three maps, and a book that contains the labels and figures for you and your students to cut out and apply to the timeline and the maps during specific lessons.

The size of the time line is 76″ x 25″.

The sizes of the maps are 38″ x 25″, 19″ x 25″ and 19″ x 25″.


Check out this video “Teaching Our Kids” by the Bible Study Guide for All Ages:

Check out this video Introduction called “Intro To The Bible Study Guide” by the Bible Study Guide For All Ages:

Scripture Lessons 

4 Years of Bible study lessons covered in Bible Study Guide For All Ages:

UNIT 1 (lessons 1 to 104)

1-14 Joseph (Genesis 37-50)
15-20 Daniel
21-36 Jesus’ early life & 1st year of ministry (Mt 1:4-11, Mk 1:3-19, Lk 1:5-11, Jn 1-5)
37-41 Adam (Genesis 1-5)
42-45 Noah (Genesis 6-10)
46-48 Job
50-68 Moses (Exodus 1-20)
69-84 Joshua
86-104 Jesus’ last week (Mt 21:28-26:16, 57-75; Mk 11; 12:41-44; 14:12-52; Lk 22:24-30; Jn 11:55-17:26; 18:12-14)

UNIT 2 (lessons 105 to 208)

105-111 Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, resurrection, & ascension
112-119 Peter, Stephen, Philip (Acts 1-8)
121-130 Abraham (Genesis 11-24)
134-139 Jacob (Genesis 28-36)
141-162 David (2 Samuel 1-24; 1 Chronicles 22-29; Psalm 139, 23, 51)
163-174 Solomon (1 Kings 1-11, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs)
175-178 Ahijah (1 Kings 12-16)
179-186 Elijah (1 Kings 17 – 2 Kings 2)
188-192 James
193-199 1 & 2 Peter
200-205 1 & 2 & 3 John, Jude
206-208 Revelation

UNIT 3 (lessons 209 to 312)

210-231 Moses (Exodus 21 –> Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)
232-238 Hebrews
240-254 Jesus’ 2nd year of ministry (Mt 5-7; 8:18-22; 9:10-34; 12:22-50; 13:24-53; Mk 4:1-29; 6; Lk 7:1-8:3; 8:22-39; 11:37-13:9;
Jn 6:22-71)
256-260 Peter (Acts 9-12)
261-269 Paul (Acts 13-18:22, 1 & 2 Thessalonians)
271-288 Judges
289-292 Ruth
293-297 Samuel (1 Samuel 1-9)
298-312 Saul (1 Samuel 10-31)

UNIT 4 (lessons 313-416)

314-333 Jesus’ 3rd year of ministry (Mt 17-19; Mk 7-8; 10:32-52; Lk 10:1-11:13; 13:10-19:28; Jn 7-11)
335-384 Paul’s 3rd journey (Acts 18:23-28:31)
336-343 1 Corinthians
345-350 2 Corinthians
351-353 Galatians
354-361 Romans
371 Philemon
372-373 Colossians
374-376 Ephesians
377-378 Philippians
379-381 1 Timothy
382 Titus
383-384 2 Timothy
386-416 Elisha, Divided and Conquered Kingdoms: 2 Kings,
2 Chronicles
391 Obadiah
394 Joel
396-397 Jonah
398 Amos & Hosea
401 Isaiah & Micah
403 Zephaniah & Nahum
404 Habakkak & Jeremiah
405 Lamentations & Ezekiel
406-407 Ezra 1-6
408 Haggai & Zechariah
409-411 Esther
412 Ezra 7-10
413-416 Nehemiah
416 Malachi

Check out this video of the Intermediate Level in action.

Our Experience Using the Bible Study Guide for all Ages

We were sent the first 26 lessons (of 416 lessons) for the Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced levels, Advanced Teachers Key, plus the Beginners Timeline, Bible Book Summary Cards, and the unlabeled Wall Maps and Timeline sets.

The Beginner’s level was just the right level for my youngest son. In the pictures below are examples of his progress on lessons 1 and lesson 2 as we studied about the life of Joseph in the bible.  Fourteen of the twenty six lessons focus on the life of Joseph.  One of our boy’s name is also Joseph and he has several brothers (and one sister) so they could identify with having lots of siblings.  All of the kids enjoyed learning with this bible study.

In the Beginner’s level, there is a page to color on the front of the lesson while he listens to the bible scripture and answers a few questions, and also a CD with songs is also recommended to help memorize the scripture, but it was not sent to us for review.  The back side of this page has a few steps to complete at this level to help reinforce the learning.

Each step and task is numbered.

My 9 year old really enjoyed using the Intermediate level too.  There are bible verses to look up, and instructions to follow including a few small things to color and lots of fun tasks to complete.  Each of the tasks are numbered and for the most part he was able to complete them independently while I helped his younger brother.

For the Advanced level, there is more writing and tasks to be completed than at the Intermediate level.  Below you can see the work my kids completed in all three levels from Lesson 1 side by side. You can see how each student workbook covers the same information, but at different skill levels.

Hanging the Timelines and Wall Maps:

Best to take some measurements, as these resources take up a lot of wall space.  They suggest if you don’t have the wall space, to place them on sheets of cardboard that can be easily set up and taken down and stored as needed.  There are smaller timelines included in the student pages too.

Label Book:

The Maps and Timelines are constantly a work in progress depending on what you are learning about in the lessons.  You will move things around and add more lables on as you go.

Final Thoughts

We have enjoyed using these bible study materials in our home.  They are cartoon like, so they appealed to our younger kids, especially my six and nine year old sons. However using cartoon characters with bible study may or may not appeal to everyone.  Also the size of the pages is a little awkward for storage on a book shelf or binder because they are 14 inches long.  So far, I have just been storing them flat in a box with all the bible study materials we need at the same time, but I do hope to find a better system for storing them.  I do like the addition of the interactive wall maps and timeline activities and feel these have enhanced our bible learning.

If you are looking for an interactive bible study for your whole family (or coops or church groups), then stop over at Bible Study Guide For All Ages and see if they have what you are looking for and the resources to meet your needs.

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The Master and his Apprentices Review

If you are looking for a Highschool Art History curriculum, then you might check out The Master and His Apprentices company.   We recently had the opportunity to review their product called The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective.

The Master and His Apprentices:

Art History from a Christian Perspective

Covers Art History from Creation to Modern Day

Highschool Elective

Full Color Illustrations

Two Versions Available: Digital & Physical


Digital Text $34.99

Digital Teacher Guide $19.99


Hardcover Text $149.99

Softcover Teacher Guide $24.99

The Master and His Apprentices is designed to give students a solid foundation in art history.  It is written from a Christian worldview and incorporates scriptures into the study.  The Master and His Apprentices helps readers understand history through art and helps create a “visual” timeline of biblical and world events.  Unlike most other art history curriculum, this one does not contain nudity, but instead focuses on various masterpieces artists created during specific historical periods.

Art History Periods covered:

  • Creation: God is the Master Artist
  • Ancient Cultures: Ancient Near East, Egyptian and Aegean
  • Classical Antiquity: Early Greek, Etruscan and Roman
  • Middle Ages: Medieval & Islamic, Early Christian & Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic
  • Renaissance: Proto-Renaissance, Early Italian Renaissance, High Italian Renaissance and Northern Renaissance
  • Baroque and Beyond: Baroque, Rococo to Today (modern art) and Global Highlights (non-Western art)

The Master and His Apprentices can be completed independently by highschool students or adapted to be used by the whole family. This course is available in both a digital version and a physical book version.  This is a full curriculum, covers over 125 hours of instruction (text, notes, discussions, worksheets, research papers, and exams), and can be used for highschool elective credit.


The Text is about 372 +/- printable pages and contains reprints of ancient art, architecture, statues, paintings, and relics from around the world throughout history.

It covers around 19 different historical and cultural focuses condensed and divided into 6 historical periods.  The course starts out with an introduction to art history.  Then a brief focus on the first six days of creation and Father God as the first artist.  Next it covers man-made art, sculptures, relics, and buildings from around the world throughout different cultures and periods in history.  It also covers art related vocabulary and related concepts used in art such as: Design and Composition, Line and Shape, Value and Color, Style and Texture, etc.

Teacher Guide:

The Teacher Guide is about 60-70 +/- printable pages (they are not numbered).

This book includes a suggested schedule with week by week instructions, worksheets that can also be used as discussion questions, four exams, instructions for writing four course papers on artists from different time periods, grading chart, answer keys, and more.

A suggested schedule is to do the class over 36 weeks or divided into (2) 18-week semesters.  This course can also be used as a supplement to other curriculum (world history, bible history, ancient history, etc).


Gina has been a teacher and author for over 12 years. She is a home school and college graduate. I have been very impressed with things she has shared about her experiences and why she wrote this curriculum.

She states her goal in writing this curriculum is: “From the beginning, I’ve been praying that God would use this book to draw non-believers to Himself and to push believers even further into Jesus as His fingerprints become more visible in creation and history.”

She says she has watched students transform as they connect the Creator to Art History.  From her website, she states “In fact, often for the first time in their lives, they were able to make connections between their different classes. Visually “seeing” the periods allowed them to create a framework in their minds for combining various timelines from other disciplines, be it history, Bible, literature, science, philosophy, etc. More importantly, many students were awaking to the fact that the Bible isn’t just a story, but real history – a history that overlaps other famous periods, places, people, and events.”

Our Experience:

For the purpose of this review, I focused on my son who loves art.  He wants to be an artist (drawing and painting), and a craftsman (with wood and leather) himself.  However, all three of my highschool boys are taking this course for highschool elective credit.

We were sent the digital versions of this curriculum which included:

  • Digital Text ~ The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective
  • Digital Teacher Guide
  • Digital Print/Photocopy Rights for our household.

With the digital versions, you can view the curriculum on the computer and you have the option to print out what you need if desired. The Print/Photocopy Rights give you the permission to print additional copies for multiple students in your household.  Or you can purchase the physical book versions if there are things you want a physical copy of and if you don’t want to print them yourself.

After using the program on the computer (Text and Teacher Guide), and printing the worksheets as we needed them, I decided to purchase the physical copy of the Teacher Guide too.  I actually purchased three Teacher Guides so that all three of my highschool sons have their own book to write in.  We were fine with the colorful digital copy of the Text book to read on the computer, but having a physical copy of the Teacher Guide in front of me and my sons simplified things so I didn’t have to go back and forth to the printer for the worksheets.

So far, my son is enjoying this course.  There is a lot of information covered and he is very motivated.  He has other courses with overlapping information that he is doing at the same time for: Ancient History, Bible History, and World History and Art.  So this class is mirroring what he is learning in those courses and increasing his knowledge about various art, history, cultures, and what we know about them.

He has no problem completing the worksheets.  The worksheets are filled with questions and give you space to answer, usually answers are a phrase or a few sentences.  You can also use these questions for discussion.  There are also a few pages to diagram.  We have not yet completed a test or a research paper though.  But I have no doubt he will do well as this is a subject he enjoys and is motivated to complete.

My Personal Thoughts:

I hope I am getting wiser in my “old age”.   I know I am getting bolder in my faith and sharing what God has put on my heart and my understanding of scripture.  So that is what I am about to do, and you can skip this section of my review if you don’t want to hear it.  I have a lot more to say, and I will post more (a continuation) in a future post.  But here is a very brief statement.

I appreciate the Author’s love for Father God and her desire to help students understand bible history as they learn about art history.  I also appreciate her hope that people will draw near to Jesus as their savior.  She has done a good job putting art history and bible history together.  The bible scriptures she has included and in depth timelines help to connect the dots of events in history, bible events, and art.

However, I have some misgivings about using art history or any art appreciation curriculum to draw students close to “god”.  There are so many different gods and idolatry represented in artwork from cultures around the world that I believe people can actually be led away from Father God while they are “appreciating” art if they are not very careful.

I personally believe most things in this world that fall under “art appreciation” and “art history” and “ancient history” and “world history” would be things Father God has warned us to stay away from.

Colossians 2:8  ” Watch out, so that no one will take you captive by means of philosophy and empty deceit, following human tradition which accords with the elemental spirits of the world but does not accord with the Messiah (Jesus of Nazareth, Yahusha HaMeshiac).” 

I have sincerely questioned over the years whether or not Father God wants us to study what the world calls “art” from history.  There is a HUGE difference in knowledge and wisdom.  Much of what we learn in academics is just knowledge. Society asks us “How much do we know?”  Society “ranks” us and often pays us by what we know.

The “god” of every society on earth is the same deceiving serpent from the garden that was there when man first fell away from Father God, Yahuah, our Creator.  Do we really want to teach our kids to glorify and appreciate the statues, buildings, pyramids, paintings, and man-made creations that honor another god? Should we not sound the alarm and send out warnings and cautions to teach them not to glorify it?

Matthew 24:6 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in).”

But the real question should not be “what do you know” but rather “Does what we “know” draw us closer to Father God?” OR “Does “knowing more” draw us farther away from him?”  For example in scripture, Adam and Eve bit the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil when the serpent deceived them and told them to “appreciate” the forbidden fruit, he told them to “behold it, look at it, taste it, it will give you more knowledge, you will not die but you will become like god”.  Another example is in the lives of the Israelite’s who mixed all the cultural practices of Egypt, Greeks and Roman gods and traditions (and so many more examples) and what they “knew” and their “appreciation” of the “art” and idols of these other cultures actually drew them away from Father God, not closer to him.

Mark 7:9  “Indeed,” he said to them, “you have made a fine art of departing from God’s command in order to keep your tradition!”

Or put in context, it reads as “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me.  Their worship of me is useless, because they teach man-made rules as if they were doctrines.  You depart from God’s command and hold onto human tradition. Indeed, you have made a fine art of departing from God’s command in order to keep your tradition!”  Mark 7: 7-9

Until the church members of the Bride of Jesus of Nazareth, Yahusha HaMeshiac, wake up and see the truth, their brains will continue in gaining knowledge, but their spirit will lack discernment of truth, vision of the spirit, wisdom, and the power to defeat spiritual wickedness.

Perhaps most “great works of art” are proof of man’s sin against Almighty God.  Most famous works of art are a direct violation of God’s command to not create a graven image and not create idols and not worship any other gods.  Most are attached to demons and worship of deities and even in more modern art, many artists have shared they were under the influence of something evil and supernatural when they created their masterpiece.  In my early Christian walk, I was shocked when I first learned that demons are real, not just something from two thousand years ago, and not just someone’s imagination in modern horror movies and mental illness as we are led to believe, but instead they are real entities.  More recently I was also shocked to learn that many famous artists, musicians, and writers of “great” masterpieces were plagued by demons and blood sacrifice.  Yet Christians glorify these things that “artists” create and display them in their homes, education, communities, and churches.

1 Corinthians 12:2 “Remember the way you used to live when you were Gentiles (pagans) apart from God? You were engrossed—enchanted with voiceless idols, led astray by mere images carved by human hands.”

Jesus of Nazareth said that “traditions of men nullify the power of God in your life”.  The church has no power because they have traded their trust in the anointed word of Father God for “trust” and “appreciation” in man-made traditions.  He also said if the spirit of Father God is in you, then you will do greater things in this earth than he did.  How many Christians do you know who have done “greater”?  How many do you know who have healed someone, opened prisons, gave sight to the blind, raised the dead, made the lame to walk, cast out demons, etc.?  The church today is in bondage to buildings, demons (denominations) and “famous works” of literature and art and the traditions of men, academics, sports, pharmacia, artificial intelligence, music, and material possessions, and it lacks power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit of God.

I have prayed for discernment and have prayed that my family will see the world as Father God sees it.  I pray that we will avoid being deceived by the “things that look good to eye” and “desirable” in this world.  I pray Father God will give us eyes full of compassion, that look for his goodness,  and beholds what is upright, and for lips that speak truth and show kindness and charity to others, but also hearts that are wise and filled with truth and discernment.

Matthew 10:16  “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

Final Thoughts:

If you are looking for a thorough Art History curriculum, then The Master and His Apprentices will give you a historical understanding of famous works of art and artists, and an indepth timeline of art pieces and events, including biblical events, in history that will meet highschool requirements for Art History and Art Appreciation.

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Hake Saxon Grammar and Writing Review

If you are looking for a Grammar and Writing curriculum, then you might want to check out courses from Hake Publishing.

We were recently sent their Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 Language Arts curriculum set to review in our homeschool.

Hake Publishing has had great success helping students in both homeschools and public schools with their Grammar and Writing Language Arts curriculum series.

  • Grammar and Writing 3
  • Grammar and Writing 4
  • Grammar and Writing 5
  • Grammar and Writing 6
  • Grammar and Writing 7
  • Grammar and Writing 8

The Grammar and Writing curriculum series is written by Mary Hake (teacher, homeschool parent of 5, and grandparent) and Dr. Christie Curtis (teacher in public schools, private schools, and universities, parent of 3, and grandparent).  Together Mrs. Hake and Mrs. Curtis have worked hand in hand with Stephan Hake who is the lead creator of the award winning Saxon Math textbooks.  Mary Hake is Stephan Hake’s wife, and together they also homeschooled five kids.  Stephan Hake is also the owner of Hake Publishing.  Stephan has extensive experience writing and publishing curriculum.  He began writing curriculum for the well known Saxon company in 1984. The Grammar and Writing curriculum is written in a similar format to Saxon Math.

Grammar and Writing is an award winning, proven curriculum series that has been used by elementary school, middle school, high school, and even college students.  It is recommended for students to complete at least two years of the program to fully master skills and be ready for college level essay writing.  This will ensure that a strong foundation of language mastery is developed which will serve students well during higher education endevours and adulthood. Grammar and Writing 3 is Hake Publishing’s newest level in this curriculum series to come to the educational market.

Grammar and Writing 3

Grammar and Writing 3

Consumable Textbook, Writing Workbook, Teacher’s Guide

English Language Arts Curriculum


Vocabulary Development



Retail: $87.80 on sale for $63.30

The Grammar and Writing 3 course is designed for students who are reading at a 3rd grade reading level and above.  This is an easy to use Language Arts curriculum.  This course emphasizes lots of practice to develop good writing skills, vocabulary development and mastery, rules of spelling, dictionary skills, correct word usage, and mastery of grammatical rules of the English language.

This course contains 111 lessons with daily reviews and 22 tests overall.  A test is usually completed after every 5 lessons, except the first test begins after 10 lessons and the final test is after only 1 final lesson.  Writing Workbook lessons are recommended on test days, however the Consumable Textbook grammar lessons are not suggested on test day, so this creates an opportunity to utilize all the different aspects of this curriculum.  A suggested schedule for completing the lessons and daily reviews, tests, and writing assignments is listed in the Teacher Guide.

Grammar and Writing 3 meets and/or exceeds State Standards for English Language Arts.  See the downloadable Scope and Sequence  and the Faq page for more information.   Versions of this product are sold both to public schools (Hardback cover) and to individual homeschools (Softback cover).  Homeschools can purchase the Writing and Grammar 3 curriculum through the Hake Publishing Homeschool Orders page.

Consumable Textbook:

The 488 page Consumable Textbook contains 111 lessons with daily reviews.  Each lesson and review is 2 to 5 pages long.  Lessons and daily reviews are designed to take approximately 30 to 50 minutes to complete.  The suggested schedule in the Teachers Guide recommends completing 1 lesson and review per day.  However, you can go as fast or as slow as you like, but do not skip ahead in the order of the lessons.

Each lesson follows the same format and includes information that builds upon the learning skills of the previous lesson.

Each lesson begins with a brief “Grammar Meeting” to train student’s ears to listen (in the upper levels, this step is replaced with dictation); then a brief vocabulary exploration; then a lesson instruction, and finally a daily review.

  • Grammar Meeting: Speaking & Listening 2-3 minutes.
  • Vocabulary Words 2-3 minutes.
  • Lesson 10-15 minutes.
  • Review Set 20-25 minutes.

Teacher Guide:

The Teacher Guide is 391 perforated pages.  It contains 111 complete lesson plans and a suggested schedule.

Lesson Plans include “Teacher Scripts” (what to say to the student during the Grammar Meeting) for each lesson, a format for the lesson including a timeline for each lesson, and specific teaching tips.

The Teacher Guide also includes answer keys, student test masters, and the test answer keys, and also “More Practice” masters.

Writing Workbook:

The 92 page Writing Workbook contains 21 lessons in addition to the Textbook lessons.  These pages are perforated and hole punched for ease of use.  The workbook contains assignments for further practice and mastery of good writing skills. Each writing assignment in the Writing Workbook is approximately 4 to 6 pages and consists of a combination of fill in the blank, write the sentence, write a paragraph, or write a summary types of assignments.

Writing lessons are recommended to be completed on test day, but you have the freedom to choose to teach the Writing Lessons on days other than tests days also, use them which ever way works best for your student.  Writing Lessons should be completed in order, don’t skip ahead, and they build on skills progressively.


Check out this video to hear Stephan Hake and Dr. Christi Curtis explain the Grammar and Writing curriculum series:

Our Experience:

We received the 3 piece set of Grammar and Writing 3 to facilitate this review.  The books are very well made and contain a lot of information.  I like the way the books are laid out for both the student and parent, and the Teacher’s Guide makes this curriculum very easy for a parent to teach to their students.

This curriculum is geared for students with a 3rd grade or higher reading level, however my fourth grader felt frustrated at times as she tried to understand some of the information.  After working through the first three lessons with her, I found the curriculum to be more advanced than her reading level. She was not able to read it independently. She is currently using an online reading training program that is assisting her to be able to read proficiently at a third grade level, however she is not at this skill level yet.

After doing some research on the website, I found out this curriculum is meant for students who can read well at least at a third grade reading level or higher.   The series numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 after the title, has more to do with the level of reading proficiency (understanding of language, comprehension, and use of vocabulary) and not actually a specific grade level. So it could be used by various grades as long as they are reading at that level or above.

According to the website, even highschool students as well as college students can benefit from these books and should choose a level based on their level of reading proficiency.   The website also states that as long as you complete two years of either books 3 and 4, or 5 and 6, or 7 and 8 consecutively, that you will have covered enough grammar and writing material to benefit the student to write well.

So with that in mind, I asked my older boys if they would like to work with this curriculum.   One of the boys agreed to work through a few lessons with me to see how he liked it.

It was a great fit for him.  He felt he learned a lot in just a few lessons and stated it was just what he needed to help his grammar and writing.  He will continue to work through the rest of this course on into the new school year.  We will purchase the next level up for him as soon as he is finished with this one.   He is also currently taking a composition course that he loves and it helps him write short stories, but it doesn’t break down the structure of sentences and the roots of vocabulary.  So he is really glad to have Grammar and Writing 3 curriculum to help him understand even better.

I found the Teacher Guide to be essential for this course.  It was easy to guide my child through each question in the practice and review sections.  We did not use the optional “More Practice” worksheets, but we might at some point in the future.  It was very easy to follow the suggested schedule and lesson plans.  The lesson plan for each lesson and all of the information needed to teach that lesson fits into 1 page and is easy to view in one glance. The answers to the practice questions are listed on a corresponding page in the answer key section.  The information in the Teacher’s Guide is well organized and written in a step by step method so that it is easy for a parent to implement the lessons.

Final Thoughts:

I believe it is important to practice good grammar skills and learn to write well.  Writing is an important form of communication to convey information and ideas to others.  It is beneficial to find a Language Arts curriculum that works well for your kids to help them improve in these skills.

I am putting a list together and will be getting curriculum ready for the upcoming school year soon.  The Grammar and Writing curriculum is a good fit for our homeschool and I have decided to add it into our upcoming school year.  I will purchase additional sets for all three older boys for this coming school year and I would also like all three of my younger students to work through this curriculum too in a few years when they are ready.

I would encourage other homeschool families to check into this curriculum and see if Grammar and Writing 3 from Hake Publishing is right for their family.

Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using this product in their home.

Please share.

ARTistic Pursuits: Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary Review

If you want to learn art skills in the comfort of your home, then you might check out the fun professional art lessons for all ages from ARTistic Pursuits, Inc.   Everyone can learn art skills.

Our family recently reviewed one of their art curriculum products called Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary, which is volume 1 of the 6 part series called ARTistic Pursuits Art Instruction Books with DVD and Blu-Ray.

Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary

Instruction Book

Hardback Book

Colorful Step By Step Illustrations

18 Lessons

64 Pages


6 Video Lessons



6 Video Lessons

Cost $39.99 on sale for $33.99

Each field of study has it’s own vocabulary and the field of “Art” is no different.  In this curriculum, over the course of 18 lessons and hands on activities, students learn vocabulary words that artists use and much more.  They will learn about famous artists and their artworks, experiment with art supplies and various art techniques that will communicate ideas and develop skills too.

ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. curriculum is created by art instructor and author Brenda Ellis.  She has an extensive background as an artist, teacher, and author.  With her latest curriculum series for grades K-3, she wants to encourage your kids to develop a solid, hands on, “visual vocabulary” because it is the first step in learning about art.

Visual vocabulary words in this curriculum:

  • artist
  • art materials
  • compose
  • imagine
  • observe
  • elements
  • shape
  • form
  • texture
  • subjects
  • landscape
  • still life
  • portrait
  • artworks
  • and much more

Famous Art in this curriculum:

  • The Courtyard of a House in Delft by Pieter Hooch, 1658-1660
  • The Birthday by Mark Chagall, 1915
  • In Flander’s Field – Where Soldiers Sleep and Poppies Grow  by Robert Vonnoh, 1890
  • THe Christening Feast by Jan Steen, 1664
  • Flower Day by Diego Rivera, 1925
  • Boy with bagpipes and young bear by Artist Unknown, 20th CE
  • The Sunflower by Gustav Klimt, 1906-1907
  • Monte Sainte-Victore above the Tholonet Road, 1896-1898
  • Still Life with Coffeepot by Vincent Van Gogh, 1888
  • Sentinel of the Plains, by William Herbert Dunton, 1910
  • Blue Dancers by Edgar Degas, 1898
  • Henry VIII by Holbein The Younger, 1540

Lessons in this curriculum:

All of the lessons are professionally illustrated and contain step by step instructions.  Six of the lessons are described in greater audio visual detail on the DVD’s.  You can chose to play the lesson either on the regular DVD or Blu-Ray DVD.  The DVD’s make you feel like the teacher is right there in the same room with you and they are very easy to understand. With DVD’s you have the freedom to pause or rewind if needed, or hear them again and again.

The 18 Lessons in the book with 6 lessons on DVD/Blu-Ray include:

  1. Watercolor Crayons (full lesson also on DVD)
  2. Artists Compose
  3. Artists Imagine
  4. Identify and Mix Colors (also on DVD)
  5. Artists Observe
  6. Artists Communicate
  7. Contruction Paper: Cut (also on video)
  8. Artists See Shapes
  9. Construction Paper: Fold (also on video)
  10. Artists See Form
  11. Oil Pastels: (also on video)
  12. Artists See Texture
  13. Artists See Landscapes
  14. Artists See Still Lifes
  15. Artists Draw Shapes (also on video)
  16. Artists See Animals
  17. Artists See Figures
  18. Artists See Portraits

The Instruction Book also contains additional chapter resources on:

  • Materials List
  • Teaching Simply
  • Welcome To The World Of Art
  • Objectives (specific learning goals for each lesson)
  • Learning Shapes Templates

Video explaining K-3 Art Instruction Books With DVD and Blu-Ray and a sample lesson:

The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to chose 1 of 4 of the 6 Books with DVD’s in this newest K-3 curriculum series called ARTistic Pursuits Art Instruction Books with DVD and Blu-Ray. Be sure to check the Homeschool Review Crew link a the bottom of this post to read what other families thought about these products.

Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary (Volume 1)
Art of the Ancients (Volume 2)
Art of the Middle Ages (Volume 3)
Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance (Volume 4)

With this newest series of products, getting started learning about Art from a professional art instructor in the comfort of your home is easy.  Once you have your instruction Book with DVD’s and have collected your materials, you can choose your own schedule and learn at a pace that meets your needs.  Plan what day of the week you want to begin, get out your book and DVD of choice, and immediately start learning about famous works of art in history, art vocabulary, famous artists, and then imitate their techniques to create your own masterpieces.

A fine arts education is easy with curriculum from ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. because they incorporate art instruction, art appreciation, and art history together in text and video lessons for seamless learning and mastery of skills.

With ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. curriculum, students will:

  • Develop observational skills.
  • Develop creativity skills.
  • Practice skills and techniques of famous artists.
  • Participate as a budding artist creating their own one of a kind masterpieces.

ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. has lots of curriculum products available. They are well known and loved by many families in the homeschool community.  On their website, you can find something for all ages Pre-K through 12th grade and even adults can learn easily with their curriculum.  This newest K-3 series that contains the hardback Instruction Books with DVD lessons replaces the 2013 spiral bound K-3 curriculum editions.

Video about ARTistic Pursuits, Inc:

Our Experience:

We chose Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary Instruction Book and DVD set for the purpose of this review.  It came with a hardback Instruction Book, a DVD, and Blu-Ray.

My kids ages 6, 9,  and 10 work on this curriculum together.  They really enjoyed this learning experience.  I also had their older brothers join them for part of the learning experience too.  I just love homeschooling and having the freedom to adapt learning programs to the needs of our family!

It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to explain a lesson (or watch a video), and then your student can work on recreating the project independently.  All of my kids enjoyed these lessons.  On the days we all did them together, several sat on the couch and we pulled up additional chairs to use as tables, a folding table, and another sat at a workbench etc.  We had a living room full of young artists!

On other days, it was just the three younger kids learning or perhaps one older brother would join in when his own school lessons were finished.  For a few of the lessons, my 9 year old son or my 10 year old daughter worked on a lesson by themselves.  Out of all the younger kids, it was my 10 year old daughter who loved this curriculum the most and she wanted to work on it as often as she could.  She often chose to repeat a lesson several times, just enjoying the process of learning and practicing her skills.

Lesson Examples:

Below are just a few of the lessons we have worked on over the course of a couple of months.  We tried to maintain a plan of 1 or 2 lessons a week.  We are about 1/2 way through.

I had some art supplies on hand to use when the book first arrived.  The items that I didn’t have, I ordered at a discount online through ebay.  ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. also sells art supply kits on their website too.  You can also find most of the items at a local retail store near you if you don’t want to order items online.  We used a combination of watercolor crayons, oil pastels, watercolor pencils, ebony pencils, art paper, construction paper, tape, glue, and various props to do these lessons. Also my youngest son also wanted to use his watercolor paints for one of the lessons too.

Lesson 1: Watercolor Crayons

Using watercolor crayons and watercolor pencils was a new experience for us.

Son age 9:

Son age 6:

Daughter age 10:

Lesson 5: Artists Observe

My 13 year old son wanted to observe, draw, and color a pine cone on a tree branch.  He did an amazing job on the details.

He recently did a Davy Crocket unit study and a Pine Tree unit study, and he is currently taking a survival skills course that involves skills such as learning to identify resources from different kinds of trees.  This opportunity to learn observation and practice techniques from ARTistic Pursuits was a perfect match for him and fun for the younger kids to see how these skills can be useful and put into practice for more than just art enjoyment. Being observant and knowing what things in nature actually look like could help you find resources that your survival might depend on someday.

Lesson 9: Construction Paper- Fold (Construction Paper Folded Animals part 1)

The kids created 3D animals from construction paper.  In this lesson they learned to draw, cut, fold, and make a bear that stands up and is looking toward you.

Lesson 10: Artists See Form (Construction Paper Folded Animals part 2)

Big brother helped two younger brothers create 3D animals from construction paper.

They created the side profile of horses.

Sister made a dog and a lion from this lesson too.

Lesson 11: Oil Pastels

We learned it is hard to color and make fine details on pictures with oil pastels!  They smear and smudge easily.  But with perseverance, it can be done.

The task was to watch a video lesson, gather objects from around the house, then draw and color them using techniques from the video using oil pastels.

My daughter age 10 created a picture of a tea set using oil pastels.

My son age 6, started out wanting to make his picture of a sea shell, but later he changed his mind and wanted to create a picture of his toy wooden airplane.

My son age 9 wanted to make his picture of different houses.

My son age 17 wanted to create his picture of various colored beads. He loves geometric shapes and patterns.

My son age 15 wanted to create his picture of a toy tractor and include it in a farm scene.

Lesson 13: Artists See Landscapes

We enjoyed learning to make trees and landscapes in this lesson.  We recently reviewed a T is for Tree Bible ABC book and learning to make trees fit in perfectly with the focus of that book too.

Materials: watercolor crayons, paper, brush, water, and paper towels.  My youngest son’s picture is at the top of the photo below and he wanted to use his watercolor paints instead of his watercolor crayons.  The picture below his in the same photo was done by my 10 year old daughter with her watercolor crayons.

I tried my hand with this lesson too and learned how to make landscapes and trees.  I made the picture posted below with watercolor crayons, but had not gone over it yet with a water brush to smooth out and blend the colors when I took this picture of it.  But I love how it turned out anyway.  I have 0 art skills, but somehow, it came out despite my lack of skills.

I tried to make three different types of trees with mountains and a stream, and show the light shining on the trees from the right side and made the trees get darker further down on their left side and back side of the mountains.  This was my first time to use the watercolor crayons.  See I told you adults (even with no previous art experience) can learn from these books too!

Lesson 14: Artists See Still Lifes

The task here was to collect three items to use as a “still life” and draw and color with watercolor crayons.  My six year old son collected three objects he wanted in his still life picture: a starfish, a clam shell, and a fish.  But part way through, he changed his mind, flipped to a new blank page, and wanted to create a still life picture of his boot!  His BOOT!!!

After coloring with the watercolor crayons, the technique is to take a brush and plain water and paint water over what you have colored and it blends together to look like watercolor paint.  He loves these crayons!

Lesson 16: Artists See Animals

My thirteen year old son loves to create, draw, paint, color, etc.  He is a budding artist.  He ventured further ahead and did this lesson.   He has more experience drawing and is also using the ARTistic Pursuits Middle School Book One: The Elements of Art and Composition that is all about sketching and drawing.

The younger kids have not completed this lesson yet.  The task is to look at a picture of an animal of your choice (such as a horse) and draw and color it.

Lesson 18: Artists See Portraits

The task in this lesson is to use oil pastels, ruler, construction paper, tissue, and a mirror to create a self portrait.  My 10 year old daughter learned to make a self portrait and then she made a portrait similar to an example of a girl in the textbook lesson.

She did very well for her first time ever!  It is amazing how well these lessons communicate the ideas so that kids can understand the task and create their own masterpieces.

Final Thoughts:

It is about mid June now, and we are finishing our school year, but I am sure the kids will want to finish this course and then repeat all of these lessons again and practice these new skills they have learned during the hot summer days ahead too.  They have really enjoyed this curriculum.

This Instructional Book and DVD set contains 18 Professional Art Lessons at a reasonable cost, for about $2.22 per lesson. If you are like me and have multiple students using this curriculum, then the cost for each lesson is even less.  For example, in our homeschool, we have six kids plus myself using this material, so that is $40 Book with DVDs / 18 Lessons = $2.22 per lesson / 7 art students = $0.32 per lesson per person for our family.  That is a budget friendly deal for professional art lessons!

Art is a subject we are expected to teach and learn about in education.  I have used products from ARTistic Pursuits and other companies for our homeschool Art curriculum.  However, to be honest, I have been hesitant over the years to jump into “ART” curriculum for a good reason!  I have learned to approach using art lessons with my kids with prayer and from a biblical worldview.  I am cautious because I do not want to violate my faith in the art projects we create including the art lessons on creating a “graven” (carved) image.  We trust in Father God, our Creator, and one of the 10 Commandments (rules to live by) that Father God gave his followers is:

“You are not to make for yourselves a graven (carved) image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline.” Exodus 20:4

Father God himself made the image of mankind from his own image and breathed into it:

“Then Adonai, God, formed man (mankind) from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that he became a living being.” Genesis 2:7

As I wrestled with this rule, I met others along the way who took it very seriously and I met others who didn’t care at all.  One town I lived in previously had stone / concrete statues that were hand painted placed up and down the sidewalks on every street corner.  I have also met people with statues in their homes and yards, government buildings, market places, and church buildings, where they had statues of angels, statues of dead people (heros and saints), statues of gods and goddesses, and parts of their bodies like the huge phallus that is on the grounds of many public buildings, and statues of animals, and birds too.  One man I used to know gave us a huge wooden statue of an eagle he had outside along the pathway near the garden.  It was hand carved and abeautiful.  However, we knew after he gave it to us that it was wrong to have such a piece of “art”.   Some people I have known lined their “knickknack” shelves in their homes with carved images because they enjoyed collecting them as a hobby.  I’ve met people who pray to statues either at home or in religious buildings, and people who place their trust in statues to protect them too.  I have also met people who have a carved image of a man crucified on a cross and hang it in their homes or next to their beds or around their neck and they believe the carved image has power to protect them.  We are instructed in the scriptures not to do this.  I had a roommate in college from Tiawan who prayed to pictures of dead relatives and burned incense to them believing they had power to protect her.  I had friends from Japan and China who also believed this way.  I had Hindu friends from India and Pakistan who had images and figurine statues of various “gods” they prayed to daily and placed red colored stickers or a dot of face paint or stuck red gem stones onto their foreheads.  I had another Christian friend in college attending graduate school who had grown up in India and prayed to religious statues in church and at her private religious school.   I also had an older Christian friend from the USA who sat beside the grave of her dead son and dead husband next to their gravestones and she would pray and also talk to them about current issues in her life and seek their spirit as well as pray to statues at her church where she prayed each Sunday to protect and guide her.  I have been to modern museums where there are waxed sculptures of well known people and animals, and museums that have human looking robots who speak and move and tell stories.  I have also met people and spent time in their homes who are on the other extreme too such as the old order Amish who wouldn’t have any statues of any kind either outside in their yard or inside their homes, or around their neck or wrist and would not even get their picture taken or have any pictures in their homes at all.  I have met people from around the world who were in between these extremes too.

However, I share all of this personal information to say that we need to be careful to obey the commands Father God gave us to “love and obey Father God with all your heart”, “have no other gods”, “do not make a graven image”, “do not create idols”, etc. as well as obey the commands his son gave us to “love Father God with all our heart, and also love your neighbor as yourself” and do not cause any child to stumble by what you teach them because the kingdom of God belongs to them.   The scriptures say that it would be better for a millstone to be hung around your neck and be cast into the sea than for you to cause a little one to stumble and fall away from Father God.  WOW!  This is serious!

“He called a child to him, stood him among them, and said, “Yes! I tell you that unless you change and become like little children, you won’t even enter the Kingdom of Heaven! So the greatest in the Kingdom is whoever makes himself as humble as this child. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me; and whoever ensnares one of these little ones who trust me, it would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the open sea! Woe to the world because of snares! For there must be snares, but woe to the person who sets the snare!  So if your hand or foot becomes a snare for you, cut it off and throw it away! Better that you should be maimed or crippled and obtain eternal life than keep both hands or both feet and be thrown into everlasting fire!”  Matthew 18:2-8

Art (as well as many other things) can easily lead us to break these commands and lead us or our children down the wrong path.  I do not believe that having your picture taken or making a drawing or painting is the same as creating a graven image.  I could be wrong about pictures and my Amish friends could be right.  So my advice is to pray about it and trust Father God to show you the truth.  For me, over the years I have come to understand the difference between an image and a graven image as two different things though they can be one and the same.  I believe a graven image to mean any “carved image” made of stone, wood, or metals that represents something that is dead (no breath in it) but is in the image of something that could be alive or have lived (such as people, birds, land animals, water animals), or possessed by a demon spirit, and any idols or images you might be tempted to place your trust in (such as angels, heros, saints, sun, moon, stars, planets, gods, demigods, demons, fairies, elves, wizards, witches, gargoyles, dragons, talismans, charms, serpents, trees or plants).  Father God made mankind in his image and gave us the breath of life.  We choose to place our trust in him and obey him. We are set apart and He has forbidden us to make graven images.

I understand that sculptures and carved images are part of learning about art history, religions, empires, governments, fame, and fortunes, and these images are all around us in this world.  However, for my family, though we can learn who made them and why they made them as part of learning about history, and we obviously observe their existence in every culture today, we believe we have been warned by Father God in the scriptures not to create these images ourselves, not to have or posses these images, and also not to place our trust in them.

We are to be “set apart” to bring Father God glory.  We are to love others, but we do not follow them and their traditions.  This makes us different from the rest of the world (you are in the world but not “of” the world) because we trust in Father God and obey the 10 commandments He gave us and ask his forgiveness when we have disobeyed, and we believe He sent his only begotten son who perfectly obeyed Him, to die in our place and purchase back our lives to save us from the eternal death and destruction that will come upon this world for rejecting Father God and breaking those commands.  This is serious!

“did not turn from what they had made with their own hands — they did not stop worshipping demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they turn from their murdering, their involvement with the occult and with drugs, their sexual immorality or their stealing.” Revelation 9:20-21

Creating graven images isn’t the only concern with products marketed to children.  There are many things that could have spiritual consequences.  I would encourage homeschool families who desire to obey Father God, to pray about the art products and curriculum they use and ask Father God to show them what He wants them to teach their children about art and any other subject.

Thankfully, ARTistic Pursuits, Inc has curriculum that meets different families needs, and is flexible, and has several art lesson options to choose from that don’t violate our faith, or we can avoid certain lessons if needed.  These flexible options have helped us learn about art, art history, and practice art techniques that don’t involve carving images into graven image sculptures.  We mainly chose to focus on the lessons that involve drawing, sketching, making crafts, coloring, and painting for our hands on portion of the curriculum and avoid lessons that pertain to carving sculptures.  ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. has a huge variety of products from the toddler-preschool ages all the way through senior year in highschool that can help prepare students to take art courses at the college level too.

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Homeschool Review Crew

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Memoria Press Classical Composition Review

If you need a Composition course for your homeschool students, then you might want to check out the Classical Composition I: Fables Set and Classical Compostion II: Narrative Set from Memoria Press.

Memoria Press is a curriculum publishing company that focuses on the Classical Education method with a Christian worldview.

Classical Composition

Memoria Press has published 9 courses in Classical Composition.  You can begin these courses as early as 4th grade and use them all the way through 12th grade if desired, or start when it best fits into your student’s homeschooling journey.

  • Fable
  • Narrative
  • Chreia/Maxim
  • Refutation/Confirmation
  • Common Topic
  • Encomium/Invective/Comparison
  • Characterization
  • Description
  • Thesis & Law

These Classical Composition courses are unique and highly successful.  They were developed by Jim Selby, a teacher from Kansas.  He found that all of his students were able to master the skills of composition with this curriculum.  When his students take these Classical Composition courses, they have “a 100% qualification rate on the optional essay portion of the college entrance exams (ACT and SAT) versus the national average of 23%” and many have “gained college credits with successful completion of the English AP exams.”  That is quite a record of achievement!

Classical Composition I: Fable Set

Student Book

Spiral Bound-Paper Back

101 pages

20 Lessons

Teacher Guide

Spiral Bound-Paper Back

Lesson Plans

Answer Key

101 Pages

Instructional DVDs 

4 DVD’s covering 20 Lessons

Retails for $85

Classical Composition I: Fables is the first course in the Classical Composition series.  Composition is learning how to write well.  The premise is that as students learn about writing and begin to understand and imitate good writers, they will master the techniques of composition and become good writers themselves.

Classical Composition 1: Fables uses short fables to teach students to become good writers.  A fable is a short story that uses animals for characters, has humor, and has a deeper message, a common truth that is wise to learn.  This common truth is called a “common place” because it can apply to everyone.

In each lesson, students will read a fable, become familiar with the contents of the fable as they study the various words and learn the meanings and synomyms of those words, make an outline of the main parts of the fable, narrate the fable from memory, the rewrite the fable with variations or paraphrases using synonyms for the key words while still maintaining the overall meaning of the deeper message.

Course Contents:

Teaching Guidelines
Introduction to the Fable Stage
Definition of Terms

Lesson 1 – The Ant and the Chrysalis
Lesson 2 – The Ant and the Grasshopper
Lesson 3 – The Fox and the Grapes
Lesson 4 – The Hare and the Tortoise
Lesson 5 – The Fisherman Piping
Lesson 6 – The Flies and the Honey-Pot
Lesson 7 – The Bear and the Two Travelers
Lesson 8 – The Dove and the Ant
Lesson 9 – The Thirsty Pigeon
Lesson 10 – The Dog and the Shadow
Lesson 11 – The Dog in the Manger
Lesson 12 – The Mountain in Labor
Lesson 13 – The Sick Lion
Lesson 14 – The Ass and the Lapdog
Lesson 15 – The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
Lesson 16 – The Ass and the Mule
Lesson 17 – The Frogs Asking for a King
Lesson 18 – The Mischievous Dog
Lesson 19 – The Old Woman & the Physician
Lesson 20 – The Fighting Cocks & the Eagle

Figures of Description With Examples
Introduction to the Progymnasmata by James A. Selby

The complete set includes the Student Book, Teacher Guide and a set of 4 DVDs.  These items can be purchased separately or as a set.  You will save money buying them together as a set.

The Student Book has the fable, plus room on 4 worksheets to complete each written exercise.

Student Book sample:

The Teacher Guide has the student’s worksheet, additional lesson helps such as vocabulary definitions and lesson structure (not a daily schedule plan), and the answers to the corresponding student worksheet included all on one page.  It also has additional teaching tips scattered throughout, a grading rubric, and plenty of room to write extra notes if needed.

Teacher Guide sample:

The DVDs brings the fable to life with an audio visual component rather than just reading from the Student Book.  The DVD set contains a set of 4 DVDs and each one contains 5 lessons from the Student Book and covers all 20 lessons of the course.  Be sure to click the link below to see and hear a sample of Lesson 1 and how the instructor presents the fable and explains the tasks to be completed.

DVD Video Sample:

Classical Composition I: Fable DVD Sample from Lesson 1 on Vimeo.


Course grades are based on:

  • Handwriting
  • Mechanics (spelling, punctuation, grammar)
  • Content (storyline)
  • Vocabulary/Diction (word choice)
  • Figures of Description

Classical Composition II: Narrative Set

Student Book

Spiral Bound-Paper Back

156 Pages

20 Lessons

Teacher Guide

Spiral Bound-Paper Back

156 Pages

Instructional DVDs 

Retails for $85

This is the second course in the Classical Composition courses.  Classical Composition II: Narrative Set uses narratives to teach students to become good writers.  Each lesson in the Student Book begins by reading aloud a narrative.  The narrative may contain a few difficult words, and the Teacher’s Guide contains lists with definitions to go over with the student.  Through a process of writing an outline, and writing 2 rough drafts of paraphrasing and a final draft, the students will narrate the narrative in their own words to master the writing skills in this Composition course.

Course Contents:

Teaching Guidelines
Definition of Terms
Introduction to the Narrative Stage

Lesson 1 – The Rose
Lesson 2 – Chico and the Crane
Lesson 3 – Elijah and the Widow
Lesson 4 – Giufà—Eat, My Clothes!
Lesson 5 – The Song of the Vineyard
Lesson 6 – Giufà and the Judge
Lesson 7 – Elijah and the Prophets of Baal
Lesson 8 – Elijah and the Burning Sacrifice
Lesson 9 – Nathan and David
Lesson 10 -The Frog Prince
Lesson 11- Elisha and the Widow’s Jars
Lesson 12 – Conrad Von Tannenberg
Lesson 13 – Latona and the Rustics
Lesson 14 – A Vine Out of Egypt
Lesson 15 – The Sower
Lesson 16 – The Good Samaritan
Lesson 17 – Baucis and Philemon
Lesson 18 – The Foolish Rich Man
Lesson 19 – The King and Two Servants
Lesson 20 – The Pen and the Inkstand

Figures of Description With Examples
Figures of Speech With Examples

The Classical Composition II: Narrative Set includes a Student Book, Teacher Guide, and a set of 4 DVDs.  These items can be purchased separately or as a set.  However, you will save money when you buy these together as a complete set.

The Student Book has the narrative story, plus room on 6 worksheets to complete each written exercise.

Student Book sample:

Each page of the Teacher Guide has the student’s corresponding lesson page in a subset, lesson vocabulary and definitions, lesson structure (but not a daily lesson plan schedule), and the answer key included all on one page.  Some pages within the book also contain teaching tips.  The Teacher’s Guide also contains a grading Rubric, examples of figures of description, examples of figures of speech, and room to write extra notes too.

Teacher Guide sample:

The Classical Composition II: Narrative Set has a set of 4 DVD’s.  Each DVD contains 5 lessons from the Student Book covering all 20 lessons.  The addition of the DVD to this course brings the Narrative story to life with an audio visual component rather than just reading from the Student Book.  Be sure to click the link below to hear the Narrative sample from Lesson 3 and see and hear how the instructor explains the narrative composition tasks to be completed.

DVD Video sample:

Classical Composition II: Narrative Sample DVD from Lesson 3 on Vimeo.


Course grades are based on:

  • Handwriting
  • Mechanics (spelling, punctuation, grammar)
  • Content (storyline)
  • Vocabulary/Diction (word choice)
  • Amplification (figures of description, inverting in draft, etc)

Our Experience:

We were glad to receive Classical Composition I: Fables Set and Classical Compostion II: Narrative Set for the purpose of this review.  The arrival of this course was perfect timing for my son’s English Composition course work.  These courses count for a full credit on his highschool transcript.

We have loved the Classical Education products Memoria Press has sent us to review in our homeschool.  Memoria Press has many wonderful curriculum products that can be used by homeschool families who use a variety of homeschool education methods (Classical, Traditional, Eclectic, Charlotte Mason, etc).  Classical Composition is one of those great versatile products.

My son is doing an accelerated plan to get both of these Classical Composition courses done in his final year of highschool. That means working daily on Composition instead of spacing it out a few days a week.  He has to be laser focused to work on it each day.  Hopefully at the accelerated pace, he will accomplish each Composition course in about 18 weeks. These courses are flexible and can also be stretched out for a whole school year if you don’t need the accelerated pace.   He needs to finish two courses, and perhaps even a third course, before he graduates.  So this accelerated plan is a better option for him.  Memoria Press also sent us their Classical Composition Accelerated I Lesson Plan (9 pages) for him to follow so he can complete both of these courses together in 1 year.

Though he is a strong reader, with excellent comprehension, he is not a strong essay writer.  He really has had no desire to write stories or essays, until recently.  However, this course has motivated him to want to write.

He starts each lesson out by reviewing the short lesson on video and reading it in the student book.  Then he completes the activities in the student book through out the week.  There are approximately 4 pages of activities to a lesson in Fables and 6 pages of activities to a lesson in Narrative (he has not begun the Narrative lessons yet).

The course instructor on the DVDs is Dr. Brett Vaden.  He is very easy to understand and my son and I enjoy the sound of his voice and his explanations.  Having these DVDs made a huge difference in my son’s motivation level to do the writing exercises.  Though you could do the course with only the student book and teacher guide, I would encourage everyone to get this course as a set with the DVDs because they really do enrich the learning experience.

Though Memoria Press recommends students start learning Composition as early as possible (as early as 4th grade to get through all 9 levels of their courses), the everyday reality is that most students focus on Composition as a structured course during their highschool years.  Given the research and success record of Memoria Press curriculum, it is obvious that the sooner you begin these courses, the more opportunity and more time you will have to master all the skill levels.

Memoria Press

In addition to their publishing company, Memoria Press also own a private Christian school called Highlands Latin School in Louisville Kentucky that uses their award winning curriculum.  They have scored in the top 1% of schools in the country for 9 years in a row.  The quality of the Memoria Press curriculum is top notch.  Using this curriculum, their students score an average of 3 grades above their grade level.

Memoria Press curriculum products are available to the public and are well loved by many in the homeschool community.

They have every grade level available in both a complete subject grade package format and also as individual subject products.  So you can choose what best fits your homeschool student’s needs, and search for products by subject area or by grade.

Special Offers

You can save $50 when you buy ANY TWO Classic Composition Sets (Student Book, Teacher Guide, DVDs)!  Be sure to use the coupon code CCSET at checkout.

Social Media

Keep in touch with Memoria Press through their social media links for all the latest news, special offers, and product updates:


Homeschool Review Crew

Memoria Press recently sent a variety of products to The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew:

New American Cursive 1
New American Cursive 2 (Scripture)
New American Cursive 2 (Famous Americans)
New American Cursive 3 (Famous Quotes)

Traditional Logic I Complete Set
Traditional Logic II Complete Set

Classical Composition I: Fable Set
Classical Composition II: Narrative Set

Be sure to check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using products from Memoria Press in their home.

Please share.

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary Review

Do you want to get smarter?  Do you want your kids to improve their grades?  Then you might want to check out the over 200+ Award Winning products from The Critical Thinking Co.™

Critical Thinking Detective

We recently checked out the Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary Book 1.  Critical Thinking Detective is a whole series of books that helps you learn to think logically to solve dilemmas.

So far, the Critical Thinking Detective series includes:

  • Beginning
  • Book 1
  • Book 2
  • Math
  • Vocabulary Book 1
  • Vocabulary Book 2

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary Book 1

Student Workbook


12 Cases To Solve


Colorful Illustrations

40 Pages

Retails $8.99 on sale for $7.99

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary Book 1 is a 40 page softcover workbook for grades 5-12+ (would be fun and challenging to most adults too).  This student workbook contains 12 mystery cases to solve.  The student uses vocabulary, and critical thinking skills to logically solve the case.  As the student evaluates the details of the case, understands the meanings of words and learns their meanings and synonyms, uses inductive and deductive reasoning, analyzes the information, they are then able to solve the case.

Table of Contents:

  • How To Solve These Cases
  • The Antique Double-Dealer
  • The Stray Accomplice
  • The Pilfering Today
  • The Ring Coveter
  • The Acrid Saboteur
  • The Contrary Instigator
  • The Brazen Biker
  • The Cogent Denigrator
  • The Disgruntled Defacer
  • The Unencumbered Employee
  • The Wandering Wayfarer
  • The Cunning Customer
  • Answer Key

So how do you solve the case?  Well, first of all you need to CAREFULLY read the description of the case.  Read the statements from one or more witnesses, and read the statement from 4 possible suspects who may or may not have committed the crime.  Then look up the words given in the clues. These definitions will help you understand what really happened and who did it.

Here are the steps to solve each cases:

  • Read the clues.
  • Use a dictionary!
  • Understand the definition of each word.
  • Understand the synonyms and antonyms of each word.
  • Take notes.
  • Reason it out.
  • Solve the case.

Following each case, the student is introduced to 18 to 25 new vocabulary words to learn. There is also a worksheet full of fill in the blank sentences to complete to practice using the vocabulary correctly.


Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary was written by Diane Hartsig.  She is also the author of Vocabulary Riddles – A-Z Catastrophes, Books 1 and 2.  She is a wife, the mother of 3 kids, and an elementary school teacher.  She is passionate about kids acquiring and learning how to use language.

Our Experience:

We received Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary Book 1 in exchange for writing an honest review.  The Critical Thinking company is also offering special savings for our readers.  I think it is great when companies send products to be reviewed and also send discounts to those who want to try out the product because they read the review and were inspired to try it.  So be sure to check out the special offers listed below for a discount code, and get the free Critical Thinking Puzzle too!

I gave this workbook to my 15 year old son to include in his schoolwork. My thoughts on giving it to him was that the mystery cases are short and he might be able to do them without adding a lot of additional work onto his schoolwork.  I thought as he accomplished the cases, it would build more confidence for writing.

After reading the case, he tried to reason it out, but was not quite sure who did it.  So I had him go ahead and work through vocabulary words and complete the sentences before trying to solve the crime.   However, after working through the first handful of words, perhaps 10 or so, he was ready to quit before he had even accomplished the first case.  He wanted to quit because he found the words unfamiliar and didn’t like looking them up to find what sentence they fit into.

These are hard words!  I don’t even know most of them myself.  They are not commonly used.  Here are just a few examples:

  • congent
  • flummox
  • espy
  • sedulous
  • vacuous
  • superfluous
  • credulous
  • madras
  • tantamount
  • puce
  • tenable
  • senescent
  • foist
  • spurious

However, after a few days of setting the workbook aside (and I don’t blame him), he put his mind to it and persevered.  To complete the task, he only needed the workbook, a pencil, and access a dictionary (he used an online dictionary on the internet).  It’s portable, so he doesn’t have to sit in one place.  He can take it with him and fill in the gaps in his time.  He enjoys being outside and working on it if the weather is nice.  Having the freedom to choose where and how to learn is one of the beautiful benefits of homeschooling.  Just being outside seemed to help motivate him to work on it.

After he looked up the meaning of the new word, and learned it’s definition and other words that have the same meaning, then he would compare words and fill the words into the correct sentences. Each word can only be used once.  Taking time to do the vocabulary words gave his brain time to ponder the details of the case.  Finally, he was confident in various word meanings to reasonably solve the case.

After completing the first case, he was more confident in working through the rest of the workbook.

After completing the first few cases, he was well on his way to improving his use of vocabulary and logic.

He is motivated to finish and I have no doubt he will finish the workbook and raise his knowledge and skill level to be way smarter than me!

The Critical Thinking Co.™

Created in 1958 by John Brown, The Critical Thinking Co.™ helps students master skills needed to achieve high standards for education.  They have extensive knowledge in math, logic, reading and writing, science, and social studies.  They guarantee better grades and higher test scores when you practice your critical thinking skills with their books and software.

The Homeschool Review Crew is currently reviewing several products from The Critical Thinking Co.™

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary

Understanding Pre-Algebra

Dare To Compare: Math Level 1

Critical Thinking Detective Book 1

Vocabulary Riddles Book 1

Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha


Special Offers from!

  • Free Critical Thinking Puzzles!
    A $75 Value! Delivered weekly to your inbox. Choose PreK – Grade 8.  Sign Up Now!
  • Free Shipping
  • 15% Off Any Size Order!
  • Use Coupon Code: TOSCREW18.  
  • Expires 12/31/2018.

Social Media

Be sure to connect with The Critical Thinking Co.™ on their social media links for all the latest news, sales, and product updates.






Blog (Articles & Advice)

Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what the Homeschool Review Crew members had to say about using these products in their home.

Please share.