Friday, August 21, 2015

Captive by Ashley Smith REVIEW #FOLLOWYOURPURPOSE #FLYBY @flybypromotions Review and Giveaway

CAPTIVE, based on a miraculous true story that drew the attention of the entire nation, is a thrilling drama about the spiritual collision of two broken lives. When Brian Nichols - on the run as the subject of a city wide manhunt and desperate to make contact with his newborn son - takes recovering meth addict Ashley Smith hostage in her own apartment, she turns for guidance to Rick Warren’s best-selling inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life. While reading aloud, Ashley and her would-be killer each face crossroads where despair and death intersect hope.

This was a book that I could not put down. It captured my attention from the beginning to the end. It was amazing to see how God was working in Ashley Smiths life. I think it's so great that she credits God for many miracles that took place during her ordeal.

Captive is now a major motion picture from Paramount. Starting September 18, it is being released in theaters. The movie stars David Oyelowo, who played Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the recent film, Selma. I can't wait to see it!

Want to win a copy of Captive?

We’ve all faced circumstances that have held us captive in some regard. What has held you captive? How did you find your purpose? 

I highly encourage you to go to the movie site and read how others, including myself, have answered these questions. And then, consider adding your response as well!


(Audio excerpt from the audiobook format of CAPTIVE (chapter 1), read by the author, Ashley Smith.) 

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

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Monday, August 03, 2015

Classical Conversations - The Conversation - Review

The Conversation, by Leigh A. Bortins from Classical Conversations

I'm asked quite frequently if I will be homeschooling through high school and my reply is usually the same, "I'm just not sure, we're not there yet". What I actually always wanted to say is "Quite frankly, I'm a little scared".  I was recently blessed to be able to review The Conversation, by Leigh A. Bortins from Classical Conversations. This review opened my eyes to a lot of different things. It provided me with a lot more to consider when deciding to homeschool through high school.

What is The Conversation?

The Conversation, by Leigh A. Bortins from Classical Conversations

The Conversation is a 267 page book written by Leigh A. Bortins. It is her third book on classical, home-centered education. In The Conversation, Ms. Bortins looks back on thirty years of homeschooling as she makes a compelling case for parents to stay the course through high school and experience the rich conversations that emerge during the rhetoric stage of learning.

The book is broke down into three easy to read and understand parts. Part one is two chapters and focuses on high school at home. Part two is chapters three through twelve and the focus is on the rhetorical arts. Part two also includes the epilogue. Part three is the appendices and the index. 

In the beginning of the book Ms. Bortins does a wonderful job sharing three areas to be confident in order to homeschool through the rhetorical years of high school. These areas were authority, habits, and content. Each word I read seemed as though it was a blessing for me. I truly felt like I needed to be reading every word. Through the course of the book, Ms. Bortins shares her knowledge and experiences. She impressed me as she defined rhetoric and demonstrated how to teach rhetoric, but beyond that she also provided motivation and encouragement for employing a classical education. I wondered as I was reading this book, "How do I incorporate rhetoric in my daughters education?" The Conversation did a wonderful job answering that very question. It taught me how to converse with my daughters using the art of rhetoric. I appreciated how Ms. Bortins shared that Aristotle, in particular, divided the art of rhetoric into five cannons: These five cannons are: invention, arrangement, elocution, memory, and delivery. The book did a wonderful job explaining each one and walking me through teaching each of those subjects to my daughters plus many more subjects. The examples that were given were encouraging. One of the things that I really loved was at the end of each chapter was a chart summarizing how the five canons can be applied to that subject. These will definitely come in handy in the future.

The appendices are amazing as well. In appendix one Ms. Bortins shares some very fun conversation games. We haven't played any of the games at this point but I am looking forward to playing them with my family.

Final Thought

This is a wonderful book and I think every homeschooling parent should put it on their must read list. Leigh A. Bortins is a long-time advocate for home-centered education and she speaks to all parents who worry about giving their children the best possible education. When I first started reading The Conversation, I knew immediately that I was going to have a hard time putting it down. It grabbed my attention from the beginning and held it through the end. I have three daughters that before I know it will be starting high school, so reading this book now felt like a huge blessing to me. I put down this book feeling very confident about educating my daughters through high school.  I didn't just gain knowledge through her writing, but encouragement as well. It is without a doubt a book that I will keep and pull out again in the future. 

I think every homeschooling parent should put this book on their must read list.

How much does The Conversation cost?

The Conversation is usually $16.00 but right now 
you can purchase it at the sale price of  $12.00

Also, right now you can get Chapter 2 as a free sample

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Sunday, August 02, 2015

FREE Homeschool Report Card

Free Homeschool Report Card from

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Saturday, August 01, 2015

FREE 2015-2016 School Binder Printables

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Funtastic Unit Studies - Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers - Review

My daughters have always enjoyed hands-on science projects and science unit studies.  So we were pretty excited when we found out that we were chosen to review Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers from Funtastic Unit Studies.

Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers  is a hands-on approach to science that was designed by Susan Kilbride to capture students’ interest and promote a love of science and learning. It contains 20 chapters.  The first ten chapters are for younger children ages 4-7, and the second ten chapters are for children ages 8-13. Each chapter is filled with fun science activities that teach a particular science concept. Each chapter contains a material list that is required for each unit. Most of the materials needed are common household items. 

The 20 Chapters are:
  1. Our Senses
  2. The Human Body
  3. Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life
  4. Animals
  5. Insects and Their Kin
  6. Fun with Magnets
  7. Stars and Planets
  8. Health
  9. Beginning Plants
  10. Animal Ecology
  11. Insects
  12. Microscopes and Invisible Creatures
  13. Atoms and Molecules
  14. Matter
  15. Chemistry Fun
  16. Weather
  17. Force and Motion
  18. Simple Machines
  19. Light and Color
  20. Plants II

For the purpose of this review we chose to do Chapter 19: Light and Color. We had never really touched on that subject before and I thought that this review would be the perfect time to start. One of the first things that I really appreciated was the material list. I was able to scan through it and make sure that I didn't need to purchase anything. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that we did in fact have all the supplies already in our home. 

Chapter 19: Light and Color was broken down into 7 parts:

  • Part 1: Direction that Light Travels
In this part my daughters were able to learn that light travels in a straight line by completing a pretty fun activity. They were instructed to set the activity up and follow the directions to see the path that light would indeed travel and how it also couldn't move sideways. Overall, I think it's safe to say that they really enjoyed the activity. 

  • Part: 2 What Can Light Travel Through?
In this part my daughters were able to learn about how some objects are either transparent, translucent, or opaque. They were able to pick objects, give a prediction, and then test each object to find the result. 

  • Part 3: Bouncing Light
In this section my daughters learned about reflected light and luminous light. There were three activities in this part. The first activity instructed my daughters to fill two glasses with water and put food coloring in one. They then were instructed to place both glasses outside and then take the temperature of each one after an hour. It was fun for them to see how the darker water absorbed some of the light and turned into heat. 

The next activity in this part was also pretty fun. It taught my daughters about the angle of incidence and the angle of reflection by using mirrors to bounce light. 

The last activity allowed my daughters to build and use their very own periscope. They enjoyed it. 

  • Part 4: The Speed of Light and Refraction
In this part my daughters learned about counting the seconds between lighting and thunder and also were able to take part in an activity that showed them about bending of light, refraction.
  • Part 5: Splitting Light
In this part my daughters learned about slitting light into various colors.  They were even able to take part in a few activities that allowed them to do it as well. They were surprised to learn that white light is actually beams of different colors mixed together.
  • Part 6: How We See Color
In part 6 my daughters learned how some light is absorbed by an object, and some of the light is reflected off the object. The light we see is actually the light that is reflected off of an object.
  • Test for Light and Color
The last part is a final test of the unit. There were ten questions that had multiple choice answers. 

I really enjoyed how all of the activities were very easy to understand. Including these activities actually made my daughters enjoy what they were learning about. I also like that the back of the book included an answer sheet for the tests. Some units have worksheets and these answers were also included in the back.

Final Thought

We thoroughly enjoyed our unit on Light and Color. We are also pretty excited to try out some more fun units soon. If you are looking for hands-on science you won't be disappointed with Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers.

Right now you can receive two free PDF units from the book:

Want more freebies? Check out Sue’s Free Lessons and Activities:

Right now you can currently purchase


Not everyone on the crew reviewed the same unit. 
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Thursday, July 30, 2015

5 Rainy Day Activities with Free Printables

Ever once in awhile rainy days will come and I will hear the famous words, "I'm bored". Well friends I have came up with 5 family activities to make those rainy days fun. As a matter of fact these 5 activities will make any day fun. 
  • Family Movie Night

What's better than cuddling up with your kids, a blanket, and a bowl of popcorn for a family movie night? On the next rainy day or evening, turn the family room into your own personal theater. Find a movie the whole family will enjoy, settle in, and enjoy the show!

Hand out fun Movie Tickets to your children to prepare them for the night. I'm sure they will be surprised and excited for the night.

Click Here to Print our FREE Family Movie Night Tickets 

  • Family Game Night
Spend some quality family time together with a classic board game. Whether you are buying up real estate in Monopoly or avoiding the slides in Chutes and Ladders, playing board games is a great way to spend a rainy day at home.

Just like the fun Movie Tickets, hand out Family Game Night Tickets to your children. Once again, I bet they will enjoy them.

Click Here to Print our FREE Family Game Night Tickets 

  • Scavenger Hunts
Scavenger hunts are fun! They’re easy to create and can be tailored to any theme, any age, any place. Scavenger hunts are great for indoor rainy days.

 I have created a printable Scavenger Hunt Checklist that you can use or you can make your own. 

Click Here to Download Our Free Scavenger Hunt Checklist

  • Read a Book
This is one indoor activity that is educational and fun! Reading with your child will improve their reading skills and build their enthusiasm for books. Cuddle up in a blanket with a favorite or a new book and read together. Take turns reading, or have them read to you to keep them focused and interested. Older children can also enjoy reading independently and hopefully learn to find comfort and joy in cuddling up with a good book. Another fun activity would be creating a peaceful and inviting reading space or even creating your own book. 

  • Bake up some Yummy Goodies
Rainy days are perfect for getting into the kitchen with the kiddos and trying out some old or new recipes. Including them makes them feel important and helpful. Another fun activity could be creating a family recipe book. I created one with my daughters years ago and we still cherish and use it to this day.

I have created a FREE Family Recipe Book Binder Cover that you can print and use to get started. 

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Thank you for visiting us today. We would love to hear what you think. Please leave us a comment or two below. 

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Heirloom Audio Productions - With Lee in Virginia - Review

Recently my family and I were chosen to review With Lee in Virginia from Heirloom Audio Productions. I had no idea going into this review how much it would bring history to life and actually bless us.

With Lee in Virginia is a Civil War story of courage, honor, and duty. It's recommended for ages 6 - Adult. This dramatized version of G.A. Henty's book by the same title was a hit with my three daughters. We were blessed to receive the 2 1/2 hour audio theater on two CDs. We also received access to wonderful special bonuses online. 

The special bonuses include: 
  • PDF Study Guide and Discussion Starter 
  • MP3 download of the story 
  • eBook of the original G.A. Henty Story 
  • Official Soundtrack
  • Printable Promotion Poster
  • Printable of a saying from Robert E. Lee, 
  • Unlimited access to the Live The Adventure Letter E-Newsletter

The story follows a young gentleman by the name of Vincent Wingfield as joins the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia. He finds himself fighting alongside famous Confederate generals such as Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. He is ultimately inspired by the duty and devotion to God that Robert E. Lee shows and Vincent is determined to take a stand for his country. 

One of the first things I did was access the PDF Study Guide and Discussion Starters and print them. I was so thankful that this awesome guide was included. The Study Guide is 48 pages and it really helps parents engage children with the story. A fantastic plus in the fact that the study guide doesn't have to be printed out and can be viewed on any device. The study guide is bright and vibrant but as you can tell by my pictures I was running a little low on the color ink.

We choose to listen to With Lee in Virginia during our car rides. We live in an area that requires quite the drive just to be able to visit the dentist or even shop at a major retailer. Anyhow, during one of our trips to the dentist I popped in the first CD and away we drove. Seriously friends my children were so quiet. They were immediately drawn into the story even expressing dislike for the fact that we had to stop it at certain times.  After returning home the first day we turned our attention to the study guide. We spent the next week listening and then studying. We all loved the way the study guide is set up. Each disc and track has a corresponding page that includes a listening well, thinking further, and defining words section.  Some pages even include fun facts and a recipe. We chose to use a notebook specifically for the defining words section. It was fun for my daughters to look up each word and write their definitions. It helped their vocabulary tremendously.  I was pretty surprised at how much information my daughters retained during the course of listening and reviewing by using the study guide. I'm positive that the study guide was very beneficial in that regard. 

What we loved the most about With Lee in Virginia

Without a doubt, the story was ultimately the best part of this review. From the very beginning to the end, the audio drama is exciting and has a way of making you want to continue listening. It's filled with adventure and also includes funny and some pretty sad parts as well. The cast does an amazing job. Speaking of the cast! The cast lineup is so wonderful! It was so fun to listen to the characters and find out who was behind the voice and find out that I actually have grown up watching and/or listening to them many times. 

Final Thought

We highly, highly recommend With Lee in Virginia! It was truly a blessing for my family and I believe it should be listened to by everyone. I'm positive that this is a story that will bless people and make them feel like their purchase was worth it. I've known people to spend money on a product and then later regret it. I'm sure this isn't one of those products. It's a story that can be listened to many times over and still be appreciated. I'm planning a Civil War study in the future and I will definitely be using this again as part of the study. 

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