Saturday, April 29, 2017

O is for outsider

Ever feel like the outsiders when you guys as homeschoolers participate in something in the general population?

I know my kids get it a lot...that short "oh." when they are asked what school they attend and they answer that they are homeschooled. Where we live there is actually a lot of support and interest in homeschooling, but it's when they are at events with traditionally schooled kids that I see it the most.

Today my daughter was honored to receive an award from NCWIT, which is the National Center for Women and Information Technology. It was a regional award and she and 13 or 14 other girls from three different states attended an awards ceremony where they were encouraged in their "aspirations in computing." As events like this go, the students were introduced as being from such and such school, many of which are prestigious and/or known for their technology programs and clubs. And then comes the one the announcers stumble over... " ________(her name)__________ who will graduate in 20XX from, ummmmmmm...homeschool?" Yes, people, homeschool.

I feel a little bad when I hear this type thing or see the reaction my kids get. I have to remind myself that is small picture viewing. Big picture they are getting the education we want them to get, they are growing up in a family setting, they are maturing and developing, ...they are on their way to becoming responsible adults. After graduation who really cares where you went to high school? Big picture. Big picture. (reminding myself, I guess it was a stressful day haha!) :)

So yes, at this point, they are often outsiders. Thankfully they don't seem to be phased by it too much. Outsiders, yes, but hey, that's okay :)

Here's a pic of the group of smarties that are well on their way to succeeding in the future! :) And yes, one is a homeschooler :)

A Net In Time Schooling

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Drive Thru History®--"The Gospels" -- my REVIEW

Drive Thru History The Gospels

Do you like history books? Do you sometimes imagine that you are there, where history took place? Do you ever imagine yourself in those historic settings and events?

The DVD miniseries Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” allows the viewer to see the actual locations where much of Jesus' history on earth took place! Some of you may have had the privilege to visit Israel and experience these historic sites, but for those of us who have not, we can visually experience it by way of the teacher on this series, Dave Stotts. Stotts narrates the Gospel story as he travels from place to place in his trusty vehicle (you'll enjoy that vehicle!), allowing the viewer to see the sites that accompany the story. If you are familiar with other Drive Thru History® series, you will recognize the humor that Stotts interjects which does not take away from the facts but rather enhances one's enjoyment of the narration.

Drive Thru History The Gospels

This 18-episode miniseries is held on three discs. Each episode is about half an hour long. The DVDs in this special edition set are accompanied by a discussion/study guide. Each lesson has a summary, suggested Bible readings to accompany it, as well as a set of discussion questions and a "side road" which is a little more information. The discussion questions allow for further exploration of the ideas as you process them by talking about it. The episodes take you through sites in the Holy Land which are viewable today as well as locations which are the supposed settings for some of the events of Christ's life. The narrator helps the viewer to see and understand how what is there now reflects what was once there. For instance, he shows an excavation of a house that is possibly/probably Peter's mother's house! Pretty amazing. He adds in other historic facts and other historical things from the time that the Scriptural accounts were taking place, which helps with context. He walks (and drives!) the viewer through the life of Christ, from before His birth to His death and resurrection.

I was happy to have this opportunity to review this series of DVDs.  I had intended to just use it with my kids, but my husband actually watched the first one with us and after that he wanted us to wait and watch them when he was home from work so that he could see them too :)


So what did we think? All of my family members really enjoyed this series and wanted to share about it. From my husband, "I liked that it takes the Bible stories of Christ's life that you're familiar with and adds other historic facts to give the historic perspective. Very interesting and informative--brings the Bible to life." My 16 year old daughter said, "It is very cool to learn different facts and put it all together. It is very interesting to see the actual places where the Bible happened!" My 15 yr old son said, "It lets you know what was going on in all the known world at the time that Jesus was on earth and shows you the actual locations where it took place. Very interesting." And from my 12-year old daughter, "I like it a lot. It was really cool to see that places that were told of in the Bible. I liked putting a place to the different Bible stories."

Drive Thru History The Gospels

And me? It was good information. At times I felt overwhelmed by the huge amount of information plus the visual sites; I didn't love all the religious artwork and stained glass windows, etc. I know I'm in the minority, but truthfully I'd have liked this just as well, maybe better, if it had just been an audio rather than a video. My family thinks that's weird :) they loved seeing and hearing it all together!

Drive Thru History The Gospels

It really encouraged a lot of family discussions, usually starting with a phrase like, "Wow, did you catch that..." or "Did you see that..." and one long discussion about how we had thought that it was amazing to walk where George Washington had much more it must have been to walk where Jesus and the disciples had walked! The enclosed discussion guide gives more specific questions that your family or group can use to review and extend the lessons you have just learned/heard.

Drive Thru History The Gospels

I would recommend this series, Drive Thru History®--"The Gospels". It is good not only for homeschooling (as I had originally thought we would use it!) but also for family viewing and discussion. I'm sure it would be great as a Sunday School lessons or Bible study lessons, etc. for youth as well as for adults.

Would you like to hear more about this product? Check out the reviews by others here:
The Gospels {Drive Thru History® Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, April 24, 2017

Pizza Quiche

Yummyy!!  :)  Now that the chickens are laying regularly we have a lot of eggs and need new ways to try them :)

Today's new recipe:  Pizza Quiche :)

So easy!  Preheat oven to 425.  Mix 20 eggs, some chopped up pepperoni, a little bit of salt, and some mixed Italian seasonings (or just a bunch of seasonings like basil/thyme/oregano/pepper/whatever you want).  Pour into a 9x9 cake pan and top with a bunch of mozzerella cheese.  Bake till solid (45 min or so?)

It's easy and delicious -- everyone in my family is gobbling this up for lunch today :) 

Saturday, April 22, 2017


I am a new convert to electronic calendars :)   For a long time I have been a paper-calendar devotee.  I carried it with me most all of the time, wrote everything in it, and kept life organized.

Enter a new cell phone, a smart phone, with the capability of  electronic calendar.  I usually have the phone nearby in my purse...or if I'm home I have a laptop within we are entering the world of electronic calendars.  I will admit that I have not totally converted, which makes things a little confusing...if I write in an event on the paper calendar but forget to enter it in the electronic calendar then I might potentially double schedule something (haha, not really potentially...actually I have really done this, yes...)

Very conveniently my daughter can enter events onto her calendar and merge with mine so that we are all on the same page (literally and figuratively).

I love it in theory...have to get used to the practice of it!!

How about you?  What type of calendar do you prefer and why?

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Hideaway by Lauren K Denton -- my REVIEW

The Hideaway by Lauren K Denton is a story full of Southern charm and nostalgia.  Sara is thrown into a world she thought she knew but hardly recognizes when her eccentric grandmother, Mags, dies.  Her life in New Orleans is busy and (she thinks) full and enough.  Her grandmother's house, the Hideaway, is a new burden that she does not want to deal with.

Sara returns to the Hideaway and reacquaints herself with her grandmother's friends and life.  She is surprised to realize things about Mags' life and past.

Alongside Sara's story is Mags' story.  Chapters relate Mags' life from a young married woman to a pregnant mother to a B&B owner to a single mother to a grandmother to a grandmother raising a child.  Mags changes and develops, enters into different relationships (including the love of her life), experiences crushing loss in different ways, and evolves into a very original woman.

Eventually Sara finds out much of Mags' secrets and they affect her life as well.  The Hideaway undergoes some major changes, as does Sara's life...and I won't say more than that :)

The writing in this book is lovely, descriptive and easy to read.

This book was published by Thomas Nelson, which is pretty much a Christian publisher (isn't it?) so I was surprised at the lack of Christianity in the book as well as some themes that were quietly non-Christian.

All in all it was an interesting book.  Nothing really that surprising, sort of vaguely happy ending, kind of predictable.  It was a well-written story.  I don't really love books that see-saw between storylines chapter to chapter, but it was fine, not confusing.

So--I'd say it was okay, not a favorite by all means.  I didn't like the unresolved love and futile-ness of that. . .but life is not ideal, I know.  It does offer a sense of sentimentality.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, April 20, 2017

SpeedyPrep, An Amazing CLEP Prep Program -- My REVIEW

It seems like just a short while ago all three of my children were under the age of 5 and survival mode was my theme (haha!) I couldn't imagine what it would be like when my oldest would start kindergarten. Fast forward to today and I have a 7th grader, a 9th grader, and an 11th grader! As you can imagine, school does take up a lot of my day and my mind now :) With an 11th grader, we spend a lot of time now thinking and talking about COLLEGE!! Wow, I can hardly believe that we are at this point! My amazement at how time has flown has been accompanied by the shock of how much college costs these days. Our family is making a plan for corralling college costs by doing a few different things, such as dual-enrolled college classes and using the CLEP test to earn credit through testing for significantly less money than a college course costs.

With this plan in place, I was so very excited to get the chance to review a web-based product called SpeedyPrep. This product is made up of study sessions that test the student's current knowledge and then educate them about what they chose incorrectly. We are so pleased with this CLEP prep program!


In case you are not familiar with CLEP testing, it is basically for those who have learned material that they think is equivalent or nearly equivalent to the material which would be taught in a college level class. The test is used to evaluate the student's mastery of the subject. Different colleges accept different CLEP tests and assign different numbers of credits for certain courses. You can check with your chosen college to see their CLEP policy, which should include information such as which tests they accept, which courses they would substitute credit for, what score is required to qualify for the credits, and how many credits the student would be assigned (with a qualifying score). The test itself costs $80 (this year at least!) and the testing center usually charges an administrative cost which varies (I've seen them as high as $80 in my area). With college courses costing in the thousands of dollars, paying less than $200 to "earn" credits and exempt you from having to take a certain course is definitely a great deal. The key is that you have to score well on the CLEP test!

So that long explanation is to lead up to this. Scoring high enough on the CLEP to earn credits can be done through study and test preparation. The SpeedyPrep program is a wonderful tool to help you confidently prepare to get a good score on your test. As a matter of fact, they offer a guarantee that if you complete the SpeedyPrep course for a subject but fail the corresponding test they will refund your subscription fee! That's saying a lot.

What tests does SpeedyPrep help you prepare for? Here's a graphic which shows them:

My (11th grade) daughter has been planning to take some of these tests and was happy to get the assistance in studying for them that SpeedyPrep provides.  When the student logs in they are able to choose which couse they would like to begin studying for; on successive logins they will see their progress bar for each of the subjects that they are using.  They can then move on to studying or view their study sessions broken down in to statistics and results.

The way that the studying works is that the student is presented with a question, usually fill in the blank, though after you have shown that you can answer it correctly in the fill in the blank mode it will also present you with multiple-choice format questions.  When the answer is typed in, it is either marked correct or incorrect.  The student is not just left with that, however...the "correct" or "incorrect" designation is accompanied by a detailed explanation about why the answer is what it is.  These explanations have diagrams, charts, pictures, and more included in them.  It is easy for a student to see why their answer was right or wrong and to learn the correct facts.  Even if a student guesses and gets the answer correct they are still able to learn because they will find out WHY their answer was correct.

Here's a sample of a question from the biology section

A correct answer has an expanded explanation

as does an incorrect answer

As the student progresses, they can view their progress bar and their statistics.  There are also supplementary videos on certain topics which relate to the chosen segments of the chosen course.

Questions and topics are repeated and the student quickly gains mastery of them.  The courses are broken down into multiple sections so that the student is not overwhelmed, but can master one section at a time.

We have been SO pleased with this program!  It is very easy to use anywhere you have wifi or internet connection.  You can use it on your preferred internet device--laptop, kindle, ipod, etc.  My daughter liked that she could even use it on her phone!

Nope, she's not texting...she's studying with SpeedyPrep!
Progress is steady with steady use.  If you are not a good speller, you will learn to spell the terms used!  :) (Spelling errors cause an "incorrect")  Although the CLEP test format is multiple choice the way that SpeedyPrep tests with the flashcard fill-in-the-blank method helps students to not rely on good guessing skills but on really knowing the proper answer.

I definitely recommend this product!  I am so glad that we found this program.  Yes, we are using it in order to review it, but when our subscription runs out I think that we will be purchasing another subscription.  My daughter would like to take several CLEPs and this is a way that she will be able to ensure enough practice to succeed.  Sometimes kids (and adults!) overestimate their proficiency on a certain topic and might be surprised at what they are lacking...this program doesn't let you zip through or finish unless you know the material.  The progress bars chart this for you and show your progress.

Okay, am I gushing?  Maybe.  Suffice it to say that we really like this program.  I highly recommend this program to anyone who is considering taking a CLEP (let me remind you that SpeedyPrep is not really a course to teach you an entire subject, but rather a product to enhance your learning and hone you in on what you need to know to score well on these tests).  If you are planning to take advantage of the money and time savings from testing for credit in this sense, really consider trying this program.  It is a very reasonable price and I think that you will agree when you experience its benefits.

I highly recommend this program!

College Level Examination Program Preparation {SpeedyPrep Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

N is for nightcrawlers

Our family likes to fish~~usually with worms rather than lures.  As the weather is warming up thoughts are turning to fishing :)  My husband and youngest daughter have already been out bullhead fishing.

So...bait!  Where do you get your bait?  At the bait store, usually!  In the springtime, however, it is SO easy to catch your own!

On dark wet/rainy nights in the springtime the nightcrawlers come out on the lawn!  Did you know that?  Before I was married I never knew that :)  I DID however know that there are a lot of worms in every cubic foot of soil.  My husband taught me the fine art of worm picking (haha!!)  In these cool wet evenings you can walk out on your lawn with a flashlight and see hundreds or more of worms scooting across the grass and back into their burrows as you approach.

The trick is to be quick and sneaky!  :)  They will zip down their holes in response to light or the sound/vibration of your I usually bend over so I'm close to the ground, shine the light on the area right at my feet, and when I spot a big worm, quickly grab it tightly and quickly and pull it up!  Of course the worms will try to get away and you have to be careful to not allow them to break :/ .  

SO...N is for nightcrawlers!  This is on our minds right now.  You might want to give it a try!  If you're not squeamish about worms, it's really fun!  :)   I just might think that worm picking is nearly as fun as fishing!

Out picking worms in the yard!

Here are some more "N" posts!  Maybe some are not as slimy as mine haha :) 

A Net In Time Schooling

Saturday, April 15, 2017

M is for Mindful encouraging of independence

Mindfulness...I'm guessing that many of us use that term to embody the purposeful deciding to do something, change something, be something.

How about with our kids and their gaining independence?

The reason that I'm thinking of this today is that my oldest child just got her first job (other than babysitting).  It's weird to me that she is this age, old enough and with the "want to" to work a job away from home.

I am admittedly a protective parent.  All my kids' lives I have reminded people (who would say stuff like my kids are being sheltered too much, etc) that it is my right as their parent to be just as protective as I wanted to be with them.  You parent your kids, I'll parent mine.

So now I have teenagers!  As a part of their development and maturing I have had to think about what kinds of skills and experiences they need to grow into a well-rounded, responsible adult.  Many of these things require me to release my tight grip on them and joyfully encourage steps toward independence.

The first big instance I can think of was a couple of years ago, when at 15 I sent my oldest off to a weekend computer science camp with a bunch of other high schoolers from schools across the state, (none of whom we knew) on a college campus which does not uphold the same religious beliefs or character standards that our family does.  This might not seem like a biggie, but in our state the Biblical Christianity lifestyle which we adhere to is very much in the minority.  We were pleased to see how she enjoyed the weekend, learned a lot, and upheld her standards and even defended her beliefs (gently) at one point.

Since that weekend she has had multiple other "educational camp" experiences with kids from the general public and seems to be settled strongly in her beliefs, not swayed by popular thought.  She's even taking classes at the local community college as a highschooler.  Driving (well, not by herself yet, still a permit).  Doing her banking solo. Taking ballroom dance.  So much more!  Each time I loosen my grip a little more I find that it is exciting to see how God is blessing through this growing independence.

So now here she is, getting a job!  I guess I'm feeling a little sentimental, surprised that she has arrived at this point in her life so quickly!  Those baby days which felt like they would last forever have zipped into this new stage.  I'm excited to see what God has for her.

SO-- How about you?  What steps to you encourage to promote independence?  Any suggestions from you who have successfully launched adults?  :)

For many years I have prayed that I would not hold my kids back under a misguided sense of sentimentality or longing for those days when they were young and wanted nothing more than to spend every minute with me or daddy :)  Here's another case where Scripture can help focus on the fact that God's guidance is really what matters in their lives!

2 Timothy 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

A Net In Time Schooling

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Java Programming with CompuScholar, Inc. -- My REVIEW!

Every year more and more processes become computerized, from the coffee makers that get us going in the morning to the cars that take us all over. How about your phone and those apps that you rely on? Do you shop at the mall these days or enjoy shopping online? It is clear to most people that computer literacy is not just for scientists anymore, but for the general public as well. Do you want to find out what's on tv? Check online. Do you want to know the weather forecast? Check your weather app on your phone. Do you need to provide sign-ups for an upcoming event? Use a google doc. You see where I'm going with this, I'm sure :)

Many homeschooling families find it obviously necessary and responsible to make sure that their students become computer literate early in school life, with increasing computer learning opportunities as their children grow.  CompuScholar, Inc. is a great resource to allow families to easily have their children learn these necessary skills as well as computer skills that may be beyond the computer comfort level of the parents/homeschool teachers, for instance the Java Programming course that we are blessed to be using for this review!

My 11th grade daughter was excited to participate with me in this review--she has a big interest in computer science and programming and has had a bit of learning/doing experience before the class began.  I, on the other hand, am more a life-sciences person--my last computer programming learning was probably in 1994 with Fortran :)  I logged in to the Java course as teacher, and my daughter logged in as the student, and we were ready to go!

Let me tell you first of all about the teacher side of things, and then I'll let my daughter tell you about the student side!

Upon logging in, the teacher encounters a screen which lists special options on the left such as

Teacher Menu

and then on the right it lists chapter by chapter, with clickable links which will take you to the chapter breakdown of lessons, quizzes, tests, and activities along with a teacher guide which gives background information and helpful tips and activity guide and solution files to assist the teacher with the activities.

From the student side of things, upon logging in, the student accesses the chapters which are broken down into different lessons (between 3 and 5), accompanied by quizzes, activities, and tests.  The student learns through watching videos and reading text and taking notes on the material.  The quizzes and tests evaluate their learning, and the activities give them the chance to put the learning into practical usage.

So what does the class cover?  The Java Programming course is advertised as, " teaches students all Java skills required on the "AP Computer Science A" exam. "  It starts out with some lessons in basic computer things and helps the student install the eclipse IDE to run their projects in.  Lessons following contain all types of programming things such as data types, string theory, methods, object-oriented programming, and more and more.  If you'd like to see a detailed list of the topics covered, you can view the syllabus (choose the syllabus option from the left hand menu).

The chapter titles show you that the students are learning about the following:  understanding computer programming, getting started with Java, the Eclipse IDE, Data types and variables, working with strings, user input, basic flow control, writing methods, debugging and exceptions, intro to OOP, objects in Java, graphical Java programs, swing input controls, arrays and collections, inheritance and polymorphism, math functions in Java, file access, sorting, searching, recursion, program efficiency, vector and bitmap images, object composition and copying, computer networking, software engineering principles, and AP test prep material.

I wanted this class to be pretty independent for my daughter and it really worked well.  She was able to do the lessons and then take the quizzes and tests, which were graded by the program.  The activities needed teacher grading, but there are rubrics given which help you to grade the activity easily, even if you don't know much about programming.

the grading rubric for one of the activities
The review period for the CompuScholar, Inc.  was six weeks that we had to use the program.  My daughter has completed up through chapter five and moving into chapter six.  There are 27 chapters in the program, each made of 3-5 lessons.  So what do we think about the program?  No question, we certainly like it!  She will continue to work on the Java class until she completes it!  I am sure that the lesson content will increase in difficulty, but I am confident that we will be able to cover it.  CompuScholar, Inc. provides technical support (and they are very fast to respond with helpful advice and information!)

SO -- would I recommend this program?  YES!!!  It is easy to use, for both the student and the teacher!  If you feel like you need more assistance they even offer a teacher-led option which costs a bit more.  This Java Programming course is the most advanced course offered by CompuScholar, Inc., and as such they do recommend some degree of "technical comfort" before beginning.  My daughter has taken some Java before, as well as many different experiences with programming, so she was definitely ready to jump right into this course.

I thought you might like to hear what she has to say about the course:

This course started off with a discussion about computers and how they work, how applications work, etc.  It was nice to have that information right off the bat, but it was a bit frustrating because at the beginning I didn't start learning coding, it was stuff that I already knew.  It took a couple of chapters before I actually began programming in Eclipse, the environment that is used for programming.  We programmed in the command prompt, which was nice as far as learning how it all worked, but it took a while for me to get it to work. 

I really like how they teach everything in chapters, and then lessons.  It's a nice way to split it up.  And they introduce everything in a simple, easy to understand way using examples.  In the activities, they are very clear about what I have to include and what my output should be.  I'm really happy to be able to take this course.  I had previously taken another course on JAVA programming, and I would recommend this one.

CompuScholar, Inc. Java Programming

Now, Java Programming is not the only course that CompuScholar, Inc. publishes.  You can view various options on their website.  The courses range from a more basic class called Digital Savvy to other classes on topics such as web design, C++ programming, game design, and more.  You can also click on the link below to read reviews of several of the different programs!
Digital Savvy, Web Design & Java Programming {CompuScholar,Inc Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, April 6, 2017

L is for "Let it go!"

Nope, this is not about Elsa :)  It is my "L is for " post -- and this week it is L is for Let It Go!


This is a hard one, yes.

Are you the type of person who holds grudges?  Thankfully I am not really a grudge-y person, as a matter of fact, it's just too much work for me to remember to hold a grudge :)  You know, you wake up feeling normal and then remember that you are mad at someone or treating them with the silent treatment or something like that -- and you go from feeling good to angry.  :/  I am truly thankful that the way God made me is that it is usually just too much of a pain for me to hold a grudge.  I've been spared that bitterness for most of my life.  You know what I'm talking about-- bitterness that can eat you up inside and make you sour.

That being said, as I am getting older I find myself surrounded by people (family too) who hold anger tightly and let it rule their lives.  My attitude has not easily rubbed off on them...on the other hand I sometimes feel myself being pulled into that hole of holding a grudge.  Yes, I get offended like everyone does, but lately I have found myself holding onto the hurt and wanting to just stay away from those who hurt me.

God, the ultimate forgiver, has to keep reminding me that I need to CHOOSE to "let it go" and forgive.  Once I heard a great definition of forgiveness which was something like deciding to give away your right to demand punishment for that person or for their action.  I'm not saying that forgiveness is easy, but it's a mind over emotions thing...I know what unforgiveness does to a person, to their family...and I don't want that.  I usually end up saying something to God like, "This is so hard.  I am choosing to forgive _____.  You know I really don't want to forgive them, but ...yes, I do.  Please help me to truly forgive and not hold onto this hurt."  And He does.  Usually the person who I feel wronged by never apologizes or asks for forgiveness, but that doesn't matter, I can offer forgiveness anyhow.  It's healing for me to do so.

How many times has God forgiven me?  Seriously?  Can we even count that high?  :) And yet He remains there, with me, helping me, ready to act and always willing to forgive.  I wish I was as gracious as He is!

Ephesians 4:31-32

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another,forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

A Net In Time Schooling

If I'm Found by Terri Blackstock -- my REVIEW

Well, I just came to the end of this book, If I'm Found, by Terri Blackstock.  I'm feeling a little let down, because the "ending" isn't really the end of the story.  Let me tell you a little about this book.

FIRST and VERY IMPORTANT -- this book is #2 in a series.  The book jumps right in, assuming you have just read the first one.  No intros, the reader is left to figure out who is who and what is going on.

The reader finds Dylan, a private investigator with PTSD from wartime trauma searching for the killer of his old friend Brent, who is supposedly a woman named Casey.  He is employed by his friend's parents and is not sure that Casey is the true killer or if it's some kind of conspiracy.

Casey is on the run due to being suspected in this big murder.  She is wrongly accused, and apparently has just saved a child from a kidnapper but then has gotten away from the police.  As the story goes on, we find out that her (policeman) father supposedly killed himself when she was a child, though that may have been a conspiracy also--carried out by his police co-workers.

Casey is trying to hide while looking into the bad police who were perhaps responsible for her friend's and her father's deaths.  She is very resourceful and happens upon some other situations that she tries to remedy.  In the midst of this she begins seeking to follow God.

The story is good, riveting, keeps you reading--if you get past the beginning parts of being totally confused (unless you've read the first one).  The writing is excellent and the story makes you want to keep reading and reading.

I would recommend this book IF you have read the first one.  I thought it was very hard and confusing to just jump into this book. This book seemed to me like you took a book, tore out the first 20 chapters, and then began reading.  I also want to warn you that there is not a resolution to the story.  I won't tell you the "ending" but I will say that if the previoius scenario were true (tearing out the first 20 chapters) then you would also have torn out the last 20 chapters :)  I think that when the next book comes out, if these 3 books were packaged together into one long book it would be better for me.  I do tend to like my books with nice tidy endings :)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer -- my REVIEW

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver}

Several years ago in our homeschool journey, all three of my children were studying ancient history together.  To go along with the studies, there were several books that we used as read-alouds; reading together these fictional stories written in the time frame and setting of the historical era that we were studying helped the kids to really get the feel of life in that time period.

This book, Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer, which is produced by Peggy Consolver - Author, is a book which I think would have fit very nicely in as another read-aloud with those studies of ancient/Bible times.  It is the story of the Gibeonites (are you familiar with their story?  Check it out in the Bible in the book of Joshua chapters 9 and 10).  The main character of the story, Keshub, is a young teen whose family members are potters in Gibeon.  The Amorites are their enemies, as are a newly-learned of people, the Hebrews, who appear to be taking over the land of Canaan.

Some of the events that are covered in the story are the conquering of Jericho, the story of Achan, the fight at Ai, and others.  Of course, the deception of the Gibeonites, which you are sort of awaiting throughout the entire book, is kind of a turning point in the story.

Though the story is fiction, much of the historical and geographical setting has been deeply researched and is related in great detail by the very knowledgeable author.  It gives the reader more of a comprehensive feel of the society/setting of the times of Moses and Joshua and the Hebrews entering the Promised Land.  The author actually has personal experience in this land (see an article in which she discusses this as well as her book here.)

So...what did I think of it?  I think that if it were used as a read-aloud in conjunction with a study of ancient times it would be a very helpful addition to a curriculum.  As just a plain old book to read for "fun" I found it a bit dry and long, something that just kept going and going.  The build-up to the climax of the story takes a long time, but--though long--it does a good job of giving the reader an understanding of the times and family/society life of the time.

There was a little discussion guide at the end of the book with ten brief and pretty generic questions.  The author also has a study guide available for purchase; a sample of this study guide along with some research links can be viewed on her website.

One thing that I REALLY liked in this book was a description of Sabbath, which was like a light-bulb moment for me.  I feel like this one statement is the most important point in the book for me.  On p.359, Keshub relates, "Joshua explained it to me that when we rest on the Sabbath we show our faith in God who provides everything we need.  We depend on Him, not ourselves."  Nice!  Great explanation of Sabbath!

So, bottom line, as a read-aloud addition to an ancient history curriculum, I'd recommend Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer by Peggy Consolver.  

For more reviews of this book, feel free to check out these!
Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver Reviews}

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