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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Strange Fire: Book Sneeze Review

John MacArthur's book, Strange Fire, explores a scriptural understanding of the Holy Spirit. From the beginning of the church in Acts there has been confusion, misconceptions, and outright lies taught concerning who the Holy Spirit is and how He operates in our lives. John MacArthur uses Scripture to correct common false teachings and misunderstandings within the church about the Holy Spirit. He also helps those with no real understanding of this part of the Trinity learn the basics.

This book was difficult for me to enjoy. One of the stated main purposes is to directly confront specific denominations whom teach false doctrine about the Holy Spirit. Because of this the tone of the book is rather intense. My personality shies away from confrontation and while the teaching in this book was solid, I can not count this as a book I will return to often because of this.

As always John MacArthur provides solid, biblical teaching and this is a book my husband, a pastor, will very much appreciate. We have personally encountered individuals within the church with strong misunderstanding of the Holy Spirit either because they had not been taught or they had been taught falsely. This is invaluable for the pastor who wants to lead his people to a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit.

I also would encourage anyone who has not learned much about the Holy Spirit throughout their study of Scripture to pick up this book. The clear teaching is a great place to start for a complete and solid teaching regarding what many see as a mysterious part of our faith.

Disclosure:  I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Week in Review: April 7-11

This week and next our friend Diego will be hanging out with us! The girls have enjoyed having him with us and he very quickly fell into our school day routine. I didn't know what to expect having someone new join us and I was so proud of how both the girls and Diego worked well throughout the week during our school time. 

Preschool: Patiently Awaiting the Next HOD Guide!
This week Grace finished lesson 100 in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons! I'm so proud of my girl, and it pleases my greatly to be able to say I've successfully taught all three of my girls to read. This one area is what scared me most about homeschooling, but I've been teaching reading now since 2009. We will be moving on to the Abeka K5 and 1st readers to reinforce and continue her phonics instruction, adding in All About Spelling in the fall. 
She has been spending some time with Reading Kingdom as well. It is not my favorite way to learn reading, but if you are looking for a computer-based reading instruction option this is one to check into. It is used by many schools, reading specialists, and homeschools. They also provide a 30 day trial so you can see if it is something you like. You can read my full review here

I had other things planned to do with Grace this week, but she came down with a cold, as did 3 more of us! So we mostly focused on reading and cuddling!

Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory: Unit 22

Beth thoroughly enjoyed having a classmate this week. They did mostly different work, but at the same time. We studied about Benjamin Franklin inventing the wood stove and a sweet little family he helped. Our Bible verse was about being a cheerful giver and she discussed this very deeply with me. As the year has progressed she understands more and more about the verses we read, one of the main reasons I love Heart of Dakota.
I decided to go ahead and do the review workbook for first grade from Math Mammoth before we move on to 2nd grade math. She has filled in the gaps from where Rod and Staff left off, but doing this workbook is giving me greater peace of mind. She loves math and number so very much that she doesn't mind at all that it seems easy!

Beth enjoyed her journal this week which was a dot-to-dot of a bear and cub. Then she wrote about hibernating bears. This is one of the many books I bought for $1 during the Scholastic Dollar Days sales. I use a lot of these books for fun and this is definitely one of my favorites!

Preparing Hearts for His Glory: Unit 14

Rose is continuing on at full-speed and is thoroughly enjoying history! This week she did some of the reading on her own this week since I had an extra student. She didn't mind a bit although I missed the days she read! She read about China and Greece as well as the Silk Road. We started Hero Tales  this week which Rose adored. We also started Triumph for Flavius which Rose also enjoyed. I'd read some comments earlier in the week that this was not a favorite book for some, so I am pleased she is enjoying it so much.

Math is easier on some days than it is others. Whether it is a rough day or not, Life of Fred always leaves us with giggles! I'm so grateful for this unique way of looking at numbers and giving my girls a new perspective on how much fun math can really be.

I've also found out Rose really likes to diagram sentences. This may sound surprising, but she does! She's learned now to diagram the subject, predicate, adjective, articles, and conjunctions. I certainly didn't learn all this in 3rd grade and I'm excited to help her discover it all!


Diego missed a lot of school for the first six months because of his chemo treatments and we've continued his studies at our house during the break. One area he is really focusing on is handwriting. I was so proud of how hard he worked this week to be consistent with his letter sizes.

We're also working on some math work. We're doing the same 1st grade review workbook as Beth and this has been a great place for him to begin. Diego enjoyed the different ways of practicing his math facts. The review was very good.

This fun vocabulary worksheet was another way for him to practice his handwriting and reading. This is from another Scholastic Book from the dollar sale. I love having these resources!

It was different having another student for the week but didn't disrupt our routine nearly as much as I expected it to. In some ways I think the girls worked more diligently since they had a guest for the week! So another week has past and we are looking forward to celebrating Easter!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Week in Review: March 10 - April 4

It has been a few weeks since I posted a week in review. Things are going along quite well around here, but I found myself suddenly camera-less! I mentioned before that the battery casing was having issues so a conveniently placed bit of tape was doing the job. About 3 weeks ago that bit of tape had to be increased to a large amount of tape and within a couple of days even that wasn't cutting it! My mother-in-law brought me a camera she wasn't using anymore and I'm back in business!

I could have written a review without pictures, but I prefer to read those with pictures so I just waited. Looking back I wish I had gone ahead and written them, but I just couldn't get the inspiration. This last week was our spring break, so I'll start with that update!

They had a wonderful time visiting their cousins and making lots and lots of memories! Fascinating update, right? Tee hee...

The weeks prior to this were filled with academics and fun, so they were ready for the break! I'm not going to detail each unit this time, just show a few highlights with the random few pictures I was able to take with my other old camera with no flash. Boy, am I glad to have my lens back!

Grace is very close to finishing up our reading lessons. Four more and we'll be done! Look forward to seeing an excited, "I'm finished!" photo in next week's review. 
This picture just cracks me up! A few days before the previous picture (Yes, this is her favorite shirt!) Rose wanted to help her read the story. All was well until Grace mispronounced a word and Rose corrected her. Oh my...obviously the lesson fell apart rather quickly at this point and I stepped in to finish!
Over the last few weeks we have settled into a slightly different routine unintentionally. My girls have started doing more of the same content area at the same time. For instance, they end up all completing literature/reading at the same time. I rather enjoyed this. It was cozy having all of us in the same room reading. 
Rose is reading the original Treasure Island partly due to her love of Robert Louis Stevenson (Thank you Heart of Dakota poetry!) and partly to her love of the abridged version. I never imagined my eight-year-old would pick up this classic on her own!

Math Rider continues to be a favorite, especially as we cover gaps during our transition to Math Mammoth. I'm so happy with this curriculum and with the change overall. I feel more settled and confident with math than I have since beginning homeschooling.

No, your eyes are not deceiving funny Beth is measuring Elsa and Olaf for her measurement unit...all while singing Do You Want to Build a Snowman? 

Do you see Beth's mouth? All About Spelling really focuses on phonics in reverse which is why I love it so much. Beth frequently sounds out her spelling as she ponders the rules she has learned. She has just begun to apply the rules she is learning to her everyday writing which is relieving. I know it takes time for this to happen, but finally seeing it happen is very relieving. 

You many notice we have a formal school-room but we're rather all over the place with our learning. Sometimes I leave with one or another for one-on-one work so we don't disturb the others working independently, but they often wander in to find us. Sometimes my daughters ask to move about the house, which I'm fine with. They often switch chairs in the schoolroom and are happy at the kitchen table, the couch, and the floor. I love it. I absolutely love the flexibility and freedom they have and that I can provide it!

You'll see a guest in our homeschool over the next few weeks as well! Do you remember Diego? He remains cancer-free (Yay!!!!!) and is able to attend school regularly now. He has a year-round schedule so he's going to be hanging out with us during his spring break which lasts a total of three weeks. Be on the look out for this little cutie pie!

So there you have it...almost a month in review! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Family Time Fitness Freebie!!!!!

This is an amazing deal! Family Time Fitness is offering their Core 1 Curriculum for free...yes, you read that correctly! It is absolutely free! This is an amazing deal and this is a great program which I highly recommend for anyone looking for a good fitness program for their homeschool!

Fitness 4 Homeschool - Core 1 Physical Education Curriculum

Don't miss out on this amazing opportunity!!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Questions God Asks: Book Review

I have come to really love reading the gospels. My favorite parts are when Jesus is asked a question. More often than not He responds with a question rather than directly answering. Why did He do that? Further exploration of Scripture reveals God has been asking men and women questions from the beginning of creation. Israel Wayne delves into these questions in his book Questions God Asks from New Leaf Press

As with all books from New Leaf Publishing Group I eagerly jumped right into reading. I genuinely enjoy learning and growing in my faith through solid biblical teaching. While there is no substitute for the Word of God I feel so blessed to live in a time when there is no shortage of clear evangelical instruction from those who believe Scripture is the literal and inerrant Word of God. I am, however, cautious to research both the author and publishing company before I read because I know there are those who do not take God's Word as it should be. 
Israel Wayne fervently and consistently defends the Christian faith and a biblical worldview. His straight-forward writing style invites everyone, no matter where they are in their walk, to consider the questions God poses to specific individuals, then walking the reader through Scripture to see why the answers are so important. He also explores why God would ask questions in the first place. 

One aspect of this book which I feel lends itself to being a tool for evangelism is the brevity of each chapter. Words are not wasted and the simple clarity of each section makes this an ideal read for those seeking to understand who God is according to the Scriptures. As I continued reading individuals came to mind in nearly every chapter with whom I wanted to share the book. 

Although every chapter is excellent, my favorite was the first, a question posed to Job. Where Were You? was a chapter with which I related closely. Several years ago we felt the pain and loss of our first child to miscarriage. It was an incredibly difficult time and as my husband and I found comfort in the Book of Job. Job 38:4 in particular was a verse which God brought to me during this time. "Where were you when I lid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding." At first read this may seem a rather harsh statement for our loving God to make to a man who has lost nearly everything of value in his life, yet this question led Job, and me thousands of years later, to feel deeper peace and comfort. 

I loved Wayne's chapter on this verse as he related a conversation he had with an unbelieving seatmate on a flight. He showed how this same question God posed to Job could also be used to defend the Christian faith. What a blessing to see God teaching us apologetics through His own questions to humanity! 

I also really liked chapter seventeen, Do You Have a Right to be Angry?, a question God posed to Jonah as he whined and complained at the grace and deliverance given to Nineveh. This chapter deals with the sovereignty of God, something we all struggle with from time to time. Whether we are angry at what we perceive to be God's response to a situation or about life circumstances it is a questions we should allow God to ask us the same and listen to His promptings. I often need reminded of the sovereignty of God as I view the world around me. 

I highly recommend this book and feel better equipped to share my faith after reading it. For more on what is included in the book take a look at the preview below!


For more reviews click the link below!

Disclaimer: I received Questions God Asks from New Leaf Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  I was not required to give a positive review. I was not compensated in any other way.