Category Archives: books

May 2022 Books

May’s reading has been a bit more varied and definitely had some fun elements to it.

In helping Miss J with her history/geography this spring, we have been reading aloud the information from Our Fifty States from National Geographic. It has been sort of fun to read some detailed information about each of the individual states.

Mud & Guts: A Look at the Common Soldier of the American Revolution by Bill Mauldin is a short paperback book at only 74 pages. But the information packed into those pages is so interesting. We tend to feel like we know a good bit about the soldiers of the revolution. But really, what we know is what the textbooks tell us about things like Valley Forge and such. Yes, the soldiers really did have it hard and Mr. Mauldin take a good look at their lives through primary source materials. These source include letters to giving details about clothing, medical care, and food. You will learn even more about the hard lives that the soldier chose in fighting for freedom from England. It is a simple enough read but one that would really benefit any student of American history.

The Candid Life of Meena Dave by Namrata Patel is a fun fiction book about the life of Meena. Meena is a photo journalist who spends her life jetting around the globe to shoot stories for all kinds of high profile media sources. This is suddenly thrown out of whack when she finds she has inherited an apartment in a group owned building in Boston from someone she doesn’t even know. In trying to maintain her life as she knew it and figure out the whole apartment thing, something happens to her and life shifts. Important things maybe are not so much anymore and unimportant things change position, too. This was a really enjoyable fiction read that I can recommend easily.

Confessions of A Proverbs 32 Woman: How I Went from Messed Up to Blessed Up Without Changing a Single Thing by Kerri Pomarolli is a funny, challenging read that I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend! Kerri is a Christian comedian in Hollywood where those two things don’t really go together. But she has made it work through her focus on God and His blessings. This is a hilarious look at life through the eyes of one who knows she isn’t all there and needs the hand of God in her life. Her honest look at her life and how she has refocused her thinking is a refreshing read and one that made me consider much of what she shared. As the back of the book states “If you’re tired of not measuring up, Kerri’s been there and shares how God and His Word will see you through even your most helpless moments.”

Walking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton is a strange little story about an older lady who may or may not be crazy but has quite the life regardless. She can’t keep a dog because she’s “starting to slow down” but she sure does a whole lot of things that don’t fit that description of herself. She has a great sense of humor and can laugh at herself while not really making a whole lot of sense in other ways. The town is a small one and word gets around about things pretty quick. The characters in the book are quirky, fun, a bit disturbing, and all around a group that I enjoyed. The title of the book comes from a hymn, as the lady plays hymns nightly, and thinks of this one as she remembers her childhood.

I’m still working through My Life In Him and Your Finances God’s Way. I sort of lost steam on the finances one. Still a good read and lots of interesting information but just kind of got lost with some other reads in the stack. My Life In Him is a year long daily devo reading so it’ll be a while before I finish it.

The last one to add for the month is another that will take me a good bit to finish. It is also a year long read if done according to design, which is read and then take a week to work on the challenge. I am spending a couple days on some of the chapters and considering things well but I haven’t really written anything yet. I may go through this twice and do some of the challenges for real. 🙂 The book is titled Revitalize: Breathing Life & Encouragement into Your Homeschool and it is authored by Chelli Guthrie. I am really enjoying the thoughts of this as each week’s lesson and challenge is rooted in a Bible verse and Bible principles. I really like that and have found a lot of food for thought so far. As I said, I haven’t written anything down yet but have taken some time to consider things such as what frustration vs disobedience looks like, how to consider plans in light of God’s directives, and praying over your homeschool AND each of your children.

All in all, a busy reading month and I have loved it! What have you read?

Lori, At Home.

April 2022 Books

I have been enjoying reading but writing about it hasn’t been high on my priority list. Still, I thought I would share with you what I got through in April. I had some really enjoyable reads.

So, I had a couple that I was finishing up from before or still working through.
Before The Throne by Crickett Keeth and Shocking Secrets of America History by William Coates were finished up early on in the month.

Another devotional book I am reading is My Life In Him. It is a compilation of many different writers’ and includes 52 weeks of devotional readings. I really like these as they are not fluff but real challenges taken straight from God’s word. Each day begins with a Bible readings and then 3 or 4 short paragraphs of thoughts based strictly on the Bible passage. It closes with a challenge for the day. Each week is written by the same man and is set on a theme such as family, marriage, fruit of the spirit, or dealing with something such as loss, anger, etc.

My Family And Other Animals by Gerald Durrell is a funny memoir and natural history book based off his family’s time in Corfu. Having moved there when he was about 10, he lived there several years. The memoir started out as notes on his nature observations but when he added in his family, it became a hilarious and somewhat bizarre telling of their years on the island. It is a fun and fabulous read that is packed full of character, animals, and learning. A definite recommend. I found that it was the first in a series so I hope to get my hands on the other books, as well.

Your Finances God’s Way by Scott LaPierre. I have enjoyed reading through this study of personal finance and did not find any major Biblical issues with the doctrine included. It is a good look at God’s take on personal responsibility of finance. I do still have a couple more chapters to go as I just set it aside for a bit but I do plan to finish it. Read the full review here.

One Question A Day Journal for Kids by MaryAnne Kochenderfer, PhD. is just an adorable start to creative writing for youngsters. Aimed at ages 6-9, boys and girls alike will enjoy writing about their likes, dislikes, and imaginations gone wild. Read the full review here.

The 30-Minute Gluten-Free Cookbook: 100+ Quick and Simple Recipes for Every Day by Jan Withington was a digital book I received. I found some interesting looking recipes that are do-able but many of them were just not of my type of cooking or eating. I found lots of the high-starch substitutes in the recipes which really turns me off of cookbooks. Those subs just have not flavor and are not healthy in any way. It is a fine cookbook but just not for me overall.

The Story of Jane Goodall by Susan B Katz was another digital book I received. It was an interesting read for younger readers- elementary or early middle school. There was a lot of information that I didn’t know about Jane Goodall and found it a quick, enjoyable read. For an elementary student, it is a solid read with a lot of information about her life, her work, and how to be a part of change.

That’s the list for April, though I feel like I forgot something. Oh well. Not a bad number and I enjoyed the reading. May’s list is not too far behind.

Lori, At Home.

Your Finances God’s Way ~ a book review

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are my honest opinion.

Your Finances God's Way JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for the Your Finances God’s Way book and workbook by Scott LaPierre, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Your Finances God's Way

Title: Your Finances God’s Way

Author: Scott LaPierre

Publisher: Harvest House

Release Date: May 3, 2022

Genre: Christian living – nonfiction

Experience the Peace that Comes with Wise Stewardship

Financial insecurity can be one of the greatest threats to your well-being—but the good news is that even if you’re on a tight income, you can eliminate many of your monetary worries when you create and abide by a biblical plan for your spending.

In Your Finance’s God’s Way, you’ll identify the negative money management habits you need to break and the positive habits that should take their place. Implementing the teaching laid out in the Bible, this book gives you advice and practical steps backed by proven principles, helping you

• get the most out of your money by paying off debt and building up savings

• make wise spending decisions that enable you to avoid anxiety, regret, and conflict

• find a healthy balance between being financially frivolous and frugal to a fault

Even when you have less to spend, you can use what God has provided to thrive. Whether you’re young or old, married or single, working or staying at home, Your Finances God’s Way will give you everything you need to be a careful steward of the resources you’ve received from the Lord.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub



Scott LaPierre

Scott LaPierre is a senior pastor, author, and popular conference speaker. He holds an MA in biblical studies from Liberty University. Scott and his wife, Katie, live in Washington State, and God has blessed them with nine children. Learn more about Pastor Scott at his website,, and connect with him on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

CONNECT WITH SCOTT: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


(1) winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of the Your Finances God’s Way book and workbook!

Your Finances God's Way JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight May 9, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on May 16, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Books US only, Amazon gift card where available. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links from JustRead Tours.

My Thoughts About The Book and Workbook:

Your Finances God’s Way: A Biblical Guide to Making the Best Use of Your Money has been an interesting read. I have found it, thus far, to be biblically based and without denominational influences. This is a huge plus when talking about money and God’s word. The style of writing is easy to understand and Scott LaPierre approaches the topics with a unique approach.

Topics included are:

  • stewardship and faithfulness,
  • God’s kindness and severity,
  • Money is the foundation of faithfulness,
  • The Dangers of loving money,
  • Learning from a rich fool,
  • How to avoid being a rich fool,
  • Give willingly,
  • Give sacrificially,
  • God’s Generosity encourages giving cheerfully,
  • Good stewardship toward the poor,
  • Spending problems versus an income problem,
  • God’s view of debt,
  • Avoiding and eliminating debt,
  • Saving the right and wrong way,
  • Retiring well,
  • The greatest riches.

So far, one of my favorite chapters has been when he is dealing with the parable of the unfaithful servant in Matthew 25. He really dissects the parable in a way I have not seen done and deal with the monetary decisions made in it. While this parable is often used to talk about the use of the talents, Mr. LaPierre looks at the fact that the steward was going to have to give an account and that he took that very seriously. Did he do it right? No, as Jesus called him dishonest but looking at how seriously the steward took the fact that he was going to have to be accountable, he prepared for the future. He knew he had a limited amount of time so he worked quickly, he knew it was coming so he worked hard, and he used the situation to create some safety for him in the coming days after he had faced judgment. I found this look really interesting. And there have been other looks at things that were different and interesting. I am really enjoying this study.

As for the workbook, well, I am not as impressed with that. It is a good supplement, especially if you are needing something to document completion (as with a high school student getting credit) or as a guide for a small group study. As an independent study, I feel that the workbook is unnecessary. A large part of it is basic knowledge questions that don’t require a depth of understanding or application. Those types of questions are there but they are not the majority. Still, the workbook has its place in certain situation but it is not required to make the study helpful.

As of this writing, I am only about halfway through the study. There could be things later in the book that I have not yet come across to be concerned about but I don’t suspect there will be based on what I have read so far. I am finding this an enjoyable study that has presented some financial ideas in a bit of a different way. I have enjoyed that.

Lori, At Home.

March 2022 Books

Busy times mean a late post on the books I have read. So, here you go. Only 3 weeks into the next month. 🙂

Her Mother’s Hope and Her Daughter’s Dream – Francine Rivers

My oldest daughter (can you believe she is 18 now!?!) asked me to read these. I had tried another one by Mrs. Rivers that I did not like, though it is currently crazy popular. It was too graphic and gross for me. She told me this set of books was quite different. So, I tried it. And she was right. It was a lot different from the other and I did enjoy it a lot. It is a story about mothers and daughters, somewhat based on Mrs. Rivers’ own past. I found the historical parts interesting. I enjoyed some of th characters quite a bit and others none at all. Overall, I enjoyed the stories. Still not planning to pick up any other of Mrs. Rivers work.

Before The Throne – Crickett Keeth

Pop over and read my full review of this one, if you are interested. I have enjoyed this Bible study about prayer during difficult times. There is a good focus on God’s word and has given me some good thought. I like this study.

Called For Life: How loving our neighbor led us into the heart of the ebola epidemic – Kent & Amber Brantly

I cannot recommend this biography enough. Kent Brantly is a doctor and he and his family moved to Africa to serve as medical missionaries. He contracts ebola and this is the story of how their faith got them through the tough time, not knowing whether life or death was just around the corner. The medical treatment advances were able to preserve the life of Dr. Brantly but that is just one small part of the intrigue of this story. The truly remarkable part is the steps of faith that are recalled and documented throughout this medical struggle. After time to recovery, the family returned to the mission field in another part of Africa to continue serving God. This is a high recommend, one you should definitely read.

Shocking Secrets of American History: 115 Surprising and Amusing Tales – William Coates

This nonfiction selection was a ton of fun. Written by a history teacher who wanted to introduce his students to the more unique aspects of history, these stories take us through the history of America by examining some strange and unknown tidbits about people and events. From the founding of America through World War II, these short stories will captive imaginations and foster interest. Most of the stories are just a page or two long and so can be quick additions to a history curriculum or can be a stand alone read. In fact, my oldest has decided it looked interesting and has added it to her stack of books to read. I recommend this one.

Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life – Sutton Foster

Sutton Foster is an actress who has found an outlet for the craziness of life surrounding the acting business – crafts. This autobiographical story works looks Sutton’s career and life through the lens of crafts that she worked on during that show/time. Each craft represents something she struggled with or how life was difficult for her at the time. Her family life was strange. Her acting life was crazy and difficult, fraught with emotional difficulties, and life itself was hard to take sometimes. But crafting, well, that was where she found an outlet that helped her keep all of that in perspective and focus on living well. This was an interesting take on a biography and I truly enjoyed it. Another one that is worth the read.

Counterfeit Love – Crystal Caudill

I have posted a full review of this book for you to read but will share a blurp with you here. My basic little bit: Secret service, counterfeit money, mixed up emotions, a mystery in the family – could things come together to confuse Theresa Plane? As a lady who faces life full on and full force, these things may cause her pause but they will not derail her. That is, until her ex-fiance, who disappeared after her close call with death, shows up. Confusion combined with her grandfather’s death, push her further into the unknown.

I enjoyed this story a lot, which was surprising as I don’t typically enjoy mysteries. This one was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed this historical take on it all. Again, it was worth the time.

Really Woolly My First Easter – Bonnie Rickner Jensen

Since this is a board book, I am not sure if it counts as a book for me to read but it was so cute! This is a precious board book (full review here) for a little one to snuggle up with someone and read. It is bright and colorful, with a special rhyme about joy and a prayer on each 2 page spread. The joy of spring, rain, new beginnings, growing, Easter, Jesus, and in “my heart” are sweetly covered to help a young child learn about all that God has placed around us. Each page also contains Easter eggs in the illustrations to provide an egg hunt for the readers, encouraging new discoveries each time. This gorgeous book will captivate the child’s wonder and scripture will place the truth of God in their heart, moment by moment.

The Master Craftsman – Kelli Stuart

Jumping between history and present day, this is an enjoyable read about one of the most fascinating art houses to ever exist – the House of Faberge. The historic portion dates between about 1900 and 1920. It recounts some of what the people were going through as the Russian government changed hands and turned communist. We view this historic portion through the eyes of one who is searching for a fabled egg, not sure if it existed or not, but feeling that gut pull that it did. When Nick cannot search on his own, and as a way to reconnect with his now-adult daughter whom he hasn’t seen for years, he sends her into the search. Knowing there could be danger along the way, they take all the necessary precautions. Now that the treasure hunt is under way, what will be found? This was a super enjoyable read. I flew through it and truly enjoyed it. I adore historical fiction and this was right up there with the best.

So, I got 9 books read this month. A pretty big month, I guess. I enjoyed all of them and they were easy to read. I would spend the time to read them all again, also, as I found them so enjoyable.

Lori, At Home.

Before The Throne ~ a book review

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Before The Throne: finding strength through prayer in difficult times by Crickett Keeth is a new Bible study that takes a look at prayer in the Bible. With all that is troubling the world today, there is no time more relevant than now to take a look at prayer in the Bible when the speaker of the prayer is in difficult times.

About Before The Throne, from Moody Publishers

God’s people know they can turn to Him when times get tough. Instead of trying to fix things on our own, we can enter God’s throne room in prayer. The access granted to us by Jesus our High Priest is our comfort when the world is turned upside down. In Before the Throne, Crickett offers eight prayer warriors from Scripture who turned to God when times became difficult. You’ll learn to pray with:

·        Moses in times of disappointment

·        The Psalmists in times of need

·        Jonah in times of disobedience

·        Hezekiah in times of battle

·        Habakkuk in times of questioning

·        Jesus in a time of intercession

·        Paul in times of hardship

·        Revelation saints in times of worship

As you study these prayers, you’ll be strengthened as you see how these godly Bible characters poured out their hearts to God and how He responded to them. You’ll learn how to pray with the same power when you feel weak, helpless, stressed, or afraid. As you turn your focus toward God’s character through prayer, He will supply the strength you need to face whatever is before you.

About Crickett Keeth

Crickett is the Women’s Ministry Director at First Evangelical Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where she writes and teaches the women’s Bible studies. She is the author of several published Bible studies, including On Bended Knee (Moody), The Gift of Rest and Sumatra with the Seven Churches (co-authored with Sandra Glahn). Crickett was on staff with Cru for ten years and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. In addition to teaching regularly at her own church, she also speaks at women’s conferences and retreats. She offers free resources for discipleship and encourages others in their own walk with God through her website at Her life purpose is to encourage others to passionately pursue Jesus Christ.

How I Used The Study

This study is designed as an 8-week study, with each week having an introduction and five days of study. I have used it as a part of my daily study, so I have been moving through it faster than one lesson a week. I have found it a comfortable size to read and the print, for the most part, is easy to read. There is plenty of white space on the pages, making it relaxing and enjoyable to work through. This also means there is plenty of space to write your answers, notes, and thoughts.

I found that Ms. Keeth has chosen to look at the prayer of some of the most prayerful people in the Bible – Moses, Jesus, Paul, the Psalmists. But she has also chosen some people with short prayers – Jonah – or who we may not think of first when we talk of prayer – Hezekiah, Habakkuk, the saints in Revelation. Such a variety of people who dealt with different types of hardship all sought God through prayer in their difficulty. This makes for an example for each of us today. Ms. Keeth examines the prayers and the context in which the prayers are made. Each chapter has you looking directly into God’s word and examining the prayer and what it included. It asks you to look upward, wrestling with thought-proking questions and perhaps creating some discussion. You look deeper, into more scripture and how it relates to the scripture prayer examined earlier. And finally, you look reflectively into yourself, how will this change you, how will you use it to change yourself and your relationship with God, applying what you have learned.

I really enjoy a study that looks to God’s word for the majority of the material, using a bit of personal input and thought to guide only, not as the bulk of the lesson. This study definitely does that and pushes your thinking about God’s word. The study also includes a group leader’s guide at the back to help a group leader consider which questions to dwell a bit longer on or to focus on.

I enjoy the fact that this study does focus first and foremost on what God is giving us in His Bible. This is what a Bible study should be and this one does just that. If you are looking for a study to support you in tough times, when prayer seems far away or harder than it should be, this might be just what you are looking for. Come Before the Throne and see what God will do for you.

Lori, At Home.

Really Woolly My First Easter ~ book review and giveaway

Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are my opinion.

If you are looking for a sweet addition to a young child’s Easter basket, Really Woolly My First Easter fits the bill. This die-cut board book has a bright, glittered cover and is in the shape of an Easter basket with a handle. Written by Bonnie Rickner Jensen, illustrated by Julie Sawyer Phillips, and published by Dayspring, an imprint of Tommy Nelson, this adorable book will provide hours of snuggle time with you little one while you read and teach the truths of God’s love.

This is a precious board book for a little one to snuggle up with someone and read. It is bright and colorful, with a special rhyme about joy and a prayer on each 2 page spread. The joy of spring, rain, new beginnings, growing, Easter, Jesus, and in “my heart” are sweetly covered to help a young child learn about all that God has placed around us. Each page also contains Easter eggs in the illustrations to provide an egg hunt for the readers, encouraging new discoveries each time. This gorgeous book will captivate the child’s wonder and scripture will place the truth of God in their heart, moment by moment.

The Really Woolly line has been a best-selling brand for 15 years. It is known for sharing encouragement about the relationship Jesus, the Shepherd, has with us, His sheep. The characters are well-known and loved.

This beautiful board-book is perfect for those aged 0-4, and beyond, to reflect on the beauty of spring, new life, and the resurrection of Jesus. Purchase your own copy today. Or visit JustRead Publicity Tours on Instagram to enter to win a copy of this book.

Lori, At Home.

February 2022 Books

I enjoyed some good reading this month but also put one away that I just did not have the background knowledge to be able to push through to understanding. So what were the gems and the duds?

Let’s get the dud out of the way: Satch, Dizzy & Rapid Robert: The Wild Saga of Interracial Baseball Before Jackie Robinson by Timothy M. Gay.

I was looking forward to reading this. I enjoy baseball and history so I thought this would be really interesting. And it was. I just didn’t know enough of the peripheral characters to be able to make heads and tails of it. I learned some interesting things but just struggled too much to enjoy it. I made it about 150 pages in before I just decided I could not keep track of everyone I didn’t know enough about. My husband is working his way through it and I think he is enjoying it but it is slow going for him, also, and he knows tons more baseball history than I do. Not a bad book, just hard without the knowledge to support the story.

So, the gems: Surprised By Joy by C.S. Lewis and Becoming Elisabeth Elliot by Ellen Vaughn

Surprised by Joy was an interesting look at Lewis’ faith, loss of faith, and regaining of faith. It is an autobiography and the writing style was very formal but I truly enjoyed it. It covers his education and how, unwittingly, many people pushed him away from God. I found it interesting how many small things added up to becoming an atheist. There was a lot packed into this and a lot to consider. I know that I will go through this one again but for now, my daughter has it.

Becoming Elisabeth Elliot was really interesting. This is the first of 2 books covering Elisabeth’s life. This covers her education and up through her time with the tribe in the jungle who killed her husband. This covers her relationships and the complicated webs that existed there. It gives and insight that is often missed about how she and Rachel Saint worked together. So much harmony is often portrayed in places where her journals show discord or hurt. It was quite a fascinating journey to read about and I felt it was well written. The notes and citations really show the background work that was done my Mrs. Vaughn in preparation for the book and I feel like she did justice with the work. I am looking forward to the second book.

I feel like I had another title but it is on March, I guess. Oh well. 3 isn’t too bad, is it?

Lori, At Home.

January 2022 Books

open book outline with words My Reading Lately at the top; background is aqua at the top blending to offwhite at the bottom. Words At Home: where life happen in bottom right

I am going to try to be better about sharing what I have read or am reading each month. I finished 4 novels in January and have almost finished a biography. I also read several children’s books with Miss J for her school things and we have just finished her first of a series of four books for science.

My Books:

Surprised By Joy by C.S. Lewis – This is an autobiography. It is quite raw and is his recalling of his youth, which shaped so much of his life. Lewis was sent to several boarding schools during his youth, all of which shaped him. Lewis’ purpose in this autobiography is to show how he was turned to athiesm and then converted to Christianity. It is quite raw in some places so beware and preread before handing this to a student. You will want to know some of the hardships he endured to guide discussions about it. I am really enjoying it and have just a couple of chapters left.

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna by Alda P Dobbs – This is the story of a young girl during the revolution in Mexico and her journey to safety with her grandmother and younger siblings. She has to make many difficult choices and they are constantly on the run and in fear. It is a look at the sobering life many face during times of war around them. I enjoyed this one a lot.

Stolen Prince of Cloudburst by Jaclyn Moriarity – I thought this fantasy book about another world full of magic and magical creatures was fun. Finding your gift is really the theme of this one. It was after I read it and was putting it on my Goodreads list that I saw it was book number 3. It is such a well-written book that it stands alone well. Truly enjoyable.

Where The Desert Meets The Sea by Werner Sonne – This novel is about the land of Palestine at the end of WWII, when the fighting between the Jews looking for Zion and the Arabs wanting to keep the land they had and the British trying to be the mediators was heating up. It is a good historic look at the war between the Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land and the complications that the British occupation caused.The story talks about those who were fanatical about their beliefs as well as those who could see other sides of the issues and wanted everyone to get along. The hearts show through well and I did enjoy seeing how the sides clashed and got along in various ways and places. The characters were interesting and enjoyable to follow. There is a lot of violence, though not graphic, in the story, which is accurate for the setting. It does make it a harder book to read, though. It gave me additional information on the continued strife in that area of the world. A tough but interesting read.

The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar – This story is about the difficulties female pilots faced during WWII. The focus on the experience of these particular ladies was interesting to me. The main lady was posted as a flight instructor in Hawaii and was in the air when the attack on Pearl Harbor happened. This changed the course of her profession and we follow her through those changes, hopes, and heartbreaks. Flying with the WASP program allowed her a lot of joy but also brought challenges she never thought possible. This is a story of struggling through the difficulty and continuing on when so many things get in the way but always finding hope and courage to take the next step.

Other Books Consulted and Used but not read cover to cover –

The Complete Book of Who’s Who In The Bible by Philip Comfor and Walter A. Elwell

The Complete Book of When and Where In The Bible and Throughout History by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten

I am certain there are others but these are the ones I wrote down. 🙂

With Miss J, we just completed The Math of a Milkshake which is the first of 4 books we are using for her chemistry/science this spring. She started it in November since she had completed the previous kitchen chemistry books I had scheduled out for her. She started Chemistry of Cola today.

We have read a couple of short children’s books to finish up Ancient Rome and begin the study of US states. She had requested this change since she wants to learn the capitals and nicknames for the US states. So, we have several books we will consult daily for that including National Geographic’s Our Fifty States, The Glorious American Songbook compiled by Cooper Edens, and From Sea To Shining Sea compiled by Amy L Cohn.

I think that is my main set of reading for January. We’ll see what February brings. I have an Elisabeth Elliot biography on my stack, as well as a book on mistakes in history. Should be exciting to read. What’s in your stack?

Lori, At Home.

5 Biographies That I Enjoyed

If you’ll remember, I posted a bit ago about the place that I think biography should have in education. You get a full-out experience when you read the words of someone who experienced the time or events included. It is not a simplified or watered-down version of what went on. Sometimes, biographies are hard to read. Other times, they are simply the most enjoyable thing I have experienced for a while. These biographies I am going to share with you include both the autobiography and biography, including one written by a compiler. Both have their place and both are interesting, challenging and expanding the reader’s understanding.

My Survival: A Girl On Schindler’s List by Rena Finder with Joshua Greene

This is the true story of Rena, a Jew during WWII. Her family was forced into a ghetto by the Nazi’s. She and her mother were sent as slave labor to a factory owned by Oskar Schindler. Schindler used his wealth and position to keep Jewish workers fed and safe and healthy. One day, despite his position, his workers were deported to Auschwitz. With great personal risk, Schindler managed to liberate his workers, including Rena, and bring them back. A story of hope amidst chaos and despair, this is a wonderful story for anyone to read. It is well-written and is accessible by about grades 4 and up. It would make a beautiful family read aloud.

Playing With The Enemy by Gary W. Moore

This is the biography of Gene Moore, the author’s father. Gene was a baseball prodigy who was a teenager at the beginning of WWII. He was the hero of all the people and towns around his small town in rural America. He was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers but WWII cut that short. In order to hopefully keep them safe, Major League Baseball set up games throughout the war theaters for the ball players to help lift the spirits of the soldiers. After a time, the baseball team was sent to act as guards for a top secret POW camp. They spent their time there making friends with the Germans, understanding that none of them really hated the other; they were all just doing their jobs. So they played baseball. The aftermath of all of this caused real pain but real healing. The unexpected of this story is what makes it such a joy to read. You will see WWII from a completely different perspective than ever before with this story of the belief and hope of human kindness.

White House Ladies: Fascinating Tales and Colorful Curiosities by Webb Garrison

This was a fun collection of short anecdotes on the First Ladies. Filled with stories of hospitality to daring, and fearlessness to sorrow, this was an interesting book to read as it brought to life some of the most important people in the history of the US. Most Presidents had a lady – a wife, daughter, or relative to act as hostess – beside them during their time at the helm of the US and these ladies dealt with a lot. These stories help us see their humanity. With the short anecdotes, it is a book that can be read in bits and spurts without missing any of the story or purpose.

Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin

Li Cunxin was growing up in extreme poverty in northeastern China during the reign of Mao. Madame Mao had decided to create an abundance of fine art in the dynasty and searched the land for those most fit to be trained. Li Cunxin was torn away from his family at the age of 11 as part of Madame Mao’s cultural program and sent to a ballet school. The mix of emotion with this was difficult – no longer was Cunxin starving but he was not able to see his family, either. Life at the Beijing school was difficult but Cunxin grew to become one of China’s most talented and known ballet dancers. In his position, he was able to first visit the United States in 1979. Two years later, he defected, the dramatic event making news around the world. This is the story of beauty and art coming from a life behind the Communist curtain. It is a look at what is behind that facade of government care that you won’t see from the news. It is something that everyone should see. Beauty rises from ashes sometimes and this is a beautiful example of that. (**A note that a movie was made from this book and at the time of this writing, it is available on Amazon Prime.)

Velvet Meets The Iron Curtain: The Autobiography of a Czech Dancer by Jiri Sebastian Voborsky
(This purchase link is through Ballet Magnificat! This is the dance company that Jiri has worked with for the majority of his time in America that uses dance to take the love and salvation of Jesus around the world. )

This Autobiography of Jiri Voborsky is a stunning look at an athiestic culture and what can come from one who loves God so much that he quietly but firmly shares that love in the realm around. Jiri grew up in a family that believed that anyone who relied on faith, of any kind, was a sign of personal weakness. There was no need for God in their lives. Jiri was born under the realm of Communist Czechoslovakia in the early 1970s. He went to school and lived under this governmental iron fist. When he was entering high school, he wanted to study dance. He was able to pass the entrance exam for both the dance school he wanted to attend and the other high school he had to attend in order to be allowed to also study dance. He worked hard but had a mind of his own. He participated in the revolution that brought down the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia. He was able to graduate both high schools but in the process was introduced by one of his teachers to Jesus. This slowly but certainly changed the course of his life. The story of Jiri’s life shows how the one true God can orchestrate life to bless and allow the blessing of others in turn. Jiri was able to visit America, with many of place where God’s hand can be seen. He eventually settled here, working with Ballet Magnificat! taking the love of God around the world through the media of dance. It is a beautiful story.

These are just a few of the options out there for biographies to bring to life what someone’s world was like, what they encountered, and allow us to see the truth of what is beyond our own vision. If you have a favorite biography, please leave me a comment so I can add it to my reading list.

Lori, At Home.

Redwall Study Guide from Progeny Press ~ a Crew review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Progeny Press is a company who seems to be best known for their literature guides. They have a large line of literature study guides to help students dive into good stories and learn from them. We were given Redwall Study Guide e-guide for the purpose of this review. The Crew also reviewed Wagon Wheels Study Guide (grades 1-3), Cricket in Times Square Study Guide (grades 4-6), and Frankenstein Study Guide (grades 10-12). Redwall is targeted for students in grades 6-10.

The downloadable Redwall Study Guide came in an email, as it would after purchase. I had to download it to my computer. It is an interactive file meaning the student can type their answers directly into the PDF file and save it as their own copy. When we have used the e-guides in the past, my active and easily distracted child did well with it on the computer. My students who prefer to work quietly on their own or with me prefer to have it printed. Either way is possible with the e-guides.

Each study guide from Progeny Press contains the same general format with the material specific to the story. The guide contains some general information for the teacher, an introduction of the authors of the guide, and a synopsis of the story. There is also an author introduction and background information on the story. Then you jump into the meat of the guide. Next you’ll be given some suggested activities to set the stage for the story. Redwall’s Before You Read activities included exploring the idea of fantasy stories, considering protagonists that are animals, and setting up to create a map of Redwall Abbey as the story is read.

Then you get into the book. Redwall has three parts and the guide is set up to follow those. Most guides follow the chapter breakdowns of the book. Redwall’s three parts are The Wall, The Quest, and The Warrior. Each section contains the following:

  • Vocabulary
  • Questions
  • Thinking about the story (more questions on a higher taxonomy level)
  • Digging Deeper (most of these apply a bible verse to be considered)
  • A writing assignment or class discussion, and
  • Chapter activities

Some chapters include an additional part such as looking at dialect or author techniques like cliffhangers.

The study guide closes with final project suggestions and ideas.

As noted previously, we received a downloadable PDF. This is internet linked for some of the resources so you do need to be aware of that, particularly that it links to Pinterest for ideas and suggestions.

Summary of Redwall: This is a fantasy story about Redwall Abbey and the animals that live there. When the rat hoarde decides to invade and take over, the animals must band together. But without the famed sword of the warrior hero of the abbey, they are unsure of whether they can hold out. Matthias will be certain to lead them to victory but can he find the sword that is do desperately needed?

My thoughts on the story and guide: It is a fine story but it was not an enthralling one that had me on the edge of my seat. My girls would not get into this story much at the age range of this particular study guide. The story would have been super appealing when they were in upper elementary but not as middle school or high school students, though it would fit fairly well into a middle ages time period study. I think this one would work best as a read-aloud story for middle elementary students or a independent read for an upper elementary. I don’t know that the study guide really supports these ages though, as it is designed for middle school and high school.

If you are looking for solid, easy to use literature study guides, Progeny Press could be just the resource you need. Visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about how the other families utilized these study guides and about the stories.

Lori, At Home.

%d bloggers like this: