Category Archives: reviews

Illuminating Literature: Characters In Crisis ~ a Crew review

A variety of literature is something we want our children experience. Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis provides high school students a thorough study of a variety of genres. Writing with Sharon Watson provided us a fantastic set of materials to use in studying literature and so far, we have been pleased.

Characters In Crisis set of books

Sharon Watson created Illuminating Literature for high school students, though we are using it with our 8th grader (13 years old). Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis is a study that can be used in any year of high school and is the second in the Illuminating Literature series, though they do not have to taken in order. (We have not yet used the first of the series  Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide.) It is a full year study/two semesters and is written from a Christian worldview. The completion of the course is worth a full course credit. Featuring full selections, the course teach over 100 literary terms and devices. Visit the website to get a complete list of the selections and the terms/devices.

The course is comprised of the student textbook, a teacher’s guide, and quizzes/tests. The quizzes and tests can be taken online for free on the Illuminating Literature website.  There is also a free downloadable Novel Notebook that goes along with the study and is optional. It is found on the Writing With Sharon Watson website.

You will need the texts for the literature selections. Several are included in the textbook or available online and others you will need to borrow or purchase. It is recommended that you use a specific version of the texts so that page numbers align correctly and it is easier for the students to follow in the lessons. I highly recommend this.

We have a copy of Frankenstein and I looked at it to see if it was usable for this. One of the questions said to read a particular paragraph on page 38. I looked and looked in chapter 1, which is where that page was in our book. In fact, I looked all the way back to the beginning of the book and about 10 pages farther into the story. I could not find it! When our recommended version arrived, I looked it up. It was in chapter 5 and 20 page numbers different. I am so glad I spent the $6 to purchase the recommended version!

Illuminating Literature: Characters in CrisisStudent Textbook –

The student textbook is written to the student. The lessons are clearly marked, as is which story the lesson accompanies. It begins with an overview of the course and follows that with a lesson on character labels and forces of antagonism. These are pretty big concepts and the student applies them first to a story of their own choosing that is familiar.

learning stitches

After the introductory lessons, the student begins with “A Jury of Her Peers,” a short story. Before reading the selection, which is included in the textbook, the student is given some background on the time period and pertinent information that is helpful for reading the story. After the reading, the student is asked to rate the story for themselves, do some work in the downloadable Novel Notebook, and then apply some of the literary terms and character labels that were learned in the opening section. Students take a quiz on the story and another on the literary terms, then hold a discussion about the story using questions included in the textbook. Finally, the student selects a project to complete as a response to the story.

 

Frankenstein will work much the same way. There are a couple of differences. There is a section that gives the student some information to help in the reading, chapter by chapter. The questions for discussion are also listed by chapter and there are a lot of them. So many, in fact, that it is recommended the teacher pick some. At the end of the lessons on Frankenstein, there is a book list of other titles that are similar.

The textbook is where the student writes their answers and ideas, where the background information is found, and where the introductory and follow up materials are found. There is also a week by week schedule for the student to follow, if you choose to use it. It is an essential part of the course and quite well done. Downloading a sample of the textbook will be very helpful for seeing what it looks like.

student textbook

Teacher’s Guide –

The Teacher’s Guide has been terribly helpful. I struggle, as does my daughter, in applying some of the deeper thinking ideas and answering some of the questions. Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis

The Teacher’s Guide gives me a place to start so that we can delve into some of the ideas and explore their value in relation to the selection. The guide is well-marked and it is easy to find what is needed. The chapters, lessons, and questions are all marked to correspond to the Student Textbook and the Novel Notebook.

The Teacher Guide includes key themes that are specific for each story. Along with the weekly schedule, the guide includes most of the information that is in the student textbook. It gives plenty to know what the focus of each lesson in the chapter is on and to help you guide the students. Each of the discussion questions and the Novel Notebook questions have answers to go along with them. At the end of each chapter, there is a rubric for that particular selection that makes it easy to assign grades.

Illuminating Literature: Characters in CrisisQuiz and Answer Manual –

One neat feature of Illuminating Literature is that the quizzes and tests are all available online. The student logs in and takes the quiz and it is graded. The grade is then sent to whatever email the student logs in with. However, that is not always the best way and so there is a Quiz and Answer Manual available for purchase. This has blank quizzes that can be copied within a single homeschool as needed. The book also has an answer key in the back that includes answers for each of the quizzes in the book.

 

Novel Notebook

Novel Notebook –

The Novel Notebook is available from Writing With Sharon Watson as a download from the site. It is another way to delve into the story. It includes questions that help the student explore the meaning of parts of the story and characters, as well as helping them move through the novels a bit at a time. Throughout there are questions that help the student apply an idea to their own life or to someone’s life around them. It helps the student to personalize the story and ideas. Some of these were pretty difficult to answer but it allowed for good discussions.

working in textbook

My Thoughts –

I really like having a literature program that pushes my advanced reader to think about what she is reading. I also like that this program includes some pretty challenging literature, as well as a good variety. Knowing that something different will be up next on the reading list makes it a bit easier to engage my student in the current selection if she is struggling.

Because each of the selections is so very different, this review has been difficult to write. We have really only used the opening chapter on introducing character labels and forces of antagonism and the chapter “A Jury of Her Peers.” We are just venturing into Frankenstein. With each chapter being a different genre and therefore the types of questions and the application of the ideas being so different, this doesn’t feel like a very thorough review. So far so good, though, and we will be continuing to use this program.

A Student Viewpoint –quilt block

“I still don’t like literature but this is better than the last thing I did. I like the activities that are at the end of each lesson series. I thought the bonus information was interesting. For example, the information about the play that “Jury of Her Peers” was taken from or information on the setting. I liked how we applied the terms and character labels to a book that I was familiar with before trying to use them with the stories that were new. I probably should have chosen a stand-alone book instead of a series and it would have been easier. Most of her writing is easy to understand, though I have had to reread a couple of the sentences before moving on. Overall, I like it because it is different than what I have used before.”

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See what other families from the Homeschool Review Crew thought about Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis.

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis {Writing with Sharon Watson Reviews}

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Innovators Tribe ~ a Crew review

Innovators Tribe course

Fridays are a “different school” day for us: we are intentionally giving the girls hands on learning in science, technology, and art. Innovators Tribe had given us a wonderful opportunity with their program titled Thinking Like an Engineer, which we have been reviewing for a few weeks.

Thinking Like an Engineer

Innovators Tribe is an online curriculum designed to foster the thinking skills needed to bring creative thinking from the head to the hands. Created by Wayne Kroeplin, known as Mr. K., students are guided and taught the thinking skills needed to become an innovative thinker and a problem solver. The courses offered by Innovators Tribe are designed for 6th – 12th grade students. Because it is an online program, you will need a reliable computer and internet service as it is not a downloaded program.

We have been using Thinking Like an Engineer  during our Fun Fridays. Each Friday, we log into our course dashboard and click the link that continues us in the course right where we left off previously. The course is a good mixture of online learning with recorded lessons from Mr. K., slideshows, and videos to explain various concepts. There is also a printable unit journal that has questions for the students to complete. These questions help to focus the student’s attention on certain parts of the lesson, highlighting important terms or ideas. In addition, there are research and hands-on challenges that allow the students to put into practice the concepts discussed in the lessons.

tower challenge

Topics that are addressed in Thinking Like an Engineer  include what is an engineer (professional problem solver – I LOVE this description!), types of engineers, types of problems solved or studied by engineers, and real world examples of the application of engineering and problem solving thinking. Hands-on opportunities include things like building tower of books standing on only one piece of paper, making a tower of paper over 5 feet tall using minimal materials, creating a water filtering system, and these are just the ones we have encountered in Unit 1. (Looking ahead there is a bridge challenge and a roller coaster challenge, too.)

The challenges require some basic materials, though if you want to try the water filtration system, you will probably have to go shopping for some things. But overall, it is just paper and tape for the challenges.

book stacking challenge

We have begun Unit 2 and this is where we got to download the 3D software. We are extremely excited to learn how to use this software and find out what it can do to increase our problem solving abilities. The 3D software is used to design models of ideas for solutions. So many possibilities! There are several instructional lessons using this program and also some challenges with it.

As I mentioned earlier, we are using this program for a couple of hours each Friday as part of our STEM learning. This is being used by an 8th grader, a 6th grader, and a 3rd grader. They watch the lesson online together and then we talk through the questions in the Unit Journal related to that lesson. Finally, they tackle the challenges as a team.

research

Though she is below the anticipated age of the program, the 3rd grader is doing really well participating and helping out. She is not doing the writing in the Unit Journals, though we are talking about each question out loud and so she is participating in the discussions. She is also a big factor in the solutions with the challenges so far. She is just jumping right in, paying attention, and having fun with the learning.

Mr. K. really wants his students to learn and does an amazing job of assisting the students in that. For one of the questions in the Unit Journal, Miss L needed to research the engineering related to a topic she enjoyed. She chose dance. Well, let’s just say that is not an easy internet research topic. So, we took Mr. K. at his word about sending an email his way when we needed something and we had a very quick response that was just amazing.

He responded to Miss L with a video message in which he talked directly to her, addressing her need in such a way that she was empowered to go do the rest of the research needed to answer the question. He did not just tell her what to go look up but rather talked to her about how to think about the topic in a way that she could figure out what to go look for.

Innovators Tribe

This is a great example of how he teaches – he doesn’t lecture and tell you everything he wants you to know. Yes, there is some of that because there is just no way around it sometimes. But, he addresses the “how” of the thinking and gives the students the power and ability to think about the problem differently and in a way that allows solutions to be imagined. That is powerful!

I encourage you to find out more about Thinking Like an Engineer by visiting Innovators Tribe.

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Read more reviews by families who have been using both Innovators Tribe classes:  Thinking Like an Engineer and Thinking Like an Architect.

Thinking Like an Architect or Engineer {Innovators Tribe Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Creating with The Thin Stix Creativity Pack from The Pencil Grip, Inc. ~ a Crew review

Thin Stix Creativity Pack

Kiwk Stix and their thinner friends, the Thin Stix, are favorites of our family to use, providing hours of endless creativity. Recently, we received the Thin Stix Creativity Pack, a set of 24 Thin Stix, from The Pencil Grip, Inc. to use for this review. We have had hours and hours of fun with lots of friends using these wonderful tools!

Thin Stix Creativity Pack

Thin Stix are a thinner version of the Kwik Stix. All are a quick drying tempera paint that is dry within just a few seconds of laying it onto your project. The website says 90 seconds but we have found it to actually be much, much faster drying than that, which is wonderful with younger kiddos using the product. Because this is a stick form of the paint, there is no need for water, cups, brushes, or smocks. You would do well to still protect your working area, just in case, but we have found these to clean up very well on all sorts of table tops. The bright, cheerful, energizing colors are non-toxic and washable. This makes them a wonderful product to explore with younger kids.

ghost pumpkin

The Thin Stix Creativity Pack is a set of 24 colors. Included in this pack are the basic colors, such as red, blue, green, brown, black, and yellow. You also get white, pink, and purple. But – and this is where the girls got REALLY excited – there are also metallics and neons in this pack! Metallics include shiny blue, purple, pink, green, gold and silver. The neons include super bright pink, yellow, two blues, green, and orange. What combinations and opportunities lie within these color combinations!

Thin Stix Creativity PackThin Stix Creativity PackThin Stix Creativity Pack

When these first arrived on our doorstep, the girls squealed (literally squealed!) with delight about the huge pack. They immediately begged to use them and do art first for school that day. I agreed and the day started happily with a couple of hours of drawing, experimenting, and trying out all sorts of ideas and uses.

coloring party

One of the evenings, we had several girls over for a sleepover. When they got up the next morning, the girls and their friends really wanted to do something but they weren’t terribly energetic. Out came the Thin Stix Creativity Pack and a pile of papers. The next two hours were filled with exclamations of how much fun these were and showing off drawings that were made. My favorite moment was when I was asked “how long until I can turn this over to sign my name?” I answered “now.” With a puzzled look, she tried it to see if I was kidding with her and then exclaimed “It’s dry!!”

One of the girls’ mommas is a drama teacher and when she picked up her daughter, she commented on the colors. I showed her what they were and how they worked and she was super pleased. Her comment? “I think it is budget spending time.” A good endorsement, I do believe.

friend's pictures

Another time we used these was when we were babysitting a 7 year old, a 4 year old and a 2 year old. They are a creative family so had used lots of art products before. We pulled out the Thin Stix Creativity Pack and the papers. They were excited. Something new for them!! They spent at least an hour drawing and creating. Even the 2 year old! She just loved drawing and coloring and showing off her pictures. All of them had so much fun and they really enjoyed getting to use a product that was new to them.

a bat

We have used products from The Pencil Grip, Inc. quite often and have always enjoyed them. They can be used on just about anything regular tempera paint works on, though for now the girls still prefer paper. We have used them for Christmas drawings,  backgrounds on Santa projects, regular creations, and trying out black paper with the metallics, just to name a few times we have used them.

These are definitely something to try!

At Home.

Thin Stix Creativity Pack {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}

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The Magic Stories ~ A Crew Review

The Magic Stories review

Many of you are probably familiar with our vendor for this review: Allsaid & Dunn, LLC, publishers of The Reading Game and authors of the Wordly Wise series. We have been using a supplemental product titled The Magic Stories.

The Magic Stories {Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. Reviews}

The Magic Stories is a supplemental reading program designed for 2nd and 3rd grade students but appropriate for any student who needs to work on reading comprehension. While this was designed to follow The Reading Game, it is not a prerequesite; this program stands on its own. (We have not used the other program.)

Each story is fairly short; my 3rd grader could easily read the stories in a single sitting, with no need to break a story up over two or more days. The stories each have a magical element and conclude with a moral. The tales are fun, imaginative, and varied.

The titles of the six stories are:

  1. The Magic Hole
  2. The Magic Ax
  3. The Magic Joke
  4. The Magic Hotdog
  5. The Magic Book
  6. The Magic Box

Each tale includes a list of the Naughty 40 – a set of 40 words that are often difficult, misread, or misunderstood. Many of these words have synonyms. This list is included with the book PDF but is also a part of the series of worksheets that are included in the purchase of The Magic Stories.

The Magic Stories {Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. Reviews}The worksheets are a printable file that comes with the complete set purchase. Each tale has a maze, comprehension questions/finish the sentences, real or imaginary/imagine questions, finish the story options, a running record, and a Naughty 40 word assessment sheet.reading from the Kindle

Each tale in The Magic Stories is accompanied by some worksheets, the first of which is a maze. The student reads a statement and then answers it true or false. If the student gets it wrong, they have to check a box at the top and go back the other direction. If they miss too many, it is a good indication that their reading comprehension needs work or they read too fast and so they are instructed to go back to the story and read it again. This was my daughter’s favorite sheet. She always followed the reading with it right away.

Each tale is also accompanied by some worksheets that reinforce reading comprehension through varied questions. There are about two pages of questions that range from obvious answers to ones that really make the students think. The students have lines to write their answers on. One suggestion here would be to include age-appropriate lines, rather than just a single blank for writing. My daughter really struggles with her writing when she is writing on a single line.

The real or imaginary/imagine questions are different from the reading comprehension questions. On the real or imaginary pages, the student is differentiating between real and imaginary and creatively thinking about some various opportunities and how real or imaginary would affect those. On the imagine pages, the student is asked to imagine a setting or situation related to the story somehow and to think creatively about a solution or idea related to that.

creative writing

There is also a worksheet that encourages creative writing. Each story has at least two options to choose from. There are suggestions for writing alternate endings, evaluating a character and talking about his choice, writing a new story for a character, or creating something completely different. Miss J did her creative writing on a word processing program on the computer and really enjoyed this portion of it.

There are two other sheets included in the purchase of the whole set: one is a running record and the other is a test sheet for the Naughty 40 words. The running record is simply a 100 word reading test to check fluency and correct reading. The other is a sheet for checking the Naughty 40 words. I used this to check before her reading of the book and then at the end of all the work with that particular story. This was one place where I was a bit frustrated with these sheets – the Naughty 40 did not match the list in the PDF that followed the story. It was easy enough to add them to the list and find the ones she didn’t read if she read from the PDF. But, it did mean that often, she was reading 50 words or so. It seems that these really should align. Like I said, though, it was easy enough to work with. **UPDATE – the lists have been aligned now and this is no longer an issue.**

There is also a download of the Naughty 40 words as flashcards. We did not use these because Miss J seldom missed a Naughty 40 word. This is a printable file, a separate one for each story, that has the word printed in bold and then a sample sentence for the use of that word. It would be a great resource if you needed to drill any of the words with your student.maze

We have worked through 4 of the six stories so far and Miss J has truly enjoyed them. Our schedule:

  • Day 1 – Naughty 40 pre-read list; read story and complete maze
  • Day 2 – answer comprehension questions and real or imaginary/imagine questions
  • Day 3 – creative writing
  • Day 4 – running record and final test on Naughty 40 (if she missed any the first time)

This was a simple addition to our school day and was something that Miss J seems to enjoy. The quality of the story is really quite good and I was pleased. Too often stories for reading comprehension feel contrived and are not pleasant to read. These are enjoyable, fun, and brought good thoughts and ideas, as well as creative writing, to our days.

If you are looking for a supplemental program to check or improve reading comprehension, sight words, and creative writing, check out The Magic Stories from Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. The publishers of The Reading Game and authors of the Wordly Wise series have created a product that is a pleasure to work with.

From The Magic Stories: We would like to offer your readers a 25% discount should they choose to order The Magic Stories.  To receive the discount, enter “raisingreaders” in the coupon box upon checkout.

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Visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about how other families have used The Magic Stories and what they thought about them.

The Magic Stories {Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

God’s Great Love For You ~ a Flyby book review and giveaway

God's Great Love title

Best-selling author Rick Warren has created a simply beautiful children’s book showing the expansiveness of God’s love. God’s Great Love For You is a sweet reminder for children that God’s love is everywhere and is always with you.

It starts at the beginning – God created the world, the universe. And everything that is in the world.But it quickly moves to the fact that God created you, the reader. What an important truth for our youngsters to know, understand, and believe.

And the reason God created you is love – His love for you. It is deeper than the deep things on earth. It is higher than the high things on earth. It is great and is everywhere. No matter what.

Am important truth.

God's Great Love For You image

The simple statements are easy for children to listen to and are supported by absolutely lovely pictures, created by Chris Saunders. This would make a beautiful gift for any child.

I am holding a drawing via Rafflecopter for one copy of this book. It will be sent to you through Flyby. Only open to continental US residents. Click on the link below to be taken to the Rafflecopter entry form to win a copy of this book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Brinkman Adventures Season 4 ~ a Crew review

Brinkman Adventures review image

Our first experience with Brinkman Adventures was when we were asked to review Season 3. Miss E absolutely loved it so when Brinkman Adventures Season 4
came up for review, she jumped for joy and begged. She was thrilled to get selected to review another season of adventures.

Brinkman Adventures 

Are you familiar with Brinkman Adventures? This audio production is based on real-life family and real-life missionaries that they have met, encountered, and heard of. The stories are true and about modern missionaries, though some of the details may have been adapted or fictionalized.

Season 4 consists of 12 episodes (officially episdoes 37-48). Each episode is based on a true story and you can read about those true stories on the website for Brinkman Adventures.

Some of the favorite episodes in Season 4?

  • A Paradise Lost – The Brinkman family is hosting a Bible camp at a lake but the dam broke so the lake is gone. A big storm comes while they are playing games and they cannot find the campers. Through all the chaos of storms, games, tornadoes, and even Mom going into labor, they turn to prayer and find that it calms them.
  • The Crashed Kitchen – Aunt Sara is part of a mission in Zambia, Africa. She runs a kids’ club but most of them have stopped coming. She begins to feel she is doing more harm than good. Someone else has to leave and she has to drive without knowing very well what she is doing. She accidentally crashes into a kitchen that belongs to the family of one of the children from the kids’ club. His father is sick. The father had bought charms from a witch doctor believing they would heal him. When they did not, he followed the understanding that his child had and went to Aunt Sara. They started praying together and he came to believe in Jesus. He got better right away.
  • War of the Raccoons – (This one is stated as being completely fictional.) Ian is trying to build a robot called RD. It is supposed to unlock doors and do some of his chores. Their neighbor is Mr. Pennington and has fish. A raccoon ate one of the fish and Mr. Pennington wants to shoot the raccoons. So, he borrowed a paintball gun and RD, attaching the robot to a rover to move around and shoot the raccoons. Hilarious things go wrong (including painting a car orange) and Ian seems to be causing more of them by not keeping his word. At the end, Ian realizes that he has not been keeping his promises. He prays to God and tries to be better at keeping his promises.
  • What Brings Us Together – Anthony and Michelle are getting married. Things keep going wrong – the catering company is did not get the confirmation so is booked elsewhere; Mr. Pennington and Ms. Bernice cause a fire which burns down the tent; Dad gets reported to the police as a thief. Before going down to the police station, Anthony and Michelle prayed together and a realization that is brought to mind helps clear Dad of any wrongdoing so the wedding can go on.

Prayer seems to be a bigger theme in this particular season than in the previous one we have listened to. What a wonderful theme to have! Prayer should always be our first response and Brinkman Adventures shows us real life examples of its power (plus some fictionalization that does the same). These adventures bring life to ideas and show real examples of prayer.

Brinkman Adventures is a series that I really like having around, as do the girls. I like having adventures for them to listen to while their hands are busy with other good things and to know that that what they are listening to is encouraging them to live out The Great Commission as found in Matthew 28:18-20. They are hearing about folks who, though we hold beliefs that may be different in a few places, are giving their lives to the one true God who can work through them to save souls. The girls are hearing stories about people who trust in God with their whole lives and believe in Him wholeheartedly. They are hearing about God responding to prayer in all sorts of ways, big and small. While some of the story may be dramatized for effect, the stories themselves are encouraging. They show that while the life of a missionary (at home or abroad) might be hard or bring surprises or have you end up someplace completely different than you thought, it is God’s will guiding you on the path He directs if we turn to Him for guidance.

listening to the adventures

As I am typing, all three of the girls are snuggled into one room with these playing, excitement to hear more floating down the halls. “Come on! Let’s go listen to another one!”

That is a winner.

You can find more about Brinkman Adventures on their website, including a sneak preview of Season 6. There are the real-life stories, a blog, and samples from each of the seasons so far.

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Read what other families thought about Brinkman Adventures Season 4 by clicking the banner below.

 

Brinkman Adventures Season 4 

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WorthyKids/Ideals books ~ a Crew review

Our family received two books from WorthyKids/Ideals to read and review. They are the first two books in the series The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. The books are titled

  • The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book #1)
  • The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Race to the Ark (Book #2)

WorthyKids
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series is written by M. J. Thomas. It is a chapter book series aimed at children ages 6-9. The books were created to imaginatively bring Bible stories to life. There are sample chapters of Book One available online. However, I felt like the sample chapters are not indicative of the story and almost felt as though they were written by a different person than the remainder of the book.

PLEASE:

If you are going to allow your children to read these stories, please be certain that they are very familiar with the entire account directly from the Bible prior to reading. These fictionalized accounts add many plausible details that could be misleading to a child that does not know the true story. While I would wish these were at the beginning of the book, there are suggestions of where to read in the Bible found at the end.

STORYLINE:

Meet Peter, Mary, and their dog, Hank. They are stuck with Great-Uncle Solomon for a month while their parents are in Africa. They think it is going to be the worst month of their lives. Until they start seeing all that Great-Uncle Solomon has collected and discovered in his time as an archaeologist. Suddenly, things become much more interesting. Especially when Great-Uncle Solomon tells them about his surprising discovery – scrolls, ancient scrolls. But he doesn’t know what is in them because he can’t break the seal.

As you have probably guessed, Peter, Mary, and Hank get to interact with the scrolls. In fact, the scrolls are able to magically transport them back in time to Biblical history. When they hear the lion roaring, they run to the library and find the scrolls. Hank knocks them over and when Peter picks one of them up, he finds the seal broken. Suddenly, the world rattles and shakes.

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls
Book One: The Beginning – Peter, Mary, and Hank find themselves floating in nothingness and darkness. Suddenly, a voice speaks “let there be light” and light appears. This is the first interaction they have with the creation of the world. They find out that they have 7 days to solve the mystery of the words on the scroll. Each day, they are a part of the creation that God is doing. They interact with Satan; in fact, Satan attacks them physically because he doesn’t want them to interfere with his plans. Off and on, Michael (an angel of God) appears to offer help to Peter and Mary, often getting them out of a situation they couldn’t get themselves out of. At the end of the book, Peter and Mary are able to stumble across the words required to complete the secret of the scroll and are returned home. Once there, they share their adventure with Great-Uncle Solomon who is stunned that they are the ones chosen to solve the mystery of the scrolls.

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls
Book Two: Race to the Ark – Peter and Mary are tired of the rain and keep waiting for the lion to roar again so they can go on another adventure. This time around, they are a bit more prepared and are able to take a bag with them when the lion roars and they break the seal on the scroll. They find themselves transported again and this time they wander into a civilization. They struggle against a couple of rough boys with a wolf/dog. In escaping from them, they meet Shem and go to the ark. Meeting Noah, they learn about his faith in God and they are able to help with the final preparations of the ark before the flood. When a latch fails, they also help get the replacement part, having to escape the Dark Lord/Satan. When the flood comes, they have one last word to solve for the scroll. With moments to spare, they find the right word and are sent back to Great-Uncle Solomon’s. The rainbow in the sky reminds them of their escape.

MY THOUGHTS:

While these books are truly an imaginative look at Biblical history, the distortions of the historical aspects of it are significant. The basics of the creation account are even altered, adding God speaking in places He does not in the Bible. For example, God does not speak the words “It is good.” in Genesis. Yet each of the days of creation have God speaking those words. It may be seen by some as a minor thing but even that can become something confusing to a youngster learning the truths of the Bible.

And that brings me to the significant concerns that I have. Book One placed people in the beginning with God. That immediately changes all of history. You cannot place people in the beginning with God and have the Bible remain what it is. Michael comes to their rescue in a boat during the separation of the waters on day 2 of creation. A boat? That is something that as an adult I can look at and know is an imaginative addition but a child may not know the difference. When you get right down to it, these are the types of things that make people doubt the Bible’s historical accuracy.

Due to these and many other concerns, we did not let any of our children read these books. The reason is simple. Children are easily led in their thinking. When you add plausible ideas and people to a historical account, you change the account. When that history is the Bible it becomes relevant to salvation. It changed the creation account and that changes the Bible. We have to protect our children’s understanding of God and we felt these strayed too far from the truth.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

These are imaginative books and have story lines that are very popular right now – solve a mystery while encountering people and things that will try to stop you. These will be appealing to many for that reason. I will caution you again, though: please have your children be VERY familiar with the truth of the Bible accounts before you allow them to read these fictionalized versions.

At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read what other families thought about these books.

 

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. {WorthyKids/Ideals Reviews}

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