Category Archives: reviews

One Question a Day Journal for Kids: 365 Days All about Me ~ 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.

I adore this journal! One Question a Day Journal for Kids: 365 Days All about Me 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.

Journaling, or simply writing down thoughts and ideas, is a fun and creative way for students to get into the habit of putting their own words on paper without it being graded or for someone else to read. It allows students to feel safe in being expressive and creative, even outrageous, with ideas. Freedom to be as detailed or as vague as desired that moment is a wonderful way for students to just let the words flow. Prompts, or simply “setting the stage”, opens up that door and allows the creative juices to flow.

One Question a Day Journal for Kids is a comfortably sized book for students ages 6-9, though I can truly seeing this work a tad bit younger depending on the student or a couple years older for a struggling writer. Or even at the older end of the age range for a student who just wants to create a book about their own ideas and thoughts. There are 365 prompts but they can be completed in any order desired by the writer. After all, authors like some freedom, right? Writing about what strikes the fancy on any given day will create better writing. So, allow the freedom.

The book starts with a short introduction to the journal writer, noting that it is all about the person answering the prompts. It is that person’s journal so make it work in a way that fits that person best. Great advice!

Each day is number (Day 1, Day 2, etc.) and has a space to put the date. Then there is a short question to answer that is just a sentence or two long. These range from “Imagine you are as small as an ant. What would the world look like to you?” to “What was something you did today? Try to make it sound exciting (even if it wasn’t).” “Would you rather”s and imaginative creatures, dream classes to dream animals, there are so many unique and exciting prompts for students to answer! Each prompt includes 3 lines for students to write their answer.

This journal really becomes a part of the writer as it is completed. Each day, it tells a little bit more about the special person filling it in. What a wonderful gift for later in life. Hopes and dreams! I can see this being a treasured keepsake.

Many youngsters will love this journal. You may even have a youngster who is a bit younger than the stated age and who is not yet independently writing. Don’t let that deter you! Just allow the child to narrate and you scribe their answer. What a great way to see the child’s growth. You could even do a question a week and allow the book to grow with the child. There are so many ways for this to be used! I wish my girls were not so much older. I still may try to get them to complete some of these just to see what they would do! I can see my youngest (she’ll be 8th grade next year) using this in some way to keep her creative writing going. Writing is not her favorite thing but quite a few of these prompts would get her imagination running!

One Question a Day Journal for Kids: 365 Days All about Me by MaryAnne Kochenderfer, PhD. is definitely something I recommend looking into. This will be a wonderful journal to look back on and will show you things you don’t know about your student now. Check it out. It is for purchase on Amazon. (Not an affiliate link.) Visit the author at Mama Smiles – Joyful Parenting or on Facebook.

Blessings,
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!

ABOUT THE BOOK

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

ALSO AVAILABLE


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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, www.scottlapierre.org, and connect with him on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

CONNECT WITH SCOTT: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(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.

ENTER GIVEAWAY 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.

Blessings,
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 www.crickettkeeth.com. 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.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

The Manger Mission ~ a nativity book and activity set review

Disclosure: Many thanks to The Manger Mission for providing this product/product information for review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive the product in exchange for this review and post.

Nativity sets are such a common and joyful part of the Christmas tradition for us. We enjoy having a number of these out each Christmas season and having a variety of styles. One thing we noticed when our girls were young is that playing with the nativity set is something they did almost daily and really enjoyed. We kept a kid-friendly nativity set where they could reach it and play whenever they wanted. The Manger Mission: A Family Christmas Tradition written by Kristin Vazquez and illustrated by Hannah Santi is just such an activity set with a hardback storybook to go with it.

The Storybook – The Manger Mission

This is a lovely little storybook about about 6″x6″. This hardback book is a fairly muted color scheme of teal, gold, grays, and white. It matches they activity set beautifully. The story introduces the three wise men, modeled on the story from the Bible found in Luke that tells of an unknown number of men, also unnamed, who traveled to Judea to find the king that was foretold in prophecy from the Old Testament. (This Bible account is noted at the end of the story.)

The story is of the three wise men recounting their journey to see the newborn Christ while they are being moved daily by the children of the home for their yearly reenactment of that journey with a nativity set.

The illustrations, of course, are modeled on the activity set. In the story, the three wise men figures are taken out of the box and are excited to start their yearly reenactment to get to the manger where Jesus lay. They talk about the different places the children place them, each day a little bit closer to the destination of Jesus’ manger. It is a sweet little story.

The Activity Set

The activity set contains 12 pieces. Each piece is comfortable suited for a child’s hand and is a piece of shaped wood. They wood is painted and the covered with a protective coating. They are coordinated with the storybook. The pieces include:

  • Shelter/Cover/Barn
  • Joseph and Mary
  • Jesus
  • 3 wise men
  • 3 animals
  • a shepherd (mine had 2 but the purchase site shows 1)
  • an angel

Notes

This is a fictionalized story that is based on the Bible, though it does incorporate a lot of the tradition of man. This includes giving names to the wise men, likely based in a denominational tradition, and noted a specific number of wise men, again based solely on tradition and not the Bible account. That does not men this is not an incredible activity set that can bring a lot of meaning to your family. This daily motion of the wise men can start at any time during the holiday season if you would like to use it that way. It could also be just a beautiful, fun activity set for the children to have fun with.

The story is fine but I did not find it super engaging. If my children were still in the age range for this, we would read the story at the beginning and then just have the activity set for the girls to play with whenever they wanted. Whatever works for you family would be just right.

This is a beautiful, engaging activity set that can add a lovely tradition to your holiday season or a play time for your children or grandchildren. It is definitely worth investment. Do remember that they are painted wood, though, so a teething child or one who likes to chew on things could damage the pieces.

This is a recommend from me. My girls are even excited to have this new nativity set to add to our collection this year and they are 17, 15, and 12. 🙂 Visit https://www.themangermission.com/ to purchase your own set or one for a gift and start a new tradition.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Math Rider ~ a Crew review

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

Sharper Edge International Pty Ltd has brought a simple, intuitive math practice game to market with MathRider. This downloaded game is a way for students to practice math facts that is fun for middle to upper elementary aged students. It covers the four basic math operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. MathRider truly focuses on the simplicity of practice while still adding in an element of fun and play to keep interest.

MathRider is a game where the student is a horseback rider trying to complete a quest. The quests vary from time to time and from operation to operation. The student rides the horse through a scene with various shaped gates to jump. Each gate has a problem underneat it. The student must type in the answer on the keyboard and press Enter. Each correct answer to a fact allows the horse to jump the gate. As the student’s speed increases with the answers, so the horse’s speed increases. A slower answer slower the horse.

At the end of the ride, there is a summary shot that comes up. It indicates correct answers with a green bar and missed answers with a red one. The height of the bar also indicates length of time taken to answer the question.

As would be expected in a quest-based game, there are multiple items that can be won. A student can see the progress through any given quest with the quest map which marks progress with a red line.

Because MathRider is a downloadable game, you have access to it almost immediately after purchase. Additionally, it is a permanent licents, yours forever after that. There is no required upgrades or continued subscription. Multiple students can have accounts on the game at the same time. It will run on a Mac or PC but not a Chromebook or mobile devices.

A nice feature of MathRider is the statistics page. This page shows you what questions have been attempted and color codes the master level on it. Green indicates mastery. Red indicates no mastery. There is a range of hues between those that indicate where on the spectrum a student’s master of that question is.

An example on this one is 4×7. The 28 is a red box. When you click that, it brings up an animated showing of the answer in pictorial form as well as numeric writing. See next picture. This page has a lot of information on it, including overall standings with what has been attempted. Under top challenges, you can see the top 3 questions that have been a struggle for this student. There is also a bar indicating improvement.

Overall, this is one of the better fact practice games we have tried. My daughter is 12 and thought she would really like it after trying the trial of the program. After she had done it several times, though, she got bored with it and felt it took too much time for her since she just wanted to practice the facts she struggles with. That could be a variation on there that I didn’t fine and that would be great. I think if we had tried MathRider several years ago, she would have loved it (as would have our middle giggly girl) and begged to use it daily. It just wasn’t a good fit for a middle school student. I would highly suggest checking out their free trial if you are needing something to practice math facts.

Be sure to read more reviews on the blog of the Homeschool Review Crew from families with students at other ages to see how they got along with MathRider.

Blessings,
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.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

1 John: Relying On The Love of God ~ a book review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product from the publisher New Growth Press for the purpose of this review.

1 John: Relying On The Love of God is a small group Bible study published by New Growth Press. It is a part of the Bible study series The Gospel-Centered Life In The Bible. This study is written by Scotty Smith. I received a PDF file for the purpose of this review.

1 John is themed with love and it is the identifying characteristic the John uses in a lot of his writings. The introduction to this study reads:

John referred to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. Surely, this was not because John felt Jesus loved him more than the others, but because John treasured the love of Jesus so deeply.We identify ourselves by the things we treasure. They become the things that most define us. For John, nothing defined him more than the love God has for us in Jesus.

This is what the author of this study really wants us to get a grasp of, to understand in this study. Because 1 John is a shorter book than many others in the Bible, this study is only eight lessons long rather than the 10 that seem to typically be in this series of studies. It is expected that this study will be completed in a small group. It appears to me that it would be a stronger study in a group but would work almost as well as an individual study. Each lesson is structured to take approximately an hour to complete.

Each lesson is structured in the same manner as the other books in this study series. It includes the Big Idea (theme of the lesson), Bible Conversation (reading the passage and discussing it), Article (written by the author of the study), Discussion (questions to consider and draw the group deeper into the theme of the lesson and challenge thoughts and understanding), Exercise (applying the theme and lesson to your life and creating change in you), and Wrap Up and Prayer (closure for the lesson). There is also a section at the end titled Leader’s Notes. These notes include background and information to help the leader guide the lesson and answer some of the questions brought up in the Bible Conversation and the Discussion sections. The notes section is not an answer key as these are not right and wrong sorts of questions. But it is there for consultation to aid the leader.

Personal Thoughts:
We recently went through 1 John in our Sunday night worship series and I am looking forward to going through this study more in depth. I am looking forward to the author’s approach to this. I have found his writing easy to read and his thoughts seem to be grounded in the Bible, rather than a personal take on things.

On a less positive note, I find it difficult to evaluate a book like this when it is in PDF form. I do much better with printed Bible studies. I prefer them. This format is especially difficult when you need to access the Leader’s Notes, which are at the very end. Then you have to scroll back to look at the question and scroll to the end again for the notes, etc. I think I would like this better and find it more enjoyable if I had a printed book.

Overall, I did enjoy this study. Be sure to check out other titles in this study series from New Growth Press, including PsalmsJonahRuth, Exodus, Mark, Ephesians, Titus, Revelation, and Ecclesiastes. You can read my review of some of them here on the blog.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Ecclesiastes: Life In The Light of Eternity ~ a book review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product from the publisher New Growth Press for the purpose of this review.

Ecclesiastes: Life In The Light of Eternity is a small group Bible study published by New Growth Press. It is a part of the Bible study series The Gospel-Centered Life In The Bible. This study is written by David Gibson. I received a PDF file for the purpose of this review.

Ecclesiastes: Life In The Light of Eternity is a study of the book of Ecclesiastes. It is somewhat unusual to study Ecclesiastes but it is a great book to study. It is chock full of wisdom cloaked in poetic, often puzzling, language. This study helps break down that language and get at the heart of the message. Right from the introduction, the reader is struck with a challenge to what is often just taken for granted about this book.

This study of Ecclesiastes is part of a series and it is set up the same way as the previous ones. There are 10 lessons and each lesson is intended to be structured for about an hours worth of study and discussion. It is intended for a small group study but I found this one accessible for individual study, as well, which is honestly how I prefer my study right now. Your small group needs to be a place where hard, deep questions and statements can be dealt with openly and honestly without judgment because that is what Ecclesiastes gets to the heart of – living life for God when so much on this earth is not.

The lesson structure is set up in six sections.

  1. Big Idea
  2. Bible Conversation
  3. Article
  4. Discussion
  5. Exercise
  6. Wrap up and Prayer

The Big Idea introduces the theme of the lesson. The Bible Conversation gets you into God’s word, reading the section that the teaching covers. The article is written by the book’s author and is intended as a main teaching section for the lesson. Discussion covers the article and helps to group members to think deeper about the lesson and teaching. The exercise is supposed to help the group members apply the teaching to their life. Wrap up and Prayer is a short closure to the lesson.

The themes for the lessons in Ecclesiastes include:

  • wisdom
  • happiness
  • time
  • justice
  • words
  • death
  • life
  • planting
  • aging
  • eternity

These themes are quite relatable and can have a great impact on one’s life. I found that my favorite part of the lessons were the exercises because they really brought into view the life of Christ and our lives as Christians. It brought a lot of New Testament scripture into the conversation and I found that refreshing.

This study does include a section at the end of the PDF titled Leader’s Notes. These are notes on the theme and the Bible Conversation, in particular. It is intended to help guide the discussion as needed. It is not a simple right and wrong answer key.

Overall Thoughts:

I liked this study. I found it quite deep and challenging and I will enjoy working through it a bit more in depth as my current study comes to a close.

I did not care for having to work with the PDF file. It is just cumbersome and not enjoyable to work with, especially as it doesn’t scroll smoothly on my laptop but instead slides side to side as I try to scroll. Also, if the leader’s notes are needed, they are at the end of the document and it is not a simple click to get there. Rather you have to scroll all the way to the end and then back and forth as you work through whatever questions you were consulting the notes for.

Be sure to check out other titles in this study series from New Growth Press, including Psalms, Jonah, Ruth, Exodus, Mark, Ephesians, Titus, Revelation, and I John. You can read my review of some of them here on the blog.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Psalms: Real Prayers for Real Life ~ a book review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product from the publisher New Growth Press for the purpose of this review.

Psalms: Real Prayers for Real Life is a Bible study in the series The Gospel Centered Life In The Bible from New Growth Press. This study on Psalms was penned by Barbara Miller Juliani and Patric Knaak. I received the Study Guide with Leader’s Notes in PDF format to use and review.

Psalms: Real Prayers for Real Life is a 10 week study designed for a group, not individuals. It begins with an introduction, 10 lessons, an article titled “How and Why To Keep Praying The Psalms”, Leader’s Notes, and a list of resources for further reading. The PDF is 129 pages, so out of the reach of printing at home for me.

Each of the 10 lessons is set up in the same form. There is a start to the lesson with a few words of introduction and then the statement of the Big Idea for the Psalm in view for that lesson. It is followed by the reading of the Psalm and the Bible Conversation. This engages the group in discussing the ideas for the Psalm in view and getting some talk going about the depth of the issue and ideas. These questions for not have a single right answer so this will challenge some. There are suggested answers in the Leader’s Notes at the end of the file but they are not the only possibility. It is suggested that these are only looked at after some other options have been considered. The Lesson 1 Bible Conversation also includes some general information about the Psalms so that better understanding of them is possible.

Following the Bible Conversation, there is an article written by one of the authors relating to the Psalm. Each of these articles are about 3-4 pages in length and often relate a personal application of the idea of the Psalm by the author, followed with some human insight into the the idea. Questions follow this article asking the group to dig into their own lives to think about the idea and to uncover some areas to explore. There are no right or wrong answers for these so there are not any notes at the end of the file for these.

After the questions, there is an exercise designed to help the group apply the lessons from the idea to their own lives in a helpful, productive manner. It is an individual application so will be completed by each person. After completion, it is a good idea to discuss what group members are willing to share about how they completed the exercise. The exercises vary from considering prayer and writing specific areas in your life to pray about, doing some creative writing, considering what you value, facing your fears and praying about them, to many other ways to approach the topics of the Psalms. Each is designed to engage you more deeply with the word of God in the Psalms.

Each lesson ends with a wrap-up and prayer time. This is a dedicated time for considering prayer needs and praying as a group over what was learned and how to apply it.

It is expected that each lesson will take about an hour. There are time designations on each portion of the lesson, such as saying the article will take approximately 5 minutes. I feel like this is a bit short on the time frame as when I was working through it on my own, it would take about an hour for me to complete a lesson and I was working without a group for discussions.

My Overall Thoughts –

Honestly, I find it difficult to evaluate a book like this when it is in PDF form. I do much better with printed Bible studies. I prefer them. This format is especially difficult when you need to access the Leader’s Notes, which are at the very end. Then you have to scroll back to look at the question and scroll to the end again for the notes, etc. I think I would like this better and find it more enjoyable if I had a printed book. As it is, I found this very difficult to engage in this study.

Another reason I found this a difficult book is that it is unusual for a Bible study to ONLY group format. This one is highly so and thus individual study of this topic using this study was not enjoyable. I think it would be a very good study in group format with people you know and trust. Because the topics of the Psalms are very personal (fear, anger, loneliness, discontent, etc.), I think having a way to effectively utilize this as a personal Bible study would be good.

Overall, this is a strong group Bible study for a group that is comfortable with each other.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Teach Sunday School Bible Breakdowns ~ a Crew review

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

Teach Sunday School is a company that creates printable Bible study materials, including this one – Bible Breakdowns. They have created a number of materials that we have used previously, including Books Of The Bible At-A-Glance and Easter Escape Room. I have found these materials to be neat, compact, and effective in sharing the information they are intended to. In choosing the Bible Breakdowns, I have not been disappointed, finding them useful for the purpose I had in mind when I saw them.

Bible Breakdowns has both an Old Testament pack and a New Testament pack. We were given both for the purpose of this review and both have come in handy. There is a single page for each of the books of the Bible, except for Matthew which is broken down into so many subdivisions that it includes 2 pages. Each book includes a heading that notes the name of the book, whether it is Old Testament or New Testament, and which book of the Bible it is. (Job for example has 18 and OT to designate the 18th book of the Bible found in the Old Testament.) It has a short written summary next. This is followed by how many chapters there are, the type of book it is, the date it was written (or approximate date), the period of time covered by the book, and the author. Then it is broken down by chapter and verse, with each break given a subject or theme. Job includes 7 sections. Finally there is a list of a few of the most popular verses from the book, including their ranking within the book and within the whole Bible.

These are very similar to the Bible-At-A-Glance pages yet they organize the information differently and highlight different parts. As you can see in the image below, much of the information is the same – book placement, author, date, etc. But the Bible-At-A-Glance page does not include the chapter and verse breakdown that is in this set. This set allows the user to have a checklist of what to read and a helpful subject or theme for what will be read. This can really assist in keeping one on track and moving forward. And some books are much easier to read when you know what the theme is of what is coming up. You can see this comparison below.

So, how do you use these? I am using them a couple of different ways.

First, our Bible bowl book this year is Joshua. So all three of the girls have a copy of Joshua to keep with their materials for that. When we really settle into the studying for that, I will be asking them to check it off as they daily read, as I expect them to get through Joshua 6-8 times during our study. Each time through I’ll ask them use a different color pen to mark the passages so they can see progress clearly.

Second, I have printed it all off on half-sized sheets and included them in the mini-3 ring binder that I have with the Bible-At-A-Glance pages, also from Teach Sunday School. This is a resource I keep on our bookshelves for use at any time. I have recently had my daughter who was working through Proverbs take a look at this resource. We have often picked it up to help us get an idea about a book of the Bible we are studying.

Third, our 5-8 grade students at Bible class (my youngest is in this group) are reading through the Bible chronologically. I’ll be sharing the pages for each of the books she reads as she goes through. She has already started both Genesis, Exodus, and Job.

These really have quite a wide variety of uses. If I were teaching the 2nd-4th grade class at church this quarter, I would carry this with me each time we started a new book, just to have another way to view the book we were starting. Overviews are such a great way to get a handle on the start of a new book each time.

There are many great ways to use this resource from Teach Sunday School. I highly recommend that you visit their website to order the download for the product or, if you are looking for more ideas on how you might use it, visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about how other families have been using this Bible resource with their family.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

%d bloggers like this: