You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2009.

History, by the definition of http://www.dictionary.com, is the branch of knowledge dealing with past events. An old history text I had in school and can’t remember defined history as the story of man. There should only be one story, but that isn’t the way it is. As a Christian, I know that man’s story is only possible because of God, so really history should be defined as His story. Secular historians as guided by the great deceiver, Satan, have sought to remove the creator of history from the story. Church history took God’s story and corrupted it over and over again for the power derived for one group or another. There are as many church histories as there are denominations and religions.  How do we know what is truth and what is not? The answer is simple. The truth is the Bible. God has filled His word with His spirit and keeps it from corruption through His spirit stirring in Man’s heart. How can we teach our children the Truth and guard their hearts from the corruption of the world? We can try to teach them only the Word of God and keep them away from all dissenting forces while they are with us. When they leave, we can only pray that their hearts and faith are strong enough to withstand any attempt to sway. Often, we know that plan fails. To me, a better way is to teach our children the Truth, but expose them gently and carefully along the way to what the world teaches as we lay it beside the Bible for comparison. When viewed by the light and truth of the Bible, all other things will either confirm or deny God, the creator and Jesus, the son and Savior, and the Spirit who acts upon the hearts of man throughout time.

The Amazing Bible Timeline that I was given free to review here is a tool that seeks to give parents the ability to instill not only the Truth in their children, but also that strength of heart and faith to withstand the attempts to sway and corrupt. The originators of this timeline researched all the many histories of our time and past and placed all those together side by side in the chronological order of time along with the history as present by God through the Bible. They have made it as thorough and accurate as humanly possible. The company continues to update it as more is learned about history and as God and man continue to write history. The material is presented simply as an expanded time line incorporating the many time lines of the Bible and other world histories without emphasis to one religion, denomination, or secular historian. This gives the parent the full control to use the tool to teach their child how the Bible teaches and what man has sought to confirm or deny of that truth. Using the method of presentation given for the use of the chart, it is easy to see how God has influenced the world as His creation despite men and Satan’s efforts to purge the evidence of Divine influence.

The 37” X 45” chart is multicolor-coded and lay out is circular and wide to be as useful as possible despite the overwhelming amount of information provided. The print is small and difficult to read at times, but a magnifier helps. In addition, the company provides Adobe Reader .pdf format files on their web site free after purchase for download. With those files, it is easy to zoom into one particular area to study the contents more closely. Use the chart on the wall or a table along with the computer files either on the computer or printed out for particulars areas you wish to highlight at a particular time to see the specific events within the bigger picture of history as a whole. In this way, it is easy to see how the control of the Romans and culture of Roman society affected the Jews as they rejected the Messiah because they were hoping at the moment for an earthly king to rid them of their captors. Or, you can see how God influenced man as He worked to purge our country from the sin of slavery, and directed the forces that prevented Hitler from ruling the world.

As far as accessibility goes, the company providing .pdf files is a great help for the Learning Disabled and low vision students who might want to use the time line. The blind and deafblind will not get any true use of the product due to lack of braille access. The company must use graphic files, and there is no way to present graphic information in braille except as a verbal or written description which may or may not facilitate comprehension. Parents and teachers will have to find other ways to present the material to them.  One suggestion would be to take the information and provide it in small chunks of time with a tactile and braille-labeled timeline. If you provide all the material across the circular bands for a time period of a 1000 years or smaller increments, the students could gain the knowledge the same way by seeing the variations of history for just that period for comparison and study. Even though accessibility is an issue for some here, this product should not be discounted. The knowledge gained by students or parents in preparation to teach students can be invaluable.

In addition, the company, Bible Charts and Maps, LLC provides a document presenting tips for using the timeline for Bible Study and history teaching. They also have interactive maps for the Holy Land and a genealogy of Jesus Christ in various file formats to use, as well. The Amazing Bible Timeline chart is $29.97 plus shipping and handling including the digital version and the interactive Holy Land maps for free. Go to http://www.BibleTimeline.net for more information and to purchase. Use this tool wisely and as intended, and you have a resource to help build your child’s faith on the truth of Jesus Christ.

Looking for a delightful read? How about a good series that you can trust to give to your young students? Well, I have found it in Jim Baumgardner’s Sarah books published by Tate Publishing & Enterprises. These are the most beautifully written Christian children’s books that I have seen in a long time.

The characters are so alive that you are literally transported to another time and place. History is kept genuine without blemishing the tender hearts of your students with inappropriate material. The story is adventurous and intriguing to most any child keeping them hanging on to the very end regardless of reading ability. The knowledge gained from these stories is accurate and abundant which makes them perfect for any family especially a homeschooling family. The main character, Sarah, is orphaned in the first book, Sarah’s wish, plunging her into an unknown future. Her mother’s faith was instilled in her from an early age, and Sarah finds her courage to face the unknown by relying on God. Everything about these books is what parents are looking for to encourage their children and help them grow. Don’t worry about the character being a girl. This isn’t a “girls only” type book. The adventures are bold and varied making them perfect for the boy in your family, too.

I love the way the author said on his web site and in correspondence to the TOS Crew that he struggled with the historical accuracies of cursing and the “n word” during his writing. He looked at the prospect of keeping the story historically accurate, but also, considering whether the cursing added anything to the story. He, caring for children as a kindly father or grandfather, chose not to include cursing. More importantly, he found a terrific way of teaching history in another of the series, by teaching the use of the “n word”, but not by using it in dialogue as was often done during the time, but by developing a moment when Sarah could learn from a slave what the word meant to her and how it made her feel. This allows you, the parent, to continue that very conversation with your student teaching them a very important life lesson. I applaud the author’s efforts in teaching these values.

In addition, Mr. Baumgardner’s periodic newsletters add spice to the series with interesting and educational tidbits offered through the humor of himself and Granny, an elderly caretaker of Sarah’s, who is a bit eccentric, but a strong pillar of faith. The author uses the newsletters to teach more about history as he keeps interest in the series alive with contests and trivia questions. I thoroughly enjoy reading them and look forward to each funny installment. I know my students do, too.

As far as my special needs recommendations go, the author has beautiful print editions available, which he graciously will autograph to add even more of a special touch, with a decent size font in crisp contrast to the white pages. He also has audio book versions, as well, suitable for use by the blind, print disabled, and learning disabled student. The print versions seem to also come with a code that allows you to get a free audio download of that specific book, too, making it a very useful tool for the learning disabled student to read and listen to improve comprehension. Prices for the books and/or audio books are very affordable beginning at $9.99 for one print version and $16.99 for the separate audio book only. The author’s attention to special needs is appreciated. There isn’t anything available for the deafblind student, but it could easily be done by making the book available to http://www.bookshare.org. This organization is non-profit and provides various formats of shared books to disabled persons, schools, and organizations for disabled populations including deafblind and learning disabled through a subscription program which verifies the participants as certified disabled and protects the copyrights of authors and publishing companies. I recommend that Mr. Baumgardner and owners of Tate Publishing and Enterprising contact Bookshare.org to allow the access of their books to the deafblind. I thoroughly enjoyed the book I received and look forward to reading another, but it is not nearly as enjoyable to have to have a sighted person read the book and sign it to me. I would prefer to read it in braille for myself. I am sure the author would be gracious enough to consider this based on his voluntary attention to the disabled populations of whom he is familiar.

Children will love the series and parents will love being able to trust them. In fact, as this middle- aged woman can attest, adults will love them, too.
Check out the Sarah series at http://www.sarahbooks.com.

It seems today with television and video games so popular that it is almost impossible to get them outdoors for exercise, play, or learning. As parents, we are always on the lookout for ideas and resources to motivate our children to get out and enjoy the beautiful world God made for us. Nature Friend magazine is just the ticket.

These magazines just lying on the coffee table or school desk beckons you to pick it up with each gorgeous full-color cover page and back cover. My students love to grab it at break time and pour through the pages of full color pictures of animals and insects and scenery. Each basic magazine has a crossword puzzle or word search and an art activity including a drawing activity. Drawing skills are wonderful to have to allow your students to document their outdoor studies with sketches as well as journaling. There is also a wonderful nature photo with a fitting scripture for students to learn for the month. In addition, the entire issue is written from a biblical perspective and appropriate scriptures throughout reinforce the concept that God is the creator, and the whole earth is his handiwork depicting His nature to us. You also have a fun scavenger hunt to let your students improve their observational skills hunting for the drawings of a plant, or an insect, or animal track hidden in the pictures throughout that issue. Some are easy, but others really make their eyes work.

The optional, but inexpensive study guide extends these activities for fun and learning even more adding several more pages of pictures and stories, and fun. There are research activities, photography tips, word searches, crossword puzzles, etc. All of these activities help to reinforce the information found in the stories and articles on different animals and insects. Learning different ways to get good photos of nature is so informative and fun. Students will love getting outdoors to try getting the best angles. There are also writing activities for students to try. Journaling about nature observations can be fun, and is a learning tool used by naturalists.

Your students can also mail in submissions of the activities they have done to Nature Friend that just might be included in a future issue. They can send mail asking questions or telling how they love the magazine. They can also write their own articles or stories about nature and send it to them. Each issue has lots of art work, articles, photos, etc. done by the young readers of the magazine. That will certainly motivate your young naturalists.

Nature Friend will be useful for many special needs students, as well. The font is a comfortable size for learning disabled students and many low vision students. The reading level is easy to comprehend while challenging the student with its content. My students love to read the articles and sign or fingerspell their favorite things to me. Your students don’t have to sign, but let them tell you what they like, too.

Nature Friend is available by subscription for $36 for 12 issues in the U. S. while Canada and Mexico subscriptions are $49 and International is $62 for 12 issues. The study guide can be added for just $2.00 per issue for 12 issues and is highly recommended by this author. Nature Friend is well worth this price with all the fun packed into each issue. To find out how to subscribe to Nature Friend magazine, go to http://www.naturefriendmagazine.com. This just might be the magazine that gets your students off the video games and into God’s creation.

You can feel like a genius no matter how smart you are if you know the right stuff. Where can you get the right stuff? College Prep Genius: Master the SAT Success from Maven of Memory Publishing.

College Prep Genius makes bold claims for their college entrance test preparation program. “Cut your reading time in half.” “Answer math problems without ever touching your calculator.” “Write a high scoring essay in fifteen minutes.” It probably sounds impossible, but the program complete with a four DVD presentation, guide book, and workbook is right on target. The author, Jean Burke, explains that the PSAT/SAT/ACT are not knowledge checking tests. They are actually logic tests. Using logic, you can find the answer to those tough questions. This isn’t about learning little tricks to guess at the answers. It is about understanding the true nature of these tests and the purpose behind them. Once a student has a basic understanding of math and grammar, they should be learning the methods, patterns, and logic of these college entrance tests including the PSAT. The premise taught with College Prep Genius is that the tests are Standardized, and therefore, the question and answer patterns stay the same.

The program is divided into four main parts: overview of the tests, critical reading, math, and essay with additional sections on scholarship search and comparison of the SAT and ACT. The DVD’s follow the same basic organization with a DVD devoted to the four main parts above. The guide book is thorough and very clear. It provides numerous examples that walk you through each of the kinds of problem types depicting the ways to work them through correctly and how to work them through using the logic and hidden patterns and strategies of the test. These methods help you to answer the questions faster and being more accurate than falling for irrelevant information, not understanding important vocabulary, working math problems completely or using a calculator. The DVD’s highlight and further emphasize the key points of the guide book using the workbook to give sample questions to practice the guide book materials. The DVD’s go over each of the questions in the workbook detailing the method used to quickly answer the questions.

Using the methods in College Prep Genius: Master the SAT Class, your students can really improve their thinking skills as well as their achievement test scores. The cost is $79.00 for the entire package, and my readers can get free shipping and handling from now until November 15, 2009 just use the special code, HSBlog09. If you need help improving your child’s chances for college, check out http://www.collegeprepgenius.com.

%d bloggers like this: