Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Aletheia Writing Magazine

Here's a brief Introduction from their website -

Aletheia, pronounced Ah-LAY-thei-uh, (Greek for Truth) Writing Magazine is a quarterly publication focusing on the literary and artistic works of Christian teens, ages 13 to 19.
We are excited to offer Christian teens a healthy platform in which to express themselves, especially in a culture that so definitively shapes and saturates their worldview with unhealthy imagery and values.
In addition to the literary and artistic expressions of Christian teens, each issue offers a variety of unique features: a Writer's Challenge, the Featured Contributor, a book review, Glory to God for the Beauty of Nature, Ancient Ink, and an interview or other feature for edification and enjoyment.

Subscriptions are $26 for 4 full-color, 40 page issues per year.

Click here to subscribe.

The Bentz Testing laboratory was very pleased with this magazine.  It has a very professionally done layout, and is not overpowered with advertising. In fact, several of the students are hoping to submit articles and be published!  What a motivator!!
Their website has a great writing tips section (even I could get something out of this!). The Writer's Challenge will give your students a starting place, with a prompt and a deadline.
I appreciated the focus on excellence and a Christian worldview.  I would caution you to preview it first, since some submissions may not agree with your own personal convictions, or may be slightly disturbing to some yournger children (remember it it geared for teens!).
You can read the Spring 2011 issue online for free here.  We're excited about the Upcoming Feature in the Winter issue - one of our favorite authors... Check it out!
Read what the other members of the TOS Review Crew thought about it here.
I was sent a complimentary issue in exchange for my honest opinion as part of the TOS Review Crew.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tri-Cross by Games for Competitors

If you know us, we LOVE games at the Bentz Learning Laboratory!  Imagine the excitement as a box arrives, and the eager children gather around to see what "goodie" it is this time... another handwriting workbook, math facts drill, latin?    "No", I  say - "it's just a game to try out".  I was nearly knocked down by frantic children yelling..."pick me, pick me this time!". 

Now you got a little peek into my world... let me introduce you to the product that caused this stampede of children -  it's call Tri-Cross by Games for Competitors, a Father-Son duo from Atlanta (by the way, that is my oldest child's dream job!)

This game is a "cross" between - chess, checkers and Stratego, according to my sons who have not stopped playing it since it arrived.

For a quick "how to play" - watch this video -

One reason that it has been such a hit here, it's easy to learn, but challenging enough to keep teenage boys entertained. It's also a quick game to play (unlike some other strategy games that can take all day...).

You can purchase this game in 3 different formats (we were sent the Standard and Eco-editions!)  Look for it online or at your favorite retail location.

Standard Edition - $24.95
Eco-Edition - $19.95
Wood Edition - $35.95

Games for Competitors is giving away 10 of their Travel/Eco-Games. You can register to win your own copy - find out the details about it here. (The Eco Edition is packaged in a handy, cotton travel bag and printed on a cotton board.)

We're not the only ones who have fallen in love with this game - check out some of the awards it's won!

See what the other TOS Crew members thought here.

We were sent a complimentary copy of this product in exchange for our honest opinion as part of the TOS Revie Crew.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Before Five and Row

Oh, Oh, OH!  I am so excited to get to tell you about this one!!

This fabulous resource has been in our personal homeschool journey from day one of homeschooling.  Now, eight children later, it is still as loved as ever!

Before Five in a Row is more than just a preschool curriculum, it's truly an invitation to enjoy well-loved stories and experiences with your children.  It draws you into the world of quality children's literature, but even more than that - it teaches both you and your children to love of this precious time spent together.

Each of my children could easily remember their favorites (even the 14 yr old!)  They all shared their stories, and memories of the activities we had shared together. Blueberries for Sal, Caps for Sale Goodnight Moon, The ABC Bunny and more - each of them had a personal "favorite" to retell!

My testers from the Bentz Laboratory for our "official" review were the four-year-old, curly haired beauty and her spicy "me-too" two-year old sister.

We started with a long-time favorite - What will you Wear Jesse Bear (the memories that this books brings back - make me cry. It was our first BFIAR book 10 years ago...this time if flying by so fast!). 

"Little Curly" and "Me-Too" - both LOVED this story.  We even shared it at our coop class for story time.  We created our own Jesse Bear dolls - complete with several changes of outfits.  They have not seperated from their Jesse Bears, even taking them to bed with them!  In fact, their fascination with all things Jesse Bear spread to other books in the saga of Jesse Bear. (don't you just love the power of books!)

Before Five in a Row puts 23 of these units easily into your hands - to use and cherish.  Geared for ages 2-4 (although, we still love many of these stories - many years later!).  You will explore Bible,science, history, geography, art, and more - all within the pages of the story.

The second part of the book - “Parents Treasury of Creative Ideas for Learning Readiness.”  is filled with ideas to inspire learning and hands-on activities to keep you and your preschooler on the path to a successful homeschool adventure!

Before Five in a Row can be purchased online from Five in a Row, or at Rainbow Resources for just $35. 

I'm so grateful for this resource, and the many, many years of pleasant memories it has given us. But, mostly  for starting us on a path of enjoyable learning together!  Don't miss this one!

I was sent a complimentary copy of Before Five in a Row by Jane Claire Lambert as part of the TOS Crew in exchange for my honest opinion, no compenstation was received.
Read what the other TOS Crew member thought about it here.

Deeper Roots Publications - Who I Am In Christ

Yippee!  I'm back on the TOS Review Crew this year! 

For my first review, I was sent a complimentary copy of Who I am in Christ by Deeper Roots Publications in exchange for my honest opinion, no compensation.

So, here's a little about it from their website:

"Second in the Deeper Roots Discovering series, Discovering Who I Am In Christ book 2 is an exciting new addition that will help 7th or 8th or 9th grade believers understand their personal identity in Christ. This life changing principle is the main focus of these studies."

It is available as 197 page, Softcover Student Workbook - $19.95 and as a 229 page, Spiral Bound Teacher's Guide - $28.95 - You can download a PDF Sample here  This course is designed to last for about 1 year.

Who I am in Christ is ideally suited for your 8th grade students.  So, the 8th grade product tester at Bentz Testing Laboratory was assigned this one.

The Student workbook is designed with 9 lesssons and a Summary Lesson as the finale.  Each lesson is broken into 5 days of study, and includes a "Study Sheet" for review, as well as periodic Tests.  Individual lessons cover new definitions of "Who I am in Christ" i.e. - Sinner or Sain, A New Creation, Adopted...  Additionally, there are 8 spotlights on unreached people groups included. (since we are studying the Eastern Hemisphere's 10/40 Window - this was a favorite feature!)

My "tester" enjoyed the lessons, especially the unreached people groups, and the memory challenges (did I mention that tester loves to do Bible memorization?!).  However, the publishers have left quite a bit of space to be used for "journaling" and "reflections".  That not being one of his favorite activities - and he had plenty of left over writing space, if you know what I mean...

If you are a busy mom (like me) - you may find you need to pursue a more "independent" type of study with your middle school student.  We modified this to fit our schedule, and he worked independently and reported back to me for more discussion. The workbook gave us plenty of topics to discuss together, after he had done the lesson.

The Teacher's guide is full of additional learning opportunities (videos, field trips, etc.), but since my time is limited for "teacher prep" - we didn't utilize many of these ideas.  It seems to be written to a "classroom", even though it says "Homeschool Edition".  We don't have "Bulletin Board" space in our schoolroom, but - you could use these ideas with your coop or Sunday school class.

I love that Deeper Roots has developed a Bible curriculum especially for the middle school and up students that focuses on moving students form "Biblical knowledge to spiritual application"

We jumped in with Book 2 - Who I am in Christ, but they also have Discovering our Amazing God - Bk 1, Discovering Christlike Habits - Book 3 and Discovering Christlike Character - Book 4.

Check out what the other members of the crew had to say about it here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

It's almost that time again!

American Girl Club - Felicity is about to begin!

I am so excited!!  Let me introduce you to our "club" -

We have 6 families:

12 girls (ages 7-12)
9 boys (self titled the "MCA" Masculine Club of Awesomeness...what else would boys ages 9-15 call themselves?)
9 "littles" - everyone under the age of 5
+ 2 new members expected any day!!

We started last year with Kaya.  We are studying each time period with that American Girl.  Let me tell you, this is amazing learning!  We made teepees, drums, baskets, painted horses, cornhusk dolls,  made Indian treats and headbands, plus took a field trip to the Toltec Indian Mounds.

I'm so blessed for "crazy" - or should I say - "Brave" women who have come together to make this idea a reality.  We are having as much fun as the kiddos, and I can't wait for a new adventure to begin.

Check out my previous posts to see pictures of our cool creations!

Kaya Week 1

Week 2

Week 3 & 4

Week 5

Field Trip

Up next, Felicity!